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Confidence in Taoiseach and Government: Motion (Continued)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] Better debt deals mean we have billions more to invest in public services to make life a bit easier and somewhat better. Personal taxes are down and people will benefit further from other tax restructuring in forthcoming budgets. Within the month, they will begin to see a bit more in their pay packets as the first tax cuts come into play. This will be the first occasion in a long time that people will get something back and that they will start to see the benefits of the recovery for which they have suffered so much. It is for us to thank them for their sacrifice.

No person is perfect, no government is perfect and nor am I.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Hear, hear.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Of course we did not get everything right along the way - I would be the first to acknowledge that - nor have we achieved all of the things we hoped for when we took office. We must and will learn from our mistakes. We must also do better for the people in the future. I believe 2014 will be seen as a watershed year in Ireland's economic recovery, when our economic policy delivered the resources needed to build our communities and our society. This economic momentum will be maintained next year. After seven difficult years, the people can expect rising living standards, more disposable income and increasingly reformed public services. These are the fruits of economic recovery. We must ensure that all people in all parts of Ireland begin to feel that recovery in their daily lives.

Since entering government, we have focused on rescuing the economy. However, economic recovery is not enough and never was. It is not a goal in itself and does not represent the end of the Government's plans or ambitions. What is a recovery without humanity? What is economic success without dignity, respect or compassion? What is national wealth if it does not take account of community, heart, mind or spirit?

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath My God, the Taoiseach sounds like a member of the Opposition.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny What is reputation when men and women live and die on our streets?

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Now he definitely sounds like one of us.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Our work is not yet done.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins After four years.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party has an ambitious agenda for the future of Ireland. I want this to be seen as a country of opportunity-----

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Go to the people.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----in which people are free to achieve anything they set out to do and to reap the rewards of their efforts. I want it to be a country where no lack of jobs, housing or services will hold individuals back in terms of their ambitions. Our first priority is to complete the task of recovering all of the jobs lost during the recession in order that no one will be left unemployed or under-employed against his or her will. We call this full employment and we have an ambitious plan to achieve it by 2020. That plan will involve the continued transformation of welfare and job support services in order to transition everybody who is long-term unemployed back into paid employment. There will be major reforms in this area in 2015 as we continue to roll out our JobPath initiative. Next year, by means of our construction and social housing strategies, we will work to establish a sustainable construction sector that will provide the housing our people so desperately need. New job creation and a growing economy for our ambitious reform plans will also help us to deliver better services designed to help people reach their full potential. We have outlined such reform plans in respect of the areas of education, health care, social welfare and many others. There will be changes in those areas not only next year but also in the following year.

The Government and I, as Taoiseach, have succeeded, by working in partnership with the people, in bringing our country back from the brink of the economic abyss. We remain fully focused on our plan for Ireland's recovery. Nothing will distract us from the important work of improving the lives of our people. We will finish the task we were given by the people and secure the recovery for the benefit of every single person. I have no intention of creating any instability by calling a general election in 2015. My preference for government after the election in 2016 is for a continuation of the coalition of Fine Gael and Labour that has restored our economic sovereignty.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on  Zoom on  That is not going to happen.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny On 9 March 2011, this Government and the people took a leap of faith: faith that we can better ourselves, faith that we can renew government, faith in a confident, shared future for ourselves, our children and our children's children, and faith in our ability to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business, raise a family and grow old with a sense of dignity and respect.

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