29 June 2000 Edition

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Ó Caoláin backs no confidence motion

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin this week signed a motion of no confidence in the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats government. He said that the government had ``lost political cohesion and political credibility in the Dáil and in the state''. Coming after a week of political woe for the government, the motion is expected to be debated and voted on this Friday, the last day of the Dáil term before the three-month summer recess.

Explaining his support for the motion, the Sinn Féin TD said:

``I am supporting this motion because three years into its terms of office, this government has failed on a range of key issues and has lost political cohesion.

``The government's failure on vital issues such as the housing crisis and the health service has been compounded by a series of gross political misjudgments. These include the appointment of Hugh O'Flaherty to the European Investment Bank and the Tánaiste Mary Harney's statement which led to the postponement of the trial of Charles Haughey. In the case of the EIB appointment, people throughout the country are justifiably angry, firstly at the appointment itself and secondly at the arrogant persistence of the government in proceeding with it despite clear opposition from the public and from many Oireachtas members, including members of the government parties.

``Their handling of these matters has undermined confidence in the government within their own ranks in the Dáil and in the country. This was seen in the result of the South Tipperary by-election with a dramatic drop in the Fianna Fáil vote.

``I support the motion of no confidence on the basis of the record of the government on critical issues during the past three years. I see no evidence that the government can reverse these failures in its remaining time in office.

The issues include:

The growing housing crisis.

The intolerable situation in our health service with staffing shortages and hospital waiting lists.

Inequality in education.

The decision to join NATO's Partnership for Peace without the referendum promised by the Taoiseach.

Peace Process

``I voted for Bertie Ahern TD as Taoiseach on 26 June 1997 solely on the basis of his and his party's positive disposition towards a genuine and inclusive peace process. At that time we were attempting to rebuild a shattered peace process.

In broad terms, my disappointments and continuing concerns aside, I must record satisfaction with the government's record on the peace process and with the focused approach of the Taoiseach and of the current Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, whose positive role is acknowledged and appreciated.''

An Phoblacht
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