Nomination of Members of Government: Motion of Approval.

I move:—

That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following members for appointment by the President to be members of the Government:—

William Norton,

Richard Mulcahy,

Joseph Blowick,

James Everett,

James Dillon,

Seán MacEoin,

Michael Keyes,

Liam Cosgrave,

Brendan Corish,

Gerard Sweetman,

Patrick O'Donnell,

Thomas Francis O'Higgins.

For the information of the Dáil, I should like to add that I propose to nominate Deputy William Norton to be the Tánaiste, and that I propose to assign the Departments of State as follows: The Department of Industry and Commerce to Deputy Norton; the Department of Education to Deputy Richard Mulcahy; the Department of Lands to Deputy Joseph Blowick; the Department of Justice to Deputy James Everett; the Department of Agriculture to Deputy James Dillon; the Department of Defence to Deputy Seán MacEoin; Department of Posts and Telegraphs to Deputy Michael Keyes; the Department of External Affairs to Deputy Liam Cosgrave; the Department of Social Welfare to Deputy Brendan Corish; the Department of Finance to Deputy Gerard Sweetman; the Department of Local Government to Deputy Patrick O'Donnell; and the Department of Health to Deputy Thomas Francis O'Higgins.

I should also like to add, perhaps unusually, that I have nominated, and that the President has appointed, Deputy Patrick McGilligan as Attorney-General. The new Government will, therefore, have the benefit of his wide knowledge of legal matters and constitutional affairs, and also of his unique experience in finance and economics.

Ní gá dhom a rá nach bhfuilimid sásta leis an Rialtas. Im thuairimse, ní féidir le Rialtas den tsórt sin obair fhonta a dhéanamh don tír: nílim ag caint anois faoi na daoine atá san Rialtas ach faoin tslí inar cuireadh an Rialtas seo le chéile. Ní Rialtas é de dhream amháin: tá trí dreamanna ann—daoine as an Lucht Oibreachais, daoine as Fine Gael agus daoine as Clann na Talmhan. Níl na cuspóirí céanna ós cóir na dtrí dreamanna úd, agus is deacair a fheiscint cionas is féidir leo dul ar aghaidh ar an tslí chéanna. Dá mba rud é go rabhadar go léir as aon dream amháin do bheadh fhios ag an tír an treo a ghlacfadh siad, ach, ós rud é go bhfuil dreamanna san Rialtas seo agus cuspóirí éagsúla acu, ní dóigh liom gur féidir aon dul ar aghaidh i gceart a dhéanamh. Dá bhrí sin, béimid ag vótáil i gcoinne ainmniúcháin an Taoisigh. Mar adúirt mé cheana, nílimid i gcoinne na ndaoine atá san Rialtas a thogh an Taoiseach ach táimid i gcoinne an ainmniúcháin toisc na dreamanna éagsúla atá san Rialtas agus toise an tslí inar cuireadh le chéile é.

We here are opposing the appointment of the Government. It is not necessary for me to say why. I think everybody will understand that it is not because of the personnel that we are opposing it but because of the manner in which the Government is composed.

We do not think it is in the interests of the country that we should have as a Government representatives— because that is the position in which, apparently, they are—of large political bodies that have quite different objectives. For my own part, not speaking for anybody else, I should prefer by far—both from the point of view of the country and from the point of view of the proper working of Government, which is also a matter which affects the good of the country—to see either a Labour Party Government or a Fine Gael Government than to see the proposed type of Government.

I do not think it would be out of place to refer back to some of the remarks that were made during the discussion on the election of Taoiseach because they have reference to the nature of Government we should have here. In my view, some of the views expressed here were completely wrong and fundamentally unsound. In the first place, let me talk about the question of unity. In this Assembly, we have a unity: we are all representatives of the people of this country. We do not think alike: we should hardly be human if we did. All of us here are elected without any barriers of any kind. Any person in this country can go forward for election at the present time and stand for any views he wishes. He is capable of election and, if elected, he can come in here to this Dáil and give his own views and the views of those he represents. Therefore, it is ridiculous to talk about disunity, and so forth, because we are not all of one mind. We have, then, a unity here.

We have to have an Executive here. The Executive is chosen by a majority who, in turn, represent the majority view, I would say, of the country in general. We have an Executive, which is the Government, and, as long as that Government is supported by a majority of the votes of this House, it can pursue any policy it pleases, if it thinks public opinion will stand it. As long as it has a majority here it is entitled to pursue its policy and therefore we have a working arrangement. We may have different views, but these views can be settled by the simple democratic method of a vote. I do not see any better way to settle differences of opinion.

