The Government has won a Dáil vote on the health services by 77 votes to 73.

The vote was on an amendment to a Fine Gael Private Members’ Motion on finding efficiencies in the service.

However, Fine Gael has called for a walk through vote which is taking place in the Chamber now.

The measure was supported by Tipperary North Independent Michael Lowry who had earlier said he had been given assurances on the future of Clonmel Hospital by Health Minister Mary Harney.

However his fellow Tipperary TD, Fianna Fáil renegade Mattie McGrath, who is currently without his party whip, was subject to sustained banter and accusations of letting down his county from Fine Gael when he backed the Government.

In a statement earlier, Deputy Lowry said Ms Harney had confirmed to him at a meeting this evening that there is no current risk to the core existing combination of services at Clonmel.

He said a number of reconfiguration proposals were under consideration by the Health Service Executive, but the consultative process on these proposals would take at least two years.

Deputy Lowry said if any proposal emerged from that process to downgrade services at Clonmel he would 'vigorously oppose it'.

His fellow Tipperary TD, Fianna Fáil renegade Mattie McGrath, who is currently without his party whip, was subject to sustained banter and accusations of letting down his county from Fine Gael when he backed the Government.