Wednesday, 2 July 1969
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Donegan: I hope to keep in order on this debate but, as many contributions have taken into account the election which has just passed, I should like also to make my views known upon it. Fianna Fáil have gone through many elections with slogans like “Let Lemass Lead On”, “Wives put your Husbands to Work”, “Let's get Cracking”, and then we had the “Let's Back Jack” election. I sincerely believe that this election, as it progressed, developed into an “I'm all right, Jack” election, because, as far as I could see, the people were seeking an alternative to Fianna Fáil; I admit our Party did not succeed in convincing the people we could get an overall majority. In the previous Dáil Fine Gael had 47 seats and the Government had 75, five seats being won in by-elections. It was hard for us to convince the people that it required only a six per cent swing to change the Government, and that is why we did not get many more seats.
Another factor came in at that stage. I mean no offence to the Labour Party sitting on my right and I ask them to construe my remarks in the light in which they are meant, that is, in relation to the smear campaign. The suggestion was made, and I do not think it was true, that there was extreme, radical socialist thought in the Labour Party. Be that as it may, we can discuss how it came about. There was a chance statement which was denied afterwards but which led people to take this view. There was a remark about Cuba which was contradicted afterwards; it may have been a light and airy remark, but whatever the nature of the remark it did make people think there was extreme left wing socialism there and people then started to look for an alternative. Their desire was not to put Fianna Fáil in Government but to have a Government. In the weeks before the election the press that supports the Government kept harping on the question of stalemate and every punter who writes for that press produced articles saying that the likely position in the Nineteenth Dáil was stalemate.
The people of Ireland then decided they wanted a Government. We did not convince them of what was true,  that if there was a six per cent swing we would have an overall majority. There was the disparity in the number of seats, 47 against 75. There was a chance remark made at a Labour Party Conference, which again, I freely admit, was not Labour policy, that nationalisation of the sources of production in the country was to be the aim of the Labour Party. I know, because I bought the Labour Party's policy myself for 5/- in their own election rooms in Drogheda. I read it and I must say that was not part of their policy. Let us be fair about it. Let us be fair to everyone if we are having a post mortem and if we are going to sit down and work for the people for another five years.
What the people were seeking was a Government. Above all, they did not want a stalemate. They did not want a situation in which they would have nobody to govern them. The leader of the Labour Party in that famous speech in Tullamore in 1965 said that Labour were not going to coalesce with anyone and were not going to align. That was reiterated during the recent general election and I want to remind the House now that about five years ago the then Deputy Seán Lemass, who was Taoiseach, described us as a worn-out party and said that the correct logical opposition to Fianna Fáil was the Labour Party. Why did he say that? I suggest, as one in politics now for 15 years, though possibly not as skilled in oratory as some who have arrived here recently, that the reason he said that was that he knew the Labour Party would be 30 years a-coming and the real threat to Fianna Fáil lay on the Fine Gael benches. That was the position in the recent election. We needed six per cent and if we could have convinced the people that six per cent would have brought about a change we would have won the election. Whether or not there were mistaken statements by the Labour Party, the idea was sold and bought— I deliberately use these words—by the people that there was, in fact, a radical, socialist arm in the Labour Party. I have been in politics for 15 years and, during those years, I have said things for which I was sorry afterwards. On the other hand, pretty well everything  that could have been said about me in those years was said about me.
The factor was there and it was something that hit us extremely hard. People were not just having Jack back; what they were trying to do was to get a Government. People who were not satisfied with the policies of Fianna Fáil and with the progress in the various Departments of State have told me that they voted Fianna Fáil in the election and the reason why they voted Fianna Fáil was a negative one; they were activated by the two unhappy coincidences, by the fact that we could not sell something that it was extremely difficult to sell and because something else became a factor in the election.
Over the next five years the position will be that we will have a Cabinet from a Party which has failed in many aspects. It would not be proper for me to go into detail but I should like to refer the House to the dissatisfaction in the field of planning and planning permission. The remedy for the ills that exist was provided by Fine Gael months before the election. We introduced a Bill providing for the setting up of a tribunal whose function it would be to decide planning appeals. Had that been done, then everybody would have felt that right was done. I am not saying that right has not been done up to this, but it is most essential in public life not only that right should be done but that it should be seen to be done. If one wants to bring the people with one on the road towards expansion, the provision of more employment, and so on, the only way in which to do it is by making the people believe in one. We provided the opportunity and that opportunity was arrogantly disdained by Fianna Fáil. I think I remember the Taoiseach becoming a little annoyed when I mentioned this matter on an earlier occasion. I want now to draw attention to a very important facet of Parliamentary democracy. The Taoiseach is responsible for every action of his every Minister. He accepts that responsibility. If Deputy Boland breaks through a cordon of gardaí and gives some onlooker a thump—for all we know, the onlooker may deserve it; I do not know whether he did or not on the particular  occasion—that is exactly the same thing as if the Taoiseach did it himself and the Taoiseach must realise that one of his failures in the past five years was——
Mr. Donegan: Quite so. As a parliamentarian, the Taoiseach will agree with me that, if a Minister of State— let it be Deputy Blaney or somebody else—does something improper, in the tenets of parliamentary democracy it is as if the Taoiseach committed the impropriety himself. That is one of the major tenets of parliamentary democracy.
We are striving here to get a choice of doctor for the people. Years ago I attended the making-up party over in Iveagh House at which Deputy Seán MacEntee, Minister for Health, made up his row with the doctors. We all sipped champagne and said we would have a choice of doctor inside two weeks. I sat for five years on the Select Committee on Health. So did a number of others. We wore out the seats of our pants, but nothing happened. Fianna Fáil have failed dismally over the last 12 years to provide that desirable choice for every individual who cannot pay for his or her own health requirements. Despite that failure they got through the election, entirely for the two major reasons I have stated.
A modern approach to social welfare has been completely ignored. There is no policy of graded contributions and benefits. There is no attempt made to follow the system adopted in European countries. No effort is made to patch up the worn-out fabric of our social services. In an election year 10/- is given to the old age pensioners. A sop to Cerberus. We are sitting here tonight looking at a conservative, stodgy set of Ministers, the majority of whom have been guilty of not doing their job. But they have got away with it, for the very good reasons I have given. I want to warn the new members in both Fine Gael and Labour that success does not depend on the way you put across your information.  It is only hard work which will bring a bigger and a better representation. It is not always the cheer-leading and the flag-waving that will do it. During the recent election campaign mistakes were made on all sides.
Mr. Donegan: And Jack is back. The best of luck to him. That is as far as it goes. We have seen Ministers for Education moved. We are to have another new Minister for Education now. This is because of the failure of the university merger. That has been an abject failure. In fact, the Minister of the day, running away from the very people he should have been able to control, emerged through the toilet window of our premier university. That was another failure, but the Government got away with it for the reasons I have already given.
In agriculture the noise of battle rolled. Apparently it is still rolling. In Industry and Commerce there have been some advances, but there have also been spectacular failures, failures which should not have occurred. What must happen during the life of this Dáil is that the people must be made to realise what we have to offer them in the detailed policies we adumbrated and then, by the time the next election comes, we will be in a position to meet the people with our policies sold to them and we will beat Fianna Fáil and, when we do that, we will do a good job for Ireland. These people have failed to put these things across and by the unlucky and unhappy situation that developed, because of certain policies of the two Opposition Parties as they moved towards the election, they have been sent back by default. They are very lucky to get back by default. I suggest they would be a better Government now if they realised that and made an effort to work for the people, something they have not done in the past.
I want to say something on the policy that this country needs. During the election campaign I went with two candidates, I will not say from what party, for a cup of coffee. One candidate, a nice young man with little political experience, asked me what  was the speech I had made about harnessing all our sources of energy and power, public and private enterprise, the banking institutions and all the different workers and so on, and he said that private enterprise had failed and that it would have to be thrown out, that we would have to have a complete new society and new foundations. I told him to go into the town of Dundalk, in which we were then sitting, and to look at the number of small shopkeepers who were self-employed, the number with large shops and at the number of industrial workers—at this stage we were in an industrial area—and that he would find, and I meant this in no disparaging way, that we have a hotch-potch society. There is no vast colonial wealth here such as you find in the south of England, no vast number of industrial workers who can produce the immediate and natural situation of a large Labour Party. We are a party of small capitalists, large capitalists, workers, farmers, small and large, and so on, divided into those sections almost equally. If you go through the statistics you will find that this is true. In that situation we want a Government that will harness every source of good and we have not got that from Fianna Fáil. If we get that we will experience expansion. Any moving to the right or to the left in this country is utterly ridiculous. There just is not room to move. Handsome is as handsome does as far as the Government are concerned and the Government that got back by default could do a good job for five years if they realised that and made an effort. The next time we will make the effort for them.
Dr. Browne: That contribution was certainly an improvement on the extraordinary type of hysteria shown by Deputy O'Higgins and by Deputy Ryan whose offensive references to the electorate who elected him and to the rest of us, quite astonished me. To blame the Labour Party because we did not do on this occasion what we did on two other occasions, to our own great detriment, is an oversimplification of the whole process of forming governments. It is important that we should know why we had the result which we did have and it is  probably important to Fine Gael to know why they did as they did but it is much more important in regard to the question of the Cabinet that the Taoiseach should try to assess in realistic terms the reasons for his own success, the success of his Party and of their election. I am quite sure they would surprise him very much.
It is not too serious if those of us in Opposition come to the wrong conclusions or make the wrong assessments but it is terribly important if the Taoiseach does the same thing. We have tended to oversimplify the reasons for successes and for failures. During my years in politics I have always been fascinated to see how prepared we are and how ready we are to come in here and lecture the people, farmers, industrialists, doctors, bankers, university people and the rest on the essence of the correct solution to their particular problems at any time and to say that we know in detail how it is possible for them to run their affairs well, yet we ourselves know so little about the whole process of motivation in politics, the process of forming public opinion, the reason why a decision is made by the public and subsequently changed. One tends to project one's own particular prejudices into the situation and then arrive at a solution which happens to satisfy us.
There is no single reason why Fianna Fáil won and we did not. There are obviously such factors as the resources of the organisation known as Taca and the very considerable influence of the smear campaign, which is a very rare thing, and there is the fact that Fianna Fáil have a magnificent political machine which is kept in action from one election to another; there is, too, the factor of patronage to which Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien referred. It is there. Legitimate, illegitimate, honest, dishonest, it is there and it is a very important factor in the determination of the kind of government or the attitude of people at the time of electing a new government. There are also the very conscious decisions made by the Government to pack the various means of communication whether it is the control of university bodies, or other organisations, television or radio, and there is, too, the  necessity for a very powerful press, which Fianna Fáil certainly have. There are many factors involved in this process of the return to power or the loss of power that it is oversimplification to blame any single one of us.
