Ex-election candidate Saoirse McHugh quits Greens saying electoral politics alone doesn’t work

Former election candidate says ‘only way forward is climate justice’

Saoirse McHugh   announced her move saying it would “turn my stomach” to remain in the Green Party. File photograph: Collins

Saoirse McHugh announced her move saying it would “turn my stomach” to remain in the Green Party. File photograph: Collins

 

Former Green Party election candidate Saoirse McHugh has left the party, she has announced.

Ms McHugh’s move is not unexpected as she had repeatedly said she would leave the party if it entered government. She campaigned against the programme for government, which was endorsed by three-quarters of Green members in a party-wide vote.

In a Twitter thread on Thursday she said the programme was “a terrible document. The membership were told it contained certain things that it didn’t.

“This government, I believe (and I hope I’m wrong) will do massive damage to the idea of environmentalism by linking it with socially regressive policies.”

Ms McHugh shot to prominence during the European Parliament elections in 2019 when she narrowly failed to win a seat for the party in Connacht-Ulster. However, she subsequently failed to win a Dáil seat in Mayo this year and failed to be elected to the Seanad.

In a series of Tweets on Thursday morning, she announced her move saying it would “turn my stomach” to remain in the Green Party.

“Only by viscerally improving people’s lives will support for climate action be ensured. Our problems in housing, tax avoidance, healthcare, agriculture etc are inextricably linked with and reinforce environmental breakdown and because of this solutions must be mutual.”

She said that she hopes a new group that has been formed within the Greens “break off and form an actual eco socialist party”.

The former election candidate also said: “I don’t believe that our pathway to a just and free society lies in electoral politics.”

She said that she had seen “brilliant and brave people are bullied and silenced within parties that profess to be grounded in equality and democracy. I’ve seen how much effort and energy gets taken up by elections and internal party struggles. Our only way forward is climate justice and that’s what I will continue to work towards but the greens no longer provide a vehicle to do that”.

She said that she hoped she was wrong and that the Government “exceeds all expectations. I’d happily be proven so wrong”.

Ms McHugh’s departure from the party comes on the day the results of the party’s leadership election, in which deputy leader Catherine Martin is challenging leader Eamon Ryan, will be announced. A result is expected about 7.30pm.