Irish government sure of winning confidence vote

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Irish government sure of winning confidence vote

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he Irish government will face a confidence vote later as main opposition party Sinn Fein presses to secure an early general election.

The administration in Dublin is confident it has the numbers to win this evening’s vote in the Dail.

Sinn Fein tabled a motion of no confidence after the Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Green Party coalition lost its parliamentary majority last week.

In response, the Government is set to table a motion of confidence in itself in the Dail later.

That move would supersede the Sinn Fein motion, with the debate and vote held on the Government’s confidence motion instead.

Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh resigned the party whip last week (Brian Lawless/PA) / PA Archive

Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh’s decision to relinquish his party whip last week left the Government with 79 seats in the Dail – one short of a majority.

However, the coalition is confident that Mr McHugh and several other TDs outside of the Government will still back the coalition in the vote.

Sinn Fein has heavily criticised the Government’s response to the cost-of-living crisis and claims it is also failing on longer term problems, such as Ireland’s chronic housing shortage.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald insists the time has come for a general election and a change of administration.

However, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, who leads Fianna Fail, has branded the vote a “cynical exercise”.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald wants an early general election (Brian Lawless/PA) / PA Wire

He has warned that an early general election would delay September’s budget, which is set to focus on support measures for people struggling with soaring bills.

“The Irish people do not want a general election,” he told reporters in Dublin on Monday.

“We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, we have a war on the continent of Europe.

“Last week, Sinn Fein were looking for a cost-of-living package and an emergency budget, this week they’re looking for a general election.

“A general election would mean no budgetary package over the next while, and would lead to paralysis.

“In my view it’s just a cynical exercise.”

The coalition has gradually seen its majority whittled down over the past few months – finally losing it when Mr McHugh resigned the whip over the Government’s controversial plan to provide redress to homeowners in counties affected by defective building blocks.

The former education minister’s home constituency of Donegal is one of the counties worst hit by the defective block scandal and he believes the redress package is not comprehensive enough.