Irish Government wins confidence motion after heated Dail debate

Micheal Martin Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Irish Government has won a motion of confidence after losing its Dail majority last week.

The Government’s majority has dropped to 79 – one short of a Dail majority – after Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh resigned the party whip.

After Sinn Fein tabled a motion of no confidence, calling on independent TDs to vote against the coalition, the Government tabled a motion of confidence in itself on Tuesday.

The final tally in the confidence motion was 85 in favour, with 66 against.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that this was “a good time to take stock” after the last two years, and outlined policies implemented across health, housing and education.

He said: “Fundamentally, this is a debate between those who believe in tackling problems and those who believe in exploiting them.”

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald accused the coalition of being a “do-nothing” government that “sits on your hands and turns a blind eye” in relation to housing, and is failing to make progress on healthcare reform.

She added: “Rather than lining up to vote confidence in yourselves, you might, for once, do some self reflection, because this housing disaster was created by you and it is sustained by you.

“So the message from your government to the ordinary person is clear: don’t get sick, don’t need an operation or treatment, and for God’s sake, don’t need support services because bad government policy ensures that you are not guaranteed the care you need when you need it.”

A heated debate ensued, with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien telling Ms McDonald that her “arrogance had not just gone stratospheric, it’s gone intergalactic”.

“You’d need Nasa’s Webb telescope to be able to track it,” Mr O’Brien said.

The coalition has gradually seen its majority erode in the last year.

In May, Green TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello had the whip removed from them after they voted against the Government to call for the National Maternity Hospital to be built on publicly owned land.

That came after Marc MacSharry quit Fianna Fail last year.

Mr McHugh and Mr MacSharry voted confidence in the government on Tuesday evening, as did both Green Party TDs.

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