Tuesday, 9 March 1982
Dáil Eireann Debate
 I should like to explain that I have allocated the members of the Government to the Departments on the basis of the existing divisions of responsibility. I do not, however—and this has been stated from our side of the House before — regard the existing allocation of ministerial functions in some areas as satisfactory and I will be making new dispositions in these areas. I am speaking in particular about the areas of Energy, Commerce, Industry, Trade and Transport. For the information of the Dáil, I propose to nominate Mr. Patrick Connolly, SC, for appointment by the President as Attorney General.
It is customary for the Taoiseach to say a few words on the appointment of the Government and the manner in which they hope to undertake their responsibilities. The return of the Fianna Fáil Government to office today is an historic occasion since it marks the 50th anniversary of the election of the first Fianna Fáil Government in 1932.
Since that day our people have always looked to Fianna Fáil for good, stable Government as an essential precondition of the achievement of our national objectives and of our country's economic and social progress.
Previous Fianna Fáil Governments have, from time to time, relied on support in the Dáil from Deputies outside the ranks of the Fianna Fáil Party. We welcome such support. It has not prevented us in the past from performing our duty to the nation, nor will it prevent us from doing so now. We believe that the entry of this Government into office will bring the political uncertainty of recent times to an end, and initiate a period of the kind of political and parliamentary stability required for effective Government.
We face major economic difficulties but this Government do not intend to spend valuable time decrying our situation, nor do we propose to engage in the negative politics of berating our predecessors. Our people now want a positive outlook, a new start and an end to political uncertainty and economic gloom.
The immediate task is to implement a  budget. We have already indicated an outline of how the budget proposals introduced in January should be altered. We will now see how that budget can be recast so as to increase employment, mitigate inflation and increase social equity. We will, also immediately be setting to work to produce, in consultation with the social partners, an emergency plan to deal with the unemployment crisis. We have already outlined a number of measures designed to boost capital investment and jobs in the construction industry. We will also work assiduously to prevent factory closures, and to stem job losses.
We also intend to treat as a major priority one of the areas most affected by high unemployment, the inner city of Dublin. The revival of the inner city of our national capital is in the interests of the whole nation. Our aim is to recreate a Dublin of which the nation can be proud, and to provide an imaginative approach to a problem which exists in many other countries.
In the light of the Supreme Court decision on controlled rent accommodation urgent action is required to avoid hardship for a large number of tenants, many of whom are elderly, before existing arrangements run out towards the end of next month.
This Government are determined to use every lawful means to protect the safety and security of the State. Our aim will be to provide proper protection for all our people so that they may go about their daily lives in peace and safety and without intimidation. We will firmly and impartially uphold the law of the land, constitutional democracy and the rights and liberties of the individual.
The successful attainment of our new social objectives will call for a new approach both in the formulation of our policies and in their application and administration. We must create a society of greater equity and equality in keeping with our traditions and the solemn commitment made in Easter Week to cherish all the children of the nation equally.
The world economic environment in  which the Irish economy functions is at last showing some signs of improvement. World trade is forecast to increase this year and accordingly a major export effort will be required so that we can take full advantage of this opportunity.
World oil prices have begun to fall and I intend to carry out immediately an indepth examination of every aspect of our energy situation having special regard to the fact that we are paying more, pre-tax, for our oil products than anywhere else in Europe.
We will look later at the price of gas and at the potential for reductions in the price of petrol and other oil-based fuels, and the operation of the ESB's fuel variation surcharge mechanism. A reduction in the oil import bill this year would have major implications for the economy and, together with other factors, could assist us in bringing about an improvement in our balance of payments deficit.
No one contests, however, that we still have to face a very difficult economic situation which will call for prudent management, discipline and restraint for some time to come. Unemployment will not be mastered overnight. Inflation must be brought down to the European norm as rapidly as possible. High interest rates are having a crippling effect not only on family budgets but on production and investment both in industry and agriculture. It would appear, in addition, that inadequate provision has been made for health, for housing and for other special priorities. We face formidable problems, but we will deal with them with courage and determination, imagination and vision.
When in Government, we mounted with considerable success a major effort between August 1980 and June 1981 to rescue Irish farming from despondency and depression. The situation has not greatly advanced since then. It is a problem that we have to tackle now with renewed vigour, and the new Minister for Agriculture will be immediately plunged into intensive farm price negotiations in Brussels. We will be seeking a substantial overall price increase with whatever special measures may be necessary, and we  will strongly defend the long-term future of the common agricultural policy.
The first political priority of this Government will continue to be the quest for a solution to the tragic problem of Northern Ireland. It is the gravest of all our problems which, for too long, has distorted relations between Ireland and Britain, has been a severe drain on our resources, and continues to endanger Irish lives and livelihoods. No opportunity can be lost which offers any prospect of finding a lasting solution.
It is my hope that progress will be resumed on the political initiative begun by the British Prime Minister and myself in Dublin Castle in December 1980. While I would welcome any political progress that might be made between the two communities in Northern Ireland, overall responsibility for satisfactorily resolving the problem lies with the two sovereign Governments and must be exercised by them.
I attach great importance to the development of the Anglo-Irish Council structure and to the incorporation of an effective parliamentary tier to the council structure and, in this connection, I look forward to consultations on any new initiative brought forward by the British Government.
The economic crisis in Northern Ireland, which is of a more acute and deep-seated nature than the difficulties we are suffering here, makes it essential that political stability be restored and that closer economic co-operation between the two parts of Ireland be established.
We look forward to, and will actively seek to bring closer, the day when the rights of self-determination of all the people of Ireland will again be exercised in common, and when the final withdrawal of the British military and political presence takes place. We shall seek the active encouragement of the British Government and international backing and support for our efforts to bring all the parties involved around the conference table where we will be prepared to go to very great lengths indeed to meet and accommodate the interests, identity and aspirations of all the traditions on this island.
A Cheann Comhairle, an invitation  which was extended to my predecessor has now been extended to me by President Reagan to lunch at the White House on St. Patrick's Day, and I have been honoured to accept this invitation. While it will be difficult for an incoming Taoiseach to undertake a visit abroad so soon after coming into office, the bonds of friendship and the ties of kinship that exist between Ireland and the United States of America ensure that the acceptance of this gracious invitation takes precedence over all difficulties.
The immediate task of our Government will be to restore confidence on a basis of stability which we alone are capable of providing. We will strive to govern with courage, enlightenment and imagination and to mobilise the resources of our country to return to the path of progress and achievement. We will move away from the abnormal and depressing atmosphere which has recently prevailed. We will create the opportunities that our young people need and the comfort and security that our older people have earned.
Dr. FitzGerald: A Cheann Comhairle, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say we in Government have transformed the economic climate of politics and that on all sides the politics of promises is the politics of yesterday's men. The achievement of this new realism was painful, but so is any worthwhile achievement. We can, I believe, say the achievement is an asset we leave behind us and its maintenance will, if the Government are wise, yield political benefits to the Government and the country the Government are elected to serve.
