16 February 2017 Current Affairs: The minority government of Ireland on 15 February 2017 survived Irish Parliament’s vote of no confidence over its handling of a policing scandal.
Though the government survived, Prime Minister Enda Kenny faced growing calls from members of his own party to step down from his position.
Highlights : The government won the motion with 57 votes in its favour and 52 against.
44 members of Fianna Fail, the country’s second largest party, abstained from the voting process. Independent members of the ruling coalition confirmed their support just an hour before the parliamentary debate.
Enda Kenny who is also the party leader of the ruling Fine Gael party made it clear that he does not intend to lead the party in the next elections.
Kenny had faced heavy criticism for his party’s poor performance in an election a year back.
Almost six members of his party have called for him to step down sooner than later, in order to give the new person enough time to establish a position before the next elections.
The support for such calls has increased following the fall in support of the party to 21 per cent, as revealed in a opinion poll taken last week.The fall brings the party 11 points behind fellow party Fianna Fail.
The motion for no confidence was introduced by Gerry Adams, the leader of Ireland’s third largest party, Sinn Fein.
The main reason for the move was the manner in which the government had handled allegations by members of parliament that Noirin O’Sullivan, Commissioner of the Irish police force, had made serious allegations of sexual crimes against high profile Irish whistleblower, Maurice McCabe to journalists in 2013 and 2014.
According to Adams, the government’s handling of the smear campaign against McCabe and other Garda whistleblowers was disgraceful.
The party also accused the government of covering up important information related to the case.
However, the government has agreed to establish a public enquiry into the allegations that will include an examination of Sullivan's mobile phone records. There are also calls for Sullivan to step down from her position while the investigation is on.
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