Developments in the Eurozone have been an issue in the Dáil all year and each time that there is a summit we get an opportunity to speak on the matter, before and after. Week 29 was another such occasion and this is what I said to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, “All of the summits have adhered to a trend whereby we get a great sense of optimism in the lead-up followed immediately afterwards by a degree of rallying on the markets before sober reality kicks in some days later and any gains are lost. Europe has proved unsuccessful to date in solving the main problems it faces.
During Week 27 I had an opportunity to speak on different issues relating to Health Services delivery in Wexford and their impact on the community. Here is an extract from my address to the Minister for Health James Reilly, “I will start on a positive note by commending the Government on going ahead with funding for accident and emergency and maternity units in Wexford, which were much needed. For some strange reason, Wexford has been poorly treated for a long time.
The long awaited Inter-Departmental Mortgage Arrears Working Group proved to be a major let down for anyone with high hopes of the Government making a serious attempt to solve a mortgage crisis that is being allowed to increasingly worsen. Given that the report was written by civil servants and bankers, maybe we shouldn’t be quite so shocked.
Week 25 of Dáil sittings since it began a lifetime ago in early March started with my day in the High Court with ACC on Monday, the operation on my shoulder in Beaumont on Tuesday, and back to the Dáil on Wednesday morning to challenge the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton on Ireland’s failed approach to job creation over the years. An extract from my address:
Our third week back since the recess began for me with a question to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, where I emphasised the need for greater State investment in early childhood care and education. “I realise that money is scarce and the Minister is constrained, but she will know that a report by the OECD in 2009 showed that we spend a lower percentage on the education of children under six than any other country in Europe. It is a fact of life that we have underestimated the importance of investment in children at the earliest stages.
Leinster House is not the most normal of places to spend time. Coming back into the Dáil chamber after seven weeks’ recess was a bit strange, even though I would have been in the Dáil office most days during those seven weeks. I do find the work very interesting and challenging, but also very frustrating at times. Having spent most of my life working in the real world I am still a bit shocked that there is such a disconnect between the Oireachtas and the world outside the gates.
There is so much happening on a weekly basis that it is difficult to keep up to date all the time – a bit like following your tail. Aside from topics raised in the Dáil chamber there are always a lot of other things happening on a daily basis, but clearly the most effect is to be gained in the chamber itself.
Not an easy week. Many people would say that I wouldn’t be content if it wasn’t complicated. I beg to differ. My financial problems with the banks have been well aired long before now – I was on Prime Time nearly three years ago explaining that I couldn’t pay the interest on development land loans and claimed that most builders were in the same boat, despite protestations to the contrary.
Mick Wallace has been listening to constituents' fears about the future of education for their children
Wexford TD Mick Wallace continues his account of life in the Dáil...
The month of May began with the Technical Group putting a motion recommending a form of mortgage debt relief for people living under the threat of having their house repossessed. In the Dáil, I said: