Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government.

A Cheann Comhairle, B'áil liom cead a chur in iúl, mar eolas don Dáil, gur chuir mé m'ainmniú mar Thaoiseach in iúl don Uachtarán agus gur cheap sé mé dá réir.

I beg leave to announce, for the information of the Dáil, that I have informed the President that the Dáil has nominated me to be the Taoiseach and that he has appointed me accordingly.

Tairgim: "Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Eireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú na dTeachtaí seo a leanas chun a gceaptha ag an Uachtarán mar chomhaltaí den Rialtas":

I move: "That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Deputies for appointment by the President to be members of the Government":

Brian Ó Luineacháin

Brian Lenihan

I also propose to nominate him as Tánaiste.

Gearóid Ó Coileáin

Gerard Collins

Ailbhe Mac Raghnaill

Albert Reynolds

Seán P. Mac Uilliam

John Patrick Wilson

Micheál Ó Cinnéide

Michael O'Kennedy

Deasún Ó Máille

Desmond J. O'Malley

Paralan Ó Eachthairn

Bertie Ahern

Riobard Ó Maoildhia

Bobby Molloy

Mícheál Ó h-Uadhaigh

Michael Woods

Rádhulf de Búrca

Ray Burke

Pádraig Ó Floinn

Pádraig Flynn

Ruairí Ó hAnnluain

Rory O'Hanlon

Máire Uí Ruairc

Mary O'Rourke



Séamus Ó Braonáin

Séamus Brennan

It has been the practice at this stage to indicate the Departments to which members of the Government will be assigned. I propose to assign the Department of the Gaeltacht to myself. The other assignments are as follows:

Department of Defence to Brian Lenihan.

Department of Foregin Affairs to Gerard Collins.

Department of Finance to Albert Reynolds.

Department of the Marine to John P. Wilson.

Department of Agriculture and Food to Micheal O'Kennedy.

Department of Industry and Commerce to Desmond J. O'Malley.

Department of Labour to Bertie Ahern.

Department of Energy to Bobby Molloy.

Department of Social Welfare to Michael Woods.

Department of Justice and Department of Communications to Ray Burke.

Department of the Environment to Pádraig Flynn.

Department of Health to Rory O'Hanlon.

Department of Education to Mary O'Rourke.


Department of Tourism and Transport to Séamus Brennan.

I also propose to nominate Deputy Vincent Brady for appointment by the Government as Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach with special responsibility as Government Chief Whip. He will also be Minister of State at the Department of Defence.

I propose to nominate John Murray, SC, for appointment by the President to be the Attorney General.

I will propose the other Ministers of State for appointment by the Government at an early date.

A Cheann Comhairle, the outcome of the General Election placed the responsibility on my party, Fianna Fáil, of forming a Government. I was convinced, after several discussions with the other party leaders, that it was not possible to form a minority Government. While the continuation of a minority Government was our preferred solution, the formation of such a Government depends on the tacit support of one or more of the opposition parties, and this was not forthcoming.

We are the largest party in Dáil Éireann, and in present circumstances responsibility lay upon us to provide a Government that will last, and a Government that will be effective. As the days passed into weeks following the reassembly of the Dáil, the reality became clear, the conclusion inescapable, that the only possible alliance that could give this country four years' stable Government, at this crucial period in our history was one between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats.

The process of national recovery, already successfully underway, must be sustained. Our difficulties are not over, and any departure from a disciplined approach to public expenditure, to Government finances, to incomes and to other costs would be disastrous. Inflation must be kept down. Provided this is done, the economic prospects for growth, for employment, for an end to involuntary emigration, and for a major reduction in the cost of servicing our debt are good, as demonstrated by the recent ESRI medium term review.

We also face the stiff competitive challenge of 1992. Our Presidency of the European Community will give us the opportunity to exercise an influence on developments, and in particular the development of the social dimension of the internal market.

This is some of the background to our decision to enter into an agreement with the Progressive Democrats on a four-year programme for Government in the national interest. The agreement expands in many useful directions the existing parameters of Government policy, and complements the comprehensive document National Recovery —The Next Phase, which Fianna Fáil put before the people. Taking the contents of these documents together, the new administration has a comprehensive and detailed policy base on which to carry forward the work of Government.

I would like to run through the main elements of the agreed programme.

The document makes it clear that the Programme for National Recovery agreed with the social partners, trade unions, farmers and employers will be honoured in full. It will also be the new Government's intention to endeavour to negotiate a second programme so as to continue this extraordinarily successful approach to the management of our affairs when the present programme has run its course. The contribution that all of the social partners have made to national recovery has been immense. Their participation with the Government in the national programme needs to be made a durable achievement. I would like to assure them that the same spirit of co-operation and consultation will continue with the new Government, as took place with the last, and that the same account will be taken of their views.

The creation of sustainable growth in employment will be the major objective of the new Government. Under the national development plan we propose to accelerate gross job creation in the sectors identified to at least 35,000 jobs per year by 1993. This will enable us to increase employment and regain the jobs lost in the course of the eighties, and to bring involuntary emigration to an end. We will seek to reinforce favourable economic trends, and tackle structural deficiencies and competitive handicaps.

All the measures in our programme are subject to the overall financial constraints of an improvement in the Exchequer borrowing requirement to no more than 3 per cent of GNP by 1993. If it proves possible to improve on that target, and to virtually eliminate borrowing altogether, this will be done. Public expenditure restraint will remain essential for a long time to come.

The last Government began the process of tax reform. Earlier this year we reduced both the standard rate of income tax and the higher rate of tax. As an extension of that we have adopted a target at the end of four years of a standard rate of 25 per cent, while moving towards a single higher rate. These objecttives, however, are subject to economic and budgetary circumstances, and their realisation would be greatly advanced by a continuing broad framework of agreement with the social partners. We are determined to proceed cautionusly and avoid a situation where accelerated tax cuts could fuel inflation and balance of payments difficulties, which is why we have not adopted any rigid timetable.

The new Government will tackle the problems that have arisen in the health service, by providing additional beds and tackling waiting lists as a priority. The action programme indicated in National Recovery — The Next Phase will be expanded. Our aim will be to achieve an excellent and caring health service for all those who require it, without sacrificing the gains in efficiency that have been made over the past two years.

A caring social philosophy and a determination to give special consideration and priority to those on social welfare and to work towards implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on Social Welfare will be a vital part of the new Government's programme. This will also include special measures for the unemployed in urban disadvantaged areas.

There is a consciousness worldwide of the growing dangers to our environment. We enjoy many advantages from an environmental point of view, which we must preserve by demanding and maintaining the highest standards. My party have long realised the importance of the environment, and we have done good work in recent years. We are taking two new initiatives, setting up an Office for the Protection of the Environment on the lines of other offices which we created in the last Government, and establishing an independent environmental monitoring agency.

An Foras Forbartha — ar ais arís.

It has become increasingly clear from recent controversies about development that such an agency that is in a position to provide independent and authoritative data and advice not just to the Government but to the general public and in which the public can have confidence, is required to give the information and, where possible, the assurances that are needed.

The new Government will attach the same importance to agricultural development, to tourism and to the development of our natural resources as the last Government.

There was a considerable amount of legislative reform carried out in the last Dáil. It is our intention to proceed with this important agenda in the present Dáil.

It would be remiss of me when introducing the new Administration not to pay tribute to all the members of the outgoing one. I am proud of our record and what we achieved. It was a good Government, an effective Government and a courageous Government which did what had to be done without regard to the popularity or otherwise of our actions.

The formation of this Administration is a new departure in our political life. My Fianna Fáil colleagues and I are making a wholehearted sincere commitment to this new Administration. We will endeavour to the very best of our ability to ensure that it is successful, worthy of the confidence and the expectations that will be placed upon it.

I would like to reiterate my thanks to all the party leaders for the constructive and responsible part they have played in this lengthier than usual interregnum, and in what was for all of us in part a venture into uncharted territory.

Naturally, I would like to pay a special tribute to Deputy O'Malley for his role in the formation of this Government, and I look forward to the contribution that I know he will be able to make to its success from his personal talents and considerable previous experience in Government.

I would also like to say a special word of thanks to the negotiators on both sides. Ministers Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern, Bobby Molloy, and Pat Cox, MEP, worked long hours and displayed great patience and skill in order to arrive at an agreement that is both in the national interest and acceptable to both parties.

The service of the nation is our first duty. My party have given good service to the nation in the past. It is inevitable that the nature of that task will change and that politics do not stand still. I believe that in safeguarding the recovery which has commenced we are performing the most important task we could perform at the present moment.

I believe we can now move forward, and make the most of the opportunities facing us. The new Government have a great responsibility to see that the economic success of the past two years is consolidated and translated into lasting gains for the Irish people. The realities are widely understood. There is a broad national consensus on our economic and social requirements that extends outside this House. We shall do everything to make it possible for this national consensus to continue.

I give a solemn undertaking to the Dáil and the people that this will be a hardworking Government committed to economic and social progress and that during our period in office no effort will be spared and no opportunity neglected to advance the best interests of the Irish people.

Perhaps I might quote Addison's words as being appropriate:

Tis not in mortals to command success; but we'll do more, Sempronius, we'll deserve it.

I should like first of all to offer my congratulations to those Deputies who have been appointed members of this new coalition Government and to wish them well in their work. They are taking on onerous duties and their work will be very critically examined in this House. They are entitled to feel a sense of honour and privilege on their appointment, but they must also accept an obligation and a duty to the people to this country to carry out their work with the utmost commitment, dedication and imagination. For their own sakes, and even more important for the sake of our people, I urge them to work together in mutual confidence and trust and to adopt a frank and open approach, not only in Cabinet but also in this House.

Almost four weeks have passed since the general election; almost two weeks have passed since this House first assembled. I do not believe there is any modern precedent for such a gap between an election and the formation of a Government. That is not surprising since real negotiations on the election of a Taoiseach did not get underway until a week ago. It took that long for the largest, albeit now diminished, party in this House to understand the clear message given by the electorate on 15 June.

Since this House adjourned again on Thursday of last week, my colleagues and I in Fine Gael have taken scrupulous care not to say or to do anything that would prejudice the negotiations that were going on. Prior to that, we played our full part in discussions that went on with a view to electing a Taoiseach and forming a Government and we took our responsibilities in this matter very seriously. That was in marked contrast to the approach of the parties which describe themselves as the "left". Their concern now seems to be to impose artificial models on the problems facing the Members of this House and apart from that they have washed their hands of the problem.

We have washed our hands of you.

What they are now offering to the electorate, and particularly to their own supporters, is a combination of political impotence and analytical sterility. The real lives of ordinary people are neither improved nor affected in any way by poseurs who espouse divisive class politics and then abdicate their duty to the people they claim to represent.

You are some one to talk.

The parties of the left have made no constructive attempt to influence events in this House today or in the past two weeks. It saddens me to see the Labour Party reduced to such a state——

——and I am bound to say the position of The Workers' Party does not surprise me in the least. The Workers' Party have moved from being a Marxist party to being a Marxist party with a very thin veil of European respectability, and an opportunistic one as well. They moved again from that, from being a Marxist party with this thin veil of European respectability, to being a party who have all those things and have now decided that they would accept the fact that we have a mixed economy in this country — a big move. They have now become a Marxist party with all those various impedimenta, saying that they will do nothing concrete in this Dáil, to realise their particular vision, whatever that might be.

Since the election, the Labour Party and The Workers' Party have given the electorate and their own supporters indeed one very clear message. They claim that what they call the parties of the right have the wrong economic and social message. Eighty per cent of our voters have the good sense not to agree with them. but those leftist parties are now saying that they will not do anything at all to influence the course of economic or social policy——

——even though they disapprove of what they say is going to happen. What a message and what a way to represent the people. My party fight for their beliefs — we fight for the people and we will continue to fight for the people in this Dáil.

As you did during the last two and a half years.

We will fight for the people who are represented by the Labour Party and The Workers' Party because those people need a committed party in here to work for them.


Hear, hear.

We will fight for those people because we believe in justice and in equity and we believe that every Member of this House has an obligation to every one of our people.

Your record for the past two years does not show that.

Let us hear the Deputy in possession without interruption.

He is, after all, a disappointed Taoiseach.

I am glad, a Cheann Comhairle, that the discussions and negotiations of the last four weeks have come to a conclusion. A Taoiseach has been elected; a coalition Government can now be set in place and this House can get on with its proper business. There is much that needs to be done.

You must be disappointed that you are not in it.

I will be back to you in a moment.

Any time you like.

Deputy Stagg must restrain himself.

Deputy Stagg has reason to be disappointed he did not manage to bring a Workers' Party colleague in with him from north Kildare although, mind you, you can do without that monkey on your back.

There is much that needs to be done but before I move on to that there are a couple of things that I would like to say about Government. There has been a welter of debate in the Fianna Fáil Party during this last week. Curiously enough, the real debate in the Fianna Fáil Party seems to have taken place outside their party rooms" for some curious reason very little real debate seems to take place inside it.

Rubbish, you were not there.

In this respect they are different from every other party in the House.


How many of your Deputies who were talking about core principles outside the House said anything at all about them inside your parliamentary party meeting? During the course of that debate many members of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party and indeed many members of their organisation spoke of Government as if it were a possession of which they could choose or not choose to give away bits. Government is an art, a science, a duty, an obligation; it is anything but a possession. The achievement of Government office can never be an end in itself. It must be a means to an end and that end must be to serve and lead the people. The backwoodsmen on the Fianna Fáil benches would do well to learn that.

Tell us about opposition now.

They are not the only ones who would do well to learn that. Last week this House, with a full gallery, was treated to the disedifying spectacle of Deputy De Rossa coldly, deliberately and cynically attempting to reduce the problem before this House to a question of mercs and perks. I speak as a Member of this House who has known the burdens of office and who has striven to be in a position to undertake them again. I, know, as Deputy De Rossa does not, the sense of honour and privilege one feels when in Government office. I know, as many others in this House know, the strains and the burdens on office holders and on their families. Knowing all that, I find it repugnant to hear such cynical trivialisation from the mouth of a fellow politician who has washed his hands of the issue before us.


Hear, hear.

It is even more repugnant when we reflect that Deputy De Rossa and his party made a very calculated decision that their best hope of securing a seat in the European Parliament was to run their most prominent personality, but they never explained how he proposes to combine the duties of an MEP with those of a Member of this House or whether indeed that is his intention, or is he perhaps just awaiting instructions from the apparatchiks of democratic centralism? The last four weeks have shown that the new style of left wing politics is simply cop-out politics. That will never be Fine Gael's style. We will provide a constructive, thoughtful and vigorous Opposition. We will decide on each issue that comes before this House——

Are you going to vote this time?

——in accordance with our principles and our policies. We will urge our policies on this House. When the Government adopt what we regard as a constructive line we will support it; when we disagree with the Government we will oppose it. We will not engage in the style of opposition espoused by Fianna Fáil from December 1982 to February 1987. That period was marked by the most destructive opposition in the history of the State. There was no attempt to present a coherent strategy for the future. Every unpopular action was condemned as being unnecessary and every attempt at reform was opposed in the most cowardly manner.

I hope this House will witness the implementation of the various formulae of consultation about which the Taoiseach has spoken during the last four weeks. He has spoken of the development of structures of consultation and involvement in this House through committees and in other ways. We will participate fully and constructively in any such structures. As I have already told the Taoiseach and the House, the developments of which he spoke during those last four weeks are matters which should be undertaken anyway even if there was no difficulty in electing a Taoiseach and forming a Government.

The focus of my party's action in this House will be to meet the needs of our people. I speak of the need for justice and for equity. I speak of the need to preserve and defend basic human dignity for all our people, especially for the deprived and the under-privileged. I speak of the need for development and expansion so that more and more of our people can find a fulfilling life here for themselves and for their families. I also speak of the need for unity, a unity of hearts and minds on this island. I am proud to boast that in John Cushnahan, MEP, and Deputy Austin Currie we have the proof not only that Fine Gael are committed to that kind of unity but above all that the people of this country are prepared to act accordingly if they are given the lead.

There is a substantial agenda before this House. Most of it should have been on the agenda of the 25th Dáil. In that Dáil it was not dealt with because the then Government were unable to understand the full potential of the consensus which was jettisoned by Deputy Haughey on 25 May last. I must say quite sincerely that we will be looking to Deputy O'Malley and his Progressive Democrats to inject an element of imagination into an innately conservative Fianna Fáil Party and to bring before this House the key elements of the reforms which we so urgently need.

We need sensible tax reform so that we can expand employment and improve motivation. We need reforms in our social welfare system so that it becomes a real and constructive source of assistance for people in difficulty and ceases to be the source of frustration and demotivation which it so often is today. We need to bring sanity back into our health services as was proposed by Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats during the general election so that the fear of becoming ill does not create more illness and so that waiting does not further exacerbate pain and suffering. We need to restore the respect and confidence we had in our education system up to two short years ago. We need to deal with those problems which the last Government allowed to grow to outlandish proportions: morale in our Defence Forces, the nonsensical impasse in our inland fisheries and the tragedy of people who suffer from haemophilia and are now HIV positive.

Looking through this coalition programme for the next four years, I am bound to say that there is not an awful lot that one can get one's teeth into. It starts in a fairly tentative manner: "The programme will be reviewed after two years and annually thereafter." Why is it to be reviewed after two years by one Government? Why is it to be reviewed annually thereafter? We go on to look at job creation: "Gross job creation"— not net, what people are really interested in —"will be accelerated under the national development plan to at least 35,000 jobs per year." The most recent ESRI forecast puts net job creation at 82,000 extra jobs between 1989 and 1994. That is at a rate of about 16,500 per annum. Is that very different from this gross target of 35,000 a year that is stated here, with 20,000 redundancies per annum coming off the gross, which the present Government have now decided not to talk about following the practice instituted by the previous Government which talked only about gross job creation?

