The Government has lost its majority after Joe McHugh of Donegal rebelled over legislation pertaining to Mica redress.
The former Fine Gael minister has previously said he would have to “consider all options” if the redress scheme did not satisfy his constituents and has now fallen on his sword.
1/3 This evening I voted against the ‘Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Bill 2022' While I acknowledge the work that has gone into the proposed compensation package,the Bill still needs improvement in key areas and I have engaged extensively
— Joe McHugh (@McHughJoeTD) July 6, 2022
Last year the Government agreed to pay €420,000 to affected homeowners but campaigners warned that many will still be "tens of thousands of euros" short of full redress.
The Defective Concrete Blocks Bill sailed through the Dáil by a margin of 71 votes to 67 but the Donegal TD said he could not support it because, “My gut is telling me this second scheme is falling short for too many people.”
In a series of tweets afterwards Mr McHugh announced that he would be formally resigning the Fine Gael whip this evening “with a heavy heart”.
He also added that:
“I believe that insufficient time has gone into debating the Bill, which could have allowed these issues to be addressed to improve this legislation to meet the needs of the people affected by this devastating issue.”
Although the Government now theoretically lacks a majority, it is unlikely to mean that they will have trouble getting legislation through the Oireachtas.
In May, two Green TDs were stripped of the whip for supporting a Sinn Féin motion on the ownership of National Maternity Hospital. However, both were told they could expect to be welcomed back into the party after six months.
Main image: Joe McHugh