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 sí 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 she has appointed me accordingly.

Tairgim: "Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann 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".

Risteárd Mac an Earraigh

Dick Spring

I also propose to nominate him as Tánaiste.

Páralan Ó Eachthairn

Bertie Ahern

Micheál Ó hUadhaigh

Michael Woods

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

Ruairí Ó Cuinn

Ruairí Quinn

Micheál Mac Gabhann

Michael Smith

Daithí Mac Aindriú

David Andrews

Seosamh Breathnach

Joe Walsh

Cathal Mac Riabhaigh

Charlie McCreevy

Brian Ó Comhain

Brian Cowen

Muiris Táilliúir

Mervyn Taylor

Micheál D. Ó hUiginn

Michael D. Higgins

Breandán Ó Húilín

Brendan Howlin

agus

and

Niamh Bhreathnach

Niamh Bhreathnach

It has been the practice at this stage to indicate the Departments to which these Ministers will be assigned. They are as follows:

Department of Foreign Affairs to Dick Spring.

Department of Finance to Bertie Ahern.

Department of Social Welfare to Michael J. Woods.

Department of Justice to Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Department of Industry and Commerce to Ruairí Quinn. That Department will in time become the Department of Employment and Enterprise.

Department of the Environment to Michael Smith.

Department of Defence and Department of the Marine to David Andrews.

Department of Agriculture and Food to Joe Walsh.

Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications to Charlie McCreevy. That Department will become known as the Department of Tourism and Trade.

Department of Energy to Brian Cowen. That Department will become known as the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications.

Department of Labour to Mervyn Taylor. That Department will become known as the Department of Equality and Law Reform.

Department of the Gaeltacht to Michael D. Higgins.

Department of Health to Brendan Howlin and

Department of Education to Niamh Bhreathnach.

As soon as it is possible to do so, the Government intends to change by order the titles of some Ministers and Departments and transfer functions between Departments so that Ministers will have the following responsibilities:

Department of Enterprise and Employment to Ruairí Quinn.

Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to Joe Walsh.

Department of Tourism and Trade to Charlie McCreevy.

Department of Transport, Energy and Communications to Brian Cowen.

Department of Equality and Law Reform to Mervyn Taylor

and

Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht to Michael D. Higgins.

I will elaborate further on these changes later in my speech.

I also propose to nominate Deputy Noel Dempsey for appointment by the Government as Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, with special responsibility as Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Defence.

The Government will, in due course, appoint other Ministers of State. I will inform the Dáil of these appointments after they are made. I expect to make them in the next day or two.

I propose to nominate Harold A. Whelehan, SC, for appointment by the President to be Attorney General.

This is a partnership Government, and both parties are determined to work closely together in Government to advance the welfare and prosperity of the nation. The new spirit of partnership will assist us to meet challenges and overcome problems in a coherent and united way, on the basis of the very comprehensive and ambitious programme which we have agreed and published.

As soon as the necessary arrangements can be put in place, the structure of Government will be radically reorganised, so as to enable us to concentrate our resources most effectively on the principal problems and priorities that we have identified.

First, to reflect the partnership that we are embarking upon, an Office of the Tánaiste will be situated in Government Buildings. The Office will have a separate Vote. There will be a Minister of State attached to the Office of the Tánaiste, who will also be attached to the Department of Finance.

The Minister of State attached to this Office will represent the Government on the new National Economic and Social Forum and ensure direct liaison through the Tánaiste between the forum and the Government.

The National Economic and Social Forum is an innovation designed to broaden the basis of social consensus in Irish society, which has been one of the most successful features of the past few years. It will strengthen the concerted attack we need to make on unemployment, deprivation, and other social problems. It will include representatives from the social partners, representatives of women's organisations, groups representing the unemployed, the disadvantaged and people with a disability, as well as from the Oireachtas. The Central Review Committee and the NESC will continue under my own Department with their present functions and composition, but their work will be enriched by the deliberations and recommendations of the forum. The forum will ensure that the disadvantaged and the marginalised, and the voluntary and community groups that represent them or work with them, have a voice that will be heard and that there is the widest level of participation in public life.

The Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Minister of State at the Office of the Tánaiste will be jointly responsible for the implementation of the provisions of the Programme for a Partnership Government contained in the section, "Broadening our Democracy". These cover ethics in Government, Oireachtas reform, electoral reform, as well as the co-ordination of local government reform.

When I first became Taoiseach last February, I promised greater openness and accountability. I promised to complete all inquiries into the controversies of the recent past, and to seek out the truth wherever that might lead. I expressed a determination that my Government would operate in accordance with the highest standards. I renew those pledges today.

There will be a register of Members' interests, statutory controls of gifts to office holders, and partial State funding for political parties, with registration of substantial private donations or subscriptions to either political parties or candidates. There will also be limits on election expenditure. A clear system of rules will be of benefit to all parties, and will help to build greater confidence in our democracy. The existence of legally enforceable rules means that there will be clear ways of measuring adherence to standards. It also means that when allegations are made in future, there will be laws in place and therefore procedures for investigating them. All of this is in my view a healthy and necessary development. Indeed, I set an example in one respect last February in making a voluntary declaration of my private financial interests, when I became Taoiseach.

The other major innovation will be changes designed to bring up to date the procedures and work methods of the Dáil and to make Government more accountable. Because implementation of our programme will entail the passage of a very substantial amount of legislation, it is essential to streamline our procedures. Electronic voting will come into operation later this year, so as to reduce the time lost at present. Four new Standing Committees will be established to consider the Committee Stage of all Bills, as well as Estimates and Reports. The Finance and General Affairs Committee will be established immediately, with the Social, Economic and Legislative Committees being set up as soon as possible.

There will also be a new Foreign Affairs Committee, which has been long sought, and which was agreed in principle towards the end of the last Dáil. The conduct of our foreign policy will be a legitimate subject of political and parliamentary debate and scrutiny. It will serve a useful public function in highlighting changes in the world around us, that are bound to impinge upon us.

We will also ensure that additional drafting experts will be recruited, as necessary to the Attorney General's Office. Our overall aim is a Dáil that will operate effectively and that is capable of dealing expeditiously with urgent national issues as well as long-standing needs for reform.

I now turn to the reorganisation of the Departments of State. We are establishing five new Departments, replacing existing ones, and we are combining some other Departments or divisions under one Minister.

A new Department of Enterprise and Employment is being established, which will subsume most of the functions of the Department of Industry and Commerce and of the Department of Labour, as well as taking responsibility for the new county enterprise partnership boards. This will be a key Ministry, combining and integrating the job promotion efforts of the new industrial agency Forfás and its autonomous subsidiaries Forbairt and the IDA with the national training schemes of the Department of Labour. Job protection and industrial relations are clearly complementary functions that belong in the same Department. The purpose of this reorganisation is to combine in one Department many of the main policy functions that have a direct bearing on employment, industrial policy, employment training programmes and other labour market measures. There will be a greater integration of policy, all working towards the same end, of creating employment by a variety of means. The lead policy role in employment creation will be assumed by the Minister for Enterprise and Employment. The very title shows, however, the primacy of enterprise in creating employment.

We are also establishing a new Department of Tourism and Trade, two equally important functions. Tourism is an industry with enormous employment potential, which requires pro-active Government support and intervention. The trade function will be to give exporters every necessary governmental support, for example, at trade fairs and promotions, leading trade missions, and smoothing the path in State trading countries. It will include the foreign earnings division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and we will continue to spread the Ireland House concept which has been established in a number of cities.

A new Department of Equality and Law Reform is being set up. The issues involved are regarded as so fundamental to the character of our society that they require to be the responsibility of a member of the Government. The Minister will have responsibility for women's affairs, including equality issues at present dealt with in the Department of Labour, and will co-ordinate services for people with a disability and for travellers. The new Minister will have responsibility for implementing the report of the Second Commission on the Status of Women. While good work has been done by successive Ministers and Ministers of State on many of these issues, a member of the Government will have the authority to ask that the necessary action be taken by other Ministers across Departments. Civil law reform will also be the responsibility of the Minister for Equality and Law Reform while criminal law reform will remain the responsibility of the Minister for Justice.

We are also creating a new Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. There is a widespread feeling that Irish culture in the widest sense of the word should be integrated rather than being regarded as belonging to separate compartments. The new Department comprises the Department of the Gaeltacht, the arts and culture section, at present attached to my Department, and will also include responsibility for the National Heritage Council, for the Wildlife Service and for broadcasting policy. I am happy to divest my office of direct responsibility for arts and culture, which was a way of raising their status, on the basis that they will now have the increased status of a full Government Department. This is a recognition of the tremendous contribution that is made to the quality of Irish life not only by our distinctive language and associated Irish cultural traditions, but by artistic and cultural activities in all their forms.

Tuigeann furmhór mór ár ndaoine anois an tábhacht ar leith atá ag an Ghaeilge in ár gcultúr agus in ár dtráidisiún. Oidhreacht bheo atá sa teanga agus tá sé mar aidhm ag an Rialtas nua an oidhreacht sin a chothú agus a chur chun cinn.

The already announced increase in the budget for the Arts Council this year, confirmed in the Programme for Government, is evidence both of mine and the Government's strong commitment to the arts and our recognition of their value and potential to Irish society.

The Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications will have responsibility for most of our infrastructure that is provided by public utilities and State companies. The next few years will see major emphasis on improvement in public transport both in Dublin and nationally with the help of Structural and Cohesion Funds and the jobs fund. We want to see, for example, a light rail system introduced in Dublin as well as major improvements in the national rail network. We also want to develop the best possible air links between Ireland and the rest of the world. I also see a great need for a more imaginative and innovative energy policy which embraces new technological developments and which will conserve energy and the environment as well as reduce energy bills, particularly for the less well off.

In addition to new Departments, I am combining some existing ones. The Minister for Defence and the Marine will be able to promote better co-ordination between the two Departments, given that both the Naval Service and, to a considerable extent, the Air Corps are involved in work which is related to the Department of the Marine, in surveillance and protection of our fishing waters and in air-sea rescue operations.

Finally, I propose to assign responsibility for forestry to the Minister for Agriculture and Food who will add that to his title. The land-use implications of forestry and its promotion as an alternative enterprise for farmers make this a sensible combination. I envisage that as at present there will be two Ministers of State assigned to the Department of Agriculture, one with special responsibility for Forestry and Rural Development, the other with special responsibility for Food and Horticulture.

What about the disadvantaged areas? The Taoiseach has forgotten them.

Is the Deputy looking for a job? This Government is taking office at a time of serious economic difficulty which is reflected in very high unemployment and pressures on our currency. While there have been considerable improvements in many aspects of our economic performance in recent years, the core issue of under-employment remains to be effectively addressed. We would all recognise that, despite many creditable achievements in the 70 years of our history as an independent nation, we have not yet succeeded in performing anything like up to our true potential.

While we are now able to achieve non-inflationary growth, we have still to strike a fully satisfactory balance between economic and social progress. On a number of occasions in the past, economic progress has tended to highlight the persistence of deep-seated social problems while at other times the effect of a concentration on making social progress has been largely nullified by economic stagnation.

Over the lifetime of this Government, the conditions are right for an economic and social breakthrough. Over the last two periods of Government we achieved a major improvement in the public finances and significant reform in the system of taxation as well as a substantial improvement in social welfare levels. While building on those achievements, a direct concentration on unemployment, and on other social problems, like homelessness, disability, educational disadvantage, hospital waiting lists and other manifestations of social inequality are the main objectives of this Government.

The formulation of the budget and dealing with the currency crisis will be the immediate priorities of the first few weeks. We have to operate within narrow constraints in 1993, if we are to hold to our course, but within those constraints we should like to make a start on some of the key priorities within our programme.

Both parties are committed to maintaining the existing parity of the Irish pound within the EMS and we are ready to implement the domestic policies necessary to underpin this policy. The situation of mortgage holders and of the productive sector,vis-à-vis very high interest rates, will be priority considerations for this Government. Measures will also be taken to ensure that the general Government deficit remains within the discipline of the Maastricht guidelines. Reform of the system of public service pay determination, on which discussions are already proceeding with the public service unions, will also be a high priority. In the medium-term, prospects of a further rise in sterling and a lowering of German interest rates in view of the deepening economic recession in that country are reasonably good. In the meantime, we should hold our nerve and resist all efforts to undermine our economic well being.

We are looking to our European partners for assistance in fighting off the currency speculators. The future of the EMS itself and of Economic and Monetary Union is at stake, if countries can be successfully picked off one by one. There must be recognition in the countries most committed to European integration of the vital importance of defending the ERM and the core currencies that have always belonged to it.

