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Dublin: 10°C Friday 16 April 2021

Eamon Ryan retains position as Green Party leader after narrow victory over Catherine Martin

Ryan won by 48 votes against the party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin.

Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin in Brooks Hotel, Dublin this evening ahead of the announcement.
Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin in Brooks Hotel, Dublin this evening ahead of the announcement.
Image: Sam Boal

INCUMBENT GREEN PARTY leader Eamon Ryan has secured enough votes in the party’s leadership contest to retain his post. 

Ryan had gone up against the party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin in a bid to secure the position. 

Ryan won by 48 votes, receiving 994 votes against Martin’s 946. There was a 66.7% turnout among party members for the vote. 

The newly elected leader said it was a “really close result, no doubt about that”. He thanked Martin for what he described as a civil leadership contest.

“I’m committed to doing everything I can to try and help this party, and by that helping the country and our people through what is a very challenging period,” he said, adding that that work had started today with the announcement of the July stimulus plan.

Ryan added that he “looks forward to what comes next”. 

Speaking on The Tonight Show, Ryan denied that the party was split down the middle on his leadership and said that he would continue to work with Catherine Martin.

“Myself and Catherine at the announcement of the results today said we were going to work as a team.”

Ryan admitted that falling asleep in the Dáil may have played a factor in the close vote, but winning proves that he had “shown ability over the years”. 

However, Ryan would not confirm whether or not he would be leading the party into the next general election, saying that he isn’t “focused on that at all”. 

Catherine Martin thanked party officials and her campaign and said her party was stronger for having had the contest.

She extended her congratulations to Ryan and said she would continue to support his leadership and that she would call on her supporters to also do so.

embedded254708915 Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin this evening. Source: PA Images

Earlier today, prominent environmentalist Saoirse McHugh announced she would be leaving the Green Party. 

The Achill activist had previously said she would leave the party if it entered into government with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. 

She rose to prominence after an appearance on Prime Time during the 2019 European election campaign, where she spoke passionately about the need for reform of the Direct Provision system and strongly criticised “millionaires scapegoating migrants”.

Last night, an affiliate group to the party called the Just Transition Greens announced its establishment. 

The group said it aims to “educate, agitate and organise for social justice, peace and community, inside and outside the party”. 

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Its establishment letter was signed by 16 party members including TD Neasa Hourigan and McHugh.

McHugh confirmed today, however, that she is also no longer involved in this group because she “couldn’t stomach being affiliated with the greens”.

Voting details

Ahead of the vote, Green Party members - 2,336 in Republic of Ireland and 598 in Northern Ireland – were sent a postal ballot.

1,950 votes were returned and 10 were spoiled. Counting began this morning and results were announced online this evening.

Ryan – who has held the post since 2011 – was appointed Minister for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport in the new government. 

Martin was appointed deputy leader in 2011 and currently serves as Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.  

- With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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