I wish that we could assess in very much more scientific terms this business of determining attitudes on the part of the public. We as working politicians fail very much in not having a much better understanding of the working of Parliamentary democracy. We also have the position where many of us in the Labour movement are frequently blamed for being naïve or ingenuous when we go looking for power. One has this dilemma of looking for power or looking for power simply in order to change society. That is the very important difference between our approach and that of other parties in the recent election.
It appears to be legitimate in a political democracy to do that if you want to, but where one simply looks for power it is a simple matter and you can pull out all the stops in relation to promises, undertakings, guarantees, the revolution, and the fight for freedom and all are used and interused in order to achieve a particular objective. If one is anxious to change society, then it is not so simple because to change the attitude of mind of the mass of people in any community is obviously very formidable indeed. Any person who tries to strap his watch on the right wrist instead of on the left, or tries to take one road into town instead of another knows how difficult it is to change oneself. To change a society is much more formidable. If you could do it in a dictatorship or in a vacuum it obviously would be much easier than to do it with an articulate, live and very powerful opposition. We tried to do something in that situation and, of course, found that we met the natural resistance of the community to change and that was reinforced by the misrepresentations of our policies on various occasions— misunderstanding, misrepresentations, whatever you like. The general effect was the result as we see it now. I am only concerned with this from the  point of view of the Taoiseach and his choice of Ministers because he may also have his pet theories. I regret to say that he appears to feel that there is no need for serious change in regard to the individual personnel of a number of Ministeries. That is a very serious failure on his part. This failure of correct assessment of the win by the Fianna Fáil Party will turn out to be a very serious failure on his part. Many reasons have been given. Some of them are true to some extent but I think that he himself has a very serious responsibility indeed to recall that most of the Ministers to whom he is entrusting new Ministries or reinstating in their old Ministries are Ministers who failed in a very signal way in their administration of their various Government Departments.
It seems that memories fail very quickly, very easily, but is it impossible for people to put themselves back into the feeling of Ireland at the time, say, of the maintenance strike when, really, we were on the edge of a general strike, a general breakdown of the whole economy here? I would remind the proposed Minister for Finance, Deputy Haughey, of his own attitude at that time. Deputy Haughey I would criticise on grounds different from those on which he has been criticised up to the present time. I concur with those who say that he is an extremely able man, extremely articulate and well able to look after himself in any situation, but I think we have to concern ourselves with the attitudes he has in relation to policy decisions which he has taken over the years in the Department of Finance and also the collective decisions taken by the key Ministries, Agriculture and Industry and Commerce in particular. It is the failure of those three key Ministries which the Taoiseach, in my view, ought to carefully examine.
On this question of taking power to change society one has to examine whether you are satisfied with the society in which you find yourself at the present time. If you are reasonably satisfied, then I think you have a perfect right to continue in the way you have continued in the past. If you think it is permissible to have 60,000  or 70,000 unemployed, if you think it is permissible to have 20,000 emigrants, if you think it is permissible to have substandard social services, health services, youngsters not being able to get into a university or higher education, for whatever reason, people who have to live in dreadful home conditions, if you accept all that as permissible, then there is no reason in the world why you should go to all the great trouble and all the great mental torment that is involved in trying to go out and tell people that what they accept, what they believe in, what they hold to be sacrosanct and untouchable is something which must be changed if they wish to change society. That seems to me at any rate to be the basic conflict between those of us in the Labour movement and those in the two other great parties.
The Minister for Finance is, of course, the key Minister and, therefore, Deputy Haughey's appointment is the most important appointment of all. We believe that all the Deputies here would like to see precisely the same thing as we would like. We do not believe that we have a monopoly of social conscience in the Labour movement. We believe that we would all like to have youngsters going to universities because they belong there intellectually or that the health services should be the same standard for everyone and that there would be no unemployment. But it is not good enough to want these things. Up to the present both of the major parties have wanted these things but have not achieved them and they must face that fact: they have not achieved them. That is not a hostile statement by me as someone opposed to the parties. I am not opposed to the parties but opposed to their policies, policies which have failed and which have demonstrably failed. I do not think you can seriously deny that.
Therefore, it comes to the basic question and the question Deputy Haughey must face—the creation of wealth, the method for the creation of wealth and the distribution of wealth. That, to me, must be the key debate in the next five or ten years in Leinster House—the creation of wealth and the method of distribution of wealth, industrial  policy in relation to Industry and Commerce and Agriculture and then the fiscal policy in relation to the Department of Finance.
Surely it must be quite clear after half a century that, even if we did accept these proposals which I have put forward from time to time as obvious ones in regard to fiscal policy, things like excess profits tax, capital levy, capital gains tax, corporation profits tax, serious death duties and things like that, it is quite possible that you still would not be able to provide the wealth you require in order to create the sort of society you want to create. It is possible that there is not the wealth there. It would negative my case against private enterprise capital if it were not there. Private enterprise capital is simply concerned to make a lot of money for a few people and it does that extremely well. It is not concerned to make money for the child in Cahirciveen, Skibbereen or Donegal who wants to go to a university or who needs a health service. It is a question of whether you are seriously concerned about the mass of the people or whether you are concerned for the protection of the interests of a minority of people in that community by a private enterprise capital society.
We were particularly anathematised for our defence of the idea of nationalisation of public ownership. I believe that the Taoiseach must ask his Ministers to inquire into this with less heat and less prejudice than they have done in the past. One of the most astonishing things, which surprised me during the election, is that if one considers that there is an emergency within our community, as I think there is an emergency with unemployment, education, health, housing, all these problems to be dealt with, and they have not been dealt with in the last 12 years, then, surely, you must consider the two priorities, the interests of the majority of the people on the one hand and the interests of the wealthy minority on the other hand. On which side do we belong? We should belong on the side of the mass interests of the people rather than on the side of the minority interests of  the wealthy few. I would say that in Fianna Fáil's early days, and this is why they held support for so long, they were a radical, liberal party and won mass trade union support because of the things they did at that time. There was an attempt to distribute income by way of social services in an equitable way. Long since they have left that role. At one time they did win because they had that interest at the time. It seems to me now we are facing precisely the same dilemma again— the priority of interests, the priority of rights, the right of private property against the rights of the sick, the aged, the disabled, the homeless, the illiterate child, the emigrant, the unemployed. These are the equations the new Ministers must consider and come to some conclusion on how they are to relate them to the needs of the community here in our society.
Take the question of public ownership. I have considerable admiration for certain aspects of the work of Deputy Seán Lemass when he was a Minister here. When he was faced with an emergency he definitely turned to this smear word “nationalisation,” to public ownership, to solve his problem during the emergency years during which he nationalised everything. I am astonished that the Fianna Fáil Party should turn to the Labour movement and attempt to traduce us because we talked about it because there is more nationalisation, more public ownership, to the credit of the Fianna Fáil Party than there is to any other party in Ireland. At the same time, Fianna Fáil used a misrepresentation of this magnificent idea of public ownership in order to brand us as Communists when Fianna Fáil knew quite well that we were not Communists.
In regard to this whole concept of public ownership, it seems to me remarkable that the Fianna Fáil Party—Deputy Colley, in particular, seems to want to take on the Republican robe, and so on—should be so happy that our industry is now controlled from Scandinavian countries, Japan—Weston and the distributors there—Germany, Holland, France— Potez—and so on, and the chains of national banks — American and British. How, then, can you condemn—these smear tactics—as alien the idea of socialism? Who owns Ireland today— the Germans, Japanese, British, Americans, Scandinavians, French——
Dr. Browne: Instead of wanting to hear names like Weston, Potez, Verolme, Basta, all of these foreign names which Fianna Fáil find most welcome here—the Taoiseach himself went off to Japan touting for business —is it not much more desirable from our point of view that we have people such as O'Driscoll, Paddy Lynch, Dempsey, Frank Lemass and others? We are accused of being concerned with alien influences. Is it not very much better that people like that are in control of our industry than Weston, Potez, Verolme, Basta, and so on? What is wrong? Why this slave-mind mentality about public ownership, about the right of the Irish people to own, operate and control their own concerns? We are not an inferior race. Surely we are quite competent to do that?
Dr. Browne: I am talking about them and I am also trying to convert them and the Taoiseach himself, too, at the same time because I think it is badly needed. The Taoiseach will have a chance of replying to this debate and he can then controvert anything he  may wish to controvert. This sort of repugnance to public ownership brings to mind the fact that Fianna Fáil's record—admittedly State capitalist—is a very good one. To say that you prefer your community run in this way— because it is native, and so on—is humbug and you know it. Not only that, but the whole process by which you try to create wealth has been shown to be defective and has not created the wealth. Whether it concerned health, education, social welfare, unemployment, disabled persons, and so on, whenever I would ask a question here I would be told that the Deputy is being unrealistic, that the money is not there. That is my case—that the money is never there for the mass of the people. It is about time the Government understood that fact. That is the position which is there as a result of Fianna Fáil's preoccupation with the preservation of the sacrosanct ideal of private enterprise no matter what it costs in suffering and misery to all the people of the country, all the emigration, unemployment and all these other factors.
The other development to which I referred earlier on, in regard to the proposed Minister for Finance, is the situation around the time of the maintenance strike. A minute ago, Deputy Haughey said something about a surplus of £80 million. Remember, he said that at the same time as he went on television——
Dr. Browne: Yes, and he went on television, a little before the election, and issued a solemn warning to the workers that, because of the deteriorating situation taking place in our economy, he did not want the maintenance settlement to be related throughout the whole of industry, and so on. The position at that time was indeed one of great stress in the community — industrial stress. The proposed Minister for Finance, Deputy Haughey, is a particularly talented accountant. He had access to certain figures at that time. He came to certain conclusions at that time. These conclusions were  that the prospects were dire for the community.
He went on television and gave his warnings to the workers. That must be taken with other factors at that time —the proposal in relation to trade union legislation: something on the lines of the ESB locking up the workers type of legislation because they were allegedly essential workers. It must also be taken together with other factors—for example, the discontent which existed in the community at that time. There was a protest on the part of the homeless people, the people who, in our ideal society—a society in respect of which Fianna Fáil have been in office at least 12 consecutive years—must exist in the type of Griffith Barracks scheme under which men and women are separated from each other, from their children, and so on. There were other problems in relation to students in universities. There was the College of Art row on the part of the students and there was the call for changes in relation to University College. All of these were matters for which various Ministers, at different times, have had responsibility but have done nothing about.
