‘I won’t cause a general election’ – exiled TDs Marc MacSharry and Joe McHugh to support Government in no confidence motion
Exiled Government TDs Marc MacSharry and Joe McHugh will support their former Coalition colleagues in the motion of no confidence tabled by Sinn Féin.
he decision of the two TDs is a huge boost for the Government ahead of Tuesday’s vote and means the Sinn Féin’s motion is now more than likely to fail.
Sligo-Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry, who quit the Fianna Fáil party last year, said he has “huge issues” with its leader Micheál Martin and the “civil service being run on autopilot”. However, he added: “I won’t be causing a general election.”
Joe McHugh, who resigned the Fine Gael whip last week over the mica defected blocks redress scheme, also informed Government colleagues he will be voting confidence with the Coalition on Tuesday evening. Senior Government sources said Mr McHugh had pledged his support to Government despite his decision to lose the whip over the mica controversy.
Mr MacSharry and Mr McHugh’s support means the Government will have 81 votes to the Opposition’s 78 if all the other Coalition TDs vote against Sinn Féin’s motion.
This does not include the support of the two expelled Green Party TDs – Patrick Costello and Neasa Hourigan – who have yet to say how they will vote.
It is expected Independent TDs, Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry and Peter Fitzpatrick will either abstain or vote with the Government, further bolstering their chances of defeating the motion.
A number of Independents, who at times support the Government including Michael McNamara and Verona Murphy, said they do not have confidence in the Coalition.
The Labour Party, Social Democrats, People Before Profit and the Rural Independent will vote in favour of the Sinn Féin motion.
“The margin is tight but there will definitely be a margin in favour of the Government,” a senior Government source said.
Ms Hourigan went on RTE Radio One’s This Week to say for at least the third time in a week that she does not know how she will vote. She complained she had no contacted her from her party whip Marc Ó Cathasaigh.
The Dublin Central TD and Mr Costello were suspended from the Green Party for voting against the Government on the National Maternity Hospital.
Ms Hourigan still receives €9,691 on top of her €101,193 TD salary as chair of the Oireachtas Budget Oversight Committee. The position is a Government appointment which she retained despite voting against colleagues on two occasions.
Senior Government sources suggested this will have to be finally taken from her if she does not support the Coalition on Tuesday.
The Government will table a motion of confidence in themselves on Tuesday which will supersede the Sinn Féin proposal. A debate will take place in the Dáil at around 6pm.