The answer is most definitely yes, if her recent comments and actions are anything to go by. But beyond soundbites and soft interviews to please the audience of the day, it’s still difficult to gain a full understanding of what a Sinn Féin government might do in power.
For Mary Lou, it is a tactic that so far appears to be working.
Every week, Dáil time is set aside for leaders’ questions which allows opposition leaders raise matters directly with the Taoiseach, usually on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tánaiste generally takes leaders’ questions each Thursday.
The following rules apply:
- The question must not take longer than two minutes to ask;
- The Taoiseach’s, or his representative’s, reply may be no longer than three minutes;
- The person who asked the question may ask a brief follow-up question that is no longer than one minute;
- The Taoiseach will give a final reply that is no longer than one minute.
The second stage of the Holidays (Employment) Bill passed through the Seanad. However, the policy to introduce holiday pay was highly criticised by senator Patrick Francis Baxter who said: "If there was one country in Europe today where the leaders of the people ought to get up and say to the people: 'we must work harder and longer hours', it was this country."
Under the headline "Unruly Scenes in the Dáil", it was reported that the Ceann Comhairle had been forced to adjourn proceedings following "uproar" when deputies from both sides of the House shouted at each other so loudly that nobody could be heard. There were references to "forged letters" and "perjury" during the exchanges.
Referendums to lower the voting age to 18 and to delete from the Constitution a sub-section of Article 44 which stated that the Catholic Church had a special position in the case of the State passed by a majority of five to one.
Three leading members of Fine Gael in the Cork East constituency, including the chairman of the Midleton District Executive, were facing expulsion from the party after being ordered to apologise to two Church of Ireland members. In what was described as a "political storm", the three men had approached Cloyne farmer George Jeffrey and "suggested that, because of this religion, his Fine Gael candidature might mitigate against the party's overall changes in that area".
Pig producers were facing a €100m bill as production was halted following a weekend recall of pork products. It was reported that the government was seeking funding from the European Commission as part of a rescue package for the pig industry after a day in which at least 1,400 people lost their jobs because of the contamination of pork products.
: The war in Ukraine has put EU expansion back on the agenda. Today, Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin joins his counterparts for a summit of EU and Western Balkan leaders which will focus on enlargement.
Croatia was the last new member to be admitted to the EU in 2013.
: A bill to ensure mandatory open disclosure by health service providers is due to be discussed in the Dáil. Following the death of Vicky Phelan, Mr Martin promised that the Patient Safety (Notifiable Patient Safety Incidents) Bill would be passed before Christmas. However, significant concerns around the limited scope of the bill have been raised and the Government is due to bring amendments to it this week.
: The three coalition leaders are expected to finally sit down and talk about the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle due to take place on December 17 when the Taoiseach and Tánaiste also switch places.
: Michael McGrath is due before the finance committee tomorrow, Wednesday, to discuss the Regulation of Lobbying (Amendment) Bill which would restrict lobbying by former politicians and designated public officials and would introduce fines of up to €25,000 and/or a prohibition from lobbying for up to two years for those found to be non-compliant with lobbying rules.