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Leaders' Questions As It Happened: The morning after the day before

Follow the arguments blow-by-blow.

Image : Sam Boal
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JUST UNDER 24 hours, after the new minority government’s first Budget was delivered.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny faces questions inside Leinster House.

Micheál Martin kick-off the post-budget argument by accusing the government of not making enough references to Brexit in the budget.

Enda Kenny lists of what he says are specific measures to protect small businesses.

All very civil so far.

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Enda Kenny says that the whole issue is “very fluid” until his counterpart n the UK Theresa May triggers Article 50 to start the UK’s withdrawal.

Micheál Martin is pushing to for some currency protections as sterling continues to falter.

Gerry Adams is taking a different tack and he’s ignoring the budget.

He’s asking the Taoiseach about the death of Shane O’Farrell in Monaghan. The 23-year-old died when he was riding his bicycle on the N2.

Adams says that the death was “preventable” and is alleging garda failings. He says the that hit O’Farrell had been stopped earlier in the day by gardaí from the drugs unit.

Adams said the car was not roadworthy and had no NCT.

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The mother of Shane O’Farrell is present in the Dáil and Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that he would like to meet her to discuss the case.

He also says that he has read a case file provided to him by Adams.

Adams says that the family are seeking a statutory inquiry. He asks the Taoiseach will he consider this after he meets her.

Enda Kenny says he will consider this and make his views known.

Kenny also notes that a GSOC inquiry into the case is “practically complete”.

“I will meet Mrs O’Farrell, because I want to meet her, on a humanitarian basis,” he adds.

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Labour leader Brendan Howlin is up now, he wants clarity on when increases in social welfare payments kick-in:

Has an agreement been reached in government on when all social welfare payments come into effect next year?

Howlin tells the Taoiseach that “we worked together for five years as you know.”

“We’ve never published the budget without knowing the full figures,” he says.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says that details will be known when the Social Welfare Bill is published in tow weeks.

“I hope that the bill receives the support of everybody,” says Kenny.

Ruth Coppinger notes the changed budgetary process.

“It’s a bit surreal on the day after the budget, that the Taoiseach isn’t questioned by the so-called ‘opposition’ on that Budget,” she says.

In fairness, Martin did mention the Budget, even if it was about Brexit.

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Coppinger says that the new funding for childcare does nothing for parents who hire childminders for their children, only for those who use creches.

“Where is the so-called Scandinavian model,” she says was promised by the government.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says the state must know where its money is going if its subsidising childcare.

“If the State wishes to subsidise children’s care, we need to know where the children are and who their childminders are,” he says.

Ruth Coppinger asks ‘who advised’ the government on the budget.

She suggests it may have been Ryanair’s Micahel O’Leary or Tom Parlon of the Construction Industry Federation.

There’s now some bonus Leaders’ Questions because we had none yesterday. Lucky us.

Micheál Martin is up first for his second go. He’s not talking about the budget here but about the lack of rights provided for children with special needs.

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Micheal Martin lists a number of important aspects the Epsen Act that he say has not yet been implement in the State.

“The reality is that thousands of children are not getting the kind of access they require, especially early assessment,” Martin says.

Kenny said that yesterday budget provided 1,000 extra staff in this area.

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Danny Healy-Rae TD is asking the Taoiseach about the housing crisis and particularly the costs to builders and developers of building new houses.

He asks the Taoiseach why is it that banks are reluctant to lend to builders to fund construction projects.

“The levies and charges amount to 37% of the cost of building a house…. They’re to be paid up front, they don’t have it up front,” the Kerry TD says.

Enda Kenny says that the points made by the deputy are “relevant” but that a set of initiatives need to be introduced to deal with supply.

He says yesterday’s budget was part of that process.


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