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Green Party Eamon Ryan local election candidates on bicycles. Sam Boal/Rollingnews
National Conference

Yoga, carbon tax and general election plans on the agenda for Green Party's national convention

A motion calling on the Greens not to enter into government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will be voted on this weekend.

ON THE BACK of the electoral success of the “Green Wave” in the local and European elections, the Green Party are this weekend hosting their annual national convention.

The party had just 12 councillors elected in 2014, after being all but wiped out in the 2011 general election when not one TD was reelected. 

In this year’s local elections, 49 Green Party councillors got seats in local authorities. 

This weekend’s gathering is mainly about one thing – the next general election.

In the party’s conference programme, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan states as such:

“The job this weekend is to grow our own party to support that work and to prepare for the next general election. We are in a climate and biodiversity emergency. We need everyone to play their part in responding to that challenge. It’s time to go to action stations.”

A number of motions will be voted on this weekend, such as one on electoral co-operation and entering into a coalition government.

Proposed by the UCC Greens, the motion calls for the Green Party not to consider “any election strategy that involves cooperation with or accommodation of any right-wing party, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or any party whose values or policies conflict with those of the Green Party”.

This would include electoral pacts and entering into a coalition government.

This is an interesting motion if passed, as the Left-wing alliance of the Labour Party, the Green Party and the Social Democrats will play a key role in the next election, and ultimately, who might be in government next time around.

Special convention will ultimately decide

However, the party programme notes that the motion would not amend the party’s constitution as it stands, which outlines the procedure for entering government.

Following a General Election, the party has the power to negotiate with other parties and to decide on all possible political arrangements with other parties, subject to ratification by a Special National Convention of any decision to enter into government with another.

A number of motions will also be voted on such as a motion to decriminalise sex work, as well as acquiring unused housing owned by vulture funds and property developers for social housing.

Another motion calls for for waste collection services to be put out to tender by local authorities, with one operator per local authority area.

One motion calls for a directly-elected mayor for Dublin, while another calls for the SEAI grant scheme to help with the purchase of electric tractors.

Another motion says it should be a requirement that nearby residents be warned in
advance of intended spraying of glyphosate, and other herbicides and pesticides.

Ban on jets

The Green Party believes that the planet cannot support the lifestyles of the super wealthy and therefore calls for (non-diplomatic) private jets to be denied permission to enter Irish airspace, says another motion due to be voted on this weekend. 

What else can we expect from the conference this weekend? 

Well, Green Party Keep Cups are on sale for €10, as are Green Party “trendy rain jackets”. There’s even a “Yoga – Movement for Change” session on the Sunday morning, if attendees fancy it. (Very on brand.)

There are policy matters up for discussion with debates on “Bees, Birds and Biodiversity” which will discuss the current situation for biodiversity in Ireland and what needs to be done to protect Ireland’s native wildlife.

There will be an interactive element to this workshop, where people’s knowledge of 
Ireland’s wildlife will be put to the test.

One of the most controversial issues that will become an ever more prominent topic of discussion as we approach Budget 2020 is the carbon tax. The Green Party programme states: 

Increasing the price of carbon in our economy is seen as a crucial part of our transition to a sustainable society. However, many feel the burden will fall too heavily on those unable to pay, or even that it won’t work properly at all. 

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