Today’s vote of no confidence in the Justice Minister is an attempt to ‘showboat’ from Sinn Féin, according to a Government Minister of State.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee has labelled the vote ‘a distraction’ – insisting that the response to the Dublin riots was ‘really exceptional’.
Joining the show was Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny for a debate ahead of today's vote of no confidence, which is set to kick off in the Dáil at 4pm.
Minister O’Donovan, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works and the Gaeltacht, criticised Sinn Féin for calling the vote.
“In the immediate aftermath of the horrific attack in Dublin I thought for maybe 15 seconds that it would be an opportunity for Sinn Féin not to play politics with something,” he said.
"We, of course, were all proven wrong. The temptation to showboat was just too great [and] they came out with this motion [of no confidence] a week after statements were made in the Dáil.”
Minister O’Donovan said Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Helen McEntee “gave a very good account of themselves” during the Dublin riots.
“The net result of what Martin [Kenny TD] is proposing would see people going to the polls on Christmas Eve,” said Minister O’Donovan.
“The real winners of that would be the organisers of what happened in Dublin last week.
“A cross-party approach in relation to knuckling down on the people who organised the protest should be in the best interest of all.”
‘I really think this is a distraction’.
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) December 5, 2023
Sinn Féin Deputy Martin Kenny said the Minister of Justice has failed in a number of areas in her role.
“We have had business people contacting us telling us they feel unsafe, tourists feel unsafe and people leaving late-night venues feel unsafe,” said Deputy Kenny.
“People say that they don’t see Gardaí; they can’t get a taxi late at night and they’re worried about getting mugged on the way home.
“There is an issue with Garda recruitment and retention, we have less Gardaí than we had 12 years ago and less Garda stations open than we had 12 years ago.”
Deputy Kenny further accused the Minister of failing in her duties on November 23rd.
“The Minister [of Justice] and the Garda Commissioner refuse to say they lost control, and clearly they did,” he said.
“Every sensible person in the country could see that when we had this vicious assault, it could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
“Nobody took any measures to prevent it, and we feel like we have no confidence in the Minister for Justice or Garda Commissioner in dealing with these issues.”
Deputy Kenny added that the role of the opposition is to hold the Government to account.