Wednesday 20 February 2019

The Floating Voter: Simon Harris is no longer up to the job - but no confidence motion not on table says Sinn Féin TD

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly. Picture: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly. Picture: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

SINN Féin believes Health Minister Simon Harris is no longer up to the job - but will not be placing a motion of no confidence before the Dáil.

The party’s health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said they “don’t have the numbers” to justify trying to force Mr Harris from office over the escalating costs of the National Children’s Hospital.

Speaking on Independent.ie’s ‘Floating Voter’ podcast, Ms O’Reilly said the hospital should go ahead but more answers are needed on how the costs spiralled to €1.4bn.

Sinn Fein previously placed sought to have the Dáil declare no confidence in ex-Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy – but will not go after Mr Harris in the same way.

Under the confidence and supply arrangement, Fianna Fáil must abstain on confidence motions in ministers. A breach of this deal would almost certainly result in a general election.

Ms O’Reilly said it was up to Fianna Fáil to take action against the minister.

“They say the logic of their position is that they are doing this to save the world from Brexit and they very well might believe that.

“It’s less than a year since Micheál Martin went to Europe and said ‘don’t worry if there is any change in personnel, there’ll be no change in policy so you have nothing to worry about if there is to be an election’,” the Dublin Fingal TD said.

Asked why Sinn Féin won’t try force Fianna Fáil’s hand, she replied: “We don’t the numbers at the moment. If Fianna Fáil want to make a public statement then of course we will consider. Why would be trying to do that when it won’t succeed? They have said their hand is not available to forced.”

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