Private Members' Business. - Social Welfare Christmas Bonus: Motion (Resumed).

Notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders Members shall be called in Private Members' Time this evening as follows: 7 p.m. to 7.25 p.m. Government speaker; 7.25 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. The Workers' Party speaker; 7.30 p.m. to 7.35 p.m. Progressive Democrats speaker; 7.35 p.m. to 7.40 p.m. Fianna Fáil speaker; 7.40 p.m. to 7.45 p.m. Fianna Fáil speaker; 7.45 p.m. to 7.50 p.m. Fianna Fáil speaker; 7.55 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fianna Fáil speaker; 8 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. Government speaker; 8.15 p.m. to 8.20 p.m. Fianna Fáil speaker; 8.20 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Fianna Fáil speaker.

Is the schedule of speakers for Private Members' Business this evening agreed? Agreed.

I wish to support the amendment to the motion before the House. It is of some importance to trace how measures of this nature such as the Christmas bonus and the double payment originated in their unique way in our country. Many things have to go back to the Leader of the Opposition. In the good old days when the Leader of the Opposition was Taoiseach he used to say to trade union leaders "Ah, it is only money". He decided as a special measure as part of one of the national understandings which was certainly very well understood at the time, that additionally as a special measure in 1980 the Government would provide "a double payment for one week in December 1980 in weekly social welfare payments to long term social welfare recipients". In that year the then Taoiseach authorised his then Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Michael Woods, to pay £9.3 million to 378,000 people. Needless to remark, I would not dare to refer this House to the state of the Exchequer finances in 1980. It is well and truly documented and requires no repetition in this House.

Then in 1981 the Government were in the horrors. Deputy Haughey took no decision on the double welfare payment until 6 November 1981 when he went ahead and brought in legislation which was not passed until the end of November, and there was no money there either, as we know well. We know well and truly the state of the finances by November 1981.

Lo and behold, in 1982 what happened? I was in the House on the night the Dáil was dissolved on 4 November 1982. It happened so frequently at the time that one runs out of years. On the following day with the Dáil dissolved the Fianna Fáil Party discovered they had forgotten about the Christmas bonus, so a Government decision was taken on 5 November, to spend at that time £17 million. The then Government did not even have the authority to spend the money, but, by God, they spent it because within a matter of a week or two there was to be a general election the date of which had been fixed for December. That is the kind of carry-on which happened at that time.

In 1983 I was Minister. My colleague, the Minister for Social Welfare, and I know the Taoiseach permits no end of the year fiddling with the books. It is not on in our administration. Money is money, not just money.

For Heaven's sake.

In 1983 and 1984 when I was Minister we managed within the framework of the projected over run on the current budget deficit to pay the bonus to 404,000 and 414,000 respectively, an increasing number, at a cost of £20.35 million to be exact. In 1985 I went to the Government and pointed out to them that there were 90,000 long term unemployed who were totally excluded from the Christmas bonus. They did not even get a bob because in thead hoc method of Fianna Fáil at the time it was confined to particular groups of pensioners, and short term beneficiaries and long term unemployed beneficiaries were excluded from the measure. I do not know why because there were plenty of long term unemployed around in 1980 and 1981. I pointed out to the Government that a substantial number of persons were on long term unemployment, that is over 15 months, and the bonus payment should at least be distributed among them all as far as practicable on a reasonable and fair basis. Therefore, last year we used the £21 million and spread it more equitably and rationally and it benefited more than half a million people.

This year we went through the same exercise at Cabinet and I stress that, as with Fianna Fáil but for different purposes, the decision was taken towards the end of the year, on the sixth budget report to be exact. On that basis the Government had saved by good management, including savings by my Department of Health, moneys to the tune of around £18 million. We decided that the current budget deficit was around £180 million. We did not wish to exceed our current budget deficit on outturn which was already substantially high, and on that basis we decided to pay a 65 per cent bonus. We could have fiddled the books. There was no problem. You would not know until January anyway and we could have paid 75 per cent but, as a matter of public propriety, we said despite the sure knowledge that we were going to face considerable difficulty that we could afford to pay £18 million and we tried to do the right thing. We did it and will continue to do it.

That is the basis on which this payment was made, but there was one further complication, that of the very substantial additional cost towards the second half of the year in implementing the equality legislation. In the first instance we gave an extra £6 a week to 46,000 married women since last May. We provided £18 million and that is money paid out since the first pay day of May last. That is net expenditure after all. We decided to bring in a £50 ceilling limit and that cost £4.6 million. Deputies know well we have been particularly concerned to implement the directive. I have not read in the papers a letter from any woman saying she has got the extra money of £41 or more. These women in any event since 1979 should have enjoyed equality. They did not enjoy it because in 1979, 1980 and 1981 the Fianna Fáil Party ran like scalded ducks from the implications of the directive because it would cost money. The Deputy knows that when he was Minister for Social Welfare, the late Minister for Finance, Deputy George Colley, a man for whom we both had regard, made quite sure they entered the reservation which they were forced to enter in Brussels on a particular day. It was entered at that time. The Deputy is the person who said that dependancy cross over payments should not be permitted in terms of equality of treatment. Now he has the gall as Leader of the Opposition to enter the House and say that it should not happen. I lack the capacity to verbalise that kind of political transition from one side of the House to the other.

Married women can now enjoy unemployment assistance on the same basis as every other applicant. That will cost a substantial amount. In addition, the Government decided we should ensure that there would be no discrimination between married women and men generally in relation to unemployment benefit. Up to this year a married woman could only enjoy 312 days of unemployment on unemployment benefit as against 390 days for every other insured worker. We paid money for that and last evening we added £8.6 million in a full year to the 1987 Estimates. The money can be easily calculated. For this year there is an additional £1.8 million to give further relief to families who have a transitional problem, namely those families where a wife is working and her husband is drawing social welfare benefit or where a husband is working and a wife is drawing social welfare benefit.

