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State of the Nation

Is Michael Noonan going to be banging tables when he meets this man today?

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

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Everyone’s talking about…  

The average interest rate on a new, variable mortgage in Ireland is way out of step with the eurozone average and around 300,000 homeowners are suffering as a result. Fianna Fáil and its finance spokesperson Michael McGrath have been pressing this issue for months and the growing political pressure prompted Michael Noonan to tell the Dáil last night that he will meet Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan about it today.

honohan-3 An animated Honohan at the banking inquiry recently

Noonan will be expected to impress upon the governor the need for banks to give consumers a break, but the coalition has so far ruled out direct intervention. There appears a reluctance to force the banks to do anything, but McGrath is hoping that Noonan will at least”bang the table” when he meets Honohan today.

Remember, the government has liquidated banks in the past so it’s not beyond its remit to stage a serious intervention here and force the banks to cut their rates. The coalition is aware of the growing pressure its under to tackle this issue and measures are expected to be announced later this month when the spring economic statement is due.

The agenda 

  • 9.30am: The banking inquiry concludes its context face by examining the commercial real estate market pre-2008 with the CBRE’s Marie Hunt and John Moran from Jones Lange LaSalle.
  • 9.30am: Frances Fitzgerald takes justice questions in the Dáil. 
  • 10.15am: Charlie Flanagan is in with the Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the troubled Stormont House Agreement. 
  • 10.30am: The Transport Committee hears from Virgin Atlantic about its concerns regarding the potential sale of Aer Lingus. Timmy Dooley has questioned the need to sell at all.

Video: Nicky Ryan /

  • 10.30am: The Taoiseach is in Longford for that big announcement about a Center Parcs coming to the region. 
  • 11.15am: Leo Varadkar and Kathleen Lynch are launching measures to deal with Emergency Department overcrowding. 
  • 11.30am: Fianna Fáil is launching what it’s billing as “plans for major crack down on public disorder in Dublin”. 
  • 12pm: It’s Joan Burton’s turn at Leaders Questions. 
  • 2pm: Emily O’Reilly, who is no stranger to Leinster House as a former political correspondent, is before the EU Affairs Committee in her current role as European Ombudsman. 
  • The Dáil and Seanad adjourn this evening for the Easter break. TDs and Senators won’t return until Wednesday, 15 April. 

Inside Leinster House

Tipp TD Mattie McGrath was only delighted that his April Fools went down so well yesterday. Although we’re all a bit disappointed that Friday Floor Fillers is not actually going to be a thing.

What the others are saying 

  • The Irish Independent reports that Fine Gael TDs have expressed unhappiness that internal documents detailing the performances of deputies in their constituencies were leaked. 
  • The government removed Easter Rising leaders and IRA voluteers from the controversial ‘Ireland Inspires’ video, according to RTÉ
  • PE should be on the junior and leaving cert exam, Leo Varadkar has said, according to the Irish Daily Mail. 

In case you missed it 

On the Twitter machine 

Some people are very excited altogether about the end of milk quotas.

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