There is a suggestion that it would be much better if we had an all-Party Government. I think it would not. I think that would mean the stifling of opinion. We know very well that a Government, if it is a one-Party Government, if it comes to a period when there are differences of opinion in the Party, it has to settle the differences there. The Government has either to get the support of a majority or not. A real Government would try to get unanimous support but, if it cannot, then again in that Party there is a settlement of the question at issue by a majority vote. It may be even that the Government will say: "We are not prepared to take that majority view. We have a responsibility for Government which is a personal as well as a general responsibility." In a certain case it might come to a point in which a member of the Government might say: "I cannot accept that view, I must go out. I cannot accept that because it is not in accordance with my conscience or my view." Sometimes it may happen in the case of the Government that the Government as a whole may take that position and say to the Party: "We are not prepared to accept that view. You can, if you like, put us out and get another set of representatives." But in that way differences of opinion can be properly settled. Unless you have an arrangement of that kind you simply cannot discuss things in a proper manner.

You have then the case of one Party, but if you have a group of Parties the representatives of these Parties must go to each separate Party and report. If the representatives of the Parties do get their own people to agree, then they all try to speak in the same manner, they all try to support the decision that has been taken. But if every Party in this House was to be represented in the Government the result would ultimately be that when a decision was arrived at everybody would have to support that decision. I think that would be bad in the public interest. The government majority have an opportunity of explaining their views on a particular matter and when a proposition is put forward they support it with argument. Somebody must be there to represent the other side of it, because it very rarely happens that when a decision is taken all the arguments are on the one side, and very often it is not an easy matter to decide whether it is with the pros or the cons that wisdom lies. We have these matters out here because there is an Opposition.

It is the same here as in a court. We have one side who represent one aspect of the case and if they want to get their case accepted, they will concentrate for the most part on the arguments that are in favour of the view they take. But that has been as the result of a good deal of internal discussion. Very often it is important in the country's interest that the opposite side should be represented. That, in my opinion, is the value of an Opposition. You cannot imagine in an Assembly of this sort carrying on without an Opposition of some kind. In fact, an Opposition would develop automatically. I remember in the old Dáil, in the early days of the Republic, we had certain people who spoke on the opposite side. They did not do it afterwards in the open because it would be regarded as damaging. But there was a form of opposition.

Someone suggested that it would be a grand thing for the nation if the new Minister for Education and Deputy MacEoin, the new Minister for Defence, and a number of us all got together as a Government. Do you not know that we would be laughed at from one end of the country to the other? There would develop here opposition views, if it were possible for us to have views in common. I say that this talk about national Government is nonsense, that such a Government would not be good for the country in normal times. I believe that the present times are normal. I believe, considering our past, that there is as little bitterness in this country as in any country that has passed through a similar set of circumstances.

I was in America in 1919 very many years after the civil war. I happened to be down in the capital of Virginia. I was at a lunch at which there was a judge of the Federal Court who was sitting at the table with me, and he struck the table and said: "I hate these damn Yankees yet." That was quite a number of years after the civil war which ended in 1865—you can calculate from that down to 1919. The fact is that this artificial sort of unity which has been suggested is just nonsense. If we take it that both sides were sincere, they are not likely to change their views. But that does not prevent us from meeting together and doing our work. I think this nonsense about a national Government is childish talk and does not face up to the realities of the situation.

Let me now come to the question of a Coalition Government. I have been against it because I believe that, in general, they are bad, and I will give my reasons.

You had one for three years with the four Independents.

Mr. de Valera

It is quite obvious that there are some members here who are not in the Coalition but who are supporting the present Government. They are supporting the Government of the present Taoiseach without being members of the Government or members of a Party. It is all nonsense to talk about such as being members of a Coalition Government. A Coalition Government means a Government in which there are representatives of different Parties. We never had that. I think that an inter-Party arrangement is the worst type of coalition.

A Deputy


Mr. de Valera

I will tell you why.

A Deputy

Because it put you out.

Mr. de Valera

I can bear these things just as well as most people. We have been here before and even though we had the macabre admonition of a certain Deputy to-day, perhaps we will be back over there again.

Deputies should remember that they are responsible for the conduct of visitors they introduce into the Gallery. Visitors are not entitled to take any part, by approval or otherwise, in the proceedings of this House and Deputies are responsible for the conduct of the visitors they introduce into the Gallery.

Mr. de Valera

I was saying that I think an inter-Party Government is the worst form of Government. I am wondering whether in fact they get on the Continent a coalition government that is not an inter-Party government. I could imagine a coalition of a different sort. I could imagine the Taoiseach selecting Deputy Norton, Deputy Everett or Deputy Blowick and bringing them into his Cabinet on the condition that they would sever their connection with their Parties, so that they would be representatives of their views, but not subject in any way to the control of their respective Parties. I am not trying to be offensive to anybody; I am trying to explain a point of view which I think is a good point of view.

There was tolerance over there always.

You were always very tolerant yourself.

Mr. de Valera

I can imagine such a Government being formed—formed from the point of view that it had an understanding of certain aspects of our national life and I could imagine the Taoiseach saying: "I should like you in because of such and such, but if you come in it is necessary that you should sever your connection with your particular organisation because I want you to be free in your discussions to give you own judgment on these things, not subject to control from outside." That would be one form. I do not believe it would be easily got. I imagine it would be very difficult to form such a Government. It could be formed undoubtedly under certain exceptional circumstances, but as a rule I take it that, although they are not called inter-Party, most of these Coalition Governments on the Continent that we know of are of the nature of inter-Party Governments.

