Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Trade Union Merger.

13.

asked the Minister for Labour if, in acknowledgement of the pivotal role played in national affairs since before independence by the ITGWU and the FWUI and in view of the historic reunification now pending between these two unions, the Government have any plans to mark such an important occasion; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

15.

(Limerick East) asked the Minister for Labour the plans he has to mark the proposed reunification of the ITGWU and the FWUI.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 15 together.

The Executive Bodies of the ITGWU and the FWUI have announced their intention to amalgamate and have expressed the hope that the new union will formally come into existence on 1 January 1990. However, the final decision in the matter rests with the membership of both unions and the proposals will be circulated to all members for consideration and voting upon later this year. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for me or the Government to anticipate the results of the ballot and the questions of marking the merger does not arise at this stage.

I would like, however, to take this opportunity to welcome the proposed amalgamation and to congratulate the leadership of both unions on this historic development. I think this development bodes well for the rationalisation of Irish trade unions and it is my fervent hope that it will lead to an accelerated process in the direction of a unified and cohesive trade union movement.

Would the Minister not agree that this is a momentous development in Irish trade unions? It is a historic reunification of a branch of a movement that has played a very big part in the affairs of this country. The least that could be expected is that some plans would be at least thought about to mark the occasion.

I will certainly think about it but I would hate to be caught organising a celebration and have no party.

(Interruptions.)