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Green leadership race: Martin warns against over-hyping experience; Ryan says Greens' last stint in government wasn't all bad

Candidates were asked about growing the party, the challenges to being in government and the Phoenix Park.

CANDIDATES FOR THE Green Party leadership Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin have answered questions today in a two-hour online hustings – the second of three before the membership vote.

The first of the leadership hustings took place on Tuesday 7 July, and the next and final hustings will take place next Tuesday, 14 July.

Ballot papers will be sent to party members in the coming days, and must be returned by 22 July. The result will be announced on the evening of 23 July.

At today’s Green Party leadership hustings, Catherine Martin repeated her assertion that she would renegotiate the Programme for Government when the Taoiseach rotates from Micheál Martin/Fianna Fáil to Leo Varadkar/Fine Gael in December 2022.

On the issue of whether the Phoenix Park should be opened back up to traffic, Martin said it ‘broke her heart’ to see the Park’s gates open to cars yesterday, while Eamon Ryan said that he didn’t believe that the issue had gone away yet. 

When asked about what the practical challenges are of making inroads on climate change while in government, Catherine Martin said that transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy was a huge challenge.

She said that a huge number of homes need to be retrofitted.

The practical challenges are intertwined with the political ones – we need to bring people with us.

Green Party Source: Green Party

When asked how to promote working from home, Ryan suggested building local ‘hubs’ where people from one community could go to work in the one building.

Ryan also said that “being in government is not always bad for the Greens,” citing the Green Parties in Finland and the Germany “growing on the back of being in government”.

He also said that the Greens’ approval ratings increased after over a year in government with Fianna Fáil previously, claiming that people saw what the Green Party delivered in government. 

Catherine Martin Source: Green Party

Martin said that the Greens last experience in government “wasn’t a pleasant one”, and pledged not to make the same mistakes of the past.

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We have to be careful not to “over-hype” experience, Martin said, adding that it could lead to a “we know better” approach to the leadership.

“The Green line is one of social justice, they are the same side of the same coin,” Martin said, on the issue of how to grow the party.

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