Sinn Féin will table motion of no confidence in Murphy, McDonald says
SF leader attacks Government’s record on homelessness and calls it a ‘scandal’
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said her party will table a motion of no confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said her party will table a motion of no confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy when the Dáil returns in September.
In a speech at a meeting of party representatives, Ms McDonald attacked the Government’s record on housing and homelessness, and also criticised Fianna Fáil for abiding by the confidence and supply agreement.
Describing the housing situation as a national crisis and a scandal she said: “It is time to call a halt. It is time for the Minister to go.
“We will table a motion of no confidence in Minister Murphy in the coming weeks. It will be decision time. It will be decision time for the Government and for Fianna Fáil.”
Addressing an audience of more than 100 TDs, senators and councillors, Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin would robustly challenge the marginalisation and neglect of rural Ireland.
“As a matter of priority on the week the Dáil returns, Sinn Féin will table a motion to save these vital rural services.
“I challenge Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil to stand up for rural Ireland. I challenge him to get off the fence and to support our motion.”
Mr Murphy responded to Ms McDonald’s comments in a series of tweets, saying: “SF has floated motion of NC [no confidence] a number of times – they do it to get attention & headlines for themselves. We are in a minority Govt so SF should spend time b4 Dáil comes back getting the maj[ority] of Oir[eachtas] to back their big housing plan – they won’t do that because they do not have one.
“We need action to fix the housing sector, not sound bites and pointless motions.”
Sinn Féin is expected to nominate its candidate for the presidency on September 16th. Ms McDonald said there would be a Sinn Féin candidate in the field, saying the election provided an opportunity to elect a president for all of Ireland, both north and south.
Ms McDonald portrayed the impasse in the north as something that was bigger than a dispute between two parties, hers and the DUP, but said it was “between those that are for equality and respect and those who are not”.
She said those rights included marriage quality, women’s healthcare, and protection of a language act.
“The do-nothing British government has supported the undermining of its own (Belfast) Agreement and the rights of citizens.
“The two governments have said they are planning for a further round of talks in the Autumn. I welcome that. We are up for talks and agreement but any talks must be credible.”
She said if the DUP was not willing, or able, to deliver, the two governments needed to press ahead with the full implementation of the Belfast Agreement and the extension of rights to the North that were available in the South.
Earlier on Monday, when asked if Fianna Fáil would be supporting Sinn Féin’s motion, Mr Martin said motions don’t build houses.
He said Minister Murphy needs to say the Government’s policies are not working.
Mr Martin told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke that Fianna Fáil was disappointed with the Government performance on health and housing and extra money needs to be allocated in the Budget for these areas.
He said there has to be an affordable housing scheme because young people are paying exorbitant rents with nothing to show for it.
Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil had “stepped up to the plate” to provide the country with stability.
However, he said he and his party had been “disgusted with the failures on housing and health” and the growing divide between the rest of the country and the eastern seaboard.
Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil wants to negotiate a budget that will give the country fiscal stability for 12 months. But, he warned: “No one can get a blank cheque on anything.”
He said “there were elements in Fine Gael” who would have liked an autumn election and there were some Ministers who were not happy in their portfolio.