The Government is deeply committed to the establishment of peace in the North of Ireland. The killing has gone on for far too long. We will work for a resumption of dialogue between the parties with a view to negotiating a balanced settlement which deals with all issues and which will create a new climate of co-operation and understanding on this island and a basis for enduring peace. In the meantime, the Anglo-Irish Agreement will continue in full operation and will be actively worked and developed by the Irish Government.

The two parties that have come together to form a Government have entered into a new type of partnership. The partnership will be strengthened by the knowledge that we have a number of traditions and attitudes in common. The democratic republican ethos of equality has much in common with the ethos of social democracy or democratic socialism. The close relationship between Fianna Fáil and Labour in the early days of Irish democracy and their many common roots going back to 1916 or before have not been forgotten. The radical social policies of the 1930s in relation to public housing and the introduction of unemployment assistance were carried through with Labour support. The pioneering spirit of the times is well captured in Todd Andrews' memoirsMan of No Property. Eamon de Valera once declared that Fianna Fáil and Labour had the same programme.

Dick Spring did not say that last November.

He also said that their views and his on the duties of the State towards the members of the community coincide. In 1932 the first leader of the Labour Party, Tom Johnson, predicted about Labour and Fianna Fáil: "We shall have to coalesce some day".

(Interruptions.)

Fianna Fáil is a proud party with a long tradition of public service and national achievement. We created many of the State companies, the interests and survival of which the Labour Party has always keenly espoused. Fianna Fáil Governments, since the days of Seán Lemass, have strongly believed in the mixed economy and have worked closely in the national interest with the trade union wing of the labour movement. The new social consensus achieved with the trade unions, employers and farmers since 1987 has been of decisive importance in turning round our economy. This fruitful experience of partnership has, I think, more than anything else paved the way for this Government, where partnership is to be the guiding principle.

Is the Taoiseach sure it is not a temporary arrangement?

I regard this Government as a lasting arrangement based on a substantial agreement at least for the natural duration of this Dáil.

Can the Taoiseach assure me that I am awake, not asleep?

Deputy Harte should desist from interrupting.

Is this a dream?

The Taoiseach, without interruption.

This is a Government profoundly committed to change. We should lead on change, not be afraid of it. It is better to manage change successfully than to fear it. That is the challenge before us as we strive to make Ireland a more self-confident, more enterprising, but also a more just and caring country with a quality of life and a national spirit of which we can all be proud. Ar aghaidh leis an obair.

What about the unemployed?

I wish this new Government well and congratulate its members.

(Interruptions.)

I can assure them it will be downhill all the way henceforth. I have about two more good words to say.

It will be a short honeymoon.

I wish this Government well and congratulate its members. The Cabinet contains many politicians of talent, experience and ability. They have the capacity to do the job. I believe the overwhelming majority of our people will want them to succeed.

This new Government, to be formed today, has the biggest majority any Government has had in the history of this State. It has the votes and the political power to do what it pleases. It has come into existence with this huge majority because Fianna Fáil has decided, once and for all, that it will coalesce with any other party in order to remain in office. This, Fianna Fáil now cooly calculate, is a recipe for remaining in office indefinitely as some of the Italian political parties have done since 1945 with not too brilliant results for the Italian people.

I believe the Irish people will not want to see any party, particularly Fianna Fáil, remain in office indefinitely. The hard and objective lesson voters will have learned from the last, and indeed from the second last, general election is that a vote for a third or fourth party, cast in order to change a Fianna Fáil-led Government, is liable to turn into no more than a vote for a new coalition partner for the same Fianna Fáil Party. It happened in 1989 and is happening again in 1993. The logic of this is inescapable.

Events since 25 November last show that, in our political system, the only sure way for Irish voters to use their votes to replace the main Government party in office is to vote for the main party in Opposition. Any other vote is likely to be turned into a vote for the same Government but with a new partner.

That is why Fine Gael sets itself the task in this 27th Dáil of being more than just a good Opposition. Our aim will be to replace this Government. Every Government at every general election since 1969 has been replaced in one way or another. Next time there will be a real change of Government, not just a bail out of the old Government by a new partner.

I believe that the programme of this new Government does not add up to a workable strategy to achieve its declared objectives which are, among others: to put the country back to work; to confront the economic and budgetary difficulties; to recommence and sustain the process of dialogue with the parties in Northern Ireland; to create greater equality throughout society and to modernise and humanise our laws.

These are objectives with which nobody in this House, or indeed in the country, would disagree. Every Government elected over the past 20 years has had those objectives. As I will show, the problem is that the methods chosen by the two Government parties to achieve their declared objectives are deficient.

There are, of course, some good things contained in theFianna Fáil and Labour Programme for a Partnership Government 1993-1997. For example, I welcome the commitment — which we will carefully monitor — to set aside deliberately public service jobs for people with a disability; that will be watched closely. I welcome the establishment of a task force to monitor and pursue implementation of Government policy on travellers. I welcome the proposals for Dáil reform — the Standing Committees which are based on proposals advanced by my party. Furthermore, I believe that the declared intention of the Government to reduce the income tax burden, particularly on the low paid, is sound policy if fulfilled.

Taking all of the programme together I believe this new Government's programme is a recipe for more State schemes, more State-administered laws and regulations, more layers of Government red tape — red tape being the most expensive product of any Government — all of which will have to be paid for either by Irish taxpayers or, if we can persuade them, German taxpayers. The result will be an ever widening gap growing between those with secure jobs and those with no jobs.

There is an alternative to the policy set out in this Programme for Government. That is one of the good things that is happening in the Dáil today. A clear dividing line is now being drawn in Irish politics, a clear dividing line between the two Government parties who believe that State schemes will solve unemployment and Fine Gael which believes that jobs will come only if one cuts the cost of creating a job and increases the gain from taking a job. A clear dividing line is now being drawn between the two Government parties who place their faith in new agencies, new laws and centralised talking shops to solve our problems and Fine Gael which believes that the driving force of economic growth comes from individuals and groups, whether large or small, who act on their initiative, not at the suggestion of the Government, to find new markets for what they can sell.

There is also a clear dividing line between the two Government parties who, after 20 years of murder and hatred in Northern Ireland, are still talking in non-committal terms of aspirations and openness and, on the other hand, Fine Gael who is willing to take some risks for peace on this side of the Border, willing to say now, in clear language, what it is prepared to do to change our Constitution if the other side is ready to move.

Let me say without rancour, there is also a clear dividing line between the two parties willing to serve together in office — under the ever lengthening shadow of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Beef Processing Industry — and Fine Gael which has consistently believed that what we need is a complete change of Government, not just a recycled version of the old one, if we are to put the era of scandals behind us once and for all.

I hope the Ministers-to-be, and Ministers of State-to-be, who have been locked in negotiations for the past three weeks realise that there is a world outside Government Buildings — it must have been easy for them at times to forget that — a world in which people with mortgages are literally terrified at the liabilities now mounting up, who are unconvinced by the new Government's vague offers of help. For example, the specific £5,000 mortgage relief promise made before the general election has now evaporated to be replaced by coy evasions about perhaps doing something in the budget.

The world outside Government Buildings in which businesses, businessmen and business women, struggle to preserve jobs and orders, see the credibility of the Government's handling of the currency crisis in tatters as we speak. Many of these businesses are unwilling to speak publicly of their problems because of the fear of attracting the attention of their creditors. This need not have happened.

When the Single Market opened and free currency movement became law on 1 January 1993, the expected pressure on the IR£ did not occur. Indeed, money that had leaked from the reserves since December had actually begun to flow back. Then, out of the blue, last Tuesday the Minister for Finance went before the press, unnecessarily, and not in accordance with the tradition of the particular press conference he attended, and stated that the new Government would have to look at the devaluation option. He said that industry could not live forever with the present situation. As anybody on the street could have predicted — indeed, as the officials sitting beside him could have told him — those remarks drove the markets wild and caused a massive loss in our reserves. Those remarks are directly responsible for the massive increase in interest rates now facing all borrowers.

Five days later, we have the Taoiseach contradicting his Minister, and making a categorical statement that the IR£ will not be devalued, and we have his partner Deputy Spring, like King Canute who thought he could command the tides to obey, threatening dire consequences on speculators, for the benefit of the gallery in the Concert Hall. Higher interest rates are now the incoming Government's only economic policy. Yet, while this soap opera continues real people are losing their jobs, never to be re-employed; real orders are being lost to competitors, never to be regained and real families are building up extra debts some of which they will never be able to repay.

Against that background, where people are looking for a Government to give certainty and a clear sense of direction, we have would-be Ministers contradicting one another about the currency. We have an agreed programme for Government, full of commitments to spend money over the next five years, but with no agreement on how to pay for it; a programme of spending for five years but with no agreement on the budget that has to be introduced next month. All we have is a nominal agreement to borrowing targets which have been cleverly redesigned but no agreement on the volume of taxation or on the volume of expenditure. Without measurable targets a programme of any kind, be it in politics or business, lacks credibility. In the present currency circumstances, the absence of a firm published budgetary framework for this Government's programme is dangerous and incredible.

To govern is to choose. In the preelection television debate I had with the Taoiseach I was asked directly if I would rule out a change in the currency value in all circumstances. I said that if it came to a hard choice between preserving jobs and livelihoods that would be lost forever and maintaining the newly increased purchasing power of the IR£, I would choose to preserve jobs. This is a choice that all politicians would prefer to avoid. I do not believe that today's new Cabinet can avoid it much longer. Neither option is a quick fix, both are bad. The choice boils down to something as simple as this: we can either have astronomically high interest rates and massive job losses for the indefinite future, or we can save jobs, while still having very high interest rates for quite a time and also reduced purchasing power.

Last September, when the British pound was first devalued, Fine Gael gave the then Government some advice. We said that if the Government wanted to keep the punt exchange rate, as we believed it should do, it had to take radical and visibly permanent measures to save jobs that would otherwise be lost. Fine Gael, therefore, suggested a permanent 6 per cent cut in employers' PRSI in manufacturing. The Government did not take this advice. It opted instead for temporary job subsidies which, because of their temporariness, convinced people that the Government's exchange rate policy was temporary too. Ever since, this country has been in economic trouble.

As I said given that we all agree, or say we agree, that unemployment is our biggest problem, then we must opt to save jobs that would otherwise be lost for good. That means that Ireland must use all its diplomatic influence in Europe to achieve a rapid re-alignment of currencies within the exchange rate mechanism. This must be done quickly and I cannot stress this sufficiently.

The Programme for Government now before us is a quintessentially political document — rich in desirable objectives but weak in measurable targets. The greatest growth area under the programme will be in quangos. Instead of devolving power to decision-makers closer to the action, the programme has spawned a multiplicity of new agencies to comment, to monitor and to advise. Effective decision-making is needed. It will not be helped by having to carry all this massive superstructure of agencies and consultative bodies around with it. The programme does not contain the expected radical change in many areas. This is most notable in the lack of any really new jobs strategy, in the lack of interest in radical tax reform, in the lack of radical reform in health policy and in Northern Ireland policy.

The programme places heavy faith in new laws to legislate for equal opportunities for many. However, it does not make the corresponding decisions to provide the budgetary back-up for these new rights. Without back-up, without the means of enforcing the law or the means of providing the money to give the people the rights, these new laws will be like so many already on the Statute Book, mere aspirations. Laws that are not translated into reality are worse than no laws.

Many of the promises made by the two parties in the election campaign have not been carried through into the Government programme. Let me give examples. None of the 12 welfare cuts — the so-called dirty dozen — of which the Labour Party made so much, has been reversed. The promised £5,000 mortgage relief is not included in the programme but is left to the vagaries of the 1993 budgetary arithmetic which the parties say they have not yet agreed. The legal action against Sellafield is not being taken and is back on the long finger. The specific commitment to £25 million for services for people with a mental handicap has been replaced with vague language about rights which may be unenforceable because of lack of funds. The very specific commitments of equity to Aer Lingus and Bord na Móna have been made much more vague. Many employees in those companies will, on a close reading of this programme, feel they were misled during the election campaign. The Labour Party proposal to modify the doctrine of Cabinet confidentiality to allow tribunals to get to the truth has been dropped.

The part funding of the jobs fund by the sale of ACC to ICC raises yet again the fear of funny money policies of the type which Fianna Fáil were so expert in the early eighties. Spending money that has been derived from selling one bank owned by the taxpayer, to another also owned by the taxpayer, is borrowing and should be called such, it is nothing else. Is the entire borrowing requirement of the Exchequer to be shunted onto State companies engaging in this type of creative accountancy? It is bad budgeting, it is dishonest and it has no credibility.

