Tánaiste cancels US trip after FG removes support for Dáil voting deal




Fine Gael has forced the Tánaiste to cancel a jobs mission to the United States by refusing to observe the usual arrangements for a Dáil vote in her absence.

Fine Gael usually observes a "pairing" arrangement, whereby the party steps down one of its TDs if a Government Minister is prevented from participating in a Dáil vote.

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan would have been in that position due to her participation on the Enterprise Ireland mission in the US, and has now cancelled that trip.

Fine Gael said it would continue to observe the pairing arrangement were there were issues of national importance to consider - and it did not consider the trade mission to be one of those.

A Cabinet colleague described the move as "unpatriotic".

The weeks ahead will also see Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin focus on health motions in a bid to test rebellious Deputies such as Mattie McGrath and Noel Grealish on their threats not to support the Government if health cuts are made.

A loss of any vote for the Government would be embarrassing, but it would take a loss on a vote of confidence or a financial motion to bring down the Government and cause an election.


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