In contrast to most of the 1970s, when Ireland compiled an enviable  record of rapid economic growth and structural change, the record since about 1979 has been one of serious weakening in many areas.
It is quite evident that the Irish economy has been notably less successful than the economies of many other Fund members in adjusting to the steep fall in the terms of trade which has taken place since 1979.
The borrowing requirement of the Exchequer has grown enormously in recent years and, even after the restraining measures of the July Supplementary Budget, is expected to reach the equivalent of more than 16 per cent of GNP. Even more striking, however, has been the way in which the Government's deficit has been financed. In 1977-78 net foreign borrowing by the Government totalled about £110 million; in the subsequent two years this rose roughly by a factor of ten, to £1,075 million.
If the present build-up of foreign debt were to continue unabated Ireland's credit rating overseas might be downgraded and the authorities might then have to restrain domestic activity abruptly and in a way which would have important repercussions on employment.
A delayed or partial approach would risk the credibility of the Government's programme and compromise its chances for success. Of primary importance is the need to convince the public of the necessity to deal effectively with the economic problems facing Ireland since only by doing so can a programme of adjustment succeed. Above all, it is important that the public realise that increased Government spending cannot provide the answer to these problems.
During my period as Taoiseach the Government took significant steps to reverse the slide towards national insolvency which had been accelerating since 1977 and particularly, as the IMF pointed out, since 1979. It is a measure of our achievement that the Opposition were  brought to express, if somewhat reluctantly, during their election campaign, acceptance in principle of the structure of the financial proposals to be developed and in particular of the halving of the current deficit of almost £1,400 million for 1982 which was our legacy from the previous administration. I sincerely hope the Taoiseach does not — as he did before—change his mind about the need to secure our financial solvency, to maintain as a priority the value of our currency upon which the living standards of our workers depend and to protect our ability to borrow abroad without dependence on external guarantees. Such guarantees carry with them constraints on the freedom of a country to pursue its own policies of national development and income redistribution.
Some of the statements and remarks heard from the Opposition during the course of the election campaign, especially those involving an increase of £158 million in the underlying current deficit and borrowing, give cause for doubt that they have fully absorbed the message we have been at pains to elaborate and which the electorate, to a remarkable degree, has accepted. The statement of Deputy Gregory here this afternoon must add to this disquiet.
We set the public finances on a course which, if maintained, will allow us have continued access to the necessary foreign funds for productive investment purposes. Indeed it is our sensible and measured strategy which will allow, over the longer term, greater potential for the growth and expansion of our economy without which the future for our growing young population would be bleak indeed. We insisted on protecting the interests of this new generation from those who, moved by considerations of immediate self-interest and devoid of special concern for the young, would pile up burdens for them to discharge in years to come. You do not — to use the Taoiseach's words just now — create opportunities for the young by piling on their shoulders debts to pay for our inflated living standards, inflated beyond our means at the present time. Our Government's action restored international confidence in our  ability to manage our own affairs and averted the threat of a loss of credit-worthiness. May that threat be kept at bay by our successors.
This Government, like ours, has been elected on a small and, in the nature of things, somewhat uncertain majority. But if its leadership can muster the courage this time to carry through the policy which we have already brought such a distance — of cutting back the budget deficit and reducing our dependence on foreign borrowing, by making the right, if temporarily unpopular decisions — members of this Party will not cause them embarrasment in this House on those issues.
We did not play politics with the people's money while we were in government. We will not do so in Opposition. When it came to the task of seeking the support of this House for a Government we proposed only such adjustments to our budgetary proposals as could be undertaken within our self-imposed budgetary constraints, through alternative revenue-raising measures. We shall help as far as possible to facilitate the continued restoration of the sound economic and financial base we need in order to strengthen policies to foster economic expansion, with the creation of worthwhile jobs, giving hope for the future of our people. We will, however, resist by every parliamentary means any proposals which in our opinion would worsen the national situation, threaten our credit worthiness or our currency and thus the living standards of our people.
I turn to another and vitally important theme on which the Taoiseach has touched. There is a good deal of agreement between the incoming Government and ourselves about the development of the new institutional Anglo-Irish relationship. Our experience in government, however, only reconfirmed the fact that the claims made by the Fianna Fáil administration early last year about progress towards Irish unity in the Anglo-Irish framework were specious. These unnecessary and exaggerated claims, far from promoting consensus in this island, did serious damage to the relationship between the peoples of our two major  traditions. We will support the incoming Government in their development of the Anglo-Irish institutional relationship but we will resolutely oppose any attempt to make political capital out of this grave problem.
There appears to be a difference between ourselves and the incoming Government on one aspect of Northern Irish policy — the question of devolved government for Northern Ireland. We believe, as do the overwhelming majority of the people of Northern Ireland, that there should be a system of devolved government in Northern Ireland in which the leaders of both sections of the community would participate and which would command a wide consensus across the community divisions. For our part, when in Government, we worked hard with the British Government and with political leaders in Northern Ireland to help create the atmosphere and the foundation for such a system which we would regard as a vital component of the new Anglo-Irish arrangements. It will be extremely difficult to construct such a system but the attempt to do so must receive encouragement from here and not — as we heard during the election campaign — dismissal and discouragement. May I say at this point that I listened carefully to what the Taoiseach said. I noted that he did not repeat those remarks here and I am for the moment encouraged by his silence in terms of not criticising the concept of the development of devolved government. I hope that silence is as significant as it seemed at the time of his speech.
When we came to Government in July last year despair hung heavily over both sections of the community in Northern Ireland. On the Nationalist side the Provisional IRA held the initiative while, on the majority side, the rise of Paisley and Loyalist extremism seemed inexorable and irreversible. The situation has now changed greatly for the better. Nationalists, North and South, have rejected the attempts of the Provisional IRA to abuse their humanitarian concerns, the politicial process has restarted in Northern Ireland and, as the recent South Belfast  election demonstrated, Unionists too are showing themselves capable of rejecting extremism. Our Government played an honourable and important part in helping to restore a measure of stability and confidence to Northern Ireland. Our objective was, as I have often said, to help to bring to Northern Ireland the one ingredient which its people most urgently require and which they have lacked most in recent years—hope. It is the duty of this new Government to continue to work for that objective. My Party and the Irish people, North and South, will oppose and will not forgive any actions or statements which could only provoke despair or hostility in Northern Ireland, and I hope and expect that there will not be such statements.
