Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry sensationally quits the party ahead of confidence vote
Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry has resigned from the party and has said he will vote no confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.
The Dáil will debate and vote on the motion of no-confidence in the minister this evening.
— Marc MacSharryTD (@MarcMacsharryTD) September 15, 2021
The motion was tabled by Sinn Féin in the wake of the controversy surrounding Coveney's handling of the UN Special Envoy role and the aftermath.
Sinn Féin said the appointment of Katherine Zappone as a UN Special Envoy for Freedom of Opinion and Expression was done without a transparent process and amounted to cronyism.
The controversy has been dripping onwards for weeks with Coveney denying he effectively offered Zappone the special envoy job before his officials carried out the work to create it.
He also rejected claims that her contact with him over the role amounted to lobbying.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin last week described Sinn Féin's decision to table a motion of no-confidence in the minister as "old-style naked opposition politics".
"Are we seriously suggesting that the appointment of a part-time envoy in itself justifies a vote of no confidence in a minister?” Martin said.
“I think that's not proportionate or balanced. I do not believe this is an issue that merits the removal of a minister."
He added: “I just simply do not believe that that would be a proportionate response in this case."
Last week, we discussed how Martin was facing a tricky situation when the no-confidence motion was brought forward. MacSharry is the first Fianna Fáil TD to step away, will any of the other critics within the Fianna Fáil party refuse to give Coveney their backing?