Dáil Éireann - Volume 192 - 11 October, 1961
Nomination of Members of Government: Motion of Approval.
An Taoiseach Seán F. Lemass
An Taoiseach: Tairgim:—
Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú na gComhaltaí seo a leanas chun a gceaptha ag an Uachtarán chun bheith ina gcomhaltaí den Rialtas:—
That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Members for appointment by the President to be members of the Government:—
Seán Mac An tSaoi (Seán MacEntee),
Séamas Ó Riain (James Ryan),
Proinsias Mac Aogáin (Frank Aiken),
Pádraig Mac Gabhann (Patrick Smith),
Erskine Childers (Erskine H. Childers),
Seán Ó Loinsigh (John Lynch),
Niall Bléine (Neal T. Blaney),
Caoimhghin Ó Beoláin (Kevin Boland),
Micheál Ó Móráin (Michael Moran),
Micheál Hilliard (Michael Hilliard),
Pádraig Ó hIrighile (Patrick J. Hillery),
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin (Gerald Bartley)
Cathal Ó hEochaidh (Charles Haughey).
 Deputies, I think, are aware that members nominated in this way for approval by the House for appointment as Ministers are so appointed to be members of the Government and that it is a function of the Taoiseach to allocate to them responsibility for particular Departments of Government. It is not necessary for me to indicate now the Departments I propose to allocate to them. I am, however, agreeable to so doing for the information of the Dáil: Deputy MacEntee will be in charge of the Department of Health; Deputy Dr. Ryan, Finance; Deputy Aiken, External Affairs; Deputy Smith, Agriculture; Deputy Childers, Transport and Power; Deputy J. Lynch, Industry and Commerce; Deputy Blaney, Local Government; Deputy Boland, Social Welfare; Deputy Moran, Lands and the Gaeltacht: Deputy Hilliard, Posts and Telegraphs; Deputy Dr. Hillery, Education; Deputy Bartley, Defence; Deputy Haughey, Justice.
The decision to give to the Minister for Lands responsibility for the Department of the Gaeltacht is not because of any change of view as to the importance of that Department. Apart from the suitability of the arrangement generally, and Deputy Moran's previous experience as Minister for the Gaeltacht, there is the consideration that it will, in my view, be necessary at some stage, arising out of our relations with the European Economic Community, to set up a new Ministry to deal with European Community affairs and with foreign trade generally.
Because of the constitutional limitation on the number of Ministers, that course would not be feasible without such arrangement as I now propose, whether effected at this stage or later. I think it is better to prepare the way now. I propose to appoint to the Minister for Lands a Parliamentary Secretary to enable him to meet his extra responsibilities. It is intended to transfer, by Government Order, from the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the Minister for Transport and Power responsibility for  matters relating to tourist trade development.
The appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries is a function of the Government. I intend, when the Government have been constituted, to ask them to appoint forthwith Deputy J. Brennan to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, Deputy O'Malley to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance in charge of the Office of Public Works and Deputy Lenihan to be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands, with special responsibility in respect of Fisheries.
Deputy MacEntee will continue to be Tánaiste.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: On this proposal, we propose to divide the House. The Government proposed by the Taoiseach is substantially the same Government who, during the past four and a half years, suffered 215,000 of our people to be driven into emigration in search of a livelihood. It is the same Government who made the farmers of this country poor. It is a Government which we have no reason whatever to hope can satisfactorily meet the many problems which we believe require consideration and resolution, if further grave misfortune is not to overtake this country.
I note with particular regret that, when the scheme to reduce the number of Ministers—which has much to commend it—falls to be implemented by the Fianna Fáil Party, the place they choose for the axe to fall is on the Gaeltacht. We set up that Ministry so that the people of the Gaeltacht might know that we regarded their welfare in their own country as a primary responsibility of the Irish Government. They are now fixed with notice that they are an annexe to one of the least significant Departments of State in charge of a Minister whose association with the Gaeltacht is confined to his periodic sojourns in the Aran Islands, undertaken to qualify himself to preside over that office of State.
I do not propose on this occasion to review the other matters of policy for which this Government have been responsible in the past, though much might be said upon them. Further  opportunities will present themselves for that. There is a matter, however, on which I want to say a word on the occasion of the Dáil's expressing its view on the appointment of a new Government. There is a steady propaganda appearing in this country in a variety of disguises to split our people on ideological lines. No one, of course, questions the right of the people of the United States of America, or of everyone in each of the 50 sovereign States of the United States of America, to have their political differences without ideological dissent, but in Ireland it is suggested that unless half the country embraces Marxian materialism, we are bound either to have an unstable Government, because there is not a sufficiently violent difference between us in this House, or we are all engaged in political play-acting, because none of us is prepared to repudiate the fundamental beliefs which we all hold in common.
We are told we are engaged in unreal political shadow-boxing because none of us, so far as I know, is prepared to proclaim himself a Marxian materialist, or we are told by some observers that politics in Ireland have grown dull, as if this Oireachtas were a peepshow for the edification of any panic-monger or agent of the yellow Press which seeks to find diversion for its less sophisticated readers in our proceedings.
The fact is that the differences between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are as wide as those that divide the G.O.P. in the United States of America and the Democratic Party. Whoever said “nil” should have made his observations before. After I have concluded, I will give him his chance.