A notable absentee in the programme is any commitment to public service reform. Opening up the selection of personnel, delegating power of decision-making, introducing value for money auditing and so on seem to have disappeared. The tax reform proposals are vague and aspirational.

The proposal to establish a Department of Enterprise and Employment which will supervise a new board called Forfás, which will in turn supervise two other autonomous boards called Forbairt and IDA-Ireland, must rate as one of the most bizarre and complicated pieces of bureaucratic construction in Irish administrative history. This new framework, this two-legged, three-layered framework, will in turn preside over a truly mindboggling framework at local level. The national development plan, apparently, will continue to be drawn up by the existing undemocratic sub-regional review groups. Yet, at the same time, we are to have four new layers of Government. We are to have sub-county bodies, 26 new county enterprise boards, new regional authorities and we will probably keep the existing 12Programme for Economic and Social Progress area initiatives.

All of the meetings of these boards and bodies cost money and time, which is the same thing. They will create an impenetrable maze in which anybody, any interest group or agency which wants to hide away from taking a decision will be able to hide forever. Instead of creating new ideas, all the time of our most creative public servants in the employment area will be used up in this new bureaucratic maze, justifying their existence, defending their administrative territory, protecting their promotional opportunities and fighting off take-overs, a complete waste of energy and time.

The idea of separating foreign trade from the Department of Enterprise and Employment into the Department of Tourism and Trade is truly extraordinary. Almost within two weeks of creating a Single European Market our Government is going to create an administrative system where departmental responsibility for firms selling in Newry or Liverpool will be separated from departmental responsibility for firms that are selling in Dundalk or Castleblayney. Could anything be more inappropriate in the present circumstances?

There is an equally bizarre example of bureaucratic confusion in the proposal to set up a national economic and social forum, which is to continue alongside the existing National Economic and Social Council and the existing Central Review Committee. The very same people — it should be remembered that the same people sit on these three bodies — will now be meeting one another in three different bodies, in three different offices, in three different parts of Dublin, discussing the same problems and adding more analysis to the mountains of analyses which have been paralysing decision-making in this country for years.

I wish to say that two good administrative decisions have been made in the Government reorganisation. The joining together of the Departments of Defence and the Marine is a sensible move. I further believe that the joining together of the Departments of Agriculture and Food and Forestry is a sensible move in the sense that it will lead to one co-ordinated Ministry responsible for land use policy.

However, I am very disappointed that the provision of £25 million for the mentally handicapped which was promised by the Labour Party has been dropped. New legislation is all very well but what is needed now by those who are mentally handicapped are residential places, respite places, access to therapy, opportunities to train and a charter for carers. There is no solid evidence that these requirements will come from this programme as there is no financial commitment to them.

As I said earlier, I am disappointed with the new Government's declared approach to Northern Ireland. I am saddened by the omission of any reference to Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. There is no commitment to constitutional change within the Government's overall approach. The few paragraphs in the Government document on this extraordinarily important problem are very vague. There is an obligation on the Irish Government to indicate that it would be prepared to amend Articles 2 and 3 of our Constitution as part of an overall settlement. It seems that neither Fianna Fáil nor the Labour Party are yet prepared to take the domestic political risks necessary to achieve real peace on this island.

I believe that Deputy Spring, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, has considerable expertise on Northern Ireland both as an architect of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, a member of the Anglo-Irish Parliamentary Body and as somebody who has visited Northern Ireland frequently and often without publicity. While I am disappointed with what he has achieved so far as the Government programme is concerned, I believe he has the ability and commitment to make progress in this area, and I certainly hope he is successful.

I am sorry to interrupt Deputy Bruton but I understand there is an informal agreement that speeches should not exceed 20 minutes and the Deputy has exceeded his time by three minutes.

We heard much about integrity and standards before the general election, particularly during the debate in this House on 5 November. To my mind, truthfulness, consistency and candour are the keys to integrity in any walk of life. If politicians want to promote integrity among others, be it in business or elsewhere, they must apply the same standards of truthfulness, consistency and candour in their own field of work, namely politics. In that context, I am proud to say that Fine Gael during the past two months has been truthful, consistent and candid in its dealings with the electorate both before and after the election; in other words, we said the same thing after the election as we said before it.

I have five questions that the new Ministers might like to find answers to; I am referring particularly to the new Ministers. How is it possible that shelf companies with secret owners were established to take advantage of the financial incentives in the Temple Bar area months before those incentives were known to anybody? Why was UCD force fed with public money to buy a campus in Carysfort which it neither needed nor wanted? Whose idea was it since it certainly never occurred to the college authorities and who benefited? How much has been spent on the Financial Services Centre; how much has it cost us, the taxpayers? The cost certainly runs into tens of millions of pounds, but how are we to find out exactly how much has been spent and whether it is money well spent on our behalf? Are we not entitled to know? Are we entitled to know how one well-placed individual was able to purchase one of the Custom House blocks at less than half the market price? What is the whole truth behind the wheeling and dealing exemplified in the Telecom debacle? How many already wealthy men have got richer as a result of these and other property transactions? What else is to be revealed?

These questions may seem familiar to one Member of the House, Deputy Spring — they are the questions he asked in an article entitled "Politics and the Greencore Effect" published inThe Sunday Tribune on 22 December 1991, which, I might add, is somewhat more recent than Tom Johnson's speech. Now, just two years later, Deputy Spring is in an unrivalled position, sitting at the table beside the people who were directly involved, to get and to publish clear answers to these five excellent questions of his. I will ensure that these questions are put forward publicly and repeatedly until such time as they are fully answered.

On behalf of the Progressive Democrats, I should like to avail of this opportunity to congratulate the members of the Cabinet on their nominations and to say to all of them and, in particular, those who are being nominated to the Cabinet for the first time, that we appreciate the pride they must feel on their nominations today. Undoubtedly, their nominations are a matter of pride for them and the members of their families who are present in the Public Gallery. On behalf of my party I wish them well. I hope that their period in office will be attended by a reasonable degree of good luck. All other things apart, persons, personalities, programmes and the effort we put into our job — all of us put much substance and much of ourselves into politics; indeed, sometimes our families, as innocent bystanders, also pay a price for the activities in which we engage — politicians need luck. Like the selection, and ultimately the fortune of Napoleon's generals, luck is perhaps one of the key features that this country, this House and, in particular, the Government need most of all.

The Government is taking up office at a time of enormous challenge, and it will have responsibilities commensurate with that challenge.

I should like to make a number of general comments on the Programme for Government which, of course, we can revisit during the lifetime of the 27th Dáil. As documents go in political terms, this programme is, relatively speaking, quite comprehensive and lengthy. I am bound to say, on behalf of my party, that although it sets out a measure of what we might expect of this Government in theory, and hopefully in practice, it is rather short on specific detail and targets far too many important central areas of public policy.

Modest job targets are specified for some of the schemes which will be introduced with European funding from 1994 onwards. However, given the enormous focus there has been on unemployment, it is regrettable that the partnership now taking over in Government should fail to be more ambitious in the specification of targets for job creation in this economy over the term of their stewardship. I appreciate that politicians hate to give hostages to fortune lest people on this side of the House would choose in time to use it as a political stick with which to beat them. However, the failure to specify targets in the areas of employment, tax reform and social welfare is a serious one because it gives the public with whom the Government has its basic contract no yardstick against which to measure achievement. Having no yardstick it is impossible to measure achievement on jobs, tax reform and social welfare. It is an unfortunate lapse, in a programme that is so comprehensive in terms of its stated aspirations not to have spelled out the economic and social content in more detail.

I wonder whether this is not only a measure of not wanting to give hostages to fortune but does it not perhaps also suggest a certain unwillingness on the part of the Government parties to focus up on their politics so that they, within their partnership, can trade with each other on pushing forward some of their agenda. For example, one point in the Labour Party's manifesto that has been watered down substantially is the prospect of increasing child benefit, presumably in the coming budget, with the subsequent prospect of taxing the child benefit, currently untaxed.

This House is faced with an extraordinary majority. There are now 101 votes on the Government side of the House, a clear 18 votes above an absolute majority for the conduct of business. I do not know what the dynamics of that very large majority will be. There is no point in predicting, with bravado, that various loose cannons in either one of the parties will use the leeway to start firing at the partnership from the inside.

Look to yourselves.

Everything is under control; Deputy Ferris need not worry about us. During the interregnum between Governments, Deputy Spring talked about every one of the elected Deputies sharing equal responsibility. Given the monolithic nature of the Government in numbers, I hope we will not find an unwillingness, where one trades in reason and reasonableness, to take on board the reasoned suggestions or amendments of the Opposition, because there is always a question when the sweep of Government benches starts to go around the bend, as it were, about how precisely its politics will unfold.

We will meet you there.

In respect of social policy I want to say on behalf of the Progressive Democrats that there is much on the social reform side of this programme which we warmly welcome and endorse. One is always entitled in politics to see the small print but, subject to that qualification, we will give our support to this Administration in respect of advancing areas of human rights that have been provided for, such as, the referendum on divorce, the need to legislate in the aftermath of the X case which is still couched in extraordinary ambiguity in the programme published up to this point, and the reform of our penal and outdated legislation on homosexuality. I can only assume from my own modest experience — none of it in Government but twice on occasions negotiating a programme for Government — that some of these concessions were won by the Labour Party. However, I urge some caution on the Labour Party in that regard. We too secured on paper a commitment to human rights legislation in the area of homosexuality and it will be noted how one Minister after another on the Fianna Fáil side of that partnership put it more and more at arms length from their value system. It is something of which the Labour Party need to be aware.

We greatly support the emphasis on equality in so many areas of Irish life — gender equality, the rights of the various minority groups, including the physically and mentally handicapped, travellers and so on. We welcome the commitment to openness and accountability. However, we are deeply disappointed that the Labour Party in particular did not find it possible to translate their concerns about Cabinet confidentiality so eloquently expressed while they were on the Opposition benches. Perhaps the test of openness in Government will be found in this Chamber. We had an example this afternoon of the nonsense that can be made of this Chamber because of the nature of its rules and regulations. In our programme for Government some years ago we put enormous store on Oireachtas reform in terms of opening up debate and lifting the arcane rule ofsub judice as it has been applied to date. I hope the Government will make haste in that regard and if it does it is something we will support.

The greatest threat facing the Government is the currency crisis and its implications for employment, indigenous industry and service employment and for ordinary standards of living of householders and mortgage payers. The Irish economy is on a rack of an overvalued currency and that rack is stretching many sectors to breaking point. Add to that extortionate rates of interest piled on as one of the few policy responses left to us, because so many others have now gone, and we have a recipe for a very grave economic crisis. I welcome the commitment given by the people now nominated for Government to take this challenge to the Europeans.

As members of the exchange rate mechanism since its foundation in 1979 we have been one of the foundation arches of the bridge over which they all plan to go to a single currency and a single central bank. If they can stand aside with benign indifference and neglect the needs of a small and peripheral economy such as ours and let part of the arch of the bridge they are building to cross to their greater objective of unity be swept aside by speculation, then Europe will have failed itself even more than it will have failed us.

There has been much discussion about not wanting unilateral devaluation. The Progressive Democrats share that view. There is no point in our suffering long term handicap in terms of interest rates or future speculative charges against our currency through unilateral devaluation. However, I would say that in virtually every case parties, including the parties to Government, would prefer a realignment of our currency. If that option is there it is what we want to press for most but the first principles of realignment are, implicity, that we accept our competitiveness is being undermined and damaged daily by an overvalued currency.

In terms of European diplomacy behind closed doors, this Government must get an early resolution of what is our need on this matter or formulate a policy alternative, because we cannot drift. If we continue to drift, no matter what is written in a programme about job creation it will come to nought. The same will apply if we are at the mercy of speculative markets and our response constantly addresses the problem of speculation through progressively higher interest rates. We should not be under any illusions; the Europeans have not worked well in this regard. At Bath last September ECOFIN failed to take advantage of a possible realignment; at Birmingham — a Summit called to deal with the matter — they did not deal with the problem and at Edinburgh it was ignored. We said, like Mr. Micawber, that something will turn up. We waited for the Bundesbank in January to lower interest rates but it did not. We may wait, because of Germany's policy in one case and because of indifference in another. We now have the "sweetheart" deal but we are not part of that amorous network in terms of European monetary policy which is causing further pressure on this country.

