"That Standing Order 51 shall not apply to motions for the nomination of a member for appointment by the President to be Taoiseach."
Vol. 391 No. 4
"That Standing Order 51 shall not apply to motions for the nomination of a member for appointment by the President to be Taoiseach."
"Go n-aimníonn Dáil Éireann an Teachta Cathal S. Ó hEochaidh chun a cheaptha chun bheith in a Thaoiseach."
I move: "That Dáil Éireann nominate Deputy Charles J. Haughey for appointment as Taoiseach."
Aontaím leis an tairiscint sin.
I propose that Deputy Alan Dukes be nominated as Taoiseach. Deputy Dukes has set a new agenda in Irish politics in the last two-and-a-half years. His party, Fine Gael, are committed not only to the development of new ideas but to implementing those ideas by taking the responsibility of office and Fine Gael wish to take such office at the earliest possible opportunity. It is for that reason that I propose the name of Deputy Alan Dukes.
I second that proposition.
It is vital, in the view of the Labour Party, that this House should be offered an alternative choice for the office of Taoiseach. We believe that the Dáil and the people of Ireland should be offered real alternatives and not just a choice between candidates who basically agree with one another.
The Parliamentary Labour Party at their meeting this morning considered the position that was likely to arise here this afternoon and decided to nominate our party leader, Deputy Dick Spring, for the office of Taoiseach. In addition to proposing and supporting Deputy Spring, we will also be opposing all other candidates for the office.
In the several weeks which have elapsed since a vote was last taken on the question of who should be Taoiseach we have seen a great deal of wheeling and dealing between some of our political parties. Positions have been taken up and defended with great ferocity and then abandoned within hours. What were described as core values have been shown to be little more than negotiating tactics. The entire exercise at one level has been something of a charade with some parties and their leaders adopting public positions which were completely at odds with their real positions.
Yet, in one way our country and our Parliament have emerged from the whole exercise with an enhanced commitment to our democratic system. The primacy of our written Constitution has been reinforced by the process. A lot of the credit for that must go to one Member of this House who ensured here that the Constitution took priority over any attempt to subvert or undermine the democratic process. That Member is Deputy Spring. In the past fortnight not one but two opinion polls have recorded the verdict of the people that he is the most effective political leader of any party in this State. In both polls the number of voters who expressed approval for his leadership exceeded that of any other political party leader, with clear and substantial majorities among voters of all political persuasions.
In these circumstances there can hardly be anyone who can argue that Deputy Spring is not eminently qualified to be nominated here. I believe that the day will come, and that day is not far off, when Deputy Spring will not simply compete for the office of Taoiseach but will win that vote. In a real sense our nomination of Deputy Spring today is a vote of confidence not only in him but in the future development of the ideas that he and we in the Labour Party stand for. In that spirit I am proud to nominate the leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Spring, for the office of Taoiseach.
I formally second that.
I would like to express some views on the nomination of Taoiseach, though not specifically of the Fine Gael nominee or the Labour Party nominee as I expressed a view in that regard on a previous occasion. When the 26th Dáil had its first meeting after the general election I made it clear, as I did during the election campaign, that The Workers' Party would be opposing the candidacy of any Deputy from any of the right wing parties for the position of Taoiseach. At this, the fourth attempt by the Dáil to elect a Taoiseach, I want to reaffirm that position.
Our tactics during the election campaign and in the weeks since the election were designed to force a basic realignment in Irish politics. By refusing to offer a lifeline to any of the right wing parties we concentrated the minds of Fianna Fáil in particular on the only realistic option open to the Dáil in the aftermath of the election, co-operation between the parties of the right to form a Government. The decision of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats to coalesce to form a Government is an historic development in Irish politics. What we are seeing, if I may express it in terms of both Deputies Haughey and O'Malley who no doubt understand, is a logical rationalisation of the grossly overmanned right wing sector in Irish politics.
The significance of this development cannot be exaggerated. On this occasion Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have been forced to——
I hesitate to interrupt the Deputy but surely he is anticipating a debate which will come later.
I am responding to the proposals made by Deputies Lenihan, Bruton and Pattison. I think I am in order in commenting in that way
It would be more appropriate after the event.
You may consider that to be the case, a Cheann Comhairle, but I am exercising my right under Standing Orders to make the comments I choose to make at this point.