An interesting fact is that amongst our new-found critics is an organ that was once a gallant friend of Ireland, the Manchester Guardian. It now appears to have discovered under its new dispensation that it loves us no more. We can live without its love and we are still free to dissent from its criticisms. It glories in the right of the Liberal Party to be heard in Great Britain, but it charges us with panic and confusion because proportional representation suffers the voice  of Labour to be heard in this country. I glory in the right of its voice to be heard, or of the humblest Deputy— who is still anonymous—to say what he has to say, sure of his right to say it.
There are few, if any, Deputies in this House who accept the materialist philosophy of left wing, if not, Marxian socialism. If there are some, they are as reluctant to proclaim their faith as they are vocal in deriding their fellow Deputies for lack of faith to proclaim. I invite those whited sepulchres to come out into the open and tell us their true beliefs so that some day we can finally determine whether politics in Ireland are founded on the ideological differences of Continental Europe or whether, sharing common fundamental beliefs, we can here in Ireland, as they do in the 50 sovereign States of the United States of America, argue out our differences in the presence of our own people who do understand the issues, as their heavy poll in every general election for the past 40 years shows.
We can consent to abide by their verdict without feeling it incumbent upon any of us to uproot the foundations upon which our Christian State is built in order to erect instead a Marxian society which, so far as I know, no one wants. Come now then —the reds, the pinks, the pale pinks, and those who are no more than blushing for their own secret convictions. Let them come out in the open.
An Ceann Comhairle Patrick (Clare) Hogan
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair is troubled about the relevancy.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Let them come out in the open and proclaim their faith, and let the people as well as the so-called intelligentsia pass judgment upon them. I differ from this Government deeply, emphatically and, as at present advised, irreconcilably but far from regarding it as a reflection on our institutions that I cannot in honesty deny the fundamental beliefs I hold and the fundamental beliefs my opponents hold, I glory in the fact that we here in Ireland can legitimately and honourably differ to the point of election after election, as we propose to fight them  in the future, while proclaiming to the world that in this Irish Parliament Marxian beliefs have no root. That in itself is a challenge to any and every Deputy publicly to profess such Marxian convictions if he believes in them, unless there are none found bold enough to proclaim them to the people, preferring to cherish them in secret.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: No matter what the commentators may say — especially those of the Press, those outside and some Independent Deputies — the people of this country have given their verdict, and their verdict is such that no single Party has an over-all majority in this House. The significant thing we can see about this election is that whilst it is important to the Fine Gael Party that they have increased in their numbers, it is equally important to the Labour Party that we have increased our strength in Dáil Éireann and substantially increased our votes.
The significant thing is that the people have not endorsed the stated policy of the Fianna Fáil Party. I listened to Deputy Lemass today before he was elected Taoiseach to try to discover from him whether or not he intended to change his policy in any degree at all. So far, there has been no such indication from him. Therefore, I say he is treading on dangerous ground, unless, in our view of the situation we now have following the election, he indicates that he is prepared to change his policy. The Labour Party policy was published three or four weeks before the election and it was made clear throughout the campaign what that policy meant to the people. I must confess I found it difficult to follow Deputy Dillon. Frankly, I do not know to whom his remarks were directed.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: And they will take damn good care you will not find out.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: Deputy Dillon seems to think that the only alternative to conservatism in this country is rip-roaring Marxism. For that reason, I want to  say the Labour Party's policy has been declared, has been printed and made available to every member of this House. The Labour Party's policy is based on Christian socialism. That should be pretty obvious to the people and I do not intend to take up the time of the House in protesting that our policy is such.
Another significant thing in this election is this: the Fianna Fáil Party, led by the Taoiseach, tried to give the impression—whilst they did not use the phrase—that the people never had it so good. That was the impression that was given deliberately by the Taoiseach, by the members of his Government and by the candidates of the Fianna Fáil Party. We had splash advertisements in the Press to the effect that we had 350 new factories, that unemployment had decreased, that employment had increased, that health services were never so good, that the housing drive had been completed and that agriculture was in a state of prosperity. While he and the members of the Fianna Fáil Party may think that, the people thought otherwise. The Taoiseach must accept the verdict of the people. Therefore, there must be a change in attitude by the Fianna Fáil Party and certainly a change in their policy. If there is not a change in their policy, it must necessarily mean that emigration and unemployment will go on at the same pace as it has for many years past.
The Taoiseach may remember— whether he does or not, may I now remind him—that about two years ago he described the Labour Party as being like an old and rusty railway engine. He may like to take back that unhappy phrase now because the indications are that the people have much more confidence in the Labour Party than Deputy Lemass seemed to think they had. They have increased their representation in Dáil Éireann, small though the Party may be, to the extent of 25 per cent. They increased their vote in the country by a similar percentage, while, on the other hand, the support for the Fianna Fáil Party has decreased by 80,000 votes. We must also consider, with  these 80,000, the 215,000 other people who have left this country. It is not for me to say how they would have voted in the election if they had been here and if they had been, as they must have been, unemployed. I think it is fair comment to say that the Fianna Fáil representation in Dáil Éireann would be much smaller if those 215,000 people who are now in Britain and other countries had the right to vote in the election that has just taken place.
I think the Taoiseach was correct when he said there is no Party in Dáil Éireann who entertain at all the idea of a National Government. As far as the Labour Party are concerned, we would not subscribe to that type of Government because it merely means a Government without an Opposition. Personally I think that would be a dangerous thing and I believe that is also the feeling of my Party.
