Saturday, 27 June 2020
Ceapachán an Taoisigh agus Ainmniú Chomhaltaí an Rialtais: Tairiscint - Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of Government: Motion
Catherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
Tá mé ag roinnt mo chuid ama. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a ghabháil leis an Taoiseach nua, an Teachta Micheál Martin, agus leis na hAirí nua. Guím gach rath orthu go léir. Is onóir iontach í dóibh a bheith mar Airí agus mar Thaoiseach ar an tír álainn seo. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a ghabháil leis an iar-Thaoiseach, an Teachta Varadkar, freisin. Go pearsanta, cheap mé go raibh sé díreach agus go ndearna sé iarracht ar leibhéal pearsanta ó thaobh na Gaeilge de ach tá i bhfad níos mó i gceist ná iarracht pearsanta a dhéanamh agus b'fhéidir go dtiocfaidh mé ar ais go dtí sin.
I could make the same speech today as I made in May 2016. I and my colleagues in Independents 4 Change have since that time consistently asked for a change. We asked the Government to declare a housing emergency almost five years ago and we asked it to look at public health. We asked the Government to declare a climate emergency and speak in an honest and open fashion to the people of Ireland, as that is what they have asked of us.
Deputies today have spoken about messages from the electorate and the people are ahead of us in almost everything. They were ahead of us in demanding change in Galway with respect to an integrated public transport system and 24,000 people asked, at the very least, for a feasibility study for a light rail project. The people are ahead of us in their demands for public health but the theme has been that they do not want spin. The language should mean something.
Since that time, the housing crisis has deepened and the health crisis has worsened. The Covid-19 crisis, if it has done nothing else, exposed how badly we had run down our public health service. In March, when we first began to speak about the Covid-19 crisis, I read aloud some of a letter that we had all received from Fórsa pointing out that prior to Covid-19 an emergency had existed in our primary care services.
We will agree with the new Cabinet on some matters and not on others but let us make language mean something. When we look at mental health, as a mark of the Government's bona fides, it should immediately establish an independent review panel. It sat previously for two three-year periods and it was extremely successful. It should be re-established immediately as a matter of urgency. As a mark of the Government's bona fides in tackling domestic violence, it should immediately roll out a sufficient number of refuges for women so they can have a safe place to go.