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Varadkar, Leo

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

I join with you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, by offering my sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Helen McEntee who delivered a baby boy last night, and to her husband, Paul Hickey. They have made...More Button

Regarding Covid, the process is as follows: yesterday the National Public Health Emergency Team, NPHET, met and issued a letter of advice to the Government. Last night, the Covid sub-committee m...More Button

I join with Deputy O'Reilly in thanking the Irish people for their resilience, co-operation and adherence to the regulations and restrictions. I know it has not been easy but it has made a big d...More Button

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Keeping that is going to be difficult but that is what we intend to do.More Button

On financial supports, such as the pandemic unemployment payment, the wage subsidy scheme, the weekly CRSS payment and the rates holiday, I can confirm that they will remain in place until the en...More Button

When the restrictions are eased we will see a bounce in consumer spending. There is a lot of pent-up demand and money in savings accounts. There will be a bounce but we need to make sure that i...More Button

We need to be honest in this House. This is all borrowed money. It is not money that we generated ourselves through our labour or taxes. This is money that has been borrowed from banks and bon...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I can give her an assurance that I will do exactly that. I will be speaking to business organisations this evening, after the Cabinet meeting. I will be meeting, in small-gro...More Button

The CRSS scheme, which is a weekly grant for businesses that are closed, will remain in place until businesses reopen. It will also remain in place if a business is trading at significantly redu...More Button

We also need to be honest with people, however. This is borrowed money from the ECB, banks, bondholders and from those some people wanted to burn not too long ago. Thankfully, we are able to bo...More Button

I thank Deputy Shortall for raising this important matter. The programme for Government is explicit on this and states that the Government will develop inclusive and age-appropriate curricula for...More Button

As things stand, all schools have to have an RSE policy and that has to be developed in consultation with school management, parents, teachers and students, as appropriate. A school's programme ...More Button

Access to sexual and health education is an important right for students and is a mandatory part of the curriculum in all primary and post-primary schools for junior cycle. RSE is required at al...More Button

In April 2018, a review of RSE in schools was announced. The report was published by the NCCA on 11 December 2019. The NCCA was asked to look at a number of specific issues regarding RSE and th...More Button

It is true that transfer of patronage has been very slow in the past couple of years but it is also important that transfer of patronage, where it occurs, should be done with consent. In my consti...More Button

It is important that we listen to parents and students, where appropriate, and ask them what model of education they want. One will often find that there are children and families from a diversi...More Button

To come back to the Deputy's question on sex education, the Minister and Government will make a statement on that. We need to make a statement on it because the programme for Government is very ...More Button

I thank the Deputy. There is only one law and those are the laws that are passed by us, including the Deputy, here in this Oireachtas. The Garda is responsible for enforcing the laws we enact her...More Button

Regarding taxi drivers, the Government acknowledges that they are among the groups that have suffered the most in this pandemic, not in health terms but certainly in economic terms. We all know ...More Button

I have met taxi drivers, at the Deputy's suggestion, and I am following up on some of the issues they raised with the Minister for Transport, Deputy Ryan. Most are self-employed and, as a result...More Button

Taxi drivers eligible for the PUP are also allowed to continue to work and receive the payment. There is an income disregard which allows taxi drivers to earn up to €960 every eight weeks, net o...More Button

As I mentioned, the Minister for Transport, Deputy Ryan, met the taxi representative groups twice last year. I understand officials from the National Transport Authority, NTA, have been in regul...More Button

I can only repeat what I said earlier, that is, that laws are passed here by us in the Houses of the Oireachtas. There is no law on Covid that did not come through this House. The Garda is respon...More Button

On the issuing of new licences, there is widespread awareness of the acute difficulties facing the industry. Since the pandemic started, the number of licences issued has decreased to a very sma...More Button

I thank the Deputy. There will be a formal announcement by the Taoiseach later today on the reopening of hotels, all the services associated with them and the hospitality industry more broadly, in...More Button

I fully agree that we need a plan for aviation and a return to international travel. Airports have received very large amounts of grant funding from the Government in recent weeks and months. A...More Button

On the question on whether the maternity benefit rate is too low, I believe it is. We set the pandemic unemployment payment and the enhanced illness benefit payment rates at €350 per week becaus...More Button

I will, with the help of the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, look into the issue the Deputy raised of people who are on the pandemic unemployment payment moving to a lower payment, maternity benefit, a...More Button

I had the privilege to be Taoiseach for three years and Minister for Social Protection for one year, and this is exactly the space I moved us into. I restored treatment benefit, dental and optic...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

Rents are too high in Ireland and in Dublin especially. I do not think anyone would dispute that statement. We have brought in rent controls to limit the extent to which rents can be increased, t...More Button

There is no solution to this without building more homes and more apartments of all types.More Button

The matter of visits to maternity hospitals is under consideration, although I do not know whether there will be an announcement on it today. A strong case is being made for partners to be able to...More Button

