Confidence in Government: Motion: (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by the Tánaiste on Thursday, 20 February 1986:
That Dáil Éireann reaffirms its confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government.
Debate resumed on Amendment No. 2:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and to substitute therefor:
"has no confidence in the Taoiseach."
—(Deputy Haughey.)

Will the Chair clarify the amount of time I have left?

The Deputy has 13 minutes left.

He has not; he was to finish at 10.43 and it is now 10.44.

I do not know what the position is. As of last night Deputy Collins had 13 minutes left, but if I am to go by this I must call the Government.

I am the next speaker and I am willing to give Deputy Collins five or seven minutes out of my time.

I suggest that we roll forward and during the day by agreement we can make the time up.

Deputy Collins has seven minutes, is that right?

Could I take five minutes from each of my friends up there who wasted the time?

The debate is now well more than half way over and it is important that the Members of the House and the public should know, through the media, that a Government speaker has not yet refuted the charges against the Taoiseach by the sacked Ministers of State, Deputies Creed and D'Arcy. A Government speaker has not yet tried to defend the Taoiseach for the untruths he told the nation here and through the radio and television. A Government speaker has not yet bothered to defend the Taoiseach's mishandling of the entire issue. This is an exceptionally important aspect of the debate. Instead of defending a situation created by Government Deputies and the Taoiseach, the maxim in this debate is to attack rather then defend. The issue before us is to determine whether or not the credibility of the Taoiseach remains and whether or not the Taoiseach is a fit person to continue in the office of Prime Minister.

The fiasco of last week truly shattered the credibility of the Government and the Taoiseach. Meetings went on into the early hours of Thursday morning and were resumed later on that morning until finally in frantic haste the Taoiseach made it into the Dáil just minutes before it adjourned to announce meaningless rearrangements of the same assortment of failures I mentioned last evening. This was truly the greatest humiliation for any leader of a Government.

A leading journalist in The Cork Examiner gave his views on the lead up to these announcements, the all night sessions and meetings that went on, on the day. This journalist knew more about it than we did because he was being conditioned by the media handlers, the manipulators who try to set the scene for such announcements by the Taoiseach. He resisted that conditioning. This journalist described it by saying: “Oh, what a circus; Oh, what a show”. This was the Val Dorgan report in The Cork Examiner on the incident. He said this was just another of those bum acts by Deputy Dr. Garret FitzGerald and that, from the evening before, the Taoiseach's ringmasters were drumming up media and public interest in a show which was to put Fine Gael and their Coalition playmates back on the road. They said to him that Deputy Dr. FitzGerald was promising not so much new performers but a dynamic new performance from a re-shuffled Cabinet who would lift Fine Gael from their third rate polls billing behind Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. The journalist went on to say that, not for the first time, the Taoiseach failed to get his act together and that one of the stars for removal was the Minister for Health, Deputy Barry Desmond, who refused to budge. The Taoiseach, interviewed on television on Thursday night last by Brian Farrell, gave a picture of a situation that was totally untrue. He gave a picture that even the most inexperienced reviewers would not accept as being a true presentation of what had happened. I am sure the great majority of the people felt that the Taoiseach was not being as honest as they would expect a Taoiseach to be.

The Deputy has three minutes.

The Taoiseach went on television trying to deceive the nation, trying to present a picture that was not true, and he pretended that the row had not happened, that the reshuffle had backfired. When he was asked what the situation was with regard to Deputy Barry Desmond, he was totally lacking in credibility with the answer which he gave. I do not think anybody believed it. I felt a certain sympathy for him, as a colleague in public life, because the first impression one got from the Taoiseach on that television programme was that he was tired, he was worn out, he was haggard, he was dishevelled, he was mumbling in confused manner, obviously even believing himself that his credibility was shattered and, no doubt, suffering from the panic which had totally overtaken him in the previous 24 hours.

I believe that the Taoiseach would have done himself and those he represents a far greater service if he had stayed away from that television programme that night. Then he would not have created the scenario which followed for him which, once he had started on that slippery road of deceit, he was stuck with. When he was asked if he wanted to shift Deputy Barry Desmond the Taoiseach replied: "No, I discussed it with him to see what his view was". He continued: "so I am very happy indeed for him to carry on there". That categorical "No" was a clear, specific untruth uttered by the Taoiseach in front of the nation.

The Deputy cannot say "clear, specific untruth". That means a deliberate untruth and that has been ruled out.

OK, Sir. I will not push the point. I will agree with what you say, that I cannot say it, but I want to say to this House and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs who is following and to other Cabinet speakers who will be here today that it does not really matter what they say in this House with regard to the incidents that happened. It does not matter what gloss they put on it or how best they try to camouflage it. The people of Ireland as a whole believe fully and accept totally that the Taoiseach was anything but honest on this occasion.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and he has until 11.15 a.m.

The Leader of the Opposition came in here yesterday and said he was making a political speech and had no apology to make for the comments he was going to make. We did our best to save this Opposition from their own stupidity by trying to limit this debate to one day and they refused to accept that and insisted on two days. We heard not one word from those benches all day yesterday — and I believe it will happen again today— that did not expose them as people who can only throw dirt, much of it personal dirt, at the Taoiseach and members of this Government. The implication of a vote of no confidence in the Taoiseach which they put down is that the Opposition would be better able to handle the job.

I want to dwell mostly, but not exclusively, on one aspect of this Opposition's performance in the past 12 months. Even though Deputy Haughey went back many years, I want to dwell just on the past 12 months, on their attitude to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and what I consider to be the treachery of members of that party at that time and their total contradiction without any regard for the wellbeing and the safety of either tradition on this island. In any democracy they must stand out as the most irresponsible, treacherous form of Opposition anybody has seen.

Is that in order?

I do not think the word "treachery" is suitable.

The Leader of the Opposition used it yesterday.

The notion of this Opposition demanding a vote of no confidence in the Taoiseach would be laughable were it not such a sad reflection on that party's contribution, or lack of contribution, to the cause of nationalists on this island, and particularly in Northern Ireland. It would be laughable were it not so typical of the Opposition's total failure to contribute to the efforts of the other nationalist parties to end the present misery of Northern Ireland and to advance the cause of the ultimate unity of all the Irish people. Let me spell it out.

On 21 May 1960 the then Taoiseach, Deputy Haughey, the present Leader of the Opposition, stated in a communique issued after his meeting with Mrs. Thatcher, that he agreed that any change in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland would only come about with the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland. Yet, in this House on 19 November 1985 the same Deputy Haughey, Leader of the Opposition, stated that almost the exact same words, with the exception of the word "constitutional" before "status", as contained in Article 1 of the Anglo-Irish agreement, were "manifestly contrary to the Constitution". In which Deputy Haughey should we have confidence? The Deputy Haughey who used these words in the joint communique of 21 May 1980 or the Deputy Haughey who stated they were manifestly contrary to the Constitution on 19 November 1985?

Deputy Daly and some Deputies opposite may know which Deputy Haughey to have confidence in at any time, but the rest of us, including a number of that party's former colleagues, have great difficulty in deciding which is which, a point borne out by Deputy Molloy when he left Fianna Fáil because he said there was no consultation, he could not tell the difference, he could not separate the contradictions in Deputy Haughey and in that party. He left to join the Progressive Democrats. He is not the last. There will be others.

Again, on 11 December 1980 in this House, following a further meeting with Mrs. Thatcher at Dublin Castle, Deputy Haughey said:

The meeting in Dublin Castle last Monday was primarily concerned with the relationship between the two islands of Ireland and Great Britain. I believe it represented a major step forward in that long and tangled relationship. I do not conceal my hope that through the development of that relationship a solution to the problem of Northern Ireland will eventually come about. Is it too much to ask all those who comment and criticise from the sidelines that they would accept that these are two noble purposes which can be honestly pursued side by side with malice towards none but rather for the benefits they would bring to countless thousands of ordinary men and women.

These are noble sentiments with which we heartily agree and on which we based our approach to the Forum and to the negotiations with the British Government which followed it. But which Deputy Haughey is talking here? Is it the same Deputy Haughey who intervened publicly in the delicate concluding stages of the Anglo-Irish negotiations, bringing the whiff of civil war to the atmosphere and seeking to undermine not only the efforts of the Government vis-à-vis the British Government, but the support of the SDLP for the agreement and even the support of friends of our country abroad?

In the concluding stages before the agreement was signed at Hillsborough on 15 November there was a very delicate period when the final touches were being put to it. I appealed to all sides not to prejudge the agreement but to look at it calmly when it was concluded and assess it then. Far from heeding that appeal, the Leader of the Opposition was talking in Cork on 5 October 1985 to the Fianna Fáil women's conference about the need for "great vigilance", and warning that "the Irish people must not again have a treaty imposed or be asked to accept some dubious settlement entered into in response to the short term political needs of those involved". That is from The Irish Times of 7 October 1985.

Remember, this was before he had even seen the agreement. He had not caught sight of it; he did not know what was in it. He had no problem at all in undermining the elected Government of this country.

Hear, hear.

In a radio interview on 21 October the Leader of the Opposition criticised what he called "the trivial nature" of the Anglo-Irish discussions and said he had grave doubts about the outcome of the talks. In a further radio interview on 10 November, quoted in The Guardian of 11 November 1985, the Leader of the Opposition said it would be farcical for the Government to end up with a “vague and nebulous” consultative role and said that a permanent secretariat, such as we have now in Belfast, would be “mere trappings”. This was the conduct of this Opposition in regard to the last delicate stages of the negotiations on the Anglo-Irish Agreement and when they had not seen it.

But the Opposition went further. According to a report in The Irish Press of 29 October 1985, the Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Lenihan, visited Washington in late October to seek the backing of the influential Friends of Ireland for the rejection of the Anglo-Irish Agreement even before it was signed or they knew what was in it. That is why I use the word “treachery”. They went to America deliberately to undermine the efforts of——

(Interruptions.)

The Minister should withdraw that.

There should not be any interruptions.

They went to America to undermine the Government's negotiating of an international agreement and tried to influence the friends of our country there against an agreement they had not seen. What kind of responsibility is that? What kind of Opposition is it who want to want to take charge of this country again? They should be ashamed of themselves and the Irish people are ashamed of their behaviour.

(Interruptions.)

Thankfully, none of those to whom he spoke accepted this unprecedented move by an Opposition against the lawfully elected Government of the day in their negotiations on a matter of vital interest to the State.

Could the author of this mischief have been the same Deputy Haughey who was reported in the press of 27 March 1981 as having spoken of the process which he himself had initiated with Mrs. Thatcher, and on which we have ourselves largely based our efforts, as follows:

This process has received the full support of the SDLP, of the Friends of Ireland in the United States, of leading newspapers in Britain, America and elsewhere. It is the subject of considerable satisfaction in the United States Administration and among our partners in Europe. Are all of these people out of step?

That was a speech to the Fianna Fáil National Executive on 26 March 1981. They could well ask themselves the same question now.

I want to quote again, this time from The Irish Times of 16 November 1985, reporting Deputy Haughey's views immediately after the signing of the agreement, and responding specifically to the suggestion that Fianna Fáil Opposition would make things more difficult for the SDLP: “The agreement is either worthy of support or it is not and no snow job or public relations job can change that”. Which Deputy Haughey do we believe here? The Deputy who speaks of a snow job, or the Deputy who speaks, in relation to his own efforts, of support freely given by the SDLP, the Friends of Ireland overseas and international media including the British media?

I do not think there is any one in this House who believes more strongly than I do about the right of the Opposition to oppose and the necessity in a democratic society that the Opposition should have full rein to criticise each and every aspect of Government policy. But in relation to a matter which is in the vital interest of the State, in which the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and women are bound up, in which the future of our children is at stake, is this the time to seek by every means public and private to undermine the efforts, not simply oppose them, of the lawful Government of the day? There is only one answer to that question. It is no, and it must raise in the most serious way the question of confidence in this Opposition. There is only one Government of this State. We are that Government. As the founder of the main Opposition party, Éamon de Valera, once said of his own Government:

We are the rightful, lawful Government of this country. No other body of people in this country has the right to talk for the Irish people. I say this, that we, as a Government, are going to carry out our obligations.

I endorse every one of those words spoken by the late Éamon de Valera in 1939.

I want to turn to a favourite theme of this Opposition. They have said on a number of occasions that their party is the moral barrier against a violent and abhorrent form of nationalism.

They are in the company of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley.

Sentiments of this kind were expressed by the Leader of the Opposition in this House on 19 November and by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition on 21 November 1985 in the debate on the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The Leader of the Opposition said that it was for this reason among others that his party opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I said in that debate on 21 November in this House that we should all admit that no party on the Nationalist side has a monopoly on republicanism, that no party is the only true guardian of the precious heritage of nationalism and that no one party is the sole barrier against any danger whatsoever. I said then that the people are the force of this land and that Dáil Éireann is the moral barrier against any dangers. We are free men and women in this Parliament of our nation. Neither we nor the Irish people are the prisoners of any malign forces. Neither we nor the Irish people are open to blackmail. Yet there is a view on the Opposition side that is quite contrary. And their's is a view which is tantamount not to no confidence in this Government, but to no confidence in the Parliament of this State. That can be the only conclusion of an argument that states that one political party is, not the Parliament of the people, a moral barrier against Nationalist violence or any other kind of violence.

Yet, again I see, even when making this point last November, that the Opposition are pursuing and expanding this lack of confidence in this House and in the Oireachtas and are doing so for their own financial gain among Irish communities abroad. For example, in the Boston Irish Echo of 8 February 1986, there is an advertisement for the friends of Fianna Fáil inviting the readers of the newspaper to attend an annual dinner honouring the Leader of the Opposition at the Harvard Club of Boston on 8 March 1986. With that advertisement there is a message for the Friends of Fianna Fáil which states and I quote:

As a broadly based national party, which draws its support from all sections of the community, Fianna Fáil offers the people of Ireland a democratic bulwark against parties whose purpose is to create instability, confrontation and social unrest for their own political ends.

This advertisement goes further with political propaganda specifically directed against the two parties that form this Government. I do not want to dwell on the resort of the Opposition, in a financial appeal to people of Irish descent abroad, to attack parties in this House. It is unworthy and undignified for parties represented in this House to seek to attack abroad other parties also represented in this House. The point I really wish to bring to the attention of the House is this repeated claim that the Opposition, and not the Oireachtas, are the "democratic bulwark against parties whose purpose is to create instability, confrontation and social unrest for their own political ends".

This is the attitude which merits the most serious attention of this House. It is an attitude which causes one to ask can this House have confidence in an Opposition who have no confidence in this Parliament?

I think it is also fair to ask as the Government move forward in their implementation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, what attitude the Opposition are taking to the Unionists in this land? We know the attitude they have adopted to the other Nationalists in this land, North and South, but what of the Unionists? The Opposition have recently welcomed suggestions by one or two Unionist members in the North for a tripartite conference. The Opposition have done so, I might add, on the basis, stated by the Unionists members, that the Anglo-Irish Agreement must be scrapped. In welcoming this suggestion, the Opposition are supporting a Unionist call for the rescinding of the agreement despite the fact that it has been ratified by this House, despite the fact that it has the support of the SDLP and despite the fact that, if we are to believe the mostrecent opinion polls, 69 per cent of the Irish people support this agreement. But leaving that aside, what can we say about the Opposition's attitude to the Unionists in the North.

I have already pointed out that the Leader of the Opposition agreed, as long ago as 1980, that unity would come about only with the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland. He accepted then the concept of consent. But by the time of the successful conclusion of the Anglo-Irish talks he changed his mind. In this House on 19 November last, he said:

When we speak of the need to secure the agreement of the Unionist population, that agreement applies to the new arrangements for, but not to the concept of, a united Ireland.

In other words, the Leader of the Opposition is now saying to the Unionist people of this land:

So long as you agree to a united Ireland, we will hear your views on the arrangements for it.

What kind of consent is that? Is this dancing on the head of the pin, the real democratic bulwark against Nationalist violence? Or is it simply a silly attempt to pull the wool over Unionists' eyes while at the same time desperately trying to keep the support of extreme elements on the Nationalist side? Do the Opposition's welcome for a tripartite conference on the basis of the scrapping of the agreement mean that they have changed their minds again, and that they now agree to consent for the Unionist people? Or is the result of this tripartite conference which they advocate to be predetermined? Is this the consent of others on this island — for which they profess to have such regard — to have no meaning?

I want now to turn briefly to the remarks which were made yesterday about the Government's intention to sign the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Yesterday Deputy Collins raised the question of whether there has or has not been early progress in the implementation of the agreement. I would like to remind the House what was said in the joint communique——

You have not a single word to say about the Taoiseach.

——in November 1985 when I said the two Governments would sign the convention against certain backgrounds and against those backgrounds the Taoiseach said he would sign the convention. Since the agreement there have been three meetings of the full conference and a further meeting between the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General on our side with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland. As the Taoiseach indicated in the House yesterday, at these meetings early progress was made on matters referred to in the communique although he pointed out that the work on these matters will, of course, take some time to be brought to fruition. I think it is clear from what I have said that in one aspect at least this Parliament and the people of this country can have real faith in this Taoiseach and this Government who will deal in a realistic manner with the problems that have been ignored or "hyped" up for wrong reasons by that Opposition when in or out of Government over the last 60 years. The people have far more reason to have confidence in Garret FitzGerald than they could ever have in any leader on the Opposition side.

(Interruptions.)

Order, please.

In the 30 minute speech which I had prepared for delivery today the first sentence read: "I am embarrassed to have to participate in this political charade." The truth of what I wrote yesterday in this respect is certainly underlined by the performance we have seen here yesterday and today. As a number of newspapers this morning underlined, yesterday's performance was marked by a debate that consisted, by and large, of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Parties heaping abuse of all kinds on one another. But this morning when their common interest was endangered in some respect it was remarkable how they both came together to bring forward this arrangement, that we have only seen in the last couple of months, of time being agreed, speakers being agreed, everything being agreed and the Ceann Comhairle of this House largely becoming redundant as a result. I repeat now what I said earlier this morning in spite of the hollow laughs I engendered, this agreement between two parties who spent all of yesterday hurling personal and political abuse at one another is engendered by one thing, which is the common fear each has. That is worth noting and underlining.

I am taking part in this charade in the hope that somewhere, someone will face the reality of our position, recognise ineptitude and political posturing as being equally guilty of destroying confidence and diminishing the credibility of the Taoiseach and Government and at the same time exposing the vacuum that exists in the sense of priorities in the main Opposition party.

Is it not time to recognise that there is a real word outside the walls of this building? Has no one recognised the irrelevancy of this exercise in escapism? The thousands of men and women who have been flowing to the inaugural meetings of the Progressive Democrats and the thousands more who expressed themselves in writing bear witness to one overwhelming truth — they see no light for the future from the Government or the Opposition.

The message that our four members of the Dáil bring from thousands of disenchanted men and women is that they perceive the Government as without capability and the alternative as equally incapable and, in addition, opportunistic. Those thousands will speak through the ballot box when the time arrives.

Those bewildered thousands recognise the need for the firm hand of guidance, motivated by a desire to haul this country up off its knees. What do they see? They see a state of paralysis in the management of even the simplest parts of our affairs. They see the authority of the Taoiseach ridiculed to the level of a street corner joke — one is asked nowadays whether Deputies D'Arcy and Creed will have to sue the Taoiseach or the Government for unfair dismissal. Above all, they wonder, as I do, what has happened to the pride and dignity expected of those who espouse to govern us.

We see the dignity of office debased by a cynical exercise which is perceived by many to be directed towards the exploitation of the exposure potential of public office, to ensure the retention of individual seats which might be expected to be at risk on the evidence of public opinion polls which illustrate a flight of support from a disappointing Government.

No regard is given to the displaced office holders, or to their performance. They merely become casualties of a public relations directed exercise whose sole purpose is to influence by exposure without any thought being given to what is best for the country.

The saddest effect of the mishandling of what was really a simple exercise in political whitewashing, timed to correct the image of some Government members who were thought to be vulnerable, is to shatter even the last vestiges of confidence in the capability of the Taoiseach and his Government to manage our affairs.

To people outside this Dáil it seems that we have another Nero. The message that we are getting loud and clear is that the electorate feel the economic chaos that exists; they feel the tears in the fabric of society; and feel a sense of hopelessness about any real ability or sense of urgency to deal with what requires to be done.

For more than three years the electorate have listened to voices of despair, telling us all how bad things are and the need for action to correct the chronic state of the nation's economic ills. They have been told about the consequences of the national debt and they have seen it grow each year under the hand of those who preach about it.

