Protests outside Leinster House as Dáil returns

TDs will be debating drink driving, Brexit and the trolley crisis this evening

Protests outside Leinster House as Dáil returns

File photo of Leinster House, 05-10-2017. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

There will be no less than four protests outside the Dáil throughout the day today as politicians return from their Christmas break.

Abortion rights and homeless campaigners will be joined by construction workers and animal activists.

Inside the House, TDs will be debating drink driving, Brexit and the trolley crisis.

The issue of abortion is set to dominate the first half of the political year.

Fine Gael held a meeting of their parliamentary party meeting yesterday where a number of TDs expressed concern about the proposals from the Oireachtas committee - including Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar again didn't express a personal view on the matter, but said the committee's findings were a strong option.

Dáil statements on that report start tomorrow.

On the agenda this evening is Shane Ross' Road Traffic Bill which resumes its course through the Oireachtas.

While Sinn Féin have a motion on the trolley crisis that calls on the government to re-open all hospital beds closed during austerity and for a pay commission to be established for the health service.

The local property tax is also on the agenda, with the Budgetary Oversight Committee hearing submissions on possible changes.

Donal De Buitléir of publicpolicy.ie says rising house prices may not result in bigger tax bills:

“It is very important that the valuations are up to date,” he said.

“Otherwise the whole system gets dragged into disrepute.

“Now, I understand that people are concerned that that means that property tax bills will rocket.

“But just because the valuations go up doesn’t mean the tax goes up. You can cut the rate.”

Outside the house this morning a small group of protesters demonstrated against child homelessness.

The MyNameIs campaign is calling on the Government to make 2018 the year when homes, not hubs are provided for Ireland’s homeless children.

There were 3,333 children without a home in Ireland in November.