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Ryan defends Green Dáil hopeful who opposes the carbon tax

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Own voice: Saoirse McHugh clashes with Green Party. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Own voice: Saoirse McHugh clashes with Green Party. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Own voice: Saoirse McHugh clashes with Green Party. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has insisted the party can accommodate conflicting views after Mayo candidate Saoirse McHugh said she did not support the carbon tax despite it being official policy.

Mr Ryan played down the difficulties Ms McHugh's stance could pose if the Achill islander secured a Dáil seat.

"Everyone knows Saoirse has a different view on that. It's a party which allows for different views. If you completely control ideas or what's possible then maybe you miss something," he said.

He said it would be the parliamentary party which decided what the Greens would do next if it was successful at the ballot box.

He said debate on climate action was often bogged down on carbon tax and the size of the national herd and the party was united in wanting a wider debate.

"One of the things I think we do, and I think Saoirse would agree with this, is move the debate on from where it's always stuck," he said.

Ms McHugh said the carbon tax wasn't going to "nudge you anywhere except to turn off the light and turn off the heat and sit in the cold".

Speaking on RTÉ's 'Prime Time' on Tuesday night, she said: "I personally don't support a carbon tax. I think this is why we need rural Greens because not everything can be transposed from Dublin and make sense in terms of climate action across Ireland."

In its manifesto, the Green Party commits to increasing carbon tax each year for the next decade until it reaches €100 per tonne. The Greens also propose to introduce a mechanism to return all revenues raised from the tax to citizens through social welfare increases and tax credits.

Irish Independent