CORRECTED - UPDATE 2-Irish junior party says partnership strained

* Green party chairman says partnership now more difficult

* Irish PM needs votes of Greens to pass Dec. budget

(corrects that defence minister resigned earlier this year, not justice minister, eighth paragraph)

DUBLIN, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Uuncertainty over discussions between Irish officials and a joint European/IMF mission is undermining the argument for staying in the government, the chairman of junior coalition party The Greens said on Wednesday.

A team from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank will travel to Ireland on Thursday to examine what measures may be needed if Dublin decides to seek aid. [ID:nLDE6AG004]

Prime Minister Brian Cowen needs to pass Ireland’s toughest budget on record on Dec. 7 regardless of what is decided and with a parliamentary majority of three, the six lower-house members of junior partner The Greens hold the balance of power.

“There is a questioning of trust and an adding to uncertainty that is making the basis for being in government much more difficult,” Dan Boyle, who is also a member of Dublin’s upper house, said on his Twitter account.

Boyle later appeared to back down slightly, attempting to clarify his remark.

“My quote is about my understanding and belief of where public perception stands at this time. We need to see what is being proposed,” he said, again on Twitter.

While Boyle is known for airing forthright views on the government, his communications have often flagged changes in party policy.

After Ireland’s defence minister survived a vote of no confidence over allegations of perjury earlier this year, Boyle said on twitter that he still did not have confidence in Willie O’Dea, leading to the minister’s resignation. [ID:nLDE61H2NM]

Boyle also questioned in July whether Ireland had the political will to bring its budget deficit in line with EU rules as planned by 2014. [ID:nLDE66H03S]

The Green Party last year debated quitting the alliance with Cowen’s Fianna Fail party due to the strains of the fiscal tightening and bank rescue programme, but its members ultimately decided to stay on board.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Carmel Crimmins and Ralph Boulton