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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 21 Apr 1965

Vol. 215 No. 1

Nomination of Members of Government.


Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú na gComhaltaí seo a leanas chun a gceaptha ag an Uachtarán chun bheith ina gcomhaltaí den Rialtas:—

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

Prionsias Mac Aogáin (Frank Aiken),

Erskine Childers (Erskine H. Childers),

Seán Ó Loinsigh (John Lynch),

Niall Bléine (Neil T. Blaney),

Caoimhghin Ó Beoláin (Kevin Boland),

Micheál Ó Móráin (Michael Moran),

Micheál Hilliard (Michael Hilliard),

Pádraig Ó hIrighile (Patrick J. Hillery),

Cathal Ó hEochaidh (Charles J. Haughey),

Brian Ó Luineacháin (Brian J. Lenihan),

Seosamh Ó Braonáin (Joseph Brennan),

Donnchadh Ó Máille (Donogh B. O'Malley)


Seoirse Ó Colla (George Colley).

Deputies are aware that the Dáil approves of the appointment of Deputies to be members of the Government and that the allocation to Government members of responsibility for particular Departments of State is a function of the Taoiseach. However, in accordance with what I think must now be regarded as precedent, I propose to inform the Dáil at this stage of my intentions in this regard.

I propose to nominate Deputy Frank Aiken to be Tánaiste and to assign the Departments of State to the members of the Government as follows: Department of External Affairs, Deputy Frank Aiken; Department of Transport and Power, Deputy Erskine H.

Childers; Department of Finance, Deputy Jack Lynch; Department of Local Government, Deputy Neil T. Blaney; Department of Social Welfare, Deputy Kevin Boland; Department of Lands and the Department of the Gaeltacht, Deputy Michael Moran; Department of Defence, Deputy Michael Hilliard; Department of Industry and Commerce, Deputy Dr. Patrick J. Hillery; Department of Agriculture, Deputy Charles J. Haughey; Department of Justice, Deputy Brian J. Lenihan; Department of Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Joseph Brennan; Department of Health, Deputy Donogh B. O'Malley; Department of Education, Deputy George Colley. I also propose to have responsibility for the administration of Fisheries transferred to the Minister for Agriculture.

I might add, for the information of the Dáil, that I propose to nominate the following Deputies for appointment by the Government to be Parliamentary Secretaries, as indicated: Deputy Michael Carty, Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach and to the Minister for Defence and Chief Government Whip; Deputy Seán Flanagan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce; Deputy Paudge Brennan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government; Deputy James M. Gibbons, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance; Deputy Padraig Faulkner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Gaeltacht; Deputy Patrick J. Lalor, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

No one will accuse the Taoiseach of equipping himself with an insufficient retinue but this occasion calls for a short statement from me. Endorsement of the members of the Government involves endorsement of the policy of the Government which they are elected to constitute. We in the Fine Gael Party placed our policy before the people, and we stand upon it. Insofar as the Fianna Fáil administration is not fitted by capacity or intention to give effect to the policy for which we stand, we shall vote against it and we shall continue to press on Dáil Éireann the steps we consider necessary to establish a just society in our country, for the future of which we, as representing 430,000 of our people, sit here today. I do not know how long this Government are likely to last; the shorter, the better it will be for the country. But, in the meantime, I suppose we can all be unanimous in the one sentiment: God save Ireland.

The Taoiseach said earlier today he did not think that on his election as Taoiseach the time was appropriate to make a statement of policy. I think the time is appropriate for the Taoiseach to make a policy statement. He says he may have an opportunity in the near future, but I believe that on the first day of the Dáil, the Taoiseach, whoever he might be—in this case, Deputy Seán Lemass —should indicate whether he proposes to continue the policy he pursued in the past 3½ years, or whether he proposes to make any changes. As far as the Labour Party are concerned, we feel, with the result, a greater justification for the policy we gave to the public prior to the election and the policy we pursued in the past 3½ years. This, as has been said by Deputy Tully here today, is indicated in the increased votes we got and in the increased number of seats we hold in Dáil Éireann.

After the election there were various criticisms about the electoral system operated in this country—proportional representation. I feel this is not the time to engage in any sort of controversy about proportional representation, but it ought to be said that it is only a very short time since the majority of the people, in a referendum, decided they would retain proportional representation.


Hear, hear.

It seems to me that the various criticisms we hear now are mainly due to the fact that we had a recount in Longford-Westmeath and a recount in Dublin North-East. We all must agree as well that they were a particularly tedious process, particularly for the candidates concerned.

However, as far as I am concerned, and as far as the Labour Party are concerned, those two recounts demonstrated to us how fair and how democratic our electoral system is. It is true it did not provide what one could call an overall majority but when one has regard to the British general election of last October, where they had a straight vote in a single constituency, the result showed that in a Parliament of 620 seats, the majority for the Government there could be regarded as very slim indeed. I believe, therefore, that proportional representation, as our electoral system, should be kept. I believe also we can debate this much more calmly, indeed if debate is necessary, not two weeks after the events, but some time in the future.

I want to say, as far as the Labour Party are concerned, we still adhere to the attitude we had in 1959, that is, in favour of the retention of proportional representation. If a change were to be made, it ought to be and could be made by the Minister for Local Government in the employment of many more in the staffs on the count. A direction, particularly, should be given by him to the various Returning Officers as to the type of individual who should be appointed as presiding officer and polling clerk.


Hear, hear.

In at least one of these constituencies it looked as if one Deputy, who had been elected on the first count, could have lost his seat by reason of the fact that a presiding officer forgot to stamp a ballot paper. The electorate in this election not only elected Deputies for the various constituencies but indicated their minds on certain aspects of economic and social policies.

The new Taoiseach and the Government will have to have regard to the message which, in our opinion, in any case, the electorate have conveyed to the new Government. This election campaign started off, as far as the Fianna Fáil Government were concerned, by assuming that the people had accepted the Fianna Fáil policy and had accepted the development in economic and social policies over the past 3½ years. This is not so because, if anything, the electorate, whilst they did not wholly disapprove of the Government's economic policy, certainly did focus attention on the lack of social policy on the part of the Government. I believe there is evidence of dissatisfaction by the people with the economic policy of the Government, particularly the policy that has been pursued over the past 3½ years.

There has been progress over the past three and a half years. I think it must be evident to everybody, and it certainly must have been evident to the Taoiseach, that the rate of economic growth has not been enough. The evidence is there in certain facts that have been stressed on very many occasions, particularly over the past 12 months. I do not think we should be content with an annual growth rate of four per cent which, as we reminded the House on many occasions, is the second lowest in Europe. That is reflected in other disturbing facts. It is reflected in the fact that we still have 56,000 unemployed and the fact that this represents practically no improvement in the rate of unemployment that we had in the previous year or in the year before and, I suspect, within the present Government, as again we accused them during the past 12 months is indicative of a certain amount of complacency.

It appears to me the Government are complacent, as far as unemployment is concerned, and they certainly are complacent as far as emigration is concerned. If one listens to some of the Government speeches one would think emigration was not still a problem. Emigration is now at the rate of 26,000 per year and if one has regard to the figures of the previous year, or the year before, when emigration was running at 20,000, it will be seen that emigration has not decreased. The Government will also have to take notice of the fact that there are fewer in employment now than there were in the year 1959, which all goes to demonstrate that the rate of progress is not what it should be. Enough progress has not been made to provide more employment for our people and less emigration.

The Taoiseach made a speech in this election campaign in which he spoke about increasing the national income. He said that last year the national income had risen by £18 million. He said that in the present year it probably would rise by another £18 million. This is the speech the Taoiseach made in order to try to demonstrate that there was prosperity in the country. If we are to measure prosperity in terms of increased gross national product, that may be all right for those who are fond of statistics, but, as far as the Labour Party are concerned, when we think about prosperity, we ask ourselves, prosperity for whom?