Even if no Party in this House have an over-all majority, it does not necessarily mean that we are in for a period of unstable government. We in the Labour Party are conscious of our responsibility. We are conscious of the increased responsibility that has been put upon us by so many extra tens of thousands of voters. We are prepared to shoulder that responsibility, whether it is Deputy Lemass or Deputy Dillon or anybody else who is Taoiseach. As Deputy Dillon has said, one would get the impression from some newspapers and some commentators that we were in for a period of instability. However, in matters such as the Common Market, our policy within the United Nations, our attitude towards the Congo expedition, there is no fundamental difference between the three major Parties. I want to say on behalf of the Labour Party that, as far as negotiations in relation to the Common Market are concerned and as far as the final decision is concerned, we are prepared to shoulder our responsibility and do what we believe will be for the good of the nation.
May I therefore pose the original question to Deputy Lemass as  Taoiseach? Does he intend to continue his policy without any change at all? Does he believe he should carry on as before? Does he believe he should pursue the same policy in respect of all the facets of Government he has pursued for the past four-and-a-half years or is he prepared to accept the people's decision? A substantial number of the people have rejected his policy and, in effect, called for a change.
The Taoiseach was supported here this evening by two Independents. I am not critical of them for what they did. They gave their explanations and they will be judged on their explanations by the people and the other members of Dáil Éireann. However, I should like to remind the Taoiseach, and particularly to remind the Independents who voted for Deputy Lemass as Taoiseach, that they have been very critical of major aspects of policy during the past four-and-a-half years. Are these Independents satisfied that the policy pursued in respect of health should be continued? Are they satisfied with the policy in respect of housing, social welfare, and food subsidisation? When they voted for Deputy Lemass as Taoiseach, did they say they are satisfied with the policy pursued and that they will support him if he continues to pursue that policy? It is a policy which has meant a continuance of emigration. In five years, we have lost 215,000 of our people and despite what was said by the Taoiseach during the election campaign, there does not seem to be any sign of an abatement in the rate of emigration. As I have said, unless the policy is changed in respect of industry and in respect of agriculture, this emigration will continue.
What of the Taoiseach's Cabinet? I have nothing to say about them as individuals but it is reasonable to say that the country expected a change in personnel. Let me say there are men in the Cabinet who have given long and good service in the country and to the Government but they seem to have got into a rut and it must seem to the Taoiseach that they have got into a rut. In respect of some of the new members of his Cabinet, the Taoiseach  must admit that on many occasions he has had to come into this House, as no other Taoiseach did, to help them to save their face. If a member of the Fianna Fáil Party or any other Party is delegated to take charge of a Department, the Taoiseach should be confident that he is able to carry through whatever proposals he brings into the House or whatever piece of legislation he is responsible for. That has not been the case in the past few years. I say that without any reflection on any individual members of the Cabinet. In any event, I do not think the Taoiseach has done himself or the Dáil a service in selecting the same team.
Does the Taoiseach believe the country is satisfied with his industrial policy? One of the most amusing things in the election campaign was the Fianna Fáil boast that in the past four-and-a-half years they had established 350 new factories. I was in a good number of constituencies during the campaign and I found very few of them. I should like the Taoiseach to tell us exactly where these factories are and how many are employed in them. The most important question is: have they filled the need for employment here? In view of the emigration figures, the obvious answer is that they have not.
The prospects for the future are not good, either. During the election campaign, I read a statement by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Lynch, in respect of proposed new factories not yet established. He said the maximum amount of employment to be expected from them was 10,000, I do not think that is good enough. I do not believe the members of the Government think it is good enough, when one takes into account not alone the rate of emigration but the flight from the land. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Dr. Ryan, did not think the flight from the land was unhealthy. He commented that if people did leave the land, it meant there would be much more prosperity for those who remained on it. Frankly, I thought that was a shocking statement from any Minister.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
 Dr. Ryan: It would be shocking, if I made it.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I did not read it in the Irish Independent or the Irish Times; I read it in the Irish Press.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy read it wrongly.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I do not want to misinterpret the Minister, but when I saw it, I could hardly believe it.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: The Deputy does not know how to read the Irish Press.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I must admit I have not much practice, but on this occasion I read it three or four times.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: Try to tell the truth, anyway.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I shall produce the quotation for the Minister. If I am wrong, I shall apologise.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: Do.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I do not think the policy the present Government have pursued and seemingly intend to pursue is sufficient. It is not sufficient for the Government or the country to sit down and say: “If foreign industrialists come in here, we will give them financial assistance.” I have acknowledged previously that the assistance we give to foreign industrialists proposing to establish industries here is, to say the least, pretty generous; but it does not seem to have succeeded in absorbing our unemployed. I want to ask the Taoiseach if he is satisfied merely to continue that policy. It has not absorbed our unemployed or those who fly from the land. Therefore, we of the Labour Party propose—and this is a definite proposal—that where it is shown, and it has been shown recently, that private enterprise, either foreign or in this country, fails to establish industry to absorb our unemployed, then we believe it is the responsibility of the State to extend the activities of the State bodies and semi-State industries in an effort to absorb the unemployed.
 I do not know whether anybody calls that Marxism or not.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: It is enshrined in the policy of Fine Gael.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: It is enshrined in the recent Encyclical of Pope John XXIII.