The Government have the obligation of introducing equality and the gross cost of that exercise in a full year, with £8.9 million already committed on the basis of the original £10, with the £50 floor and with the further measure last night of £1.8 million, all of which would amount to £8.6 million in a full year, will be no less than £36 million. About 95 per cent of families will not lose a shilling because of the implementation of equality. This has come from a Government who have been caricatured as being a Government who are cutting social welfare expenditure. The great irony of the situation is that implementation of equality of treatment has cost in net budget terms a total of £36 million in a full year and the roll over will go on into the middle of next year. It has been said that we are exceptionally mean about our social welfare payments, particularly in terms of our Christmas bonus. I would remind the House that we are the only country in Europe other than the UK which is paying that type of bonus and the UK pays a flat £10 for Christmas only to pensioners. Here we extended the payment to those in receipt of long term unemployment assistance. This year we are paying an average of £36 bonus per family and the total cost this year is over £18 million.

Deputy McCarthy last week made the observation that the Government has been stingy and so on about social welfare. However, for the first time in the history of the State, we are spending £1 billion on pensions. When Deputy Haughesy was Taoiseach in 1982 the corresponding figure was £740 million, by 1984 it was £930 million and in 1986 it is more than £1 billion. That is an outstanding achievement for any country in a time of recession. In terms of unemployment related expenditure, in 1982 we spent £380 million, in 1984, £550 million and in 1986 we will spend £690 million. That is an outstanding record of real growth in expenditure.

In unemployment.

The Minister is proud of the unemployment figures.

We have given the extension of the bonus payment this year. Last year 99,000 long term unemployed gained. This year an additional 10,000 people will benefit. In addition to the bonus payment we must remember that five out of every ten contributory pensioners who are in occupations have pensions in addition to the contributory old age pension and that is not aninsignificant source of general income.

The Government have been accused of not putting money into social welfare programmes. When I came into office the rate of payment for an unemployed married man with two children on assistance, in June 1983, was £65.15. It is now £81.75, an increase of 25 per cent over that period. Inflation went up in the same period by around 22 per cent. There have been real increases in short term benefits, a real gain of 6.5 per cent. In long term benefits there has been a real gain of 9 per cent, and for the long term unemployed the real gain has been no less than 14.5 per cent. A lot of that has been done on borrowed money and we make no secret of it. It had to be borrowed to keep some sense of social cohesion, to maintain our social services, our health services and our educational services. We have done that while endeavouring not to impose massive PRSI increases on the ordinary workers. When the PRSI system was introduced in 1979 the contribution rates for employers and employees was 8.75 per cent and 4.4 per cent. In three successive budgets in which Deputy Haughey was very involved, the employees' share of PRSI contributions rose by 70 per cent and the employers' share went up by 33 per cent. For the past four years this Government in four successive budgets have ensured that there has not been an actual increase in the rate of social insurance. That is a remarkable achievement for any Government in a time of recession and within major financial constraints. The income levy was abolished last year and if the Deputies dispute it I will quote the facts. In 1979 the employees' contribution was 4.4 per cent. Fianna Fáil put it up to 4.5 per cent and later on to 4.75 per cent. In 1982 it was raised to 7.5 per cent, by 1985 it was 8.5 per cent and last year we brought it down to 7.5 per cent. We did that by keeping control of social welfare expenditure.

We must examine the general undesirability ofad hoc payments as our social welfare system is littered with schemes and it is almost impossible, even for the Minister for Social Welfare, to understand the precise social benefits related to them. I warmly endorse the recommendation of the Commission on Social Welfare which said that it is generally undesirable to have piecemeal changes over the years unrelated to the level of available resources and needs.

I deplore the attack on my colleague in Government. Cabinet decisions are taken collectively and I resent the phrase "unfortunate woman" used by Deputy Haughey about a member of the Government which I serve.

It is an unfortunate Government.

The remark is unworthy of the leader of an Opposition Party. He used the phrase because of his chauvinistic views on politics.

She was hung out to dry three times.

Unlike Fianna Fáil, we do not run away from one another when we are in trouble.

What about Deputies Michael O'Leary, Liam Skelly and Toddy O'Sullivan?

The Government are the greatest wheelers and dealers of all time.

Since Fianna Fáil went into Opposition, they got £710,000 of taxpayers' money to produce research policy documents and all they can do——

So did the Government.

A tough job has to be done and Dessie will do it.

He should be referred to as Deputy O'Malley.

Deputy O'Malley and his colleagues made great political capital about their alleged policy of responsible expenditure. Last week they voted against me and my colleagues in Government because we were not spending more on the health services. I am not sure whether Deputy O'Malley or Deputy Keating is running the show but we will find out in due course. This week they intend to vote against the Government because we will not spend more on social welfare even though we have now spent £36 million on equality of treatment and we intend to spend £18 million on the Christmas bonus. Their actions reek of spineless, naked, political hypocrisy and opportunism. I know where Deputy Haughey stands, the money does not matter, he would get it somewhere——

I understand that the Minister has my name over his bed.

(Interruptions.)

The Progressive Democrats purport to have a policy in relation to public expenditure which is rapidly abandoned when any pressure is brought to bear on them. We have no apology to make for the fact that in the past four years we have maintained, developed and expended a great deal of scarce resources on the social welfare system, part of which has been the payment of a Christmas bonus within the limitation of resources. The Exchequer finances are in an extremely difficult state and we could not take a decision whereby we would be regarded as capitulating to an Opposition motion which is unworthy of those who tabled it.

The Minister is a three card trick man.

I wish to restore balance to the debate by reading a letter which I received from a woman yesterday.

