Government set to defeat water charges motion after junior minister pledges support

John Halligan earlier said "Irish Water is finished as an entity"

John Halligan, Irish Water, utility, Dail vote, abolition, government, junior minister

Minister John Halligan outside Government Buildings in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The minority Government looks set to defeat an opposition motion on water charges on Wednesday, despite uncertainty about a junior minister and what Fianna Fáil would do.

Independent TD and Minister of State John Halligan will now support the Government, after earlier suggesting he might side with the opposition.

And Fianna Fáil says it will not support the motion put down by Sinn Féin and other opposition TDs.

The party says it will table a counter-motion on the issue.

The vote on Wednesday night initially looked set to be the first real test of the minority Government on the issue of water charges.

39 TDs from Sinn Féin, AAA-PBP, the Social Democrats and some independents want the charges scrapped immediately.

People Before Profit deputy Richard Boyd Barrett says water charges are dead and should be buried in the Dáil this week.

But not all opposition parties oppose the idea of water charges.

Earlier today, it looked like the minority Government faced a problem from within - with newly appointed Junior Minister John Halligan threatening not to toe the line.

But he is now back onboard as the Government counter-motion restates what is in the Programme for Government and facilitation agreement with Fianna Fáil, while Minister Simon Coveney said earlier he would speak to Mr Halligan to give him "the reassurance he needs on an issue which I know is very delicate for him".

Deputy Mick Barry from the AAA-People Before Profit group says the motion has three objectives: