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A good 'nice cop' Eamon Ryan leadership win would help steady coalition

John Downing



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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan

Will the Green Party leadership election provide a way to keep the party's coalition dissenters on board? Or will it fuel a dangerous Green anti-Government rump?

Those are the questions many of the Green Party's Government partners in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been taking from this marathon, but well-mannered contest between the leader, Eamon Ryan, and his rival and deputy leader, Catherine Martin.

It is largely forgotten now that last time the Green Party entered government in 2007 it had also had a leadership contest. It was caused by its leader, Trevor Sargent, keeping an election promise and quitting the leadership rather than take the party into coalition with Fianna Fáil whom he had castigated.