Monday 17 December 2018

'I hope Byrne isn't pulled into Sinn Féin stunt' - Housing Minister on TD's decision ahead of no confidence vote

  • Motion in Housing Minister - tabled by Sinn Féin - aims to 'put enormous pressure on the Government'
  • Taoiseach and Mr Murphy under pressure after it was reported Dublin South Central TD Catherine Byrne was set to either support or abstain in vote
  • Housing Minister describes Sinn Féin motion of no confidence as 'disingenuous' and 'a stunt'
  • Says he hopes to meet with Catherine Byrne today
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said he hopes TD Catherine Byrne "is not pulled into the Sinn Féin stunt" of a motion of no confidence in himself.

The motion in Mr Murphy, tabled by Sinn Féin and due to be held tonight, aims to "put enormous pressure on the Government".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Mr Murphy were under pressure yesterday after it was reported Dublin South Central TD Catherine Byrne was set to either support or abstain in the vote.

The Taoiseach said last night he would be forced to sack Ms Byrne if she did not support her colleague.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, the Housing Minister described the Sinn Féin motion of no confidence as "disingenuous" and "a stunt".

"The responsibility of the opposition is not to be angry but to come forward with their own proposals.

"Sinn Féin had the opportunity to bring forward a proposal. Nowhere in their motion did they mention something they would do differently. "This motion will do nothing [for those without a home].

"It is incredibly irresponsible," he continued.

Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy TD
Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy TD

"The remarks are incredibly disingenuous.

"They're saying the crisis is caused by me in under 16 months on my watch, that's nonsense.

"They are saying a fundamental break in the housing system could be corrected in 16 months.

"Anyone who understands what we need to do to protect future generations knows that's not true."

Mr Murphy said he hopes to meet with Catherine Byrne today to talk about her own concerns in her constituency.

"Catherine has concerns about potential new development in her own constituency that is separate to this motion," he said.

"I don't know what her position is [for the vote]. I've engaged with her on a number of occasions and I hope to meet her today to talk about the genuine concerns of her constituents.

"I hope she's not pulled into this Sinn Féin stunt."

Earlier this morning, a Sinn Féin TD said the motion of no confidence in Mr Murphy aims to "put enormous pressure on the Government",

Sinn Féin's Housing Spokesperson Eoin O'Broin said both the Rebuilding Ireland scheme and "the minister in charge of it" are failing.

He said "the buck stops with the minister".

"What [this motion] will achieve is it will put enormous pressure on the government," Mr O'Broin said.

"Homelessness is up 80pc for pensioners, it's up 77pc for children and 60pc for adults.

"Much of that increase is under Eoghan Murphy's watch.

"There are less social houses approved this year than last. Not a single affordable home built.

"House completions are up but it's unaffordable, high-priced student accommodation and homes."

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