Almost half of the Cabinet meeting was consumed by arguments over the three opposition motions — relating to tracker mortgages, home care packages, and the Stardust tragedy — due to be discussed and voted on in the Dáil.
Despite the lengthy discussion —which at times became heated as members of the Independent Alliance and Fine Gael clashed — ministers left the meeting without clarity.
The most contentious issue was around a motion calling for a Commission of Investigation into the Stardust tragedy, which the Government deferred making a decision on.
Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath has come out strongly in support of setting up a new inquiry into the nightclub fire, which killed 48 people in 1981.
Although Mr McGrath was backed by Independent Alliance colleague Shane Ross at the meeting, Fine Gael ministers are thought to have serious issues with new evidence which is being put forward.
It is understood that Fine Gael would also find it difficult to stomach voting for a motion which is critical of the Government.
“We have an ongoing discussion in relation to this and Finian has made no secret as to where he stands,” a Government spokesman said.
Ministers also deferred decisions on how to vote on a Sinn Féin motion around tracker mortgages and a Fianna Fáil motion on home care packages.
Government scrambled to come to some sort of a solution on Sinn Féin’s motion, with no agreement reached just hours before it was due to be debated last night.
A Government spokesman claimed ministers “ran out of time” and said the power opposition now wield has “slowed down” the workings of Government.
“When you increase the amount of motions and bills from opposition, allied to the fact that we are operating in a minority government, that enhances parliament ownership of any outcome while also by necessity slowing down the process,” the Government spokesman said.