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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
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FRESH FROM HIS morning events with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Leo Varadkar is likely to face questions about the bin charges.

It’s been a busy day for Leo Varadkar today as he entertains his new friend, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

So far, Leo’s socks have been the main talking point.

He’s also faced questions on the gender balance of his Cabinet.

And, Paul Murphy is back in the Dáil chamber after spending a number of weeks at the Jobstown trial.

Micheál Martin raises the issue of the death of Thomas Power, who died of a heart attacj en route to Cork due to no cath lab being available in Waterford.

A protest took place outside the gates of Leinster House today, whereby people of the south-east are demanding more services.

Thomas’ sister addressed a number of TDs today, with Martin stating that she gave a heart-wrenching account about what her family have gone through.
TheJournal.ie spoke to Minister John Halligan on this issue a few weeks ago:

‘If you have a heart attack in Waterford, Wexford or Kilkenny you should be treated the same’>

Why wasn’t the second cath lab proceeded with, asks Martin?

People of the south-east, and particularly, Waterford, are feeling marginalised, says Martin.

Varadkar offers his condolences to the family. He outlines that an independent review was conducted last year, and an additional eight hours was promised.

He says the health minister has committed to a full national review of all primary care units.

Martin says Power needed a cath lab to be open. He asks someone to give an transparent answer, and says what Varadkar has just said in the Dáil was said 12 months ago.

“You have no credibility relating meaningless statements like that,” says Martin.

He asks why someone stopped the implementation of the 2012 recommendations, and asks why the independent Herity report into the services in Waterford was needed at all.

“I don’t know who stopped it or if it was stopped at all,” says the Taoiseach.

Mary Lou McDonald raises the bin charges issue. This one is going to have legs, with Leo saying that it will be 15 months before the changes kick in.

McDonald says a measly €75 grant for large families and those who have long-term illness.

She said it would “make Ebenezer Scrooge blush”, accusing him of having “no regard for how ordinary people live”.

“Your lack of empathy on this is shameful,” she tells the Taoiseach.

Those people have no interest in your choice of socks, Taoiseach.

She said this government has learned absolutely nothing form the water charges debacle.

McDonald says people will not take this lying down. “You got it wrong on water charges and you are getting it wrong on this.”

Varadkar says it will be phased in over the next 15 months as contracts lapse.

He says the government have agreed to bring in a waste watchdog to assess the industry.

The Taoiseach said if there are price hikes, the government will look at it again.

She says people are worried that they cannot afford to pay this bill. McDonald says Varadkar he is distant from reality.

He says he wished we had a parliament where they can have a proper debate. He says the Taoiseach may have changed but Sinn Féin keep making the same arguments.

catherine

Catherine Connolly says there needs to be another study done on sexual assault and domestic violence.

She said there has not been a comprehensive report done in over 15 years, and bodies are calling out for comprehensive data to form policy.

“We cannot afford to not find the money,” she says.

Varadkar says the Savi study was done in 2002, and he says he absolutely agrees that 15 years is a long time to not have another study.

He says the last report cost €1 million, so it has to be assessed if it could be better placed in frontline services rather than research.

The Taoiseach says it is something being considered by government, adding that in order to plan for services you need information.

Independent TD Michael Collins says the way fisherman have been treated has been scandalous. He raises the issue that Britain are withdrawing from the London Fisheries Conventions.

It means that trawlers from the Republic of Ireland will no longer be allowed to fish within 12 nautical miles of the UK coastline.

Over the weekend, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said the news was “unhelpful”.

Varadkar says Britain’s withdrawal is “unwelcome” and says dialogue will continue.

He says Creed will be meeting with UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove on the matter this week.

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He says over-fishing and sustainability cannot be ignored either, but said that if there are increase in quotas, Ireland will of course push to be part of that.

Paul Murphy is on his feet and he says he has not been here as he has been before the courts in relation to the Jobstown protests

Murphy asks the Taoiseach if there are any plans for legislation to be introduced that would establish an inquiry in to the investigation, particularly looking at the Garda evidence given in the case.

The Taoiseach says there are no plans for public inquiry on this issue.

He says Murphy and the other defendents “got a fair trial jury”. He said the jury heard the case and decided to acquit.

“I don’t believe that means the behaviour at Jobstown was acceptable,” says Varadkar, stating that he believes it “was very wrong”.

“I think they [Joan Burton and her assistant] were terrorised… You could see the fear on their faces,” says the Taoiseach.

That’s it for Leaders’ Questions today. Join me back here tomorrow…

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