Green’s executive committee not supporting move to have Chu step aside
Review ordered into Seanad byelection selection process to ‘ensure such incidents are avoided in future’
Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has recently said that ‘the numbers aren’t there’ for her to win a Seanad seat. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The Green’s executive committee (EC) has not joined a majority of the parliamentary party in calling for Hazel Chu to step aside as party chairwoman during her bid for a Seanad seat.
It has instead ordered a review of how Seanad byelection candidates are selected in the wake of the row over the Dublin Lord Mayor’s run as an independent.
In a statement to members the EC said it believes the review will “allow us to move on from recent events, while ensuring that any such incidents are avoided in future.”
The Green Party has been engulfed in a row over Ms Chu’s Seanad run in recent weeks.
Party leader Eamon Ryan wanted his TDs and Senators to vote for Coalition candidates in the expectation that they would support a Green Party candidate should another vacancy arise during the lifetime of the Government.
Deputy leader Catherine Martin, on the other hand, signed Ms Chu’s nomination papers and argued against the parliamentary party holding a vote on a motion calling for Ms Chu to step aside as Green Party chairperson for the duration of her campaign.
The vote went ahead and a majority of Green Party Oireachtas members supported the motion calling for Ms Chu to step aside but the parliamentary party does not have the power to force her to do this.
The result was communicated to the party’s EC, though it was not compelled to act on it.
The committee met today and the Green Party’s national co-ordinator Bláithín Gallagher issued a statement to members afterwards that had been “unanimously” agreed.
The statement says the EC “acknowledges that the issue of candidacy for the Seanad byelection has led to a difficult period for the party.”
“We recognise that divisions within the party about the matter have also spilled into the public sphere.
“We recognise that a range of views have been expressed by members and groupings of the party, including the Oireachtas parliamentary party.”
The statement adds: “The EC believes that it is important to focus on our future, to learn lessons from this process and to clarify procedures used by the party on matters relating to Seanad byelections.”
It says the EC has decided to commission a review “to improve processes and procedures for future Seanad byelections.
“This review should take into account the inherently political nature of the election and the need to ensure that procedures are timely and fair.”
The statement says the review will be “composed of suitable persons, nominated by the General Secretary, in consultation with the Management Committee, and approved by the EC.”
It will have three months to complete its work and it will report to the EC “which will consider and decide on recommendations as it sees fit” before decisions are communicated to party members.
It says “The EC believes implementing such a review will allow us to move on from recent events, while ensuring that any such incidents are avoided in future.”
In recent days Ms Chu has said that “the numbers aren’t there” for her to win a Seanad seat.
Her comments came after Sinn Féin decided to back Independent candidate Billy Lawless.
She said: “As much as I would have loved to win I also knew going into it that winning wasn’t the reason I was going for it.”
She said she knew the Seanad bid was going to be a “no hoper” when she decided to run but she’s still glad she did and she is not withdrawing from the race.
Ms Chu said she launched her campaign as “in 2021 there shouldn’t be no woman on the ballot” and also because there should be people from minorities running to help ease divisions in Irish society.
Fianna Fáil candidate Gerry Horkan remains the favourite to take the seat on the Seanad’s industrial and commercial panel due to a pact between his party and Fine Gael.
The electorate for the byelection is 218 TDs and Senators.