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Ceisteanna - Questions: Departmental Functions (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 14, inclusive together. The economic policy unit is part of the economic division of my Department. The unit supports me, as Taoiseach, in delivering sustainable and balanced economic growth and in advancing the Government's economic priorities. The unit also advises me on a broad range of economic policy areas and issues and provides me with...

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: I do not know what the Deputy has against Dublin.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: Will he allow Dublin people to drink water in 30 years' time?

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: That is not a facetious question I ask; it is a very serious one. We met with Irish Water yesterday. Going back to Deputy Canney's point, Irish Water is looking at wastewater treatment plants in towns and villages across the country. Irish Water also made the point to us that there is a real crisis facing us if we do not plan appropriately. That Shannon project is essential-----

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: -----to Dublin's capacity to survive over the next three decades. We really need to get serious-----

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: -----in the Houses of the Oireachtas and not just oppose everything-----

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: -----because it might be locally popular and ranting and raving about the place.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: There are huge pressures on the rental sector. That is why the Minister's amendments tomorrow is not the full story but it is part of the agenda to try to create greater opportunities for supply.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: I know, and I have read the summary of the Simon report and that is exactly why the Minister will do what he will do tomorrow in legislation and amendments.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: I thank the Deputy for raising what is a very important issue. I will work with the Minister for Health and the HSE nationally and regionally to see if we can improve the availability of Parkinson's nurses in the Cork region.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: I think the Minister of State, Deputy Fleming, announced something recently that may impact positively the situation to which Deputy Dillon referred and the people to whom he referred. That should help. According to the CSO consumer price index data for May 2022, the price of motor insurance is 10.9% lower than in May 2021. No one in the Dáil has raised that. Members have raised all...

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: The Deputy raises a very serious issue that is potentially very damaging to many people, in particular young people. We will certainly work with the Deputy on any proposal. I will talk to the relevant Ministers and get feedback from the Garda Síochána as to what legislative template might be the most optimal to deal with this very serious issue.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: Immediate work is needed in University Hospital Limerick, and it needs to continue. I know that certain governance measures are being taken and that a team from the HSE has visited the hospital. A formal decision has not yet come to the Cabinet, but we are positively orientated towards it. The new Government, when coming into office, inherited proposals in respect of Cork and Galway, which...

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: The report of the Commission on Pensions is being considered by the Government. There is a broad range of proposals in that regard. Any improvements in respect of carer's allowance or broader supports for carers will be considered in the context of the budget.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: Yes. That work is still on the way. I do not have an exact timeline yet, but I will engage again with the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications on that. A comprehensive review is due this year, but I think we need a more focused and immediate assessment of the situation because of the war on Ukraine and Russian actions. Russia, clearly, has weaponised energy, weaponised...

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: The Government is doing everything it possibly can to protect renters. They need to be protected and rent pressure zones are doing that. Some of the measures in the Bill to be taken tomorrow, which people have been objecting to, will also help facilitate the provision of more units for longer-term renters as opposed to short-term lets.

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: There is another side to the story, which the Deputy did not articulate, in that 43,000 planning permission applications were granted in 2021 and 30,000 new homes had commenced in the year up to May 2022. As I said earlier, Ireland has gone from the third lowest level of completions per capitain 2011 to the fifth highest in 2020. Some 31,000 homes commenced in 2021, but we need to do more....

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: I do not know what the Deputy means by "big agribusiness". I think the farmers-----

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: But you know yourself as well. The Deputy just threw out the phrase "big agribusiness"-----

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (12 Jul 2022)

Micheál Martin: -----and ignored farmers across the length and breadth of the country, be they suckler herd farmers or whatever. The bottom line is this: the Government is walking the walk in respect of climate change. The most comprehensive active travel funding and plans were put in place by this Government in the past two years, and we passed a climate action law we. Discussions on the sectoral...

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