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Two horse race

Support among councillors favours O'Gorman as Martin doesn't rule out future leadership run

As things stand, there are just two potential candidates vying for the top spot – Roderic O’Gorman and Pippa Hackett.

LAST UPDATE | 20 Jun

NOMINATIONS FOR THE Green Party leadership contest opened this morning at 9am, with public declarations of support so far favouring Roderic O’Gorman. 

Children and Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Junior Minister and Senator Pippa Hackett both announced their bids to replace outgoing party leader Eamon Ryan yesterday.

Speaking this morning, deputy leader Catherine Martin said that she wouldn’t rule out a potential future bid for leadership of the party, after announcing that she would be stepping back as deputy leader.

“Never say never,” she said. “I’ve made it clear that it’s just at this point in time and think it’s really important as well for a woman in leadership to never rule themselves out.

“So who knows, but for now, I’m absolutely committed to supporting the next leadership of the party and to use my experience of 17 years in the Green Party.”

She declined to back either candidate for the leadership bid, but said she has “full confidence” in their ability to take on the role.

Hackett is a mixed organic farmer living in Offaly. She is seen as a candidate to widen the Greens appeal in rural Ireland and help the party move away from the perception that is only concerned about urban voters.

O’Gorman is a longtime Green Party member, the chair of the party, and one of its most high-profile TDs. 

O’Gorman announced first, but Hackett had high-profile Green Party figures declaring for her first thing yesterday morning.

However, so far party supported – at least from elected representatives – seems to be skewing in favour of O’Gorman.

In terms of TDs, Hackett has the support of minister of state Ossian Smyth, Limerick TD Brian Leddin and Wicklow TD Steven Matthews, as well as Senator Pauline O’Reilly.

Meanwhile, O’Gorman is being backed by Marc Ó Cathasaigh and Patrick Costello, as well as as ministers of state Malcolm Noonan and Joe O’Brien. Hazel Chu, Dublin city councillor and former Lord Mayor and party chair, announced her support for O’Gorman’s bid this morning, speaking on Today with Claire Byrne.

Cork city councillor Dan Boyle, speaking on the same programme, did not declare for either candidate, adding that nominations are to stay open until Monday and suggesting “other candidates” could still enter “the fray”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Brian Leddin explained that his support for Pippa Hackett was based on her being a rural TD, meaning she may broaden the party’s appeal ahead of the upcoming general election.

“I think this offers the best chance for us to win more votes and the most seats. I think fundamentally we have to look at how we’re perceived as a party and this is unfortunately something Roderic can’t do anything about,” he said.

He is a Dublin based TD I think we’ve two excellent candidates and everything being equal the difference between the business one is from Dublin and one is not from Dublin.

When it comes to support from the party’s councillors, O’Gorman is well ahead. The party returned 23 councillors in the last local elections. Over half of these half rowed in behind O’Gorman, with few public declarations of support for Hackett.

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Dublin councillor Janet Horner said that O’Gorman “demonstrated the qualities that we need in the leadership at the moment”.

He’s shown and has continued to articulate the values of the party at the highest level, despite major challenges at points and major push back and I think that’s something we really need to see at the moment.  

Under Green Party rules, a candidate must receive 50 nominations before they can challenge for the leadership. The candidates will be announced Tuesday morning.

Ultimately, the contest will be decided by the party membership, with each member having an equal vote, regardless of whether they are elected or not. The results are due to be announced on 8 July.

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