We go on to look at the financial targets. The Exchequer borrowing requirement is to be at most 3 per cent of GNP by 1993. The ERSI forecast puts the Exchequer borrowing requirement in surplus by almost 3 per cent of GNP by that year. In order to make the difference between a 3 per cent net Exchequer borrowing requirement and a 3 per cent surplus there would have to be reflation on a huge scale in the meantime which, as the ESRI have pointed out, would wreck our prospects of increasing employment. It sets a target for the debt-GNP ratio of, at most, 120 per cent by 1993. The ESRI forecast 91.3 per cent at that stage. Are the Government or were the negotiators looking at the information that is before us or were they simply repeating old targets without taking account of any of the new work that has been done?

What is meant by the objective to reduce the standard rate of income tax to 25 per cent by 1993 and move towards a single higher rate of tax? Move when? Move where? It is not that many weeks since one party in that Government were a good deal more specific about the tax targets. What has happened in the meantime to fuzz the edges? What has happened in the meantime to say we move towards a single higher rate of tax with no further specification? We go on and look at what is said about about indirect tax harmonisation in the EC, and it is fine so far as it goes. The new Government, we are told, will continue discussions with the European Commission, but there is no reference at all to the fact that the very foundation of the scheme that was set out for indirect tax harmonisation requires unanimity in the Council, and it requires it because we put it there for one simple reason, so that unanimity would be required and member states that had problems could demand assistance. You do not just discuss it; you have to make that very clear at the very beginning.

On the health services, I am glad to note that the Government are providing a provisional allocation of an extra £15 million to deal with the problems the Taoiseach found out about after his radio phone in during the course of the election. I must say I want to congratulate Deputy O'Malley and Deputy Molloy for having moved the Government up that far, and commiserate with them for having had to move down from £30 million to £15 million in the process. I notice also that previous commitments that existed to a radical reorganisation of the health service, the abolition of the health boards, for example, have now been watered down to a commitment to reviewing the entire system of management of the health services nationally and so on.

I hope I am right in this but I find reason to rejoice when I see it is the Government's intention to enter into discussions with the Irish Haemophiliac Society and in the light of those discussions to provide as necessary up to a total of £1 million this year through the AIDS fund. Why in God's name could that not have been done six or seven weeks ago? It was right then, it is right now, and I am quite prepared to say it is right now. I am glad to see it there but there were easier ways of solving that problem than the one we took.

I look at housing and I see there is to be assessment on a national basis and that the new Government will give special priority to the areas concerned in the public housing programme. What does that mean? Is there any idea of what will be provided for a housing programme? Is there any target? When are we going to have this assessment of the need?

A Deputy

Not a single brick.

Not a single commitment, never mind a brick. We find then that the pupil-teacher ratio at both primary and post primary levels will be reduced in the context of demographic decline. That is a phrase of very careful craftsmanship. It will be reduced in the context of demographic decline. What does that mean? God alone knows. Then we find a reduction of one point at primary level to commence in September 1990. Again I have to point out that it is not that many weeks since Deputy O'Malley and his colleagues agreed with the proposal that that should be done from 1 September 1989, a full year earlier than set out here. There is more in education there but others of my colleagues will deal with that in more detail later.

I find that the Government intend to establish an independent environmental monitoring agency. There I will be very straightforward. I will congratulate the Government for having taken up a Fine Gael proposal. Well done.

We come to planning compensation and I find a paragraph here dealing with amendments to the provisions of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963. So far as one can read it, although the drafting is not pellucid by any means, it seems to suggest that this Government have departed from the rigid, blinkered position taken by the Minister for the Environment in the last Government. I say to them again, "Well done for that and we will make sure you do it properly this time."

We have then a proposal that an environmental impact assessment should be a condition of mining development. Again I applaud that; that is a Fine Gael proposal which this Government have had the good sense to take up.

There is a section here dealing with the EC Structural Funds and a role for the regions. Basically what is proposed is that the seven advisory groups at subregional level and the seven subregional working groups be kept in being. It is said that the objective is to make the present system of participation more effective through improved communication and exchange of information between the Government and the sub-regions. I do not think that is what is going to be done because I do not think improved communications with bodies who have no function is going to make any difference to the way this works. We will be coming back with further proposals and repeating our proposals in that area to make regional participation really effective so that we get the value in terms of extra output and extra employment from the EC Structural Funds, indeed, in the way which is posed as an absolute condition of success by the ESRI in their medium term review.

In relation to agriculture I see reference to a number of things that may well be desirable in themselves but I find no reference to the situation of Irish cereal producers, nor to the question of the Irish beef industry. There is no reference at all that even comes near to grappling with the problems that were identified again by Deputy O'Malley and myself some weeks ago in that connection although I am glad to note that the new Government will abolish the off-farm income condition from 1 January 1990. I applaud them for having had the good sense to do that.

A Deputy

You already announced that.

There is a very circumstantial paragraph here dealing with fishery policy. Again it is one of these paragraphs that could mean anything or nothing but it sets no tangible objective, no measurable yardstick for what the Minister for the Marine has to bring about. Deputy Wilson will need all his Greek and Latin scholarship to parse and analyse that to find out what it means.


We come to the section dealing with law reform. There is no reference to another Adoption Bill which is needed, no reference to a Children Bill and a very curious reference to the fact that a scheme for family courts will be guided by the report of the Law Reform Commission on this matter. As far as I know there is no report from the Law Reform Commission on this matter. Is it being proposed that the Law Reform Commission be asked to do this, again as a matter of urgency, and will they set aside the other work that they are now doing at the behest of the previous Government as a matter of urgency?

There is a short section on Oireachtas reform which deals in a very brief way with examining the procedure for the passage of legislation through the Dáil and Seanad, the committee system, Question Time and the sub judice rule. I hope that means we are going to see put into operation, as I have said, some of the proposals the Taoiseach was putting forward in the last few weeks to make this House a more effective Legislature and to enable all of us to work effectively for the people we represent.

There are terms of reference for a new constituency commission. I suggest that it would be infinitely preferable for the Government to bring their proposals for the terms of reference to the parties in this House and let us then all proceed on the basis of terms of reference that we have agreed between us. I am glad to note that the terms of reference set out are very similar indeed to proposals my party have already made except that in item (b) it states: "and that larger-seat constituencies should preferably be situated in areas of greater population density,". I wonder if that means the Minister for the Environment is making sure Mayo does not become a five seat constituency.


That seems to be the intention. In relation to Defence Forces pay it is stated that the long term objective is that Army pay be restructured with the aim of improving substantially the basic pay and reducing the over dependence of soldiers on special duty allowances. That is all it says. That is the long term objective. We cannot wait for that long term. We must go about that whole business, restructuring Army pay and bringing it into a reasonable relationship with the pay of other parts of the security forces much more quickly than that. I am quite prepared to accept it will take quite some time to bring that about, but I think our Defence Forces need the certainty of knowing that that process is at hand and will take place over a planned period of years set out in this House. Then we find some wonderful lines on page 30:

A major effort will be undertaken at the highest level to resolve the current dispute in full consultation with Fisheries Boards, Angling Clubs and Tourist Boards, and to provide a strengthened basis for the financing and development of inland fisheries.

This refers, of course, to the rod licence, a problem which the previous Government allowed to grow to outrageous proportions. Even though the Taoiseach said during the course of the election campaign that he was going to make one last mighty effort we now find that it turns into "a major effort undertaken at the highest level". The solution is there. All they have to do is take it on board, adopt it and implement it so that all the people involved in the sport and in the industries associated with it can get back to living their lives and making their contribution to this economy in the way they want.

There is one paragraph on Northern Ireland at the very end of this document. I will not carp or complain that it is only one paragraph since a document like this clearly cannot say anything. I find no evidence here of any change of view on the part of Deputy Haughey in relation to how we approach the next stage of development in Northern Ireland, which must be the setting in place of a devolved system of Government.

I am disappointed to find that other members of that coalition Government who seemed in the past to agree with my view in this matter seen now to have let it slide. That is a major area of disappointment in this programme and one to which this House will have to come back time after time to make sure that we do not abdicate the responsibility and throw away the right we have under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Agreement to participate properly in that process.

In all of these matters that face us we should realise that we are not without resources. I have referred already to the medium-term review for the years 1989 to 1994 recently published by the Economic and Social Research Institute. That review shows that the policies followed by Deputy Garret FitzGerald's Coalition Government between December 1982 and February 1987 had begun to bear fruit in 1986. It shows also that, with the assistance of enlightened European Community policies developed with the active participation and frequently at the initiative of that Government, those policies will continue to bear fruit for some years to come. The review quite properly insists on the central importance of the assumptions made in relation to a series of factors such as the world economic outlook, prices, exchange rates and so on and it makes a set of assumptions about domestic policy which seem to me to be reasonable and which must be respected. On the basis of those assumptions this incoming Government could have available to them a wider and more creative range of policy options than those we have known since the middle of 1981. I am not describing the prospect as one of a greater degree of latitude or even a greater degree of leeway in relation to expenditure policy, but if the ESRI assumptions turn out to be justified then economic, budgetary, fiscal and monetary policy will need to be handled with great care and dexterity if we are to turn the undoubted sacrifices and hardships of the past seven years to real advantage for our people and their children. We must use sensitively and creatively the strong underlying growth in the economy revealed in this analysis. This Government and this Dáil will have a heavy responsibility in that matter.

No Opposition party or politician ever suffered from making a positive contribution to the affairs of state. The results of the last election show that very clearly. The same election results also show clearly that a Government who fail to recognise and capitalise on constructive opposition will suffer. Coalition Governments can work and have worked. The Coalition Government of 1973 to 1977 compared more than favourably with the Fianna Fáil majority Governments which immediately preceded it and immediately followed it. The ESRI medium term review to which I have referred demonstrates beyond any shadow of doubt the value of the work done by the Coalition Government between December 1982 and February 1987.

For two years only. Read it very carefully.

I will parse it for Deputy Wilson and give him lessons in it without the slightest difficulty. Those reflections are enough to demonstrate the utter unreality of the traditional Fianna Fáil approach to Coalition. If this Government succeed they will prove my point and if they fail they will show once again the absolute futility of personality politics.


Hear, hear.

When I spoke this afternoon I offered St. Christopher's blessing to the Taoiseach on his way to the Park. I also wished the Taoiseach well, as I wish the incoming Government well in the tasks they are undertaking. I wish the new Ministers and those Ministers who have regained office well in the enormous task and the difficulties which face them and their families in coming years. I meant what I said to the Taoiseach this afternoon, as I mean what I am saying to the Government. This country can only benefit if the Government announced this evening turn out to be both efficient in their management of the economy and caring in their approach to the development of a unified and equal society.

I have to digress for a moment, given the temptations offered on my extreme right. I tend not to react to withering scorn but on this occasion it is worthy of some comment. I certainly can understand that the leader of the Fine Gael Party may be somewhat confused, since some weeks ago he had a pact with a party who have now crossed the Floor.

We can still tell the difference between the Labour Party and The Workers' Party.

Also I suspect he is experiencing some difficulty finding his way into Opposition. He certainly has not been in Opposition since he announced his Tallaght strategy some two years ago. For my part I will bury the Zig and Zag metaphor because I am very confused about parties jumping across the Floor.


Obviously Deputy Dukes is recovering from the political impotence of the past two and a half years and I am glad that he has got his sense of humour back as well. He certainly did not have it during the past two and a half years. Fine Gael have to realise, as have the Government Coalition parties, that they cannot be all things to all men. Fianna Fáil have attempted through the years to represent all people at all times but that is catching up with them. The difficulties of representing big farmers and big business who want return for their investment, both politically and otherwise, while also representing ordinary working people and PAYE workers is something that has caught up with both the major parties. That is the difficulty they will be facing.

One would hope that this new Coalition, perhaps more than any other, might have learnt the lessons of the recent general election. There is some poetic irony in the fact that we now have a Government made up of the only two parties in this House who lost seats in that election. That salutary experience, one would hope, would lead those parties to the realisation that the policies they followed in the past were not the policies demanded by the people. In that respect perhaps Deputy Brennan, as the director of elections for Fianna Fáil, feels particularly privileged at being rewarded by a seat in Cabinet.

I have now had an opportunity of looking at the programme for Government outlined following what were described as "arduous and complicated" negotiations between the parties. In the short time that I have had access to the document it has not been possible to undertake a detailed analysis but on the basis of what I have seen, if the policy side of the negotiations was arduous it can only have been because the negotiators wore themselves out trying to fill up 32 pages with banal clichés. It probably took them half of their time to come up with a title for the document. Clearly it would not be acceptable, given what had been said previously, to call it a coalition programme because, as we all know and have been reminded time and time again on the airwaves, coalition and the concept of coalition would offend Fianna Fáil core values and that must never be allowed, but surely with all the imagination at their disposal they could have come up with something a bit better than The Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats Programme for Government 1989-1993 in the National Interest. Obviously they employ the same team that brought us “That next phase is what you are voting for”. I could suggest something a little catchier, perhaps “Back to the fold”, which more accurately reflects the purpose of the document. I have to say, with respect to Saatchi and Saatchi, or whoever dreamed it up, The Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats Programme for Government 1989-1993 in the National Interest is not going to catch on as a title. It certainly will not catch on with the people at large when they sit down to read it.

In overall terms, the document bears as little relationship to the realities of our situation as "Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail", and it exists only at the same level of fantasy. I have to say I find it incomprehensible that two political parties could have fought so bruising an election and still have learned so little. Perhaps the reality is that this is not so much an agreement as a truce, not so much as a prescription for the future as a burying of the hatchet. In each and every section of the document there are signs that one or other of the parties to it seem to have forgotton that we have just had an election in which the people have delivered clear verdicts on a wide range of issues.

Many, though not all, of the issues raised in the election have been dealt with but in almost every single case the judgment of the people is ignored. One of the major issues in the last election was the crisis in our health service. There is no doubt that the people have decided this question. They do not want a two-tier health service. They have said so loudly and clearly. According to page 8 of "Back to the fold" the new Government are committed to examining systems which will achieve equality of access to health care. They are not committed to implementing any such systems, the House will note, only to examining them. While this examination is going on, the Government will spend £15 million on improving the service. They say they are going to open beds in acute hospitals. We presume that means they are going to re-open some of the beds they closed. They do not mention hiring any extra staff to cope with the extra workload, but that night seem like a bit of a U-turn, and we would not want to accuse them of that. They are going to implement some of the promises made in the Fianna Fáil manifesto, dealing with waiting lists in child deafness procedures and hip replacement operations.

There is £15 million altogether. In the course of the general election, we estimated that £48 million was needed urgently in the health services. We did more than that — we showed where it would come from, and where it should be spent, item by item. This Government have decided to acknowledge that there is a problem in health care, but have ignored the reality of the crisis.

What is most worrying about the health passages in the document is the assertion that the £15 million to be spent will be found "within existing budgetary limits". If this means, as I suspect it might, that extra spending on health will be at the expense of existing health services, there will be no gain whatsoever. In overall terms I confidently predict that if the health Estimate due in the next few days is modelled on this agenda it will be vigorously opposed in this House.

If health is going to be the focus of attention over the next few days, what are we to make of some of the other commitments in the document? Where the long-term unemployed are concerned there are a number of very worthy proposals but not one extra penny is allocated to services which are already in a state of collapse. Indeed, one can search this document from top to bottom without finding a commitment for increased resources anywhere. How are the serious social problems of housing, education, and social welfare going to be addressed without any resources being made available? The growing social problems of housing are nodded to in a mere four lines, with no commitment to action. Our overcrowded classrooms get two lines, with a commitment that class sizes will be brought down only as the population declines. Under the heading of social welfare there are ominous references to means testing and rationalising, and everyone who suffered from the social welfare cuts of the last Government knows what those terms really mean.

The last Government established "offices" to develop science and technology and horticulture. That was the last most of us ever heard of those subjects. These offices were never given a meaningful budget, adequate staff or powers to carry out their functions. This Government now propose to establish an "office" to protect and improve the environment. If their commitment to the environment is as substantial as their commitment to science and technology was all I can say is, God help the environment. That would be a particular tragedy. We in the Labour Party initiated a major proposal to establish a powerful, independent agency to accomplish the objective of protecting the environment. This proposal appears to be a pale imitation of what we had in mind. What more could one expect from the Government that abolished An Foras Forbartha, that presided over some of the worst planning decisions in recent history, and that sat on necessary amendments to the planning laws until the Dáil was dissolved?

This new Government are going to give with one hand and take away with the other. In their proposals for Army pay, for example, it is already clear that the only people who will pay for basic pay increases for the Army are the soldiers themselves, through the effective loss of all allowances.

The Government remain too stubborn and pigheaded to face the reality that their rod licence provisions have been soundly rejected by the people, and will simply never work.

One of the longest sections of the document deals with agriculture, but nowhere is there to be found any mention of one of the major controversies of the last Dáil — indeed a controversy in which Deputy O'Malley played no little part — the need to ensure proper regulation and control of our beef processing sector. Clearly, everyone has to pay some price for power.

When one comes to look at the two major issues addressed by the document — the issues of taxation and unemployment — it becomes clearer and clearer that this is a document aimed more at covering up the share-out of the spoils than any serious effort to address problems. The section on employment creation would be laughable if the situation were not so serious. It is nothing more than a rehash of the cliches of the last two years, essentially a regurgitation of the old "climate of confidence" trick. One would think that the outgoing Government, and the negotiators of this agreement, did not have available to them the detailed analysis carried out by the ESRI.

