The Greens have moved a step closer to entering government after influential deputy leader Catherine Martin backed a historic coalition deal with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
But the party split over the issue was underscored last night as her husband, fellow TD Francis Noel Duffy, rejected the programme for government that his wife helped negotiate, claiming it would make the Greens "complicit" in "regressive" policies.
Their disagreement played out amid a broader 'virtual' battle for the hearts, minds and votes of Green members.
Two-thirds of speakers at a special online convention backed the deal and that proportion must be replicated in a postal ballot of more than 2,600 members for the Greens to go into government with the other two parties.
The result of the vote will be announced this day week on the same day that results of ballots in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are expected.
There remains some uncertainty over whether the Greens will pass the deal, with opponents such as Mr Duffy and negotiator Neasa Hourigan, the party's finance spokesperson, speaking out strongly against it.
Ms Hourigan said last night the deal would make the climate emergency and housing crisis worse, claimed it might be "the most fiscally conservative government in a generation", and warned: "We might miss the boat here - but this boat might be the Titanic and people might drown."
Ms Martin spearheaded the Greens' negotiating team and is challenging party leader Eamon Ryan in a leadership contest next month.
Closing the conference, Mr Ryan appealed to members, saying the Greens needed to serve the Irish people by going into government.
Earlier in the day, Ms Martin backed the deal while telling colleagues she wanted it reviewed every two months and renegotiated in December 2022, when the Taoiseach's role is rotated.
While she expressed reservations and said entering a coalition was not without risk, Ms Martin described it as the "best achievable" in the circumstances.
She also claimed that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael refused to agree to costing the programme for government document "due to the economic uncertainty". She said the deal was a "compromise" and cited Green wins on education, arts, and transport policy.
Mr Duffy later agreed these points were "gains", while being strongly opposed to other aspects of the agreement.
Ms Martin said the party had not got everything it wanted, including on animal welfare and agriculture emissions, and she had "substantial and real concerns" over the role of the Land Development Agency.
But she said: "We want to find climate justice solutions ... we must look forward. It is worth giving this a chance, an opportunity like this is rare."
Mr Duffy said 10,000 people were homeless and "we're about to form a government with two establishment parties that allowed this to become normal in our society".
He claimed coalition proposals for how to use the receipts from carbon tax would put the burden on "those who can least afford to pay it".
Mr Duffy also said: "I have serious doubts about how we'll reach the 7pc reduction in carbon emissions" and that a Green principle, animal welfare, "has been sacrificed".
He said: "This programme for government will not deliver the change people demanded, therefore I will be voting no."
Justice spokesman Roderic O'Gorman said the Greens would ensure the end of direct provision and that he would have no issues with the Greens quitting government if priorities weren't delivered on.
Mr O'Gorman confirmed the party would be seeking the office of Attorney General, and while there was no guarantee of it, he said the Greens would have "a veto on the person appointed".
Dublin Fingal TD Joe O'Brien said the Greens would be more effective in a "close-quarters brawl with the parties that represent the status quo rather than being observers from a distance".
Among those against the deal, Cork councillor Lorna Bogue said it was "an austerity programme for government", while Young Greens chair Gavin Nugent said he was concerned it committed to the "absolute status quo" on housing. "If we can't solve housing, we can't end direct provision," he said.
MEP Grace O'Sullivan backed joining the coalition "warts and all", but said Green activists should "stay in opposition" to strengthen the hand of its TDs.