I am an ardent European but I fear in regard to how indifferent Europeans at the highest level have become about their own construction. If they do not shake off that indifference we will pay such a severe price that the Government will have to review its programme because no amount of written material in relation to jobs will get over the competitive handicap we now offer.

In the area of Dáil reform one of the issues which gives me cause for concern is the length of the recess — until 10 February. I do not want to make a meal of the issue but I hope this is the only time the Government will set parliamentary democracy aside for such a long period at such a vital time. If we continue to go down that road it will show scant regard for the foundations on which this House stands, of respect for open debate and the democratic process. In terms of Dáil reform I should like to see a proper, professional calender of work for the plenary sessions of this House and its committees as it is the least we owe ourselves as an institution in terms of our own dignity, standing and functions in terms of our society. For that reason it is appalling that this House has not conducted any ordinary business in public affairs since 5 November last. We will have been a full three months without ordinary business which, at a time of economic crisis, is an extraordinary comment on how we handle our affairs.

I must also comment on the fact that the Taoiseach has nominated an Attorney General. I will not make a prolonged comment on this matter except to say that the man who has been nominated for that office and who has filled it over a difficult period appears to have had an unerring instinct for turning the ordinary and commonplace into the extraordinary very quickly. We had an example of this last week in a knee-jerk rush to judgement on a complex, difficult and grave matter. I applaud the fact that Deputy Spring — the proposed Tánaiste — took a certain view of that matter; I noted his comments last week and it is a matter to which the Progressive Democrats will return.

The Progressive Democrats genuinely wish good luck to the new Administration. I recall amusement in this Chamber — and some will laugh wryly when I recall it—when Deputy O'Malley talked about the last Dáil and said he hoped that the 27th Dáil would be dull and boring. Its short life has not been dull and boring but perhaps it will be if we can get answers to our questions.

We are now faced with a political Goliath of 101 Members on the Government benches. However, we should recall the Bible and realise that it will take only one well aimed stone from a political David to slay any Goliath. I hope the Government will bear this in mind and not oppress us with its scale.

With the permission of the House, I should like to share my time with my colleague, Deputy McManus.

Acting Chairman

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I am sure that every man, woman and child would like to wish the Government well. If ever a new Government deserved to be wished well it is this one, having regard to the sheer scale of the problems which confront it, particularly having regard to the size of unemployment and endemic poverty in particular.

I am especially pleased at the inclusion in the Cabinet of Deputy Michael Higgins, his is the most exciting appointment in that Cabinet. His contribution to politics is recognised in this House. It is based on an egalitarian philosophy which he expounds better than any other Member and it is particularly appropriate that his portfolio will be that of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. We have not recognised in this House the contribution to enriching the quality of life which the arts can make and what a truly indigenous arts policy could do for this country. Deputy Higgins is the right man in the right job.

I presume that the new Department, which includes Communications, will not include broadcasting, which will be within the remit of the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. A number of matters in broadcasting require the particular talents of Deputy Higgins and those in the House who recall the battle he fought with my colleague — the former Deputy McCartan — on the infamous Bill introduced by the then Minister for Communications, Deputy Ray Burke, to cap resources at RTE will know that Deputy Higgins is particularly suited to the task.

I also welcome the appointment of my constituency collegue, Deputy Taylor, which is long overdue. I am delighted that he has agreed to serve and I promise to be close behind him in the constituency. I note that his new duties include responsibility for the travelling people and his appointment is especially appropriate having regard to the unfair share of the social problem located in our constituency and in west Dublin generally. I wish Deputy Taylor well in his portfolio. The section of the programme dealing with employment law is particularly weak and when he examines the area of law reform, I am sure he will realise the absence of any specific commitments in the programme to democratisation of structures in the workplace and its environment. It occurred to me that in the latest industrial dispute at Waterford Glass if such structures existed and were used we might not have got to the brink in the way we did.

The institutional reform engaged in by the Government is generally sensible. I wish to comment particularly on the Department of Enterprise and Employment. I raised this matter with the Taoiseach on a number of occasions in the last Dáil. I drew to his attention that the Cullition report recommended that the focus for industrial development should be more targeted and that that required institutional reform. The Taoiseach did not see the merit in those arguments then but I am delighted Deputy Spring has convinced him of the intrinsic merits and profound sagacity of that over the Christmas period.

It is desirable, having regard to the scale of our unemployment problem, that our industrial strategy should be more focused and I see this new Department as allowing that to happen. However, I have some reservations about a situation where we have a Minister for Employment, a Department of Employment, a national economic and social forum, NESC, which is still in business, a new agency called Forfás, two subsidiary agencies, Forbairt and IDA-Ireland, beneath which we have the county enterprise structure, and, of course, the pilot schemes under theProgramme for Economic and Social Progress. A great many jobs will be created, but I am not sure they are a recipe for tackling the scale of unemployment that exists. It is an unwieldly structure and I think it needs to be looked at again.

Personally I have never viewed institutional reform as the major issue of industrial strategy. I never became as excited as others in this House about whether the IDA should be divided. If it is working, why fix it? If the problem is that the focus of the IDA is not right and that it should be more on the development of indigenous industry, that change could have been made without creating a new series of boards and chief executives and the back-up that goes with that. I believe this structure will be unwiedy.

On the question of the county enterprise boards, I made my views on that known before the election, and they have not changed. I believe it is a wasteful structure, it is exposed to the worst of parochial politics and I do not think it is knitted into any true regional policy. The suggestions for regionalisation in the document are not knit into the industrial side and I am afraid it will expose us more than was the case in the past to the economic phenomenon that is displacement in so far as anybody who thinks he has a good idea, for example, making blocks in the back garden, will get a grant to do it if he knows the right people. The fact that somebody down the road or in the next county already produces blocks will not be taken into consideration. It is a potentially wasteful mechanism for industrial development.

I agree with Deputy Cox's remarks on Cabinet confidentiality. I regret that the matter has not been addressed. The work undertaken by the last Committee on Procedure and Privileges on thesub judice rule ought to be an urgent matter for this House. We saw a particularly farcial example today of an issue that has troubled the media greatly over the past week, and troubled some of us in public life. The matter can be talked about, written about everywhere, but it could not be raised in this House. If there is an allegation that representation at the beef tribunal has been effected for the purpose of political advantage, then this political forum is the place it should be discussed.

I do not want to stray into the Ceann Comhairle's rulings on this matter, however it seems to me that we cannot continue to live with thesub judice rule as it applies in this Parliament. I am glad to see in the Programme for Government a commitment to implement the recommendations of the beef tribunal. It is a fundamental issue in politics in Ireland that encompasses so much of what we talk about. It has been sneered at and belittled in certain quarters — some of it consciously and deliberately for policial motives — but the fact is that that is exposing to public scrutiny for the first time the working and interaction of politicians and the Civil Service, politicians and business. The public administration system is attracting a scrutiny it never attracted in the history of the State and it will be the better for it. That is a price we ought be prepared to pay notwithstanding the fact that many of those who sneer at its work conveniently ignore that it is paying for itself in terms of the extent of tax evasion and other matters that have been uncovered.

How much of my time remains?

Acting Chairman

The Deputy has ten minutes left.

In that event I must give way to my colleague, Deputy McManus. Deputy Bhamjee had asked me to be brief because it is a long way to Clare and he wants to get on the road tonight.

Are you not going to vote?

We will have a great deal of time in the immediate years ahead to deal with the detail of this programme which I would have liked to have done tonight. May I extend my good wishes to the leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Spring, who has a very responsible and onerous task. I wish him the best of luck in tackling that task in the interests of everybody. I noticed he said last Sunday that this partnership Government would change the face of politics in Ireland forever. I hope he is right. However, it seems to me that that is giving a hostage to fortune because I am not so sure Fianna Fáil intends to concede that much power even to an enlarged Labour Party but I am prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The Dáil was dissolved on 5 November and apart from the four occasions we met in an attempt to elect a Taoiseach, only two days have been devoted to business. I accept that new Ministers require time to acquaint themselves with their new Departments and it is not unreasonable to expect an adjournment of possibly ten days or two weeks.

I stood for election so that I could represent the people of Wicklow and make a serious input into the work of the Dáil. How can I go back to the householders in Wicklow who face the terrifying prospect of another 3 per cent hike in mortgage interest rates and justify the adjournment of the Dáil for another four weeks? How can I explain to the workers in Wicklow whose jobs are in jeopardy because of the currency crisis that I will not have the opportunity to raise the matter in the Dáil until 10 February 1993? How can I do the job I was elected to do? On paper one of the more impressive sections of the Programme for Government is that dealing with Oireachtas reform, which I welcome. However the proposal to adjourn for another month simply makes the point that there is a considerable gap between putting a policy on paper and translating it into reality.

The weakest part of the programme is the section on health. Reducing waiting lists is a fine objective but £20 million will not realise it. The cost of health care has risen worldwide and there is continual pressure to increase spending. Yet how to provide decent health care, which is of great concern to all, is not spelled out. Instead there is a rag-bag approach, long on aspiration, and short on strategy. For example, there has not been a comprehensive review of the health services since the sixties. We need to know how the services of the State can improve the health of the nation. This document does not tell us that. However, we can find out if we want to and if the medical and paramedical experts are brought into the equation. We know that if you are poor and unemployed the chance of dying of an accident, heart disease or lung cancer is greater. The prevention of disease and the focusing of resources must be where the need is most acute. Subsidising the well off VHI subscriber for treatment in the Blackrock Clinic is not, in my view, an intelligent way to focus on those most in need of medical care. That begs the next question, who is most in need?

Since the sixties the pattern of disease has changed, then AIDS was unheard of, now it is a major concern. Certain types of surgery that were common then have become a rarity because of changes in medication. What are we doing about our aging population and their resultant health needs? We need to know the answers to these questions quickly, otherwise the health service which has been characterised by long waiting lists— 600 on the waiting list for plastic surgery operations in St. James's Hospital — over-stretched nursing and medical staff, poor quality buildings, non-existent specialist services and dilapidated health centres, will continue into the 21st century. Instead of a hit and miss approach I would prefer a comprehensive plan for health focusing on those who most need the services, those living in poverty, children, the elderly, those at risk whose deprivation leads to ill health.

A study carried out in Britain discovered that the most accurate index of the state of ill health of a community was the extent of its unemployment. Unhappily, we have no shortage of this type of community here. To develop an effective health service we need informed consensus between those who make the policy, those who work within its parameters and those who are at the receiving end of it. A Green Paper on the Irish health services is long overdue. This should be followed by a White Paper which would spell out how we might spend our considerable resources most effectively to meet the needs, not of some of our people but of all our people and, in particular those who need it most.

I would like to pay tribute to the work of Deputy Andrews as Minister for Foreign Affairs. It is widely accepted that he played a progressive role in that post and I wish him well in his new post. He recognised the concern felt by Irish people, in particular women, at the crimes that have been committed in Bosnia. In an EC report on those atrocities it was estimated that 20,000 women and children have been raped, many of them small children who have died as a result of their injuries. According to eye witness reports even those figures are conservative. It is difficult for us to imagine how horrific the situation is. The description of one camp by a young 17-year-old girl gives an inkling of its barbaric nature. She stated:

They separated me from my mother and sister. They told us we would later be together but I never saw them again. They raped us every night. The White Eagles would come to get us; they would bring us back in the morning. There were nights when more than 20 of them came. They did all kinds of things to us. We had to cook for them and serve them naked. They raped and slaughtered some girls in front of us. Those who resisted had their breasts cut. There were a thousand of us, maybe more; I spent four months there.

That girl managed to escape but every night she still dreams of the camp guard who raped ten year old girls as a delicacy. We should not forget that this girl is as European as we are, not that such crimes against any other race are less despicable. We take great pride as a nation that we are good Europeans and Europe is a diverse place, larger and broader than the economic community that has become synonymous with it. It is greater than the elitist fast track club of which it is proving increasingly difficult and costly for us to remain members.

Acting Chairman

May I interrupt the Deputy, I have noticed Deputy Blaney offering. In accordance with the informal arrangement, 20 minutes was allocated for Independent Members. If Deputy McManus would expedite her contribution perhaps we could make time for Deputy Blaney.

I will be very brief.

On a point of order, in these times of projected open Government, democracy and fair play, it would have been a good idea if those of us who sit on the back benches, who have been elected in the same way as other Deputies, were at least told if not consulted about the amount of time informally arranged between the Whips of the major parties. It is not an augury for change for the better that this is the way things are done.

