The Green Party's parliamentary party has tonight deferred questions raised by three senators regarding party chair Hazel Chu standing as an Independent candidate in the Seanad election. 

Minister of State Pippa Hackett, as well as Senators Pauline O'Reilly and Róisín Garvey, had proposed a number of items for discussion, including whether the parliamentary party has confidence in Ms Chu continuing in the position.

The three senators were due to raise concerns around her decision to run as an Independent candidate in the forthcoming Seanad by-elections and whether this is compatible with her role as chair of the party.

It is understood the meeting agreed to the deferral of the confidence motion in Ms Chu after Senator Vincent P Martin, a barrister, raised "grave concerns" about the due process of the motion. 

The motion was circulated to senators and TDs late this afternoon shortly before the meeting began this evening. 

Ultimately, Ms Chu's continuation in the role is a matter for the party's Executive Committee, rather than TDs and senators.

Earlier, Ms Chu - who is Lord Mayor of Dublin - formally announced her candidacy for the Seanad by-elections having received nominations from six Green Party TDs and senators, including deputy leader Catherine Martin.

This was despite an agreement between the three coalition parties to run two candidates - one from Fine Gael and one from Fianna Fáil.

Asked on RTÉ's Six One News yesterday whether she should stay on as party chair, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he would discuss the matter with his parliamentary party colleagues.

Additional reporting Mary Regan, David Murphy