The social partners are dictating government policy. There is a solution to the squabbling in which the Government parties are indulging in public. While there is a great temptation to blame each other after an electoral setback of the kind we have witnessed, I suggest that the House take the opportunity to debate what is happening in Government Buildings.
Senator O’Toole will be missing from the pay and social partnership discussions, unfortunately, which means there is less noise coming from Government Buildings but perhaps a little more content!
I am serious in asking that backbenchers of both sides of this House who feel they are being ignored do not take it out on their partners in Government, but look at the centre of power in this country. They are correct in believing they are being ignored. Their wishes are being ignored by the Cabinet because the next budget is being written today in Government Buildings. The people involved in the discussions, the so-called social partners, will have a great deal more input than the Members on the Government side who are complaining about each other.
It is time that those Members seized back some elements of power themselves, stopped turning on each other, turned to the Cabinet and requested that they want an influence on what it is doing and on the budget, rather than IBEC, ICTU, the Irish Farmers’ Association and others, which have their role but should not be deciding Government policy on issues that have nothing to do with them.