The chief objection to an inter-Party Government is this: that those who are members of the Government are subject to control and to revision of their views from outside. They are constantly being prodded from outside and, having to answer to these Parties outside, they have to go out of their way to express the Party view in public utterances. I think that is bad. I thought it bad during the last Coalition Government we had here. I thought it bad to see, for instance, Deputy Norton, who represented a certain point of view, saying certain things and the Taoiseach having to come along a short time after and do his best to gloss over them. I do not think these views would be expressed in the same way were it not for the pressure from behind on the representatives.

This proposed Government is to all intents and purposes an amalgam of Fine Gael and Labour. The common programme has not been put before the people in detail. A certain amount of it was worked out in order to present it to a conference of Labour representatives, but it evidently has not been worked out in detail. Certain general principles have been indicated. I might say in passing that I do not at all agree that, because we did not get an over-all majority in the election that those who voted against us would support a Government such as they are going to get now. The way to test that would have been by making the arrangements in advance, and not after, and to present the united programme to the people. If that were done, one of the chief objections, which is that there was no policy adopted by the people, would be met.

When there is a Coalition Government formed like this, it would have been good in the national interest, in my opinion, that they should have come together beforehand and should have made out the common policy and have presented that policy to the people. If there is a resolution put before this House and an amendment moved to it, do we not all know that the defeat of the principal resolution does not mean that the amendment is accepted? The amendment has to be put as a substantive motion so that it can be dealt with on its own merits. If you wanted to get the real judgment of the people on a particular issue, that would be the way to do it. If the Opposition Parties had come together before the election and had made out their programme and had said: "This is our programme; this is what we will do," although some of the other objections which I have would hold, one of the main objections would disappear.

The pressure from the different Parties is going to be very great. The Press has shown what that pressure has been since the results of the election were announced and it became clear that we had not got an over-all majority. The various Parties have been pressing to get their own particular viewpoint accepted and to get as many Ministers as possible in the key positions for the forwarding of views. Is it not obvious that each of these Parties wants to have an over-all majority? We have been blamed because we stand for a Party and do not stand for amalgamation. Does everybody in the House not know quite well that, if Fine Gael were able to get a complete and over-all majority, they would have a Government of their own, except to the extent that they might bright in somebody—perhaps they would bring in one or two they had already—knowing perfectly well that these people could no longer stand up against them and could not prevent them from taking any decision they wanted to take because they could put them out and get on without them. The trouble is, when we have a Government of this sort, that they cannot be put out without bringing the Government down and there is a constant tussle going on between the two Parties as to which is going to have its view accepted.

The Labour Party in their statement have indicated quite clearly that this is only an interim arrangement waiting for the day on which they can get an over-all majority. They want to do exactly the same thing we wanted to do, to get an over-all majority. The same is true of Fine Gael. Is it not obvious, therefore, that when we stand for these principles and believe that an over-all majority is the best way to get a Government, we are doing nothing that the others would not do if they were as strong as we are? The fact is that they are not as strong as we are.

But you are finished.

Mr. de Valera

We heard that before. I heard it from the people over there and in a few weeks they were out. I am too long at this to be worried by talk like that. We will just be in or out in accordance with conditions over which we have but little control.

I still hold that it is bad from the point of view of progress to have Governments of this type. I regret that they are here and, so far as I am personally concerned, everything I can do to save the nation from that fate of a continuance of them I will do.

You did not save the four Independents, anyhow.

Mr. de Valera

We were never influenced. There was nobody at any time that we were a Government could ever have compelled us to change our views. When we came here first in 1932 as a minority, we made it quite clear that while we were very glad to get the support of Labour, we were following a policy which we had set before the people and which we thought right and that, as long as they supported that policy, we would naturally be very grateful for that support, but that if they went on lines different from that policy, we were going to have it out.

We did not jump in and out of the Commonwealth.

Mr. de Valera

I say, then, that I am opposing, and we here are opposing, the Government, not because of personnel but because of the manner in which it is constituted.

You are opposing the wishes of the Irish people.

Deputy O'Leary must restrain himself.

Mr. de Valera

We are anxious that the work of this Parliament should be carried out in a manner that will reflect most credit upon our country.

We have our duties as an Opposition. We believe that they are just as important in their way as the duties of the Government. It is our duty to examine critically and carefully every proposition that is put before the Dáil in so far as the information at our disposal will enable us to do it. Where our information is lacking we have a means of trying to get that information through parliamentary questions and questions addressed during debates to the Ministers. We intend to use our strong position here as a good compact Opposition to save the country from what we believe would be some of the consequences that would follow from a Government formed as this Government is formed.

We read what the Labour conditions were. It is quite obvious that Labour has fought hard to get its views accepted. I have not had an opportunity of discussing this matter very much with my colleagues but I for one am not an extreme socialist. I do not believe that the country will be served by going to the extent of extreme socialism. I believe in justice—justice to all classes in the country. I believe in using the strength of the community as a whole to help the weaker sections but I have also closely in my mind the fact that in doing that we put a heavy strain on the other sections of the community. It is the worker who actually produces and who has to produce not merely for himself but a surplus in order to maintain the weaker sections who finally bears the burden.