Bewilderment and confusion reign, as one might expect. Where is the evidence that the Government can steer the nation out of its troubled state, when they cannot co-ordinate a children's game of musical chairs? I do not question the integrity of the two parties in Government. I accept that each in their own way wish for all things good for all the people.

The problems, however, begin with the identification and positioning of priorities. During last week, Fine Gael's priority was to lift a few of their Government members from a position of political obliteration. This week the Labour priority is to appear to be doing something about reform in the constitutional area of marital legislation.

The consequences of these separate priorities being acted upon is that the time, energy and resources of the Cabinet, the Dáil and the media are diverted from having to deal with 250,000 unemployed, the threat to thousands of those who are working in industries vulnerable to changing budget impositions and changing European and international financial conditions.

It should be part of a Government's responsibility to ensure that the effects of outside economic influences are fully understood by those involved in the decision making process. For some months now we have witnessed a significant change in the value of the Irish punt vis-à-vis the dollar and sterling. The various sectoral interests who comment on these movements indicate, in general, a negative effect on the Irish economy from such a strengthening of the Irish currency. These comments sow seeds of indecision in the companies engaged in exporting and, as a result, the flag of caution is run up, current production is reduced and expansion is not even considered.

There has been no attempt made to highlight the possible opportunities that will occur because of the reduction in cost in Irish terms of imported raw materials and energy. Reduced oil import costs alone should act as a trigger for a massive effort on the part of exporters. An imported barrel of crude oil landed in Ireland is priced to us in dollars. The freight payable on its transportation is also payable in dollars and the insurance cost on the cargo is, in reality, dollar related.

Why is there no massive "Good News" Government PR exercise when the implications for the Irish economy of this dramatic fall in oil prices will be as beneficial as the original oil price increases of 1973 and 1978 were disastrous. During 1982-83 crude oil landed at Whitegate cost between IR£200 and IR£240 per tonne. The cost today is half that— IR£100 to IR£120 per tonne. With a throughput of 1.5 million barrels, Whitegate processed crude is coming into distribution at a reduction in cost this year of between £150 million to £180 million. Whitegate accounts for 35 per cent of oil imports, so there is a potential saving of £300 million plus on refined product imports.

I have gone into some detail on the monetary amounts of potential reduction in the import cost of one significant product import in an attempt to show that, if the Taoiseach and Government were really serious about addressing the real problems of the nation, they should be shouting from the rooftops that our balance of payments can be improved by up to £400 million this year with a halving of the energy cost to manufacturing and transport.

In addition to that, why do we not hear that due to the decrease in the value of the dollar the theoretical Irish value of our dollar related external debt has been reduced by one-third compared with the debt outstanding this time last year? The cost of interest payable by the Irish taxpayer on the same dollar related debt is also reduced by one-third as against February of last year.

The two examples of cost reduction which I have highlighted should, if the Government were really concentrating on the economy, be the catalyst for a massive rejuvenation in confidence— shouted from the rooftops. At last we should be saying that for the first time since 1973, there is a reversal in the flow of adverse external economic influences which up to now have stopped our growth, reduced our capacity and destroyed our initiative. What do we do instead? We play musical chairs with our Government members, that is, we try to play musical chairs, but even then find that some of the players want to stick to the chair they are on and refuse to join in the charade.

I want to acknowledge freely the successes of this Government where I can identify them. I can identify them particularly in relation to Northern Ireland. I pay tribute to what has been done by the Government in that respect. I cannot avoid coming back all the time to the economic situation that faces us and the Government's way of dealing with it. When you look back over what is now three and a quarter years in office of this Government, you cannot but come to the conclusion that there is no discernible economic policy at all. That situation goes back to the beginning of this Government when, at the time of the 1983 budget, there was an unseemly squabble between the then Finance Minister, Deputy Dukes, and the Tánaiste who was then Minister for the Environment, Deputy Spring, as to whether the budget deficit should be £750 million as proposed by the Minister for Finance or £950 million proposed by the Tánaiste.

That squable went on in public. At the time the Tánaiste was in hospital as a result of an unfortunate accident, but it did not stop him communicating in public with the Minister for Finance. The out-turn for 1983 of the budget deficit was £960 million. There is no doubt who won that contest. That fact shows that, from the very outset, the Government had lost their grip on public spending and were prepared from the very start to lose their grip and, as a result, had nowhere to turn but to taxation, and did turn to taxation.

The 1983 budget was without question the most severe in well over a decade and had consequences which we are still suffering from every single day. The Government have regularly and frequently found themselves in the position that they are diverted from any real consideration of the economy and from taking action in relation to it. Other non-economic matters dominated this Government in their first two years in particular and caused them to have no apparent interest in trying to tackle the economic problems with the result that we are in the situation we are in today.

It is worth drawing attention to the recent comments of Mr. Tomás F. Ó Cofaigh, Governor of the Central Bank, as reported in the 1985 report of the Central Bank in an article by him intitled "Public Expenditure and Public Debt". This man has no political axe to grind in any respect. He is simply worried deeply about the economic integrity of this country. Page 68 states:

The Bank does not underestimate the withdrawal symptoms associated with disengaging from what has become a chronic dependence on borrowing. We have no choice; the habit must be broken. We cannot continue to borrow £1,000 million abroad every year. Apart from all the cogent economic arguments that underlie the need for fiscal adjustment on the expenditure side, there is the chilling truth — perhaps not readily perceived by all — that foreign borrowing on this scale, largely for current purposes, will gravely undermine the prospects and welfare of our young people and put our sovereignty at risk.

Do those words mean anything here? Apparently it is more important within this House to try to decide whether Deputy X is a liar or Deputy Y is a liar. Does the fact that the senior public banker in this country tells us that our very sovereignty as a nation is at risk not matter to us? He goes on to say:

It is a bitter irony that a family-conscious society which has traditionally espoused personal thrift and has sought to help the next generation is now effectively prevented from doing so. Instead, we have got ourselves into a situation where, in part at least, we are living off the next generation which has been given no choice in the matter. Distributive justice — which applies over time as well as in the present— demands that we put an end to this practice of "banqueting upon borrowing".

These are very chilling words which seem to flow over the heads of most of us, not least in this House. It is a frightening situation that this should be the case.

I want to say a word about the industrial policy pursued in recent years, particularly as set out in the White Paper published in 1984 by the last Minister for Industry and Commerce. It seems that that policy was a sheer validation of the status quo. It is a policy in which the role of the IDA is heavily underlined and emphasised and in particular their role in what is described as the hands-on policy which they now operate in relation to many industrial undertakings. Unfortunately one has to question whether or not that policy is there for the purpose of utilising the large number of people who work in the IDA rather than for the task for which the IDA were set up. That particular phenomenon is not confined to any one State body, because at times the institutional welfare of these bodies takes precedence over the economy or the economic tasks which they exist to cope with.

The whole question of industrial policy is one I would have wished to pursue at greater length if I had the opportunity to do so. As a result of the position that became clear as long ago as January 1983, as a result of the Government decision that it should not make any attempt, other than verbally, to control public expenditure and that they would give in and forget about their own targets set out in White Papers, they turned instead to taxation and thought that they could solve their problems by raising taxation to an extraordinary penal level. They made the error, that they continue to make, of believing that the level of taxation has no great influence on what people will do within the economy. The result of this is that tens of thousands of people are driven out of the economy, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Those people are represented (a) by emigrants and (b) by the huge number of unemployed people that we have today. Whether or not we have confidence in the Taoiseach or Government in 1986 must be directly related to those matters. The misjudgment that they have made in terms of their economic policy over three and a quarter years now leads one to believe that they are not going to change.

I have no confidence in this Taoiseach or in this Government. I have proposed an amendment to this motion which I will move. I am not prepared to become involved in the calling of names which is so much a part of this debate. I am simply saying that the situation in which this country finds itself is so appallingly serious that it is only from this kind of point of view that this debate should be approached. The validity or otherwise of the Taoiseach's position is dependent on that and not on the other factors which we heard at such great length yesterday. Based on the realities of the situation I have no option but to oppose the Government's motion of confidence and accordingly I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and to substitute therefor:—

"notes the Taoiseach's loss of authority within the Government and in the country and regrets the resultant further loss of confidence in the Government's ability to cope with the serious economic, financial and social problems facing the country."

Deputy Tomás Mac Giolla to conclude at 11.46 a.m.

I sat here all day yesterday expecting to get in on this debate under the impression that the Chair had the authority to call people as they were available. I was available all day. I listened to all the dreary speeches from the Fianna Fáil benches. I watched Fianna Fáil scraping around to the back benches trying to get people to speak. None of their big guns came in at all. They have no confidence in their own motion of no confidence. They made no effort whatsoever to treat this debate in any serious fashion. It was obviously put down by Fianna Fáil simply because they felt they should put it down. When I came in this morning and saw that after all the abuse being hurled from one side of the House to the other the two of them had got together last night or early this morning in order to gag Deputy O'Malley and myself, I realised that it is all a charade. In my naivety I thought that this was a serious debate. I am not worried that I have been cut from 30 minutes to ten minutes as a result of the gagging that took place outside the House, apart from the fact that I have a tremendous lack of confidence in this House and in the manner in which the Chair rules the debate in the Chamber.

More and more of the decisions about the manner in which the debate is to be conducted are being made outside the House. Since I came into this House a couple of years ago, various changes have been made — all efforts to gag people. The Workers' Party have been excluded from all committees of this House. New regulations are being regularly brought in in regard to Question Time and whatever. What really annoys me about being gagged this morning is that when you gag me you are gagging the people for whom I speak. I speak on behalf of the working class in my own constituency and the working class in Dublin. I speak on behalf of The Workers' Party for the working class throughout the country. They need a voice. If you are going to gag the voices of the working class, then you are in serious trouble. Do not tell me that the Labour Party speaks for the working class because they do not. They have lost their voice. This was proven by the Tánaiste yesterday when with an unemployment rate of 240,000, he had only 18 lines in his speech to unemployment. In those 18 lines he was merely deprecating the fact of the unemployment. There is no room for complacency. There is no magic wand. He said he remained convinced that we can resurrect hope in this area. This is a Tánaiste who accepts the continuing statements from the Taoiseach who on two occasions in replying to questions from me said that it is not the function of Government to create jobs. The Tánaiste and the Labour members in Government accepted it. So do not tell me that the Labour Party speak for the working class people of this country. They may well think that they own the trade union movement and have certain rights in the trade union movement. Let me remind them that the trade union movement belongs to the members of the trade union movement. If the trade union movement has been infiltrated it has been infiltrated by the Labour Party. They have infiltrated it from the bottom right up to the top. They seem to have the impression that nobody else is entitled even to join the trade union movement because it is theirs by right to control.

Deputy Spring referred to Fianna Fáil's heavy burden on the PAYE workers. He said they made the situation worse. Since this Coalition Government came in, the load on the PAYE worker has increased enormously. Tremendous efforts were made by the trade unions to pressure Fianna Fáil and Coalition Governments in 1979 and 1981 with huge marches. Still the Labour Party did nothing to implement the policies of the trade union movement there. In the efforts in this House to gag members they are demonstrating the similarity of the ideologies and policies of both sides of the House. The reason people, from both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, are flocking to Deputy O'Malley's party is that they are sick and tired of the charade and the type of thing that took place yesterday where people were shouting at each other.

The people in the higher bracket recognise that there are great dangers in the fact that people outside are losing confidence in political parties, in democracy and certainly in this House. Therefore the more educated ones are going to Deputy O'Malley hoping that he will do something to restore the flagging fortunes of the right wing parties. The voice of the workers must still be heard here and I am endeavouring to demonstrate that. I have been given ten minutes to do so and six minutes have gone already. In regard to this motion of no confidence The Workers' Party are supporting the Fianna Fáil amendment of no confidence for the specific reason that the people have lost confidence in the Government. We are asked regularly when we are going to get rid of them. When they hear that they will be there for another year they are disillusioned and say, "My God, another year of that". But then they have little confidence in what may come after them because they make the remark, "Maybe we might be worse off under Fianna Fáil". The type of attitude we got from Fianna Fáil yesterday indicates that that may well be true.

A turning point comes in the lives of many governments beyond which they are clearly doomed, when disaster follows disaster and blunder is piled upon blunder. This is happening at present to the Thatcher administration in Britain. It was a characteristic of the last Fianna Fáil Government and indeed, of the previous Coalition Government which was called the Government of all the talents. They reached the stage where they could not do anything right. This Government have reached that stage now. It is only a matter of time before we hear the death rattle of this Government. That is why we are supporting this motion of no confidence.

The similarity between the two parties have been demonstrated in speech after speech. Deputy John Kelly yesterday pointed out precisely that. He could not understand why they were shouting at each other when both of them are on the same side in ideology and in policies generally. There is one thing I must mention which clearly demonstrates the similarity of policy of both parties and it is a very simple issue. Every six months for the last three years I have brought up the manner in which Tara Mines have not paid one penny in tax or royalties to the Exchequer in eight years. That happened under successive Fianna Fáil and Coalition Governments. That is the hallmark of a banana republic. A multinational company can get away with that while the lowest paid workers in the State are being screwed into the ground for every penny of tax. The voice of the Labour Party is not being heard in this case.

The fact that we do not have any confidence in this Government's ability to tackle the unemployment question does not indicate in any way that we have greater confidence in Fianna Fáil. Undoubtedly they may well have a better line of policy and will increase jobs in the construction area but by what means I am not quite sure. That has not been explained and I doubt if they will explain it. It will probably be mostly by borrowing. Nevertheless there is no indication whatever that in any other area of industrial development, service jobs, or anything else, they have any policy for employment or job creation. Nor have they any policy to bring in more money to the Exchequer in order to lower the national debt. We have no confidence in this Government and unfortunately I have less and less confidence in this House.

I think it appropriate to begin my contribution to the debate by reminding the House that I, as Labour Party Deputy Leader, acknowledging the realities of the political situation in the country in December 1982 when we found that it was possible for my party led by Deputy Dick Spring and the Fine Gael Party led by Deputy Garret FitzGerald to form jointly a Government, enthusiastically accepted their invitation to serve in the Cabinet with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste. I regarded it as a privilege then and I still so regard it.

The realities which influenced me most at that time were twofold. Firstly, our country was heading for economic chaos. It had virtually no sense of economic or social direction. Many tens of thousands of people had no confidence whatsoever that Deputy Haughey could lead us out of that morass. Accordingly, I recommended to my party that we should join in Coalition with the Fine Gael Party.

There was another very important factor. Deputy FitzGerald, as leader of his party, stood head and shoulders over any other aspirant for the office of Taoiseach with his wide experience, his personal abilities and his national commitment. In terms of national commitment, what influenced me most were his views on Northern Ireland. He was the most clearly fitted to undertake the introduction and implementation of economic and social policies which were so badly needed. With him, and with my colleaguse in Government, I have contributed my share to the working out of those progressive and reforming policies. I have had his support in what I have done, and I have supported him in what he has achieved. As Minister for Health, I have much more to do and I intend to do so on behalf of the Government and for our people.

This opportunistic motion of no confidence comes ill from a tattered and disarrayed Fianna Fáil Party and will take nothing from Deputy FitzGerald's stature as Taoiseach. Our record in Government stands as a monument to his leadership and that of the Tánaiste and will in the remaining 19 months of office add to their national and international standing.

In contrast with Fianna Fáil who have a profound incapacity to understand the nature of a coalition, both parties to this Coalition Government have always welcomed open, constructive debate and discussion on all issues, internal and external. Those of us who have served in Cabinet with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have been privileged to take part in the best form of Cabinet Government, where each member, without personal fear, which is infectious in the Fianna Fáil Party, is expected to contribute fully to all decisions, and where Cabinet responsibility really means something — decisions are arrived at collectively and thereafter supported fully. Such a method of Government has created a great sense of purpose and commitment in all members to the agreed policies of the Government. When the record is examined objectively it will be seen unquestionably that this has led to sounder and better decisions being reached through the collective judgment of a number of people.

When this Government came to power, it was made clear publicly that, especially for Ministers of State, there would be changes during the lifetime of the Government, and that there would probably be some ministerial changes as well. Accordingly, I was very pleased to accept the Taoiseach's offer last Thursday to serve in the Department of Health arising from these changes. In addition to their criticism of the recent Cabinet changes, Fianna Fáil and the other Opposition parties have expressed criticism of this Government's handling of the economy and of my actions as Minister for Health and Social Welfare. Deputy O'Malley's contribution this morning was unimpressive and Deputy Mac Giolla's contribution was even worse.

First, we must consider the economic situation. Despite the enormous economic difficulties facing all countries at present, with volatile exchange rates, interest rates fluctuating wildly and uncertainly about the fall in oil prices, our economy is now, in many respects, in much better shape than when we took office. Inflation, which was running at the horrific level of about 20 per cent when Fianna Fáil were last in office is now down to under 5 per cent. On a post-budget inflation basis mid-1986 to mid 1987, it could well drop to 3 per cent, depending on the level of oil prices. That is very significant. This means that our incomes are no longer rapidly eroded by continually rising prices and also that our exporters are not hampered by a serious inflation spiral in their export selling prices, especially in the United Kingdom where inflation is higher than it is in the Republic of Ireland.

The balance of payments is much improved with the overall deficit down to 3 per cent of gross domestic product— the best level for ten years. While I share the view expressed by Deputy O'Malley that we are still in an appallingly difficult situation, I do not share his remedies because I think they are very facile to say the least. Nevertheless, I would point out that the balance of trade was in surplus in 1985 for the first time in 40 years. This was a very encouraging development brought about by our very good export performance during the past few years and also by exceptionally good results from the tourism industry, despite a very bad summer.

The recent budget was the first in my memory which received a guarded welcome on television from both employers' representatives and the trade unions. It reduced the burden of tax on the PAYE sector, improved the business climate, especially for indigenous Irish firms and gave a boost to the services sector and to tourism by means of VAT reductions. For the first time in three years we gave taxation relief at well over double the rate of indexation. This was lost in the usual negative reactions of the Opposition and in the controversies in which of necessity, I became embroiled subsequently. It was and is a good budget. From April onwards when it reflects the tax changes, when the child benefit scheme comes into operation and when the VAT changes take place in March, it will be seen to have been a good budget, to the credit of the Minister, Deputy Alan Dukes, and the Government.

While some of the major Opposition parties are still calling for tax cuts and, at the same time, for the maintenance of all existing public expenditures, most people, except the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party who keeps repeating his pathetic little joke about self-financing tax cuts, have accepted that cuts in taxation must be associated with cuts in public expenditure, and that any pressure for more public spending, whether on teachers' pay and pensions, or on hospital services, or schools, will inevitably mean higher taxation or higher borrowing. There is no other solution or no other prospect in store for any Government. Given the exceptionally high level of borrowing which this Government inherited, this year's budget was truly a creative budget in the words of one economic commentator, Kate O'Brien, in The Irish Times of 30 January.

It managed to please PAYE income taxpayers while, at the same time, it launched the most far-reaching taxation initiative ever to widen the country's tax base.

I make no apology for the fact that we did ask the financial institutions to contribute substantially towards bringing about a budget for 1986.

I have been in this House since 1969. In my view, Deputy Alan Dukes has been the best Minister for Finance in my time in politics. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on his consistent and effective work in the Department of Finance, despite the fact that, as Minister for Health and Social Welfare, I have always spent a good 40 per cent of the taxes collected by him for the two highest spending Departments in the Government.

Last year, for the first time in several years, the volume of investment increased, as did the volume of personal consumption. Both of these will, of course, lead to increased production and sales at home during the current 1986 year.

The employment situation is very grave. We have the impact of technology in our economy, something which we rarely attempt to assess, but that impact has been tremendous on employment particularly in labour intensive industries. Government policies such as the Enterprise Allowance Scheme and the Social Employment Scheme have been effective, with the former enabling 10,000 people to start their own businesses in the past two years; and the latter having over 5,000 participants by the end of 1985.

The IDA had a better year last year and will have a better year this year than previous years in terms of employment creation, but the rate of population increase here is against us. Unlike the rest of our EC partners we have increasing numbers entering the employment market every year and we have to run merely to stand still. That is the reality, and glib nonsense from The Workers' Party representative on Tara Mines, and so on, the only discernable comment in a rambling speech, makes no contribution to the major problems we are facing.

We have, in fact, achieved sizeable employment increases but these have been insufficient to make any great impact on the double problem which we alone in Europe have to face: providing jobs for those who have become unemployed as well as providing for the larger numbers wishing to get jobs every year.

In the realm of the public finances, this Government have once again shown, unlike Fianna Fáil when in office, their ability to remain close to their target plans in 1985 as in 1984 and 1983; with, also, a reduction this year in the current budget deficit to 7.4 per cent of GNP.

