Nomination of Taoiseach.

Wednesday, 11 October 1961

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 192 No. 1

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An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Is é céadghnó na Dála ná Taoiseach a ainmniú.

The first business of the Dáil is the nomination of Taoiseach.

An Tánaiste: Information on Seán MacEntee Zoom on Seán MacEntee I move that Dáil Éireann nominate Deputy Seán F. Lemass for appointment by the President as Taoiseach.

Minister for Finance (Dr. Ryan): Information on James Ryan Zoom on James Ryan I second the motion.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin Zoom on General Seán MacEoin It gives me great pleasure and it is an honour to propose the name of Deputy James M. Dillon to Dáil Éireann for election as Taoiseach. I do so in the knowledge that Fianna Fáil have not retained the confidence of the majority of the people. There are many reasons why he should be elected. The policy outlined by him and by Fine Gael is, in my opinion, the only programme that can bring about economic prosperity for our country and national unity. His statesmanship, patriotism and work for Ireland require no commendation from me. He is a parliamentarian [16] of a very high order. He is an Irishman whom we all, no matter on which side of the House we sit, can admire and praise for his work. We can be proud of him, indeed.

Deputy Dillon is an industrialist, a businessman and a farmer. He has proved himself, while in the Department of Agriculture, an able administrator. While there, he was able to assist the industrialist, the agriculturist, the worker. The fact that in three and a half years, he brought one million acres of land into production and that Fianna Fáil brought only 400,000 acres in 4½ years, in my opinion, is a testament to his ability.

There are many reasons why Deputy Dillon should be elected as Taoiseach. I shall try to cite some of the reasons briefly, I hope. The Land Project, the scheme for liming and fertilising the land, the progeny-testing scheme for our livestock and the Agricultural Institute are all testaments of his ability and his dynamic work. He has shown his ability as an administrator by the part he played in the 1948 Trade Agreement. I want to point out that that agreement is now one of the mainstays of our industrialists and is of great benefit to the agricultural community. The fact of the matter is that by that 1948 Trade Agreement he helped the farmers in their convalescence—and I use the word “convalescence” deliberately— following the long illness they suffered during the Economic War and the World Wars.

As I say, he proved his skill as an administrator and that, in my opinion, fits him for the task of negotiating our entry into the Common Market. He does not depend upon translators or interpreters. I assert that is a gift from God that can be, and will be, if he is elected, of great benefit to our people.

I want to remind the House that during the war period, he served on the Defence Conference and drew from the then Taoiseach, now the President of Ireland, a very high tribute for his work in that Conference in the interests of the Irish people, even though slanderers would like to say otherwise.

[17] In 1943, we had a somewhat similar position to that which exists today. The world was then at war and because of that fact, I advocated the formation of a National Government to meet the dangers that might then confront the country. That proposal was rejected by the Fianna Fáil Party. I do not advocate that now for the simple reason that, in my opinion, Party Government is best suited to this country and best suited to all democratic countries. Therefore, although there are perhaps some people, and I think a newspaper or two, who advocate it, I do not now advocate it or suggest it.

History has a knack of repeating itself. I want to remind the House that at that time, in proposing that Mr. W.T. Cosgrave be elected as Taoiseach to form a National Government, I asked the then Leader of the House if it was his intention to carry on the policy he had carried on up to then, and the answer was “Yes”. I pointed out that the result of that policy would be a continuation of emigration which was then at the highest figure ever—except for the past couple of years—in the history of the country, and that more of our boys would join the British armed forces. That opinion was borne out by subsequent events.

I ask that question now and I presume I have been answered by the Taoiseach—he is still Taoiseach. In his final rally, he said that Fianna Fáil would continue with their policy. I assert that under that policy there is no hope for the people of this country.

A Deputy: Nonsense.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin Zoom on General Seán MacEoin No hope. That is as true today as it was in 1943. There is no doubt about it because the facts have been established since. We find ourselves today in the position that the only hope for this country is a Fine Gael Government which will put their policy into effect. I suggest that the 50,000 people who voted for Fianna Fáil at the last election, and who voted for Fine Gael at this election, have been converted to that view, and if we had had a longer time to put our policy to the people, the number would have been greater.

[18]Deputies: Hear, hear!

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin Zoom on General Seán MacEoin The policy of Fine Gael is clearly set out. It is a policy of fair play for all, in city, in town and in country. The burden of local rates is now intolerable. Over £22,000,000 has been collected from the ratepayers over the years 1960-61. I want to remind the House that that is more than the total revenue of the Exchequer in 1932 and that was then an intolerable burden, according to Fianna Fáil.

Our policy will take particular care of our industries. It plans to increase and expand them. It plans to protect our workers who are engaged in these industries; it plans to protect the people who have invested money therein, and generally to expand our exports as set out by us in our 1956 plan. Even the most hardened Fianna Fáil supporter will admit that the Gerard Sweetman plan when he was Minister for Finance in 1956 has done much to extend and develop our export trade. I congratulate Fianna Fáil on having adopted it, because whatever success they have had in that regard is due to that plan.

