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Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government

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Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government

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Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government

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Senator


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Deputy Mattie McGrath

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Snippet Contents:

And the one that we lost.
I, too, congratulate and wish the new Taoiseach, his Ministers and everyone else the best. I thank the Taoiseach for being helpful in his previous role as Minister for Social Protection on the many issues we raised. The Tánaiste was also helpful. I hope she has placed work on Clonmel Garda station in the safe hands of the new Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan, and that the project will proceed.
As I look along the line of Ministers still present in the Chamber, Deputy Charles Flanagan did well in his role as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, as did the Ministers, Deputies Michael Creed and Simon Harris. As there is a lot of unfinished business in the area of health, I am glad to see that the Minister, Deputy Simon Harris, has been left in his role.
As for the new Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, it could be a case of smoke and mirrors, with him needing to look in the mirror every day to see which Department he is representing. Nonetheless, I am delighted that the two Departments are back under one umbrella. If the legislation has to to be changed, all the better. It was Deputy Brendan Howlin who wanted the little position of Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for himself all those years ago and he was given it.
The Minister, Deputy Simon Coveney, will welcome the move out of the area of housing. The Minister prior to him, AK47 or the King, was going to sort out the problems in housing provision, but he has not attended to hear one syllable of this debate. He got Deputy Brendan Howlin to speak for him. He failed as housing Minister. Big Phil the Enforcer failed before him. There is a massive housing crisis, with thousands on the housing list in every county and homeless persons all over the place. The Government is also forgetting about those in mortgage arrears. It is abandoning them and throwing them to the wolves and vulture funds. Will the Taoiseach, please, rein in the banks, NAMA and the vulture funds? He should show the compassion about which he has been tweeting for many years and deal with the ordinary people who are struggling.
AIB is being fattened. I wish the former Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, well in his retirement, but I did not support him in what he did with AIB. The shares in it are to be sold to vulture funds; some of the largest of which in the world will come in again. What about farmers and small business people waiting in their homes tonight for the sheriff to arrive, on behalf of the courts, AIB and all of the other funds that lent money recklessly? We paid them back and bailed them out. We have to look after the people and allow them to be re-energised to enable them to house themselves. Many of those in mortgage distress did not ask for council houses or free loans. The economy was wrecked and they suffered. They are now suffering again. The Taoiseach should instil some compassion into his Ministers, including those from the Independent Alliance, to enable people to help themselves and live reasonable lives instead of being forced into ill health by fear and strain caused by threats from the sheriff. A couple of years ago I brought a book into the Chamber, Waiting for the Sheriff, but nothing has changed since. Since I entered the Dáil, this is the third Government for which a Taoiseach has been appointed for which I have been unable to vote and that is the reason. I quoted the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the band The Who. We do not want to be fooled again and neither do the people.
As Deputy Danny Healy-Rae said, the Government must look after ordinary people - the homeless, the sick and the 400 or 500 on trolleys everyday. Thousands of people are on waiting lists; some of whom have been waiting for five years - I receive letters which I would not even send to them - for simple procedures, for example, cataract or hip operations. There is a four or five-year waiting list for orthodontic treatment. Young children who are entering secondary school and going out to meet their peers cannot have these desperately needed operations performed. There are no psychology services available in County Tipperary, which has been abandoned. Last week we found out, however, that 9% more managers were employed last year in the HSE. We can have managers but not nurses. There is something rotten in the state of Denmark. We have to rein in the HSE and HIQA. I wish the Minister, Deputy Katherine Zappone, well in what is a troubled time for her, but she has to rein in Tusla also. There is quango after quango that the Government stated it would not set up but which it did.
I see the new Minister, the Minister of State, Deputy Michael Ring, looking at me. That fellow did a Pontius Pilate on post offices. He could not get away from them fast enough, but he is being appointed Minister with responsibility for rural development.