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Martin, Micheál

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

First of all, I have taken questions on this issue as Taoiseach. I took them yesterday and I am taking questions right now. The Deputy is asking questions and I am going to take them. The Deputy...More Button

It was also interesting that, in the Deputy's question, she wanted to ask the Minister, Deputy McEntee, who she collaborated with and on what criteria did she judge. That is the very reason why ...More Button

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)

I do not think that is the function of politicians.More Button

When I learned that the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, JAAB, chaired by the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Frank Clarke, and by the presidents of the other four courts, in addition to represen...More Button

On the case of Ms Justice Máire Whelan - I do not want to embroil the Judiciary because the said person is a member of it - JAAB was not used on that occasion. Be that as it may, JAAB was involv...More Button

Sinn Féin has a habit of continually repeating a claim and then asserting that it is the truth. What the Deputy has just said is an untruth. It is not verifiably true that there was horse-trading...More Button

Last week's announcement by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, on the urban regeneration and development fund allocation of €80.6 million, involving a ...More Button

The technological university of the south east is critical to achieving that objective. I have had discussions with the Deputy and with other Deputies from the south east on this. It is extreme...More Button

The consortium of IT Carlow and Waterford IT has been progressing proposals since 2011, and it is time to really move this forward. As I discussed with the Deputy, there are strong oversight struc...More Button

Clearly, capital needs will arise in respect of the new technological university. As a former Minister for Education and Science, and having been very involved with Waterford Institute of Techno...More Button

There is strong foreign direct investment, FDI, in Waterford and we should use that FDI base to leverage more inward investment in Waterford and generally across the south east. It is important ...More Button

Unity is strength. The technological university for the south east must be seen in that context. However, Waterford has also grown extremely well in recent decades and it has created its own nich...More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising these issues, but I did not get the name of that estate.More Button

To be frank, if that is a health risk, and from the data, the Deputy is suggesting that it is a health risk, there should be no excuse for not sorting that out. We are conscious of the need for Ir...More Button

A huge scale of work is necessary in our water system and it will take several years and investment cycles to resolve the situation fully. Regarding our capital investment plans for drinking wat...More Button

I will check for the Deputy what allocation from that €87 million in July found its way to Kerry. I will also follow through with the cases raised by the Deputy and will forward those to Irish Wat...More Button

We understand the centrality of Irish Water and water infrastructure to the development of towns, to the facilitation of house construction and to the facilitation of industry. We are determined...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his remarks. Generally it is the policy to try to have as much development in towns and villages as we possibly can. Part of the reason is the high cost of infrastructure a...More Button

On the urban and waste water, to be fair, the Environmental Protection Agency's recent report demonstrates that Irish Water is making progress and is improving our wastewater systems. Irish Wate...More Button

Táim buíoch don Teachta as an gceist seo a ardú. Aontaím go bhfuil an polasaí a bhí ann roimh chinneadh na cúirte ceart ó thaobh bac a chur ar trálaeir mhóra teacht isteach laistigh de 6 mhuirmhíl...More Button

I take on board what Deputy Connolly has said. I will engage with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on this specific issue, on the aspects of the High Court's decision that under...More Button

There are clearly a number of issues that must be considered by the Department following the judgment. The Department clearly has to assess the implications for other trawlers and fishermen moving...More Button

As I said, I will engage with the Minister and will come back to the Deputy on the policy position the Department will adopt in response to the court decision and how it intends to proceed into the...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

The Government does not want Dublin Zoo to close and we will do everything we possibly can to ensure it stays open. I will be working with the Minister to make sure that happens. This issue came ...More Button

The Cabinet handbook was followed. The Minister for Justice of any government brings one name to the Government for a judicial appointment. We would have known on a certain date prior to the date...More Button

-----that the Minister intended to bring the name of Mr. Séamus Woulfe to the Cabinet. As I said before and have said publicly, as a matter of courtesy the then Taoiseach, Deputy Leo Varadkar, inf...More Button

I have answered it. The Cabinet handbook-----More Button

I certainly have answered the question.More Button

The legislation on affordable housing is making progress. I assure Deputy Cian O'Callaghan that there is much work under way in that regard. On the precise timeline, I hope to be in a position to...More Button

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

Why? The Deputy is correct that it has the potential to be a significant catalyst in the development of housing. Generally, because of Covid-19, we will probably get 17,000 or 18,000 houses compl...More Button

Of that number, 9,000 will be public housing. Next year, there will be up to 12,500 social houses out of a potential 25,000.More Button

We have a long way to go. We need to get master plans and developments off the ground to get the houses built.More Button

Maybe the Deputy can deal with it a bit better as well in terms of process.More Button

I have helped people who were on the imminent deportation list. Why? Because people contacted me and gave me the cases personally. I would have seen to it and engaged with INIS and with the rele...More Button

I take the Deputy's point and will follow that up. Coming in out of the blue raising cases is fine. The Deputy is entitled to do that and it creates profile for the issue. I am not so sure, howe...More Button

I have the floor.