We had an overrun of £50 million on our current budget deficit in 1985. From the reaction of some economic commentators one would imagine that the country had caved in, in terms of financial stability. Half of that overrun was the £21 million for the 75 per cent Christmas bonus which traditionally is never included in budget arithmetic. It was an exceptionally good out-turn despite a higher level of unemployment of about 7,000 more than was originally projected at the beginning of 1986. This was responsible Government and we did not go to Barrettstown as did Fianna Fáil, and say that we must cut the Book of Estimates across the board by 5 per cent and 6 per cent. A Minister never came back to my Department and instructed that the provision for that vote be reduced and when asked how replied: "Let us look at it later; it is only money". We do not indulge in that kind of financial mismanagement and disgracefully unacceptable budgetary arithmetic in office. That is the difference between us and the Fianna Fáil Government.

The Department of Social Welfare are the biggest spenders in the whole Government. This year their expenditure will amount to almost £2.5 billion, with about two-thirds of this provided by Government taxation and the rest coming mainly from social insurance contributions. Over 1.3 million people—or 38 per cent of the total population— receive social welfare payments of some sort every week and for many of them these payments are their only source of income. Without the existing system of social welfare, there would be extreme poverty and deprivation in our society. It is to the credit of this Government, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Ministers, that we deliberately decided to do so.

Deputy O'Malley does not know what he is talking about when he talks about a deficit figure in 1983 of £750 million. That would have added massive further deflation to the economy and another 15,000 or 16,000 people to the live register and it would have depressed living standards. The Fianna Fáil Party in The Way Forward proposed to do that and we said no. Having discussed the matter in Government we decided to go for a higher budget deficit of around £930 million and we maintained basic living standards in times of grave economic recession. That is the difference between facile PDism and reality in Government.

During my time as Minister for Social Welfare, the rates of payment of social welfare have not only kept pace with increases in the cost of living but have in fact increased faster than inflation. We are the only country in Europe to have achieved this during the recession. This action has been especially important for the long term unemployed whose payment increases have been 13 per cent higher than the rate of inflation between 1982 and the present.

The sheer size of the numbers dependent on social welfare raises great problems in financing — where even a small increase requires heavy additional funding — and in administration. On administration, particularly in the area of computerisation and preventing abuses I have managed to introduce considerable improvements during my time as Minister.

Other notable developments in the Department of Social Welfare have been the establishment of the Commission on Social Welfare in 1983 and the framework for a child benefit scheme and a national pension plan, part of which is being put into operation through the establishment of the National Pensions Board. These developments, especially the work of the Commission on Social Welfare now nearing completion, will necessitate fundamental changes in the way in which social welfare services are organised. It is, therefore, appropriate that for this important time of development, the Department of Social Welfare should have a Minister and a Minister of State to concentrate solely on these vital changes which will affect more than a third of our population. I, therefore, wish my colleagues Deputy Gemma Hussey and Deputy Séamus Pattison every success in this Department.

I put on record my profound thanks and admiration for the staff in the Department of Social Welfare from the Secretary downwards. Every grade I have met over the past three years have shown dedication to their work in the public service in times of great pressure in relation to staffing, in relation to representations from many Members of this House and from the economic situation. My admiration for them is unstinting and my work with them was equally unstinting and given in full measure.

Great changes are in progress in the Department of Health also. The initial impetus for change in a number of areas stretches back over many years with advice from specialist committees on the need for re-organisation and development ranging from the FitzGerald Report on the Hospital Services in 1968, the Report of the Working Party on General Nursing, 1980, to the Working Party on the General Medical Services 1984, the Green Paper on Services for the Disabled 1984, and the Report on the Psychiatric Services 1985.

I am fortunate as Minister for Health in having, as well as these special reports, more advisory committees helping me in my work than any other Minister. Those committees under the aegis of the Minister for Health include 13 advisory bodies and registration bodies and eight executive bodies, all of which give me advice from time to time on the development of the health services.

The experience of the richer European countries and of the US has been one of a rapid increase in the provision of health services during the seventies, a rapid increase in the utilisation of these services but, unfortunately, no significant measurable improvement in the good health of the population. The general consensus of world opinion is that there must be considerable reorganisation of health expenditure; there must be a shift of resources towards preventive measures; and there must be much more care within the community rather than in large institutions. I have endeavoured to bring in those changes despite great difficulty.

In following both the professional advice given to successive Ministers for Health in Ireland, especially by the WHO, inevitably I was constrained by the shortage of finance. However, this year after considerable difficulty — every Deputy here who has served in Government knows perfectly well the difficulties across the Cabinet table of getting the money for one's own Department to run the show, so to speak — I had £1,200 million of Exchequer resources made available to me for 1986. I have had no less than £200 million of capital expenditure made available to me in the past three years for the health services, and we have done great work in that period. Despite the assumption that I do nothing else but close down institutions, the record shows much new activity in the last three years with capital expenditure of well over £200 million approved on no fewer than 25 general hospitals. An amount of £6 million has been pumped in to improve the basic structure of our psychiatric hospitals with no fewer than five major capital developments for the mentally handicapped. Fifteen new health centres have been built in the past three years right throughout the county and five new child care centres have been constructed.

In other areas, particularly the preventive area, measles vaccination has had a tremendous uptake of 82 per cent, virtually a world record at this stage in terms of the response of the people, all work which in ten years' time will show dramatically. Despite all difficulties, I have gone down the road of reform on the psychiatric side and in recent weeks I have made radical proposals to transform these hospital services. As a further step in this direction I have appointed a design team of consultants for the planning and development of the Naas General Hospital, including an acute psychiatric unit in that hospital as part of the project, and I am arranging for that to be brought forward and built without any delay and completed as soon as possible. This unit provides for the Kildare catchment area of St. Dympna's Hospital, Carlow. That type of development is required if we are to bring our psychiatric services up to the desired standards.

As a final comment on my work in the Department of Health I will refer to the work we did in relation to the Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act, 1985, the Nurses Act, The Misuse of Drugs Act, the regulations to control standards in private hospitals and nursing homes, the Children (Care and Protection) Bill which is now before this House and the Clinical Trials Bill which will be produced in a week or so.

Therefore, we have a motion of no confidence spread over two days which could have been devoted to more important Government business. It shows two very worrying features of the Fianna Fáil Party under their present leadership. It has demonstrated the authoritarian nature of the party with their native assumption that Ministers at all times should be docile servants of their leader doing nothing but obeying his every wish. As everybody in Dáil Eireann knows, when Deputy Haughey rang a Minister and said, "jump" the only response he ever got was, "how high do I jump". That was all. They were terrified all the way. That is not a Government.

Secondly, this motion has shown the sterility and negative nature of this Opposition party with no positive policies except that we should once again start to spend money we have not got with the feeble promise of a coherent economic policy to be announced just before the next election. It is even pleasant and a relief to have the ultra right wing party now up there because at least you can see the difference. I disagree profoundly with Deputy O'Malley on issues relating to our national resources and to the social expenditure side. I welcome his support of the Government in terms of Northern Ireland, social policies and issues such as contraception and divorce. This is welcome, but I disagree profoundly with his analyses on oil, public expenditure or the role of our public enterprises because I think he is going for the soft option ——

Minister, you have one minute left.

—— and we have seen that in relation to teachers' pay and pensions he went with the Government, but when it came to the hospitals and rationalisation he went against the Government. Now on the Finance Bill he will go in one direction or another, and eventually in this massive mood of dissatisfaction with the public political system Deputy O'Malley's constituency will narrow down as the options narrow for him in the months ahead and then we will see the reality of what purports to be a great new breaking of the mould in Irish politics.

Therefore, we have an Opposition party which can be contrasted with a unified Cabinet over the past three years. Unquestionably we had our difficulties. We would need to be an extraordinary bunch of people not to have those difficulties. However, we have been unified and we will continue to be so for our full term of office, something which was predicted would never happen when this Government were formed. Unlike, Deputy Haughey's Cabinet, we do not have to descend to such a level of distrust and detestation either of our leader or of our colleagues to bug our conversations for personal political advantage. Unlike Deputy Haughey's Cabinet we believe in collective responsibility for all decisions and when we leave office we will not leave behind us £91 million——

Minister, your time is up.

—— informal, unapproved decisions by the Department of Finance. Deputy Dukes, to his credit, would never have been involved in such a situation. Finally, we have a great deal of economic and social reform to complete in the lifetime of this Government and I have no doubt that we can do so.

Minister, you have gone over your time. Conclude please.

We will do so under the honest and open leadership of Deputy Garret FitzGerald as Taoiseach and Deputy Dick Spring as Tánaiste. Time is still on our side. Our economic and social policies are fundamentally sound and time will certainly prove us right.

Deputy Sean McCarthy and he has 30 minutes.

I am glad the Minister for Health has regained his confidence after the traumatic effects of last week. He was in full flight. Now he is back to his old self and obviously he has recovered from what was imminent disaster for him. I admire his tenacity and his fighting qualities. If nothing else, he is a major survivor. He will go down in the history of this Dáil session as the greatest political survivor in the present Government.

It could be said reasonably fairly that the people of this country tend to be romanticists and sentimentalists, and I am sure this accounts for the fact that over the centuries we have produced renowned artists, scholars, poets and writers. I suppose this, as it were, inbred tendency to sentimentalise and dream has transferred itself into political life. Going back some four or five years, prior to the general election of June 1981, many people has a sort of romantic, sentimental feeling about politics and believed that probably there was an unfulfilled dream which should and could be realised.

In the creation of that dream many of them felt this would revolve around the present Taoiseach, Deputy FitzGerald, who had enveloped himself in the cloak of a new political image. The political creation of this image of our present Taoiseach was very carefully and insidiously handled by that now well known discredited group of people known as the national handlers who literally daily flooded the media with news and information specifically designed to mould and create the most perfect political image this country had ever seen. In so doing, the new image of Dr. Garret the Good, the new saviour, or the new St. Patrick of this country was created. Attached to this image of so-called goodness, honesty, integrity and credibility were the tags of ability, capacity and intellectual drive which had hitherto been unheard of in Irish political history.

The creation and the moulding of the man was perfectly done and the dream was about to be realised. The opportunity came in June 1981 for this man to become Taoiseach and Leader of this country. We remember too well that he led the shortest surviving Government in the history of this State who were brought down on their own budget implemented by the Government, the Taoiseach and the now brand new Minister for Finance, Deputy John Bruton.

Deputy Garret FitzGerald was partially forgiven by the people on that occasion. Plausible excuses were made for him and his famous national handlers went to work again. Again they did their work assiduously and conscientiously, rebuilding the mould until again in November 1982 the country decided that the dream would surely be realised on that occasion and they gave him a mandate to lead and to govern. It is always shatteringly disappointing to find that a dream does not come true and that the image of genius, honesty and credibility that had been created was purely a myth, that it was purely a creation of the backroom boys who sold it and sold it so well. Those who believed in that dream and that myth are now shattered and disillusioned and there are hundreds of thousands of them around the country.

Thousands of people now recognise only too well and too clearly how the most massive political deception that was ever perpetrated in our political history was perpetrated on them by superb dishonest salesmanship. Instead of finding a leader with the qualities of leadership, with the integrity to go with those qualities, with the capacity, intelligence and decision-making qualities that should be an integral part of leadership, we have found ourselves being led by a sort of headless monster whose image is now clearly tarnished and tattered.

He is, as it were, at the moment a broken statue which can never be repaired and the people of Ireland recognise that. People who are members of Fine Gael and of the Labour Party recognise that. People who are members of the Fine Gael and Labour Parliamentary parties in this House recognise that only too well. The only real question they are asking themselves now is: What will he do next? It seems that once the leash is taken off him and once the handlers let him go, he dashes from one crisis to another like a kamikaze pilot, obsessed with a political death wish. I would not wish to gloat over anyone's failure. It would not become me to do so. However, we must count the cost and the price of the Taoiseach's failures and they have to be evaluated. The cost to this country and to the people of the failure of the Taoiseach and his Government are more than could be borne by any country, or any people.

A reckless, headless Government are the most serious and disastrous thing that can happen to any country. Unfortunately, for just over three years now our people have had to put up with just that type of Government. Not alone have this Government been reckless and inefficient, but they have also involved themselves in dishonesties, deceptions and false promises unprecedented in the history of this State. Who, for instance, will ever forget the false promise made to married women prior to June 1981 when the Taoiseach and his Government promised that each married woman would get £9.60 a week for sitting at home, but when the Government were elected they found they could not operate it? So the unfortunate women who had been bribed into voting for them at the election did not get their £9.60.

Who will forget the reform of PAYE taxation where tax credits were promised and were to be introduced to give special economic benefits to PAYE workers? Then the Government found that would not work and they could not introduce them. They had to abandon the idea and yet they bought the electorate with that type of promise. Who will forget their false promises on job creation and the solution of the unemployment problem which I will deal with briefly later and for which nothing was done, so that the situation has become so much worse?

Who will forget about the constitutional crusade the Taoiseach promised on our national radio many, many months ago now? He said he would implement it and he developed the pluralist society, and yet he has done absolutely nothing about it. It is another false broken promise. Who will forget those social issues which he said he would grapple with and which he has dodged and ducked because he felt it might be politically dangerous for him to grapple with them? Who will forget the Taoiseach and the Government's economic plan to reduce and get rid of the budget deficit? Who will forget his plan to straighten out the nation's finances and get rid of our national borrowings? This litany of broken promises stands as the record of the Government under the leadership of the Taoiseach. The responsibility for that litany of broken promises lies firmly and fairly in the hands of the Government led by the discredited Taoiseach.

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I ask myself and you has there ever been a Government who made so many promises that were unfulfilled? This Government have a 100 per cent record of failure to deliver on any single promise they made. All anyone has to do is to walk down any street, go into any pub, take a drive in any taxi and the clear message comes to you wherever you go that the words "Coalition Government" are now the nastiest words in Irish life. The message that comes out clearly now is that the Leader of this country, the Taoiseach, Dr. Garret FitzGerald, is a form of political stooge who is shuffling and stuttering his way from day to day, and from one week to another.

I must say that the obvious signs of discomfiture shown by him here in the House on Tuesday of this week clearly manifested the innermost feelings of the man. He certainly looked very downhearted, a little pale and haggard. He muttered his way through a few sentences of apologies and explanations and appeared not to want Members of this House to know what he was saying. He looked unhappy in what he was doing and, quite honestly, looked a wreck of the great image that had been created of him a few short years ago. It is sad to look at any man broken in spirit.

That is a bit of an admission.

We saw it a few days ago and I think we will see it again later on this afternoon. It is sad, in particular, if the Leader of the country looks a physical shambles, downhearted and dispirited. Deputy Donnellan is quite aware of the fact that the birds in the trees could tell you that the Taoiseach is a man who does not seem to know where he is going and has no authority. The birds in the trees could also tell you very clearly that it is now extremely dangerous to let this country continue in the care of such a man as Leader. There is no doubt that we are at the crossroads and everyone knows it.

The real crisis comes when people become afraid of the unexpected, when people are not too sure of what is going to happen next, when people lose their trust in those who manage their affairs, when people become more and more unsure of their future, when you get the message clearly from the people of what in the name of God will they do next? Then you must recognise and accept that the people of this country are genuinely afraid, unsure and unhappy with what has been going on. They are genuinely afraid, unsure, and unhappy because of the present leadership and because of the present type of Government which we have. At this stage I do not think there will be any harm in recalling for the benefit of Deputy Donnellan, in case he has forgotten, and for the records of this House, the promises that were made in December 1982 in an extract from the Fine Gael-Labour Programme for Government. They spoke then of the single most important thing affecting Irish life, unemployment, and in that joint programme prepared by Fine Gael and Labour for their term of office in Government it was stated:

The unemployment situation, with 170,000 unemployed, 50,000 of them under 25 years of age, and the state of the public finances facing a new Government taking office at the end of 1982, are alarming. Both require firm and decisive action by such a Government. The dual task of halting and reversing the growth of unemployment while phasing out the correct budget deficit poses a greater challenge than any Irish Government has faced domestically since the early years of the State.

The Fine Gael and Labour Parties recognise and are prepared together to face up to this twin challenge, in a manner that will evoke from our people the necessary spirit of patriotism and sacrifice of which the Irish nation is capable, given firm leadership and the assurance of fair and equitable handling of the problems posed by this crisis.

The most urgent problem is that of unemployment. If we are to face it successfully it is necessary that our credit rating be maintained at home and abroad, so that the necessary funds will be available to the Government to finance both a reducing budget deficit and job-creating investment. This requires the adoption of policies that will rapidly enhance the competitiveness of the goods and services we produce — the decline in which in recent years is responsible for much avoidable unemployment and the pursuit of the domestic budgetary policies that will phase out the current budget deficit between now and 1987.

That was what the Fine Gael/Labour Programme for Government clearly stated in 1982 before they took office.

This type of approach of promises which were subsequently undelivered continued in the now totally discredited document produced by the Government towards the end of 1984Building on Reality. This programme, Building on Reality, was launched, we remember, with a massive promotional campaign, with much trumpet sounding in Iveagh House. At that time the document stated that unemployment would peak at 220,000 in December 1984. We now know how silly and stupid that document is, when there are now over 240,000 people in the unemployment queues in this country. We know how this Government failed in their economic policies to create an economic climate for investment whereby jobs would be created. We know how this Government by their taxation policies halted industrial expansion. We know how labour intensive industries, such as the building industry, have been crucified and brought almost to a halt by the policies of the present budget and Government budgetary strategies, particularly in 1985. We know that the construction industry was one of the bases on which the infrastructure of this country was built and how this Government have literally closed down that industry.

Furthermore, on 23 October 1985 on the day that this House resumed after the summer recess, the present Taoiseach had the audacity to come to Dáil Éireann and state that the Government also had further proposals in mind. More promises. In particular he stated, at column 279 of the Official Report for that day:

to modify employer PRSI contributions in order to favour the labour intensive industries, and

to overhaul the disability benefit scheme with a view to reducing the cost of absenteeism.

He further stated:

and we will be consulting with the NESC in relation to these and other issues.

What has been done about those promises made on 23 October 1985? I would say absolutely nothing. In other words, on 23 October 1985, almost one year after the Building on Reality programme had been published, the Taoiseach had the audacity to appear before the Members of Dáil Éireann and mislead them again with more false promises. I do not know or understand how dishonest one can get. Let us face it and let us not be afraid to say it, it is only right and correct that it should be stated that this Government, and in particular the Taoiseach, is a fraud and a disgrace. They are now becoming a national and international embarrassment and most of the people of this country now recognise them for what they are and they will deal with them when they get a chance at the next election. Let us hope that is not too far away.

It is fair and true to say that Coalition Government records in this country have been appalling. Coalition Governments have always failed this country and this particular Coalition Government are no exception to that rule. They are probably far worse than any previous Coalition Government. Their record to date has been absolutely appalling. Unemployment has reached a new peak. It is at its highest level in the history of the State. There were 170,000 people unemployed at the time this Government took office. There are now officially over 240,000 on the live register at the employment exchanges. Sadly, 65 per cent of the 240,000 attending for unemployment payments are on long term unemployment, which indicates that their chances of getting employed in the near future are very slim indeed. Of course, the live register does not in any way give the true picture because there are over 40,000 people in temporary types of employment — in various schemes that are being cobbled together by the Government — officially, as it were, to reduce the live register figures. We also know that last year over 35,000 people emigrated from Ireland so that the real figure of unemployment is now well over 300,000 which is the most serious indictment of this Government's policies that you could have.

The Government were supposed to be the best economists to run the country. They committed themselves to eliminating the budget deficit. This year it was the highest in the history of the State and their programme to reduce it has been thrown out the window. Our national debt is a long playing record by the national handlers. The Taoiseach, the members of his then Front Bench and all his Deputies throughout the country stated that Fianna Fáil had involved themselves as squanderers and that they borrowed this country into a state of indebtedness from which it would never recover and that people would have hard times because they were going to straighten it and reduce our national debt. That was a firm commitment. Many people believed them and felt that something should be done about our national debt and that borrowings had been made wrongly. We disagreed with them at the time and gave our reasons for it but this Government were adament that it had to be reduced. What is being done? When the Government came into office the national debt was £12.8 billion and it is now £20.5 billion, an increase of over 66 per cent, which is an appalling indictment of their crazy financial policies. It is another episode in the long saga of broken promises, false commitments and deceptions.

