How your TDs voted in Minister Simon Coveney’s confidence motion

A government motion of confidence in Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney took place on Wednesday 15 September, in response to a Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in the minister.

It comes following the controversy surrounding the appointment and subsequent withdrawal of former children’s minister Katherine Zappone to the role of a Special Envoy to the UN for freedom of opinion and expression.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin had not been made aware of the nomination before it was brought to Cabinet on 28 July, and Minister Coveney apologised for the manner in which the appointment process took place and spoke before the Oireachtas Foreign affairs Committee after it came to light that he had deleted text messages relating to Zappone’s appointment.

Opening the motion, the Taoiseach said motions of confidence “are supposed to mark an important statement on fundamental policy failures or a serious legal issue.”

“Let us be clear that we are debating this motion because one party decided that it was a handy way to get publicity and deliver populist, partisan attacks,” he continued.

“The creation of this role and the attempt to appoint an individual to it was handled carelessly and badly."

He said Sinn Féin not propose to remove the minister because of any standards it advocates or implements, but because it “saw a political opportunity.”

“There is important work to do in the Department of Foreign Affairs and the errors that were made have been addressed.”

Sinn Féin Deputy Mary Lou McDonald said Coveney “sought to make up a job for a friend and former colleague and, when caught red-handed, he went about covering his tracks.

“He destroyed records he was obliged to keep under law and twice fed a cock-and-bull story to a committee of the Oireachtas. This is by any standard an abuse of office.”

In Longford/Westmeath, Fianna Fáil TDs Robert Troy and Joe Flaherty voted for confidence in the minister, as did Fine Gael TD Peter Burke. Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke voted for no confidence in the minister.

In Roscommon/Galway, Sinn Féin TD Clare Kerrane also voted for no confidence in the minister, while Independent TDs Denis Naughten and Michael Fitzmaurice voted for confidence in the minister.

The minister survived the motion by 92 votes to 59.