Dail votes down no-confidence motion in Irish Government

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The minority Irish Government has survived a no-confidence vote prompted by soaring homelessness numbers.

Sinn Fein tabled the parliamentary device aimed at putting pressure on housing minister Eoghan Murphy over what campaigners claimed was a crisis in the Republic.

On Tuesday evening the motion was defeated; 49 votes in favour to 59 against, with 29 abstentions, following a bad-tempered and barbed debate.

The number without shelter has risen relentlessly, to around 10,000, prompting mass street demonstrations and property occupations.

Sinn Fein public representative Eoin O Broin TD said the Government continued to under-invest in social and affordable housing and relied on the private sector to meet housing demand.

He told the Irish Dail parliament: “Across the country frustration at the housing crisis is turning into anger.

“Take Back The City are giving voice to the locked out generation.”

The Dublin representative said child homelessness was up by 77% and pensioner homelessness elevated by 80%.

Mr O Broin claimed the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland programme had failed and overall homelessness increased by 60% since the plan was published two years ago.

Property rental rates in the capital have increased considerably in recent times as Ireland recovered from near-financial collapse.

The Government has said the housing crisis stemmed from policies of “greed and mismanagement” during the boom-time Celtic Tiger years of more than a decade ago when its political opponents were in power.

Ireland’s housing minister Eoghan Murphy has survived a motion of no confidence. Brian Lawless/PA.

He said: “Some people want to believe that these issues would be solved overnight.

“That is dishonest and it is wrong. We have a plan, it is working.”

The Government is made up of a minority coalition of Fine Gael and independents.

Co-operation from Fianna Fail in key votes has prevented the administration’s collapse since a divisive 2016 general election.

Fianna Fail said it was abstaining from voting on the no-confidence motion. The opposition Labour Party voted in favour along with a collection of other left-wing representatives.

Fine Gael’s Government front bench was packed.

Mr Murphy sat beside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and a speculated rebellion by a junior minister failed to materialise.

Health minister Simon Harris said: “There is no silver bullet or magic wand or one measure,this is a hard slog.”

Mr Varadkar has accused Sinn Fein of tabling the motion purely for political reasons and not really caring about people.

He has said 20,000 new homes would be built this year and that by 2020 that figure would reach 25,000 annually.

Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s flagship housing programme, commits to meet the housing needs of 135,000 households in need of social housing by 2021.

A group of about 1,000 housing protesters staged a mass demonstration in Dublin last weekend to highlight the issue.

Take Back The City brought traffic to a standstill on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares as demonstrators took part in a sit-down protest.

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