While in office we launched a major Constitutional review with the object of developing a truly Republican Constitution such as we might have had in Ireland had partition never taken place. Fine Gael, in Opposition, will continue this work, and when returned to power, will put before the Irish people constitutional proposals which will command the support of a majority, not alone in the South but in both sections of the community in Northern Ireland — a Constitution acceptable to all the Irish people. In the meantime I and my party will continue to use every opportunity to maintain and develop our contacts with the leadership of both sides in Northern Ireland. I call on this Government to do likewise and not to neglect some of these contacts, as was done during the four years before we came to office. The Taoiseach has in the past made much of the phrase “the totality of relationships”. Within that totality surely the most challenging and difficult relationship of all for an Irish Government, and the central key to this great issue, is the relationship between ourselves and those on this island whom we see as our fellow Irishmen but who, for their part, are reluctant to have a political association with us. If the Government do not work for such a relationship the phrase will be devoid of reality, devoid of meaning —“the totality of relationships” will be simply another piece of rhetorical bombast.
 I can assure this Government that my party will support and complement every effort to build trust and hope and to promote peace, stability and reconciliation among the people of Ireland. In the meantime, however — and this is what might be described as a warning shot across the bows of a Cabinet founded on what has the appearance of a reintroduction of a policy of promises unrelated to available resources, — my Party will vote against the appointment of this Government.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I propose to make a brief rejoinder to the Taoiseach's statement here this evening on the composition of his Government and to withhold more detailed comment on their programme of government until they introduce their budget.
I suppose it is ironic that the Taoiseach comes back to office in the time that should legitimately belong to his term of office. The previous Government, of which he was Taoiseach, would still be in office had he not unexpectedly called a general election last year. Those of us who had been in the House in that period will know that he has never been able to give a satisfactory answer for the mysterious reasons which led him to call that general election last year when he had a far more secure majority than he has at present and, if one might say so, greater uniformity amongst his allies, strange though his allies might have been at that time. Today his allies are strange indeed and large though his party is the tripod on which his Cabinet rests, is very strange indeed; it is a tribute to the Taoiseach's wheeling and dealing capacities that he has convinced people to support him here today. Whatever about the naivety of those whom he has convinced there is no doubt about the talents of the Taoiseach when it came to convincing them. I do, in advance, sympathise with his allies — tough though their analysis of the economy may be, class-conscious though they may be they have been taken for a short walk here this afternoon. Although I understand their entry to the Chamber was unorthodox, their eagerness to support the Taoiseach was unquestioned. I  compliment the Taoiseach on his capacities in that direction. Most of us would agree with what he had to say about the need for action to dispel the despondency affecting the unfortunate people and the need to reduce the level of inflation. All of this was very familiar because the Taoiseach is a past master when it comes to presenting a case on television or in this House but when it comes to action the story is not quite so convincing.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I assure the Taoiseach that the Labour Party will offer constructive opposition in this House. We will not oppose simply for the sake of opposing. We will offer constructive criticism and suggestions and we will offer harsh criticism where that is necessary. When the Taoiseach was last in office he presided over an economy which saw an increase of over 40,000 people out of work. My first question to him — I must say his humour was not so good the night I met him — was what he would do differently this time from last time. However, he took the question amiss. The Taoiseach is a man who is not accustomed to questions of that kind but there was a serious kernel to that question. I wanted to know what he intended doing differently this time from last time when he had a majority of 20 in this House. The Taoiseach will be judged above all by his actions in the economic area, about how he deals with the growing problem of unemployment and how he faces up to the matter of the disarray in our public finances. These questions remain and they must be treated seriously by the Cabinet. For all our sakes let us hope they do treat them seriously.
When the Taoiseach came before this House two years ago I said he would be judged by performance. I repeat now that he and his Cabinet will be judged by their performance in the difficult period ahead. I congratulate the members of the Cabinet on their appointments. The tasks ahead are difficult but not impossible  given the determination to tackle them. The Labour Party will offer constructive opposition.
In our period in office we left some elements of our policy on the Statute Book. The institution of the Youth Employment Agency will be effective and I hope will put a number of young people in gainful employment. I regret that the National Development Corporation cannot be started. One of the big differences in policy between us and the Government is that they were committed to the concept of an enterprise agency and had little or no interest in the National Development Corporation. The Taoiseach displayed as little interest in that project in the discussions he had with Deputy Desmond, Deputy Higgins and myself as he did in the whole question of capital taxation. As he waved us away with an impatient, imperial hand I got the impression that to him the subject of capital taxation was a matter of supreme irrelevance. I do not regard it as such. We are dealing with a society impatient for justice in this area and one that will not brook delay in this matter. Whatever the ideological nature of his new-found allies they will not camouflage him from criticism if he does not act in this area. Neither will the criticism of the Labour Party be muted if there is no action.
For the sake of the country I hope the Cabinet will attempt to cope energetically with unemployment and with the matter of bringing some order into our public finances. The drain on our resources through interest on foreign payments must be stopped and the matter of restoring some independence to our economic policy must not be shirked by the Cabinet. I was proud to serve our country during seven difficult months. We put our country first in an attempt to put right some of the problems affecting the economy.
I congratulate the members of the Cabinet and I give a friendly warning to the Taoiseach that wheeling and dealing will not settle the criticisms of the Labour Party nor will any guarantor of any pledges. No safe, locked or otherwise, will hold any promises from us. We will  want to know here in this House what the Taoiseach intends to do. We will be here day after day to see if he is living up to the promises given. We have here now a party of all the political tendencies, the grand Coalition stretching from the various wings in Fianna Fáil, right across the agonised middle——
Mr. M. O'Leary: One hopes that the good humour of these innocents, with their supporters and relatives in the gallery cheering them on, will last the three weeks examination before them. I hope they will turn with equally good humour to the question of the budget.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I do not wish to interrupt their merriment on their night of victory. It will be a short victory because ugly reality has to be faced in the morning and in the next few months of this Government. We will wait to see how they meet that challenge.
Mr. G. Mitchell: On a point of order, for the information of the House will the Taoiseach say which Deputy he is proposing for the position of Tánaiste in keeping with the requirement of the Constitution? This was not clear from his introductory remarks.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: I have seen many Governments come and go and I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without making a comment. This is the only occasion Parliament will get of dealing with every aspect of the appointment of members of the Government. As I said earlier today, if Deputies cherish their rights as elected Members of Parliament, they  have the right on the occasion of the appointment of a Government to express openly, publicly and without fear of contradiction any comments they wish to make on that Government.
When Deputies FitzGerald and O'Leary had spoken I was afraid the occasion would be allowed to pass with only two Deputies contributing. I am anxious to make my contribution. If Deputies examine the records of the House for the past 39 years they will see that I have contributed on every occasion.