Last week we had the most recent debacle when the Taoiseach decided to shuffle his pack and do a musical chairs operation. This has further wrecked the credibility of this Governments and the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach, in botching this re-shuffle, turned a very bad job into a national catastrophe. The intended removal of the Minister for Health, Deputy Desmond, failed. It is being said by many that Deputy Desmond is now the real Taoiseach because he is able to tell the Taoiseach and the Government where to go and he will stand firm wherever he says he is going. If he is going to close more hospitals he will do so whether or not the Taoiseach or the Cabinet likes it. He has said that he will not waver in his commitment to close hospitals and to wrecking the health services.

Deputy D'Arcy and Creed formed a political sit-in and had to call the Taoiseach's bluff. He was forced to terminate their appointments and in so doing they exposed his dishonesty because he misled the House last week. To mislead Dáil Éireann is bad enough but to mislead the people of the country is despicable and unforgiveable. It is clear that the great creation of "Garret the Good" is now little more than "Garret the Gubu" and you would not buy a secondhand car from him let alone buy his policies or trust his Government or those who work with him.

In the Sunday Tribune last week Paul Tansey stated:

So large are the costs, and so imperceptible the gains of the Taoiseach's precipitate action, that the question must be asked: Did not the Taoiseach miss one major opportunity to improve the calibre of decision-making within the cabinet? Should not the pack have been re-shuffled one more time? Garret FitzGerald, as he has proved before, would make an excellent foreign minister.

The message there is obvious and I hope the Taoiseach takes his advice. In The Cork Examiner of 17 February 1986, Deputy Creed stated that:

There was no point in saying he resigned. That was "poppycock"... "The situation is I didn't resign. I don't believe in saying I resigned. If Garret FitzGerald said I resigned, he was telling a lie,..."

Such a condemnation of the leader of this country by one of his own party colleagues is something that cannot be ignored and our intelligent and discerning electorate will not forget or forgive.

The Deputy has two minutes.

He is prepared to do anything to stay in power. He is not just a dishonest political figure but he is also a ruthless, callous, political animal obsessed with little more than his own political preservation and saving his own skin because in the re-shuffle he has destroyed the short term and long term ambitions of some of his closest political allies. He has thrown them politically to the wolves. He has destroyed Deputy Hussey. He has destroyed Deputy Dukes — whether you agree or disagree with the budget on which he had worked very hard. Despite the fact that he has destroyed the political careers of two of his closest political allies he has publicly acceded to the continuation of Deputy Barry Desmond in his portfolio as Minister for Health. The Minister for Health has closed down the health services in the country.

The Deputy has one minute.

There is no doubt that the Taoiseach has lost control and is unfit to govern. He has lost his authority; his credibility is dented and his obvious weaknesses are apparent to all. There is only one honourable thing for the Taoiseach to do and that is to get out before he is put out by the Members on this side of the House, because sooner or later he will be ravaged by those in his own back benches.

I support the motion put down by Deputy O'Brien, Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, that "Dáil Éireann reaffirms its confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government." I totally disregard the amendment put down by the Opposition. The speakers on the Opposition benches complained about the Taoiseach, his Ministers and of course the recent ministerial changes which have taken place. They are entitled to do this and should do so to fulfil their role as an Opposition. In doing so it is necessary to point out where the Government have failed rather than to talk in loose terms and be repetitious in relation to the number of people unemployed and be repetitious in relation to the Minister for Health or other Ministers. It is a pity Deputy Dukes was not here to hear Deputy McCarthy praise him as it was the only time he praised him since he became a Minister. It is what you would do if by some accident or freak of nature you found yourselves in Government in the near or distant future. I am of the opinion — should it ever happen — that it will be the distant future. If it should, it would be disastrous.

The past three years have possibly been the most difficult time that any Government could be in office. Every Government could perform a little bit better and I have no doubt that there are areas where this Government could have performed better. It is fair to say that they had their share of successes and a certain amount of credit should be given to a Government for whatever successes they have. In the eyes of some people they may be limited but they are quite substantial.

The desire of the Opposition seems to be to discredit this Government and to try to drag down the thinking of people to the type of thoughts they have in their own minds. In the mid-sixties when I was part of a successful Galway football team, when Galway football was on the crest of the wave, we had a catch phrase which was, if you aim at the stars you might hit the clouds. Elected politicians to this House, regardless of which side they belong to, should have that optimistic outlook and try to instil this optimistic outlook into people. By your words and actions you, the Opposition, are trying to wreck this country and economy. Your aim is to discredit this Government but your best efforts will never drag this Government down to the low level you reached from March 1982 to December 1982, and indeed at many other times before that. Before I finish my 30 minutes, I am going to make an attempt to explain that in as much detail as possible.

The Government did a number of things and I will refer to a few of them briefly. Have the Opposition forgotten about the youth employment scheme, the Teamwork scheme, the new increased housing grants and increased home improvement grants? Much as the Opposition would like to have people in this House and their own people forget this, I would remind them that a Fianna Fáil Deputy in Galway took a six inch double column advertisement in the local papers advertising these new grants and saying that he was available to his constituents and, indeed, all constituents, to explain what they were, how they could avail of them and the benefit they would be to people who owned old houses. They could collect up to £7,500. These are things Fianna Fáil conveniently forget. A lot of money was made available for community development and this is something that was very worthwhile also. It proved to be very beneficial to many people. In this year's budget — which I did not hear anybody mention — for the first time in the history of this State there was no increase in personal income tax. I do not know whether Deputy McCarthy is aware of it, but it is a fact.

In relation to the super-levy, people seem to have forgotten the 4.6 per cent increase achieved by Minister Deasy. Many of the other agricultural Ministers who were negotiating at that time had to go back to their own countries and say that they were 6 per cent, 7 per cent, 8 per cent down; and in one case they were 10 per cent down. No due credit was given to Minister Deasy and to the Government for having negotiated that deal.

I spent two years in the Department of Health and in the Department of Social Welfare. The Minister for Health when he spoke went through the whole scene as far as health and social welfare are concerned. I would like to refer to the increases that have taken place in social welfare over the years and which have more than kept pace with inflation. As a result, the majority of people are a lot better off. Of course there was no need for us to give the very big increases which the Opposition tried to give when in office. In actual fact, during their time inflation was running at as high as 22 per cent at one stage. At present it is only a little over 5 per cent. I would like to remind the Opposition spokesman that this party and the Labour Party in Government reduced the age for the old age pension a number of years ago. I would like to remind him of the improvements provided in the 1985 budget: an increase of £1 a week in the free fuel allowance; the extension of dental, optical and aural benefits to pregnant women whose husbands are fully insured; and the protection of the social insurance position of Irish volunteer workers who go abroad to work in developing countries.

These improvements have been brought about without increasing the rate of social insurance. Expenditure on social welfare has reached £6 million a day. Expenditure on health has reached an all time high of £1,200 million in the current year. To make a comparison that you will understand, a great deal of money is being given to the eight health boards; the amount being given to the Southern Health Board this year is equivalent to the total cost of running the health services in 1973. The number of people employed in the health services has gone from 40,000 in 1970 to almost 60,000 today. At this stage I would like to pay tribute to the Minister for Health, much as the Opposition would like to malign him. If I was to compare him with many of his predecessors, he is a man who has worked hard at the job and I compliment him on his work. There are complaints about the lack of legislation on the Order of Business most mornings. What about the Dental Bill, the Nurses Bill, the National Social Service Board Bill, the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill, the Childrens' Bill and the Family Planning Bill? I will have to say a definitive few words on that issue for the simple reason that I have the job of putting it through Seanad Éireann. I was kept there by your people until 4 o'clock in the morning. I indicated that I could not understand your party's stance at that time.

The Minister should address the Chair.

I am addressing the Chair—all my remarks are through the Chair. Deputy Haughey brought in an Act in 1979. It passed through Dáil Éireann. The Act we brought in in 1985 was a small amendment to that. I could not understand why you could not support our amendment. A short time before that Deputy Haughey went on television, in July 1984, to say that it was time that the Family Planning Act, 1979, should be updated. Of course, it is the type of hypocrisy one comes to expect from him and his party; not alone on that issue but almost on any other issue. When he makes a decision he is followed faithfully by his loyal band of Deputies who seem to have less say day by day.

I respect the right of any individual to express his view on anything, but the hypocrisy that has been demonstrated by Fianna Fáil in Dáil Éireann in relation to that issue was quite remarkable. The limited amount of courage that the party once had as an Opposition is gradually evaporating. I am inclined to think that it will disappear entirely in the not too distant future.

Many things have been said about this Government but let me talk about the Opposition for a little while. Their lack of performance, their conduct and their failure to produce any type of a coherent policy is quite remarkable. When Deputy Gene Fitzgerald—that economic guru from Cork—was Minister for Finance all the money was gone by July of that year. Prior to last year's local elections Deputy Haughey made a number of proposals: no local authority charges; no land tax; no planning charges; provide £200 million for the building industry which would cost about £25 million a year to service; increase the Garda strength by 600 at a cost of £11 million; decrease pupil-teacher ratio at a cost of about £7 million; refloat Irish Shipping which came to about £350 million. Just prior to the election he went on television and said he would put £500 million into the improvement of roads. He specified the county roads. Of course, that would buy a little bit of support, or at least he thought it would. Indeed it proved quite successful. The one question I would like to ask is: where would it come from? Of course, he added to that, £200 million for infrastructure. It is easy to make these promises, but much harder to deliver them. Of course, there was never any intention to deliver but possibly it sounded like good politics to him at the time.

Yesterday I listened to the whining of Deputy Dr. John O'Connell trying to discredit the Taoiseach and trying to bolster the image of Deputy Haughey. He possibly sees a much more lucrative future with Fianna Fáil rather than with this Government. His memory must not be too good because if I recollect, he accepted the Chair from a combination of parties in 1981. He did not have to fight either of the elections in 1982, the last one by courtesy of Deputy Haughey. He went straight into hibernation then. He has had a good sleep and it is only recently that he has resurfaced. It is remarkable what a number of Fianna Fáil Deputies, and particularly former Ministers, have got away with.

I wish to refer to the forester from north county Dublin, Deputy Ray Burke. During the by-election in south west Dublin he was canvassing in an estate in the Lucan area and he discovered that they were complaining about the environment there, a lack of trees and so on. He made an arrangement where by a certain number of trees were planted almost overnight. On the day of the count, which was only a couple of days later, the result of the box was not as satisfactory as it should have been. Up they came again. He got away with it. It is remarkable what he did.

When Deputy MacSharry was Minister for Finance, he was having a conversation with Senator O'Donoghue, a fellow Minister at the time, and he distrusted him so much that he taped the conversation so that he could use it against the poor man, perhaps at some later stage. That surfaced, but how many other things failed to surface? I have a publication called The Boss and what is written in it has never been contradicted. There are the most revealing chapters and quotations that one would come across, for example at page 14, chapter 1:

Six months in opposition had shown Haughey to be weak, indecisive and apparently unable to come to terms with his new role. He always maintained that he had not really "lost" his first general election in June 1981: a quirk of the electoral system and the hunger strikes by Republican prisoners in Northern Ireland had robbed him of victory, he insisted. But by the start of 1982, he had a problem. He had still not appointed an opposition frontbench, and one of his backbenchers was testing his strength. That was Deputy McCreevy.

In page 17, chapter 1 it is stated:

Haughey, however, had always been a believer in big spending, in the theory that investment generates more money and jobs. In a much-quoted television address in January 1980, a month after he became Leader of Fianna Fáil and Taoiseach, he had said the country was living beyond its means. Action would have to be taken to reduce the Government's deficit... His subsequent actions failed to live up to his predictions: the spending deficit widened considerably under his rule and borrowing shot up between 1979 and mid-1981

—as it never did before. There are many other quotations. On page 91 it is clearly indicated that he prolonged the postal strike to discredit another person. It states:

...Haughey told his colleagues that he was having private talks with a leader of the post office union with whom he was friendly. Other Ministers were content to have Haughey do this for a time, but then they became suspicious that he was trying to prolong the strike in anticipation of the damage it would cause to Lynch's leadership. Thereafter, Haughey was excluded from all discussions of the progress of the strike, which took place outside the cabinet or in committees of which he was not a member.

In page 233 there is an extract which has been the subject of discussion in this House. It is in relation to the Connolly and MacArthur affair.

But the biggest gaffe was made by Haughey himself. Later on Tuesday, after Connolly had resigned, Haughey hosted a press conference on public sector pay negotiations which was inevitably dominated by questions on the Connolly-MacArthur affair. Haughey was caught off guard a number of times and admitted he had spoken to Connolly on the night of the MacArthur's arrest and that when he had spoken to him in London, he knew all the facts of the case. He was asked why nobody in Government had congratulated the gardaí on their work. "It was a good piece of policework", said Haughey, "slowly, painstakingly, putting the whole thing together and eventually finding the right man". At the time MacArthur was an innocent man until proven guilty...

Indeed, there are a number of other quotations in The Boss which I would like to go through but I will desist from doing so.

The Deputy should resume with his contribution.

It was a best seller. I bought a copy last night. The price has dropped from £6.50 to £3.25. It may have been a best seller, but it is not a best seller any longer. I am saying these things for the simple reason that these people are trying to discredit the Taoiseach and the Government. Indeed, I have a few other things here that I would like people to have a look at as well. It is a reminder of the type of intrigue by the people who are now trying——

Mr. Cowen

Are these the plans of Kinsealy?

No, they are not. They are a number of cuttings from papers, basically the Irish Independent, in the early seventies.

Mr. Cowen

Is the Deputy quoting now?

No, I will not quote them for the simple reason that if I did I would be here until about 6 o'clock this evening. I am talking about the Irish Independent of Tuesday, 6 May 1970 when the price of the Irish Independent was 6p. Deputy Cowen would not remember those times. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread and he should pay attention to that. “Shock as Moran Resigns” is on the front page of 5 May. On 6 May, the headline is, “Haughey, Blaney Sacked, and Boland Resigns”. On 8 May the heading is, “Phone Tapping, Super Spies”. The same people are involved in every one of them. On 9 May the headline read, “Gibbons in News over Arms Plot”; on 28 May, “Gun Plot Case, Legal Moves on the Way”; on 29 May “Lynch Hits Back” and Boland, Blaney and the lot of them are up in arms and fighting quite dramatically amongst themselves. Then we move on to the trial. On Wednesday, 7 October, “Judge Warns of Political Implications.” There were further headlines on 8 October, 10 October and 30 October. On Wednesday, 14 October, “Distress Fund was Paying for Arms”. On Thursday, 15 October there was a picture of Deputy Haughey and a number of other Deputies. It read: “Whole Government gave Consent to Arms Plan — False Names Used.” On Saturday, 24 October the price of the Irish Independent had risen to 8p: “Haughey throws down the gauntlet.” From then to this day people know exactly what happened.

The Opposition accuse this Government and the Taoiseach of being neither one thing or another. There is less credibility in them than in any other party that I know. This so-called debate on no confidence is possibly the greatest attempt yet by Deputy Haughey and his foot soldiers to confuse the Irish political scene. He and his soldiers of destiny are the people who stand condemned, naked, without policies, without views as to where this country should be going; with no idea of how to unravel the web of chaos, deceit and confusion that they knitted together in the years they were in power.

Let us examine the credentials of the accusers. One of the advertisements we see on televisions says "Persil Washes Whiter". This bunch of Persil washers, wash as they may, will not and cannot wash away the damage they have done. Fianna Fáil are the party which almost tore to shreds the delicate fibres of democracy and they are now looking for the head of the most decent and honourable man who has ever had the privilege to lead a free Government in the western world.

In 1980 there was selected for high office — I will not say "elected" because there were many in his own party who withheld consent from him — a man who in his first broadcast to the nation promised great things — a reining in of the mad forces at work in our economy — a man who called for tightening of belts, a man who called for restraint, a man who promised much but who unfortunately delivered so little.

Do not forget the deal with the Talbot workers, and many other private deals giving in to one pressure group or another. Have we all forgotten his largesse at that time? He packed State and semi-State bodies with people under the guise of getting unemployment down. He is a man who loves to be loved, but what price popularity?

In 1981 the people saw what he and his Government were up to and said "enough is enough." In 1982 he not only sought support, but bought the support of Deputies. Who forgets the Gregory deal? Here we saw a leader and a Government, to whom power, naked power, power at all costs, was the prize, not the care or the concern of our people.

Has anyone forgotten that one of his Ministers chided the then Taoiseach, Deputy Haughey, and his Government for low standards in high places? Has anyone forgotten — except the people on the benches in front of me — that the then Tánaiste held a veto over the then Taoiseach in his appointment of certain Cabinet Ministers? Has anyone forgotten what took place during the short reign of Deputy Haughey and Fianna Fáil in 1982? There was illegal tapping of journalist's telephones, journalists of the highest integrity against whom no whiff of accusation could be made that they acted to give comfort to subversives, while a certain ambivalence on these matters for a number of years has been manifested by individuals on the other side of the House.

Has anyone forgotten the lack of trust that existed between Deputy Haughey's Cabinet colleagues during his last Government? Do they remember how one Minister had to tape another Minister's conversations? Yes, indeed, low standards in high places. Have we forgotten how Deputy Haughey and his friends played the ultra green card in November of 1982 — how they attempted to frighten the Irish people on baseless grounds— how they tried by their actions to put back the cause of peace in Northern Ireland?

Have we forgotten the Forum — signed today by Deputy Haughey and sections of it repudiated by him tomorrow, as a matter of fact, torn to shreds? Have we forgotten the vilification cast by Deputy Haughey and his friends on the Taoiseach after the Summit in November 1984? But the people now know the guts and dignity shown by Deputy FitzGerald at that time and at all other times.

They now know the fruits of his labours in his ceaseless search for peace in Northern Ireland resulting in the Anglo-Irish Agreement — an agreement which has been hailed as a masterpiece the world over, an agreement recently described by a former Labour Foreign Secretary as marking "an historic turning point". Dr. David Owen went on to say in his article in The Sunday Times of 9 February last: “That Agreement, however, owes almost everything to the personality of Garret FitzGerald, one of the most decent men in politics, he is also one of the toughest”.

I want to refer to an article in The Irish Times written by John Healy. He implied Deputy Haughey was jealous of the fact that this Taoiseach had successfully negotiated that deal. I know it is not proper to attack an individual in this House and I have no intention of attacking John Healy but he should have read his history a little better.

This Opposition, Deputy Gerry Collins and others, have been sniping at the Government because they achieved a measure of success in certain areas. It is the duty of all who are elected to this House to work altogether for the good of the nation and to try to lift the spirits of our people. At the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of this great party, Fine Gael, the late lamented James Dillion said: "Dr. FitzGerald is a good man and a just man", and if I may misquote the late Mr. Dillion in a speech he made on another day in this House — no confidence be damned!

Mr. Cowen

I listened to the opening speeches yesterday morning and had the dubious pleasure of listening to the last speaker. I am happy that I have come into this House in recent times, times which are more relevant to this country in terms of its financial and economic future. I come from a generation which represents 50 per cent of the population, 25 years of age or under. I have no intention of taking up the challenge of Government speakers. Since the beginning of this debate there has been a blatant attempt to turn this into a personalised and totally irrelevant debate, in terms of attacking personalities.

Our motion seeks to remove from the office of Taoiseach Deputy Garret FitzGerald. My sincerely held political opinion is that Deputy FitzGerald should consider vacating his office in the national interest. We do this House, and more importantly the Irish people, a great disservice by the manner in which this debate is being conducted. The tenor of this debate was set by the opening speaker, the Tánaiste, and by placing certain Government speakers immediately after him to convey to the people an attitude and a series of opinions which I find despicable.

While I would always hope for cordial and courteous relationships with all Members of this House, I cannot but hold those more experienced Members in anything but political contempt because of the manner in which they conducted themselves. There is an abrasive side to me and yesterday I deliberately removed myself from the House and made some remarks privately, as I felt that the low personal attacks made yesterday did not give me the right to reply to them in the House with the vindictiveness and invective which it was my misfortune to hear from experienced and otherwise respected Members of this House.

In this debate we are considering the removal of the Taoiseach on the basis of the performance of his Government since coming to office in 1982. I am glad the Minister for Justice is here and wish him well in his new post. The remarks of the Minister, as Minister for Finance in 1983, put into perspective our financial situation. Unfortunately debates in this House degenerate into attempts to apportion blame. However, political parties on both sides have had experience in Government over the past decade and so should be prepared to point out the mistakes, consider the relevant problems and address the major crisis facing us. The people are more interested in what we intend to do in the future than in the usual puerile debates which take place here. As Minister for Finance in 1983 as reported in Volume 339 of the Official Report Deputy Dukes said:

The origins of this budget lie almost ten years in the past.

Then the Minister went on to talk about the oil price rise of 1973 and of 1979-80 and the fact that he felt that successive Governments had failed to reduce our standards in view of the transfer of real resources to the oil producers as a result of those oil price hikes. The Minister went on to say that:

the position we are in today is not the result of recent developments, or of the sudden change in our circumstances.

