Committee on Finance. - Vote 3: Department of the Taoiseach (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
That a sum not exceeding £99,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1972, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of the Taoiseach.
—(The Taoiseach).

Following the Taoiseach's speech, Members of the Opposition made comments on the high level of unemployment. The Taoiseach had pointed out that there was a shortage of skilled workers in Irish industry despite the presence of unemployed people. He went on to refer to the manpower service and the other services provided by the Department of Labour. It should be emphasised that there are jobs available for skilled workers but in some cases, retrained skilled workers have been unable to obtain employment because of the views and disputes within the employment sector. The Taoiseach urged that employers, trade unions and individual workers co-operate to ensure that a shortage of skilled workers would not impede industrial expansion.

The Taoiseach also indicated that it had been necessary to place advertisements in order to seek workers from abroad to ensure the continuation of industrial projects. We must ensure that retrained workers get a fair crack of the whip. I understand that in recent times a number of workers who have been retrained were unable to obtain employment offered to them because of the differences within the trade unions and with other workers. In two particular cases I understand that people with lower qualifications than the personnel that had been retrained here came from England, having obtained union cards there— they are easy to obtain there—and secured jobs, and the people who were trained here were denied the right to work in their own country.

Every effort should be made to ensure that there are good relations between management, workers and trade unions, and skilled workers should be given every opportunity to work in their own country. Any departure from that would be sabotaging the efforts of the retraining service. The placement officers in the manpower service are doing wonderful work. This was evident recently in respect of the redundancies at Kennedy's. The employees of that firm were settled in other positions before the redundancies become effective. Every credit, therefore, must be given to those who for so long have worked so hard in developing these services.

I am glad the Taoiseach devoted a considerable amount of time to the question of co-operation between workers, employers and trade unions. This indicates the desire of the Government to ensure that workers get a fair crack of the whip. Any impediments that are placed in the way of workers are to be deplored.

In relation to redundancy I might mention the "Buy Irish" campaign. So far, this campaign has not been very successful. It is the duty of each one of us to ensure that we do not cause people to lose their jobs by purchasing goods made outside the country. The survival of this country is at stake. In this respect the housewife has an important responsibility because it is she who spends a large amount of the family income. She should endeavour, in so far as possible, to buy Irish produced foodstuffs and other goods and she must realise that not only is she jeopardising her husband's job by buying other than Irish goods but that, possibly, she is jeopardising also the future prospects for her children. Huge amounts of foreign biscuits, tinned fruits and drinks are to be seen in our stores and very often these are purchased by people who, under a misapprehension, think they are better than our own goods. Major-General Costello spoke recently in the same vein. If we continue to support Hong Kong and Japan it will not be very long before many of our workers will become redundant. The State can play a large part in this respect by buying Irish-produced goods in so far as it is possible to do so. The same goes for semi-State concerns and local authorities. Many tractors and other farm implements which depreciate quickly in value can be seen in farmyards everywhere. Very often such machines are purchased for prestige purposes and I believe that with a little co-operation between farmers it would not be necessary to buy nearly as many of these machines.

We know that those who purchase most of those foreign goods are people with exotic tastes, who have made money at the expense of the workers. They are the ones who are in a position to buy imported foodstuffs and other goods. The "Buy Irish" campaign is being conducted on the wrong lines and something more definite will have to be done.

What would the Deputy think of having the posters printed in Ireland?

Which posters?

The "Buy Irish" campaign ones.

I would be concerned that they would be printed in Ireland.

Then talk to the Taoiseach about it.

I had the position explained to me the other day. Most of the work that goes into the production of these posters is carried out in Ireland but some technical details are executed elsewhere.

Surely the Parliamentary Secretary is not suggesting that posters cannot be printed in Ireland?

I am not suggesting anything.

The poster was an excellent one but unfortunately the money for it went to Holland.

I would not accept that at all.

Do not try to deny it.

Deputy Dowling.

My remarks are directed to the Taoiseach.

I thought they should be directed to the Chair.

Technically, the Deputy is correct. I would like to convey my remarks to the Taoiseach and to the Government through the Chair. Now that we have corrected the situation, I shall continue. I hope that items stamped "Déanta sa tSeapáin", for the purpose, perhaps, of confusing the people will not appear so frequently in our shops. The situation in relation to Italian shoes and other items that are imported in large quantities should be examined by whichever Government Department are responsible. I hope that other speakers will enforce these views.

In relation to industrial production, the situation of last year was very unsatisfactory in so far as we did not reach the growth target that was desired. Here, again, each one of us must play his part. If one examines the car park outside one sees the number of people who are not concerned about the Irish workers.

It is interesting to see that in a number of cases there were substantial increases in industrial production last year despite the fact that the overall position was somewhat disappointing. Drink and tobacco was up by 7.3 per cent, textiles by 11 per cent, wood and furniture by 6 per cent, chemicals by 5.4 per cent and smaller manufactured items by 9.6 per cent. Quite a number of items had a drop, some, no doubt, due to the fact that the cement strike went on for so long and the bank strike affected the situation. We can help by purchasing Irish goods and in that way ensure that Irish workers are maintained in employment.

Deputy Byrne made a suggestion yesterday that we were on the way out as a nation because of the number of closures in industry. When asked about the number of new industries established he had no information whatever. He could only make a suggestion that Irish industry was on the way out and that there was no future here for Irishmen. If one looks at the trade magazines one sees that a substantial number of new industries have been established and are giving good employment. I shall not name them because there are too many of them but they are in all parts of the country. If we weigh these against the failures we see that it is a very reasonable picture. In the case of the closures, most of these factories and workshops have been purchased by other concerns. Six per cent is the approximate closure rate. In other countries the percentage is very much higher. There are bound to be difficulties in industry because of new developments and new tastes so one can expect closures at this particular time. However, our closure rate has been 6 per cent while in one country it has been 20 per cent, tapering down to 15 per cent. Twelve per cent is about the normal level. It would be worth Deputy Byrne's time to study some of the booklets he gets because it is obvious he does not study them and he is not familiar with the situation.

Positive, deliberate and urgent action must be taken in relation to pollution. It must be remembered that water, soil or air once destroyed can never be replaced. This is a frightening fact. The poor, the sick and the less well-off are forced to live in a polluted area producing commodities which they cannot afford while affluent people who can afford the commodities produced there, and causing the pollution, move to the outer areas to get away from the pollution. That is no solution. We have a very large pollution problem in this nation and our young people, like young people elsewhere, are worried and have voiced their fears that they will inherit a vast problem. I would ask the Government to take more positive action in relation to pollution.

Deputy Dr. Byrne said yesterday— I hope other Members of the Fine Gael Party will repudiate what he said—that people from the lower social groups are taking the law into their own hands. He was referring to robberies and so on and he said: who can blame them? It is a very serious matter that a Deputy of this House would incite and encourage people to take the law into their own hands. Enough has been said by the leader of the party and by the leader of the Labour Party in relation to party policy but when Members get up in this House and say that people cannot be blamed for doing this it is encouraging people to do it and it is very seriously wrong.

You will be able to put him in jail soon.

I will not put him in jail.

You will have to pay people's fines and send them home in taxis.

I do not want to go on too long but I could deal with all these things. The type of encouragement we have heard from Deputy Dr. Byrne is to be deplored. We know of many groups who are participating in the robberies, who are being tutored in many ways. We have seen the distribution of literature on a vast scale in many parts of this city. If these people are to be encouraged we will be in a sad situation in the not-too-distant future. Recently, in my area, we had literature distributed advocating Soviet power. These are the same people who are taking the law into their own hands. It is regrettable that any Member of this House would encourage groups like this to go ahead and would ask who can blame them.

In relation to the workers' problems, in relation to job opportunities, serious consideration should be given to the type of goods we purchase. Everyone should undertake, for the next couple of years, to purchase nothing but Irish goods. Italian shoes are being imported on a large scale. I should like the Taoiseach to pay attention to this matter. We see Irish shoe factories closing here and there although the magazine states that shoe factories which have developed one or two particular lines rather than covering a complete range of shoes have been successful. Specialisation is much better than covering a whole range. In that way each section could develop without competition, and have a ready market. There is a scandalous situation in relation to Italian shoes and the prices charged. Perhaps one of the reasons they are imported is that there is a greater profit margin. I would ask the Taoiseach to have the profit margin on Italian shoes examined. The day we start buying Irish shoes, and they are every bit as good and our craftsmen are every bit as efficient, that is the day we can start opening the factories again and ensuring that Irish workers will have a job at home rather than having factories closed down by the stupid approach of Irish people in purchasing Italian commodities and so pushing our own people and even members of their own families out of employment.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

In the 12 years I have had the privilege of being a public representative of the Irish people I have never been so fearful about the future of this country. In the past dozen years there has never been a moment in which there has been so much cause for alarm at the problems facing the country and the incompetence of the Government in Dublin to tackle them.

One of the saddest changes we have witnessed in the past 12 years here has been the increasing demoralisation of the Fianna Fáil Party, a party which at one time had some dignity and sense of principle and which proceeded on certain patriotic lines but is now in a state of total disarray. If members of the Government have ability they have no honesty and if they have honesty they have no ability. Presiding over this incompetent and disarrayed party is Mr. Micawber Lynch who has no sense of direction and no capacity to control and who is, like Mr. Micawber, waiting for something to turn up to deliver him from the terrible menaces he sees around him, menaces which arise not merely within the State, but also from Northern Ireland.

Because the Government are divided and relying upon support from people who have different opinions on the issue of Northern Ireland, they are unable to present to the British Government, who have a considerable responsibility in the matter, any convincing policy. This is to blame to a large extent for the clear drift towards a change in British Government policy in relation to the north and to ourselves over the past two years. The Taoiseach is in power at present not because of the united support of the people who sit on the benches behind him, but because at least nine or ten of them are staying in his company and staying close to him so that by being so close to him they may do him greater damage. They are lending their support to him to destroy him and to jeopardise the policies in relation to Northern Ireland which the Taoiseach at least professes, even though he is doing very little to implement them.

This is a historic occasion. I take little, if none the less justifiable, pride in the fact, having witnessed Deputy Dowling's performance last night that I can claim responsibility for defeating him 12 years ago in a by-election. As a result he did not arrive in Dáil Éireann until six years later. The pity is that he arrived here at all. It is frightening that we should have witnessed such a burlesque for over an hour last night in the middle of an important debate like this, because it indicates that the welfare of this country is of little concern to the Fianna Fáil Party and that they are preoccupied at all times with their own personal fortunes. It is that consideration which has them in office today against the wishes of the majority of the Irish people.

It is true to say that there are many former supporters of Fianna Fáil who are utterly disgusted with the present Government. These people in common with many others, feel an immense sense of frustration, and it is this annoyance and sense of futility which is eating away at the very heart of our people and weakening their sense of patriotism upon which we ought to be able to call at a time like this. It is destroying their respect for the insitutions of the State, which were so hard fought for and won, at the very time when it is necessary to have respect for those institutions in order that, if necessary, action can be taken against those who are apparently anxious to destroy them.

It is alarming that British Government policy has taken a turnabout over the past two years from a position of anxiety to protect all the people in the North of Ireland against attack by others to one of continuous molestation of the minority. The British army is now being used as a weapon to contain the present situation there. That means to contain the whole system of Government which suppresses a minority of people and denies fundamental rights to them in order to placate an even smaller bigoted minority amongst those of the majority faith. As we consider the problem of the North of Ireland, I think it is vitally important that we should identify precisely who are the enemies of Northern Ireland and of the Irish people. They are not necessarily the vast number of people in the North of Ireland who have an attachment to Britain and wish to maintain an association with Britain, but they are a vicious minority within that group who wish to use that desire for association with Britain, not out of a love of Britain but in order to maintain their own position of supremacy within that community, in order that they can act unjustly towards a minority which represents one-third of the population there.

We in Fine Gael strongly criticise the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Taoiseach and the present Government in that they have relied unsuccessfully upon a nice, soft, cosy approach to the British Government, through secret diplomatic channels, to express viewpoints rather than coming out in the open and denouncing British Government policy as it has been devolping in recent times.

In the British Parliament yesterday, we had the exhibition of the British Home Secretary, Mr. Maudling, saying that whether or not the Apprentice Boys parade was held in Derry this month was a matter for the Stormont Government, inferring that he had no responsibilty in the matter. At the same time as the British Home Secretary was declaring that position to the British Parliament, he was already in secret conference with the Northern Premier and with the Commander of the British forces in the North of Ireland. For what purpose? To assist Mr. Faulkner and the members of the Orange Order to carry out this provocative and insulting parade against the majority of the citizens of Derry. We can no longer accept the bona fides of Mr. Maudling or the British Conservative Government, now that we see that they have deliberately connived at the carrying on of the Apprentice Boys parade this month.

If the British Government did not want that parade to take place, if they did not want one-third of the people of the north to be insulted and provoked and demeaned, all they had to do was to refuse to provide the British Army to enable the parade to take place, because without the guns of the British Army to protect it, such a provocative and insulting demonstration could not take place. If British policy is to continue, as it now appears to be developing, to concentrate all British action towards the maintenance of an unjust order, then our Government have a clear obligation to bring this to the attention of the international assemblies which are concerned with the maintenance of fundamental rights and freedoms and to see to it that governments in this day and age do not connive at the establishment and maintenance of unjust regimes.

The British people very frequently, and I believe rightly, condemn the Germans because of their weakness in the face of Nazism to stand up against it and to prevent its spread. The Germans' defence to such criticism is that they did not know. Perhaps at one time British public opinion and British politicians were not aware of the evil of Orangeism. That situation does not exist today. The British Parliament and people are aware that the Orange bigots, who are the real rulers of Northern Ireland, are an evil force, a ruthless force. They are concerned only with their unfair privileges and self-preservation which they realise can only be maintained by acting in an unconscionable manner towards their neighbours. They are aware that the regime and the philosophy which is Northern Ireland is one which is based upon a denial of rights to many, upon intimidation, fear and prejudice. That being so, Britons must accept the condemnation of the world if they continue any longer to maintain that situation.

The only justification I have ever heard them offer for maintaining the position in the north as it is, is that to bring about any change will bring about a bloody holocaust, that difficult as the situation is at the moment, it would become more difficult if they were to confront the armed minority with Orange sympathies who are ready to defend their position, unjust as it is, even against the British Army and the soldiers of the Crown which they pretend to respect. Be that as it may, the British Parliament and Government now have to elect between either confronting these people or continuing to allow the people of Northern Ireland to be prisoners of their own vicious Orange minority. When Captain O'Neill, as he then was, was Premier, when Mr. Chichester Clark, as he then was, was Premier, the British Government said that they could not move too fast because if they did, the right wing whiplash would be applied to the Premier, the Government and the Parliament of Northern Ireland. The same excuse is being given today. It is never apparently the time to confront the right wing. But for the last two years we have had a situation in which apparently it was found justifiable to subject the Catholic minority to the inconvenience and indignity of searches, of curfew, of interrogation.

It is prudent to remember that when the violence was renewed in the North of Ireland in August, 1969, the IRA was not a factor in the situation, in Derry, Belfast or anywhere else. I think this is common case. What has happened since is that the application of unwise policies has provided the fertilisation which foolish people thrive on, the foolish people who believe that a resort to force can remedy the ills of the North of Ireland. Instead of realising the situation as it was developing, either through ignorance or through malice, the present British Government has only driven the minority into the hands of the IRA and caused them to look upon the IRA as their friends and saviours. That is the appalling situation which has developed in the North, a situation which, if one is to judge by Mr. Maudling's words yesterday, they are prepared to justify and maintain indefinitely.

We have always spoken here with considerable reserve on the Northern Ireland situation, being anxious not to add any fuel to the fires there. There are so many fires burning now that the time has come to clearly identify who put the fuel there, who supplied the fuel, and how future fuel supplies can be stopped. Until there is a realisation of the real causes of the trouble and a preparedness on the part of the British Government to tackle those causes the trouble will continue. In case the British people are in any doubt, they need only look to the utterings of Mr. Paisley, MP, the man who is primarily responsible for the sickness which afflicts the northern community at the present time. He has said that if only the British Army would get out of the way the "loyalists" would soon tackle the problems there and cure them once and for all. What does this mean but that he, Mr. Paisley, MP, who commands the right-wingers, is aware that they are armed and they are in a position militarily to deal with the people whom they hate? Speaking with great concern and compassion recently, Lord O'Neill, the former Premier of Northern Ireland, also put on record his conviction that there were arms in the possession of the Orange extremists in such numbers, and in the hands of so many people, that if they were permitted to use them, they could destroy the Catholic minority if they were to commence civil war against them, a situation which could easily happen.

What are the British Government doing about this? It is wrong to succumb to the easy temptation of blaming the soldiers on the spot for the inevitable embarrassments and frictions which arise when an army is endeavouring to control a civil population. The fault lies not so much on the part of the soldiers immediately concerned in a riot situation, but on those who send them there with a wrong outlook or who direct them against only one section of the community in the full knowledge that the other section of the community, who are feared by the ones who are being intimidated and interrogated, are fully armed and ready and anxious to use those arms. Here, again, we must fault Britain's policy. The handbook which is given to every British soldier as he embarks for Northern Ireland is as vicious a piece of anti-Irish propaganda as could ever have been produced on the Shankill Road. There is hardly any Irish national or Catholic-related organisation that is not listed in that handbook as a potentially subversive organisation, while the many organisations, regular and irregular, on the Unionist side, stretching from the Orange Order to the Black Perceptories and the UVF, get scarcely any reference at all. If ever soldiers were wrongly briefed and wrongly directed, that situation exists in Northern Ireland at the present time. Blame must fall squarely on the British Government. It is against the British Government we should make the protests and not against the unfortunate, ill-equipped, ill-trained and ill-educated troops who are sent out on the streets to police an impossible situation.

We are anxious that the unity of Ireland should come about by democratic means and the will of our people, freely expressed. We are anxious to maintain democratic institutions. These institutions cannot exist in an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, ignorance and prejudice, nor can one accept that democracy is operating or can operate in any territory where those opposed to the Government of the day decline to participate in Parliament because of their total lack of respect for that Parliament and the institutions which it presumes to serve.

We are now faced with a new unpleasant reality in Northern Ireland where the Opposition representatives have withdrawn from Parliament. Does this cause even a ripple of interest in Westminster? I doubt if Westminster lives in fear of the outcome of any future parliamentary elections in Northern Ireland. It is time for the British Government, if they still presume to accept responsibility in the north, to accept as a reality that meaningful parliamentary elections in Northern Ireland cannot take place at any time in the foreseeable future, that is, if we accept that in the foreseeable future injustice, intimidation and fear are not going to be removed. Quite clearly, it would be a farce to conduct parliamentary elections in Northern Ireland if the effective opposition to the Government there, and the public representatives of the people who are dissatisfied with the whole fabric of government there, were to refuse to participate in that Parliament.

The British Government recently put themselves on record as being prepared to commit all their forces and might to preserve the statutory situation which was created by the Ireland Act of 1949. Could there ever have been such folly? This declaration was made at the very moment that the parliamentary Opposition in Stormont withdrew from that institution because they said the Stormont Parliament could not serve the needs of the people of Northern Ireland justly and fairly. At the very time that that vote of no confidence in the institutions of Stormont was expressed by the public representatives of one-third of the people of Northern Ireland, the British Government presumed to say that they were going to apply all their majestic and imperial might and wealth and power to maintain a statutory situation which recognised as valid a decision taken by an institution which was totally repugnant to a substantial number of people in Northern Ireland. At the same time as that declaration was made by the British Government they were also aware of the conviction which was spreading throughout Britain and elsewhere that it is only by a system of proportional representation at elections and, indeed, proportional representation in government, that sanity can prevail in Northern Ireland and that the minority can be given some meaningful participation in the creation of a society which they can respect. Knowing that Stormont institution with all its accepted shortcomings of non-participation by the Opposition, and unfair electoral procedures, they nevertheless, said that in the present situation their solution and contribution would be to commit the British Army and the British taxpayer to the preservation of the 1949 statutory position of Stormont.

That position was adopted, let us recall, by a British Labour Government in a fit of pique because the people of Ireland dared to declare Ireland to be a Republic outside the Commonwealth. In essence, there was no need for the 1949 Act. The one occasion in my experience that all the political parties in this country united was when, under the shadow of Charles Stewart Parnell's monument in O'Connell Street, the then Taoiseach, John A. Costello, the then leader of the Opposition, Éamonn de Valera and the then leader of the Labour Party, Bill Norton, Mr. Seán MacBride and the leader of the Nationalist Party in Northern Ireland spoke on a united platform in condemnation of the 1949 Act.

This little, pedantic miserable piece of British pique is now regarded as the beginning and end of present British Government commitment to Northern Ireland and contribution to peace in this island. It is time that the softly, softly diplomatic approach was put aside. It is too late for that now. It is not going to make the extremist Orange people of the north aware that their days are numbered, that injustice is not going to be tolerated any longer, that the modern world is not prepared to see emerge in the North of Ireland a new Nazism under a new Fuehrer in the shape of Ian Paisley or any of his friends.

I suggested here on an earlier occasion—I think there were those who doubted the validity of my suggestion —that there is a possible explanation for the present attitude of the British Government in the anxiety of Mr. Heath to purchase Unionist votes for the critical vote in the British Parliament this autumn for approval of the terms of entry to the EEC, which have been negotiated by the Conservative Government. As time goes on, as tragedy is heaped upon tragedy, and as the British Government appear to be returning to the very policies which failed so miserably in the past, it becomes impossible to find any explanation for their conduct other than this desire to buy the votes of the Unionist Members in Westminster for the Conservative terms of entry to the EEC.

I believe there is significance in the date fixed for the proposed talks between Mr. Heath and the Taoiseach. It is in October, just one week before the British Parliament reassembles for the purpose of making a critical decision on whether or not to approve the British terms of EEC entry. It would appear from the present conduct of the British Government that they will use that occasion to reject any suggestion that there should be a constitutional or institutional rearrangement in the North of Ireland and that they will do it publicly in order to belittle the Irish people and their national aspirations for unity and also to mollify the Unionist Members so that they will troop in behind Mr. Heath in the Lobbies in the Westminster Parliament the following week.

We should express our appreciation of the request of Mr. Callaghan, the Labour Shadow Home Secretary, for an earlier meeting. The British Government needs to be persuaded that their present policies are going to lead to an appalling civil war in the north because they are directed at comforting the trouble-makers, at protecting the evil men who want to maintain in the north all the injustice, all the bitterness and all the viciousness that has existed there and which is the foundation of its very existence.

In a situation where the elected representatives of the minority in the north are unwilling to participate any longer in the democratic fraud which is the Stormont Parliament one must consider what other institution can be made available to them to allow them to express their opinons. Clearly, if they are to be involved again in representative government there must be an immediate dismissal of the Stormont Parliament as it now exists and its replacement by a Parliament elected by a system of proportional representation. If there are difficulties and anxieties about doing that forthwith there should at least be established, as Mr. Callaghan suggested yesterday, a Council of Ireland in which all public representatives from Ireland could participate.

We have a Council of Europe—indeed, it is the only Assembly in which public representatives from the South of Ireland and from the North of Ireland meet. At present the representative from the North of Ireland is, interestingly enough, Lord O'Neill, a man who in fact represents the majority opinion in Northern Ireland because the majority opinion in the north is desirous of peace and wishes for tolerance and understanding. The majority of our fellow countrymen in the north do not want any longer to maintain the regime of injustice which has existed there for the last 50 years. These are the vast silent majority who are unable to express themselves because the parliamentary system in the north is incoherent and is dominated by the trouble-makers. We have for many years met representatives of Stormont in the Council of Europe and we have been able there to jointly adopt Irish attitudes on agreed policies. It should surely also be possible to have mature discussions free of prejudice, bitterness and ignorance in a Council of Ireland.

It is not unlikely that we may have presented to us once again a request from the minority representatives in the north for admission to Dáil Éireann. This request has been made twice before and after serious consideration it has been twice rejected, primarily on the grounds that it would be unjust to give representation without taxation; and to give participation here without having a means of collecting taxation would be unjust to the people who sent us here. But we do have to find some way of giving representation in a Parliament which will be respected by all the public representatives of Ireland. Stormont has lost respect. It is not even respected by Westminster any longer. We, I fear, have been slipping towards a position of disrespect because of the manner in which this Parliament has been ill-used by people who should have known better in recent years, but at least we are still in a position of entitlement to command respect. We may very seriously have to consider giving representation or audience of some kind to public representatives from the north.

