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Central Bank (Variable Rate Mortgages) Bill 2016: Second Stage (Resumed) [Private Members] (18 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on this very important issue, which is of great importance to the Government. It is also of great importance to my constituents, many of whom have mortgages at a standard variable interest rate. On a rough calculation, if there are 300,000 people with standard variable interest rates, there are probably between 9,000 and 10,000 in the constituency...

Central Bank (Variable Rate Mortgages) Bill 2016: Second Stage (Resumed) [Private Members] (18 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: There is, for example, the failure to consult the European Central Bank, which is required under Article 127 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and policy risks have been outlined by previous speakers. There is a possibility that the legislation could increase the cost of funds, thus making fewer mortgages available, particularly to people who want to buy for the first...

Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion (6 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I would particularly like to do something for the self employed. We all know that for a long time people who are self employed do not receive many PRSI benefits. I know it is not straightforward. I have read the Mangan report, but perhaps we can at least start to do something to give self-employed people a better deal when it comes to social insurance.

Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion (6 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I would also like to see us develop an entirely new social insurance system. Social insurance works so much better in other European countries. Employers and employees pay in and they get much more back in return for that than we do in this country. I would especially like to see the return of dental benefits, but also other benefits. When people in other European countries lose their job...

Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion (6 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I would also like to restore some of the cutbacks that occurred to social welfare payments in the years when that had to be done because of the economic crisis that we faced. In recognising the very strong emphasis on rural areas in the programme for Government, we could do much to develop the rural social schemes in particular. I look forward to visiting some of those schemes and getting...

Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion (6 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: In fact, because we had a recovery for some and because some people are back in work and have seen their incomes restored, those who are not in that position feel more left behind than they ever were before. That presents a significant opportunity for this Government. It is a Government that may have emerged as it did today but it is not one that was elected in the same manner as were...

Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion (6 May 2016)

Leo Varadkar: First, I congratulate my colleagues on their nominations. I particularly congratulate Deputy Frances Fitzgerald as the newly appointed Tánaiste and the new members joining the Cabinet, Deputies Katherine Zappone, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Simon Harris, Michael Creed, Shane Ross and Denis Naughten. I thank my former officials and staff in the Department of Health who were behind me and...

Mental Health Services: Statements (26 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: This has been a quite long debate. I was glad to have had the opportunity to speak earlier. It is difficult in five minutes to respond fully to every point raised in the past three hours. I will do my best to mention one or two points raised. Deputy Billy Kelleher acknowledged the fact the mental health budget increased by 16% during the term of the outgoing Government, the Fine...

Mental Health Services: Statements (26 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: The Deputy also mentioned that the service plan lacks detail. If that is the case, I refer him to the mental health operational plan, which is the much more detailed plan for mental health services. It was published subsequently. The service plan comes out first. After that, each area produces an operational plan which is very detailed. The Deputy may wish to read that Deputy Buckley...

Mental Health Services: Statements (26 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I thank the Acting Chairman. I was here for more than half the debate. When I was not here, I was covered by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Bruton, and the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Harris. It is not unreasonable for me, after Members raise questions and make passionate speeches, to mention that they do not wait around for a reply....

Mental Health Services: Statements (26 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: On the replies, it was alleged that I was playing with the figures. The only figures I used are those that applied to the period of government between 2011 and now, 2016. I cannot account for what happened during the period 2008 to 2011 but Deputy Boyd Barrett is correct to say that in that period the mental health budget was cut back very severely. The number of staff was cut very...

Mental Health Services: Statements (26 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: -----that is something people may need to consider for themselves.

Mental Health Services: Statements (26 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I welcome the holding of this debate and the opportunity to describe some of the developments in mental health services overseen by the outgoing Government. I am making this statement on behalf of the Government as the Minister of State responsible for mental health services, Ms Kathleen Lynch, is not permitted to speak in the Chamber as she is, regrettably, no longer a Member of the House....

Health Services: Statements (20 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I appreciate that we are trying new procedures in the Dáil, but this has been a four-hour debate, in which any number of speakers have made contributions totalling 225 minutes. To be brutally honest, it is not possible for me to do justice to those 225 minutes of speeches, all of which I was present for and all of which I listened to. In the spirit of the procedures we may develop in...

Health Services: Statements (20 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: That is not correct.

Health Services: Statements (20 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: I am putting it on the public record. It is not correct.

Health Services: Statements (20 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: Any decision is not one based on political deals. It is based on the recommendations of the national clinical programme for acute coronary syndrome and that is how it should be.

Health Services: Statements (20 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: The money can be made available if needs be but it will not be done as a political deal.

Health Services: Statements (20 Apr 2016)

Leo Varadkar: How much time was I allocated?

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