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Eamon Ryan: It'd be bloody difficult to lead the Greens if we don't win any seats

The Green Party has launched its manifesto in Dublin this morning.

The Green launching their manifesto today
The Green launching their manifesto today
Image: Hugh O'Connell/TheJournal.ie

EAMON RYAN HAS admitted it would “bloody difficult” to remain on as leader of the Greens if the party fails to win any seats in the general election.

Having lost all of its Dáil representatives in 2011, the Green Party is plotting a comeback with Ryan among the favourites to take a seat in Dublin Bay South. The party is realistically in contention for around three to four seats.

Describing this campaign as a “huge voluntary effort all over the country”, Ryan said he would prefer not be in a situation of having no seats after 26 February, but admitted “it’d be bloody difficult” to remain on as leader if that is the case.

He was speaking at the launch of the Green Party manifesto in Dublin today. Among the main proposals in the document is to establish a ‘citizens trust fund’.

This fund would see €5,000 invested for every child born. The sum would mature after 20 years and would pay for third level education, a year abroad or at home with an NGO, special needs care or as seed finance to start businesses.

The party also wants to recruit 2,000 extra gardaí in the lifetime of the next government, reduce public transport fares by 5% and completely de-carbonise the power system by 2050. In the manifesto document, Ryan writes:

This election debate is about much more than the fiscal space. It’s about the public space.

The Greens are promising to hold a referendum to enshrine housing as a social right in the Constitution and another to enshrine both the right to water and the public ownership of the infrastructure.

Under the party’s plans, Irish Water would be overhauled and reduced to an oversight body modelled on the National Roads Authority.

Householders would be given a free allowance of water but would be charged for excessive waste water. The €100 water conservation grant would be abolished.

The Greens would replace the property tax with a site valuation tax where liability is calculated based on the value of land rather than the property on that land.

The party is also pledging to allocate €100 million to build new footpaths and wants to invest 10% of the overall capital transport budget into cycling, including the design and delivery of a network of urban cycling routes.

It is also proposing to introduce legislation to criminalise the practice of “revenge porn”.

In health, the party wants to create single-tier system and wants to introduce “small charges for all medical services” to be paid at the point of use and subject to a person’s medical need and ability to pay.

It also wants to scrap the Direct Provision system and grant asylum seekers the right to work after six months.

On political reform, the Greens are proposing direct democracy whereby citizens can directly initiate referendums to amend the Constitution, overturn legislation or even propose new legislation.

The party’s chairman and Dublin West candidate Roderic O’Gorman criticised the government’s lack of reform:

That’s why Enda Kenny wants to put the Eighth Amendment into a Constitutional Convention because that’s where he sends reform to die.

The Greens have pledged to hold a referendum to repeal the Eight Amendment which enshrines a constitutional ban on abortion.

The party also wants to allow citizens to nominate presidential candidates, remove the prohibition on blasphemy, lower the voting age to 16 and legislate for directly-elected mayors.

Read: 9 things you need to know about the TV3/Newstalk leaders’ debate

FactCheck: The truth and the lies from last night’s Leaders’ Debate

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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