The British Government tell us their aim is to stamp out the terrorists. Who are the terrorists? Are they merely those who place plastic bombs in drapery shops? Are they simply those who pour petrol into milk bottles and thrown petrol bombs at tanks and armoured cars? Are they alone those who throw stones at British troops, who use guns against them or their fellow countrymen? Are they not also the bigots who terrorise, deprive, ill-treat, intimidate and deny fundamental rights to people of a different religion? Are the terrorists not those who drive people from their homes because of their religious convictions? Are the terrorists not those who call on the British Army to leave Northern Ireland so that they may attack and kill the minority? Surely these people are terrorists as much as those who cast pebbles at armoured cars and throw petrol bombs at or place explosives in buildings out of a sense of frustration and indignation.

It is the failure of the British authorities to recognise such people as terrorists and to deal with them as such that has led them into the appalling error of dealing only with those opposed to Northern Ireland's existence who use physical violence. The authorities do nothing against those people who are much more effective in their regime of terror because it is secret and sinister. Unless the British Government deal with those people with the same professed ruthlessness as they apply to some sections of the community, the troubles in the north will continue and, as Deputy Cosgrave pointed out yesterday, the troubles will spread.

It may be a matter of little concern to some people in Britain that civil war may develop in Ireland. If the situation deteriorates in Northern Ireland it is most unlikely that trouble will spread to the south of Ireland only. The history of violence in this country in the past 50 years indicates that violence is just as likely to spread into British cities and towns and unless Britain is prepared to stamp out the cause of this evil she may experience embarrassment nearer home. In saying these things I have no desire to incite anyone or to implant a suggestion in any person's mind, but we should be failing in our clear obligation if we did not speak out the fears in the minds of most people and if we did not draw attention to the inevitable consequences of present foolish actions.

In August, 1969, the then British Government, in what has been called the Downing Street Declaration, said that the General Officer Commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland from that day forth would assume overall responsibility for security operations. If there has not been any departure from that stand, the words of Mr. Maudling in the Westminster Parliament yesterday are a contradiction. The proposed parade in Derry on 12th August is surely the greatest security risk which has arisen in the north since August, 1969. Having regard to this fact, Mr. Maudling's statement that he had no responsibility in the matter must be likened to the behaviour of Pontius Pilate—a washing of hands by a man as he professes innocence but who will be unable to wash his hands of any blood that may be spilled in the north because of the dangerous and outrageous decision to allow that parade to take place.

Because of the massive military presence it is possible that violence may not arise on that day. However, by permitting the parade to take place Britain is guaranteeing to the evil men who control the strings of power in the north that they can continue to do as they wish because Britain will always back them. Because of that attitude, serious violence is being done to every concept of democracy and fair play by allowing a parade and demonstration to take place that has as its primary incentive the demeaning and belittling of the majority of the citizens of Derry.

In his speech the Taoiseach spoke of the "separate policies" the Government were pursuing and how right he was. There are the separate policies in relation to the north of condemning violence, of uttering platitudes, of desiring only a peaceful solution and, at the same time, there is the facilitating, by inaction, of those who are working against and who would prevent a peaceful solution.

There are separate policies by the Government in relation to industry. The Minister for Industry and Commerce encourages industries to prepare for EEC entry by modernisation, adaptation, by looking to new markets, by developing new processes and by ploughing more money into industry and in certain circumstances he will give grants for this purpose. At the same time, the Minister for Finance has a separate policy towards industry —of taxing industry to a greater extent than ever before. Irish industry is the most vulnerable in Europe yet it is taxed at a rate higher than the rate of taxation applicable to industry in any other country in Europe.

There are separate policies in relation to agriculture. The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries urges the restructuring of agriculture and adaptation towards market requirements in the EEC but the policies of the Government are preventing our farmers gearing themselves to take advantage of the opportunities available within the EEC.

The Ministers for Finance, Industry and Commerce and Agriculture and Fisheries have had occasion in recent years to complain about British treatment of Ireland—although their complaints were most inadequate. The three deliberate breaches of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement by the British Government did considerable harm to our trade and imposed on Irish taxpayers the need to subsidise exports to ensure that they could enter Britain at the same price level as applied previously. One might consider that was not a friendly act by the British Government but, nevertheless, the Taoiseach went to the United Nations to express his admiration for Britain, his conviction that Britain was well disposed towards us and that we had no complaints against Britain in recent times.

We heard Deputy Dowling boast about the Government's policy of making health services more freely available but while this is being said there are delays in the implementation of the choice-of-doctor scheme. In the last month the Minister for Health introduced a supplementary estimate to collect £4,700,000 extra in taxation by special health service levies to provide health services we are supposed to obtain more freely in the future than we did in the past.

At home there is the most serious threat to our security and existence as a State since the 1930s. What have we to meet this situation? We have an under-equipped army with outdated equipment and insufficient personnel. We have a Garda force which is demoralised, which is inadequately manned and in so far as it is manned, it is operating under grave restrictions and restraints which prevent the Garda, even when they know they are in a position to establish guilt, from prosecuting the people responsible.

These are the "separate policies" which the Taoiseach did not identify, but which he, no doubt, had in mind, when he was talking about them. This is alarming. It is bringing this country into a state of disarray which leaves us now less able than we should be to meet normal difficulties and makes it almost impossible to deal with a situation which looms up on the horizon all the time by reason of the stresses and strains in the North of Ireland.

We are living on borrowed time and on borrowed money. We were told in this year's Budget, which God knows is still warm because it is so fresh, that the limit of Government borrowing this year would be £28 million. Already, in the first half of the financial year, the Government have borrowed over £30 million abroad at the highest rate of interest that I have seen any sovereign Government pay, 9¾ per cent. People do not sufficiently appreciate the principal dangers in foreign borrowing. Foreign borrowing causes inflation. Borrowing abroad is from one-third to one-half more costly than borrowing at home. If the £20 million the Government have now borrowed at 9¾ per cent were borrowed at home, the effective rate of interest would be 5 per cent or 6 per cent because the Government would get a refund of income tax but there will be no refund of income tax on this 9¾ per cent which is to be paid in Britain and elsewhere.

We borrowed £10 million earlier this year from Germany and $25 million has also been borrowed and are at present in cold storage for use later on. These, together with the Government's own deliberate taxation, have contributed more than anything else to the rate of inflation in this country. The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, the great conscience-keepers of the Irish workers and employers, have again in their contributions to this debate suggested that the prime causes of inflation were wage levels but that is not so. The OECD and other international organisations, which have made a special study of inflation in all countries, including Ireland, have drawn attention to the fact that taxation in Ireland has been the prime factor in inflation over the past six years. That, plus this foreign borrowing at extortionate rates of interest, will inject further inflation into our economy.

Within the past five years we have doubled the quantity of annual borrowing in this country and during that time we have borrowed at appalling rates of interest. Nearly £600 million and a substantial part of that has been from abroad. We simply cannot continue at this rate unless we are to accept as inevitable a continuing rate of inflation in this country of 10 per cent per annum, which will put us always at the top of the OECD scale of countries with inflation. That rate of inflation is much greater than any increased costs which will ensue as a result of membership of the EEC. This is something which many people do not appear to be able to grasp or appear to be quite indifferent to but if we are indifferent to the causes of inflation which have been to blame for a great deal of our troubles in recent times we should not particularly worry about whatever inflation may be caused by membership of the EEC. That is not at all for one moment to make light of any problems which the EEC may present for us but I wanted to present those figures so that some assessment and some understanding will be available as to what exactly is happening and who is responsible for it.

Sometimes I hear people express wonder at the designs on our new stamps and coins. It is very difficult to decipher what they might be but it is possible that they are, in fact, what could now be adopted as our national emblems, that is, the deaf ear, the blind eye and the buck passing hand. There are many in Government, and, indeed, in other high places—and I am sure the House will understand me when I say this—who are prepared to turn the deaf ear to things they know are happening and which they do not want to pretend to know. Similarly the blind eye is being turned to evil things which are quite obvious and even when the remedies are equally obvious they will not be applied because it is, perhaps, embarrassing to apply them.

We have also the readiness to always pass the buck. It is time the buck passing stopped. Ultimately it must stop at the Taoiseach. There is a drift to impotency in this country. There is— I am sorry even to contemplate it— a drift to serious civil strife all over our island and Mr. Micawber Lynch is doing nothing about it. In that situation it is understandable that our people should wish for an instant change of Government. We, as an Opposition party, are aware of a sense of frustration on the part of our own supporters, both old and new—and the new are coming to us in ever increasing numbers—that a Government that has acted so despicably, that has acted so inefficiently and with such little integrity should still be in office.

We are aware of the genuine feeling of distrust in the country that a Taoiseach, who found it necessary to dismiss senior Ministers on fundamental issues, should be happy to stay in office with the support of those people who are still in his view unfit for membership of government. There is no instant change of government available in a democracy save that which happens under our Constitution not less often than every five years when the voter takes pen in hand. If the buck passing is to stop every voter will have to realise that it stops with him or her at the time of voting. Nobody can change the Government of this country except the voters and the instant of change of government, which is available to our people and which they desire, is the instant change brought about when the voter takes pen in hand to mark the ballot paper. We want that day to approach rapidly. There are many people sitting behind the Government who do not at the moment share in the perks of Government office, who are completely disgusted with the Government and whose greatest desire is to see that change in order that the Fianna Fáil Party out of power can be reformed and brought back to something of the decency and integrity to which they at one time aspired.

It is unfortunate that we should be considering these things at the end of a session. I would hope that we might change procedures in this House in the not too distant future. This debate on the Taoiseach's Estimate and on general national policy should take place at the commencement of session and not at the end of it. It seems somewhat pointless, futile and wasteful to be considering fundamental matters at the end of a session, and just before Members take off for their annual holidays. Our Dáil and our Seanad should be concerned with and refreshed by principles of good government and good policy, discussed and debated at the commencement of a session, and I conclude with the request that the Whips, the parties and all responsible would, if not at the commencement of the autumn session this year, certainly next year, ensure that the Taoiseach's Estimate and general policy will be debated at the commencement of a session and not in its closing minutes.

From an Opposition point of view we are in somewhat of a dilemma in raising matters at this time in this debate. The record of the Government would suggest that we should point to their deficiencies and their mistakes and be unsparing in our criticism of their conduct. Their record would suggest no different treatment. On the other hand, this Administration, who show no desire to seek the judgment of the electorate, apparently intend to continue in office at least for the next year. Their Taoiseach will go in October to visit the British Prime Minister, Mr. Heath, and it is the present Administration who will be largely responsible for negotiating the final stages of our entry into EEC. We must, therefore, make the best of what we have. We must make the best of this group calling themselves a Government. We must make the best of this Taoiseach. We must temper our remarks to the harsh fact that they are in Government.

This is possibly the worst Administration we have had in the history of this State. There are possibly two people of ministerial calibre in the Government, the Taoiseach and Deputy Dr. Hillery, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. There are various Parliamentary Secretaries whose traditional job it is to be Fianna Fáil organisers in their localities. Nothing else is expected of them. As a result of last year's party disaster some of these party organisers have become Ministers and we must now live with these Ministers for so long as this Government lasts. The ordinary people believe that this is probably the worst Government we have ever had. There are county councils which are better run than this Government. There is a certain fiction. They hold the formal positions and it is to these offices we must address ourselves. The tragedy is that we will be faced with very big decisions over the next year, crisis points may be reached, and this is the kind of Cabinet which will deal with them. We must, therefore, on the domestic front look at the shape of the second guarantor, and the kind of Government he is running on the home front.

The problem of Northern Ireland is very high on the agenda at the moment. It is for the first time probably becoming a factor in influencing the way in which politicians here in the south speak. We heard the Taoiseach speak yesterday and the impression is growing that we are on the eve of a breakthrough on this northern question. In the Irish Press this morning the banner line reads: “Breakthrough On Unity.” I measure any person's sincerity and his interest in the northern problem by the attempts he makes and the trouble he takes to speak to the people in the north and learn what the problem there is at firsthand.

The north has been ignored for a number of years in all our decisions here. We have not referred to it very often. The people of the north, Catholic and Protestant, were merely a subject for argument. We were not involved in their problems. We gave them a de jure existence to strengthen republican arguments of our own. We gave them only so much recognition as was necessary to sustain the eternal arguments down here. They were the subject of after-hours conversation in pubs. That is the kind of status we gave them. The shallowness of the arguments is the yardstick wherewith to measure our sincerity and our seriousness. We had no real idea how the people there thought. We had a mental landscape peopled with Protestants, or Unionists, who would somehow become obedient once the British were withdrawn. We had the Catholics who agreed with ourselves about a united Ireland. The north was something to which reference was made at election time. Politicians and others are aware of the lack of interest in the real north as distinct from the fictitious north, the north of the myths.

It might be said that the republican movement had a serious interest in the north and should be, therefore, immune from this criticism. But the republicans in common with other politicians misunderstood the nature of the northern problem. Who would now defend the armed campaigns of the 'fifties? Several young men lost their lives in those campaigns. The campaigns were seen by the Unionists as an attempt to coerce them. In common with the majority here those in that movement never paid the people of the north the compliment of trying to understand them and communicate with them. The northern people were simply seen as elements in the argument which went on down here at election time. The objective was unity at any price.

When we speak of the northern question and claim a knowledge of it we usually mean that we have spoken to northern Catholics. Very few of us have gone to the trouble of speaking to northern Protestants. Many Deputies who claimed an extraordinary acquaintance with the northern problem over the past year based their knowledge simply on their acquaintance with northern Catholics. They have never spoken to northern Protestants and they do not know how they think. Our attitudes were simple: if Britain departed the pieces of the jigsaw would fall into place and unity would be formalised. But we now know, or should know, that if the British Army leave tomorrow morning Irish unity will not be achieved but instead something that has been referred to over the past week or two—civil war, a civil war that will make the Cyprus conflict seem to be a small incident. A civil war would ensue that would make the entire War of Independence and the Civil War here seem like a solitary ambush by comparison.

It might be suggested that by talking in this vein here we invite the thing we seek to avoid, but it is important that in the Republic and especially in this Parliament we should begin to fill out the blank pages that none of us wish to read, that none of us apparently trouble to examine to find what tale is told there after the British Army's departure. Most of us seem to believe that if the British Army departed unity would be practically achieved. But in present circumstances the departure of the British Army would simply mean a Catholic-Protestant conflict on a very wide scale. Ian Paisley, whatever his failings, knows at least better than most people in this Assembly the mind of Protestant Ulster and a week or two ago, I think, he said that any fundamental change, any change in either the constitutional set-up or the departure of the British Army would mean that Protestants would take to arms and all that has gone before would seem like a Sunday picnic. Even republican spokesmen concede the necessity for the presence of the British Army in the area. Their argument, apparently, is that the British Army are necessary at the moment but we must shoot them while they remain even if we want them there; we want the British Army there in present circumstances but they must also stand around to be shot.

I agree that the long-term presence of the British Army does not afford any solution; nobody suggests that. A long-term British Army presence in the north with no political initiative leading to change in the area obviously provides no solution and must lead to a deepening of the present crisis. With the army's presence there will be brutality and shootings as, unfortunately, we saw recently. I do not believe that an armed military presence in any tense situation such as there is in the North can continue without this kind of brutality occurring, without people being shot, without mistakes being made. It is quite obvious that the presence of the British Army gives no long term solution. It is also obvious that the Downing Street declaration needs revision. It is clear that it does not go sufficiently far in giving the Catholics of the North participation in Government. It is not sufficient to say at this late stage that the introduction of PR will make any real change.

In this Parliament at this time we must all do our best to weigh our words very carefully when talking about the northern situation. When I hear people talk of the imminence of civil war I get the impression that true to the traditions of this House we see this civil war taking place in this no man's land of our imagination called Northern Ireland, some place away over there. I recall that when the Taoiseach was in Belfast some years ago unconsciously, I thought, in one giveaway remark he showed the whole basis of his estrangement from the North. Somebody threw snowballs at his car and he said: "They do the same thing back home", as though home were somewhere in Florida as distinct from Belfast, thousands of miles away. When people here speak very complacently about the prospects of civil war they seem to think the civil war can be isolated and confined to the northern area. This is being naive. If civil war comes to Belfast and other urban areas in the North, if armed Catholics and Protestants or armed sections of them commence fighting we shall certainly be drawn into the struggle. I say, and I echo Ian Paisley's words in the wider context of all Ireland, that anything that has happened in this country in this century will be like a picnic in comparison.

There is much admiration for people who shoot British soldiers; that is in the tradition of Irish history—alien occupiers. Do we understand that the logical follow-up in present circumstances to shooting British soldiers and thinking this is the way to unity is shooting other Irishmen? I get the impression that people think that at a certain stage one can stop the shooting. Once shooting commences it is very difficult to stop it.

In this Assembly, in thinking about the North, we tend to tie it to this idea of unity. Before anybody here begins to make a speech about the North he must talk about the desirability of achieving unity. The Taoiseach also does this. He did it most notably in his speech in the Garden of Remembrance recently. Anybody who has the slightest acquaintance with the northern problem knows that unity is not on the agenda now or for the foreseeable future. The sooner this is said the better. People may say the reason unity is not on the agenda now is because of the wicked British. Let it be uncomfortable or otherwise, but let us understand that the people who are really impeding unity, the essential people, the element that is providing the real complication, are the northern Protestants; they do not wish for unity now.

From what we can see of retired or ex-British politicians, or politicians in opposition, they are now very interested in Irish unity. I see that this morning Mr. Callaghan is talking about Irish unity of a very peculiar kind. He talks of two assemblies meeting together with no power, rather like as if a group of us met in some lounge bar in the middle of the country and we happened to be Members of the Dáil and the others happened to be Members of Stormont and somebody put up over the main door: "This is the All-Ireland Assembly", and we were all drinking inside. Evidently, this was Mr. Callaghan's idea of the all-Ireland venue. The assembly would have no power, no function and would not discuss anything.

I see the idiotic papers in this city this morning taking this up. Perhaps I should not be too hard on the Irish Press. It has a long tradition of false consciousness to break through, but “Breakthrough on Unity” is how Mr. Callaghan's idea of this assembly is described. Unity is not on the agenda now but when it is I want to see a single country, not any spurious thing under the guise of a council of Ireland with no power, no influence and no decision-making capacity. That is not on the agenda now. Anybody who knows about the North knows it is not on the agenda and knows that the northern Protestants are a long way from any conception of even a federal arrangement. Any southern politician who thinks that unity is around the corner knows nothing about the North.

Why not hold out the hand of friendship? Why can the Deputy not be optimistic?

I am very optimistic but we also have the task of finding out whether our optimism is shared by the other party. It is not, and that is the problem. Having said unity is not on the agenda, anybody speaking about the North in a 26-county context may make a decision on Partition. He may decide that he will address his arguments to what will suit the susceptibilities of his hearers in his own constituency in this part of the country. I would say a number of politicians in this House have at present succumbed to that temptation. Any politician here who wishes to address himself to the real facts will not get a sympathetic audience in the South but if we think there is anything in the name of Irishman at his stage we must do everything in our power to prevent that bloody civil war that could follow if things continue unchecked as they are going at the moment.

I think no party should incite or encourage it.

Do not look at us when you are asking who is encouraging civil war. There is blood on your hands.

Not on mine.

Pontius Pilate said that, too. There is blood on the hands of others in the Deputy's party. There are people alive and kicking in that party who have more than a passing interest in what is happening in the North, If we are serious about the North we should banish the word "unity" from the national vocabulary. If our concern is for the ordinary Catholic and the ordinary Protestants here, let us work in an area in which something can be achieved. My argument is that unity is not on the agenda. Why waste time talking about it?

Therefore, in our contacts with the British we must bring them to the realisation that the Northern Ireland state has broken down, that society there is dividing into separate armed camps and that the contract which binds people together in ordinary society is not recognised by increasing numbers of citizens in that State. It must also be insisted that Britain has a major responsibility for the political creation of Northern Ireland, that it has given a licence to secret bodies in that statelet to institutionalise sectarianism in the way that State has carried on its business for upwards of 50 years. Since Britain is responsible for its creation it must be brought home to Britain that it is her responsibility, and only her responsibility, to dismantle the sectarian machine which has been operating in that State; that it is for Britain to deal with the secret societies who control the State decisions in that area; that it is also her responsibility to see that a share in government is given to the Catholics in that area. The Stormont Parliament no longer has an Opposition. There are now plans for an alternative assembly. Why cannot representatives of the alternative assembly be asked to share government with the representatives of the Stormont Parliament?

I am suggesting that this is what our negotiations with the British Prime Minister should be concerned with, not with talk, for 26-county consumption, about a unity which we know is not on. Let us deal with the things that can be done to allow people to live together in Northern Ireland. If there are risks in saying these things the sooner we take these risks the better.

The most disappointing aspect about the Taoiseach's speech at the Garden of Remembrance was that, while a year or two ago he appeared to be attempting a new course of instruction for his party, in the Garden of Remembrance he was faithfully harking back to a unity theme. Every time we discuss this problem with Britain and connect our ideas on the North with the idea of unity, we allow Britain to shrug off her responsibilities. We allow Britain to say: "The achievement of unity is a problem for you Irish." In this, Britain is correct: the achievement of unity is a problem for us Irish, but it is Britain's responsibility to see that the reforms in the northern state for the creation of which she is responsible are carried out. As long as we maintain our arguments about unity, Britain may escape her obligations. She cannot escape her obligations if our negotiators insist on Britain's living up to her responsibility as the reigning power in that area.

I do not believe that the people of the Twenty-six Counties generally are in favour of armed conflict spreading over this island in a quest for unity. At those moments when the Taoiseach speaks on the desire for peace, he speaks for the majority—when he speaks in that fashion, I add cautiously.

And acts in that fashion.

And acts in that fashion. When we consider some of the forces supporting him, we may doubt the sincerity of his protestations, but certainly I do not believe the Irish people in this part of the country are in favour of engaging in a bloody war to achieve unity.

Anyone who thinks that if the British Army left Northern Ireland the Protestant people up there would come in a docile fashion to the negotiating table has another think coming. There is no place else for them to go. They have as much right to live there as anyone else and they would fight their corner to the bitter end. I may say of a number of republicans that the intensity of their republicanism becomes deeper the further they are from the Border zone. The further south they come the more republican and the more militant they are about the Border. A few of these Protestant columns might penetrate further into that deep south than these so called republicans think.

Some of the Protestants are nationalists.

I concede the right of these Protestant Irish people who have been here many hundreds of years to claim their own way of living in the country. The sooner we all concede that to them the better.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary's nod significant? That has never been conceded from the Fianna Fáil benches.

Our party have not the slightest interest in gaining one inch of territory at the expense of anyone else on this island. The main sufferers as a result of the traditional kind of politics, the inward-looking nationalism and the talk as to what should be done about the north are the ordinary people. The ordinary people have had to listen to promises about the north at election after election. They have been offered mystical visions by the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party. As far as we are concerned, let unity never come; the important thing is that people would be able to live together peacefully and work towards changes in our society which will improve living conditions and give ordinary people a better deal while they are alive.

We must try to appreciate the predicament of the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. If we say we are Irish we should not simply be glad that there has been another explosion last night, that somebody else was shot this morning. We should not, as I am afraid we do, ask: was it one of ours or one of theirs that was shot? There is no gain in any of these shootings. We are not proceeding towards unity. The introduction of the gun into northern affairs in the last few years has, in fact, put back the possibility of unity. There are those who say that every extra British soldier killed is another step towards unity. I do not share that optimism.

People speak about Imperial Britain. People speak about Britain's wicked past. I agree with them. Britain is not my favourite nation. I do not like England but we must remember that it is a nation with a population of 60 million people and with a population of that size they are bound to dominate this State of only three million people. It is not necessary for Westminster to meet every weekend in order to decide how they will hold this country down maliciously but our negotiators might say this to Britain: "Because of the mess you have made of the north and because of this creation of yours, Stormont, the peace of the whole island is put in jeopardy." In our negotiations with Britain we should look for better terms and trade for our various products so that we might raise our living standards to bring them into line with those enjoyed by many people in the North of Ireland.