The significance of this development cannot be exaggerated. Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have been forced together on this occasion. After the next election I have no doubt that Fine Gael may well be forced to make a similar compromise. The electorate then will be faced with clear choices based on policy, choices between the humane policies of socialism and the unbridled greed of capitalism. As the recent election showed, more people are acknowledging that there is an alternative to the system that has exported 1.5 million of our people since the foundation of the State, the system that has condemned almost 250,000 of our people to the dole queue and more than one million of our people to a life of misery on the poverty line, a system that denies the majority of our young working class people access to third level education, a system that has ensured that the quality of medical care that the sick receive is determined by wealth and not by need. More and more people are recognising that the real alternative to these disastrous and failed policies is socialism based on the principles of the French Revolution, the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.
The Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats decision also marks a further significant development in the political degeneration of Fianna Fáil. This party once regarded as being radical and reforming——
It still is.
——has in each decade moved further to the right and has come more and more under the influence of the speculators and the asset strippers. In going into alliance with the Progressive Democrats, possibly the most right wing party in the House, Fianna Fáil have tied their flag firmly to the Tory mast. I predict that Fianna Fáil will now move further to the right and will eventually gobble up the remnants of the Progressive Democrats.
Most people who have looked on in amazement over the past few weeks at the unwillingness of the right wing parties to recognise reality and come together to form a Government, will probably feel a sense of relief that this period of gamesmanship is over. As we came into the House today there was still no official information available to Deputies as to what agreement there had been on policy issues between the two parties, other than speculative media reports. We have the right to know the full terms of any agreement between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats——
——and that it should be placed before the Oireachtas and the public. There must be no secret agreement, there must be no hidden agenda. What is clear is that policy issues were not the stumbling block in the formation of a Government. How could they be, when the policy positions of the two parties are virtually identical and when the Progressive Democrats had for two-and-a-half years endorsed the overall thrust of Fianna Fáil policy. What delayed the formation of a Government was simply disagreement over the allocation of positions of power, what we have heard described by various Fianna Fáil backbenchers as the number of——
——Cabinet seats that will be allocated to the Progressive Democrats.
What we are having from the Deputy would be more appropriate on the nominations for Government.
What we are having is my response to a proposal for Taoiseach. I am quite in order in making that response and I intend to finish what I set out to say.
The Deputy is going into the area of general policy which is hardly appropriate now.
Standing Orders do not restrict the response that may be made to a proposal for Taoiseach. I am exercising my right as a Deputy in this House.
I intend to exercise my right. It is clear that policy issues were not a stumbling block to the formation of a Government.
The Deputy read that line already.
This has not reflected any credit on the parties on the right, especially when there are so many major problems facing the people.
I have not been surprised to hear that the Government propose that the Dáil will sit for only three days for a formal debate on the Estimates and will then adjourn until some time in October. This is quite unacceptable considering the fact that no parliamentary business has been dealt with since the Dáil was dissolved on 25 May. There are a number of pieces of urgent legislation requiring the attention of the Dáil—for instance, the Child Care Bill which has been around in one form or another since 1985.
I have given the Deputy a lot of latitude. The Deputy's speech is anticipatory of the debates to come on the nominations for Government and on the Estimates.
The Dáil has not even got round to discussing the Committee Stage of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Bill. Hardly a day goes by without a report of another fish kill in our rivers or lakes——
——and the Local Government (Water Pollution) Bill has not started.
The Deputy should bring his speech to a conclusion.
Despite the fact that the Deputies on the far side of the House do not wish to hear these things I will continue to say them. However, I will now conclude. Given the huge backlog of legislation and the fact that we have not had routine Dáil sittings since 25 May, I will be proposing that at the very minimum the Dáil should sit until the end of July and resume in early September to deal with urgent legislation.
Pursuant to an agreement reached today between myself and Deputy Haughey and between the negotiators on behalf of the Progressive Democrats and the Fianna Fáil Party, the Progressive Democrats propose on this motion to vote for the nomination of Deputy Haughey as Taoiseach.
From their foundation my party and I have made it clear that we are prepared to participate in Government with like minded parties.
Why did you ever leave it then?