One would think that they had never been in a position to look at the policy suggestions in relation to sectoral employment, industrial policy, education and training, and structural funding contained in that body's medium-term review. One would think that there was no such thing in this country as a vibrant public sector.

The document contributes nothing to addressing the unemployment crisis, and the word "emigration" does not even rate a mention. Instead, Fianna Fáil have now committed themselves to voting for a Progressive Democrats' Private Members' Bill on competition that they voted against in the last Dáil, and that was roundly defeated by the last Dáil.

The section on taxation contains a number of vague generalities on tax reform, and unspecific promises about reducing the standard rate to 25 per cent. The best I can say about it is that it is written like the recipe for Mother's Pride bread — deliberately aimed at being bland enough so that it will give offence to no one — but as a recipe for the fundamental tax reform we need in this country, it will be a recipe only for disaster.

Over the next months and years, two main questions will preoccupy the political system of our country. At least, these two questions ought to be among the principal issues that we face and deal with. It may well be that these issues will be ignored, and that they will be settled by default. It may well be that the politicians we have elected to Government will simply turn a blind eye to them, and allow them to be decided by faceless, anonymous people. If that were to happen the result would be disastrous, as it has been disastrous in other countries where these issues have arisen.

The questions are these: first, how are the fruits of economic growth to be distributed and, secondly, who is going to wield the power and influence of ownership in Ireland in the future?

These are huge and difficult questions. They may not seem at first glance to be the most obvious ones that arise on a day like this but if recent political experience has shown us anything, it has shown us that issues like these must be pushed to the centre of the political stage. Too much of our recent experience has been tied up with defending people against the callous and unthinking consequences of an ill-considered approach to policy. Too much of our recent experience has been tied up with unscrambling the consequences of secret deals and political cronyism. We cannot as a community allow the style and substance of this kind of Government to continue.

I would like to address these two questions in the order in which I raised them. I consider it a tragedy that neither of them has been seriously addressed in the document which forms the basis of this Government.

There is every possibility now that we are facing into a period of sustained economic growth. The recent medium-term review published by the Economic and Social Research Institute heralded the possibility that within a few short years we will be making capital repayments on our debt, rather than simply servicing the interest.

According to the ESRI, our economy could grow on average by 5 per cent a year for each of the next five years. By 1991, on the basis of present revenue and spending policies, we will be taking in more in taxation than we spend, for the first time since the early 1970s. This is a rosy picture — some would say that it is much too optimistic — but even if we allow for a degree of optimism the likelihood is, as I have said, that our economy will grow. The question that poses is, who will benefit from that growth?

The authors of the ESRI review pose the question well. The say: "The policy dilemma will be the reconciliation of the need for economic efficiency and the desirability of social equity." The Labour Party in the past have attempted to pose the same question over and over again. We have insisted at all times that the management of our economy must be efficient and tough, but it must go hand in hand with a deep, underlying commitment to the principles of social justice.

We have had economic growth in the past two and a half years. We have had more efficiency in the public service and throughout the economy. Nobody can deny that: but it has been built on the backs of 100,000 emigrants and a quarter of a million unemployed people. It has been built on the backs of one million poor. It has been built at the cost of increasing inequality and disadvantage at every level of our society.

Side by side with the increasing efficiency of our economy, we have witnessed in the past two and a half years an increasing polarisation in our society. It is manifest in our two-tier health service, just as it is manifest in the virtual collapse in our public housing, the gradual elimination of free education, and the dismantling of social welfare schemes. A more efficient economy coupled with a more unjust and a less equal society is what we have begun to create in our country in the short lifetime of the last Dáil.

That is a recipe for disaster. We cannot afford in our country the pernicious influence of Thatcherism. We must address the structural issues in our economy that give rise to unemployment, to poverty and to inequality, and we must do it now. We must take advantage of the upturn in our economic fortunes to ensure that disadvantage is rooted out of our country. We must ensure that the fruits of economic growth are fairly and justly distributed.

Sadly, there is little evidence in anything we have seen so far that the issue of equality and justice will feature on this new Government's agenda. From what we have seen of the programme for Government, it is not a programme for Government at all, but a recipe for ensuring that the spoils of office are grabbed and held on to. I have not seen or heard anything that persuades me that this Government are even aware of the fundamental importance of wisely managed and fairly distributed economic growth. That is why it is vitally important that there is a strong, effective and vigorous Opposition in this House, and we in the Labour Party intend to ensure that that Opposition is provided.

The second question I raised earlier concerns the whole issue of power and influence. We know that the past two years have seen a series of issues where the question of political favouritism has been of central importance. Much of what has gone on we may never know anything about but we know enough to make us wonder why Deputy O'Malley, in particular, who made a virtual career of pursuing the issue of export credit insurance, has not seen fit to mention that subject in the programme for Government to which he has now agreed.

I will give just one example of what I mean. There has been considerable media coverage in the last couple of days about the agreement made between the last Government and Goodman Industries about the development of the beef processing industry. We expressed considerable doubt at the time that that agreement would lead to increased investment and employment in that sector, despite the fact that the Government were prepared to grant-aid the development to the tune of £25 million. As we now know, that development programme has not met any of its targets, and seems increasingly unlikely to do so. We have been reassured by the IDA and others that none of the £25 million has been drawn down, or will be drawn down until the jobs are on stream, but what we have never been told is whether or not there are other angles to agreements of this sort.

There was an unusual coincidence about this agreement, in that it was announced originally on the same day as the publication of the 1987 Finance Act. That Act contained a little noticed section which now allows companies like Goodman International to benefit for tax purposes from the purchase of plant and equipment — even if those purchases were completely grant-aided by the State.

The principal feature of that section is that it immediately increased the value of the £25 million in grants — or any other grants for capital equipment received by similar companies — by up to 50 per cent. In other words, if and when that £25 million is drawn down, its true value will be closer to £40 million. Despite raising that matter publicly, we have never been told why that section was included in the Finance Act of 1987. Specifically, we have never been told whether or not the inclusion of that section was part of a secret agreement behind the agreement announced at the time.

This is, of course, only one of the questions that have never been answered about the extent of political wheeling and dealing in the past two and a half years. There have been many others, of course, and, while many of them have seen the light of day, we may never know the full extent of such issues. What is becoming increasingly clear, though, is that the issue of who wields power and influence in our democracy is becoming an increasingly important one.

We attempted to address that question in a number of different ways in the last Dáil. We published a Private Members' Bill dealing with the receipt of valuable gifts by Government officials. We submitted a draft Register of Members Financial Interests to the Committee of Procedure and Privileges. We put down amendments to the Companies Bill which would have had the effect of forcing all political contributions to be made public. We made detailed proposals to change the sub judice rule, in order to ensure that this House was able to debate matters of urgent public importance. We were in the process of preparing a Freedom of Information Act, and a more comprehensive Ethics in Government Act.

There was one political party in the last Dáil which held itself out as being in support of these ideas and values, even though they would have disagreed with us on a wide range of other issues. That party was the Progressive Democrats. Sadly, all their interest in this area appears to have disappeared once the prospect of office appeared on the horizon. It will always remain in a matter of speculation as to whether these issues were even raised in the discussions between the party leaders. There is certainly no evidence that either of the party leaders involved took them seriously enough to merit a mention in their programme for Government. Instead, we are promised a Bill to deal with phone tapping. That is certainly a breathtaking proposal in the circumstances.

Despite the shape of this Government, and the document that now underpins it, there is a great deal of work to be done in the immediate future. It is clear already that much of that work will have to be done by the Opposition. There is so little on offer to us by way of a meaningful initiative from the new Government that one can only consider it fortunate that they have a very slim majority. Perhaps if they do nothing else, they will be persuaded to listen in the future. That, at least, would be a start.

Before I speak generally on the proposal from the Taoiseach, I suppose it must be something of a back-handed compliment that the Workers' Party are replacing the Progressive Democrats as part of the Fine Gael demonology. It is quite interesting because I am aware, as indeed is Deputy Dukes, that Fine Gael would have been quite happy to accept our support, had we been willing to give it, to get into Government.

Forty Seanad seats.

I have dealt with the question of copping out a number of times in this House. The Leader of the Fine Gael Party has indicated that he proposes to be in opposition and indeed he voted against the Taoiseach. There is a role for Opposition parties in a democracy. I am surprised the Leader of the Fine Gael Party chooses to denigrate the role of Opposition parties in this House. It is quite surprising, coming from the Fine Gael Party.

A Deputy

He knows very little about Opposition.


I congratulate the members of the new Government on their appointment. They will have a tough job: indeed, if all of the Opposition that has been promised materialises they will have an extremely tough job. I have no personal animosity here but I would have preferred if Deputy O'Hanlon had not been reappointed as Minister for Health. Had he not been reappointed it would have been a good indication of a desire to change the approach to the health services, despite the fact that the Government policy generally is what dictates what a Minister may do in office.

I have no doubt that a majority of the people would consider that the priority for the incoming Government must be to deal with the problems of poverty, unemployment and emigration, and to provide additional funding for the health services so that a uniformly high standard of health care can be provided and made available to all of our people and so as to reverse the cutbacks which have done so much damage to our educational system. The past two and half years of Fianna Fáil Government has been a grim period for the majority of workers and their families. They have been asked to endure cutback after cutback. They have seen the basic services they thought they were entitled to being whittled away and they have seen their families decimated by unemployment and emigration. At the same time they have seen a small, already rich élite get richer.

Speaking in the Dáil last week I referred to a number of recent reports which indicated an upturn in the economy. I disputed the gloss being put on those reports by Fianna Fáil and by some commentators but I said that whatever economic flexibility was now open to the Government should go to benefit those who have suffered most during the past few years. In reply to that point, Deputy Haughey, now Taoiseach, asked if I would not be prepared to give the Government credit for the improved economic indicators. Let me say, first, that many of these improvements have been brought about by external factors. However, I will acknowledge the Taoiseach's claim to these developments if he will also accept responsibility of the dark side of what they are trying to pass off as the Fianna Fail "economic miracle"— the fact that there are still more than 230,000 unemployed, the fact that 100,000 of our people have been forced to emigrate since Fianna Fáil took office, the fact that the queues for basic health services are longer than at any time in recent decades and services for the mentally handicapped are totally underdeveloped, the fact that the cuts in education spending have given us the worst pupil-teacher ratio in Europe and schools without buildings and remedial teachers. Let me mention in passing that Ballymun comprehensive school has no language teacher. Last year it had to fight tooth and nail to have nine-tenths of a French teacher appointed. This year it is going to have to go through the same rigmarole and fight to have one language teacher appointed.

Many of the most serious problems facing the people, such as poverty and emigration, arise directly from long-term unemployment. The key to solving many of these problems therefore lies in substantially reducing unemployment and indeed low pay. In relation to low pay, let me make one specific reference to the programme just published. It states that in order to provide targeted help — a very much favoured term with the Tories in Britain — for the special needs of part-time and low-paid workers and their families further improvements will be made in tax exemption limits and the family income supplement. What part-time workers need is legislative protection. They need protection to ensure that they are not exploited. What low-paid workers need is a mandatory minimum wage to ensure that employers cannot exploit them and the State does not have to step in to effectively subsidise employers who exploit their workers.

That is an indication of the kind of thinking that went into the production of this programme and indicates clearly that there has been no shift away from the monetarist approach the previous Government adopted and that the shift to the right, which I predicted would occur with the emergence of a Progressive Democrats-Fianna Fáil Coalition, has in fact taken place.

Double jobbing.

Which one of you said that? Which one of you double jobbers said that?

The man who has had trouble holding on to his job.

Do you not also have a full-time job?

Have you given up your job in the last week?

To serve the people.


Who is running your shop out in Beaumont Hospital?


I think the people who shout "double jobbing"——

Through the Chair, please.

——should examine what is going on within their own party. If you like, I will produce a list of all the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats——

I have asked the Deputy to address his remarks through the Chair rather than to another Deputy across the floor.


What did Deputy Dukes say about Gardiner Place? The latest unemployment figures published last week showed that unemployment was on the way up again and indicated that Government policies were having virtually no impact on the problem. There is nothing in the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats agreement to indicate that there will be any departure from the same unsuccessful employment policies pursued by the previous Government. The experience of the last two Governments, those of Fianna Fáil and of the previous Coalition, proved that attempting to create a favourable climate for investment, by giving more tax breaks or grants to private profiteers or encouraging people to start their own businesses, will not deal with the scale of the jobs problem confronting us and certainly will do nothing at all for job creation unless they are tied specifically to creating jobs in specific areas of our industrial infrastructure.

We need a much more serious level of political commitment to a massive nationwide job creation effort and the political will to confront the vested interests who benefit from unemployment, low pay, part-time work and economic stagnation. We must shift more of our economic resources from property speculators, banks and financial institutions into the dynamic growth sectors of the economy. This will require the carrot and stick approach on the part of the new Government.

Dealing with long-term unemployment will clearly take some time. In the meantime, however, a number of interim steps must be taken to deal with poverty. The indisputable fact is that research undertaken by the ESRI on behalf of the Combat Poverty Agency shows that, using a cut off line of £48 per week, 34 per cent of people were living in poverty. No one could seriously claim that anyone surviving on the equivalent of less than £48 a week could be living in anything other than proverty. It is difficult to be optimistic that any Government made up of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats will give poverty the priority it demands. We need the immediate introduction of a comprehensive anti-poverty programme which will make real inroads into the problems of poverty and inequality before 1992.

We want Ireland to enter the single market in a state of balanced economic and social development, not with bitter divisions, wide extremes of wealth and poverty and seething social problems with a begging bowl in each hand for our European partners to keep filling. In the short term the most effective way of alleviating poverty would be to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Social Welfare, who called for the provision of a basic income of about £60 per adult in 1989 terms.

At least following this election no one can claim to be unaware of the extent of the problems facing our health service or the depth of public feeling about what has been done to the health service.

The hallmark of any civilised society is the way in which it treats the sick, the old, the young and the handicapped. Yet it is these categories of people who have suffered most from the health cuts of the past six years — I emphasise the past six years, not just the past two and a half years. The Workers' Party voted against the Health Estimates over the past two years because we did not believe that the money allocated was sufficient to meet the needs of our people. There are of course many areas where savings can be made without diminishing the standard of patient care. The huge cost of drugs, highlighted in today's report of the GMS Payments Board, is one example of this. The bottom line, however, is that if we want to end the health queues and provide a uniformly high standard of health care then more money must be provided for the health service.

While it did not figure as a major media issue during the election campaign, my experience on the doorstep was that the education cuts were almost as big an issue as the health cuts. I forecast that education will be a major problem for the new Government. People are angry at the damage being done to their children's prospects by these education cuts. The potential of education as a force for social equalisation has been whittled away by the cuts and the imposition of a series of charges for education, which have virtually ended free education. We now have the worst pupil-teacher ratio in Europe, as I said earlier, and many schools are facing virtual collapse.

For the Government and indeed for all parties in the House the continued violence in Northern Ireland must rank as a major political priority. During the past few years the Progressive Democrats have adopted what I would consider to be a fairly progressive position on Northern Ireland. They have spoken of the need for the establishment of democratic devolved government in Northern Ireland and for a flexible approach to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. To that extent the section on Northern Ireland in the new programme presented today is a major disappointment. It seems to represent a total victory for the more intransigent position held by the Taoiseach during the past two and a half years.

There is no mention of devolved government, nor recognition of the need for talks between the constitutional parties within Northern Ireland. Unless there is political movement in Northern Ireland the violence in Northern Ireland will continue. The Government of the Republic cannot stand aloof, but must play an active role to encourage political movement in Northern Ireland and ensure that progress is made towards the establishment of democratic devolved government there.

There is nothing in this joint Programme for Government to indicate that there will be any significant departure from the policies pursued by the previous Fianna Fáil Government. Over the past two and a half years The Workers' Party offered constructive and democratic opposition and we will continue to do that. As I said earlier and on previous occasions, we will approach every issue that is brought forward by this Government in a constructive way. We will support those issues which we think deserve support and will oppose vigorously those issues which we feel should be opposed.

I think there is an abandonment of the spirit of collective responsibility by Fianna Fáil in the selection of the Fianna Fáil members of this Coalition Government. The outgoing Fianna Fáil Ministers, Deputy Brendan Daly and Deputy Michael Noonan, who earned considerable unpopularity because they were pursuing collectively agreed Government policies in regard to Army pay and the issue of rod licences, have been sacked simply because they became unpopular implementing Government policies. To my mind, that indicates that any Minister in this Government who finds himself as a result of exercising his responsibilities in accordance with Government decisions in a position of being unpopular is liable to be dropped in order to court some superficial and temporary popularity for those who remain behind after he has left. Frankly, I do not understand how the Taoiseach could allow such a demoralising situation to be created as has been created by clearly attempting to personalise in these two individuals all the unpopularity that properly belongs to the entire Government for mistaken policies that they collectively decided to implement.

I also think it is highly unhealthy that in this realocation of responsibilities the portfolio of Communications seems to have become the personal property of Deputy Raphael Burke. That Deputy has been moved twice from one Department to another and on each occasion he has brought Communications with him, as if it somehow or other belonged to him——


——as if he alone, of all the members of the Government, had the ability to cope with the problems in that area. It seems quite unusual, not to say suspect, that the Government believed that no other Member was capable of carrying this portfolio. I really wonder what is the secret agenda that Deputy Burke and he alone is capable of fulfilling in that area——

Stick around.

——in regard for instance, to the issuing of licences, that the Taoiseach is not prepared to trust any other Minister in the entire Government with implementing. To my mind, this is a very peculiar allocation of responsibilities.