The Minister saw his role over the following two or three years as being one of unremitting effort to restore the proper balance between expenditure and revenue and to lay foundations for growth and prosperity in the future.

We on this side of the House were aware of the seriousness of the crisis and we did not require the Minister to moralise. We do not require to be continually told that we should not oppose the policies of this Government in view of the great work they are doing. Any self respecting politician can see the seriousness of the situation when considering the 1986 budget in terms of the percentage of the allocation of resources to various areas. About 21 per cent is to service the national debt and only about 9 per cent is devoted towards services and infrastructure.

This Government set out their objectives in their Joint Programme for Government for the elimination of the current budget deficit and a reduction in unemployment. In Government they came to realise they could not achieve their objectives. We had a public debate between the Minister, Deputy Dukes, and the Minister, Deputy Spring, on the current budget deficit in their first budget and a decision was made to review the situation. In Building on Reality they reviewed the elimination of the current budget deficit to 5 per cent of GNP by 1987. Like any plan, this plan was based on economic assumptions. One of the central planks of Building on Reality was the naïve miscalculation that they could limit public service pay to 1 per cent or 2 per cent per year on average. One must question the political judgment and credibility of a Government who put forward a proposal like that. That simply was not a realistic assumption.

The day before the 1985 budget the Minister, Deputy Boland, came to an agreement with the Public Service which could cost £108 million, so the whole plan was thrown off beam. The Minister said at that time that since £20 million had been allocated for public service pay that year, they would proceed to reduce expenditure cuts by another £30 million, and then there was the famous revenue buoyancy of £58 million, all of which conveniently added up to £108 million so that the budget balanced beautifully.

We must be straight with people or continue with political point scoring. As a result of the 1986 budget we will not attain a current budget deficit of 5 per cent of GNP during the lifetime of this Government. Initially the Government were going to eliminate the deficit but that proposal was a revised decision. We are attacked by the Government for questioning their credibility when it is clear that they cannot and will not achieve that target. The Minister, Deputy Dukes, in the 1984 budget said that the economy was now poised on a delicate balance and that until we brought about a considerable improvement in the public finances we would make little progress towards a structured economy and better employment opportunities.

It is quite clear from the figure of a continuing debt of £2 billion every year, that we are simply not achieving the considerable improvement in the public finances which, in the words of the Minister for Finance, Deputy Dukes, would have given us a stronger economy and better employment opportunities. The evidence is everywhere to be seen. In every sector we see it. For that reason also we think we are quite credible in requesting that the Taoiseach should consider his position in the light of the fact that their economic policies — and there was more than one economic policy in the term of office of this Government— and fiscal policies have failed on the basis of their own figures and their own assertions in the Joint Programme for Government and after that in Building on Reality, 1985-1987, their revised economic plan.

We have been accused consistently of not providing alternative policies. That is not true. There is an alternative to these economic policies being pursued by the Government and if there is not, then the logical consequence of what the Government are saying is that, because we have a difficult financial situation, it is not credible to attempt an economic recovery in present circumstances. If we continue on the road on which we are travelling, the possibility of economic recovery becomes more distant, more remote. Therefore, it is incumbent on any Government worth the name to make a new, radical appraisal of the whole economic situation to see where we can, if necessary, reallocate existing resources towards more productive investment which will earn wealth and allow us to provide the services our people need. Under the present leadership this Government have tried to ride two horses. They have tried to ride the horse of fiscal rectitude of Fine Gael. The Minister for Health comes in here proclaiming his ability to continue to increase current budgetary spending every year and to keep it in line with inflation etc. At the same time we have a diminishing tax base with fewer people working, more liquidations, and people who want to earn a living in this country finding it increasingly difficult to do so.

I would be the first to say that no Government per se can create employment, but they can and must use the budget and their economic policies as an instrument to provide and create the sort of positive environment to which people can respond. No one is responding at the moment, and that is the basic problem. This Government have lost the confidence of decent, ordinary Irish working people who do not want to suffer the indignity of having to queue on the public street for unemployment benefit or assistance and who would regard it as much easier to go out and work a hard 40 hour week for only £10 or £15 more. They want their dignity and a sense of purpose in their lives and they cannot have that sense of purpose if the Government themselves are ungovernable. We saw last week the Taoiseach, the leader of the country, unable to shift personnel into the Departments in which he thought they would be best suited to try and pull the strings and do something better for this country.

There must be an alternative to the present economic policies being pursued by the Government. More importantly, there must be a political alternative to this Government. I can assure the House that this party will be the alternative. I travelled my constituency in the past two or three months through our Cumainn and our organisation and I was heartened by the response I got from ordinary people whose voices are not heard often enough. They have not the eloquence, the capability or the education to express themselves adequately, but what they want is a Government who care. This Government do not care. That is the perception out there in the real world.

This Government must end this arrogance and their total obstinacy against looking elsewhere, and listen to some of the things we say. In the national interest let them cut out the gibing and propaganda from those benches over the past two days, and the passing of remarks on the leadership of this party and references to the rest of us as lackeys and gombeen men. I am not a gombeen man and anyone who knows me knows that. The people in my constituency who vote for me know that I am not a gombeen man. I take exception to such remarks because they do nothing for this debate or for this House. It is shoneenism at its best. Unfortunately, some Members on the far side of the House are very adept at it and put it in a very attractive and eloquent way that makes good newsprint. It does not go down well outside and the people are not buying it any more.

I belong to an open, democratic party and I can speak my mind whenever and wherever I please within my party and my voice will be listened to just as the voice of every member of my party high and low will be listened to. I do not believe in passing remarks about Fine Gael or Labour because I know nothing about the organisation of Fine Gael, Labour, The Workers' Party or the Progressive Democrats.

I do not see how Deputy Cooney or somebody else can come in here and dictate to me about how my party are run. We are prepared to provide an alternative. We have legitimate aspirations and legitimate reasons why we should seek Government and the trust of the people. We will continue to do so no matter what sort of invective emanates from those benches. If one goes through Deputy Garret FitzGerald's record when in Opposition one will see that he provided an alternative view to the one he is now putting forward as Taoiseach. On the Adjournment Debate on 29 June 1978 he spoke of the connection between investment and growth. He deplored the fact that there was no increase in the proportion of natural resources devoted to productive capital expenditure. On the Adjournment Debate in December 1980 he said that he believed it probable that we could not merely sustain the present level of public investment in infrastructure and productive activity but could even increase it as a proportion of GNP if we not merely eliminated the current deficit but developed a small current surplus to put towards the investment need.

Here is a man in charge of a Government who last year had the greatest current budget deficit in real terms as a percentage of GNP, and he said just before he came into office that he felt he could not only reduce the current budget deficit but produce a current budget surplus which he could transfer for capital purposes. What has happened in Government? In real terms over the past three years the Public Capital Programme has been cut by one third. We have a building industry on its knees, crying out for investment. We have a young population, and an underdeveloped economy which requires development and is crying out for investment. We have a native industry. We hear of unemployment of 17 per cent nationally. The construction industry, the biggest apart from agriculture, has a 40 per cent unemployment rate. Ninety three per cent of its inputs are native Irish produced. Many tradesmen down along the line will be employed if there is investment in the construction industry, and it will give a return. It has given a return in the past and if, because of financial constraints we have to look perhaps more stringently at the projects, let us so do. However, let us not cut them out altogether.

It is no good saying we increased expenditure on the national primary roads by £500 million in this new plan introduced last year. I was a member of a deputation last week requesting money to be made available for the maintenance of a county road system in County Offaly. We are trying to protect what the county engineer estimates to be an investment of £150 million which is crumbling before our eyes and there is no money available. That is the position precisely because the rates support grant has been cut since 1983. There are alternatives — there must be — in the construction industry, for example. We need greater incentives to promote activity. It is very shortsighted to say that these proposed incentives are subsidies simpliciter. If an incentive succeeds, it will stimulate investment which would not otherwise have gone ahead and the Exchequer will gain from the additional tax revenue generated from the construction of the project. Incentives may reduce the nett tax taken from a project, but this is better than no revenue at all — and that is the present situation.

We have also put forward proposals and documented policies for the development of our marine resources on our return to Government, and most important, to bring the development of science and technology to the centre stage of any industrial policy which we wish to pursue, to finance that research and development and provide enterprise centres in our third level institutions. In that way we can try to bring forward industries which have a future and for which we have a flexible, educated labour market, ever increasing over the next few years.

We need action, for example, in relation to the timber industry. There will be an 8 per cent shortfall in world supply by the year 2000. The European Community are only 50 per cent self-sufficient in their timber needs and import approximately £100 million worth of timber annually. We have 300 hectares of State forest and, despite the stated annual planting target of 10,000 hectares, we seem able only to plant approximately 6,500 hectares annually. We intend, on return to Government, to put that State forestry industry under the auspices of a commercially viable semi-State enterprise which will develop a labour intensive industry. It is quite obvious that there is there a great potential.

We have a Government who, in Opposition, were full of bright ideas. They were portrayed as the Government of all the talents. Even their supporters within the media now say they have more talent on their backbenches than on their front bench and perhaps we should have a few more backbenchers on the front bench. The point is that we have no action. I know the Minister is sincere in his attempts, but we have not the action to provide employment to create wealth and encourage incentive. Whatever tinkering they may do with their budgets, it is not enough. If a radical reappraisal is required, so be it. Let us not be hung up on the ideological problems which continue to persist within the inter-Party Government. We simply do not have unity of purpose in this Government. We have heard from the Government benches about vetos on the change of Ministries. It is quite clear where the vetos now are in this Government in relation to the re-allocation of Ministers' jobs.

It is important to say that we have an agricultural industry which, unfortunately, has not been getting the sort of priority it should be getting in this economy. With the CAP under attack in Europe it is sad, when one looks at the budget figures, to find that only one half of 1 per cent of total GNP from natural resources is ploughed into industry. We depend almost totally for our investment in agriculture on European funds. Most of those funds are simply to ensure guaranteed prices. The time has come for a major effort to create greater wealth in our agricultural industry. I do not know why this has not happened and I will not berate this Government for that, but quite clearly, in view of the difficult investment climate, we will not get the job creation industries we got in the past. Other countries are vying for those industries as well. We must go back to developing native industry, primary industries which we must take on board and for which we must provide the structures that will generate wealth and employment.

This Government are paralysed by their actions. I have the distinct impression that they are overwhelmed by the difficulties which face them. That is not simply a personal view; it is a view which is rampant throughout the country. I request therefore that the Taoiseach consider his position. Even if there were to be a change of leadership, the Coalition would perhaps be more acceptable over the next 18 or 19 months than under the present leadership. That has been said by many supporters of the Fine Gael Party whom I know. However, I am not in a position to know the view of the majority. I am sure the Minister, Deputy Dukes, will rebut that statement.

We should get down to the business of dealing with the merits or demerits of the policies of the parties in this House. Let us finish, once and for all, with the old politics. People out there simply do not want them. No matter how well they present themselves — and we hear so much about the style of this Government — that style must be replaced by substance. If it is not more impressionable or attractive, let them not worry about that. In the national interests we require action now. In view of all the circumstances, I request that the Government call a general election because the time has come for a radical change. If it will not come under this Government, then let us have another one.

I call on Minister Dukes who has 30 minutes.

I had not intended to make any specific comments on remarks made by Deputies in this House. However, out of courtesy to Deputy Cowen, there are one or two things which I would say following the remarks which he has just made. I am quite sure that he is a very sincere Deputy. A little of his discomfort in the rather histrionic ramble we have just heard arises from the fact that he does not really believe in the amendment to the motion which his party have put down. He said at one stage "even if the Government were to remain in office" and at another stage that under certain scenarios things would be rather easier for the Government over the next 18 to 19 months.

Mr. Cowen

In reality.

Of course, it does not lie in Deputy Cowen's hands, but it is perfectly obvious that he does not believe the amendment which the Fianna Fáil Party have down to the motion is going to succeed. He has been given the job of engaging in a half hour of histrionics in this House because he is probably being marked down as one of the rising young men of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Mr. Cowen

Let us be fair.

He is being given an outing. I wish him the best of luck in doing so.

Mr. Cowen

Let us not patronise.

If I may presume to do so, I think Deputy Cowen would be far better off if he did not work himself into quite the passion he reached at one or two points in his address, but took a slightly more relaxed view of what he was saying and thought a little more through it. He did me the honour, for I am deeply grateful, of quoting from my analysis of the situation when introducing the budget in 1983, where I pointed out that we were, and still are, suffering from the hang over, the continuing effects of what happened in oil markets in 1973 and through the period up to 1979. Deputy Cowen should have enough "cop-on" to read and analyse that for what it is worth and get the message from it and not to take the easy course of characterising it afterwards as moralising. I cannot see how it helps the debate to take an analysis, whether it be economic or political, or the analysis of any problem, and dismiss it as moralising simply because the message does not change every second day to suit the mood of the Opposition or what they perceive the mood of the country to be.

Ireland, with the most open economy in Europe, is particularly open to influence by what is happening in the world around us. When we have an event in the world, as we did in 1973 and again in 1979, that inherently brings about a major shift in purchasing power between the people who produce oil and the people who have to buy all of their oil, it is something we cannot leave out of the reckoning. It is not moralising to point out, as I have consistently done since December 1982, that we did not properly come to terms with that issue over the period. It is part of the analysis that we must make of our problem.

Deputy Cowen also referred to certain assumptions on which he thought the national plan Building in Reality was based. He mentioned one, there are a whole series of others. The basic economic assumptions in fact turned out to have been on the conservative side because in relation to three of the key areas of the influence of international factors on the Irish economy the climate improved rather faster than we had expected it to improve when we put that plan together. But of course it has never suited the Opposition to analyse it from that point of view because they are very very short on analyses. The Opposition seem mostly to take their views, as indeed Deputy Cowen is tempted to do, from what is happening in the media. We get presented here time after time, as we did from Deputy Cowen today, with a collage of the popular wisdom of the media, selecting the commentators in order to get a particular effect but without any input of an intellectual, political or analytical nature from the people who populate those benches over there.

Contrary to what Deputy Cowen and some of his colleagues may think of me, I am deeply conscious of the fact that the benches over there are populated by people, not by numbers, ciphers, spokesmen or spokeswomen, but by people, all of them having an internal life of their own, a capacity to think and imagine and most of them are making absolutely no effort to do that. They are just following these attractive collages that are put in front of them by the media and stringing them together to suit whatever debate happens to be going on in the House. That is not a worthy occupation for elected representatives. It is the one thing that has most disappointed me about the people on that side of the House since I came into this House in June 1981.

Deputy Cowen claims that there is an alternative to the Government's economic policy. What is it? A new radical reappraisal. That is fantastic. That is a phrase that has a real ring of thinking about it.

Mr. Cowen

An increase in capital expenditure.

What do you get after that? What is the new radical reappraisal? There is no answer. There has not been an answer from that side of the House in the period from December 1982 to date. There was no answer to it in the period from December 1979 to June 1981. "New radical reappraisal" is a nice attractive phrase that is trotted out but there is no foundation for it. When people come forward with new radical reappraisals they confirm what I said three years ago is still the situation, the reaction to it is that you have stopped thinking or you are not using your imagination. One could say that we need a new radical reappraisal of the condition of the world, maybe they were right to say it is flat, that would be a new radical reappraisal. If we started off on the basis that the world was flat instead of round the new radical reappraisal would do absolutely nothing for us. The Opposition are guilty of the use of that kind of catch phrase without ever thinking out what should follow the claim that we need this reappraisal.

Deputy Cowen fell into the trap that so many of his colleagues have fallen into time after time. He had a nice, plausible, glib line giving out about my colleague, the Minister for Health, who comes into the House regularly and explains in detail what is being done in the health services, how much is being spent, what the costs are and what is being achieved. Deputy Cowen wants to know why we are spending so much on the health services this year. Is Deputy Cowen saying that he actually wants to hear the Minister for Health explaining how he is reducing expenditure on the health services, explaining how he would like to see us restrict expenditure there even more? I am sure he could make a good case for this. If that is what he is saying to the House he should say it and have the guts to put his feet where his mouth is, which he does much of the time anyway — I am talking now in voting terms. He should vote for the kind of policies he is talking about and not try to play the two ends off against the middle as he did here.

Deputy Cowen also agrees with the necessity of looking more stringently at capital projects. I agree with that entirely and I am glad to find that I have the odd disciple on the benches opposite. I did not have many of them during the three years when I had the privilege to be the Minister for Finance in this House and arguing these issues with the Opposition, quite the contrary, I found that whenever I came into this House arguing the case for a more economically based assessment of capital expenditure projects before we committed public or borrowed money to them we should know better what is going to be achieved by those projects. Deputies opposite took exactly the opposite line from Deputy Cowen. They represented that kind of approach as variously monetarist, unfeeling, crude, cold and all these lovely adjectives that they picked up from assiduous reading of the newspapers and they applied them without once thinking what the basic objective is. But when it suits them in a debate like this they can try to gain credit for themselves through the disappearance of plausibility and concern and say, "Oh yes we must get better value for public expenditure", but they have not got the guts to follow it up when it actually comes to making decisions.

On the question of various areas of specific expenditure, for example the county roads which are giving a lot of difficulty in all areas of the country, as in my own constituency, Deputy Cowen can find out if he does not already know, which I am sure he does, that the situation is and has been for quite a long time that the maintenance of county roads is a matter for the local authorities to look after ——

Mr. Cowen

Fund them.

——out of their own revenue.

Mr. Cowen

It comes out of the Central Fund.

Deputy Cowen and his merry partners on the other side of the House are the very ones who between now and April will be diligently carrying out the process of denying local authorities the ability to raise those funds. May I add this — and Deputy Lenihan knows what I am talking about when I say this — when we saw the preparation by the then Government in October 1982 of the Estimates for the Public Services in 1983 and the allocations that were made therein for various purposes, including the rates support grant to local authorities, we found that not only was the allocation in those estimates for local authorities for 1983 inadequate, but it did not even begin to address the problem of the large overdrafts that local authorities already had at that time. We had to make substantial changes, both in terms of the allocations of Exchequer funds to local authorities and in terms of giving local authorities access to revenue that they would raise themselves.

That was changed.

Of course, the Deputies opposite then shrank back from making those kind of decisions. They shrank away from any idea that they would be associated with giving effect to the very principles that they enunciate themselves in this House. That has been and continues to be a major problem of the Opposition.

That was changed.

Deputy Cowen comes along again. I am not personalising this against Deputy Cowen. He is a nice young chap even if he is inclined to be a little rude in the House from time to time. I am not attacking him at all. He is the one who had the misfortune to be the mouthpiece of the party to enunciate this kind of rubbish which they come out with.

Mr. Cowen

Hold on now.

He says incentives may reduce net tax but that is better than having no tax at all. Of course, it sounds like a self-evident proposition.

Mr. Cowen

You disagree with me?

What it omits is the substitution effect. There is absolutely no point in saying that you are going to get more revenue if you take less tax from this and have more activity unless you take account of the effects of what you are proposing in other areas of the economy in other areas of taxation. Deputies opposite seem to think that if you juggle enough things around by some miraculous procedure you will increase the total amount of resources available, when in fact we know that that on the whole is not the case. The only reason that the Deputies opposite fall into that trap is that they consistently refuse to sit down and try to put together in any kind of logical, coherent order the sum of what they are saying about all these areas of taxation, of economic policy, of public investment policy and so on.

The motion before the House is: "That Dáil Éireann reaffirms its confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government". What we have from Fianna Fáil is simply an amendment to that motion. We are not discussing an Opposition motion at all. Frankly, the House would have been far better employed yesterday and today in talking about some of the more pressing issues, particularly since, as I detected earlier on in Deputy Cowen's remarks, they do not believe that their amendment is going to be made.

The motion asks the House to reaffirm its confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government. I should like to go back for a few moments to first principles. What is the job of a Government? The job, the responsibility and the privilege of a Government is to govern. What does governing mean? To govern you must first define the needs of the people who have entrusted you with that particular job, then take account of the constraints that are on you. We will never live in a perfect world. No Government in this country or in any other country is, in the foreseeable future, at least, before we attain nirvana——

Mr. Cowen

Perfect.

——will even, having defined all of the needs they believe they should meet, have an unlimited amount of resources to meet those needs. The process of Government requires one to take account of whatever the constraints are on resources.

