Green Party candidates to run in Wexford 2024 local elections

Pauline O'Reilly from the Green Party (seated center) pictured in the Ashdown Park Hotel on Wednesday evening on her brief visit to Gorey. Back- Paul Dubsky, Bobby Lambert (Chairman), Breda Cahill, Pauline O'Reilly (Green Party), Brendan Cahill, Andrew Nolan. Front- Paula Roseingardin, Ann Walsh. Pic: Jim Campbell

Amy LewisGorey Guardian

Several Wexford residents plan to put themselves forward as Green Party candidates in next year’s local elections.

At a meeting in the Ashdown Park Hotel, members of the Wexford Green Party met with Chairperson of the Green Party, Senator Pauline O’Reilly to discuss the possibility of contesting the elections in 2024. According to Senator O’Reilly, the meeting was extremely positive and involved some very fruitful discussions.

"I think we have a real opportunity in Wexford to get some green councillors elected. If you look at the performance in the by-elections and in the general elections going back, there is a green vote in Wexford and it was unfortunate in 2019 that we didn’t run and didn’t have a councillor elected in Wexford. As Chair of the party, I don’t intend to see that happen again in the elections next year,” she said.

“The meeting was successful and we definitely have people in a few areas of Wexford who are going to run for the party.”

According to Senator O’Reilly, Wexford sits somewhere in the middle nationally in terms of Green Party membership.

"What I certainly noticed come close to an election, you get members coming out in bigger numbers. We also have a lot of family and community members who might get involved in an election,” she added.

“In 2019, we didn’t have the membership there we needed to have people running and that certainly has shifted. We have seen people join that party since we went into government.”

Senator O’Reilly is currently travelling around the country to try to encourage people to run in next year’s elections and said she encourages anyone interested in getting involved to contact her. By encouraging people to run as Green Party candidates around the country, she hopes to change the narrative that the Green Party is urban-focused.

“I want to pursue things so we have as many people as possible outside Dublin, as well as in Dublin. People feel we are Dublin-centric which I am trying to change.”

Dismantling the narrative that vital environmental measures are in direct conflict with rural life is another goal that Senator O’Reilly has.

“I think there is political opportunism from some parties in trying to create and exacerbate that narrative. Farmers are custodians of the land and part of the solution. People want to make sure they’re supported with proper income but they will take the steps that are necessary when they see what the future is,” she said. “Of course, there are challenges. But it is critically important that we demonstrate as much as possible that green is for everyone across the community, and that there are benefits and opportunities for everyone.”

Demonstrating that environmental matters are important for everyone is more challenging if there are no Green Party representatives in an area, she added.

"People are willing to engage but it is important we have people in each area to reflect local sentiment and understand what different matters mean in a local context.”