There is a limit and if you go beyond it you will do much harm to the country as a whole. You will weaken the worker and in weakening him you will weaken the power to help the weaker sections and the nation as a whole by putting too heavy burdens on the people who have got to bear them. That has to be closely watched. It will be said to me that in this type of Government the tussle will take place internally and that they will come to a settlement. That is all very well, but it does not stop there.

These differences go outside and they are continued outside. It is very much better, in my opinion, that these matters should be settled by the votes of the people. What does the average person who sees this Dáil at the present time think?

He is delighted.

Mr. de Valera

He thinks that something like 13 per cent. of the representation in this House is going to determine policy for this House and the country. He thinks that the Labour representatives, who are 13 per cent. of the House will, by holding tight and threatening to bring down the Government, determine policy. Therefore, the 13 per cent. of the representation of the community will determine what the policy is to be. As far as we, as an Opposition, are concerned, if we at any time are appealed to in connection with matters of that sort we will support what we think right and give support to any people who stand out against being driven in that particular way.

From the point of view of Government it is unfortunate, for instance, that it is a representative of Labour who is assigned to Industry and Commerce. I am telling the House what the people outside think.

What you think.

Mr. de Valera

I am sure they do.

You are telling what you think they think.

Mr. de Valera

I am not telling what I think they think. The public can judge. I am asking the members of the Dáil to judge with me. I happened to be passing Kilmainham Jail recently and I saw the stoutness of the walls. I remembered some of the remarks made by the Deputy who is now to be the Minister in charge of Industry and Commerce about the people who should be put behind the stoutest prison walls the State could provide.

Quite right, too.

Mr. de Valera

Surely that sort of thing does not make for confidence nor does it make for belief in the Fine Gael statement that they stand for private enterprise. In regard to private enterprise and as far as the largest Party here is concerned, we have been all the time saying that we stand fundamentally by private enterprise, the development and support of private enterprise, and we have been trying to get private enterprise to develop industries. Surely, anybody who has listened to the Labour representatives speak in this House knows their minds run very largely to nationalisation. Where are we going?

There is another thing that disturbs people. Again, I am talking now not with reference to persons. I do not think that the Minister who is put in charge of Justice is likely to fall into this, but it is well known that one of the things that groups which have advanced socialist views aim at is to get hold of the Department of Justice, the police and so forth. I am not talking about Deputy Everett or any other person either.

Not at all. You are taking the high line.

Mr. de Valera

I am not. I am taking the proper line—the line that is in the interests of the country, and Deputy Morrissey will not shout me down either. You may be perfectly certain that we are going to fight every inch of this road.

I am glad to hear it.

Mr. de Valera

You will find that out before long. First of all, it is difficult, and secondly it is almost impossible, when you have advanced outside groups bringing pressure to bear, not to keep your eyes open if you know anything about what happened elsewhere. As far as the Ministers are concerned, I mention Deputy Norton because he used certain phrases and the Taoiseach had to come along——

Against racketeers and profiteers.

Mr. de Valera

All right. It is really like the question of offensive or defensive warfare, passing from one thing to another. Everything depends on how you do it. The Taoiseach, after the Minister's statement, had to come out in public and say these poor people were maligned. Pardon me for not giving the exact quotation. In fact, he had to say that it might be that the majority of them after all were good people, doing service to the community in their own way and doing it legally and properly.

Of course, that is not true.

Do not bandy words with him.

Mr. de Valera

I am quite willing to bandy words with anyone.

Deputies will cease interrupting. Every Deputy is entitled to speak.

Keep the straight road.

Mr. de Valera

The straight road, precisely. What I am afraid of is that the Government's road will be such a zig-zag that nobody knows where it will ultimately lead.

You know all about zig-zag roads. You are an expert on it.

Mr. de Valera

I have said what I want to say about the formation of the Government and its character. With regard to the new Government, they are very fortunate in regard to the conditions under which they are coming into office. Yes. All the facts prove it. When we came into office we came into the slump following the boom, the artificial boom of the Korean situation. We had in our first Budget a deficit of £15,000,000 to meet. The present Government have been presented with a Budget which is a workable Budget and which can be operated as closely as any estimate would go so as to be in reasonable balance. That is No. 1. They have not that problem which we had.

The balance of international payments which ran to £61,000,000 or say £62,000,000 in 1951 has been wiped out. The balance was running in the neighbourhood of £9,000,000 in 1952 and was probably the same for 1953. That is a manageable amount. The Taoiseach when he was in opposition showed in one of his speeches that he was getting anxious about the way the balance was increasing on account of imports going up in recent months. I hope that trend will not lead us to a big deficit at the end of this year because unlike some. Deputies who were on this side some time ago, I do think that a serious deficit in our balance of payments is a threat to the ultimate security of this country. Anyhow that problem has been met as far as the last two years are concerned.

