Dáil debates

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Taoiseach a Ainmniú - Nomination of Taoiseach


1:25 am

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Gabhaim buíochas agus comhghairdeas leis an Cheann Comhairle agus leis a theaghlach a bheith atofa d'Oifig an Chinn Comhairle. Is onóir agus pribhléid mhór dó féin agus dá theaghlach.

Tá sé ina onóir mhór agus ina phribhléid domsa ainm Theachta Mary Lou McDonald, uachtarán Shinn Féin, a chur chun tosaigh mar Thaoiseach. Roimh an olltoghchán seo, dúirt Sinn Féin go mbeadh an chéad thoghchán eile ar cheann de na toghcháin is tábhachtaí le fada an lá. Bhí an deis ann, tríd an olltoghchán, saol mhuintir na h-oileán seo a chruthú ar feadh an chéad deich mbliana eile nó níos faide ar aghaidh agus go raibh seans ann go mbeadh torthaí an olltoghcháin seo ar scála nach bhfaca muid riamh roimhe seo. Sin é go díreach mar a tharla sé. Chonaiceamar scála athraithe san olltoghchán nach bhfacamar a leithéid riamh roimhe seo. Le chéile, thug páirtí Shinn Féin ár dteachtaireacht chuig na pobail agus leag muid amach, ar bhealach soiléir, caidé go díreach ar a sheasann Sinn Féin. Chur muid ár gclár chun tosaigh, sheas muid le teaghlaigh agus le hoibrithe, chuireamar an t-athrú ollmhór ar mhaith linn a chruthú, agus an bealach chun oibriú i dtreo Éire aontaithe.

It gives me great honour and pride to nominate my party president, Teachta McDonald, for the position of Taoiseach. Before the general election, Sinn Féin said that the election could be the most important in a generation. We said that it could shape life on the island of Ireland for the next decade and beyond, and that the result of the election could be seismic for the Irish political landscape. It turned out to be seismic. We in Sinn Féin took our message to the people and to communities across the State. We set out in clear terms what we stand for. That there are so many new Sinn Féin Deputies here today is a testament to the fact that the people responded to our message. I thank the 535,573 people who gave Sinn Féin their number one vote in the election. We will not let them down.

Sinn Féin put forward a programme whose aims were, and are, to give workers and families a break, to deliver fundamental change and to advance Irish unity. Other parties and independent candidates who offered practical and credible alternatives to the failed policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were also rewarded in this election. The pro-change parties won the election. Together, we have a mandate and responsibility to put together a Government for change. This is not about any single party or leader. It is about giving expression to the desire for change of hundreds of thousands of voters who voted for change. People want the biggest house building programme in the history of the State. They want rents reduced and frozen and the trolley crisis resolved. They want affordable childcare, good quality public services and radical action on the climate change agenda. They also want a meaningful conversation about Irish unity.

Sinn Féin, along with others, has a mandate to put together a Government for change and we want to work with others to achieve such a Government. Nobody in this Dáil other than Teachta McDonald can lead that Government for change. She has all of the qualities a leader needs. She has shown that she is willing to reach out, listen to and work with everyone in this Dáil. She has the vision this country needs, and when I say "country" I mean every part of it, the Thirty-two Counties. She has a vision that encompasses the entire island that goes beyond the Border and embraces all our people. She has spearheaded Sinn Féin’s work to get the North’s power-sharing government back up and running on a sustainable basis that delivers for all sections of society. That has been done. Now Sinn Féin wants to be in government across the island of Ireland.

Deputy McDonald is a strong, proven leader with the courage and perseverance that people need and want in a Taoiseach. That is the reason Sinn Féin won the popular vote in this election. She would also be the first female Taoiseach. That, in itself, would deliver change. Above all else, however, she is an Irish republican. That is what we need at this time. We need ambition, big ideas and a Government of change. We need Deputy McDonald as Taoiseach leading that Government. We need someone who is not in politics for power or status or who just wants their turn in office, but someone different. We need change, and now is the moment for change. I appeal to all Teachtaí who want real change to support the nomination of Deputy McDonald for Taoiseach.