Week’s events; Topical Issues, Romanian Parliamentary delegation & Live Register figs

6th June, 2014

This Tuesday, after the June bank holiday weekend, was mostly spent in my office in Merrion Street catching up on Ministerial paper work and planning for the weeks ahead. Next Tuesday and Wednesday I will be in Athens attending the EU-Arab League and I am eager to organise further visits to EU Member States before the Dáil recess kicks in. This is in addition to my attendance at the General Affairs and European Affairs Council meetings later this month, which will be held this time in Luxembourg.


Most of Wednesday was spent in the Dáil, where the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2014 was being debated at second stage. I also took a Topical Issue debate on Libya in the Dáil and had a meeting with the department of Foreign Affairs in respect of a Foreign Policy Review that is currently being undertaken.


Thursday began with a meeting with Department officials on the situation faced by some of our construction companies in respect of the work they have carried out in Poland building roads. Some progress is being made in the area and I am committed to offering all the help that I can.


Later that day I met with the Romanian Parliamentary delegation that was visiting Leinster House. The delegation was led by Mr. Valeriu Zgonea, who is the President of the Chamber of Deputies in Romania, or the Speaker of the House. A good discussion was had between us on bilateral relations between our two counties, as well as the situation in the Balkans and in the Ukraine. The rest of the day was in the Dáil.


Friday morning was spent meeting with constituents before heading into Government Buildings for the afternoon.


I was very happy to see this week that the Live Register recorded a decrease of 32,973 since May ’13, which represented a drop of 7.8% year-on-year. This is in conjunction with Exchequer figures this week which showed a 7.8% year-on-year increase in the income tax take. This clearly outlines the reality that people are getting back to work and, while there is still a lot of work to do before we get the unemployment figures to where we want them to be, it is a clear signal that we are moving in the right direction.


Much of this week was spent reading Mary Murphy’s book, ’Belfast and Northern Ireland; Dynamics of a Changing Relationship’ in advance of the launch of the book which I am presiding over for Mary in Belfast later in the month.