Dáil debates

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

1:00 pm

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)

I will keep it short. I will not be voting for Deputy Kenny for Taoiseach but I honestly wish him well. I would prefer to see this country get back on its feet and return to a healthy state rather than the reverse. I will support anything the Government does that I consider to be positive and in the best interests of the people. Likewise, I will not be afraid to criticise anything I consider does not do that.

The Government has a huge majority in the House and it would be very easy for it to ignore the Opposition. However, most would agree that Parliament should function in a much better way than it has for a long time. It would be positive if the Government were to facilitate the healthy working of Parliament. Every Member present is representing the people of Ireland and we should all be facilitated in playing a positive role.

I might not have campaigned for long in Wexford but it would be disingenuous of me not to mention that when I did I was conscious of a huge anger among people. They find it difficult to understand why the taxpayer should carry the burden of mistakes made by the banking system. It would be wonderful if the Government had the courage to hold a referendum and get the decision of the people. That would give the Government much more strength to go to Europe and deal with the issue, which probably constitutes one of the biggest decisions ever made in the history of the State.

I learned many things in speaking to people. One of the reasons I decided to stand for election was that I also felt that people have not been well served by the political process. They do not feel there is a real connect between their representatives and the people who elected them. We can change that. We can all play a part in that regard. We must get to a stage where decisions made at Dáil level are made in the best interests of the people and not just in the interests of big business. It would be great if the new Government had the courage to work in the best interests of the people at all times. At the end of the Government's term it would be wonderful if it could be proud to be measured by how well it looked after the most vulnerable in society rather than the strength of our GDP. Surely, how a state looks after those who most need its help is the true test of democracy.


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