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THE ELECTION OF Donald Trump and the housing crisis were on the agenda this afternoon, as the Government fielded questions from the opposition.

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was in the hotseat.

Fianna Fáil’s John Curran is first up today, to grill the Tánaiste on the housing crisis.

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Curran raises the ordeal of a particular family he’s had contact from.

Frances Fitzgerald gives a wide-ranging answer taking in the various initiatives the government has launched to deal with the housing crisis.

Replying, Curran accuses her of not answering his question.

Fitzgerald, responding to further queries from the TD, says he should pass on the details of the family and question to her office, and that she will give them to Housing Minister Simon Coveney.

Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin is next up, with a high energy contribution. He implores the government to do everything it can to help “struggling renting families” and accuses ministers of making only “mealy mouthed” efforts to date.

Coming to his question, the Dublin TD asks if the government will back emergency rent certainty legislation for those in need.

Fitzgerald, again giving a more general answer, reiterates details of the various efforts being made to help renters and says the Government has plans to deal with the housing crisis in the “short, medium and longer term”.

O Broin accuses the coalition of being “out of touch” and takes issue with several of Fitzgerald’s figures, in response.

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Labour leader Brendan Howlin makes the first mention of Donald Trump in his contribution.

Referring to his shock election in the US, the veteran TD brings up that old dictum: “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”

Howlin’s specific question is about the status of Irish emigrants in the US.

Securing relief for the undocumented Irish in the US remains a priority for the Government, Fitzgerald says.

“We will continue to pursue the values that we hold dear and the priority issues,” including immigration reform, with the incoming US administration, Fitzgerald says.

Howlin says TDs have been getting phonecalls to their offices about plans to help the undocumented Irish, in the wake of Trump’s shock win.

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Clare Daly of Independents 4 Change is next up, with a question about protected disclosures and the gardaí.

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Responding to Daly’s question, Fitzgerald says she looks forward with great interest to reading the report into the protected disclosures of Garda whistleblowers being carried out by former High Court judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill and that the Government will respond appropriately.

The probe was set up at the start of October. The judge is due to report back to the Minister with any recommendations later this month.

Daly and her fellow Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace aren’t too happy with the Justice Minister’s response…

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That’s the end of Leaders’ Questions for today – TDs are back to the grind of daily business now, discussing plans for upcoming legislation.

We’ll bow out here so … Not many fireworks flying in today’s session – as always, have your say on the issues discussed in the comments section below.

 

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