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Green Party narrowly votes against establishing co-leaders of different genders

120 members voted against the motion, while 116 voted in favour.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan and Deputy Leader Catherine Martin in February 2020 ahead of the general election.
Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan and Deputy Leader Catherine Martin in February 2020 ahead of the general election.
Image: Sam Boal

THE GREEN PARTY has voted against establishing two co-leader positions at the party’s online convention today.

Members voted against a motion that would have instated two co-leaders for the Green Party instead of a leader and deputy leader.

If the motion had passed, it would also have stipulated that the two co-leaders would need to be of different genders.

120 members voted against the motion, while 116 voted in favour and a further 16 abstained. 

Proposing the motion, MEP Grace O’Sullivan said that two co-leaders of different genders would send a message of “progressive unity” and be “in the best interest of the party going forward”.

O’Sullivan said the Green Party “stands for equality and equal rights” and that if members could have voted to have Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin as co-leaders in the party’s recent leadership election, it would have been the “dream team”.

“It’s time for the Green Party in Ireland to have a co-leadership with a male and female leader,” O’Sullivan said.

The motion was to amend to article 5.7.1 of the party’s constitution so that it would state: “The party shall have shared Co-Leaders of different genders. Co-Leaders shall be elected by preferendum through a national ballot of members.”

“Once a candidate for Co-Leader has been deemed elected, the remaining candidate(s) from that gender shall be eliminated. The votes shall be distributed to the remaining candidates for the Co-Leader position.”

“The nomination and election procedure for Party Leader candidates shall be determined by the Executive Committee.”

Speakers that opposed the motion raised concerns around the effectiveness of a co-leadership model and the benefits of the public being able to identify one clear party leader.

A proposed amendment to the motion, which would have seen it come into effect sooner than waiting for the next leadership election, also failed.

122 voted against the amendment, 99 voted in favour, and 23 abstained.

Earlier today, the Green Party voted in favour of allowing meetings to take place entirely, or partly, by telephone or online amid a growing reliance on technology around the country for running meetings during Covid-19.

However, a motion fell on limiting the number of ordinary members of the executive committee from any one region to four.

The motion, which did not pass, would have meant that of the ten members elected at an annual convention, there could be no more than four resident in one of five specific areas.

The areas are Dublin; the rest of Leinster; Munster; Connacht, Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan; and Northern Ireland.

Earlier today, Green Party spokesperson for health Neasa Hourigan told members that the government must allocate more funding to mental health, disability services and maternal care in the wake of Covid-19. 

Hourigan said that Covid-19 has put people under “immense pressure” and called for the budget to demonstrate a “renewed commitment to mental health and mental health funding”.

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Party leader Eamon Ryan and Deputy Party Leader Catherine Martin will address the convention this evening.

Martin is expected to tell members that the party must keep “fighting”, “campaigning” and “agitating” for green change and values.

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