Acting Chairman

I am sure there is much merit in what Deputy Blaney says, but I am trying to do the best I can with the list I have before me. As Deputy Blaney has offered I will try to facilitate him. The Deputy's name is not on the list I have before me but I will slot him in for a few minutes following the contribution by Deputy McManus and then we will proceed with the list before me.

On a point of order, as Deputy Blaney referred to democracy I am sure the Chair will take into consideration that the Deputy has already made a substantial contribution in the House today and that there are 164 other Deputies who might wish to contribute.

Acting Chairman

Could I emphasise that this is an informal arrangement? As I am trying to facilitate the two Deputies I would like some co-operation. Will Deputy McManus endeavour to bring her contribution to a conclusion?

I will endeavour to do so.

The recent general election was generally recognised as an important political breakthrough for women. There was joy in the streets. Women's rights, at last, were recognised as a fundamental issue by the electorate and many of us hoped that this new Government, promising change, would recognise that fact. The first signal that this was not to be was when it was indicated that rather than a full Minister with responsibility for women's affairs, we would be presented with a Minister for Equality who would cover a range of issues. Women would have accepted that such an initiative would mean real progress were it not for the announcement tonight that responsibility for advancing the cause of women would again be given to a man. Democratic Left voiced its concern about Fianna Fáil in Government — that the leopard might not change its spots. Tonight it has been proved that the male mindset that existed in the previous Government is alive and kicking. I have no doubt that the Minister, Deputy Taylor, is a nice man, but I find it offensive that this important area of reform is not being handled by a woman.

In conclusion, I welcome the fact that we have now two women Ministers and I wish them well in their portfolios. There are two ways of looking at this advance, on the one hand, there is a 100 per cent increase in female participation in the Cabinet but, on the other, women, who make up half the population, hold only one-eighth of the Cabinet seats. That is not to say that one has to be a woman to be a feminist; I particularly welcome the appointment of Deputy Michael D. Higgins who has an outstanding record in this regard. His appointment will mean that there is now a true recognition of the strength of our artistic and cultural life whether it is in our grand literary tradition or in the modern fields of film making and pop music. I hope his first step as a Minister will be to end once and for all the abomination that is about to be realised in the proposed interpretative centres at Mullaghmore in County Clare and Luggala in County Wicklow.

Acting Chairman

I now call Deputy Blaney who has five minutes.

I have what?

Acting Chairman

Five minutes, Deputy and I am transgressing my instructions in order to facilitate you.

I do not wish to make it difficult for you, Sir, I know you are trying to be helpful——

Acting Chairman

I am being a little naive in moving from the list in front of me because I could have gone precisely by it but I would like to facilitate the Deputy.

I do not wish to criticise you, Sir, as I appreciate the difficult position you are in, but I should like to point out that an informal agreement which involves those who are not a party to it, has been handed to you to administer. It is an informal agreement about which I know nothing and if there was a question of sharing time in the other parliamentary institution to which I belong——

The Deputy spends 90 per cent of his time there.

Deputy Flanagan should grow up and act like those who went before him and who were reasonable in their attitude——

Deputy Blaney does nothing in here but waste time with procedural wrangling. He should get on with his contribution.

As for Deputy Dukes standing in for the Leader——

Acting Chairman

Deputy Blaney, I have been endeavouring to facilitate you.

I ask for your protection, Sir, while those Deputies are talking in the time that has been allocated to me through an informal arrangement about which I know nothing.

I congratulate the members of the Government and wish them good luck because they will need it. By their previous actions and attitudes towards the European Community, from which we expected much, got much and frittered away the greater part, they have constrained and constricted themselves in such a way that we will probably be hearing this and that is the reason they will not be able to perform according to the Programme for Government.

I want to put on the record once more my view in regard to the silence on Articles 2 and 3 about which Deputy Bruton has been so concerned. He should ask Deputy Gay Mitchell what sort of people he dealt with on his visit to the North. Are they reasonable or are they intransigent? Are they the "not an inch" contrived majority representatives with whom we have been stuck for the past 70 years and will be for another 70 years unless we get off our behinds and talk to the people who are usurping the freedom of this country, namely, the British? We should get them out of here and stop the nonsense about trying to achieve peace by talks.

We are dealing with people who do not and will not see reason, people who have held on to power and privilege by discriminating against the Nationalist majority up there and who wish to continue to do so. Those are the people the Government are dealing with. The Anglo-Irish Agreement is a nonsense and a waste of time. The one good thing that emerged from it is that it has given some Members who would otherwise never have gone to Belfast an opportunity to meet with some of the people there and see the conditions there. However, when members of the Government visit the North they are given guided tours and do not know what is going on.

I make a special appeal to those who will represent this Government in the future to open their eyes and realise that there are six counties south of the Border who have been discriminated against without let or hindrance over the years. They have lost financially, socially, culturally and otherwise and are still losing. In this year of free movement of goods, services and people, three-quarters of all the crossings along the Border, that unnatural line which divides not only Ireland but Ulster, are closed. During the past year the most elaborate, outlandish and scandalous towers and stockades were built at the main crossings so that the British Army could guard those roads, preventing our people from freely crossing to and fro within their own province, not to mention within the island of Ireland. I ask the Government, when talking about settlements, to think of the people of the six southern Border counties. They should remember that Articles 2 and 3 which were established historically, are rightfully there and should not be removed. It is only when we get rid of section 75 of the Government of Ireland Act that we can begin to talk about peace rather than doing so under the phoney circumstances that exist at present.

I ask the Taoiseach, whom I again congratulate, and the Tánaiste to ensure, when setting up committees, that every Member of this House is a full member of at least one committee, as is the case with the 518 members of the European Parliament. In addition, in order that there will be full attendance at meetings substitutes should be appointed. Each Member, whether he or she belongs to a party or otherwise, is entitled to full membership of one committee and substitute membership of at least one other committee.

I also suggest that the Whips make some arrangement to allow speaking time for Independent Members. We are entitled, as elected representatives with different views from those of party members, to an allocation of time. If we wish to put forward a view that is different from that of other Members why should we not be allowed do so? Is that not the reason we were elected? Is it not the whole basis of democracy that all voices be heard? People who do not belong to a registered party of at least seven Members are debarred from certain benefits in this House, and that is wrong. I appeal to the Taoiseach, and the Government, to consider this position and to practice what is preached about open Government and democracy.

I would ask the Ministers who have been appointed to please discontinue the discriminatory reply system that was used in the past by some of their predecessors. I address that request to the Taoiseach who has overall responsibility for those he appoints. It is well documented — I can produce evidence to this effect, as can others — that, having made representations to a Minister about a constituent's business, Members are often last to be informed of the result. Party hacks from the Minister's party are regularly informed of these matters even though they may have no interest in them. They go hotfoot to convey the news if it is good.

However, if the news is bad they leave it to Joe Soap, and others like myself, to convey. I appeal to the Taoiseach to ensure that his Ministers treat all Deputies equally. I appeal to Ministers in particular not to treat representatives in the manner in which we have been treated in the past. If there is good news it should be conveyed through the Member who makes the representations rather than through party hacks.

Acting Chairman

I would ask the Deputy to conclude his contribution.

According to the order of the House this debate is not due to conclude until 10 o'clock. I do not intend to stay here until 10 o'clock, and neither do you, Chairman, unless things have changed. In the rearrangement of Departments and Department functions I have one regret which relates to a request I have made for many years, that is for the creation of a Department with overall responsibility for physical planning and construction. Rather than have several Departments doing this work, as is the case at present, perhaps the Government would consider setting up such a Department.

The money spent on leisure centres and complexes, allegedly in the interests of tourism, does not bring one extra tourist into the country, and everybody associated with the business knows that. We spend tens of millions of pounds on very desirable but unnecessary operations. This money could be much better spent on badly needed services such as housing, roads, harbours and so on.

Finally, I appeal for urgent action to be taken in regard to school buildings. The way they have been dealt with by the Minister in the outgoing Government was a scandal. Control of regional technical colleges should be restored to vocational education committees rather than running them from Marlborough Street, which is not to the benefit of the regions. Regional colleges were not so named without good reason, that is to develop the regions with the expertise brought into those colleges. That will not happen in the future unless there is a change in the present position.

On transport, the north-west has no scheduled air service, no railways and no access to sea transport and our roads are in poor condition. That is the most peripheral part of the most peripheral country in the EC. Is the Government going to fulfil the empty promises made on several occasions by the previous Government to reconstruct the airport in Letterkenny, County Donegal? It is time that was done. It is also time the Government realised that an equalisation transport programme would be of greater benefit than all the regional, social and other funds that are being delivered. Such a programme would ensure greater access to the heart of Europe, thereby providing for increased export and import business which is the only way we can survive and progress.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Power.

I congratulate the Government nominees and support the Government programme. Immediately after the general election I suggested that Fianna Fáil would be better to concentrate solely on internal re-building, but as time went on it appeared that the only parties who would form a government were Fianna Fáil and Labour. There was no alternative to this Government. Therefore, I am glad to see Fianna Fáil return to office.

Deputy Bruton referred to the importance of employment. The Deputy should bear in mind that 25 per cent of the 58 page programme before us is devoted to employment. For example, page 6 of the programme places emphasis on the building up of small industries. We must recognise that it is the small businessman who creates a few jobs who will create real employment here and not big foreign factories. In Dunshaughlin, a small village in County Meath, there are 73 business people who between them employ 146 people. They are the type of people we have to support. We should ensure that such entrepreneurs can afford to employ more people. We should in our programme make provision for start-up costs so that people who do not have the £10,000 to start up will be assisted with a view to creating employment.

I congratulate the new Minister for Education, Deputy Niamh Bhreathnach and I am delighted that there are two women in the Cabinet. Because of the huge gap in education facilities in south Meath, we will be keeping in regular contact with the new Minister. The pledge on page 32 of the programme in relation to school buildings and refurbishment is vitally important. This was referred to by Deputy Blaney. I am sure every Deputy will support additional funding for the refurbishment of school buildings which is vital if we are to address the problems which have arisen over the past 20 years. We must ensure that expanding areas with a young population do not, as at present, have to wait 15 years for appropriate school building programmes. In south Meath, every day 1,500 children travel by bus outside their county to be educated. It is crazy to see children from Ashbourne, Ratoath, Dunboyne and the surrounding areas travelling each day to Dublin to be educated. I am glad this problem will be addressed under this programme.

I congratulate Deputy Howlin on his appointment as Minister for Health. People in County Meath will immediately call on him to re-affirm the commitment of his predecessor, Deputy O'Connell, to the County Hospital in Navan which is not just a county hospital. It provides a regional service for the north-east. It provides orthopaedic services for Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Longford, Westmeath and so on. It is a very important hospital and we will be in regular contact with Deputy Howlin in relation to it.

Like Deputy McManus, I welcome the appointment of a Minister for Equality. Those of us who were on the Committee on Women's Rights will be in contact with the new Minister because this is an important time for women. The Second Commission on the Status of Women, appointed in 1991, are due to publish their report shortly. When the report is published we will be watching to ensure that the recommendations are implemented and supported by the new Minister. The Fianna Fáil commitment to this was outlined in theProgramme for Economic and Social Progress. The Government commitment is outlined in this programme and we will be monitoring its implementation.

I welcome the legislative programme assigned to the Department of Deputy Mervyn Taylor. The programme at page 37 refers to legislation with regard to equal ownership of the family home and other important issues such as household belongings and distribution of property. This is long overdue and will be welcomed by all. The Minister should ensure that such legislation is brought forward as a matter of urgency.

There is a commitment in the programme to expanding civil legal aid and to the placing of the existing schemes on a statutory footing. This is welcome. All too often at present it is the case that women have no way of getting proper representation in family cases. I would encourage the new Minister for Equality to ensure that this area of civil legal aid is addressed as a matter of urgency. We will be in regular contact with the Minister for Equality to ensure that this commitment on civil legal aid is brought to fruition as soon as possible.

I wish the Government well in the implementation of the programme and I wish the Ministers well in their new portfolios.

The announcement of any new Government is a great occasion for many people for many reasons. Indeed, this evening's announcement is no different. It has given to some Deputies an opportunity to continue in Government and to others an opportunity to participate in Government for the first time. I congratulate all members of the new Government, particularly the Labour members. The Government is taking office at a very difficult time when tough decisions will have to be made in the near future. We must realise that Santa only comes once a year, and that was last December.

