Labour and Sinn Féin will this week ramp up pressure on the Government for allowing the eviction ban to expire by forcing two further Dáil votes as a result of the controversial decision.
With the Coalition’s official Dáil majority down to just one TD, the Opposition is seeking to chip away at the support it often gets from Independent TDs.
The Labour Party has tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government, while Sinn Féin has proposed legislation that would see the eviction ban extended into 2024.
The Government decided earlier this month to allow the ban to expire from the end of March, though protections will remain in place for some renters until mid-June.
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The Dáil will see two votes on Wednesday, the first in the morning on a Coalition confidence motion in response to the Labour bid to unseat it, and the second vote on the Sinn Féin Bill that evening.
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The Government has a razor-thin paper majority after Green TD Neasa Hourigan was suspended from the parliamentary party for voting against the Coalition on the eviction ban issue last week. Her future voting intentions are unclear.
The Coalition is confident it will win this week’s Dáil votes.
Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik has insisted that her party’s motion of no confidence will “not necessarily” fail despite the Coalition’s comfortable working majority due to the support it gets from Independent TDs. She told Newstalk Radio she will be writing to all Independent TDs on Monday to ask them to support the motion.
Ms Bacik 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”.
Several Independents supported the Government in last week’s Dáil vote prompted by a Sinn Féin motion calling for an extension to the eviction ban.
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 at boosting housing supply and helping tenants and landlords. The counter-motion incorporated a series of measures sought by members of the Regional Independent Group (RIG).
Eviction ban, congestion charges and the state’s inability to look around corners.
Five members of the group – Seán Canney, Denis Naughten, Michael Lowry, Cathal Berry and Matt Shanahan – voted with the Government while two, Verona Murphy and Peter Fitzpatrick, voted against.
Ms Murphy confirmed on Sunday that she will vote against the Government in this week’s confidence motion, arguing the Coalition is a “spent force” on housing.
Mr Berry, as Kildare South TD, said he would be discussing how he would vote with colleagues over the coming days.
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Waterford TD Matt Shanahan said he was “undecided” and is likely to remain so until he gets “a better understanding” of progress that has been made on the previous RIG proposals on housing.
Ms Canney told RTÉ's the Week in Politics his vote in support of the Government last week is “no indication” of how he will vote this week. “I’m going to wait to see the motion as it is brought forward,” he said.
Kerry Independent Danny Healy-Rae – who supported the Government in the vote last week – said he intends to vote against the Coalition in the confidence motion on Wednesday. He criticised the Green Party’s role in Government and how the housing issue has been dealt with in general.
Roscommon-Galway Independent Michael Fitzmaurice said he will vote against the Government as he accused the Green Party of “destroying rural Ireland”.
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Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin meanwhile, called for the support of Independent TDs for his party’s legislation saying: “Do not vote to allow homelessness to increase from next weekend.”
Fianna Fáil junior Minister Dara Calleary defended the Government’s record on housing and said: “We are deadly serious about helping people through this crisis.”