May I wish the Taoiseach good health, strength and an abundance of wisdom so that he will carry out well the duties assigned to him today. To many of us the Taoiseach appears to possess unusual qualities. These unusual qualities that he possesses are such that we cannot close our eyes to them, and here I want to say that as he has survived successfully the events of the seventies and the leadership problems in his party he has also survived the campaign of disgraceful vilification by the media.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: I, too, was a victim of vilification by the media after the Locke's Tribunal in 1948. I was the victim of media vilification on my appointment by Mr. Cosgrave as Minister for Defence. I survived it, but it is only right when a new Government take office that it should be made very clear here that it is this Parliament and the Government who run the country, not a group of journalists or penpushers——
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: We have to go out to look for the votes of the people. Members of the Government have to look for their votes. While it may be right to publish the truth about persons, if that is malicious and is done with the intention  to do character harm, then it is morally wrong and a mortal sin.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: The country needs energetic leadership. Sitting at home during the election compaign I listened attentively to the television debate between Deputies FitzGerald and Haughey and I was alarmed and astounded that neither referred to the farmers or the state of Irish agriculture. Every Member of Parliament had been lobbied by farming interests during the campaign. We know that the economy of Ireland depends largely on agriculture and on the farmers, and it was frightening therefore to notice that they were not worthy of a syllable of reference in that television debate. I warn the Government, and particularly the man the Taoiseach has assigned to the Department of Agriculture, Deputy Lenihan, that the task facing him will not be an easy one.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: The entire economy depends on agriculture and on the efforts of the farmers. We have been hearing about rising unemployment. The figures are alarming to every public representative. The economy is in such bad shape because we have allowed our principal industry to sink to such a low level. If we have farmers' incomes dropping steadily we will have less money in circulation and fewer people employed. If we have not got cattle, sheep and pigs to export there will be unemployment in every sector of industry and our balance of payments will be wrong. Therefore, the chief task of the new Government is to get farming back to where it should be.
Mr. Sherlock: On a point of order, though I appreciate the right of a Deputy to speak I must ask for information on which motion Deputy Flanagan is speaking and if all Deputies will be allowed to speak?
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: I will be listening with interest to the speech of Deputy Sherlock. I am sure he will have a contribution to make. One of the reasons why we have such high unemployment, particularly in Dublin, is because the building industry is practically at a standstill. We must get ahead with the building industry and the provision of houses for our people. The building requirements of our nation are important. Is it any wonder that in every town in my constitutency in the past 18 months—not only in the past six months—there has been rising unemployment? There is a housing shortage and building contractors are letting their workers go because they do not have work. One of the first jobs of the Taoiseach should be to instruct his Minister for the Environment to get on with the building industry, to provide our people with employment, houses and homes, requirements that are necessary and eagerly awaited.
In the course of the election campaign we heard a lot of talk about the economic plight of the nation. I am sure that in this House we have a number of economists. I do not profess to possess the high intellectual qualifications of an economist, but I know right from wrong. Is it more important for a Government that the books be kept right? If the books are rigidly kept right it is done at the expense of hungry stomachs and unemployed people. My view is that it is more important to have work, food and wages being paid out than to have the shelves of  Departments full with properly balanced ledgers. Balanced ledgers will not fill any hungry stomachs. The Government must provide sufficient resources so that our people get what they are entitled to— full-time employment, and worthwhile wages. There is no point in putting forward a well-balanced account or a well-balanced ledger on a table to a husband and wife who have six or eight hungry children around that table. That is the kind of policy that has us where we are today. Get on with the spending, get on with the work.
I should like to offer a word of advice to the new Ministers, many of whom held office previously. I have seen many Ministers come and go and I ask the Taoiseach, and his Ministers, to be nice to people on the way up because they will meet the same people on the way down. I am sorry I did not make that speech seven months ago. I ask Ministers to forget the political affiliations of all Members and receive them with courtesy, understanding and an anxiety to help. During my brief period as a Minister I received all Deputies who wanted to meet me with what I considered to have been an abundance of courtesy and welcome.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Thank you very much. At least one Deputy is expressing appreciation. If a Deputy desires to have his correspondence dealt with by the permanent civil servant of a Department, I beg the Ministers to permit that. Whatever else we may have we certainly have a most impartial, first class, and wonderful civil service. The civil service cannot be criticised and are above every form of reproach. In the period of office of the former Government I addressed all my correspondence, in the case of one Department, to the secretary. In fact I always address my correspondence to the secretary except when I am anxious that the Minister should see a file. I wrote to the secretary I am referring to about five times daily but I always got the replies from the Minister; he pushed them on. I should like to pay tribute publicly to the  secretary of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, Mr. Ó Reagáin, who informed me on the change of Government last June that if I wanted my correspondence dealt with by him his office would be happy to do so. That was done with the height of efficiency and courtesy. That is more than I can say for some Departments. I hope that the secretary of the Department I am indirectly referring to will, from tomorrow, realise his responsibility and have my correspondence dealt with by his office.
Deputies perform a great role. We are the link between the people we represent and the Government. If the link breaks it means that somebody does not have the knowledge he should have. I have seen many Governments fall because the link broke. I advise the Government not to let the link between the people and the Government break. One way that link can be broken is by ignoring the elected Members. I am not asking the Government to take bell, book and candle but to resolve that they will listen carefully, fully and attentively to all Members. That is the essence of democracy. If we want Parliament to function and if we want Government by the people to function there must be an ear between the Government and the people.
I have often thought that we were nearing the stage where democracy here was becoming irrelevant. When people take to the streets that is a dangerous sign. This is the place to make a protest. My advice to the Taoiseach is: do not permit Ministers to make statements outside the House in dancehalls and at bingo sessions and such places. Let them make public statements in this House, which is the appropriate place. We are tired of having important pronouncements made outside the House. I think that is wrong for democracy and deprives Parliament of the function of debating important statements and issues. Let the new Government resolve that important pronouncements will not be made outside the House at dinners or dancehalls. Let them be made in this House so that Parliament will be seen to be fully effective in every respect.
 Deputy Gregory referred to the problems of the inner city of Dublin. One would imagine that Dublin belonged only to the people of Dublin. Dublin is our city and we all share it. It is the capital of Ireland. We love our capital, those of us who have not had the privilege of having been bred, born or reared there. We look on it with pride and joy and delight. It is the place to which we come from the country to do important business. Dublin is not the property of the people of Dublin but of Ireland and its people. That is why we are glad to see that some steps will be taken to restore the city to what it was. The city of Dublin has been allowed to vanish before our eyes. I hope that as a result of the united efforts of Deputy Gregory and of all Dublin Deputies of all parties — the Lord Mayor has an important part which I am sure he will play in this matter—Dublin will be built up and that instead of huge office blocks, many of them foreign-financed and foreign-owned, we will have houses and homes so that Dublin people will be able to enjoy living in their own city.
Do not allow foreign office block owners to take over the whole city and drive Dublin people into the country. Dublin people respect and love their city; build it up for them and make it a place where they can live with their flats, their homes, their schools and other educational facilities and not have it as a huge block of aluminium and glass. Let there be children running around and life in the city and do not have many parts of it used for only six or eight hours a day. I am glad that some steps have been taken in that regard.
