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Eamon Ryan says he wasn't thrown by letter that urged Catherine Martin to contest leadership

Government formation talks continue this week with a view to getting a government up and running by June.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin
Image: RollingNews.ie

GREEN PARTY LEADER Eamon Ryan said he was unaware that councillors would publish a letter urging deputy leader Catherine Martin to run for the leadership of his party.

Speaking on RTE Radio One’s Today with Sarah McInerney this morning, he also said he had no interest in being Taoiseach, but did not rule out becoming Tánaiste in the future under the rotating Taoiseach system.

When asked about the letter which put the Green Party leadership in the spotlight, Ryan said:

“I wasn’t aware that a letter was coming but at the same time it wasn’t something that threw me.”

Last week, Martin said she will give “serious consideration” to contesting the Green Party leadership. 

Nominations for the leadership election will open tomorrow.

Ballots will be sent to members at the beginning of July, with returns to be made by 22 July. The ballots will be counted on 23 July.

Green Party TDs have rallied behind Ryan, supporting his leadership.

Some councillors in Ryan’s camp have also told TheJournal.ie of their disappointment at how things played out last week, stating that the party prides itself on not playing the same games as other parties when it comes to leadership challenges.

Ryan said today that he was “absolutely fine” with Martin being interested in his job.

“That’s our tradition and our rules that after an election within six months you have a leadership contest, that comes from our tradition,” he said.

“I think that’s something that’s perfectly healthy and natural and part of our process and part of the way we do things,” he said, adding:

“Leadership is not what obsesses me.”

Speaking about government formation talks, which continue this week, he said the Green Party is not interested in having its leader part of the rotating Taoiseach deal, but said the Tánaiste role is “different”.

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There was speculation over the weekend that the party was seeking three Cabinet positions, three junior minister roles, as well as three of the 12 Taoiseach nominations to the Seanad.

However, Ryan would not be drawn on the exact numbers of Cabinet positions his party is looking for.

On the same radio programme, Independent Wexford TD Verona Murphy confirmed that the regional Independent group will be having its own talks with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the coming days about government formation. 

When asked about whether there was still tension between Health Minister Simon Harris and herself after she referred to him as the worst health minister in history, she said that it was water under the bridge.

She added that her group would not have difficulty working with the Green Party.

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