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Former Progressive Democrat deputy Noel Grealish says he is likely to vote against the Budget.
Former Progressive Democrat deputy Noel Grealish says he is likely to vote against the Budget.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

Backbenchers, independents remain tight-lipped on Budget vote

Independent Noel Grealish will probably vote against, while FF’s Mattie McGrath hasn’t made up his mind – could it be a tie?
Dec 7th 2010, 12:25 PM 438 0

THE GOVERNMENT seems set to win this week’s Dáil votes on the Budget, but looks set to have to fight for every single vote as a number of independent and backbench TDs have said they are unlikely to give the package their support.

RTÉ News reports that former Progressive Democrat TD Noel Grealish, who formally pulled his support from the government in September, says he is likely to vote against the Budget, but will make up his mind for certain when the full measures are published later on.

While Grealish would have been expected to vote against the Budget anyway, less unpredictable would be the vote of Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath, a Fianna Fáil member who lost the party whip in June, who says he is still undecided about his vote.

McGrath said he was due to meet Brian Lenihan this lunchtime to discuss the measures being included, and would not have decided on how he would vote on the measures until at least then.

After securing the support of Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae yesterday – the two independent TDs who have supported the government up until now, and who give the Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition its two-vote majority in the Dáil – the government had seemed almost guaranteed to secure its majority for the Budget votes.

If McGrath (who has still sided with the government on votes until now) was to vote against the coalition, it would then be likely to see the Dáil vote tied at 81 votes apiece.

Such a tie would be avoided, however, if the anti-government independent TDs Finian McGrath, Joe Behan and Maureen O’Sullivan, or maverick opposition TDs like Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton, chose not to vote against the measures.

If a vote is tied, the casting vote of the Ceann Comhairle is traditionally cast in favour of the government.

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Gavan Reilly

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