This was a story of numbers.
Thousands of people have been told by landlords they must leave their homes when the eviction ban ends in nine days.
The Dáil vote, which Sinn Féin hoped would show that a majority of TDs opposed the lifting of this measure, was this evening defeated.
The result on first reading suggests it was a comfortable win for the Government; with 83 TDs backing its motion and 68 voting against it.
But on closer examination there has been a fundamental shift in the dynamics of the Coalition.
It has lost another TD in Neasa Hourigan and Independent deputies now have a greater role in influencing policy.
The is because without the Independent TDs the Coalition's majority has been cut to the bare minimum.
This allowed the Regional Independent Group to have its proposals accepted by Government in the lead-up to today's vote.
This support will inevitably have to be continually negotiated.
Some Independents are already gearing up for the weekend of further talks with Government ahead of next week's confidence motion.
It will be lodged by the Labour Party tomorrow morning, and could be debated and voted on next Tuesday.
But even if the Dáil arithmetic on that day remains broadly similar to today's result, the ultimate measure of all this will be another far more significant figure.
That is the number of people who find themselves without a home in the months ahead.
If that figure surges, then today's Dáil victory will count for very little for Government.