Politics watch: All eyes on no-confidence motion in McEntee

James Cox

Here, we have a look at the issues which will dominate proceedings in the Dáil in the coming week.

No-confidence motion in Minister for Justice

Sinn Féin has tabled a motion of no-confidence in Minister for Justice Helen McEntee following the Dublin riots.

The vote on the motion will take place on Tuesday, December 5th.

In all likelihood, Ms McEntee is likely to survive the motion as it would take a significant change of heart from a number of Coalition or Independent TDs who usually back the Government to pass.

Mary Lou McDonald's party has accused the Justice Minister and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris of not being prepared for the violence that broke out in the capital on the day in which three children were injured in a stabbing.

However, Government TDs have accused the main opposition party of political grandstanding.

On Sunday, Minister of State for public health and wellbeing Hildegarde Naughton told RTÉ the Government has “absolute confidence” in Ms McEntee, adding that Sinn Féin had a “murky relationship” with law and order.

She said: “Fine Gael has no problem debating issues of law and order with Sinn Féin.”

“What Minister McEntee is focused on, and what Government is focused on, is addressing those issues and making sure that the gardaí are supported. These are the guardians of our State, and we need to make sure they are ready for events like this in the future.

“That is our focus, not political stunts.”

A new Ireland Thinks poll for the Sunday Independent found 38 per cent of respondents were satisfied with Ms McEntee's performance as Justice Minister.

Meanwhile, 49 per cent are not happy with Minister McEntee’s performance. However, her popularity has still increased by nine points since the last poll.

When it comes to the parties, the opinion poll shows Sinn Féin’s support has dropped three points to 28 per cent.

Fine Gael is on 21 per cent, unchanged, Fianna Fáil is up one to 19 per cent and Labour has risen by one to 4 per cent.

The Greens have fallen one to 3 per cent and Independents and others have gone up by three to 14 per cent.

The Social Democrats are unchanged on 5 per cent, Solidarity-People Before Profit are also the same on 4 per cent, and Aontú are on 3 per cent unchanged.

Ryan's return trip

Climate Minister Eamon Ryan will fly home from the Cop28 climate change conference in Dubai to vote in the no-confidence motion, before returning.

This is likely to be a source of Dáil debate, but Mr Ryan has insisted he would rather stay, but has to come back to vote.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there was no alternative for Mr Ryan's return trip, as 'pairing' arrangements are not permitted in no-confidence motions.

Paschal's future

Fine Gael will have looked at the Bloomberg report that Paschal Donohoe was eyeing up a leadership bid for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with concern.

However, the Taoiseach appears to have ruled out a political exit for the Minister for Public Expenditure.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Donohoe remains committed to his current role.

"I think it's important to bear in mind that the IMF has a managing director in Kristalina Georgieva, and she hasn't decided yet whether or not she's going to seek a second term," Mr Varadkar said.

"So this issue doesn't arise at the moment, but what Paschal says to me is that his intention is to run again for the Dáil in Dublin Central and to stay on as president of the Eurogroup."


In the UK, the Covid-19 inquiry continues this week. Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson will be giving evidence in what will be the most high-profile sittings of the inquiry thus far.

Mr Johnson is reportedly set to tell the UK Covid-19 Inquiry that he “unquestionably made mistakes” in his handling of the pandemic.

But according to The Times, the British leader during the coronavirus outbreak will argue that decisions he took, including ordering three lockdowns in England, ended up saving “tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives”.

In the US, all eyes are on the run-up to the 2024 US presidential election, despite the fact it is just under a year away.

Democrats are reportedly nervous at the lack of alternative candidates in the event of president Joe Biden, 81, not running for any reason.

The frontrunne for the Republican nomination, former US president Donald Trump, has told his supporters  to "go into" Philadelphia and two other Democratic-run cities to "guard the vote" in 2024, repeating his unfounded claims of widespread election fraud in 2020 as justification for the call to action.

Speaking in Iowa, Mr Trump attempted to flip the script and paint the winner, president Joe Biden, as a dangerous autocrat, calling him a communist, fascist and a tyrant.