That perhaps is an important issue, but much more important to my mind is the blatant undermining of the principle of collective responsibility by the fact that Deputy Brendan Daly and Deputy Michael Noonan of Limerick West have been made the scapegoats for collective Government decisions. Thereby, the Taoiseach has undermined collective responsibility — a very bad day's work and something of which there are very few examples in recent political history. On most occasions when Ministers became unpopular the precedent had been that the Taoiseach stood behind those Ministers more than he stood behind those Ministers who happened to be lucky enough to be in portfolios in which relative popularity came their way.

What about Gemma?

In this case we see an example of two individuals being made scapegoats and what do we see instead? The promotion of Deputy Séamus Brennan to take their place, the man who for the last two and a half years has had the responsibility of carrying through this House a Companies Bill and has not had the support of the Government to provide the time necessary to bring that Bill forward and in respect of which we have, I think, debated so far no more than 26 sections — not a tremendous legislative achievement to warrant the promotion which the Government now seem prepared to lavish on the Deputy in question.

As Deputy Alan Dukes rightly pointed out, the fiscal targets chosen by this Government represent a possibility, if they are implemented, and when compared with the ESRI report, of a massive reflation of our economy to the extent that it might cause severe balance of payments, inflationary and unemployment problems. As has been pointed out by Deputy Dukes, the Economic and Social Research Institute's projection indicated that by 1993 we should be in a position to be running a borrowing surplus of 2.9 per cent of GNP, whereas this Government, in determining their target since the publication of that report, have decided that they are going to go for a borrowing deficit of 3 per cent of GNP — a whole difference of 6 percentage points of GNP, extra Government spending, extra Government borrowing, which this Government proposes to implement as against what the ESRI report said is possible. I think it indicates that perhaps, indeed, what we see here again is the school of economic and political thought that gave us the 1977 manifesto. The old firm are together again, the firm that believe in borrowing, spending and creating a situation in which the country acquires unsustainable problems.

Whose figures are being pursued?

That firm, let it be said, using very many circuitous routes, having very many difficulties, overcoming many obstacles, that old combination has been brought together again and we see the evidence of it in the irresponsibly lax, in the light of the ESRI report, fiscal targets that have been set in this Government's programme.

What was in your manifesto?

I will not be drawn into a debate with Deputy Haughey.


Deputy Haughey has shown all the qualities of flexibility——

Order. An Taoiseach.

He is also Deputy Haughey. Without any adjectives, An Taoiseach.

The Standing Orders of this House ordain that Members shall be referred to by their appropriate titles.

I think you, a Cheann Comhairle, for your instructions in the matter. I think that the Ceann Comhairle might be so kind as to restrain the Deputy whose description he has so aptly drawn to my attention from any untoward interruptions so as to allow me——

Tell lies.

——to complete my address to the House without any unnecessary fracas from the other side of the House.

I would like to draw attention to some of the interesting contrasts between the manifesto produced during the election campaign by the Progressive Democrats — not one of whom is in the House at the moment; they have all gone somewhere, I am not quite sure where — and what they have succeeded in persuading their new found coalition partners in Fianna Fáil to accept. It is fair to say that the Progressive Democrats produced a number of interesting ideas in their document published on 2 June 1989. This is their own document, their own ideas entirely. There is no question of its being a joint document with Fianna Fáil. How well have they done, might I ask, in getting their former colleagues to accept these proposals? Not particularly well, I am afraid, a Cheann Comhairle.

They proposed a ten-point plan in regard to the black economy in their document and not one of the ten points has been accepted. They proposed that there should be a minimum tax on businesses in order to improve the position of the PAYE taxpayer. That proposal, a good and interesting one, has not been accepted either. They proposed to eliminate accelerated capital allowances and that has not been accepted. They proposed to reduce the section 84 tax concession, again to help the PAYE sector. That has not been accepted by Fianna Fáil. They made specific commitments in regard to a rate of 25 per cent tax on income up to £12,000. That has not been accepted by Fianna Fáil.

They made certain proposals in regard to privatisation. I think it is fair to say that they have entirely abandoned in this joint document any suggestion that they would engage in any meaningful effort to sell shares in State companies, even where it is obviously in the public interest. The phrasing of their document is quite clear. It says that even if the sale of shares is in the public interest, unless the employees and unions agree, no sale of shares will take place. If Deputy De Rossa had been negotiating on behalf of the unions he could not have done better than that. The Progressive Democrats have not made any progress in regard to bringing flexibility into the public sector through the sale of shares in companies. The unions have been given a complete veto in regard to the sale of shares, and that removes the possibility of making the public sector and public sector companies more dynamic than they are at present through the introduction of new forms of capital and new disciplines arising from a mixed board structure.

It is also fair to say that the Progressive Democrats failed to get any progress in regard to the very interesting idea they put forward in relation to a national health insurance scheme which would abolish the distinction between public and private patients, something that is very badly needed. There is now more evidence of the class structure of our society becoming more and more divisive and pronounced in the health area where, clearly, there are two systems of health services, one for those who happen to have a good job and another for those who do not. The Progressive Democrats, to their credit, proposed to do something about that. Even though they were criticised for being a right wing party, in their independent existence they sought to confront an important issue of that kind. However, they have totally failed to persuade that most conservative of parties — Fianna Fáil — to accept any of their concrete, practical and radical ideas in the health area.

The Progressive Democrats also proposed that we should have a health ombudsman but again they have failed to persuade the Minister — who could not be persuaded to give £100,000 extra to the haemophiliacs — to accept this. Indeed, the failure to accept a health ombudsman is not surprising in view of the record of costly and expensive stubbornness which has been shown in that area. The Progressive Democrats were certainly up against it so far as getting any progress in the health area was concerned, and they got none.

The Progressive Democrats had a number of interesting ideas in their document in regard to agriculture with which Fine Gael would agree. They proposed the removal of the co-responsibility levy from small producers throughout the country, not merely in disadvantaged areas. They proposed banning EC access for New Zealand butter while that country places no quota limits on its own production; ensuring that no milk quotas are traded out of Ireland to other member states; tackling the problem of seasonality which affects market continuity and the supply of quality milk and meat products, campaigning within the EC to have animal and plant health standards harmonised to the higher levels which exist in Ireland rather than down to the levels which exist in other continental countries. None of those specific Progressive Democrat concrete and productive ideas, with which the Fine Gael Party agree, has been accepted by their deeply conservative — I would not say right wing — Fianna Fáil Coalition partners. It was not a brilliant negotiating achievement, apart from a vital matter I will come to in a minute.

The Progressive Democrats proposed another idea with which the Fine Gael Party heartily agreed and which, I can say with all due fairness, the Progressive Democrats borrowed from Fine Gael, the introduction of the teaching of continental languages at primary level. While there is a lot of flannel and words about languages in this document there is no commitment to the introduction of continental languages at primary level. The Progressive Democrats have failed in that area.

The Progressive Democrats have also failed in regard to obtaining a commitment to new freedom of information laws, which they proposed, or to the incorporation of the European Convention of Human Rights as part of domestic law. They have failed to get a commitment to an architectural heritage Bill or to extending planning controls in relation to State and semi-State bodies, all of which they said they would do in the document published in June 1989. If Fine Gael had obtained 77 seats in this election rather than Fianna Fáil the Progressive Democrats would not have had difficulties in any of those areas in persuading this party — a radical party, open to new ideas and hungry to make reforms to improve the lot of ordinary people — to accept any of those proposals. I can see that they had great difficulty in getting anywhere with Fianna Fáil.

There is a whole section in the document of the Progressive Democrats on extradition, something which most civilised countries accept is essential in modern times if we are to combat crime, whether it travels under a spurious political nomenclature or ordinary crime. It is crime, involving the death and maiming of individuals and the theft of their property. The motivation does not matter, if crime takes place and it can be demonstrated that certain people committed it they should be extradited. The Progressive Democrats have failed to get any commitment from Fianna Fáil in regard to the very specific proposals they made in regard to extradition on page 20 of this document. That is a very poor start in so far as the involvement of the Progressive Democrats is concerned in relation to concrete matters concerning law and order and real progress involving dialogue with both communities in Northern Ireland.

It is interesting that this document, which has been agreed between the parties, says:

The new Government will renew their attempts to seek political dialogue with leaders of the Unionist community without pre-conditions to promote greater economic and social co-operation between North and South in the context of 1992.

Note the word "renew". Renew? What contacts have there been by Fianna Fáil for the last two and half years with the Unionist community? What substantial effort or proposal has been made by Fianna Fáil to open up dialogue with the Unionist community? What substantial effort has there been on the part of Fianna Fáil to show a commitment to the introduction of developed administration on a power sharing basis in Northern Ireland? Absolutely none. There have been speeches for the British press delivered at Fianna Fáil Árd Fheiseanna and other locations at a safe distance south of the Border where there were adequate photographic opportunities for the Taoiseach to be televised making these generous gestures. However, no concrete effort has been made to obtain any serious opening in terms of dialogue with the Unionist community by Fianna Fáil. The one hope that the Government might make some progress in that regard came from the prospective involvement of the Progressive Democrats as members of the Government. As far as that is concerned they made no progress, in fact by the use of the words "renew the attempts" they clearly accepted and swallowed the Fianna Fáil line in regard to this matter. They have swallowed the Fianna Fáil line and lie that they have been making efforts when manifestly no effort has been made by Fianna Fáil in that area. The Progressive Democrats are obviously tactily prepared to accept that, take their two seats in Cabinet and leave those matters to one side. That is regrettable because an opportunity that existed for Fianna Fáil to open up their minds in so far as seeking a genuine, bipartisan solution to the problems of Northern Ireland within Northern Ireland has been cast aside and we will continue the policy of stand off, speeches delivered at Ard-Fheiseanna, at gravesides and other places, where goodwill of a very general and unspecific kind is expressed but absolutely nothing is done.

There are a number of other areas in this programme which are failures. One of the most disappointing, in view of the fact that it was the Government who made so much of the ESRI report and used it to boost a rather spurious case about optimism and so forth in the economy in the hope that some people might decide to put them in as a minority Government——

It was a very well argued case. John FitzGerald is an accurate economist.

They used this document as honey to attract people to give them the unconditional——

There was nothing spurious about the document.

——support they had come to expect from their own cumainn but have now learned that they cannot expect in this House from other parties unless the commitments are specific in terms of direct involvement by those other parties. They chose to use this report as part of their propaganda campaign in these negotiations. The most interesting, indeed, the key of the report, is the passage dealing with the most fundamental problems in the country. I should like to say that high tax rates are not the most fundamental problems we have. Health is not the most fundamental problem we have and education is not the most fundamental problem we have. Agriculture is not our most fundamental problem and, I dare say, the environment is not our most fundamental problem. The most fundamental problem we have is long-term unemployment, the fact that there are more than 109,000 people who have been out of work for more than one year, who have no hope, whole families who have no hope and whose children have been brought up in houses where the person to whom they look, whether than is their mother or father, to give them a role to follow in life is shut out of any active participation in our economy by long-term unemployment. The fact that more than 109,000 people have been unemployed for more than a year, and are likely to continue in that state, is our greatest problem.

What have we got in response to that problem? We have not got any response to the specific proposals made by the ESRI, who suggested, in the course of their report, a series of measures to reform the way in which the labour market works in order to open up more opportunities for employment. They suggested the use of pay and bonus systems, the use of share participation, the review of minimum pay laws and a number of other areas where action could be taken to combat long-term unemployment. Although the authors of the document before us had the ESRI report in their possession they did not refer to any of the ideas produced by the ESRI.

What did they refer to? They referred to proposals to deal with long-term unemployment in specific urban disadvantaged areas, not throughout the country. In other words, we are going to introduce a new system of apartheid. If one happens to live one side of a line being drawn by a Minister, in the light of his views of where the political arithmetic is likely to add up best from the point of view of Fianna Fáil with a slight glance over to the side of the Progressive Democrats, although I imagine it will not be a very lasting glance, one will get a double premium under the employment incentive scheme if taken on as an employee. However, if one lives on the wrong side of the line one will get half the level of the premium. That amount of benefit will be paid even in the case of a person who might have five children. A person who lives on the right side of the line may not have any children but he will receive double.

We have a whole range of schemes concentrated in selected parts of urban areas to deal with long-term unemployment. The fact is that we have had far too much of this sort of arbitrary geographic discrimination. We have arbitrary geographic discrimination in regard to qualification for agricultural subsidies.

For bullocks.

We have arbitrary geographic discrimination in regard to qualification for extremely generous tax incentives for urban renewal and now we are going to have arbitrary discrimination in regard to whether a long-term unemployed person qualifies for special help. To my mind that is a bad policy and it introduces into an area where it has not hitherto existed the prospect and the possibility of political favourtism. Political favouritism will be displayed in regard to where the line will be drawn to determine what is a disadvantaged area and what is not. These proposals are throughly bad in so far as they are to be put forward solely in particular geographic areas.

If there are good ideas in the document in regard to full-time social employment schemes, or FÁS managing social employment schemes rather than that duty being devolved to voluntary bodies, or in regard to doubling the employment incentive scheme, and there is to be discrimination, it should be on the basis of the needs of individual families and not on where they happen to live. It is just as painful to be a long-term unemployed person living in a part of town where most people have jobs as it is to be a long-term unemployed person living in a part of town where most neighbours do not have jobs. In fact, in some cases it might be more painful, in terms of the cost services for which one will have to pay, to be a long-term unemployed person living in a relatively prosperous area because of the relativity problems that person, or his or her children, would suffer in comparison with the experience of other families.

However, so far as Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats are concerned, all the help is to be given in certain areas and the present ineffective and unworkable system is to continue in certain areas. That is a bad and inadequate response to the problem of unemployment and it does not deserve support.

The best line, in terms of indicating the paucity of understanding within Fianna Fáil of the nature of the health problems we have and the paucity of action by that party in regard to them, is contained in the document. Any person who walked the streets or roads of the country in the last year or 18 months is in a position to tell us that there is a problem with waiting lists. However, it has taken an election in which they lost seats, and a negotiation with the Progressive Democrats, who also lost seats, to get Fianna Fáil to agree that "there should be a comprehensive examination of waiting lists nationally". It took a long time to get Fianna Fáil to realise that there is a problem as far as waiting lists are concerned. The Progressive Democrats were the agent in getting Fianna Fáil to realise that that problem exists and in getting them at long last to commence a comprehensive examination of the problem — I hope it will not be too comprehensive because that might take too long. In fact, it is not examination but action we need. Fine Gael proposed the provision of £60 million to deal with that problem and the document indicates that the Progressive Democrats have been able to persuade Fianna Fáil to do two things, to conduct a comprehensive examination and, at some stage, to provide £15 million to deal with the problem. It has taken a long time to get to this stage but, I suppose, one should not be too churlish about this because the point has been reached.

I am particularly disappointed with the provisions in the document in regard to housing. There is no evidence that the Government will undertake any assessment of housing policy or of the possibilities that exist for a multiplicity of solutions, including private sector solutions, to the problem of local authority waiting lists. All we have had is a commitment from the Government to give special priority to some areas over others. That probably means that some local authorities will not get any money for housing while others will get the same amount of money as before. That indicates a disappointing performance in the negotiations.

This is not a particularly exciting agenda for the next four years. I can say that we intend to give the Fianna Fáil Party, and their new coalition partners, the Progressive Democrats, an exciting time in the House. We will ensure, through our vigorous criticism, that if they are to stay any length in office they will have to perform a lot better than they promise to perform in this tepid and vapid document.

I do not wish to spend too long on the next topic because Deputy Dukes dealt with it quite effectively and there was no effective response to him. I am referring to the fact that the parties on my right have decided to opt out of the political process. They have decided that their highest ambition in the recent election was "to go into opposition." The ambition of the Labour Party is to go into opposition and that is the ambition, too, of The Workers' Party. May I ask the House, through the Chair, a person who was a member of a party which was once a member of Socialist International, if there is any party in Socialist International in a functioning democracy whose ambition is as low as that of the Labour Party, whose ambition it is to go into opposition?

I will deal with that comment when I am making my contribution and I will give the Deputy the origin of his own democratic movement.

To my mind any self-respecting socialist party in any country in Europe, Latin America or Asia who believe in what they are doing and who believe in doing something about the poor or about inequality in society, realise that the only time they can do anything about these things is when they are at the Cabinet table making decisions, and at times taking some of the flak for those decisions. However, it seems that neither the Labour Party nor The Workers' Party want to take the flak for anything. They much prefer to be in opposition giving out about everything, voting against everybody and having a great time, but on no account taking responsibility for anything or doing anything about any of the problems they analyse with such acuity, such brilliance of dialectic analysis. On no account will they do anything about any of these problems because there would not be anything to analyse if those problems were solved.

Why does the Deputy not look at the former Taoiseach when he says that?

It is far better to stay in principled opposition where they can continue to give out, oppose and complain and not have to take responsibility for anything. I ask again, and perhaps Deputy Higgins can tell me, if there is any party, other than the Labour Party, in the Socialist International who set their sights so low that their highest ambition is to go into opposition——

We were there when the Deputy's party were not even democratic — I will go into that in a few moments.

Please, Deputy Higgins.

I look forward to hearing that because even when Deputy Higgins is in a difficult situation defending an impossible brief, he is always an interesting, entertaining and stimulating speaker——

There goes old patronising Fine Gael——

Deputy Higgins will have his chance.