Apparently it is assumed here that one-third of the northern population, the minority, are willing to join with us in the south but I wonder whether we even know the true minds of the northern Catholics because I do not know very many northern Catholics who wish to join hands with us in fraternal unity.

Hear, hear.

I know that northern Catholics are dissatisfied with their lives in the North of Ireland but there is no desire on their part to join with any group down here.

That is why I asked the Deputy not to discuss Catholics.

The Parliamentary Secretary is a man who knows the difference between a shilling and a pound.

Who wants Des O'Malley instead of John Taylor?

That is a sobering thought.

Who would blame anybody in the north, whether he be Catholic or Protestant, for not wishing to come in with us when he can enjoy much better conditions at home?

And subsidised by the administration the Deputy has been speaking of.

Ordinary people do not mind where the money comes from to subsidise them so long as their standard of living is satisfactory. We should clear ourselves of any illusion that northern Catholics can automatically be counted on as being ready to become republicans and join with us. Of course Catholics are dissatisfied with their conditions in the north and well they might be. They have been kept out of any control or say in how the area is administered. Legitimately they are right in opposing and being bitter about being outlawed from the Government and discriminated against.

All our activities should be directed to restoring them to their rightful place in the community of Northern Ireland. Each of us knows that if Northern Ireland, by application of the proper political will from Westminster, can be made into a normal State, and that may require a good deal of coercion at certain points both against zealots from the Protestant and Catholic sides, but if it can be done and if the kind of sectarian methods of running that State can be made a thing of the past there is no doubt that at some stage we may be confident that unity will be achieved. While the present situation continues, that unity cannot be achieved. Therefore, we should not bother ourselves talking about unity at present. It is not on the agenda.

I hope that when the Taoiseach goes as our representative to meet Mr. Heath, that as a minimum, he will look for participation by the minority in the Government in Northern Ireland. I put forward the idea that if the alternative assembly is in being at that stage that representatives of that alternative assembly should be brought into Government in Belfast. Stormont has broken down. There is no Opposition there so that Stormont, as such, has been mutilated badly and cannot claim any longer to be a functioning Parliament of that part of the country. Representatives from the new assembly, if it is in existence, together with whatever remains of Stormont should form a new administration. It is ridiculous for Mr. Faulkner to pretend that Stormont is functioning as a normal Parliament.

In his discussions with Mr. Heath, the Taoiseach must point out that in the absence of such a political initiative, the Army's position will become increasingly untenable. A stage may be reached where, no matter what any one of us may say in Dublin, Belfast or elsewhere, civil war cannot be averted. Let us hope that such stage will not be reached but unless this political initiative comes from Westminster and can be applied in Northern Ireland now, there is no doubt that the situation will continue to worsen with bad consequences for all of us—consequences that cannot be confined to the North. Those on this side of the Border who see a step towards unity in every burning or in every killing should understand that if the situation worsens and results in civil war that conflict will be on their doorsteps too.

These are the matters to which the Taoiseach must address himself at his meeting with Mr. Heath. He knows as well as Mr. Heath should know that any alteration of the constitutional situation in the direction of unity at this time cannot be conceded in present circumstances. What we should be looking for is some solid advantage and improvement for the people of Northern Ireland. If we achieve that we will have done a solid day's work for Ireland and for all her people.

I am concerned that the impression should be given in the Dublin Press and in the media generally that this summit meeting may produce a wonderful result. While I may be wrong, I cannot foresee any such wonderful result. Without delay, the Taoiseach should correct this false impression so that attention would not be diverted from the realities of the situation.

We may not be meeting here again for some months. In fact some Deputies suggest that we may not be meeting each other again in this 19th Dáil but that we may be meeting again on different seats in the 20th Dáil. I do not know whether that is so but I hope that when the Taoiseach is replying this evening he will make a serious statement about his entire approach to the Northern Ireland problem. He should let us know what is his thinking on the matter. We do not ask for details but he should use the facilities of this House to let the people know what may be gained from his meeting with Mr. Heath. All we can hope for is for improved living conditions for the people of Northern Ireland and the restoration of normal standards. I hope that we will not hear any Deputy suggesting during this debate that he is for unity while others are not. I do not want to hear any Deputy playing that kind of 26-county political football. There is no Irishman who does not wish for unity but the question is whether we should address ourselves realistically to the North as it exists or whether we should take refuge in day dreams.

During the course of this debate we have been in a dilemma in realising the existence of these issues, in knowing the kind of Cabinet we have and, therefore, asking ourselves if it should be our public duty to get down to the heartbreaking task of going over what they have been doing for the past year. So numerous have their errors become that one would need many hours to go over them. Not a week passes without some fresh mess being made of some decision or other. We, therefore, have to decide whether to talk about these errors, concentrate on these issues or talk about larger questions.

Does this Cabinet recognise that problems exist any longer? Sometimes I get the impression, looking at their slap happy faces at Question Time, that problems do not exist for them anymore, that they live on some enchanted slope and never come down to the lowlands that the rest of us inhabit, that they are happy to be away up there. I can almost imagine some of them with that date in 1974 marked on their calendars when they must at last leave these upholstered seats. It is questionable whether they recognise problems any longer. Some people say they do, others that they do not, but most people are agreed that they do not tackle problems any longer. In fact, there is a theory that they do not even recognise themselves any longer. There was the notable case last week where the Tánaiste mistook Senator Killilea's rear end for a Fine Gael Deputy.

A Labour Deputy.

Worse. Senator Killilea that day was not wearing his bikini. Had he been wearing his bikini there is no doubt that even the Tánaiste would have recognised that distinctive rear quarter. They do not recognise each other any longer so they can hardly be recognising the problems in the country outside. In fact, there is a big mystery about what the Tánaiste does at all. About a year ago he took off on a trail. He was scenting down the conspirators. He was acting the part of a sleuth, a Sherlock Holmes. He apparently had the full approval of the Taoiseach in this divine mission of his. We have not heard so much of that lately. I understand there were certain difficulties in his constituency which had a lot to do with his silence on this matter over the last few months.

He is trying to get into Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown now.

No, Wicklow.

I hear anyway that he is on a migration course from the west coast to the east being rapidly followed by certain provisional members who have infiltrated that constituency. Last week he came in here and he wanted some alteration in the £1,600 for blue card eligibility. He did not rationalise the way that health assistance is given in this country. He left that to the will of the county managers and chief executives. A most disappointing thing about Deputy Childers is that, despite his long replies at Question Time, he appears to be doing very little in his Department of Health. He is very knowledgeable about statistics, about wage costs. He can prove to any wage earner on strike that there is no reason for him to be on strike—to his own satisfaction, not to the striker's satisfaction. He is making a lot of speeches but he is not doing very much in health. He has not brought in any dramatic changes. If we are talking about Irish unity we could do with a few changes in health in the direction of that wicked socialist Nye Bevan health plan brought in in Northern Ireland as a result of the British connection. We could do with an advance in the direction of that kind of Irish unity. It might be worth all the Garden of Remembrance speeches you could think of. The Taoiseach might be better off stopping the speeches and engaging in a little activity in the field of health.

I get the impression from the Taoiseach recently that he has begun to confuse his speeches with reality. That speech in the Garden of Remembrance, if made two years ago, I would have said that it proved the Taoiseach was reading the poet John Hewitt. He had been reading Montague before that but he has changed over to John Hewitt, which shows an admirable grasp of the community weight even in matters poetic in Northern Ireland. The Taoiseach asked himself several rhetorical questions in the course of that speech. He asked whether looking into our hearts there was anything we had done, by omission or commission, in the past two years about which any Irishman in the North might feel the slightest twinge of conscience. I was in Derry that weekend. Taoiseach Lynch was in Parnell Square in Dublin mourning over the dead. He asked: "Is there anything we have done that may have dismayed any Irishman? Can anybody cast the first stone? Would anybody tell me have my Government offended anybody on this island over the past two years?" He practically put it this way, but far more beautifully. It was a very polished speech. I did not see the text of the speech until I came back on the Monday or Tuesday and I was astonished at his speech, quite honestly, because this is the Taoiseach who, in the course of the past year has run from more than one decision. He has run from a few decisions because suggested ecclesiastical disfavour might be incurred were these decisions adopted. Taoiseach Lynch must have the most convenient memory of any living Taoiseach. He can come to the Garden of Remembrance, look into his heart in public and address the Irish nation without realising that in educational policy in the past year, in ordinary civic freedoms in the past year, he has given ample proof to the Unionists, of the pressures that may be exerted on any statesman down here and how they react when such pressure is applied.

He has only the help of Deputy Dr. Hillery. That is the only Minister in the Cabinet. The others are promoted Parliamentary Secretaries whose job traditionally has been the organising of the national collection in their areas as party functionaries. As a result of disasters at the top, they were promoted and now they are Ministers.

Deputy Gerry Collins never, I am sure, ceases blessing the day that the sackings took place and he was brought from the relative obscurity of West Limerick into screwing the media in Telefís Éireann, appointing commissions and so on. There is no better man for that job that the same Gerry. There are students in New York and Australia who could tell you just how well he managed the machine in UCD politics when he was a student there for a number of years. He really was the best organiser of the Chicago machine that was ever seen in UCD politics. Now he is our Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and, if you please, he is meeting the public, asking them whether their phones are working properly. He met a group in Dublin some months ago. I was not able to get along to the meeting in the Shelbourne. The Minister and his officials heard their complaints and, according to the Press reports, the meeting ended amicably. I asked him here subsequently whether he would continue his meet-the-people campaign in the provincial centres but I did not get the impression he was going to carry it out.

He should try to 'phone Donegal some time.

That might not be the most auspicious place.

Gerry is keeping far away from Donegal.

What does the young Minister for Industry and Commerce do with his spare time? He has made frequent visits to various parts of the Continent in the last few months. He comes back here sunburned after these exhausting trips and mutters his way through a few Dáil questions. He goes on at great length explaining that he is going to do something that he has not done and that he did not hear the previous question. This is the kind of Cabinet we have. The Minister for Defence—well, he is a decent man. That is about all one could say.

He has issued 67,000 medals in the past two months.

Yes. It says here that 30,000 commemorative medals will be issued.

There is another one.

Oh, yes. The total number of War of Independence medals—that was the other war— issued since the commencement of the general issue was 67,365. The reply to that was that 67,365 medals in respect of that war have been issued.

He deserves a medal.

No wonder the British ran.

At any rate we know what he has been employed——

Deputy Desmond's father got one of them. He told us that last night.

He did, but he is wondering where the other 67,364 are.

I was wondering who got the contract.

For delivery or manufacture?

It can at least be said that the Minister for Defence was involved in lawful business. I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries was the man for the Christmas cards. We do not know if he sends out 60,000, but we know from reports that irate members of the county council from all parties in that constituency protested vigorously at the extent of his greetings. Postmen were working day and night up to Christmas Eve passing out Deputy Jackie Fahey's Christmas felicitations of the season to the cottiers and farmers in that part of the constituency.

That is the kind of Cabinet and Government we have. The Minister for Justice is a notorious case. Deputies who probably had not paid much attention to the Minister for Justice up to that time——

Christian charity.

I am very accurate. We may have heard that the Minister for Justice was a man of short temper but any person could have a short temper in that onerous position. Over the last two weeks we saw the real extent of it. We saw the way that man could smile as the guillotine was brought down. Anybody who has any respect for civil liberties, and anybody who hears a slight little chuckling in their phone when they lift the receiver, will know that their phone is being tapped by order of the Minister for Justice. He is a most choleric young man. One would imagine that the first requirement in a Minister for Justice would be that he would be of moderate and sober disposition and that he would not be given to hysterical outbursts. I am sure Dr. John O'Connell here would advise him that by this manner which he adopts in the House he is really shortening his life expectancy.

The Deputy should refer to him as Deputy O'Connell.

I am sure that Deputy O'Connell could confirm from his own experiences that that kind of boiling up of resentment from within and seeking subversives, as he said characteristically to "get at", shortens a person's life, damages the heart. He looked all around the House when he said that. In fact, the subversives are in the majority according to the outlook of the Minister for Justice. He looked for them in the Irish Independent newsroom before he finished. Evidently only the Skibbereen Eagle and Southern Star are free from the label of being subversive because they were quoted favourably by the Minister. Most of the other newspapers, we understand, have been tainted by subversive influences and must be dealt with.

The Minister for Finance has just secured a very expensive loan and I imagine that will engage his energies over the next week or two. We have dealt with the Minister for Health. I suppose Deputy Gibbons could be described as the limp albatross around the neck of the Taoiseach. The only question this beleaguered crew must be asking themselves is, when will they drop the albatross overboard. It is a good question. Will it be done in the off-season? Will it be done next month perhaps?

The shooting season starts on the 12th.

Perhaps in October there will be a conservative letter of resignation: "Dear Jack, I tender my resignation.""Dear Jim, Congratulations. Thank you for your note and your work for the country."

The Deputy would be picked as king of the wrenboys.

The Deputy should come out from under his bush and give us a speech occasionally and we will see what kind of a wren he follows. I am waiting in hopes, because his interjections have a high quality about them. If he links them together we could get an extraordinarily good speech one of these days.

Thank you.

I suggest that the Deputy should string them together and he would find himself with a very interesting speech with many affinities with Finnegan's Wake.

Is that the way the Deputy strings his together?

One can be forgiven for saying that the issues we face should not be dealt with in this trivial fashion. I am not really——

Serious.

I am deadly serious.

The Deputy was, up to a point.

I am speaking about the members of the Cabinet as they are now.

You forgot George, your own compatriot.

This is the Cabinet we know now. It is a measure of the incompetence of this most miserable Cabinet we have ever had in the history of the State that even Cumann members speak in horrified whispers about them. Even they know the kind of Cabinet we have. One cannot speak of their deeds, their opinions, their competence, without appearing to be bordering—and I accept this—on the burlesque. Would the Chair suggest that we should speak seriously about this Cabinet? Can they be described in any serious fashion? Are they running the country or any of the Departments? I do not think so. They do not run Departments. The only bond holding this Cabinet together is the common fear of the unknown, that is, opposition. They are going into opposition. That is a fate which they do not wish to overtake them. Some months ago the Taoiseach asked why do we not speak about an alternative to the present Government. I do not wish to conclude without mentioning this alternative, because there is an alternative.

Another coalition?

Next time around, the electorate will have a chance to elect an alternative Government.

What is it? A coalition?

He is about to tell us what it is.

If neither Opposition party gain an overall majority in the next election under their own steam and by their own efforts provided we can—and I see no reason why we cannot—agree on policies for reconstruction of the nation, because that is what we will be engaged in, I see no reason why we cannot have an alternative Government. We do not have to put up with the pitiful quarrels of Fianna Fáil for the next five or six years. This unfortunate country has had a tragic enough history without having to put up with the quarrels and vendettas in the Fianna Fáil Party from Cumann level right up to the very top.

It is quite clear that they could not alter the Forcible Entry Bill last week. It is quite clear that they should have. Why did they not alter it? They cannot alter any mistaken Bill from now on because their own influential critics within their own party are ready to hatchet their reputation where it counts, back in the constituencies. At one level it might be funny to think of these people posing as Ministers, but in another way it is tragic for all of us. While they may say that this or that person in Opposition made this or that silly remark, our mistakes or otherwise do not involve the electorate, as yet, but all their errors involve all of us. All their mistakes make the position of this country worse, so their peccadillos and weaknesses affect all of us.

There is an alternative now. The Taoiseach may go to the people peacefully at any time knowing that there is an alternative. We do not have to put up with these ridiculous quarrels for the next five or six years. If the Taoiseach had the courage to which he has made a monoply claim, he would look dispassionately at this thing called a Cabinet and he would send out his "ears", Deputy Healy and the handful of people he trusts in the party, to the byways to hear what the people are saying. They would come back with the report that the only thing that could preserve this claim he had to being the original honest man was coming out in an election and giving the electorate a chance of a change.

We have heard that for the past 30 years.

There is a slight change. The real alternative is there now and every day that passes of yourselves in Government makes that alternative and its possibility of success all that more certain.

The majority of his own Deputies are not behind him, not to mind the majority of the people.

Did we not prove that last night?

I have been fair and impartial in this matter and there are two Ministers in this Government, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who are of ministerial calibre. There is no doubt about that. The Taoiseach, I think, would be worth a ministry in any Cabinet that could be formed in this country. I think that is a fair assessment. Deputy Dr. Hillery himself could certainly hold down a ministry in a Cabinet with more competitive talent than the present. I think that is a fair way of putting it. As for the rest, I think they would be better back in their solicitors' offices and on their farms.

The Minister for Agriculture would be doing a better job for the country, back on the land farming away to his heart's content down in Kilkenny and writing his memoirs as all the other people are writing them. The Minister for Agriculture is a man who has a lot of things to explain and a lot of facts to give. I think he should give them. I do not think he should allow his version of events to be held back any longer by reason of the position he holds. He could tell us strange things, perhaps, about the Taoiseach. Would you agree, a Cheann Comhairle? It is possible that the disclosures of the Minister for Agriculture could tell us more about that enigmatic personality, the Taoiseach. He could tell us what he is like under strain. He could fill in quite a number of the missing links that puzzle those students of the Arms Committee and others. These people are now busy writing their theses and he would be better off filling them in. That is quite clear.

Obviously the Minister for Justice should not neglect his practice that long because even in the present Cabinet I think it is clear that he should be removed from that post. I agree that there is not that great talent further up those benches, up around Deputy Power, but I certainly think that lack of talent is preferable to a person who is patently unsuitable for that post and he certainly should be looking after that law practice in Limerick and keeping an eye on it.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is, I think, in the confectionery business and that is an expanding business. He should keep a sharp eye on that; like the rest of this Cabinet obviously he is not up to the job before him. Unhappily for us, they represent our country at important discussions. They are, God between us and all harm, negotiating the entry of this country into the Common Market and they will be taking decisions which will affect us for better or for worse for a number of years. It is regrettable. The best thing, I imagine, would be to allow the country to have this election, to give the people the chance of a change but it is doubtful whether, in fact, we will get that opportunity, judging from the attitude of the present Government towards an election. It is clear that before the end of this year— say, the start of next year—the ordinary people of this country are going to be very badly off. The wage claims that must be made next January or February will have to be extensive and large to make up for the cost of living which has been going up throughout this year. As far as we can see, all the major decisions are being postponed. There is the Buchanan Report and no decision yet made on any regional plan for the country. How can we claim any sort of regional arrangement from the EEC authorities when we have not had the political courage to do it in our own area of jurisdiction? There is no decision there. Education —does anybody know what our plan is for education now? I imagine that if one asked the Minister for Education a straight question about it at present, he could not give an answer, and I do not blame him. I do not understand what is left from the wreck of his community schools plan. Does anybody?

Are there not two of them going to start shortly in Dublin?

Two of them are going to start shortly in Dublin but the national plan he spoke about at the start apparently ran into severe opposition and no decision was made, or for all I know the Cabinet never discussed it, but the impression was left on the country that the Government as usual before any decision was well and truly on the run. If Taoiseach Lynch has made these particular claims about his approach on the north, it is a pity that on the home front where our actions might have a discernible effect, or at least could not be described as vain at any rate, we have not demonstrated clearly in our actions that we are not afraid and that the Government govern by virtue of the electorate and are not afraid to take decisions, whatever pressures are exerted. This Cabinet has not done this. The material he has in his Cabinet is very inadequate, I agree, but the obvious thing for any Taoiseach in a similar situation would be to go to the country and look for a fresh mandate. Clearly it cannot be suggested by him that he would be leaving the country without an alternative. The alternative has already been announced—there would be an alternative government of Fine Gael and Labour ready to take power in this country in the absence of a majority for either. That is generally accepted.

Have you agreed on the Common Market yet?

Could the Parliamentary Secretary tell me which aspect of the Common Market bothers him?

You say that you have an alternative. Have you already met and agreed on fundamental policy? One of the big things facing us is entry into the EEC. Your party do not want to go into it and the others agree with going in.

The answer to that is this, that if Westminster makes up its mind about going into the Common Market, like everything else in this so-called sovereign country, we follow suit. Is that the position? That is the position, and that being the position and since we agree on that fundamental fact of life, the Parliamentary Secretary's point about differences between Fine Gael and Labour on this issue is, to say the least of it, a little academic. There is that alternative. This alternative can run this country; it has sufficient people in it to run the country adequately. Whatever might be said about them, the people who were in this Cabinet had a certain weight. It can be said that Deputy Haughey as Minister for Finance made his errors but the man had a certain stature. He came to decisions and we knew that he understood that Department.

It might be considered small-minded of me but I do not see a similar weight in the present occupant of that post. Deputy Boland in his heyday might be considered to have prejudices of one kind or another, but he was a Minister and worth his place as a Minister. The same could be said of Deputy Blaney, but as for this cat's paw of a Cabinet we now have—how that could be claimed to be in the same avenue as that Cabinet which in a flurried series of events, resigned, were sacked or pushed out—at any rate they all lost their jobs and were all out in a matter of weeks—I do not know. Of course, your followers back here would not matter, if you brought in a series of poodles and put them in those seats and said: "That is the Minister for this and that is the Minister for that", we would still find them going into the lobbies as the poodles barked, such is the loyalty of your party to the occupant of a particular office. But it is clear that you have lost all talent which you had in the Cabinet—it is gone. This is a shadow of a Cabinet, presided over by the Taoiseach who is waiting for superannuation, who is afraid of elections, though he comes in here every year and says he is afraid of nothing, of no man, that he will do all in his own time. There is plenty of time to go to the country before Christmas and before he meets Mr. Heath. He could go, if he is right in his assessment that the Irish people will give him full support, and look for a fresh mandate and go to Mr. Heath with full authority as an Irish Taoiseach newly elected, if that was the verdict of the electorate. He could be right—perhaps that would be the verdict—but my own verdict is that never have so many people at the one time detested any Government in the history of the State.

You said that three years ago—the very same speech—and you lost four Members.

Would any person, idly glancing through the sports pages of the Irish newspapers and now and then looking at the news items, not notice in heavy print the mistakes which have been made over the last two years? Nothing that any person in opposition has done here has achieved more in getting people tired of this Government than the acts of the Government themselves. Every week that passes increases the majority for an alternative government and every month that passes you copper-fasten that alternative government in office.

That is just wishful thinking and you know it.

The Taoiseach issued a challenge months ago and said "Why does not somebody come in here and mention this alternative government?" I am mentioning it here this evening to send the Taoiseach home happy.

You have not told us who is our successor.

Where is the alternative Government?

Was the Deputy here a while ago? I was explaining that if Fine Gael get an overall majority in the next election——

Wishful thinking.

——they could form a Cabinet. If we get an overall majority—and strange things have happened in our time——

Not that strange.

If the dissidents get three seats——

Who are the dissidents?

That is a good question.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Moore asked where was the alternative Government and I was getting to the stage of speaking about the Labour Party where I said we would put up sufficient candidates and if the electorate gave us an overall majority we have the talent to form a Cabinet. We have not large numbers but the talent is there. In the absence of an overall majority by Fine Gael on their own, or ourselves on our own, we have announced at full open session that we are willing to go into an alternative Government with the other Opposition Party. That means that in the absence of an overall majority on the part of the Fianna Fáil Party a real alternative exists. The Deputies will be able to say to the electorate the next time around on approaching the doors "do you want to vote for the new Government?"

(Interruptions.)

This real alternative will exist next time around and it means that the Government and the Taoiseach need not feel any twinge of anxiety about the country being left without a competent administration. The present party would admit that they need some time to bind up their wounds. Much bandaging needs to be done on the dismembered reputations of Members of the Fianna Fáil Party. They must settle who is to be the next leader. Perhaps the Fianna Fáil Party can contribute to Irish life later. The party have something to contribute to Irish politics, not over the next decade but in the 1980s. They could come back with renewed vigour. We understand that there are young people lurking in the cumainn. I could see the alternative Government lasting throughout the 1970s and there is a possibility that in the 1980s the Fianna Fáil Party might come back with some group who could contribute again in Government. That party have contributed a great deal in the past as a political party and there is no reason why they should not come back with some fresh talent in about ten years' time. Any Government can become incompetent, tired and lethargic after many years in office.

