Sinn Féin submit motion of "no confidence" in Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald
Sinn Féin has lodged a motion of "no confidence" in Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald.
The Tánaiste is currently under pressure to clarify what she knew about an alleged Garda strategy to undermine the credibility of whistleblower Maurice McCabe, as well as when she knew it.
Motion of no confidence in Tanaiste has been submitted by Sinn Fein
— Sarah Bardon (@SarahBardon) November 23, 2017
Fitzgerald was the Minister for Justice who initially met with Maurice McCabe when he blew the whistle on several issues within An Garda Síochána, including cancellation of penalty points.
Prominent members of Sinn Féin, Labour and Fianna Fáil now argue that Fitzgerald did not do enough to protect McCabe from an alleged Garda strategy to smear him through sex abuse allegations.
Having originally claimed no knowledge of any such strategy by the Gardaí, it emerged last week that Fitzgerald had actually received an email in 2015 pertaining to an argument between lawyers for Mr. McCabe and An Garda Síochána.
This related to a "serious criminal complaint" against McCabe on which the Director of Public Prosecutions "directed no prosecution."
The email further said that "presumably the Garda Síochána are raising the matter on the basis they could argue that it is potentially relevant to motivation." The email further informed Fitzgerald that "the Garda Commissioner's authorisation [of this approach] had been confirmed."
Inconsistencies in the Tánaiste's claims have emerged since the email surfaced.
Fitzgerald has claimed that she did not remember the email, and provided information to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before remembering the email - this then led the Taoiseach to misspeak when answering questions in the Dáil.
Sinn Féin has now called on the Tánaiste to step aside, and are attempting to force the issue through, calling for a motion of "no confidence" in Fitzgerald.
If the motion is to pass, the Tánaiste will likely be forced from office.
In order for the motion to pass, at least some votes will be needed from either Fitzgerald's own party, Fine Gael, or Fianna Fáil, whose support the government currently depend on. If Fianna Fáil support the removal of Fitzgerald, it could pose problems for the survival of the current government, and trigger an election.
The vote is expected to take place next Wednesday.