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Lesson in debt for Germans

Dublin South Fine Gael Deputy Peter Matthews told the Dail he had given "two barrels of an information shotgun" on the Irish debt situation to a visiting delegation of German parliamentarians at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

"They needed it because they did not understand the issue," he said. "That is a fact of life. I am appalled at the lack of understanding by members of the German delegation."

Minister of State Lucinda Creighton replied that she had offered the visitors "a strong coffee" when she met them after the meeting.

Homes alert

Up to 85pc of newly constructed homes are not required to be inspected under the current Building Control guidelines, Socialist Party Deputy Joe Higgins told the House.

"Unfortunately, this is not accidental, as major developers and big builders wielded significant political influence in this State for many decades," he said.

Blood money

The case of an elderly Kildare couple who are being charged for blood tests even though they both have medical cards was highlighted by North Kildare Deputy Anthony Lawlor.

Minister of State Roisin Shorthall said the practice by some GPs was unacceptable and she would ensure it was brought to an end.

Culture clash

Thirteen cultural organisations are under critical review or will be rationalised, amalgamated or abolished in 2012, Independent Senator Fiach MacConghail told the Upper House.

"That is a tsunami of desecration and potential undermining of the whole cultural infrastructure of our nation," he said.

Sports boost

An allocation of €30m in the new Sports Capital programme was welcomed by Fine Gael Senator Eamon Coghlan.

"Investment in sports thus far has been proven by the fantastic results from our Olympic Games qualifiers, who number 53 and which figure is expected to go beyond 60," he said.