What were you reading last night? Was it "The New Republic”?

One can see that there would be divisions in any party after so many years in office. We face serious decisions as a community. The Fianna Fáil Party are in charge of negotiations for entering the EEC. The Taoiseach will be meeting the British Prime Minister to discuss a possible civil war situation in the north. The Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement needs revision. The economy cannot be described as being in a healthy condition. All these problems arise. All these challenges must be faced with a two-man Cabinet. We know the Cabinet numbers 15, but there are really only two people in that Cabinet. It is inadequate and it is quite impossible to run a country in this situation. The only improvement we can look for is a fresh election. We have heard the patriots within the Fianna Fáil Party—Deputy Moore asked who were the dissidents—who speak in corners and on corridors of this House telling us that they will not vote on this or that, but when the bell clangs the dissidents—the so-called dissidents—are in here voting behind the so-called Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries; Deputy Gibbons. There is no doubt but that there is discontent and rivalry and hatred between members of the Cabinet and the ex-Ministers.

There is no doubt about our vote.

There is no doubt about the dissidents' intention of taking the opportune time for retribution. There is no doubt about the vote, except that of the former Deputy Boland. There is no doubt about what they say in the restaurant about you all.

I will tell you something that was said about you.

The Deputy will agree that it is a distressing thing for a party to find former Ministers, men of undoubted influence and weight, who may know of serious decisions affecting the party, on the trail of others now in office, determined to get them sooner or later, as they will.

Wishful thinking on your part.

Do you think it is wishful thinking on Deputy Haughey's part that he will "get" the Taoiseach in his own time? It will not be wishful thinking on the part of Deputy Haughey. An analysis of the Labour Party does not get you anywhere, but an analysis of the Government lets us know what is happening to the country. We will not let Deputy Moore do an analysis of the Labour Party, but we will speak about an analysis of the Cabinet as it is. We have heard the dissidents and we know what they say. They are speaking about it to everyone. Deputy Blaney will speak about what they think of the Cabinet or the Taoiseach or any Minister any day of the week. There is no secret. They will talk their hearts out and tell us their plans for the future.

It is only a figment of the imagination.

They are grinding their way through the constituency organisation of the Fianna Fáil party with the new party. We asked what the Minister for Finance was doing in his spare time. Deputy Colley recently made a speech at Thurles and he was speaking about the new attempt at a Clann na Poblachta party by Kevin Boland. These were the terms in which the Minister for Finance referred to his former colleague and his undoubtedly sincere efforts to get going on a republican party. That was a very foolish speech for the Minister for Finance to make.

Will the Deputy take them into the new coalition?

I would advise the people in that party who support one great cause or another not to be too loose in their remarks, either praising one or condemning the other. When giants clash little men should keep their mouths shut because——

Will the Deputy not take his own advice?

——the day may come when their words will be used against them. Most of the men in the Fianna Fáil Party are selected by what the Conservatives in Britain call the customary processes. I would say Deputy Moore was selected by customary process in the mysterious way of running that party. Deputy Haughey had a great deal to say in the selection of most Dublin TD's for the Fianna Fáil Party and right bitterly have they repaid that debt to Deputy Haughey.

The people elect the TDs.

Has the Deputy no gratitude for Deputy Haughey?

There is one great similarity between the Unionist Party and the Fianna Fáil Party, traditionally the election was over once the candidate was chosen. I concede this was truer ten years ago than it is now but would anyone think that Deputy Power could have got anywhere with his electorate if he had not been selected by the machine in Kildare? I think Deputy Power would concede that he would not have got anywhere without that machine. Who passes the magic word along the various branches that X is the favourite son?

What happened to the Labour machine in Kildare?

We were defeated but hang around until next time. My advice to the little ones in the Fianna Fáil Party who watch anxiously the affairs of the great is to be discreet in their opinions and when going into the Leinster House restaurant to go into the centre portion of the restaurant, avoid corners or any seats along by the wall because the restaurant is like a rock pool; one sees little minnows come into the pool and suddenly——

Very fishy all right.

——one sees an animal come out from the corners. We have seen the little men in the Fianna Fáil Party swallowed up in the restaurant and elsewhere. We have seen them being given this version or that version of an event and having to nod their heads in dumb agreement at this superior force.

The Deputy is not suggesting there is cannibalism in the restaurant.

Anyone who had to eat some of these Deputies would have sick stomachs. Deputy Moore asked a very relevant question: where are these dissidents?

Who are they?

Even I am so nervous I will not speak about who they are.

Do not chicken out of it now.

Deputy Moore may gauge the seriousness of the situation when I am reluctant to name these dissidents.

Is the Deputy going to do it?

I have hinted at who they are; the Deputy should use his imagination. They have been in here, they have been breathing fire, revolution and rebellion in the corridors outside but they have been in here punctually voting meek as lambs behind the Taoiseach and their favourite hate the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Gibbons. It is probably likely that Deputy Gibbons is to walk the plank this September or October. He has done his national duty; he has stood by the party in times of peril, and probably his usefulness is at an end. Certainly his usefulness will be rather expensive, if we are to believe the dissidents when they have let it be known—and Deputy Moore can pass this information back to the official side in his party if he is courageous enough to do it—that they will abstain in a vote on the Fine Gael motion in October. They may not do so; they may eat their words, they have done it before.

The Deputy should not worry his head about these men. They will act in a proper way.

Which men is the Deputy talking about?

Has the Deputy now identified Deputy O'Leary's dissidents?

Will Deputy O'Leary be allowed to make his speech?

Should we have this adolescent crew running the country's affairs for the next three or four years? Should we be listening to interminable tales about conflict within the party? Should we be listening to this dissident or that dissident telling us about this lie or that lie or what mistake this Minister made or that Minister made? Surely we do not have to listen to that kind of thing for the next two or three years? Would it not be a cleaner and more honest thing for the Taoiseach to announce in that good prose which he reserves for Garden of Remembrance speeches, that he has come to the end of his tether and has decided to go to the country? He has been asked this repeatedly by the subversive Press. The subversive Press over the last year or so have been at this constantly and quite inexplicably. They have always had a tough time from the Press. The Press have never understood them and the Press have increasingly not understood them over the past year as one mistake has followed another. The Minister for Labour was a discreet man and any time there was a strike he was never around. The Taoiseach was the man who patented the excuse that one got out of the way when things were happening. The Taoiseach went to Roaring Water Bay and cut himself off the phone so that no one could ever contact him at weekends.

Cheap indeed, I must say.

It is not cheap; it is bloody accurate. The Taoiseach was the original inventor of that kind of means of facing the problem—one runs away from it, one goes missing, then one has an alibi. The Minister for Labour who had been most expert in sidestepping up till then—there were cement strikes and bank strikes but never a word from the Minister for Labour——

There is a Labour Court to deal with that.

I wonder what the Minister for Labour had to do with it. That was a rather embarrassing title to have when the whole country was locked in a mortal combat between employer and employee; yet the only contribution is to say that the Labour Court should look after it. I am suggesting it is about time Fianna Fáil changed their Minister for Labour in common with all the other duds on the front bench.

The Taoiseach could not leave this group of people for a few days before they cut off the dole. It was a clerical error, they said after 48 hours. Every newspaper in the country was full of the dire tidings to all the western constituents that the dole had been eliminated. The Tánaiste, the man who was hunting the conspirators earlier in our recital, rushed in—and as Tánaiste he is responsible under the Constitution— and said there would be a public investigation when the Taoiseach returned. I am just wondering what the function of Tánaiste is because under the Constitution the Tánaiste has all power to make decisions when the Taoiseach is out of the country. I think the answer was that they really did not know where the Taoiseach was.

The rumour that he was out of the country was all wrong. The Government Information Bureau said this.

He was in a rural refuge. Anyway the Cabinet did not know where the Taoiseach was.

They did know where the Minister for Labour was, he was at Aintree.

He was at a wedding in Galway and he could not be found, I know what happened.

This assistance was cut off and the Tánaiste said there would be an inquiry when the Taoiseach returned. When the Taoiseach returned they held the inquiry behind closed doors. That was the kind of inquiry the Tánaiste meant. We all know the Tánaiste is a very honest and honourable man.

All honest and honourable men.

Some more honest than others, of course. The result of the inquiry was that there had been a clerical error, some unfortunate civil servants had made a mistake. The Taoiseach cannot turn his back for 48 hours without some mistake, some terrible fresh exposure, case or scandal being brought to the eyes of the public.

That was Gorgeous George's goof.

Somehow or other the Minister for Finance was involved in that error. The Minister represents the same constituency as I do and I do not like to indulge in this kind of accusation against a Deputy in the same constituency but my authority for stating he was involved in the matter is the Minister for Labour. Beneath the many explanations given by the Minister for Labour it was clear that the demon of the piece, in the Minister's mind, was the Minister for Finance. This is extraordinary because the Minister for Finance poses as being the chief Hibernian Gael in the Cabinet. However, we remember that as Minister for the Gaeltacht he was primarily responsible for the closing of Dún Caoin national school. Although the Minister has stated that he is all for the Irish language, he has said that shortage of cash forced the closure of that school. We are trying to ensure that Irish is one of the official languages of the EEC but in an area where it is spoken by the ordinary people—not the civil servants—the one national school in the area is closed.

Some months ago the Minister for Finance offered gratuitous insults to people who had carried out a survey in Galway. The Minister admitted on television that he had read only one page of the survey because of pressure of time but he came to his own conclusions about this survey as a whole. He made insulting references about the professional qualifications of the people who had carried out the survey.

This is the Cabinet that has been inflicted on this unfortunate country. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs are the only people of any ministerial calibre—the remainder of the Cabinet are jumped-up Parliamentary Secretaries, promoted because of their organisation and constituency work. At this time we are facing a wider range of problems than have existed since the foundation of the State. There was a time when the Twenty-six Counties could bask away in isolation; because there was little external influence brought to bear on our policies we could not measure if there had been success or failure in government. It was a matter that was decided at elections. However, when considering the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement we can get some idea of the incompetence of the Government and recognise the mistakes that they have made.

There will be an alternative when the next election comes. There is an alternative where agreement can be reached on a range of social and economic policies and agreement can be reached on the most crucial question, namely, the northern question. Great unanimity can be obtained on that single issue in a government administration made up of the two Opposition parties than can be obtained from the so-called single party on the opposite side.

Is the Deputy stating the Labour Party are in favour of EEC entry?

We answered that before.

And what about coalition?

The Deputy has spoken about this matter already when the Parliamentary Secretary was not present.

Is Deputy Andrews suggesting I have less in common with Deputy O'Leary than he has in common with Deputy Blaney?

Would Deputies please allow Deputy O'Leary to continue with his speech?

The Deputy has not replied to my question.

He does not have to reply to the Deputy's question.

Deputy O'Leary can make his speech without these questions.

It appears that interrogation is contagious in Fianna Fáil.

I merely asked the Deputy to answer my question.

I was trying to answer but the Deputy did not permit me. There is a dependence in this country on the British market. This tendency of over-dependence has been brought about by the policies of the present Government, with the result that should Britain enter the EEC we will have little choice. Would the Deputy agree with that?

The Deputy did not say that a month ago.

Would Deputy Moore please cease interrupting and allow Deputy O'Leary to continue? These interruptions are monotonous.

I agree the Deputy's speech is monotonous.

Let us not forget that in the glorious year of 1957 Fianna Fáil came back to save the country. The "Warriors of Destiny" returned to save Cathleen Ni Houlihan but they made of her a harlot. They came back from the pastures of repose and they have been with us for the past 14 years. What have these glorious republicans done? They have been trying to repair all the omissions of the past 14 years, repairing the piers along the coastline of Donegal because apparently this is the only place the Government made mistakes, if we listen to Deputy Blaney at Question Time. However, when it came to the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement there was nothing but silence from the warriors and the republicans.

In January, 1966, Deputy Seán Lemass was Taoiseach and there was firm control exercised. We all remember how quickly Deputy Patrick Smith, former Minister for Agriculture, was removed from office when he made an attack on the trade unions. It would be interesting if we could obtain all the newspaper pictures showing the united Cabinet during the time of the Lemass/O'Neill discussions. What a picture that was: with Mr. Craig in front of Deputy Blaney—and one would not think Deputy Blaney had a revolver between Mr. Craig's shoulder-blades. During that period when Deputy Lemass was questioned he said that he would not raise contentions or any other issues, he would simply talk about technical and economic problems. We asked him during this time about reforms but we were told that this matter did not enter the discussions. There was no protest from any of the republicans. These are the kind of people we are dealing with. Is it any wonder the people long for deliverance, for the day they may be given an alternative to this Government? Is it any wonder that Fianna Fáil Deputies are reluctant to give them this opportunity?

The Deputy is evading the question I asked him.

Is it any wonder they are sending out scores of letters every day hoping that time will erase the mistakes of the past, that they may continue in office until 1973 or 1974? One could even visualise Deputy O'Malley introducing a Bill to extend the life of the Dáil in view of a national emergency. It would not be necessary to have an election—just as the Government got rid of Dublin Corporation.

In his meeting with Mr. Heath, I hope the Taoiseach, at the very least, will look for a different political control confined to the northern area in which the opposition minority will participate in the government of the area. It is too late now to think that the introduction of PR will alter materially the situation. The scope of the Downing Street Declaration must be extended and the whole objective of our discussions with Mr. Heath should be to improve the possibility of peace in the northern area. The army left simply alone without any political initiative from the British authorities in the direction of this change of administration in the area must lead on to fresh disaster. It is clear also that any responsible person addressing himself to the problem must realise that bad though the Army may be, brutal though they may be on certain occasions, in fact the absence of an armed presence there would mean an even bloodier conflict. One must realise that we do not have the force here on this side of the Border, even if it were acceptable, to keep those various groups in the north apart in any particular conflict, we must also realise if a civil war is started it will not be confined to Northern Ireland alone but will spread to this part of the country, that Ian Paisley, whatever his faults may be, has said all that has gone before would be a Sunday picnic compared with what would occur if the British Army withdrew from Northern Ireland. We should end the delusion that the Protestants will not fight. They could, in fact, fighting with their backs to the wall, come very much further south than many people here might imagine.

In the interests of true progress north and south and ultimately in the interests of unity to be achieved at some future date, we must see that these reforms are introduced in Northern Ireland. I made the point at the start that to link all our ideas on the north, every fresh idea and initiative we have, and suggest that they must be tied to ultimate unity is not to understand the situation. It is to fall for the temptation that any southern politician must resist if he is being faithful to the complexity of the problem, it is to succumb to what your audience would like to hear in the south, that we are talking about unity. Any man who knows the complexity of the problem knows that unity is not on the agenda now.

This is not an issue in any of these benches and I would hope that no Deputy would start making any political capital out of charges that X is not for unity and "I am for unity." All of us in this House are for unity in this country at some time but the fact is that it is not on the agenda now. We must bend our energies towards improving the situation in the north. It is not on the agenda because the northern Protestants do not want it. Britain has a helping hand in the northern state and if Britain have a hand in the situation, in the sectarian institutions of that State, then Britain must be held to be primarily responsible for reforming that State and to apply coercion, if it must be applied, to the centres of violence in that society. Centres of violence may be on the side of those in the minority but certainly major centres of violence are also on the Unionist side, on the side of secret societies who are working to maintain a supremacy over their fellow citizens in the north.

It is obvious that if the British do not act on these particular issues the position must considerably worsen, that we will be involved in that worsening situation and we may reach that unhappy day where anything we say here cannot avert that ultimate conflagration from which nobody will profit. I do not see Irish unity emerge from any war between Irishmen. It is impossible to see any unity being achieved by such a war which would only result in many deaths, broken hopes and a more permanently divided country than we have had since 1920.

I am glad of this opportunity to speak on the Taoiseach's Estimate. I do not often speak because I am aware of my own limitations and I feel I should not speak unless I have something to say. Some of the Deputies opposite feel that because one does not speak on every occasion even when one has nothing to say, you are not doing your bit as far as this House is concerned. I have listened for the last hour to the slick chicks opposite and all the potential Ministers behind them and it is no wonder that the Labour Party are in the sad plight they are in.

Deputy O'Leary mentioned the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. He referred to the inadequacies of the present Cabinet and said that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs would be better off if he went back to the relative obscurity of West Limerick. This is indicative of the general feeling of the Labour Party to rural Ireland. I have seen evidence of this since I came into this House and I am now convinced more than ever that that is one of the reasons why the Labour Party have no meaning for the people of Ireland. It is one of the reasons why they, with very few exceptions have not succeeded in infiltrating the obscure areas of rural Ireland and why, with the exception of Deputy Michael Pat Murphy, in West Cork, their leader in Wexford and one or two others, their Members are confined to the metropolis.

I listened the other night to Deputy Tully speaking and I thought he was very personal in some of his remarks about other Deputies as well as myself. He seems to feel that because Deputies on this side of the House do not have the same opportunity of speaking as they do that we are not doing our bit. I have noticed that Deputy Tully feels he must contribute whenever the mood moves him and it seems to do so on many occasions. The only other Tully I remember very well is the Tully River near my birthplace and I see a remarkable resemblance between Deputy Tully and that Tully River because he seems to babble, babble and go on forever as well. He mentioned during the course of his remarks that he was convinced that after the next election he would still be in this House and that I would not. I should like to take him on if he is prepared to stake a little wager on that. If I was as long in this House as Deputy Tully is and the people of Kildare knew me as well as the people of Meath know Deputy Tully, I would feel very embarrassed to have had to scrape in by the skin of my teeth on Fianna Fáil second preferences in the last election like Deputy Tully did.

Reference was made here today to the use of the guillotine as a curtailment of the freedom of speech in this House and indirectly the freedom of the Press and everything else. From what I say no other course was open to our party but to use the guillotine. It is as well that everybody in Ireland should know that Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien spent six sneering, insidious hours here explaining, with the aid of some dictionaries, the meaning of one word and he intended to spend more time on other words. I am convinced that Deputy O'Brien's actions are more likely to lead to the loss of the very freedom he pretends to be so interested in preserving but, perhaps, that is the target that he has for this country. A De la Salle brother, whose pupil I had the honour to be. came into this House for the first time and heard Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien holding forth. After listening for some time, he was embarrassed that in a country like ours, with freedom for so many years, a situation could develop in which we had to put up with what we put up with that evening.

On a point of order, is Deputy Power in order in discussing a debate which has taken place or are we discussing the Taoiseach's Estimate?

Deputy Power is in order and, when he is not, the Chair will tell him so.

With all due respect, I think you should be consistent in that, Sir.

All the time in this debate is being given to the Opposition. Fianna Fáil have no right to speak. This is the syndrome from which Deputy Harte's party suffer, despite all that alleged purity on that side of the House. We are entitled to speak and we will exercise our right to speak. Deputy Power is making an excellent speech.

He would be if he could make up his mind whether he is attacking Deputy Cruise-O'Brien or discussing the Taoiseach's Estimate.

The Deputy's colleague's speech a few moments ago was even more ridiculous, but that suited the Deputy and his party all right. It is our duty to run this Dáil in a businesslike way and that is what we did and what we are doing. The fact that we took the action we did proves we are prepared to run the country and this House in a businesslike way. We do not slink off like Deputies opposite did. It would be well if those Deputies who worry about the alleged ills in our party would take a look at their own. They talk about dissidents in our party; it would be well if they looked at the dissidents in their own. On that night the Leader of the Labour Party said his party would no longer be a party to the farce, as he called it, but Deputy Michael Pat Murphy cast his vote. Even Deputy Coughlan stayed back in the Labour Benches until the very last minute. Maybe the Labour Deputies on that occasion went out to see their real friends. I had occasion to go out to the gate and have a look at the gathering there early in the night. I saw about 200 people and some banners. There was the Irish Communist party who purport to represent the thinking people of Ireland. I am very glad that our party at any rate were not in agreement with whatever it was those people, who purport to represent the thinking people of Dublin, were demonstrating about. I would be very worried indeed, as Deputies opposite should be, if those people I saw outside the gate were on the same side as we are.

I compliment the Taoiseach and his Ministers for pursuing a policy designed to do good irrespective of threats and the efforts of publicity seekers, the people who evince such an interest now in the freedom of the Press, an interest they did not always show in the past. The Press is free, but it is not free to break the law and it cannot expect a freedom that is denied to others. It is not free to incite people to commit crimes such as squatting, forcible entry and so forth. It is well to remember, too, that the Press probably feels it is much more important than it really is. The Press and the other mass media are merely a service and they do not wield the influence they apparently imagine they do.

We rule the country in a realistic way. We make up our own minds; we do what we think is good. It would be very foolish for anyone to be swayed too much by what the Press says or to rely too much on what the Press thinks because on many occasions in the past Press forecasts have been proved wrong. We have repeatedly got a mandate from the people to rule. We are not weathercocks, swayed by every breeze that blows; we are not swayed by every pressure group. The ordinary people have faith in the Fianna Fáil Party. When the going is rough, when inflation threatens, or when the people want a party prepared to govern and not merely ready to govern, as the poster proclaimed, they return Fianna Fáil to power. They have done that repeatedly. That is why we are here and that is why other Deputies are sitting over there. That is why Fine Gael are now practically 40 years in the wilderness, with an occasional glimpse, perhaps, of the promised land. Perhaps Fine Gael feel they are now reaching the end of their journey and if they blow their trumpet loud enough they will fall like the walls of Jericho.

Never forget that but for the Fine Gael Party the Deputy would not have the privilege of sitting in this Assembly.

I owe nothing to the Fine Gael Party.

The Deputy owes a lot to the Fine Gael Party.

I owe nothing to the Fine Gael Party. The people know them for what they are and will remember them for what they were. The Labour Party is a thing of patches like Joseph's coat, a party of many colours. My advice to the Opposition parties would be to cure their own ills and not spend so much time worrying about ours. My advice to them would be to try to be a really constructive Opposition, fulfilling their proper role, a role that is now possibly traditional for them.

Deputy O'Leary referred to education. He wanted to know where education is going. Anybody with an interest in education at any level is more aware now than ever before of where education is going and is happy with the policy being pursued by the Government. As far as the three different bodies of teachers are concerned, their salary troubles have been resolved but we still have Opposition Deputies asking indiscreet questions, chasing every hare that is raised and making every effort to keep the pot boiling at all costs. It is no credit to the Opposition that the solution was found.

With regard to community schools, why are Deputy FitzGerald and Deputy Desmond, who were so persistent in their questions about community schools and in their references to sectarianism and secularism, now suddenly dumb on the subject? Why have they retraced their steps? The reason is that they misjudged once again the feelings of the ordinary people. Initially there was a very emotional atmosphere but the people now realise and appreciate that Fianna Fáil are pursuing a policy of education which will guarantee for all children the very best education possible within the limited resources at our command. A broad curriculum, a choice of subjects and proper streaming will guarantee that all the children will be cherished equally so far as education is concerned. People are becoming aware of this.

The Minister announced recently that two community schools are planned for Dublin and we are pleased to know that lay and religious will join together to work these schools. We are not anxious to see the religious leave education. We are very appreciative, too, of the work done by lay teachers. No action of ours will drive a wedge between the two. I would say to the Minister for Education to keep up his good work.

In the matter of housing, social welfare and health, much has been done by Fianna Fáil. Much will continue to be done. The people appreciate this. There is a good deal yet to be done but big advances have been made. Deputies may make wild statements about houses, or health, or social welfare on a national scale but, when one examines one's own constituency and sees the improvements brought about in housing and health and social services, one realises the great strides that have been made. The people are not blind. They realise great strides have been made. We have our targets set and we shall attain them in due course.

Chun deireadh a chur leis an méid atá le rá agam, tá Taoiseach againn anois a oireann don tír agus don uair seo agus tuigeann pobal na hÉireann an fhírinne sin agus is mian leo go mbeidh sé mar Thaoiseach againn le fada an lá. Cruthófar sin ag an gcéadh thoghachán eile ach ní bheidh toghachán eile againn go ceann bliana eile nó mar sin. Cuirfidh an toghachán sin éad ar na Teachtaí ins na suíocháin thall. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil an polasaí ceart á leanúint aige chun ár dtír uilíg a athaontú—bealach na síochána.

