Neasa Hourigan suspension: Green Party councillors publicly come out against ‘excessively harsh’ sanctions on TD

Green TD Neasa Hourigan has been cast out in the cold by her party after vote dissent. Photo: Mark Condren

Gabija Gataveckaite

Several Green Party councillors have publicly criticised the extent of the Green Party’s sanctions against rebel TD Neasa Hourigan.

Ms Hourigan was suspended from the parliamentary party last night for 15 months and removed from all Oireachtas Committees after she voted against the Government in the Sinn Féin motion to extend the eviction ban.

Most notably, Fingal Cllr Karen Power, who works as an assistant to Minister of State Joe O’Brien, said Green TDs and Senators should be “ashamed” at the “shockingly harsh punishment”.

“The Green PP should be ashamed, a disproportionate and shockingly harsh punishment for a partyTD who spoke on behalf of the vulnerable in our society and for Party Policy,” she wrote on Twitter.

She added the “point” of Greens going into Government was to “criticise from within” but when this is done, members have to “suffer the disproportionate consequences”.

A spokesperson for Minister O’Brien did not respond to a request for comment.

The Green parliamentary party “has got its values tragically askew”, according to Cork Cllr Liam Quaide.

Greystones Cllr Lourda Scott said the sanctions were a “desperately, desperately poor decision”.

She said: “Not only was Neasa Hourigan voting in line with party policy, but she was voting for what was right.”

A former party chair also strongly criticised the sanctions.

Former Dublin Lord Mayor Dublin City Cllr Hazel Chu said she was “with” Ms Hourigan all the way.

“This is a deeply disappointing and excessively harsh decision,” she tweeted. “With you all the way.”

Concerns were also raised by former Green Dáil whip Cllr Dan Boyle, who said the 15 month suspension is too long.

“She should be allowed to retain her committee memberships where she does excellent work. I hope a mechanism to appeal these elements exists,” he said.

Cork City Cllr Oliver Moran said he was “gravely disappointed” at Green TDs and Senators on the decision to sanction Ms Hourigan.

“Taken without due notice, while Neasa was chairing an Oireachtas committee and so unable to be at the meeting,” he said.

“Length and severity of the sanction is gratuitous and self-defeating.”

When asked to comment on the criticism of Ms Hourigan’s sanctions, a spokesperson for the Greens said “effectiveness in government relies on every vote”.

“The parliamentary party regrets having to take these steps but believes effectiveness in government relies on unity in every vote. It will be open to Deputy Hourigan to apply for readmission after 15 months.”