Cabinet meeting underway in Donegal



Taoiseach returns to Donegal village he visited to learn Irish

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to visit Kildare today

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives in Glencolmcille for Thursday's Cabinet meeting

A Cabinet meeting is taking place in Donegal this afternoon for the first time in 17 years. 

The meeting got underway in Glencolmcille at 12 noon.

It is the first time the Cabinet has sat in Donegal since former taoiseach Bertie Ahern brought his ministers to Glenveagh Castle in 2002. 

Speaking before the meeting, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh said the holding of the meeting in Donegal was important to let ministers see the progress that is being made in the county.

The Donegal TD said inevitably conversations will be had about events in London and the looming October 31 Brexit deadline.

“The big deadline is October 31. This is the last Cabinet meeting until the beginning of September, so obviously it is very important to keep it on the radar and keep in sight very, very pertinent and relevant issues around the border and the difficulties that businesses potentially will have.

“It is also an opportunity for the Cabinet to see what is going on here. We are making progress in terms of infrastructure spending, we are spending the most on national secondary roads on the island, and we are keeping the major access roads on the agenda.”

Mr McHugh said that while Brexit is not on the agenda for the Cabinet meeting, “no doubt we will be having a conversation about the new British prime minister”.

“We are awaiting the first conversation between the taoiseach and Boris Johnson. It is important we continue to ensure that whatever preparatory work is needed in the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit continues. But hopefully, sanity prevails and we will get an outcome that is not a no-deal Brexit.”

The meeting is taking place at Oideas Gael, which runs Irish language courses and cultural activity holidays.

The taoiseach is pleased to be returning to a place he visited to learn Irish, Mr McHugh said.

“It is an area that is close to my heart, yes, but the taoiseach came here to learn Irish also so he has a soft spot for the area as well,” he said.

“It is good to come to an area that is quite rural and isolated and see the work of Oideas Gael where thousands of students come every year. It proves that we have a major advantage in the promotion of our language tourism. This has been a model of best practice for many years and is part of the community in Glencolmcille.”

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