The next step, which is the difficult one, is one which Deputies opposite do not seem ever to want to take, is to choose, to set out priorities, and to decide that some things are more important than others. Even though there are a number of things that you would like to do, which you believe are socially or economically useful or useful in any other sense, they cannot be fitted in because other things are more urgent, other things will have a bigger effect or a more beneficial effect. You have to choose. You cannot simply take the menu of needs that you have found, rush off in all directions and try to do a bit for them all. In that lies absolute disaster. We have seen that. That has been our experience in the past. Once you have made those choices, you take action to give effect to the choices you have made. You do it on the basis of appreciation of needs, recognition of the constraints, the fixing of priorities and then effective action. That is a thumbnail sketch of what the business of Government is about.

Of course, in approaching that we all bring our own particular concerns to it. We all bring our own political concerns and I use the word with a small "p". We all bring our own concerns with the society in which we live. We all bring our own set of objectives to that. In this country, particularly today and especially in the period since December 1982 and again in the period from June 1981 to January 1982, we have had collective Government. We have a cabinet system of Government.

That is the job of the century.

It involves collective responsibility.

(Interruptions.)

It does not involve a situation where you have one spider sitting at the centre of the web watching the flies dancing on the web around it——

That is why——

——and deciding which one is going to be devoured and which one is going to be left for next month. That is not collective responsibility.

Mr. Cowen

Who is catching the flies?

That is a system of collective robotics. That is not the kind of system of Government that this country wants and it is not the system of Government which the Constitution of 1937 provided for us.

A Deputy

We accept that.

What is the job of the Opposition. The Opposition's job in a Parliament of this kind is not simply to oppose for the sake of opposition. There is an obligation on the Opposition to think and to sort out priorities——

Mr. Cowen

To reflect.

——and to suggest some choices. In short the Opposition should be doing a mirror image of what the Government are doing, not simply howling like stuffed pigs at every new decision they do not like, or that they think their voters will not like, or the people in their cumainn will not like. The Opposition has the same responsibility to formulate policies, to identify needs, to identify constraints and to make choices. This Opposition since December 1982 has failed miserably to do anything of that kind.

Mr. Cowen

Why did it take you——

We on the other hand——

He was doomed to failure.

You will be doomed yourself Deputy.

Deputy Connolly lives too near to my constituency and in too much proximity to me for him to start giving hostages to fortune in the way he is doing now. I can tell you if he wants to trade stories with me——

They gave you——

There is a lot of very interesting gossip in Rathangan that we could trade across this floor, but I must say that given my concern, my appreciation indeed of the constructive nature of Deputy Cowen's intervention the Deputy should talk to him now and again. I am not going to get involved in that kind of back chat here.

Mr. Cowen

We get on very well.

We will have a go at it. If Deputy Connolly cares to meet me for a jar in Rathangan we will go through those stories. We will invite Deputy Cowen if he likes because it might open his eyes to what goes on among his cumainn and his colleagues in the constituency. I will come back now to the business of Government and the business of this Government since December 1982. I make no apology whatever for stating that it has been one of my main concerns — and this has been shared by the Government — to make headway against the very difficult financial and economic problems that we have. I can see it written on the faces of the gentlemen opposite. This is another manifestation——

Mr. Cowen

You did not give me a chance——

—— of this cold robot who thinks about the finances and the economy but they would ask themselves, because it would tax them too much to do it: why is any politician, Minister or Government concerned with the financial background to our economy? And I use all the technical words — for one simple reason: if we are going to do the kind of things for our people that we want to do, it requires us first to make available the resources and then to use them wisely to meet their needs. The empty formula that criticises people for talking in those terms is one which says nothing at all but the latest little bit of pressure that comes at the parish pump and reacts to it immediately, runs off like a headless chicken trying to find the way of doing something for those people——

There were some headless chickens last week.

—— because they might not like me next week if I do not have an answer to it, that is no way to run an Opposition let alone a Government. We brought our economic policies before this House repeatedly. I have had the privilege of introducing budgets into this House in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986. Each one of them without exception has been endorsed by this House and I am proud of that.

You have five minutes.

That is impossible.

You have until 2.17 p.m.

Deputy Cowen was still speaking at——

He spoke until 1.47.

My goodness how time flies. We published a national plan in October of 1984 and it has been repeatedly endoresed in this House. If I remember correctly we had one special debate and two Private Members' Motions on it. On each occasion the Opposition failed miserably to put forward any alternative. I said on each occasion that I would be perfectly open to real proposals that offer an alternative to the way the Government were going about it that could stand up, could work, and could bring about the results for people that we want to bring about.

They have not done that once because the Opposition believes in what I call the menu system of Government. You look at all the things you would like to do and say, yes we would like all that. You look at the things that require to be done in order to make it possible to bring about those results and say, oh God no, we do not like any of that, so we cannot do it. If there is any immobility in this House surely it is on the Opposition benches. The record is there. Deputy Haughey, leader of Fianna Fáil, achieved, not for the first time in his life but for the first time constructively, a certain noteriety and fame in December 1979 after he had brought about a re-shuffle in the benches of that party. I use the word "notoriety" in its classic dictionary definition in case anybody thinks I am being insulting to anybody.

He achieved this renown by going on television in January 1980 to describe the economic situation and the kind of approach that was required to deal with it. He then spent the next 18 months doing nothing about it. Even though they had a large majority in the House in June 1981 and could have been assured of putting through any policy changes that they wanted during the preceding 18 months, if they had the nerve to do it, they ran away because the Leader of the Opposition wanted to get a personal mandate to do something that the people had told him they wanted him to do. That is no way to govern. How in God's name can a party that still has that man at its head even pretend to say that it has no confidence in a Government that is doing the job and that is actually making the decisions, explaining them and showing how they conform to our requirements. I will give a few instances.

When I became Minister for Finance at the end of 1982, one of the first jobs this Government had to do — and we did it in 1983 and worked very hard at it — was to improve the credit rating of this country so that while we were getting our financial problems under control we could fund the programmes that were required. We did that extremely well even though I say so myself. We have restored the creditworthiness of this country. To give him his due, my then predecessor in that office publicly said after he had left the office of the Minister for Finance, that the biggest problem I was going to have was in regaining creditworthiness. I took him at his word. It was sticking out a mile anyway. As regards our expenditure policy, the Opposition have consistently opposed any changes in expenditure and have consistently demanded that taxation be reduced so that by willing the end they do not will the means. That is not what politics is about. That is not what government is about. This country is quite fortunate that the gentlemen are in Opposition. They are not even an Opposition because they have not been in Opposition down through that period.

You have 30 seconds.

Thank you. I know you will allow me five or six seconds of latitude since you are not the kind of precise robot that people say I am. I should like to conclude by referring again to the collective system of our Government. I want to make this very clear lest there be any misunderstanding on the benches opposite. It has been my privilege to serve under our Taoiseach for just over three years as Minister for Finance. I will regard it as a privilege to serve under that same Taoiseach as Minister for Justice for whatever period is left in this Government's term of office. I will do it quite happily because (a) I believe in the collective responsibility of Government; (b) I have every confidence in all of my colleagues, every one of them members of Government who are able and dedicated people; and (c) I would not like to finish without making the point that the backbenchers of the Government parties are people who understand what the process of Government is about, who understand that it requires us to make up our minds to make choices and who understand what it is to explain and to debate those choices in this House in a way that far too many people on the other side of the House seem to have forgotten.

The ministerial speeches in this debate, with the exception of Deputy Dukes just now, I freely acknowledge, have reached a new low in acriminious rancour. I have never seen this House brought into such disrepute as it was when I listened to the Tánaiste and other Ministers here yesterday and earlier today. The papers took note of that fact today and rightly so. I was glad to hear Deputy Dukes talking on the aspects of principle in this matter. I should like to concentrate on these aspects as well.

The first aspect to which I had intended to refer — and to which he devoted some time — is the matter of collective responsibility. That of course is the essence of parliamentary Government. You cannot have any functioning system of parliamentary Government unless the decisions taken by Ministers are backed by the Taoiseach in particular and all other colleague Ministers of the Minister concerned.

Let us examine what happened to Deputy Dukes as Minister for Finance who had introduced a budget which was obviously considered in great detail at a number of Cabinet meetings. It would have to be because it is the single most important business of the Government each year. Various decisions have been made under the chairmanship of the Taoiseach and delivered and implemented here by the chosen Minister, the Minister for Finance. We see that principle of collective responsibility, in which the Taoiseach himself has participated, flouted, broken and disregarded in the firing of a Minister for Finance before the ink was dry on his budget presentation. That is the thanks he got from his own Taoiseach for implementing a collective Government policy.

Secondly, there was the same flouting of collective Government authority in regard to Deputy Hussey who, as Minister for Education, was implementing Government policy, presumably with the authority of the Government, in regard to Carysfort College and in regard to her dispute with the teachers' organisations. I presume Deputy Hussey at all stages was acting with the authority of the Taoiseach and her colleagues as part of a collective Government. She was treated in the same shabby way as Deputy Dukes. An attempt was made to treat Deputy Desmond in the same way — who resisted the pressure to be fired — for hospital closures, a policy which was obviously a result of collective Government decisions duly recorded and duly made. As part of another party within the Government, he was in a stronger position presumably to resist the pressure of the Taoiseach. He stayed put and that has undermined the Taoiseach's own authority and the office of Taoiseach.

Our motion of no confidence is concerned with the fitness of this Taoiseach to continue in the office of Taoiseach by reason of that sort of extraordinary behaviour over a long period, but which we witnessed at its worst last week. It was further compounded by the same Taoiseach when two of his own Fine Gael junior Ministers who he alleged had resigned and said so in this House and on television to the whole Irish nation last week, called him in quite blunt terms a liar. I am not using that as my terminology. It is the terminology that was used by Deputies Creed and D'Arcy in regard to their party leader, the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach has branded himself both in this House and on television before the whole Irish nation as delivering untruths in regard to the manner of departure of Deputies D'Arcy and Creed.

These events demonstrate the basic incapacity of the Taoiseach to lead and the Government to govern. The fundamental task of any Taoiseach, any Prime Minister, or elected leader in any country is to arrange and rearrange his Government and Ministers as he sees fit from time to time. What happened last week was that in addition, according to Deputies Creed and D'Arcy, to telling lies about the matter he demonstrated his complete incapacity to perform the basic job of Taoiseach to arrange and rearrange his team of Ministers as he saw fit. It is quite clear that his original intentions were flouted and frustrated. He wound up making changes which he had not originally intended. It is now quite clear that he had intended to move Deputy Desmond out of the Department of Health and he failed to do so. It is now quite clear that he had intended to move Deputy Hussey into a Department of European Affairs and that he failed to do so. Instead he put her in charge of the Department of Social Welfare which on its own is a meaningless ministry concerned only with the annual allocation of social welfare funds and nothing else in the way of policy input.

Deputy Dukes, of course, was moved in a total unprecedented flouting of collective Cabinet responsibility. Apparently as an imperative he had to be moved. Whether or not it was intended that he should be moved to the Department of Justice initially I do not know. It was imperative that he should be moved in order to sustain a situation which the Taoiseach was finding untenable by reason of the opinion polls but in which he had participated at numerous Government meetings over the months prior to the delivery and presentation of the budget in this House.

There should be intimate and close examination of each Department's Estimates over a period of some months, presided over by the Taoiseach. This whole process had been under way since last September or October. The Taoiseach was the main participant in that process which eventually resulted in his own Minister for Finance producing a budget. While the budget debate was going on in this House that Minister was forced to depart apparently anywhere just to get him out of the way because there was a panic over the opinion polls.

We are not a bit afraid of this new splinter group who have emerged. The Taoiseach appears to get panic stricken just because an opinion poll gives them a few percentage points ahead of his own party. Has the man taken leave of his senses? It is imperative and a real test for the Taoiseach and Leader of a Government above all else — apart from what I said earlier about the capacity to arrange and to rearrange Ministers — to resist panic, to stand firm and not to run scared like a headless chicken when something untoward happens. In other words he should keep his head, behave in a sensible and rational manner and proceed with the business of running and governing the country. But because these opinion polls appear to place this new splinter group in a position to which they will not be entitled whenever the general election comes around, the Taoiseach runs scared, gets into a panic and proceeds to wield the knife right, left and centre like a headless chicken spattering blood all over the place. To make it even worse the blood is not spattered where he originally intended it. That is not good enough. That is the sort of situation that brings politics, the parliamentary system, democracy and Government into disrepute. I am not talking in any subjective terminology. I am talking objectively and trying to look at the matter as clinically as possible. The Taoiseach has demeaned the office of Taoiseach. What is serious is that the integrity of the office of Taoiseach has been severely and seriously jeopardised by his actions last week. The authority of the present office holder has been irretrievably impaired. The public see it precisely in that light.

This downward swing which is inevitably taking place in regard to the respect and confidence in the political system has led to a crisis of political leadership in our community at present. In case people think there is no connection between this aspect, our motion and the economic and social development of our community, I want to say that there is a very real connection and that our future social and economic development depends fundamentally on confidence in the political system. Political leadership and will are directly related to investment and employment. Sometimes that tends to be forgotten. The two are inextricably linked.

If there is no confidence in the political system, if there is no confidence in political leadership, if the authority of the leader of the country is undermined by his own actions and eroded as far as public respect is concerned, that affects investment. People from abroad with money and people with money here stand back from investment in the extension or expansion of enterprises. There is a direct co-relationship between confidence in the political system, confidence in the economic and financial systems and confidence in the economic and financial institutions. Unless the leadership and the lead come from the political head within any community, you will not get the follow through that is required on the economic and social side. It is clear at present that we are not getting the investment we urgently need because of a total absence of confidence in the political leadership which has been further seriously damaged by the events of last week.

The investment rate is only about 50 per cent of what is required to absorb our people, particularly our young people, in gainful employment. We want a massive increase in public and private investment both in terms of investment at home and investment from abroad at home. We want the State's policies geared to that, but we will not get that as long as the political leadership appears to be giddy, uncertain and insecure. That is the way it appeared to be. That is the way it was last week to any of us who are participants in the scene. The investment climate on which we depend for further employment has been seriously damaged already by the failure of the Government's economic and financial policies and has been aggravated substantially by the spectacle of fumbling political leadership.

From inquiries I made in banking and investment areas there is a switch off in investment interest and the events of last week have exacerbated that situation to a very serious degree. It is elementary that this country's economic recovery will not take place until and unless there is a change in political leadership and direction. The fact of the present political situation is that Fianna Fáil alone can provide this sort of leadership and guarantee the stability that is required for investment because Fianna Fáil are the only political party who can guarantee a very real prospect of governing as a single party. That is the only way the stability that is required in our society today can be guaranteed.

There is a psychological malaise or weakness in our society at present which is blocking progress in every direction and which can only be unblocked by positive political leadership supported by a single party majority in this House. If we ever saw the weaknesses inherent in the Coalition-type Government, we saw them last week because undoubtedly the problems I have mentioned, and which the Taoiseach failed to square up to, were compounded by the fact that he had no control at all in the last analysis over one of the partners in the Coalition. The fact that he did not have control over the junior partner in the Coalition — the Labour Party — apart from his own emotional instability and uncertain insecure temperament, further compounded the problem and frustrated his objective to rearrange his team in Government as he saw fit.

What do we have this week as a response from the Taoiseach? Our motion is in regard to the Taoiseach. It is a vote of no confidence in the ultimate authority here, the Taoiseach, the present holder of that office. It is in that context that our vote of no confidence exists. What has been the response of the Taoiseach this week to the mess he created almost entirely by himself? That mess, he decided, was best left there and forgotten about, and his response was to fly off to London to look at his wax image in Madame Tussaud's. I do not know what is to be gained by that or whether we would do better with the wax image here and the Taoiseach in Madame Tussaud's. At any rate, that was the response and that is the perception by the Irish people of his response to a very serious mess created by him.

Furthermore and more serious in order to show that it was not alone to see his wax image that he went there, he met the British Prime Minister and decided to offer his signature to a European Convention on the Supression of Terrorism which had been ruled out by his own Minister for Foreign Affairs three weeks ago. The headline on 30 January read: "Early signing of extraditon pact ruled out" by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Peter Barry. That was just three weeks ago. Apparently against the advice of his own Minister for Foreign Affairs, against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and in order to show that he was in some way exercising some functions somewhere, he agreed with the British Prime Minister to sign the convention. We know nothing about the details. We do not know what we are agreeing to. Apparently it is being signed without any corresponding improvement in the courts in Northern Ireland, in security, in dealing with informers, supergrass trials, or the whole system of corrupt practices that exist in Northern Ireland, which were supposed to be the main purpose of the Inter-Governmental Conference. None of these are being examined or looked into and we have agreed to sign this convention in advance of the settlement of all these issues, and agreed to hand over people apprehended here to the tender mercies of the system which we deplore and rightly regard as reprehensible. That was the thinking behind the Minister for Foreign Affairs three weeks ago when he ruled out any early signing of an extradition pact with Britain, or anything of this kind, without having the overall context of security, the courts and the police forces examined in detail and agreed upon as being run in a reasonably civilised way to justify having any extradition or other arrangements with them. That has always been the policy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and all parties in this State until apparently as a diversion from Madame Tussaud's this week, the Taoiseach over lunch in the House of Commons agreed to sign this agreement with the British Prime Minister. It is all wrong. It is bringing this country into very serious disrepute. It is not leadership; it is the negation of leadership.

In this House today and yesterday we have seen Ministers bluster, engage in personality attacks on our party leader and generally adopt an attitude of irresponsibility towards this whole matter. I exempt Minister Dukes to some extent from this. I listened to this debate, either here or on the monitor, and Minister Dukes did at least make some attempt to address himself to the problems. Other Ministers engaged in irresponsible hectoring and irresponsible personal abuse. I have tried to refrain from indulging in this during this debate because what we are talking about is not Deputy FitzGerald as Taoiseach; we are talking about Deputy FitzGerald holding the office of Taoiseach. We are not talking about Deputy FitzGerald the man, but as officeholder of the most important political job in this country, the job that is central and fundamental to the operation of democracy. We are talking about the officeholder at the present time.

We in Fianna Fáil feel that he has demonstrated fully, particularly in the last week, his gross unfitness to hold that position. That has been our case as presented yesterday by our party leader and reiterated by various Fianna Fáil speakers. Nobody has attempted to rebut our case in any way. That is extraordinary. The only response from the Government benches has been one of invective. There has been no attempt to deal on the merits, not just with the allegations but with——

The operative word is "allegations".

——the substantial facts which we have presented.

The word is "unsubstantiated."

Order, please.

I rely on Deputy Creed and Deputy D'Arcy as to the manner of their dismissal. I rely on their account of their dismissal which has not been rebutted by any Government speaker.

That matter has been explained.

I rely on the radio account given by the Minister for Health, Deputy Desmond, last week as regards the attempt made to dislodge him from his position as Minister for Health, an attempt which he rejected because he refused to depart. Deputy Desmond spoke here this morning but did not repeat what he said on radio last week. I do not rely on the man I saw on television last Thursday night who blatantly told not just one untruth but a series of untruths.

The Deputy will widhdraw that.

It's a quotation and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle——

The Deputy has implied that a Member of this House was telling a blatant untruth. There has been a fairly liberal approach to this debate, but not that liberal.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle rightly allowed me in quoting Deputy D'Arcy and Deputy Creed use that word. What I am saying does not flow from my assessment of the matter, but from what they had to say about it. I am relying on their assessment.

The Deputy must not imply that another Member of the House is telling an untruth.

I will put it more politely. The Minister seriously misdirected himself and misled the House and the people when speaking on television. Deputy Creed and Deputy D'Arcy put this matter more bluntly and I rely on their assessment because they were closer to the Taoiseach than I am, and closer than I ever wish to be because people who behave in that manner are not fit not alone to be Taoiseach but they are not fit to be members of a respected Irish Parliament.

Listening to Deputy Lenihan one would almost believe he was sincere in what he was saying. At this stage I find it difficult even to recall any fact he mentioned. He issued a series of clichés with little substance. He has come forward with some rare jewels. He said he has never seen this House brought into such disrepute. I find that rather amusing. I remember in 1969-70, this House, this country and the Government, were brought into the greatest disrepute when senior Government Ministers had to be sacked by the then Taoiseach. Deputy Lenihan has the audacity to come here today making such a statement when his own party brought this country into the most appalling disrepute some 15 or 16 years ago.

They were sacked by the President; they refused to go for the Taoiseach.

Some of the statements made here have been appalling.

The Deputy is in good voice once again.

I do not want any interruptions. I have to give a hearing to everybody in the House and unless I get co-operation, that will not be possible.

This debate is a waste of time and perhaps it brings the House into disrepute in that the public are now viewing us with more cynicism than ever. They would like to know why we spend two valuable days of Dáil time speaking on motions such as this, when it would be far better for us to deal with the important legislation before the House. The Opposition were irresponsible to introduce this motion. There is need for real reform in the procedure of this House so that this sort of thing will not recur in the future.

