October 4, 2023

Rebel Kilkenny TD in France for motion of no confidence in Coveney

Rebel Kilkenny TD John McGuinness is set to defy the Fianna Fáil party whip in this week’s vote of no confidence in embattled Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.

Deputy McGuinness, an outspoken critic of party leader Micheál Martin, told a Sunday newspaper he is currently in France and will miss Wednesday night crucial Dáil vote due to a family commitment.

The Mail on Sunday reports that the Kilkenny TD has not been paired with an Opposition TD, which means he could face suspension from the party.

However, Mr McGuinness does not appear to be overly concerned at Mr Martin’s threat to suspend party TDs who do not fall into line.

The Kilkenny TD told the newspaper: “The threat he has made to the Fianna Fáil backbenchers is not being taken seriously. They are instead considering that it might be in their interests to be suspended on a point of principal for six months.”

The motion of no confidence in Minister Coveney has been tabled by Sinn Féin over his handling of the botched appointment of former minister Katherine Zappone as a UN special envoy.

A growing number to Fianna Fáil TD, including Mr McGuinness, are understood to be uneasy at having to support the under-fire Fine Gael minister.

Mr McGuinness has urged Mr Martin to respond firmly to the ongoing Zappone controversy, challenging him to ‘insist’ that Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar impose some form of sanction on Mr Coveney.

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