DOES Labour leader Brendan Howlin believe he is still minister in charge of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER)? Howlin’s attack on the government for its green light to the €3bn broadband project heard him accuse Fine Gael of “abandoning spending controls” and threatening the “long-term financial stability of our country”. And he chimed in with mandarin Robert Watt, secretary general of his old department, arguing that the government was “ignoring official advice”.

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