Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, centre, Minister for Business Heather Humphries TD, left, and Fine Gael chairman Martin Heydon at City Assembly House, Dublin ahead of a Fine Gael party meeting today
Michael Brennan, in the Business Post, reports:
There has to be a three-week election campaign, because the election date must be between the 18th and 25th day of the clerk of the Dáil moving the writ for a general election.
So the earliest election date would be in early to mid-February – such as Friday 7 or Friday 14.
Varadkar has been joking that he could go for an election on February 14 for the love of the people and a “Valentine’s day massacre” of his opponents.
Please don't turn us into a hotel. https://t.co/DBQ9BoziAs
— Grogans Castle Lounge (@GrogansPub) January 10, 2020
Social Democrats TDs Catherine Murphy, Róisín Shortall, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien; Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin with his FF colleagues during last night’s vote in the Dáil
On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien defended his party colleagues abstaining from last night’s no confidence motion against the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.
The party’s leader Mícheál Martin didn’t attend the debate but did appear when the vote was taking place.
The motion was defeated by 56 votes to 53 while 35 TDs abstained.
Independent TDs Michael Lowry, Noel Grealish and Denis Naughten all voted against the motion.
He repeated what he told the Dáil last night – that the motion “one way or another is not going to house one person or take one person off the homeless list”.
He then had the following exchange with broadcaster Rachel English.
Rachel English: “…by voting the way you did last night, by abstaining, weren’t you effectively supporting and facilitating a policy that you believe has failed?”
Darragh O’Brien: “No, we weren’t. We were very clear. Early last week my party leader said it, and I said it too, that we were abstaining in the national interest, to ensure that there wasn’t going to be Christmas general election.
“And I think people have been very clear about that. So, you know, it’s not a question of us supporting Government housing policy, we don’t. We have put forward alternatives on a regular basis.
“We’ve negotiated budgets, where we’ve negotiated a fund for affordable purchase for first-time buyers.
“We want to put home ownership back at the centre of the solutions to this housing crisis and get the thousands of people who are on the housing waiting list – get them housed and get their families housed.”
English: “And in the meantime then, is it your policy that Rebuilding Ireland should be scrapped?”
O’Brien: “Rebuilding Ireland isn’t working. And Fianna Fáil has a different plan. And we’ve published that. We’ve published our affordable purchase plan. We’ve published legislation.
“So the idea Government say that Opposition don’t publish and hasn’t brought forward alternatives…”
English: “So you believe Rebuilding Ireland should be scrapped? It’s failed?”
O’Brien: “If the public were good enough to elect us at the general election early next year, we will have a different housing plan that would not be Rebuilding Ireland.”
English: “Just to pick up on something you said there, you said ‘an election early next year’, does that mean that May is too late?”
O’Brien: “No I don’t think. Micheal Martin was clear yesterday when we had our press conference and he said ‘look, probably the natural end to this will be after the Easter recess’ so you’re looking at an April/May election. And that would be I think a disorderly wind-down of Government would potentially be in everyone’s interest, in everybody’s interest, to allow the public, you know, have their say, and I want…”
English: “A disorderly wind-down or an orderly wind-down?”
O’Brien: “Orderly, sorry, orderly would be the preference. But look events and that in the future, who knows. But what we want is the public to have their say on Fine Gael’s failed housing policy.
Talk over each other
English: “You’re talking about an April/May election and not before that?”
O’Brien: “Sorry, Rachel?”
English: “You’re talking about an April/May election ideally, as far as your concerned?”
O’Brien: “That is, as Micheal Martin, has outlined and we’ve been very clear and honest with people over the last couple of years in relation to where we’ve been and we’ve seen this through and it’s been difficult sometimes.
“There may have been shorter term party political gain to be gleaned by running to the country earlier but we haven’t done that.
“We’ve put the national interest first and that’s what we’ll continue to do and we look forward to fighting a general election early next year when we put forward our alternatives and let the public have their say on Eoghan Murphy and Simon Harris and failed health and housing policies.”
English: “All right, thank you very much…”
Listen back in full here
Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward, who secured the Dublin Mid-West seat in last week’s by-election, told the Dáil that the normalisation of the housing crisis is “not normal”.
He said it’s “not normal” to have almost 4,000 children spending Christmas in temporary accommodation.
He said it’s “not normal” for adult children to live with their kids in a back room belong to their parents and to have three generations living under one roof.
In a message directed at the two Fianna Fáil TDs – Pádraig O’Sullivan and Malcolm Byrne – who were also elected last week, he said: “You did not get elected to sit on your hands.”
He urged support for the motion, saying “that’s normal”.
56-53 last night.
With Coveney and Pringle present, and Fitzmaurice unpaired – making full attendance – it’s 57-55.
Dara Murphy resigns (potentially as early as today) and the government margin on confidence votes is 56-55.
Flip any of Lowry, Grealish, Naughten and it’s over.
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) December 4, 2019
Last night: 10,514 But Confidence Remains
Fianna Fáil TD MIcheal McGrath
“This is about a very small number of Fine Gael ministers wanting to get out of their current job because they’re…they’re not delivering in the areas of health, in particular, and housing.
“And let’s be honest, this is what this is about.”
“And they might see some narrow party political advantage to having an election before Christmas, or indeed a narrow personal political interest.
“It is not in the country’s interest…”
Fianna Fáil TD MIcheal McGrath speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke this morning.
Listen back in full here
Earlier: A Limerick A Day
From top: Independent TD Micheal Lowry (third from right) with his political team John ‘Rocky’ McGrath, his son Micheál Lowry, Michael O’Meara, Shane Lee and Eddie Moran who all won seats in the local elections in Tipperary; a supposed fan of Lowry in Jamaica
Michael Lowry TD writes on his Facebook page:
Kev is back in Montego Bay and is delighted that #TeamLowry achieved its #Drive4Five.
The drive for 5 is alive ya man.
Alan Kinsella tweetz:
#IrelandSouth For all those wishing to vote for your cat… A voter made stickers to vote for their own cat!
In Borrisoleigh, Thurles, County Tipperary.
(Thanks Chris Cleary)
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn
“You loved me as a loser, but now you’re worried that I just might win” – Leonard Cohen
On Your Unsuitability for High Office
for Jeremy Corbyn
The minute they realise
you might succeed in changing
more than the occasional
light bulb in the new
old community centre,
where the anti-apartheid
meetings used to happen;
the late Lord Lambton
climbs out from between
two prostitutes and into
the next available issue
of the Daily Express
to urge votes for anyone
but you; Earl Haig
gets up from his grave
to bang the table and tell us
you’ve not successfully
organised enough death
to properly understand
Britain’s defence needs
in the twenty first century.
The Telegraph mutters
into its whiskers about your lack
of experience – how you never once
so much as successfully destroyed a bank;
as former comedians gather
in darkest Norwich and Lincolnshire
to speak of your beige zip-up jackets.
LBC Radio exclusively reveals your plan
to give each failed asylum seeker,
and anyone who’s ever
taken an axe to a child,
their own seat in
the House of Lords;
the same day, The Spectator
gives retired General
Franco space to expose your
long term associations
with known vegetarians
and Mexican importers
of fair trade coffee.
While on Radio Four’s Women’s Hour
the former editor of the News of The World
and Dame Myra Hindley agree:
the last thing this country needs
right now is you.
(Pic: REUTERS, Peter Nicholls)