Green Party to contest all constituencies in European elections
Ryan says Irish effort will be part of Green campaign throughout Europe
At the Green Party launch in Dublin of its European Parliament campaign are (from left): Mark Dearey, Midlands–North-West; Grace O’Sullivan, South, party leader and Dublin candidate Eamon Ryan and Ross Brown, a candidate in the North constituency. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
The Green Party is contesting all four constituencies on the island in May’s European elections as it seeks to rebuild following its decimation in the 2011 general election. The party lost all of its Dáil seats following its participation in government with Fianna Fáil.
Eamon Ryan, who took over as leader and set about rejuvenating the party, is running in Dublin, with Waterford environmental activist Grace O’Sullivan contesting the South constituency, Louth councillor Mark Dearey running in Midlands–North-West and Ross Brown, also active on environmental issues, contesting the North constituency.
Mr Ryan stressed the party was running candidates as part of a Europe-wide campaign, promoting a policy of major investment in energy, transport and housing in an effort to tackle unemployment and prepare Europe for the environmental challenges ahead.
“Our candidates will bring different qualities to the table, but they all believe in a Green vision which will bring sustainable economic development to Ireland and secure our future across this whole island.” Mr Ryan said a lot of faith had been lost in Europe due to five years of austerity. “As we turn the corner, I am looking to get people thinking about where we go next.”
Asked about the party’s coalition with Fianna Fáil, Ms O’Sullivan said lessons had been learned and the party must now go forward and align itself with the Green MEPs in the European Parliament.
Mr Dearey said the party had a period of reflection after the general election, having been sentenced to the wilderness. “It seems at this stage we have served our time and used it wisely to rethink how we will engage with people and political opponents in the future,” he added.
He would be in touch with Mr Brown throughout the campaign on a range of issues affecting border communities. He added that the Greens could learn from the lessons of the past and be really significant players on the European stage.
Mr Brown said the Green Party had not created the economic problems which emerged, adding that the party had entered government in the Republic at the wrong time and was left to pick up the pieces.