On antigen testing, there are no plans at the moment to provide free tests to members of the public but antigen testing is now being used much more frequently throughout the country. It was used...More Button

One thing we all need to acknowledge, when it comes to the miracle that is the development of these vaccines, is that they were developed by private enterprise and with the help of Government fundi...More Button

-----and with the private and public sectors working together and we need to acknowledge that. Were it not for private enterprise, it is possible these vaccines would not have been developed.More Button

As it happens, none of the vaccines are made in Ireland and the intellectual property does not sit in Ireland, so our position on that has to be seen in that context. There are discussions on a ...More Button

Network technicians at ESB Networks who are members of the Independent Workers Union are engaged in industrial action, including work-to-rule and work stoppages. Industrial relations within ESB Ne...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

I am not familiar with the rapid one-hour PCR test but I will certainly check it out and follow up on it. It is not a secret that there are differences of opinion with regard to lateral flow rapid...More Button

I am happy to correct the record in that regard. What I meant to say was that the laws in question were passed by this Oireachtas. I did not suggest that everybody voted for them. I understand t...More Button

On the issue the Deputy raised, I concur with him. Young people particularly those in rural Ireland but also those in urban areas, need to get on the road. There are particular issues with rega...More Button

I very much welcome the recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly and I thank its members for the work they have done. They have produced a really excellent report, as did the Constitutional Conve...More Button

I thank the Deputy for her work on this topic. Anybody who has looked into the matter will understand the complexity of it all. Something being complex is not, however, an excuse not to act. It ...More Button

I am not sure if there are any specific plans for the Meelick site but I will let the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Deputy O'Gorman, know that the Deputy has r...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is developing our first autism-specific strategy. It will be an important step forward. Work on that is under way. I am sorry to hear about the indivi...More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. I heard the Minister of State, Deputy Fleming, speaking authoritatively on it a few weeks ago. The PUP is paid directly to the individual and should no...More Button

This is a fraught area and it requires some discussion, including perhaps in this House. Using vaccine passports or vaccine green passes could have the benefit of allowing us to open up our societ...More Button

This is the first time in a long while when the issue of trolleys or hospital overcrowding has been raised with me in the House. It used to be something that was raised nearly every week when I wa...More Button

I thank Deputy Higgins for raising this issue. It is something on which the Government is working. Young people in particular need to be able to get on the road, especially in rural areas but als...More Button

I am not aware of whether there is an appeals process. I will ask the Minister to respond to the Deputy's letter. I am aware of this issue.More Button

It has been raised with me by Deputy O'Dowd, among others, and we agreed on the need to build that road for many different reasons. It seems to fall between two stools. It is really a transport p...More Button

We will certainly give the matter consideration. I am not sure we can waive the fee for five years but perhaps we can do a bit better than what we have done to date. As a result of the pandemic, ...More Button

Deputy Bríd Smith asked about the three-year review of the abortion legislation. That is planned. I understand the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, has done some initial work on it. ...More Button

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Deputy Harris, is aware of the anomaly relating to the SUSI grant and is examining it with a view to finding a sol...More Button

Deputy Niamh Smyth asked about the Hennessy report. I am afraid I do not have an update on that at the moment, but I will see the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine this afternoon. I wil...More Button

Work Permits

Was asked: his plans to reopen applications for work permits for dairy farm assistants in early 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Was asked: if he will consider a once-off grant payment to the hair and beauty sector (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the steps that can be taken to provide low to zero interest loans to SMEs that will struggle to reopen after lockdown and are responsible for 80% local employment in some areas.More Button

Community Employment Schemes

Was asked: if financial supports or incentives are available to employees who temporarily employ a person through the community employment scheme and then wish to employ that person on a part-time basis durin...More Button

IDA Ireland

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 166 of 21 April 2021, concerning the announcement by the IDA that it plans to appoint a consultant in Israel, the systems and processes in place to ensure that...More Button

IDA Ireland’s overseas teams and office network are vital to support the agency’s efforts in winning new Foreign Direct Investment across the world.  From time-to-time the Agency seeks to expand it...More Button

As an Agency of my Department, I expect IDA Ireland to act in line with Government policy and the Agency has assured me that this is the case.  IDA Ireland respects obligations under Irish and In...More Button

Ireland’s position on the illegality of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory informs our engagement with the State of Israel across a range of bilateral issues, including trade, ...More Button

Ireland is wholly opposed to Israeli settlements, which are contrary to international law, and are damaging to the prospects of peace.More Button

UN Security Council Resolution 2334, adopted on 23 December 2016, calls on all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories ...More Button

Ireland consistently raises human rights issues in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory at the highest international levels, including most recently at the 46th session of the UN Human R...More Button

Ireland remains steadfast in its support for a comprehensive two state solution which protects the future of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.More Button