Taoiseach Enda Kenny came out today in opposition to the possible ESB strike that could lead to power cuts over the month of December. He said talk of a possible ESB strike action would “cause unease and concern for people” if the strike would result in power cuts across the country.
The dispute arises over an agreement to address the €1.6 billion deficit in ESB’s pension scheme with Mr. Kenny hoping that unions will meet on Thursday and that they will “engage fully and comprehensively” in the talks with the ESB.
The Taoiseach said that the dispute was not about wage cuts while continuously insisting the ESB pension fund is in good shape.
Fianna Faíl also came out in opposition against the possible strike. A spokesman said that “there is a genuine fear and anxiety” amongst business’ and the most vulnerable people of society.
Speaking to News Anois, Brendan Hennessey of Saint Vincent De Paul warned of the effect that this strike could have on the most vulnerable in society, especially the “elderly people in isolation who rely on electricity for heating and can’t get or carry alternative heating such as coal”. Hennessey also that those who rely solely on electricity might need to turn to “unhealthy alternatives such as fast food” in order to feed their families.
The Government plans to have a bill debated in the Oireachtas this side of Christmas that will abolish the NUI and Trinity College constituencies.
This Bill will see the departure of the two existing three-seat university constituencies and the introduction of one six-seat constituency that will be open for all third-level graduates to vote for.
This proposed reform comes after the defeat of the referendum to abolish the Seanad in October of this year.
Following this defeat Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised to immediately begin a process of reforming the political house which has come under much scrutiny in the past in terms of its members, voting system and general purpose.
This proposed reform, in advance of any wider reform is likely to provoke a negative reaction from the existing university Senators.
The reaction amongst students today in relation to this news has been mainly positive. One DIT student claimed the current system is “elitist, unfair and ridiculous.”
Trinity College students, NUI students and graduates in the majority of third tier institutions have also welcomed this change. One former Trinity student said today “It’s a step forward, I’m delighted to see the Seanad finally being reformed, for far too long it has been an old fashioned, redundant waste of government time and tax payers money.”
It is expected Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, who has prepared this legislation, will seek the approval of his Cabinet colleagues in relation to this in the next few weeks, possibly as early as today.
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has defended his government in the Dail today in light of recent revelations that a number of state-funded hospitals and health agencies may be in breach of official policy on pay for senior executives.
The Irish Times reported this morning that a number of health sector bosses were receiving ‘top-up’ allowances, including chief executive of Our Lady’s hospital in Crumlin who has reportedly been receiving an extra €30,000 per year, funded from the on campus store, on top of her €110,000.
During leaders questions this afternoon Kenny stated the ‘complete picture’ was ‘needed and necessary’ for discussion and debate on this issue.
He further commented that when all issues and details of the agencies are gathered by the Minister for health, hopefully by the close of business today, following the circulation of a ‘clear, strong straight forward’ letter from the government to these agencies calling for answers, the issue will be quickly reported by him online and then can be debated in the Oireachtas.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams called these revelations a ‘disgrace’, stating ‘we have these occurrences when thousands of children are waiting to be seen in hospital’ and suggested the Department of Health has been aware of these breeches since as far back as 1998.
Independent TD Joan Collins further ridiculed the Taoiseach and his government today; stating that there is politically appointed Labour and Fine Gael representatives on the Boards who have allocated these salaries.
She questioned whether they knew or voted on this issue and stated that ‘the situation is a shambles and those running it should be sacked.’