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'A human error': Sinn Féin motion on affordable housing passed by Dáil after junior Minister doesn't call vote

The housing crisis has been top of the political agenda for over two weeks now, following outrage over cuckoo funds.

Junior Minister Malcolm Noonan
Junior Minister Malcolm Noonan

A MOTION ON affordable housing proposed by Sinn Féin has been passed by the Dáil after Government TDs forgot to vote for their amendment to the motion.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Eoin Ó Broin proposed a motion calling for housing in Dublin to be made available for €230,000, and rents to be between €700-€900.

When the Minister for Housing’s amendment to the motion was proposed, Government TDs did not vote in favour of it, nor did they vote against Sinn Féin’s motion.

Junior Minister at the Department of Housing Malcolm Noonan had been expected to move a Government counter-motion, however he did not do so and did not oppose the Sinn Féin motion.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, junior Minister Seán Fleming said that Noonan had made a “genuine error” in not moving the government’s countermotion.

“A genuine error was made in the Dáil chamber last night,” said Fleming.

“Minister Malcolm Noonan was there deputising for Minister Darragh O’Brien and when it came time to call the vote, he made an error and the vote wasn’t called.”

According to Fleming, Noonan has since informed O’Brien and has been in touch with government colleagues to let them know that the motion was not called in error.

“It was a human error on the night.”

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan were in the chamber and also did not oppose the motion.

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After the vote, Ó Broin tweeted: “Well that was embarrassing. Three Government Ministers in chamber didn’t vote for Govt amendment to SF motion on affordable housing. Nor did they vote against the SF motion.

“So our proposal to double capital investment to deliver 20,000 homes to meet social and affordable need passed!”

Motions are statements of intent of the Dáil, rather than a legally-binding vote, so the Government can choose to ignore the result.

With reporting by Tadgh McNally

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