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Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# State of the Nation
Just how damaged is Gerry Adams?
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

Beyond the horrific tales of abuse and cover-up within the republican movement that are emerging, there is a political dimension to all of this.

: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams delive Stephen Kilkenny / Photocall Ireland Stephen Kilkenny / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

There’s no point in saying that the government parties and Fianna Fáil are not trying to make political capital out of this, because they are. In the Dáil yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin significantly ramped up his attacks on Sinn Fein. Under Dáil privilege, he said of Gerry Adams:

 I know he was a former chief of staff of the IRA.

These sort of attacks are likely to continue particularly if more abuse allegations emerge, but also as the election draws ever closer. Concerns about Sinn Féin’s handling of this whole issue raise obvious questions about the party’s suitability for government as Michael McGrath pointed out this morning.

How damaged is Sinn Féin by all of this? Mairia Cahill’s revelations last year did not significantly damage the party’s support in polls, but they did impact Gerry Adams’s personal approval rating.

Could the hitherto unthinkable leadership change question actually arise? Probably not, but it’s going to be an interesting few months if more harrowing stories like Paudie McGahon’s emerge.

The agenda

  • This morning: The Seanad will debate and pass emergency legislation banning the possession of drugs that were made legal by a court ruling yesterday. 
  • Today: The Dáil is expected to pass the remaining stages of the bill that would give effect to same-sex marriage if the referendum passes in May
  • 9.30am: The banking inquiry hears from UCD’s David Farrell and Niamh Hardiman while at 3.30pm Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan is back to clarify evidence he gave to the committee in January
  • 12pm: Enda Kenny will be up for Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. 
  • 2.30pm: The Finance Committee will be hauling in Lotto bosses for a grilling after the recent glitches. 
  • 2.30pm: Junior finance minister Simon Harris will be launching the government’s strategy for creating thousands of jobs at the IFSC. We’re told the Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be there too. 
  • 4pm: The Public Service Committee will be having a chat with the Children’s Ombudsman Niall Muldoon. 
  • 6.30pm: Sinn Féin’s private members’ bill, which calls for presidential votes for emigrants, will be debated and voted on in the Dáil. The government is not opposing the bill at second stage but there is unlikely to be a referendum on this issue in the lifetime of this government. 
  • The Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties meet in Leinster House tonight.

Inside Leinster House

Slightly odd scenes in the Dáil last night during the debate on the same-sex marriage referendum bill when Jerry Buttimer had to follow up his eloquent call for a Yes vote by replacing Bernard Durkan as chair so as that his Fine Gael colleague could make his own contribution. Immediately after he spoke, Durkan scuttled back across the chamber and retook the chair.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Independent and Irish Examiner both report on Michael Noonan’s efforts to convince his EU colleagues to allow him more flexibility in the Budget. 
  • Here’s a bizarre blog post on Lucinda Creighton and Eddie Hobbs’s recent visit to Sligo. 

In case you missed it

On the tweet machine

Disturbing revelations on the Fine Gael backbenches

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