Dear Mr. De Rossa,

I am begging you if you get this letter please read it out to Mrs. Hussey in the Dáil. I want her to know what she has done to my family. My husband has been crippled by arthritis for 13 years. I am also disabled. We have 3 boys (aged 13 to 7 years) dependent on us. My husband was getting £109.20 invalidity pension. I was getting £41.10 disability benefit, total £150.30. This has now been cut to £128.85. As Dr. FitzGerald knows only too well, a person with arthritis needs all the nourishment and care they can get. How can I give him this on £128? In God's name tell them to stop crucifying the sick and disabled people of my country. All I can say now is I hope God will forgive them as I cannot find it in my heart to. As I look at my husband's crippled legs and hands and at my 3 children, the youngest is an asthmatic, I say to myself maybe Christmas won't come this year.

Yours sincerely,

Margaret Leeson (Mrs),

25 St. Killians Park,

Clondalkin,

Dublin 22.

That adds balance to the Minister's remarks about paying out an additional £35 million this year in social welfare payments and achieving equality which, to that woman and her family, means a loss of £22 per week. Even with the magnificent concession we got last night, after the posturings of a number of Labour Party Deputies, that woman will still lose £12 per week. We are told that 60 per cent of a Christmas bonus will bring her back to square one, which is nonsense. Equality must mean that people are equal to the best, that they are not lowered to the lowest possible denominator. It is astounding that a Minister and a Government supported by the Labour Party — who claim to be socialist — are acquiescing in driving the poorest into greater poverty and despair.

I am sick and tired of listening to the well meaning middle class liberals in Fine Gael who wring their hands and tell us that they are in favour of equality for women. They say that you cannot have equality in social welfare without damaging the poorest in society. They should throw away their liberal mask, forget about liberalism and admit their Tory leanings like the PDs or any other Tory Member in the House.

The Minister for Social Welfare should resign, not because she is a woman but because she took over a Bill from a Labour Party Minister and implemented it without any thought for its effects. She does not know what they will be because she is a Fine Gael, middle class liberal who does not know how the working class have to survive. Not only should she resign, this excuse for a Government should also resign. It is time that they copped themselves on and realised that they can no longer stagger from crisis to crisis. All the posturing by Deputy Cluskey and Deputy O'Leary does not disguise the fact that they did not think it worth their while to come into this House last summer to add their voices to the opposition which was being raised about the cutbacks which were imminent as a result of this legislation. Their postering will not save them from the wrath of the working class whenever the Government decide to go to the country. They cannot avoid it forever. A 100 per cent Christmas bonus should be paid.

I must call the next speaker.

The cutbacks in social welfare as a result of the equality directive should be scrapped and let us end the charade which is going on.

The Government's penny pinching attitude to the Christmas bonus for social welfare recipients speaks volumes for their overall lack of policy in the management of Government expenditure. This year they have allowed spending to rise at a rate which is more than twice the level of inflation. They have missed every economic and monetary target they set themselves. Not only this year but for the past four years have this Government presided over this country.

Nor can the Christmas bonus issue be isolated from the total shambles the Government have made of the implementation of the EC equality directive. Three times in the past three weeks this unfortunate Government have revised and reversed policy. They have shown themselves to be totally out of touch with ordinary people. They have no understanding of how those on social welfare live. They had to wait until their own backbenchers returned screaming from their constituency clinics about the awful injustice that had been done to the most vulnerable families in the country before they could understand the impact of their decision so far as the EC directive was concerned.

As our party leader, Deputy O'Malley, pointed out yesterday, it was a bit late in the day for the Minister for Finance to seek to justify the Scrooge like attitude to welfare recipients by blaming them for the level and cost of Government borrowing. There are a number of ways of reducing public expenditure and the Progressive Democrats recently spelled out public spending cuts totalling £370 million in a single year. Therefore, nobody need have any doubt about where we stand on this fundamental issue. We have always maintained that public spending adjustments must be carried out in a way which does not adversely affect the least well off in our society. Therefore, the issue of the £3 million reduction in the Christmas bonus is about something much more than that relatively paltry sum in the Government's overall budget. This money is of vital importance to the families on social welfare and it should have been one of the last places any Government would have turned to in the task of reducing expenditure.

We see a Government who have funked the task of cutting much larger sums of money where other interest groups were concerned. They added at least £30 million to the deficit this year by way of the devaluation of the Irish pound last August. This puts into perspective the Government's priorities. They have no hesitation in making cuts in the Christmas bonus. The Progressive Democrats are most concerned with getting public expenditure down but we will not do that at the expense of the least well off. The Government have shown themselves to be completely out of touch with the implications of the EC equality directive. We have no hesitation in voting against the Government on this issue this evening.

The Deputy's time is up.

Does the Minister agree with spending £18 million on building a huge dental hospital in Dublin when a hospital half the size would be adequate to provide all the necessary dental services for the Dublin area, thereby making a saving of at least £6 million?

Mr. Cowen

I support the Fianna Fáil motion. It is a tragedy that in this day and age one has to come into this House to look for £3 million for the least well off in our society particularly when one looks over at self professed people who claim they are led by a Taoiseach, one of whose main objectives was to eliminate poverty. There are more impoverished people in this country now than ever before. What we are seeking is what the Minister gave last year, which was 75 per cent of the full payment. What we are seeking is that the Government would meet the commitment they gave last year, which was £20 million. This year they say they are giving £18 million to these people.

