Eoghan Murphy to address Dáil amid no confidence motion concern

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will tomorrow attempt to address concerns by junior health minister Catherine Byrne after a warning that she may abstain or support a Dáil motion against him.

Eoghan Murphy to address Dáil amid no confidence motion concern

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy will tomorrow attempt to address concerns by junior health minister Catherine Byrne after a warning that she may abstain or support a Dáil motion against him.

Ms Byrne is threatening to ignore an order by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for Fine Gael TDs to rally around the embattled housing minister during a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence tonight.

Instead, the junior minister could abstain or even go as far as to vote against Mr Murphy over a row relating to local housing concerns in her Dublin South Central constituency.

The disagreement centres over Ms Byrne’s concerns that the redevelopment of the St Michael’s site in Inchicore is too rent-focused and will ignore local family needs for housing.

Sources close to Mr Murphy say he will today attempt to defuse the row and is taking Ms Byrne’s concerns “seriously”. He will speak directly with the fellow Fine Gael TD ahead of the Sinn Féin motion debate tonight.

The suggestion by Ms Byrne is in in direct defiance to an order by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to support Mr Murphy this week. And the Taoiseach went as far as to warn that he would fire her last night.

Both Ms Byrne and Mr Murphy fell out over the issue during the summer, when the junior minister on a stage argued that the plans for St Michael’s were the “worst ever” she had seen.

Sources are stressing that the junior health minister has not threatened to vote no or indeed sought specific demands for her Dail support. Instead, she has privately told colleagues about her position.

Nonetheless, Fine Gael government sources point out that Mr Varadkar has insisted that TDs be in the chamber and support Mr Murphy during the motion.

There isn’t much love loss between the two over St Michael’s. But she would have to consider an awful lots of things if she votes or abstains. The Taoiseach has made it clear. You could probably take a good guess at what might happen,” said a Fine Gael official.

A separate parliamentary party source said: “That could be the end of her ministerial career.”

One minister said the party was already considering lining up councillor and GP Paddy Smyth for any snap election if Ms Byrne was kicked out of the parliamentary party. Mr Smyth is in the Rathgar-Rathmines area, but this goes into Kimmage under boundary changes.

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