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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Green Party/PA Images Eamon Ryan speaks at a press conference at the Green Party convention in Cork
Annual convention

Green Party not ruling out being part of Sinn Féin-led coalition, Ryan says

The Green Party leader also condemned the ongoing violence in Gaza.

THE GREEN PARTY will not rule out being part of a future Sinn Féin-led coalition but negotiating a sufficiently eco-friendly programme for government could prove challenging, Eamon Ryan has said.

The Greens’ leader said his party wanted to serve in government again and was open to talking to all parties.

While making clear that included Sinn Féin, Ryan questioned whether that party could make the environmental commitments required to secure his party’s participation in a coalition.

He made the comments at the Greens’ annual convention in Cork today.

Speaking to reporters, Ryan was asked whether his party would consider going back into government after the next general election and, if so, would it countenance Sinn Féin as a potential coalition partner.

“I think we should go into government because I think it’s not a time for sitting on the bench,” he said.

“It’s time for action this decade, [it's] particularly historically important that we make the change this decade.

“So, yes, I think we should be willing to work with all parties. That will be difficult programme-for-government negotiations because, to be honest, Sinn Féin haven’t shown an interest in protecting the environment to the extent that we think is appropriate.

“But we’ll sit down with them and try and make that happen (if Sinn Féin are in a position to form a government),” Ryan said.

The Greens joined Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in coalition government after securing 12 Dáil seats in the 2020 general election.

The party has seen its poll ratings fall in recent times, a trend Ryan attributes to major world events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine, diverting focus from global warming.

He said the Greens had suffered due to the temptation to “shoot the messenger” when it came to the challenges of climate change.

But he expressed confidence his party would fare well in next year’s local elections, as he insisted the Green tide would turn again.

Climate change

During today’s convention, Ryan spoke of the “unprecedented” weather events of the last year and stressed the need for a collective and unified response.

“The weather systems have gone off the charts and that’s truly frightening,” he said.

He added that it was not a case of the Greens being opponents of motorists or farmers, as he dubbed the latter the “frontline heroes” of the transition toward a more sustainable future.

During his keynote speech this evening, Ryan spoke about efforts to help restore the houses and business premises flooded during Storm Babet this week.

“Our hearts go out to anyone whose house or premise went under water. We will have to redouble our efforts to get them back in shape and then prepare for the more extreme weather events we know are to come.

“Climate change is scary. Especially this year when we have seen our weather systems across the world spinning off the dial.

Our young people are understandably anxious about the state of the planet they will inherit. Most people can see what is happening but are unsure about what to do, what it means for them and whether we can pull things back.

“My answer to them is that we can still stop runaway climate change. And in doing this, we can build better, fairer and more resilient communities everywhere.

“We know we need to pay a new generation of farmers and foresters to protect nature as well as providing our food and wood. We know nature based solutions can reduce flood risk, as well as restoring biodiversity and tackling climate change.”


During his speech, Ryan also spoke about the Israel-Hamas war.

He said: “The horrific scenes in Gaza have shocked and enraged the world. Our first response must be to condemn the slaughter of Israeli citizens that took place two weeks ago today.

“It was an evil act that resonated all the more because the Jewish people have for centuries had to bear their own history of expulsion, persecution, antisemitism and genocide. Nothing can excuse the murder of innocent civilians, nothing good can come from targeting people that way.

“At the same time, I think the hearts of the Irish people are also with the Palestinian people. Since early in the last century, Irish and Arab nationalism have shared a lot in common.

“In both cases boundaries were expediently drawn up, which have fatal consequences to this day. With our tradition of UN peacekeeping in southern Lebanon and frontline observers in the West Bank, we see what is happening in the Middle East in a certain light.

“We can deplore what Hamas did while at the same time understanding that there will never be peace unless the rights of the Palestinian people are also delivered upon.”

Ryan noted that the Irish government was one of the first governments to “call on the Israeli armed forces not to target civilians in Gaza as they hit back at Hamas”.

He continued: “Such thinking comes from the lessons we have learnt from our own Troubles. The bombing of civilians is never justified and is never going to work.

The oppression of the people in Gaza and the West Bank has to stop now. The humanitarian imperative requires an immediate cease fire.

“Lasting security can only come when political leaders create the conditions that allow people live up to the Golden rule from the Jewish Holy book, the Torah: ‘to love thy neighbour as thyself’.

“We are small but our voice is listened to in the EU and UN. Whatever solution is found, it has to adhere to the charter of fundamental human rights, recognising the right of both Israel and Palestine to exist.”

With reporting by Órla Ryan

Press Association
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