200 DAYS OF A DO-NOTHING GOVERNMENT

Issued 22 November 2016

Labour Party leader, Brendan Howlin, has commented on the 200-day anniversary of the Government.

Deputy Howlin said:

"This Government was put in place 200 days ago when Enda Kenny was re-elected as Taoiseach on 6th May.

"Just 14 Acts have been passed since they took office, and just 20 this year in total. That compares to 66 Acts passed last year.

"Indeed, I can’t think of any year during my time in the Oireachtas when so few bills became law.

"Industrial unrest has continued to grow, with over 14,000 work days lost in the last quarter due to strikes, compared to none in the same period last year.

"The Government has no public pay strategy. It has refused to consider several Labour Party proposals to address this, including opening discussions on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, establishing an employer-labour conference or even using the National Economic and Social Council which has been left without a mandate.

"And of course, there is no issue that is too important for them to kick to a commission or a committee - water charges, third level fees, repeal of the eighth amendment - all of them kicked to touch. From the rental crisis to the baptism barrier, issues and laws are being parked or deferred.

"Most damning of all though, has been the emergence of complete Cabinet chaos - and that is made abundantly clear by looking at the record of one Minister in particular.

"Shane Ross has failed to make a single appointment to a state board since his appointment. Apparently it is beyond his ability to short-list candidates from a list of qualified candidates provided to him by the Public Appointment Service, and beyond his abilities to give the PAS guidance as to the type of short-list he wants.

"He has also still failed to produce a set of policy priorities for his own Department, despite promising that he would do so by September. And of course he failed to get any meaningful investment at all for public transport or sport in the Budget.

"By any reasonable measure, he is utterly failing in his duties as a Minister. And any time he is challenged on this, he tries the Trump trick - distraction.

"Because he is under pressure on an area within his remit at the moment, he decides it is opportune to continue attacking the judiciary, provoking an absolutely fair response from the Chief Justice.

"We all have an obligation to stop him seeking to distract us from his own failures."