Green TDs considering when they would depart from coalition

Sources within the party say that TDs who are unhappy voting on certain legislation have been telling colleagues they are "biding their time" and contemplating "where do they draw the line".
Green TDs considering when they would depart from coalition
Green TDs are considering when would depart the coalition Government into which they have been lead by Eamon Ryan. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A number of Green TDs are considering at what point they will walk away from the coalition government.

Sources within the party say that TDs who are unhappy voting on certain legislation have been telling colleagues they are "biding their time" and contemplating "where do they draw the line".

It comes after Green Party whip Neasa Hourigan voted against, and TD Joe O'Brien abstained on the government’s Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill 2020. It's understood both felt that evictions should not take place while the state could still be in a public health emergency. The ban on evictions under the bill expires in January next year.

It's understood there are also concerns around the changes to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment last week, which state that people must be "genuinely seeking" employment despite losing their job due to the pandemic, and a vote which sought to lift a travel ban for those in receipt of the PUP defeated by the government. 

"They're sitting the last few weeks voting for shit they don't want to vote for," one party source said. 

This is the danger of it, I've never seen them this bad. They just look so demoralised and sad because although they had to be seen arguing for it, they had hoped that amendments would be considered. In the end, they were whipped to vote on PUP.

It's understood party colleagues have told downtrodden TDs to "pick their battles" as "more is coming down the road".

"We said if it's a hill that you're going to die on, make sure that's the one that you know 100% because we don't know what Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are going to come up in the next few months," a senior source said.

It's understood a number of Green TDs have approached leader Eamon Ryan expressing their concerns that the party is not pushing hard enough for progressive policies, and while Mr Ryan did not disagree, "you just know for a fact with Eamon he's not going to do anything," the source said.

"We don't know what's coming up soon and if it gets bad, there will be a point where you just say: 'Right, I have to vote against this, and then see what will happen'.

"No one knows what will happen because with the Greens it's an odd one, we don't know what would happen to someone for voting against the whip. We've never really been in this situation before, but it must be expected at some point. 

"They knew this is what happens if you join in a coalition. You have to vote even if you hate it. They were told that they had better pick the one thing that you're willing to get kicked out of the party for."

One member, who had canvassed for the party in 2011 told the Irish Examiner: "I really would rather those days when doors were slamming in our faces, because those days, people had something they were fighting for and I'm not quite sure what we're fighting for now."

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