A Labour senator has said it was not a “strong statement” by Sinn Fein to call for the resignation of Justice Minister Helen McEntee as the party did not table a motion of no confidence at the same time.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald called for the resignation of Ms McEntee on Friday, following riots in Dublin city centre which were preceded by a stabbing in which children were seriously injured.
Senator Rebecca Moynihan said Labour would vote no confidence in the Justice Minister if a motion was called but said that was “up to” Sinn Fein, as smaller parties would not have an opportunity to call a motion for several weeks.
The government isn’t listening.
We need safe communities, safe towns and cities for all. Nothing less will do.
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) November 28, 2023
She said Labour had not had confidence in the Government in the area of policing for a long time.
“I think it’s up to Sinn Fein. They should have put it down on Friday if they have no confidence,” Ms Moynihan said.
“When Mary Lou McDoanld came out and said that she did not have the confidence in the Garda Commissioner and the minister, that was an opportunity to do it.
“We don’t have the (Dail) time but we will be voting no confidence.”
Ms Moynihan said expressing no confidence in Ms McEntee was “bubble talk” and a “distraction” from policing in the capital city.
“What we’re concerned about is the safety on the streets of Dublin.”
When asked if Ms McEntee should resign on Saturday, Labour leader Ivana Bacik told RTE radio: “We don’t have confidence in the Government’s handling of policing frankly, and we’ve said that for some time now.
“But we don’t believe that this weekend it’s appropriate at a time when our focus and priority should be on preventing an escalation of violence.”
Last Thursday's events represent a whole of Government failure.
This Government must take responsibility for failing to address the key crisis within An Garda Síochána that contributed to the breakdown of law & order that we saw in our city – @ivanabacik pic.twitter.com/3YOqppH4jR
— The Labour Party (@labour) November 28, 2023
Ms Bacik said there had been a “good deal of political play acting” on the matter but added that the minister had questions to answer.
Asked on Tuesday if the party was now playing catch up compared to stronger statements from Sinn Fein, Ms Moynihan said: “It wasn’t really a strong statement because they could have put in a motion of no confidence on Friday and they didn’t.”
Ms Bacik later reiterated in the Dail that the party had no confidence in how the Government was handling policing.