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Afternoon everyone, Gráinne Ní Aodha here listening in on the questions being put to the government this week. If you have any thoughts, comments, or opinions, you can leave a comment below or tweet us @thejournal_ie.

More expensive stamps could close post offices, Ireland’s overall amount of international aid has fallen, and Enda Kenny “doesn’t look like the man” to stop renting prices from rising, are the things TDs were concerned about today.

The main issue for today was requests from Mícheál Martin, Enda Kenny and Brendan Howlin for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to make a statement in the Dáil tomorrow about the Brian Stack murder investigation.

The Cathaoirleach said it was up to the party whips to decide a time.

micheal Source: Oireachtas TV

An Taoiseach has said that he finds it “unacceptable” that a member of the Dáil should have information about a murder investigation, speaking about the murder of police officer Brian Stack.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin asked Enda Kenny if he was satisfied with the investigation, and why Gerry Adams, who said he was given information about the murder in 2013, waited until 2016 to report it to the gardaí.

Mícheál Martin said:

“The provos know who did it but they aren’t in this house. They’re living in an alternate universe where the same rules do not apply to them.”

An Taoiseach responded that he was not satisfied, but an investigation was being conducted by gardaí:

“It’s beyond comprehension that anybody would drive in a blacked out van to find out who murdered their father. I think Deputy Adams knows more about this than I do.”

“This is a very serious matter, a murderer is at large, and people know who he is.”

Gerry Adams addresses the two party leaders’ statements and questions on Brian Stack, saying that he never accused anyone in the house of something equally serious.

Adams goes on to ask about Portlaoise Hospital, where a review earlier this week found that “significant risks remained” at the hospital.

The review of the Midland Regional Hospital comes almost three years after a Prime Time investigation that looked at the deaths of eight babies in avoidable circumstances.

Kenny lists all the provisions that were made since that discovery and says serious improvements have been made, with “more to follow”.

Adams responds by saying An Taoiseach hasn’t acknowledged that staffing levels and services have been found to be inadequate, with Portlaoise being “a symptom” of that issue.

He called on An Taoiseach to clarify what had happened to a report reviewing hospital services which was due in September.

Enda Kenny says that it’s currently being reviewed by the Department of Health.

Brendan Source: Oireachtas

Labour’s Brendan Howlin has requested that An Taoiseach make a time available for Gerry Adams to make a statement in the Dáil in relation to Brian Stack’s murder.

He also has other questions… about International Aid.

Enda Source: Oireachtas TV

Brendan Howlin wants Enda Kenny to increase international aid to disasters around the world “as a positive gesture at this time of year”.

He mentions that it’s fallen to 0.3% this year and that Michael Noonan previously said that there was ‘plenty in the coffers’ to cover the scrapping of water charges [which he agrees with, by the way].

Enda Kenny answers that €62 million has been allocated to Syria “which is a lot of money”.

But he said he’d raise the issue with Minister Noonan.

Mick Barry Source: Oireachtas TV

Mick Barry is next up asking Enda to debate Simon Coveney’s Bill on affordable housing before the Dáil breaks for Christmas, suggesting it’s been left this long to put it on the long finger.

“The country is crying out of a Taoiseach who will bang the table and say you will not increase rents by any penny more,” he says. “You don’t look like the man for the job.”

He goes onto say that Enda “must be tripping over landlords” and asks is it true that Coveney’s strategy for affordable housing is receiving opposition from within Fine Gael.

Enda Kenny says that he disagrees that people’s pockets are most important.

“It’s people’s lives,” he says, rolling the ‘l’.

final Source: Oireachtas TV

In response to Brendan Howlin’s question on whether those who have paid their water charges will be refunded, Enda Kenny said that the committee should be “allowed to do its work”.

He said however that the commission didn’t recommend an abolition of charges, but an increase in allowances. He also said that there were a lot of issues to consider including;

“Those who have independent wells, those who cannot drink water, plus raw sewage flowing into lakes, rivers and the sea.”

“The committee should be allowed to do its work.”

“I wrote to An Taoiseach on the 15 November on the surrender letter of Pádraig MacPiarais to the Four Courts’ garrison,” begins Gerry Adams speaking about the last of many letters the 1916 leader wrote.

An Taoiseach said that they would be in touch with Adams in relation to the historical document at the time, but Gerry Adams hasn’t heard back, he says.

The letter is due to be sold before the end of the week.

I know that funds are limited but I would ask the Taoiseach to make funding available through ”centenary celebrations funding”, or funding from the Department [of Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, we'd imagine].

Kenny replied that the estimated cost is “very high” and there are no plans to purchase the letter.

Bit of annoyance there from Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shorthall about whose turn it is next to speak…

eamon Source: Oireachtas TV

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan is concerned that an increase in postage stamps, with the cap on pricing lifted earlier today, will bring post office closures. “9,000 staff are worried. It’s hard to see a company will survive with a 10% drop in demand.”

Earlier Enda Kenny said that it was agreed that the cap on charges would be lifted to “save the five day service” offered by Post Offices and meet the shortfall on intake.

farmers Source: Oireachtas TV

Sinn Féin’s Martin Ferris has asked what the government plans to do in relation to tillage or grain farmers, as this year has been particularly tough in terms of pricing, weather, and huge financial strains including a rise in the price of equipment for farmers.

A scheme is being developed, says An Taoiseach, and mentions the ‘gap year’ introduced in Budget 2017, but there don’t seem to be any new or specific measures planned to help tillage farmers.

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