Fine Gael policy will give effective health services based on equity and the moral code. It will deal with the problems of ground rent in a way that is fair to both landlord and tenant. In the cities and towns, that is a very important matter. The education of our youth is also of great importance and Fine Gael believe that in future we must have boys and girls efficient and well educated not only in Irish and English, but in French, German, Spanish, Italian and, God save us, even in Russian. There is a challenge to be met and if we do not face up to it, we will be in the position which I have described before, in which we will have to depend on translators and interpreters because we will not understand what other people are saying. It is imperative, therefore, that our educational plan should be put into effect.

Our system of loans to farmers who avail of our advisory services and [19] thus develop and increase our production in agriculture, is of paramount importance.

I am glad to say that Fine Gael have put in their programme a very positive clause that will see to it that justice and fair play are given to the existing members of the Defence Forces and to our former comrades of 1916 to 1923, no matter what side they took in that period.

I, therefore, propose the name of Deputy James Dillon to the Dáil and in doing so, I am satisfied that if he is elected, the programme which he plans for the people will have an opportunity of being put into effect. I say that if he is elected Taoiseach, Deputies will be voting for the spiritual and material welfare of our people. I have no doubt whatever about that. I can go further and say that Deputies will be electing a man whose traditions are long and well-founded.

Again, no matter what slanderers may say, he comes from the clan whose forebears hoisted the Tricolour at Ballingarry. There are very few people in this country today who can live up to the high ideals of Deputy James Dillon. I now nominate and propose him as Taoiseach of this, the most important assembly in Ireland that, under God, will bring us the prosperity and economic development we all desire.

Mr. Barrett: Information on Stephen D. Barrett Zoom on Stephen D. Barrett I wish formally to second the proposal put by Deputy MacEoin that Deputy James Dillon be elected Taoiseach.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton Zoom on William Norton Our presence here today is the result of the verdict which the people have given in the recent general election. I gather from the Irish Press today that the outturn of the figures for the different Parties is a source of some embarrassment, but I do not think that is a situation which it is impossible to remedy. It seems to me that at the opening of a new Parliament the two main Parties of this State who were born out of an unhappy event which has long since passed into history might well consider the question of merging their forces and avoiding [20] the embarrassment of which the Irish Press speaks today.

Many people in this country, even those in the different political Parties, think that a reorganisation of these Parties, on the basis of economic policies and not on distant political happenings, is long overdue and now would seem to be as appropriate a time as any other we are likely to find in the next five years to undertake that reorganisation. I have watched both Parties in this House and I have watched their actions, especially when matters which are distinctive items of Labour Party policy have been under consideration. Many and many a time in this House in debates and in divisions, the Labour Party was found on one side and the other two Parties, notwithstanding their supposed differences, were found united on the other side. If there is a substantial basis of agreement between them, it seems to me that with courage and some pioneering effort an attempt could be made to bring about if not a complete merger at least a reorganisation which would bring together in one Party substantial groups in each of the two large Parties who appear to have the same kind of economic outlook and the same kind of political philosophy.

The Labour Party has now as always its own distinctive policy. It has fought the last election as an independent Party and on the basis of that policy. It is to reaffirm its independence and its separateness that we have decided to nominate Deputy Brendan Corish for election as Taoiseach which I now formally do. Deputy Corish is a young, active member of this House. His qualifications as a parliamentarian are well and favourably known. His administrative ability as a Parliamentary Secretary and Minister are on record for all to read. He has all the qualifications which are necessary to make a successful Taoiseach.

It may well happen that in the procedural arrangements which govern this House there will not be an opportunity for Labour Deputies to vote for Deputy Corish but, at least, we [21] have put on record the reasons why we have nominated him. I merely want to add to these reasons this intimation that to reaffirm the independence of the Labour Party and its distinctive role as compared with other Parties we shall vote against the nominations for Taoiseach made by any other Party in the House.

Mr. Desmond: Information on Daniel Desmond Zoom on Daniel Desmond In seconding Deputy Norton's motion I wish to make it clear that we believe that the programme for which our colleague Deputy Corish stands is different from and completely independent of the policies for which Deputy Lemass and Deputy Dillon stand. For too long too many people outside have thought it should be the role of the Labour Party, a small political Party, to act as a tail-end of one of the larger Parties. I would remind the House and the people outside that no later than the 1st September it was proved to all and sundry that, when it came to a matter of grave importance, there was no difference whatsoever between the policy of the then Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, and the policy of Deputy Dillon.