The important thing was that all this unrest stemmed predominantly from the failure of the then Minister for Industry and Commerce to control effectively prices and private profits. People saw all around them the wealth about which Cardinal Conway was talking the other day. They saw extravagant spending going on in the community which said it could not afford to pay its workers properly because there was a need for restriction of credit or a need for wage restrictions of some kind or another. The fact that there was high unemployment; the fact that there was still emigration; the fact that these defective conditions existed in relation to housing, particularly in the Dublin area where they are particularly bad; the fact that we did not get the health legislation we were promised up to 20 years ago—all of these facts, taken together with the homily by the Minister for Finance about the need for wage restraint, led to considerable industrial unrest and considerable social unrest within the community.
 The response to that social unrest within the community, and this to me is the most serious possible development of all and the one with which I am most concerned, was the response of the Minister for Justice in regard to the Criminal Justice Bill. This to me is the most sinister appointment of all by the Taoiseach. It is a most illintentioned appointment. It is an appointment which reiterates on the part of the Government that they believe that the correct solution to the social unrest or the social evils of which we have talked so frequently— unemployment, emigration, defective housing and home conditions, old people dying of hunger and so on——
Dr. Browne: When all these things were going ahead your only solution was to open the jails and if the civil jails were too full you would open the military camps. Is that not your solution to the social evils? Now you are going to put Ó Móráin back in order to do the same thing again.
Dr. Browne: I can assure the Minister and the Taoiseach that, just as they have Taca on their side, we have something on our side. You will find that we are well able for you for a number of reasons but particularly because we are not alone.
Dr. Browne: Instead of tackling the basic problems in our community, instead of tackling the wealth creating factors in our community, the need to increase the wealth of our community by interfering, if necessary, with the sacrosanct rights which you have defended so well over the past 20 or 30 years you will not survive these problems which have occurred.
Dr. Browne: I am particularly interested, of course, in the appointment of Deputy Childers as Minister for Health. He is, of course, the most conservative Deputy who ever came into this House. Over the years the Fianna Fáil Government have promised us health legislation, a free no-means test health service. We were promised that nearly 20 years ago. I never thought I would see the day when I would regret the fact that of all people Deputy Seán MacEntee is not Minister for Health. Of course, as is history, the original free no-means test health service was his and that is about 20 years ago. We are still waiting for a free health service on the lines of that proposed at that time. I will be very surprised if Deputy Childers, Minister for Health, who has this magnificent capacity for lecturing us at every possible opportunity on the evils of socialism and the evils of public ownership and the evils of public enterprise is able to relate that hostility to any of these public activities, to running these various public enterprise-type Departments.
I found on the canvass that of all issues there was none more important than the question of the health services. The doctors' fees have now become nearly the least important of the factors involved in the bad health service we have at present. The most important consideration is the extent of the chemist charges. I hope, and I shall certainly do everything I can on this side of the House, to try to get the Minister for Health to go back to the 1947 Health Act and to re-introduce the free no-means test proposals in that Act. I believe that the appointment of the Minister for Health is a bad appointment. I am quite certain that he has little or no interest in the welfare of the ordinary people or whether they get well or do not get well or what kind of service they have, whether it is good, bad, or indifferent.
Dr. Browne: I am quite satisfied that the worst appointment of all is that of Deputy Moran as Minister for Justice. If they carry on with the notorious, repugnant sections of that Criminal Justice Bill—there are obviously good sections in it—then I want to make it quite clear—I was interrupted when I tried to do so before— that our ally is, of course, the trade union movement. If you come to fight it you will find that you are fighting a very great opponent indeed. There are many powerful members of the trade union movement who will oppose with bitterness and hostility these repugnant sections of the Criminal Justice Bill——
Mr. M. O'Leary: In our remarks this evening we have taken issue on several policy points which we see little evidence of being changed by the appointments to the new Cabinet. I suppose we are conscious, in opposing some of the new appointments and in discussing the policy points of the previous Government, which presumably, by virtue of the present appointments, will be continued in this Dáil, of disturbing the carnival atmosphere here this afternoon and which has extended into tonight. There has been a carnival atmosphere here today and it is important to re-establish right at the beginning of this Nineteenth Dáil the relavance of this Dáil to the problems we have in the country because there is a serious danger that the whole idea of Parliament might become increasingly irrelevant and be seen by the majority of our people to be irrelevant.
Those of us who are aware of the real problems in the countryside must attempt to make our contributions in debates on Bills in this Dáil more relevant to the real problems which we see in the country. In fighting this election we did not produce policies out of the blue. We produced policies that drew criticism. Our policies drew criticism  from both Government speakers and from the chief Opposition party. We would have been very naïve indeed if we were under the illusion that our policies would find a ready electoral ear in all parts of the country.
The Government which we are discussing here is the result of a dilemma at the heart of Irish politics. The dilemma is that no party has sufficient strength to represent the real interests of the majority of our people as against the minority with the financial controlling interest. This Government is the result of that dilemma.
We were not under any illusions in fighting our campaign of independent policy that this would be courting any easy popularity. Speakers opposite made the point about the jilted bride, Fine Gael. It was stated that because of the Labour Party Fine Gael are not being led to the altar of coalition at the start of this Nineteenth Dáil. We saw little evidence among the other parties of the existence of policies in their documents that would seem to answer the real problems of the electorate. We were entitled to push for an independent policy and for independent representation in this House and for an independent Government mandate when we saw no evidence on any side of these policies being pursued by other parties. Surely we were entitled also to reject the traditional concept of coalition? This party had served in a coalition before, when we saw a party which murdered the few remaining survivors of the “Just Society”. There is evidence to suggest we were correct in regard to the necessity of policies which would make for a fundamental improvement in the living conditions of the Irish people.
There is notable unanimity on essential questions between the Government party and the chief Opposition party. It is not of the Labour Party's making that we find ourselves in this portion of our country over which this Dáil has jurisdiction with only 17 Members standing for the socialist policy. Let us lay the blame elsewhere for some of the problems of Irish society which gave us 75 conservative party Members in Government and 50  conservative Members in permanent opposition.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I hope the Deputy will amplify his statement rather than give us a reiteration of the remarks about Cuba. We were right in rejecting the traditional concept of coalition. In fidelity to our policies we could only go on an independent ticket. It is correct to say that we have suffered a setback in the number of seats we secured in this House but that does not invalidate the importance and necessity of our policies and our ideas which we put to the country during the election campaign. Deputy Corish has remarked that, if our policy measures were regarded as radical, surely the failures which successive Governments had met in policy areas and their lack of success in providing sufficient employment and in meeting any of the problems which now face this new Government are ample condemnation of the policies they have pursued.
The various Ministerial appointments show little evidence that the Taoiseach, even accepting the limitation of the policies he fought with in this campaign, feels any sense of urgency in shuffling the Ministerial appointments. There is little evidence that the Taoiseach understands the necessity of a public relations uplift for the kind of Cabinet he wishes to present to the electorate. It might be regarded as pointless to refer to the different appointments. It is important to illustrate the drift that marks this Government, even with a majority of 75. The drift shows no awareness of the real problems facing the people. Some kind of euphoria brought Deputies in here today for a carnival outing. They expected some remarkable change had occurred in this country.
Deputy Moran has been confirmed in his position. He has been protecting jealously every noxious provision of the Criminal Justice Bill throughout most of last year. He has grudgingly conceded certain amendments but the heart of that Bill remains intact and Deputy Moran remains unrepentant. Seemingly, Fianna Fáil also are unrepentant  about the particularly noxious provisions of that Bill. This extraordinary interpretation of the election must give us all added fears for the future of this Cabinet. There has been a feeling that this Cabinet considered that real strength and decisiveness in Government consisted in flouting the opinions of organised bodies in this country. It would be a very superficial and wrong view for this Government to think that the way to permanent electoral success in this country lies along such a path. It might be thought that for the future the path to election victory would be laid by flouting the opinions of the farmers and the organised opinions of trade unions. The Fianna Fáil Party might feel this showed decisiveness and the right to rule as a majority Party. It would be very regrettable, even with their majority and even with the limitations of their policies, that they should take such an interpretation from their election victory. The Criminal Justice Bill has been condemned, not by a sinister element of this country, but by a large section of organised opinion ranging from the GAA to the Gaelic League. It seems extraordinary that the Taoiseach should confirm Deputy Moran in this position.
Deputy Childers has been elevated to the position of Tánaiste. He will now look after the Department of Health. It has been remarked that Deputy Childers is a conservative. Deputy Childers is in the company of other conservatives and yet this would seem to point out that the term “conservative” is reserved for him alone. Perhaps special honour is reserved for Deputy Childers. I agree with that special honour for him.
Mr. M. O'Leary: There were many men of all shades of political opinion in this country who would ensure that there would be political freedom in this country apart from Deputy Childers' father. Deputy Childers is in a unique position in that he has expressed viewpoints on many matters,  both economic and social, over the past few years. He has been courageous in saying what the Government really thought on particular questions and for giving the views of the Cabinet on contentious issues. I consider his role in the Gulf Oil fiasco to be an illustration of the kind of conservative that Deputy Childers is. As I recall it, a Deputy of the Fianna Fáil Party who is no longer a Member of this House took issue with the kind of subservience that marked all our dealings with the Gulf Oil in the way they managed to get their plant installed at Bantry Bay without handing over a penny to the Irish people. Deputy Childers, as he knows himself, opposed the representations of local bodies in that county who demanded that some kind of authority should be set up which would give the Irish community the right to take some levy, some cash, from Gulf Oil who were well able to afford it. But Deputy Childers opposed all such moves and opposed all the representations made that Gulf Oil would pay something to the local community for the facilities they were given at Bantry Bay.
I also recall Deputy Childers' remarks on the Posts and Telegraphs Estimate in the closing stages of the last Dáil when he spoke about Telefís Éireann. I remember on that occasion he spoke of the necessity of ensuring that certain ideas and opinions were not voiced on Telefís Éireann. Quite rightly, even some Members of the Fianna Fáil Party, Members of the Fine Gael Party and ourselves spoke at length on the alarming tendencies displayed in the Minister's speech at that time when in fact he more or less suggested more governmental interference, more authoritative interference was necessary to at least ensure that what he referred to as majority conservative opinion would be relayed over Telefís Éireann.
I do not think the appointment of Deputy Faulkner to Education is an exciting one. Education at different levels is in turmoil. I have never seen Deputy Faulkner in a turmoil. He does not strike me as a man who is aware of the problems in education. He does not seem to me to be equipped for that job. I cannot see the exciting vistas  opened up by the Ministry of the late Donogh O'Malley continued by Deputy Faulkner in education. The message I take from this appointment is that the educational venture of Fianna Fáil is now ended.
Deputy Colley, my colleague in Dublin North Central, is still in Industry and Commerce. Deputy Colley has been known to depart to the United States at times of public importance and to return with greater haste at the end of such moments. I recall he departed to the United States just before the last election and he returned with four factories in his back-pocket. My colleague, Deputy Spring, tells me that the opening of one of those factories was announced six months before in Killarney, County Kerry. I have not checked about the other three factories he returned with, whether they were announced at different periods during the last year in different parts of the country.
