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Lowry 'yet to decide' on whether to support Budget

One of the two independent TDs the government needs for its majority says the Budget is in ‘serious danger’ of defeat.

Michael Lowry (pictured) and Jackie Healy-Rae now effectively hold the balance of power in the Dáil.
Michael Lowry (pictured) and Jackie Healy-Rae now effectively hold the balance of power in the Dáil.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

INDEPENDENT TD MICHAEL LOWRY has said he has yet to decide on whether he will vote in favour of the government’s Budget next month – and has said there is a serious danger that it will not be passed.

Lowry was speaking to the Irish Times in the aftermath of the resignation of Donegal TD Dr Jim McDaid, which puts the government’s majority in the Dáil at a slender 82-79 if Lowry – along with Kerry South independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae – votes along with the Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition.

“Obviously Jackie Healy Rae’s and my support is now more crucial than it has been in the past,” Lowry said, “but in my mind all of the time is that the country is on the brink of losing its economic independence.”

Lowry said he believed the onset of a general election to be “inevitable” but did not believe that the opposition should take the opportunity of the Budget to force one, with the two matters ideally considered separately.

The Tipperary TD – a former Fine Gael minister who resigned from the cabinet and party in 1996 – said he would decide on how he would vote on the Budget when he was presented with the details of the government’s proposals.

He would be attending briefings with Department of Finance officials in the coming weeks as the government completed more of its deliberations, he said.

“I am willing to support a budget that is practical and fair and just and has equality of distribution in terms of the pain,” he said.

If Lowry were to vote against the Budget with the entire Dáil in attendance, the government could expect to win by a margin of 81 to 80 – meaning that the dissent of fringe independents like Mattie McGrath, Jimmy Devins or Eamon Scanlon (all of whom were elected as Fianna Fáil TDs but have since lost the party whip) or Healy-Rae would mean defeat for the government and an election in the New Year.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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