Watch as Taoiseach accused of 'stroke politics' over National Framework Plan

Update 2.45pm: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been accused of taking part in "stroke politics" and of "undermining" the Oireachtas amid claims he has rushed through the publication of the national framework plan to avoid a vote on its multi-billion euro details, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith and Juno McEnroe.

Opposition parties made the allegation after it emerged the plan will be automatically placed on a statutory footing just days before a bill passes through the Seanad which would have forced the Government to allow the Dáil and Seanad to vote on whether to support the findings.

Speaking during the latest leaders questions debate, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin, Labour leader Brendan Howlin and Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty lashed out at the Government, insisting the country is being hoodwinked on the issue.

Noting the fact the national framework plan will be published in Sligo tomorrow, they said it is unacceptable that Dáil concerns have effectively been silenced by the decision to release the report before the Planning and Development Amendment bill 2016 passes through the Seanad.

Insisting "we didn't support the last draft" in autumn because it was not voted on in the Dáil or Seanad, Mr Doherty said "it appears the Government intends to deny the right of this House" - and therefore the wider public - to vote on the plan's implications.

Accusing Mr Varadkar of "deliberately publishing this Friday" in order to ensure the plan is put on a statutory footing before the Seanad bill next week, Mr Doherty said the Government is taking part in "stroke politics" and "undermining" parliament.

The view was supported by Mr Martin, who said the Seanad bill clearly states the national framework plan should go before a Dáil vote, and Mr Howlin, who said he was in cabinet when the plan was first discussed, during which time it was made clear a vote would have to take place on any final document.

However, despite the criticism, Mr Varadkar risked sparking a backlash by saying the existing legislation - which remains in effect until the Seanad bill is passed - states that the Government only needs to ask for Dáil consultation on a draft document, which was discussed last autumn.

"This is a classic case of opposition for opposition's sake... The sad thing about this for people in all parts of Ireland is the extent to which politicians in Opposition have wrapped themselves in process and procedure," he said, amid uproar from opposition TDs who said the "process and procedure" is democracy.

Earlier: Watch as row breaks out in the Dáil over over the National Planning Framework

A row has broken out in the Dáil over the National Planning Framework.

Sinn Fein and Labour has accused the government of trying to get the plan through the Dail without a vote.

The plan sets out the plans and funding for the development of the state up to 2040.

It will be launched in Sligo on Friday.

To heavy opposition and concerns around the statutory status of the plan, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar insisted there was no need for a Dáil vote on the plan.

- Digital Desk

 

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