Green Party appoints Catherine Martin to lead its government formation talks

Deputy leader had voted against entering talks on coalition with FF and FG

Also on the talks team led by Catherine Martin (above) will be  Ossian Smyth, Roderic O’Gorman, Neasa Hourgian and Marc Ó Cathasaigh. Photograph: : Brian Lawless/PA

Also on the talks team led by Catherine Martin (above) will be Ossian Smyth, Roderic O’Gorman, Neasa Hourgian and Marc Ó Cathasaigh. Photograph: : Brian Lawless/PA

 

The Green Party has appointed deputy leader Catherine Martin to lead a team of five in government formation talks.

Ms Martin voted against entering into talks on coalition with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil but said previously that she will engage “in good faith” with the talks process.

Also on the Green Party negotiating team will be Ossian Smyth, Roderic O’Gorman, Neasa Hourgian and Marc Ó Cathasaigh. There will be a wider team of about 14 Green Party members who will feed into talks on different policy areas.

The Greens will join Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil this evening for the first round of talks aimed at devising a programme for government.

Three teams of four to five TDs from each party will meet and agree the timetable for talks this evening and to agree an overall strategy.

Fine Gael has been led so far by a negotiating team compromising Simon Coveney, Paschal Donohoe, Hildegarde Naughton and Heather Humphreys.

Internally, the party has already agreed “seven tests” that any future coalition must pass if a government is to be formed. The party believes that any future coalition needs to place the battle against Covid-19 at the heart of its goals. The coalition must also be stable and offer a plan to “lead change at critical times.”

The party also wants to address the cost of living, develop a new jobs and recovery plan and implement a re-evaluated Sláintecare plan in a systematic way.

Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael want to develop a new social contract and with the Green Party find a way to deliver net zero emissions by 2050. One source on a negotiating team said that the framework document recently agreed between the two larger parties will be “the bible” on which the talks are based.

In that document, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil outlined 10 missions for any new government which included reviving the economy, finding a path towards universal healthcare, addressing the housing crisis and creating a new green deal.

The Green Party has received written assurances from the other two parties that they are committed to reducing emissions targets by 7 per cent per annum for the next decade although the path to achieving this will have to be set out in talks.

Outlining how he believes this target can met during the week, Eamon Ryan said that any agreed deal would have to involve a land use plan and there must also be a social focus. “That involves re-wetting our bogs, new types of forestry, new types of farming, getting farmers paid properly so young people can go into farming.”

He said the second element will be around energy and he indicated he believes there is capacity for new offshore wind energy projects. Mr Ryan said there should also be a focus on the retrofitting of buildings.

Meanwhile the leader of Aontú Peadar Tóibín TD and party councillor Sarah O’Reilly will also meet Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael negotiators today to take part in government formation talks.