Gerry Adams has given the Taoiseach some “friendly advice” in the Dáil, claiming he has already fallen into the “Enda Kenny trap” just four months into his tenure.
The Sinn Féin leader asked Leo Varadkar to “rise above” the instinct to bring up issues in Northern Ireland that have nothing to do with the topics his party raise in the Dáil.
“I think the Taoiseach has fallen into the Enda Kenny trap, which involves, as others here do, all the time casting up issues in Northern Ireland that have nothing to do with the issues I raise. As Taoiseach, he must rise above this type of instinct. I wish him well as Taoiseach,” Mr Adams said.
He added: “If the Taoiseach is genuinely going to be reforming as he has said, then we need to see Ministers of State playing a more substantive role in policy formation and we need to see continuation of reform of departmental structures and Cabinet Ministers.”
Mr Adams said the Taoiseach’s comments don’t “take a whiz out of” him but added that “nobody in Northern Ireland is impressed when he refers to Northern issues, as he did recently in response to a question from Deputy McDonald which was not about Northern Ireland.”
Mr Adams was referring to comments made by the The Taoiseach where he suggested that given Sinn Féin’s attitude it was little surprise a Northern Assembly has not been established.
Separately, the Taoiseach promised that additional funding will be found for disability services next year.
Raising the issue, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the delay in disability assessments for children is compromising the future development potential of children
“In terms of essential therapies, particularly occupational therapy, the assessment waiting lists have surged by nearly 50% in two years. A total of 29,600 individuals are waiting, of which 6,800 have been waiting over a year for an assessment for occupational therapy. “
But Mr Varadkar said everyone in Government is “doing their best” to assist people with disabilities
“I do not think any party in this House has a monopoly on compassion and I do not think any party in the House should claim to.
“I acknowledge absolutely that there are lots of shortcomings and problems and that plenty more needs to be done. Obviously, this is something that will have to form part of the budget and the estimates process.”
Later in the Dáil, Mr Martin queried the over-payment of an allowance to Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty when she held the chief whip position.
Mr Varadkar said Ms Doherty had agreed to repay the money.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved