Government looks likely to win crucial Seanad vote on Water Services Bill

Government Senators are now in a minority in the 60-seat upper chamber

Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke of Fine Gael holds the casting vote in the Seanad. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Government looks increasingly likely to win the crucial Seanad vote on the Water Services Bill this evening.

At least three of the Independent Senators nominated by the Taoiseach will vote for the Bill, which will pave the way for the reduced charging system.

The Government parties hold 29 seats in the 60-seat chamber and needs the support of two Independents Senators.

It is believed that Jillian Van Turnhout, Marie Louise O'Donnell and Fiach Mac Conghaile will vote in favour when a vote is called on the second stage debate after 6pm.

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The election of Independent Gerald Craughwell in the Seanad byelection in October meant that Government Senators were now in a minority in the 60-seat upper chamber.

As of now, with 18 Fine Gael Senators and 11 Labour Senators, the Coalition parties hold 29 seats.

However, one of those seats is held by Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke, who as chairman of the chamber, will only vote on the rare occasion where a casting vote is required.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times