Mr. Dillon Mr. Dillon
Mr. Dillon: Oh, I am not the Pope.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I do not know about Fine Gael policy. The Papal Encyclical will do me. I would strongly urge the Taoiseach to consider that proposal. Despite the assistance of the State, these foreigners are not coming in sufficient numbers, and private enterprise has failed to measure up to the task. Where private enterprise either fails or refuses to establish factories to absorb the unemployed, it is the bounden duty of the State to do so. In the past, I have quoted many examples where they have done so successfully, such as the E.S.B., Bord na Móna, the Sugar Company; and, no matter how it may be described, it was done successfully in the town of Dundalk, through direct Government assistance. They are to be applauded for that. But if they have done it in these cases, they could do it on a far wider scale and prevent unemployment.
I have never presented myself as being an expert on agriculture. Despite what has been said about agriculture, all our policies for it have failed. If they had not failed, there would not have been the flight from the land over the years. There must be a change in policy in that respect. If the Taoiseach believes that a continuation of the present policy, with some variations here and there, will make agriculture prosperous, he is very far out. The trouble is that the small and medium-sized farmers do not get a proportionate share of the money being advanced by the State. The Taoiseach said in a recent speech during the election campaign that we had spent £24,000,000 on agriculture. He apparently thought that was pretty generous assistance. But I know from my own knowledge that it is not applied in the right direction. We talk about the small and medium-sized farmers being the backbone of  our agriculture but they do not get a fair crack of the whip, in that they do not get a fair proportion of the money available from the State. Unless the policy in respect of financial assistance is changed, we believe that in the future agriculture will still be in its present bad state.
I deplore the idea that went abroad during the campaign from some of the Government spokesmen when the farmers were told that as soon as we enter the Common Market, we would have a virtual paradise. The Taoiseach may not have done that, but it was done. That was a shabby trick to try to put over on the farmers. While the people were exhorted to put Fianna Fáil back to carry on the negotiations for our entry into the Common Market, the farmers were not told the truth; they were not given all the facts. They were told, in effect, that as soon as we became members of the Common Market, all our troubles would be over. Far from our troubles being over, I believe agricultural policy will have to be changed drastically to enable the Irish farmer to compete with the other European countries.
The Minister for Health was very eloquent during the election. He wanted to know—at least, the Sunday Press wanted to know—what had Labour ever done for the people. I do not know what the role of the Minister for Health is in an election campaign.
Mr. Norton Mr. Norton
Mr. Norton: To be a general nuisance.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: He seemed to do nothing in his election speeches but pat himself on the back, but he tried to kick me on the other side.
Mr. Norton Mr. Norton
Mr. Norton: He thought you were a doctor.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: The excellent poll he received in Dublin South-East did not mean Fianna Fáil won the election.
Mr. Moran Mr. Moran
Mr. Moran: But it shook the Deputy and his friend, Deputy Norton.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: The Minister did not look at the figures, apparently. The  Minister for Health seems to give the impression that practically everything that needs to be done in regard to social welfare has been done. I have always regarded him—I have told him so and I think he appreciates my attitude towards him—as a conservative Minister for Social Welfare. He always has been. He talked in the election as if he had been a very generous and benevolent Minister for Social Welfare. He described all the benefits which had been given under his term as Minister and he said he had got the money from the Government to do this. However, I think it is significant that in his four and a half years as Minister for Health and Social Welfare he increased expenditure by £1 million. I think it would be right to ask him what he did with the £8 million he and his Government took in the withdrawal of the food subsidies. It was relatively simple for the Minister to give increases like 1/- in one year, ⅓ in another and 2/6 in another when he had filched £9 million from the tables of the people—the ordinary people.
I believe, and the Labour Party believes that, as far as Social Welfare recipients are concerned, increases should be automatically given to them as the national income increased but to carry on as we have been, giving them small, useless increases in benefits, is all wrong. Unless that is changed, we in the Labour Party will not be able to support the Government. The Minister for Health seems to think that the poll he got in Dublin South-East was a vindication of his policy on the Health Act.
As far as I can see in the voting throughout the country, one of the main concerns of the electorate was the administration of the Health Act. I do not know what type of people supported the Minister for Health in Dublin South-East but I do know that anywhere I went during the election the main topic was the administration of the Health Act. There is utter dissatisfaction about it. The Labour Party and I voted for the Health Act in the Dáil because it enabled local authorities and the Minister for Health  to do certain things to alleviate the burden on individuals and families as far as health charges are concerned. I believe the Health Act could be improved to a very great extent if the Minister for Health allowed the local authorities to be more generous in the administration of the health services and if the local authorities co-operated with the Minister.