Tamall ó shin dúairt na Teachtaí thall go raibh an deireadh in ann dúinn ach d'éirigh go geal linn sa bhliain atá caite agus tá mé cinnte go bhfuil geataí na hEorpa ar oscailt romhainn anois agus le Fianna Fáil bainfimíd ceann scríbe amach san Eoraip agus inár dtírin féin in ndeireadh na dála.

Before addressing the House I should like to bring to the attention of the Chair the fact that since I came in here this morning at 10.30 there have been no more than three Government Deputies in the House. This is a sad reflection on the Taoiseach's Estimate at such a time in our history. Therefore, I would ask for a quorum.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present: House counted and 20 Members being present,

On a point of order, could the Chair make representations to the Ceann Comhairle to see that meals will be served in the House?

(Interruptions.)

With apologies to Deputy Burke, I believe that at this point of time and having listened to many of the discussions—I should like to remind Fianna Fáil Deputies that the Chair is in authority and I want a House when I am speaking. The Chair has the right to decide and if he has a right to decide he will listen to what I am saying. Can we have a another count?

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

This House is due to adjourn for the summer recess in another two or three hours. We are now discussing the Taoiseach's Estimate and this to me is the most important debate in this Parliament in the past 18 months. Since 10.30 this morning there have been no more than three Government Deputies in the House.

And one Fine Gael.

A Deputy

You are wrong.

Excuse me. It is for this reason and only for this reason that I ask the Chair to maintain a quorum.

To listen to you?

Yes. Until such time as this House——

On a point of order, I would not ask any of the Deputies to suffer Deputy Harte's speeches.

The Deputy knows that is not a point of order.

Having made that point and deeply conscious of the fact that public representatives have it in their power to mould public opinion, I think it is also despicable that at 11 p.m. last night the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, his right hand man, said to Deputy Dowling: "Go in, Joe, and keep on going until midnight and speak for three hours tomorrow morning." And if anybody wishes to be enlightened in codology——

That is absolute misrepresentation.

——and buffoonery I would recommend him to read Deputy Dowling's contribution here last night between 11 p.m. and midnight.

Would the Deputy come to the Taoiseach's Estimate?

I am talking about the Taoiseach's Estimate. During the whole discussion, since the Taoiseach moved this motion yesterday morning most of the comments of all speakers have been on national reunification. Other speakers have brought in inflation and different aspects of Government failure. Naturally enough, speakers from the Government Party put forward their points of merit. In this discussion I propose to deal basically with Northern Ireland and our relationship to it. If the subject of our discussion is reunification then we must recognise that we are divided. If we take the Taoiseach's remarks, the Tánaiste's remarks, or even Deputy Blaney's remarks, which are the complete opposite of those of his leaders, we find we all agree that we cannot have coercion, that we are looking for a peaceful solution and there should be no violence. Some people say we can have a little violence. Deputy O'Leary put his finger on the pulse when he said: "When you start shooting it is hard to stop." You cannot have a little violence.

Let us examine more closely the meaning of these phrases: "No coercion", "peaceful means", and "no violence". They are pious phrases. They read well and at times they present themselves as coming from men with moderate opinions. All during this Parliament, since the foundation of the State, politicians in this House and outside it, and would-be politicians, have never been prepared to recognise that Partition is a way of Irish life. Having listened to Deputy Michael O'Leary for an hour, I think he came closest to the truth in saying to the Government, to the Fine Gael Party and to his own party that before we can remove Partition we must accept that it is there.

When we tell the northern Unionists we are not going to coerce them, what do we mean? When we tell them we are seeking a peaceful solution what do we mean? If we tell them there will be no violence, what do we mean? And what do they think we mean? The answer to the last question is that the northern Unionists just do not believe us when we say these things. Why? Because we have not spelled out the meaning of those expressions. When we say we will not use coercion what we are saying to the northern Unionists is: "Until such time as you are prepared to join us we do not seek a solution." When we say we are seeking peaceful means what we are actually saying is: "Until such time as you see merit in our actions we do not seek a solution." When we say we do not want to have violence, then we had better stop talking about solutions other than by peaceful means.

It follows logically from that that if we do not intend to coerce the northern people, then we are giving them X number of years to make up their minds, which means we are giving them the privilege of opting out until such time as a solution can be found. In doing that, we are recognising Partition, admittedly as a temporary measure. However, let us not forget that when the Taoiseach, Deputy Lynch, or the late Seán Lemass, or any other person who has held the office of Taoiseach said: "No coercion", "peaceful means" and "no violence" they have recognised Partition and given the majority of the people north of the Border the right to opt out.

None of us has ever been manly enough to stand up and say: "I accept Partition, and I accept that until the majority of the people north of the Border are prepared to sit around a table with the people south of the Border and discuss unity, reunification will not take place." None of us has been big enough to say that, while Partition may not have been the answer, it was an answer.

It is time that Partition should be elevated above party politics. No party in this House has the monopoly of policy on reunification. No party can claim any greater degree of republicanism than another. In today's Irish Independent there is a cartoon of three individuals: “Sinn Féin”, “Sinn Féiner” and “Sinn Féinest”. This merely spells out the attitude of the southern Irish republicans in considering Northern Ireland. It is time that we, the politicians south of the Border, became bigger than we are and recognised the facts of life, that people living north of the Border are as Irish as we are. Under our Constitution a man can come from a foreign land, take out Irish citizenship and call himself an Irishman. However, the Northern Unionist born of two Irish parents, four Irish grandparents and eight Irish great-grandparents and who has a right to Irish nationality, is questioned by the politicians in this House and, might I point out, more so by the Government party than by the two Opposition parties. To give credit where credit is due it must be said that the Taoiseach, a man for whom I have the utmost respect on matters of national policy—while I disagree with him fundamentally and violently at times on domestic policies—has led the Fianna Fáil Party away from the situation of civil war. He has matured them and made them think.

Not all of them.

It is a hard job.

He has made them think, even the few about whom the Deputy has doubts. Therefore, I call on the Taoiseach, a man of outstanding ability in this field, to set up an all-party committee that would represent the three parties in this House under his chairmanship, to discuss with all sections of Irish opinion, north and south of the Border, a mature national policy that will not be a Fianna Fáil policy, a Fine Gael policy or a Labour Party policy, that will be a sincere approach by people who desire reunification. My choice of policy for reunification would be the 32 counties under one Parliament but, as Deputy O'Leary has said, that is not on the agenda. That is not for debating. If we want to discuss re-unification under one Parliament, or if we try to talk in terms of being anti-partitionists, we are merely chasing people back into different corners by such loss of sense and reason.

It is for this reason that I make this very earnest appeal to the Taoiseach to set up an all-party committee under his chairmanship. I make this appeal acknowledging the fact that any policy towards national reunification must have the authority and the goodwill of the Government party and any committee set up under the chairmanship of the Taoiseach would have that authority. If we had such a committee we could explain the different approaches to those people south of the Border who do not have a mature approach to national reunification. For instance, we could invite to attend people such as Kevin Boland who, incidentally, is a man for whom I have the greatest respect in many ways but who is completely off the beam in his approach to national reunification. Mr. Boland is not getting the support of the people. He has not even the support of his own party. Is it Kevin Boland's belief that he can lead those people who have not accepted Fianna Fáil policies into a mission of national re-unification? I do not think so but, in all charity, I would ask people such as Kevin Boland, or any other person who wishes to organise or mobilise any particular Irish force, not to try any attempt other than a national policy as requested by me. Let him try and influence the formation first of an all-party committee. Having established through the communications media what is mature Irish policy let us then tell the people north of the Border what we mean when we say we will not coerce, we will not use violence but will look for a peaceful solution. Let us say to them that we do not want to coerce them into a political system which they now reject and that likewise we do not wish them to be coercing a large minority of people north of the Border into a political system which they reject totally. Let us say to the Northern Protestants—I do not consider all of them as embracing Unionism but I am talking about those who do not accept a united Ireland at this point—"If you can find a political solution to your dilemma, attempt to do so but until such time as a solution is found we will not use coercion, we will not use violence but will seek peaceful means towards reunification." If a society could be established north of the Border that would be a just society and if a parliamentary system of Catholics and Protestants could be established, then, we could have a united Ireland not under one parliament but under two parliaments. When people of my generation try to examine what Michael Collins meant when he talked about a stepping-stone perhaps they will interpret that, as I interpret it, as meaning that this was the sort of system he had in mind.

This country is not ready for unification but there is so little between us that it causes foreigners to laugh. When one seeks the solution he does not go to Falls Road or to Shankill and while I recognise a Bogsider in the Public Gallery I must say that neither would one go to the Bogside, because people in these areas have been forced to take polarised positions. They have been forced to oppose each other not against British imperialism— that is yesterday's news—but against a system which they reject; against a system which forces them to live as second class citizens. Therefore it would not be easy to find a solution in those areas. They do not represent the wide spectrum of public opinion north of the Border. They do not represent in any great detail the rural parts of Northern Ireland. When I talk about reunification not being on at this time let no one mistake what I mean when I say that not all of the Catholics north of the Border at this time are in favour of national reunification. Let it be said also that not all of the Protestants north of the Border would fall over backwards if we had national reunification. It is wrong to say that there is a polarisation on religious grounds. It is wrong to say, too, that the British Government have anything to do with this directly at the moment. It is true that they cannot be absolved from blame but this row is basically between two groups of Irish people who cannot settle their differences.

South of the Border we believe in economic unity with Great Britain. This was spelled out in great detail by the late Seán Lemass at the time of the signing of the Free Trade Area Agreement with Great Britain. North of the Border, too, they believe in economic and political unity with Great Britain. This brings me to the question of unionism and what it means. Unionism was not always the political philosophy of loyalists north of the Border. Indeed, when they proclaim their unity with Great Britain, I question whether they are speaking sincerely. Unionism meant political and economic union with Great Britain. I am sure there are many people in Fianna Fáil whose fathers or grandfathers professed that theory just as members of my family supported the same theory, but I am sure also there are Catholics north of the Border who believe that at the moment. Those people in the north who call themselves Nationalists or Republicans may be using a misnomer but, nevertheless, they would prefer to call themselves Nationalists or Republicans in preference to being referred to as Unionists but they are in fact more Unionist than is Ian Paisley who is both loyalist and Unionist. To explain that, let me say that people in different walks of life in the North of Ireland see great advances in their close economic unity with Great Britain. Let us not try to make comparisons as to whether bread is dearer here than it is in that part of the country, or whether a particular job is better paid there than it is here. Arguments on these points can be put forward but can be knocked down depending on one's point of view, but we cannot forget that between £120 million and £150 million is being channelled into the northern economy each year by Great Britain. This indicates clearly that there is an advantage in being a Unionist in that province if one defines Unionism as meaning economic union with Great Britain.

Ian Paisley claims to be a Unionist but I wonder if, tomorrow morning, the British Government were to impose direct rule whether he and the loyalists would accept it. I do not think they would. Therefore, if Ian Paisley says he is a Unionist, he is saying that he is a Unionist so long as Stormont stands and so long as there are a group of people north of the Border who are in complete political control, playing a sectarian card to divide people. Therefore, it is most urgent at this time that the Taoiseach should have a committee such as I request, that we should go to Northern Ireland and try to organise midstream opinion because what is needed there is political reformation. Fair minded people, Catholic and Protestant, must learn to trust each other and leave their entrenched positions to provide a Government that will provide a just society north of the Border. If we had that position I would be of the opinion that no Taoiseach, no Government, be it a Fine Gael/Labour Coalition or a Fianna Fáil Party Government, could do anything other than recognise de facto and de jure such a Government in Northern Ireland because it could be nothing other than an Irish Government providing a just society in which all men would be equal, in which one did not have to belong to the Orange Order or the Unionist Party to be in a privileged position.

At the moment we have violence north of the Border. That violence could be much more readily identified but for the fact that the British Army are tieing it down, concealing it and not letting it develop. I abhor the thought of civil war and I would, with reservation, accept the remarks of any person who talks about civil war because this is something we must all try to steer away from, but unless we do something about it, it is inevitable that the atrocities that are being carried out by violent men north of the Border in the name of Irish people— let me say they do not do it in my name—can be repeated by these people if they choose to cross the Border to the city of Dublin. It is just as easy to leave a plastic bomb in a letterbox in O'Connell Street as it is in Royal Avenue, Belfast. It is just as easy to lose control of a situation south of the Border as north of the Border. It is for this reason that there is such urgency about trying to find a peaceful solution to an Irish problem that exists only north of the Border.

While I might not like certain individuals of the Fianna Fáil Party, while I disagree fundamentally with them on certain matters, at least we can all agree on the general basis of being Irish and other things that go with it and we can agree to differ. This is not so north of the Border and the forces which are there generating violence only came to draw battle lines and when battle-lines are drawn there is no opting out. If battle-lines are drawn north of the Border, if there is a conflict between two groups of people, be they Catholics and Protestants, or Nationalists and Unionists, no matter what division line you draw, if there are battle-lines drawn there is no opting out even for people south of the Border. This is a situation that cannot be allowed to develop. For this very reason it is urgently necessary that the Taoiseach should recognise Partition, elevate Partition above party politics south of the Border and say to the people who are trying to steer to midstream north of the Border: "As Irishmen, as brothers, seek a political solution to your problem". That is a sick society up there. There is no point in denying this. In a sick society everything goes, everything is involved, everyone is involved.

I was in the city of Derry on the weekend that Bernadette Devlin was arrested. That caused certain disturbances. I met a personal friend there and while walking around the street with him I noticed young boys throwing stones. On the previous occasion when I was in Derry and the Bogsiders were defending themselves against the threat of the RUC and the B Specials there was something real there and there was something purposeful in what they were doing. On the second occasion I could not find a reason for youths throwing stones. I said to my friend: "This just does not make sense". He said: "I know it does not make sense". I said: "The pitiful thing is that the adults do not give a damn". He said: "Quite right, but make no mistake, when young boys throw stones at British Army soldiers they are not fighting with the Army, they are rebelling against a system they do not want". I repeat: when they throw stones at soldiers they are not fighting with the Army. They are rebelling against a system they do not want. There is as much an obligation on us, as Irishmen and as Christians, to try to find a solution to this as there is on people north of the Border. We must encourage people north of the Border to leap to midstream.

Deputy Ryan of my own party said this morning that the British Army is not wanted in the Six Counties and that it should get out. I do not want the British Army in the north of Ireland. I do not think any Deputy in this House does. I do not think any person north of the Border wants the British Army there. But take it out and see what happens. When the ordinary individual soldier pulls a trigger in haste and takes away life, whether he does it in error or whether he does it deliberately, whether the individual officer gives a wrong command in error deliberately, this should not take from the fact that those Army personnel are sent there to try to keep law and order. When we criticise them for being too interested in searching one particular area and not another why should we criticise individual soldiers? This whole thing can be explained by telling of a visit I paid to Derry on the week the two young boys were shot there. The father of young Beattie I have known personally for the past 20 years. I called to his house and in the course of conversation I said: "Billy, do not misunderstand me but I do not blame the soldier who shot your son." He said: "Oh, I do not blame him. If I could identify that soldier I would go and sympathise with him because until the day he dies that terrible tragedy will be on his mind and the truth of the matter is that he never should have been there." This was the thought of a father whose son lay dead in the next room. Is that not the type of thought we should have in our minds when we try to examine and work out where the trouble lies? If it is necessary for Irishmen south of the Border to recognise Partition to clear away such a situation surely we should rise to doing it? I am prepared to do it. I do not consider myself any less an Irishman than Deputy Cunningham from my own constituency, or Deputy Briscoe, or any other Fianna Fáil Deputy. I do not think any of them can claim to be a better Irishman than I am.

When I read the Taoiseach's speech and listen to him in the House, I think he is very much on the same ground as the ground from which I am speaking. Deputy O'Leary speaks with a very authoritative voice for the Labour Party and he also speaks from the same ground. Therefore, why cannot we recognise that, while this country is divided, there will be trouble here? If we forgot about Partition, which is completely irrelevant to the situation, we could unite people, not under one Parliament but under two. To get to that position we must win the trust and confidence of people who suspect us, and have had every reason to suspect us up to this point. We have been most inconsistent in our approaches to the position in the North.

Last night Deputy Dowling said that when trouble broke out in the Bogside in August of 1969 we sent Deputy Hillery, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, post haste to the United Nations. What have the United Nations got to do with trying to find a solution to a problem in the city of Derry? What have the United Nations go to do with trying to find a solution between the Falls Road and Shankill? We have Fianna Fáil speakers saying: "Take out the British Army and put in United Nations personnel." There was a foolish suggestion that we should send in the Irish Army. Let us see what would have happened. It is my opinion that, if we had sent in the Irish Army, within six months people would have been throwing stones at Irish Army personnel. If we had sent in United Nations personnel, it is also my opinion that within six months people would have been throwing stones at them.

There is no military solution to the North of Ireland. Whether Ted Heath or Brian Faulkner increases the number of British personnel in the Six Counties for a particular period of the year, or whether they do not, this will offer no solution. The solution lies in this House and in Stormont because basically the only places where Partition is now an issue are in this House and in Stormont. When certain politicians for political reasons wish to elevate themselves above obscurity they grasp Partition. We have the Unionists north of the Border shouting: "We are the only party who can maintain it." While I do not want to criticise them too severely, we have the Fianna Fáil Party south of the Border shouting: "We are the only party who can shift it." This has been at the root of the Irish problem which showed its vicious head only when the Civil Rights Movement took to the streets in the North of Ireland to protest against the system.

While I am talking about that, lest I forget, let me say that the basic thinking of the Civil Rights Movement was: Equal rights and change the system. They were not protesting about being kept as British subjects. They were protesting against being classified as second-class citizens. They were objecting to a Unionist Party which was playing a sectarian card, not because they were anti-Catholic, not because they were pro-Protestant, not because they wanted union with Great Britain, but because it meant power, power to stay in government. We are not without a parallel to this when we remember the way the former Minister for Local Government kept Deputy Cunningham in this House by gerrymandering part of Leitrim into County Donegal, bringing part of Connaught into Ulster, to keep a Fianna Fáil Deputy in this House. People who live in glasshouses should not throw stones.

Therefore, it is my earnest appeal that we should take Partition out of Irish politics south of the Border. In this morning's paper we see that Seán MacBride, who was a Member of this House for a number of years, calls for a National Government. I do not think that is "on" so long as the Fianna Fáil Party wish to hold on to power in the manner in which we know they have held on to it for the past 40 years, and particularly at the last general election, and more particularly in the past few months. I do not think it is necessary to have a National Government. I go along with Deputy O'Leary when he says we have never had such a mediocre Cabinet as the present one. As somebody said, some of them are there because they are there and for no other reason. Majority rules in any democracy and the Fianna Fáil Party have the majority of Deputies. They have not got the majority of popular support. They have merely 45 per cent of the popular electorate.

I am taking the most recent figures. It is "on" and the Taoiseach has it right on his plate at the moment to invite the two leaders of the Opposition parties to provide an all-party committee to deal exclusively with national affairs. This would not be to the Taoiseach's disadvantage because as a northern Deputy—and I have spoken with colleagues in my own party about this and I have mentioned it to Fianna Fáil and Labour Party Deputies—I believe it is fundamentally wrong for Deputies of any party to be addressing questions to the Taoiseach, or to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, merely for the purpose of gaining political kudos——

Deputies

Hear, hear.

——and using the lives of Irish people north of the Border as pawns. It is wrong that we should be asking these questions merely for the sake of asking them. It is wrong for two reasons. The first is the one I have just given and the second is that in addressing a question like this we are harassing the Taoiseach into a political position where he will defend himself. Any other person would do likewise. We are harassing him into a position where we are trying to make him make a mistake. For what purpose? So that some individual in our constituency, be it in Donegal, Limerick, Waterford, Cavan or wherever it is, will read that Deputy So-and-So asked a question about Northern Ireland in the House. Therefore, it would be to the advantage of the Taoiseach to have such a committee set up.

The Taoiseach is quoted in the front page of the Irish Independent today as saying that unity and peace are the Government's objectives but not through any form of violence or force, and that the task will be long and arduous and cannot be accomplished by an instant or imposed solution. I accept that completely. My own leader is quoted as having said: “That those who believed in democracy and in the solution of political problems without violence, north or south of the Border, would `fail to act together to defend the fundamental values of the vast majority of the people against the sinister threats of a small and irresponsible group'.” That is my line.

Deputy Corish said: "Unity is not —and cannot be—around the corner as long as the present situation continues." He made a reference to the forthcoming Lynch-Heath "summit" and said that anyone who hoped that discussions between an Irishman and Englishman could produce unity was in grave error. These are the leaders of the three parties and they represent the vast majority of Irish people south of the Border. We can talk about our Kevin Street Sinn Féin; we can talk about our Gardiner Street Sinn Féin; we can talk about our Rathcoole republicans and about the Rosnakill republicans; but these people represent nobody. We have the democratically-elected Members of this House represented by those three men who have spoken out clearly on what they represent. There is no obstacle in the Taoiseach's way in inviting Deputy Corish and Deputy Cosgrave to talks to elevate Partition above Irish politics, to take it out of political life here and to stop Deputies from addressing questions merely for the purpose of getting information which means nothing anyway this side of the Border and can cause frustration north of the Border.

Having said that, I will have to be uncharitable to a few members of the Fianna Fáil Party, coming from a constituency so closely attached in tradition, heritage and culture with the north. We have many friends just immediately across the Border and I think it is sad that public representatives, who, as I said at the outset, have it in their power to control and mould public opinion, of the Fianna Fáil Party in my county because I am the only Fine Gael Deputy in those two constituencies, despite the fact that part of it is in Connacht, have not spoken out clearly on what they represent and what they are prepared to do. I think it is sad that Deputy Cunningham, a Parliamentary Secretary, that Deputy Joe Brennan, a Minister of State, do not spell out in local newspapers, do not try to mould public opinion within their own party and their own constituencies, do not try to modify the thinking and eradicate the confusion in the minds of many people when two politicians get up to talk. This is the sad thing about public representatives who do not say loudly and clearly where they stand, so that when a day of judgment comes along, people will say "I believe in what this man is saying".

Does Neil Blaney do it?

The saddest thing of all is that those people of the Fianna Fáil Party who opt to speak, speak with confused minds and tend to further confuse a very delicate situation. Therefore, while it might be the policy of the Taoiseach to speak solely for the Government, I think that people will pay attention to the fact that politicians such as Deputy Cunningham, now in the Taoiseach's seat, has not yet said where he stands on such an issue.

I have lots of things to say, but because Members have taken too long to put across their point of view and really have not said a lot, time is running short and I have told Deputy Cluskey that I will give him a few minutes of my time. I intend to keep my promise, but I want to say that it is futile for us to be talking about re-unification until we reunite the peoples north of the Border and futile for us to think that polarisation between people north of the Border will be on lines other than fair play and justice on one side and the bigotry and hatred, on the other, and when I talk about fair play and justice, I do not speak of Catholicism and nationalism as synonymous with fair play and justice and when I talk about hatred and bigotry, I am not personifying these in Ian Paisley, because there is bigotry and hatred on both sides; but unless I am a bad judge of public opinion, unless I am a bad judge of the common people of Northern Ireland, there is more fair play and more justice in the minds of the vast majority of Catholics and Protestants. Nationalists and Unionists, north of the Border than there is on the right wings of each section.

It is for this reason, this very serious reason, that I think the Taoiseach has no other option than to ask the other two parties in this House to join with him in a new mission to try to unite the people north of the Border. Do not try to convert the people with bigotry and hatred in their hearts because your time will be wasted, but there is an urgent necessity for us to spell out where we stand on this issue to win the confidence of the Nationalists and the Unionists north of the Border, to tell them that we really care and that it is not just for the sake of party political gains that we go on a mission to the North of Ireland but to remind them that the vast majority south of the Border desire a united Ireland but desire it in the real true meaning of the word united, that we desire peace and harmony north of the Border and that while we are not going to coerce them into a system which they reject, we ask them not to coerce people north of the Border into a system which they reject, and if this midstream course in Northern Ireland could forget their entrenched positions and think for one minute that they are Irishmen, that Unionism and Republicanism are really only byproducts of the Irish race and if as Irishmen they could come together and provide a system which will be a just system north of the Border, I, and I am sure every other Deputy, would be prepared to give de jure and de facto recognition to such a situation. I could envisage a situation in which a Prime Minister north of the Border might be saying to the Taoiseach of this country: “Let us talk about reunification on our terms,” and I might not be correct in saying that the terms offered might have second thoughts in the minds of the people representing this Parliament at that time.

