Live: Leaders' Questions

Coverage of today's Dáil proceedings

Dan Griffin Thu, Sep 27
LIVE: Live: Leaders' Questions

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  • 12:04
    Good afternoon and welcome our liveblog of Leaders' Questions in the Dáil today, Thursday, September 27th.
  • 12:07
    Fianna Fáil's Dara Calleary, in light of the high court case involving a Leaving Cert student who points were incorrectly added up, says if the SEC cannot decide on an appeal in time for the student to take a place in a college then the system isn't fit for purpose. "What are the Government's plans to review the system?" he asks.
  • 12:08

    Fine Gael's Regina Doherty says that as a mother of kids who have just gone through the Leaving, the smile on the student's face who won her High Court case was worth a million euros. "That young one is going to have a bright future."

    She adds that what happened was "genuinely very regrettable" and says the Government will review what happened with a view to ensuring it doesn't happen again.

  • 12:09
    She says mistakes are made because people are human and humans make mistakes but there should be enough time for the mistake to be corrected before someone's academic place is taken away from them.
  • 12:10
    She says she is not aware of any other cases where someone missed a place because their points were totted up incorrectly.
  • 12:11
    Calleary asks the Minister what the timeline of the review is. "These things happen but you cannot allow that to happen .. there needs to be extra checks when you're dealing with people's futures," he says.
  • 12:12
    Doherty says she doesn't know the exact timeline for the review.
  • 12:16

    Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty says figures show rents this morning continue to spiral out of control. He says a two-tiered rental market is emerging. "Sinn Féin warned you this would happen," he says, with landlords using loopholes to evict tenants and jack up rents. "It is now essential to review the rent pressure zone legislation because it's not working," he adds, saying a tax relief for tenants needs to be introduced among other measures.

    He asks will the Government introduce a rent freeze and tax relief and new residential tenancies legislation.

  • 12:17
    Regina Doherty says people are paying too much rent and rents do need to be controlled. "We're going to introduce a rent register which will show comparable rents in each area... by the end of the year," she says, adding that the Government will seek to introduce measures which would increase tenancies and tackle Airbnb-style short-term lets.
  • 12:19
    Pearse Doherty says the Government doesn't understand the pressure that the costs of rent is placing on families. "On six occasions your Government along with Fianna Fáil voted down proposals that would have introduced real rent certainty."
  • 12:23
    Mick Barry from Solidarity-PBP says affordable homes should cost less than €200,000 rather than about €320,000. He says large scale social housing schemes rescued a generation from lanes and slums. He adds the Government is exploiting the current crisis to push a privatisation agenda. Stop the privatisation madness, he says, there is enough publicly controlled land to build 400,000 houses.
  • 12:26
    Regina Doherty says the Government intends to invest significantly in affordable housing and open up tracts of public land for affordable housing. "We can see it in our towns and villages that houses are beginning to be built," she says, adding that it is not happening as fast as people would like but it is happening. "We will build and solve the housing crisis, we will not sit on Opposition benches and come up with unworkable claptrap," she says.
  • 12:28
    Mick Barry says the Government's housing policy is dividing rich from poor but ordinary people are beginning to unite under social movements such as Take Back the City and you will see it next Wednesday at the protest planned for outside Leinster House.
  • 12:29
    Doherty says mixed development housing projects are the foundation of the Government's housing policy because the Government wants residents from different socio-economic backgrounds to live in the same areas.
  • 12:32
    Independent Mattie McGrath asks what guarantees the Government can provide to ensure the adequate staffing of the hospital in Tipperary.
  • 12:35
    Regina Doherty says staff will be put in place for the 40 new beds which are being opened at the hospital. She says she will come back with the exact HSE local area plan with more detailed figures.  
  • 12:36
    McGrath says the Government keep making the same mistakes and are now in a situation where health professionals don't want to work in Ireland. "They're forced to leave because of the unorganised bedlam," he says. "You're not making the conditions right for them."
  • 12:37
    Doherty says McGrath does a "real disservice" to the professionals who keep the health sector running. "People have pride in our health service in this country... it's not true to say that we have a health service that doesn't deserve the pride and respect of every member of this house." She says if McGrath has any "bright ideas" she'd like to hear them.
  • 12:40
    And that concludes Leaders' questions for today.