I believe the Government will have to give much more real thought to a social policy. I am frankly disappointed that the Government do not seem to have any plans for a social policy. We have always been told by them that if the country generally became more prosperous, this would be reflected in improvements in social welfare, in health and in education, but I do not see this being done. In the sphere of social welfare, when one examines the position, one realises that very little has been done in the past 3½ years.

What did you do for six years?

Any increase in social welfare benefits was confined to Budget increases. There has been no radical change in social welfare.

That is not true.

Let the backbenchers behave themselves.

You had the chance for six years and what did you do?

A halfcrown for the old age pensioners.

Order. Deputy Corish, to proceed.

The increases which were given were given from taxation which made the cost of living higher to those whom it was supposed to benefit. It is true that over the past three and a half years, and even since 1957, increases were given, a halfcrown now and a halfcrown again, and it is also true practically every year this Government gave an increase, but these increases were negatived by other actions which the Government took. It is again important to stress the fact that since 1957 the Fianna Fáil Government have given less out of taxation to social welfare.


Hear, hear.

Nothing for the quads.

If you have a few quads, we will do something about them.

The Tánaiste will disgrace himself to the last.

During the election campaign, the Taoiseach promised that old age pensions would be increased this year—an unusual departure, I suppose, before a Budget but understandable in view of the fact that there was an election campaign. I suppose he thought it important for him to say it. I do not know what the nature of this increase will be but in other respects we should have got more from the Minister for Social Welfare. He made a certain number of speeches about workmen's compensation and had the audacity to blame me for the fact that the Commission on Workmen's Compensation had not reported, alleging that this Commission was established merely to delay any action, forgetting, of course, that his colleague and a former Minister for Social Welfare did a certain amount of disruption in that Commission by certain appointments he made.

That Commission was established in 1955. The Minister has had the report, I suppose, for the past maybe 12 or 18 months and still there has been no action. Therefore, as far as workmen's compensation is concerned, we are entitled to ask the Taoiseach to try to insist that within a very short time we will see some action. We will certainly support the action that the Minister for Social Welfare indicated would be taken but we are still waiting for this legislation. We are still waiting for the Minister for Social Welfare to increase the insurable limit under social welfare from £800 to £1,000 or £1,200. These are small things that could have been done but that were not done within the past 18 months and they are things which the Taoiseach should insist will be done as soon as possible.

We know that whatever improvements there are or may come in social welfare will have to be paid for. I want to say that as far as payment for these is concerned, as far as taxation is concerned, we will oppose the type of taxation the Government have been introducing in recent Budgets. We do not think it good enough, in a tax such as the turnover tax, to tax the essentials of life, to tax ordinary foodstuffs, in order to give increases in any field of social welfare. We believe, as we have often stressed, that if money is to be got, it should be taken from those who have rather than from those who have not.

The last Dáil was a wasted Dáil as far as health was concerned. There was no substantial change in the health services of the country for 11 or 12 years. The Taoiseach indicated in, I think, one of the last speeches he made in the previous Dáil, that the Select Committee on Health Services had been more or less a waste of time in that it produced nothing.

Because you ran away from it.

We called your bluff.

In the very beginning of the Seventeeth Dáil, there was unanimity that the health services should be improved——

No, there was not.

——and we expected, as ex-Deputy Sherwin expected, that there would be a report and recommendation for an improvement in the health services within three or six months. They were the terms of the motion supported by the Fianna Fáil Party at that time. After approximately 3½ years, we still find ourselves with the very same health services as we had at the beginning of the Seventeenth Dáil. We have had no indication from any member of the Government as to what changes the Government would favour. We did have a passing reference by the Taoiseach in one of his speeches to the effect that there ought to be a choice of doctor, that there ought to be some other improvements. I believe, therefore, that the new Minister for Health, Deputy O'Malley, has an important function in this Government and I trust he will tackle it in such a way that there will be real improvements, not in years, but in a matter of months.

