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Greens defer motion of no confidence in party chair Chu

The Lord Mayor announced her nomination to run in the Seanad byelection on Monday.

Image: RollingNews.ie

THE GREEN PARTY’S parliamentary party has deferred an internal motion of no confidence in Hazel Chu’s chairing of the party following her nomination to stand in the Seanad byelection.

Roisin Garvey, Pauline O’Reilly and junior minister Pippa Hackett yesterday put forward the motion at a meeting of the parliamentary party.

Chu, the current Lord Mayor of Dublin, announced on Monday that she would run in the by-election next month after receiving nominations to do so from several Green Party TDs and three senators.

She did not receive backing from her party to run in the election, but deputy leader and Cabinet minister Catherine Martin was among those who nominated her.

It is understood the motion on Chu’s role in the party has no standing, as motions of no confidence can only apply to the leader of the party.

Sources within the party described the move as “odd” and suggested that the party does not have a role in the ongoing controversy over Chu’s nomination.

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O’Reilly, one of those who tabled the motion, previously ran against Chu for the position of party chair.

The Seanad by-election will be held via postal voting from 7 April to 21 April, and follows the resignation of two senators in recent months.

One vacancy arose after former Fine Gael senator Michael D’Arcy resigned to become chief executive of the Irish Association of Investment Managers.

Former Sinn Féin senator Elisha McCallion also resigned following a controversy over Covid-19 grants in Northern Ireland.

Minister for Environment Eamon Ryan told reporters on Tuesday that there was an agreement that coalition partners Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael would fill the two seats.

However, Chu told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne programme on Wednesday that she had been informed such a pact between the Greens and the two parties had not been agreed, claiming she would not have gone against this.

In a letter to Green Party members in Laois-Offaly last night, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Hackett said the parliamentary party had agreed at its meeting yesterday evening to defer the motion to allow for “further discussion”. 

Hackett said she believed Chu’s role as Chair of the party comes with “responsibility”. 

“Her decision to run as an independent candidate has been deeply divisive, and I believe it not only undermines her role as chair of the Party, but also our position in Government,” said Hackett. 

“She has gone against the wishes of the both the PP and the EC by seeking a nomination. Many of us feel this makes her position untenable, and that it should be discussed by the PP, which it was this evening. We agreed to defer the vote on the motion, to allow for further discussion.”

Hackett added that “the pressures this raises within the coalition government are significant.”

“I, along with most of the PP and the majority of members, want us to stay in government, so we can deliver on our hard fought PfG commitments.”

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