The Government has published its Programme for Government. While we wish its members well, I hope that collective responsibility can be restored. I am sure that a certain level of trust has been built up over the past few weeks in negotiations. If this Government is to succeed it is vital to have collective responsibility, not just in Cabinet but also within the Fianna Fáil and Labour parliamentary parties. After all that has been written in recent weeks, it can be said that there have been few surprises in the Taoiseach's nominees to Government. Nevertheless, we must realise the tremendous talent that is part of this new Government. I take this opportunity to express my views on some of its members and I will deal first with the Attorney General.

Many people would like to deal with the Attorney General.

The recent attacks on the Attorney General by the Progressive Democrats are only the latest in a personal vendetta chiefly masterminded by one individual who is not with us tonight, whose repeated displays of arrogance under the previous Fianna Fáil/ Progressive Democrats Government made no small contribution to the formation of the present partnership Government and to the determination of the Labour Party to have nothing to do with the Progressive Democrats.

Early last year Deputy McDowell published a statement challenging the judgement of the Attorney General on no less than nine separate points in connection with the X case. The same attitude led the Progressive Democrats to publish their own wording. A short time later in theIrish Press, Deputy Michael McDowell, who was not a Member of the House, hid his dissatisfaction with the performance of the Attorney General by raising groundless queries about the right to travel if the Maastricht Treaty referendum was passed. Last August the same man attacked the Attorney General yet again over a Supreme Court decision, and described his submission as a black event in the development of constitutional jurisprudence. Those attacks on the Attorney General have been punctuated by equally scurrilous attacks over the past few years on the competence of officials of the Department of Finance.

Last October he accused the Attorney General, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health of giving contradictory interpretations of the proposals for the referendum. The latest attacks on the Attorney General by the Progressive Democrats came, therefore, as no surprise, certainly to this side of the House. At the time the Attorney made his first statement on the matters raised by Deputy O'Malley he had been told that he would not be able to interview the necessary witnesses on Deputy O'Malley's side, who it is clear were extremely reluctant to become involved. There was only the State side he could talk to. Only when the lack of co-ordination by the Progressive Democrats was highlighted did they rapidly back-track and become more forthcoming. There was no reason to criticise the Attorney General. If the Progressive Democrats decide to go to the press and brief them on the confidential contents of the submission to the Attorney General, then they should not feign surprise and indignation when the same journalists look for a comment on the briefing from the Government spokesman.

I am delighted that the Attorney General has been reappointed. Many attempts have been made in recent weeks to sneer and jibe at him. He has a difficult job to do and is most competent. I look forward to his working with the new Government.

I pay tribute to Deputy David Andrews, a member of the outgoing Government who is to have a new portfolio in this Government. He has been recognised here and throughout the world as a progressive politician who has been able to put politics aside. He has made it possible for us to feel proud to be Irish. During his short tenure at the Department of Foreign Affairs he made a tremendous contribution. I wish him well in his new responsibilities.

My constituency colleague, Deputy McCreevy, has been much in the news in the past couple of weeks and anyone in the betting game might have got good odds on him. He has always been the man to pull a few rabbits out of the hat.

Did Deputy Power get burned?

I have confidence in him and have worked with him for the past few years. It is no surprise to me that he has been reappointed. He is a politician who has a vision. He can see where he is going. He was appointed only 11 months ago. He could have allowed thestatus quo to continue but he saw a number of anomalies in the system and tried to rectify them. People decided to take him on. Recipients of social welfare, some of the most vulnerable people in society, were led to believe that the Minister, Deputy McCreevy, was attacking them when he was actually trying to ensure a fairer system. We accept that the system is in need of reform but as soon as the Minister tried to introduce reforms he was criticised. I thank him for his contribution during the past year and wish him well in his new Department.

I am delighted that Deputy Michael D. Higgins has been appointed to the new Government. He has a great record as a politician and I would regard him as the fairest political critic in the House. He was always able to put politics aside and to judge any policy on its merits. He is a man of tremendous ability and I am delighted that he has been given an opportunity to make his contribution at the highest level. I wish him well.

I listend attentively to Deputy Blaney's contribution earlier today and in December when he said he would support Deputy Reynolds for the office of Taoiseach. He gave as one of his reasons the fact that Deputy Reynolds had been Taoiseach for only a short time and had not been able to enjoy the honeymoon period. It must be accepted that he has had to deal with very difficult problems. One could not question his judgement. He was laughed and sneered at when he suggested during the Maastricht campaign that £6 billion could be available from Europe. Those who said he was wrong were right — he got £8 billion.

He has not got it yet.

It is coming.

His best music is yet to be played and I look forward to hearing it in the next few years.

The immediate problem confronting the Government is the currency crisis. The only advice I can give is that speculators should not be allowed to profit under any circumstances. Every effort must be made to protect the punt. A question must be asked about German willingness to defend the ERM. We were promised all sorts of things by our colleagues in Europe before the Maastricht referendum. We in Ireland gave a lead to our colleagues in Europe and it is time we were given some help.

Confidence must be restored to the economy and a climate must be created which will reduce our unemployment figures. The Government have produced a programme to tackle in a very serious manner major unemployment problems throughout the country. I wish members of the Government the very best of luck in their efforts to tackle these problems.

I propose to share my time with my colleagues, Deputies Richard Bruton and Charles Flanagan.

Is that satisfactory? Agreed.

I begin by expressing my personal good wishes to the Taoiseach and the members of the Government appointed this evening. I do so because as a democratically elected representative and Member of this House I want to see the Government doing well for the people who have elected all of us. In saying that, I may be running the risk of offending a certain scribe inThe Irish Times who told us this morning that there is too much of a club atmosphere here and that we are too close to each other. I do not think many of us here would subscribe to that. This, incidentally, is the same gentleman who tells us that he had a great admiration for the antics of Deputy Seán Doherty when Minister for Justice and then Cathaoirleach of the Seanad and when he happened to be the man who toppled another admirer of the same scribe, Charles Haughey. I am not too worried about offending him.

I should like to give a word of encouragement to the members of this Government taking office for the first time. I give my good wishes particularly to Deputy Niamh Bhreathneach, now Minister for Education, who, socialist though she may be, today joined a very elite and select club, that is, the club of those who became Ministers on their first entry to this House. There are five of us so far and I was the only remaining member of the club in the House until Deputy Bhreathnach's appointment today. We have had a very chequered history but I do not think any of us — Martin O'Donoghue, Noel Browne, Kevin Boland or I — can be accused of passing unremembered through this House in our various activities. I welcome her into that club as well as into the Government.

I join with my colleague, Deputy Seán Power, in welcoming the appointment of Deputy Michael D. Higgins. I am sure we will have many occasions on which to say more about that. I also welcome the appointment of Deputy Taylor, whom I have known as a colleague in Opposition and have suffered under when he was a very inconvenient back-bencher on the Government benches. He was also, incidentally, a man who, curiously for a Labour Party Deputy, once made a proposal to me which I accepted, which substantially reduced the burden of death duties and capital acquisitions tax on certain kinds of estate. We both had the wisdom to see the justice of the case he was making.

It still stands to this day.

I am glad to say it does. I should also like to congratulate my constituency colleague, Deputy Charlie MacCreevy, on his new appointment. We all know he is an aficionado of horse-racing but there is another sport of which he is particularly fond — and I hope he keeps it up — and that is stag hunting. I hope we see more of this in the lifetime of this Government.

Today has marked a substantial change in the atmosphere — I say this without the slightest intention of being disorderly — and it was seen nowhere more than in Deputy O'Malley's remarks when he, in the view of the Chair, strayed into matters relating to the affairs of the beef tribunal. Up to last week the noises from the Labour Party would have been very much in support of Deputy O'Malley's right to say what he wanted to say. I was saddened to see the Labour Party, like good Government Deputies, vigorously supporting the Chair in its application of a rule which has become very vexed in this House.

The Deputy is not suggesting that we should interfere with the independence of the Chair?

I am suggesting that Deputy Taylor least of all, now that he is in Government, would want to interfere with the Chair when it restricts the liberty of Deputies to inquire properly into what the Government has been involved in. We had many quotations today but all I can say to the Minister is how the mighty have fallen; I am a sad man after seeing this afternoon's silent performance of Deputies on the Labour benches.

Having extended my good wishes to the members of the Government my expectation is that they are going to have a very difficult time because there are substantial differences, in philosophy and policy, between the two parties forming the Government. They do not mix; they are like oil and water. Although the Labour Party may believe that it will be easier to get what it wants from a rudderless and directionless Fianna Fáil Party than it might have been from Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats, we can see the results of those contradictions between the two parties in the programme before us.

If we are to believe that everything set out in the programme is going to happen, the term of office of this Government is going to be marked by an enormous increase in bureaucracy. Everywhere one looks in this programme one sees new bureaucracy. It aims to set up 14 new bodies. We are going to have new Departments, forums, boards, councils and task forces. This country is going to be administered to death if this Government gets its way.

Deputy Rabbitte, that noted apostle of the free market, mentioned one of the difficulties. The new body, Forfás, is to be given the job of co-ordinating the activities of two other autonomous bodies while a body beneath it in the new Department of Enterprise and Employment will duplicate the work already being done. This will lead to enormous demarcation disputes between different arms of Government.

There is a proposal in the job creation elements of the programme that we should continue the employment subsidy scheme at a higher subsidy rate. However, there is no indication of an analysis of the reason the job subsidy scheme which has been in existence for a year, has achieved only a fraction of its targets and we have been given no reason to believe that an increased rate of subsidy will be any more successful.

I found on page 11 of the programme a sentence to which I referred on a television programme the other day as being of mind-boggling opacity and complexity. It reads as follows: "Initially, the scheme will focus on filling vacancies above a socially adjusted core baseline which takes account of cyclical fluctuations in employment".

That is clear.

Even on my worst days I would not have allowed myself to write anything like that; there is a very simple name for that but we are not allowed to use it in the House. Yesterday, I had the great pleasure and honour of having a conversation with the Labour Party economic guru who invented that statement and he explained to me what it is all about. I still feel afraid of all the bureaucracy that will result.

That is nothing compared to some of the material the Deputy's party produced.

There is a time limit on this debate and because I want to play the game with my colleagues, I regret I will have to conclude in a moment.

Play the game, indeed.

The Deputy is finding a new game to play but he is going to be much quieter than he has been for the past few years and he is going to be an embarrassed young man before we are finished with him.

I am frightened.

Threats.

We are also going to be consulted to death. We are going to have a new employment forum which will include the Members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Employment and many others. I welcome this because Fine Gael made this proposal nearly three years ago. We are also going to keep the Central Review Committee and the NESC. However, although this forum will be consulted on a range of issues, when decisions have to be made on matters of importance to the trade unions, the employers and other social partners, they will be made through the Central Review Committee structure. We are going to have a cosmetic forum and when anything real has to be decided that forum will be circumvented and matters will be raised at the Central Review Committee.

We are also going to keep the NESC. All its good ideas and sensible proposals will continue to be ignored by a Government which is supported by a substantial body of the same people who wear different hats on those three bodies. If the Government thinks that kind of bureaucracy is the answer to the problem of unemployment they are absolutely, utterly and totally wrong and heading for a big fall.

I congratulate those who are entering office. However I am sorry to see Deputy John O'Connell leave because he brought much energy to the Department of Health but he was not given sufficient time to see if he could make a fist of it. I hope he finds other outlets for his enormous energy. I also congratulate Deputy Brendan Howlin on his appointment and Deputy Mervyn Taylor to whom we will be looking to solve our problems in regard to equality.

On the employment front, there is little radical or even new thinking in the programme. Instead, there is a depressing continuity of policies which have been shown to have failed over a long period. Worst of all is the complete silence on the currency crisis in this document. Any document which avows that employment and unemployment are its top priority would have to address this seriously. Labour quickly rallied to the flag of the hard currency policy without entering into any serious debate on the issue.

The Government's policy has produced what could rightly be described as a lethal cocktail for our exposed sector which is the bottom of the pyramid on which the rest of the economy is based. Today the short term interest rate is 55 per cent, the rate some of our businesses have to pay. Our businesses are facing a situation where the price of our goods on foreign markets has increased by 7 per cent overall, and by as much as 14 per cent in the key British market. No one intent on destroying our manufacturing base and our exposed sector could have dreamt up a more lethal combination than this.