I want to issue a further warning to the Taoiseach. Our economy is important but to me national security is of equal importance. We must make sure that our country is safe and sound nationally. I ask the new Government to bring about a new feeling in relation to many matters that have been overlooked and forgotten in the past, such as love and respect for our Flag and our National Anthem, respect, encouragement and love for our native language. We must not forget our national outlook and responsibilities. There are many Members of this House  that the foreigners have not taken over fully yet. I expect to have greater emphasis on civics in our schools. I hope the new Minister for Education will take a sympathetic view of this matter. Unless love of country, our national heritage and culture and our aspirations is taught in the schools there can be no hope for them. There is now an opportunity to make a fresh start on the occasion of a new Government. If we are proud to be Irish let us be Irish: let us not be 75 per cent foreigners and 25 per cent Irish.
To me this is a country full of great hope but the quality of life here is changing drastically. I want the new Government to protect our traditional quality of life. The quality of life at present is not anything to be proud of—respect for law and order going, respect for the aged going, respect for human life going; public houses, lounge bars and bingo sessions full; homes with little children empty night after night, drinking sessions full, playing fields for our national pastimes empty at weekends. We must change the quality of life in Ireland. That is why I feel the Government must make a fresh start. Let sufficient police be put on the streets so that we will be able to walk through our towns and cities in safety, so that we will not be mugged, beaten and robbed. Such conduct in Ireland is foreign to the traditions of our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. An end must be put to it before it gets out of hand.
The present quality of life is nothing to be very proud of; let us change it. When it comes to changing the provisions of our Constitution let us consider how such changes would affect the quality of life here and if the Government feel that any changes in our Constitution would worsen the quality of life they should steer clear of them and avoid them like leprosy or the plague. Many in this House are looking forward to the introduction of divorce in this country. Let me sound the warning that on the day that comes about the quality of life will sink deeper and lower. Divorce is not the answer to broken marriages and homes. The real answer is to help the broken homes and  the partners in the broken marriage to come together. Give the people houses, maisonettes and flats. Give them work; give them children's allowances for the families God blesses them with. The introduction of divorce would only bring the country to the lowest possible depths.
Let the new Government pledge themselves to comply with the Constitution in protecting and safeguarding the family, providing it with all the necessities of life. This can be done and must be done but if the liberal-liberals, the pincushion liberals who want divorce, contraception and abortion and every other evil they can think of with their evilly-disposed poison pens can bring these about, they will bring down this country to the lowest depths. Let them go down if they like, but let us preserve what is dear to us and was dear to our forefathers.
A change of Government means more than changing cars, or the passengers in the cars. Governments are changed to deliver the goods to the people, to do the job without fear, to display courage in tackling the serious problems which need to be tackled.
I trust that the Government will endeavour to raise the dignity of the Ministers and of this House. That needs to be done and I am convinced that it can be done. I am glad that the Taoiseach proposes to visit the United States of America on St. Patrick's Day. Let the Members of this House not think for one moment that this proposed visit is merely another trip. I do not view it as such but as a tightening of the bonds of friendship between our two countries. God help us all in the free world if the United States did not exist. I am a believer in democracy and freedom. I see what has taken place in many European countries — Poland, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Albania and others. The free world depends on the United States of America and I wish the Taoiseach well in his  efforts to tighten the bonds of friendship between us. Practically every Irish family has some distant relation in the United States. As lovers of freedom and democracy, let us salute the United States as often as possible and in every possible place.
I ask the Taoiseach and his Ministers to give special consideration also to the tightening of the bonds of friendship between this country and Spain and Greece. Greece, now a member state of the EEC, is where civilisation began. Its rich culture should be known to our people and the bonds of friendship between us should be cherished and improved as much as possible.
It is my intention to contribute more frequently during the lifetime of this Dáil because I will be watching jealously and eagerly the progress of the Government in their ambitions. As one who was, and is, highly critical of Fianna Fáil on many aspects, may I wish them the best of good luck?
When the Taoiseach is appointing his Ministers of State I would ask him not to forget Laois-Offaly. Such representation adds to the status of any constituency. There was a link between Government and my constituency from the early fifties until seven months ago. Admittedly, Deputy Enright and I may not have been ministerial material. However, I have no hesitation in asking the Taoiseach, with three Members available, to honour the people of Laois-Offaly by giving them a Minister of State. It is amazing how useful and helpful a direct link can be in local authority matters, in the arrangement of deputations and in seeing to the general demands of the constituency. I hope that my appeal in relation to the constituency which I have had the proud honour of representing for the past 39 years will not fall on deaf ears.
I again assure the members of the Government of my good wishes and hope that they will courageously tackle the many difficult problems which lie ahead. The next few years will not be easy. There will be difficult questions to answer from this side of the House. I hope that the answers which we receive will reflect a general improvement in living standards  and in the welfare of all our people, who deserve the best.
Our young people today are the best that we have seen in any generation. They deserve to have their problems tackled courageously and jobs created for them as a matter of the highest possible priority. In the newspapers I read criticisms of our young people; editorials criticise them; the pen pushers write about them. Let us remember that if people of my generation had the same distractions and influences of the modern world— drugs, television and many other distractions in addition to unemployment— would we have managed as well as they have? I would ask that special emphasis be put on our young people so that they will have confidence in the Government. We should give them the work and wages that they are entitled to so that they can live in their own country and marry and bring up their families in Christian decency.
Mr. Quinn: I am not sure how to follow that, but I will be very brief. I would like to ask the Taoiseach two questions. Has Deputy Michael O'Kennedy formally resigned his position as Commissioner in the European Community? Second, does the Taoiseach propose to nominate a Member of this House or a Member of the Seanad to the vacancy?
Mr. Harte: I will be brief. This is not a night for recriminations: it is not a night for pious platitudes and it is not a night for back-slapping. I have served in seven Dála and in the last few months, particularly when the General Election was declared, I have never seen such uncertainties in Irish public life. I hope that the Taoiseach will appreciate these uncertainties.
It would be wrong to deny that we on this side of the House are disappointed because I believe we were entitled to a longer term of office than seven months. Of the 21 years that I have been a Member of this House the Government party  elected this evening have been in office almost 15½ years. During that time it never seemed to me that they had the answers to high unemployment, the need for housing, the national problem of North and South. I am a man of 50 years of age, now a grandfather, and during that lifetime Fianna Fáil have been in office for 45½ years. The Taoiseach, in his opening remarks said that it is 50 years since Fianna Fáil came into office. During those 50 years we have gone backwards. There is no evidence to suggest that we are any more prosperous than we were when they originally took office. There is no evidence that the two national problems, the reunification of the country and the national language have been helped. I mention these things because it would be wrong for me to say here tonight that I am not disappointed that Deputy Garret FitzGerald was not given an opportunity to lead this country in the direction which this country should be going in.
