Speaking on the nomination of Michéal Martin as Taoiseach at today’s Dáil sitting in Dublin’s Convention Centre, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said that today’s vote is not a vote about an individual but rather a vote on a Programme for Government for the next five years. She said that while commentators had a lot to say in recent months, many of them had never canvassed doors and so had not heard the very clear mandate that was given to her and others regarding the need for change and a government which would not be ‘more of the same’. She said she believed that today’s result would not reflect that vote for change. She said the party’s vote today would not be cast on the basis of an individual but on the basis of the mandate the party was given in February, and the kind of future society Ireland needs and deserves.

 Catherine Murphy TD said:

“Today’s vote to endorse or reject a document which purports to set out a 5-year plan around the direction the country will be taken. And so, I, my party the Social Democrats, and everyone else here today has to ask themselves what it is they want to see happen in Ireland over the next 5 years.   We all knocked on doors the length and breadth of this country, we heard the same message over and over and over again.  There was a desire for fundamental change.  Indeed, that message was acknowledged by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who said he intended to lead his party into opposition. We in the Social Democrats have been criticised from various sides regarding our decision not to participate in this coalition. But we can and we will defend that position robustly.  We were not given a mandate to deliver more of the same.  We were not given a mandate to make up the numbers.

“This was not about protest, it was a very determined message repeated over and over again,  in that vote there was a belief that we, as a country, could do better and deliver a fairer Ireland;  an Ireland where a roof over your head was possible but also affordable, an Ireland where a whole generation are not locked out of choices their parents took for granted,  an Ireland where there is a good work life balance and a good quality of life not for the few but for all.  Could we look people in the eye and say that we had presided over a Programme for Government that was ideologically the wrong  approach,  or that was simply never economically sound to begin with and thus failed to deliver the changes they had so forcibly demanded from us at this election? We couldn’t and so we will robustly stand over our decision.

“In doing so we in the Social Democrats will continue to work as we did in the last Dáil – by being constructive and by being practical but also by not being afraid to ask the tough questions and hold government to account.”

27th June 2020


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