We of the Labour Party believe that while the distance to be travelled may take a little while yet, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will eventually have to come together. There is nothing between them except the old sores that we hope are nearly now healed. When that time comes, inside this Chamber and outside it, people will realise that the Labour Party policy advocated by our Leader, Deputy Corish, will be the only alternative to the existing system.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. Browne Zoom on Noel C. Browne I should like to make clear our position on the proposal before us and our attitude in regard to the decision we intend to take. On the last occasion on which we were voting for a Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass went forward with the greatest majority behind him that any Party has ever had in this House. We believed, and we said so at that time, that he got that majority from the people on the understanding and the assumption that he appreciated the people had [22] become sick and tired of repeated changes of Government which did not bring fundamental or radical changes in policy. He was given that strong overall majority for which he asked on that occasion and we exhorted him to use that position, that authority and that power to make these radical and fundamental changes which could save our country from the continuing condition of decay in which it has found itself during the last 40 years.

Deputy Lemass refused to accept that mandate from the people. He refused to accept that interpretation of that powerful mandate and seems to have used his powerful majority merely to fritter away the goodwill, the support and authority which he was given in that Dáil. The result of the continuation of conservative economic policies, with continued reliance on private enterprise as opposed to public investment, productive capital investment, has led, as everybody knows well, to a continual catastrophic drop in our population. This has shown itself in the very high emigration figure and reflects the failure of the Government to provide opportunities for employment here at home. In addition to that there has been the failure of the Government, due, they say, to a lack of adequate national income, to provide for better social services, better health services and better educational facilities for our people. They appear themselves to have been caught in the trap of their own propaganda that we were a prosperous society, propaganda put out in the teeth of the truth that we are, in fact, a society rapidly falling into decay and decadence.

In the previous Dáil, we put forward a number of motions containing, as we believed, progressive, constructive suggestions for government. These included reference to health services, better educational services, matters dealing with the language and, above all, the extension of public ownership in regard to a number of the basic industries in the country. During the lifetime of that Dáil we were opposed consistently on all these proposals by Deputy Lemass and his associates. We received on the unimportant ones the [23] support of Fine Gael and their continued opposition to the more progressive and radical of our views. But throughout the lifetime of that Dáil it could be said we received the constant support of the Labour Party.

During the last election, it seems to us that one thing became completely clear to everyone—that there is no fundamental difference in the basic social and economic policies of the two great Parties. Proposals put forward by them for the solution of our economic problems were based primarily on private enterprise and were the same propositions put forward here time and time again for the last 40 years and which have failed time and time again for the last 40 years. We share the public's own view that the only difference between the two, if there is any difference at all, was the relatively unimportant one as to whether Irish should be revived by compulsory or voluntary methods, which is of no real importance when you take into account the condition and difficulties of our people.

The public took the view that Deputy Lemass should not be entrusted with an overall majority and that neither should Deputy Dillon be entrusted with an overall majority. They made it clear, as near as it appears to me it was possible to make it clear, that in their view there should be a merger of the two great Parties and that they should then go to the country again as a single unit professing the same faith. I should like to repeat Deputy Norton's assertion that if there is great instability, then I do not think that the minority groups can take the blame for it. If the two great Parties resist this direction from the public, it is they who must accept any responsibility for any instability there may be in the lifetime of the present Dáil.

In the last election also, the Labour Party came out on a number of issues in which we were particularly interested. They said they wanted to see a society in which every man's child had the same right to higher education, irrespective of whether the [24] parents could afford it or not. They said they wanted to see the end of the blue cards, the end of means test medicine in Ireland, and to see a health service in which all were treated equally. They said they wanted to see a society in which the old people were treated with respect and dignity. Most of the Parties made those same professions but, in addition to those professions, the Labour Party pointed out that they believed the only way in which it would be possible to create the wealth necessary to provide for those services or the extension of those services would be by a wider extension of public ownership.

We share those views. We believe it is only by a wide extension of public ownership that it will be possible for us, in the first place, to direct the financial resources of our State towards creating a level of investment which will provide work for all those men who are able to work and want to work. Secondly, we believe that it is only through public ownership that investment will be in the proper raw material in industry in Ireland, that is, the raw material of processed agricultural and marine goods of one kind or another.

Thirdly, we believe that only through public ownership would it be possible to raise national income to a level which would make possible the realisation of all these ambitions in regard to education, health and the care of the aged. Fourthly, and above all, we believe that in the very troubled and very difficult times which lie ahead of this country in regard to the Common Market, there is no question whatsoever that the pocket type of industry we have at present, which flowed from the inefficiency of private enterprise here, cannot survive competition from the great industrial cartels in Central Europe.

Because of those views we believe that we must support the candidature of Deputy Corish as Taoiseach and that we must oppose the candidature of Deputy Lemass and of Deputy Dillon. I should like to add on our behalf that, in the event of Deputy Corish not being elected Taoiseach, [25] we want to give the assurance that where matters are considered by the Dáil and proposals put forward by whatever Taoiseach is elected, be it Deputy Lemass or Deputy Dillon, we shall give those which we consider to be progressive, forward-looking proposals, likely to be in the best interests of the public, our full support. As for the others, we shall consistently oppose them.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin Zoom on Frank Sherwin As an Independent, I do not have to play any Party game. I shall not make any speech about policies but I shall come down to essentials. I am concerned only with the person who can form a Government that has some chance of survival. I am not interested in voting for people —even though I may admire them— who can form a Government that will last only for weeks. I do not think the Dáil or the public want another election. In fact, members of all Parties have come to me and said they hoped Deputy Lemass would be elected because they did not want another election. Even members of the Opposition have said that to me.