Deputy Lenihan suggested that Deputy FitzGerald is not fit to be Taoiseach. In suggesting that, I presume he is suggesting his leader as the alternative. Will the House consider if it is more fitting to have a Taoiseach such as Deputy Haughey who in 1981 presided over an inflation rate of 20 per cent? This year inflation is down to 4 per cent. Is it preferable to have inflation at 20 per cent or at 4 per cent? In 1981 we continually heard of rising prices but we now hear nothing about that because inflation has been substantially reduced and prices are in line with wage increases. In 1981 borrowing was at 20 per cent of GNP and today it is 14 per cent. Do the Opposition suggest that 20 per cent borrowing and 20 per cent inflation are preferable to 14 per cent borrowing and 4 per cent inflation? The people are very fortunate to have had this Government for the past three years.

Deputy Lenihan talked about the spectacle of fumbling political leadership. The Deputy should look to his own party and their leadership. It might reveal some interesting facts. Last weekend the Leader of the Opposition at a selection convention in Clondalkin attacked the formation of small political parties as not being in the interests of the country and I understand he was referring to the formation of the Progressive Democrats. Would Deputy Haughey not ask himself why the Progressive Democrats were formed? Everyone knows that if Deputy C. J. Haughey were not the leader of Fianna Fáil, we would not have the Progressive Democrats today. Some very senior members of Fianna Fáil could no longer tolerate the situation there because the party operated like a dictatorship and free speech and freedom of opinion were not allowed. Through a varying series of circumstances these people were forced out of the party and some left, and the result was the Progressive Democrats. Deputy Haughey can take full responsibility for the formation of that party.

Up to last November Fianna Fáil relied on their Republicanism and the Northern issue to survive. Last November the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed and the world recognised that as a substantial agreement in the interests of the Nationalist community in Northern Ireland. However, we got total opposition from Fianna Fáil to that fine agreement, based on the fact that this Government had achieved an historic agreement. Fianna Fáil argued that it would infringe our sovereignty. That is rather amusing because they were the party who in 1972 fought very hard for us to get into the EC, without raising the question of loss of sovereignty. When it came to signing an agreement which would improve the lot of the Nationalist community in the North they were prepared to talk about sovereignty. They also claimed that the agreement was unconstitutional, but they did not back up that claim. They took a very irresponsible position in relation to this. It is extraordinary that 75 per cent of the people are in full support of the agreement. Fianna Fáil are completely out of step; they are literally sitting on the fence as this fine agreement is being implemented and is being seen to be very effective.

Was it under a Fianna Fáil administration that Irish Ministers went into Northern Ireland to take part in the affairs of Northern Ireland? No, it was under a Fine Gael-Labour Coalition Government. The people realise the fine work done there. This Government realise that flag flying and drum beating does not achieve anything. Over the years that basically is what Fianna Fáil have been doing, waving the green flag and issuing major speeches full of idle rhetoric but without substance and achieving nothing of interest to the Nationalist cause. Under this Taoiseach major work has been done in that area and the Leader of the Opposition would not have been capable of achieving what he has achieved. Fianna Fáil present themselves now as the clean honest lily white party, but everyone knows what they are made of. Everybody knows the type of Government they have given the country over the last 15 years. They know the serious situation in which the country was left in which we would have had the International Monetary Fund managing our affairs, if it had continued much longer, rather than a democratically elected Government.

Opposition speaker after speaker has spoken on this motion. Deputy Cowen suggested a new radical appraisal of the situation but did not explain what he meant. The Deputy did not have any idea as to what the new radical appraisal should be.

The Deputy has two minutes left.

That sort of thing is all we have had from the Opposition. This Government have done tremendous work and the people appreciate it. Last October the Government introduced the home improvement grants scheme which has been taken up throughout the country. I compliment the Minister for the Environment and his Department and officials for implementing a very fine scheme and getting the inspections over very quickly. In the Department of Health there is a real direction towards community care and an emphasis on preventive medicine. In the semi-State bodies sector, belts have been tightened and for two years now there has been a reduction in losses rather than an escalation as had been the case over the previous 15 years. In tourism the budget has reduced VAT which has made things very attractive for the tourist industry.

I put it to the House and to the Ceann Comhairle that this Government under the leadership of the Taoiseach has dealt with the practicalities and the problems that have confronted us in a very positive way. The Opposition have made attempts to convey that our Taoiseach is a fumbling political leader with two odd shoes, but is it not better to have a Taoiseach walking a straight line with two odd shoes than to have a Taoiseach with well polished shoes walking around in circles not knowing where he is going? This Taoiseach has a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, which cannot be said about the Opposition. The Opposition can see only one thing, getting into power.

You just want to stay there.

Once in power, they are paralysed. I ask Deputy O'Rourke to cast her mind back to an issue of Magill Magazine of some time ago on the front cover of which was a picture of Deputy Charles J. Haughey in a straitjacket and the heading was “Paralysed by Indecision”. That cannot be said about this Government. If there is one thing this Government do it is make decisions. They are not paralysed by indecision. The Government have achieved much over the last few years and I am happy that over the next 19 months we will continue to make further fine achievements under our Taoiseach, Deputy Garret FitzGerald.

I do not think the remarks of the last speaker on the Government benches warrant any reply. In the brief time available to me I should like to refer to the Government's programme over the last three years and the fact that they achieved nothing over those years except hardship for the people. I want to refer to the reshuffle of last week. This was the public manifestation of the disagreements and disputes which have been a permanent feature of this administration since they took office at the end of 1982. Most of this wrangling which has been taking place behind closed doors has been hushed up and concealed from the public except that the media were able to obtain knowledge of some of the discussions behind these closed doors. Two Deputies were sacked last week and we must thank these Deputies for their integrity because otherwise we would not have been aware that the Taoiseach misled the House here last Thursday. Were it not for the fact that those people over the weekend stated that the Taoiseach told untruths here in the House last Thursday evening we would not have the opportunity and possibly would not have found it necessary to discuss this most important motion of no confidence in this Taoiseach and his Government.

It is common knowledge that this administration have been at loggerheads since their foundation in 1982, as is evident from the complete lack of action from this Cabinet on the major economic, financial and other issues which the country has faced in the last few years. I want to look at the general election period of 1982 when Fianna Fáil were defeated simply because the public felt we were borrowing too much money and that the budget deficit was too great. We must look at the simple, basic facts.

This Government came into power in 1982 because they indicated to the Irish people that the budget deficit would be reduced over a four year period from £860 million to nil. They indicated that the debt which at that time was £12 billion would be reduced prior to the general election in 1986 or 1987. They said that they could stem the problem of the increasing unemployment figure which was 170,000 at that time. The figures for this year show an increase from £860 million budget deficit to £1,215 million. The only record which this Government hold is this record of the highest budget deficit ever and the highest debt ever in the history of this State, an increase from £12 billion to a staggering almost £21 billion, increasing at the rate of £2 billion each year. This Government have spent more money in the last 12 months than the previous three Fianna Fáil Governments spent altogether. What have they achieved? A reduction in inflation from 20 per cent — 40 per cent was referred to by the last speaker on the Government benches — at what cost to the people? At a cost of 80,000 jobs, an increase in unemployment from 170,000 to almost a quarter of a million unemployed, not to mention the thousands of people leaving the country and particularly the western seaboard to find employment in other parts of the world. That is the price we have to pay. Deputies should remember that when Fianna Fáil were in power from 1977 to 1981 we provided 70,000 extra jobs, and the Government come in here today and try to take credit for it.

This motion of confidence should be based on the performance in relation to the budget deficit, the debt, unemployment and the Taoiseach's fumbling reshuffle last week and telling untruths to this House. Fianna Fáil were defeated at the last election although they were acknowledged to be pursuing the right policies and implementing them. This disastrous Coalition Government have achieved nothing but hardship for the people. Millions of pounds are flowing out of this country after every budget particularly since the last budget. Look at the cutbacks in the Department of Health and the closure of hospitals. We have a reduction in free fuel. Fewer people are able to avail of home help. Medical cards have been reduced. This is all under this Coalition Government. Those on social welfare receive a meagre increase of 4.5 per cent which does not come into effect in April as it would normally. Last year's increase came into effect on 1 July, but this year the Government stole another two weeks and it does not come into effect until the middle of July. Regarding industry, the grant aid to the IDA and to Údarás na Gaeltachta has been cut. We have less investment in rural areas and we have longer dole queues.

Harbour development is absolutely necessary if we are to provide more productive jobs in the fishing industry, but harbour development has been cut back. No finance is available for the larger boats which can operate off the Scottish coast and possibly off the American coast next year. The only development there is that we are ensuring that those responsible for looking after the interests of British fishermen are pulling our fishermen in and hindering development in this country.

The Government refer to the advantages which the PAYE taxpayer obtained as a result of the recent budget. The bottom line is that the Government will claw back a further £121 million by way of tax at the end of this year. That is what the PAYE taxpayers have obtained after this budget which was supposed to assist them. The Government's joint programme was a failure and I do not intend to waste time discussing it. All, including the Government, acknowledge that it was a joint failure. Remember the lavish launching of Building on Reality 1985-1987 at Iveagh House to which all the industrialists in the country were summoned? The same industrialists, who have money to invest in this country, are not prepared to invest it. They have no confidence. The Government have not created the right atmosphere to invest here, therefore there will be no investment by those people until Fianna Fáil resume office, in the next 12 months it is to be hoped, and create the atmosphere necessary for investment and subsequently provide jobs for the 250,000 unemployed, not including the many people emigrating.

The Taoiseach in London recently announced in the House of Commons in Westminster that we would in the near future sign the European Convention on Terrorism. There was no announcement on that in this country or in the Dáil. That was an insult to the Members of this House and to the people. There was no debate whatsoever, and it would appear that this signing was but a formality and would have no repercussions on the people of the Six Counties and the Twenty-six Counties.

After the recent budget this Government allowed and continued to allow speculation of the IR£ with the EMS and the consequence of that is millions of pounds flowing from this country into the UK, Europe and elsewhere. The Government have made no statement to stem the outflow of this money and uncertainty exists about it; yet during those crucial days the Taoiseach saw fit to go to Paris. While we had a money crisis here he was not prepared to stay here and make the announcement and try to convince the people that this was not necessary.

I must refer to the agricultural problems and the unsatisfactory response of the Government and the Minister for Agriculture to the crisis in the harvest, with the problems of high cost which were facing the farmers. We must also remember the serious difficulties created by the super-levy fiasco. That was the time for the Taoiseach to ensure that one of his Ministers was sacked and reshuffle the Government.

Shame on the Deputy. It was a disaster and he knows that well.

I want to refer briefly to the statements made by the former junior Ministers over the weekend. If it had not been for those, the Taoiseach would not have advised the Dáil that he had misled us. This is the Taoiseach that the public in the past had seen as whiter than white, lily white, the Taoiseach who did not give the statement off the cuff, off the top of his head, but had it by way of statement before this House on that day.

On the question of education, what a time to move a Minister for Education who had been there for a number of years. Not alone have we the problem of Carysfort, but of the reorganisation of second level education throughout the country and the Green Paper. The entire second level structure has been threatened. Those interested got a brief period to respond. We must respond before the end of this month and we have been promised legislation before December 1986.

This reshuffle announcement by the Taoiseach last Thursday was to protect individuals in his own party and to protect his own party. The Taoiseach must, for once, put this country before his own party and its members.

Look at the lad who is talking.

This reshuffle took place after the opinion polls. The Taoiseach must acknowledge that only 27 per cent of the electorate have supported the Government and their policies. It is time for the Taoiseach to call it a day, to resign, to dissolve the Dáil and give the Irish people an opportunity to elect a Government which will be more able to ensure a better atmosphere for investment and for job creation.

The Deputy did not read the poll. Of the electorate, 42 per cent would not elect his party.

A Deputy

Careful now, John.

The Minister for Health——

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Farrelly, please. The Deputy must cease interrupting.

——was not prepared to move when the Taoiseach wanted him to move. He has undermined the authority and credibility of the Taoiseach as Head of the Government. How can he govern if he continues to be dictated to by members of his Government?

The £25 million reduction in the public capital programme will have serious effects on industry and on job creation. A number of Government speakers have supported this motion. It is interesting to note the contribution of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in that he did not try to support the Taoiseach in any way. He made a broad, general statement and very few of the Ministers and Government Deputies were prepared to support the Taoiseach. This Government must go to the country and allow Fianna Fáil, on the return to office, to cure the disease of cynicism and restore confidence. We are the only real alternative and we can present a cohesive, united front that will tackle the problems facing the economy in a forward looking way with vision and confidence.

I want to refer briefly to the amendment in the name of Deputy O'Malley which goes as follows:

To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and to substitute therefor: "notes the Taoiseach's loss of authority within the Government and in the country and regrets the resultant further loss of confidence in the Government's ability to cope with the serious economic, financial and social problems facing the country."

It is extremely odd that a man with ten to 15 years' experience as a Minister could formulate an amendment such as that. I do not think that it warrants any further discussion. However, it is difficult to understand how a man of his experience would table such a motion.

He was talking about the party that he was in.

I believe that the Taoiseach lost control of the Government last week. The people have lost confidence in the Government and the only honourable thing for the Taoiseach to do with regard to the present dilemma is for him and his Government to resign so that we can have a general election in the near future.

The Taoiseach to conclude the debate.

The job of the politician is, in part at least, to convince people of the need for difficult measures and then lead them to accept their necessity. It is his job to confront issues, not to dodge them. It is the job of the politician to mould a future that has hope, and in the process, to reflect and magnify the best of what we are as a people. It is not his job to posture when the real need is for practical policies.

As an individual in politics I am committed to addressing the realities in this nation and, most of all, the fundamental reality of our need to adapt to change. Under my leadership, so is this Government. I have never believed in the virtue of doing nothing for its own sake. I recognise of course, and have always recognised, that when faced with the choice between doing something and doing nothing, the arguments for doing nothing are attractive. I rejected this approach, however, in relation to the problem of Northern Ireland and I believe that I was right to do so. I rejected it also in relation to the question of the structure of my Government, and despite the furore that has surrounded this event, I make no apology for acting as I did.

Members of the House and the people of the country are now very aware that our country is going through a period of great difficulty which is testing our national fibre and morale as they have not been tested for many years. This is a test also of the fibre and morale of the Government and of its leadership. It has been my view for some months that the time has been right to change the Government team, to redeploy some of the dedicated and committed members of which it is composed. For it is the prerogative and, indeed, the duty of a Taoiseach occasionally to reorganise the Government and to change or redeploy the members of his Cabinet in order better to advance the Government's overall policies and objectives.

There are two reasons why I have felt — and have in the past made it quite clear that I have felt — that one should not shrink from changes in the portfolios of Ministers during the lifetime of a Government. I recognise, of course, that if there is a team not notable for outstanding talents, then it might not matter very much where they serve or whether they continue to remain in one office for a long period of time.

But if you have a team of people of outstanding ability — and that I have, thank God — people of imagination and drive, of commitment and courage, I believe that the best value can be got from such a team by redeploying as many of them as possible at intervals. In this way they may gain wider experience of different Departments, but also, and more important, by being faced with new challenges in different Departments, Ministers' qualities of imagination and drive can be stimulated, with very positive results.

I leave aside the argument that even Ministers of ability can over a period of time tend to identify unduly strongly with a Department in which they have spent a number of years. There is some truth in that and it is a fact not to be ignored. But much more important is the way in which an able team, when moved to new positions, can react to the stimulus of a new challenge and bring to bear on the problems facing the various Departments — and today these problems are multifarious — a fresh approach. These points of view on the question of ministerial office are ones which I have held for many years, having observed Irish political life, first from the outside and latterly, over the last two decades, from the inside.

There is another consideration which has presented itself forcibly to my mind during the past few years, since this country was subjected to an economic crisis by the mismanagement of Fianna Fáil in the years after 1977. This relates to the problem created for individual Ministers who have to implement in those circumstances very difficult and unpopular Government decisions in their Departments, in trying to cope with a crisis of the present magnitude. In the circumstances of this country at any rate, such Ministers can damage their political reputation as a result of being personally identified with necessarily unpopular decisions which are, in fact, collective decisions of the Government as a whole. They are often personally vilified, both by the Opposition and by the less politically serious sections of the media, as if they were individually responsible for decisions which are of their nature collective.

I think it would be totally contrary to the interests of our democratic system if this recent tendency to personalise Government actions were allowed to damage the political careers and electoral prospects of Ministers carrying out Government policies loyally, and with courage, in their own particular areas. I owe it as a duty to those of my colleagues who find themselves in this kind of position to ensure that their services to the country, so willingly and generously given, are not put at risk by me, through leaving them to endure such a task to the point where their future electoral prospects, and thus their political careers, could be quite unjustly affected.

It was a combination of these different considerations that led me to the conclusion in the late autumn of last year that it would be appropriate to make certain changes in the structure of the Government. There was no secret about this — as is true of so much else in Irish politics. In some mysterious way the media divined my intentions and wrote extensively on the subject during the latter months of the year.

But the way in which the Anglo-Irish negotiations continued on into the second half of November, well beyond the point where I had originally expected that they would reach a conclusion one way or the other, made it impossible to give effect to these plans at the time when I had originally intended to do so and when I had indeed discussed with and outlined to the Tánaiste my intentions in that regard. By the time the agreement was signed the process of preparations for the budget was so far advanced that I could not properly interrupt it by effecting changes in the Government at that time. I had no choice but to leave the matter over until after the budget, and I so informed the Tánaiste.

When in the aftermath of the budget I decided that the moment had come to act, I thought it courteous to inform my colleagues of the Parliamentary Party, and the Tánaiste informed his colleagues in the Labour Party. For I knew that once I began to undertake this operation, even were it to be carried out in less than 24 hours as was in fact achieved, leaks about proposed changes would certainly reach party members during the hours immediately following these two meetings, and they could reasonably have felt aggrieved that I had not notified them of a process which had already been initiated at the time when these party meetings were taking place. One of the people whom I felt might be adversely affected because of the committed and energetic way in which he was carrying out the Government policies was the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Deputy Barry Desmond. Even by the standards of what must be the hardest-working Government since the early days of the State, the Minister for Health is an extraordinarily energetic and committed Minister, who works in his Department sometimes seven days a week, and has a complete mastery of the very complex issues involved. I have the most profound admiration for his work as a Minister, as indeed do all his Cabinet colleagues.

But he was given one of the most difficult of Government tasks in his health portfolio — that of restraining the growth of expenditure in an area where, under the previous Government, it had been allowed to expand immensely rapidly to a scale that is simply not tolerable or acceptable to the taxpayer or to the community as a whole. Pursuing the task of bringing health expenditure under control, the Minister for Health incurred considerable unpopularity even before he had to undertake the closure of several hospitals decided upon by the Government as part of its decisions in the preparation of the budget.

I, therefore, felt that before deciding on the final shape of the changes that I intended to undertake — and I had several different models in view at that time — I should broach with him the question of his continuance in charge of the Department of Health. I did this in full consultation with the Tánaiste, who shared my concern about the position in which Deputy Desmond found himself in terms of personal vilification for his actions in implementing Government policy.

On the night of Wednesday week last I pressed on Deputy Desmond the desirability from his own point of view of a change to a different post, and I make no secret of the fact that I pressed him quite hard on this point. I needed to know his reaction before proceeding to take actual decisions on Thursday on the final shape of the changes I intended to make, but he asked that he be given a chance to consider the position, overnight, and I agreed. The following morning he confirmed to me that he would prefer to remain where he was, even though he recognised the electoral risks he was running in doing so.

I had also been considering the question of how it might be possible for the next 18 months to lighten the load of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, whose responsibilities in respect of Northern Ireland have now become so heavy following the signature of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I came to the conclusion however on Thursday morning that, given the technical obstacles to dividing the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs between two Cabinet Ministers without dividing the Department itself — a course of action which I considered would be very undesirable — it was not appropriate to proceed along these lines simply in order to resolve a workload problem which is largely a temporary one associated with the early stages of implementing the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Accordingly, I turned to an alternative approach which I had been considering — for there is no single "best" answer to the optimal deployment of ministerial talent; there are nearly always several options of equal validity.

At lunchtime on Thursday, however, I decided on the final composition of the Cabinet in its new form and subsequently notified all Ministers of my decision. I should add that having made that decision if any Minister at that point had rejected the changes that I proposed I would not have been deterred from the course of action upon which I had decided, even if this had meant replacing a Minister with someone outside the Cabinet. The Tánaiste and his Deputy Leader, as well as the Deputy Leader of my party, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, were aware of the finality of this decision on my part, and can testify to it.

