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LIVE: Taoiseach faces serious questions over yesterday's 'clarifications'

Stay with us as we take you through Leaders’ Questions blow by blow.

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It’s the day after what was possibly the worst day for this government. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is in the hot seat again and likely to face further questions about the McCabe Tusla file and what he did and did not know.

This is all before the government face a motion of no confidence later this evening. Things could get interesting… stay with us as we take you through Leaders’ Questions blow by blow.

That’s it for Leaders’ Questions today.

Not as much argy bargy as yesterday and Kenny appears to have got off lightly in relation to yesterday’s ‘clarifications’.

The controversy is not over yet for the Taoiseach today. The Independent Alliance met earlier today and they are understood not to be too happy with his explanations about last night’s explanations.

Kenny is making a speech on Brexit today and following that will meet his independent government colleagues at 4pm. The motion of no confidence is due at around 5pm.

Ryan says he does not want to get into who said what and when but says he is concerned that Cabinet is not operating as it should.

He says procedures were set up in Brendan Howlin’s days to ensure there were certain ways to do things and raise matters at Cabinet.

Kenny says independent members work well with government but says one learns lessons all the time about how business should be conducted.

Kenny says he had hoped the terms of reference could be signed off today but says it might be possible to do this.

In relation to the whether other whistleblowers should be included in the Tribunal, the Taoiseach says “it is really a matter for the judge”. If the judge saw fit that it might be extended, he said that it could be accepted.

The protection of sources is central here, says Kenny. He also points out that whether the Tribunal’s proceedings are streamed live, is again, a matter for the judge.

He says it is in everyone’s interest that the Tribunal gets up and running as soon as possible.

Ryan says it would be unwise to leave it up to the judge about whether it should include others. He says it is “a tough call” but one that needs to be made.

Highlighting what FF John McGuinness said last night in the Dáil last night, that the “dogs in the street knew” about the false allegations made against McCabe. Ryan denies this is the case.

He also raises how journalist’s sources will be protected during the Tribunal.

Eamon Ryan is up now and he wants to talk about “the specifics”.

He wants to know what the timeline as to when the terms of reference will be decided and he also wants to know if the Taoiseach thinks it should be open to other whistlerblowers.

Mattie McGrath raises the issue of children with special needs.

The Taoiseach says there has been an increase in funding this year, and says the admission bill obliges a school to accept a child with special needs. That bill is before the Dáil at the moment.

McGrath says what parents don’t want is the funding figures to be read out – they want a place for their child in a school.

He says schools must be obliged to admit the children.

“I am appealing to you to meet these people… there is a big problem, not just in Tipperary, but all over the country.”

“I corrected the record yesterday,” says the Taoiseach.

He acknowledges that he got the time sequence wrong.

Kenny maintains the criminal misconduct reference in the terms of reference covered the material in the Prime Time programme.

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Gerry Adams is up now and urging the House to support their motion of no confidence in the government which is due to be held later this evening.

In turn, there is a counter motion of confidence put down by the government – which Adams says only has one signature on it – the Taoiseach’s.

He takes a dig at Kenny and asks could he not have got a second signatory.

Adams now also wants to know if he was aware of the content of the disclosures.

“No I did not… nor did anyone else at the Cabinet table.”

He says the criminal misconduct section in the terms of reference covered the issues.

Adams puts it to Kenny that unless Kenny knew of the disclosures, he can’t state they’re covered in terms of reference.

How could you have known if they were the same allegations, unless you had knowledge of the disclosures, asks Adams.

Adams claims Kenny cannot state to the Dáil that he was aware of the allegations as it would not be lawful for him to have seen them.

Taoiseach again denies having seen the protected disclosures.

Enda Kenny is up now and is going over the sequence of events.

He says on 7 Feb Zappone mentioned to him she had met with McCabe in relation to fasle allegations that had been made to Tusla.

Kenny says it is absolutely clear to him that they would be included in the terms of reference as it states it would cover “allegations of criminal misconduct”.

Martin says that judge Charlton said it would cover the Tusla file retrospectively.

“It does beg the question as to how anybody knew,” says Martin.

He says it is like “Cabinet telepathy” that people knew that something would be covered in the terms of reference, if they weren’t aware of it.”

“The truth will come out eventually,” says the Fianna Fáil leader.

Micheál Martin is up first, and as predicted, he wants to bring up the differing versions of events.

He says there was a lack of clarity about conversations that happened before Cabinet last week.

He is reading out transcripts from last night’s statements now.

Martin says Kenny told him that he did not know about the Tusla file – but he says he must have known if he says he knew that it would be covered in the terms of reference.

“I would like to know how you knew the commission would cover it, if you didn’t know about the details.”

If you want to get up to speed on all the happenings that went on yesterday, you can take a look at yesterday’s liveblog.

Yesterday, the government said it was going to set up a Tribunal instead of a Commission of Investigation into the allegations that a smear campaign was conducted against Garda whislteblower Maurice McCabe by senior gardaí.

Here’s a quick explainer for you:

Explainer: What exactly is a Tribunal of Inquiry?

While there have been calls by some to extend the Tribunal to cover other whistlblowers’ complaints there are fears it could drag the Tribunal out and prove more costly.

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