I am concerned with figures, with the fact that there are 70 members of the Fianna Fáil Party and all others together comprise 74. You, Sir, are one, and that leaves us with 73. The 70 members of Fianna Fáil can all be “whipped” into being here. That does not apply to the other side. There are six groups on the other side. Who can “whip” the Independents into being here? Nobody. Who can “whip” Deputy Dr. Browne into being here? Not Deputy McQuillan. I am concerned with forming a Government. I would like to vote for Deputy Dillon and Deputy Corish, because both of those gentlemen have been very kind to me. In fact, if I ever encountered any hostility, it was from Deputy Lemass's Party.

I am rising above that. There is the country to be considered and not Parties. There is the question of the country being able to carry on to meet such problems as the Common Market and unemployment; there is the question of our boys in the Congo; there is the question of Partition. These are the [26] matters we should consider, and not this little game. Everybody admits it is a little game.

I would warmly support a National Government, but such has not been proposed. Deputy Lemass has not said he is interested in such a proposal. It is up to Deputy Lemass whether he has a Coalition. I can help in forming a Government that will last a reasonable time. Any other Government would not last three weeks, let alone three months. As I said, we can play any little game we like. I shall say no more, except to emphasise that I am not voting for Fianna Fáil—I am voting for a Government.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne Zoom on Seán Dunne I am convinced that this country's future in the modern world can be secured only by a positive policy based on the highest principles of labour and liberalism—the highest principles of labour and liberal philosophy. Conservative thought and action, long pursued by the Old Guard of both the major Parties in this country, have brought us only continuous emigration and loss of faith, particularly among the youth, in the future of the country.

In those areas of governmental activity where any discernible progress has been achieved, such as the provision of houses for the people living in the many thousands of hovels scattered over the length and breadth of this land, it will be found on examination and it will be known to those who have studied it over any period, that those improvements, where they exist, have come about as a result of pressure and leadership from those public representatives whose fundamental beliefs are anchored upon the welfare of the ordinary citizens—the men Theobald Wolfe Tone referred to as the men of no property. On the other hand, in those spheres where little or no progress has been seen—notably, I would say, in the treatment of the sick and the aged—there is plainly to be observed by all the handiwork of such of our Parties as have been quite content to tick over in the stagnation of a laissez-faire economy.

I am mandated to vote first for [27] Deputy Corish, the Leader of the Labour Party. Should he not be elected Taoiseach, my organisation feels I should vote for a second choice —Deputy Lemass. It would, however, appear that the mechanics of the election of Taoiseach—with the nominees of the major Parties, Deputies Lemass and Dillon, being presented to the House first for approval—will deprive me of the opportunity of making a second choice.

Therefore, much as I detest the idea of abstention—it is repugnant to my whole being—nevertheless, by according with the rules of the House and in accordance with my mandate, I shall have to wait until Deputy Corish's nomination is put forward, if we reach that stage, before casting an affirmative vote. I must make it very clear, in case my action is construed as a silent over-all approval of the policy of Fianna Fáil, that I shall not hesitate to vote against Deputy Lemass, should he introduce legislation which I consider to be detrimental to the interests of working people, such as his recent notion about compelling strikers to work against their will. Finally, for the benefit of the Labour Party, I would add that while voting now for Deputy Corish, I shall, nonetheless, pursue my own independent line on all matters which affect the Irish people, as I am doing here today.

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron Zoom on Joseph Barron I have listened to the speeches of the Party politicians. I cannot describe them in any other way. Considering that the population of this country has fallen considerably more in the past five years than in the previous 30 years, and considering that 200,000 of our people have emigrated in the past five years for want of employment, I think this is quite sufficient to prove the failure of Party politics in this country.

We are faced with a crisis when we find over 200,000 of our people leaving in five years in search of employment abroad, notwithstanding all we read in the Press and all we hear over the radio. All that simply bespeaks failure. In such a crisis, it is my view [28] and the view of a good many people that the Party politicians should settle their differences on this occasion and form a National Government. I had intended to move an amendment, which was not accepted because it was not on the Order Paper, and I would ask the permission of the Ceann Comhairle to give the members of the House an idea of what was in that amendment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy may read it.

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron Zoom on Joseph Barron The amendment reads:

That Dáil Éireann requests Deputy Lemass, as outgoing Taoiseach and as Leader of the largest Party in the House, to consult with the Leaders of the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party with a view to the formation of a National Government, and that the House do adjourn until 6 p.m. to enable such consultations to take place before the election of a Taoiseach.

That is what I intended to have discussed. It was not on the Order Paper and therefore it was not in order to take it.

