Dail Eireann


Spring Statement 2015

Posted April 28th, 2015

Today the Government introduced it’s inaugural Spring Statement.

The purpose of this reform is to improve the process by which Dáil Éireann examines and approves the budget.

Speaking todayMinister Noonan said:

“Since taking office in 2011, the Government has been determined to fulfil the mandate given to us by the Irish people. To repair the economy and public finances, to create jobs and to give hope and confidence to our citizens of a better future. The scale of the economic crisis that we have gone through has been unprecedented in Ireland’s history.

“We have essentially lost a decade in terms of economic growth and job creation. Difficult decisions have been taken and huge sacrifices have been made by the Irish people. But this has not been in vain.”

To continue reading click here.

To see the document in full click here.

To read Minister Howlin’s speech click here.

EM Penal Reform

Dáil Debate on Penal Reform

Posted March 12th, 2015

You can watch my contribution here.

-Draft remarks-

I wish to commend the Justice Committee for its work in relation to this Report on Penal Reform.

I would like to talk about a number of issues on this issue. The first is rehabilitation. The second is Garda retention of information after arrest. The third is the Spent Convictions Bill

To continue reading please click here.

EM Neutrality

Dáil Debate on the Neutrality Bill

Posted March 12th, 2015

You can watch my contribution here

-Draft remarks-

I think there is an air of unreality about this debate. We are not a neutral country and we never have been and I think saying otherwise is ridiculous.

Neutrality as a position has been, historically, almost impossible. And if we thought that by putting neutrality in our constitution would mean we would not be influenced, we are kidding ourselves. We live in a wider world.

I think there is an air of unreality about this debate. We are not a neutral country and we never have been and I think saying otherwise is ridiculous.

Neutrality as a position has been, historically, almost impossible. And if we thought that by putting neutrality in our constitution would mean we would not be influenced, we are kidding ourselves. We live in a wider world.

To continue reading please click here.

ch and fam

You can watch my contribution here.

-Draft remarks-

I wish to congratulate the Minister on bringing forward this Bill.

It is a complex piece of legislation which, once adopted, is not going to necessarily change the world that we know today in Ireland, but – more appropriately – reflect it.

The ‘traditional’ concept of the family evolved a long time ago and it’s about time that the politicians in here brought the laws up to speed.

And it’s great to be part of a government which is doing that.

I would like to speak an issue in which I take an interest: father’s rights.

To continue reading please click here.

valu bill

You can watch my contribution here.

-Draft remarks-

When talking about rates, LPT, Dublin City Council, and how the money is being spent it is important to talk to the retailers involved. People pay a lot in rates and often wonder where the money goes.

Since I was elected I’ve been working to increase tax transparency, particularly in relation to income taxes. I’ve organized a tax calculator that shows taxpayers where their income taxes are being spent by the government in simple euros and cents. I think this is something we should compel authorities to do as well.

This may achieve buy in into what the council is trying to do and also into the need to pay rates.

To continue reading, please click here.

climate change

Dáil Debate on the Climate Change Bill

Posted February 12th, 2015

-Draft remarks-

To say that the Bill only has vague aspirations, as the Fianna Fail and Green Parties claims, is complete nonsense. It’s not too far away from their Bill at all, as many environmental advocates would admit. And let’s not forget, they didn’t prioritise the legislation when they were in power – and so it wasn’t adopted. They failed.

In their coalition, could they have done any better? It’s now a historical fact that they did worse. The Green Party’s central piece of legislation – their reason for being in government – was brought in when the Green Party had already announced they were leaving government, and it did not have support from its coalition partners Fianna Fail in the Seanad.

So it arrived way too late to have a chance of being adopted. And it was dead on arrival. And both Fianna Fail and the Green Party know it.
This government is making a start – taking the initiative. Which is a good thing. And it is only a start. Once we have the legislation in place we can then build on it.

Continue reading here or scroll down to see a video of my contribution.

Dail - Housing Supply

Ideas for Stimulating Housing Supply

Posted February 6th, 2015

You can watch my contribution here.

Regarding the Central Bank decision on new mortgage rules, I think the clarity we now have is welcome. I’m not sure why the lengthy deliberation was needed on the new proposals.

I’m not entirely happy with the outcome – maybe I’m not meant to be. I think it is incredibly unfair on people looking to move in to their second home – which may be their first family home. The tiering is welcome, with a clear distinction between First Time Buyers and Buy-To-Lets. I do think that the value at which a first time buyer steps from 10% to 20% is too low for people in Dublin. Nevertheless, we have a decision from the Central Bank.

Now it’s up to us to act on the supply side. And quickly – if renters are not going to be the collateral damage from the Central Bank’s move.

I appreciate the building strategies underway and investments proposed. Responsibility also falls to DCC with their new development plan this year. But we in here need to think about incentives on the taxation side to help free up under-occupied housing stock.

Continue reading here.

The Need for a Referendum on Abortion

The Need for a Referendum on Abortion

Posted December 17th, 2014

You can watch my contribution here.

Two years ago, on this same date in fact, we were debating the Report of the Expert group on the A,B,C judgements.

I spoke in that debate, and nothing I say now is different from what I said then.

We can talk about our own personal feelings on this issue. And people’s own personal viewpoints are important.

But do I have a right to force my views on another person?

Whether as a legislator or not, do I have a right to tell a woman what she must do with her body?

Does the state have that right?

I believe it does not.

Continue reading here.



self employed pic

Our economy is dependent on entrepreneurs

Posted November 28th, 2014

Tax system must do more for self-employed – and soon

“Our economy is dependent on entrepreneurs. The businesses they create are fundamental to having a dynamic and competitive economy. And they create lots and lots of jobs, the taxation from which funds the running of the State. However our two tier tax and PRSI system is weighed in favour of PAYE workers. It does not sufficiently promote or protect the self-employed who take the risks to create the businesses on which our enterprise based economy depends.

Over 760,000 people, around 70% of the workforce are employed by SMEs in Ireland. These firms all came from simple beginnings. While some have gone on to become significant employers, most are low scale operations with a small number of employees. Many survive on a year to year basis and operate on tight margins.”

Click here to continue reading.


Irish Water update

Posted November 20th, 2014

The government has made mistakes in attempting to set up Irish Water.

I was very happy to see that the new proposals were given 14 hours debate in the Dail as part of a motion on Irish Water, which will provide for further time and debate in the Dail as the relevant legislation is brought through the House in later weeks. This is to be welcomed, though of course much greater reform of our parliamentary democracy is still needed.

All of the details about the new proposals can be found here.

And you can watch my speech in the Dail on the new proposals by clicking here.

You will note from my Dail speech that I have been, and continue to be, critical of certain aspects of Irish Water. But I still believe that this new utility is necessary. Living in Dublin, people will know first hand what underinvestment in our water infrastructure has meant to us in reality – water shortages due to inadequate supply, water shortages due to broken pipes in cold weather, and 40% of water we are already paying for leaking in to the ground. A single utility, raising money specifically for investment where none was available before, will improve our water infrastructure, making the provision of water cheaper and more efficient.


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