asked the Taoiseach if he proposes to make the statement on the state of the economy mentioned by him in the Dáil on 27th March last; and, if so, when.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - State of the Economy.
I hope to make a statement on the state of the economy in the course of the debate on the Budget.
Will the Taoiseach inform us, due to the serious state of the economy at the present time, if the nation can wait until the date of the Budget or could he inform us now on what day we will have the Budget?
There is a question on that today.
There are questions on that later.
Can the Taoiseach say when the Budget will be brought in?
There is a question on the Order Paper today about it.
In view of the fact that the Taoiseach was so anxious to make this statement over two weeks ago——
The Deputy did not want it.
——would he not think some statement should be made to the House now about the serious financial position this country is in at the present time?
The offer I made of a debate over two weeks ago was not acceptable.
Is the Taoiseach not aware the offer his Whips made was that he was to make a statement but that the Opposition was not to be given the chance to reply?
That is not true.
That is quite true. That is the offer that was made. That is the offer that was made to us and we rejected it. We said the nation was in such a serious state that we were even prepared to come back on two days the following week to have it debated and discussed and the Taoiseach's Party would not agree to it.
Will the Deputy deny there was an offer that the matter be debated on the Thursday and Friday of the week the Dáil concluded and that would have given an opportunity to Opposition Deputies to speak?
The offer that was made to us was that you would make a statement. We said we wanted a debate.
There was an offer made, and the Deputy well knows it, which involved an opportunity for Deputies on the Opposition side to speak as well, as on an adjournment debate. It was not acceptable in the circumstances to them.
May I point out that the Taoiseach has been misinformed if he was told that that offer was made. If that had been done there would not have been time to complete the business which had to be completed before the Easter recess. The Taoiseach should be aware of that and that that was the reason why it was not debated.
I am calling Question No. 3.
Is the Taoiseach further aware that we made the offer we would discuss it on the following Monday and Tuesday? We were told by the Government Whips that they were going to a Government and a Cabinet meeting and that we could get word after that. Things did not turn out as they should at the Cabinet meeting. We all know that there was hell and when they came back——
There was open warfare and the Taoiseach threatened to resign.
The Deputy cannot make a speech on this question at this stage.
We were told by the Government Whips that we would have no debate.
This matter cannot be discussed further. I am calling Question No. 3.
The Government were anxious to leave as quickly as possible and we were told there would be no debate. The Taoiseach is running away from his responsibilities.
I wanted to inquire from the Taoiseach if the discussion with the Fianna Fáil Party regarding salary cuts had anything to do with the postponement of this statement on the economy?
I want to raise a point of order. The country is watching us and I think rightly watching us. Parliament proceeds on the basis that we all recognise the Taoiseach is a busy man and he delegates to his Chief Whip discussions for the arrangement of our business. We all sympathise with our friend and colleague, Deputy Carty, in his temporary indisposition. I think the Minister for Social Welfare has undertaken his obligations. It is unreasonable to expect that the Minister for Social Welfare, while he has undertaken Deputy Carty's duties in Deputy Carty's regrettable and unavoidable absence, should be present so that matters of this kind can be clarified. It is certainly distressing that there should appear to be a conflict between what I believe the Taoiseach is telling us in perfectly good faith now and what I understand the temporary Chief Whip, the Minister for Social Welfare, communicated to Deputies Tully and L'Estrange just before the Adjournment. It is important, I submit, that some arrangement should be made to carry home to the public mind that we are doing the public business like adults in this House.
The Deputy is making a mountain out of Deputy L'Estrange's molehill.