Shifting sands spell danger for fragile majority
The decision of Independent TD Noel Grealish to withdraw his support from the Government has cut the Coalition's already slim majority from six votes to four.
It means Government chief whip John Curran will be under even more pressure to ensure that every Government-supporting TD turns up for even the most mundane votes in the next Dail term. There are three vacant seats in the 166-member Dail -- one from Donegal South West, one from Dublin South and one from Waterford. If the Government were to lose all three by-elections, its majority would be reduced to just one.
Currently, the Coalition is comprised of:
- Fianna Fail -- 69 TDs*
- Green Party -- 6 TDs
- Independents -- 2 TDs (Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae)
- Ex-PDs -- 1 (Mary Harney)
- Independent Fianna Fail -- 4 (Eamon Scanlon, Jimmy Devins, Jim McDaid and Mattie McGrath)
(*Does not include Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk, a Fianna Fail TD for Louth.)
The Opposition TDs and others are:
- Fine Gael - 51
- Labour - 20
- Independents -- 3 (Finian McGrath, Maureen O'Sullivan and Joe Behan)
- Sinn Fein - 4
- Ex-PDs - 1 (Noel Grealish)