Apart from the serious crisis which follows the failure of Party politics, there is also the question of the Common Market. The outgoing Government neglected that for a few years. It was only when Britain decided to join the Common Market that our Government made a move in that direction.

If we have the best brains of those three Parties united in action for the good of the people and the country generally, we are bound, I have no doubt, to get some good from the Common Market. If we handle it properly, it may be possible for this country to escape the shackles of one market which we have at present and also of one financial institution that happens to be the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is time for us to make a move, to speak for ourselves, to have Irishmen of different persuasions speaking on behalf of Ireland and not to allow other people [29] to speak for Ireland. I am afraid that is what is happening to-day.

So, in view of the terrible unemployment and emigration and the coming of the Common Market, I appeal to Deputy Lemass, in the interest of our people and in the interest of the country, he being the Leader of the largest Party in this House and the outgoing Taoiseach, to use his utmost endeavour to form a National Government with his own Party, Fine Gael and the Labour Party. If that works out, the Independents and the other people should not get any representation in such a Government.

I would again ask the outgoing Taoiseach to try to form a National Government. If he gives any assurance that he is inclined to do so, I will support his election; if he does not, I shall vote against him.

Mr. Carroll: Information on James Carroll Zoom on James Carroll I should like to preface my few remarks by saying that I think this is a great day for Ireland, rather than a tragedy. The people have reduced the majority the Fianna Fáil Party had. While the Fine Gael Party have increased in number, the increase has not been sufficient. It has been stated by Deputy MacEoin that Fianna Fáil have lost the confidence of the people. Certainly, they have lost seats but how one would weigh the numerical difference and ascribe it to a lack of confidence is something I cannot understand.

The Labour Party, by the number of candidates they put forward, gave no indication that they had any ambition to govern the country as a Labour Party. If they had done so or if the position were in any way different, I would be with them, just the same as I was with them in the lonely days when we voted on five or six occasions against the Fianna Fáil Party. It is a good thing that the Fianna Fáil Party will hesitate, as Deputy Dunne said, before introducing or endeavouring to pass legislation that is so obnoxious to the people.

Unlike Deputy Sherwin, I can say truthfully that no member of any Party has approached me since I was [30] elected last Thursday. That, I am very pleased to say and I say it without fear of contradiction. I am sure, of course, that they know they would be on a losing wicket, in any case.

The Fine Gael Party have shown that they made an honest effort to secure election as the Government but the people did not give them the necessary return to enable them to do so. I am not going to speak of coalition in any degree. I do not know how one would parse or analyse the difference between a National Government and a Coalition Government. Deputy Barron asserts that he would support a National Government, which, apparently, Independents would not be good enough to support. Let us not have any misinterpretation.

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron Zoom on Joseph Barron I meant that they should not have representation in a National Government because of their number. That is what I meant.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin Zoom on Frank Sherwin It is ability that counts, not numbers.

Mr. Carroll: Information on James Carroll Zoom on James Carroll In the area I represent, Fine Gael increased their number and Labour did not improve. I want to take this opportunity to try to kill at this stage the often repeated statement: “Oh, Carroll—he is just Fianna Fáil in disguise.” Carroll is not Fianna Fáil in disguise but maybe by virtue of the fact that Carroll, too, was a participant in that awful tragedy of 40 years ago, his leanings and his feelings must be channelled in one particular direction. That is not what I want to perpetuate.

As I say, when we were brought back to this House during the recess, I voted against the Government repeatedly. I will still vote against the Government repeatedly or against any Government or any Coalition on matters which I believe are not in the interests of the people. Accepting the position, I have no alternative but to support the nomination of Deputy Seán Lemass as Taoiseach.

Sin a bhfuil le rá agam. Tá súil agam go mbeidh an obair atá le déanamh againn an lá so déanta ar son na tire áluinn seo. Tá súil agam, [31] freisin, sar a dtagann toghacháin eile, go mbeidh síocháin agus saoirse ins gach contae den tír.

Mr. Sheridan: Information on Joseph M. Sheridan Zoom on Joseph M. Sheridan When I offered myself in my constituency to the people, I offered myself as an Independent candidate and I had no hesitation in telling them that when I would eventually come to Leinster House, I would remain Independent. Therefore, on this occasion, I am not voting for Deputy Lemass, Deputy Dillon or Deputy Corish as Taoiseach. However, whatever Government are elected here today, I hope they will be a good Government.

Coming from a rural area and from a farming area, there is one point I should like to make, of which I hope the newly elected Government will take stock. From every side of the House, it has been admitted freely and clearly that agriculture is our premier industry. That being so, our marketing system is of supreme importance. It is a sad reflection that within the past two months, bacon on the British market has fallen by at least £2 per cwt. In the country the pig is regarded as the poor man's friend. It is also sad to think that last week foreign bacon was making 15/- per cwt. more than our first quality Irish bacon. It is up to the incoming Government— whether a Fianna Fáil, a Fine Gael or some other Government—to give the producers a lead in that direction, to put the proper salesmen there and have something done about it.