The Minister in her speech cleverly broadened the issue. We are not talking about major cuts in Government expenditure or about major borrowings. We are talking about an extra £3 million for those in receipt of social welfare payments. The Minister in her speech and the Minister for Health tonight theorised about the need to control Government expenditure. The Minister for Social Welfare talked about the need for rational people to understand that one cannot give money which is not there and that there is a need to keep deficits in compliance with one's plans at the beginning of the year. The fact of the matter is that those planned deficits have been exceeded already, probably by as much as £20 million. If we are prepared to accept £200 million of an increase in the current budget deficit would it be in the hearts of the Government to accept £203 million of an overrun on the current budget deficit so that these people could get what they got last year? We are talking about a minimal amount of money for the people concerned but what we are forgetting is that these people are living from day to day, let alone from week to week. These people depend on this payment to get them over Christmas. They will not get over it as well as I or anyone else in this House but they are entitled to the dignity of receiving what they got last year. Why should they take a cut in their Christmas present from the Irish people? That is what it is.

When the Minister for Social Welfare and the Minister for Health talk about this money they say we should realise it is taxpayers' money. I realise it is taxpayers' money but I would say this: the Irish people are a generous people. They showed this when millions of the world's starving were brought to our attention by the Band Aid project. We were shown to be the most generous when we took money out of our pockets then. We applauded the Government when the Taoiseach gave £250,000 to help that project. Are we to sit here tonight and say we have not got £3 million for the most underprivileged members of our society? Let us forget about the cant of controlling public expenditure because the Government have borrowed more money than any previous Government in the history of the State.

The ordinary man who last weekend came to see me in my constituency clinic or who went to any public representative said we had money for everything else but not for him or his wife and children. That is politics in Ireland today. It is not about percentages, current budget deficits or overruns, it is about whether we will produce what we gave last year to social welfare recipients. The fact of the matter is that the Government will not. There is no getting away from that. That is what the ordinary people of this country are saying about the Government. This has caused resentment not just among social welfare recipients but also among the hardpressed taxpayers. This money will not be taken out of their pockets; it will be put into the pockets of their brothers and sisters because every family is affected by the plague of unemployment under this Government. If this money is given to these people they will be getting what we believe, and what every decent ordinary person in the street believes, they are entitled to.

The payment of the double week for certain categories of social welfare classes has come to be an accepted thing in recent years and once started can hardly be withdrawn or curtailed in any form. It has become an integral part of the social welfare code at Christmas. Like a child who looks forward to seeing Santa at Christmas time, there are many thousands of under-privileged people who look forward to receiving this double week bonus from the State at Christmas.

To the vast majority of these people it can mean the difference between a happy Christmas or a miserable Christmas. It can mean the difference between there being a little extra comfort at Christmas, or Christmas Day being the same as any other day. It can also mean there will be a little extra comfort at Christmas, a little extra food on the table, adequate fuel to keep the family warm or clothes on the backs of the children. This bonus can help to make the difference between a happy Christmas or a miserable Christmas.

The cost of providing the bonus this year is, I understand, £18 million. To make the bonus payment on the same basis as last year would cost an extra £3 million. When one considers that it costs the State some £2.5 billion per year to finance the social services, £3 million is a paltry sum. Such a meagre saving should not be made at the expense of the poorest and weakest in our society.

As a result of public outrage and the revolt of Government backbenchers, the Minister came here last night and announced she had found extra millions of pounds to try to compensate those people who had sustained massive losses resulting from the implementation of the so-called equality directive in respect of social welfare payments. Does anyone seriously suggest that she could not on this occasion find this paltry £3 million to pay the double week bonus to all social welfare categories this Christmas?

The Minister said here last night, "Let me make one thing clear at the outset. The bonus is not an item that is provided at the beginning of the year. It never has been". That is the nub of this issue. This vital item of expenditure must no longer be left to chance. In future, it must be provided for in the budget, thereby ending the suspense, the scraping, the scrounging and the economising at the end of the financial year. This £18 million to £20 million must be provided in future budgets. To fail to do so would be to make a mockery of the suffering of the unfortunate people we are concerned with this evening.

As one who fought tenaciously over the past 25 years to build up and maintain our social services in terms of health, welfare, education and local government, I have been deeply saddened to observe that these essential services are continually under attack by this Government. They were cut back, dismantled and torn down before my eyes in a very short time and in an unprincipled, reckless and renegade fashion by people, erstwhile colleagues of mine, who claimed to have a social conscience, who claimed to be socialists, and who pledged, as I do, to defend the weak and the under-priviledged in this House.

Deputy Pádraig Flynn to conclude at 7.55 p.m.

There are few who would deny that the true litmus test of democratic Government is the manner in which the old and the needy are treated. How this Government have failed that test. The Coalition treatment of the old is a sad reflection on the validity of the so-called social policies. Coalition policies have sought in a very callous way to regard the old and the unemployed as parasites, a burden on hard-pressed Exchequer funds. People and their problems do not matter to the Coalition. The important thing for them is to keep up the facade of monetarism and to bluff their way, but not to allow the ordinary people to get a say and give a direction as to what they want the Government to do.

We had another instance of that this evening when the Minister for Health, Deputy Barry Desmond, came into the House and said they will pay the extra money from the projected overrun of the deficit of £180 million. More Government dishonesty. That budget deficit is not £180 million but £1,400 million this year. This is the Government of no word, the Government who promised the budget deficit would be nil in 1987 but they seek to mislead and say that the budget deficit is £180 million in 1986. The Minister tried to fool us. He had the effrontery to suggest, as he is so capable of doing, that there are further savings of £18 million in the various Departments, including his own Department of Health, when everyone knows he has decimated the health services and he has created the longest waiting list for health services in the history of the State. The health boards are in hock to the banks to the tune of £50 million extra which the Minister could not find for them this year to fund services.

What this Government are doing is mean and stingy. Whether they like it or not, real poverty stalks this land tonight. This Coalition have no understanding of the difficulties of the old and the unemployed. What does £5 mean to the Minister? It is the price of two gins and tonics in the room next door, but to an unemployed person it means food, shelter, clothes, transport and the necessities of life for one day of every week.

