Minister of State Pippa Hackett has said her suspended party colleague Neasa Hourigan is “held in very high esteem” after she was suspended by the Greens for voting against the Government.
On Wednesday, Ms Hourigan was suspended for 15 months and removed from her role as chair of the Budgetary Oversight Committee after voting against the Government in a Dail vote.
The Government won the vote on ending the eviction ban at the end of March after a deal with a group of independents.
Ms Hackett said she had worked with Ms Hourigan on a number of issues.
“Anybody who knows Neasa Hourigan knows she’s very able, she’s a hardworking politician and makes really valuable contributions,” the minister said.
“But Neasa is a Government TD. Government TDs are expected to vote in line with the Government. We simply can’t have a functioning Government without that basic principle.”
Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland, Ms Hackett said ending the eviction ban was “a very difficult issue” that was “very concerning for people”, but added that the Government had received advice that to extend it would have resulted in fewer homes being available in the future.
She acknowledged that homelessness would increase but said extending the ban would have made it worse.
The Government is expected to face a no-confidence vote next week after a Labour motion.
Ms Hackett said she expects the Government to win that vote, adding: “I think we’re very secure in the numbers, for sure.”
She said people including Ms Hourigan would recognise the Green Party has delivered on policy and has more to deliver.
Ms Hackett said the party worked hard to ensure a “safety net” was put in place for renters after the end of the eviction ban.
She added that “clarity is absolutely necessary” on the new measures for renters and there is an onus on the Department of Housing to make clarifications before the end of the month.