Our country faces great challenges from abroad following the Brexit referendum and the new American administration.
At home we face the urgent need to create and keep jobs and invest in our schools, hospitals and other public services.
This is not a time for inward-looking confidence debates. And yet, here we are.
THE TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY
I want to put on the record, although many in the Opposition do not seem to care, the facts regarding the false allegations made against Sgt. McCabe.
- Protected disclosure legislation was delivered by the last Government. Until we did this, whistle-blowers were left without adequate protection in law;
- This Government acted swiftly and appropriately when these issues first came to light. We responded within four days of receiving the protected disclosures and charged Judge Iarlaith O’Neill with their investigation;
- Our top priority is achieving justice for the McCabe family;
- We have agreed to the establishment of a public Tribunal of Inquiry to investigate these allegations;
- The Terms of Reference will be agreed by Cabinet and the Dáil tomorrow;
This Government cares now only about achieving justice for the McCabes and is focussed solely on getting to the bottom of this.
We have an agreed way forward, let us get on with the work and the truth will win out.
The Opposition has sought to destabilise and bring down this Government.
This is a great shame because this Government, despite scepticism, is achieving things that matter.
Since taking office, we have delivered a budget which saw improved public services while giving a little back to hard working families.
We have delivered an environment where jobs are being created, where investment is growing and where unemployment is falling month by month.
I am proud of this Government and its record and will be proud to vote confidence in it tonight.
What I would not be proud of, if I were them, is the record of Sinn Féin.
Nobody is buying their new found interest in the integrity of An Garda Siochána; an institution they systematically sought to destroy and frustrate for decades.
Nobody is buying their new found interest in whistle-blowers, given their disgraceful treatment of Máiría Cahill and their blatant denial of the truth regarding the handling of sexual abuse cases amongst the ranks of the IRA.
Nobody is even buying their interest in justice, given their continued refusal to recognise the Special Criminal Court.
Sinn Fein have debased this Dail.
Left politically stranded by an economic recovery which they attacked at every stage, Sinn Fein’s lack of vision is masked by an abundance of vitriol.
Their lack of any real answers to any real problem is masked by anger to take the place of the dangerous and cynical vacuum at the heart of modern Sinn Fein.
And this is why, with an arrogance rarely experienced in this chamber over many years, they see every problem as a source of political advantage, as a rich opportunity for further division.
They fear stability. They fear progress. They fear any light at the end of the tunnel.
They challenge the presumption of good faith of anyone is this Dáil, except for themselves.
And this is why we have a motion of no confidence which is malicious, nakedly political and aimed only at destabilising a Government that is delivering for the people.
This evening I will be wholeheartedly voting confidence in the Government.
(See speech here: https://oireachtas.heanet.ie/mp4/dail/latest/dail_20170215T092459.000011.mp4)