Saturday, 27 June 2020
Taoiseach a Ainmniú (Atógáil) - Nomination of Taoiseach (Resumed)
Today the majority of the Dáil will vote for Deputy Micheál Martin as Taoiseach of our country. I congratulate Micheál on his appointment. He is an extremely experienced parliamentarian and a Cork man. The joining together of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the formation of a Government, which I said for many years would happen as there is simply no difference between each party, has come to pass, and now they are joined at the hip for years to come and maybe forever.
Today, I make a clear decision for the people I represent and this was in full consultation with the people throughout west Cork. While everyone I spoke to saw the urgency with which a Government needed to be formed, they pleaded with me, having looked at the programme for Government, because the constituency I represent, Cork South-West, is once again going to suffer even more, if this is possible, than it already has.
The one request I had in any negotiations, and there were a few in recent months, was a cast-iron written guarantee that the future of Bantry General Hospital accident and emergency department would be safeguarded in the lifetime of this Government. While the safeguarding of other hospitals throughout the country is embedded in the programme for Government, and while I congratulate the Deputies from these areas for having delivered for their constituencies, it showed that west Cork and Bantry General Hospital were not on the agenda. I made a promise to the people of west Cork that if any incoming Government would not show support for Bantry General Hospital, I would not support it, and this promise I will keep.
The measures of this Government will be measured, in my view, if we see no senior Ministry for fisheries. It is time the politicians stood up. The time of treating fishermen and fisherwomen of this country as second-class citizens is over. It is time that a vision is shown for agriculture so that people can survive on the family farm and not be forced to stand outside the meat factory gates for their right to survive. Again, our tourism sector is going through a serious crisis, and today a senior Ministry is a must. West Cork has been a forgotten constituency. Promises for bypasses for Innishannon and Bandon have lain idle for years. The promised extension to St. Brogan's College has lain idle. It has been just promises after promises. The security of Bantry General Hospital now lies as a promise, as does the beginning of work at Clonakilty Community Hospital.
In the next five years in the Dáil I promise I will be a strong voice of opposition for the people of Cork South-West. The time for promises is over. We want delivery.