Thursday, 14 June 2007
Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion
Brian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Tánaiste; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
I join with others in congratulating you on your elevation to the Office of Ceann Comhairle and I wish you well for the future. I have been allocated one minute to close this debate and that is all that is required. The situation as we find it is that we have formed a Government with the Green Party and the Progressive Democrats Party with the support of Independents. This coalition has won the majority support in this House and we will now have the honour of going to Áras an Uachtaráin to receive our seals of office from the President.
It is true there are huge challenges facing this country. The one fact of which we can be certain after this election is that when the people were asked who they wished to lead an Administration, there is no doubt that the Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern, was their choice. Arising out of the result of the election, where the people made their choice and sent 166 Deputies of different political parties and none to this House, it is the job of politicians to put together a coherent, stable and credible Government. In the past two weeks, we have seen that exercise and effort being successfully concluded by parties who, whatever their policy differences in the past, have come forward with a policy programme today that will serve the people for the next five years. That is the basis of our co-operation and it is what will generate the cohesion required for an effective Administration.
I thank the Taoiseach for the great honour he has bestowed on me and my family by appointing me Tánaiste. I will continue to work with him and other colleagues day in and day out to ensure this is a successful Administration. I welcome new Government Members and I commiserate with those who will not continue with us in Cabinet. That is in no way a reflection on the tremendous work they have done but on the political realities of needing to accommodate the new configuration of Government that is in place. Deputy Roche, for example, will continue to work with us in Government on an area of policy in which he excelled and where he served under me. I offer my congratulations to all concerned. It is a great honour and privilege for us to be appointed by the Dáil to be the Government of this country. I look forward to working with everybody to ensure the policy programme we have hammered out will provide us with the necessary Government stability to bring about the continued peace and prosperity that is now the inheritance of the Irish people.