Wednesday 23 October 2019

'I had a bet on Saoirse McHugh at 50/1' - Eamon Ryan hopeful for Green's future in Europe

Eamon Ryan,TD,the Green Party leader at Leinster House. Pic Tom Burke
Eamon Ryan,TD,the Green Party leader at Leinster House. Pic Tom Burke
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said his party had "a good election, a good campaign", but he believes it's still too early to celebrate.

In a remarkable result, the Green Party looks set to achieve an unprecedented support level in the local elections.

Speaking on Newstalk this morning, TD Eamon Ryan said he also had a €50 bet on their European Parliament candidate in the Midlands North West constituency, Saoirse McHugh.

"I met Saoirse a year ago. She's passionate about green and passionate about protecting nature," Mr Ryan said.

Saoirse McHugh on RTE Prime Time debate.
Saoirse McHugh on RTE Prime Time debate.

"I was really impressed with her. I always thought she'd have a good chance.

"She's an articulate, capable woman. The odds were at 50/1, I thought 50/1?

"I'm not a gambler, but occasionally I do. A few times a friend has said you should put the bet on if you think the odds don't reflect the reality."

The Green Party leader said he won't be taking a sigh of relief just yet, but he is hopeful for the results.

Saoirse McHugh
Saoirse McHugh

"It is too early. We have to see if what the polls predicted comes through.

"The great thing about our voting system is it allows for the transfers. And that's what will happen in the next two days.

"We sense it, we had a good election and a good campaign. There is a green wave of public consciousness in Ireland.

"We've been waiting for it for a long time.

"We've seen it, in waves, but not as strong as this."

He continued; "It's happening in other parts of the world; Germany, Holland, Sweden.

"In the last six months and year it's landed in Ireland.

"It's the young people at the climate strikes. It's young people standing up and saying, 'we have to protect nature'.

"It wasn't just a young vote, though, I was at a lot of doors and everyone was saying they wanted to play their part."

Mr Ryan said he believes the "overall tide" of thinking "protecting nature is protecting ourselves" is in the Irish consciousness now.

He said he is also counting Claire Bailey in Northern Ireland as part of their success team as he said they consider themselves an all-Ireland party.

And he added that they are hoping this election's success will have an influence across European politics.

"If we send three to Europe... the Dutch Greens look like they'll have three as well. That will be a big story.

"The Greens in the European Parliament will have a pivotal role.

"The risk in the upcoming European Parliament is that it might be negative, full of people opposed to Europe.

"People like Nigel Farage who want to bring it down. If we can bring up the number of Greens we might hold the balance of power and have real influence in a significant way."

Mr Ryan said if the Greens' success continues into the next General Election, they have no objections or preferences to parties for a Coalition.

"We'd have preference with someone who sees the world the way we do," he said.

"It's not a denigrating politics. It's trying to pull people together. That's our job. The sooner people jump on the bandwagon the better."

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