In conclusion, let me say that we should not allow our societies here or north of the Border to descend to civil war, and if we do not want our societies to descend to a civil war, there is a grave moral obligation on us as public representatives to do something about it. We have done nothing about it in the past 50 years, other than throw mud and say: "I am more republican than you, Jack", or "I am more unionist than you, Brian". This is not the way to solve the situation, because in a civil war I do not know how you can figure out how a Catholic can shoot only a Protestant or how a Protestant can shoot only a Catholic. It is impossible. We must not allow a civil war situation to develop.

Finally, let me tell a story of a young Tyrone boy who has come to live in Donegal. It illustrates the type of muddled thinking we have. This young Irish boy from Tyrone came to live in Donegal. He was educated in Dungannon and he has a burning desire to join the Army cadets force. He has made application to the Minister for Defence and I have made repeated requests personally, in writing and phoning, to the Minister. The Minister has complete sympathy but because that boy does not know Irish, he cannot join the Army cadets. How can we expect to reunite this country when we have that simple story of a boy from a Protestant home who transfers residence from Strabane to Castlefin and who wants to join the Irish Army as a cadet and is rejected because he does not know Irish, but the strange thing about it is that if this young boy wants to stand as a TD he could get elected.

(Interruptions.)

If he were successful he could end up as a Parliamentary Secretary. In fact, he could be a Minister. He could be Tánaiste and he could end up as Taoiseach. In fact, he could end up in the Park. He could be President of this country but he cannot be a member of the cadet force because he does not know Irish. If he was a frustrated TD, the Fianna Fáil Party, as they have done in the past, could make him chairman of RTE, could give him a golden handshake of £7,000 and a job at £5,000 a year. He could be a member of Bord Fáilte or Bord na gCon, or any other board, but he could not be a member of his own Army. Are we really serious when we talk about reunification? I have many examples such as this. But I will leave the House to ponder on this one.

I thank Deputy Harte not only for affording me some time but for the very sincere and intelligent speech which he has just made. I have approximately 13 minutes to try to get my thoughts across in this debate. One thing which struck me during the whole of this debate was understandably, the emphasis on and the time afforded to discussion on Northern Ireland. It is undoubtedly the greatest problem facing us as a nation today. Two years ago when the Government went before the people there was very little talk about Northern Ireland. The electorate quite frankly were not preoccupied, no more than were the Fianna Fáil Party, with the problems of the people in Northern Ireland. For the past 40 years they have been using the North to a large extent as a political gimmick and their attitude, pronouncements and performance on the question of Partition and on the questions affecting the people of the North of Ireland have been as forgotten as the other side of the Lambeg drum. It is rather tragic but we, unfortunately—and I think the people—have forgotten, because of the number of events over the last two years, exactly what is the primary function of a Government. The Government and the people have read of little other than the sackings of Ministers, the Arms trial, the dissidents and Cabinet reshuffles. The people have become so confused that they have forgotten what the primary responsibility of the Government is.

Their neglect in this field could very well be closely connected with the question of the reunification of our country. In this country there are approximately 3,000,000 people. I have here a list which was obtained by way of Parliamentary Question of the number of people out of the 3,000,000 people who are dependent on social welfare payments. Among other things, the number of people employed and other statistics are given. Time is limited and I will go through the figures rapidly. We have 158,000 old age pensioners, 70,000 widows, 92,000 sick and disabled people, 79,000 unemployed. These are the people who are in receipt of unemployment benefit and unemployment assistance. There are others such as blind people, deserted wives, et cetera and they number 8,000. This comes to a total of 407,000 people and with their dependants the figure would come to approximately 1,000,000 people. It would be fair to describe them as the deprived million because while there are in other countries and in Northern Ireland unemployed people, sick and disabled and various other categories of people who depend on social welfare payments, they are vastly better off than they would be here.

It would be an understatement to say there might be some reluctance on the part of these people, Catholic or Protestant, to come in here. We have figures for employment from 1966 to 1970, taken in April of each year. The total number of people employed in April, 1966, was 1,066,000. In April, 1970, the total number of people at work was 1,066,000—exactly the same figure five years later. The NIEC projections for full employment by 1981 would require an annual growth in employment of 5½ per cent. Our growth has been 1½ per cent in 1970 and 3 per cent in 1971. These are just some figures which I have to deal with in a very brief way due to the time allocated for the finishing speeches. They indicate two things. They indicate that this Government are no longer fit to govern because they are not in a position to deal with the primary considerations of Government, which should be the welfare of the people. They are not in a position to issue invitations to the people of Northern Ireland to come in and join us at those rates.

In this debate speakers have referred to the North of Ireland and to the situation there. I want to refer to it briefly. In 1969 when the trouble started and the Taoiseach made his position clear that a policy of non-violence, no coercion and of persuasion by reason would be adopted by his Government towards the people of Northern Ireland, the Labour Party gave their full and unreserved support to that policy but this was no surprise to me because non-violence particularly among Irishmen, although not exclusively, has been the policy of this party for many years.

We are the only party here who refused to take part in the civil war because we knew that nothing could be achieved by Irishmen shooting Irishmen. We have been told, perhaps it is true, I am inclined to think it is, that we lost political advantage, and because we opted out of the civil war is in some way responsible for our small numbers in this House. It is true to say that the wisdom of our decision is much clearer today to the people than it has been in the past. I would go on to say that were we to make the same kind of decision again with the same consequences there would be no hesitation on the part of this party in making it because we will not, we have not and we cannot envisage any situation in which we would advocate, condone or encourage solutions by Irishmen irrespective of what they claim to owe allegience to, whether they are official IRA, Provisional IRA or UVF—it should not be forgotten that the UVF are Irishmen too—irrespective of what they call themselves—they will not get support from this party by word, deed or action.

Having made that perfectly clear there is one other thing I should like to say with regard to the Taoiseach and I regret I have such a short space of time in which to develop the point. While we have supported the Taoiseach's commitment on behalf of the Government for a non-violent solution, while we welcomed it and continue to support that part of this policy without reservation I feel there have been occasions when the Taoiseach has been criminally negligent in his duty as Taoiseach of a party which was responsible for the drafting and the putting before the people of the 1937 Constitution which claimed jurisdiction over 32 counties and which have used Partition and the commemoration of our glorious dead to their own political advantage.

When Mr. Faulkner, as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, made a speech in which he stated that in his opinion British soldiers, serving in the North of Ireland, were entitled to shoot on mere suspicion, I requested the Taoiseach to denounce that speech publicly as it had been made publicly. The Taoiseach declined to do so and two unarmed men who had no association with any political organisation lost their lives in the city of Derry. After that tragic week in which two men lost their lives, Mr. John Taylor, who is a junior Minister in the Northern Ireland administration, publicly said that more than likely more people would be shot on the streets of Northern Ireland.

While we support, will continue to support and do everything in our power to back up the Taoiseach in his non-violence, no coercion and reasonable approach to the people of Northern Ireland and the problem of Partition we will demand that when irresponsible people in high positions in Northern Ireland make speeches which can and have resulted in the deaths of innocent people he will pay the cheque for the 40 or 50 years in which the Fianna Fáil Party have battered on the other side of the Lambeg drum.

I must now call on the Labour Deputy to conclude.

I yield to my colleague.

This debate, which is or should be or could be one of the most important of the year, is now coming to a close. Mine is the first of the last three speeches and as I speak at this stage in this debate I see before me on those benches one Parliamentary Secretary and one backbencher. It would, I suppose, have been much too much to ask that the Taoiseach himself should be here for at least a large part of this debate. He was not and of course we have to recognise that there are other calls on the Taoiseach's time and some of them may be very important indeed. We are obliged to assume that they are more important than his presence in the Dáil to answer for his own Estimate and to be present for this debate.

This debate is the only one in the course of the session in which we have a free ranging exploration of public policy. It is also the only opportunity to debate the question of Northern Ireland which has been debated extensively here. I must say some of the contributions made on that subject have been at the very highest level I have ever heard in this Dáil. I do not think it proper to refer to contributions from my own party, although there have been some very fine ones, but we have notably just heard a very sincere, moving, strong, courageous, well-informed contribution from Deputy Harte. If the Taoiseach had been in his place he could have learned much from Deputy Harte's speech from its sincerity, from its information and from its obvious desire not to draw any 26-county political capital out of this but to speak purely in the interests of all the people of this country at this time. Neither the Taoiseach nor any Minister was here and since the very opening stages of the debate, as far as I know, and I have been here certainly for most of it, a Parliamentary Secretary has been put in to mind the shop and there have been one or two backbenchers but, the debate has been treated by the Government as a matter of trivial importance and this fits the whole pattern of their behaviour towards Parliament They despise Parliament and they make no effort even to conceal their contempt for it. That is a very sad and a very dangerous state of affairs considering the threat that now exists in this island, both North and South, to democracy.

This is essentially a debate on a vote of confidence in the Taoiseach. It is formally a debate on the Estimate for the Taoiseach's Department, the Taoiseach is at the centre of it. Northern Ireland has loomed very large but the pivot of our discussion on Northern Ireland has been the question of whether or not we have confidence in the Taoiseach's handling of this question both past and future. We, unfortunately, can have no confidence in the Taoiseach on this or other matters. We say that with deep regret. We could wish that we had a Taoiseach even of a party opposed to ours to whom the country could look with complete confidence in a crisis like this. We cannot do that. We declare openly and unequivocally here our lack of confidence in the Taoiseach and we shall vote against him openly and frankly. There are men in his party who have no confidence in him, who tell their friends and sections of the public of reasons for not having confidence in the Taoiseach. Nevertheless, these men will go into the lobby and vote for him at the end of this session, as they have done so often before. In itself that is a sordid spectacle, degrading for those who perform this act of ritual hypocrisy and for those who depend on this act being performed—the Government. Unfortunately, it splashes over on the rest of us and on our Parliament.

At the commencement of the debate —when we last saw the Taoiseach yesterday morning—he made one of those very bland, smooth, reassuring statements he makes. It must be admitted it was a gentlemanly statement. For some of us the contrast was almost hallucinatory and symbolic between that smooth, apparently democratic, performance and what we saw the day before in regard to the Forcible Entry Bill. We saw vindictive glee on the benches opposite; the arrogant bullying of a Minister; the cynical trivial speeches; the triple guillotine applied in complete and unnecessary contempt for proper parliamentary procedure, because one guillotine with notice of time would have sufficed. What we saw as that Bill was pushed through was reality. The Taoiseach then was the smooth front man, with the Tánaiste sitting beside him to cover these proceedings.

That is a main source of our lack of confidence. The real charge against the Taoiseach is that he puts a plausible, reassuring front on a party who have become a danger to all people in both parts of this island. As the clock ticks on, and the calendar runs out, we move to the fateful day of 12th August. Any of us concerned about this—as we all should be—are thinking of Derry and what may happen there on that day now that the parade almost certainly will take place. We cannot help feeling a sickening apprehension as that time comes on. It can mean tragedy there, irrespective of what is said or done in this House.

I appreciate that fact and we have no wish to put any blame on the Taoiseach for things neither he nor any other man might be able to avoid. Our sickening apprehension can only be heightened by the fact that we know there are men in the Taoiseach's party and in this Parliament—men not disavowed by him, who vote confidence in him—who are deliberately seeking to add fuel to the flames of Derry and who hope the flames may spread across the Border and engulf us all to their political profit. I do them this credit that I do not think they are considering only their political profit. I think they are animated by a misguided and perverse form of what they regard as patriotism. The only advantage that could come to anyone from what they hope for is, in fact, their political profit and advantage. They are still there and the Taoiseach is dependent on them because it is by their votes he sits in this Parliament as Taoiseach. They can be elements spreading the contagion of violence, hysteria and hate from the unfortunate people of the north, already racked by these things, to the rest of the country.

The Taoiseach does not want that to happen—we know that. For example, the Taoiseach says things about peace and frequently we agree with what he says. However, we hear people in his party say quite different things but these people go into the lobby to vote confidence in him while openly professing their contempt for him and especially for his peace policy. I do not know if there has ever been a similar situation in this or any other Parliament—that the Government and their policy rest on the support of people who hate and despise the Government and their policy. That is why the governing party are cracked and this crack constitutes a danger not only to that party but to everyone else. Nobody knows how that cracked vessel will behave when the heat comes on-and a great deal of heat may come on later this month.

There are people in the Taoiseach's party, even in the Government, who, while not being directly critical of him and while supporting him, express views and make gestures and, possibly, perform acts—although I do not think they do perform such acts—that are in diametrical opposition to what we and the country understand the Taoiseach to say. The support for the Taoiseach in the country, as distinct from elements in his party, is for his peace policy. There is a majority of people who support peace and I do not go along with the idea that the nation is yearning to be let loose on some kind of crusade with regard to the north. Specifically, sympathies with the Provisional IRA activities in the north are quite general and fairly openly expressed in the Taoiseach's party. I am not referring only to those who were formely the dissidents; I am referring to many people in the middle of the party and I am sure the Taoiseach knows who they are.

We accept the personal sincerity of the Taoiseach's dislike of violence and I should like to render him that tribute, at least. When he speaks of violence there is an unmistakable accent of sincerity in his voice. Granted that Fianna Fáil are in power, we are relatively fortunate that the leader of that party is Deputy Lynch rather than almost any one of the best known of his colleagues. However, that is a purely relative piece of good fortune. The personal sincerity of the leader of a party that is not itself sincere in support of his professions is an attribute of limited value to us. Despite the Taoiseach's personal dislike of violence, in the past he has been pressurised into positions into making statements that are exceedingly ambiguous and equivocable on this matter. This is not because of a personal inclination towards violence or even a passionate concern with the north—because I do not detect that in the Taoiseach—but the ins and outs of party politics, and particularly the intra-party conflicts of Fianna Fáil, have pressed on the Taoiseach and have produced—particularly at times of strong popular emotion—statements that add to the danger. He did that in August, 1969, and we fear that under similar pressures he might do it again. We thought we saw a tendency in this regard in his Garden of Remembrance speech.

Even the making of such a speech in that context was a strange thing. If you are trying to appeal to the majority tradition in Northern Ireland, if you are trying to appeal to the Protestant community, to the Unionists, if you are sincere about that and if you have thought about them and tried to put yourself in their shoes, you would not address to them an appeal from the Garden of Remembrance here, which is a place in which are remembered with piety those who fought in the IRA in the old days. Is that really an appropriate place to address Unionists in Northern Ireland, who have no such veneration for those men or for that tradition? What are they to see in that except what the Taoiseach certainly did not intend—implicit support for the present day IRA?

We make a distinction between the present day IRA and the Old IRA but they make no such distinction except a purely chronological one. If the Taoiseach does not know that he should. The only conclusion to be drawn is that his Garden of Remembrance speech was addressed, as his other speeches are, essentially at a 26-county target, at the 26-county situation and particularly the Fianna Fáil situation, because the Garden of Remembrance is a very good place at which to address Fianna Fáil, whatever other limitations it may have in relation to the rest of the country.

The leader of our party, Deputy Brendan Corish, speaking earlier on in the debate, spoke for our party on the situation in Northern Ireland and the policy which should be pursued towards it. He emphasised the need for reform in Northern Ireland. He deprecated demands for immediate political unity, as other Deputies have done very cogently in this debate, as Deputy Michael O'Leary did in a very incisive contribution and as Deputy Harte has done just now. These are Deputies who have had first hand contact, but especially Deputy Harte, with the northern situation. It is remarkable that those Deputies who have had most contact with that situation, and who care most about it—nobody here will doubt Deputy Harte's sincerity on this matter—are the Deputies who say that it is not useful to talk about unity now. Unity is not a word which will unite. Unity is a word which inflames at the present time. We all hope a time will come when it will be profitable and good to talk about unity, but that time is not now.

Deputy Corish pointed out—and I think this is the heart of the matter— that a settlement unacceptable to two-thirds of the population in Northern Ireland would be no improvement, to say the least of it, on the present one which is acceptable to one-third of the population. Soon after Deputy Corish spoke there was a moderately important debate in the British House of Commons with some interesting statements by the former Home Secretary and the former Foreign Secretary, Mr. James Callaghan and Mr. Michael Stewart. We in the Irish Labour Party are in fairly frequent touch with the British Labour Party and we have long been aware of the goodwill which exists in that party, together perhaps with some other feelings among a few of them, on this question. We have done what we could to foster that goodwill.

We know there are significant differences of approach, although there is some common ground between Labour and the Tories in this matter. We think that the situation would be distinctly less dangerous now if Labour instead of the Tories were in office in Britain. We believe that if Mr. Callaghan instead of Mr. Maudling were Home Secretary now this terribly dangerous, reckless, provocative 12th of August parade in Derry would not now be about to take place, that we would have what we had last year: a banning of the parade, still with great tension even with the banning of the parade, but not the disaster of the first parade since August, 1969.

We believe that Mr. Callaghan would see that the necessary reforms in Northern Ireland, which were discussed by Deputy Corish and other speakers, were more drastically conceived and more urgently carried out than Mr. Maudling appears to do. That apart, we would like to set the statements by Mr. Callaghan and Mr. Michael Stewart a little bit in their context. The Irish Press features these under a banner headline in large letters about “historic breakthrough”. We have regard for both these gentlemen, but we do not think their statements constitute a historic breakthrough justifying headlines of that character, not that it matters much what size the headlines are, perhaps, but these things encourage illusory hopes. They encourage people to think that a solution is at hand now. They encourage men of violence, men of the gun, to think just a few more shots or a few more bombs and we will be on our way.

Of course, we have no objection to Mr. Callaghan's expressed wish to revive the Council of Ireland. That is in keeping with his general constructive approach and, at a longer range, Mr. Michael Stewart's statement that there is no solution save in Irish unity is ultimately correct in the sense that, when Protestants and Catholics can agree to unite, then there will no longer be any problem. But when you have reduced it to that I am afraid the truth it contains is only a truism. I think there will be a long "meanwhile" there.

Mr. Callaghan does right to commend the Council of Irish idea and it is moderately encouraging, but we cannot simply afford to let our hearts leap up whenever some polite gentleman makes a statement like this. We have to realise that this is a sombre, almost intractable problem and that there is no gimmick, Council of Ireland or anything else, that will provide a substitute for the hard work of trying to cool down the passions and get the reforms which are necessary. If you take the Council of Ireland idea, we all say here: "Yes, let us have a Council of Ireland," but we should reflect that only the Unionists, only the one party with mass Protestant support in Northern Ireland, can make the Council of Ireland work. If the Unionists will not come there is no point in talking about a Council of Ireland. Without their participation it is nothing. Their participation seems remote at present and the activities of the various IRAs do nothing to bring it nearer. Encouragement from Westminster can perhaps help a little, but what would help a lot more would be a cessation of all IRA activities, combined with what Deputy Corish has called—a firm and unequivocal declaration, which we have not yet got, from the Government in Dublin, supported by all parties in the Dáil to the effect that Dublin has no intention of bringing the Ulster Protestants, the Northern Ireland Unionists, against their will into the jurisdiction of an Irish State. They must make it clear that there is no intention of doing that either by direct coercion from Dublin—which, between ourselves, is not very possible— nor by inducing the British in some way to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for us. We have not said that plainly and our failure to say it plainly and our twanging on this discordant cord of unity at present only helps to raise the level of fear in that community and correspondingly friction between the two.

There are a few other aspects that have been mentioned in the debate. The policy outlined by Deputy Corish would, I think, command the support of most people who have given much thought to the situation there, of people who have been able to contemplate steadily the actual demographic and social effects of the state of feeling between the two communities. The two points I should like to take up here in the time that remains to me are the idea of self-defence and the question of the United Nations.

The point has been made in the debate that the Provisional IRA were only defending the Catholic people. It is quite true that the Catholics of the North, and of Belfast in particular, under homicidal attack in those terrible days of August two years ago looked for guns and, in so far as they looked for guns for self-defence, the defence of themselves and their families, none of us has a right to reproach them unless we can say that we would not do the same thing for our own families. But it is not true that the Provisional IRA, or any other IRA, stepped in just to defend these people. They did not. They took advantage of their fear and their need for defence to carry out their own policy, which is not a defensive policy but a policy of attempting to secure the unity of Ireland by the gun; and the way to do that was to provoke collisions with the British troops and hope that these collisions would be as dangerous as possible for the people whom these IRA were in theory defending.

They set out to provoke collisions and they did provoke collisions and, by them, fomented the intense unpopularity of the British Army in the ghettos. And many deaths have come from that. Those who provoked these collisions knew well that what was most favourable for their objectives was to bring about a situation in which the British troops would come into collision with the bulk of the Catholic people, as they would have to if they searched the Catholic ghettos for arms as search they would have if arms were used against them. That was the chain of events and, on a purely shortsighted calculation, it was effective. In terms of anything like long-term political strategy it was, of course, ruinous. We should, I think, keep that in mind and show more consciousness of it than we do. When British troops, who had been harassed and who had, perhaps, included some elements which disliked Catholics, elements with a Scottish background, or something like that, were also encouraged and egged on by right wing politicians and when, in those circumstances, shots were fired and two young men, who were not armed, were tragically killed in Derry, there was strong protest here. It was very natural that that should be so but, if we are protesting against that, let our protests go out not only against the soldier who pulled the trigger, or the officer in command, and the right wing Unionists, but also against those who share the responsibility of deliberately provoking such confrontation, those who egged on the stonethrowers, those who planted the gelignite, and all the rest of it, and set going this disastrous chain of events that can only bring sorrow and grief to innocent people.

The Taoiseach has edged his way towards a position not dissimilar from that which Deputy Corish, Deputy Harte and others have set out, not dissimilar, but he never gets all the way there. At a given moment he curves away back into some Fianna Fáil Valhalla from which forlorn cries for unity are heard echoing through the garden. He gets stuck with his party's traditional reflex, the catchcries that we all know so well here, this exercise which consists of simplifying everything and shouting down dissent of any kind. They do not shout down the Taoiseach, not yet anyway, but that is because he takes care not to dissent too far from what they are in the habit of thinking they think.

A price has to be paid for that and part of the price was the retention of Deputy Neil Blaney in the Cabinet after September, 1969, when he publicly declined to rule out the use of force in the north and we called for his resignation or dismissal, and the Taoiseach ignored that call. Part of the price that had to be paid, an unknown part, from the murky course of events from August, 1969, to May, 1970— a course of events not yet fully discerned but abounding certainly in sordid and discreditable transactions which, by one accident or another, came to light—part of the price that had to be paid was the resignations from the Government of May, 1970, and the arms trial. Part of the price that had to be paid was the ignominious collapse of the Taoiseach's first Government, as he called it, in the Dáil. Part of the price was the equivocal, or worse than equivocal, response of the Taoiseach to questions relating to these transactions from the initial point when the tip of the iceberg was discerned by Deputy Cosgrave. Part of the price was the retention in the Cabinet of Deputy James Gibbons, former Minister for Defence, as Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, a man known to have deliberately deceived the Dáil. Part of the price was the inevitable question as to the reason for the retention of this compromising colleague after so many other colleagues had been dropped for reasons which, in many cases, seemed less conclusive than seemed to apply in this case.

The net result of all these painful transactions has been a massive mortgage on the credibility of the Taoiseach and that is a matter which does not just concern him or his party; it concerns all of us in this country. No one who knows the record, no one who had read through that record or lived through it, no one can any longer place unqualified reliance on what the Taoiseach says. I do not like having to say that. However, this is something that Members of the Taoiseach's party take in their stride. People who are incapable of voting confidence in the credibility of the present Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries need not be expected to gag at the credibility of the Taoiseach.

The more I see of these gentlemen the more it strikes me that they have a quite astonishingly cynical attitude to the truth. When they are caught out, as they, heaven knows, so often are, in flagrantly untrue statements their reaction is to roar with laughter at the thought of anyone having been such a fool as to take their statements seriously. We had a good example of that here the other day on the Forcible Entry Bill. I do not want to discuss that Bill now. I merely want to discuss something that was revealed, something that bears on the credibiliy of the Taoiseach and the Government. Day after day, on that side of the House, Deputies expressed their determination to debate the issue all through the summer, matching speech with speech and speaker for speaker. They were in no hurry. We were advised to speak as long as we liked. That was the vein in which they spoke on Wednesday night when two Parliamentary Secretaries repeated that the debate would go on, and they said it with every sign of conviction. We took these words, perhaps naively, at their face value and presented our arguments in detail. We were told we had the time. Then, on Thursday, they used the guillotine, the day after these gentlemen had been saying they were ready to debate all summer. They used the guillotine and accompanied it with loud and angry cries, one of the strongest weapons in their repertoire, about our alleged abuse of Parliament. The guillotine fell three times, twice in the middle of speeches, without any notice or warning of any kind.

We did not object to the guillotine as such, but the Government could have used it decently. They could have said: "Listen, you fellows, we are not prepared to sit here all summer." Then we could have dealt with the amendments and dealt with things in order. I certainly could not have set out to speak for as long as I admit I did speak when I was told there was ample time. I could not have gone on like that because my own colleague, Deputy O'Leary, would have said: "You are cutting into my time." That is fair enough. They did not need to do it; they did it in sheer wanton contempt of Parliament because it did not even occur to them that Parliament might be worthy of respect and it never has seriously occurred to them in their long career in which they have made use of Parliament as a level of their power.

When we protested our naïve anguish at this business, the idea that their declared intention might be taken as having committed them in some way struck them all as a huge joke. It was through jokes of one kind or another— some funny, some not—that they attempted to defend their position throughout that debate. One of their most talented debaters, who has temporarily or partially deserted their side, Deputy Joe Lenehan—who incidentally is a great loss to the Fianna Fáil Party which can ill afford to spare such talent as his—made his defence of that Forcible Entry Bill and it was about as good a defence as we have heard. He made two points. The first was that the Bill was urgently necessary and the second was that it would never be enforced. That was fully up to the intellectual level of all the argument on the Government side.

That is the party of which our Taoiseach is the leader and on which he must depend. He himself, while comporting himself with more decorum than many of his followers, behaves in substance, not in manner, thank heaven; we would not like to see that, but in substance in much the same way. He abounds in vague goodwill. We shall be hearing some of it quite soon, I imagine, in almost the same phrases with which he opened and without, of course, having heard the debate. He abounds in vague goodwill towards what he calls "the other tradition" which he believes is somewhere "up there". He hints that he may be about to go further than vague goodwill and pluck a nettle. He suggested that Article 44 (1) of the Constitution, a purely sectarian Article, might be dropped but when asked when, as we have asked, there was no urgency about it. Article 44 remains and no real move to remove it has been made or is likely to be made.

Similarly, he hinted that the anti-contraception legislation, also sectarian in character, might be changed. When a Bill to change it was actually introduced in the Seanad he got it killed on the First Reading. Then his Minister for Education launched the community schools project which was as crassly insensitive as it would be possible to imagine right in the middle of this appeal to other traditions. These things go on at different levels. There is no relevance between action and the benign words of the Taoiseach. If that project is now partially withdrawn and changed it is not because of any sensitivity in relation to this sectarian issue but because of divided opinions among Catholic ecclesiastics. We all know the favourable impression that is likely to make on the "other tradition".

"Old moulds are breaking in the north." The Taoiseach quotes Mr. John Montague in order to say that. Let me say in passing that the Taoiseach's taste in poetry is about as credible as everything else about him. How about breaking some old moulds in the south because it is there you can break them? You can change things here and it is by changing things here, by doing the things you hint that some day you may do, that you may make some real impact, get some real message over to the other tradition. But, of course, you are not talking to the "other tradition"; you do not care really about the other tradition. You are talking, as always, to a 26-County public and playing 26-County politics which you play so well.

The Taoiseach may be personally sincere in his occasional liberal anti-sectarian pronouncements but his total inaction when he could implement these announcements if he chose, makes him incredible. We have an incredible Taoiseach. A sincerely incredible Taoiseach? Possibly. An incredible Taoiseach? Certainly. Fianna Fáil were in the habit of saying that their two great tasks were to unite the country and revive the Irish language. It was understood that these tasks would take a long, long time even for that great party to accomplish and that, in the meantime, it would be necessary for that great party to devote itself selflessly to still a third task, that of remaining in office for a long, long time. That third task they have faithfully and even brilliantly carried out; the other two remain undone, without any progress made in their direction.

I would very briefly refer there, as the test of their sincerity on the Irish language, to the closing of Dunquin school. It is being kept open by voluntary effort in the teeth of the Government's efforts to close it. The Government meanwhile is proceeding with the urgent task of Gaelicisation such as trying to persuade the people of Navan to call their town "An Uaimh" when they want to call it Navan. This is nonsense and the people are very tired of it.

There are many other things I wish to say but I must be brief; my time is running out. Out democratic institutions continue to go down hill, dragged down hill by the post-Independence generation of the Fianna Fáil Party headed by the Taoiseach. There is a contrast between these two generations, that generation which fought and which originally took charge of our State. In the first generation of Fianna Fáil we had men who had risked a great deal, sacrified much and learned much: in the second generation we have people who have done none of those things but who are living on past glory, parroted patriotism, vicarious glory with commemoration as a ritual pomp for Fianna Fáil, squeezing the last drops out of the heroic past to nourish power in this most mundane present by handing out 67,000 medals.

What was good in the old Fianna Fáil days, hard won by personal sacrifice and risks and achievements is not capable of being transmitted to others who have known no sacrifices and no risks and who have merely inherited what was achieved by others. But the bad habits of the elders are, unfortunately, transmitted since they require no strength of character, or any other gift or virtue to imitate. One of the worst of these bad habits is contempt for Parliament. This is being demonstrated here as we have just seen in the bulldozing of this measure through the House; ramming through a Bill for which no decent argument could be found and doing so by a brutal, an incomparably brutal curtailment of debate, cutting off the debate itself in general, cynical, flagrant contradiction of their professed willingness to accept continued debate indefinitely prolonged. Most degrading of all is what I have already touched on, their attitude when challenged on that contradiction.

I think that this is what has to be checked; that we are in the presence of the degradation, even the decomposition of our governing party and if this proceeds, if this party is allowed to continue in government—which would be, to a great extent, the fault of the Opposition if it happens—we may expect further corruption spreading in the end through all the institutions of the State. We had in the last act of legislation the closure as a disreputable end to the most disreputable two years in the history of Fianna Fáil and the history of the Government of this State. Nothing can stop the further decline in standards except a political closure to the long era of Fianna Fáil rule. The Opposition should be ready to put the question and to answer it.

In his speech yesterday moving the adjournment, the Taoiseach said that the present period marked a decisive phase in the affairs of the nation. There was then a reference to the EEC, to Northern Ireland, to inflation, community schools, to the health services and choice of doctor. The Taoiseach went on to say all these problems were being tackled by the Government, not in a series of random responses to the problems as they emerged but as part of a comprehensive and coherent plan. Then, having made a particularly touching reference to democracy, to the rights of minorities and to free speech, he declared that he was the leader of a party united in policy and united in purpose.

I think that is a fair summary of the Taoiseach's half-hour speech yesterday morning. On the basis that the Taoiseach believes that deluge of nonsense, it is apparent that his capacity for self-deceit is unlimited. Time does not permit me to go into these matters in detail, but I propose to take some examples of the coherent and comprehensive planning of this united Government, believing in democracy, touchingly concerned for the rights of minorities, and stoutly dedicated to the defence of free speech.

Last autumn, after a Budget which, by doubling the turnover tax, inflated inflation, we had the spectacle of a Government forced to take action and announcing a package deal which was to freeze wages, salaries, prices and dividends, including even the phased increases of the twelfth round not yet paid. The package deal was announced after a long Government meeting held immediately on the return by the Taoiseach from the United States when he was greeted by those of the party who, at that time, were not engaging in platonic friendship with Deputies Haughey and Blaney.

Of course, there was a storm of protest. The man who, two nights before, in a moment of emotion after his discharge by a jury in the Central Criminal Court, started his address by saying: "Fellow patriots", demurred at the necessity for this action, and there was trouble in the Fianna Fáil Party. Although the Minister for Finance, Deputy Colley, had declared that no item in his package deal was negotiable, suddenly the Government gave way and said: "Yes, the unpaid parts of the twelfth round will be permitted to be paid." That was retreat number one.

Then the Bill was introduced; the Second Reading was ordered and it took place. We had the Minister for Finance saying, on behalf of the Government, that the Government was committed to this remaining part of the package deal. Coincidentally, the trade union movement in Ireland just flexed its muscles and the result was utter panic on the part of the Government, and the entire Bill was dropped. Was that coherent, comprehensive planning by a Government united in purpose and action, or was it a random response to an emerging problem hastily conceived and put into practice without any thought or planning? Of course, the latter is what it was. The inflated inflation that, by their neglect and wrong action the Government had allowed to emerge, was extended further because the Government had not a plan or a mind or sufficient unity to take action.

A few months later there was the business of the dole. Deputies will remember that a circular was issued by the Minister for Social Welfare to all employment exchanges in the country announcing a definite Government decision that in future payment of what is called the dole, unemployment assistance, would cease to be paid to every single man without dependants whether he lived in a rural or an urban area. This was a decision taken by the Government apparently to cut down expenditure, to make available to the Exchequer something around £1,500,000 or £2 million.

What happened? Hell broke loose. There were complaints and protests all over the country, and then we had the first reaction: "It was all a mistake." Later we were told someone had made a mistake, some civil servant misunderstood the instruction, and had to be blamed. Of course, that was not so. There was a Government minute, and the Estimates, as it subsequently transpired, were prepared on the basis of the Government's decision and they showed a reduction of £2 million in the money intended to be available for unemployment assistance. The Government, having tried to blame somebody else, had to change their decision and said: "We shall just apply the exclusion order to single men living in rural areas; in urban areas they will get the dole."

That did not meet the situation and again, for a third time, the Government had to announce a decision: "We shall extend it to men living in rural areas who are over 50." Therefore, gradually, painfully, with considerable annoyance and trouble caused to many people, a position was achieved whereby the people in rural districts were preserved and saved.

Was this coherent, comprehensive planning, or was it an example of a Government making a particularly random reaction? "We need money. We must save money somewhere." They embarked on this decision and announced it without thinking out the details, without care, without planning and then when they see the difficulties, they panic and alter the decision.

Law and order have been mentioned, and mentioned properly, during this debate by the leader of this party and by other Deputies. A clear example of this Government's failure to govern is that there has been in existence for some years past a definite recognisable threat to the security of the State. There have been open drilling and open marching by men in military ranks and in uniform. There has been the discharging of firearms not very far from this building—in front of the GPO— and in various other parts of the country. Announcements and communiqués have been issued to newspapers by gentlemen attributing to themselves military styles and military ranks.

Two years ago there was the complete cordoning off of a town not very far from this city while armed men proceeded to help themselves to the contents of a bank. What was done about all these occurrences? Nothing whatsoever was done by the Government. Apparently they prefer to ignore this gathering threat to the functioning of democracy. They preferred to ignore it under the leadership of the Taoiseach because to deal with it would cause internal problems in the Government and in the Fianna Fáil Party. The situation could not have been allowed to continue in that way and it was for that reason that some weeks ago the Fine Gael Party, acting responsibly and carefully, drew attention in a public statement to the emergence of this very serious danger. Following that, there was a statement from the Minister for Justice in which he pointed out that the wearing of uniforms was not necessarily an offence unless the uniform was intended to be a copy either of a Garda or an Army uniform. The statement referred to the difficulties of dealing with this kind of problem. I do not know whether that statement was considered by the Government before it was issued but, at any rate, it did no credit either to the Government or to the Minister.

What we are concerned with, and let there be no mistake about this, is that under our Constitution there is only one Army in this State and the headquarters of that Army are at the Curragh Camp in Kildare. Its Chief of Staff is the man appointed by the Government to the position and its Commander-in-Chief is the President of Ireland. Any other person or group of people who seek to pass themselves off as any other kind of army constitute a threat to the functioning of our State, of our Parliament and of our democracy and it is the duty of the Government to take action against such people. Timidity, vacillation, weakness in this respect, I regret to say, have been all that we have seen so far. Last autumn we had the absurdity of an announcement by the Government warning some group of people that they would be interned if they proceeded to threaten to kidnap or to do a variety of nefarious things. We do not know who the group of people were but the people were mystified and confused and the matter was never explained.

Was that symtomatic of a Government that knew where they were going and that were united in plan or action or was it random reaction to an emerging problem? In his speeches on the North of Ireland during the past 18 months the Taoiseach has recognised that on this island we have a plural society and he has pledged a commitment towards the ending of Partition if it can be ended by agreement and by no other means. In so stating the Taoiseach echoes the views of every Deputy on this side of the House but he does not echo the traditional policy of Fianna Fáil because that never was the policy of Fianna Fáil. Nor do I believe that it represented even the Taoiseach's own state of mind until the force of circumstances and the logical facts forced him towards the realisation that this is the correct point of view.

I recall the last general election campaign in the course of which I said precisely what the Taoiseach is saying now. I expressed these sentiments at a time when I thought it was necessary that they be expressed but I was accused by the then Fianna Fáil Government of attempting to lead a national retreat. Indeed, the leader of Fianna Fáil in referring to a speech I made on the North of Ireland and on the responsibility of all people who live on this island re-echoed Pearse's famous phrase which was applicable and relevant in Pearse's time. The Taoiseach said that in relation to Northern Ireland Fianna Fáil stood for an Ireland not only free and united but Gaelic speaking as well. I asked if that was the logic of Fianna Fáil, what was to happen to the two-thirds of the people in Northern Ireland. I asked if they were to be driven into the sea. During the past 18 months Fianna Fáil did not believe what the Taoiseach is now saying nor did the Taoiseach subscribe fully to these sentiments when, two years ago, he made a speech in which he told the people that neither he nor the Government would stand idly by. We can recall that, following the events of August, 1969, a deep division became apparent in the Fianna Fáil Party as demonstrated at their Ard-Fheis of 1970. At that Ard-Fheis, two points of view emerged clearly. Deputy Blaney, who was then a Minister, advocated clearly a warlike, bellicose attitude to the division of our country. Why did the Taoiseach not do something then? Although a member of his Government insisted upon engaging in threats of war he was allowed to remain in the Government and time and again in this House the Taoiseach refused to take action or to deal with the problem. He left it there unattended and, of course, it grew and became worse.

At least, by devious means, in troublesome ways, however it may have been achieved, we now have in relation to 75 per cent of this House, absolute agreement on our attitude in relation to the north. Had that agreement been possible decades earlier, much suffering, much hardship and much trouble for our country might have been avoided and I believe we might today be far nearer the solution of the division of our country than we are Más maith é is mithid. If it is good it is timely also that at least between the two sides of this House there can be absolute agreement on our attitude in relation to the north.

The Taoiseach is to meet the British Prime Minister in October. The British Prime Minister said in the British House of Commons yesterday in reply to the Reverend Ian Paisley that his discussions with Mr. Lynch are expected to be wide ranging but will not involve constitutional negotiations. I appreciate that it may not yet be possible for the Taoiseach to indicate what will be discussed. The constitutional position, according to Mr. Heath, will not arise. The Taoiseach should have been able to tell us that at least. Perhaps, he will deal with it in his reply but there is an interest and a growing interest in what will be discussed. I should imagine that now, with the events that have taken place in the North of Ireland, in the near chaos that has developed, it would seem impossible or virtually impossible to have any kind of discussions without adverting to the constitutional position but I speak from ignorance and I hope the Taoiseach can enlighten us further on that matter.

The Taoiseach tells us that he is leading a united party. United on what? Certainly not on his leadership. Certainly not on his Ministers. Deputy Charles Haughey, who so frequently occupies the distinguished strangers' gallery in this House, had devoted a lot of time and energy towards keeping his name before the public. He goes to every flower show, he opens every exhibition that can be opened and he talks a lot outside this House but not a word as a Deputy in Dáil Éireann. He talks of pollution, the preservation of amenities, as if he never shared the responsibility for the neglect and destruction for which this Government have been responsible in the past ten or 15 years. Is Deputy Haughey one of those whom the Taoiseach has in mind when he says that he leads a party united in purpose and in action?

Deputy Blaney has at last summoned up enough courage to start tabling Parliamentary questions. He is inquiring as to the procedure whereby all his pals have been removed from the boards he got them on to— vindictively, I have no doubt, revengefully, certainly. Where stands Deputy Blaney? Is he one of those whom the Taoiseach has in mind as being united with him in action and in purpose?

The Taoiseach's capacity for self-deception I have referred to. I think he insults the intelligence certainly of Deputies in this House, and I think also of the ordinary people outside, when he makes a point of talking about unity. We know there is no unity in Fianna Fáil. We know there are men plotting and planning at this very moment to pull the rug from under the Taoiseach's feet. We know that there are lobbies and groups and cliques inside the Fianna Fáil Party seeking a way of changing the leadership of Fianna Fáil. It is not a party any longer. It is a coalition of convenience that will have a very temporary existence, a coalition of convenience because it suits no element and no group and no faction and no clique in Fianna Fáil at the moment to have a dissolution and to have an end to the present set-up inside this House. There is no unity and I object strongly to the Taoiseach feeling that he can deceive us, as apparently he has deceived himself, by talk of that kind.

Maybe there has been a settlement that we did not hear about. Is it possible that there has been an arrangement come to with the different elements in Fianna Fáil? If so, many of us would like to hear about it. Possibly if there were such a settlement it may be an explanation of the Government's treatment of the Committee of Public Accounts. We all remember the Taoiseach's concern when he came back from America last December after the acquittal of the gentlemen who were charged in the Central Criminal Court. The Taoiseach obviously did not agree with that jury decision. Not only did he not agree with it but he said: "There is the £100,000. I am going to make sure that we find out what happened to that." He made it clear he was giving the matter straight into the hands of the guards so that they could have a full, rigorous, inflexible investigation. Then, in due course and with great solemnity, the matter was handed over to the Committee of Public Accounts here, a Dáil committee given legislation and told: "Go out and find out exactly where that money went." Why was this done and why the determination and obvious anxiety of the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance to get to the bottom of this? The Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis. That was the reason. The Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis was coming up and this probing inquiry was to be carried on so that it would cook Haughey's goose at the Ard-Fheis and, perhaps, a few other little birds along with him.

Is that the one he gave the fellows in Stephen's Green?

(Cavan): That was a turkey.

I think we might refer to Deputy Haughey.

Certainly. I will have great pleasure in referring to Deputy Haughey. I mean him no disrespect. That was the purpose of this inquiry. The Taoiseach planned it well in my view. He master-minded the proceedings at the Ard-Fheis with consummate skill. The result was that down came the crozier on the former Deputy Boland, on Deputy Blaney, on Deputy Haughey and the lot of them. It is supposed to have been a rigged Ard-Fheis. I do not know whether it was but certainly it obtained for the Taoiseach what he wished to obtain.

The trouble was that the committee of inquiry was still proceeding and apparently the members of that committee felt that they should do what Dáil Éireann directed them to do, and they proceeded to search out the truth. I suggest that that searching for the truth has become increasingly embarrassing. I suggest that with the Ard-Fheis behind him, the Taoiseach now wants to end that committee as quickly as possible. What leader of a Government would tolerate a situation in which a member of his own Government refuses point blank to present himself before a Dáil committee in order that his evidence may be questioned and that he may be cross-examined? That is the grossest breach of privilege in my view. It required from the Taoiseach immediate action, but there it is. The committee is treated in that fashion now because it has served its purpose for the Government and just does not count now.

What about the position of another former Minister who asked for the facility of having the files he had access to as Minister made available to the committee? Again this was refused. Is that not an indication of a scandalous lack of regard or respect by the Government for a committee they were so keen to use some six or eight months ago? I suggest that, in this respect as in so many other respects, the Government under the leadership of the Taoiseach are lowering the standards of this House and of this Parliament, and are very seriously disparaging the standing of our Parliament in the eyes of the public.

We are entering a decisive phase in the affairs of this country. The pity is that the affairs of the country are not now in hands more sure and more certain than those of the Taoiseach and the members of his Government, by reason of divisions inside the Fianna Fáil Party, by reason of the clashing ambitions that exist and the—I am sure —sincerely held conflicting views that exist. The tragedy is that the more tense and serious the situation becomes in the North of Ireland, the more uncertain and less effective will be the stand of the Government here because they have elected to depend on the support of Deputies who resent the Taoiseach's leadership and who do not fully subscribe to his views. This leads to national weakness and it creates a very serious area of danger at this time, in this month, in relation to the days that lie ahead.

It is a tragedy that this march on 12th August should be allowed. One can only hope that good sense may prevail and that patience, even in the face of outright provocation may not lead to action. Situations of that kind, whether they arise next week or next month or whenever they arise, require in this part of Ireland sure and confident handling. They require leadership from a man who knows not only that he speaks the truth and speaks it sincerely, but that he has the constant and determined support of his own party and every member of it. If he has not got that he is forced to hedge, forced to manoeuvre, forced to search for the right word, and right in the context of his own supporters and not of the situation as it presents itself.

Unfortunately, that is the kind of Government we now have. We cannot change it now. The power of dissolution still remains over there. If those who dissent were willing to act, perhaps the Irish people would get a different Government. I believe problems would then be handled more effectively. Until that comes about the tragedy is that this phase of the affairs of this country must remain in present hands. There is an alternative. The suggestion has already been made that the affairs in the North of Ireland could at least be taken out of the arena of party politics. I agree entirely with the views expressed by Deputy Harte today on that matter. From these benches in the past there has come a demand for an all-party committee to deal with Northern affairs.

Why does the Taoiseach reject it? At least it would ensure continuity of purpose and action. It would ensure that anything that was said by that committee would be representative of the views of the majority of the people. In 1948 we had an all-party committee dealing with one facet of this problem. It should be seriously considered again. The potential for danger in the continuance of this situation is very serious indeed, and well warrants the words used by Deputy Cosgrave yesterday as to what might happen and could happen if civil war broke out in the North of Ireland.

In any event, we are now ending this session. We are ending a parliamentary year which has not been a great year, a year in which problems arose and were tackled either too late or not at all, a year in which the Fianna Fáil Government Party failed apparently to reconcile their internal difficulties and dissensions, a year in which there has been growing disillusionment amongst the general public in relation to the Government and the functioning of our institutions; but it has been a year, I believe, in which certain good things may have emerged. There is now a growing realisation, I believe, amongst the public that there must be, some day somehow, a change of Government in this country, and I believe it is a good thing that the people no longer regard themselves as dependent on the Fianna Fáil Party to provide a Government. It is also a good thing, I think, that there has been a very determined rejection by all the people here in the Republic of the use of violence and threats of violence in the North of Ireland. That has been a useful development and it indicates to those who act otherwise or advocate other means and methods that they will have to go a long way before they can convince our people that their policy or point of view is correct.

So far as we are concerned in Fine Gael, we end this year in this Dáil, having fought hard, as an Opposition should, having tested and examined all legislation that came before this House in a responsible and, I hope, a constructive manner. We yield to no one in our respect for this Dáil which the former leaders of this party helped to form and helped to protect and defend. It is for that reason that I would like to express once again our concern and dismay that in the closing days of this session, we should have witnessed an effort, a threat, very real and very significant, to prevent Parliament functioning as it should. The use of the guillotine and the indiscriminate application of the closure on debate was an exercise in impatience, in petulance and in anger which is inimical to the proper functioning of this Dáil. It will not divert us—not in the slightest—from continuing to do what we feel we have to do, but there is a great danger that thousands and thousands of people outside, looking at our proceedings and seeing how we conduct ourselves may feel that this kind of action makes a farce of Parliament. I hope that will not be so and that we continue to do all we can. We are in Opposition now, but I believe that when a dissolution comes, there will be a change of Government. Until that comes, we have to suffer in patience on these benches.

