Friday, February 23, 2024

Sinn Féin no-confidence motion against McEntee dismissed as ‘political stunt’ |

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A Sinn Féin motion of no-confidence in Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is a “political stunt”, a Government junior minister has said.

Minister of State for public health and wellbeing Hildegarde Naughton said the Government is focused on assisting An Garda Síochána so violent scenes which erupted in Dublin recently are never repeated.

Tens of millions of euro worth of damage was caused to public infrastructure after disorder broke out following a knife attack near a school in which three children and a care assistant were injured.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said a lack of Garda members and government inaction had resulted in people feeling less safe in the city, as well as in other parts of the country.

She announced the motion of no-confidence in Ms McEntee, which is to be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday, claiming there needed to be accountability for the “catastrophic failure” to keep people safe.

Ms Naughton, Fine Gael TD for Galway West, 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.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is facing a vote of no-confidence this week (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Naughton added: “What Sinn Féin are doing is politicising a very serious event that happened in our capital city last Thursday week.

“What we all should be doing is supporting An Garda Síochána, not turning this into a political stunt.

“What we need to be doing as a political body is ensuring we are concerted here in relation to addressing further legislation that may be needed, not wasting Dáil time in relation to motions that are really not helpful.”

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny defended the posting online by Mrs McDonald of a photo depicting a person sitting on steps that she claimed was near the scene of the knife attack.

He said: “The people in that area have for years had situations where they have had huge under-investment in policing, in social services, in community services and it has resulted in an area which is lawless, they never see a guard.

“After the vicious attack and the huge spotlight that was on it for a week, less than a week later it is back to this abnormal situation.

“The point that Mary Lou McDonald was making was we have to change, there has to be a step change in how this is looked after.”


Labour Party TD Aodhán O’Riordán said he could not have confidence in how the Government had handled the situation.

He said: “On the day after the events I was heartbroken, we were all heartbroken.

“We didn’t immediately reach for politics, other members of the opposition did, talking about the Garda Commissioner needs to resign, the Minister needs to resign.

“We have been focusing on issues of Garda resources, numbers, but also on tackling the far right.

“I am not impressed by Fine Gael’s rhetoric in the last couple of days, which is predictable

“I am also not impressed by the Sinn Féin antics during the week in terms of that photograph of the vulnerable person.

“However, we can’t have confidence in how the Government have handled the situation. We almost had industrial from the gardaí in October, we had barristers having a day of strike action and any guard that you speak to speaks of the lack of morale.”

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