There is another point I should like to make and I do not want to go into Government policy. I am very new in this House, but I would appeal to whatever Government are elected to do something about the cost of living and to subsidise at least two items, bread and butter. In the canvass of two or three towns, I found that bread and butter are both scarce and dear, as far as the poor man is concerned. I can see no reason why these items cannot be provided at the right price for our own people. This country at the moment is top heavy with milk and milk products. I know that in the towns and in the country margarine is [32] being substituted for butter. By subsidising butter, money would not leave the country but we would create a taste for butter which would mean greater consumption and put money in the producer's pockets, whilst enabling our people to consume an item of diet which is so necessary to human life.

I should also like to tell the incoming Minister for Health that the present health scheme is a failure. I am a member of the Westmeath County Council and my biggest trouble at the moment is trying to restore health cards which have been taken away from people who deserve them. I suggest that this scheme should be revised. It is not working the way it was intended to work. As I have already stated, for my term of office, whether it be long or short, I shall support any policy that is good for my constituents. I shall oppose any policy conflicting with their views, irrespective of what Party is involved. That is all I have to say and I hope the right Government will be selected.

Mr. J.R. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan As an Independent member, my leanings happen to be with the Labour Party and if the Labour Party happened to be in a position to nominate and elect a Taoiseach and form a Government, that Party would get my support. However, that is not going to happen. I do not think that a coalition between Deputy Blowick and Deputy Browne could by any means form a Government, so, therefore, I am left with a choice between two other Parties. To my mind the choice between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. However, I have to look at the matter realistically.

Take Fine Gael for a start. That Party, apart from its leadership, has too many spacemen and West Britons in it to appeal to me. That is the Party which went out a few weeks before the election and announced its famous 21 points policy. They might as well have handed out 21 pints of porter for all the support it got. That would have achieved as much. That Party, during the election campaign. [33] set out to sell its own soul and the soul of Ireland for the sake of political power. The Irish language should not have been used in the political campaign, and I hand no bouquets or laurels to the Party that used it as a plank in their platform.

With regard to Fianna Fáil—a Party whose leaders, and in many cases, its members, have been up in the clouds for the past four and a half years and have now come back to earth with a shock—I would say this: if Deputy Lemass is elected Taoiseach, and I think he will be, and if he forms a Government, he will have my support, but under certain conditions. He will definitely have to come down to earth and change his rich man's policy. Deputy Lemass, if he is to remain in power, will have to decide between rich and poor. It is my opinion that the rich men, after being pampered for quite a long time, should be able to live without Government subvention or Government intervention of any kind on their behalf. If Fianna Fáil, when it forms a Government, will turn its mind towards making more of the poor richer rather than making the rich richer, it will be doing a good day's work for Ireland and the people, particularly those whom I represent along the western coast.

It is all very well to talk about industrialisation and to read all that we see in the papers about this famous policy of industrialisation, but it brings rather cold comfort to the people of the West where the only industry about which the people know anything is ship building. They fill the ships, of course; they do not make them. Their other chief “industry” is the dole office queue. Deputy Lemass will have to do something about these things. It is time something were done about them.

It is sad that after almost 40 years of native Government, the two chief monuments to the Governments' inefficiency down through the years are the numbers on the emigrant ships and the queues at the dole office doors. When Deputy Lemass and his Party show me definitely that at last they have decided to remedy these defects, and they are very obvious defects to [34] us in the West, he shall have my wholehearted support. He must, as was stated by the Deputy who preceded me, give our children a chance to eat reasonable meals. It is all right to subsidise butter and send it to feed people in England, but our own people come first and it is time we gave them what they so badly need and what should have been given to them without people from the West having to intervene in a debate of this kind.

I do not wish to delay the House. Apparently some of the speakers before me thought that the election was not over at all—they spoke for so long. There is one other point I should like to mention. There is a young man from the town of Ballina who is in jail. If he were a criminal, he would be entitled to a remission of sentence. If he were in jail in the unchristian North, he would be entitled to a remission of sentence, but when he comes from the Catholic South, he gets no remission. I shall continue to remind Deputy Lemass of that young man until he releases him.

If Deputy Lemass will meet me even half way on these points, I shall see that his Government run smoothly because I want to see industrialisation for the West and I know the type of industrialisation we got from the gentlemen on the left. They closed everything. As far as I am concerned, if some Fianna Fáil Deputies are making fortunes from the sale of locks, they should thank the Fine Gael Government for setting up the industry.

Mr. S. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass Before you put the motion, Sir, I should like to intervene for a few moments to make it clear that I have not asked any Deputy in this House, outside the members of my own Party, to support the motion, either by their vote or by their abstention. I hope, and I expect, that every Deputy will vote in accordance with his own judgment as to what is the best course for the country, having regard to the circumstances which have arisen as a result of the general election. If I should be elected Taoiseach, it would be my intention to implement the programme of my Party in all respects.

