O’Hara defends decision to run in UK election after taking Seanad seat

O’hara Defends Decision To Run In Uk Election After Taking Seanad Seat
Mal O’Hara, who is running in the North Belfast constituency, said there would be ‘no problem’ with him taking the seat if he was voted in on July 4th. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

Cate McCurry, PA

The leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland has defended his decision to run in the UK General Election only months after he became a member of the Seanad.

Mal O’Hara, who is running in the North Belfast constituency, said there would be “no problem” with him taking the seat if he was voted into Westminster on July 4th.


The former Belfast City councillor became a Senator in the Republic in April after he replaced Sinn Féin's Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile.

Mr O’Hara said that while he knew the UK General Election would happen this year, he said UK prime minister Rishi Sunak “surprised many when he called it so early”.

Green party leader Mal O’Hara standing on a darkened stage talking
Green party leader Mal O’Hara is running in North Belfast (Claudia Savage/PA)

Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland Mal O’Hara
Mal O’Hara is running in the North Belfast constituency in the General Election (Jonathan McCambridge/PA)

“I’ve just had my feet under the table at the Seanad. We are moving forward with law, legislation, attempts to make positive changes for people right across the island,” he told BBCNI Sunday Politics show.

“I think in North Belfast, the Greens wanted me to stand as the most high-profile member and to offer people an alternative on a unique policy plan.”

Asked if he would take his seat if successful in next month’s elections, Mr O’Hara said: “Yes, if the people of North Belfast chose me. I think we have a number of Seanad and TD by-elections after the results of the European Parliament (election).


“If I was to be successful in North Belfast, that would be no problem with me taking the seat and a by-election being held.

“I think people will want to see me standing as offering a unique policy platform. We’re talking about issues that others are not.

“We’re talking about a wealth tax. Greens across the UK are suggesting that’s a way to fix our broken public services.

“That means the richest 1%, those worth more than 3.4 million, need to pay a little bit more on taxation, which means we can rebuild public services, build social housing to avoid the housing crisis in the UK and, of course, then fund the climate transition to net-zero society.”


Mr O’Hara also refused to back either of the Green candidates running to take the party’s leadership role in the Republic.

Earlier this week, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he was resigning from his role.



It spawned a leadership contest within the party in which Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman and Senator Pippa Hackett, who is Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, have emerged as contenders.

“With new leadership and new energy coming into the party, nominations are open until 9pm tomorrow night for deputy leader and leader,” Mr O’Hara added.

“We’ll see who the runners and riders are, and we have over 600 members who will be able to vote.

“Historically, I haven’t endorsed either as leader or deputy leader, and I’ll probably maintain that should that candidate field become clear by Monday.”

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com