I say loud and clear to the Taoiseach that we will be acting in opposition in a constructive way. Let me sound a note of warning. There was no evidence that Fianna Fáil ever attempted to be constructive in their seven months in opposition. But this is not a night for recriminations or pious platitudes, as I have already said. The problems that confront this State at this time are many. They go right across the whole spectrum of life and include agriculture, job creation for young people coming out of colleges with no opportunities for work, new housing, telecommunications. We would like to have tackled those things. In regard to the two interests I have in public life, I will be acting in a constructive way. I worked in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs for the last seven months. I enjoyed it and I think I could have made a contribution. I say to Deputy John Wilson who has taken over that Department to-night that any criticism or help that I offer will be constructive. I realise that unless we have a modern telecommunications system there is no point in talking about industrialising this country. We cannot have jobs unless we have telecommunications which will make us competitive  with the outside world. I will be burying party differences and my disappointment and offering my help, advice and criticism in a constructive way to Deputy Wilson.
I do not want to go into other aspects of public life. Let me say also to the Taoiseach that the other love I have in public life is the unity of the Irish people, the North-South relations that are so important for all of us living on this island. As I have told the Taoiseach privately, I will gladly give any help I can to the present Government in trying to build more bridges between North and South, in trying to understand the Northern Protestant ethic, in trying to understand why that group of one million people have never shown an interest in joining us as a nation and keep opting out. Until we find a solution to this problem the barriers between North and South will continue. That problem transcends all party politics because it was there before Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael came into existence and before this Parliament was ever set up. It will remain until people in this Parliament realise that there must be uniformity of policy to bridge the divide between North and South.
I wish the Taoiseach well in the responsibilities that have been given to him this evening. We would like to have continued the job that we were given seven months ago but that is not to be. Democracy has played its part; we are now on this side of the House and Fianna Fáil are in government. I want to assure the Taoiseach that I will be at his disposal to help towards understanding the Northern problem in a manner that will be constructive and helpful to the Taoiseach. The same applies to any other Minister in the Cabinet, particularly Deputy John Wilson who now has responsibility for the Department for which I had part responsibility for seven months.
Let me conclude by saying that while it is a night of disappointment for Fine Gael and the outgoing Government, it is a night of merriment for the Taoiseach and his Cabinet. I know the Ceann Comhairle will let me pay tribute not only to the Taoiseach but to his wife and to his mother, who is in the Distinguished  Persons' Gallery and who must be a very proud woman tonight, as indeed my mother would be if I was in his place. I wish the Taoiseach a long life to do the job he is there to do. At the first available opportunity we will be trying to get back over there. Politics is one thing and friendship is another. Tonight I am offering the hand of friendship to the Taoiseach across the House to make sure that we can create a society in this island which all of us—Catholic, Protestant, Nationalist and Unionist, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and Independents on the Opposition backbenches—can be proud of. We cannot do that unless we do it together. I am offering the Taoiseach my hand in friendship and I hope it will be reciprocated. I hope that when Deputies on the Opposition benches make their contributions they will be listened to.
Mrs. Fennell: I offer my best wishes to the Taoiseach and his Cabinet. I am rather concerned and regret the fact that there is not a woman in his Cabinet. I know that two women Members of his party were defeated in the election but there are still two excellent women Deputies. I am sorry that they did not figure in the Taoiseach's choice. I hope this is not an indication of what is to come for women here, because everyone in the House accepts the principle of the need for the advancement and recognition of women.
I would be concerned if the impression went out from the House tonight that media involvement in the election campaign was deliberately irresponsible, vicious or partial, as has been said. I recognise that journalists have a job to do, just as we have. They did that job in a fair and balanced way as they saw fit. It is very easy to criticise the press, but it is important to recognise that they are not public relations officers. They have an important job to do. They must report. There are many people, not least politicians, who feel that any critical press is bad journalism. We have a very closed forum here, and I regret that. One of my aspirations is to make what happens in the Dáil more relevant to voters. During  my canvass—I am sure many other Deputies found this also—I found that the public were better informed on the issues on hand, even on controversial difficult issues and complex economic issues. I hand full credit to the media for that. We had deep debate and perceptive reporting. The public benefited. Perhaps some politicians did not like it, but the balance of favour for the voter more than made up for that.
I ask the Taoiseach to consider making the Dáil more accessible to voters. In the meantime to bridge the gap that exists we need a tough courageous press. There is a great responsibility on the press to relate what happens in this Chamber and in the Seanad to the public, not just pronouncements because they come through the Dáil reports, but also the atmosphere, actions and expressions. This is done admirably by many of our excellent professional journalists. I ask them to realise that never before has it been as important as it is now for them to continue to have a probing and inquisitive approach to their work. I appeal to them to continue at the level at which they have been operating for the last month.
Mr. Fitzpatrick: (Cavan-Monaghan): I do not propose to speak at any great length. Normally it is the practice to comment on the members of the new Cabinet. It occurs to me, sitting here looking across the floor of the House, that the composition of the Cabinet is more remarkable for its omissions than its composition. I find is very difficult, having regard to the prevailing conditions in the Fianna Fáil Party, to answer the question why the former Tánaiste, Deputy Colley, is not a member of this Cabinet. He was regarded for some time past, while not terribly brilliant, as a settling influence within the Fianna Fáil Government. An explanation is due to the House from the Taoiseach as to why Deputy Colley is not a member. We should know that.
The economy of the country at present hinges around agriculture. While the present Minister for Agriculture is a likeable man, a man one would like to bring on holidays, a man Deputy Power or I  would like to bring with us to Cheltenham, I wonder what his qualifications are to look after the all-important agriculture industry. The Taoiseach should tell us that.
Another strange omission from the Cabinet, having regard to the fanfare of trumpets with which he returned from Brussels, is the former Commissioner in Brussels, Deputy O'Kennedy. The Taoiseach should tell us why he is not in the Cabinet. I would concede immediately that in normal circumstances dealing with a normal party it is up to the Taoiseach of the day to select his Cabinet. If there were not——
Mr. Fitzpatrick: (Cavan-Monaghan): Normally it would not be appropriate for me to question these appointments. It would not be appropriate for me to question the omissions, but there are queer omissions from this Cabinet. Deputy Colley is the queerest of them all. Perhaps he refused to serve in the Cabinet. I would not be surprised. If he did, that also needs an explanation. If he did refuse to serve it is queer that some people who were on the same list as he was were brought in.
Mr. Fitzpatrick: (Cavan-Monaghan): You backed the wrong horse. I will leave it at that. I conclude by saying that this Cabinet is striking in its omissions rather than in its inclusions and I think we need an explanation.
Mr. Higgins: Fáiltim roimh an Rialtas nua agus an foireann a bhéas i gceannas ar na Rannaithe. Gan dabht ar bith tá fadhbanna móra le réiteach san tír faoí láthair agus beimid i bPáirtí an Lucht Oibre ag cur an béim go háirithe ar an tábhacht atá ag baint le fadhbanna dífhostaíochta, títhíochta agus boch-tannais. I leith na trí ábhair sin is mian liom cúpla focal gearr a rá.