That is why we went into the last election in a pact arrangement with Fine Gael — to offer the country a choice, which is the essence of the democratic process. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Fine Gael Party and to their Leader, Deputy Alan Dukes, for the positive way in which they worked with us in the election campaign.
The last three weeks have been dominated by efforts to form a sustainable Government over the next four years. This has placed an onerous and challenging task before my party and above all before the Fianna Fáil Party. Last week I spoke in this House on the need for courage and generosity and on the necessity to put past differences to one side. The primary duty facing public representatives and legislators is to respond to the will of the electorate as expressed on 15 June and to ensure the formation of stable sustainable Government that would have the capacity and public confidence to tackle our many social and economic problems.
I appreciate that in the difficult task which Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats faced in the last fortnight we have had the goodwill of most Members of this House. For our part, the Progressive Democrats have worked throughout the arduous talks to ensure that a comprehensive four year programme could be agreed on the basis of policies that will comprehensively tackle the many social and economic problems facing us, especially the persistent unemployment crisis, the twin evils of poverty and emigration which have flowed from it and the unacceptable hospital waiting lists. I have also been determined to ensure that the basis on which Government can be formed will guarantee stability and the capacity on our part, the Progressive Democrats, to pursue the implementation of the agreed policy on a sustained basis.
In the task of negotiating and agreeing a programme for Government both Fianna Fáil and ourselves have had to set aside past differences. I am very gratified that we have succeeded in that task. I take the opportunity here to acknowledge in particular the courage and skill exhibited by Deputy Haughey in recent weeks, courage and skill which I know he possesses in abundance and which have been utilised in the national interest during this time.
However great the difficulties have been, I am pleased and proud that both parties have ensured that our first responsibility is to the people. We are facing four crucial years, including the European Community's European Integrated Programme focussed on 1992, and this is no time for political instability. I, together with the majority of the people in Ireland, must be encouraged by the manner in which the difficulties of the past few weeks have now been faced up to with the overriding consideration being to give our country effective, caring and stable Government if a majority of the Members in this House agree to that today.
To my party colleagues, I express my admiration and gratitude for the extraordinary energy, ability and perseverance displayed since the foundation of our party a few short years ago. I am genuinely optimistic about the next four years of Government if the House today agrees to a Government as proposed, with Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats as partners, in an alliance of progress towards our common goals.
Before I refer to my position on the vote for Taoiseach I want to briefly comment on the deal referred to by Deputy O'Malley which will result in the election of a Taoiseach today. In 1982, when Deputy Haughey, Deputy Garret FitzGerald and the former Deputy O'Leary of the Labour Party held discussions with me, the policy programme that was eventually agreed and made public by me was denigrated and labelled by sections of the media as "stroke policics". My deal secured houses for the homeless of the inner city, jobs for the unemployed and medical cards for pensioners. It attempted to have the run down neglected areas of Dublin redeveloped in the interests of the communities who live there. All that was in line with the policies I had stood for election on but it was labelled "stroke politics". However, during the past few days certain Deputies here have haggled and bartered for Mercedes cars and high paying positions in Cabinet and the same media applaud this as the dawn of a new era of continental style politics, as history making negotiations in the national interest and bringing historic agreement. These double standards tell us a lot about the political and class basis of some sections of the media.
While I will not be voting for the nominee of the Progressive Democrats and Fianna Fáil, that is, Deputy Haughey, I welcome this coming together of the two right wing parties. It makes sense that two parties who have so much in common in their policy position should unite to form a Government. It is a logical step for the Fianna Fáil Party to take. I believe it will be of immense significance in the political realignment now taking place.
This power sharing coalition marks for Fianna Fáil a further step away from what was really only a pretence of a commitment to the under-privileged in this State and shows up Fianna Fáil, for all to see, in their true colours, the colours of a socially conservative right wing party supported and financed by the rich and powerful in our society. Coalition with the Progressive Democrats spells out clearly the type of political party that Fianna Fáil have become. Equally for the Progressive Democrats it is a logical step to take, even if they accepted that logic merely out of expediency as it is virtually certain that had there been another general election the Progressive Democrats would have been almost eliminated from the political scene.