I recognise that it is not customary to go into this degree of detail in respect of changes made in the composition of a Government, but in view of the allegations that have been made and the confusion that has been created on the subject I felt it right on this occasion that I should present to the Dáil the reasoning and the process that led to the change in the shape of the Government which I effected on Thursday week.

In relation to Junior Ministers, I made it clear at the time of their appointment that in addition to the possibility of changing them to different areas during the lifetime of this administration, I would also intend to effect some changes. These changes would in no way reflect on those involved, but would provide the opportunity for others to gain experience. Moreover, the changes would ensure that those on the backbenches would not come to feel — as the experience of past Governments might very easily lead them to feel — that once a Government team had initially been formed, in which they are not participants, they have no hope of ever securing an opportunity to serve their country in a ministerial position until, and unless, those first appointed drop in their tracks — a long tradition established by Fianna Fáil.

In accordance with the intentions which I had indicated to Ministers of State when I appointed them three years ago, I also replaced two Ministers of State. In informing Deputy Creed and Deputy D'Arcy of my intentions, and in thanking them for the services which they had rendered in their two periods in office, I proceeded on the basis that if they accepted, albeit naturally with relucantance — as they did accept — the decision I was making, they would, in accordance with normal practice, then hand me their resignations from these posts. They understood otherwise. I have already expressed my regret for having inadvertently misinformed the House on this matter.

My objective in the changes has been to secure the best possible implementation of Government policy and the most effective communication of that Government policy to the people, leading to the regeneration of our national economy, the creation of jobs for our people and the reduction of the oppressive tax burden in the shortest possible time. That reorganisation and redeployment has been effected. The new team is now in place. It is an able, talented, vigorous, dynamic, committed team.

In my view it is one of the finest teams that has ever occupied these benches, and I have no doubt that both as individuals and as a team, my faith and confidence in them will be fully and completely justified.

The doubters, the begrudgers and the cynics are, of course, out in force. Only too well I remember these same legions gathering like vultures after 1984 Chequers Summit with Mrs. Thatcher. The cynics and begrudgers were wrong then. They were totally wrong. I knew they were wrong but because of the critical character of the situation, I held my peace.

In course of time the critics and the begrudgers of November 1984 had to eat their words, as the reality of the achievement of Hillsborough was revealed, and the fortitude and wisdom of my Government's policies became clear. In the fullness of time the cynics and begrudgers will be made to eat their words on this issue also.

The Government team is now in place for the final third of this Government's term in office. Each Minister is in the right portfolio for this new phase. These Ministers performed ably over the past phase, and I have no doubt that, with their renewed enthusiasm and vigour, we can do even better over the next 18 months. Both the Government and I are proud of our achievements and are imbued with an absolute and irrevocable determination to see our policies through to fruition and to go to the people in the next election with a record of achievement — a record of honest endeavour. We shall say to the people "this is what we have done, and this is what we can further do", and I have the greatest confidence in what the people will then decide.

I believe that one of the sadder aspects of these two days of debate has been the demonstration yet again that Fianna Fáil cannot embrace, or even comprehend, change in the context of progress. Apart from de Valera's reshuffle in 1939, required by the outbreak of war, they have never made more than minimal changes during the lifetime of a Government. And they cannot bear to think that we can face change in a way that they cannot.

Of course, few people like change for its own sake. Most of us prefer the pattern of living to which we have become accustomed, and we tend to resent and reject changes in our society. Yet if we do not face change, however unpalatable to us personally, our society will atrophy, and in time disintegrate.

Government today is about planning for change: facing people with such realities as the fact that the world owes us no living, and will give us no free rides; that most people in future are going to have to accept career changes at intervals in their lives, or else face permanent unemployment; that education cannot stop in the late teens or early twenties, but must go on through life; and that whether we like it or not and some of us do not, there will be nowhere to hide from modern technology, its products, and its consequences for society.

My Government have been tackling this problem of getting our society to face changes that are necessary and changes that cannot be avoided. We have wrought profound alterations in the public service, and have secured loyal acceptance of these changes — in the levels of employment in different Departments, in the size of the public service itself, and in opening up new avenues of promotion across the Civil Service, within which sheltered promotion within Departments had previously been the norm. Deputy John Boland has accomplished an immense job here. With the preparation of legislation to give statutory effect to many of these reforms, he can be freed to undertake new tasks in the Department of the Environment, where, with a team of Ministers of State, he will be tackling the revival of the construction industry, the reform of local government, the rebirth of dying inner city areas and the bringing of new community life to burgeoning suburbs, as well as the protection of the environment.

Developing our national resources of fishing and forestry, from which we have never yet secured full advantage, and giving a new impetus to the tourist industry, hitherto somewhat overshadowed by finding itself in a Department dominated by the major sectors, industry and commerce, are tasks that fall to Liam Kavanagh. All of these are areas of responsibility in relation to which he is well-equipped by virtue of his experience in his own county Wicklow, so richly endowed with all these resources, and in respect of the first of them he will now be assisted by Deputy John Donnellan. Deputy Michael Moynihan has transferred with the Tourism responsibility to this Department.

Responsibility for the Gaeltacht remains with Deputy Paddy O'Toole who takes on, however, the additional responsibility of the Defence Forces, the equipment of which on the seas and in the air, as well as on land is being modernised.

This move has released experienced Deputy Pat Cooney to take over the task of carrying to fruition the outstanding innovations and reforms that Deputy Gemma Hussey has initiated in the three most fruitful years of the Department of Education's history. A Fianna Fáil speaker also paid tribute to her in that respect.

Deputy Gemma Hussey herself takes on the task of social welfare reform — proposals for which are about to come from the Social Welfare Commission — and she will also be concerned with tackling problems of absenteeism and abuses of social welfare which cannot be allowed to continue to sap the morale and to undermine the finances of the State.

This move releases Deputy Barry Desmond to concentrate his formidable energies single-mindedly on the enormous task of modernising and rationalising our health services, to which he has already dedicated himself so fearlessly.

Deputy Alan Dukes, whose coolness in the face of any problem fits him so admirably for the testing task of control of security, also has a strong commitment to the implementation of the kind of reforming legislation which has been in preparation by Deputy Michael Noonan, and his consistent interest in and balanced judgment in relation to Northern Ireland will be important factors in that other most crucial part of his job — the implementation of the cross-Border security aspects of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Deputy Michael Noonan thus gets the opportunity to deploy his talents in a major economic Department, to which he will bring a new impetus — Industry and Commerce, and where he will be assisted in relation to Commerce and Services by Deputy Eddie Collins, and in relation to the food industry by Deputy Paddy Hegarty, who will also be covering the agricultural aspects of this sector.

Deputy John Bruton, after three fruitful years in that Department, will bring an immense experience of positively orientated policy-making for growth and employment to the Department of Finance, of which he has already had experience during the 1981-82 Government.

The work of the Departments of Labour and the Public Service, already intimately linked in the area of industrial relations is brought together under Deputy Ruairí Quinn, who will have the help of Deputy Jim O'Keeffe in pushing through the public service modernisation policy.

Deputy George Birmingham will replace Deputy Jim O'Keeffe in charge of Development Co-operation, and will be specifically assigned also to European Affairs, thus helping to reduce Deputy Peter Barry's burden, so much increased by virtue of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Finally two of the three new Ministers of State, Deputy Toddy O'Sullivan and Deputy Avril Doyle, have been deployed in such a way as to help Deputy John Boland with the tasks of administration of housing grants and environmental protection respectively. The former is a matter of great current importance, because of the enormous demand for the new home improvement grants which are now starting to give an immense and badly-needed boost to the construction industry.

May I say that like so many of the innovations of this Government, for example the £5,000 grant for people in council houses and the scheme to help unemployed people to get into business on their own, this has been a success beyond even our expectations. We have fairly consistently underestimated the results of our own imaginative actions. This is one of the cases where this is true. We now face a major problem which we will overcome rapidly of coping with the immense volume of demand for the home improvement grants the clearance of which rapidly will give a major impetus to the construction industry.

The area of environmental protection is one of rapidly increasing concern to our people, highlighted in one specific aspect recently by the events at Sellafield. Our people are increasingly alarmed and distressed at pollution of the air and water and at the often ruthless destruction — of the crudest type with personal gain in many cases — of our heritage, and it is an area in which Deputy Doyle will provide a new and very necessary linkage with the Office of Public Works, whose activities are in many of their aspects closely linked with the protection of the environment but which has hitherto operated independently of the Department of the Environment which is concerned with other aspects of the same problem. The linkage here is important, valuable, timely and overdue.

The third new appointee, Deputy Enda Kenny, will take up the work George Birmingham has been doing in promoting our new youth policy, and linking the work of education and training undertaken by two different but closely associated Departments of State.

I want to draw attention too to the promotion of Deputy Seán Barrett as Leader of the House, a job in which he will be responsible not merely for ensuring the steady flow of reforming legislation into the Dáil and Seanad, where they will be guided by the hand of the new Chief Whip but will also, acting as chief of staff to myself, sort out problems between Departments so as to avoid unnecessary discussion in Government. This is a job which he started to undertake some months ago in the time available to him as Chief Whip. The personal respect in which he is held by Members of the Government has made him invaluable in sorting out the departmental difficulties which can take up an unnecessary amount of time in Government and the resolution of which rapidly can speed up the whole process of Government. His departmental responsibility will be in respect of sport.

Deputy Seán Barrett's work as Chief Whip is being taken on by Deputy Fergus O'Brien, who, however, will also be continuing with the job he has launched so effectively of reviving the inner cities, and securing a more balanced development of urban and suburban areas.

The coherence of the changes I have made should be evident from that brief survey of the different appointments and the relationship of individual changes to the pressing needs in our society to be met and dealt with to the fullest extent possible within the next 18 months. It has never been the practice of Fianna Fáil to change Government unless somebody unfortunately drops dead, retires with some illness or as I am reminded is kicked out. They are understandably jealous of a Government which can undertake this kind of change on a radical scale involving both parties.

My Government are working towards an Ireland in which equity before the law and equality of opportunity is sought for every citizen. We have a long way to go before we achieve that and particularly the latter, but we are dedicated to moving in that direction. We are working towards an Ireland in which we have political and financial independence, something we have secured and maintained by virtue of the policies of this Government. If we had not come into office in a timely way in 1981 and again to save the position in November 1982 we would not have had our financial and economic independence. We would have been where Fianna Fáil were about to dump us, in the lap of the IMF.

We are working towards an Ireland in which enterprise is rewarded and in which the disadvantaged are protected. Those two have to be dealt with together. There are people who give such priority to the world of enterprise that it can lead to the neglect of the disadvantaged. So far as my party and this Government are concerned we will not at any time contemplate or accept an imbalance between these two objectives of Government. That has been a characteristic of the different Governments in which my party and the Labour Party have participated over the last 13 years

We are moving towards an Ireland in which there is peace both North and South of the Border. We are also working towards an Ireland in which the values of the young are recognised but the old do not feel estranged. This is difficult. It will not easily be achieved. It is something that Fianna Fáil are quite unwilling to face and to contemplate.

I have no doubt about the difficulties of achieving this. We live in a country that has been brought very rapidly and late in the day into the twentieth century. A country with a huge population of young people whose ideas, approaches, and attitudes differ greatly from those of an older generation. The gap in our country between young and old in values and attitudes is very deep. A primary task of Government must be to seek to bridge that gap and to show an openness to the young, but to do so in a way that is not alienating to the older generation. It is not easy and in facing it the Government will have difficulties. There are those — and there is the entire Fianna Fáil Party to show for it — who prefer to dodge the issue and are happy to rely on the older generation but ignore the problems of the young and offer a face alienating from the point of view of the young generation. A Government provided by such a party could be a very dangerous Government in a society like ours at the present time.

These objectives that I have outlined are achieveable. It is tragic, though, that just at the time when international factors and the age structure of the population are working against us, our hands should be tied in tackling these tasks by the consequences of past extravagance. Our hands are tied because our affairs were grossly mismanaged from 1977 to 1981, and again in 1982.

It takes some extraordinary lack of shame on the part of the people who were responsible for this to question the performance of the present Government. What sort of Opposition is it, anyway, that it has no policy whatsoever of its own, and casts itself in the role of little more than a permanent national begrudger? What sort of Opposition is it that puts down a motion of no confidence in the biggest return of tax to PAYE taxpayers in the history of the State — £121 million or a 7 per cent to 10 per cent cut for most taxpayers; that has no confidence in a Government that has reduced inflation to its lowest level since the sixties when Fianna Fáil began to push it up — when it was over 20 per cent in their hands? What kind of an Opposition is it that rejects the cut in public sector borrowing from 20 per cent in 1982 to 14½ per cent this year; that rejects the virtual elimination of national overspending, the balance of payments deficit — down by four fifths from 15 per cent of GNP in 1981 to 3 per cent now; that rejects the first substantial move forward towards progress in Northern Ireland; that rejects an employment policy which has slowed the appalling haemorrhage of rising unemployment from an annual rate of 40,000 to 6,000? The level of unemployment is still of course critical, but we are no longer as we were when Fianna Fáil left office in 1982 on a spiralling road to disaster so far as unemployment is concerned.

The Opposition reject the removal of obstacles to employment. They have nothing good to say of the doubling of the number of people eligible for the employment incentive scheme, the reduction of VAT on labour-intensive services and the remission in 1986-87 of employers' PRSI for new employees taken on from the live register in the early months of this year. The Opposition reject the substantial improvement of the purchasing power of social welfare that we have achieved in the lifetime of this Government, unlike any other European State in the face of a decline in overall real resources. The Opposition also reject the opening up of new housing opportunities to thousands of people through the imaginative measures introduced by this Government. For example, the £5,000 grants scheme for council tenants, and the consequent phasing out of the public housing backlog that has imposed such social trauma for the past 20 years as so many Members of this House particularly in our major cities can testify. When I started as a Deputy in this House, Fianna Fáil had been in office for 12 years. I was active in dealing with these problems and it was the most traumatic and disturbing problem we had to face, that we could not cope with the needs of people forced to live in conditions that no human being should be supposed to live in. There was damp running down walls and under the linoleum of a tiny room where families were living because they could get nowhere else. You had to have two children first before you were entitled to be housed. Those days are over. Those days are gone under this Government.

The Opposition rejects the reduction of a range of house improvement grants for boosting employment and meeting a real need at the same time. They reject the setting up of employment schemes such as the enterprise allowance scheme which exceeded our target many times over, the social employment scheme, the teamwork scheme. The Opposition rejected the most dramatic major road programme in the history of the State which was designed to catch up on the backlog left by Fianna Fáil when they failed to implement their own road programme and left it so much in arrears. But we, in three years, are going to get out ahead of that programme. We will be ahead of time when we finish our period in office. We will have cut off all the backlog and gone beyond it.

The Opposition reject the doubling of the number of young people in training schemes in four short years. They are not interested in the 50 per cent increase in the provision for youth services in the current year.

What sort of Opposition put down a motion of no confidence in curbing the size and cost of the public service? It is the Opposition which increased the size of the public service far beyond our needs at the expense of the taxpayer, regardless of cost. They reject the introduction of merit-based promotion and improved management systems in the public service, they have no interest in improving the relations between the Civil Service and the public because they never did anything about it when they were in office. They welcomed the setting up of the office of the Ombudsman but did nothing about it. They failed to carry through the restructuring of postal and telecommunications services. They were not prepared to face up to the problems of companies like B & I and CIE that we faced up to. Are we to have no confidence in the Government who brought us through the PMPA and ICI crisis, resolving them in a manner that has avoided any burden falling on the taxpayer; the Government who successfully seized £2 million of IRA funds? In each of these unprecedented cases legislation had to be prepared in total secrecy and presented to the Dáil for immediate enactment, with the co-operation of the Opposition in each case, within a single day. Are we to have no confidence in the Government that has given a major new boost to tourism, with the reduction of VAT for hotels and meals from 23 per to 10 per cent?

What about the educational reforms neglected so persistently by Fianna Fáil in all their periods in office? Is the House to reject the Government who have at long last got under way a National Parents Council and introduced a range of options in post-primary education that will enable all pupils to spend six years at that level, instead of five as hitherto has been the case for many? It used to be six when I was in school but under Fianna Fáil it drifted back to five years. We secured a massive extension of European Social Fund support for the vocational preparation and training programmes of post primary schools which Fianna Fáil never bothered to do or attempt. We increased enormously investment in third-level education neglected and left in arrears by Fianna Fáil for so long. We opened up for the first time the whole question — Fianna Fáil do not like difficult questions and will not face them — of the devolution of authority for educational management to local level.

It has been hard for farmers in recent times, and particularly over the last summer. But are farmers expected to have no confidence in a regime where inflation is at last down to European levels, a most crucial element in the sector in which the levels of prices must be kept in harmony? Under Fianna Fáil the farmers' income was reduced with the European increases in prices and Fianna Fáil-type increases in costs. Are farmers to have no confidence in a regime where, as a result of the outstandingly successful milk super-levy negotiation, they can produce 20 per cent more milk vis-à-vis their European partners and where they have new farm improvement grants and additional grants for young farmers?

We have also produced budgets which actually met their targets. In the last two years there was no new overrun on the current debt of the two budgets taken together as against the 55 per cent overrun for Fianna Fáil's last few years in office. The Government have secured a period of extraordinary industrial peace in both the private and public sectors while lowering wage expectations to a fraction of their former level, thus radically improving our competitiveness. Remember where Fianna Fáil left us in 1980. There was a 34 per cent increase in the public sector pay bill in a single year. Compare that with the situation now. We have secured the co-operation of the public service and the trade unions generally in reducing the level of wage increases so as to make us competitive and to keep costs under reasonable control.

A Government must be judged not just by what they have done but by where they are going, by their sense of purpose. Let us look ahead to where we are going. Shortly we will be rebuilding the heart of Dublin, of Cork and of Limerick. We will be reforming local government. We will be implementing and building on the Anglo-Irish Agreement. We will be introducing far-reaching protection for children: we will be passing through Dáil Éireann legislation to reform the adoption laws, the law on illegitimacy and the law on matrimonial property. A law on equal citizenship rights for women and men and removing discrimination in respect of domicile are already before the Dáil. No attempt was made by Fianna Fáil to tackle these problems during their period in office.

We have already, against Fianna Fáil's intransigent opposition, reformed the law on contraception. We shall be tackling the problem of marriage law reform. We will also be reforming company law, the licensing laws and the provision that requires jury trials for civil liability actions. The Government's determination is to pursue relentlessly the implementation of Government policy, to restore enterprise and vitality to our country, revivify our industries and businesses, to generate jobs for our people, to reduce the crippling tax burdens and to ensure the well-being of the poorer and weaker sections of our community.

This Government are not in power for the sake of power. They are in power to do a job, the roughest job that any Irish Government has ever faced since the first Government team occupied these historic benches. This Government are not a Government of cowards; they are not a Government of quitters; they are not a Government of splitters or of overambitious power-crazed office-seekers. They are a Government of vision, of resolution, of achievement and ultimately, I have no doubt, of success.

Slowly but inexorably the nation is being guided out of one of the greatest traumas in its history. The country is now in far better shape to achieve a recovery that will benefit all our people than when we took office in 1982. In 1987 we will be in considerably better shape as a country than we are now. And the nineties, reached under our guidance, will be a far better decade for our people than the eighties which was so marred by the damage done by Fianna Fáil at the commencement of that decade.

I have great confidence in the Irish voters and will face them with confidence in 1987. I do not fear their judgment on our work, our achievements and our policies. They know that we have faced up to what we had to do in the national interest and that we have honoured our trust. So let us bring this absurd debate to a close. Next week let us get on with the job of modernising our country, reforming our institutions and preparing for the future. We have the team, we have the determination and we have the guts to tackle the tasks which Fianna Fáil twice funked, in 1980 and in 1982. Our job is to ensure that they will not get a chance to funk it again in 1987.

In accordance with the order of the House, made yesterday, I cannot put the question until 4 o'clock which is just about three minutes away.

It being 4 p.m., Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand".

The Dáil divided: Tá, 82; Níl, 77.

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Bermingham, George Martin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McCartin, Joe.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Moloney, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East)
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • 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.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Cathal Seán.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • 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 Brown.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That the motion be agreed to".
The Dáil divided: Tá, 82; Níl, 77.

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Birmingham, George Martin.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • 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.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McCartin, Joe.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Moloney, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • 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.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Cathal Seán.
  • 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.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory-Independent, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Motion agreed to.
The Dáil adjourned at 4.30 p.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 25 February 1986.