We must seriously ask if this is a credible policy. What credibility can there be when there has been no domestic strategy to restore competitiveness to underpin this hard currency policy? What credibility can this policy have when the Government says it will devalue only if others do likewise? A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse, but foreign currency speculators are not blind horses and they can see the strangeness of that position. What credibility can this policy have when the Minister for Finance, who is the guardian of the Holy Grail of the hard currency policy, calls the policy into question? As one columnist cogently described it, he has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

How can this Government be surprised that the policy has sprung leaks when it was the Government that punctured the holes in that policy? It cannot heap blame on and describe as speculators those who try to get out through those puncture holes and avoid being washed away. Many of those who have been described as speculators have Irish assets and, naturally want to protect them.

I said in the House in October that I was alarmed at how the Government almost regarded it as treason to debate the merits of that policy. We need an honest debate about the merits of this policy now. The last Government never set out the balance of pros and cons of the hard currency policy. It is a policy in which the losers predominantly are those on low incomes and with jobs that are vulnerable. What are the benefits of toughing it out? We have endured much pain but, as the Government would have us hope, nothing has turned up. The value of sterling continues to exercise great influence on our country. If we cling to the Deutsche Mark parity it emerges as these astronomic interest rates cause such pain here. It is true that we have debt denominated in foreign currency and would suffer an exchange rate loss. The total debt service on foreign currency amounts to £900 million and it is on that we would suffer a loss if we changed our exchange rate. By contrast, consider that we have £18,000 million of exports that would benefit.

We must seriously debate that issue. Very many people have spoken about the foreign exchange risk that the Central Bank has taken in defending our currency but a loss — if one occurs — will occur just as surely if we realign within the exchange rate mechanism as if we devalue. It is disappointing that there has been no serious debate on the wisdom of this policy by the Labour Party. It is extraordinary that the Labour Party has so quickly adopted a policy which is sacrificing jobs and homes on the altar of hard currency. This is a policy which 12 months ago the Labour Party would rightly have described as Thatcherite monetarism and it is at present adopting it with two hands.

I am disappointed that so many of the policies on employment are really reboxed versions of Fianna Fáil policies. For example, they are going to spend EC money handed down to us. They describe as a "Jobs Fund" items such as light rail in Dublin, cleaning up Dublin Bay and a national sports stadium. I am one of the keen advocates of all of those proposals and even I, in my wildest dreams, would not describe them as jobs policies.

FÁS has been reconditioned and described as a great new breakthrough. The jobs subsidy which Fianna Fáil introduced has been changed in small ways. It is suggested that it is a radical change.

Five minutes now remain of the time available to Deputy Richard Bruton and his colleague.

As Deputy Dukes said, the National Economic and Social Forum is welcome in itself. Like Deputy Dukes, I believe that when the hard bargains are struck it will be the social partners, embraced by theProgramme for Economic and Social Progress, who will be at the table, not the unemployed or those with a disability who could be given an opportunity of raising hard questions about how we conduct our policies — whether we pay ourselves rather than create extra jobs; whether we have a bias in our taxation system. I am disappointed that the whole issue of anti-jobs bias in this Government's policy has not been addressed. There is a huge burden placed on work. The low paid at work are excluded from free fuel schemes, from eligibility for medical cards, from rent supplements and back-to-school payments. Yet we expect them to be able to find employment. There are many contradictions which have not been touched on by this programme for Government.

I am pleased to have an opportunity of making some brief remarks on this historic occasion. On a personal note, I should like to congratulate the new Ministers on their respective portfolios, in particular Deputy Howlin, with whom I had good relations when I was Fine Gael Whip.

I am somewhat astounded that the Dáil is proposing to adjourn this evening at 10 p.m. for a period of four weeks. Much work could be done at committee level before the introduction of the budget, indeed before we resume in mid-February. I find it quite extraordinary that the Dáil is now going into recess, not having conducted any more than three weeks work since July last.

I wish to make two brief points only on the formation of this new Government and on the allocation of portfolios. It is most regrettable that transport has not been recognised for its vital role in our economy. In my view, while restructuring Government Departments, the negotiating parties should have agreed a single Department of Transport with overall responsibility for all matters appertaining to transportation. Irish transport costs are more than twice the European average. It is obvious that our economic growth is dependent on low cost transport services. This country suffers unique peripherality difficulties which must be tackled to promote improved transport links with our European partners. If this problem is not given priority there will be serious, detrimental consequences for the future competitiveness of Irish trade and tourism within the Single Market.

Transport problems can be addressed only by the appointment of a Minister for Transport who could co-ordinate the varying, diffuse policy strands within our system to deal with all transport matters. For example, the Department of the Environment deals with roads; the Department of the Marine with ports and shipping; the Departments of Finance and the Environment with motor taxation and revenue. The present Department of Transport deals merely with rail and aviation. I noticed, in the course of the Taoiseach's remarks, that he neglected to give the Department of Transport the necessary importance and/or clout around the Cabinet table.

My second point relates to the programme for Government. I shall not refer to the dirty dozen social welfare cuts contention of the Labour Party which has not been addressed. I will not refer to the refusal to make adequate allowance for mortgage interest relief, as announced by the Labour Party in the course of the general election campaign. I shall not refer to where the programme falls down on commitments of State equity to Aer Lingus and Bord na Móna. I shall refer to the single, most expensive promise made by Fianna Fáil in the course of the election campaign, the investment of some £135 million in a new peat-fired power station in the midlands, with a promise of up to 400 jobs. That commitment was widely peddled throughout the midlands. Therefore, it was with astonishment that I read in the programme for Government that not only has that promise been revoked but that there will be no Government initiative in that regard.

There is specific reference in the programme to the fact that this is not a Government concept but rather a Bord na Móna concept which, if considered feasible, will be further examined by the Government. That is a long way short of what the people in Laois, Offaly, Kildare and Westmeath were told in the course of the general election campaign — now its very feasibility is in serious question. I can only conclude that this measure, of which the Department of Energy had no knowledge six weeks ago, was merely a phantom project, nothing more than a confidence trick of some significance in the midlands.

A Cheann Comhairle, tá mé ag roinnt mo chuid ama leis an Teachta Ned O'Keeffe, má bhíonn sé sin ceart go leor leatsa.

Ceart go leor. Aontaithe.

I dtosach báire tréaslaím leis an Taoiseach ar a cheapadh mar Thaoiseach inniu agus tréaslaím freisin leis na hAirí ar fad atá ceaptha aige. Chomh maith leis sin, déanaim comhbhrón leis an mbeirt a bhí sa Rialtas deiridh agus nach bhfuil aireacht acu anois. Rinne an bheirt acu, an Teachta Brennan agus an Teachta O'Connell, togha oibre mar Airí agus is é an trua nach raibh áit ann dóibh sa chomh-Aireacht an t-am seo. Tréaslaím go speisialta leis an dá Aire atá i mo Dháilcheantar féin, an tAire Geoghegan-Quinn, atá curtha i mbun chúrsaí dlí agus cirt, agus an Teachta Michael D. Higgins atá i mbun chúrsaí cultúir agus ealaíne. Beidh tuilleadh le rá agam faoi sin ar ball.

Ar dtús dírím ar chomhdhéanamh an Rialtais seo. Anois, tá a fhios ag an saol Fodhla nach raibh mise an-tógtha leis an gcoincheap comhrialtais, ach, é sin ráite, b'fhearr liom comhrialtas le Páirtí an Lucht Oibre ná le haon pháirtí eile. Tagaim den traidisiún atá ar son chearta an duine in íochtar, ar son chearta an duine nach bhfuil mórán aige agus, mar sin, má bhí comhrialtas le bheith ann, is leis an Lucht Oibre a b'fhearr liom go mbeadh sé. Creidim go bhfuil dualgas ar an dá pháirtí atá sa Rialtas a dhéanamh cinnte de go dtacaíonn siad lena chéile, go gcomhoibríonn siad lena chéile agus nach mbeidh an cineál fadhbanna ag an gComhrialtas seo agus a bhí ag an cheann deiridh. Tá sé fíorthábhachtach, má thógann daoine dualgais Rialtais orthu go gcomhlíontar iad sin mar fhoireann iomlán, ag obair le chéile, seachas dreamanna ag sárú ar a chéile mar a tharla cheana. Níl aon amhras ná go bhfuil go leor le déanamh.

Tá fadhbanna millteanacha amuigh ansin: fadhbanna maidir le seirbhísí, le ceantair chathrach, agus tá fadhbanna difriúla ag na ceantair thuaithe. Ach, ag deireadh an lae, tá na fadhbanna céanna acu sa mhéid is gurb iad na fadhbanna is mó atá ag cur as do dhaoine ná easpa seirbhísí, easpa oibre agus easpa airgid. Caithfimid, mar sin, breathnú as an nua ar na fadhbanna sin, féachaint le teacht ar réiteach nua, agus áit níos lárnaí a thabhairt do Bhaill an Tí seo i réiteach na bhfadhbanna. Tá sé de thuairim agam le tamall go mb'fhéidir go raibh an iomarca de cheapadh polasaí á dhéanamh ag dreamanna taobh amuigh den Teach seo agus nach raibh áit sách lárnach ag Baill an Tí seo i gceapadh polasaí.

Ar an ábhar sin, cuirim fáilte roimh bhunú na gcoistí nua agus bheadh súil agam go mbeadh páirt lárnach acu siúd i gceapadh polasaí. Maidir leis na hAireachtaí nua atá fógraithe ag an Taoiseach, is beartas thar a bheith dearfach é, agus tagaim go hiomlán leis, an Roinn Cosanta agus Roinn na Mara a chur le chéile, go mórmhór i ngeall ar an gcomhoibriú agus na bunseirbhísí céanna atá á gcur ar fáil acu i leith chúrsaí tarrthála. Freisin, mar dhuine a bhí ag plé le scór bliain anois le cúrsaí foraoiseachta agus talmhaíochta, creidim go luíonn sé le réasún go gcuirfí an Roinn Foraoiseachta isteach le cúrsaí talmhaíochta. Níor thuig mé riamh cén chaoi a raibh cúrsaí foraoiseachta curtha le cúrsaí fuinnimh. Luíonn talmhaíocht agus foraoiseacht le chéile agus tagaim go mór leis sin.

Ba mhaith liom a Aireacht nua, agus a chéad Aireacht, a thréaslú le mo chomhghleacaí i nGaillimh Thiar, an Teachta Mícheál D. Higgins. Tá cúram na Gaeltachta air agus is cúram trom é sin. Fáiltím go mór roimh an mbeartas sa Chlár Rialtais go leanfar ar aghaidh leis an obair a bhí á dhéanamh ag an Aire Geoghegan-Quinn nuair a bhí sí ina hAire Cumarsáide maidir le cúrsaí theilifís na Gaeltachta. Faoin Teachta Higgins a bheidh ceapadh pholasaí craolacháin as seo amach agus tá an-áthas orm go bhfuil geallúint tugtha go leanfar ar aghaidh agus go gcuirfear teilifís Ghaeilge ar fáil. Mura ndéanfaí é sin bheadh an Ghaeilge thiar leis agus ní mhairfeadh sí, go mórmhór sna ceantair Ghaeltachta. Dá gcaillfí an Ghaeilge, ba cheann de na rudaí is luachmhaire agus is tábhachtaí dár n-oidhreacht a bheadh caillte againn.

Bheadh súil agam go mb'fhéidir go bhféadfadh an Teachta Higgins agus an tAire nua a bheidh i mbun chúrsaí cothromaíochta, is é sin Mervyn Taylor, cur le cearta cothromaíochta ar leibhéal amháin eile, is é sin cearta teanga sa tír seo. Glacaim leis go bhfuil cearta na teanga Bhéarla ag an bpobal sin a bhfuil an Béarla acu mar ghnáthmheán cumarsáide agus go mba cheart na cearta sin a chosaint ach, freisin, tá an lá tagtha anois go mba chóir cearta na nGaeilgeoirí a aithint, is é sin, go mbeadh cearta teanga bunaithe sa dlí, ní amháin do lucht na Gaeilge ach do lucht an Bhéarla chomh maith; agus, mar sin, go mbeadh ceart ag an saoránach seirbhísí a fháil ón Stát sa dá theanga de réir mar ba mhian leo féin. Déarfainn rud eile sa chomhthéacs sin, is é sin, de réir mar atá molta, tá i gceist Roinn na Gaeltachta a chur le Roinn Cultúir agus Roinn Ealaíon. Is coincheap ciallmhar é sin. B'fhéidir gur rud é a ba cheart a bheith déanta fadó. Bheadh súil agam faoi sin go dtiocfaidh athrú anbhunúsach ar leagan amach polasaí don Ghaeltacht mar tá gá le hathruithe polasaithe, ní amháin taobh istigh den Ghaeltacht ach maidir leis an Ghaeilge i gcoitinne.

