The Dáil is back: From the budget to Brexit to gambling laws – everything is on the agenda for the coming days and weeks

The Dáil returns to work after a nine-week summer break and faces a host of challenges including a housing crisis, rising energy bills and how to budget balance in a cost-of-living emergency.

The Dail resumes on Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. while the Seanad resumes at 2:30 p.m.

The government’s legislative program is due to be presented to Cabinet on Wednesday with 35 priority bills, according to Chief Whip Jack Chambers.

The Human Tissue Act, the Planning and Development Act and the Gambling Regulation Act are among the programs that require Cabinet approval.

The government is expected to propose measures to help people with the rising cost of living during this Dáil term, after rejecting calls from the opposition to announce measures ahead of the summer recess.

Last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said ministers are considering increasing the monthly payment of €400 for people hosting Ukrainian refugees, acknowledging that the cost of living has risen since the payment was announced in May.

As part of a package of one-off measures to help people pay rising food, energy and fuel bills, the government is expected to announce another €200 energy loan, which will come into effect before Christmas.

Probings by ministers in recent weeks suggest business owners are also lining up for support to help them turn on their lights during the energy crisis.

Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien has hinted there could be announcements affecting the rental market after he said last week that renters are “the focus of my thoughts and our discussions” with coalition partners ahead of the budget.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has previously said that if there are tax breaks for landlords to encourage them to stay in the rental market, there should also be tax breaks for renters.

But the budget watchdog, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, has warned that the Government faces “difficult choices” in Budget 2023 and cannot compensate everyone against inflation, and has called for targeted action to help those most at risk of poverty help.

It also warned of the vulnerabilities of over-reliance on corporate taxes and the unresolved issue of retirement age, as well as huge policy initiatives that have not been properly calculated, such as climate change measures and Sláintecare.

The 2023 budget is due to be announced on September 27, two weeks earlier than usual.

Tensions around the Northern Ireland Protocol are also expected to flare up again as Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to proceed with her bill to unilaterally suspend parts of the Protocol if negotiations with the EU fail to resolve the matter.

Pressure to find a compromise is expected to mount ahead of the October 28 deadline for forming a new Northern Ireland executive, which the DUP has so far blocked in protest at the implementation of the protocol.

On December 15, the positions of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste are set to be swapped as part of the coalition agreement between Fianna Fail leader Mr Martin and Fine Gael chief Mr Varadkar.

No other ministerial rotations are mandated in the government program but they are generally expected as part of the rotation.

Dáil’s new term also sees the return of Dara Calleary, who resigned as Agriculture Secretary in August 2020 amid the aftermath of the Gulfgate controversy.

Mr Calleary has replaced Robert Troy as junior minister at the Enterprise Department after Mr Troy resigned last month over misdeclarations on several properties. The Dáil is back: From the budget to Brexit to gambling laws – everything is on the agenda for the coming days and weeks

Fry Electronics Team

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