Latest updates as Government faces no-confidence vote – The Irish Times

Welcome to the Irish Times’ coverage of today’s vote of confidence as the government seeks to strengthen what Pat Leahy calls a “weak majority” in his preview of the day’s events.

The key times are as follows:

9 am: Just after 9am, the Dáil begins to debate the Labor Party’s motion of no confidence in the government.

11:45 a.m.: At the end of the debate, a vote will be held, dividing supporters and opponents of the government and clarifying which independents support the continuation of the coalition in principle.

12 o’clock: If the government has lost, the Dáil will be dissolved and its electoral base. If not, the next scheduled issue in the house is Leader’s Questions.

Later at evening, the government faces its second major challenge of the day: Sinn Féin legislation identical to the existing ban on evictions, but with changed dates. This will put independents in a position where they “actually have to vote against legislation that would extend the ban.”

What will happen? “The opposition will not win the votes and even if they did, they would not prevent the ban from expiring on Saturday,” predicts Pat, but it will still be a grueling day for the government.

Follow the proceedings on the Dáil video feed here and check out our updates below:

Government spokesmen were present in the early stages of the confidence debate. Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys followed the Taoiseach. The coalition’s strategy appears to be two-pronged – to list the government’s achievements in housing and to cite Ivana Bacik’s promise that her ruling party would provide 1 million homes. Public Expenditure Secretary Paschal Donohoe has echoed Humphreys about his respect for the Labor Party but then followed up with an attack on the promise first outlined at the Labor Party Congress in Cork over the weekend.

“I listen to you with a feeling of concern,” he said across the room to Labor leader Ivana Bacik. “The claim that you can deliver a million homes is based on what, on what country and with what money?” he asks.

“It deepens the sense of disillusionment rather than offering a solution.”

Leo Varadkar is speaking at the moment and after an opening passage defending the government’s record, he has turned to the jugular.

He has accused both Sinn Féin and the Labor Party of indulging in “utopian and populist” policies.

He has particularly focused on union leader Ivana Bacik’s pledge to deliver 1 million homes in 10 years.

“This is a page straight out of the Sinn Féin book. When asked how this could be done, Labor Party leader (Ivana Bacik) said: “Certainly the Irish aren’t great at building houses.”

Mr Varadkar gave his own opinion on how the number came about.

“It’s a round number and a conference speech should be made.

“This is the Tesco 2.0 ad.”

He ends his speech by saying that the housing crisis will be over and the government will build on the progress it has made over the past two years.

During the course of his speech he conceded that Ireland is suffering from a 250,000 home shortage, a problem caused by smaller family sizes and what he has called the “scarring effect” of the housing, tax and banking crashes.

“Solving the housing shortage is therefore one of the greatest political and practical challenges of our time. In fact, it’s a must,” he says, arguing that the state built more homes last year than any year since 1975.

It’s Harry McGee. Only ten minutes until the debate begins. The format will be simple. The motion of no confidence was tabled by Labour, but the government turned the tables (as always with such motions) and tabled a counter-motion expressing confidence in the government. So it will be government spokesmen first, including the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, followed by Labor Party leader Ivana Bacik. The debate ends at around 11.45 p.m. and the vote will take place immediately afterwards.

Ivana Bacik, the Labor leader who opposes the motion of no confidence, appeared on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland and justified the decision.

“It is absolutely the opposition’s responsibility to hold the government accountable,” she said. “We are not making this motion lightly and have actually done a lot of thinking and preparing a lot.

“It has been over 20 years since a Labor Party no-confidence motion was debated in the Dáil. We didn’t take this lightly, but we have a responsibility to those who contact us, these tenants, these families like the young mother who reached out to me in despair because she had nowhere else to go with her children. Next week, like the homeless and local government workers, officials desperate to know where they will take their families when the eviction ban comes into effect from Saturday because they are left without emergency shelters. So this is absolutely necessary because we have no choice but to shut down the government over the need for a response.”

Miriam Lord sets the stage for today’s debate with an engaging read on Leo Varadkar’s terse exchange with the opposition yesterday on the upcoming confidence debate.

“Varadkar’s message to non-SF members of the opposition was clear: Break my coalition and you will overthrow the 33rd Dáil, bring about early general elections and in all likelihood lose to a scared Shinner who will taunt your seat with glee.”


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