No confidence motion over end of eviction ban will ‘not necessarily’ fail, says Bacik

Seán Canney, an Independent who backed the Government last week, declined to say how he would vote this week

Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik has insisted that a motion of no confidence in the Government sparked by the Coalition’s decision to end the eviction ban will “not necessarily” fail.

The Government comfortably won a Dáil vote last week on its handling of the eviction ban issue with the support of a number of Independent TDs.

Ms Bacik has said that some Independents have told her that their support for the Government last week does not necessarily mean they will vote confidence in the Coalition in the coming days.

Independent TDs Seán Canney - who backed the Government in last week’s vote on the eviction ban - later declined to say which way he will vote in the confidence motion.


He told RTÉ's The Week in Politics: “My vote last week based on what was in front of me last week. It is no indication of what I’m going to do this week.

“I’m going to wait to see the motion as it is brought forward.”

Another Independent, Marian Harkin - who opposed the Government last week likewise did not say which way she will vote on the confidence motion sayin she will “have to look at what’s in front of me”.

The Government has a razor-thin official Dáil majority of just one TD after Green TD Neasa Hourigan was suspended from the parliamentary party for voting against the Coalition last week.

However, a number of independents frequently vote with the Government which means it has had a comfortable working majority.

Housing was a central theme of the Labour Party’s annual conference in Cork over the week with Ms Bacik saying her party would aim to provide one million homes over the next decade.

She said this can be done by delivering 50,000 new builds and 50,000 refurbished homes per year.

The Government has decided to allow the eviction ban to expire on a phased basis from the end of March with some renters remaining protected as late as mid-June.

The Labour Party want to see the eviction ban extended saying it should be kept in place until there is a drop in homelessness figures for four consecutive months.

Sinn Féin tabled a Dáil motion last week seeking to extend the ban to January 2024.

The Government comfortably won a vote on a counter-motion it had tabled standing over the decision to end the ban while outlining a series of measures aimed boosting housing supply and helping tenants and landlords.

The counter-motion incorporated a series of proposals made by members of the Regional Independent Group (RIG).

The Government won Wednesday’s Dáil vote on the counter-motion by a margin of 15.

Five members of the RIG, Seán Canney, Denis Naughten, Michael Lowry, Cathal Berry and Matt Shanahan, voted with the Government while two, Verona Murphy and Peter Fitzpatrick, voted against.

Another RIG deputy, Noel Grealish, was not present.

Kerry Independent Danny Healy-Rae voted in favour of the Government while Donegal TD Joe McHugh – who last year resigned the Fine Gael whip over the Mica issue – also backed the Coalition.

The Dáil is this week expected to vote on a Government motion of confidence in itself with is set to be tabled by the Coalition in response to the Labour Party move.

Motions of confidence are high-stakes votes that often see support for the Government rally amongst TDs as a defeat would mean a general election.

During an interview on Newstalk’s On the Record with Gavan Reilly programme Ms Bacik said it is “not necessarily” the case that Labour’s bid to unseat the Government will fail.

She said: “Some of the independents themselves have told me that that vote last week does not necessarily indicate that they will vote confidence in the Government this week.”

Ms Bacik added: “Independents are independent and of course just because they vote one way one week does not mean they’ll necessarily vote the same way on a different vote the following week.”

She said she will be writing to all Independent TDs on Monday to ask them to support Labour’s no confidence motion.

The Dublin Bay South TD said she will be “pointing out that nobody voted for an independent TD to represent them in the Dáil thinking that that would be a vote for evictions”.

Ms Bacik the Government decision to lift the eviction ban “will have the effect of driving people into homelessness”.

She added: “We’re already hearing this, not just from Opposition parties but from those working in homelessness, from local authorities and from people themselves, like the people who are contacting me every day who are absolutely petrified because they’re facing this cliff-edge – not only a notice to quit but nowhere to go when that notice to quit takes effect because there’s such a chronic shortage of housing across the country.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times