Green Party in appeal to voters: ‘Don’t give up on politics’

Deputy leader hopeful ‘a new generation of Greens will break through this weekend’

Green Party members (from left)  Roderic O’Gorman, chairman; Eamon Ryan leader and Cllr Catherine Martin, deputy leader. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Green Party members (from left) Roderic O’Gorman, chairman; Eamon Ryan leader and Cllr Catherine Martin, deputy leader. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Green party leader Eamon Ryan has appealed to the electorate to come out and vote in the general election and “don’t give up on politics”.

Speaking at the Green Party’s final press conference before the poll on Friday, Mr Ryan said “my biggest fear is that the Irish people will not be inspired to go out and vote”.

“If there is one message I have today it is ‘don’t give up on politics’. It’s our best way of deciding how we set our future for this country,” he said. “So whatever you think about the campaign and whatever you think about any party, it’s really important that people get out to vote.”

Mr Ryan said the leaders’ television debate failed to inspire and he believed the campaign “hasn’t caught the public imagination, because there is too much looking at the past rather than the future” and there’s “no big ideas”.

His party had set out ideas such as the citizens’ trust fund to give young people a real start in life. “We’ve imagined traffic free cities, a different model for providing social housing and that Ireland can go fossil-free by 2050.”

Mr Ryan said that in most countries at some stage the election focuses on foreign policy. “But in this election it’s as if we’re living in splendid isolation and it’s just the 26 counties.”

He said there had been no consideration given to the wider world, “as if all we have to talk about is how to carve up an ever expanding economic pie”.

The Green Party was asking voters to vote green for “progressive, looking-to-the-future politics”.

New generation

Deputy leader Cllr Catherine Martin, a candidate in Dublin-Rathdown, said the party was running a candidate in each of the 40 constituencies and “we are very hopeful that a new generation of Greens will break through this weekend”.

She said that if vote “if you see that need for the green voice to be restored to the Dáil, the only way to do that is to give the Green party candidate in your constituency a number one vote”.

Party chairman Cllr Roderic O’Gorman acknowledged the Greens’ time in coalition government with Fianna Fáil did still come up during canvasses.

But people said they did well on certain things, such as the Civil Partnership Bill, which paved the way for the marriage referendum, he said.

The electorate also acknowledged “our efforts to reform the planning system, such as the windfall tax on rezoned land which has been undone by this Government”.

Fingal County Council was now debating the development plan. “We’re all being lobbied again by developers, that ‘there’s a nice piece of land here we could rezone, maybe get some houses in’”.

He said “all the things we warned about in reformed planning law - and this Government undid them - the same lobbying pressure to rezone unsuitable land is happening again. Lessons haven’t been learned from the economic crisis.”