Fine Gael Minister of State Catherine Byrne to launch no confidence strike against Minister of Housing Eoghan Murphy

A Fine Gael minister is set to launch a no confidence strike against embattled housing minister Eoghan Murphy, reports have claimed.

Minister of State Catherine Byrne is understood to have told ministerial colleagues she is considering supporting or abstaining on a future no confidence vote on her cabinet colleague.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar appeared to row in behind his housing minister and said that all cabinet members must vote with the Government side.

He said: "We're a Government, you know, we're collective. We make decisions together and if a minister doesn't have confidence in another minister and votes that way, then obviously they couldn't continue - but like I say she hasn't had this conversation with me yet."

It is believed Ms Byrne has been at war with the housing chief over the development of 470 houses inside her constituency.

In an embarrassing moment for the Government she had, some months back, took to the stage at the launch of the project and slammed it.

She said at the time it was the “worst plan” she had ever seen.

The development was for the State’s first not-for-profit rental accommodation on the St Michael’s House site in Inchicore, Dublin.

Her criticisms centres on the belief that the cost rental model will not help families in her area.

Media reports in the Irish Independent claimed that Government sources that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is understood to be aware of the threat but has not spoken directly to Ms Byrne about her concerns.

The move would present the Government with serious difficulties ahead of tomorrow’s debate on Mr Murphy’s handling of the housing crisis.

The Government’s small majority means Ms Byrne’s vote is essential to ensure Mr Murphy remains in his ministerial portfolio.

Fianna Fáil will abstain on the vote but Dáil arithmetic means the Taoiseach will need every Government TD in the chamber to ensure the motion is defeated.

Mr Varadkar has already told TDs and ministers to cancel travel plans ahead of the vote.

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