Sinn Féin likely to table no-confidence motion in Government next week

Opposition move follows loss of Coalition majority when Joe McHugh resigned party whip over mica scheme

Sinn Féin is likely to table a motion of no confidence in the Government next week, the party has confirmed.

The move follows the loss of the Coalition’s majority when Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh resigned the party whip and voted against the Government on the legislation covering compensation for mica-affected homeowners on Wednesday night.

Although Mr McHugh’s defection means that the number of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Greens TDs currently under their party whips no longer forms a majority in the Dáil, in reality the Government tends to win votes comfortably with the support of several Independents and Coalition TDs who have temporarily lost their party whips.

However, the attrition which has seen the majority whittled down and disappear will make things more difficult for the Coalition as it heads into a difficult autumn term.

Next week is scheduled to be the last week the Dáil sits before the summer recess. Sinn Féin has until Friday at 11am to decide whether it will submit a motion in private members business for next week’s order paper and the party is “actively considering” tabling a motion of no confidence in the Government,” the party’s leader Mary Lou McDonald said on Thursday.

“We’ve had two years now of what I would describe as a disastrous government,” McDonald said. The party will make a decision on Friday morning on whether to submit the motion.

“They no longer have a majority. I have no doubt that they believe they could limp on but the sooner we have a change in government, the better,” McDonald told reporters on Thursday.

“In the area of housing, for example, things have gone from bad to worse. Things are considerably worse now than they were two years ago for lots of people, for renters and for those who may wish to buy their home. We now again have record levels of homelessness… That simply cannot continue.”

“We’re considering the matter and we will make a final call on it tomorrow,” she said at the launch of a Sinn Féin policy document on affordable childcare at the Ringsend Irishtown Community Centre in Dublin on Thursday.

Commenting on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decision not to prosecute Tánaiste Leo Varadkar over the leaking of a draft GP contract, McDonald said she “respected” the DPP’s decision, but the situation “highlights in a political sense the need for a change of government.”

“It’s not a way to go about business leaking sensitive documents from Cabinet… but I am absolutely satisfied that those whose job it is to make these assessments have done their work on making a charge or not and I respect that.”

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times