Greens ‘well-po­si­tioned’ for next elec­tion

The Irish Times - - Home News - HARRY McGEE Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

The Green Party is aim­ing to tre­ble the num­ber of TDs and coun­cil­lors it has to six and 36 re­spec­tively in the next elec­tion cy­cle.

As the party com­menced a spe­cial meet­ing in Blan­chard­stown, Dublin, last night, be­fore the re­turn of the Dáil, party leader Ea­mon Ryan said the Greens were well-po­si­tioned to make con­sid­er­able gains in the lo­cal elec­tions in 2019, and in the gen­eral elec­tion, when­ever that was held.

“We are in a good place in terms of the strength of the party. Our mem­ber­ship has dou­bled [to 1,800] in the past two years. We have a set­tled team in the Oireach­tas, sup­ported by a very strong team.”

At present the party has two Dáil deputies (Mr Ryan and Cather­ine Martin); one Se­na­tor, Grace O’Sul­li­van, and 12 county coun­cil­lors. That rep­re­sents a par­tial come­back for the party which saw its coun­cil mem­bers re­duced to three in the 2009 lo­cal elec­tions, and lost all its six TDs in the 2011 gen­eral elec­tion.

Mr Ryan said the pri­mary fo­cus for the party would be the en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate change.

“I looked at the Taoiseach’s speech to the Fine Gael think-in. He did not men­tion the en­vi­ron­ment once.

“When he be­came Taoiseach he said he would make cli­mate change a pri­or­ity . . . Like the Ori­gin Green ads [for Ir­ish agripro­duce], it is all brand­ing and no sub­stance,” he said.

He said that given Ire­land missed out on the first in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, there was no rea­son why it should miss out on what he called the “clean green in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion”. He said the Gov­ern­ment should be fo­cus­ing on re­new­able en­ergy and on zero emis­sion trans­port.

Younger au­di­ence

“We in the Greens will tar­get a younger au­di­ence and will be able to an­swer their ques­tions about work and jobs, which can hap­pen in that clean and in­dus­trial green revo­lu­tion.”

Mr Ryan said the record of the Gov­ern­ment was poor. No so­lar power was be­ing de­vel­oped, the in­su­la­tion pro­grammes had been halved and the Coali­tion was do­ing “noth­ing” on off­shore en­ergy.

“The cli­mate plan has huge gaps. In trans­port, there is not a sin­gle rail project ready to go to ten­der. The only cy­cling project

‘‘

We are in a good place in terms of the strength of the party

ready to go is the Royal Canal path from Spencer Dock to Lu­can Bridge.

“We spent five years work­ing on a cy­cle lane for the Lif­fey quays and now it is back to the draw­ing board be­cause of lob­by­ing.”

Mr Ryan ac­cused Min­is­ter for Trans­port Shane Ross of be­ing com­pletely ab­sent from the cli­mate de­bate and claimed he had “ab­di­cated re­spon­si­bil­ity” in the area.The think-in, at the Crowne Plaza Ho­tel in Blan­chard­stown, con­tin­ues to­day.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: ERIC LUKE

Green Party leader Ea­mon Ryan: Ire­land should not miss the “green in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion”, he said.

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