Saturday 10 December 2016

'New' Green Party gets ready to begin the journey all over

Published 18/01/2016 | 02:30

Green Party election candidates (l-r): Margaret Sheehan, Mayo; Paula Flanagan, Donegal; Caroline Conroy, Dublin North-West; Cllr Catherine Martin, Dublin, Rathdown; Grace O'Sullivan, Waterford; Ann Walsh, Wexford; Lorna Bogue, Cork South Central; Sinead Moore, Laois; Suzanne McEneaney, Kildare South; Maebh Ní Fhallúin, Kildare North; and Mairéad Ní Chróinín, Galway East
Green Party election candidates (l-r): Margaret Sheehan, Mayo; Paula Flanagan, Donegal; Caroline Conroy, Dublin North-West; Cllr Catherine Martin, Dublin, Rathdown; Grace O'Sullivan, Waterford; Ann Walsh, Wexford; Lorna Bogue, Cork South Central; Sinead Moore, Laois; Suzanne McEneaney, Kildare South; Maebh Ní Fhallúin, Kildare North; and Mairéad Ní Chróinín, Galway East

Some of the new candidates don't even recognise John Gormley and Trevor Sargent, the Green Party's flag-bearers for so long.

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But there's no shortage of enthusiasm or commitment from the new generation in seeking to get the Greens back into the Dáil.

After a high of six TDs, the party was wiped out at the last General Election for their part in the disastrous coalition with Fianna Fáil.

The Greens have to go back and start from scratch.

At its pre-election gathering, Greens leader Eamon Ryan noted: "We don't have a penny to our name but we are running this election on a massive voluntary effort. If we can carry it off, imagine the victory it would be over the concept that politics is all about the money."

Running candidates in all 40 constituencies, the Greens badly need to hit 2pc of the national vote to get State funding.

Mr Ryan, the former Energy Minister, is running in Dublin Bay South and trying to win back Mr Gormley's old seat.

Deputy leader Catherine Martin is in contention in Dublin Rathdown, where Mr Ryan and the party's first ever TD, Roger Garland, were based.

And Mark Dearey will be knocking on the doors in the Louth constituency.

Beyond that, it will be a case of building for the future, with candidates like former Greenpeace activist Grace O'Sullivan in Waterford and former professional surfer Fergal Smith in Clare.

Mr Ryan feels Green issues around the environment, planning, energy and climate change are "more relevant and more important than ever".

"Some people say Ireland will figure out the Greens were right in 10 years' time. But by then it will be too late."

Irish Independent

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