I would like to join with other Deputies who have conveyed good wishes to the new Taoiseach and the members of the Cabinet he has announced for a successful term of office in facing the problems that confront us. Three of these problems will govern our measure in the Labour Party as to their performance. The first, above all else, is the question of unemployment; the second is in relation to the planning process itself and the immense problem of the relief of poverty; and the third is bad housing. I intend to confine myself to a couple of remarks this evening because it would not be appropriate to discuss any of these in detail when we are discussing the formation of a new cabinet.
In relation to the list of appointments that have been announced I am disturbed at the omission of a title of a ministry in which one might identify where the planning process might be located. This is not an academic interest of mine because as we face rising unemployment, with figures passing 150,000, it becomes crucial to know how we are using resources and making investment decisions towards the relief of those unemployment figures. It is in the best sense that I, through you, a Cheann Comhairle, recommend to the incoming Cabinet that they do not find themselves in the position in which they found themselves previously, that is, substituting individual disparate projects located throughout the economy for orderly investment which might achieve  regular contributions towards reducing unemployment. In order to do that one would have to commit oneself in advance to a clear, coherent planning process which would include not only financial but also social planning. Many statements have been made here this evening. If we simply list descriptively the problems that face us as a society and at the same time do not order these in terms of their importance to us and indicate how we would propose to allocate scarce resources in a time period, everything falls apart. Therefore, that planning should include social planning.
Many of the Ministers are returning to Cabinet positions. I heard in a statement this afternoon mention of the problem of poverty. The problem of poverty is not a matter of relieving social distress or increasing social welfare levels. It is the other side of the coin of inequality and it derives from the structure of society. A society which is producing unemployment regularly is misusing resources and will put families into poverty which in turn will affect their educational abilities and so on. This cycle must be broken into and it needs a better approach than that of previous administrations, particularly that of the party who have now the responsibility of Government.
I want to make a point in relation to the budget itself. It is important that we hear when it is proposed to introduce the budget and how the budget will be viewed. While it would be too early for that this evening, we would like to hear quite soon about the place of the budget in an overall financial strategy towards relieving problems which face us.
I agree with Deputy Nuala Fennell in her reference to the importance of women's issues in the 23rd Dáil. Sometimes it has been suggested in times of very grave economic crisis that we have had to choose between issues of social advancement and reform, particularly issues involving the greater participation of women in society, and economic issues themselves. This is a great myth. If we accept that argument we could find ourselves in this new Dáil, having made some achievement in the area of women's participation in society and now not directing  our attention to the impact of regular economic and social legislation on the quality of the participation of women in society, losing a great deal of the gains that we have made. I recommend that all the members of the Cabinet keep this question of equality in relation to the participation of both men and women in our society before their minds.
I wish the Taoiseach and his Cabinet well. He will find from the Labour benches a spirit of criticism that will be constructive. I can tell him in advance from what philosophic points that criticism will come. We will be measuring progress in the area of unemployment and within the mechanisms of planning to relieve that unemployment. We will be looking at the outturn in housing and we will be interested in more than stringing together, for example, the different projects within the construction industry. We will be interested in its total impact on the needs in relation to housing. We will be interested in looking at how actions themselves contribute to or erode the structure of equality in our society.
The Taoiseach made reference to the fact that he is unhappy with the existing titles of some of the ministeries to which he intends to allocate occupants. I agree with that point and I ask him to consider seriously the changing of some of these titles. Even in relation to the three criteria that I have mentioned, the question of the orderly creation of employment, the ability to plan and the ability to revitalise the construction industry, many of the existing divisions are archaic and no longer serve a useful purpose. They were brought into existence in different times to serve different needs. I will give one example and I ask the new Taoiseach to be very wide in the review of the titles of ministeries. The Department of Fisheries and Forestry has been mentioned here this evening. I believe that we are one of the very few countries with a coastline which have a ministry with this title. In Canada it is the Department of Oceans and Fisheries. In most other countries the title has something to do with seas and fisheries. If we want to abstract the employment potential that is possible from our coastline and developed fisheries  industry, hydrocarbons, mariculture and so on, we need a ministry with a title much wider than that of fisheries. It would be necessary to accommodate everything that is possible from the sea.
That is but one example of where the trite definition and title of a ministry can serve as an obstruction to the achievement of employment by way of planning. I will not delay on this, but to do even a single thing within that Department with the best intention in the world may involve the work of six or seven other Departments. Nothing would be served in the public interest if one Department frustrates the intentions of another. I make this point generally. Similarly, in relation to construction projects, if one wants to have a total outturn of investment into construction and get buildings built and employment for the people about whom I have been speaking, it is ridiculous to have construction spread in a disparate way across a whole series of different Departments when this function which would have an employment effect might be combined differently. I offer this in support of the suggestion contained to look again at titles of ministeries.
I conclude by saying that the spirit of the Labour Party, in looking forward to a more complete debate on the economy, will be to give clearly and quickly our approach on the economy and identify the problem of unemployment. These are the related criteria by which we will be judging the performance of the Government. We will be offering constructive criticism.
Mr. Dukes: I join with my colleagues on this side in wishing the Taoiseach and the members of the Cabinet well in their responsibilities and in particular I wish Deputy Ray MacSharry well in his new responsibility. It is very different from the last one that he held in Government. He and I know what the relationship quite often is between Ministers for Agriculture and Ministers for Finance and I am sure Deputy MacSharry will acquit himself extremely well in that kind of function.
 While wishing Deputy Lenihan well as Minister for Agriculture, I would point out that some months ago when we discussed the appointment of Senator Dooge as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Lenihan gave a long lecture on how important it was for members of the Government to have experience in their constituency clinics that would be directly relevant to their job in Government. I wonder about the direct relevance of Deputy Lenihan's constituency clinics to the problems of agriculture and I should like to hear him discourse just as learnedly on the topic on this occasion. I am sure he will find that his clinics will not be quite as relevant to the job as they might be were he a representative of, for example, Sligo-Leitrim, Cavan-Monaghan, Kildare, North Tipperary or Carlow-Kilkenny.
There are some items of business which I should like to indicate in particular for the attention of the new Minister for Agriculture and the incoming Government, items which are of extreme importance to our agricultural sector which need rapid attention and urgent action. I refer in the first instance to the credit problems in agriculture which are well documented. We had brought to finality a response to the main problems being faced in particularly severe cases throughout the country. I refer to the arrangements which we negotiated with the associated banks and the ACC and for which we provided funds in our budget proposals on 27 January. I would be most concerned that this arrangement would be implemented immediately.
The second area which needs urgent attention is the expansion of the livestock herd. In our proposals for the Estimates this year we provided £5.5 million for a scheme to encourage increases in the number of breeding heifers and we are entitled to know whether this scheme will be immediately implemented so that planning for the expansion of our livestock herd, which is essential not only for agriculture but also to the development of jobs in our food industry, can continue and go forward on a basis of confidence.