One aspect of the discussions that have taken place to elect a Taoiseach and a Government which I found amusing were the statements by various Fianna Fáil spokespersons who, anxious to divert attention from their own convergence of interests with the Progressive Democrats, attempted to focus attention on the left by suggesting that the left had opted out of the business of giving the country a Government. It takes a hard neck to argue that the left should help create a right wing Government and by so doing allow the right wing parties to opt out. This would be to ignore the fact that the two main conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, have dominated politics in this State since its foundation and are jointly responsible for the deep social divisions that exist today between rich and poor.
They have the neck to say that the role of the left, as a critical opposition, should be stifled, a role which is essential to real political progress in this part of Ireland. That is the duty and responsibility of the left, as it is the duty and responsibility of the three right wing parties by virtue of their numerical superiority and their all but identical policies to give this State a Government. Indeed, if any political party can be accused of opting out it has to be the Fine Gael Party who are obviously interested in an attempt to regain credibility as an opposition force after the collapse of the Tallaght strategy and are simply not concerned with putting the country first by facilitating the formation of a Government.
There is increasing public recognition of the political divergence between right and left. This developing political awareness will contribute and is already contributing to the growth of the left among those now being elected to Dáil Éireann. It is particularly significant that this is happening despite the fact that the main conservative parties are supported and funded by the wealthiest and most powerful business interests——
I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but he will appreciate that the motion is on the nomination for Taoiseach. Therefore, I would wish to dissuade the Deputy and the House generally from going into the area of general policy. That is for another time.
I have very little more to say and everything I am saying is relevant to my position on the vote for Taoiseach. The Larry Goodmans and Tony O'Reillys who dictate people's lives through their control of business and the media——
The Deputy ought not to enter into personalities, especially of persons outside of this House.
The financial support of the conservative parties by big business, with huge sums of money spent on election campaigns, is a negation of democracy and should be exposed and outlawed but of course a Dáil dominated by the right will never do this. Similarly, this Dáil may well reduce taxation but it will only do so for those who are already affluent, it will not radically reform the tax system or spread the tax net in order to create greater social equity by redistributing the wealth that exists here. This Dáil will not increase corporation tax or take more from the financial institutions and the wealthy. That would create greater equity but equity is not a priority for the right. The right will follow the Thatcherite line and create an increasingly alienated society where those at the bottom are left increasingly further behind with the wealthy insulated and protected from the poverty for which they are responsible.
Let us get back to the motion before the House.
It should not be a part of the incoming Government's programme to implement the findings of any of the various Government commissions set up over the years as a pretence of concern for the disadvantaged, be it the Commission on Social Welfare whose principle recommendation was a basic minimum income for all, the Whitaker Commission on prison reform who clarified that social disadvantage is the main source of much of our crime or the various reports which highlighted the need for positive discrimination in education for children from deprived areas.
The Deputy is straying very far from the motion before the House.
None of these will be implemented. We will have further cutbacks which will widen the gap and increase the inequality. It is my view that the policies of the incoming right wing Government will have a great deal in common with those of Mrs. Thatcher in Britain and that there will be such a convergence of interests that even the tragic-position of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four will be put on the long finger.
The Deputy should bring his speech to a close.
It is coming to a close. During the closing months of the last Dáil there was a deafening silence on the terrible injustice of these unfortunate Irish prisoners in British jails. Was this silence necessary to smooth the path for extradition? When will an Irish Government stand up and be counted and demand the release of these prisoners? I do not have any faith in the nominee of the Progressive Democrats and Fianna Fáil. I do not believe that he will stand up and be counted and for that reason and for the others I have already given I will not be voting for Deputy Haughey here today. I will be supporting the candidature of the leader of the largest single left wing group in the Dáil, that of Deputy Dick Spring.
I am not surprised by the developments taking place in this House today. The people do not expect The Workers' Party, Deputy Gregory nor myself to form a Government, rather they expect Fianna Fáil who got the majority of seats and who are the largest party in this country to use their position, seats and initiative to go about this task. That is what is happening here today.
It would be dishonest of me to make some personal criticisms of Deputy Haughey and Deputy O'Malley or to try to dig up the more recent past to take advantage of this new alliance or coalition because there would be no future in that. None of us is so pure and so holy that we have not had to compromise in our political lives, be they long or short. The wheel can turn very quickly and the pendulum of politics can swing in different directions at different times. Therefore there is no point in going down the road of scoring personal points against either of these Deputies. However, I may make some larger political points and talk about the Government that will emerge.
