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 Header Item Tax Code (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Appointment of Tánaiste: Statement by An Taoiseach
 Header Item Nomination of Government Member: Motion

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 962 No. 5

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  12 o’clock

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I have outlined to the Deputy the reason those changes were made. I have given him a commitment that any records for the period in question that are available will be shared. A recognition of the change to the tax code that was made in last month's budget is entirely missing from the points made by Deputy Boyd Barrett. In light of the understanding we now have of how big and valuable these assets are, I believe it is appropriate to go back to the regime that was in place previously. I reiterate that a key insight which has emerged from these papers is the need for all countries and jurisdictions to move on the same journey at the same time as we seek to improve global tax collection.

  Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.

Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that a motion re nomination of a member of the Government shall take place now, before Leaders' Questions, and shall conclude within 16 minutes. Speeches shall be confined to a single round of two minutes by An Taoiseach and each leader of a party or group, or a Member nominated in his or her stead, all Members may share time and Leaders' Questions shall take place on the conclusion of the motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the proposal, which was discussed this morning at a meeting of the Business Committee, agreed to? Agreed. We will wait for the arrival of the Taoiseach.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley And for Senator Conway's arrival to the Cabinet.

Appointment of Tánaiste: Statement by An Taoiseach

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I wish to announce for the information of the Dáil that I have nominated the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Simon Coveney of Cork South-Central, to assume the Office of Tánaiste.

Nomination of Government Member: Motion

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I move:

That Dáil Éireann approves the nomination by the Taoiseach of Deputy Josepha Madigan for appointment by the President to be a member of the Government.

Pursuant to section 4(1) of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1946, I have assigned the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to Deputy Heather Humphreys of Cavan-Monaghan. I have now moved that the nomination of Deputy Josepha Madigan of Dublin Rathdown be approved. Following her appointment, I propose to assign to her the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

  In appointing the Minister, Deputy Coveney, as Tánaiste, I am very conscious that in his important role as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, he has responsibility for Brexit. I believe his appointment as Tánaiste, Deputy Prime Minister, will enhance his position in representing the Government overseas and in the negotiations that are currently under way. It will make it easier for him to co-ordinate the work of other Departments with respect to Brexit.

  The assignation of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, means that for the first time in seven years the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation will be from outside the Dublin region. That the Minister is from the Border region is particularly relevant in the context of Brexit and the Government’s commitment to bring more good jobs to all regions of Ireland, especially rural Ireland. The ministerial experience of the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, and her background in business and finance makes her very suited to this role.

  Deputy Madigan will build on the work of the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. She will drive forward the Government’s agenda for arts, culture and heritage, including the Creative Ireland programme, which is an ambitious ten-year capital plan for the arts, and the multi-annual increases in funding for culture and heritage. I have also decided to establish a new Cabinet committee - Cabinet Committee G - to deal with justice and equality. As a solicitor and mediator, in her new ministerial role Deputy Madigan will be a member of that committee and will take a special interest in driving forward the five-point agenda for gender equality, which I set out at FemFest at the weekend. I commend these appointments to the House.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I congratulate the Minister, Deputy Coveney, on his appointment as Tánaiste, which has to be ratified by the Dáil. I am glad the Taoiseach is at last beginning to realise that there is an enormous reservoir of talent and ability in County Cork.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Confidence and supply.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I congratulate the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, on her move to the important portfolio of Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. I also congratulate Deputy Madigan on her elevation to the important post of Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

These appointments have been made necessary by a resignation from which no one takes any joy, but which was absolutely required. That the Taoiseach and some Ministers are spending so much time trying to claim that nothing was wrong, and that vindication is on the way, is a sign of an unwelcome approach to recent events. As Fine Gael Deputies are willing to admit away from the microphones, the resignation of the former Tánaiste was more than justified by the failure to acknowledge repeated briefings, the provision of misleading information and the detached attitude to vindicating the rights of a grievously-wronged citizen at a critical moment. This stands independent of the other matters to be examined in the tribunal. It is important that people on all sides are capable of learning lessons from this crisis. It is important for everyone in the House to note that the co-ordinated attempt to say that everything is the fault of civil servants reflects poorly on the Taoiseach and the Government. It is something we need to keep a perspective on.

The enterprise portfolio is one of the most important in the Government. In my view, in recent years it has suffered from the obsession with minor steps and branding. Bigger strategic challenges have been neglected. The recent admission that the Government is abandoning core research and innovation targets marks the first time in 20 years that this area, which is so fundamental to our future, has been allowed to drift. Ongoing activities are being rebranded and launches are getting bigger, but the basic progress has stopped. I ask the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, to pay attention to this dimension of her new portfolio.

I wish Deputy Madigan the very best in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It is a very important portfolio. Her first task should be to ensure the provision of ring-fenced funding to, and the preservation of, the RTÉ orchestras, which are so vital to our national cultural life. There should be no threat hanging over them.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald On a personal level, I congratulate the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, and the incoming Minister, Deputy Madigan, on their new portfolios and I say comhghairdeas to Deputy Coveney on his elevation to the position of Tánaiste. The Taoiseach now has a very strong Cork flavour to his Government. In addition to the Tánaiste, we have the Minister, Deputy Creed; the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, whom I do not see in the Chamber; and of course Deputy Micheál Martin. No doubt the Tánaiste will find that he has many allies and alliances to work on. I wish him well.

I remind the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, that issues of enterprise and decent work are at the core of any progressive Government. Brexit throws up many challenges.

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