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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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Everyone's getting a bit sick of the Aer Lingus story now...

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

Updated 12.15pm

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Everybody’s talking about it

The political wrangling over the proposed sale of Aer Lingus continues with indications that Labour will put an emergency motion opposing the sale before its conference at the weekend. It comes as the airline this morning reports an increase in profits of nearly 18 per cent last year.

Youth Street Art Paschal Donohoe has to remain so tight-lipped about the proposed sale of Aer Lingus he's been forced to wear this mask for the next month* Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

This story has been rumbling on for some time now and still has a way to go. While some coalition backbenchers are warming to the idea, particularly on the Fine Gael side and Labour’s Pat Rabbitte, ministers are all remaining tight-lipped, both publicly and – for now – privately.

This morning, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is expected to provide an update to the cabinet but there is still no decision on whether the government will sell its 25 per cent stake and a report from an interdepartmental group examining the issue is not imminent.

Fianna Fáil, which is steadfastly opposed to the sale, has this afternoon accused the government of being at sixes and sevens on the whole issue. The party’s health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said a lot of Labour TDs are merely “scrambling on lifeboats to flex their muscles” in a bid to save their seats.

This is all part of a process that is interesting to fewer and fewer people. The sooner we get a decision the better.

The agenda 

  • 10.30am: The Cabinet holds its usual weekly meeting. 
  • 1.45pm: The Oireachtas Jobs Committee meets with employer and employee interest groups over the issue of low pay and the so-called living wage. 
  • 3.15pm: The Taoiseach takes his first round of Leaders’ Questions of the week. 
  • Around 5.30pm: The Children and Family Relationships Bill is introduced in the Dáil.
  • 6.30pm: Sports Minister Michael Ring – fresh from his barnstorming speech at the Fine Gael conference over the weekend – will be launching the St Patrick’s Festival programme in Trinity.
  • 7.30pm: Some of the Dáil Technical Group have a motion calling for, among other things, all future budget measures to be analysed for their poverty and deprivation impact. 
  • Mick Wallace and Clare Daly will be before a court in Ennis later today to contest charges that they entered a restricted zone in Shannon Airport last July. 
  • Alex White is at a Low Carbon Conference in Edinburgh today. 

Inside Leinster House

It’s the Labour party conference this weekend but political junkies will also note that the third season of House of Cards is out on Netflix this Friday. We’ll of course be down in Killarney but our suggestion that we watch the new series instead has the backing of at least one minister.

What the others are saying? 

  • Frank Flannery is due to address a Fine Gael branch meeting in south Dublin this evening, the Irish Independent says.
  • The same paper says that Sinn Féin has made an official complaint over comments by Joan Burton in the Dáil last year which forced the suspension of the house three times.

In case you missed it 

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

On the tweet machine 

Fine Gael backbencher Eoghan Murphy does a spot of very diplomatic tweeting

*just kidding

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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