Ba mhaith liom cead a chur in iúl mar eolas don Dáil gur chuir mé m'ainmniú mar Thaoiseach in iúl don Uachtarán agus gur cheap sé mé dá réir.
I wish to state for the information of the Dáil that I have informed the President that the Dáil has nominated me to be Taoiseach and that he has appointed me accordingly.
Tairgim:—"Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú na Teachtaí seo a leanas a gceapadh ag an Uachtarán mar Comhaltaí den Rialtas":—
"That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Deputies for appointment to members of the Government":
Deputy George Colley
Deputy Charles J. Haughey
Deputy Brian Lenihan
Deputy Pádraig Faulkner
Deputy James Gibbons
Deputy Desmond J. O'Malley
Deputy Robert Molloy
Deputy Gerard Collins
Deputy Michael O'Kennedy
Deputy Sylvester Barrett
Deputy Gene Fitzgerald
Deputy Denis Gallagher
Deputy John Patrick Wilson
Deputy Martin O'Donoghue.
I should like to explain, in connection with the last nomination, the following. The management and development of the economy will be the immediate concern of this Government. The direction and co-ordination of this function is a task of such magnitude that it imposes an almost impossible burden on a Minister who is also charged with the administration of the public finances and the development of the public service. I, therefore, propose to introduce legislation to establish a new Department of Economic Planning and Development to be headed by a separate Minister. Certain functions at present vested in the Minister for Finance will be transferred to the new Minister. While the finer details have to be worked out, the broadened range of functions will cover as follows: medium and long term economic and social policy and planning for the economy as a whole, including sectoral and regional aspects; functions relating to public bodies and institutions with a role in economic planning and development, for example, the National Economic and Social Council, the Economic and Social Research Institute and the proposed new national board for science and technology; co-ordinating dialogue with the social partners and other appropriate groups; participation in the relevant work of international institutions which relate to economic and social development, such as the institutions of the European Communities and the OECD.
There will obviously have to be a close working relationship between the Minister for Economic Planning and Development and the Minister for Finance but I am convinced that it only by the assignment of responsibility, as I have outlined, to a separate Minister that the difficult tasks we are undertaking can be accomplished. The Minister for the Public Service will, conjunction with the new Minister for Economic Planning and Development undertake the preparation of the necessary enabling legislation for the new Department. The legislation will be introduced immediately after the Recess. In the meantime, I am nominating a Minister, without portfolio, who will have the title, Minister for Economic Planning and Development. I am proposing Deputy Martin O'Donoghue as this Minister.
In addition to the creation of the new Department for Economic Planning and Development, I believe that further changes in the distribution of the functions of Government are desirable. I have decided, therefore, to has the following changes made. Responsibility for Energy will go to the Minister for Industry and Commerce There has always been a degree of uncertainty certainty as to which Department or agency is responsible for environment matters. Because of its widespread functions in building, the provision roads and other amenities and service I believe the primary responsibility for environmental matters should be with the Department of Local Government. Therefore, I propose to retitle it, the Department of the Environment. The political head of the Department already relieved of the work involved in planning appeals, will also be relieved of responsibility for redrawing Dáil constituency boundaries as I propose to set up an independent commission for this purpose. There will therefore be more time to concentrate on environmental problems. I propose also to transfer responsibility for tourism to this Minister with a Parliamentary Secretary to assist in this are The Minister for the Public Service will, in conjunction with the relevant Ministers, commence immediately the preparation of the enabling orders for these changes.
It has been the practice at this stage to indicate the Departments to which these Ministers will be assigned. They are as follows:
Department of Finance and the Department of the Public Service—Deputy George Colley.
Departments of Health and Social Welfare—Deputy Charles J. Haughey.
Department of Fisheries—Deputy Brian Lenihan.
Departments of Transport and Power and Posts and Telegraphs—Deputy Pádraig Faulkner.
Department of Agriculture—Deputy James Gibbons.
Department of Industry and Commerce—Deputy Desmond J. O'Malley.
Department of Defence—Deputy Robert Molloy.
Department of Justice—Deputy Gerald Collins.
Department of Foreign Affairs—Deputy Michael O'Kennedy.
Department of Local Government—Deputy Sylvester Barrett.
Department of Labour—Deputy Gene Fitzgerald.
Department of the Gaeltacht—Deputy Denis Gallagher.
Department of Education—Deputy John Wilson.
Department of Economic Planning and Development—Deputy Martin O'Donoghue.
I propose to nominate Deputy George Colley as Tánaiste and to nominate Mr. Anthony J. Hederman, S.C., for appointment by the President to be the Attorney General.
I also propose to nominate the following members for appointment by the Government as Parliamentary Secretaries: Deputies Patrick J. Lalor, David Andrews, James Tunney, Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, Pearse Wyse, Tom Hussey, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. When the Government have made these appointments I will indicate the Ministers to whom they will be assigned. At this stage it is my intention to nominate Deputy Patrick J. Lalor to be the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.
I have already indicated my intention of appointing Ministers who will not be members of the Government. Whether they will be designated Junior Ministers or Ministers of State, or by another title, I have yet to decide. In my view there is a clear need to appoint such Junior Ministers to help members of the Government who have especially heavy workloads by reason of modern developments and international commitments. To change the title of Parliamentary Secretary or to increase their numbers, at present limited to seven, will require an amendment of the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924. The appropriate legislation will be introduced early in the next session of Dáil Éireann.
The creation of the new minsterial portfolio and Department and the transfer of functions I have announced are but the first step in a phased programme of public service reform which I intend to have developed further under the aegis of the Minister for the Public Service. In particular the institutional arrangements for planning in each Government Department will receive early attention in order to ensure that the activities of the Department are responsive to and reflect the central responsibilities for economic planning and development of the new Department.
I consider public service reform to be of fundamental importance for the effective discharge and implementation of the programmes of national renewal and development upon which we are now embarking. The Public Service Advisory Council in their report have, rightly in my opinion, drawn attention to the fact that without conspicuous political will and commitment public service reform will not occur. The new Government will not be found wanting in this respect.
The Government's priorities have been fully set out in our manifesto which we published the day after the dissolution of the 20th Dáil. We got a strong endorsement from the people to implement our policies. The fact that we have an unprecedented majority will certainly not make us complacent. We intend to undertake our task with urgency and determination.
The Irish electorate, as always, have proved themselves to be most discerning and discriminating. They have rejected the Coalition Government. The same Irish electorate will be equally discriminating at the next general election if this Government do not create the real economic progress and the improved quality of life our people are entitled to expect.
As a people and a Government we can go forward with confidence and in co-operation, confidence in our ability to overcome the difficult problems that face us but realising that without the necessary degree of co-operation between all sections our task will be the more difficult. We welcome and will consider carefully constructive criticism whether from the Opposition or any other responsible source. Our aim will be to improve our economy in the years immediately ahead and to ensure that this progress will have laid the necessary foundation on which successive Governments can build and maintain the steady and peaceful advances of our economy and of our people's well-being for the remainder of this century and beyond.