Green Party decision to suspend Neasa Hourigan wasn't 'easy or comfortable' - Minister Hackett

Minister Pippa Hackett has said that the Green Party's decision to suspend Deputy Neasa Hourigan "wasn't an easy or a comfortable decision" to make.

Speaking on Morning Ireland this morning following the party's decision to suspend the Dublin TD, Minister Hackett said: "I think in relation to Neasa nobody likes making decisions like this. Anyone who knows Neasa Hourigan knows she's very able.

"I've been working with her on a couple of issues myself of late but Neasa is a Government TD. Government TD's are expected to vote in line with the government. We have to vote through the easy votes and we have to vote through the tough ones too."

The Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity added: “The evictions moratorium was always going to be a very difficult issue and it's hugely challenging. It's very concerning for people out there but the government did make a decision based on advice and guidance it has got that, in the longer term, extending the moratorium would have resulted in fewer homes being available.

"The guidance we got did suggest that extending the moratorium would in the long term make things worse."

Minister Hackett said her party had ensured that local housing bodies or local authorities could buy renters' homes and rent back to them on a not-for-profit basis.

"This will ensure that the most vulnerable people will be protected immediately from the 1st of April and that was what the Greens achieved over the last number of weeks through working in the background to try and make this as soft an ending as possible.

"We’re working with the Department of Housing to ensure this proposal is implemented as quickly as possible. No one can ever make absolute guarantees but we’re hopeful this will stop people being made homeless as a result of their landlord selling their home.

"Legislation is needed for other measures that have been proposed and certainly many of the measures that we proposed as a green party. It's up to us to keep that pressure on the Department of Housing to get that legislation in place as soon as possible."

Minister Hackett concluded: "The moratorium is on a phased basis from the 1st of April so in one sense it's not a cliff edge for everybody but it will be for some."