Eamon Ryan “suspected” that media minister Catherine Martin might be asked about expressing confidence in the chairwoman of the RTE board during a much-criticised TV interview.

However, the Green leader said he did not discuss that possibility with his party colleague prior to the Prime Time appearance.

During that interview last Thursday, Ms Martin said she was “disappointed” to have been misinformed by Siun Ni Raghallaigh about her role in approving an exit package for a former RTE executive and refused to express confidence in her.

Hours later, Ms Ni Raghallaigh resigned as chairwoman of the RTE board.

Ms Martin has been criticised for her handling of the situation with opposition TDs claiming she had effectively sacked the chair live on air.

The media minister said she did not expect to be asked about her confidence in Ms Ni Raghallaigh.

On Thursday, Mr Ryan said he had spoken to Ms Martin “about a whole variety of possibilities” prior to the interview.

Asked if he expected a question on confidence in Ms Ni Raghallaigh would be asked during the interview, he said: “Of course, I suspected it was a possibility”.

However, he added: “I don’t think we actually considered whether that question would be asked in our conversation”.

He further rejected the assertion that her comments were tantamount to a sacking.

Mr Ryan told RTE’s Drivetime radio programme: “Government had real confidence (in her), Siun Ni Raghallaigh was doing a really good job.

“But there was a real difficulty and a real problem that the remuneration committee had approved those exit packages, but that was not informed to Government and not, in a series of occasions last week when that opportunity was provided, wasn’t clarified.”