The Green Party in election mode

Unlike some of the other Opposition forces, the Greens have a coherent underlying philosophy and sound policies

The next election will represent a big opportunity for the Green Party to build on its two Dáil seats, held by Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin, and become a significant parliamentary force. Photograph: Alan Betson

The next election will represent a big opportunity for the Green Party to build on its two Dáil seats, held by Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin, and become a significant parliamentary force. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

In his keynote address to the Green Party annual convention at the weekend, party leader Eamon Ryan delivered a tough, uncompromising attack on the policies of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his Government.

He denounced the Fine Gael-led Government’s record on climate change, its management of the economy and the Taoiseach’s handling of his meeting with US president Donald Trump earlier this month. Ryan has established a deserved reputation as one of the most thoughtful and courteous TDs in Leinster House. His decision to take the gloves off and hammer the Government is a sign that, like many other politicians, he believes an election is not far off. The way he went about highlighting the Government’s poor record on climate change came as no surprise, but his forceful approach to a range of other issues represented a shift in tone by the party.

The Greens suffered a meltdown in the 2011 general election, losing all six seats, but the party came back from the dead to recover two seats last time around. The next election will be a big opportunity to build on that and become a significant force in the next Dáil. The Greens, like the Labour Party, suffered disproportionately from being in government at a time of economic crisis but the party is now returning to its roots as a campaigning organisation. Unlike some of the other Opposition forces, who appear interested only in the politics of protest, the Greens have a coherent underlying philosophy and sound policies.

While the party does need a more forceful strategy to raise its profile, it has to be careful about being sucked into populist campaigns which may deliver short-term gains but could undermine its long-term credibility. Ryan was right to lay so much stress on climate change, which is one of the great issues of our age, and it was also important to try and reconcile the needs of farmers with Green policies. Other policies, such as the promotion of new forestry, and action to tackle urban decay and the impact of plastic on our oceans, are positive initiatives which should strike a chord with a cross-section of the electorate.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.