Green TD Neasa Hourigan resigns as party whip and votes against Government

Neasa Hourigan voted against the Government twice on Thursday. File photograph

Neasa Hourigan has resigned as the Green Party chief whip after she voted against the Government twice.

The Dáil was voting on amendments to the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020, which would extend the rent freeze and eviction ban for those impacted by Covid-19.

Ms Hourigan voted in favour of Labour Party amendments which would have extended the legislation to all tenants.

It is understood that Ms Hourigan plans to stay on as a member of the Greens but may face sanctions from the parliamentary party.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Hourigan said: “I voted in favour of the proposed amendments in the hopes that I would be in a position to vote with the Government on the Bill overall.

“I have significant concerns as to the impact of this legislation on levels of homelessness across the State. I do not believe it takes into account the scale of the Coronavirus pandemic and the need to keep people safe in their homes. Eviction due to sale is directly in conflict with Green Party policy,” she said.

A key part of the Bill involves a ban on evictions until January for those unable to pay their rent because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the legislation would help tenants in arrears and those on a Covid-19 welfare payment, on housing assistance payment or who have lost their job because of the crisis.

Ms Hourigan is a founding member of a Green Party affiliate group called Just Transition Groups, who have spoken out against the party going into coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

The Dublin Central TD was one of the negotiators for the Programme for Government but did not want the party to enter the coalition.

She subsequently missed out on a ministry as Green Party leader Eamon Ryan rewarded those who had backed the government deal.

Most Read in Ireland