As I have said before, the country cannot function without a Taoiseach and Government. People expect us to elect a Government to get on with the task immediately. They also expected that Fianna Fáil would make the running and that has happened. I am not surprised that this agreement has come about between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. That is what their parties are all about. If you are forced to come to terms with somebody you must do so in an honourable way in a process of give and take. That is what practical politics is all about. All one can do in those circumstances is one's best, in accordance with one's own lights, for the people and the country.
What surprises and mystifies me is the reaction of some Fianna Fáil grassroots people — that is the term used now. The media, national and local, have been full of this reaction. Where I come from, Limerick, one can hardly listen to the radio or take up a newspaper without seeing headlines about the grassroots reaction in the area. I read today's Irish Press and The Irish Times coming up in the train from Limerick and there were three or four stories on this subject. I never thought the day would come when you have to come to this House to talk about alliances and coalitions, what they mean in practical terms. Obviously, one must do so because the grassroots Fianna Fáil people who are talking — and some are in this House, mind you — about how squeamish they are concerning the prospect of coalition, which is anathema to some, as city and county councillors are making arrangements every day of the week for coalition with Independents, Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats. In Limerick city, Fianna Fáil have four councillors on the council and despite that one of their members becomes mayor every second year through an arrangement. My nomination for that office was defeated on last Monday night and those voting against me were Fianna Fáil, the Progressive Democrats and Fine Gael. They have voted in that pattern down through the years. How can people who at local level make all sorts of convoluted arrangements to get power for themselves and offices of chairman of the county council or mayor of the city or the urban area point the finger at Members in this House and say that what they are doing is wrong and what they themselves are doing is right?
People in Fianna Fáil, down through the years, have always been practical and resourceful at ground level. They draw up one set of rules for people in this House and another set for themselves. It is the same with regard to Fianna Fáil who are claiming they will not be appointed to a Cabinet post today — and I am not privy to that decision. You cannot play Mighty Mouse in your own constituency and behave in this House like a church mouse.
It is very easy to consult with Mr. Haughey via the columns of the Limerick Leader or on a radio programme, but very difficult to confront him in this House. Anything I have ever said about Deputy Haughey I said in this House and will always do so. I will not go behind his back. It is different matter for a member of the parliamentary party. If there is a meeting to discuss leadership of the party, you stay in Limerick but that will not get you very far. The thing to do is to come to the House and to the parliamentary party and say what you have to say. That was the case with regard to Deputy Deasy of the Fine Gael Party. I would not agree with him on all issues but he had the courage of his convictions. He said what he believed in. There is no point in saying in the Limerick Leader that you are going to challenge Deputy Haughey as leader. It is a different thing to come to this House and challenge him.
Let the people who are making those threats stand up now and be counted. I am sick of this behaviour. Let us hope we have heard the last of it.
I am voting on this occasion for Deputy Dick Spring because I believe I should be consistent. If we were in a position to have a majority on the left I would be the first to say the obligation had fallen on us to form a Government. I would be the strongest critic of the left if they had not the courage and the initiative to overcome their differences. I hope that time will come and that I will live long enough to be in that position.
I am not surprised at the present arrangement. I shall not be voting in agreement with it but will be voting left as usual. However, I wish the Government well and hope it will be a good Government. I hope they will have learned lessons from the last Dáil. It is bad for any of us to get too far out of touch with the grassroots — I learned that lesson the hard way myself. The people who vote for you will be your constituents. The last Government were far too much out of touch with the grassroots in regard to the health cuts issue. It is the constituents who put us here. Let us hope that the lesson has been learned. I do not expect this Government to be a radical or socialist one but I do expect an honest and good Government from them. I wish them well.
It seems we will now have a Taoiseach and, therefore, a Government and for this we can be thankful. I should like to congratulate Deputy Haughey in advance of his election and wish him well. This is an historic moment in the House in that this is the first occasion on which Fianna Fáil have entered into a formal coalition arrangement with another party. It represents a very significant precedent and one which I welcome. It is recognition of the fact that it is unlikely any party will get an overall majority in the Dáil in the future. However, a better solution would have been a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael Coalition on the lines suggested by Deputy Dukes. While it is true that the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat Coalition will have a majority in the House, it is a majority of one which is inherently unstable.