We are not afraid to go into government. We put forward Deputy Dukes for Taoiseach on this occasion, even when we knew today that the alliance had been stacked against him so far as getting elected was concerned, because we want to exercise responsibility. Fine Gael are prepared to do something about the problems which afflict the poor, which cause division and create ghettos in this country. Fine Gael want to do something about these problems but we realise that the only place where one can effectively do anything about those problems is sitting in the benches now occupied, I regret to say, by the Taoiseach, Deputy Wilson and Deputy Woods. It is the ambition of the Fine Gael Party to get over there as quickly as possible——

We will keep you out.

——because that is the way something will be done about these problems.


Please, Deputies.

The Taoiseach can wave his hands——

A Deputy

You are doing a good job of it yourself.

——as he did here two months ago. I remember when he came into this House full of confidence with a lot of vocal support from some people on those benches, who are not here today — in fact, virtually everybody who is on those benches today was not here then. They were very vocal in supporting the Taoiseach for the brave, acute and brilliant decision he was taking to dissolve the Dáil. We see where that got him and them — not very far. Although the Fine Gael Party did not want or seek that election, we gained seats and if by any chance the Taoiseach gets another rush of blood to his head and decides, perhaps in another two years, that he wants an early election, that he wants to cast off that slough of despond which sits on his shoulder or, conversely, to move to the third phase of his party's decline, we will be ready for him. I hope on that occasion we will not just increase the number of seats we have as a party but that we will move to the other side of the House.

We will have your debts paid off by then.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins.

Why does Deputy Bruton not sit down and wait for the answers?

I have studied the matter with care. I have other commitments.

The Deputy has been talking rubbish for the past half hour. Why will he not wait for the answers?

I have called Deputy Michael D. Higgins. He is in possession and ought to be allowed to speak without interruption.

I welcome the statements made in this House in recent times which have made the case for a rationality in Irish politics. Indeed, the Taoiseach in his speech complimented those who had discussed with him not only generously but who had attempted to be constructive in their response to the dilemma in which we found ourselves as a Parliamentary Assembly.

However, I must say at the outset that I am getting a little weary, even in my short time in this House, at the bogus high moral tone which comes from the Fine Gael benches. My party were founded in 1912 and, without being provocative in this House this evening, I am tempted to trace for Deputy Bruton the long history of his party from their foundation and their relationship with the concept of democracy. I am in a position, in my own family, to know what the Fine Gael attitude was in hot and cold times with regard to the concept of democracy itself. I am not going to go down that avenue because there was a suggestion made to us that we should concentrate——

Why will Deputy Higgins not go down that avenue?

If the Deputy wants me to I will.

The Deputy should, he is not being democratic if he does not.

Deputy Carey, we had a very orderly debate until you entered this Chamber. If Deputy Carey finds it difficult to listen to what the Deputy in possession has to say, he has a remedy. I will not tolerate interruptions of this kind.

I can assure you, a Cheann Comhairle, that I appreciate your protection but it is not necessary——

The Deputy ought not to be provocative.

I was going to make the point that I am as anxious as anybody else to concentrate on where we are now in relation to the great economic and social problems which face us. What I find tiresome in many ways is the assumption that Deputy Dukes and his party are in possession of some higher morality in relation to politics — the decent party, the thoughtful party, the party who put the people and the nation first, the party who are not interested in anything for themselves, even though there was a significant shift in their approach to our most recent parliamentary crisis. They shifted from a proportionality which they used to wave at the Labour Party to demanding half of the Cabinet, and a new concept of a rotating Taoiseach, rather like a top.

I find all this wonderful high moral rhetoric on the one hand and the Fine Gael reality on the other just a little hard to stomach on occasion. We have to try to tease out what they are saying. For example, every now and again we get the notion that Fine Gael are the thinking person's party, be they men or women, thoughtful in their policies and they once produced a wonderful document called The Just Society, which I read. The document's marvellous statement on foreign policy, which everyone forgets, was to continue the battle against Communism and to open as many embassies as possible. Was that not enlightened?

I have listened to these crude attacks not on the Left but on rational political thought itself, and no construction can be put on Deputy Bruton's remarks here this evening other than it is not democratic to aim at providing an effective opposition. The limitation he puts on democracy is that democracy means aiming for the Cabinet or nothing at all. It is fascinatng that when his party had a chance to oppose in the 25th Dáil, they exercised democracy on that occasion by sitting in their seats during the debate on one Estimate after another, health, education and so on, and decided in their high moral version of democracy to go whinging around the constituencies attending every meeting saying "it is a pity about your hospital, but we are right with you; it is a pity about your school, but we will make representations for you, it is a pity about the rod licence, but we did not bother to oppose it at the time". That is the party who set themselves up in this House to define democracy for the rest of us and who operate with this high moral tone about what our approach should or should not be to politics. Of course, it is riddled with all the kinds of contradictions one has come to expect from the kind of party they are. There is the rural rump, anti-intellectualism we have just listened to in the hustle and bustle of a speech just made by Deputy John Bruton — anti-intellectual, the attitude, "I am entertaining; I have some kind of brilliance to offer occasionally in arguments". I am to sit here and be patronised by some kind of rural bumpkin who has not the courage to look over his shoulder at his economist colleague, a former Taoiseach.

Later on this evening we will get the intellectual Fine Gael — long, rambling justifications about how if the world, as God ordained it, had only left Fine Gael there they could have claimed credit for everything in the economy. It will be claimed that really there was no nightmare about unemployment, poverty or cutbacks in health, social welfare or education; really if one examined it again and projected oneself into the future history one could see that the divine intelligence of Fine Gael was bringing us to some kind of glorious future. What rubbish. The fact of the matter is that the party tried to strike a deal. They proposed such a preposterous deal that the Taoiseach — good luck to him — took one look at it and told them to go run with it. The fact of the matter is that they were making an offer they knew would be refused.

It is interesting that the main thrust of Deputy Dukes's speech has been an attack on The Workers' Party and on the Labour Party in that order. What he is doing, having returned to the garden of Opposition, is trying to dislodge those who were in Opposition in the 25th Dáil. Therefore, he has to attack the people who were there defending the public against the education and health cuts to squeeze out his new niche as an Opposition again. I predict, as sure as morning follows night, that within a few weeks what we will see is the caring, compassionate Fine Gael, hearts bleeding for every single issue as they take on the mantle of Opposition. We need no lectures from that kind of morally disparate kind of party offered in this House.

I had not intended to give this preface to my remarks but I found the sheer lack of temperance in the remarks directed at the left so outrageous. I find it difficult too, as someone who taught in a university for nearly 20 years, to understand how Deputy John Bruton was not cautioned by his colleagues — who worked within a university tradition — about how abusive of fact he is in terms of political history, of political ideologies, of political philosophies, in terms of policies, the very history of this House itself. But the idea is: put the old hocus-pocus kind of bumbling, bustling kind of person in first to fire off guff in all directions because that is what we have just listened to. I do not propose to waste much more of my time in even referring to any part of it in so far as I could detect substance in it at all.


Hear, hear.

This is a very interesting evening in a number of ways. I will mention the basic issues facing us on which we are invited to refelect but before doing so — other speakers have done this also — I want to wish the Taoiseach and the members of his Cabinet well in the difficult tasks they have to accomplish. It would be churlish not to do so. The fact is that for the next four years they are the people on whom a great burden will descend in terms of the circumstances and problems that surround us. It is their policies that will be brought to bear on these.

I express great concern that as I see it there is not in the document which has been circulated or in the Taoiseach's speech any great grounds for hope. There are very interesting features to the new combination we have in Government. It is a combination of a Fianna Fáil Party who have not succeeded in achieving an overall majority, and the Progressive Democrats. One of the significant changes in the Fianna Fáil Party in very recent years has been their changed attitude towards the State sector. At one point in their history Fianna Fáil were the party who favoured State investment, semi-State companies and job creation, often for social reasons not justified by immediate economic criteria. That was the story of their support for a number of State companies. I could go into these in a way that is often held in line against blatant opposition to the activities of the State company. For example, it is not widely known that the Sugar Company, in their day, were prevented from getting involved in different kinds of fertiliser operations because Gouldings in their day were becoming involved. There was another occasion when the Sugar Company wanted to become involved in the manufacture of galvanised buckets but because some private individual was manufacturing these in some part of the country they could not become involved.

What I am saying is that Fianna Fáil were not always a party who rejected the possibilities of State enterprise in creating employment for our people. However, they are that today. One core value that the Progressive Democrats and Fianna Fáil Party share in 1989 — in so far as this concept of core values is used — is that they are a party who allow no place for State initiative and the State sector in encouraging investment and providing jobs. The rational politician must pose the question irrespective altogether of ideology: what price will be paid for that over the next four years?

There is one alternative only, that is to say — and I would favour this — we could have a strategy of mixed investment, that is, releasing the capacity of our semi-State companies who have the volume of production, the marketing capacity and the skills to carve out niches in the international traded market, that side by side with assisting the private sector you would use these. That strategy has not been adopted. What we are now witnessing, and will witness under Progressive Democrat influence, is a notion of market-led growth. There is no evidence that that works. The cost to the average taxpayer is that in any year we now spend more than £2,000 million on transfers of one kind or another to the private sector. In an effort to make the private sector efficient there is a total of 43 agencies. A simple question that can be posed by a person not at all hung up on ideology or eschewing these issues is: is it working? The answer is that it is not.

I come to my second point, which is that it seems to me to be an economic assumption surfacing again at the beginning of a Government elected by the 26th Dáil, namely, the notion that increases in exports will themselves translate backwards and filter down through the economy creating jobs.

When I came into this House for the first time in 1981 I pointed to a number of examples of different economies where exports had increased, where the inflation rate had dropped and where, at the same time, interest rates had remained fairly low, the three perfect criteria for what people used to call an economic environment. I said that one can get these three indicators right but one has no guarantee that one will get jobs therefrom. This is happening in Ireland perhaps more than in other countries because of the nature of our exports, the fact that many of them are not real exports at all, they are affected by transfer pricing and a number of other factors. But what is necessary, if one is to translate even that strategy into a job creation one, is that there be some strategy for investment and in turn, a strategy for investment has to be supported by a credit policy and a taxation policy. For example, one would find it logical to discriminate in favour of genuinely productive investments as opposed to speculative investments in one's taxation policy. I see no commitment to this kind of investment strategy for the next four years in what I have before me. The price that has been paid for it has been a systematic, gradual increase in unemployment, with all its necessary consequences in terms of poverty and low income.

I want to speak as concisely and briefly as I can this evening because I know other Members want to speak. To summarise what I have said: again, interestingly, since that day when there was published the 1958First Programme for Economic Expansion— to which the name of a former Member of the Seanad was attached on occasion — we find the word “programme” used. We get another programme in 1989, 31 years later. A good question to pose is: why the use of the word “programme” and not “plan”? The point is that in this country and particularly for my dear friends over here there is an ideological antipathy to the planning process. The word “plan” is not used or the specification of goals, which is one of the fundamental definitions of the word “plan”. You specify goals, you stress the means by which you will achieve these and the system by which they will be monitored so that you can look at the outturn from one year to the next.

I know the Taoiseach feels that what he submitted to Brussels is a plan. It is, in fact, a programme for investment, because there is no way in which we, in this House, can point to an instrument by which he has allowed us to assess its achievement in terms of employment creation and in terms of income redistribution and so forth.

Side by side with the antipathy to the planning process, which has left us without the basic approach towards investment and credit and to taxation, that antipathy has meant that within the public service itself there is an institutional gap. There does not exist within the regular administrative machinery of government a commitment to what I might call planning institutions, to the mode of mind — that is the planning mind — which has existed, for example, in the French economy for a long number of decades and which exists in Sweden and in a number of other economies. Perhaps it was that we felt that we were uniquely placed on planet Earth as people who did not need to plan anything — we were so favoured, the chosen people. We have, at present, because of these hang ups — these ideological prejudices of the right — blocked ourselves off from rational approaches to managing both our economy and our society. For example, this evening did we have a list of social goals that were specified for the purposes of economic growth? Rather we are going to see — and I am open to argument on this, and we will have lots of opportunites for debating this constructively, I hope — a continuation of what I have come to call "the depeopled economy", that is, where the economy is rarefied not by the Marxists but by the right seen as standing outside of human concerns altogether.

My evidence for that is that it is now accepted by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats that it is inefficient to speak about the redistribution of wealth. When we are all calm and not abusing each other and so forth, ask anybody over here to show me the evidence that redistribution is an inhibition to economic growth. The evidence is not there in the history of economics. What it is, in fact, is a prejudice — yet another prejudice — masked behind a whole series of moral walls and barricades. The truth about it is that the left — or whatever we are called — remain uniquely the group of people in this House who argue that redistribution is in itself not only morally correct but economically efficient. A much finer argument can be made that an economy that has distributed its wealth in terms of its domestic growth potential and of the productivity that it releases can provide true and more sustained economic growth. That is the evidence of the Scandinavian countries. Whether the example of the Scandinavian countries is relevant, we can debate on another day.

There are other assumptions that are swept into this. If you do not believe in redistribution — this of course affects your taxation policy — who can say, knowing the burden which is on the PAYE workers, that we have another unique right in western Europe to be the only economy without a wealth tax or without high levels of capital taxes? It is fascinating when all the huff and puff is stripped away from it. Wealth tax was abolished in 1982, not for what it was yielding but for what it was revealing about the distribution of wealth in Ireland. Even if it had been left at its miserable 1 per cent and assessed on a wide range of criteria last year and the year before, it would have yielded enough funds to have kept in their jobs most of the direct personnel leaving the health service and education. We could not have a wealth tax because somehow or other we would frighten off investors even though they are not frightened off by the wealth tax in Mrs. Thatcher's Britain and in many other countries in Europe. Why was it that wealth had to be protected in Ireland when at the same time emigration on the scale of the fifties was coming back, with people leaving the country again at a rate of 35,000 and 40,000? We must ask ourselves what ideological forces make people in this House come to the conclusion — as 80 per cent have — that we must never tax the wealthy. I remember another instance of high morality when my political career began in 1973-77. I was in the Seanad, a Cheann Comhairle, and I was canvassed by people very close to Deputy Bruton to see if I would support the removal of VAT from the service of stallions and save the horse breeding industry. The service fees of stallions had to be saved from VAT at a time when women were paying VAT on blankets for their children. They are the people who are giving me lectures on the morality of politics. I will sit here all night to hear more of the moral Redemptorists.

I want to say a number of things which I hope we will be able to flesh out and debate. I have deliberately chosen the economy because I believe that unless our economic approaches are structured within an overall social philosophy and unless we can get over these inhibiting factors — these antipathies to planning and to redistribution — we will export more of our people and we will continue our high levels of emigration. I would conclude that part of my contribution by simply saying that the Progressive Democrat influence on the Fianna Fáil Party will be one that will believe in the myth of the market. I have listened to the Progressive Democrats' economic policy and it has another bogus assumption in it that markets are free. Markets are no more free than public water is for local authority tenants.

Looking through the programme before us, I find it very short on specifics in a number of areas which I think are important. We will have an opportunity at Question Time to flush these out. Certainly, the provision for reform of the Army structures is insufficient. What we are promised is a token representation in many ways — perhaps it is more than that, I would be delighted to be proved wrong — but it is not giving the Army a representative body. We are told that there will be gradual evolution towards the same pay for the same job and the same conditions, which is rather like people saying we are abolishing slavery; it certainly will not satisfy those involved.

In relation to the reform of this House, everybody seems to want to reform this House until you propose establishing democratic accountable committee structures. When those proposals come from the left, they seem somehow or other to make very little progress. I will be following my own proposal to establish the principles of the sovereignty of this House in regard to foreign policy as opposed to unaccountable diplomacy, which is the practice of removal of policy decisions by mandarins from the people who have the disadvantage of being elected.

In relation to the marine I do not see in the document — I look forward to it — any reference to the long promised overall legislative proposals for establishing an aquaculture industry. There are, at my last count, no more than 16 separate pieces of legislation which need urgent amendment if we are to get any job creation from that industry. While I am on that subject, let me say that I welcome the responsible reference to independent environmental impact surveys on mining. That is a good proposal, but it is important that the surveys be independent and that the procedures established involve the public democratically.

With regard to agriculture and food policy, there is no clear statement on how we will increase the yield in terms of capturing the value added in the areas that produce the agriculture produce. Admittedly, it is difficult to create jobs in agriculture. However, there is such a huge loss of potential added value that it would be possible to create jobs in areas where it is difficult to locate industries.

There are many areas in which the document is aspirational rather than specific in telling us what it will do. For example, with regard to the Commission on Social Welfare, it reminds me of the person who says, "we will be shortly taking steps that will astonish you." The suggestion is that steps will be taken towards implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Social Welfare, it is more or less saying that they will poke this one out with a long stick but that it might fall on top of them before the Government's four year term of office is over. There is no definitive reference in this document to basic income, to the rationalisation of the qualifications for benefit for low income families and so forth.

I agree with the previous speakers who said there are no specific commitments on housing. It is important that there be specific commitments in that area. However, I welcome the statement in the document. I hope it means everything it says and that there will be an increase in funds for local authority housing. In what has been my adopted city for more than 20 years — I was first elected to the corporation there 15 years ago — I find that we have not built a single local authority house in the past two years and that in the coming 12 months we will build four units for childless couples or the elderly and a further 20 units. This is at a time when there are more than 300 people in the city living in deplorable conditions. It is terribly wrong to be going back to having housing lists haunting us. I certainly will support the Government in anything they want to do to alleviate that problem, but I do not find the document as specific in that respect as others do. I would be delighted to be proved wrong and I will assist the process by asking questions about when work on the schemes will commence.

Equally, under the heading of health, I notice that we will create more beds and expand the services. In the city where I live, we are about to lose 90 beds, and the phasing out of part-time staff has already begun. I presume that not only will they be retained but that we will have greater resources made available. I will not trespass on that ground in expectation of there being good developments on it.