We have advocated that the health services be based on a system where people would receive benefits as a right and not as charity. I believe the Minister for Health and other Members of the Government, including the Taoiseach, are living in the clouds if they believe the people are satisfied with the administration of the Health Act. Fianna Fáil lost 80,000 votes in this election—a substantial number. Even the Taoiseach will admit that. The majority of those votes, which went to other Parties, were a protest, in great part, against the administration of the present Health scheme and I would urge the Taoiseach to emphasise that to the new Minister for Health.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins Mr. T.F. O'Higgins
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: An fear céanna.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: The Taoiseach should ask the Minister for Health to consider the whole administration of the Act. I am bound to say that under the old system, which was described as the red ticket system, people enjoyed better benefits in many cases than under the present system. The old system was also called the pauper system.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins Mr. T.F. O'Higgins
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: We are still working under the pauper system.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: If the Taoiseach intends to continue his present policy I am afraid we will not be able to give him our support in that respect. There seems to be an idea that the housing needs of the country are filled. Far from it, although there is a good lot of activity in reconstruction, rebuilding and the extension of houses. As far as the need for new houses is concerned, it is greater now than it was in 1956 and 1957 because very few houses have  been built in the past four and a half years. While members of the local authorities are anxious to build, there seems to be a dead hand in the Custom House. In every town throughout the country there is a crying need for houses and they are not being built. There are still young married couples being forced to live in one room, despite all this talk about unemployment. As I said, there are thousands of people who have not decent living accommodation in the country. I would strongly urge the Taoiseach to get the Minister for Local Government to resume the housing drive.
I should like to conclude by telling the Taoiseach that if he believes he has the confidence of the people or of the Dáil in the policy he has pursued in the past he is absolutely wrong. There must be a change and I would ask him to be courageous enough to make the necessary change. In this country we seem to be afraid of changes or of making advances. Any changes we have made have only nibbled at our problems. Radical changes are necessary if we are to stem the tide of emigration or to solve unemployment and other problems we have.
Fianna Fáil have had four and a half years of Government and, as far as world conditions are concerned, no Government in this country ever had it so good. I think I would be right in calling those wasted years. We do not know what the world situation will be in the immediate future, taking into consideration our Common Market membership application and the Berlin crisis, but I would again urge on the Taoiseach to be courageous and change from his old policy. As far as the Labour Party are concerned, we are conscious of our responsibilities in this House. As long as the Taoiseach introduces into the House good and progressive measures which will help our people at home and stimulate industry we will support him, but if he does not show initiative in bringing forward progressive ideas, then we will oppose him. If he should propose a policy, as he did on the 1st September when he introduced what we regard as repressive measures against the workers, we will oppose him.
 I want also to say that, whilst we are conscious of our responsibilities, threats of general elections are not going to frighten me or this Party. If the Taoiseach, for example, brings in some measure tomorrow against which all of us on this side might be supposed to vote and somebody warns us that that will mean a general election, if it is not in accordance with Labour Party policy, we do not mind if it means an election next week or in the morning. We realise that we have got a new measure of support in the country. We are confident that when we go back to the country, whether next week, next year or in three years' time, we will further increase our support.
Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
Mr. Smith: Do not frighten us.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I do not think you are capable even of being frightened. In any case, let me conclude by saying that we are aware of our responsibilities but the threat of a general election is not going to frighten us because we are prepared to face the country any time on any issue which we believe is in the interests of the working-class people.
Mr. Blowick Mr. Blowick
Mr. Blowick: The Taoiseach has behaved in a rather dictatorial manner towards the House this evening in submitting the names of the Government and giving the House no outline whatever of what he proposes to do during the coming term of office of his Government. Considering that the electorate, this day week, administered to the Taoiseach and his Government a very sharp rebuke, a repudiation almost of his policy, the Taoiseach might at least have given the House some indication of the policy he proposes to pursue during the lifetime of his Government.
I submit that the single biggest problem facing the country at the present time that should exercise the mind of the people and the Government fully is the flight from the land. It seems that Fianna Fáil have already decided that the small farmers must go because they have been banishing them at the rate of 50,000 to 60,000 a year for the past four and a half years  and now there is absolutely no indication of a change of heart towards them.
A great deal has been said about unemployment and about the 250,000 persons we have lost. A glance at the preliminary returns of the recent Census shows that the people we have lost have been mostly from the small and medium size farms. The population of towns has remained fairly static and it is from the land that we have lost the people. If the present Government do not do something big to aid the small farmers, we will lose them.
There are such problems as Partition, a vital national problem. Our possible entry into the Common Market is an equally vital national problem. But, both of these matters must stand aside when we consider that the land is fast being turned into a ranch or desert. Some small towns will become ghost towns in the not so distant future if something is not done to preserve the farms in their vicinity.
Some Ministers of the Government, particularly the Minister for Social Welfare, in the administration of that Department, have definitely helped to speed many people from the land. The Department of Social Welfare has become a persecutor of recipients of benefits from that Department—old age pensions, blind pensions, widows' pensions, or unemployment assistance or benefit. I have no hesitation in saying that the Minister for Social Welfare has been the best recruiting agent for some of the big contractors in England, like Wimpeys, who come over here periodically, stand in the labour exchanges, and ask young men to go to England. The Minister for Social Welfare has certainly given them all the labour that they want, particularly from the west of Ireland.
The Taoiseach boasted during the election campaign that something like £23,000,000 to £24,000,000 a year has gone into agriculture. It has gone into agriculture indirectly. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the industrial campaign for the last 25 years since Fianna Fáil came into office has been an absolute failure because to-day the  factories are not able to absorb all the people who are being pushed off the land. If England were not able to absorb all the people who cannot be employed at home, and for whom the land has ceased to be a source of livelihood, it would be a very bad day for this country.
