By Cillian Sherlock, PA
The Taoiseach has accused opposition TDs of “political theatre” and “performative anger” as the Dail prepares for a confidence vote.
The Labour Party tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government over the ending of the evictions ban this week.
After a Government amendment, the Dáil will vote on a motion that “reaffirms its confidence in the Government” instead.
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Delivering a speech in the Dail, Mr Varadkar said: “This is a good Government.”
“I believe the housing crisis cuts so deep because it offends our sense of fairness, our fundamental belief in what Government is for and what the State should do,” he said.
“Housing is a basic need and a human right.
“Family homelessness, in particular, shakes our faith in our Republic, which is founded on the idea that all children should be cherished equally.”
Mr Varadkar said solving the housing crisis is “one of the greatest political challenges of our time”.
“We have to lead with ideas that are realistic and implementable, and we need to demonstrate convincingly that we understand the scale of the crisis and that we care about those experiencing its consequences.
“My only criticism of proceedings in this House is that too often it allows critics of the Government to show passion and indignation without presenting new ideas, let alone having them tested.
“So, instead of honesty about the scale of the problem and what can be achieved given the constraints, we get quick fixes, simple solutions, populist rhetoric, politicians claiming to care more than others, even conspiracy theories about the causes of the crisis and the demonisation of those who are working every day to relieve it.
“It is political theatre. Performative anger. Performance art. And I think more, and more people are starting to see through it.”
He said the Labour Party motion is “another example of this”.
Mr Varadkar said it is “disingenuous” to claim the Labour motion is about renters’ rights.
“It is about competition – competition for attention – on the opposition benches.
“Four parties trying to outdo each other to come up with new, more dramatic language to describe the housing situation as though somehow that would actually help anyone.”