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State of the Nation

Here's what Enda will be getting up to in Davos today

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

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Everybody’s talking about…

Enda Kenny is set to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos today.

Belgium EU Summit Hello Europe! AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The Taoiseach will be taking part in several events including a live panel debate on economic growth and political stability with the prime ministers of Finland, Latvia and the Netherlands, and the German Vice Chancellor.

Kenny is likely to be asked about the recent improvement in the Irish economy, something IMF chief Christine Lagarde gave us a gold star for when in Dublin this week.

One issue that is perhaps less likely to come up is the tax arrangement for multinationals who do business in Ireland. Kenny is set to meet a number of prominent business leaders including Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.

The European Commission is currently investigating two tax deals struck between Ireland and Apple in 1991 and 2007. The Government has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is expected to announce a Quantitative Easing plan at the forum this afternoon, aimed at boosting the continent’s economy. We wonder if Kenny will use the opportunity to ask Draghi if he can fit an appearance before the banking inquiry into his schedule?

The agenda

  • Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will be answering questions in the Dáil at 9.30am.
  • The banking inquiry is meeting at 9.30am … behind closed doors this time.
  • The health committee will be discussing the rising cost of professional medical indemnity insurance at 9.30am and food safety at 11.30am.
  • The Public Accounts Committee will be examining the accounts of the Higher Education Authority and the National College of Art and Design at 10am.
  • TDs will be debating a number of Bills today (first at 10.45am, and again at about 12.25pm): one on workplace relations, one on the powers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), and another on clamping.
  • Tánaiste Joan Burton will be answering Leaders’ Questions at 12pm.
  • Senators will debate appointments to state boards at 1.15pm, before turning their attention to Direct Provision at 2.45pm, a day after it emerged 61 people have died in DP since 2002.
Inside Leinster House

Following on from yesterday’s publication of the wording of the same-sex marriage referendum, Leinster House was abuzz with talk of the vote. The announcement was broadly welcomed by all of the main parties and many independents. There’s a sense of confidence the referendum will pass in May, not least based on a series of favourable public opinion polls.

However, one Government source said he was concerned that TDs and Senators are sometimes “in the bubble of Leinster House” and need to be aware that not everyone supports the move. He said this fact was highlighted by issues raised in the Claire Byrne Live debate earlier this week, and that a robust campaign will have to be fought to ensure a ‘Yes’ vote.

What the others are saying

  • The civil servant behind the Ansbacher dossier, Gerard Ryan, has requested to give evidence at the Public Accounts Committee, according to the Irish Independent and Irish Times.
  • The Irish Daily Mirror‘s front page focuses on RTÉ-obtained figures that show TDs and Senators were paid almost €100 million in wages and expenses over three years.
  • Opposition TDs are putting pressure on the Government to widen the scope of the mother-and-baby home inquiry, the Irish Examiner reports.
  • A number of papers report on the fact Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said the backlog of postponed operations may last until the summer. 

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