Deputy Colley set out at the start of the last Dáil, whether or not he shifted his tactics during the course of it, to restore Fianna Fáil to its pristine Republican principles. I can only conclude that in the course of that Dáil he gave that task up as a bad job because Deputy Colley stands condemned with the rest of the members of the outgoing Cabinet with the kind of drift which has marked the policies of this Government over the last four years and presumably will be accentuated and intensified over the next four years.
We have seen a greater inflow of foreign capital. We made it clear during the course of the election campaign we had no objection to foreign companies coming in but we felt if foreign capital was to come in greater surveillance would need to be made of the kind of companies setting up plants here, about their prospects and their future foreign markets, that we could ill afford a repetition of examples like Potez and that in fact much of the foreign interest setting up business in this country paid low wages and are not in fact contributing to the economic expansion of this country. Deputy Colley stands condemned with other  members of the outgoing Cabinet for their enthusiasm for the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement. Let me say, as a member of the party in January, 1966, which alone in this House voted against that Agreement, we have been vindicated in our experience of that Agreement over the past few years.
We are taking a further ten per cent tariff cut this month. The members of this Government during the recent election campaign showed little sign of any reservations about the outcome of that Agreement. Yet this Agreement, which outlines the overall economy, which is the framework within which this Government operates, in which it strives to improve our economy, is prepared to hand over to very strong industrial interests in Britain much of our native enterprise. Already we see the signs of it in the large-scale expansion in the retail trade of foreign-based supermarkets. We can go over many other areas of equal importance The food processing industry and many other vital areas of industrial activity are increasingly falling into the hands of outside interests, yet this Agreement gave the green light to this large-scale sellout. It must obviously militate against the idea of large-scale expansion of industrial activity at home or indeed any possibility of capturing export markets in areas other than Britain.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I do not know the difficulties of the Tory Party in Britain but I know that ideas differ about exactly who are the Tories in Britain. We are not in any doubt about who the Tories are here. We have been accused today of whinging. Looking back with hindsight on this election campaign a great disservice was done to the growing maturity of the Irish electorate and to the advent of any mature democracy in this country because it attempted to repeat the 1943 campaign of the Fianna Fáil Party and to re-introduce the policies of the late Senator Joe McCarthy, whose policies are now reviled in the United States  for his attempt to delay the advent of any mature democracy in the United States. You attempted to portray us— give it any four-letter name you can think of but the upshot will still be the same—as having policies which were revolutionary and communistic when in fact our policy documents were quite specific in the areas to be brought under community control and in their commitment to democratic socialism.
In the long run this method of conducting a campaign rubs off on all democratic political parties. I can only say this. If the unfortunate day ever arises in which we have a large scale Communist Government in this country it will be too late for people to cry “wolf”. You have called democratic socialists the wrong name and used it for smear party tactics too often when you knew the contrary to be the case. It certainly has paid off on this occasion but victory has been bought at a very high price. I would say you have injected a sectarianism on this side of the Border which you attack on the other side of the Border. You know you have not increased the status of this Parliament by attempting to portray us as other than we are as shown in our policy documents.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I shall not go into that now but a sufficient number of your people opposite said it. We have a new Minister for External Affairs and Deputy Hillery has departed from the Labour front. I do not know if this is his confession that the job of instruction which this party took on here by which we instructed Deputy Hillery step by step on the problems of industrial relations and by which we made him eat his words and his Bills in fact, was justified. We made him eat the ESB (Special Provisions) Bill in which case he admitted his error months afterwards. As far as he is concerned the job of instruction has now taken a logical course and he has taken refuge in the Department of External Affairs. He leaves behind him Deputy Brennan, a man not known for any adventurous disposition, a man whose reputation for the love of a quiet life  is well known. He leaves Social Welfare in much the same way as it was when he took up the post and he now takes over the Department of Labour. As far as we know he takes over a Bill concerning industrial relations from the last Government which is opposed by many trade unions. I do not know if we can draw any conclusions about what he will do in the course of this Dáil or whether, from what we know of him, his new appointment represents a downgrading of the Government's intentions in this area or whether it means even greater resolution in pursuing the more objectionable features of that Bill.
Mr. M. O'Leary: In any case, Deputy Hillery goes to External Affairs and he has been given good advice this afternoon by all Deputies in this party on the necessity of having a more independent policy in this area, of seeing to it that our policy of neutrality is adhered to and of seeing to something to which we have referred before, the necessity of tackling new trade areas more energetically than his predecessor did in the past.
Throughout this Dáil we shall do our utmost to see that the ideas we first put forward in this election campaign, the new Republic policies, are applied to the different Bills as they come up, so that the people will see that these policies—if any failing can be attributed to us in this election it is that we have attempted to do too much in too short a time—we put forward  are valid, that they apply to the Irish situation and apply to, and should be heard in this Parliament. Contrary to opinions expressed during the election we are content to await the mandate of people to put us into power to carry through our policy ideas. I do not for a moment have any lack of confidence nor do I think our policy of independence has been invalidated as a result of the election. Politics is about more than personnel in Government. It is because of our fidelity to policies which we saw to be necessary in our situation that we ran an independent campaign. Until we see evidence in Fine Gael or any other party of similar fidelity to similar policies we cannot talk of coalition in any meaningful context. I cannot see any validity in the idea of coalition until such a day comes about. It seems to me that if we attempted for the first time to give the Irish electorate an idea of what politics should be about, that it should be about the issues of economic reconstruction, housing, providing full employment, about the issue of independence in foreign policy. If this was our attempt in the election campaign and if the result has not brought full success it does not in any sense invalidate the importance and the necessity of repeating this attempt wherever possible throughout this Dáil.
Deputy Brian Lenihan ends up in Transport and Power. I do not know what plans he has in this truncated Ministry — atomic energy, perhaps. There is no doubt that he leaves his previous Department, Education, to some extent, in a kind of chaos. We had strikes by teachers before he left; we had manifestations among the student body and, over all, we had the picture of a man who was retreating—other people have retreated— from the first intentions of the late Deputy O'Malley in education.
The problems facing this Government are pretty formidable. Even if they have won a 75 majority they face some incorrigible problems over the next two years. They face the overall problem of working out the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Agreement. They face the worsening in the balance of payments position and the old, incorrigible problem  of failure to provide an annual increase in the number of new jobs to take up the young people leaving school and seeking jobs and the young people leaving agriculture.
It seems that our job in this Dáil must be to amplify the policy statements we made in the election, to underline the importance of an independent policy for our party, to be constructive in our opposition and also to make this Parliament relevant. That relevance consists, as far as I can see, in ensuring that our opposition mirrors the frustration felt by so many at their lot at present and mirrors the genuine grievance many people feel. We must burst the idea that this is a carnival day for any section of the people. In fact, this day for us inaugurates the first stage of the election campaign of the next general election. It may seem a long way away but in political terms it is near at hand. The ideals that Fianna Fáil have apparently stifled in this election are not, in fact, stifled; Fianna Fáil have not, in fact, conquered and the validity of these ideals will be proved in the years ahead by opposition both in this House and outside it.
Mr. Clinton: This is the sort of debate in which I find it very hard to take part. It is of necessity a debate and a discussion on personalities and during my time in public life I have always tried to avoid personalities but I feel a responsibility on this occasion to make a few comments and register my protest at certain appointments that are being made.
We have had an unusually prolonged discussion on this motion. That is not a normal feature of the procedure on the occasion of the formation of a Government. I think it arises from the disappointment we all feel on this side of the House at the Taoiseach's failure in his first act of responsibility— the responsibility to form the best possible Cabinet from the material sent back to him by the electorate.
The Taoiseach is an intelligent man and he must know that certain Ministers he has reappointed today were most unpopular and completely unacceptable to the majority of the people. I believe that on June 18th  when the people gave the Taoiseach a majority they expected him to display courage and I think the quality that has been most evident in his appointments today is cowardice. He must have known that the people objected to two or three Ministers—that the people did not want them, perhaps in any Department and certainly that they were unacceptable to them in the Departments in which they had served prior to the election.
I am concerned particularly with the re-appointment of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Blaney. Everybody knows that his period in office will be remembered as a time when relations between the farmers and the Government had never been worse. We had the unique position that for most of the time during his term of office organised farmers and the Minister were not on speaking terms; organised farmers could not have discussions with the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. That type of Minister should not be reappointed to that Department and I suggest the Taoiseach has a grave responsibility to use the power and authority the people have given him to ensure that such a man would not be allowed to continue in charge of agriculture.
We have a situation now in which the most important industry in the country will be run by a man who has proved himself to be unacceptable, a man who has been marking time for God knows how long until the Taoiseach can set up another Department to which that man can be transferred. As I have said, the Taoiseach should feel an obligation to be courageous here. This has arisen because the Taoiseach was aware that the Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries and Local Government represented a bloc in his party, a certain bloc of influence, and the Taoiseach did not want to disturb or upset it; he wanted to maintain harmony in the party above all things. I suggest that this is putting the party before the country and I am disappointed the Taoiseach did not use this occasion to ensure, instead, that harmony and some sort of decent relations are restored between the Minister  for Agriculture and Fisheries and the farming industry.
Mr. Clinton: We all know that the industry has stagnated in the past eight years. We know that farmers were encouraged in certain lines of production and that as soon as there was increased production in these lines the prices went down and so did the profits. That applies particularly to milk, but we are not allowed to discuss details of policy in any Department. I refer to these matters in passing. Now we are told that the Minister who, to say the least of it, has shown himself to be the most unsuitable Minister in charge of agriculture, will go to the new Department of Housing and Physical Planning. I submit to the Taoiseach and to the House that this Minister has a hopeless record in housing.
Mr. Clinton: Practically no houses were built between 1957 and 1964. We have a backlog of housing needs and there is not a hope of catching up on it. However, bad as is his record in house building, it does not hold a candle to that of the man who is going back into the Department of Local Government. There is no doubt that the Government intend to slow down house building. During the period when we had a severe credit squeeze, this was the Minister who was in charge of the Department of Local Government, responsible for housing. He is the man who came in here every day at Question Time and insisted that the Government have tons of money. He told us: “Go and build houses; we have tons of money for all sorts of amenities. Why are the people not building swimming pools; we are giving 50 per cent grants?” But the grants never came.
The Department in which there is the greatest need for a push forward is that of Local Government and I fear greatly because we are retaining in it this man with this hopeless record. The Minister for Local Government is being kept in his old place. If the Taoiseach  were to listen to public opinion, surely the Minister for Local Government should not be left there. The people have rejected him. They have howled against him in their expressions in the newspapers and on every occasion when they had an opportunity. Nobody wants him but he is left there. His re-appointment looks to me like a reward for the job of gerrymandering. Let us face it, he did the job fairly effectively though he did not succeed in every area. In the course of pushing that legislation through he said he would fix me. The peculiar thing is that he nearly fixed himself. He went nearer to fixing himself than to fixing me. It is peculiar how things work out.
