Sinn Féin considers no confidence motion against Helen McEntee

Labour Party has said Minister for Justice has no understanding of policing needs for Dublin but won’t move against her

Sinn Féin has said it will examine its options on putting down a motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Helen McEntee if she does not voluntarily step down from her position.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald has already expressed no confidence in Ms McEntee, and in Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, following the rioting, violence and looting in the vicinity of O’Connell Street in Dublin last Thursday.

On Monday, the party’s justice spokesman Pa Daly repeated the party position on the Minister, saying Ms McEntee should do the “right thing” and resign immediately.

“If she is not willing to do that then the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar should act,” said Mr Daly.


“If they refuse to take action, obviously we will look at all our options.”

Senior party figures are expected to meet on Monday to discuss the fallout from the events that followed the stabbing of three young children and their care worker outside a primary school on Parnell Square last Thursday.

It is expected a decision will be made at some stage on Monday tabling a motion in the Dáil.

The Labour Party confirmed on Monday it would not specifically table a motion of confidence but repeated its strong criticism of Ms McEntee. However, the party said its focus was on the Government not recognising the obvious incipient risk of such events and disturbances happening in Dublin, on the lack of Garda resources, and on the manner in which ‘bad actors’ on social media and elsewhere have been able to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment without any constraints.

“There have been calls as we know, for resignations, and we haven’t stepped into that space,” said the party’s justice spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin on Monday.

“We (in the Labour Party) feel we have to focus absolutely on the far-right actors who are causing this poison in our society. We have to talk about Garda resources as well.”

He said that the response from Ms McEntee in which she talked about dog units, horse units, water cannon and facial recognition technology was “not what people need to hear”.

“People need to hear from the minister that she understands and is listening to the issues around Garda resources, around garda numbers. about pay and conditions.

He said the party would this week “call out” politicians and others who have been contributing to anti-immigrant sentiment. He said some have been using the phrase “immigrants and criminal in the one sentence as often as they possibly can”.

Riot response a major challenge for McEntee

Listen | 33:45

Mr Ó Ríordáin was speaking to the media outside the Dáil. His colleague Senator Rebecca Moynihan said the idea the violence on Thursday took the gardaí by surprise was “bananas”.

She said the fact it seems to have taken the Minister for Justice by surprise showed that “she fundamentally does not understand policing in the city”.

She said the point she was making was not about calling for people to resign but to recognise and respond to the situation where people feel unsafe in the capital city.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times