The move, which Government TDs dismissed as an “opportunistic stunt” came as Fine Gael’s Fergus O’Dowd, who as junior environment minister helped to create Irish Water, warned that a referendum to prevent future privatisation was needed.
Mr O’Dowd broke rank with government colleagues, saying changes did not go far enough.
“It is essential we provide reassurance on the issue. Several referenda are planned and there is no reason why we cannot have one on water,” he said.
Sinn Féin finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty, defended the no-confidence move, saying the mass rally expected at the Dáil next Wednesday could be the “sucker punch” the Government needs to change course.
“The introduction of such charges, as announced by Government two weeks ago, is a road to yet more hardship for families across Ireland. We know that once these charges are set in motion prices can only go one way, and that is up. Merely capping charges for a short number of years will be of little comfort to people, the length and breadth of the country, who simply cannot afford to pay,” Mr Doherty said.
Fine Gael and Labour TDs said the Sinn Féin move would see the Coalition close ranks behind the Taoiseach, despite a major dip in support for both parties in the latest opinion polls.