National Treasury Management Agency

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the National Treasury Management Agency Bill] We were always taught that pensions were sacrosanct, that they were different. A pension was a special kind of saving one made and certain rules applied in respect of it. One could not touch one’s pension. If one experienced a very … Continue reading

Varadkar must harness his aloofness, arrogance and self-regard to succeed

14-05 John speaking 3

[As published in the Sunday Independent on Sunday July 13, 2014] ‘Varadkar is sufficiently unmindful of his master’s bidding to ignore attempts to transform the department into an office of the Campaign to Re-Elect the Taoiseach’ Former transport minister has been the stand-out performer in Government so far. TWO apparently unrelated events this week might … Continue reading

Water Tax and Local Authorities

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I join Senator MacSharry in calling for a debate to get some clarity on what is happening with respect to the charge for local services, property tax and the allied issue of water tax. There is no doubt that we used to have local services and water. … Continue reading

Oireachtas Banking Inquiry Committee


[Speaking in the Seanad on a Motion re: Establishment of Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis] I welcome the Minister of State. As the Leader said, this inquiry is overdue and I am delighted that it is happening, as there is a clear need for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the financial … Continue reading

Water charges; Universal Health Care

[speaking in Seanad Eireann during Order of Business…..] I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Fergus O’Dowd, come to the House to clarify the position on water tax. I am not naive; water is not free and, … Continue reading

Social Welfare and Pensions Bill

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2013] I welcome the Aire to the House. What could be a more difficult job to be given than that of Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Health during a recession and at a time when the demands for the … Continue reading

Issues Facing Small and Medium Enterprises in Rural Towns

[Speaking in the Seanad] I made the point once that I was the first person in my family to go to university but if I had gone into the retail trade I would not have been the first, second or third to do so, perhaps the fourth or fifth, and what is more I might … Continue reading

Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill


I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, to the House. I have always found it a great pleasure to deal with her as she is helpful, co-operative and respectful to us here. I will say a few words about the Bill and ask the Minister of State to go on the record with … Continue reading

Calling for a banking inquiry and querying the Magdalene laundries redress scheme

At the risk of making the Chamber sound like a broken record, I mention issues relating to the banks and attempted to get the Order of Business amended. I am somewhat troubled by the fact that there are two wholly separate things that need to be investigated in the banks. There may or may not … Continue reading

The need for a banking inquiry

I will preface my request for an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister for Finance come to the House today and outline not only the timing but the terms of reference of the clearly much-needed banking inquiry, by reminding colleagues of one or two facts. Recently we spoke about drugs for malignant … Continue reading