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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 24 January, 2020
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Paul Murphy won't stop talking about Irish Water - and it's working

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

Paul Murphy and Irish Water. Again.

Irish Water bills Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Paul Murphy is a divisive figure to some, but he has emerged in the last year as the government’s most consistent adversary.

By focusing on one issue on which a vast number of people agree with him, Murphy has been able to attack the government without being sidetracked.

Murphy put water charges back on the agenda yesterday, revealing the figures for those who had paid their Irish Water bills. Even though Irish Water says it is 55% of bills, Murphy says that figure is “confusing” and wants Irish Water to release a bottom line figure.

What Murphy’s work has done is kept an issue on which the government has little wiggle room on the agenda. In the build up to a general election, and at a time when the opposition is either distracted or unable to land meaningful blows, Murphy is constantly landing jabs.

If Murphy can continue grabbing headlines, he could make life even more uncomfortable for those in the coalition.

The agenda…

  • Leo Varadkar declined to debate Sinn Féin yesterday, but will answer questions in the Dáil at 9.30am.
  • The Finance, Financial Emergency Measures, Electoral and Criminal Justice bills all go before the Dáil from 10.45am.
  • Leaders’ Questions kicks off at 12 noon.
  • Topical issues will be discussed from 4.42pm.
  • The Seanad discusses the Marriage Bill from 1pm.

Inside Leinster House

One minister was having issues with his ringtone yesterday. The tune? Honesty by Billy Joel.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Independent reports that government members are “concerned” about the use of cash raised by republican criminals to fund Sinn Féin activities.  
  • The same paper reports that a new book by Tim Pat Coogan reveals that Charles Haughey refused an operation that would have extended his life.
  • The Independent also reports that Fine Gael and Labour had differences over the appointment of a new Central Bank Governor.
  • The Irish Times carries a story saying that Fine Gael tensions have been raised over the nomination of European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy for the position of vice-president of the European People’s Party.
  • The Irish Times and Times Ireland both carry stories about Lucinda Creighton. The IT says she has called on Enda Kenny to keep Michael Lowry out of government, while the TI says she has “attacked” the government’s links to Denis O’Brien.

In case you missed it

Good day for…

Alan Kelly. Has had it tough on housing in recent months, but the announcement that modular housing is being fast-tracked was something of a win for Kelly.

Bad day for…

Gerry Adams. At a time when colleagues on the left are scoring points on the government in the run-up to the general election, Adams is being forced to go over well-trodden ground in regards to his party’s relationship with the IRA. It’s a distraction he, and Sinn Féin, could do without.

On the Twitter machine…

The Taoiseach will help you with your bags on a flight. Sound.

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