'This is a stunt': Coveney says no confident motion in Harris has 'no chance' of passing

Latest: The Tánaiste says a motion of no confidence in Simon Harris has "no chance" of passing.

Sinn Féin is trying to force the Health Minister to resign, with Simon Coveney calling it a stunt.

After a turgid week for the Health Minister, Sinn Féin put down a motion of no confidence in Simon Harris over his handling of overruns at the National Children's Hospital.

"Micheál Martin has a decision to make," said Mary Lou McDonald. "Does he have confidence in Simon Harris, yes or no?"

But Fianna Fáil Health Spokesman Stephen Donnelly says they will not breach the confidence and supply deal propping the government up.

Fine Gael ministers like Tánaiste Simon Coveney have been defending Minister Harris.

"This is a stunt," said Mr Coveney, who added that the motion has "no chance" of passing.

We have big things that we need to resolve as a country and what do Sinn Féin do? They try and pull the whole thing down.

Sinn Féin do not have Dáil time until next week to move this confidence motion.

But the party is looking to swap time with others to get it on the floor of the Dáil this week.

Sinn Féin to table no confidence motion in Simon Harris

Update 9am: Sinn Féin plan to table a motion of no confidence in Health Minister Simon Harris.

The party says his position is untenable because of his handling of the National Children's Hospital overruns.

This morning Sinn Féin confirmed it will push a motion of no confidence in Health Minister Simon Harris.

It calls for the Minister to immediately resign his position after his handling of the overruns at the National Children's Hospital.

Last week it emerged Minister Harris knew in August of potential overruns of hundreds of millions of euro.

But he did not tell his government colleagues until he had a final figure in November.

Sinn Féin say Minister Harris misled the Dáil, the government and the public by delaying.

But the motion looks likely to fail at the moment.

Fianna Fáil say they will not support it as doing so would break the confidence and supply agreement.

The party's health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly said they cannot collapse the government now in the teeth of Brexit negotiations.

"We have to call out Sinn Féin for what they're doing because it is reckless," said Deputy Donnelly.

"Sinn Féin are actually suggesting - 46 days out from a potential no deal Brexit and all of the consequences for our island and peace on this island and prosperity on this island - Sinn Féin are actually saying let's collapse the Irish government and leave Ireland completely exposed."

Party Leader Mary-Lou McDonald dismissed the suggestions that the move is reckless.

"The reckless thing is to allow a minister to withhold information from cabinet, from the Dáil and from the people

"The reckless thing is to allow a situation where huge amounts of taxpayers' money can be overspent, can be mismanaged and there is nobody accountable."

Sinn Féin don't have Dáil time until Wednesday February 20, and the motion will be moved then.

More on this topic

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Clarity sought on potential conflict of interest over hospital review

Report into cost children's hospital overspend 'damning indictment' of process, FF leader says

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