Also, it is wrong to leave in the Department of Justice the man who has been responsible for the Criminal Justice Bill, a measure that has been so criticised, that is so unacceptable to the people and, above all, to which it has been so hard to get the Minister to accept improvements. This is the opportunity for the Taoiseach to use the powers he has been given by the people. He has not used them and he has to answer to the House and to the people for his failure. He could easily arrive at the conclusion that he was quite entitled to appoint the same old people because he went to the people with the Government, with the Ministers in charge of the various Departments, and the people sent him back with a majority.
The reasons have been gone into in considerable detail by the various Deputies who have spoken and I do not intend to prolong the discussion by giving a lengthy version of what was responsible. One thing clearly emerges. It is that the people wanted a Government with a sufficient majority to govern and for that reason we have had for some time a surplus party. Various parties have been described as surplus parties. Labour have shown themselves to be the surplus party. I have always been friendly with Members of the Labour Party, but on this occasion they have shown themselves to be the surplus party. Any party which is the smallest party in the House who decide that, come  what may, they will not join the other group to form a Government are not acting responsibly. When they went to the people they had less than half the number of the Fine Gael Party. They have come back now with only onethird of our numbers which proves that we need the strength of both parties if we are going to be effective. We now have the situation that the people have sent back to office a Government they do not want.
Mr. Clinton: I did quite a considerable amount of canvassing and some of my enthusiastic supporters used come back and tell me there was a great swing and that we would be the Government after the election. I always told them I could not get this feeling and I was asked what feeling I was getting. I said I was getting silence. They asked: “What interpretation do you put on this silence?” I said: “The interpretation I put on this silence is that they will go back and vote for Fianna Fáil even though they are ashamed of what they are doing.”
Mr. Clinton: I believe they were ashamed of what they were doing. I should not like the Taoiseach to come in here imagining that the people now believe that the only party in this country fit to govern the Irish people are Fianna Fáil, because if he carries on with that attitude the people will very soon give him his answer. I say he is on his last trial and Fianna Fáil are on their last trial. Lessons have been learned in the course of the election. I suppose we will have a stable Government for some time and, I hope, a good Government. As someone else said, we on this side of the House will give all the co-operation possible on measures we feel the Government are bringing in and trying to implement for the good of the Irish people. We will oppose in the strongest possible way any measure which we feel is objectionable to us and to the country. That is a responsibility we have and a responsibility we intend carrying out.  Before I sit down there is something else I intended to deal with. There were discussions throughout the election and here today about a smear campaign being carried out. I do not want to take part in any smear campaign. I have never done it and I do not intend to do it here. I want to tell the House what happened. This is something I should like to say publicly. The sale of Deputy Keating's farm was discussed and it was said that he was a speculator, that he made money out of this in a certain way and that he should not have made it. I am in a position to say that this is untrue and I have an obligation to say it.
Long before Deputy Keating came into politics I was a member of a county council. I met him in Dublin by accident. I knew him and he discussed the sale of his farm with me. He also discussed the price he was getting for it. Quite frankly, I told him—and I do not mind saying this— that the price did not seem to be enormous in view of the prices that were being paid. He said: “That is quite true. I could get more if I were prepared to sell to a speculator but I will not do it.”
Mr. Boland: Tá mé ag iarraidh ar an gCathaoirleach cead a thabhairt do dhaoine ón taobh seo labhairt chomh maith le daoine ón taobh eile. Is soiléir go bhfuil sé leagtha amach ag an dá pháirtí sa bhFreasúra an  díospóireacht seo a choinneáil ar siúl chomh fada agus is féidir leo agus, mar sin, sé mo thuairim go bhfuil sé de chead agamsa cur isteach sa dhíospóireacht seo chomh maith ó tharla go bhfuil an feachtas seo ar siúl acu.
It is quite obvious that there has been agreement at least on this point so far as the two Opposition parties are concerned, that it has been decided to keep this debate going for some considerable time, and that there has been a planned campaign here to ensure by constant repetition of vicious personal attacks——
Mr. Boland: ——that this debate will not conclude tonight. In those circumstances I propose to deal with some of the vicious personal attacks that were made on me. I think I am entitled to do it and I intend to do it.
Mr. Boland: The sack does not worry me, boy. It does not worry me in the least. I am not here for the sake of office. Let no one think I am. It has been alleged that we got here by various underhand means: by means of a smear campaign, by means of gerrymandering which I am credited with having carried out, and that it is because of those tactics that this proposition to appoint me and certain other members of the Fianna Fáil Party as Ministers has come before the House.
Let me deal with this question of the smear. What was the smear? It was dealing with a published policy of the two Opposition parties. Apparently we are not supposed to talk about policies. Apparently we are supposed to talk about the individual transactions of Ministers and members of parties. Apparently it is agreed by the two Opposition parties that to attack a man in his personal character is not a smear but to deal with a published policy is supposed to be a smear.
We dealt with the policy which the Labour Party, or some of them, adopted, which was forced on Deputy Tully and forced on Deputy Corish by the gentlemen in the backbenches —I am sorry, in the second bench— who succeeded in their takeover bid of the Labour Party outside this House, and who are now in a position, behind Deputy Tully's back and behind Deputy Corish's back, to make the same takeover bid here. This policy was forced upon them and we dealt with policy in this campaign.
Mr. Boland: Not in a few minutes. Not in a few minutes at all. Anything I said about the policies of either of the Opposition parties will be said again here because it is true. It deals with the facts as they themselves published them. It is a fact that one of the new recruits to the Labour Party publicly advocated fraternal association with Cuba. That is a published fact.
Mr. Boland: That is not a smear. That is dealing with facts. What I call a smear is the attack made on the personal integrity of different members of the Fianna Fáil Government and the Fianna Fáil Party. No attack was made on Deputy Keating's personal character. So far as I know, no one ever said that Deputy Keating did anything wrong in trying to get the maximum possible amount for the sale of his land, and that is what he did.
Mr. Boland: ——the maximum possible amount for his land. That is a fact and I intend to deal with it here. That does not mean that I or anybody else has said that Deputy Keating did anything wrong in doing this. I mentioned it only to show that even a professed socialist would try to maximise his profit.
Mr. Boland: It is a fact that Deputy Keating purchased this land at a very low agricultural price only a few years ago. It is a fact, as I know and as everybody in the Tallaght area knows, that Deputy Keating never put into operation his undoubted expert knowledge of agriculture. It is a fact that Fianna Fáil cumann members had to feed Deputy Keating's stock in the winter of 1961.
Mr. Boland: The individual who has just spoken on the point of order is the man who injected this element into the campaign. He is the first man who attempted a smear, but because he has no personal character himself he thinks  an attack on another person's character is not a smear.
Mr. Boland: The Minister is replying to charges that have been made at the instigation of Deputy Corish and Deputy Cosgrave by those persons, and I maintain that since there is this deliberate decision by the two Opposition parties to carry this debate over until tomorrow, I am entitled to reply to this viciousness of Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien and the other Deputies who indulge in the same thing here.
As I have said, there was no such thing as a personal attack on an individual of either of the Opposition parties by any member of Fianna Fáil, but when Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien tried to win his campaign by the tactics of deliberate character assassination, then I felt it was just a matter of the merest justice to show that in both the Opposition parties there were also individuals who believed in maximising their profit from the sale of land and that in so far as the socialist speculator, Deputy Keating, was concerned, his land was obviously a speculation. Deputy Keating tries to maintain that he refused a higher offer. That is not so.
Mr. Boland: The higher offer was not an offer; it was an offer conditional on something else happening, and it was unserviced land at the time. The offer-was not a real offer. Secondly, at the time Deputy Keating had been in negotiation with the Dublin city manager for several months, and the offer came about because Deputy Keating answered an advertisement that was in the paper looking for development land. He tried to get a higher price; he could not get it, and eventually concluded his dealings with the Dublin Corporation.
I did not say there was anything wrong with that. What I do say is wrong is for his comrade to pretend  that when somebody else gets a good price for his land, not by going through the process of public auction, there is something wrong, but there is nothing wrong with a socialist doing it and nothing wrong, apparently, with the Leader of one of the Opposition parties doing the same thing, disposing of his property in two separate lots by public auction and making sure he gets the maximum price. Why would he not do it? The people showed their contempt for the filthy tactics of the Labour Party, the filthy tactics of the Fine Gael Party, by placing Deputy Haughey at the head of the poll and indicating quite clearly that they realised that anybody who had property to sell, who found that it had to be sold, would ensure that he would get a reasonable price for it.
Mr. Boland: We shall deal with that question, too. Anyone who will look back at the campaign and on the reports of speeches will see that in so far as there was any smear it was conducted by Fine Gael and Labour, and that Fianna Fáil merely dealt with the published policy or some parts of the public policy of the Labour Party. I do not know whether Deputy Corish accepts it or not. I know it was forced on him but it was certainly published as their policy; and surely we were entitled to deal with that? It was Fianna Fáil that had to deal with this continuous tactic of personal smear, as was attempted here today by Deputy FitzGerald. Deputy FitzGerald claimed here today that he had succeeded during the last term of office in creating a disbelief among the public in the integrity of the Government, an admission that not only during the election campaign but throughout the whole period of the last Dáil, the tactics of the Opposition were to try to undermine the integrity of the Government. Then they come in whinging and whining about a smear campaign which dealt solely with the published policy of the Opposition parties.
I want to deal with the allegation that the Fianna Fáil record on housing,  both while I was a Minister in charge of Local Government myself and when my colleague, Deputy Blaney, was in charge, was a bad record. This more than anything else shows the absolute contempt with which both of the Opposition Parties treat the intelligence of the public. There is no other aspect of Government activity of which we have more reason to be proud as housing and on which we have less reason to fear comparison with the performance of the Opposition parties when they had the opportunity. The Opposition parties promised the people a crash housing programme, and of course the people made sure that they would not get another crash housing programme because the people had previous experience of a crash housing programme.
