The Government faces a motion of no confidence this week over the latest garda whistleblower crisis which is threatening to derail the minority government.
Senior figures in Fianna Fáil will meet today and discuss how to approach the vote, although the party is likely to stick to its support deal with the Fine Gael-led minority government.
The motion of no confidence is being tabled by Sinn Féin, who maintain that ministers have misled how they handled false sex abuse allegations against garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.
Confusion surrounds over which members of government knew what about a Tusla file, which existed for over two years and falsely claimed Sgt McCabe was suspected of child sex abuse.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald claimed yesterday the Government was continuing to cover up an alleged campaign by gardaí to undermine Sgt McCabe, an issue which is now the subject of a new inquiry.
“In relation to the smearing campaign waged against Sgt Maurice McCabe, the Government continues to cover up who knew what and when they knew. Today, the minister for justice claimed that she was unaware of the smears. An Taoiseach failed to clarify when and how he became aware of the smears.”
But the arithmetic of the Dáil means that Sinn Féin and other opposition parties would need the support of Fianna Fáil to win the motion.
Instead, Fianna Fáil last night indicated they were unlikely to support Sinn Féin and would ultimately back the Government. This is already in the ‘confidence and support arrangement’, agreed with Fine Gael last May, which states that Fianna Fail “vote against or abstain on any motions of no confidence in the government, ministers and financial measures.”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams at the weekend argued that the Government was stumbling from one crisis to another and that what was needed now was in fact a general election. The Government’s support though is maintained by Fianna Fáil and its leader Micheal Martin, pointed out Mr Adams.
“Citizens are scandalised by the arrogance of Enda Kenny and his cabinet colleagues. The Taoiseach should do the right thing. So should Micheál Martin. He should withdraw his support for the Government. Sinn Féin in government would not tolerate this type of behaviour. People deserve an election. They deserve to have their say on all of these matters,” Mr Adams said.
Sinn Féin will announce details of its motion today, which is also set to point to other crises circling the Government, including the heath service, Nama and housing.
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