THE GREENS HAVE secured at least one seat and are on course for a second in the 32nd Dáil as party figures hailed its comeback in the RDS tonight.
Deputy leader Catherine Martin was the surprise winner of a seat in three-seat Dublin Rathdown, knocking out Fine Gael veteran Alan Shatter.
Martin has spent the last four years canvassing the length and breadth of the constituency and believes it was that hard work which paid off.
“The Greens are back in town and there’s a new Green there too. Why I did it all along is to get that Green voice restored, it’s been sorely missed. I believe that’s why I was elected,” she told TheJournal.ie this evening.
Green veterans, including former leader John Gormley and senator Dan Boyle, were in the RDS tonight to celebrate the party’s success.
With a national vote share of between 2 and 3% the Greens have also secured state funding that it lost in 2011 when all six of its TDs were dumped by the electorate.
One of those was then communications minister and current Green leader Eamon Ryan, who has a strong chance of a seat in four-seat Dublin Bay South. The count, which has already seen Renua leader Lucinda Creighton eliminated, has been suspended until 10am on Sunday.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening, Ryan said he hoped to take a seat:
It’s been a great day for us. We’ve been a long time planning this and a long time working at it, a huge voluntary effort and if we can get that team back, if we can build from here, that’s a great opportunity for us.
On the possibility of a two-seat Green team in the next Dáil, Ryan said that former leaders John Gormley and Trevor Sargent had done it in the late 90s and early 2000s.
He said the party is likely to be in opposition in the next Dáil, telling this website: ”It looks like we’ll be in opposition. The obvious government formation is Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, so I think we provide a very strong critique but a positive, practical one.”
Ryan added that if he does not take a seat, he will step down as leader and pave the way for Martin to take over.
Former junior minister Ciarán Cuffe, who lost his seat in 2011, took a backseat role in this election and will continue to serve as a Dublin city councillor.
“The Greens are back in town and I’m hoping that our party leader Eamon Ryan is returned in Dublin Bay South,” he said this evening.
We’ve been on the outside for a few years and it’s good to be back in play. It’s good to have a Green presence in the next Dáil. We’ve been around for a long time and we hope to be around for a long time more.
He acknowledged it was a far cry from his position in 2011 when he lost his Dáil seat in Dún Laoghaire and noted that Labour is in a similar position today.
The tide comes in and it goes out again. The Labour party certainly know all about that today but I certainly think the Green issues haven’t got away and I think it is crucial that there is a Green voice out there.
THE WINNERS: Here are all the TDs who have been elected so far