Focal fainic b'fhéidir don Aire nua: bheadh sé an-tábhachtach, dar liomsa, san Aireacht nua go bhfanfadh an Ghaeilge marlingua franca i measc na státseirbhíseach san Aireacht sin. Níor mhaith liomsa go mbeadh mar thoradh ar an chónascadh go gcuirfí atheagar ar an Aireacht sa dóigh nach mbeadh Gaeilge ar a dtoil ag an dream ar fad a bheadh ag plé le cultúr na Gaeilge agus go dtarlódh sé gur Béarla a bheadh mar lingua franca istigh sa Roinn sin trí chéile. Is fadhb í, tá mé cinnte, a mbeidh an tAire ag tabhairt airde uirthi agus gur féidir a sheachaint má thuigtear go bhféadfadh an fhadhb sin bheith ann.

Molaim an Taoiseach as na ceapacháin atá déanta aige. Tá súil agam, mar a dúirt me ag an tús, go gcomhoibreoidh an Rialtas mar Rialtas, mar fhoireann iomlán, go ndéanfaidh siad a gcuid oibre go foirfe. Is féidir liom a rá go bhfuil go leor rudaí a bheidh mé féin, mar chúlbhinseoir, ag caint fúthu, go mórmhór i dtéarmaí chúrsaí fostaíochta, leasa shóisialaigh agus, ar ndóigh, chúrsaí cultúir thar na blianta a bheidh ag teacht. Tá súil agam go mbeidh ceithre bliana rathúla ag muintir na hÉireann in ngeall ar cheapadh an Rialtais inniu.

First, I should like to pay tribute——

I shall be calling on the Taoiseach to reply at 9.50 p.m.

——to two former Government Ministers, Deputy Séamus Brennan and Deputy O'Connell who made a significant contribution to the last Government. I am sorry there was no room for their continuation in Government. Both Deputies made a great contribution to the national wellbeing in the areas of education and health and they will be missed. Be that as it may, I congratulate the Government and the Ministers on their appointment and I look forward to working and co-operating with them, as I have done for the past ten years in this House. I first served as an Opposition Deputy when we had a Labour-Fine Gael Coalition Government. I am glad that after six weeks we have a Government. It is well known that at both parliamentary party meetings I dissented from the decision of my party to go into Coalition. The downside of my decision is that tomorrow I will not be driving around in a shiny new Mercedes.

The Deputy might get a Hiace van.

Would the Deputy drive one if he got it?

I would not even know how to change the gears of a Hiace van.

However, I accept the democratic decision of the party and I wish the Government luck in tackling the continuing problems in this country.

On the face of it the Programme for Government appears to be a very impressive document. It expounds all our desires. The document itself and the aspirations in that document will find a wide measure of support among all parties. However, like all programmes, this will cost money and that is the problem we will have to grapple with in the next few months or years, depending on the life of this Government. I do not want this to be seen as a criticism, but it took more than six weeks to form this Government and we appear to be in a terrible rush to approve the appointments tonight. It might have been more prudent to have allowed two or three days for this debate.

Hear, hear.

A Deputy

Deputy O'Keeffe should come over to this side.

That would be more in the interests of Deputies and the electorate would appreciate it since it would be the first signal of the reform of the Dáil.

The opposition to the programme is more eager than we thought.

We could tell the whole House a thing or two if we were given the chance.

The Programme for Government mentions reform of the Dáil and ethics. I believe ethics is about honesty and trust. I have no hesitation in saying that I have great difficulty identifying with the Ethics Bill that will be brought before the House because it questions the honesty and integrity of Deputies if they have to declare their position. I feel they have not gone far enough and that the real reforms have been avoided, including a reduction in the number of Deputies. I may be accused of being disloyal for mentioning this but, in essence, I have been saying it for some time. We would have a better Government with fewer Ministers and Ministers of State and the cost to the State and the country would be less. During the past ten or 11 years while I have served in this House many have questioned the role of Ministers of State. I am not sure we need all those Ministers to run a country the size of ours; perhaps it would be more efficiently run by fewer people. In my view the greatest danger in our policy document is creating hope and expectations and not being able to deliver.

I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but the time has come to call on the Taoiseach to reply.

The document before us has been costed. I am not an economist or a financial wizard but I have fears about the level of borrowings. In 1987 we reduced borrowing from 12.8 per cent of GNP to 2.1 per cent and there were 40,000 more people employed at that time.

That was under Charlie; those were the good old days.

I fear for the economy and about what is to come. I hope the Government makes a determined effort to solve the monetary crisis and the problems in regard to interest rates. We will be a poorer nation if we do not, as we have traditionally done, face the realities of life and devalue the Irish pound so that farmers, mortgage holders and the business community will be asked to pay reasonable interest rates.

It is a shame to see the Government breaking up already.

I welcome the general constructive tone of the debate and the many expressions of good wishes for the new Government from Members on all sides of the House. I should like to take up a few points raised during the course of the debate.

Including the points made by Deputy O'Keeffe.

The Government is minus one already.

I did not hear all of Deputy O'Keeffe's points but I am sure the Members opposite will remind me of them as I go along.

(Interruptions.)

I am well aware of Deputy O'Keeffe's point of view, the Deputy opposite does not have to tell me. Deputy O'Keeffe always speaks his mind.

He called for devaluation.

I know Deputy Carey loves this sort of thing, but he should not worry too much about it.

Reference was made to perversion of the will of the people. Neither Fianna Fáil nor the Labour Party ruled out any options. It is the party opposite which proposed a coalition and did not tell anybody about it. It then expected the public to believe it at the end of the day. Let us be honest about the matter; Deputy Lenihan, who has been a Member of this House for a considerable period, had advocated such an arrangement for quite some time. It is very difficult for Deputies to come into this House and argue that the parties which received 58 per cent of the popular vote lack a popular mandate or moral authority to form a Government. Even recent opinion polls show that far from being disappointed or dismayed the public are fully supportive of the Government being put in place.

The Albert factor during the election——

The people voted for change——

And have not got it.

——and they have got change. There has never been a Fianna Fáil-Labour Government and it is now one for the history books. If the Deputies opposite do not recognise change I cannot help them.

(Interruptions.)

Let the interruptions cease.

Our programme is based on the maintenance of a firm framework of financial discipline.

Will the Taoiseach——

Please, Deputy, desist.

I reject the suggestion that our gains of recent years are being frittered away or that there is any weakening of the resolve in regard to our public finances. I wish to point out that the decisive gains made on this front were made before the Progressive Democrats entered Government. Fianna Fáil reduced total Government expenditure from 54 per cent of GNP in 1986 to 41 per cent in 1989. There was no further decline after the Progressive Democrats entered Government, and there was no significant increase either. It is nonsense to talk about the ever rising growth in public expenditure, to quote one of the speakers this evening. Indeed, when the economy improves and interest rates begin to fall again the cost of servicing the debt and paying for the high cost of unemployment should be reduced. It is equally nonsensical for the Progressive Democrats to say it is the party which started the reductions in tax rates when as Minister for Finance in 1989 in my first budget I set the trail for reductions in income tax, which has continued since.

During the course of the debate earlier this evening, unjustified and unworthy aspersions were cast on two Government officers outside this House. I think all decent Deputies would deplore that type of attitude in regard to officers who are not here to defend themselves. I will not say anything further on this matter; everyone knows exactly whom I am talking about.

Disappointment has been expressed by some Deputies at the absence of any specific reference to Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution in the programme for Government. I would refer the Deputies who made that point to the chapter on Northern Ireland which makes reference to the holding of a constitutional referendum to approve an agreed package which achieves a balanced accommodation of the differing positions of the two main traditions on constitutional issues. Nothing could be clearer, and everyone knows exactly what we are talking about. In fact, that has been our objective for quite some time and we will continue to work towards achieving it.

It did not appear in the 1977 Fianna Fáil manifesto.

I heard Deputy Blaney asking Deputy Harte if he knew where a particular railway line used to be.

Let the Taoiseach reply without any further interruptions.

It is——

Deputy Harte shall obey the Chair.

Deputy Harte's constituency colleague from Donegal North East referred to the greater use of Structural Funds for secondary and county roads and made the point that this is permitted under EC rules. I fully agree with him. Indeed, I have made the same point at various conferences over the past few months. It is obvious in counties like Donegal, Longford and Roscommon that improving the national road network only solves a small part of the problem. Access and economic activity ranging from industry to tourism, agriculture, forestry and fisheries depend on a good network of roads. Our objective is to tackle that problem.

Surprise has been expressed about commitments which are not included in the programme. As everyone knows, we cannot include commitments in regard to everything in a programme for Government. However, I believe that the essential elements of the policies and priorities of both parties are incorporated in the document. That is what partnership Government is all about. In any fair analysis one would see less of a departure from the promises made on election platforms in this document than in the case of many previous Governments.

In relation to controversies and investigations, as I said consistently in this House these issues will be finalised, the findings will be published and the recommendations will be acted upon. This is outlined clearly in the programme for Government. However, it needs to be repeated again because some Members would like those outside this House to believe that for some reason we are afraid to have the findings published and the recommendations acted upon. Where controversies arise and when allegations are made they should be properly investigated and the truth should be searched for, found and published.

People should also disclose their sources.

We will hold the Taoiseach to that statement.

The Deputy will not have to, nobody has ever had to do that with me.

Deputy Bruton referred to the creation of new public agencies and the number of quangos. I wish to say to the Deputy that in the Fine Gael election manifesto reference was made to a US-type utility commission, the creation of seven new regional authorities along the lines of SFADCo, a parliamentary ethics commission and an employment secretariat. Do the Deputies opposite wish me to continue?

The Taoiseach has 40 of them.

(Interruptions.)

Talk about the kettle calling the pot black.

The Taoiseach is a quango merchant.

On a quick calculation, that amounts to ten quangos.

(Interruptions.)

Please, Deputies, the Taoiseach is about to conclude.

I wish to remind Deputy Bruton, as I have had to do so often in the past, that he is in no position to criticise anybody about such matters.

Is the Taoiseach criticising SFADCo?

While I agree with some of the comments made by Deputy Cox in relation to the currency crisis, I have to say that we have already embarked on seeking assistance from Europe. I see this as essentially a European problem. As he said, this is the bridge we all have to cross and we all need to be aware that if we let this bridge fall into the river the single currency, and all that goes with it, will move into the distant future. We will continue to press our partners in Europe for assistance in this regard. We are not in a position to deal with this problem on our own, and they know it very well. We have successfully defended our currency since last September——

We have been listening rather than leading.

——and we want them to say, "let us all stand under the bridge and all share, as we should, the costs and problems associated with maintaining the ERM".

(Interruptions.)

I was also surprised at the remarks made by Deputy Bruton about the proposal to sell the ACC to the ICC. There are, of course, precedents for this which he seems to forget. For example, when the Progressive Democrats were in Government the Great Southern Hotels were sold to Aer Rianta for several million pounds. Both the Progressive Democrats and Fine Gael make this point. Both of those State bodies are flourishing——

If the Taoiseach had another few months before the election he would have sold them.

If anyone over there is seriously suggesting that two commercial organisations run on commercial grounds like the ACC and the ICC——

The Taoiseach had them up for sale.

——which are charged with responsibility for running their companies——

It was the election and not the Taoiseach which saved the ACC.

——would turn around and hand one to the other for nothing then they do not really know what the commercial State sector is all about.

The Taoiseach was trying to sell them.

I think I have said enough——

The Taoiseach has said too much.

——to bring the Deputies opposite back to reality. They seem to have forgotten what they said last month and last year, which is not surprising.

The Taoiseach had the auctioneers ready.

(Interruptions.)

I wish to say in conclusion that this Government has an enormous amount of work to do and a number of pressing challenges to meet. We will address our tasks with imagination and determination in a real spirit of partnership. Ar aghaidh leis an obair.

As it is now 10 p.m. I am required to put the following question in accordance with an Order of the Dáil of this day: "That Dáil Éireann approves the nomination by the Taoiseach of Members for appointment by the President to be members of the Government."

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 101; Níl, 59.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Breathnach, Niamh.
  • Bree, Declan.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Broughan, Tommy.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • De Valera, Síle.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Eithne.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Gallagher, Pat.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hilliard, Colm M.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Noonan Michael. (Limerick West).
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Cuiv, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Gerry.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Eamon.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, John
  • (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Cox, Pat.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Dukes, Alan M.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P. J.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Dempsey and Briscoe; Níl, Deputies E. Kenny and Keogh.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.20 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 10 February 1993.