Eamon Ryan may call for withdrawal of no-confidence motion in Chu

Green Party deputy leader says motion ‘distracts’ from launch of Climate Action Bill

Lord Mayor of Dublin and chairwoman of the Green Party, Hazel Chu, is running as an Independent candidate in the Seanad byelection. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Lord Mayor of Dublin and chairwoman of the Green Party, Hazel Chu, is running as an Independent candidate in the Seanad byelection. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


Deputy leader of the Green Party Catherine Martin has suggested that party leader Eamon Ryan will call for the withdrawal of a motion of no confidence in Hazel Chu, the party’s chairwoman.

Ms Martin claimed that the motion tabled by three Green Party senators “distracted” from the launch of the Climate Action Bill.

She also argued that the motion of no confidence is what caused tension in the party, not the decision by her and five other Green Party Oireachtas members to nominate Ms Chu to run as an Independent candidate in the Seanad byelection.

Ms Martin, the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, said it is her understanding that Mr Ryan will ask the three senators – Pippa Hackett, Pauline O’Reilly and Róisín Garvey – to withdraw their motion of no confidence.

The Green Party has been divided by a huge row over Ms Chu’s Seanad bid.

Mr Ryan wanted the party’s TDs and Senators to support the candidates put forward by the other Coalition parties – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – on the understanding that they would back a Green Party candidate if other vacancies arise.

Ms Martin joined others in the party in signing Ms Chu’s nomination papers which have allowed the Lord Mayor of Dublin to run as an Independent.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Ms Martin denied the move on her part was about unfinished business relating to the leadership contest where she lost out to Mr Ryan.

She insisted that contest is “over” and she is united with the Green Party in seeking to implement the Programme for Government.

Ms Martin said her decision to nominate Ms Chu was because: “I’m a woman in politics, who has spent her life supporting, helping women to get into politics.

“To say no to a woman who seeks a nomination, that simply wouldn’t make sense to me.”

Climate Action Bill

Ms Martin said that the party is “incredibly proud” of the Climate Action Bill which is aimed at cutting carbon emissions by more than 50 per cent by the end of the decade and to a net zero by 2050.

She said she didn’t think it was “upstaged” by her actions and said there was no pact with the Greens’ Coalition partners prohibiting members of its parliamentary party from nominating people to run for the Seanad.

Ms Martin also said: “I don’t believe it was the nomination process that caused tension in our party. But to a greater extent, unfortunately, I think it was the proposed vote of no confidence in our party chair that was unnecessary and it really sadly distracted from the wonderful achievement of the climate Bill.”

She said she has asked the Senators to withdraw the motion and she has spoken to Mr Ryan about the issue.

Ms Martin said: “It is my understanding that Minister Eamon Ryan – our party leader – will also ask them to withdraw that motion of no confidence.”

The Irish Times has sought comment from Mr Ryan on this suggestion by Ms Martin.

Ms Martin refused to say if she will vote for Ms Chu in the upcoming Seanad election, saying she didn’t think it would be appropriate to disclose a secret ballot.

She said she thought revealing her voting intentions would place pressure on other Oireachtas members to do the same.

Ms O’Reilly, one of the Senators who tabled the motion of no confidence in Ms Chu, has previously suggested that her Seanad campaign overshadowed the launch of the Climate Action Bill.

“We had the climate Bill on Tuesday and all the questions were about the strange reality of someone running as an Independent,” she said.

Ms O’Reilly said some Green Party members have “lost some confidence” in Ms Chu in her role as chairwoman.