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Sinn Féin and FG hope to limit campaign to Left v Right, warn Greens

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Green Party Deputy Leader Cllr. Catherine Martin pictured speaking at the Green Party Convention in Kilkenny

Green Party Deputy Leader Cllr. Catherine Martin pictured speaking at the Green Party Convention in Kilkenny

Dylan Vaughan

Green Party Deputy Leader Cllr. Catherine Martin pictured speaking at the Green Party Convention in Kilkenny

FINE Gael and Sinn Féin want a "narrow political debate" which will suit them - but will not help the Irish people, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said.

Addressing delegates at the annual party convention in Kilkenny, Mr Ryan also questioned the logic of two new political groups who say they will apply a party whip on "economic issues" but allow free votes on "moral issues".

"We should take that path at our peril," the former energy minister told delegates.

Mr Ryan argued that both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin were trying to frame debate on the next general election on lines of a Left v Right divide which he felt was false. He said that such a debate would suit those two parties - but would not suit the Irish people.

"We need the centre to hold, rather than turning to such out-of-date simplicities," he said.

The Green Party leader said a false Left v Right divide ignored the reality of the need to innovate and deliver employment and wealth.

He said the "democratic revolution" promised by the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition after the February 2011 general election had not been delivered.

Instead, the Government had sunk into a conservative mindset and he warned against international trade deals which could undo citizens' social and environmental rights.

Mr Ryan said Ireland needed a spirit of co-operation between government, industry and civil society.

He said citizens' sense of trust in the State was broken.

The party backed a referendum to repeal the 1983 eighth amendment on abortion and also voted for a referendum on keeping water supplies in public ownership.

Delegates voted for abortion legislation in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities if the eighth amendment is repealed.

Irish Independent