I beg to propose the name of Deputy Finian Lynch to be Minister for Fisheries.
MINISTER FOR FISHERIES.
I beg to second that.
Before this appointment is carried I wish to renew a protest I made yesterday evening on the ground that at the moment there is no necessity for a Minister for Fisheries. We need not go over all that ground again because I say that no case has been made out for a Minister and Ministry. A very strong case, and one with which I am in thorough agreement, has been made for the development of Irish fisheries, and for a competent and efficient department in order to develop these fisheries and to carry out the necessary re-arrangements that will have to be made within the next two or three months, but no case has been made out for a Ministry of Fisheries between now and the thirty-first of March. Furthermore, I shall be glad, and I extend an invitation to the Ministry to tell us exactly the qualifications necessary for the Minister, and I invite the mover of the motion to tell us the qualifications of our colleague Deputy Lynch for this particular Ministry. To me, and I think to a good many others, what is required in this job is a Department, a staff, and a Head of the Department who will be able to initiate schemes for the development of our fisheries, but who will not be merely a non-expert Head coming into the Dáil to answer questions, and which answers are drawn up by the permanent staff of the Ministry. That, I think, is not the function of whoever is to be Head of this particular Department. If his function is to be anything at all it is to proceed as rapidly and efficiently as may be with the development of the work of the Department and the fisheries, and not merely to be a Minister put up to answer questions, which answers are drawn up by someone else. It may be that the Deputy nominated has all the qualifications required, but I invite the mover to give them to us. I know that in many other matters, education, for instance, and military affairs, the Deputy nominated for this particular job has got certain qualifications, but I want an assurance from the mover and seconder that he has got specific and expert qualifications for this particular job.
In reply to the question raised by Deputy O'Shannon, I do not think, in the first place, that this is the time to ask whether there should be a Ministry of Fisheries or not. I think that should have been done before the recommendation was sent to the Committee appointed to select these Ministers, and I understood there was a general agreement in the Dáil that there was a necessity for a Minister for Fisheries. The Dáil will remember that some time ago a Commission was set up by the old Dáil, and that it made exhaustive inquiries into the fishing resources of Ireland, and brought out many facts, the biggest being that there was a big field for improvement in the fishing industry, which, if properly attended to under a capable Ministry, could be made a matter of great financial assistance to the country, and a great benefit to the fishermen, who are now earning a very small livelihood along the sea coasts of Ireland, and whose lot might be very much improved indeed. Personally, and on the big question, I think it would be a matter of national advantage and a big financial advantage if this was done. Now I come to the point about the qualifications of Deputy Lynch for this position. The Committee discussed this matter at great length, and they looked around the Dáil for a man who would be capable of organising such a Ministry on good business lines. The Committee unanimously agreed that Deputy Lynch had the ability, that he was capable of developing this industry, and that in his hands it would be capably managed; that he would have the push and energy to make the industry what it should be—a great financial advantage to the country.
As the seconder of the resolution, we are asked to give an assurance as to Deputy Lynch's qualifications. I admire the assurance of that question being put to the proposer and seconder from the Labour benches. There were two members of the Labour Party on this Committee, but they did not attend to give their views. This was a unanimous recommendation, and I certainly am abolutely confident that Deputy Lynch has the ability to make this Ministry a success.
As one who is also a member of the Committee, apart altogether from the personality of the Minister, I am convinced that fisheries form such a large and important question for the community that they deserve a Minister to deal with them. I put agriculture first, as being of the greatest interest to the people of this country, being the chief industry on which the nation lives. After that I put fisheries, both as regards the number of people employed and making a living by them, and also as to the value of fish as a food stuff to the nation. I wish to goodness more of the fish caught about our coast could be brought to the doors of the people for use as food, instead of sending it to foreign countries. As to the fitness of Deputy Lynch to fill this position I have nothing to say, but I certainly think that he is as good, if not better, than any other Deputy in the Dáil for it. I make no apology for this appointment.
Motion made and question put: "That Deputy Finian Lynch be appointed Minister of Fisheries."