[Sinn Fein]

28 June 2000

Sinn Fein TD Ó Caoláin to support motion of no confidence

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has signed the motion of no confidence to be moved against the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats government. He said that the government had ``lost political cohesion and political credibility in the Dáil and in the country''.

Deputy Ó Caoláin 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 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, at the appointment itself and 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.

``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 a referendum as promised by the Taoiseach.

``I voted for Mr Ahern 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 Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen, whose positive role is acknowledged and appreciated''

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