Green Party says Noel Grealish should ‘come out of hiding’

Independent TD criticised over comments about African asylum seekers

Green Party TD Catherine Martin: “You just don’t land a punch like that and then go away.”

Green Party TD Catherine Martin: “You just don’t land a punch like that and then go away.”

 

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin has condemned comments made by Galway TD Noel Grealish on asylum seekers from Africa earlier this week.

“The language is appalling, inflammatory and dangerous coming from an elected member of our national parliament,” she said.

“The Deputy should come out of hiding. He has not been seen.

He deserves to be confronted. You just don’t land a punch like that and then go away,” she said.

Attempts by The Irish Times to contact Mr Grealish were unsuccessful.

She was speaking at the party’s think-in in Cork where the Greens also warned any party interested in a coalition government with it should know they will be no pushover. Senior figures in the party said it would be putting forward “red lines” that will be substantial and challenging.

Party figures

Leading party figures said at its think-in in Cork this weekend that if the next government involves the Greens it is going to have be prepared to tackle the huge challenges of climate change immediately.

Party chairman Roderic O’Gorman said it would include a reversal of the ration of spending of two to one on roads over public transport. He and the party’s finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan also said it would involve a complete rewriting of the National Development Plan.

Party leader Eamon Ryan also said the Greens would seek a carbon tax increase of €20 per tonne in the Budget, which is twice the amount that is reportedly being considered by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

Mr Ryan said the party wanted the carbon tax to increase to €90 per tonne (from the present €20 level) by 2030. He added that the system should be a “pay and dividend” one where citizens would be entitled to receive the money back through either tax or social welfare systems.

The party also announced that the Offaly councillor Pippa Hackett would be its candidate in the byelection caused by the election of its sole senator, Grace O’Sullivan, to the European parliament.

Mr Ryan also told councillors and Oireachtas members that the party would be tabling a motion on just transition next week. It will address issues on how to help communities when oil and peat-burning generating stations close down, or when the emphasis in farming moves from, for example, beef to more sustainable methods of agriculture.

Green new deal

He also said that the party would be emphasising a green new deal in its budget submission. He also endorsed the criticism of Government overspending which was made by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council.

On the need for dramatic change in the approach to the economy, Ms Hourigan said: “This has to be about system change and that will be a big ask and an ambitious programme. Other parties will have to move with us on that.

“At the very least we need to seriously change the amount we subiside fossil fuels and carbon heavy industry

“There is little discussion about the fines we are facing for missing our 2020 EU climate emissions targets,” she said.

The party, which won 49 seats in the local elections, and two seats in the European parliament, hopes to win at least six seats in the general election. Party sources said it has targeted as many as 14 constituencies for possible gain.