'lost majority' | 

‘End Coalition support’ Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald tells Independent TDs as no confidence vote looms

‘We've had two years now of what I would describe as disastrous Government and in the areas of housing and health care, we have moved from one fiasco to the next’
Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald© PA

Hugh O'ConnellIndependent.ie

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has called on Independent TDs to stop supporting the Government in Dáil votes as her party considers tabling a motion of no confidence in the Coalition.

The Government looks certain to face a motion of no confidence ahead of the Dáil recess next week.

Either Sinn Féin or People Before Profit are set to table a motion during their private members' time. Ms McDonald said her party would decide its plan on Friday morning ahead of an 11am deadline.

Ms McDonald said: “The Government has now lost its majority. We've had two years now of what I would describe as disastrous Government and in the areas of housing and health care, we have moved from one fiasco to the next.”

The Dublin Central TD said the appetite for change that was evident in the last election had not gone away but in fact had in grown. She said people have run out of patience with the current Government.

“They no longer have a majority. I have no doubt that they believe that they could limp on. The sooner we have a change in government, the better. But on the issue of the confidence motion itself, we're considering that matter, we will make a final call tomorrow," Ms McDonald said in Ringsend, south Dublin.

Asked if she had a message for Independent TDs who usually support the Government in Dáil votes, she responded. “Yes, please stop, stop, stop doing it. This is a bad government, we need now solutions for people, we need a change in direction that is manifestly obvious.”

She was speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s policy on childcare which pledges to cut all parents’ fees by as much as two-thirds over two years.

It is understood PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett told the Dáil business committee on Thursday that his party would table a motion if Sinn Féin doesn’t.

The move follows Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh's decision to resign his party's whip after he voted against the Government on several amendments to the Mica redress scheme bill.

A Sinn Féin source said the matter was under "active consideration" but that no final decision had been made ahead of the deadline for submitting a motion on Friday morning.

The Dáil is due to adjourn for the summer recess after next week. At present Sinn Féin plans to table a motion on housing during its private members' time in the Dáil next week - but this could change in the next 24 hours.

Mr McHugh's decision reduces the Coalition's numbers in the Dáíl to 79 out of 159 TDs, excluding the Ceann Comhairle.

The three-party government's majority has been steadily eroded over the last two years with the six-month suspension of Green Party TDs Patrick Costello and Neasa Hourigan two months ago reducing its majority to one.

The resignation of former housing minister Eoghan Murphy from the Dáil and Marc MacSharry's decision to resign the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party last year also diminished the Coalition's majority.

However, it continues to enjoy support form a number of Independent TDs, including Michael Lowry, in Dáil votes which means Sinn Féin's motion is unlikely to succeed.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said: “This is a government that has now lost its parliamentary majority, and is failing to tackle the cost of living and housing crises. They have run out of road. A motion of no-confidence is under consideration.”

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