Mr. Boland: Which reminds me that the Opposition parties finished up without having the price of a bag of cement. The people know what a crash housing programme is and they accepted the Fianna Fáil contention that to solve the housing problem you must arrange, first of all, for continuity of the programme and that it would be madness to dissipate all our resources in one year. They knew from experience that that was the type of approach you could expect from parties such as the Opposition parties because that is what they did before. They dissipated the prosperity generated by the Fianna Fáil Government. They dissipated the plans provided by the Fianna Fáil Government. They dissipated the sites provided by the Fianna Fáil Government and then the housing programme crashed and the Coalition crashed with it. The economy of the country crashed around their ears and the people had to put in Fianna Fáil. It is that the people remember and they do not want another crash housing programme. They want instead the continuity of housing effort that has been a feature of Fianna Fáil Government. They want the gradual building up to a high level of building like that which has taken place since the crash under the Coalition Government. The one thing the  people wanted to avoid so far as housing is concerned was another crash housing programme and they succeeded in avoiding it in the only way possible, namely, by returning the Fianna Fáil Government to office.
So far as we are concerned, we have had a record number of houses built in each of the last three years—12,000 in 1967-68, 13,000 in 1968-69 and, this year, provision has been made, including the inconvenient detail of further financial provision for a further expansion in the level of house building in this year. There was one year since the housing programme got going after the collapse, not only of the economy but of the building industry itself, in which there was a smaller number of houses completed than in the previous year. If there is one thing more than anything else that showed the superior competence of the Fianna Fáil Government to deal with both the country's economy and the provision of houses it was that particular year because that was the year following the year in which we had the credit restrictions, and so on, in 1965-66; there was a slight falling off in the number of houses completed in the year after that.
This is what shows the fundamental difference between the Fianna Fáil Government and the alternative Government. We succeeded in dealing with exactly the same type of adverse economic trend that brought about the downfall of the Coalition Government because we were united and we were able to make up our minds. There was a slight falling-off in the level of building activity followed by a quick resumption. There was only one slight hiatus. The people know that the provision of houses depends on a number of factors. They know it is a longterm process. They know the limiting factors are the physical and financial capacity of the people themselves. Housing output, like everything else, must be related to the level of production in the country. The people have clearly opted for a continuance of a sound housing policy. They have opted for what they concede to be the solution of the housing problem.
Mr. Boland: ——in dealing with the housing situation here in Dublin. There was a particular attack made by the last speaker on my predecessor in Local Government and on his record in regard to housing in the expectation, of course, that there would be no refutation. The fact is that Deputy Blaney, as Minister for Local Government, saw that the best possible efforts of Dublin Corporation were not going to make any significant impact within a reasonable time on the solution of the housing problem in this city and, for the first time, in order really to get to grips with the problem, the State itself, on the initiative of Deputy Blaney, entered into the business of providing local authority houses and started a completely new idea of the building of houses by the National Building Agency, the Ballymun scheme, where over 3,000 dwellings were provided within the target period set and, despite all the difficulties encountered. It is due to Deputy Blaney's activities in the Department of Local Government that the parties opposite now see disappearing the housing inadequacy on which they have battened in the past. They know that under this Fianna Fáil Government the housing problem, in so far as a housing problem ever can be solved in an expanding economy and in a city growing at the rate at which this city it growing at the moment, will be solved.
As far as I can judge, the greater part of this spurious debate has been taken up with personal attacks on me. I want now to place on record the fact that I am proud to be the recipient of this attention from the opposition parties. I am proud of the fact that I inspire such hatred in Fine Gael. So long as that continues I know that I am all right. I know the reason for it and I am just about as proud of it as I can be of anything.
We were told that we had been an arrogant Government and that I and  the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries are arrogant Ministers. But it was not Fianna Fáil that had this arrogant slogan on every telegraph pole in the country; we did not tell the people we were going to win. We treat the people in a different way. I would not give the Opposition this advice only I know they are inherently incapable of taking it. We have learned by long experience, since 1932, that the people are intelligent and that they expect to be treated with respect. That is why, in the recent election, we did not go out telling the people Fianna Fáil were going to win. We rendered an account of our stewardship and we asked the people for their continued mandate. We have got that mandate at every election since 1932, including 1948 and 1954. If there were arrogance in the Fianna Fáil Government surely it would have manifested itself during the election campaign? The arrogant slogan was “Fine Gael will win”. Now we are told—it is admitted, apparently, that they did not win, though I find it hard to believe them—that, if they did not win the last time out, they will win the next time. Let us hope they will continue to have that same approach the next time because they will not win. You do not win elections. We did not win the election. The people decided on the basis of our record and achievements and, on the basis of the obvious insincerity of the Opposition's approach and the obvious impracticability of their promises, they wanted Fianna Fáil to continue.
Mr. Boland: It is because the people so decided that we are discussing this motion here tonight. But it was not Fianna Fáil that showed arrogance. I do not know whether he is still the Leader of the main Opposition party or whether the meeting to depose him has taken place or not, but it was the Leader of the Opposition party who offered to drive the Taoiseach to the Park in order to give Fine Gael the opportunity to govern us. I do not know whether Deputy Cosgrave considers himself to have lost his licence on 18th June but I heard no offer to drive the Taoiseach to the Park today.  Perhaps he no longer considers himself eligible to drive anybody anywhere. We are all wondering when the meeting, parallel to the meeting that kicked out Deputy Dillon a few years ago, is going to take place.
It was not the Fianna Fáil Party which went around trying to break up other parties' meetings. The organised attempt to break up meetings came from the Opposition parties. These undemocratic elements attacked our meetings. The organised attempt to deprive the people of free speech did not succeed. We have been dealing with that kind of thing all through our existence. We dealt with the Blue Shirt menace, with——
Mr. Boland: The Blue Shirts were stronger numerically and better trained in their strong arm methods than you people but they did not deprive Fianna Fáil of freedom of speech and neither will the new elements which you have organised under these new imports into your party.
Mr. Boland: Deputy Clinton was another of the Opposition Deputies who based a large part of his contribution on this allegation of arrogance. Deputy Clinton lives in the same parish as I do and goes to mass in the same church.
Mr. Boland: Deputy Clinton had very little official contact with the area in which he lives during the election but he organised the most vivid and spectacular display of Fine Gael arrogance that took place throughout the whole country, in Newcastle, for my special benefit, but I got the votes there.
Mr. Boland: Deputy Clinton chose the village of Newcastle to demonstrate that the jackbooted policies of Blueshirtism were still rampant in Fine Gael and it was there that we had a typical display of Fine Gael arrogance and bullying on election day because the whole vicinity of the polling booths was covered by——
Mr. Boland: We had the whole village street filled with a vulgar display of Fine Gael wealth and arrogance and the vicinity of the polling booth was cluttered up with tractors and trailers and horse boxes and we had a massive display from the local Fine Gael bullies in an attempt to intimidate the people. What they forgot was that the ballot box is secret and they could not get inside the doors to intimidate the people and the people were not intimidated.
Mr. Boland: Deputy Clinton maintains that Deputy Blaney and myself are unpopular and because of that the Taoiseach should have sacked us. I glory in the fact that I am unpopular with Deputy Clinton and his colleagues.
Mr. Boland: I do not need Deputy Clinton or anybody else to tell me why I am unpopular with them. I know why, because none of you can get away with anything so far as I am concerned. Just a brief reference now to the question of gerrymandering. Our system of election is proportional representation with multiple constituencies and if PR gives the result that it gives why blame us? You got the opportunity of doing away with it and if you say I gerrymandered the constituencies you got the opportunity of having a commission to deal with the constituencies but you would not have it. It is typical of the contempt Fine Gael and Labour have for the people. They assume that it is possible for a party machine to gather detailed information on how the people voted in the past and how they will vote in the future and base the revision of constituencies on that. It is assumed apparently that this pattern of voting is never going to change. That has not been our experience. We have no reason to believe that is so. The revision of constituencies was carried out in a way that complied with the rules of the system of election that we have and which made the constituencies as rational as they could possibly be.
Mr. Boland: I heard Deputy Clinton talking here on the Second Stage of the Constituencies Bill and he spoke for a solid hour whinging and whining about the fact that three district electoral divisions were placed on the northern side of the border that was proposed between the constituency of North County Dublin and of South County Dublin. I remember those three divisions very well because if Deputy Clinton mentioned them once he mentioned them a dozen times. He was whinging and whining about what he alleged was the Machiavellian operation by me in putting Ballymakily, Gollierstown and Coolscudden into North County Dublin for the sole purpose of depriving Deputy Clinton of the support of his loyal neighbours in these three district electoral divisions. I took this criticism very much to heart. I did not like anybody to go away with the impression that I was deliberately trying to deprive Deputy Clinton of the support of his loyal friends and neighbours in Ballymakily, Gollierstown and Coolscudden.
Mr. Cluskey: Early this afternoon, the Chair saw fit to interrupt Deputy Corish on several occasions and other Deputies when they were not speaking relevantly to what was before the House. Surely, this rambling that is going on by Deputy Boland is pure bull? Must we endure it any longer? Surely, you cannot discriminate against one side and let the other side do what they like?
Mr. Boland: It has been advanced as a reason why the Taoiseach should delete my name from this list that I have gerrymandered and that reason was advanced by the last Deputy who spoke, Deputy Clinton, and I want merely to show that, so far from gerrymandering, in response to Deputy Clinton's pleadings for over an hour in this House, on the Committee Stage of the Bill I brought in a special amendment to mollify Deputy Clinton and to put Ballymakily, Gollierstown and Coolscudden back into South County Dublin. What was Deputy Clinton's reaction?
Mr. Boland: I have no intention of discussing the revision of constituencies but in view of the fact that every Deputy who spoke here, including the last Deputy, alleged that the Taoiseach was in a position to move this motion because of an alleged operation of gerrymandering carried out by me, I think I am entitled to just a few minutes to refute that.
Mr. Boland: That is not the Chair. I do not know who he is. Surely, one speech can be allowed in refutation of all the arguments that have been put forward as to why this motion should not be passed?
Mr. Boland: You are not the Ceann Comhairle. When I did this, when I obliged Deputy Clinton, his reaction was to skip out of South County Dublin and abandon his loyal friends and neighbours in Ballymakily, Gollierstown and Coolscudden.
Mr. Boland: I would say it only once if the Deputy would not interrupt me. Since I have shown in so far as the last speaker's allegation of gerrymandering is concerned that it is not true, I think that this motion by the Taoiseach in so far as it concerns myself should be passed. There were other Deputies who made similar allegations with regard to gerrymandering and I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that it was not only Deputy Clinton who I obliged by bringing in a special amendment in order to facilitate him. I also obliged the Leader of his party. Deputy Cosgrave came to me in my office and asked me could I please put part of Foxrock back into his constituency and I did it. I brought in a special amendment to do that as well but I will say this for Deputy Cosgrave that he did not rush away and abandon the people in Foxrock like Deputy Clinton did. He at least stuck with them but Deputy Clinton, as I said, abandoned his loyal friends.
An Ceann Comhairle: The position is this: during the course of the debate Deputies on that side of the House referred on more than one occasion to the gerrymandering of constituencies. In view of the fact that the Minister for Local Government introduced this Bill, I feel the Minister was entitled to make a short statement but, having made that statement, I think he should get back to the motion.