Reputations are at stake here. That is what we are talking about, the reputation of this Government and the reputation of some of the Ministers. The credibility of this Government is in tatters and the credibility of individual Ministers is lessening each day. The so-called high ground of honesty and integrity we have all been treated to for the past four years has been abandoned in the barefaced pursuit of power for power's sake. That is the only reason this unfortunate Government continue to stay on that side of the House. They want to hold on to the miserable semblance of power the people want to take from them, but the Government will not give them the opportunity to do so.

The Taoiseach stood up and said he was proud of the record of his Government in the provision of health services. He said he was proud of what the Minister, Deputy Desmond, has done and, in the same breath, he said he was proud of the record of the Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Gemma Hussey. I ask him to put that achievement to the test and to see what the Irish people think of their proud achievements. How can this Government run away from the fact that they stand disgraced for their total lack of control and authority? We got a good example of that here last evening when the Minister for Health, Deputy Barry Desmond, spent 45 minutes trying to cajole, threaten, and sweet talk Deputy Michael Bell in the lobby to get him and his unfortunate erstwhile friend to do the right thing by his policy tonight. That is what we are treated to. There is no substantial Government. There is instability of Government to be seen every day in the corridors of this House. One could have been suffocated in the welter of bad decisions that have emanated from this Government in the past few years. The instability is everywhere. I could smell the mendacity as I walked down the corridors of this House over the past few months. Unfortunately we still have a Government who persist in holding on to their shambles of authority.

Our concern on this side of the House is legitimate. We always had that attitude to the unemployed and weaker sections of our community. We will not be brow-beaten or dressed down by this unfortunate Coalition Government for the attitude and position we have taken. The needs of the weaker sections of the community have always been a fundamental part of Fianna Fáil policy. We are proud of it. We are the trade union of the old and needy of this country. Fianna Fáil have traditionally been the defenders of the weak and we are proud of that tradition. We will not have our concern minimised or downgraded by snide personal remarks about the leader of this party who has the finest record so far as any leader or any Minister for Health or Social Welfare since the foundation of this State is concerned in terms of social welfare and of giving to the poor.

The old and the unemployed are entitled to generosity more than just in spirit or word. They are entitled to it in cash as well. We are not for taking away their Christmas bonus. We are not for taking away the little extra that would give them some comfort this Christmas-time.

This Government have one unfortunate attribute. They continue to browbeat the electorate into believing that what they are doing is in their best interests. Political survival has no upper price tag in Coalition terms. Bad decisions can be altered by backbench revolt which can be cajoled, threatened and defused in any way one likes to think of. We say to them now that the new Labour philosophy would seem to be: we are ready to wound you but we are not ready to strike you dead. We say to the Labour Party, the so-called pseudo-socialists of this Government and of our time: cast aside the allegiance you have to this right wing monetarist Government, take at least one stand of which you can be proud, go to the electorate and seek their support on the basis of supporting us in this motion. That would restore some semblance of decency to that for which your party was founded and give some little extra comfort to the old, the unemployed and the needy of our time.

There have been dirty tricks used against the old and the needy in the past. I do not have to remind the older Members here of the famous shilling reduction in the old age pension. Neither do I have to remind them of the way in which this Government sought to twist and distort the fact that they have reduced for two years in a row the amount paid by way of Christmas bonus to social welfare recipients. They are not getting 64 per cent or 75 per cent. They are getting less each year by Government diktat. The only Government who have any record worth standing up for so far as doing the decent thing by the old, the needy and the less-well-off is concerned were Fianna Fáil Governments in the past. We took those decisions even in hard times because we felt that, whoever had to suffer, certainly it should not be those who could least afford it. That has been a basic Fianna Fáil philosophy and it will be the philosophy of the next Fianna Fáil Government. Obviously the people cannot wait to see that time come.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We invite the Government to step back from the brink. We say that this is an unhappy Minister. We are not sexist in that — we do not want to be seen as such — but we do say to the Minister that she has an unfortunate record behind her in Government. She had an unfortunate record in the débacle that occurred in the Department of Education, which has been followed now by two further examples of incompetency in the Department of Social Welfare. We think that the Minister has no right to continue to be in charge of those who are most in need in our society, the old and unemployed, and we invite her to stand down at this time.

Deputy Joe Bermingham. The Deputy is to conclude at 8 o'clock.

I find myself in strange company this evening. I say that with a certain amount of sadness. I have been involved in politics, mostly as a Labour Party man, since the age of 18 to be exact. I have always felt that I and the Labour Party were committed to helping the less well off in our society. I am now worried that there is some change so far as this Government are concerned in their commitment to the less well off. I had believed, until this decision was announced, that they had a sympathetic approach to the less well off. I had that impression from the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the present Minister for Social Welfare. I am now beginning to wonder about that.

On this occasion I find myself on the side of Fianna Fáil because they have put down the kind of motion that I indicated I would support. I did not put down a motion, nor would not be able to get a motion on the agenda but this one put down by Fianna Fáil seems to suit my way of thinking. Perhaps that was done deliberately — I do not know — if it was, so be it.

I have no wish to bring down Governments. This is probably the last speech I will ever make in this House because I am not seeking re-election or publicity of any kind. I believe that £3 million in the context of £12,000 million spent by the Government every year is chickenfeed.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

For the sake of the expenditure of that amount of money we give a lesser rate, 64 per cent rather than 75 per cent to the less well off in our society. It is not a lot of money either way. The Government do not want to give those people the same rate as they received last year. I regard £3 million, and it is £3 million at the outside, as a pittance. Having said that, it appears that millions can be produced for other things. The Taoiseach travelled around the country recently — people said he was on an election tour; I do not know what it was and I am not concerned — but there were millions of pounds thrown here, there and everywhere for different projects, some in my constituency which were badly needed. It is my opinion that £3 million could easily be found without destroying the finances of this State. It would have absolutely no effect on the finances of this State, the state of our play in foreign borrowing or anything else. If we had to borrow those £3 million, so what? What about borrowing for the good purpose of helping the less well off?