You ran away from it, you know.


Mr. Tully

Deputy Fanning did not get a chance to talk during the election campaign. He wants to talk now.


Deputies ought not to mar the first meeting of this Dáil by disorderly behaviour.


The Deputy must restrain himself.

In any case, if the election campaign did nothing else but get some view from a member of the Fianna Fáil Party on the matter of health, it was worthwhile.

I do not think there is any room for complacency as far as the housing situation is concerned. I am informed that the Estimate for the Department of Local Government will be taken next week when there will be more about that, but the Taoiseach certainly must know, as do Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, and as we all know, that there is still a tremendous job to be done in the matter of the provision of houses for families who are at present living in appalling conditions. We are also aware of the heavy burden on those who build their own houses. These are problems that will have to be tackled much more vigorously by the Government than they have been tackled in the past three and a half years.

Why did not you do that in 1955? You were then in the Government.

The record of a Labour Minister for Local Government will more than compare with the record of any Minister of the Deputy's Government.

Deputy MacEntee should allow Deputy Corish to speak.

He just wants to demonstrate that he is not sound in intellect, although he may be in wind and limb.

I do not know whether this Dáil will last for a long or a short period but the Labour Party will pursue the policy we put before the electorate. As I said before, I believe we have got an increase in support for that policy rather than, as the Taoiseach forecast some months ago, that our support would be diminished when we went before the people.

The Taoiseach also had occasion to call the policy of the Labour Party "old hat". That may be the Taoiseach's pet description for the policy of the Labour Party which has been so consistent down the years that both the major Parties have taken many parts from it. It has been subjected to criticism and derision, but as I said the emphasis in this election by the electorate, which was quickly recognised by those who were candidates was on social policy—the social policy Fianna Fáil have not yet divulged. There have been bits and pieces, but as far as a comprehensive policy on social welfare, health and education is concerned, they just have not produced that.

We will advocate and support a policy that will provide for a greater rate of economic growth in order to ensure that there will be a greater degree of prosperity. Not satisfied with that, we will also pursue a policy to ensure that that prosperity is shared in a socially just way.

Like Deputy Corish, I will not attempt to forecast how long this Dáil will last but I can express my belief that it will last until some time in the middle of 1970. I am sure that is good news for all the Deputies opposite.

You said the same thing the last time, you know.

Of course, it happens to be contrary to the law. That would be more than five years.

It will be the policy of the new Government to proceed as quickly and as energetically as possible with the economic and social development of the country in accordance with the programme we put before the public and for which we secured their endorsement. I must make it quite clear that it is necessary to get this Eighteenth Dáil to work very quickly. There is a great deal of business to be completed before we can think of a Summer recess. The Government have many important proposals to bring before the Dáil. Therefore, I will be moving that the Dáil should get down to work as from 3 p.m. next Tuesday.

As the House understands, Bills that were in progress or had been introduced at the time of the dissolution will have to be re-introduced and start on their course again, but we shall have available next week a considerable volume of business. We are proposing to order Estimates for the Department of Local Government, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Lands and the Department of Justice. If we complete that business next week, in which I hope to have the co-operation of Deputies, then I shall be able to announce a further programme of work for the following week. I hope to be able to inform the Dáil on Tuesday or Wednesday next of the date of the Budget. I therefore propose to move that the Dáil adjourn until 3 p.m.——

Wait now.

The vote on the election of the members of the Government must be taken first.


The Deputy will have five years in which to rehearse his next election speech.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 47.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Don.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South-Central)
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, Hugh.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, James J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Wyse, Pearse.


  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan
  • Costello, John A.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J.
  • (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick.
  • (South Tipperary).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
Tellers:— Tá, Deputies Carty and Geoghegan; Níl, Deputies Crotty and Clinton.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 6.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 27th April, 1965.