Cabinet expected to extend restrictions on travel at meeting

Full Dáil sits this week for first time since before election

Dublin TD Jim O’Callaghan:  critical that Fianna Fáil has not secured the justice or foreign affairs portfolios and warns the party’s voice on Brexit and Northern Ireland will be diminished. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dublin TD Jim O’Callaghan: critical that Fianna Fáil has not secured the justice or foreign affairs portfolios and warns the party’s voice on Brexit and Northern Ireland will be diminished. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The Cabinet meets on Monday and is expected to decide not to lift travel restrictions, including the 14-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from other countries.

Dáil business returns this week with a full programme of sittings taking place including questions to the new Taoiseach Micheál Martin from opposition leaders, legislation to implement Covid business supports and private members’ business tabled by opposition parties.

It is the first time since before the general election in February that the Dáil will conduct its normal business, albeit with social distancing requirements in place at the Convention Centre.

TDs will sit until almost midnight on Tuesday and until after 10pm on Wednesday as the Government seeks to pass legislation to underpin some of the Covid-19 supports. The Dáil will also be required to pass spending estimates for several departments, while Sinn Féin will table a motion on affordable housing, and the Labour Party also has private members’ time.

The Cabinet meets on Monday and is expected to decide not to lift travel restrictions, including the 14-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from other countries.

Spike risks

At last Friday’s meeting of the Covid-19 Cabinet committee, Ministers heard the increasing risks of a spike in infections triggered by travellers arriving here mitigated against an early reopening. A “green list” of countries which would escape quarantine requirements will not now be published until July 20th at the earliest. Government sources say the new administration is adopting a cautious approach, following the early lifting of many lockdown requirements by the previous government.

A small number of Bills need to be passed in the coming weeks to provide for business and other supports introduced recently.

It is understood new Attorney General Paul Gallagher has written to all Ministers requiring detailed response on their legislative priorities. Sources say they expect a dramatic increase in the amount of legislation produced under Mr Gallagher.

Green hustings

The first of two online hustings in the Green Party leadership contest takes place on Tuesday. Deputy leader and newly appointed Minister for Media, Tourism, Art, Culture, Sports and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin is challenging leader Eamon Ryan, Minister for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport. Another two hustings are scheduled for next week with postal votes to be counted the following week.

Mr Martin will hold a meeting of his parliamentary party for the first time since becoming taoiseach and following widespread criticism among his TDs overlooked for ministerial jobs.

Dublin TD Jim O’Callaghan – who refused a junior ministry and is seen by some in the party as a potential successor to Mr Martin as party leader – was critical that Fianna Fáil had not secured either the justice or foreign affairs portfolios, warning the party’s voice in negotiating on Brexit and Northern Ireland would be diminished. Fianna Fáil sources played this down, saying the Taoiseach’s Office would be centrally involved in both areas.