Eamon Ryan warns Green TDs they cannot vote against Government

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has warned his party that they cannot vote against the Government.

It comes after Green TD Neasa Hourigan lost the whip and another Green Party TD Joe O’Brien was sanctioned for voting against the Government.

Legislation was tabled in the Dáil on Thursday night to replace the rent freeze and eviction ban, brought in at the start of the pandemic.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Neasa Hourigan has lost the whip. Photo: Niall Carson/PA</figcaption>
Neasa Hourigan has lost the whip. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Ms Hourigan voted against the Government on four proposed amendments to the Bill before voting against the Bill itself in the final vote.

Mr O’Brien, a junior minister for Rural and Community Development, abstained on the final vote.

The Green Party issued a statement late on Thursday night to say the pair have lost speaking rights for the next two months.

However, speaking on Friday, Mr Ryan confirmed the suspension would include the Dáil recess so their speaking rights would only be lost for two weeks.

Mr Ryan said he believed the sanction was sufficient.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Green Party TD Joe O’Brien. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA</figcaption>
Green Party TD Joe O’Brien. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

“Our way of managing this is that we go back to our parliamentary party and we decide as a Dail parliamentary party and that was the approach we decided to take last night.”

He said failing to vote with the Government “weakens” the Government.

“We agreed, and it is absolutely clear, you cannot vote against the Government if you’re in Government. You cannot abstain if you’re in Government. It weakens our strength, it weakens Government, it doesn’t work.”

“Our own party knows that, our own members know that.”

Mr Ryan said it is up to individual parties to deal with disciplinary matters in their own way.

“Every party has a different approach. This is not usual circumstances but we had to take into account precedent and also just the circumstances of this moment.

“It is the last day in the Dáil. We want to regroup and come back stronger, working together as a team in September, because I think the country needs stable, strong Government.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Friday that it is up to Mr Ryan, how he disciplines party members.

“As far as I am concerned, there are different ways one can approach this but parties are different and we want to keep the focus on the policy agenda,” he said.

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