Byrne happy to poll over 1,000 as Greens bow out
WITH THE GREEN PARTY all but wiped out, the local candidate Niall Byrne remains upbeat and said he achieved his goal of polling over 1,000 votes.
‘I was hoping to poll over 1,000 votes in light of what's happened nationally so that is a nice achievement for the Wicklow Green Party - especially as I am a first time candidate who has to build up a profile. The overall vote is not a surprise but we have a very strong Wicklow group and we knew we were struggling to convince the people.
‘However, we did reach the people through radio and media coverage and we have raised the profile of the party. Hopefully that will encourage more Green candidates to run in the next local elections and increase Wicklow's green vote.'
Niall was eliminated on Sunday with a total vote of 1,131 after the eleventh count.
The Green Party in Wicklow is no stranger to controversy through the Deirdre de Burca years, but Niall felt past performances had no bearing on the vote at the weekend.
‘I think that people judged our policies and me as a first-time candidate. We are not about the past, we are about the future. Policies matter and other parties have even taken on our policies because they know they are sensible policies.'
However, despite the total obliteration of the Green Party nationally where all six sitting TDs lost their seat Niall said, ‘ The Greens are going nowhere. We have too much to lose globally and nationally. We started small and we ended up in Government so now we start rebuilding.
‘ Nationally it was a disaster for us and people throughout the country didn't back our policies and went with personalities. We have to separate local and national politics. I thought it was going to happen this time but it is still too prevalent.
‘ The Green Party will now have to re-evaluate our time in government. We have a lot to be proud of and need to market ourselves better not just in Wicklow but around the country.
‘After the election, I think people will regret not having a strong Green voice, not only locally but nationally. There is a Green movement globally and it is building momentum. Twenty per cent of Germans vote Green. The world is moving towards Green policies but Ireland didn't move with it.
‘ The incoming Government has a huge responsibility working with few resources and it is important they make the correct decisions. We need sensible policies, we need jobs and we need to stop emigration and I sincerely hope the new Government can work towards that aim for all our sakes.'
Sarah and Niall Byrne taking part in the Greystones Goal Mile in Eire Og.