If I might be allowed to refer to [35] just one point put forward in the debate by my colleague in the representation of the constituency of Dublin South-Central in regard to a National Government, I do not know why he thinks the onus in that matter rests on me. Deputy MacEoin, and I agree with him, made clear the view of his Party in that regard. The position of the Labour Party has been made abundantly clear. It seems to me it would make for ineffective Government in normal circumstances to transfer into the Cabinet the divisions that normally find expression in the Dáil.

If this motion is carried and if I become Taoiseach and form a Government, I should make it clear that I would think it necessary, should that Government be defeated on an important issue of policy, or if circumstances arose which made it obvious to everyone that effective Government could not be carried on, to resign. If that situation should arise, another election would probably be unavoidable. While only a rash man would attempt to predict the future, I suggest that the forecasts which have been made by political commentators in the newspapers regarding another election in a matter of months, or so, should be discounted.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan Zoom on John McQuillan That is the Irish Press.

Mr. S. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass I believe it is possible for a Government based upon the strength of the Fianna Fáil Party to carry on the nation's business satisfactorily, and to do so without giving rise to any situation which might produce a deadlock. It will certainly be my intention to avoid such a situation arising.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon I want to comment. The intervention—the rather unusual intervention—of the outgoing Taoiseach at this point of the discussion imposes upon me an obligation to make some observations I might otherwise have reserved for another occasion. As Leader of this Party, I think it is unnecessary for me to assure the House no approach was made by me, or by any person [36] authorised by me, to any other Deputy of this House seeking his support other than the Deputies of this Party who have come here to support the policy for which we stood before the people.

British newspapers may be excused for their hysterics about stable Government because they cannot be expected to understand our circumstances, the political issues which divide us, or, indeed, the institutions which we have set up for ourselves in this Republic. There are certain Deputies here bleating about panic. We know what is troubling them. If there were any danger of the Government falling they would break their own legs in order to avoid the division, but it is disedifying to hear responsible Irish citizens speaking of instability and the dilemma into which our people have got themselves under the system of election our people chose for themselves. When asked to abandon it, they contemptuously refused to do so.

The fact is that our election under proportional representation has provided our country with stable Government, albeit not a dictatorial ascendancy. Not only has it provided our people with stable Government but it has provided our country with a truly representative Dáil. It has not excluded Deputy Sherwin; it has not excluded Deputy Barron. It has not excluded the humblest Deputy in this House——

A Deputy: Who is he?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon Whoever he is, he never suspects the fact, but he is here by the same right and title as is whoever may be elected Taoiseach of this House. Under the protection of our Ceann Comhairle his rights in this House will get the same careful protection as the rights of the Leader of the Government, the Leader of the Opposition, or the Leader of the Labour Party will get. Is that not something of which we should be proud instead of choking ourselves with crocodile tears about instability, for the disedification of The Guardian and the London Times?

We have provided ourselves with a representative Dáil. We have in this House a representative Opposition [37] which recognises its duty, whatever part of the House it sits in, to defend the individual interests of any citizen, which may be challenged by this or any other Executive, which is prepared to offer constructive criticism of any proposal brought before Dáil Éireann by the elected Executive, and which is prepared to reassure the Executive that in any complex or difficult problems that may confront us, domestic or external, in either the immediate or remote future, they may look to all sides of this House for the kind of support any Irish Government are entitled to expect when they are concerned to defend the vital interests of our people. I do not believe there is anybody on this front bench or the front bench opposite who doubts that when the cards are down, anyone who challenges them in the vital interests of our people will fail to find a united Oireachtas prepared to defend them.

The Government have their job to do. I submit that job primarily is to provide good Government. Secondly, and no less important, is that in their dealings with Dáil Éireann, they shall seek to consult rather than to coerce. The Irish people have, in the most sophisticated way an electorate could, warned the largest Party in this Dáil that they expect from an Irish Executive, in their dealings with the Oireachtas, collaboration and not dictation. They do not want an ascendancy; they want a democratic Government, and that is what they are going to get. Given a fair practice of these simple precepts both in Opposition and in Government I dare to assert for the edification of our critics abroad that we will have stable Government.

I am not concerned to edify the weepers and the groaners within the State; they are simply grinding a blunted old axe in the hope that the sparks will illuminate their own insignificance. This is not the first time in my recollection that outsiders have rejoiced to sneer at this country. I tell them clearly that, in my judgment and with full knowledge of the public life of this country, Ireland will have at the hands of this Dáil one of the most stable Governments [38] in Europe. Let some of the critics on the Continent whose hearts are bleeding for us reserve some of that sanguinary operation for themselves.

I want to say that, in my judgment, our people have chosen better than some of their would-be preceptors would have had them choose because our people have remembered that an Ascendancy, even in Parliament, stands ever in the danger of which Lord Acton spoke when he said that “all power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There is nobody in Dáil Éireann today who has absolute power but we are going to get a Government with all the power necessary to provide stable government, save only if they aspire to destroy the fundamental liberties of some simple person in this country, for on that issue they will find the combination against them adequate to remind them that the absolute corruption of absolute power is not within their reach, much less possession.

