Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authority Members.

Alan M. Dukes

Question:

9 Mr. Dukes asked the Taoiseach the Ministers and Ministers of State who are members of local authorities.

The Minister for Energy, Deputy Bobby Molloy, is the only member of the Government serving on a local authority.

The following Ministers of State are members of local authorities: Department of the Taoiseach and at the Department of Defence, Deputy Vincent Brady; Department of the Taoiseach, Deputy Máire Geoghegan-Quinn; Department of the Environment, Deputy Ger Connolly and Deputy Mary Harney; Department of Industry and Commerce, Deputy Terry Leyden; Department of Agriculture and Food, Deputy Joe Walsh; Department of the Gaeltacht, Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher; Department of Tourism and Transport, Deputy Denis Lyons; Department of Education, Deputy Frank Fahey and Department of Health, Deputy Noel Treacy.

Would the Taoiseach not agree that that is a famous clutch of Ministers and Ministers of State? I grant the Taoiseach that in the case of Deputies Molloy and Harney they might need a little more time for reflection because they have not been there for three years and they need to get at least parity with the others, but would he not further agree that most of the people he has mentioned have had three years to make up their minds to regularise the situation in accordance with precedent? Will the Taoiseach not agree that it is totally undesirable that members of the Government, or Ministers of State, should continue to try to carry out these two functions, neither of which they can carry out properly?

I do not agree with the last statement but it would be desirable, undoubtedly, if Ministers of State were not members of local authorities. I shall speak to them again about the matter.

Will the Taoiseach not agree that his record of influence over the last three years has been nil? As far as I can recollect none of the Ministers of State, some of whom were formerly Ministers, who were in that position three years ago has changed his or her mind one iota in the meantime. Will the Taoiseach consider whether there is not any more persuasive action he could take in the matter?

Yes, but as the Deputy knows I am a very patient man. I will keep trying.

The Taoiseach will understand that the rest of the House knows how long it takes him to make up his mind about the simplest thing. I should like to ask him if he will agree that three years is rather a long time to be trying friendly persuasion. Will he agree that he should use some other tactic at this stage?

On the basis of everything we have accomplished the Deputy may think that the Government have been in office for three years but, in fact, we have only been in office barely one year.