Rates have gone sky high, further adding to the burden of taxation placed on the land. We hear of a piped water scheme which will add another 10/- in the £ to the rates. I cannot help recalling the Health Act of 1947 which has been such a hopeless failure. I remember that we were told it would not under any circumstances mean more than 2/6d. in the £ on the rates. To-day it is from 20/- to 25/- in the £ and it is proposed to add another 10/- in the £ for piped water. What did the Taoiseach mean when he told us in Westport a short time ago that the people, particularly the small farmers, never had it so good? That seemed to me to be rubbing salt into their wounds.
I want to tell the Taoiseach and his Government that the principal problem facing this Government now and which would have faced any Government that the House might have elected to-day, is the maintenance of the small and medium size farms. The policy of Fianna Fáil appears to be aimed at the complete elimination of the small and medium size farms. The Taoiseach woke up suddenly to the fact that we had such a thing as the family farm. A short time ago the medium size farm maintained big families in moderate comfort. To-day it is just a home for a bachelor or an old maid. It is not capable of producing a livelihood due to the fact that we have to meet such severe competition in the British market because the British Government subsidise and help their farmers to the extent that they do. Our farmers are asked to work harder, to produce more and to export to a market that is heavily subsidised against them.
Will the Taoiseach, when replying to the debate, tell us what he has in mind to save the type of people to whom I have been referring or is it the intention of the Government in this term of office to continue to allow the  land to revert to big ranches as they have done in the last four and a half years, so that most of our towns will have nothing in the immediate area but a score of 30 acre farms within a few miles radius? Is that the policy of the Government now as it was in the last four and a half years? Are they deaf to all entreaties to stop the flight from the land? It is not the people from the towns who are emigrating. To me the Census figures mean that the populations of the towns are remaining fairly steady. It is from the land that people are going. While Partition and the Common Market are big problems to which the Government will have to give their attention, I do not see what useful purpose can be served by trying to abolish the Border and to bring in the Six Counties if they are going to come into a country that has been turned into a desert by mismanagement at home. That is the problem facing the Government.
It was rather dictatorial of the Taoiseach to present the very same Government without giving some indication of what the policy will be. It is asking the House to accept the policy and the same personnel that the people so emphatically repudiated on Wednesday last at the General Election.
Mr. Moran Mr. Moran
Mr. Moran: We heard it before, Joe.
Mr. J.A. Costello Mr. J.A. Costello
Mr. J.A. Costello: In normal circumstances, I would have been content to accept the statements that have been made both on the motion to appoint the Taoiseach and on the motion which we are now discussing, but the circumstances in which the motion is being discussed and will be determined are peculiar and significant. Therefore, I feel compelled to make a a few general observations which I trust will be of some assistance to this House and of some advantage to the country. I do not intend to discuss Government policy, whether it failed or not, during the past four and a half years, or whether that policy is adequate to meet the situation confronting the country in the immediate  future. What I am interested in now is how the present situation in this House is going to be handled by the Taoiseach and the members of his Government when they are elected.
I thought that I had passed the stage when any conditions in the country, or any statements being made by newspapers, both British and Irish, could irritate or annoy me. I thought, occupying as I do the very enviable position of former Taoiseach, if I may say so, with no political ambitions, I could take the rest of my political career with a certain amount of ease. However, nothing has irritated me so much, nothing, I felt, is such a danger to the country and to the problems facing any Government elected here tonight, as the sort of talk that has been going around since the election; the kind of editorials printed by some Irish and some British newspapers. We have had headings like this: “What now? The worst possible result.”
It is really my contact with the people since the election, ordinary people, business people, people interested in the country, which has compelled me to speak here tonight. Influenced by that kind of talk, still with a poison going through their minds that was injected here during the debates on the referendum for the abolition of proportional representation, many people still feel there is ruination awaiting this country because the Fianna Fáil Party did not get an over-all majority in the general election. That is what they say. What is going to happen? Are we going to have a general election in the next six months? If we take the proper action tonight, and if the Government elected take the proper action in the coming years, then those fears can be allayed and there will be some hope with the assistance of all Parties, provided all Parties, whether in Government or in Opposition or Independents, do their duty as well as exact their rights.
We are here tonight not merely electing a Government, not merely doing the right that is vested in us as Deputies, but we are creating precedents and giving an example which may be an example for good or  ill to posterity. We are facing a situation in which no Party of itself has a clear majority. That is a situation which is normal under the system of proportional representation which the country asked for 18 months or so ago. The country voted in accordance with those principles, in the way it wanted, in the last election and produced the results we are discussing here. Every Party must face that situation and by the way we act now the future well-being of the country may be settled for good or ill for many years.
We are told by some of these commentators, and by people throughout the country who have given little thought or have little experience of political affairs, that because of the instability that will be created as a result of the general election, there will be uncertainty in the country and that difficult problems which any Government will have to solve will be incapable of solution—the Common Market, about which there has been so much talk, and all the issues connected with it will be so mishandled as a result of there being absent from this House what has been miscalled strong Government. Those matters are of very great import to the country. We can create good or ill and a situation which will dispel this uncertainty and give confidence in the Dáil and its Parliamentary institutions and greatly enhance the reputation of the Dáil and of Parliamentary institutions if the Government elected act in the way they should. I shall endeavour as shortly as possible to suggest to the Government, with great respect, that they should act not merely in the interests of their own Party but of the country. I believe what I have to say will be of great advantage, if adopted—I hope I do not sound too egotistical—to the country and perhaps of rather eminent value to the Party to which I have the honour to belong.