Mr. Cluskey: In view of the statement you made a short while ago that you were of the opinion that the Minister was out of order, if the Minister continues to discuss what you have ruled to be out of order, what action do you propose to take?
Dr. Byrne: I should like to make three particular points with regard to the new Government which has been nominated by the Taoiseach. The first point refers to Local Government. I should like to refer to the crash housing programme brought in in the Agricultural College grounds half of which are in North County Dublin and half in the city of Dublin and, in particular, would like to mention one point here; from out of these towers named after one of our greatest patriots, Eamonn Ceannt, there has been a 33 per cent migration over the past 10 months and that migration figure from this tower compares unfavourably with the migration from the tinkers' camp at Landen Park in Ballyfermot where for 10 months there  has been only a 25 per cent migration of itinerant families.
The point I am making here is that the accommodation provided for these people is a very substandard type of accommodation, that either the Minister for Local Government or the Minister for Agriculture during his term as Minister for Local Government was responsible for this housing project and that neither of these Ministers nor the Agricultural College would expect any farmer, large or small, to house livestock in these dwellings which have been erected and which have been described as part of the magnificent housing programme Fianna Fáil claim they have carried out over the past number of years.
Let me refer to one other thing before I come on to Health: Deputy Childers as the new Minister for Health will never need to introduce an Abortion Bill in this country because the simple fact of the matter is that any young pregnant woman in this town can go out to Pádraig Pearse Tower or to James Connolly Tower or to Eamonn Ceannt Tower in Ballymun when the lifts are not working and climb the 30 flights of stairs to her flat, thereby effecting a most realistic abortion. I have experienced numerous cases of this. Therefore, let Deputy Childers rest assured that he will never have to introduce legislation such as an Abortion Act.
To come back now to a subject mentioned earlier in relation to the appointments the Taoiseach has made —gerrymandering—this seems to have been denied by the man responsible for it. We have here, in the town of Ballymun, three towers named after our greatest patriots, James Connolly, Eamonn Ceannt and Pádraig Pearse, each tower within a radius of 100 yards, and yet each of these towers is in a separate electoral constituency. Furthermore, Deputy Boland, the then Minister for Local Government, was so mean as to divide the Michael Collins barracks into two separate constituencies. This was a new low. I leave the matter there and move on now to the health services.
I sincerely hope that, during his term of office, Deputy Childers will  see fit to improve the services available to the lower income group in this country. It is particularly unfair that dispensaries in Dublin should be authorised to prescribe hair shampoo, sun tan lotion and toothpaste at present and that this should be paid for by the private houseowner through his rates: this is what is happening in many of the Dublin dispensaries. When Deputy Childers takes office as Minister for Health I would appeal to him to take the health charges off the rates as soon as possible before many of our houseowners — ratepayers — are driven to poverty due to the exorbitant bills they have to face at present.
The social services have been neglected for a long time. A previous speaker mentioned the starvation which could possibly exist among old age pensioners who have no other form of income. It is a realistic fact that many of those people, because of brain degeneration due to vitamin deficiency, end up in mental hospitals where the maintenance cost is heavy whereas a paltry £5 a week would be sufficient to keep them happy in their own homes. I hope, also, that the Minister for Health will institute some clinics for the unfortunate section of our community who become addicted to drugs of one form or another.
The last point I should like to make concerns the appointment of Deputy Hillery as Minister for External Affairs. I think this is one of the most successful appointments the Taoiseach has made. The Taoiseach has appointed a medical doctor in charge of this Department. The problem facing the Department of External Affairs at the moment is the horrible situation that exists in relation to the Nigerian-Biafra conflict. I am quite sure Deputy Hillery will treat this conflict in a humanitarian way. Within the past 48 hours, the managing-director of the Joint Biafran Appeal, Mr. John O'Loughlin Kennedy, sent a telegram to the Chief Whip of each of the Parliamentary parties requesting that we have an all-party action on the Biafran affair.
To give an example of how urgent this might possibly be, let me point out that the death rate in Biafra— which is mainly amongst children and which I saw myself when I was there for a very short time—has risen to approximately 60,000 people per day. This is a greater number of people than exists in the largest constituency in this country. We all know how hard it is to get around to canvass these people: one can imagine how hard it would be to get around to burying 60,000 people per day. It is coming on now to 11 p.m. and, since the Taoiseach formed this Government, there have been almost 15,000 deaths of young children in Biafra. In fact, in the past five seconds, over 200 people have died. The Irish people have contributed over £300,000 towards famine relief in Biafra—quite a large sum of money, we admit: we all created a lot of trouble over a much smaller sum during the general election campaign. The Irish people have put their money where their mouth is. They have sent voluntary workers and, at present, they have a team of medical doctors standing by to go into Biafra at the call of the Biafran people. It is with this in mind that I request the Taoiseach to expedite action to the United Nations because there is no doubt that genocide is the present policy of the Nigerian Government towards the Biafran people. I would also suggest to the Taoiseach that he might give some consideration to the establishment of a refugee camp here in Ireland along the lines of those set up for the Hungarians and for German refugees after the last world war. We should make it clear that we condemn the supply of arms by the British Government and by the Russians to the Nigerian Government and that we also condemn the French company who are sending arms to the Biafrans.
Mr. Tully: I notice that the Ceann Comhairle is looking with surprise at me and at the clock. I quite appreciate that the Chair expected that the Taoiseach would get in when Deputy Byrne had finished speaking. That was the tentative arrangement. However, something happened here a few minutes ago and, while it is not something that never happened before, it is rather unusual and, as personal references were made to myself and other members of the Labour Party by a Deputy  who is waiting to be confirmed as a Minister, I want to make a few brief remarks.
Mr. Tully: At the present time, the only Minister here is the Taoiseach. His appointment has been confirmed by the President. He came back with a list of his Ministers and gave it to the House. There is an unwritten law that, when the Taoiseach gives the list to the House, the members of the Opposition are entitled to comment on the proposed appointments and, after discussion, the Taoiseach has the right to reply. This has been accepted by everybody except Deputy Boland who unfortunately has left the House before I can address my few remarks to him. Not alone should he have known that, but the Taoiseach went to the trouble of writing a note to him which, in effect, said: “Shut up and sit down”. I am sure he was quite polite about it and it was much nicer than that.
Mr. Tully: What did Deputy Boland do with that note? He says he is not arrogant. He got the Taoiseach's note, he twisted it up in his hand and he banged it on the ground to show what he thought of the Taoiseach, the Ceann Comhairle and this House. This is the sort of treatment which Deputy Boland has been handing out to people outside this House and inside this House and he thinks he will get away with it again. He certainly will not and no threat of physical violence, which he has not been unknown to try to use inside the House as well as outside it, will deter me or any member of this party from expressing our views about Deputy Boland's conduct.
He came along with this cock and bull story about reading the Labour Party's documents and that he interpreted them and that he or his party only used what was in them against us. Of course, he knows, and unfortunately, I regret to say that the Taoiseach, for whom I have a high regard, also must  have known that the statements made by the Fianna Fáil people from the very top down to the very bottom about Labour Party policy were untrue. Sir, I want to make this comment — would the Taoiseach say that I am a communist?
Mr. Tully: No, but members of your party did. Members of your party did say that I was a communist, that the man who ran with me in County Meath was a communist. They went around the parochial houses, they went around the convents, they went around the private houses in the county, they banged on the doors and they advised the people that if we were elected a communist party would take over and the result would be that the same situation would arise as obtained in the countries in which their daughters and sons were carrying on as missionaries. For goodness' sake, did anybody ever hear such nonsense in their lives? Then Fianna Fáil come in here and say, in the person of Deputy Boland, that there was no smear campaign. What does he call that? What does the Taoiseach call it? I can prove this. If the Taoiseach wants proof I will prove it is true. I will prove that it was done and it is regrettable that at the start of a new Dáil we should have this sort of thing.
Deputy Boland, with all due respect to you, Sir, attempted to turn this House tonight into a bear-garden because he got a few claps from the gallery for it. He kept repeating what he thought was a funny line. He repeated it six times. He got clapped every time and he was allowed to continue. I am not faulting you, Sir, because with someone like Deputy Boland here, there is very little you can do and there is very little the House can do, unless the Taoiseach stands up and names him as he would a member of Fine Gael or a member of the Labour Party if he attempted the same antics.
Mr. Tully: As far as we in the Labour Party are concerned there are no communists in the party. We do not allow communists into membership of the party. That is well known to  Fianna Fáil as it is known to everybody else in this country.
Mr. Tully: I am making the statement that a member of the Communist Party cannot be a member of the Labour Party. I grant you that they may masquerade as non-communists. We will not have them if they say they are communist. If we find out they are communist we will throw them out, the very same as we would throw out a member of Fianna Fáil.
Mr. Tully: I suggest that if Deputy Foley has the evidence he says he has he should write to the evening papers and give the name of the house concerned  and the name of the person concerned because I notice that he and his kind are very anxious to make charges in this House under the protection of the House but they are not prepared to make them outside.
I want to make it very clear that we fought a campaign on a policy, that that policy was published, was presented to both members of the Church and State. The Taoiseach, as well as members of his party, examined it. Members of the Church examined it and there was nothing in it (a) about nationalisation of land or anything like that and (b) there were no communist ideas in it. There was nothing alien, as the Taoiseach said, to our Christian principles or Christian ideals. Yet, people went around the country, people who are in high positions, and barefacedly made statements to the effect that we were communists, that our policy was communistic, and that the country would be ruined if the people of the country voted for us. That is what gave Fianna Fáil the return they got and nothing else.
Let me say something else about this. As far as the Taoiseach himself is concerned I have a respect for him but I do think that he could have been a little bit more careful about the items which were published under his name, for instance, the implied threat that if Fianna Fáil did not get  back into power people would lose their increases in children's allowances, their increases in old age pensions, their increases in widows' pensions. It was there in black and white —if you want to keep these, vote Fianna Fáil. This is the sort of thing which was stuffed down the throats of ordinary, decent people in the country. I am not saying that everybody in Fianna Fáil did it. Some of the people in Fianna Fáil are great friends of mine but I do think that this thing of having a separate morality as far as politics are concerned must stop. When I look at some of the people who are calling myself and my colleagues in the Labour Party communists and when I look back on the records of some of the people who were talking it makes me laugh. It was not the Labour Party who attacked the Church from the front benches of this House; it was not the Labour Party who called priests names in this House not six months ago, yet these are the people who will come along and successfully brand us as communists.