Thirdly, the immediate business to which the new Minister must address  himself and which will arise at the beginning of next week is the next stage in negotiations in Brussels on price proposals for 1982-83. This is an area where immediate attention and a firm approach are needed. The new Minister for Agriculture must co-operate very closely with his colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, because there is a very complex situation where the chances of securing agreement on an adequate prices package are indissolubly linked with the problem of the overall Community budget. In this area we should get an assurance from the Government that this problem will receive priority attention and will be dealt with in such a way that farmers will be offered a reasonable price increase plus the other measures which have been put forward and pressed with the Commission during our term of office.
While wishing well the new Government and the individual members in the discharge of their responsibilities, I wish to make it quite clear that we indicated during our period of office what the lines were on which we felt progress should be made and I refer in particular to agriculture. That line of action has been endorsed throughout the country by farming opinion in general and it is a line with which the present Government when in opposition found little to argue. I want to be sure that in the provisions made in the forthcoming budget there will be adequate finance for those measures and that the present Government are not sitting on those benches at the price of a sell-out of the resources needed to ensure that we have agricultural production.
Mr. G. Mitchell: I join other Members in congratulating the Taoiseach and Ministers and wishing them well. I do not want to cover ground already covered by other speakers. I am a relatively new Member of this House, this being my second term of office, and I hope I do not have to seek a third term in the near future. For the sake of the 105,000 people who sent me here it is most important that there should be Dáil reform. This should be the objective of all Members, including those who now have some power.
I am appalled at the lack of input by private Members into the legislative process. This is absolutely disastrous and it is a matter on which I have commented several times. I appeal to the new Taoiseach to deal with this matter in the interests of the people who sent us here to put across their views and to participate in the legislative process. Democracy will be weakened and the parliamentry system on which we depend will be threatened if we do not participate in that process. There must be changes in the area of input by elected Members on all sides.
Having heard the maiden speech of a Deputy from this city, I very much regret announcements which usurp the authority of Dublin Corporation, of which I am a member. The powers of local authorities have already been significantly usurped and I appeal to the incoming Minister for the Environment to implement necessary local government reforms, especially in the Dublin region. Each member of Dublin Corporation represents the same number of people as an average county council. This is a problem which should not be lightly treated. I protest very strongly that a Deputy in his maiden speech should be permitted to say what will or will not happen in the Dublin region when that decision should be a matter for the local authority. I urge  the Minister to consider local government reform at an early date.
I refer to the question of violence on the streets, vandalism, elderly people who are afraid to leave their homes. This has not just developed in the last seven months or the last five years. During the general election campaign, going from door to door I found the issues in Dublin were not the economic problems facing the country. People accept that something has to be done about this no matter what Government are in power. Something must be done immediately to deal with the serious problem we are facing in Dublin city. The outgoing Government had very practical proposals in that area. I hope the incoming Government will take very seriously their problems in this area. They made enough pledges in my constituency during the election compaign although they were asked not to make political capital out of the issue. Vandalism has got to frightening proportions in this city, particularly in my constituency. I hope the incoming Minister for Justice will pursue the plans which were being pursued by the outgoing Government and seriously do something about this very serious problem in this city.
I know the incoming Minister for Justice does not represent a city of the same proportions as Dublin but I am sure, as an ex-member of the Garda Síochána, he will understand the problems people are facing. I hope he will do everything possible to alleviate this problem. As a former youth leader and as one of the younger Members of the House, I hope that when the Taoiseach comes to appoint his Ministers of State, which probably will be in the next few days, he will consider appointing an active and energetic Minister for youth affairs. This city and the country are facing a very big problem in relation to youth unemployment and nowhere for young people to  go except to spend their money in the one-arm bandits where they are open to all sorts of bad influences. I appeal to the Taoiseach when he is appointing a Deputy to the office for youth affairs to appoint somebody who will take his responsibilities seriously and give our young people some leadership and some hope. That is a very sensitive Department. I hope the person to be appointed will roll up his sleeves and relate to our young people.
We had a general election because of the economic problems facing the country. I appeal to the Taoiseach and the incoming Ministers to deal with these problems now when they have the opportunity to do so. There is no point in running away from the problems any longer, looking over our shoulders to see whom we have to depend on. The Taoiseach and the new Ministers should deal with the problems the same way as the outgoing Taoiseach, Deputy FitzGerald, was prepared to do. If the Taoiseach does that he will get the support he needs from this side of the House. I wish the Taoiseach and his Ministers well. I look forward to pursuing them in a constructive way to ensure that the policies we believe to be in the best interests of the country will be pursued.
The Taoiseach: I want to thank all the Deputies who contributed to this discussion — I think I am entitled to call it a discussion rather than a debate — on the appointment of the Government. I am grateful to all the Deputies who have offered advice, guidance and encouragement to us. I appreciate that this advice and guidance are well meant and I will take careful note of it in that context. One disciplines oneself on occasions like this to resist the temptation to respond to tendentious things said by the other side of the House. I propose to impose such a discipline on myself. I find it somewhat amusing to find the former Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dukes, who was plucked from the corridors of Brussels, installed in the Department of Agriculture and who to my knowledge never conducted an agricultural clinic beforehand, lecturing my long-established colleague,  Deputy Brian Lenihan, on how to conduct a political clinic.
The Taoiseach: I am very grateful to Deputy Harte for his kind comments and I want to thank him for all the telephones he had installed for me when he was in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. As Deputies appreciate, there are a number of matters to be attended to and I propose now that the House will adjourn until Tuesday, 23 March, on which date, or almost immediately afterwards, we will bring forward the budget. Some Deputies asked about that.
I was also asked about Deputy Michael O'Kennedy. The position is that his resignation from the Commission of the European Communities is effective as and from today. In regard to his successor I will be available to any Deputy from any side of the House who would like to get in touch with me.
The Taoiseach: I was interested to hear  a former Minister on the other side of the House, with the record of the previous Taoiseach in his appointment of Ministers, talking about omissions from the Government.
The Taoiseach: If I gave you the opportunity to do so, a Cheann Comhairle, you would probably rule me as being completely out of order in what I am about to say. Before I sit down, I feel that every Member of the House appreciates the wonderful audience we had in the Public Gallery tonight.
Blaney, Neil T.
Burke, Raphael P.
Calleary, Seán. Gibbons, Jim.
Kitt, Michael P.
De Rossa, Proinsias.
Fitzpatrick, Tom. (Dublin South-Central).
Gallagher, Pat Cope.
Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire. Molloy, Robert.
Murphy, Ciarán P.
Noonan, Michael J.
O'Dea, William G.
Wilson, John P.
Conlon, John F.
Cooney, Patrick M.
Cosgrave, Liam T.
Cosgrave, Michael J.
D'Arcy Michael J.
Deasy, Martin A.
Enright, Thomas W.
Farrelly, John V.
Fitzpatrick, Tom. (Cavan-Monaghan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Harte, Patrick D.
Higgins, Michael D.
Sheehan, Patrick J.
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