The Green Party faithful are working off the simplest of maxims: “If not now – when?”
In endorsing their leadership’s coalition deal, they have taken their second leap of faith inside two decades and are fighting for principles which they hold dear and for which they are prepared to take some big chances.
The end result for the party was 1,435 in favour of going into government with 457 against, a majority of 76pc.
Many people dismiss the Green Party as “silly faddists.” Others decry them as “holier than thou.”
But in Ireland, as across the European Union, and indeed across the globe, they have an increasing level of support. They also have the backing of independent scientists who say there are a host of environmental issues which can no longer be dismissed or postponed.
Perhaps the biggest tribute to the work of Green Party activists is that more mainstream political parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and others – have continually tried to steal their clothes and speak to issues like climate change, threats to species, and the need for biodiversity.
The last time the Green Party entered government in 2007 they joined with Fianna Fáil, what was left of the Progressive Democrats, and some Independents. Timing was against them achieving too much – but they still got new building standards and the start of climate change legislation put through.
The banking collapse and the resultant deep economic recession changed the agenda and as the coalition fell apart, the Green Party was almost wiped off the political map in the 2011 general election.
But under Eamon Ryan and some stalwart backroom people they slowly rebuilt. They went from only three local councillors in 2011 to 49 councillors, 12 TDs, two MEPs and one Senator at present.
Over five weeks of coalition negotiations they battled for a good government programme. Now they are ready to enter government and take their second leap of faith.
If you were a Trumpian climate change denier who didn't really want Ireland to actually do anything about it you could do an awful lot worse than back the fundamentalist wing of the Green Party.
In Britain, the tradition is that if a party leader loses an election they lose their job. There's no ifs or buts about it, the electorate decides the fate of the politician charged with steering the direction of the party. Resigning as party leader in the aftermath of an election drubbing is the ultimate democratic sacrifice. The people speak and the politician listens.
Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan are set to play the key roles in an historic coalition government. Our political team look at each individual throughout their political careers.