Top Green Party figures break ranks to back Hazel Chu’s Seanad hopes

Party indicates Lord Mayor of Dublin ‘not contesting election as Green Party candidate’

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin has signed nomination papers for Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu whose nomination for the Seanad the party had refused to support.

The Green Party leadership had held back on endorsing Ms Chu's candidacy, as it believed she stood little chance of winning a seat. The party said on Monday that it was not putting forward a candidate and that Ms Chu "is not contesting the election as a Green Party candidate".

However, in a statement, Ms Martin said nominating Ms Chu “reflects the spirit of the Green Party” which “supports and embraces diversity and inclusion in politics.”

She said she was “delighted” to nominate Ms Chu, and had spoken often about the barriers facing women’s participation in politics. “The barrier that Hazel faced was that of getting her name on the ballot paper as she sought an opportunity to run in this election.

“I believe it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I was more than happy to nominate such a formidable woman in politics and be one of those nine to nominate Hazel.”

Alongside Ms Martin several other Green Party members have defied some in the party leadership to sign Ms Chu's nomination papers. They include Minister of State for Community Development Joe O'Brien, and Neasa Hourigan, both of whom voted against the Government last year, Francis Noel Duffy TD and Senator Vincent Martin. Mr Duffy is married to Ms Martin and Mr Martin is her brother.

She also secured nominations from Senators Eileen Flynn and Lynn Ruane, said sources, and Independent TD Marian Harkin.

Ms Flynn said she had signed nomination papers for Ms Chu because there were not many women running the race.

“I believe her own party should have given her the opportunity to run as a woman and a woman from an ethnic minority group. If I was a woman from an ethnic minority and my party [was] not giving me the opportunity to go, I would appreciate other women supporting me,” said Ms Flynn.

In statement, the Green Party said: “The Green Party’s executive committee decided against holding a selection convention to nominate a Green candidate. The party has not endorsed a candidate in this election. Cllr Chu is not contesting the election as a Green Party candidate.”

Internal tensions

Ms Chu did not respond to requests for comment on Monday afternoon. She was opposed to her party entering coalition and there have been some tensions in the past between her and party leader Eamon Ryan, both of whom represent Dublin Bay South.

She contacted some Independent Oireachtas members earlier this month seeking their support for her nomination for one of the two empty Seanad seats, for which nominations close on Tuesday.

Ms Ruane said she would not vote for a Government candidate, but added that she was willing to sign her nomination papers: “I wasn’t willing to stand in the way of a woman who has spoken out on equality, race and other such issues from entering the race. I think it’s shameful the leadership of the Green Party did not support Hazel Chu to have her name on the ballot.”