  I did say genuinely to Deputy Gannon that I do not think anyone should be deported to any red zone country during the Covid pandemic. Equally, if people are ...More Button

Again, I am uncomfortable dealing with procurement issues generally on the floor of the House. Procurement processes should be independent of the House.More Button

I take the Deputy's more general point on the State investing more in its own capacity in air rescue, the Coast Guard, our Defence Forces and the Air Corps. Some progress is being made in terms ...More Button

To be fair, wolves have not been reintroduced yet in the country.More Button

I am only jesting. I will follow it up with the Minister, Deputy McConalogue.More Button

I will follow it up with the Minister.More Button

I will talk to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine about the sheep welfare inspectors. I am not aware of the potential for drones to monitor sheep on the headlands. Maybe the Depar...More Button

I am aware of the peat slide near Meenbog wind farm, Barnesmore Gap, south of Ballybofey, County Donegal, which is under construction. The matter is being actively investigated by several statutor...More Button

On the issue of guidelines around wind farms, I am anxious to progress these. More generally, if we are committed to phasing out the use of fossil fuels, as is key in our climate change agenda, ...More Button

-----we will. Over time, the potential of offshore wind energy will outstrip onshore wind energy.More Button

I will undertake to get a comprehensive report from my Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs on what happened. I am not in a position to make any judgment this morning on what the Deput...More Button

People in all European Union countries are and should be entitled to protest. That said, Covid-19 places very significant restrictions on that right because it conflicts with the competing right o...More Button

Our first priority is public health and protecting lives. We must never lose sight of that. I accept the genuine position that the Deputy has adopted, but we must never lose sight of our overarch...More Button

I thank Deputy Stanton for raising the issue. As I said earlier, the Government is engaging with Dublin Zoo and with Fota Wildlife Park. It will intervene to support the sector, particularly to k...More Button

I agree that the Ability programme has been very effective and is an important programme. Programmes of this nature are evaluated by the line Department and the line agencies with a view to improv...More Button

Both cases illustrate the damage that Covid-19 can do. That is why we have restrictions. It is worth reflecting on the impact Covid-19 can have on hospital services. Hospitals have had to postpo...More Button

The extension of the pandemic unemployment payment to students has been a very welcome benefit to thousands of students throughout the country, understandably, because they would have lost the work...More Button

This is a very difficult issue. I will be meeting with Mandate shortly and we will see if we can find a way to try to progress a resolution of this issue.More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising the issue. I am not familiar with the details of the case. The clinical assessment and recommendations of the doctors are key. Before anyone is transferred every p...More Button

Estimates for Public Services 2020

  Votes put and agreed to.More Button

  Votes put and agreed to.More Button

Cabinet Committees

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee that deals with transport will next meet.More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee that deals with transport will next meet.More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee that deals with transport will next meet.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.

  Issues relevant to the transport sector can arise, as required, at a number of Cabinet committees, most notably th...More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee that deals with education will next meet.More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee on education is next due to meet. More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee on education will next meet. More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee on education is due to meet next. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 7, inclusive, together.More Button

The Cabinet committee on education will have its first meeting on 26 November. The committee will oversee implementation of the programme for Government commitments in the area of education, inc...More Button

First, I am disappointed with the presentation made by Deputy Boyd Barrett, in which he posited the coincidence between the reopening of schools and the rise in the number of cases. He has been a ...More Button

It is not a narrow definition at all. Equally, in terms of international research in Denmark, France and other countries, there is no evidence that schools act as a vector for the transmission of ...More Button

I have spoken to school principals.More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee on Brexit and Northern Ireland will next meet. More Button

Was asked: when the Cabinet committee on Brexit and Northern Ireland will next meet. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 9 together.More Button

