Gormley to quit as Green leader

 

Former minister for the environment John Gormley is to step down as Green Party leader.

Mr Gormley, who lost his Dáil seat in the general election, told party members in an email that he would not be seeking re-election.

In an email to party members, Mr Gormley described the party’s performance in the election, which saw it lose all six of its Dail seats, as a “temporary demise”.

The party will hold a meeting of its national executive council at the end of this month, before its annual general meeting in May. It is hoping to initiate a strategy for the next local elections in three years’ time.

Under party rules, a leadership contest must be held within six months of an election.

Mr Gormley won a ballot of members to become leader in July 2007, taking over from Trevor Sargent, who resigned when the party entered coalition with Fianna Fáil.

Senator Dan Boyle, party chairman, would not be drawn today on whether he would contest the leadership. But he was confident the party could rebuild. “It’s not a unique experience,” he said. “The German Greens, the Belgian Greens and the Czech Greens have all had similar experiences. It’s something of a rite of passage almost for the Green Party in terms of their first experience of parliament, their first experience of government.”

Senator Niall Ó Brolcháin said Mr Gormley had been considering his future since the election and felt it was time to go. “The election performances of the party haven’t been exactly very positive, the local election and the recent national election,” he said. “He had decided himself that it is time for him to go. I think there will be a lot of respect for that decision. Obviously there was a bit of a punishing time in Government.”