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On the morning where Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohue has reportedly asked TDs to forgo their pay increases, we’re listening in to see what other issues the Government might be regretting.

Leader's questions

First question is about the 20% deposits on mortgages for people looking to buy a home.

Darragh O’Brien, TD for Fingal, Dublin asks if there was any impact analysis done on the provision for first time buyers’ grant, and if so that the research into the influence it would have on house prices be published.

The budget brought in a grant for First Time Buyers can get a tax rebate of up to €20,000 to help afford deposits on house purchases.

“You’ve starter homes at 420,000 in my area,” says O’Brien.

“What we should be doing is setting a cap and look at construction costs. You’ve done nothing to stop families falling into homelessness everyday.”

He asks again that they publish any independent analysis done.

Richard Bruton

Richard Bruton says that an independent analysis of the effect a first time buyers’ tax rebate would have WAS done, but makes no commitment to publish that analysis.

Mary Lou Source: Oireachtas.ie

TD’s pay increase is next on the list from Mary Lou Mc Donald of Sinn Féin:

“Will you assure us this morning that no salary increase will be paid for the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste the TDs will get no pay increase.”

This is after Paschal Donohue called this morning on TDs not to accept the €12,000 increase over 3 years, and Minister for Children Catherine Zappone said that she would forgo the pay bump.

Capture Source: Oireachtas.ie

Bruton says that he’s surprised that Mary Lou has not praised the Budget for raising pay for carers and pensioners for the first time in years.

Mary Lou says that the pay is nothing compared to politicians’ pay increases and called for a “definitive stop” not a “voluntary pause” on TD’s pay increases.

Bruton answers that Mary Lou is “shedding crocodile’s tears”over pay increases since she opposed the FEMPI legislation that reduced TD’s pay.

It’s worth noting that the same legislation reduced pay for all civil servants, too.

Catherine Leader's questions Source: Oireachtas.ie

TTIP and other trade agreements are up for debate now. Bruton says that creating employment and being a strong trading nation is going to become increasingly important in the wake of Brexit.

He says that there will be amendments in the trade agreements over the coming weeks.

He asked Deputy Catherine Connolly to suspend her judgement of pending trade agreements with the US and Canada before they’ve been finalised.

Connolly said: “Is this agreement on such thin ice that they can not stand up to free speech?”

“I’m asking you not to sign up to this agreement on the 28 October.”

Bruton answers that concerns by Connolly and others on the agreement have been taken into account and affected the legislation while Connolly shakes her head angrily.

Leaeder's questions Source: Oireachtas.ie

Mattie McGrath says accountability and responsability needed in our healthcare system, and that there’s too many issues and problems.

He says that as he speaks now, a review in Clare and in Tipperary into emergency responders such as ambulance drivers and paramedics is being carried out because of cutbacks in Nenagh and Ennis.

He asks Bruton, quite angrily, to engage with the healthcare workers.

Bruton begins to compliment workers in the healthcare system and says that “we’ve lost a decade in investment” in the healthcare, because of the recession presumably.

Mattie McGrath calls the HSE “not fit for purpose” and throwing money into it is “wasteful”.

McGrath says there is a 30% increase in management, and that there has been ‘mushrooming’ of healthcare system management.

Bruton says an increase in recruitment has been included in Budget 2017, and says he agrees with the Deputy that they need to ensure value for money in healthcare.

Carol Nolan TD, a former principal, is putting the issue of funding for education to the Government, but in particular Fianna Fáil, who “despite their spin, bluster and meaningless waffle” is supporting a lack of funding and Budget 2017, she says.

Her question: How can you possibly justify the lack of funding for this area [education] in this budget?

Bruton lists the recruitment of part-time teachers in this year’s Budget as a step to tackle the lack of funding and resources.

He says that they are trying to free up (National Educational Psychological Service) NEPS, and increasing equipment to resource teachers.

“Teachers do not buy into the notion of airy fairy notions that might not work”

Leaders' questions Source: Oireachtas.ie

Deputy Martin said that there is an inequality between members of two teachers trade unions – one of which doesn’t agree with the more practical assessment of students. Martin says that there is a discrepency of 10% between the two methods of assessment – the old and the new. She asks that priority be placed on ensuring students are not brought into the fray between government and teachers.

Bruton says the decision is about valuing intelligence of varying sorts, not just a memory test that the state examination is:

“I’ve seen it work, the way it transforms science, it enriches it. Sadly the ASTI said they would not accept the decision.”

“We’ve asked the ASTI to allow their students of their members have accesss to this type of assessment. If we want a fair society we have to value all our talent, not just one element of it.”

Martin responds by saying that “You cannot flail from crisis to crisis without thinking of the influence that you’re having.”

“Find a way Minister, find a way of leveling the playing field for students.”

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