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the candidate podcast

'Strength together': Eamon Ryan says Greens, Soc Dems and independents will talk first after election

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan talked to The Candidate Podcast.

GREEN PARTY LEADER Eamon Ryan has said he would like to sit down with the Labour Party, the Social Democrats and other independents after election day to see if the parties can agree a common mandate. 

Labour leader Brendan Howlin proposed talks with the Social Democrats and the Green Party after the election during the RTÉ debate last night, saying it was important to have a “left-of-centre progressive alliance”.

Speaking to’s general election podcast, The Candidate, Ryan said he wants to sit down with the smaller parties before any talks occur with the larger parties such as Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil or Sinn Féin. 

“I think it does make sense, depending on the numbers and who’s elected, but I certainly think one of the first things we would be looking to do would be sitting down with the likes of Labour, the Social Democrats and other independents who are like-minded, and there are a good view of us, and seeing have we a strength together,” he said. 

He added: 

I think what he [Howlin] said is correct. Yeah. It does it make sense where particular parties have similar views on issues like Slaintecare and issues like public housing. But first things first, the people have to decide, the people are sovereign and this weekend they have to vote on the basis of who they want as representatives. Everything starts really from that and you can’t preempt that.

Ryan said while there is a consensus between the Greens and the other parties on issues such as Sláintecare and housing, there are also differences that will have to be overcome if they are to work together.

Some differing views

“I think where we differ even with the Labour Party, it came up in the debate last night, Brendan was saying, ‘oh we still need all these roads’… take the N11, which is one of the roads that joins our two constituencies. Spending €800 or €900 million widening that when you’re coming into a traffic gridlock doesn’t make sense. It just does not make transport sense and if we spent the money upgrading the Wexford rail line to Dublin and really providing high quality, high-speed, commuter services that makes more sense.

“I’d look forward to that opportunity of sitting down with those parties and others, but first of all it depends who gets elected, and if we get a mandate. In terms of having a big team, it will help us in those negotiations to make the case.”

The other big parties are already eyeing up the Green Party, so who is more palatable? 

“I believe in a democratic republic, the people are sovereign in how they vote tomorrow and if they say, we want this representative, I think if you believe in that democratic mandate, then you talk to people.”

Does that mean the Green Party will talk to Sinn Féin?

“We say we will talk to everyone.” 

Before the Green Party enters talks with any party on government formation, Ryan said other parties need to understand the priorities of the Green Party. He questioned whether the Sinn Féin manifesto could correlate with the wants of the Green Party.

“In terms of us coming to any talks, it is a scale change – it is at least a 7% reduction in emissions,” he said, adding that looking at the Sinn Féin manifesto, “there is no real commitment to that scale of change”.

“We differ on issues like changing our transport system,” he said, but added that the two parties differing views on a carbon tax (the Green Party approve of it, Sinn Féin are against it) might not be such a big stumbling block. 

“It is an important part of the jigsaw, but it is really the spending side and the investment side that I am critical of other parties,” said Ryan.

“They all say ‘oh yeah we’re into climate, we’re going to do our bit’, but actually they don’t provide the resources, they don’t show the policy commitments that they need to make and no matter who we’re talking to, most of the parties don’t have the same scale of ambition, don’t have the same vision. So our biggest challenge is going to be sitting down to them explaining – this is why this transport approach works, this is why we need to change our agriculture for the better by paying farmers properly, and I think it’s in those issues there will be a lot of talking needed to be done,” he said. 

Listen to the latest episode of The Candidate here.

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