The Government still has a majority in the Dáil and Seanad, the Tánaiste told the Dáil today.

Leo Varadkar said the Opposition can "rest assured" that the Government still has a majority in the Dáil, and a "substantial majority" in the Seanad.

You "need not fear an election any time soon," he added.

The Tánaiste was responding to Solidarity-PBP's Mick Barry who said that, "if the mood of discontent hardens among working people, that [Green] deputies Hourigan and Costello might be the least of your worries come the autumn".

It follows the suspension of Patrick Costello and Neasa Hourigan from the Green Party for six months after they failed to vote with the Government on a Sinn Féin motion last night.

Mr Varadkar said there was "little or no evidence" that the Opposition could come together to form a government.

The leader of Aontú, Peadar Tóibín, challenged the Coalition to "prove their majority" by way of confidence vote.

"Last night the Government had not even the confidence in themselves to vote for their policy in the new National Maternity Hospital.

"The Government dodged a binary vote for fear of losing it."

He added: "There are a number of precedents in the Dáil of Government tabling motions of confidence in themselves when their confidence is questioned.

"Aontú would like to challenge the Government to prove that they indeed hold confidence of the majority of TDs and call such a vote in the coming days."

Earlier, Ciarán Cannon, Fine Gael TD for Galway East, told RTÉ's Morning Ireland there are no long-term implications from the outcome of the two Green TDs support for the Sinn Féin motion.

"It does not change anything in terms of how the Government is going to move forward in developing the hospital and, secondly, it doesn't have any long-term implications on the stability of the Government," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

"There is a very strong and effective working relationship between the three parties at Cabinet level and that ultimately will trickle down in to an ongoing stable Government. There is a lot of work to be done."

Other Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs said the Green Party had taken appropriate and serious action to the actions of the two TDs.

Neasa Hourigan

James Lawless, Fianna Fáil TD for North Kildare, said "when a Government TD votes against Government there should be a sanction".

"I’m glad that the Green Party have taken matters seriously," he said.

He said he hoped the suspended Green TDs would "reflect" on the sanctions and "in due course reapply" to join their party and "come back and support the Government again".

He said the suspension of Mr Costello and Ms Hourigan "put the message out that if people want to go over board there will be consequences".

Barry Cowen, Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly, said the Green Party has "to be seen to be effective in its disciplinary procedures".

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"I think the right decision was taken by them in suspending their two members for six months and taking the whip off them," he said.

"It put pressure on the Government because its majority is down to one. You would much rather if it were more but it doesn't weaken it."

Mr Cowen added that the Government could function well with a small majority.

"Some of the best governments in this country were minority ones or ones with very tight majorities. It focuses attention and ensures it has to be on its toes," he said.

Bernard Durkan, FG TD for Kildare North, said: "Having one or two parties or three parties in Government is always precarious enough and has to be worked at.

"I am sure that the Green Party will work at it and that the two members who are being suspended will work at it as well."

He added what had happened will not "cause any great difficulty" between the Government parties.

Mr Costello and Ms Hourigan yesterday backed the Sinn Féin motion that called on the Government to secure public ownership of the land on which the new National Maternity Hospital will be built.

The non-binding motion was passed by the Dáil with 56 TDs voting in favour, ten opposing and 69 mainly Government TDs abstaining.

Mr Costello said afterwards that he could not in good conscience vote against the Sinn Féin motion, but accepted this was frustrating for other Government parties.

The departure of two Green TDs from the Government ranks means that the coalition's majority has been shaved to the bare minimum.