There is a sterility of thought on the question of education. All I will say at this stage is that the reports have been made available; the Clancy report on socio-economic differences in relation to access to third level education; Damian Hannan's reports on who is going to primary and secondary level education, the control of education which has been raised in a major way by the threatened sale of Carysfort, for example; control of education and the question of the need to reform the curriculum. I look forward to the Minister for Education addressing and fleshing out these issues of access, control and the curriculum during the next session. I want to be realistic. It would be too much to expect too much detail but I hope that the aspirations expressed in this document can be translated into reality.

If I needed an indicator that Fine Gael, the Progressive Democrats and the Fianna Fáil Party had something in common, I got it from the previous speaker, Deputy Bruton. The logic of his speech was wonderful: on the one hand he attacked the Progressive Democrats for driving a soft bargain — they were not as influenced as others by the blood on the ground, the absence of health care and educational services; he next attacked the Progressive Democrats because they did not go hard enough on the issue of privatisation. Deputy Bruton and I disagree about privatisation and I want to put on record once and for all what I think in just one sentence: it is robbery from the public, robbery from the taxpayer. When the moral theological support group comes in perhaps they will tell me how moral it is to ask the public to pay their taxes to establish semi-State bodies so that their children might work in their own country and yet decades after to turn around and say that these semi-State bodies must now be available so that a few well heeled gurriers can get their hands on what the State owns. That is why I call it robbery from the public, robbery from the taxpayer. Let us hope that Deputy Bruton is correct and that the Progressive Democrats have been converted from the immorality of that approach. It is very important for all of us that they have.

It is important, too, that we do not sound off in positions that satisfy ourselves. I agree that at present there is a need for strategies that will create jobs. The NESC report, number 7, 1971, gave us the projected population figures. We knew the numbers that would come on to the labour force, we knew that the jobs in agriculture were slowing down, we knew the limits of the average industrial job creation, yet we waited almost the guts of two decades to change radically our industrial policy in a way that would create jobs. There is no point in saying that we did not know the number of people who would be out of work. Dr. Brendan Walsh and others, in the NESC report, published the projected requirement for jobs. We continued with the same failed policies, indeed to be fair many different Governments continued with these failed policies. I see this Government as offering effectively more of the same and I also see the united left offering an alternative vision in making the case for State sector led growth within the mixed economy and being responsible in terms of taxation. They will be arguing not only for changing the income tax bands but for widening the net of wealth and corporation tax.

Before I sit down I would like to welcome a new Member to the Dáil, Deputy Garland. As somebody interested in the environment, I wish to say that I welcome the increased emphasis on the environment so far as the Government side is concerned. However, it is wrong to say to those of us who in the early seventies were publishing work on eco-politics and who argued that you could not understand the question of responsibility for the environment unless you saw the connection between science and technology in society in a responsible and constructive way that the right and the left are equally responsible for despoiling the environment. It would be immoral if I were to stay here in silence and not correct that. The fact is that science and technology are delivered within a model of power — power that has been influenced by a non-democratic control of capital. On the other hand, many people were oppressed by bad wages and conditions and they had to concentrate on that and win gains for the trade union movement. The left, where it is thoughtful, realises, for example, the importance of saving the rain forests in Costa Rica. I am interested in this and when I met a botanist involved I asked whether he thought the Grace Corporation's move from Guatemala which shoved the peasants into the area of the rain forest, thus changing the pattern of agriculture in Costa Rica, was a cause of the destruction and that if we wanted to save the rain forest for all of us we would have to offer land reform to the peasants who were being disturbed from their traditional occupation. That demand in Costa Rica is coming from parties of the left, the same as it is coming from all the tropical areas of Central America that I know. It will be a great injection to have somebody representing the Greens in this Parliament. I welcome that.

However, I have to defend what I feel are reductionist arguments that equate if you like, lack of inspiration and despoliation by the parties of capital, with its destructive influence in the application of science and technology in society, with the humane values of the left whose policies I believe cannot be reduced to something that I have seen described as being on the same highway occupying similar lanes. Let us hope that this is a lapse of language and that it is not a more dangerous opportunism.

All the parties and the different shapes of opinion I have identified should welcome a responsible approach towards our environment but we should remember too that it is a peopled environment and there has been a long and hard struggle, a struggle that has yet to be won, in terms of, for example, forcing, as I have said, our economic policies to reflect genuine social and humane values, something towards which the left is perhaps uniquely committed.

I take the opportunity to offer the Taoiseach and his Government my best wishes for their future in Government, be it long or short. I also take the opportunity to commiserate with those from the previous Cabinet who were axed, Deputies Brendan Daly, Michael Noonan and Michael Smith. I want to make it clear that despite my good wishes, the Fine Gael Party will vote against this new coalition Government, not least because the programme proposed by them is clearly totally inadequate to cope with the major economic and social problems that confront the people of our country. I cannot resist suggesting that the new coalition put together here today could be perhaps best described as a marriage of inconvenience, not least for the parties involved and in particular for the many members of the senior partner.

With the anti-coalition sentiments repeatedly expressed over the years by Fianna Fáil, culminating in the unanimous post-election decisions of their parliamentary party and their national executive, one cannot but recall the comments of the members of the Soviet Academy of Sciences following their decision to readmit Solzhenitsyn to membership. One member stated afterwards that he had never seen such unanimity in any decision, only to get a response from another member that he had never seen such unanimity since the decision to expel him. Similarly, two weeks after the earlier decisions of the Fianna Fáil Party, we have the spectacle today of full and unanimous approval from the Fianna Fáil Party to the election of Deputy Haughey as Taoiseach of this new coalition Government. I genuinely hope the present unanimity lasts at least for a reasonable time and that some impact can be made by the new Government on the enormous problems, in particular those of unemployment and poverty, affecting our people. I have not a whole lot of confidence that that impact will be very great but I sincerely offer my best wishes that some reasonable impact will be made.

Before I talk about the joint programme for Government, there is one aspect that, as somebody from the southern region, I have to refer to. I have been looking at the locations of the various Ministers in this Cabinet and I find that out of the 15 members the score is Dublin, 6; Cork, nil. I have to suggest that there must be some foundation for what appears to be a continuing vendetta by the Taoiseach against the Cork-Kerry region. I appreciate that geographic considerations are not the only ones to be taken into account in the selection of a Cabinet but I would remind the Taoiseach that in the region to which I refer — there are seven constituencies in all — as far as I can recall he never appointed any member of any previous Cabinet from that area and again he has repeated the exercise here today. To me that can only represent a vote of no confidence both in his own Deputies from that region and indeed in the Cork-Kerry region itself.

It is perhaps unusual for a Deputy from the Opposition benches to promote the talents and qualifications of a constituency colleague. In this regard I have no hesitation in saying that a Fianna Fáil member in my constituency, Deputy Joe Walsh, is equally if not better qualified than many members of the present Cabinet. It is not a question of the Deputies in the Cork-Kerry region not having the calibre at least equal to that of members of the Cabinet. I think it must boil down to a determination by the Taoiseach to refuse yet again to recognise the claims of the Cork-Kerry area or indeed to recognise the area at all. I say to the Taoiseach that that continuing refusal will be remembered.

I want to go back to the joint programme. I had hoped that this programme would offer specific proposals which would provide convincing evidence of a wide vision on the part of the partners involved, evidence of profound thought and, in particular, evidence of well-researched solutions. Yet we are served a diet of broad generalities with very few specifics indeed. When we see that in this document, I wonder what all the fuss was about. I accept that we have definite and definitive answers on the composition of the Cabinet and I congratulate the Progressive Democrats for their negotiating skill in securing such a happy result. Unfortunately, there is no such clear result for the 250,000 people unemployed in this country. In many ways the type of language used in this document, even if one looks at one of the few specific commitments given, is indicative of the desire in this programme to be as vague as possible. I suppose all of us will recognise that the most serious problem that affects this country is that of unemployment, and naturally the first thing we look for when we examine a document of this nature is the proposals for job creation. To our surprise, and indeed to the horror of those who really want to see action on this front, we find there are virtually no specific provisions.

As I mentioned, even in relation to one of the few specific commitments given under this heading, we find that the Government are going to immediately enter into talks with the insurance industry to effect a new partnership to tackle the costs which are a burden on the industry. In the name of goodness, surely this Government do not suggest that among the three specific commitments given under the heading of employment creation that passes as being other than a sick joke. Of course the Government should be entering into discussions with industry.

I congratulate the new Minister, Deputy Brennan. I understood that over the last two and a half years he has been spending a great deal of his time discussing these matters with the insurance industry. To suggest that as one of the three — only three — specific commitments given on job creation it is an answer to the problem to have the Government immediately entering talks with the industry, really passes belief. It worries me that what we are seeing here is lip service to the problem of unemployment and furthermore a total lack of vision as to the kind of proposals that should be put on the table as a result of the hard bargaining that took place that would lead to solutions in this area.

What have we in the document? We have a lot of talk about Government determination, the establishment of priorities, the intention to open discussions and pursue negotiations vigorously, and proposals to monitor and review various situations. That is the language of waffle and gobbledegook and is meaningless to those who are — or were — expecting action from this new Government. It is a major disappointment to all who expected a detailed and comprehensive programme of specific action. I genuinely fear that with this bad start, particularly in this important area, our expectation from this Government can be very low indeed.

I thought that on the issue which surfaced to the greatest degree during the election campaign again we would have had proposals which would have gone some reasonable way to providing an answer to the most urgent problem which surfaced during the election campaign — I refer to the health services of course. Most of my colleagues would agree that on the doorstep in six out of ten cases where issues were raised health figured. Clearly this is the issue which impacted most and is the one where most will be expected from this new Government. Yet, we do not have even an acknowledgment that that crisis exists. I know it was late in the day when the Taoiseach became fully aware of the problem, but, having become fully aware of the problem, surely there should have been at least an acknowledgment of its extent. Only based on that could one expect a full and comprehensive programme. Since there is not that acknowledgment I do not think we can have the comprehensive programme necessary to remedy the situation.

A Cheann Comhairle, you will not find from me nor, I expect, from my colleagues in the major Opposition party during the term of this Government cause for major additional public expenditure, yet in this area there was a proposal from the Fine Gael Party, supported by the Progressive Democrats, for substantial funding to be allocated from the national lottery as a method of helping to solve this crisis. I appreciate that the present Government have gone some small way towards providing additional finance, but I believe the amount allocated is insufficient.

I have to ask again why the source of funding proposed by the Fine Gael Party has not been resorted to by this new Government. The amount involved, £60 million over two years, from the national lottery was largely accepted as being the amount necessary. It was also very largely accepted that, worthy as the other beneficiaries of the national lottery funds are, health was a priority which should not be denied. For that reason a decision was made to allocate funding from the national lottery. That proposal has not been adopted by the new Government, but the amount being allocated to the health services is very much smaller — the sum mentioned in the document is £15 million, one quarter of the sum proposed by the Fine Gael Party.

Even worse than that, I see no evidence of decisions on major issues such as structures. I note the Government are committed to reviewing the entire system of management. Goodness me, after two and a half years in Government there is nothing very dramatic in committing themselves to review the entire system of management. How it is of such importance as to find its way into this document is beyond me. Will this Government face the hard decisions as to whether there is scope in the present health board structures? Will they make decisions on the abolition of those structures if necessary? There is no evidence in this document that this Government will take the kind of steps many of us believe are necessary from the point of view of health structures. That gives rise to great concern that this prority area, raised by so many people around the country will not receive the kind of attention it deserves from this Government.

I have also been looking at the proposals in the social welfare area and it is fair comment that they do not amount to an anti-poverty programme. I accept that substantial extra moneys will be necessary if we are to do all we wanted about poverty, but within the resources at present available much more can be done. That surely is the minimum we can expect from this Government. There is no evidence of any intention to introduce the kind of radical reforms that are required. I believe the proposals will go no distance towards coping with the kind of problems they are meant to resolve. A typical example are the means tests. We are told means test will be standardised, but most of us who have been promoting the introduction of a single eligibility test have done so not just for administrative convenience, although that is important, but bearing in mind two major things — first, the impact of means testing on the low paid and its consequential disincentive impact on employment, and second, the major difficulty people have going to all sorts of offices, and not just in the social welfare area, being sent from Billy to Jack. I am talking about going to the Department of Social Welfare for one thing, the health board offices for another and the corporation rent office for something else.

I hesitate to interrupt Deputy O'Keeffe, but I feel obliged to point out that this debate concludes at 11 p.m. I observe many other Deputies are anxious to participate in the debate. Let me therefore appeal for brevity.

I take the point and I will be very brief.

Thank you, Deputy.

There are many areas I want to go into in greater detail but opportunities will arise on other occasions. The means test proposal is an indication of stunted thinking and the proposal here does not cope with that. It does not refer to the establishment of a means test based on net income. It will do nothing to remove the disincentive to employment. The way it is framed is an indication of the very limited nature of the reform proposals in the social welfare area. That worries me immensely because there is vast scope for reform without the expenditure of additional moneys.

Reference has already been made to the housing programme. We all know that such a programme has been developing since the previous Government came into office. Four lines in the programme are devoted to it, partly a statement of fact regarding an assessment and then the statement that the Government will give special priority to the areas concerned in the public housing programme. My own comment is — what programme? Most people realise that the programme has been virtually ended.

One area which needs to be touched upon is the reference to the EC Structural Funds. I am very disappointed that a different approach has not been adopted by the Government to regionalisation. What is passing for regional structures is an extension of centralised bureaucracy. That is not the way to get full benefit from regionalisation and it is not the way Europe believes it should be done. The proposals put forward by Fine Gael represent the proper approach. We have essentially one regional body, namely SFADCo, and the results in that area are an indication that that kind of approach should be followed in the six other sub-regions.

There is nothing new in regard to agriculture except that some padding has been included. There is a reference to promoting the forestry and fisheries industries but there is nothing of any consequence in the proposal. The commitment that there will be provision of the necessary human resources and technology base for agriculture brings to mind what occurred in the past two and a half years. Is there to be a reversal of the approach adopted in those years? The number of people in the front line in agriculture was cut very substantially, the budget was cut by virtually 50 per cent and the departmental structure was maintained. Is this approach to be continued by this Government? Time will tell but I am not very sanguine about this matter.

Apart from the reference to forestry which I have mentioned, a separate page is devoted to it containing a proposal to double planting in the next five years, which it is claimed will lead to 2,000 new jobs. There are no background details as to how that is to be achieved. The Government are also to pursue all possible avenues with a view to achieving a better matching of fishery resources. Again there are no specifics and no details of any consequence. That kind of approach does not generate confidence in this new Government, who spent so much time hammering out their proposals.

The issue in regard to the national lottery has been evaded. All we are told is that the all-party working committee report will be considered with a view to introducing new methods of allocating lottery funds. That amounts to a commitment to consider the report and there may be a new method of allocation, but not necessarily that recommended in the report. That is typical of the evasion in this document.

Reference has already been made to the rod licence proposal, in so far as one could call it a proposal. The clear implication is that no major effort has been undertaken at the highest level to resolve the problem. The problem can be simply dealt with and there is a Fine Gael proposal as to how it should be done. I urge the Government to take that proposal on board.

The section on Northern Ireland is very limited. There is no reference in the document to extradition. Many will wonder why and others will wonder why not. The Progressive Democrats' manifesto had a separate section dealing with extradition and it would have been an obvious matter for inclusion in this document. Clearly, the issue has not been touched upon and we will be watching with interest how the Government deal with that issue. There is no explicit reference to the need to establish a devolved body in Northern Ireland. I wonder why that is so. There are broad generalities in regard to Northern Ireland. That, I fear, sums up the entire document — broad generalities, touching nothing on specifics. I worry that this coalition, born amid such hectic negotiations, could not produced a more powerful document. The worry is that they will produce nothing much better than this programme during their period in Government, be it long or short. It is very clear that the duty of Fine Gael as the major Opposition Party is to oppose the appointment of this Government.

I thank the Chair for the oportunity to contribute to this debate, something I have looked forward to for a while. This is an opportunity to speak on what I have seen in the past couple of years and especially during the election campaign. I hope what I have to say will be accepted by our Taoiseach and Government in the same spirit in which it is offered. I offer constructive criticism in regard to what needs to be done.

I do not necessarily subscribe to the notion that the left has a monopoly in representing the poor. What I saw during the election campaign was massive unemployment. The loss of confidence and despondency were appalling. A person might ask why she should go out to vote when her husband has not worked for five years and her sons aged 21 and 23 and a daughter aged 19 are also out of work. I would have to say that I agree with that woman's point of view. Our economy has taken off in the past two and a half years.

Great work was done by the Government, to whom every congratulation must be offered. Unfortunately the benefits have not filtered down to the poor, the deprived and the jobless. People are not asking whether they should emigrate but, rather, how quickly they can emigrate. It is an appalling indictment of us as legislators and of this Parliament and Government that we can offer nothing but sympathy while we have 230,000 unemployed.

We have FÁS, a bureaucratic monolith, which is offering no proper training for these people but instead puts a bureaucratic stranglehold on many job applications. I will cite the case of a person who saw a job advertised in the FÁS office and who was told that he could not apply, although he had done his FÁS course, because he had not been 13 weeks unemployed. Every obstacle is put in their way.

