Lord Mayor of Dublin and Green party councillor Hazel Chu has said her party's leadership contest is "too close to call".
The result of the contest between current leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin is due to be announced at 7.30pm on Thursday.
"I know people are calling it one way or another but it's too close to call from where I'm standing anyway," Cllr Chu said on Thursday afternoon.
“Either way it’s been a respectful contest, they’ve done well and whoever gets in will be good for the party.”
Cllr Chu was speaking at the launch of a mural produced by young people from the St John Bosco Youth Centre in Drimnagh in Dublin, which was also attended by her party colleague TD Patrick Costello. The mural was produced to acknowledge the work of essential workers during the Covid-19 lockdown and was overseen by artist Shane Ha.
Both Cllr Chu and Mr Costello backed Ms Martin in the leadership contest. Cllr Chu said they will “absolutely support” Mr Ryan if he is re-elected.
“We’ve worked with Eamon and we will continue to work with Eamon if he gets in,” she said. “We’ve backed Catherine mainly because we do feel there needs to be a change. It’s been nine years since a new leader has come in.”
The Lord Mayor added that she believed now was the right time for a leadership contest.
“I’ve had so many people say ‘oh you didn’t need it now’ but constitutionally we did and even if it wasn’t in the constitution, I think after nine years it is appropriate to have a leadership contest especially when you have a change in government,” she said.
“People might say ‘oh you should have had it later’ but there’s never a good time for a change, no one ever wants to embrace change but change is needed and you can see it within our own communities. Every day we’re changing in different directions. We do need new leadership to drive it.”
Mr Costello said he hopes whoever is elected will embrace the challenge of delivering “a fair recovery and a fair green deal”.
The Dublin South Central TD also said "it is a pity" that Saoirse McHugh had decided to leave the party.
“She had a background as an activist, she had great energy, passion and commitment, all of which are needed now more than ever,” he said.
“I think it’s a real pity and I wish her luck in whatever she’s going to do next and I hope she stays working on all these issues and brings that passion and energy to whatever she does next.”
Ms McHugh, a former Green Party election candidate, announced her decision on Twitter on Thursday morning stating that the programme for government was “a terrible document”.
“The membership were told it contained certain things that it didn’t,” she said.
“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.”