Gormley admits interest in Green leadership


The Minister for the Environment John Gormley today formally announced he will be contesting the leadership of the Green Party.

Already the party's chairman, the experienced Dublin South-East TD was a central figure in negotiations with Fianna Fail on a coalition pact putting them into power for the first time.

I will be putting my name forward for the leadership of the Green Party and it's likely that we will have an election
Green Party chairman John Gormley

He praised acting leader Trevor Sargent who kept his pre-election promise not to lead the party into a government led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

"Trevor's step is a very courageous one. He's a man of integrity, I think everyone knows that," he said.

"I will be putting my name forward for the leadership of the Green Party and it's likely that we will have an election."

The Minister told RT É Radio: "I do think that I have the experience after 25 years in the party to lead the party and to lead the party in a way that makes that transition, that very important transition, from being a party of opposition to being of government."

Over the last two decades Mr Gormley has been a Green Party councillor, TD, party chairman and senior negotiator. Along with colleague Eamonn Ryan, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, they became the first Greens to sit at the Cabinet table last month.

Mr Gormley rejected suggestions the new leader should come from outside the parliamentary party and used the positions as a springboard to get elected to the Dail.

Nominations close this Friday and hopefuls will have to secure the backing of at least 50 party members before they are allowed to stand for the job. A postal ballot will then get under way on July 9th will all votes having to be returned by July 17th.

Former Green MEP Patricia McKenna announced last week she was seeking nominations. Under party rules the Deputy Leadership, held by newly elected TD Mary White, will also have to be decided.

Meanwhile, Mr Gormley has dismissed reports of a rift in the young coalition adding that negotiations were difficult but dealings at the Cabinet table have been smooth.

The Minister also reaffirmed his opposition to incineration and that he would publish departmental documents related to the controversial M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara and the national monument found at Lismullen.