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Dublin: 23°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

What can Leo do to sort out the insane overcrowding in our hospitals?

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

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Everyone’s talking about…

Hospital overcrowding.

13/10/2015 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD is Source: Mark Stedman/

It’s the issue that just won’t go away for the Department of Health.

The emergency department taskforce, whose remit was to tackle the chronic trolley situation in Irish hospitals, has been reportedly branded a failure according to  its own co-chair Liam Doran, the secretary general of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that a couple in their 90s were left on trolleys at Tallaght Hospital (for 29 hours in the husband’s, who has Parkinsons Disease, case.) sparking outrage from one particular consultant.

With Christmas fast approaching and the INMO due to ballot next week on industrial action over the overcrowding situation, what can Leo Varadkar do to ease a crisis that has bedevilled his tenure as minister from the very beginning?

The agenda…

  • Richard Bruton will be fielding questions on his Jobs portfolio from 9.30am.
  • Enda Kenny will be fielding Leader’s Questions from 12pm.
  • Topical issues will be discussed in the Dáil from 1.50pm.
  • The Dáil will vote on Sinn Féin’s bill regarding the recognition of Traveller ethnicity from 8.24pm.
  • The Seanad will discuss the Childcare (Amendment) Bill 2015 – Second Stage, at 1pm.
  • The Education and Social Protection Committee will be discussing all things JobBridge (with the National Youth Council and the Department of Social Protection) from 1pm in committee room three.
  • The Transport Committee will be hearing about a new regional option for the Grid Link project from Eirgrid (after the previous scheme collapsed) in committee room four from 9.30am.

Inside Leinster House

Shades of the Christmas truce in World War I as Sinn Féin and Labour reached a form of unfamiliar detente briefly last night – the former’s Padraig Mac Lochlainn and the latter’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin each took to Twitter to big up the other’s Dáil speech on Travellers’ rights.

It was suggested on Newstalk Breakfast this morning that Ó Ríordáin may vote against the government this evening with regard to the recognition of Traveller ethnicity, which if it were to happen could lead to some interesting consequences. However, Labour have since told that there is “no prospect” of Ó Ríordáin doing so.

What the others are saying

  • The Irish Independent reports that employment minister Ged Nash has requested the €700,000 of so-called ‘hush’ money given to the web summit be returned so it can be used to create start-up companies.
  • The Independent also reports that former minister John Perry, despite his claims to the contrary, will not be added to Fine Gael’s general election ticket unless the Taoiseach specifically requests that he be so.
  • The Daily Mail reports that under new education proposals primary schools will be forced to set aside time to teach pupils about religions other than their own.
  • The Irish Times reports that representatives from Traveller groups staged a mass walkout and ‘peaceful protest’ from a conference on accommodation being held by the Department of the Environment.

In case you missed it

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Good day for…

Joan Burton. The revelations in Eamon Gilmore’s new book were dealt with with aplomb by the Tánaiste, she landed a stinging barb on Sinn Féin with her ‘army council’ jibe in the Dáil, and speaking at the Dublin Rathdown Labour Party AGM last night she insisted that her party would be returned to government in the next election. Fightin’ words.

Bad day for…

Alan Kelly. The environment minister has endured a torrid time of it with regard to his proposals for inflation-linked rent certainty. Now it seems that his plans will definitely not be brought to fruition.

On the Twitter machine…

This was probably in the best interests of all concerned…

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