These last two speeches were to me disappointing, to say the least. They indicated the total lack of alternative policy in any one of the other two parties. Deputy O'Higgins criticised the lack of continuity in our policy and then went on to attack personalities. Deputy O'Brien never left personalities during the whole contemptuous offering he made in the course of the debate. However, I do not intend to deal at any length with what they said. Perhaps if I have time later, I might come back to it.

I would like to begin with a reference to the speech made by Deputy Cosgrave, the opening speech of the debate following mine. On numerous occasions in the past, I have had to comment on the inaccurate and inconsistent statements that have been made from the Opposition benches, and yesterday Deputy Cosgrave provided another example of this kind of behaviour. In his remarks about price increases, he referred to the increase in postal charges in these terms, "licensed robbery under statutory authority". This of course is a very colourful phrase but not an accurate one. Deputy Cosgrave knows as well as I do, how and why postal charges are collected. The postal services have been losing money and are losing money at the present time. Therefore, they have to be subsidised to some extent and the reason postal charges were raised was that the costs of running the services have risen very sharply, principally due to increased wages and salaries, and very significant increases at that.

The only other alternative to such increases would, of course, have been an increase in subsidy, thereby involving an increase in taxation, and since Deputy Cosgrave has gone on at length at other times about the necessity to curb Government expenditure, and more particularly to reduce taxation, obviously it would be inconsistent with his declared policy in this connection to keep down postal charges by subsidising them. This is the kind of choice any Opposition speaker can have—to have it both ways. Of course, Deputy Cosgrave and other Opposition speakers are not very committed when it comes to other aspects of Government activity in curbing Government expenditure. To take one example, the Deputy advocated an increase of about one thousand in the size of the Garda force, which incidentally would initially cost about £2 million in a single year, and went on to make a suggestion about the possible use of retired or retiring Army personnel. That may or may not be a proposition to be examined, but for the record I would like it to be noted that an additional 400 gardaí are in fact being recruited to the force during this year and next, and that will involve heavy increased expenditure; but I do not recall the Deputy commending this in any way, or the other increases in expenditure on the Garda which were made public at the time of the Budget. Deputy Cosgrave referred to the wonderful traditions of the guards and the great service they are giving, I fully endorse this, and I can claim that this has not gone unnoticed with the Government, because on two successive occasions recently, the guards have had more improvements in their conditions of service than they had in the previous entire period since the time of their foundation. I refer to the changes about seven or eight years ago after the Mangan recommendations, and more recently the Conroy Report.

Deputy Corish was critical, as he has been in the past, of the manner in which our entry into the EEC is being negotiated, and in the course of his criticism, he alleged that the Government were not concerned with the many industries which would, in his view, suffer difficulties and face problems as a result of entry into the EEC. He also drew attention to the lack of development of a regional policy within the Community, a policy which he rightly says would give adequate safeguards to our economy and to our fisheries problem. First, I would like to make it clear that both fisheries and the role of regional and other development measures are matters in respect of which negotiations and discussions within the Community are continuing, and it would be premature therefore to anticipate the likely outcome of these negotiations, or to anticipate what form any agreed measures may take. The various elements involved in these areas have already been discussed in the earlier debates and I do not think it necessary for me to repeat them now, but I would like to refute any suggestion that the Government are not concerned about the future well-being of Irish industries.

For more than a decade, the Government have been operating a very comprehensive programme of financial aids, advisory services, adaptation measures and other services, all aimed at ensuring that Irish industry will be ready to meet the conditions of free trade. The trend towards free trade in industrial products is a worldwide one and one from which we could not, by our own decision, isolate ourselves. Even if we could, I do not think there is any point in our trying to keep up industrial trade barriers with other nations. In the past few years, the great expansion in industrial employment has depended mainly on exporting industries. It would be difficult, and perhaps one might say, impossible, for our industries to export if we erected trade barriers, tariffs and other restrictions, against goods from other countries, while at the same time we sought outlets for our manufactured goods in foreign markets. These exporting firms need free access to the markets of other countries if they are to succeed. It is typical of the unreality which permeates Labour Party thinking on so many issues that they seem to be always able to delude themselves into believing they can get the best of both worlds. It is precisely because we as a Government are concerned to help Irish industry in an effective manner that we have pursued a policy of EEC membership. We are satisfied that the future of Irish industry is best served by this course of action and that adequate measures for regional development will be available within the Community when we become members.

It is true that there is as yet no agreed regional policy for the member States already existing, but it is clear from the steps already taken that the Community will devise and ultimately adopt effective measures to promote the development of the weaker areas of member States. Moreover, until a fully-functioning Community system is developed, member States can themselves push ahead with regional development programmes and can expect to have their efforts reinforced by financial aid from Community resources. It is clear that within the EEC we shall be able to generate a more rapid pace of regional development than that which we could provide by our own efforts if we were to remain isolated from the mainstream of European development.

If time permits I will come back to the EEC. There are other things of much value which might be said.

Since much of the debate was concerned with the situation in the North, I would like to turn to that subject and to expand somewhat on the remarks I made in opening the debate. Much has been said in the course of the debate and over the past two years about the long-term political solutions for the state of affairs in the North of Ireland. Some speakers in the debate discussed their own ideas and those of others, ideas which in some cases are certainly worth thinking about. I, too, would like to refer to the remarks made yesterday at Westminster on the same subject. We have heard two members of former British Governments, Mr. James Callaghan, the former Home Secretary, and Mr. Michael Stewart, the Foreign Secretary, both of whom were concerned intimately with Northern Ireland affairs when they were in office, give their views in a more forthright way than we have heard heretofore. It may not be the watershed that Mr. Fitt, MP, claimed it to be, but it is significant that both men realise that no solution to the northern difficulties can come within the existing terms of reference. Mr. Stewart especially stated that these terms of reference must be expanded to include the question of the unity of Ireland. Deputy Cruise-O'Brien speaks about credibility and counsels that at this stage we should not talk about unity in dealings or any statements or any overtures we make to the North. I think it would be a sham for us to say to the people of the North: "Try to behave ourselves and learn to live in comfort and understanding and peace." They know actions must be directed towards the ultimate unification of our country. It may be expedient for the purpose of debate to try to suggest that we in the Fianna Fáil Party still differ from the rest of the country in our approach to the solution of Partition and in our approach to the bringing about of peaceful conditions in the North of Ireland, but everything we have done in promoting economic co-operation and co-operation in other fields has been done in the hope that one day the people in the North and South will come together in a united Ireland. I think it would be a sham to pretend otherwise.

Let me come back to what Mr. Callaghan and Mr. Stewart said. Mr. Stewart, who is a man of very high standing in Parliament and who was a very senior Minister in the last Government, said that this problem can only be solved now in the context of Irish unity. Mr. Callaghan referred to the creation of a council for all Ireland. He accepted that this was part of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. There is a distinction in that the Council of Ireland put forward in 1920 would have had real powers and was intended to have its powers extended eventually to the point where it would replace both the Parliament of the south and of the north and itself become the Parliament of all Ireland. Mr. Callaghan's proposition envisaged a council without any administrative or legislative powers, as he said himself. His general statement, therefore, falls far short of what was envisaged in 1920 but that is not to say that the idea of a Council of Ireland and other ideas expressed here and elsewhere should not be reexamined.

Some years ago we started the system of co-operation in tariff reduction and special concessions in tariff reductions for genuine Northern Ireland firms. Quite recently, I suggested that we renew that economic co-operation and this suggestion was readily taken up by the Northern Ireland Prime Minister. There have been meetings between officials from north and south. There is a danger that a council of the type put forward by Mr. Callaghan, without any real powers or known or overt functions, might not continue in existence and it might be better to think of some other form of co-operation on, perhaps, a more formal basis.

Some weeks ago I floated this suggestion, which was taken up by an English newspaper, that we might establish an economic council. This would be particularly relevant at the present time, to formalise more the kind of economic co-operation between representatives of the two administrations, especially in the context of our likely membership of the EEC. I said before that we had expertise, knowledge and experience of negotiations that might be useful to the northern Government, useful in that we were dealing with Irish problems and they, too, would be dealing with Irish problems through British representatives. We were prepared to make our experience, expertise and knowledge of the problems of negotiations available to the Northern Government. Perhaps now might be the time to consider an economic council which could examine continuously problems that would arise when we are both members of the EEC and other economic problems. It may be that giving representatives both north and south the opportunity of working together in a formal way would expand the scope of their functions and further bring about efforts to reconcile views north and south.

I know that such ideas have been put forward before and often rebuffed or ignored as soon as they are stated by some political leaders of the northern majority but such leaders represent only a small part of the qualities of the people for whom they claim to speak. They deny the best instincts of humanity and refuse to participate in finding any way forward to the essential brotherhood of all Irishmen. They obviously speak out of hatred and their motivation is one of self-interest. I am not accusing the northern majority as a whole—I want to make this perfectly clear—of these things. Much was done in their name of which they knew nothing; much is represented to them as truth which is merely assertion and much was concealed from them which was ignored. Through this House today I ask them again to reconsider their situation.

Is it right and fair that full employment should exist east of the Bann except in Catholic ghettoes? Is it right and fair that so many men who have never had the experience of working for a living should have walked and still walk the streets of Derry, Strabane and Newry without having a job for 20 years or more? Is it right and fair that the Falls Road and the Shankill Road between them share the worst housing in Europe in a state which boasts of its comparative wealth? Is it right and fair that the circumstances of a man's birth might determine at that moment that he shall be excluded from authority permanently? Finally, I would ask: is it agreeable and acceptable to the northern majority that the tenure of office of their government should seem to depend on whether or not a parade in Derry shall again be accomplished this year?

Mr. Callaghan yesterday added his voice to the numerous voices of reasonable and responsible men who have already suggested that there should be no parade in Derry on 12th August. We the Government have repeatedly pointed out the danger of permitting this parade. We have urged strenuously and vigorously on a number of occasions at all levels that this parade should not be permitted. Last week in this House I described such parades as themselves acts of violence and of all of them I believe none is more provocative and none more bigoted than that of the Apprentice Boys. We all know their parade brought on a wave of death, destruction and injury throughout the north two years ago. At Westminster yesterday Mr. Maudling indicated that the decision to permit or ban this parade rested with the Stormont Government. Perhaps he was implying that the British Government should escape responsibility for anything that happens in the north despite their claims of sovereignty over the area, but if this parade is permitted the British Government will be seen themselves to be committed, very likely unwittingly, to the idea that the role of the British Army in the north is not to preserve peace but rather to take the side of a regime who this year are permitting that parade which was, as I have already said, a flashpoint two years ago and which was banned one year ago.

The British Government must, even at this late stage, stop this parade. If they do not do so, and if the parade takes place I hope, and I share the hope expressed from all sides of the House, that the people of Derry will not permit themselves to be provoked in such a way as to play further into the hands of the bigots who control Stormont, perhaps from the outside, and who now also appear to have extended that influence to the point of affecting the policies of the British Government.

Surely it is realised in London that responsibility goes hand in hand with claimed authority? If that responsibility is shirked and if the Stormont Government is seen to depend for its continuance in office on appeasement of intolerant and bigoted men, it cannot long survive the contempt of fairminded British people. Surely they will see that if it is necessary to send more battalions of troops to the north to protect an intolerable parade, then the situation is much too grave to permit such a parade. There is still time for the British Government to realise the danger and to act accordingly. If, on the other hand, the British Government continue to yield to the concept that might is right and to threats of "Do what we want or else" and if they continue to ignore the urgings of people of peace and moderation, and the people of influence and authority on both sides of the Border who find their role not often easy to maintain then they will have condoned the continuance of the present situation, and Heaven forbid, even an escalation of it.

The present British Government have now been in office for more than a year and have had ample opportunity, given their experience and traditions, to see for themselves that a policy limited to suppression of violence only, is a policy sufficient only for the day. I said on 11th July last year and I quote:

Is it not better that we should both claim as civilised peoples the capacity to settle the last remaining disagreement between us by peaceful means?

This is the aim and object of all that I have said and done before and since then. To begin this process requires political not military initiatives from the British Government. I suggested such an initiative on 11th July this year in the Garden of Remembrance —if I have time I shall come back to Deputy Cruise-O'Brien's reference to that speech.

As of now I am in the course of preparation for my talks on 20th and 21st October next with the British Prime Minister. The agenda has not yet been drawn up but I want to ensure that everything possible, everything useful and everything worthwhile will be on that agenda. It has been suggested that the meeting should be brought forward. However, in what I have said here today it must be clear beyond all doubt to the British Government that their present policy, especially in relation to the march in Derry, could lead to disaster. There is no need for me to go to London in person to say that.

However, despite my forebodings which are shared, as he said yesterday, by Mr. Callaghan and by many other people in this House, I hope that we shall turn this corner safely. Again, I would appeal to the people of Derry to ignore the provocation which may be offered to them. If appeals to reason, to brotherhood and to the simple essence of humanity cannot penetrate the closed minds of the Apprentice Boys and their masters, a display by the people of Derry, of their total contempt for these manifestations may at least shame them into reconsidering their position. It is easy for me at this remove to give advice such as this. I know it is a far different thing to tolerate humiliation on one's own doorstep. If the people of Derry refuse to permit themselves to be used as fodder in the hate war generated by hardliners—no matter what their colour—it is they and not the men of violence who will emerge as the heroes of this critical time. It is they who will have helped us turn this crucial corner and who will have opened the way to the status of peace, security, equality and dignity which is the right of the citizens of Derry, as well as the other citizens of Northern Ireland.

I wish to revert to points made in the course of the debate. Deputy Corish mentioned the Forcible Entry Bill in particular. In my hearing Deputy Cruise-O'Brien and Deputy O'Higgins today referred to what they appear to regard as almost an unprecedented act of closure of a debate. This closure procedure has been operated again and again in this House——

——and again and again in other Parliaments. The Government and members of Fianna Fáil have been lectured on democracy inside this House, and outside the House mainly through the Press. Inevitably, there will be differing views as to the best solution of any problem but we must recognise that even when an issue is fully examined and debated any solution that emerges is unlikely to command universal agreement or acceptance. Not all differences are confined to factors such as lack of information, which can be resolved by reasoned debate. There are also differences which stem from different sets of ideals and values or from differences in judgment as to how best to pursue any desired objective. Recognition of the right to differ is a fundamental part of the tolerance which characterises a democracy, but simply to recognise this right is not sufficient in itself.

If every issue were resolved by direct reference to the people the majority rule would prevail as a matter of course and minority problems would go unheeded and unresolved. The Parliamentary system offers the possibility of escaping from this democratic dilemma. Elected representatives are given the time and opportunity to devise legislation that caters adequately for minorities while still meeting the basic wishes of the majority. In turn, Governments can undertake the relatively unpopular action that is needed sometimes to promote the well-being of minorities in various instances, because they know their performance will be judged over their entire term of office rather than on single issues.

A properly functioning Parliamentary system is the most adequate method available for the advocacy and attainment of minority interests. The Government have an especially important role to play in ensuring that this result is achieved primarily by ensuring that debate is reasonable, not unduly telescoped through impatience to act, and that their actions will not infringe unnecessarily on the rights or interests of any minority.

It is correct for the Opposition to challenge the proposals of the Government party and to advocate the changes they would desire. Indeed, it is desirable in the interests of a healthy democracy that the Opposition should be active since government and legislation will be most effective when it is subject to responsible criticism. But what is wrong and undesirable is for the Opposition to regard its role as that of obstructing or preventing legislation. If the Government party were to acquiesce in such action, it would mean the Opposition would be exercising power without the responsibility or the mandate to do so.

One can readily accept the sincerity and strength of will with which particular views may be held but this does not mean they are always right. It would be dangerous if we were to fall into the error of assuming that, of themselves, minority viewpoints contain a greater degree of wisdom and virtue than those of the majority. Rather we must recognise that like all human beings the minority are fallible.

Therefore, if the Government do not accept Opposition views on specific points it is not because we are being perverse or wilfully obdurate, but because we also hold our views with strength and sincerity. If we proceed with legislation despite the conflict of views it is because we believe it is more democratic to do this than to bring the Parliamentary system into disrepute and contempt by failure to legislate and govern effectively.

In regard to the Forcible Entry Bill, people seem to forget the reasons for its introduction. They seem to forget that before this Bill was introduced there was widespread squatting and invasion of private property and, no matter what is said to the contrary, the existing law was not adequate to deal with these breaches of the law. I need give only one example; many of us witnessed it or have seen pictures of it. Organised groups took over central city premises, not only in Dublin but in Cork, Limerick and possibly in other places. There were examples of such groups forcibly taking over the premises, forcibly evicting the staff and then barricading themselves inside and putting their provocative, boastful posters on the plate glass windows. When eventually the gardaí are sent for they have to endure the humiliation of staying outside because the owners refuse to give them permission to go in and get the invaders out. I see that Deputy O'Connell nods his head in mock sympathy——

The Taoiseach should continue with his speech. We are not interrupting him.

I have sympathy for the gardaí who are in that frustrating position. Because the owners refused to let them in, the gardaí have no power to put these characters out. It is a shame and if Deputy O'Connell had property that was invaded by these people he would know what a shame it would be.

(Cavan): Without wishing to interrupt the Taoiseach, if the owners do not give consent the gardaí cannot go in under the new Bill either.

They can go in. There are certain indemnities offered to them. Were they to go in in the present circumstances while this Bill is not yet law, the gardaí themselves would be in breach of the law. We have spent almost one hundred hours discussing this Bill. We have had plenty of protest and I do not think anyone can suggest there was not ample and sufficient debate. It was amusing to hear Deputy Cruise-O'Brien say a short time ago that when some of our members said they were prepared to discuss the Bill through the summer he brought in his tomes of dictionaries in the belief that he could have most of this week to discuss the meaning of the word "encourage". The Deputy said he took us at our face value. That was rather naive and I do not believe a word of it. Did Deputy Fitzpatrick say something?

(Cavan): I was saying that from the Taoiseach's remarks it appears he does not understand the Bill yet.

I understand the Bill and I understand the need for it, which apparently the Deputy does not. The protests came from outside the House also—noisy and vociferous protests, as we saw the other night. We saw the kind of people who took part in the protest outside Leinster House. There were two organised groups of Communists and many others—I do not know who they were. They indulged in obscenities, they hurled abuse at Members of the House, and they physically attacked Members' cars, and particularly Ministers' cars, as they left the House. These people talk about freedom and their right to protest but is that the kind of freedom that these people want, that elected representatives of the people are not free to go about their business without fear of being physically attacked by these so-called lovers of freedom? I want to say to them, and to Deputy Cosgrave in passing, that to the fullest possible extent that the law can be invoked against those people, no matter what subversive activities they undertake, it will be invoked.

They do not carry guns.

I will talk about that too. There has been criticism that we have been turning a blind eye— Deputy O'Higgins only a moment ago spoke about this—on people marching in uniform but he, as a lawyer of some repute, a senior counsel, ought to know that it is not an offence to parade in uniform unless one deliberately sets out to deceive the public that one is a member of the Defence Forces or of the Garda Síochána. Deputy O'Higgins will know, too, how difficult it is to devise an effective statute that will prevent people parading in any kind of uniform, particularly nowadays when people wear so many bizarre outfits and any hippy could find himself arrested for wearing a uniform.

One often wonders, however, what these people who make these protests, whether they are with guns or without them, whether they are with fists or with placards, with obscenities or with vulgar abuse, really want. I have said that most of them want to bring down society. They want to bring down the institutions of this State.

Talk about the placards and the guns.

What about Nkrumah?

What they really want, and what they often get, is undue publicity. There is seldom a parade of this nature, no matter how nefarious its purpose, which does not get wide publicity in all the news media. I am not saying it is not the right of the news media to give this kind of publicity.

(Cavan): Is that to be stopped?

They may do it to show them up in one way or another, and not to indicate any support for them, but as long as they get publicity they will keep repeating their parades, repeating their provocative demonstrations. While I was in America recently I had the experience of addressing three universities and there was no sign of any demonstration, where I expected there might be some type of demonstration. I addressed many meetings, public and otherwise, and I remarked on the absence of demonstrations. I was told the reason why there were not as many demonstrations now, apart altogether from the fact that the Government were taking effective measures, was that there was a silent pact between all the news media not to give these people the kind of publicity they hoped to get. That was the biggest reason why these demonstrations were subsiding.

(Cavan): That is a very different thing from putting a section into an Act of Parliament to put people into prison.

Deputy O'Brien mentioned on our side of the House there were members of our party who, perhaps, out of conviction, out of misguided patriotism, might be prepared to add fuel to the flames of Derry. I remember Deputy O'Brien's own trade union and one of his colleagues telling him that he was a dynamiter and he did not care who knew it and he is still a member of Deputy O'Brien's trade union.

I made my views clear.

I will allow that the Deputy made his views clear and in a most coherent way but let him not throw stones at members of our party who never claimed to be dynamiters and who never boasted about being dynamiters.

The dynamiters are not keeping Deputy O'Brien in his job.

If anybody, as I said before, on this side of the House does not want to follow me and my policy he is perfectly free, even on this division, to say "No" and that is not a threat.

They are not here to listen to the Taoiseach.

I do not know where they are or who they are. I have said these things to their faces.

They are behind you.

(Cavan): I hope the Parliamentary Secretary is able to get them.

This morning I heard echoes of coalition again coming from Deputy O'Leary. He assures us now that there is a credible alternative government, which could be provided by a Fine Gael-Labour coalition and he says this alternative could provide a consistent, agreed, common policy on Northern Ireland. The very next thing is he disagrees with Deputy Ryan's endorsement of Mr. Jim Callaghan's suggestion of an all-Ireland council.

I did not mention Deputy Ryan.

Deputy O'Leary dismissed the suggestion for a Council of Ireland as trivial and unimportant because it would be a body with no power and no function. Deputy Ryan thought that Mr. Callaghan's suggestion should be endorsed and supported. He seemed to think that this was an important step on the part of the British Labour Party. Therefore, in the very first hour of the new coalition they disagree on a fundamental issue.

Could the Taoiseach say what Deputy Blaney thinks?

Before I conclude I want to comment on what Deputy Keating said this morning.

He did not speak this morning. He spoke yesterday.

I am entitled to that slip without interruption. He said that no form of adequate price control was being exercised and that this could destroy the national wage agreement this autumn. I do not know whether that was a prophecy or a threat. First, I want to make it clear that all parties, the trade unions, the employers and the Government, recognised that further price rises would be inevitable during 1971 despite the national wage agreement. In a situation where wages and other incomes were expected to rise by about 10 per cent while output rose by about 3 per cent it was obvious that the gap would be filled by price rises.

Secondly, in so far as manufactured products are concerned, there is at present a very effective system of price control in operation. In particular, I would like to point out that of the increases granted under this price control in recent months the increase represented only about 60 per cent of the amounts sought by the applicants, the industrialists concerned. Thirdly, and this is the main purpose of referring to Deputy Keating's speech, the Government are proceeding with the proposals to extend price controls to services and to other areas together with machinery for price surveillance, as suggested by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Confederation of Irish Industries. The necessary legislation is now in hand and we hope to have it introduced in the autumn.

Finally, as I do not want to exceed my time, and as I have had a reasonable hearing for which I am grateful, I want to tell the Deputies opposite they can go without fear of a general election and come back on 27th October.

Happy Christmas.

In the meantime, they can be perfectly assured, as I said this time last year, that the country is in the very best of hands.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 61.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Blaney, Neil.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Brosnan, Seán.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Delap, Patrick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Foley, Desmond.
  • Forde, Paddy.
  • French, Seán.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Herbert, Michael.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Loughnane, William A.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Meaney, Thomas.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Des.
  • Power, Patrick.
  • Sheridan, Joseph.
  • Sherwin, Seán.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

  • Barry, Peter.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Browne, Noel.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Joan.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick M.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Cott, Gerard.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Taylor, Francis.
  • Thornley, David.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Finn, Martin.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Fox, Billy.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Justin.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lynch, Gerard.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McMahon, Lawrence.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Connell, John F.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Donovan, John.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • O'Reilly, Paddy.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Andrews and S. Browne; Níl: Deputies L'Estrange and Kavanagh.
Question declared carried.
Vote reported and agreed to.
The Dáil adjourned at 5.45 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 27th October, 1971.