The government is unwilling to turn down an offer of confidence after securing the support of key TDs

A no-confidence motion in government appears to be falling through after two TDs outside the coalition made it clear they would not support it.

Ine Gael TD Joe McHugh, who resigned as party leader last week, and independent TD Marc MacSharry, who left Fianna Fail last year, said they would vote against the Sinn Fein motion.

Her stance would ensure the failure of the no-confidence motion as long as all three coalition party TDs – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens – are also opposed.

Tuesday’s motion comes after the government lost its majority in the Dail.

It will simply divert politicians’ focus from the real issues for up to six monthsIndependent TD Marc MacSharry on General Election

That came last week when former Education Secretary Mr McHugh resigned the Fine Gael whip after voting against the government’s controversial bill to give redress to homeowners in counties hit by defective bricks.

The loss of Mr McHugh took the government’s TDs to 79 – one narrow of a Dail majority.

The coalition has gradually eroded its majority over the past year.

In May, Green TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello were flogged after they voted against the government on a matter related to the relocation of the National Maternity Hospital.

That came after Mr MacSharry left Fianna Fail last year.

On Sunday, Mr McHugh and Mr MacSharry said they would vote against the motion.

Mr McHugh told RTE he would “not hasten Sinn Fein’s quest for power”.

Meanwhile, Mr MacSharry said a general election would not address the issues of housing and homelessness.

“It will just take politicians’ focus off the real issues for up to six months,” he told RTE.

Earlier, Ms Hourigan said she was undecided on whether to support the government in the motion.

She also said the government whips had not yet contacted her about the vote of confidence.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin is hoping to enlist the support of several other independent TDs in Tuesday’s vote.

As a result, government ministers are confident of rejecting the motion, although Labour, the Social Democrats, People Before Profit/Solidarity, the Rural Independents and Aontu are all ready to back Sinn Féin’s candidacy.

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said independent TDs face a “major challenge” whether to support “bad governments” or instead to “stand up and be counted” in order to bring about change in government.

Ms Hourigan said she didn’t know how she was going to vote.

“I’m still undecided,” she told RTE Radio One.

“I would appreciate if I could get some communication from the whips as to what is expected if you are suspended.”

She added: “I haven’t made up my mind yet – that’s the honest answer, that’s as completely honest as I can be. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet.”

Ms Hourigan’s insistence that party leaders had not been in contact with her seemed at odds with a claim by Green Minister of State Pippa Hackett, who said she understood there had been collusion with the suspended TDs.

Speaking to RTE One, Ms Hackett added: “We have no concerns about the vote of confidence in us next week, I think it’s not surprising that in the final week of the Dail tenure, Sinn Fein is putting this forward.”

Fine Gael Minister of State Peter Burke branded the proposal a “stunt” that would waste Dail time.

“The Government and Fine Gael are totally focused on tackling the issues that are impacting people’s lives and Sinn Fein’s politically motivated proposal will simply take away valuable time from that work,” he said.

Earlier, Ms McDonald dismissed claims that her party’s motion was a “stunt” unlikely to succeed.


Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Democracy is no feat and parliamentary procedures are no feat,” she told BBC NI.

“The government has lost its Dail majority. They have been in office for two years and despite their protestations to the contrary, we have endured a dire situation made worse by their inability to innovate, deliver and change and now is the time and the right time to call on that Out.”

She urged undecided TDs not to support no trust.

“There are others now who have a big decision to make and will be making a big decision on Tuesday and it boils down to this – do they think this administration is successful? The evidence clearly shows they are not.

“But these TDs must now decide whether they will vote to allow bad government to persist and people suffer, or stand up and be counted, support our motion and the opportunity for a new government, for a government of change , allow that to actually do what people need.”

One issue that could affect the voting of some TDs is the government’s plan to address climate change.

Rural members are concerned that setting a onerous CO2 reduction target for agriculture could destroy the industry.

Over the weekend it emerged that Environment Secretary and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan will not present a final plan with sectoral emissions targets to Cabinet this week as originally planned.

Mr Ryan and Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue have yet to agree on what will be required of the agricultural sector. You’re trying to commit to a target within a 22% to 30% range.

Ms Hourigan was asked if her view of government would be influenced by the Greens’ ability to push through on their climate agenda.

She said if the coalition parties couldn’t agree on carbon budgets, it would be a failure.

“The effectiveness of the Greens in government obviously has an impact on how I feel voting on all the difficult issues that come up on the table and come up in the Dail,” she said.

“And of course that has repercussions because you want to make sure you do what you promised your constituents, that you go in there and not just fight climate change, but climate change works in a way that doesn’t hurt the most vulnerable. “ The government is unwilling to turn down an offer of confidence after securing the support of key TDs

Fry Electronics Team

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