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Saoirse McHugh quits Green party describing Programme for Government as 'terrible document'

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‘What a joke’: Prominent Green Party member Saoirse McHugh. Photo: Gerry Mooney

‘What a joke’: Prominent Green Party member Saoirse McHugh. Photo: Gerry Mooney

‘What a joke’: Prominent Green Party member Saoirse McHugh. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Former Green Party election candidate Saoirse McHugh has announced her decision to leave the party.

Ms McHugh said the said the Programme for Government is a "terrible document" and that the membership were told it contained things it didn’t.

In a statement shared on Twitter this morning, she said the coalition government will do "massive damage to the idea of environmentalism by linking it with socially regressive policies."

Ms McHugh, who came to national prominence after she ran in the European elections in 2019, said she doesn't believe that the pathway to a "just and free society lies in electoral politics" and that she no longer sees the Greens as a party that is paving the way forward for climate justice.

She said that she "couldn’t stomach" remaining in the Green party.

"Only by viscerally improving peoples lives will support for climate action be ensured. Our problems in housing, tax avoidance, healthcare, agriculture etc are inextricably linked with and reinforce environmental breakdown and because of this solutions must be mutual," Ms McHugh said.

She added that she hopes a new affiliate group, Just Transition Greens (JTG), "break off and form an actual eco socialist party."

In response to MsMcHugh's tweets, Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin wrote: "Sorry you are leaving Saoirse. Your talent, energy and commitment to climate and social justice is obvious to all. I hope to work alongside you in the future. Beir bua."

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Ms McHugh's statement comes as the results of the party's leadership contest between Ms Martin and incumbent Eamon Ryan are expected to be announced this evening.

Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan told RTÉ's Today Sarah McInerney she is" really disappointed" to lose "an exceptional colleague who I think attracted a huge amount of people into the party."

She added: "She all along had kind of committed that if we found ourselves in government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail she would take a step back, and she has chosen to do that now. I think that she's a huge loss to us.

Ms Hourigan insisted the formation of the JTG is "not a split" within the party.

"This is not a split and I think it's as evident by the fact that we went to the Executive Council and we discussed this," she said.

"I think that the reality is is that we either shut down the space and say you're in now and you're going to have to toe the line, or we allow people the space to discuss those things and to criticise it."


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