Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

22.20 3 Dec 2019


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The Housing Minister has survived a no confidence motion in the Dáil tonight.

The Government had insisted it wouldn't be able continue if the motion passed - raising concerns about a potential Christmas election on December 28th.

However, the motion was ultimately defeated by 56 votes to 53 - a three vote margin.

Fianna Fáil abstained from the vote.

The motion was put forward by the Social Democrats, who had insisted it wouldn't collapse the Government and would just lead to a change of minister.

Opening the debate, the party's co-leader Catherine Murphy said they were making "no apologies" for bringing forward the motion.

She argued: "We're using this opportunity to do what is morally and politically right - and that is to acknowledge that you have utterly failed in your job, and that we have no confidence in your ability to solve this emergency.

"For that reason, regardless of any of your election timing arguments, we have no option but to say that we absolutely have no confidence in you.

"We will not only seek this motion to be passed, but we are asking for you to resign - our society can no longer afford you; indeed our society can no longer afford Fine Gael."

"It was never going to pass"

Ahead of the vote, Minister Eoghan Murphy told members of the Dáil: "Our work isn't finished yet, but we continue to make process - we continue to see our plans through, because we recognise that people are hurting in this crisis.

"Two generations now have been condemned by housing failures of previous governments - we're committed to not condemning any future generations to those types of failures again through short-term thinking.

Defending his Fine Gael colleague and his Government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar claimed: "This motion tonight will not pass - it was never going to pass. It was just a stunt by the proposers to gain publicity and coverage.

"It's also a lost opportunity by the proposers and by opposition members supporting it to put forward constructive proposals - new laws or ideas - that might alleviate homelessness and increase the supply or affordability of housing. This motion does none of that."

Fianna Fáil's Darragh O'Brien, meanwhile, said he respected the rights of members to use their parliamentary time to put forward confidence motions.

However, he claimed most people would see the Social Democrats' move as a "cynical manoeuvre to try and garner attention in advance of the by-elections".

Tonight's vote followed a previous unsuccessful motion of no confidence in Minister Murphy last year.

Main image: File photo of Eoghan Murphy. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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