Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - EEC Personnel.

56.

asked the Minister for Finance the number of Irish civil servants so far selected to serve on the staff of the European Economic Commission; and the number of officials, other than civil servants, recommended by the Government for appointments with the Commission.

The answer to both parts of the question is "nil". However, certain names have been proposed for selection for the Irish Commissioner's cabinet but no appointments have yet been made.

In relation to officials other than civil servants, what are the criteria employed? Is there any information available on that?

No. The selection is made by the Commission and I understand that the desire is as far as possible to get people who represent interests which would be vitally concerned other than the civil service, subject always to getting people of top calibre.

It is made on the recommendation of the Government?

Some of the appointments. I am not quite sure whether the appointments of non-civil servants would be on that basis or not.

Would the Minister agree that the Taoiseach has withdrawn in this House the suggestion that any appointments are made on the recommendation of the Government and said that he went too far in saying that and adjusted his statement and could he tell us in relation to the recent visit of Commissioner Coppé whether the Government are still proposing to or have sent a list of names or whether that proposal to send a list of names has been withdrawn?

I am not aware of a proposal to send a list of names.

Is the Minister not aware that the Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke on this on television and that this has been asserted by members of the Government on several occasions? Will he tell us whether the proposal to send such a list of names, I understand of civil servants, involving some recommendation to this effect, has, in fact, been withdrawn? Is this not to be sent now?

I am not aware that the Taoiseach or the Minister for Foreign Affairs ever said that there was a proposal to send a list of names.

The Minister was not listening to him, then, when he was on television with me.

I am sorry—the Deputy always does it—what the Deputy was objecting to was the Irish Government seeking an adequate number of places for Irish nationals. I do not think he should have done that. There was no question of a list.

The Minister is aware that that is a falsehood.

It so happens that I was listening on this occasion and what the Minister has said is perfectly correct.

We were insisting and we will insist——

I asked him and the Minister on television said the list was being sent.

——on the number of Irish nationals getting places there being proportionate to other countries and the Deputy was objecting to that for some strange reason.

I asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs on that occasion whether the Commission would be bound to adhere to the list and he said no and the Taoiseach in this House has since withdrawn his suggestion that these appointments were made on the recommendation of the Government. Is there not to be a list of civil servants sent?

The Deputy is misleading the House.

I think so too, Sir. Let me add also that there was never any question at any time of all the appointments consisting of civil servants.

I did not suggest that.

The Deputy suggested it in the past and he is implying it now.

Is the list being sent out or not? The Minister is, in fact, dodging the question. I think I am right in suggesting that the list has been withdrawn at this stage. Would the Minister own up and come clean on this matter?

I cannot own up and come clean to something that is not true except as asserted by the Deputy. The fact that the Deputy asserts does not make it true.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs asserted it and so did the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach spoke of appointments being made on the recommendation of the Government.

Will the Deputy produce the documentation to prove that these assertions were made because there is no limit to the amount of assertions he can make—absolutely no limit.

Is the Minister prepared to deny that he said on television——

The Deputy should obey the rules of the House and produce the evidence. I will deal with what the Deputy said on television. He is playing the role for somebody in Europe who thinks Ireland should take less than its proportion.

Is the Minister denying he said such a list would be sent?

I happened to be listening and the Minister did not say that.

I was there and I think the Deputy was making the point for somebody in Europe who does not want Ireland to get its full quota of places.

The Minister and the country are aware that that is untrue.

May I ask the Minister—the appointments will be made on the recommendation of the Government?

That is what I am asking the Minister.

He should remember what the Taoiseach said.

May I ask the Minister that question now?

I said the appointments would be made by the Commission.

I asked would they be made on the recommendation of the Government.

Answer the question.

Will they be made on the recommendation of the Government?

I thank Deputy Collins. Since when was he promoted to the Chair?

Answer the question.

I have answered the question.

Do not try to sidestep the issue. Answer the question.

I have answered the question. The fact that the Deputy does not understand it——

The Minister has not told us whether the list is to be withdrawn.

I am well aware of how the Minister's Government work.

Question No. 57. Order. We cannot discuss this question all evening.

May I ask the Minister if the appointments are made on the recommendation of the Government?

The Deputy has asked that a few times.

The Minister has not answered me.

Let me say, as I said before, the appointments will be made by the Commission. The manner in which the Commission makes these appointments is not a matter which is controlled by the Government. Therefore, I cannot answer for it.

The Minister can answer for the list that it is proposed to send.

The Deputy need not repeat that grossly inaccurate statement.

The Minister knows it is accurate. The circular was sent out to the civil service in February.

I am asking the Minister if the Government will make the recommendations before the appointments are made.

He is side-stepping.

What recommendation is the Deputy referring to?

On appointments to the Commission, will the Commission be dependent on recommendations from the Government? That is what I am asking.

Question No. 57.