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'Coalition hasn't had ideal start' - minister

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Minister Roderic O’Gorman

Minister Roderic O’Gorman

Minister Roderic O’Gorman

The new Government has not had an ideal start, Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman has said, adding that his Green Party colleagues need to work on their communication.

On Thursday, Green TDs Neasa Hourigan and Joe O'Brien failed to back the Government on a bill relating to evictions and rent freezes.

Mr O'Gorman said he has been assured by them that they will not vote against the Government again.

"We need a united government to deliver on the programme for government and that programme was ratified by our party members," he told Newstalk's On The Record.

"Seventy-six per cent in fav-our of it and there is a lot of really good things in it that our members support and I support, while there is stuff that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael members would find difficult.

Mandate

"There is stuff that my party members and I find difficult, but our party membership gave us a mandate to enter that coalition government.

"We have to support the programme for government, and that means supporting the legislation that is provided.

"I know in the last number of weeks we have had a government that was formed in the middle of a pandemic.

"I know that the Government has had to have a lot to deal with this week, and I know that is part of the reason why we have had these breakdowns in communication internally within the party and we have to do much more to address that.

"Going forward, I think it is absolutely essential that the entire Green Party and indeed all parties are supportive of the Government."

On Saturday, Tanaiste and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said the new Government got off to a "rocky start" and made "unforced errors".

Mr O'Gorman said some of the Government's mistakes have overshadowed its achievements.

"No, it hasn't been an ideal start, and the Government has made some mistakes," he said.

"But I think we have rectified them, and while there have been mistakes there have been great successes, in particular with the success of the July stimulus plan."

Mr O'Gorman said the Green Party will use the summer recess to work on the party's internal communication.

"We could have done a better job as regards to our internal communication and we will be working on that over the summer break," he said.

"We need to ensure our parliamentary party is better functioning and fully prepared to engage with legislation, engage with our backbenches, members and TDs."