Government saved from defeat on evictions Bill by Ceann Comhairle

First time in lifetime of this Dáil that Ceann Comhairle cast his vote to avoid a defeat

Seán Ó Fearghaíl  cast his vote for the Fine Gael/Independent Alliance minority coalition, ensuring victory. Photograph: Eric Luke.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl cast his vote for the Fine Gael/Independent Alliance minority coalition, ensuring victory. Photograph: Eric Luke.

 

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl saved the Government from an embarrassing defeat with his casting vote on the Anti-Evictions Bill.

The Government and Opposition were tied at 51 votes each on the AAA-PBP private member’s Bill, when Mr Ó Fearghaíl cast his vote for the Fine Gael/Independent Alliance minority coalition, ensuring victory.

The Opposition called a walk through vote - through the “Tá” and “Níl” lobbies - after an electronic vote separated the two sides by one vote in favour of the Government.

Fianna Fáil TDs - 35 of them in the chamber - abstained on the Bill, a key measure of which bans evictions for the sale of a property.

It is the first time in the lifetime of this Dáil that the Ceann Comhairle cast his vote to avoid a Government defeat.

The motion, amended by Government, was then accepted by 51 votes to 49.

The last previous casting votes were in 2010. The then ceann comhairle Séamus Kirk saved the government in February that year on a vote on the order of business about estimates.

Later the same year Mr Kirk saved the government again with his casting vote when Sinn Féin tried to move the writ on the Donegal South-West by-election.

The Anti-Evictions Bill, introduced by AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger, also targeted evictions for a family member of the owner to move into the property. Other measures included reducing the probation period for tenants from six months to two.