On Monday 18 April I met with a number of people who have formed a working group to pursue areas of common interest in connection with thermal energy. Peter Scallan of Celtic Linen, Eimear Mannion of Wexford Creamery and Ken Cahill of Irish Pride Bakeries came to Dublin to explain their plight in relation to energy costs. These three companies employ over 1500 people between them in Wexford and they are being forced to compete on an unlevel playing field as the county has no access to natural gas.
I began week 6 by highlighting to the Taoiseach the difficulty faced by mortgage holders, especially given the new interest rate increases, and more are likely to follow. I enquired if the government might consider mortgage debt relief for those who bought property between 2004 and 2008, rather than just kicking the can down the road with temporary relief. On Wednesday morning (13 April), I challenged Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore about the lack of real concern on the part of Angela Merkel – the person calling the shots – for those countries on the periphery of Europe like Ireland.
Week 5 was dominated by the ‘bank reorganisation’ and the EU-IMF bailout. I disagreed very strongly with the manner in which the previous government dealt with this, and I am certainly disappointed by the way the new Coalition has continued on the very same path, despite promises to the contrary. Here’s a section of my Dáil speech:
Week 4 was dominated by the Moriarty Tribunal and its findings into the behaviour of T.D. Michael Lowry and businessman Denis O’Brien, in relation to the phone licence. The manner in which both individuals cast dispersions on Judge Moriarty in their efforts to undermine the case against them left a lot to be desired – here is a part of my Dáil speech:
After a few weeks in the Dáil Chamber, you’d think I’d be settling in at this stage. I’m not so sure. Maybe it should be important not to ever get too settled in a structure that is in much need of change. Despite all warnings to the contrary, I have had the privilege of speaking in the chamber every day since it opened – being part of the Technical Group of Independents has certainly worked out well with regard to gaining speaking rights.