Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú an Teachta Deasún Ó Máille chun a cheaptha ag an Uachtarán chun bheith ina chomhalta den Rialtas.
That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of Deputy Desmond J. O'Malley for appointment by the President to be a member of the Government.
May I add for the information of the Dáil that, subject to the motion being approved by the House, I propose on his appointment to assign the Department of Justice to Deputy O'Malley.
I should like to state for the information of the Dáil that, having requested the resignation as a member of the Government of Deputy Neil T. Blaney, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, and Deputy Charles J. Haughey, Minister for Finance, as neither would comply with my request, accordingly on my advice the President has today terminated their appointments as members of the Government with effect from the 7th May, 1970. On my advice also, the President has today accepted the resignation of Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin, Minister for Local Government and for Social Welfare, as a member of the Government with effect from the same date.
I want to take advantage of this occasion to make a statement on the termination of appointment of the three former members of the Government to which I have just referred. As might be expected, there has been much comment through the news media and otherwise on these terminations of appointment. In at least one case, if not more, there appeared to be an implication that the Minister whose resignation I accepted on Monday last, Micheál Ó Moráin, was involved in some way in the matter with which I now propose to deal. I want to assure the House that that appointment was terminated on health grounds as I have already stated publicly. The Minister was not involved in these matters.
On Monday, 20th April and Tuesday, 21st April, the security forces of the country at my disposal brought me information about an alleged attempt to unlawfully import arms from the continent. Prima facie, these reports involved two members of the Government. I decided to interview the two members of the Government—Deputy Blaney, then Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Deputy Haughey, then Minister for Finance. I decided to do this on the following day, Wednesday 22nd April, which was the day of the Budget. In the meantime I ensured that adequate steps were taken to prevent any unauthorised importation of arms. On 22nd April, the day I decided to interview the former Ministers, I received news of the accident to Deputy Haughey and, as a result, I was unable to interview him.
Deputies will remember I informed the House on that day that as a result of that accident Deputy Haughey became concussed and was under medical care in hospital. I contacted his doctor on a number of occasions seeking his permission to interview Deputy Haughey. He told me he was not in a fit condition for interview if the matter I proposed to discuss with him was serious. I told the doctor it was a serious matter and he repeated his opinion that he felt he was not in a position to discuss, certainly at any length, a matter of serious import. However, I ultimately got the doctor's permission and I decided to interview Deputy Haughey in hospital on Wednesday, 29th April. Having made that decision and before I went to the hospital, I then summoned Deputy Blaney to my room and interviewed him, upon which I went to the hospital and interviewed Deputy Haughey.
I told them both I had information which purported to connect them with an alleged attempt to unlawfully import arms, on the basis of which information I felt it was my duty to request their resignations as members of the Government. Each of them denied he instigated in any way the attempted importation of arms. They asked me for time to consider their position. I agreed to do so. In the meantime I authorised the continuation of investigations and I made personal investigations myself, following which I decided to approach the two Ministers again and to repeat my request that they tender to me their resignations as members of the Government. I did so on the basis that I was convinced that not even the slightest suspicion should attach to any member of the Government in a matter of this nature. Having told the Ministers that I wished to have their resignations forthwith, each of them told me he would not give me his resignation until this morning.
I may say that on the question of suspicion Deputy Cosgrave came to me yesterday evening to say he had some information from an anonymous source connecting the two Ministers concerned with this alleged attempt at unlawful importation. Shortly after requesting the resignation of these two Ministers I received the resignation tendered by the Minister for Local Government and Social Welfare, Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin. Not having received the resignations of the other two Ministers, I then informed the President that under the appropriate Article of the Constitution I was requesting him to terminate their appointments as Ministers and advising him to accept the resignation of Caoimhghín Ó Beoláin who had tendered it. As I have already informed the House, he did so.
I want to assure the House that this was the only attempted importation of arms of which I had evidence and with which the two Ministers named were associated. I also want to assure the House that these arms have not been imported, have not been landed in this country, and that the precautions I have taken will ensure they will not be landed.