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Dáil to debate motion of no confidence in Simon Harris

The Dáil will debate a motion of no confidence in the Health Minister Simon Harris this afternoon.

Sinn Féin have submitted the motion against Mr Harris over his handling of cost overruns at the new National Children's Hospital.

Speaking at Leinster House yesterday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said "the botching of the children’s hospital project speaks for itself and will have real consequences and effects on the ground".

Fianna Fáil are abstaining from voting, saying that it would be an act of “national sabotage” if it were to back the motion and put the country through a general election at a time of deep uncertainty over Brexit.

The government needs 57 votes to win the motion which will be heard at around 4pm.

They should get there, with the votes of the 49 Fine Gael TDs along with the four Independent Alliance members and support from Independents Katherine Zappone, Sean Canney, Michael Lowry and Noel Grealish.

However, the Labour Party has stated it will support the motion of no confidence, with the party's leader Brendan Howlin saying yesterday that the government needed to be held to account.

Additionally, the National Association of General Practitioners is also declaring "no confidence" in Mr Harris.

“Minister Harris’ legacy will be that entire communities across Ireland will no longer have access to a family doctor as a direct result of his inaction," said Dr Maitiu O'Tuathail, President of the NAGP.

Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín, will support the motion of no confidence, saying that the National Children's Hospital; has been a 'financial catastrophe".

It is the third time since Leo Varadkar became Taoiseach that a motion of no confidence has been put in a Minister - with Eoghan Murphy surviving and Frances Fitzgerald resigning before it came to the Dáil.