In regard to savings, there were no savings in the year 1951. In a year or so these savings had gone up to £30,000,000 and they were almost sufficient to meet the capital investment programme. Again, the national income, which was declining in the last two years of the Coalition Government, began to increase in 1952 and there is no doubt that you will probably have a record rate of increase in the national income for last year. Money is also freer and the bank rate of interest has gone down 1 per cent. in about a year.

Take the industrial situation. The volume of industry in transportable goods has in the four quarters of the year 1953 reached a record level. In the last quarter employment in these industries also reached a record level and the unemployment situation about which everyone was so anxious has improved. It was 12,000 down this year as compared with last year. Furthermore, some 200 industrial enterprises came to fruition during the period in which we were in office and there is at present almost an equal number being examined.

The volume of agricultural production has increased to the extent of about 3 per cent., which is regarded as fairly considerable for agriculture. The whole position with regard to agriculture is very much more favourable than it was. In 1953 there were record yields. You had increased tillage, increased quantities of wheat and beet grown, the highest cattle population since, I think, 1921. You had more milk supplied to the creameries in 1953 than you had since about 1934. Industrial and agricultural production is improving and the national income increasing; therefore, the real sources of wealth are increasing.

As far as the building of houses is concerned, I have had frequently to point out that the largest number of houses was built or reconstructed in our time. In the years we were in office the first, second and third highest numbers were reached. That programme is going ahead. There will be a certain slowing down in rural areas where the programme envisaged in 1947 is practically coming to an end. Here in Dublin the situation has been remedied to a certain extent, and you are in the position in which if the six or seven years' programme were steadily pursued the programme planned in 1947 would be completed. Unfortunately there is a constant influx into the city from other parts of the country, and that means more houses.

The turf programme means that about 4,000,000 tons of turf will be produced by Bord na Móna in a very short time, some 3,000,000 tons of which will be used for the production of electric power. Rural electrification is proceeding at an increased rate as is the merchant marine programme. You have a civil aviation programme well in hands. Therefore, from the financial, industrial, employment and agricultural points of view, everything is in a most favourable situation.

What about the cost of living?

Mr. de Valera

Let us talk about the cost of living. The cost of living has been stabilised for practically two years.

It put you on that side of the House.

Mr. de Valera

Of course you laugh in an effort to make people believe that you believe what you said during the campaign.

They put you over there.

Mr. de Valera

Perhaps it is good for the country that I am here. I do not mean that in the way in which some Deputies wish to take it. It should be good to have people here who will be able to talk with the knowledge with which our people can talk about the conduct of affairs, people who have a knowledge of general policy and human nature as it works in politics which may prove to be of some value to the country.

In relation to the Government programme, it was indicated that the details of the 12-point programme would not be available for some time. We naturally expect that the members of the Government, when they would not arrange this before the election will have to do it now. They must get down to brass tacks, no more of "my objects all sublime I shall achieve in time." These things will have to be brought down to actual performance. We at any rate will be looking with interest to see how this performance is to take place and what are the detailed measures.

We would all like the cost of living to be very much less than it is. We would all like our incomes to be very much bigger than they are and that the relation between the two would be such as to give more freedom of action to do whatever we please. But wishing for these things does not bring them about. What brings them about is the practical steps that will be taken in so far as it is possible for any measures to be taken to achieve these objects.

Prices can go up in spite of any Government action. If, for instance, you have import prices going up, if you have agricultural prices going up and if you try to meet the situation by means of subsidies, you must go and impose taxes unless you are going to borrow. Of course, if one is presented with a goodly estate and one is prepared to play the rake, one can have a mighty good time for a short while until one exhausts one's substance. But the day comes when one will find oneself in a worse position than the person who looks ahead and says: "I have to meet this situation; it means a certain amount of hard work, a certain amount of pressure and a certain abstention from luxuries for a time, but it will also mean that I can continue in a reasonably good state."

When these particular matters come before us for consideration, we will examine them. We will be interested to discover the methods that will be adopted. For example, we will be interested to discover how the Government proposes to reduce the prices of various commodities. By what means will they be reduced? We will naturally have to ask ourselves whether or not the cure is worse than the disease. We are told that there will be a reduction in taxation. Undoubtedly that would have come about in our case as it will come about in any Government where there is an expanding income. The same rate of taxation will produce more revenue in such a situation and it is the gross amount of revenue and not the rates in taxation that matters where the Minister for Finance and the Government are concerned. We shall be interested in discovering how it is proposed to bring down prices and, at the same time, reduce taxation, to say nothing of increasing old age pensions and widows' and orphans' pensions.

This Government proposes to give retiring allowances at 65 in the case of men and 60 in the case of women. Most people would like to see these things being done. It is a question of ways and means and it is on this question of ways and means that we shall be critical. We will have to be satisfied that, as I have said already, the cure is not worse than the disease, that we are not putting upon the communities burdens which will, instead of helping generally to raise the standard of living for everybody, have the effect of lowering the standard.

I have said all that I want to say on this particular occasion and I content myself with saying now that we will vote against the motion appointing this Government.

I should like, first of all, to express what I think must be the satisfaction of the majority of the members of this House that the Labour Party and the Clann na Talmhan Party are represented in the Government which has just been formed. Deputy de Valera indicated that in his view it was not in the interests of the country that the Government should consist of representatives of different Parties. I, and I think this is the view of the majority of the people, regard the presence of the Labour Party and the Clann na Talmhan Party in Government as most desirable.

Likewise, I must say a word of appreciation at the fact that the Taoiseach has nominated Deputy Norton, the leader of the Labour Party, as Minister for Industry and Commerce. I think that decision will be welcomed by the country generally, both by the workers and by the heads of industry.

The new Government will be faced with many problems and it would, of course, be quite wrong to-night to attempt to discuss matters of policy but there are one or two matters which might be mentioned, not because I have any doubt as to the attitude new Ministers will adopt but because of the way in which Government business has been conducted in the course of the last three years. Because of the way in which business has been conducted, it is necessary to try to get things back now to a normal level.

One of the difficulties that faced most members on the Opposition side of the House during the last three years was the trouble they had in being able to obtain information and the lack of courtesy on the part of Ministers. That seemed to have become a habit with the Government which has just vacated office and there is always a danger that when a habit is created by a Government over a period of time it may be adopted by subsequent Governments. I would like to express the hope that in that respect the new Government will strike out on its own and adopt a different attitude towards Deputies who put questions to the respective Ministers, and that they will deal with the members of the different Parties in an atmosphere of courtesy, an atmosphere that has certainly been lacking in the course of the last three years.

Listening to the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy de Valera, explaining in some detail the marvellous condition of the country and the tremendous progress the country has made in the course of the last three years under his Administration, I must say that I was driven to ask myself how it came about that the people decided by an overwhelming majority to put out Fianna Fáil. If the picture which he painted was a true picture it seems to me the people were extremely foolish in putting out the Fianna Fáil Party in the election which has just taken place. I do not think that the people are fools and I think we may, therefore, take it that the picture does not represent the facts or the effect which Government policy has had on the people.

I am rather worried by the attitude adopted by Deputy de Valera in addressing the House to-night. His speech may be taken as an indication of the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party during the lifetime of the new Government. It is quite clear from his speech that the one aim of the Fianna Fáil Party will be to try to drive a wedge between the Labour Party and the other Parties in the Government. He set about that very deliberately and, if I may say so, very ably, or—shall I say?—very cunningly. He, first of all, tried to engender a feeling of apprehension on the part of business interests because of the fact that Deputy Norton is to be Minister for Industry and Commerce. In his usual able manner, he tried to relate that to an anecdote: he recalled that he was passing by the walls of Kilmainham Jail and that brought to his mind the fact that Deputy Norton had expressed certain views in regard to profiteers. Having sown those seeds of distrust, he then decided to turn to another Department, to the Department of Justice, but Deputy de Valera had, apparently, not remembered who the Minister for Justice was, so, before uttering a few words of poison, he leant to the former Tánaiste and asked him who the Minister for Justice was. That will not appear on the records of this House, but that is what happened, and I am sure that any Deputy sitting on this side noticed it. Having learned that the new Minister for Justice was Deputy Everett, of the Labour Party, Deputy de Valera then proceeded to suggest that the Department of Justice is always the Department for which the Communists make. In fact, he did not say it in so many words, but that was the clear innuendo behind what he said, and that is the suspicion which he sought to create in the mind of the public to-night.

I think it is well that the House and the public should realise what the new Government is going to be faced with by the Opposition, and should realise it at this stage—that the one aim of the Opposition is to try to drive a wedge between the Labour Party and other Parties in the Government. Apparently they will not hesitate to stoop to any methods or any weapons for that purpose, even to the extent that we saw to-night of suggesting that the appointment of Deputy Everett as Minister for Justice is a step towards the Communist control of this country. Anybody who knows Deputy Everett, and knows the Labour Party, will realise how perfectly ludicrous and unfounded that suggestion is. I think, however, it is well to realise that at an early stage.

Deputy de Valera then dealt with the proposals that I have made in regard to the formation of a national Government. As I understand it, the keynote of his remarks was that there is no necessity for a national Government, that we are all united and that we are all a happy family party working together here. Does anybody in this House believe that? Does anybody who has sat in this House in the course of the last ten years believe that there is any unity in this House? Does anyone in this House believe that the embittered Party warfare which rages from one side of the House to the other is of the slightest assistance to the country? I do not think so. I do not think that Deputy de Valera believes that himself.

We heard all the usual hackneyed arguments against a nationally representative Government composed of all Parties in the House or an inter-Party Government. We are told that, if there was a Government representative of all the different Parties in the House, there would be no Opposition. Of course, that is ridiculous. Deputy de Valera knows that there are countries which have nationally representative Governments and in which there is an Opposition. The Opposition consists of the largest Party in the minority. Deputy de Valera knows quite well that if, in present circumstances, a nationally representative Government was formed in this country, it is the Fianna Fáil Party that would lead the Opposition in this House.

