THE government has suffered an embarrassing defeat during a vote on a bill banning upward-only rent reviews.
Senators voted 23 to 22 on a bill tabled by Senator Feargal Quinn which would have made upward-only reviews illegal.
The original vote was tied at 22-22, leaving the Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke to cast the deciding vote in defeating the bill.
Opposition senators demanded a second, 'walk-through vote' - during which Reform Alliance senator Paul Bradford arrived in the chamber to give the opposition a single vote majority.
The whips of both Fine Gael and Labour will now be asked to explain how the vote was carried.
The surprise outcome means the bill goes to the Dail where government TDs could be forced into voting against a proposal which was a key plank of their the General Election campaign.
Cabinet ministers have previously ruled out banning upward only rents reviews, saying such a bill would be unconstitutional.