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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Leah Farrell/ Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin
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'That's the Green way': Catherine Martin says party will accept if members vote against government deal

Catherine Martin is calling on Green Party members to back the deal to go into government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

GREEN PARTY DEPUTY leader Catherine Martin has said that her party will have to keep a close eye on the implementation of policies it fought to be included in the Programme for Government if it enters coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. 

Next week, party members will decide whether or not to back the deal and enter government for the first time in nine years. 

In 2011, the Green Party was hit hard at the ballot box as it lost all of its seats following a coalition with Fianna Fáil and Martin told RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sarah McInerney this morning that the party will respect the decision of party members either way.

“That’s the Green way,” she said, with the Dublin Rathdown TD adding “we will be united”. 

Yesterday, the party held an online convention ahead of its membership’s vote on the Programme for Government

The Green Party requires two-thirds support from its members, a higher amount than the other parties, which means a deal could yet be scuppered as some grassroots members have expressed concerns about going into a coalition with two large centre-right parties.

About 2,600 members of the Green Party registered to watch the online convention that was chaired by the party’s chairperson Councillor Hazel Chu. 

The all-day convention ended with leader Eamon Ryan TD making an impassioned plea for members to back the deal.

Speaking today, Martin – who hopes to replace Ryan as leader in an upcoming leadership contest – said it was important for her party to be “at the table” when it comes to key decisions for the country going forward. 

“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented challenge for our country,” she said. “The country needs stability, a stable government and certainty.

We’ve negotiated hard for the last five weeks. I’m acutely conscious of where we are. I decided to highlight to the members [in yesterday's meeting] there have been wins and losses in this deal. I believe that it is within government that we have the greatest potential to make change, and that is change our country urgently needs.

She said that it would be vital that the party continues to “fight hard” once in government to make sure that the policies they ensured were included in the Programme for Government are acted upon. 

Senior figures in the party, including finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan and Martin’s husband and Dublin South-West TD Francis Duffy, have spoken out against the deal. 

“I see her concerns, I hear her,” Martin said today of Hourigan’s comments. She added that that the Greens could achieve the change required in areas such as housing and homelessness by being “on the inside” and being in government. 

On being in support of the deal while her husband was against, she said that it’s “part of a healthy debate” in her home which is reflected in the wider party at the moment. 

She also joked she saw a tweet saying that they must be going home on separate bicycles this evening. 

Martin acknowledged it would be a risk to the party to go into government but it comes at a time when the country is facing a greater risk of not having “certainty” and “stability” with a new government in place for the challenges ahead. 

She would not be drawn on any potential role for her in the next Cabinet or on the upcoming leadership battle with Eamon Ryan, but emphasised her belief that going into government now was the right decision for the Green Party. 

“If we go into government, we go in to make real and substantial change,” she said. 

The result of each party’s membership’s vote on whether to go into government is expected next Friday. 

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