He also made the usual type of references about continental countries which had Coalition Governments or national Governments. References are always made to certain continental countries that have this type of Government. We must consider that the best-governed countries in Europe are, in fact, countries that have either a nationally representative Government or an inter-Party Government. It is very easy always to point the finger to one of these countries which, for reasons completely unconnected with the concept of representative government, have an unstable Government, and so may often mislead people who may not know sufficient about the conditions.

Deputy de Valera said that there would be a stifling of views in an all-Party Government. I do not see why there should be a stifling of views here any more than, say, in Switzerland. I take it that the Opposition here would carry out its functions as effectively as it does in any other country.

Let us examine what in fact happens in the type of one Party Government to which Fianna Fáil is so wedded at the moment. It is not a majority of this House that would decide policy in a one Party Government; it is the majority decision of the people who meet in a back room of Leinster House in that Party. Very often the result you may have is that a decision is reached which is supported by, possibly, at most, 40 members of this House because they happen to constitute a majority in that Party at that particular Party meeting. Accordingly, you have the position where a minority of the members of this House is able, through the application of the Party system, to determine the policy of the House as a whole. That, surely, is unsatisfactory.

References were made to the fact that every Party desires to have a majority. Of course, every Party desires to have a majority, and, of course, every Party will put up as many candidates as it can. There is nothing wrong in that. We put up as many candidates as we could in 1948 in order to secure the maximum degree of support that we could. The greater the measure of support which a Party is able to get, the more it is able to carry its own views through in any nationally representative Government. There is nothing in conflict between the idea of putting up a large number of candidates and the concept of a nationally representative Government. It is up to every Party to get the maximum degree of representation it can in the Government and to get as much of its policy implemented as possible.

For the very opposite reasons to those advanced by Deputy de Valera in opposing the formation of the Government, I support the formation of this Government, and I welcome the advent of a second inter-Party Government in which Labour, Fine Gael, and the Clann na Talmhan Parties are represented. I think it is the fact that you have these different Parties represented in the Government which gives the new Government its strength and which will enable it to do good for the country.

I have no intention whatever of following the Leader of the Opposition into theoretical considerations as to whether or not Coalition Governments or inter-Party Governments provide good government for the people whom they purport to represent. We are here on these benches to-night because the Irish people by a majority vote have put us here.


Hear, hear!

During the course of the election campaign, from its very inception, I made it clear to the electorate that so far as I was personally concerned and so far as the Party that I represented was concerned, we were stating to the people that we desired to have an inter-Party Government, that we thought the public interest required it; that the condition of the country was such and that the problems to be faced were of such a nature, as to demand that all or as many as possible representatives of the Irish people should come together and pool their resources, their wisdom and their experience for the benefit of the people as a whole.

I stated in the first speech I made in the general election campaign in Kilkenny that even if Fine Gael were returned to this House with an over-all majority, I would still deem it essential in the public interest that I should endeavour, if I were in that position, to secure the formation of an inter-Party Government, with the Fine Gael Party with an over-all majority. It was not for the purpose of this election nor with the object of securing seats or additional votes for the Fine Gael Party that I made that declaration. I had stated the same principle in emphatic terms at Ringsend in May of 1951 during the general election of that period.

We told the people that, so far as Fine Gael was concerned, we thought their interests required the formation of an inter-Party Government. We told them that neither I nor any of my colleagues nor any member of the Fine Gael Party desired office. We told them, above all, that we made no promises. The Leader of the Opposition did devote some considerable time to explaining to the people the evil consequences which must inevitably ensue from the formation of the inter-Party Government which we advocated to the electorate. I interpret, and I think it is the only possible interpretation, the results of the general election that has just concluded to be that I was directed to do what I did—to form an inter-Party Government.


Hear, hear!

Circumstances put me in the position that I had to put myself forward to the people as one who possibly could form that Government. I did so reluctantly but entirely from a sense of duty and responsibility. The result of that election imposed on me the obligation of doing what I could, not to form a Fine Gael or any other Government; not to form a Government that had merely outside support in this Dáil for its policy or to carry on as a Government—the obligation was to try my best to form an inter-Party Government of the type formed in 1948 and with a policy similar to that which was carried out with such beneficial results to the Irish people by that Government during a period of three years. Feeling that sense of responsibility and desiring to discharge that obligation I set about the task and I have succeeded.


Hear, hear!

The Leader of the Opposition said we ought to have placed our policy before the people at the general election and that we should not have done it afterwards. We were told during the course of the general election campaign that we were going to make promises. They tried to lure us into making promises that we knew we could not fulfil. But I made it abundantly clear in every speech I made that we were making no promises, and I said that anybody who was voting for me or anybody associated with me or who would be associated with me voted on that distinct statement that I was making no promises to anybody in the course of that general election campaign. But I pointed to the policy that we had carried out in the inter-Party Government and which we had advocated during our period in opposition.

We have agreed a policy with the Labour Party and Clann na Talmhan, and I am glad to say that although I regret that I have not the benefit of Deputy Seán MacBride with me again in the Government, at least we have his full support and we will have at our disposal his experience and his knowledge and goodwill.


