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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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Did Ireland kiss a better debt deal goodbye?

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

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Everybody’s talking about…

Debt: of the Greek and Irish varieties.

Belgium EU Greece Bailout Sealed with a kiss: IMF Chief Christine Lagarde and Finance Minister Michael Noonan pictured last week. Source: Virginia Mayo

Talks between Greece and the eurozone finance ministers ended without agreement last night.

Eurogroup has now given the embattled country until the end of the week to apply for an extension to its €240 billion bailout. Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis described the deal as “unacceptable”. He is looking for a six-month bridging loan while a new agreement is negotiated.

Doubts about Greece’s future in the eurozone abound, but Varoufakis remains optimistic about the prospect of a deal.

Irish eyes are watching the negotiations with great interest, particularly in light of comments made by Ashoka Mody yesterday. The former IMF chief of mission to Ireland told Newstalk our government had “absolutely” missed out on an opportunity to strike a debt writedown deal with the Troika in 2010. Finance Minister Michael Noonan later dismissed the remarks.

Belgium EU Greece Bailout Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufaki pictured in Brussels yesterday. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Speaking to Morning Ireland today, Former IMF Director Donal O’Donovan said the country had failed in its “very good efforts” to get a better debt deal as it was “shut out of the markets” had “no negotiating power left”.

He described the deal we got as “not a good solution”, but added: “What options did we have?”

A lot of people are now asking the same question about Greece.

The agenda

  • The Cabinet will meet at 10.30am to finalise the Children and Family Relationships Bill. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the bill is “the most important change in family legislation since the foundation of the state.”
  • Ministers are also expected to discuss new laws that would ban surrogacy for money and not allow parents to choose the gender of their baby, unless necessary for medical reasons.
  • Thousands of childcare workers are to gather outside the Dáil from 1-3pm to protest cutbacks in the sector.
  • Simon Coveney is set to answer agriculture-related questions in the Dáil at 2pm.
  • At the same time, the EU Affairs Committee will discuss the possibility of Britain leaving the EU.
  • Enda Kenny will be answering his first Leaders’ Questions of the week at 3.15pm.
  • Children’s Minister James Reilly will discuss plain packaging for cigarettes with the health committee at 4.30pm.
  • Senators will focus on the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 at 4.45pm.
  • Representatives from Aer Lingus will appear before the Transport Committee at 5pm to discuss the IAG buyout bid.
  • Following Topical Issues at 5.06pm, TDs will debate the Magdalene Laundries redress bill.
  • A Sinn Féin-proposed bill to reduce speed limit in housing estates following the tragic death of Jake Brennan will be discussed at 7.30pm.

Inside Leinster House

TD Finian McGrath has said that the leadership of the new Independent Alliance is a bit like Cuba.
At the moment we’ve a collective leadership, as they say in Havana,” he told us during a wide-ranging interview. The Dublin North Central TD said Shane Ross and Michael Fitzmaurice are strong characters but added that the group’s leadership will ultimately be decided by its members.”I’ve no interest in egos or leadership issues,” he said.

What the others are saying

  • Local authorities are owed €870 million in unpaid bills, the Irish Independent reports.
  • Several papers cover the fact Fine Gael TD Seán Conlon will have to pay his former secretary €25,000 after an employment court found she was unfairly dismissed.
  • The Irish Times reports that the government has pledged €4.7 million in aid for Gaza. 

In case you missed it

On the Tweet machine

Some helpful advice…

Originally published: 9am

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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