Stick around long enough.
I would like to put on record that I ragard the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat Coalition as very second best. Nevertheless, I will abstain rather than vote against Deputy Haughey's nomination for Taoiseach. This should not be taken as support for the policies of the next Government. It is merely an expression of the wish of everybody in this House and the vast majority of people throughout the country to have a Government formed.
At the first meeting of the 26th Dáil, the party rituals were duly observed in that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party each nominated a Taoiseach. However, unrealistic some of these nominations may have been, I accepted that this was a reasonable position at the time. However, I am disappointed that the time of the House is now being taken up with nominations that have no chance of success. There is only one serious issue before the House today and that is whether Deputy Haughey is elected Taoiseach. I shall also abstain on the nomination of Deputy Dukes and Deputy Spring.
For my part, I shall look at each issue that comes before the Dáil on its merits and not oppose for the sake of opposing.
Realisation of the strategy.
I welcome the fact that Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have come together to form a Government. The leaders of both parties must be complimented on their maturity and their sense of duty to the nation. Needless to say, the negotiators have put in endless hours of toil over the past few weeks. Tonight they can relax in the knowledge that they have completed a job of work well done.
During the lifetime of this coming Dáil many issues will be discussed and many problems resolved. To my mind, the most immediate problem facing the Dáil and the country in general, and facing County Roscommon in particular, is the hospital crisis and the difficulties that have arisen with regard to the health services in general in that county and, no doubt, throughout the country. It is too bad that the most vulnerable sector of our community, namely the elderly and the sick, are the first to suffer in any economic crisis. It is hoped that will be reversed in the lifetime of this Dáil and that we will see them to be the first to gain when the economic state of our country is on the upturn. I look forward to seeing those problems being attacked in the immediate future, and once attacked no doubt resolved.
Perhaps somewhat in line with what a number of people in this House believe, I could never see any outcome of our recent impasse except what we have now got, since Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats could realistically expect to be further diminished if there had been an immediate election. That is not saying who else might not be diminished or decimated, but that is the reality. At the same time, as distinct from the time when the Progressive Democrats, or basically what are now the Progressive Democrats, departed from Fianna Fáil, it is a different, watered-down version of Fianna Fáil with which they now have to deal. The matters which would have divided them then have largely disappeared while, as a result of that, the matters that divide me from Fianna Fáil have enlarged since then.
In the interests of having a Government in the future, that is if everybody from both parties goes through the lobbies as everyone assumes they will — although there are still possibilities that that might not happen but on the assumption that it does — we will have a new Taoiseach and, as a result, a new Government and Cabinet members will be announced later and passed by the same sort of majority that supported the new Taoiseach. While I welcome the realism that brought about the courtship and the engagement which I would now put down as the new Coalition, I would expect it to culminate in the return of the Progressive Democrats to Fianna Fáil. I feel sad in a sense that it further removes Fianna Fáil from their nationalist, republican principles as they cannot but be influenced by the Progressive Democrats who really divided Fianna Fáil — apart from the personality clash — on the very matters on which I would take issue with them now. I am saddened in that respect while welcoming the realism that has brought about the pact, the marriage, as it were, of the new Coalition.
I want to say to the prospective new Government and Taoiseach that to me the nationalist and republican issues are still paramount. Extradition is anathema, and is collaboration in its lowest possible form. I will continue to oppose it and vote against it wherever that vote is of real importance. I hope it will be of importance and it well may be in the not too distant future.
I also appeal to the new Government to repeal the rod licence legislation that has caused so much havoc in the west. They should have another look at the issues on which Deputy Foxe was elected, and which apply not just to Roscommon, but elsewhere, the details of which I will supply to the new Minister for Health, whoever he will be. The performance in relation to the health services is scandalous and it need not cost more money — indeed it could possibly cost less — to redress the mistakes that have been made.
There must be emphasis on job creation for the benefit of our people rather than on the needs of those abroad in the international financial world. I refer to the construction industry and all its aspects where there is so much work to be done and so many idle hands to do it. I ask the new Government for God's sake to cop themselves on, to get down to this task and to employ our people instead of exporting them or paying them to do nothing.
