Sunday 17 December 2017

Liz O’Donnell: Even our friends in the North don't get a look-in with all our problems

AS deputies limp into the sanctuary of the Christmas recess, they have plenty to preoccupy them over the break. The festive season can only eclipse so much. For government deputies in particular, this Dail session has been a white- knuckle ride. Abortion is back with all its toxic divisions. As the clinical review of the Galway Hospital case continues out of sight, the issue is still politically live. The Government would be wise to bite the bullet on that score before the Christmas recess. Delay makes courage fade and allows pressure from the vested groups to take hold again. Already there is ominous bleating from within Fine Gael calling for legislation to be postponed.

The Budget, although well-flagged for its austerity and for the most part predetermined by the dictates of the troika, has nonetheless resulted in the loss of yet another Labour TD. This brings to five the headcount of Labour casualties from the hot kitchen of government. And now a couple of senators are shaping up for their own version of "pirouetting on the plinth".

Indeed, the domestic anger agenda so dominates the Dail that major international news hardly gets a look in. For example, British Prime Minister David Cameron's admission and apology in the House of Commons last week that solicitor Pat Finucane was murdered in 1989 with the collusion of the British security forces in Northern Ireland was a momentous event; one which would have prompted a suspension of the Dail for an emergency debate in the old days.

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