I do not blame the Minister personally in this regard. This was a Cabinet decision for which every member must take responsibility. The Minister is a concerned person. From my contacts with her I think she is concerned about the less well off in our society. It appears she was not able to convince the rest of the Cabinet of the necessity at least to show that they had that sympathy. There was the necessity for us to show that we were not going to begin pruning public expenditure by taking it from the less well off.

I have shown the Minister correspondence I have received from people, people who have said they are hungry one day a week. I speak of people in receipt of the lowest form of unemployment assistance. They might be less hungry on that day if we gave them the extra pittance we are talking about. We are giving them some. Yet, for an additional £3 million, we could give them that little bit extra for Christmas. It reminds me of giving a child £1 for sweets last Christmas and we can only afford to give him 17 shillings this year. We should be ashamed of ourselves. If we, as an independent State, cannot afford to keep our people from being hungry one day a week then in the name of God let us get somebody else to run this country because we are not fit to run it ourselves.

I listened in amazement to some of the points made by previous speakers. It is rather ironical that I am one of the Deputies who stood up and was counted in 1982 and 1983 when the Social Welfare Bill was going through this House. I voted against the Government on that occasion. It is very strange that some of the heroes who have spoken tonight voted against me on that occasion when a much more important and fundamental Bill which had a very important impact on the social welfare code was put through by the very same people who are criticising this measure tonight. But then Dáil Éireann was never short of hypocrisy.

(Interruptions.)

I do not interrupt anybody and surely Deputies will have the courtesy of allowing me to speak. I will remind the Leader of the Opposition that he had two opportunities of putting the equality measures into effect that are now being called for but he failed to do so.

I would not have done it the way the Deputy is doing it.

That fact should be placed clearly on the record of the House. Deputy Flynn was holding a ministerial post in one of those Governments. If we were in Opposition at present we would probably be saying the same thing. That is the hypocricy of Dáil Éireann.

It will not be too long.

The Deputy should stand over what he is doing.

This debate has shown up one thing, that there are very few people in this House who understand the social welfare code. I do not blame them for that. This issue has highlighted the capacity of a Government who regard themselves as caring and compassionate to shoot themselves in the foot. It is quite incomprehensible that any Government who set out to remove anomalies in the system, to provide a long overdue measure of equality for women and devote £17 million of scarce resources to do so, should end up causing hardship. It is particularly incomprehensible because it is so unnecessary. Any one of several dozen back bench TDs could have advised the Minister in plenty of time on ways and means of avoiding hardship and confusion, ways that would not have caused the spending of any more money than has already been spent. I calculate that the Government will have spent between £40 million and £50 million on implementing this directive by the end of next year. They will have attracted much more odium than if they had cut spending by the same amount. The reasons for this are not hard to find.

In the last six months staff in employment exchanges were sent circular after circular about this matter, each one countermanding the other. When the day came to implement the directive the staff were as confused as the public they were dealing with. Information was promised but never materialised. Back-up services were offered but were never put in place. New categories of affected people were discovered on virtually a daily basis. The total number of people had to be revised upwards almost every day. In an exercise that was almost mind boggling the only body that appeared to know what was going on was the Department that recently described itself as one of the largest users of computers in Europe.

There was one very bad feature of the outcome of the review undertaken by the Government. That outcome could and should have been announced a month or more ago. It has been suggested to the Minister time and time again that there was no inherent equality in halving the child dependency rate if one parent was out of work. Its restoration should not have been necessary because it should not have been cut in the first place. The Minister has known for some time that the £10 transitional payment was too small to be effective. I told her that when I met her. Instead of allowing the situation to get to a point where the very survival of the Government is in question this matter could have been dealt with in a practical and commonsense way.

I have been endeavouring today to try to clarify a number of issues arising from last night's announcement. I am now satisfied in relation to a number of points. First, I am advised that the supplementary welfare arrangements put into effect in the Department to ensure that there is no hardship will be available to cover such cases that might still arise. Secondly, although it was not explicit in the Minister's announcement last night, I understand that it is the intention that several thousand families consisting of a pensioner and his wife who is still at work will be covered. In this case it means that the extra £10 per week transitional payment will also be applied. My calculation is that there is an additional payment but perhaps not what we would like to have seen. The fact that the new level of payments has been increased will mean that the Christmas bonus will now amount to approximately £18.5 million. I would also like to point out to the House that if we make the calculations based on the level of payments made last year, together with the bonus payment paid this year, we will find that in cash terms the payment is slightly above that of last year.

I find it difficult to listen to a former colleague of mine, Deputy Treacy, talk about the 100 per cent bonus, the double payment, when he voted last year for a payment that was 75 per cent of that of the previous year. Again, that is the type of hypocrisy we hear in this House. Maybe if we were in Opposition we would be saying the same.

There was no vote last year.

Deputy Bell should be the last one to talk about hypocrisy; he is only a Johnny-come-lately to the Labour Party.

(Interruptions.)

I did not interrupt Deputy Treacy when he was speaking. He can hand out remarks but he cannot take them. One has to be able to give and take. We, in the Labour Party, have made an honest endeavour to correct a system that has gone very far wrong in regard to a number of anomalies. All Members are aware of that and I am sure the Minister will be the first to accept that our social welfare system is badly in need of an overhaul. There are many anomalies in this system and we have made an honest effort to try to redress something that had gone seriously wrong.

