Neasa Hourigan wants to remain a Green despite vote against Government

Neasa Hourigan wants to remain a Green despite vote against Government
Neasa Hourigan alongside party leader Eamon Ryan. Picture: Caroline Quinn/PA Wire

Green TD Neasa Hourigan says she wants to remain part of the government and Green Party despite voting against the government last night.

Ms Hourigan, who was the Green Party whip until yesterday, voted against the government's new legislation for renters, which would see the current Covid-related eviction ban ended in January 2021.

The Dublin Central TD confirmed she took the decision to abdicate her position as her party’s whip before the vote, informing her party’s executive council in writing.

"I hope people didn't mean (that it was an easy choice) because this is a very serious bill," Ms Hourigan told RTÉ One's Today programme.

"This will affect families who need a home and permanent tenancies, and so I do not think that this was an easy one and to hear it described as such is very worrying. I would hope the same proposal wouldn't be pushed. 

I have no intention of making a habit of this, I think this was a very specific bill and that there was good amendments tabled that should have been accepted.

"Every piece of legislation, we have to work on it. But what I guess my point is, is that I'm hoping in the autumn there's more time. 

"We're in a very specific situation now where the bill was about to lapse and we did need an extension and did need legislation in fairness to the government, but I'm hoping in the autumn that there won't be quite the same time pressure."

Breaking Rank

Green Party junior minister Joe O’Brien abstained on the final vote of the Residential Tenancies Bill which was being debated in the Dáil after his party colleague Ms Hourigan voted against it.

A source has confirmed that the TDs did not plan on breaking rank together, and their actions were coincidental.

Both representatives have had their speaking rights removed for two months as a sanction for their actions on the vote following a Green parliamentary party meeting.

"I was elected as whip I think the first week after the election, and before any decisions about whether we were in government or not," Ms Hourigan said.

"I also didn't enter into government with the party, intending to vote against the government, that's not my intention into the future and that wasn't my intention after the vote happened.

"So I have no intention of leaving. I want to continue to be a Green parliamentarian.

"I've been very involved in developing policy with the Green Party for years and I'm chair of the policy council and it's something that is very important to me, and I'm hoping that there's still a place for me in the Green Party."

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