What is the position? Are we faced with ruin? Is this country faced with uncertainty and incapable of dealing with the different problems. economic and social: the problems of emigration, the Common Market,  industrial activity and expansion, and of agricultural prosperity? Will we be incapable of meeting those problems in a way which will bring prosperity to the country? If we act in the right way, we shall be able to meet them and to solve them in a way no one single Party Government would be able to do, with goodwill and co-operation and a change of attitude between the various Parties in the State.
We have just come through a general election. I think we can say it was the most civilised election that has taken place in this country since the State was established. That is very creditable to the Leaders of all the Parties. There was absent from that campaign the political excitement so beloved of political commentators and those who want a story and to see people barging each other and throwing bricks. If that is not present, then, according to them, there is apathy and something wrong with the people. I think it was a sign of political maturity, a sign that the Irish people have advanced in their political thinking and ideas, that all the issues that were fought on all sides, whether by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour, were discussed calmly and, I believe, deeply and considered very dispassionately by the vast majority of the electorate who cast their votes and produced the results we have here to-day. That is something that we should be proud of. There were no dramatics, histrionics, fighting, barging or the personal abuse which is so beloved by the person in search of stories for the excitement and delectation of British readers.
In addition to that, we had this very satisfactory result as a consequence of the general election. There were certain people elected to the previous Dáil who stood for election and asked votes from the people on the basis that they repudiated the moral and constitutional and legal authority of the Oireachtas. They had no legal authority and would not take their seats in this House. Four of them were elected and did not take their seats here but treated Parliamentary institutions, set up by the people under the Constitution, going back to 1922,  as something beneath contempt and into which they would not come.
There was also behind them, and perhaps behind the people they represent, a sort of extra-parliamentary movement which has found expression in the incidents in the North, in the wholly immoral and unjustified attacks on the people of the North. As a result of this general election, at least these people are no longer in a position to claim any moral authority, or any authority whatever, based on the votes of the people. That is of value. That is something of use to the country, but it is particularly valuable in the light of the statements that were made that this general election has produced the worst possible result.
We have also in this Dáil a greater number of young people than has ever appeared in this House since the beginning of the State. That is a hopeful sign. That is something from which we can derive a certain satisfaction in the light of the cynicism and the criticism with regard to the institutions of this State, our politicians, and those who take part in the public life of this country. That mood of cynicism and adverse criticism has not gone yet, but it is going. If we, in the lifetime of this Dáil, however long it lasts, can give an example and set precedents which will gain the respect of the people, then we shall have made a valuable contribution to democratic Government and democratic principles. If the people see that their elected representatives rose to the occasion and did what the people wanted, it will be obvious to all, at home and abroad, that the best democratic system of election so far devised, based on the principles of proportional representation, has worked and will continue to work in the future.
It is not surprising to anybody experienced in the working of proportional representation over the past 40 years that the result of the most recent general election was the result which actually accrued. I remember listening to the Taoiseach speaking here last July on the last day before the Summer Recess. He was speaking of the impending election and he pointed out—he will correct me if  I am wrong in this; I am speaking from recollection—that in the history of elections in this country, no Party has ever obtained a clear majority at two successive elections. Was it not as clear as the noon-day sun that that was going to happen at this general election? That is what the people have decided. They have given the Fianna Fáil Party a numerically strong Party but they have also given a very strong Opposition. My reading of the verdict of the people is that they want a stable Government, a Government who will act in a different way from the way in which strong Government has acted in the past. It is only in very exceptional circumstances that a clear majority such as that secured in the 1957 election will ever be secured again by any Party.
It is refreshing for a democracy and a democratic people to have a change of Government. It is still more refreshing to have changes in Ministerial personnel from time to time. Alternative policy is good; alternative personnel is good. The people have given their verdict after due deliberation, in the calmest and most civilised election ever held in this country. All the issues were fully debated, fully thought out by the people, and a good vote was recorded. Certain newspapers were hoping that they would be able to report that the Irish people had no political good sense because only a very small vote was recorded in this vital general election. The fact is that the vote was good. The Irish people have elected a strong Government Party. They have also elected a strong Opposition. Let that situation work under the principles of proportional representation and both the Government and Opposition will gain even greater respect, each discharging their obligations and responsibilities on democratic principles.
On the wireless, on every platform and here in this Dáil during the campaign for the abolition of proportional representation, the magic words “strong Government” were bandied about. Instability because of the system of proportional representation was pressed, iterated and reiterated throughout the length and breadth of the country. The bloodstream of the Irish body  politic was poisoned by the propaganda campaign. Because of that campaign and because of the absorption of English ideas, about English institutions and English parliamentary franchise, it was thought that one could not have a good Government—I want to avoid using the word “strong” because I dislike it—under proportional representation.
We have the opportunity now to show that it is possible to have good Government under our system. We have the opportunity to show that you can have what is so essential in the working of a democratic parliamentary system, with all due respect to those who talk about a National Government and of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coalescing; we can have a good strong Opposition and a good strong Government producing better results and more hope for the solution of difficult problems than could possibly obtain under a strong Government such as we have had over the past ten or 15 years. There lies upon all sections in this House a duty to meet the situation that arises in a proper way.
