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Confidence in the Government: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members] (Continued)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

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Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I was just listening to the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, late of Sinn Féin, Official Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin - The Workers' Party, The Workers' Party, New Agenda, Democratic Left and now the Labour Party. He and his party leader have destroyed every party they were ever part of, with the exception of Sinn Féin. That is a warning for the Minister of State, Deputy Sherlock.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock The Deputy is revising his party's history slightly.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh The Deputy is too young to remember.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock I am old enough.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Tonight, families are sitting back to count and try to calculate how much they have. They are trying to work out which bills they can pay and which bills they cannot pay. They are looking at their grocery bills and wondering what they can and cannot afford. The Government does not care. It has done its calculations and it knows how much money it is picking from the pockets of its citizens. Despite the claims of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste that they are in favour of open, transparent and accountable government, I do not think they want a proper debate on the despicable budget they have introduced. The people elected them last year because of the clear pledges and the promises they had made. They said they would not give another red cent to the banks. Instead, they have given €20 billion to the banks. They said they would protect child benefit and cut prescription charges. The Labour Party and Fine Gael said they would protect the elderly and vulnerable and sort out the health service. They have failed on all of these counts and more. They said they would tell our European partners that the EU-IMF deal is bad for this State, but one of the first things they did was pay a €3.1 billion promissory note instalment to the zombie bank Anglo. They should not be asking the citizens to shoulder this unsustainable banking debt as they are having to do.

The Government told us in June that the European Stability Mechanism would deal with legacy bank debt. The Tánaiste said firmly on more than one occasion that it would be Labour's way or Frankfurt's way, but instead he went Fianna Fáil's way. Fine Gael said it would impose burden-sharing on bondholders, before it somersaulted and protected bondholders, even in toxic banks like Anglo Irish Bank. The Taoiseach made it clear today that the Government will not reverse the cut in the respite care grant. These big men can be tough on the sick, the disabled and the elderly - that is no problem to them - but it is another story when it comes to the high salaries and pensions of Minister and senior civil servants. They have no problem breaking their own salary ceiling for special advisers, but they cannot find more money for home help care. They have no problem signing off on obscenely high salaries for the bankers who created this mess, along with Fianna Fáil and others, and are now employed in banks owned by the State, but they cannot find money to help mothers trying to buy clothes for their children as they go back to school. Last week's budget attacked carers, the sick, the elderly, children and families.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock I thought this was a confidence motion.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Order, please.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock If Deputy Adams wants us out, why is he not presenting an alternative?

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Perhaps the Minister of State gets bored very easily, but he should listen.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock I am bored already.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry We are bored already.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh In that case, the Ministers of State should leave like the rest of the Government Deputies have done.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The speaker has the floor.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock Where are the ideas coming from Sinn Féin?

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Sinn Féin does not do ideas.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The budget does not include any ideas on how to-----

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock I have been here for half an hour and I have not heard any proposals.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----reduce unemployment or get the economy off the ropes.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock Sinn Féin did not even go to the Department of Finance with its proposals.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Deputy Sherlock, the speaker has the floor.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock Deputy Adams should give me some ideas.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I can give the Minister of State our document if he wants to read it.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry Propaganda.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe It looks like a chess board.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Deputies opposite do not want to hear. I ask them to listen so they might learn something.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I do not think so.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock Deputy Adams should give us some ideas.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams This punitive and cruel budget will increase financial hardship and poverty for tens of thousands of families. Child benefit is a universal payment that is made to the children of the State. The men and women of 1916, including the man who founded the Labour Party, of whom it has been said that when he went into the GPO, the Labour Party never came out again, signed up-----

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock The Deputy and his colleagues wrote one or two people out of history in their time.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----to a Proclamation that said the Republic would cherish "all the children of the nation equally". The Democratic Programme of the First Dáil, which was drafted by Thomas Johnson, who was another leader of the Labour Party, said "it shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter". That should be Labour's way, but patently it is not. The Tánaiste said that child benefit was a red-line issue for the Labour Party. The party's candidates advised people to vote for them if they wanted to protect child benefit. That is the mandate they were given. Therefore, they no longer have a mandate. That is the basis of tonight's vote of no confidence in the Government. It does not have a mandate for what it is doing. The Labour Party promised to end political cronyism. Fine Gael promised to bring about a democratic revolution. Since then, the Minister, Deputy Reilly - another millionaire Minister - has fixed the primary care list-----

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Deputy is not badly off himself.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams -----to include two locations in his constituency and has closed public nursing home beds while engaged in the business of private nursing home industry. What about the election pledge that the Minister, Deputy Quinn, gave to students? That is the kind of stroke politics that the Fianna Fáil leadership was renowned for.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry The Deputy is not bad at that himself.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams When the former Minister of State, Deputy Shortall, drew attention to a scandal involving the Minister for Health, the Labour Party leadership looked the other way. I hope the Ministers of State who are in attendance do not mind me raising the big issue of the North, the peace process and the need to implement the Good Friday Agreement fully. Most of the Government's commentary on this issue in the Chamber has been reduced to heckles as Ministers and backbenchers seek to distract attention from the bad decisions and policies they are pursuing. As we have seen this week, the peace process is too important to be treated in this way. It would be better for the Government to work in an intelligent, strategic and consistent manner for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the other agreements as it is obliged to do. It would be better for the Government to work with Sinn Féin and others to bring about Irish unity, as they are constitutionally bound to do.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock I invite the Deputy to come to my Department for a briefing on InterTradeIreland and the work we are doing on North-South trade links.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I ask the Minister of State to allow Deputy Adams to continue.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock We are working in that area.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald We know all about InterTradeIreland. It is fine.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock I will give Deputy Adams a personal briefing.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín InterTradeIreland has not received any increase in its funding.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock Deputy Adams said we are doing nothing on it.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin The Deputy should show some manners.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The speaker has two minutes left and I ask that he be allowed to complete his contribution uninterrupted.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Tánaiste today expressed his admiration for David Cameron's "determination to get to the truth" about Pat Finucane. I remind the House that the de Silva report was about stopping the Finucane family from getting the truth. The members of the family made that plain today. This Government's cynical attitude towards the promises it made and towards its own electorate - if we forget about the Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil electorates for a moment - was best summed up and illustrated by the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, on Sunday night. When he was pressed about all the promises his party made during last year's election campaign, he simply asked "isn't that what you tend to do during an election?". The Government should go for all these reasons. In addition, it is simply not competent. Its incompetence on many levels should not be under-estimated. I ask the Deputies opposite to do the patriotic thing.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh They should take a hike.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams They should take the patriotic choice, which is to take a walk - go - in the interests of the people.

Deputy Sean Sherlock: Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock That ended with a whimper.


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