Willie O'Dea says party whip should apply equally to all government TDs

Willie O'Dea says party whip should apply equally to all government TDs
Fianna Fáil's Willie O'Dea said the party whip needs to be applied equally to every government TD. Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

The punishment for breaching the Government whip should apply to every member equally - according to a Fianna Fáil TD.

The Green Party said it has been assured two TDs who did not vote with the government on housing will not do it again.

Neasa Hourigan resigned the party whip and has had her Dáil speaking right suspended for two months, a sanction also imposed on junior minister Joe O'Brien - who abstained.

Usually, government TDs who vote against the government are expelled from their parties.

Deputy Willie O'Dea said he just has to take them on their word. 

Mr O'Dea said: "At the extent, for the moment the whip system is there. 

"And the punishment for breach of the whip should apply equally to one of those 84 TDs supporting the government-but what's done is done. 

"I heard the statement by Minister O'Gorman there that they gave the parliamentary party an assurance. 

"I'm not in a position to do anything other than to take that assurance at face value."

 The former Fianna Fáil Minister for Defence also said the change to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) policy is discriminatory.

Minister Heather Humphreys made a change to the social welfare payment for people who lost their job due to Covid-19 so it will not affect people who travel to green list countries.

Thousands of people had their payments cut-off after they were stopped and checked leaving Dublin Airport.

The Department of Social Protection has rejected claims by the Data Protection Commission that the checks may not be lawful.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea said he does not agree with the changes to the payment. 

Mr O'Dea said: "Even aside from the fact whether there is a proper legal basis for this really [...] we didn't get time in the Dáil last week to discuss that. 

"It is discriminatory. It is slightly less discriminatory now in relation to people on social welfare than what it was before as a result of the minister changing her mind after we've already voted a very discriminatory policy through.

"So I think it's still discriminatory and I wouldn't agree with it."

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