I do not want to argue the merits or demerits of decentralisation. As far as I know, no Member of the House is opposed to a well-managed well-structured and well thought-out programme for decentralisation. However, the statement made by the Minister for Finance, Deputy McCreevy, over the weekend, that "a hanging job" was in prospect for the Government if this programme was not delivered before the next general election appears to be the first public occasion where this Administration has blatantly attempted to politicise the Civil Service. Does the Taoiseach accept and endorse the validity of the statement made by the Minister for Finance that despite the fact that this is a voluntary scheme it will be implemented, with 10,000 civil servants to be moved inside three years? Is this not evidence of standing by the Government's stated code of ethics, "Get in here and stay in here"?
Is not clear that the philosophy arising from this is that the running of the country is predicated not for the good of the people or in the public interest but in the interest of the political party and the Government lead by the Taoiseach? In other words, everything is determined by the date of the next general election. The Civil Service was never meant to be a tool to be used by Government in this fashion.
Does the Taoiseach endorse and agree with the statement by the Minister for Finance? Does he not accept that the consequence of his statement is the naked politicisation of the Civil Service which has served all Governments well over the past 80 years? Will the Taoiseach comment on that?