Green TDs lose speaking rights after breaking Government ranks

Updated 8:50am

The Green Party has sanctioned two of its TDs for failing to support the Government in the Dáil.

In a controversial series of votes last night, Neasa Hourigan voted against the Government five times, while Junior Minister Joe O'Brien abstained on the Government's housing bill.

Following the actions of the TDs, the parliamentary party of the Greens met to decide if sanctions were to be taken for their breaking of the government whip.

They voted to remove speaking rights from both TDs for two months.

It has been confirmed that the sanctions will come into effect immediately. As the Dáil has just started on a six week break, the two TDs will only be banned from speaking in the Dáil for two weeks when it returns in September.

Breaking ranks

TDs were voting down amendments last night to new housing laws that would extend the rent freeze and evictions ban brought in during the Covid-19 crisis, but that would only apply to a limited number of people who could prove they had lost work because of the pandemic.

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

She resigned as the Green Party chief whip after voting with the opposition against the Government twice.

TDs were reportedly taken by surprise when Minister Joe O'Brien then abstained on the final vote.

He later explained his reasoning in a tweet, saying he did not feel the legislation was the best piece of law they could have come up with. He described it as rushed, and said it could have been stronger.

It is understood Eamon Ryan spoke with Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar at the time about the actions of the two TDs.

Party sources said they did not believe the actions of the TDs were a first time hanging offence, but that it would be let known that any further breaking of the party whip will be punished more severely.

Most Read in Ireland