Leader’s Questions: Live Blog

By Catherine Gallagher

Micheál Martin – Fianna Fail:


Raises issues of Mortgage Loan Scheme

“I don’t know what planet the Minister is on. Why did the Department not make an annoucement.. the public deserve to know. People are still applying. Why can’t the government and the Minister be honest?”



“Everyone has the right to shelter and the right to buy their own home.”

“Take for example the Help to Buy Scheme, 10,000 people have benefited from it.”

“What we have to consider is to increase the cap of 200 million and we also have to consult with the Central Bank…


Micheál Martin – Fianna Fail:

“The Taoiseach said in December there would be no problem”

“Why didn’t the Minister say he was going to be approaching the Central Bank?

“Why can’t you be upfront with people?

“We are all going through this charade of ‘we must get this note from here'”



“When it was announced, it was capped at 200 million and it would run for three years. It was a huge success.”


Mary Lou McDonald – Sinn Fein

Raises SVP report on lone parent families

“The report finds that the the living conditions are the second worst in Europe… that’s shocking, Taoiseach”

“These families are like others, they get up at the crack of dawn and struggle.”

“These people who have the modest aspiration for a decent life, how could they when they are in the here and now?”

“It’s not good enough Taoiseach to brush this over as you often do .. these are families that need not a hand out, but a hand up”

“What do you propose to do in the here in now? When will you introduce a living wage?”



“In terms of what we are doing, we are increasing welfare payments and jobs. We have introduced the Family Working supplement. We are reducing the cost of childcare. We are increasing pay. We are reducing the cost of medicines.”

“I have immense respect for SVP but I don’t think it tells the full picture.”


Mary Lou McDonald – Sinn FéinL:

“It’s not unexpected but it’s depressing the measures you are taking.”

“Many of the interventions you mention are subsidies for low-paid employment. I am not going to trade statistics with you. I am telling you what you should already know; people are struggling


“You don’t want to trade statistics because you don’t want to know the facts”

“There is a living wage in UK and Northern Ireland, it is actually lower than the Minimum Wage that we have here.”


Paul Murphy – People Before Profit

“At the the rate we are facing a 4 or 5 degree increase in temperature. The 15th of March has been named for a global school strike for Climate Change.

A masss movement on Climate Change is needed.

“Will you listen to the school students

“Do you believe we should get people out of cars and we should make public transport free?”



“Yes, of course I will listen. As you aware we have major proposals in public transport.”

“These are students saying to all of us to get our act together. Among the people who need to listen are people in parties like you, who don’t believe in climate tax charges”


Paul Murphy – People Before Profit:

“The systems and the policies you approve are incompatible with change.”

“Using climate change as a green washing exercise to introduce more tax will not work with people.”

“Free public transport, it would make a huge change on emissions in our second biggest sector.”



“No, we are not going to introduce free public transport free. Instead of investing 600m to make public transport free, we should improve it to encourage more people to use it.”

“Socialists are no friends of the environment, you opposed water changes”


Michael Harty – Independent TD

“Taoiseach, we cannot reform the health service from current spending.”

“The HSE service plan for 2019 it will struggle to maintain 2018 services.”

“Unmet need will continue to grow. The capacity of our service is at the maximum and this is recognised internationally as unsafe”

“We educate our graduates for export”

“Is this going to be the legacy your government leaves behind? Are you planning an extrodinary



“We are investing in primary care centres. We are investing in a 10 year capital budget.”

“We are increasing bed capacity; 200 last year and 200 this year.”

“The next step is contractual reforms for GPs.”


Michael Harty – Independent TD:

“We do not have the manpower to underpin general practice. We are losing our GPs from urban practices, let alone rural practices.”

“Your government is failing general practice.”


“We are in negotiations with the IMO to restore funding in general practice.


Mary Lou McDonald – Sinn Féin:

“Can I ask if you plan to introduce a redress scheme for those affected by defects in housing?”

Eoghan Murphy – Minsiter for Housing:

“In 2014, the controls around housing were greatly improved. The difficulty we have is it poses a tax risk for the government accepting liabilty for each individual houses.”


Brendan Howlin – Labour:

“I would ask all of us in the house to support local media. The debates in this house should be presented free of charge.”


“I agree with you”


Richard Boyd Barrett – People Before Profit:

Raises issue of affordable housing

“Are not the proposals for affordable housing not a complete hoax?”

Eoin O’Broin – Sinn Féin:

“We have a situation where 136m of this fund is just sitting there.

“Does the Minister appreciate know the limbo that applicants are in and how long they have to wait to know if their applications will be drawn down or not?”

Eoghan Murphy – Minister for Housing:

“We are only a year and a month and we have seen hundreds approved and drawn down. The lag between approval and being drawn down is not always a local authority’s issue.”

Ministers says he is in negociations with Department of Finance and Public Expenditure.


Danny Healy-Ray – Independent

“Will the government reverse the the new drink driving bill in light of the anger in rural Ireland?”


“I think there is a degree of misunderstanding. The new law has changed the penalty, not the limits.”

Peter Fitzpatrick – Independent TD

“People in rural Ireland cannot build on old lands, can you say if this is coming to an end?”

Eoghan Murphy – Minister for Housing:

“It is not fair to say that we do not have houses being built based on local need. We are waiting on new guildelines but local authorities are still operating on 2015 guidelines.”


Mary Lou McDonald – Sinn Féin:

“In the event of a No-Deal Brexit, that means a hard border – how do you plan to tackle that?”


“A lot of people have come up with alternative arrangements but all we have written down is the terms written in the Backstop.”

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