I was disturbed this afternoon by one statement the Taoiseach made. Perhaps it was made without due deliberation. I do not want to tie him to it. He said that if he were elected as Taoiseach, he would carry on on the basis of Fianna Fáil policy and the strength of the Party here in the Dáil and that, if he were defeated on an important issue or circumstances arose which made it impossible to continue, he would seek a dissolution of the Dáil. I was perturbed by his reference to circumstances arising which would make it impossible to carry on the Dáil. Being human, perhaps the Taoiseach was needled into that statement by some of the speeches made here to-day by people who said: “We will vote for you and keep you in office if you do what we want. Out you go, if you do not.”
The Taoiseach can ignore such considerations but I think a warning should be issued now that if the Government use that device, namely, to seek a dissolution of the Dáil to force  another general election in order to try to secure a clear majority, the people will take vengeance upon any Party who seek to bring that situation about. Not so very long ago, we had experience of a hard fought referendum on the abolition of proportional representation. The people decided to retain proportional representation. I would hope that the Irish people in their political maturity would wreak vengeance upon any Party who sought to force them on an issue in which they said: “We will not carry on the Government. We will not let a stable Government be formed or we will not let it remain in office for long, unless you give us a clear majority.”
Neither the Fianna Fáil Party nor any other Party have any monopoly of the right to govern this country under the system of proportional representation. More than probably, the Fianna Fáil Party at the next general election will be in a somewhat similar position to that in which they are to-day. That is democracy. That is good for the country—alternative Governments with alternative policies. These alternative policies are a refreshing experience as a result of the change of personalities. Great good can be done for the country by bringing people from other Parties into consultation and collaboration in order to get their contribution and discharge their responsibilities in relation to the solution of the problems we have to face.
That is the situation we have to meet here. That is why I said at the outset that we are creating precedents tonight. We have got to make proportional representation work because the Irish people want it. Every member of this Dáil who is not a member of the Fianna Fáil Party is committed to the maintenance of that system of proportional representation. It behoves every one of us to see that no political device is allowed to delude the Irish people into the belief that proportional representation will not work or that the system will not work because the Taoiseach has to depend, as he thinks he has, upon the casual support of those Deputies who supported him tonight. The Taoiseach  knows well that he is not so dependent but what he is dependent upon is the goodwill and co-operation of the other Parties in this House. That can be obtained easily. Strength can be given to his Government and great advantage can accrue to the people of this country, if he will make this Dáil a deliberative assembly and consult the Dáil and the Parties.
We had a situation here under a so-called strong Government when it was practically impossible to convince certain of the Ministers—I do not say all of them and I certainly do not say the Taoiseach—by argument or reason that the proposals they had put forward to the Dáil were capable of amendment. The Dáil was regarded as a machine merely for registering the decisions of the Government taken after consultation with the Party in the Party rooms. That situation must be changed. You can have great strength by getting constructive opposition and constructive help from the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party. If the Taoiseach changes the system and transfers responsibility from the Party room to this Dáil, then proportional representation can and will work. We will have done our duty to the Irish people who want proportional representation. We will have given the lie to those people who say that the worst possible results would follow, that there would be nothing but misery and ruin facing the Irish people unless they got Fianna Fáil with a so-called strong Government.
We have an obligation in Opposition to give constructive support to the Government after co-operation and consultation, if necessary inside or outside the Dáil, but certainly in the Dáil in regard to any of these very serious problems which face the country and the Government. We have obligations and we should have rights. Equally, the Government have their rights to get constructive opposition and constructive help. The Government have their obligations to consult this Parliament and make Parliament a deliberative assembly. That is what, I think, will be the obligation and right of the Taoiseach and his Government in the future.
 If the system which I suggest very briefly is worked then the people can feel that they are entitled to work out their salvation knowing that not merely the Government but the Dáil, the Parliamentary institution set up under and in accordance with the principles of the Constitution, and every Party in it is making its contribution and not merely working for its own Party political ends.
The British Constitution and the American Constitution are the only two Constitutions, I think, in the history of political thought that have managed to combine both stability and change with tradition and flexibility. We can secure that very important principle if we work in this Dáil on the problems that face the country. As a member of the Fine Gael Party and knowing the mind of the Leader of the Opposition, I think I can say that the House will get from him not destructive criticism or actions, not needling tactics but constructive proposals and help. I believe you will get the same from the Labour Party, if they are approached in the proper way. The obligation then lies on the Taoiseach and the Government to respect our rights when we discharge our obligations and he fulfils his responsibilities and obligations.
That, in my view, is an essential part of the scheme. It is not only essential but it is vital for the benefit of the country as a whole that whatever residue of political patronage is left should by statute be abandoned. It should not be in any sphere of activity, whether in connection with the appointment of people to carry on semi-State bodies, whether in connection with appointments of one type or another, whether in connection with working on the roads, in the factories or anywhere else, that a man's right to his livelihood, to advancement in life, to his promotion, to get positions of merit in the public service should be dependent upon his political affiliations or the number of speeches he has made for this or that Party. I think that on the last occasion——
The Taoiseach Seán F. Lemass
The Taoiseach: I am sorry to interrupt but time is running out and——
Mr. J.A. Costello Mr. J.A. Costello
 Mr. J.A. Costello: I have almost finished. On the Taoiseach's Estimate the year before last, I advocated that. I advocate it here tonight on stronger grounds. The Taoiseach will be doing a great public service if he abolishes that particular system which has destroyed the body politic of this country for many years past.
Dáil Éireann 192 Nomination of Members of Government: Motion of Approval.