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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Are water charges still an election issue?

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

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Everyone’s talking about…

Right2Water protest - Dublin Source: Niall Carson

Trade unionist Brendan Ogle yesterday announced another national day of protest against water charges.

What is interesting is the timing of the protest. Coming within four weeks of a likely general election date, it will give anti-austerity parties a chance to make a real statement.

Either that, or it will show that many people are becoming resigned to paying their bills.

Whatever happens, 23 January could become a major point in the run-up to the general election. Either tens of thousands throng the streets of Ireland’s cities and towns, sending a major message of support to the parties on the left.

Alternatively, a poor turnout could be just the boon the coalition needs in what is sure to be a tightly-contested election.

The agenda

  • Paschal Donohoe will answer questions in the Dáil from 9.30am.
  • Two bills – one on planning and another on international protection – will be sent through the Dáil from 10.45am.
  • Leaders’ Questions begins at 12 midday.
  • The Seanad will hear six bills from 12.45pm.
  • Members of the Garda Inspectorate will be before the Justice Committee from 2.30pm.
  • Remember Kevin Cardiff? He’s before the European Union Affairs Committee at 12.30pm to present the European Court of Auditors annual report.
  • Members of Nama and the Registrar of Credit Unions will discuss the respective operation of their sectors at 2.30pm and 4.15pm respectively.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Times reports that members of the cabinet rejected the HSE service plan over the number of medical cards to be issued.
  • The same paper also says that Enda Kenny has ruled out a single authority to run Shannon Airport.
  • The Irish Times also carries a quote from independent senator John Crown, who called the Seanad electoral system “bizarre and elitist”.
  • The Irish Independent reports that junior minister Ged Nash wants to lead Labour, but not just yet.
  • The Irish Examiner quotes the Taoiseach as saying there will be no levy to pay for flood damage
  • Enda Kenny has also reportedly shot down the idea of establishing an IBRC inquiry before the election.

In case you missed it

Good day for…

Anti water charges TDs. The announcement of another major day of action means that they will have the chance to grab the spotlight just weeks before the general election.

Bad day for…

Enda Kenny. The Taoiseach had to answer both Leaders’ Questions and questions related to his department with a nasty-sounding sore throat yesterday. Wonder if he’ll bring some Strepsils to work today?

On the Twitter machine…

Gerry Adams is planning on meeting people under the mistletoe. In a Leinster House lift.

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