I denounce FAS and all that it stands for because it is not doing the job; it is not carrying out proper courses of training for the people; it is not preparing them for 1992. It is a bureaucratic structure which is putting obstacles in the way of people who want proper training. This is not what we should be talking about today. We should be talking about having our young people properly trained and having those in their forties and fifties who are out of work properly retrained. We are not doing that. We are complimenting ourselves on the fact that the economy is moving and taking up, but it is not having any effect on these poor people. When a man who has been out of work for over 15 months, who is demoralised by losing his job, looks for benefit he is told he can only get £10 or £20 a week because of the iniquitous means test, because his wife is working. Such a man has no dignity any more with this £10 or £20 that is offered, and it is offered to thousands — this is not just an isolated case.

What are you doing over there?

The Deputy need not think he necessarily has the monopoly on this. What I am saying is being offered as constructive criticism and I know the Government will listen to what I am saying now.

They did not listen to anybody else.

I am telling the House exactly what I am seeing and, of course, I am ashamed that it is taking place. The young people, the school leavers, are unemployed and we use that iniquitous means test. If they are over 18 they still cannot get anything because they are living at home. The answer is to plead with them to move out so that they can get unemployment assistance. That is disgraceful.

Absolutely disgraceful.

There is need for a radical reform of our social welfare system. We must aim to have our social welfare system help people. The family income supplement is not being availed of as it should. The numbers availing of it in Dublin are so low it indicates that the people are not aware of the advantages and that we have not done enough to explain what the family income supplement can do. Of course, as soon as people get the family income supplement they lose their medical card. This is putting more obstacles in their way. It is not the answer. We should be bending over backwards to help these people, not depriving them of their entitlements. It is a damning indictment of the system that these people are coming to us about jobs and asking us to help them with their social welfare problems. This is something that Departments are not taking congnisance of and not doing anything about.

Are you listening, Deputy Woods?

I am all ears.

In the area of health I maintain that more money does not mean more health. Again, our bureaucratic system is such that people are not getting a proper health service. We spend more than enough but much is wasted. We are going to have to set up an all-party Dáil committee to monitor the health service and how it is benefiting the people, and the Minister for Health should be brought before it to answer questions as to why the health service is not working properly. Patients are being detained too long in hospital; they are being referred for consultation at out-patients departments and not being referred back to their doctors, and this is clogging the system. If we could introduce a proper system in out-patients departments we could have many more people attended to. If we were to reduce the number of days patients are detained in hospitals it would be of benefit — having worked in hospitals for many years I know that patients are often detained for the convenience of consultants and not for their own benefit. This is one of the scandals of our health service. Patients are being admitted on a Friday when investigations do not begin until Monday or Tuesday, and this is also wrong. It would not take a lot to produce a much better health service more attuned to the needs of the people.

Waiting lists are an indication of how the whole health service is being mismanaged. There is a contribution of £22.50 a week from every taxpayer for what I believe is a bad service while in Britain they are paying £23 a week for a full family doctor service, a proper national health service. That again is an indictment of a health system that is not able to offer good value for money.

The consultants are at fault.

I will not delay too long but I want to say that our housing policy leaves a lot to be desired. We should have a major urban renewal programme. Many of those flats in the city should be demolished and proper places supplied. Many of the flats in the city have not basic facilities such as bathrooms, and they are not being provided in many of our flats. There should be a whole programme of demolition of these flats and proper urban renewal for these people over a five or seven-year period to provide proper housing for our people, in Dublin especially, where people are living in deplorable conditions, if I may say so. If the Minister feels that things are right, let me ask him to visit some of these flats in the centre city and see the lack of basic facilities. Then let him come in here and talk. I am telling the Government there are no proper basic facilities for hundreds of people in Dublin city. Our housing programme is not catering for this. I would like to see a proper housing programme to deal with this in the next five years.

I would like to say a few words to the Minister for Health. It goes without saying that the two tier health system brought about by the Minister's party has hurt the working class in particular. The old, the sick and the handicapped have been very badly treated and have suffered accordingly.

In the Eastern Health Board as a result of understaffing in this area there are 6,000 people on a waiting list to see the orthodontist. The Eastern Health Board employs one orthodontist part time only. In addition, 16,000 people are waiting for general dental attention in the Eastern Health Board area. Lack of dental treatment is not life-threatening but causes unnecessary pain and suffering to old and young alike.

Picture the plight of an old age pensioner now waiting eight months for a cataract removal operation in Dublin's Eye and Ear Hospital. Her vision is only two feet in distance. No more watching television for this woman, no more reading books or cooking hot meals on a gas stove and no going out for a walk in the evening. This woman lives a life of fear and insecurity; she feels abandoned. The tragedy is that she knows also that if she had £1,000 in her bank account she could buy herself out of this plight by going to the Blackrock Clinic or seeking private hospitalisation. The reality for this woman, as it is for so many others, is that she is a medical card holder and an old age pensioner who does not have liquid assets. The general waiting list for eye operations alone in the Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin is one and a half to three years. That is a disgrace. That woman is a real person living in my constituency and the two tier health service and the cutbacks in the hospital services are forcing her to live a life of agony and fear.

The Children's Hospital, Crumlin, is not taking any admissions for four weeks in July and August because of underststaffing and cutbacks. For that four weeks' period lists will get longer and people will suffer more and more. In St. James's Hospital the nurses are taking strike action because of the cutbacks. Because they have been starved of cash, patients have been left unattended on trolleys for ten or more hours. I noted the concern of my colleague from Dublin South-Central, Deputy John O'Connell, about the plight of the old and the sick. I would remind him that it is not too long since he was proclaiming that a trolley was as good as a hospital bed.

The Deputy does not understand.

That statement deeply offended people who had the misfortune to require hospitalisation and were left lying on trolleys, having suffered heart attacks or other serious illnesses.

The Deputy does not even understand.

It did not happen in the private hospitals, only in public wards.

In St. James's Hospital the nursing staff are totally drained and frustrated and are unable to provide high and safe standards of care in the hospital. Nurses do not take strike action lightly. It would require a good deal of frustration and provocation to force them to strike, and this is what Fianna Fáil have forced them to do.

What about the new development in St. James's?

I would warn the Minister that The Workers' Party will continue to expose the effects that the cutbacks are having on the public. We will not rest until we have rolled back the two tier health system so that people, regardless of income, can be afforded a proper health care service. I am sorry that the Taoiseach decided to reappoint his former Minister for Health and to give him another four years to penalise patients depending on public health services. We in The Workers' Party will be here day in and day out bringing the effects of the cutbacks to the attention of the House.

I congratulate the Taoiseach on his election and congratulate the members of the Cabinet on their appointments. I wish them well in the next four difficult but important years. I particularly congratulate my constituency colleague on his promotion. I will be expecting great things in the area of tourism and transport. I am pleased with this new coalition, which was born out of expediency. Political life can only be improved by the healing of old bitterness and personal animosity, if that is the result of this alliance.

I cannot speak on the programme for Government as I did not receive it in time. I will just put a marker on the areas of legislation and social interest with which I will be involved now that I am back in the Dáil after a short sojourn in the Seanad. During my time in the Seanad we dealt with two important Bills, and I am particularly interested in social legislation and legislation dealing with children and women's issues. In the Seanad we dealt with two important Bills which subsequently came to but did not go through this House before the election was called, and, therefore, they have fallen. One was the Rape Bill, 1987, a long overdue Bill which will meet most of the expectations of women who have been seeking change in this area for at least eight years. It is most important that this legislation gets priority. As it is, it will be delayed for a further year because it will have to go through this House and back to the Seanad. In the Seanad I and others sought amendments unsuccessfully but I will be again looking for these changes when the Bill comes before the House. I would ask the new Minister for Justice to approach this legislation with an open mind.

The other important Bill is the long awaited Children Bill. This country is crying out for reform in this area and it is a shame that it has been delayed for so long. This Bill was well received in the Seanad. We took time to examine it and recommended changes, again unsuccessfully. I will be pressing for those same changes in this House. I hope that in this new political era we will take a co-operative approach to this Bill. We owe it to our children to approach this legislation in such a way as to get the best and most effective legislation that will meet the stresses of time and, particularly, the sexual abuse of children, a new and very distressing reality. If necessary we should take Committee Stage from the Floor of the House to enable us to get a consensus so that this Bill will never again be used for party posturing.

In deciding to speak tonight, I was initially motivated to make a statement about the problems of the haemophiliacs who are suffering from AIDS or who are HIV positive. They figured greatly in pre-election days. I was saddened that they appeared once again to have been shortchanged in their attempt to get money from the AIDS fund. I realise now that a wonderful gesture has been made to this group and I thank both parties for that promise of £1 million to meet their needs. In thanking the parties for this commitment I know I speak for the members of the haemophiliac society. This gesture will lift the spirits of many families who until today faced the future with despair. When I first became aware of the plight of the Irish haemophiliacs last November I raised it in an Adjournment debate in the Seanad, sincerely believing that the awfulness of their situation and their special position would be recognised and that funds would be forthcoming, as happened in so many other countries. Their plight should never have been so long drawn out, because they had a good case, they had public support and they had a strong commitment from the Members of this House, as was evidenced by the Private Members' motion which the Government lost.

In relation to the proposals in this area, I would ask that this money be paid to a trust to be set up by the Irish Haemophiliacs Society and not be paid to the AIDS fund, which would create unnecessary bureaucracy. If the Irish Haemophiliac Society have a trust fund in which the Department of Finance and the Department of Health are represented, that is as much as is needed. I hope the Minister for Health will examine my proposition and see the sense and wisdom of it and will let the Irish Haemophiliac Society deal with this fund through their own trust fund.

I know others have spoken on what is needed for the future in relation to health issues generally. Few people in this House who have been on the general election canvass can be unaware of the distress that the cuts are causing to so many people. While the £15 million to be spent on health will alleviate immediate difficulties and will hopefully facilitate the opening of emergency hospitals in the city and clear the waiting lists — for instance, for hip replacements and for children's operations — more is needed. We need a fundamental examination of the health services. We should examine the administrative structures and give the people decent health care. I do not suggest that we should tolerate unnecessary and wasteful overlapping, but that we should respond to real needs. We should have a health ombudsman. I know this was proposed by Deputy Mary Harney before the election and by other speakers tonight. We need someone who will be able to deal realistically with the genuine complaints and problems that come up in health matters. These matters should not be raised only by way of parliamentary questions or Adjournment debates. From now on we should take these matters very seriously.

Finally, I seek reassurance from the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice, both of whom are present in the House, that funding for the family mediation scheme will continue to be provided. This scheme is now in place for three years. It was set up during my term as Minister of State in the Department of Justice and it was seen as a pilot venture. Enough people working in the marital breakdown area and the family law courts came together at that time to seek support for the establishment of this mediation scheme, which was far-seeing. In its three years' existence it has proved itself and thousands of couples have been helped to resolve their differences when their marriages broke down. First, it saves money by keeping couples out of the adversarial environment of the courts, which are costly, not only in terms of finance but also in emotional stress. Since this scheme was set up a new Family Law Bill has passed through both Houses and it will become law before the end of the year. It calls for a mediation process. The existing pilot model should be used in setting up mediation centres in Galway, Cork and Waterford.

I am aware that the Taoiseach has given a commitment to the Council for the Status of Women. I would like to see the details and the level of funding for its extension sooner rather than later. While it is important that the Dáil continues to work for economic recovery, it is equally important that we target in the next four years those areas of neglect in social reform. I intend to concentrate on this area and I hope that the new blood injected into the Fianna Fáil Party and the Government benches will bring social issues to the fore and not leave them, as happened in the past, almost as an afterthought.

I would like to refer to the apologia of Deputy Michael Higgins for the disastrous effects on the environment caused by the policies of the left in supporting this system of monopoly capitalism in the rape of the planet. Perhaps I have a little more sympathy for the left in that they hope they can squeeze a little bit more from the system to help the under-privileged whereas the exploitation of the earth by the right-wing parties is done for the most part for the benefit of the rich. There is another way — the Green way — but I think I will leave an explanation for that for another day because I see Deputy Higgins has left the House. The other thing that intrigued me——

He can hear the Deputy over the monitor.

I am here.

I do not want to detain the House but if the Deputies want me to, then I will.

Please do.

We do not need this system of large-scale industry. If we had more local production for local needs with small family businesses and worker co-ops, we would not need all these multinational companies.

As long as I own one of them.

I will pass on now.

The Deputy nearly went out through the ozone layer there.

The other thing that intrigued me about Deputy Higgins's speech was his reference to basic income. I hope the Labour Party will speak out on this issue. We were the first political party in this country to put forward a basic income scheme. Since then this has been supported by Fine Gael and The Workers' Party but the peculiar thing is that they never talk about it. It is included in their policy documents but they never refer to it or to anything about it.

Turning to the main business before us, which is the Taoiseach's speech and the appointment of Ministers, I am pleased he proposes to set up an environmental office, whatever this means. This falls very far short of what is required. What is needed is a completely new Department free of such irrelevancies as electoral systems and driving tests. All such extraneous matters should be hived off to another Government Department. I feel that any extra cost involved in doing this would be repaid many times over in providing a healthy environment for us to live in.

The environment was very much neglected by previous Governments. I could give many examples to highlight that but I do not propose to waste the time of the House by listing a litany of problems which they failed to resolve. However, I highlight the continuing pollution, caused by industry and farmers, of our inland waterways and seas and by our antediluvian method of the disposal of sewage. Manifestations of this pollution are the recurring fish kills and the appalling condition of our beaches.

There are many urgent problems facing this country. One of the most pressing at present is the rod licence dispute. Now that we have a new Government and a new Minister I trust this matter will be settled. I am sure all Deputies would agree with me when I say that this dispute is harmful to the tourist trade, upon which so many people depend for their livelihood. This wretched licence should never have been introduced in the first place and should be abolished forthwith.

Apart from anything else, it has been admitted publicly by the Department of the Marine that they are too busy dealing with the rod licence dispute to give proper attention to the many other urgent problems affecting our seas. In particular, I refer to fish farming. Very real concern has been expressed to me about possible pollution from fish farms. I would like to refer to the licence granted to an English company to operate a fish farm in Ballyvaughan Bay in County Clare without adequate discussion with various local interest groups. This licence was granted under an old Fisheries Act instead of a more recent Act, which I find very disturbing. I am satisfied from talking to people living in the area that many of them are very apprehensive about the possible ill-effects of this project.

Another urgent matter requiring attention is a revision of our Constitution to allow a citizen's initiative, that is, referenda proposed by the people. This is operated very successfully in Switzerland and provides real opposition to the Government. It should be realised that a majority Government, be it a single party Government or a multi-party Government, is a form of elected dictatorship. The adoption of this measure should pave the way towards an all-party national Government selected from the best talent in the House. Power must be taken from the politicians and the bureaucrats and given back to the people where it rightly belongs.

There are many other issues which require our most urgent attention. There is obviously no time to refer to them in any detail but let me mention a few. The Industrial Development Authority's policy seems to be jobs at any price. That is not good enough. For example, let us take a look at the proposed Merrell Dow factory in County Cork. The House can take it from me that this project will never proceed because it is opposed by the majority of local people and they will stop it from going ahead. It is absolutely essential for the future of this country that clean industry is attracted, that an independent agency is established to carry out environmental impact assessments on all industry before they can be grant-aided or permitted to go into business.

The Taoiseach has stated he is going to set up a Foras Forbartha-type body. I welcome this step. Presumably this body will monitor these environmental impact assessments. I hope the results will be published under an environmental freedom of information Act, and we call on the Government to bring such an Act before the House this year. Are we to threaten the future of our country and our earth for short-sighted, short-lived economic gains? There are many clean environmentally friendly industries which can provide jobs but I stress it must not be jobs at the cost of our health and the health of our earth.

Another urgent matter is the restructuring of the health service. We know there has been over-expenditure on this service and some cutbacks were necessary, but it was necessary to impose such stringent cuts with no proper study of where the cuts should be made? Was it good enough just to issue the health boards with a direction to cut, cut, cut the most vulnerable, the medical staff, and the treatment given to those who do not have the income to join the Voluntary Health Insurance? I know of a hospital which actually took on an extra person to administer the health cuts. People have died because of this cruel, unthought-out policy. This must never, never happen again.

We must give urgent attention to the matter of waste disposal. The Government must pass into law a proper waste disposal policy which includes recycling of waste and proper sorting of hospital and general waste. At present, toxic waste is being used in land fills, from which it seeps down to the water table and enters the food chain. We call on this Government to take immediate action on the disposal of sewage. Never again must millions of tons of untreated sewage be spewed into our waterways and seas. I call on this new Government to act and act now to improve the quality of life in this country.

First, I should like to congratulate the Taoiseach and his Ministers and wish them well on the road that lies ahead. Like previous speakers on this side of the House, I assure them that they can expect constructive opposition, but nonetheless opposition, and in such fashion as to be in the best interests of the people at all times. I would not like the Taoiseach or the Government for one moment to expect an easy run or an easy ride.

In the last election the people voted very carefully, not giving an overall majority to any party in this House but, ironically, giving a majority to the Opposition parties. It was unfortunate perhaps that the Opposition parties were not in a position to provide that alternative Government, because that is what democracy is about. That is what it really means when the people decide with regard to a majority of parties or individuals.

I do not want to go down the road followed by various speakers already, nor do I wish to draw a distinction between the right and left, or who has the monopoly on the right to represent the people. The people voted to elect members to represent them. They did not care very much whether they were left or right or centre. They elected people who they thought would represent them in this House to the best of their ability and that is the way that it should be. No party have a monopoly of representation of one sector or other in the community. Repeated elections down through the years have proved that.

While my learned colleague, Deputy Michael Higgins, was very critical and analytical of my party's role over the last couple of years — he was very interesting to listen to — I would point out that perhaps the major difference between some of the parties on this side of the House is on economic issues and not on many of the other social issues. An analysis of the voting pattern over the last couple of years would indicate clearly that this is the case. A careful analysis also of what has happened throughout Europe over the past number of years would equally indicate that where left wing or centre-left governments came to office they were forced by economic necessity to move towards what appears to be the right. There has been an indication from the people on the one hand that they elected members to represent their interests regardless of the side of the ideological fence from which they came. It is our duty to represent them to the best of our ability.

