Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has confirmed that he has entered a pairing arrangement with Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney for today’s motion of ‘No Confidence’ in the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy.

The Roscommon-Galway TD agreed to the Tanaiste’s request for a pairing arrangement on the grounds that it would best serve the national interest.

As part of his role as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Coveney was due to launch a major humanitarian development in Gaza where Ireland is assisting in establishing a solar farm that will help resolve chronic water supply and sewage problems.

Without a pairing agreement though, the Tanaiste would have had to cancel the visit.

Commenting on the situation, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “My decision to grant Minister Coveney a pairing was decided by the reality that it would in no way impact the outcome of the vote.

“Had I refused to grant the pairing arrangement with the Tanaiste, we would have simply cancelled each other out when it came to the vote anyway.

“In my view, the national interest was best served by enabling the Minister for Foreign Affairs to get on with his work. Anything else would been petty.

He added: “The Minister’s trip to Palestine is showcasing a valuable project which helps the Palestinian people and illustrates the Irish commitment to nation-building in troubled regions.

“It is also a high-profile example of the capacity and entrepreneurial ability of Ireland in key Green new technologies. It is a worthwhile visit which I have decided to support by granting this pairing arrangement.”

Deputy Fitzmaurice confirmed that he would have voted for the Social Democrat’s motion of ‘No Confidence’ in Minister Eoghan Murphy.

However, he also queried the desire among voters for a Christmas week election.

Continuing, he said: “The main feature of the recent bye-elections was voter disengagement.

“I would have a serious doubt as to the desire of the voters to be going to the polls in a rushed manner on Christmas week.

“There will be plenty of time and space in the New Year for the people to deliver their verdict on this administration in a considered fashion,” he concluded.

For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice on: 0861914565

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