The Commission on Social Welfare have pointed out the serious anomalies in the system and I suggest to the Minister that every effort should be made by her, and the Department, to correct them. There are so many difficulties in administering the system that it is almost impossible to control. The system was designed not for the level of unemployment we have today but for another era. The staff in the local social welfare offices are unable to cope with the system. The Minister, and her Department, should have a serious look at the report of the commission and make every effort to implement their recommendations in the coming months.

I would like to see a higher level of Christmas bonus and it was not for the want of trying as far as the Labour Party were concerned that it was not increased.

Deputies

Vote for the motion.

I should like to remind the Opposition that on two previous occasions when in Government they had the ball at their own feet.

The Deputy has the ball at his foot now.

The Deputy should kick it.

Fianna Fáil had an opportunity of applying the equality measures on the basis they wished to implement but they did not avail of it. The Government have had to implement that directive. The Opposition must acknowledge that 46,000 women now in receipt of social welfare have gained equality as a result of this measure. They should also take into consideration that we are responding to the wishes of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and its affiliated unions, who have consistently pressed for the implementation of equality for women. If the Opposition are as caring as they profess to be, why is it that they did not respond to the representations made to them by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and its affiliated unions, to implement equality when they were in office? Perhaps the Deputy concluding on behalf of the Opposition will answer that question. A milestone has been struck.

Backwards.

At whose expense?

Equality for women in the area of social welfare payments is on the Statute Book and it will remain there. I have been critical of the Minister — I hope in a constructive way — and, in particular, of the officials advising her. I accept, as I am sure the Minister does, that mistakes were made but the record will show that for the first time in the history of the State women have now full equality in social welfare. I hope I will be long enough in the House to have that same equality put into place on the factory floor and in the work place.

It is unlikely the Deputy will be here much longer.

If I am not in the House to do that I hope that Fianna Fáil, if they get into power, will ensure it is done. Whether I am a Member or back in Liberty Hall I will be watching what transpires. If I am not in a position to criticise from these benches I will do so from outside the House. Without being disrespectful to anybody, I must suggest that the debate has to have a balance. The balance is something that the Minister and her colleagues, and my colleagues in Government, have done their best to redress. They have got the balance and I will support the Government.

That is some balance we have heard of. I listened with sympathy to Deputy Bell in his pathetic inept way as chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party trying to defend an indefensible position. He spoke of hypocrisy but I should like to say that he was a neat side-stepper himself long before his entry to the House. Deputy Bell, and Deputy Treacy, know what I am talking about. Deputy Bell used that side-stepping opportunistically for many reasons that I will not go into now. I thought I had heard everything until I heard the Minister for Health in his most sanctimonious tones say that he was proud of the growth in unemployment social welfare payments: in other words, a Labour Minister gloating and boasting about the growth in the numbers unemployed in the past four years. Can one imagine a Minister, being supported by the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, making such a statement?

Such a claim and a boast is alien to what the Labour Party once stood for. The people who are suffering under the crazy economic policies of the Government get little joy or cheer. The Minister for Social Welfare has made life miserable for many social welfare recipients in recent weeks. The Government tookad hoc decisions weekly to try to untangle the dreadful mess she has made but each time they get deeper into the mire. I heard Deputy Bell refer to the necessity to review the social welfare code and I do not disagree with that statement but tonight we are talking about a mere £3 million for the long term unemployed, the long term social welfare beneficiaries. That money is needed to give them a few extra pounds for Christmas. Is it too much to ask that those who are in receipt of old age pensions, the poor, the sick, the disabled and the long term unemployed be given that consideration?

I agree with those who referred to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste running around the country throwing money here and there. Ministers have met community associations with anything from £5,000 to £50,000 in their back pockets to hand over. I accept that some of those causes are good ones. I expect that at the end of the year there will be unexpended balances on many schemes and that money could be used to give a few extra pounds to the poor people. I should like to tell Deputy Bell, and his colleagues in the Labour Party, that the most conservative right wing person in Europe would not support his concept that equality had to be introduced by starving people at Christmas time. That was a strange view to come from the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Had the Minister attended some of my clinics last weekend she would have seen women crying in desperation. She would not be talking tonight about equality but would be worrying about the problems of such people or those who are suffering from arthritis, asthma and other illnesses. How can a Minister, or a Government, brazenly preside over such a vicious and mean attack on the weakest section of our community? Many Cork people who were happily at work on the eve of Christmas in 1982 when the Government took office are now among the long term unemployed and are being deprived of what any caring and concerned Government would give them, at least the level of last year's Christmas payment.

Deputy McLoughlin, who has been interrupting continuously, should understand that. This misguided, misdirected Government, have lost their way. There is no option for them but, for God's sake and the sake of the country, to resign. Would they let the Irish people begin to live again in confidence and hope? It has never been forgotten that a Cumann na nGaedheal Government took a shilling from the old age pensioners, and black November 1986 will never be forgotten for this Minister or this Government who have neglected the poor, the sick and the old and unemployed. This Minister will be remembered as the cost-cutter, first in Education, now in Social Welfare. How can the Labour Party Members march into the lobby tonight and vote with the Government?

You will be remembered as the Minister for Finance, failed.

(Interruptions.)

The Government like to pretend that there have been significant improvements in welfare payments since they took office. The real value of social welfare payments has barely kept pace with the rate of inflation under the Coalition. The last real increase of any significance was in the 1982 Fianna Fáil budget.

The Christmas bonus introduced by Fianna Fáil in 1980 is in the process of being whittled away. The reduction of the bonus from 75 per cent of a full week's allowance to 64 per cent shows a meanness of spirit, a cold calculation worthy of a party in the tradition of Ernest Blythe. Like him, this Government are determined to cut back on the entitlements of old age pensioners and to reduce them to the bare minimum.

