Appointment of Member of Government: Motion .

: Tairgim:

Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú an Teachta Rádhulf De Búrca chun a cheaptha ag an Uachtarán mar Chomhalta den Rialtas.

I move:

That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of Deputy Raphael P. Burke for appointment by the President to be a member of the Government.

May I say, for the information of the House, that I propose to transfer Deputy Barrett from the Department of the Environment to the Department of Defence and to assign the Department of the Environment to Deputy Burke.

I propose also to ask the Government to appoint Deputy Denis Gallagher to succeed Deputy Burke as Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.

: You cannot keep a good man down.

: We note these appointments. I thank the Taoiseach for the courtesy of indicating the positions that will be held by those concerned. I should like to say that I am happy that Deputy Barrett will be in charge of the Department of Defence, which is a very important Department of State especially at present when the security of the State is at risk. I should say that for my part, on behalf of this party, we have confidence in him discharging his duties in that office as we had in his predecessor. That does not, of course, preclude us from criticising him in due course on the detailed carrying out of his duties. I am making a general expression of confidence in that regard.

I note that Deputy Ray Burke has been nominated to be a member of the Government. In courtesy he must be personally congratulated on this elevation.

We note that Deputy Denis Gallagher is to be brought back into the Government. I will not comment on the political implications of this which are internal to the party opposite. I will say only that Deputy Gallagher was always a popular Member of this House. His removal from office was greeted with concern by people of all parties and his return to office will provide great pleasure which again will not stop us from criticising him about carrying out his duties if it should be necessary.

: I should like to congratulate Deputy Burke on his elevation to the Cabinet. I have taken issue with him a number of times. However, one can say in all fairness that of the appointments made by the Taoiseach of Ministers of State Deputy Burke was competent, articulate and undoubtedly knew his brief before coming into the House. That should have been an example to some of his fellow Ministers of State who obviously did not follow it.

I thank the Taoiseach for informing us of the transfer of Deputy Barrett to the Department of Defence. No one in this country would underestimate the importance of defence. The present Ceann Comhairle's sojourn there was one of distinction and one can only hope that his successor will behave as well. Some measure of justice has been done to Deputy Gallagher. Whether it could be more accurately described as political judgment rather than justice, I am not too sure. I doubted at the time that that plaque in Castlebar would be of benefit to anyone. I have been proved wrong. I congratulate Deputy Gallagher on the success of his articulate supporters in Mayo.

: A U-turn.

: One of the difficulties always facing a member of this House is that when one is glad of the personal success of any Member, one must be quite clear about personal feelings and personal considerations as against political beliefs and political policies. Quite frankly, the people of this country do not need a change of Minister, they need a change of government.


: Hear, hear.

: Irrespective of whom the Taoiseach appointed to fill the vacancy created by Deputy Faulkner's resignation from the Government, it would be immaterial because policies which are, and will continue to be, pursued by this Government are disastrous for the Irish people. They will lead to more unemployment. A conservative estimate now is 120,000 unemployed before the winter is out, but a more realistic figure would be 160,000 to 170,000. Inflation will continue at last year's level—perhaps marginally lower. Industry is finding it extremely difficult to survive. A change in personnel will bring no comfort to our people. The same policies will be pursued. In congratulating the new member of the Cabinet, Deputy Burke, one wonders should one be commiserating with him. He is undoubtedly joining on the bridge of a sinking ship. A PRO exercise is no substitute for effective economic and social policies and that is the only substitute we have had. There is, at present, a divided Cabinet. Everyone knows that, particularly the members of the Cabinet. It is safe to say that tomorrow morning the gentlemen now sitting in the press gallery will be speculating more as to which camp Deputy Burke will now find himself in——

: That is clearly seen.

: —— and what policies will be pursued by him as a member of the Cabinet. There will be further speculation as to what effect Deputy Gallagher's elevation will have within the divided Cabinet and on the support for the two groups within it. That could be amusing if the country were being run properly, if we had not, in real terms, between 160,000 and 170,000 unemployed, if we had not an inflation rate of 20 per cent, if our public finances were not in a state of complete and utter chaos. Such has been the performance of this Government and such has been the split within its Cabinet that that is the topic most likely to get prominence in the biased reporting of these appointments.

I should like to wish the Government well but am more concerned about our people. The only possibility open to us is for the Taoiseach to seek the endorsement of the electorate. If he gets that endorsement, he can appoint his own Cabinet and not have, as happened, almost half of that Cabinet foisted on him by his political opponents within that same Cabinet. Give Ireland a chance. Go to the country.


: Hear, hear.

Motion agreed to.