Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Confidence in Taoiseach and Government: Motion (Continued)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy John O'Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony] Unemployment in County Mayo had declined by 18% since 2011, even if emigration accounts for some of this figure. Members of my family who emigrated in recent years have returned and are now working as a result of the growth in the economy.

I will turn briefly to Sinn Féin, the instigator of this and many other stunts in recent weeks. I listened carefully to Deputy Adams proclaim his interest in a real republic that is citizen based. Is he referring to a model where transparency is sought in everything but given in nothing, for example, in the case of the child abuse affair of recent weeks? Is it the model where people want to have everything for free and pay for nothing? Is it the model that has been rolled out in North, where members of my family live, under which every household pays a charge of between £1,500 and £2,000 per annum, which does not even include water charges? If such a charge were applied in the South, water charges would not be necessary.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy's time has concluded.

Deputy John O'Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony According to a newspaper report, a copy of which I have in my hand, Sinn Féin Ministers in the North have approved 100 school closures in the past eight years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputies may not display documents in the Chamber.

Deputy John O'Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony I note that most Sinn Féin Deputies have left the Chamber. Perhaps they have done so to process the membership applications of their new recruits.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy is over time. He must resume his seat.

Deputy Michelle Mulherin: Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin As we have seen today, politics is characterised by posturing, manoeuvring, scheming and grand oratory, all of which-----

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley It is all around the Deputy.

Deputy Michelle Mulherin: Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin -----makes for mesmerising drama for onlookers and political pundits.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath We are comatose.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputies should be quiet.

Deputy Michelle Mulherin: Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin We know in our hearts that something more down to earth is needed to achieve tangible results, namely, hard work, conviction and application. Fine Gael and the Labour Party were given a massive mandate to put the country back on track. Having been on the brink of disaster only a few short years ago, the country has clawed its way back to economic growth, financial stability, investment, job creation and opportunities for citizens who are of a mind to seize them. Economic recovery required more than political speak and hot air. To be more precise, action was needed and this required difficult, unpopular decisions. Taking such decisions is the last thing any politician thinking about saving his or her skin would be minded to do.

The man who took a stand and on whose watch Ireland has become the fastest growing economy in Europe is the Taoiseach. We have tangible evidence to give us every confidence in the ability of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Government to rule the country. Let us not be distracted by the rhetoric of the Opposition as it plays games with reality and truth for political gain and popularity.

Sinn Féin has an almighty aversion to people with any wealth. It seeks to crucify farmers with land, carpenters, electricians, subcontractors, people in business and families on middle incomes who pay for everything. The mind boggles when one considers that people on incomes in excess of €33,800 are already treated as high earners under the tax code. How will much needed houses be built if tradesmen are not incentivised to work? Perhaps Sinn Féin expects them to grow from the ground.

While the Government is regularly accused of engaging in a capitalist conspiracy of favouring big business, who is calling the shots for Sinn Féin? A report on the "Today with Sean O'Rourke" show recently laid bare the racketeering of paramilitaries, fuel laundering operations, peddling illegal fuel-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy's time has concluded. I ask her to resume her seat.

Deputy Michelle Mulherin: Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin I was interrupted.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Resume your seat.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan I express my confidence in the Taoiseach and Government. I welcome Deputy Colreavy back to the House. He was clearly not fit to be in the chorus given his party's new found interest in music. We must remember that the party which started this debate defines a wealthy person in a country that is recovering as a teacher on a salary of €35,000 or €40,000. What does Sinn Féin have in store for teachers? It would have a standard rate of income tax of 42%, plus incremental annual increases in tax of 7% per annum for three years, giving a 21% increase over three years. To this income tax rate of 62%, we need to add a further 13% to account for PRSI, the universal social charge and everything else Sinn Féin has in store for people. This would bring the standard rate of income tax for a teacher to 75%.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy That is a lie.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan In the case of a teacher who is married to a small farmer in west Limerick who owns a few heifers, it also has a wealth tax in store. This tax may generate €40,000 or €50,000 from bad or marginal land in my part of the country over the lifetime of a Sinn Féin Government.

  Deputy Colreavy is in an awful hurry to have an election.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy Yes.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan I challenge you to tell farmers in Carrick-on-Shannon, Mohill, Sligo and other parts of the west that your party plans to tax their land and the worse the land, the more you will tax it. Your spokesperson on agriculture-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy O'Donovan must address his remarks through the Chair. He is inviting disorder.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan Sinn Féin's spokesperson on agriculture told the House that unworked farm assets will be taxed when Sinn Féin gets into government. An unworked farm asset in my part of the world is bad land. Deputy Colreavy, who is from the west, proposes to introduce a tax on land that cannot be farmed and for which payment may need to be made by the litre rather than by the acre. That proposal will certainly go down well.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy We certainly would not tell farmers lies.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputies should stay quiet. They may not try to shout down the speaker.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan When Deputy Colreavy travels around the country with Deputy Mattie McGrath, with whom his party hopes to form a Government in the near future, he must not forget to tell people that his party's solution for agriculture is to introduce a land tax on bad land in constituencies such as mine across the west. I do not have any problem supporting the motion of confidence.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am extending the time for the debate because of interruptions.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley To understand the reason confidence in this Government has fallen so dramatically since it received one of the biggest mandates in the history of the State, we need only contrast the commitments made prior to March 2011 by both the Fine Gael Party and Labour Party with the actions of those parties in Government in the period since then. The so-called democratic revolution has given way to democratic revulsion as to how the Government conducts its business.

In the three years and nine months since the Government took office, we have witnessed some significant achievements. The economic recovery of recent months is extremely welcome in a country that has endured six financially difficult years.

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán Well said.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley The unprecedented actions taken by the former Minister for Finance, the late Brian Lenihan, cannot be divorced from the current robust recovery. All Deputies will agree that his actions and plan have contributed to the positive news we see today. Brian Lenihan showed great bravery and courage in his role and this should not be forgotten when discussing the level of economic resolution and correction that is taking place.

We were all proud of the successful visit of Queen Elizabeth II, which changed forever the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom. It showed Ireland in its best light and symbolised the significant improvement in relations between our country. It also showed how the political leadership of Governments of all political hues had successfully led Ireland, North and South, to peace. These were proud moments for the entire nation.

The Government has also disappointed and sometimes even disgusted citizens, however, through the manner in which it has governed. For a time, good will was shown towards the Government and all parties and citizens realised that the political system had to change. Fine Gael and the Labour Party threw away this good will, however, by engaging in the same old tired politics that had been practised by all parties and none in the past.

The first and most striking reason the Government lost the confidence of the people was the Taoiseach's action on Roscommon General Hospital. On 8 February 2011, in front of hundreds of citizens gathered in Roscommon town, the then leader of the Fine Gael Party called on all voters in the constituency to vote for local Fine Gael candidates to secure and defend the accident and emergency unit in their town. Speaking about the unit, the Taoiseach stated: "We will protect and defend that... We are committed to maintaining the services at Roscommon General Hospital." This commitment could not have been clearer - it was to "protect and defend" the accident and emergency unit when in office. The citizens of Roscommon had no reason to doubt such a simple promise and commitment, especially as it was so clear. Despite this, in a betrayal that indicated the cynical approach to politics that was to become a characteristic of this Government, the then Minister for Health, Deputy James Reilly, closed the accident and emergency unit of Roscommon General Hospital in July 2011, less than five months after the Taoiseach's original pledge was made. What made matters worse was the Taoiseach's initial denial that he made a commitment to keep the unit open during the election. Only when a recording emerged did he finally accept that he had made such a promise.


Last Updated: 24/04/2020 15:38:32 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page