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Catherine Martin will give 'serious consideration' to contesting the Green Party leadership

While the party talks about entering government, it has another battle on its hands.

Image: Sam Boal

Updated May 20th 2020, 5:26 PM

DEPUTY GREEN PARTY leader Catherine Martin has said she will give “serious consideration” to contesting the Green Party leadership. 

In a statement she said any such leadership contest should not take place during government formation negotiations.

Four Green Party councillors wrote to Martin recently urging her to challenge Eamon Ryan for the leadership of the party.

Martin thanked party members who asked her to step forward, saying today that she would consider it over the coming days.

At the moment, her focus remains on the “crucial” government formation talks, she said.

Ryan and Martin were party allies in the last Dáil – they were the only two from their party elected, after all. With the Green Party getting a boost in February, it now holds 12 seats.

With growth comes differing viewpoints, and since there is now the prospect of the Green Party being tacked on to the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil coalition, divisions within the party have emerged.

These differences have mainly been seen between newly elected TDs and the old guard, like Ryan, about whether the coalition is a good idea.

The four Cork City and County councillors who want a change in leadership are Lorna Bogue, Oliver Moran, Colette Finn and Liam Quaide, who say that regardless of the outcome of government formation talks, they want a new leader.

In an interview with the Opinion Line on Cork’s 96FM, Councillor Bogue said it is not a question of the four councillors not having confidence in Ryan, and that there is going to be a leadership election and they are encouraging Martin to put her name forward.

Under Green Party rules, a vote to decide on who will be its leader must take place within six months of any general election.

“When people start looking at leadership elections people think it is all very House of Cards. It isn’t at all. It is actually just about having the best person for the role. I personally think Catherine has had a remarkable career,” said Bogue.

Ryan has already stated that he will be putting his name forward.

Since the cracks appeared, a number of Green Party TDs have rallied behind Ryan today, supporting his leadership.

Dublin West TD Roderic O’Gorman TD told RTÉ News today that he “looks forward to nominating Eamon Ryan” for leader, if there is a contest. He said he would give Ryan his Number One vote.

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Carlow Kilkenny TD Malcolm Noonan, Waterford TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Wicklow TD Steven Mathews as well as Senator Pippa Hackett have all backed Ryan today.

Nominations for the leadership election will open on Tuesday.

Ballots will be sent to members at the beginning of July, with returns to be made by 22 July. The ballots will be counted on 23 July.

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