We have formidable problems, domestic and external, to surmount. Instead of paralysing our capacity with the crocodile tears of self-pity because our people have preferred democracy to authoritarianism, let us take off our coats and get on with the job of leading our people through whatever perils may beset us, in the sure knowledge that, as we have not failed in any previous emergency, we, the Irish people, shall not fail tomorrow or in any of the long years that are still spread out before us in the logbook of a history in which we are privileged to play a part.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin Zoom on Frank Sherwin May I ask a question? Deputy Carroll made a reference to me in his remarks. He used the phrase: “unlike Deputy Sherwin, who saw certain people.” I saw nobody officially but a few rank and file T.D.s

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan That is not a question.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin Zoom on Frank Sherwin It is very important to me. I spoke to some rank and file T.D.s but to no one officially.

[39]Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish I do not think I should be called upon to say this. In view of what Deputy Lemass and Deputy Dillon have said, I merely want to say that so far as the Labour Party are concerned, their position since the election is exactly what it was before the election. We have not made representation to any Party or individual with regard to the formation either of a Labour Government, a Coalition inter-Party Government or a National [40] Government. I did not think it was necessary to say that. There may be some doubts, not among the people of this House, but among the public following the remarks of Deputy Sherwin. I merely want to repeat that, so far as the Labour Party are concerned, they held no talks about the formation of any type of Government.

Question put: “That Deputy Seán F. Lemass be nominated as Taoiseach.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 68.

Allen, Lorcan.
Bartley, Gerald.
Blaney, Neal T.
Boland, Kevin.
Booth, Lionel.
Brady, Philip A.
Brady, Seán.
Breen, Dan.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.
Breslin, Cormac.
Briscoe, Robert.
Burke, Patrick J.
Callery, Phelim A.
Carroll, Jim.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Clohessy, Patrick.
Colley, George.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Cotter, Edward.
Crinion, Brendan.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Mick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dolan, Séamus.
Dooley, Patrick.
Egan, Kieran P.
Egan, Nicholas.
Fanning, John.
Faulkner, Padraig.
Gallagher, James.
Galvin, John.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, James M.
Gilbride, Eugene.
Gogan, Richard P.
Haughey, Charles.
Hillery, Patrick.
Hilliard, Michael.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lemass, Seán.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, Jack.
MacCarthy, Seán.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacEntee, Seán.
Meaney, Con.
Medlar, Martin.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Mooney, Patrick.
Moran, Michael.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Malley, Donogh.
Ormonde, John.
Ryan, James.
Sherwin, Frank.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.

Níl.

Barron, Joseph.
Barry, Anthony.
Barry, Richard.
Belton, Jack.
Blowick, Joseph.
Browne, Michael.
Browne, Noel C.
Burke, James J.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Patrick.
Casey, Seán.
Clinton, Mark A.
Collins, Seán.
Connor, Patrick.[41]Everett, James.
Farrelly, Denis.
Finucane, Patrick.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Gilhawley, Eugene.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kenny, Henry.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lynch, Thaddeus.
McAuliffe, Patrick.
MacEoin, Seán.
McGilligan, Patrick.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
McQuillan, John.
Mullen, Michael.
Corish, Brendan.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Costello, Declan D.
Costello, John A.
Coughlan, Stephen.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Desmond, Dan.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Donnellan, Michael.
Dunne, Thomas.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.[42]Murphy, Michael P.
Murphy, William.
Norton, William.
O'Donnell, Patrick.
O'Donnell, Thomas G.
O'Higgins, Michael.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
O'Keeffe, James.
O'Reilly, Patrick.
O'Sullivan, Denis J.
Pattison, Séamus.
Reynolds, Patrick J.
Rooney, Eamonn.
Ryan, Richie.
Spring, Dan.
Sweetman, Gerard.
Tierney, Patrick.
Treacy, Seán.
Tully, James.

Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Mrs. Lynch; Níl: Deputies O'Sullivan and Crotty.

Question declared carried.

Mr. S. Lemass: Information on Seán F. Lemass Zoom on Seán F. Lemass Ba mhaith liom a rá go bhfuilim an-bhuíoch den Dáil faoi mé d'ainmniú mar Thaoiseach. I should like to express my thanks to the Dáil for having nominated me to be Taoiseach. During the course of the brief debate on the motion for my nomination many things were said to which I should ordinarily like to reply, but I do not think this is the appropriate occasion for doing so. All I can say now is that I shall endeavour to fulfil the duties of Taoiseach to the best of my ability in the future as in the past.

It is necessary that I should now go to inform the President of my nomination so that he may appoint me and for this purpose I suggest that the Dáil should adjourn until, say, 7 p.m.

Sitting suspended at 4.55 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.


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