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Eamon Ryan: Government will spend €1 million a day on walking and cycling

The Green Party leader was addressing his party’s national convention.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan addressed his party at a virtual national convention.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan addressed his party at a virtual national convention.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

GREEN PARTY LEADER Eamon Ryan has said that the government will spend at least €1 million a day on walking and cycling infrastructure. 

Ryan told his party’s National Convention – forced online because of the pandemic – that the sum was set to be part of the upcoming Budget. 

In his speech, Ryan acknowledged that the Green Party’s entry into government hadn’t been easy. 

“In the last nine months our party has also been tested,” he told his party’s members. 

Ryan said: 

“Entering Government is never an easy process and we all know that this administration has had to manage a series of events which has not made the process any easier, but I firmly believe that we can work effectively both within our party and with our coalition partners to serve our people at this critical time.

Setting out his vision for what the government can achieve, Ryan said he wanted to promote ‘transport-led development’. 

This would be “where new housing is located a 15 minute walk or cycle to of high quality public transport stations”.

Ryan also referenced the Greens’ priorities on farming, including a national plan on how Ireland can manage its land into the future. 

“We will devise this new plan in consultation with the farming and environmental organisations,” Ryan said. “No one sector will be able to opt out of the international climate and biodiversity obligations that we are entering into but at the same time the changes we have to make cannot leave any community or industry behind.”

‘Not perfect’

Earlier, Deputy Leader Catherine Martin told the party that it was “a larger political force than” it had ever been before. 

The party has 12 TDs and four senators, although it has also faced divisions over the programme for government. TD Neasa Hourigan in particular has been a critic of some of the government’s policies and was sanctioned alongside colleague Joe O’Brien for not backing the government’s Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill. 

Reflecting on the election success that brought the Green Party into power with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in a historic coalition, Martin said that the programme for government was “not perfect” and “it is not a perfect or easy coalition”. 

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But she said that “no coalition or programme for government is and it is only in the execution and delivery of real change that we will be judged as Greens”. 

“There will be many difficult conversations over the next months and years,” she warned. “We need to learn from the last six months and ensure that respect and inclusion is foremost in everything we do.”

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