The most important reason for forming a Government — I referred to this the last day I spoke — is that the EC Presidency is now imminent despite the fact that it does not take effect, from the Irish point of view, until 1 January. Everybody in the House is aware of the time and energy which was given to these negotiations as well as fighting an election which should never have been called. However, that is water under the bridge and all that energy must now be devoted to preparing for what we, during our Presidency of the EC, will be seeking to secure so that this and subsequent Governments will reap the benefits of that Presidency by having the necessary preparatory work done. I will make a few points in that regard and I am sure many more will occur to the Government.
The quota system must be radically changed or abandoned. The fisheries deal must be renegotiated and transport by way of an equalisation fund or scheme must be gone into in a special way so that our industry will survive after 1992. I ask the new Government to look at these matters with the greatest possible urgency. The time and energy which they devoted to trying to secure a deal to have a Government should now be redirected to working and preparing the way for our new Presidency on 1 January because if we do not get concessions between 1 January and 30 June 1990, we will certainly not get them afterwards.
We want action on the home front on the matters I mentioned, but particularly in relation to job creation in a real sense. The construction industry is in the doldrums despite the bright spots in Dublin, for example, the Custom House Dock site, which is great for the photographers and the outside world. We also need action in Europe as we have committed ourselves to the European scene by supporting the Single European Act and we should take every possible step to avail of the benefits which our Presidency from 1 January will bring.
Because of the many disappointments and disillusionments — I hesitate to say broken promises because that was not the case — that I received from the past Fianna Fáil Government which will dominate this Government, I cannot support Deputy Charles Haughey as Taoiseach this evening. However, in the full knowledge that if there is not a breakdown of allegiance of the two parties, he will become Taoiseach in any event, I will then wish him the best of luck and he will need it with the engagement he has entered into.
I am putting the question: "That Deputy Charles J. Haughey be nominated for appointment by the President to be Taoiseach".
I should like to offer Deputy Haughey my congratulations and good wishes on his nomination. It has taken quite some time, longer than usual, and he has secured that nomination in unusual circumstances to say the least but then the Irish political scene is changing and we must change with it, and even Deputy Haughey is not immune to those changes as they happen.
There are challenges facing the Government which Deputy Haughey will bring before the House this evening and there are opportunities ahead. I will take the view that it is the duty of this House, all of it, to assist and guide the Government in meeting those challenges and rising to those opportunities. My party will provide vigorous and constructive opposition, as we have always done. I wish the Government well in the job ahead of them.
I should like to ask the nominee for Taoiseach if this House will have before it when it reconvenes this evening the programme for Government which has been agreed between Deputy Haughey and Deputy O'Malley. I think it would assist our debate this evening.
On behalf of the Labour Party I should like to offer our congratulations to Deputy Haughey on his re-election as Taoiseach and to wish him well in the times ahead. I will be outlining how we see the difficulties facing the Government and the country in the course of my contribution when the Government are nominated by the Taoiseach. In the meantime, I wish him a safe journey to and from the Park.
Very briefly on this occasion, I also wish the Taoiseach well and promise we will make his job as hard as possible.
Ba mhaith liomsa mo fhíor bhuíochas a chur in iúl don Dáil as ucht mé a ainmniú mar Thaoiseach. I am conscious of the great honour conferred on me by the House and I should like to thank the Dáil for nominating me to this high office. I, too, am conscious of the many grave problems facing us and I will endeavour as Taoiseach to deal with them to the utmost of my ability.
Other than that at this stage I do not propose to comment on the points made during the nomination process. I would, however, like to avail of this opportunity, and I hope to do so again later, to express my gratitude and indeed pay a tribute to the leaders of all the parties in this House. During recent weeks I had occasion to talk to them all individually about the situation with which the electorate, in their wisdom, had confronted us. I want to say about them all — Deputies Dukes, Spring, De Rossa and, of course, especially Deputy Desmond O'Malley — that I was able to conduct my conversations with them in a way which was always not just courteous but constructive.
I shall always remember that as one of the important developments in this new Dáil as it went about its arduous and complicated business.
I must go now and inform the President of my nomination so that he may appoint me. Accordingly, I suggest that the Dáil adjourn until 7 o'clock this evening.
Deputy Dukes asked me about the document, the programme for Government. I will endeavour at least to let the leaders of the parties have a copy between now and 7 p.m.