Tuesday, 8 October 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I thank the Leader for outlining the business. I will not dwell too much on the budget since I will make a statement on the budget at 4.45 p.m. but it is clearly a budget that is designed and revolves around Brexit. Fianna Fáil will facilitate it on that basis. We will have statements on the budget shortly.
On the issue of Brexit more generally, one cannot be shocked or surprised by the language that has come from a source in 10 Downing Street. I would appeal to all sides, including British politicians and especially the British press, although my appeal will probably fall on deaf ears, to recognise that a no-deal Brexit would be as damaging to the UK economy as it would be to Ireland and the whole of Europe. It is a lose-lose situation. While it seems that Boris Johnson is totally focused on a general election and its outcome so that he can free himself from other confidence and supply agreements and such, it is important to have some measured and serious language because the issue is far too serious to be playing games, as some people, especially in the UK, certainly seem to be doing.
Last night, I attended a meeting of school principals and chairpersons from the region extending south from the River Liffey to Arklow. More than 50 people representing many schools attended. The issue of staff recruitment and retention is significant, especially given the cost of living in south Dublin. It affects guidance counselling, technical drawing, foreign languages and science subjects across the board. It is difficult to find and retain staff. When people discover that the same job at the same pay is available closer to home, where the rent may be a quarter or half of what it is in Dublin, they decide to leave. I would like the Minister for Education and Skills to talk to us about what he is doing to retain and recruit staff, especially in urban areas where rents are higher.