The Cabinet committee on Brexit and Northern Ireland was formally established by the Government on 6 July 2020, and had its first meeting on 29 October 2020. The next meeting of the Cabinet comm...More Button

Cabinet Committees (Continued)

It is very simple. The public health authorities are not convinced about the efficacy of rapid testing or antigen testing. There is no mystery. That has been the position from the get-go and the...More Button

I met recently with the Dublin Airport Authority. The Government is not hands-off. I am engaging with all of the stakeholders in the aviation sector. They are working with the National Virus R...More Button

I am not an expert in testing. I suspect there are very few Deputies who are experts in it. I think there is an issue here that we would like to bring to resolution but it is not one we can add...More Button

I visited Cork Airport recently. It was empty. Everything was closed there. Two airlines, namely, KLM and Aer Lingus, operate three or four flights a week if we are lucky. That is the reality...More Button

I take the point raised by Deputies in terms of what will happen in the lead-up to Christmas. As I have stated, the Government is preparing its approach to exiting level 5 and that will include ...More Button

I point out to Deputy Barry that I also met with Aer Lingus more generally in terms of the broader issues. I will speak to the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Humphreys and seek to get th...More Button

In terms of taxi drivers and in terms of the other supports that Government has introduced, the supports have been unprecedented.More Button

As I stated yesterday, the pandemic unemployment payment is providing more than €100 million a week. The cost of the wage subsidy scheme will be more than €5 billion from March 2020 to March 2021....More Button

The national development plan is being reviewed. That will take on board the projects to which Deputy Kelly referred.More Button

I spoke to one last week, who volunteered to me that since Halloween he has found a very big improvement, and he has found his interaction with the HSE very constructive and positive. He said that...More Button

Regarding Deputy Kelly's question, within reason schools generally work their own school calendars and the Department has always been loath to instruct every school in the country to organise its...More Button

In terms of postgraduate workers, they operate at different levels. Some postgraduates receive bursaries and others have contracts. Early postgraduate students might get stipends for tutorials....More Button

-----and research and therefore there must be a good pathway in terms of their individual careers and then we can make progress.More Button

Deputy Kelly asked about the €175 threshold for the tax rebate. Deputy Ó Cuív raised this with me at a parliamentary party meeting some time ago and I know Deputy Howlin raised it in the House dur...More Button

There will be a threshold and it will be significantly reduced. The catalyst has been the UK's decision to leave the European Union. We will respond to that in the form of an amendment which will...More Button

One of my big concerns generally is the preparedness of Irish businesses for Brexit - deal or no deal. It is important that all companies plan and avail of the Government supports to help them t...More Button

I welcome that negotiations have resumed and have been ongoing. There are outstanding issues. It makes sense for an agreement to be reached. The UK needs access to the Single Market. Europe n...More Button

Deputy Boyd Barrett asked about an all-island Covid-19 approach. I have had meetings with the Northern Ireland First Minister and deputy First Minister, and with other parties. The issue is of ...More Button

The Deputy mentioned funding. The European Union has put €5 billion aside for a Brexit adjustment fund. Obviously, Ireland will apply to get a portion of that because Ireland is one of the coun...More Button

  Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.More Button

Social Media Monitoring

Was asked: the intended purpose of the monitoring and compilation of reports on the social media activities of members of the public; the safeguards and protections in place to guide against a negative effect...More Button

As part of the normal operation of the Department’s press office, traditional, print and social media are monitored for content of relevance to the work of the Department. In all cases, this involv...More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic

Was asked: his role in defining the different measures, restrictions and guidelines in terms of the 5 levels of Covid-19 restrictions.More Button

The Government’s medium-term approach to managing COVID-19 is set out in Resilience & Recovery 2020-2021 - Plan for Living with COVID-19 which contains a Framework for Restrictive Measures across f...More Button

The plan sets out the decision-making framework and the respective roles of the National Public Health Emergency Team, the COVID-19 Oversight Group, the Cabinet Committee which I chair and the Se...More Button

Decisions in relation to the measures and restrictions in place at any given time are taken collectively by Government, and reflect the prevailing disease situation and recognise that we can and ...More Button

Interdepartmental Committees

Was asked: the membership of the high-level technical group on international travel; the remit and responsibility of the group; the number of times the group has met; the advices it has given; and if he will ...More Button

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel. A cross-Departmental Senior Officials Group meets regularly to review the position in relation to international travel, cove...More Button