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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Strange days in Leinster House as the wait goes on and on and on

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

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Everyone’s talking about

On the face of it, this is a normal Tuesday in the political world. The cabinet is meeting, the Dáil is sitting and parliamentary parties will gather later. Yet, there’s one major problem, we have no proper government. Instead a caretaker administration, including ministers who no longer have Dáil seats, will be unable to make any substantial decisions this morning and TDs will make perfunctory statements for much of the day.

8/12/2015. Oireachtas Tree lights Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin are still avoiding each other Source: Leah Farrell

There will be a more substantive debate on the pressing issue of housing and homelessness later, but many of those speaking will be castigating an Environment Minister, Alan Kelly, who will be in opposition in a few weeks and a Housing Minister, Paudie Coffey, who lost his seat last month so won’t be there.

Of more interest to many will be how efforts to form a government are progressing. At some stage, caretaker Taoiseach Enda Kenny will update the house on efforts by Fine Gael to form what’s being termed a ‘rainbow’ coalition of small parties and independents. On the other side of the house, we can expect to hear publicly from Micheál Martin for the first time in 12 days on Fianna Fáil’s progress to do likewise. He has been notably silent since the Dáil last sat on 10 March.

Neither party has yet spoken to each other, despite the seeming inevitability that they will have to in order to get any sort of working government in place. But many in Leinster House believe this won’t happen until after the Dáil sits again on 6 April when there will be further efforts to elect a Taoiseach that will probably fail.

The waiting goes on.

The agenda 

  • 9am: The cabinet meets in Government Buildings but it’s not expected that the caretaker Taoiseach and his caretaker ministers will have much to discuss. 
  • 10.30am: The Dáil resumes with statements on the recent European Council meetings where the migrant crisis has taken centre stage. 
  • 12.15pm: Simon Coveney will update TDs on the recent meeting of European agriculture ministers.
  • 1pm: The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meets in Leinster House.
  • 2.15pm: Four hours have been set aside to debate the housing and homelessness crisis, with the plight of the Tyrellstown residents likely to feature heavily. There will be a protest near Leinster House earlier in the day. 

  • This evening: The Fine Gael parliamentary party is due to meet in Leinster House where Enda Kenny will update TDs on government negotiations.

What the others are saying 

  •  The Irish Independent says that Enda Kenny will take aim at Fianna Fáil for not taking negotiations on forming a government seriously in the Dáil today.
  • The Social Democrats will support the next government on an issue-by-issue basis, according to the Irish Times. 
  • The Independent Alliance is 50/50 on whether it will back Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil in a minority government, according to the Irish Sun.

In case you missed it 

Source: Michael Sheils McNamee/YouTube

On the Twitter machine

While some would say there are more pressing matters at home, Micheál is keeping a close eye on events in Cuba.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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