The Coalition have executed U-turn after U-turn. They do not care a damn about the wellbeing of social welfare recipients, but they will do anything to save their own political skins. Principles and integrity and credibility, it seems, are irrelevant to this Government. Clinging on at any cost, irrespective of what it means for the country, is now the name of the game. We have the spectacle of the Government and the Taoiseach making bad, indeed often indefensible, decisions and then being pushed from pillar to post by individual backbenchers seeking to salvage themselves from the impending political wreck.

Is it not the truth that the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Ministers Bruton, Hussey, Desmond and the rest of them will carry out any stroke, any deal, to purchase a few more weeks of office? We are told there is no money for worthy causes, no money to save social welfare recipients from severe cuts in their incomes or to give old age pensioners something extra for Christmas, but let a few backbenchers threaten the Government's survival, and the State's coffers are suddenly transformed into a crock of gold from which to draw out limitless millions to ensure this utterly discredited Coalition's limping survival for another few weeks. There is no talk then of protecting the taxpayer or the mountains of foreign debt or of fiscal rectitude. The Minister talks of finding savings in her Department. Were we not told that this Government maintained rigid control over public expenditure, so how is it that suddenly savings emerge, as if from nowhere? There is now a state of total confusion as to what the Government's position is and what they have money for. Is it not the truth that they have money for anything, if it is necessary to help them to hold on to power for a few more weeks or months?

Originally, there was provision only for a £10 transitional payment plus the possibility of assistance under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. The Minister in this House on 29 October stated, "The Government have made an effective response to the difficulties for certain families". The Minister was fully backed by certain Fine Gael Deputies, who may now be less than proud of their contributions. Deputy Owen, for example, said: "The discrimination that has existed here cannot be removed without causing hardship to some people". Ministers of State, Deputies Doyle and Fennell, thanked God for the Government's courage. I wonder is courage exactly the word most people would use to describe this whole sorry saga.

Then a couple of weeks ago as the public outcry grew, a review was promised in connection with consideration of the Estimates, the clear implication being, however, that nothing could be done until next year. Since last night a further £10 million is to be found, and dependency allowances are to be restored. Perhaps the Minister would explain how long she proposes these arrangements will last.

It is ironic that we should be discussing the equality directive, when the motion before us is about the Christmas bonus. The truth is that Deputies Cluskey and Taylor voted in this House on 29 October 1986 for the Minister's motion which stated that Dáil Éireann "in the circumstances considers that the overall provisions are reasonable". They did not have the courage to make any stand at the appropriate time. Deputy Taylor claimed they were in "a negotiating situation". That is simply not true. There is nothing in the Minister's speech that might have indicated that there were to be any negotiations. The credibility of the Labour Party has undoubtedly suffered over this whole debacle. Let us not forget that the then Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Barry Desmond, was responsible for making the arrangements which his successor was forced to defend. On that occasion he said "such reductions are inevitable". The original directive spoke of "the gradual application of equal treatment". The Coalition have tried to implement it virtually at one fell swoop. There has been political blackmail of the lowest kind and the Government succumbed to save their political necks. That is the only thing that matters now to them — all other considerations have been thrown aside. They are not fit to govern.

Last night the Minister for Social Welfare did another Houdini and produced another rabbit out of her hat, despite the fact that Ministers John Bruton and Deasy yesterday had said that more money would not be available. Hey presto, suddenly money appears out of the blue: in typical three-card-trick fashion, the Minister for Social Welfare found nearly £11 million and said it came from savings. Which Minister are we to believe? The House and the country are entitled to be told where the savings came from.

Of course there are no savings. This is just political deception of the lowest kind. The Government blackmailers have been bribed to save the Government's political skin. Credibility and honesty have been thrown out the window. The only thing that now matters is what bribes will be accepted by the blackmailers. The party once known as the party of credibility, honesty and integrity are being seen for what they are, a collection of political frauds of the lowest form. Families on social welfare will lose £350 in a full year and families in which the wives work and earn £50 a week will lose £850. As the Leader of the Opposition said last week, this is an obscenity and a scandal. Sadly, in the political dealing, the half million old people and those on long term unemployment assistance have been forgotten this Christmas: they have to pay the political bribes offered to the blackmailers.

This Government have completely disgraced themselves particularly over the last few weeks and survival is the only game that now matters. Surely this section of the community deserve their support. I implore the honest, common, decent people — and I know there are a number of them over there — to come and vote for this motion tonight because then they can face the people with honesty and integrity and they will be known for what they are, honest people.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 80 80; Níl, 80.

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Martin Austin.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dowling, Dick.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McCartin, Joe.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Molony, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East)
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • O'Toole, Paddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Prendergast, Frank.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
  • Skelly, Liam.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Andrews, Niall.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Blaney, Neil Terence.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lemass, Eileen.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West)
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Fahey, Francis.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Jim.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory-Independent, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Dea, William.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Edmond.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies F. O'Brien and Taylor; Níl, Deputies V. Brady and Browne.
Question put: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."

There is an equality of votes. By virtue of Article 15.11.2º of the Constitution I, as Ceann Comhairle, have a casting vote which I am required to exercise. I propose to exercise that vote in favour of the amendment and declare it carried.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 80 80; Níl, 80.

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Martin Austin.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Molony, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East)
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • O'Toole, Paddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dowling, Dick.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McCartin, Joe.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Prendergast, Frank.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
  • Skelly, Liam.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Andrews, Niall.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Blaney, Neil Terence.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Fahey, Francis.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzsimons, Jim.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory-Independent, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lemass, Eileen.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West)
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Dea, William.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Edmond.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies, F. O'Brien and Taylor; Níl, Deputies V. Brady and Browne.
Question declared carried.

There is an equality of votes. I am exercising my casting vote in favour of the motion.

The Dáil adjourned at 9 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 27 November 1986.