And poor Mrs. Thatcher is fading away.

I would suggest that perhaps Mrs. Thatcher carefully analyses the developments in the ideological differences across the water, also. One would find that when a Government or an Opposition party, even a left wing Opposition party, draw near the time when they might assume office, they appear also to move to the right and vice versa. I would respectfully suggest that as a way to analyse the manner in which politics have moved in this country also. It has happened in the past and will no doubt happen in the future.

It is a comfortable way.

It may well be comfortable, but it is still a fact of life. It is most important that this Government be sensitive in so far as what can be done to meet the needs of the people outside and also the needs of the Opposition in the House. I hope that we shall not in future get so many replies to parliamentary questions to the effect that the Minister has no responsibility to the House when we can consult the records and find that previous Ministers holding the same offices have had responsibility to the House and have agreed to answer questions.

When the people in their wisdom voted, they voted for the narrowest majority. Even in the present coalition there still exists only the narrowest majority and I would ask the Government to have regard to that fact and to try to accommodate the Opposition in various ways in so far as they can. This is a House of Parliament; it is where questions deserve to be answered and this is where we, the Opposition Members, are entitled to get those answers. I hope that there will not be a repetition of the replies that I and others on this side of the House have received over the past two years. That is not good for democracy, not good for the confidence of the public nor for the morale of Government or Opposition. It makes for complacency, which is totally undesirable in a democracy.

I shall refer very briefly to previous coalition Governments. The present coalition is no different. It is made up of people who have had differing views and have expressed those diverse views in the past and it is hoped that this coalition will be successful. Coalitions have been formed on this side of the House previously, composed of people with diverse views but who have formed and provided very good Government at times when the country needed that and when the people relied on those Opposition parties to provide Government by way of coalition and they did it very effectively.

I do not want to delay the House unnecessarily because I know that there are many speakers who wish to contribute. Now that a Government has at last been appointed, the people of the country look to us to ensure that their interests are at all times brought to the fore and heard adequately. I hope that those people like deserted wives with two or three children, perhaps homeless or living in rented accommodation, with an income of no more than £65 or £68 a week and having to pay a contribution towards rent from that, will have something further said to them than we have been saying in the past and that we can perhaps offer them local authority housing. We have not been able to do this over the past few years. At the present moment there is little prospect of offering anything to these people in the next two years unless the new Minister for the Environment is prepared to acquire housing which is already built rather than having to start to build new houses.

That is just one of the issues that must be addressed. Another which is important and is dear to the hearts of every Member of this House and every member of the community outside the House and which was voiced time and time again, as in the recent contribution from Deputy O'Connell, is the question of health and how the people are affected. People are concerned about health issues simply because every man, woman and child in this and every country at some time has to have recourse to the health services. Whenever a question arises as to the accessibility to those services, the people panic. Many have panicked in the past and will continue to do so unless there is some considerable response to this problem. I hope that there will be such response in the future. If there is not, what has been happening will continue. There will be a service available to those who can afford it and nothing for those who cannot. There will be nothing but frustration and annoyance for those unfortunate people. I have a lot more that I could say but in deference to other speakers I shall conclude.

If it is in order, let me share whatever time is available to me with Deputy Kemmy, who I understand wants to make a brief comment.

Is that satisfactory?

Of course, provided that you are both brief.

First, I wish to congratulate the Taoiseach and those Ministers who have been appointed to their offices today. In particular, I congratulate my constituency colleague, Deputy Woods. Nevertheless, my intention and that of all members of The Workers' Party is to ensure that our job in opposition will be to keep a very close eye on Government in the work that they will be doing. We will make certain that the interests of the people out there who look to The Workers' Party as the party in opposition will be heard in this House.

We have been furnished with the document of the joint programme of the new coalition Government and while it is appreciated that it is to be read in conjunction with the document of the previous Government —National Recovery — The Next Phase— it shows the extent to which the Progressive Democrats were able to influence Government policy over the next four years.

There are three specific areas which indicate that the Progressive Democrats as mould breakers leave a lot to be desired. The first is in the area of defence. The document indicates that the Government intend to proceed along the lines of the previous two years and to do no more than replace or add to the review body on pay and conditions to serving members of the Defence Forces. In view of the fact that a large number of soldiers in the Defence Forces over the last week took a very courageous course of action indicating their desire to form a representative body and took the initial steps in doing that, it is incumbent on this Government to respond at the earliest possible opportunity. With the appointment of a new Minister for Defence it is a great disappointment that there is no response to that declaration in the document. Indeed, it seems that the Government are not prepared to recognise the actions taken by the members of the Defence Forces as being legitimate. I should like again to make the point that there is nothing in law, the Constitution or any Act prohibiting members of the Defence Forces from forming a representative body or union on their own initiative.

This matter was gone into at great length by the European Parliament as far back as 1981 and again in 1984. In the unanimous resolution of the European Parliament passed in 1984, the research document on which the resolution was based indicated and established quite clearly that there is nothing in law in this country to prohibit the formation of a representative association. We have always argued — and will continue to do so — that successive Governments have failed Defence Forces members. None of us can be proud of the conditions of work, pay and living conditions they are expected to endure. There was a slight acknowledgement of this by the review body but we must accept that the only people who are capable of looking after the interests of members of the Defence Forces are the members themselves. Unless we give them the basic fundamental right of their own representative association we will not begin to tackle, in a serious or committed way, the grave injustices currently suffered by them. A member of the Progressive Democrats was a former Minister for Defence and it is very disappointing that defence was not addressed as a fundamental issue in the document. However, the Minister for Defence will have a chance to comment in the House next week and I urge him to make a declaration that this Government will recognise the right of members of the Defence Forces to establish their own representative body. I hope we will not have a repeat of what happened in the sixties when the Garda Síochána, faced with a reluctant Minister for Justice, were forced to take the same initiative with the result that the organisers at the Macushla Ballroom meeting were dismissed from the force. I do not think that anyone can suggest that the representative bodies within the prison service and the Garda Síochána have in any way inhibited the commitment, loyalty and work which those persons have given to the State. I do not think anyone has ever suggested that the formation of a representative association within the Defence Forces would inhibit the morale, discipline or work of our very courageous and committed Defence Force members.

It is time that we came into the 20th century on this issue and took on board the unanimous resolution of the European Parliament passed five years ago. We should give the men and the few women who serve their fundamental legal right to form their own representative body and to consult their superiors on basic issues of pay and conditions.

The section on justice promises much in terms of reform. If there is a need for law reform its basis is in the various reports of the Law Reform Commission which are lying unattended on the shelves in the Minister's office. The current chairman of the Law Reform Commission, in successive annual reviews of their work, has complained that very little attention has been given in this House to the work of that body. It is also disappointing that there is no response to or recognition of the very difficult conditions under which the Garda Complaints Board operate. I hope that the new Minister will deal with the matter urgently because the credibility of the board has been seriously challenged and the work and commitment of members of the Garda Síochána is being damaged by the long delay in attending to the issues involved. I hope the Government will give this matter the same attention they devoted to the office of Ombudsman but with greater speed and without the necessity of the parties on this side of the House having to force the issue.

The codifications promised in the area of criminal law are welcome and, no doubt, all parties in the House will give the fullest co-operation in this work. I note that there is no commitment to a timescale, it was not a priority in the office of the previous Minister and it would be very helpful if we were told when there will be progress in this area

I urge the new Minister to deal with the problem of the law centres and the conditions under which young solicitors who have given their professional commitment to working for the State in these areas have to operate. They help those who cannot afford the service. Something must be done about the appalling conditions under which they work. The law centres in Dublin, and throughout the country, are on the point of physical collapse. They cannot cope; the doors are closed and there are long queues outside those centres. Those difficulties have arisen because of the cutbacks in finance, which resulted in a shortage of staff. I urge the Government to look at that matter. I was disappointed that there was no mention of that service in the agreed document, particularly in view of the fact that the chairman of the Legal Aid Board time and again in the last four years cried out about the appalling conditions that exist.

The final issue I should like to refer to concerns energy. The document, for the first time, contains a clear declaration, though somewhat indirect, that the Government are opposed to the introduction of nuclear power as an energy source here.

I said that 20 years ago.

I am glad the Taoiseach has mentioned that because it is significant that in the seventies Deputy O'Malley, the new Minister for Industry and Commerce, was the instigator of the Carnsore project. At that time he was a member of the Taoiseach's party and in Government, and he indicated his intention to establish a nuclear energy station there. Thankfully, that project did not proceed but since then the issue of nuclear power has not been clarified. It is important to highlight that our neighbours, Britain, propose to build another nuclear power station on the island of Anglesea. It is the policy of that Government to concentrate their nuclear installations on their west coast and the new station will be little more than 60 miles from Dublin across the water. The campaign against it has commenced and I am glad the Taoiseach's party on Dublin City Council, and elsewhere, support it. The last Minister for Energy indicated that the Government were opposed to that development proceeding and I hope that opposition will be reconfirmed. It is my hope that the Government will take action in the international courts, using the Euratom Treaty, in regard to Sellafield.

I have raised with the Government Chief Whip the prospect of establishing a committee to sit during the summer months to allow work on the Child Care Bill proceed. I urge the Minister concerned to establish an all-party committee so that we can make progress during the summer months on that legislation, which is urgent.

Before I call Deputy Kemmy I should like to say that I am sure the House would wish to afford An Taoiseach an opportunity to reply to the debate.

I will be as brief as possible. It would be churlish of me not to wish the Taoiseach and his Cabinet very best wishes on the occasion of their election as Government. I gladly do so and I should like to add my voice to that of Deputy McCartan, and others, in congratulating them. I am glad that Deputy Dukes has joined us because some of my remarks will be directed towards him.

I never left the House.

After a very tense month Deputy Dukes brought some unexpected light relief to us tonight by his attack on the left. I am glad to have an opportunity to reply to Deputy Dukes, who gave very good value. I did not think he had it in him to be a knock-about politician. He is emerging in a new role tonight. He is entitled to speak out in that role because that is what democracy is all about. However, it is my view that Deputy Dukes went a little too far tonight, a bit over the top, and said too much. He had a case to make but he ruined it. It is my view that if one's case is weak one should not attack one's opponents. One should get on with one's job, and Deputy Dukes should have got on with his job as leader of the largest party in Opposition. The people have reposed their confidence in him and he should get on with his job and leave our job alone.

I was not surprised at the turnabout of Deputy Dukes tonight but I wonder where he has been for the last two and a half years. He was a Member of the House during that time, like myself, and I wonder why he did not make those criticisms before. He had many opportunities to do so. Certainly, he had not lost his voice. I was not surprised at the attack by Deputy Dukes tonight because I considered it to be a smokescreen, a diversion or a strategy to divert attention from the so-called Tallaght strategy. If ever there was a misnomer in Irish politics the Tallaght strategy was one. It should have been called the Rip van Winkle strategy because Deputy Dukes went asleep, he went into hibernation for two and a half years. He has emerged from that hibernation to attack us, a minority group, instead of getting on with the job he was elected to do. It would have been more in keeping with his position if he had got on with the job he was elected to do by his party and leave our work to us. Deputy Dukes should remember the old saying about people in glasshouses not throwing stones, and that is very true in his case. A strong person can always throw stones but a vulnerable person should not because people can throw stones back. In particular, people in bare feet should not throw stones.

I have not seen one yet.

Any objective historian who looks at the performance of Deputy Dukes, and Fine Gael, in the House over the last two and a half years will have little to write about. They will be able to record that there was some very adroit and fancy footwork, political shuffling, but little else. Certainly, in time to come there will be little to write about that period in the history books.

Five more seats.

I do not take it from Deputy Dukes that he won five more seats but he had an opportunity to gain more seats and he did not take it. Deputy Dukes is not in a position to criticise any Member. He said little or nothing tonight about Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael because the Fine Gael Party supported Fianna Fáil in the last two and a half years and they joined in a pact with the Progressive Democrats in the election campaign. I am not surprised that Deputy Dukes said little about those facts. The Deputy is not in a position to criticise us.

I look forward to seeing Deputy Dukes perform in his new role. If it is his intention to adopt a knock-about role in the House he will be taking on Deputies like myself who can perform in a skilful way in such knock-abouts. We grew up in that atmosphere.

I did this afternoon, and very effectively.

I wish Deputy Dukes well in his new role and I look forward to having some jousts with him. I admire what Deputy Dukes has done but when he contributes in the House he reminds me of the best boy in the class; he is always well groomed, has his lessons well learnt and is always word perfect. However, I have found that the best boys in my class did not make good politicians and wound up in other areas and, the reason was that they lacked humanity.

I will be around here a lot longer than the Deputy. I do not need any lessons from him.

The best boys in the class were articulate, able, learnt their lessons very well and were almost word perfect, but they lacked humanity. Deputy Dukes will need to have a little more humanity if he wishes to succeed. I should like to remind him that I did not interrupt him when he was making his contribution. It is a measure of the Deputy's lack of stature in the House that he interrupted me. When hard words were said about the Deputy's counterpart he took them on the chin, but Deputy Dukes is behaving like the best boy in the class instead of listening for a few minutes and taking what I am saying in an honest way.

The Deputy is inviting me to interrupt and he is enjoying it.

Deputy Dukes is interrupting like an undergraduate and that will not do him any good. If he listened to what I am saying he might learn something.

I am doing the Deputy a favour, he is enjoying this.

I should like to remind Deputies of the necessity to afford An Taoiseach an opportunity to reply to the debate. Time is limited.

Deputy Dukes has taken two minutes of my time. I am aware of the constraints on my time but, unfortunately, I have been given a rather rough ride by Deputy Dukes. I should like to tell him that I am enjoying every minute of it. The left did not get a mandate from the electorate to govern. If they had I would have been the first to say so in the House. I would not run away from that task and I would criticise the Labour Party or The Workers' Party if they ran away from the task of governing the county. I will not withdraw from that view. Deputy Dukes' criticism of the left will be seen for what it is, a smokescreen to divert attention from the Tallaght strategy. I hope we have heard the last of Deputy Dukes' rantings in regard to that. He did not do himself any good by his criticism of the left. He should get on with the job he was elected to do, to provide good and honest opposition.

Deputy Dukes will be aware of the three major problems facing the country, unemployment, emigration and poverty, and not the nonsense he went on with today.

I will effectively represent Fine Gael.

If Deputy Dukes gets on with the job he was elected to do and presses the Government as hard as possible on the problems I have outlined he will get full support from the left, but if he continues with his criticism of us we will oppose him.

I will fill the gap being left by the left without any problem.

It would be impossible for me to attempt to reply to all the points that have been made in this very wide-ranging discussion and I will confine myself to one brief point. The document that most Deputies have spoken about, Programme for Government 1989-1993, has been criticised for being something it was never intended to be. The document states clearly that it has to be considered in relation to the Fianna Fáil document, National Recovery — The Next Phase, which is a fairly comprehensive statement of policy and programmes. Of course, there is also the National Development Plan which is a major part of Government policy.

In addition, there is the Programme for National Recovery, which has been very successfully implemented over the last two years. Deputies who have been criticising this document as a programme are completely missing the point. The document is only intended to be a brief abbreviated statement of principles and objectives. Naturally the main thrust of this Government's policy will be in the documents I have spoken about and in many other further publications which will be produced from time to time. This Government believe they have a comprehensive and realistic basis of policy on which to perform over the next four years, as outlined in the documents I have spoken about.

I am also slightly puzzled that some speakers, particularly on the Fine Gael side, attacked this Government as if they had been performing over a long number of years. They should realise that we have not yet been appointed by the President so it is a bit premature to start attacking us as a Government about what we should have done, did not do or will not do. They might at least have given us time to go up to the park to get our seals of office before they started blackguarding us.

It is not as if you have only just arrived.

A Deputy

They have been around for a while.

They have been there before.

I know what their problem is; they have to establish themselves very quickly as a fairly virulent opposition party or their clothes will be stolen over there——

We know what your problem is. You lost seats in the last general election——

I am glad Deputy Bruton interrupted me because I want to congratulate him on discovering the long-term unemployed.

I have been talking about that subject for a lot longer than the Taoiseach.

Some of us in this House have been moving positively to improve the position of the long-term unemployed in two budgets and our efforts in that regard have been understood and appreciated by the people who really know what the position of the long-term unemployed is.

We might believe the Taoiseach but thousands would not.

We have gone beyond our time——

Indeed you have.

——but we will have plenty of time over the next five years to debate all these matters and to deal with all the problems which are agitating Deputies here tonight.

Wait for the review after two years.

In the meantime I want to thank all the Deputies for their good wishes to myself and the Government as we undertake our very serious responsibilities. I deeply appreciate these good wishes and I should like to assure Deputies that we will do everything in our power to merit them in due course.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 83; Níl, 76.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullimore, Séamus.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • O'Toole, Martin Joe.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hillery, Brian.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kelly, Laurence.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, Jim.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Molloy, Bobby.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Noonan, Michael J.
  • (Limerick West).
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Stafford, John.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wyse, Pearse.


  • Ahearn, Therese.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Belton, Louis J.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connor, John.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Cotter, Bill.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Finnucane, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lee, Pat.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McCartan, Pat.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • (Limerick East).
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Gerry.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Renolds, Gerry.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sheehan, Patrick J.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies V. Brady and Dermot Ahern; Níl, Deputies J. Higgins and Boylan.
Question declared carried.