Coalition’s prospects of surviving no-confidence vote look good as Independents show little sign of supporting Labour motion
The Government’s chances of surviving a motion of no confidence are increasing steadily.
A motion of confidence will be substituted tomorrow, but the Rural Independent Group is showing little enthusiasm for rowing in behind the Labour Party, which has tabled the challenge.
Regional TDs Verona Murphy and Peadar Tóibín, leader of Aontú, are so far the only ones to have flagged they will be voting against the Government tomorrow.
The Independent Group of six TDs is not making a unified decision but the majority are expected to vote no confidence.
Thomas Pringle, Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Michael Fitzmaurice are all expected to vote in a way that, if successful, would result in a general election.
Marian Harkin is waiting before she makes a decision but pointed out she has voted no confidence in the Government in the past.
Mr Fitzmaurice said he could not support a vote of confidence in a Government involving the Greens, who he said are “trying to destroy rural Ireland”.
The Labour Party has written to Independents to ask for their support, against a backdrop where the Coalition has technically lost its overall Dáil majority.
But Mattie McGrath, leader of the Rural Independent Group, said he and some others could be “forced to abstain” on the motion of no confidence.
“The motion from the Labour Party is a waste of time,” he said. “Ivana Bacik is talking about a million new homes and this is also about trying to make herself relevant. This is part of that.”
TDs Seán Canney, Peter Fitzpatrick and Matt Shanahan said last night they were still to make their decision.
Meanwhile many other Independents were uncontactable or refusing to indicate a position.
Mr McGrath said the motion of no confidence was “a complete and utter farce,” saying he “might be forced to abstain, which I hate, because I hate sitting on the fence. But it is pure showboating.”
He could not speak for other members of his group, he said, as they were all individuals. Nonetheless some are likely to take the signal from their nominal leader.
Some Independents criticised what one called the “soulless” letter from Ms Bacik seeking their support, which begins: “As leader of the Labour Party, I am writing to you in advance of the confidence motion in Government to ask for your support for our position, which is to vote no confidence.”
The letter then quotes the motion, stemming from the Government’s refusal to extend the ban on evictions, which is due to expire on Friday, saying it has made “a deliberate and conscious decision” to expose thousand of people to the risk of immediate homelessness.
“Submitting a motion is not something which I and my Labour colleagues have done lightly,” she says. “It is still not too late for the Government to act and to extend the ban on no-fault evictions for a further temporary period, thereby providing breathing space for their most recent proposals to be brought into effect and for more housing supply to be generated.
“We have one last chance to stop at tsunami of evictions by convincing ministers to change their position and to ask to extend the ban,” Ms Bacik says. “Your support would help us to achieve that objective.”
One recipient said: “It’s all about Labour, not exactly the right tone in asking us for support.” The letter ends: “If you would be willing to discuss this further, please do get in contact.”