Coalition parties confident TDs will not break ranks over motion
Dáil vote:There was growing confidence among the Coalition parties last night that no Fine Gael or Labour deputies will break ranks to vote for a Sinn Féin Dáil motion calling for immediate legislation to give effect to the 1992 Supreme Court judgment on the X case.While a number of Labour Party deputies have indicated they want the Government counter-motion – to be agreed at today’s Cabinet meeting – to be robust and clear, TDs in both parties said yesterday there was wide agreement among colleagues that it would be premature to take any action until after the Government formally considers the report of the expert group next week. That view is shared by Fianna Fáil.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore expressed confidence that Labour TDs will vote with the Government on the Sinn Féin motion and said he and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were at one as to the necessity of dealing speedily with the matter.
In Brussels yesterday, he also said the Government would have to consider whether the X-case judgment could be dealt with satisfactorily without enacting primary legislation.
“I do believe that the TDs of the Labour Party will support the efforts that the Government are making to bring a resolution and to bring legal clarity to this issue,” Mr Gilmore told reporters.
Yesterday Sinn Féin appealed to other political parties to support the motion but was accused by the major parties of being opportunistic on the issue.
The party was also put on the back foot when its Meath East TD Peadar Tóibín refused to sign the motion. Speaking on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta yesterday, Mr Tóibín said he had “very strong pro-life views” but said he would not say any more until he had spoken to party colleagues.
The Sinn Féin leadership will today attempt to persuade Mr Tóibín to toe the party line. Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Tóibín’s refusal to sign the motion presented the party with an “internal party management issue” that would be dealt with.
Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Charlie Flanagan accused Sinn Féin of political opportunism. “The cynicism of Sinn Féin is exemplified by the hollow call for all-party support for its motion while they can’t muster their own TDs,” he said.
Minister for Health James Reilly said he hoped the Government would have a definitive action plan by early in the new year and that the Cabinet would agree to publish the report of the expert group.
Separately, some 35 Labour councillors have called on the Government to legislate for the X case immediately.