I do not want to interfere with your time or your ruling with regard to the constituency but there is no doubt that if Kevin Boland nearly lost his seat in it he should have got a crown from Fianna Fáil because he presented them with an awful lot of seats which they got and which they otherwise would not get. Fair play to him, he was able to do it and the majority of this House backed him to do it but it is a little bit ridiculous to suggest that we could have had a commission to draw the lines and we did not want it, that we would have had a commission if we agreed to do away with proportional representation and we were not having that one.
I do not want to delay the House but I want to point out that it does not matter a whole lot to us who is Minister for this or who is Minister for that. There are quite a number of very intelligent people in the Fianna Fáil front bench. I will give them that credit. Some of the cleverest men I have met are front bench members of Fianna Fáil. It is not that is wrong with them. It is their general  attitude to the whole thing that is wrong. Fianna Fáil people live in a closed little circle. They are people who always had more than they ever needed. They live within that circle and they cannot appreciate the fact that somebody with £3 5s a week who has to pay rent, rates,pay for light, coal and food out of that can be hungry at the end of the week.
I would suggest that since the Government have been appointed whether we agree with it or disagree with it this House will confirm the appointment and the very least they can do is make an attempt to see what is wrong with the country because there is a lot wrong with the country. Their majority in this House proves nothing. It proves that they got the votes which put them in here. As Deputy Michael Pat Murphy said they did not get the majority of the votes. I suggest that they look not into their own hearts but into the homes of the people who are really in need and then they will realise that everything is not well in the country.
Mr. Tully: I have been in this House when there was only one member of the Fine Gael front bench, usually Deputy Clinton or Deputy T. J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan), present. We know about people in glass-houses who should not throw stones; before we start throwing stones we should make sure we are not in glass-houses. With reference to the horny hands, I would not like to go around the Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil benches to check on the callouses.
People have been elected to this House to do a job. We propose to do that job. We will support anything the Government introduces which we consider to be for the good of the people of this country. We will oppose anything we do not agree with, not merely for the purpose of opposing but we will ensure that no shady deals will be pulled by anybody nor will we be  intimidated by Deputy Kevin Boland in bad humour. I would ask the Ceann Comhairle, as Deputy Boland is not here tonight unfortunately, to ensure that he hears at least that part of my comment.
The Taoiseach: This has been an unduly drawn-out debate on this motion which is a motion for the approval of the members of the Government as nominated by me. Before my Party came into the House today I advised them to be temperate and moderate in what they had to say.
I was reminded of a story I heard one time from a Kerry playwright whose group had achieved some success in a particular sphere. He advised them that when their jug was full they should “walk aisy.” I advised my Party to “walk aisy” this afternoon and they did so up to a point. I should like to remind the Deputies opposite that catastrophes can happen to those whose jugs are empty as well as to those whose jugs are full. We listened to a barrage of abuse here for most of the afternoon. We listened to a catalogue of allegations of failure against the members of the Government. It was said one failed in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, another in Industry and Commerce, another in Social Welfare, another in External Affairs. We were said to have failed in the Department of Finance. I was just wondering on what basis the country decided to put us back in office. I should like to suggest to the Opposition parties that they failed and not us.
That brings me to another little story. Not long ago a man was playing a match. He got a knock on the head towards the end of the game. His team were beaten. He woke up in hospital a fortnight later, having suffered from severe concussion. He wanted to get back immediately on the field and finish the game. The nurse had difficulty in telling him that the match was over and that his team were well beaten. The parties over there are suffering from the same sort of shock. The match is over and well won. He was told also that when the match was over his own team started fighting  each other and blaming each other. Today Labour may blame Fine Gael and Fine Gael may blame Labour, but you can all blame Fianna Fáil. We won the election and the people voted for us and their votes entitled us to win.
I should like to advise the new Deputies here today. Some people came in here telling us what to do and what the people of the country wanted, and how they wanted the country to be governed. One speaker from this side of the House hit back at them and they were shaking their heads in persumed sadness. All afternoon we listened to charges of corruption from new Deputies. We listened to charges of mismanagement of public funds and to other charges of arrogance. I decided our jug was not all that full that we could not hit back.
I was given to understand I should speak after Deputy Clinton had concluded. A Fine Gael Deputy got up so a Deputy from this side of the House was entitled to get up and he defended himself and one of his colleagues who was accused of the same kind of allegations made during all the campaign— the smear. I do not like to refer to a new Deputy but Deputy Keating referred to the reappointment of Deputy Neil Blaney as Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and spoke of it as an insult to rural Ireland. It was not the Fianna Fáil Party who insulted rural Ireland. It was the Labour Party who told them that they were not sophisticated enough, or, in other words, they were too stupid to understand the Labour Party's policies. Rural Ireland helped give us our majority in the House. People in rural Ireland have for the past two years experienced the greatest upsurge ever in their incomes. The farming community have enjoyed a degree of prosperity which they never enjoyed before. Deputy Blaney was in charge of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries during those two years.
Deputy FitzGerald referred to us as disreputable characters and then he raised a succession of points of order because Deputy Boland defended himself. Deputy FitzGerald is new in this House. I should like to advise all the new Deputies that it is the Government's function to get the business of  the House through. For that reason we normally restrain our Deputies in debate, but our Deputies are not going to be restrained by any direction from me in the face of charges such as Deputy FitzGerald and others have made this afternoon.
The Taoiseach: Some Deputies objected to the individual Ministers whom I had nominated for appointment. They objected on the grounds that they were arrogant and that they had failed in their administration. I assure the Deputies opposite that if any one of the Ministers on this side of the House fail I acknowledge that as a failure of the Government. There will nor be any scapegoat in this Government. If any one Minister failed then it was a failure of the Government, but we did not fail. The people believed we did not fail. They knew we did not fail and that is why we are back here on these benches.
Let me turn now to the so-called smear campaign. I repeat what Deputy Boland said. We attacked the extreme socialist policies of the Labour Party because we believed their policy was contrary to the traditions of the Irish people and inimical to their aspirations. We will continue to attack it. We attacked the Labour policy successfully during this general election. If one can call that “smear” then we are guilty of it. We did not attack individuals. We attacked published policy. The Labour Party should not suggest that they did not have time to get their policies across to the people. Their policy was promulgated at the annual meeting over one and a half years ago. They filled in on it at the last annual conference held at the latter end of last year. This is now June and the Labour Party had one year to get their preliminary policy across and six months to deal with the detailed policy. That policy has been rejected, not because it was misunderstood by the people but because they did not want it. Deputies talk about “smear” when everything they possibly could dig up was thrown at us. Arrogance has been dealt with. I wonder where the arrogance came  from? Land deals have been mentioned. The Criminal Justice Bill has been mentioned.
The Taoiseach: Reference was made to milk prices. The parties opposite had everything in their favour. They suggested that, because of some failure of these Opposition parties to get together to suggest to the people they had a chance of an alternative Government, we succeeded. We succeeded because we are a progressive Government. As Deputy Dr. Noël Browne said, we have more progressive legislation to our credit than any other party in this country. We have more progressive legislation to our credit than any other Government, socialist or otherwise, in Western Europe. We did not attack Fine Gael policies to any extent. Even though Deputy Cosgrave seemed to suggest that their policies were still alive Fine Gael policies have been rejected eight times in the last four and a half years. The “Just Society” policy was rejected at the last general election, in at least six by-elections and now again at this general election. We did not consider attacking that policy presented much of a problem.
I want to talk about the new Department. I am not going to speak very long because I want to finish the business so that we can get about the job of having the Ministers sanctioned. I decided many months ago that, if Fianna Fáil got back, a new Department was to be set up. I recognise that, with all the resources at our command, financial, physical and human, we could still dissipate those resources unless they were properly co-ordinated under some one umbrella. Having been returned to power, I decided I would do this and, in order to do so, certain adjustments had to be made in the Government.
Let me say this. Deputy Kevin Boland said earlier he was not interested in office. He came to me and said if I did not want him on the front bench he was quite happy to go to the back benches. But I told Deputy Kevin Boland that I had this idea and that I wanted this co-ordination and rationalisation of our building construction  potential. I knew it was going to be a difficult job. I knew it would take some planning. I also wanted to ensure our social legislation would be as advanced as our resources could possibly make it. I made up my mind that Deputy Kevin Boland was the man to take charge of Social Welfare and that Deputy Neil Blaney was the man to take charge of Planning and Construction. That is the reason why this new Department is being set up and that is the reason why Deputy Kevin Boland was asked by me to take over the Department of Social Welfare. That is not to suggest by any means that the Deputy who was in it, Deputy Joe Brennan, was inadequate for the job because under his aegis, more strides were made in social welfare than under any Minister ever in this State.
The Taoiseach: It was suggested we won this election by default. Let me repeat again. We fought the election on the basis of our record of progress particularly over the last ten years. We fought it on the basis of our published programme and let nobody say, Deputy FitzGerald or anyone else, that this was a programme provided for us by civil servants. This Government was appointed not as puppets for civil servants and certainly not as puppets for any members of the Opposition. This programme was formulated as a result of deliberate policy by each and every one of the Ministers of the past Government in the sphere of responsibility over which he had clear control. This policy was published and adumbrated by me in broad outline in my Ard-Fheis speech long before the Third Programme was published. It was on the Third Programme, a realistic programme of social and economic expansion, that we fought this election. We told the people what that programme contained and we pursued our policies vigorously before the populace as we are going to pursue  them vigorously in this House notwithstanding any attempt to delay our progress by the people opposite.
Let me say one final thing. Earlier today Deputy Dr. Browne spoke about their being small in numbers but they could beat us in many respects. I knew what he was referring to, this so-called superior intellectual capacity. There are two attributions I just cannot stand. The first is an intellectual and the second is a worker. I regard everybody who is doing a job in this country a worker whether he works with his head, his hands or anything else.
The Taoiseach: Whether a person is an intellectual or not often means that one has not had the advantage of going to a university or, having gone to a university, has not had the means or facility of taking a secondary degree. The intellectual capacity on this side of the House is as good as on any side of the House. The people have proved that by returning Fianna Fáil Governments in successive elections since 1932. I do not want to go into the details. It is very difficult, winding up a debate that has been as protracted as this one, without referring to some points made earlier on.
When this Government have been approved each and every one of them, every member of the Government, will be on his toes to ensure that every aspect of Fianna Fáil policy is carried out effectively and expeditiously. We are going to pursue and follow a programme that will ensure that when the next election comes the posters about “Fine Gael Will Win” will be very scarce, very sparse. We are going to ensure by the progress we will make under our policy that Fianna Fáil will be back again in five years time.
Andrews, David. Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Burke, Partick J.
Connolly, Gerard C.
de Valera, Vivion.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
Gogan, Richard P.
Boland, Kevin. Healy, Augustine A.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lenihan, Patrick J.
Loughnane, William A.
Clinton, Mark A.
Conlan, John F.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Enright, Thomas W.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
|Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Connell, John F.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Sullivan, John L.
 Question declared carried.
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