Hear, hear!

We still have got our policy. That is Government policy. It is not Fine Gael policy, Clann na Talmhan policy, Labour policy, or Clann na Poblachta policy; it is the policy of the new inter-Party Government which will be carried out by the Government working as a team, as I said in Kilkenny in the first speech I made, as a body in which there will be neither domination by the big Parties nor dictation by any Party but co-operation by all for the benefit of all sections of the Irish people.

We have given that policy in the 12-point programme or whatever you like to call it. It is not a programme— it is Government policy in outline. We hope to carry that out when we are in Government. We hope to fulfil— not any promises we made—but all the ideals that we have. We are convinced that it can be done and will be carried out.

The Leader of the Opposition said they were going to look for details. The details they will get and we are content to be judged by the results of putting that Government policy into action.

The Leader of the Opposition has told the House to-night in great detail of all the advantages that we are now entering into. He has outlined how well the position is as regards industry, as regards employment, as regards the international balance of payments, and summed it up by saying that practically everything is in a most perfect position.


Why was the present Opposition not returned by the electorate if that were so?


Hear, hear!

Every device that could be operated by the Opposition by—will Deputy Lemass permit me to quote his letter looking for funds?—"modern electioneering methods," was put into the election campaign in order to get votes and get back. Everything that the Leader of the Opposition said to-night about the wonderful advantages that had accrued from the putting into operation of the policy of the last Government was put before the people in speeches and advertisements, and not content with that they were disposed to adopt the policy of lying propaganda. They are now in opposition and the Leader of the Opposition says as he is entitled to say that they are a compact Opposition and that they will examine critically all the proposals and the details of our policy. So far as I am concerned I welcome that. That is the role of the Opposition. I agree with Deputy de Valera as to the necessity in modern democratic conditions for an Opposition in modern politics, but what I think the country will not stand for is Fianna Fáil's obstruction to the march of progress of the nation.


Hear, hear!

This country has suffered in the last six years. Many people have suffered unnecessary hardships because of the political instability of both Governments, the inter-Party Government and the last Government. What is wanted—and I am not saying it now here to-night for the first time; I stated it throughout the length and breadth of this country in the election campaign that what was wanted was a Government that would be stable, a Government that would capture the confidence of the people through the fact that it was going to last and be stable. This Government has stability and it is going to last——


Hear, hear!

——not because a political Party or group of political Parties can come together, but because we believe that what is required at the present moment to solve our difficulties, to create employment, to bring about economic activity, is a period of calmness and political stability in which the Government will have time to consider the position and to work out its policies. We have never said that everything we hoped to do will be done to-day or to-morrow or in six months or 12 months. We hope to do it in time and we must be given time. I do say this, that the electorate will take the appropriate steps against any Party or any person or group of persons that go in for criticism or for obstruction merely for criticism's or obstruction's sake. We welcome criticism. We welcome help. We welcome constructive criticism, and we will deal with obstruction if it comes and the people will deal with it hereafter.

We came together for one purpose, and one purpose only, to give to the people a Government in which it will have full confidence. I have no doubt from my experience of my colleagues in this Government, every one of whom is my friend, that we will work not, as Deputy de Valera says at the dictation of any particular Party, but will work out Government policy along the lines that we have laid down in the last three years and which are indicated in the programme that we published the other day. We do not know what lies behind the curtain. It is easy for Deputy de Valera to say that everything is perfect. We do not know how long it will take us to do some of the things we hope to achieve. As we made no promises before we made no promises in the programme. When we come together in the next few days before we can do anything we have to get behind this curtain and see how we stand. Then when we know what the real position of this country is we will know what we can achieve and the time within which we may be able to achieve it.

We have set out here for the purpose of giving some hope to a country that has been very adversely affected by the policy of the last Government. We come here with a majority. The electorate has made its choice and I believe that they have stated to that compact Opposition over there that we are entitled to get an unrestricted road, warning posted, if you like, finger posted by criticism, as to whether or not we are correct in our policy, but we are entitled to an unobstructed road in order that we may be able to put into operation the policy which we believe will cure the ills that have been left to us by Fianna Fáil.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: tá, 78; níl, 66.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Beirne, John.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Burke, James J.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Carew, John.
  • Casey, Seán.
  • Coburn, George.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Johnny.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Costello, John.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Crowe, Patrick.
  • Davin, William.
  • Deering, Mark.
  • Leary, Johnny.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • MacBride, Seán.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Morrissey, Dan.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Murphy, William.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Carroll, Maureen.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Esmonde, Anthony C.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Glynn, Brendan M.
  • Hession, James M.
  • Hughes, Joseph.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis
  • Larkin, James.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donovan, John.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, James.
  • Tully, John.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Michael J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • de Valera, Eamonn.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kelly, Edward.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lahiffe, Robert.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Malley, Donough.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Thomas.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies P.S. Doyle and Spring; Níl: Deputies Ó Briain and Killilea.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 8.40 p.m. until Tuesday, 15th June, at 3 p.m.