Budget vote could be tied by two abstentions


DÁIL NUMBERS:THE GOVERNMENT currently has a majority of three in the Dáil, including the Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae. That is likely to be reduced to two after the Donegal byelection.

It means that if the two Independents abstain on the budget vote on December 7th, it could be tied. If they vote against the budget, it will face defeat unless some Opposition TDs abstain or vote for it.

Fianna Fáil has 70 TDs. Three more Fianna Fáil TDs without the whip, Mattie McGrath, Eamon Scanlon and Jimmy Devins, bring the total to 73.

The six Green Party TDs and Mary Harney bring the number of Government supporters to 80, and Mr Healy-Rae and Mr Lowry make it 82.

On the Opposition side, Fine Gael has 51, Labour Party 20, and Sinn Féin four, making a total of 75.

Two Socialist Independents, Finian McGrath and Maureen O’Sullivan, bring that to 77, while the addition of former Progressive Democrat Noel Grealish and former Fianna Fáil TD Joe Behan raise that to 79. If Pearse Doherty is elected as a Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South West on Friday, the total strength of the Opposition will rise to 80.

Mr Lowry and Mr Healy-Rae have said the Government can no longer rely on their support for the budget, so its prospects of being passed depend on support from some TDs on the Opposition benches.