Eamon Ryan: Green Party has never been in a better position for an election

Eamon Ryan: Green Party Has Never Been In A Better Position For An Election
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By Grainne Ni Aodha

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said his party has never been in a stronger position facing into an election, ahead of a bumper year of polling in Ireland.

Local authority and European Parliament elections are due to take place in the summer, with a general election due before April 2025.


The Green Party grew from three to 12 TDs in the 2020 general election, winning 7 per cent of first preference votes.

The party entered a coalition government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and has been polling at around 4 per cent in recent months.

Asked whether the party was concerned that Green Party voters will be disappointed with the party’s actions in government, Mr Ryan said the party was “well placed” for an election.

“I don’t think there’s many Green Party voters that think we didn’t do a lot in this government,” the Transport and Climate minister said.


Irish Government announcement on defence forces funding
Eamon Ryan has big plans for 2024 (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Philippe Lambert, the head of the European Greens in Brussels, said the programme for government we had was the most green programme for government he’d ever seen, and we have been delivering on that. Any rational assessment of commitments delivered on I think is showing that’s not a problem in terms of us being able to justify to the voters that their vote last time counted.

“There is an issue in terms of environmental thinking more broadly: the tide comes in and the tide goes out, I’m long enough in this,
35 plus years, to see the tide go in and the tide go out.


“Went in in the late 80s, hole in the Ozone layer, start talking about climate change; went out in the mid 90s, Third Way, Tony Blair, Clinton; came back in in the early 2000s, Al Gore and Inconvenient Truth; went out, financial crash 2008/9/10; came in, in 2015/16/17 with Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough, all those; went out in the last three years, Covid, war in Ukraine, cost of living.

“Even though the climate is now, what’s happened in the last few years is absolutely unprecedented, in terms of the climate change happening, is a real phenomenon.

“I think that there is a risk people might just be frozen by fear of that more than anything else.

“Now, our job in the next six months is to hopefully help the tide come back in and the tide is rising, the level of consciousness is rising.


“I’m very confident that come the local and European elections, we are going to give it our all, we’re well placed.

“The focus is on the local and European elections, not on the general election, I think that follows.

“We have 106 candidates already selected, 50:50 women:men, very significant minority (candidates), candidates from different backgrounds, younger candidates, and they’re really capable and they’re really fired up.

“So we’ve never been in a better position to go into an election.”


He added: “Nothing’s certain. You can make mistakes, things can happen.

“Yes, we’ve been kind of bobbing along at that 4 per cent whatever in the polls.

“I’d like to see it higher, as I think I said previously, I think we can, will and should go higher in the polls.

“But you’ve got to earn that first of all by going out and asking for the vote.

“I remember ‘Tip’ O’Neill’s book, the Bible, you’ve got to ask for the vote and that’s what we’ll be doing in the next six months.”

Asked about whether he was concerned about the Green Party vote being squeezed as the small party in a coalition government, Mr Ryan said: “I think we’ve delivered as a small party in government.

“The idea that small parties are the mud guard in government… I (said) in my (Green Party annual) convention speech – we’re the vanguard here. I think that’s something that I haven’t heard many people disagreeing with.

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“So I think that that phenomenon that small parties get squeezed, the exception will prove the rule. Or not.”

Asked ahead of the Christmas period, Mr Ryan said that the mood in the party has “never been better”.

He said that when campaigning for the local and European elections, the party will be “reminding” people that policies such as 20 new rural bus services launched in December and 47,000 grants given to retrofit homes happened “because we were in government”.


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