Runners and riders set to emerge for Green Party leadership after Ryan resignation

Possible contenders to lead the Greens were unusually coy last night, but discreet approaches were still made

The Green Party's Eamon Ryan speaking to the media at Goverment Buildings as he announced he is stepping down as party leader. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Good morning.

Never a dull moment around here. Barely three months after Leo Varadkar shocked the political world by announcing he was stepping down as leader of his party and taoiseach, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan repeated the manoeuvre yesterday by resigning as leader of the Greens. He will stay on as Minister – if the new leader will have him – but will not contest the next general election.

The papers this morning are looking forward to who might be the next leader of the party. Our page one story names Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman and junior minister Pippa Hackett as likely contenders; others may also join the race, although nobody was confirming anything last night.

The contest was thrown wide open by the announcement of deputy leader Catherine Martin – who, let us not forget, challenged Ryan for the leadership in the middle of the negotiations on the programme for government in 2020 – to the effect that she would not stand for the leadership “at this point in time”, whatever that means. She will also step back as deputy leader. But she will, she confirmed, contest the next election.


So who will be the next leader? Possible contenders were unusually coy last night. There seems to have been an understanding that they wouldn’t start declaring on the day Ryan resigned. Discreet – and maybe sometimes not-so-discreet – approaches were still being made, though.

Roderic O’Gorman is the only Cabinet member possibly in the running, and probably the front-runner, though Pippa Hackett – as a super junior minister – also attends at Cabinet, and so can reasonably claim seniority over her junior colleagues Ossian Smyth, Joe O’Brien and Malcolm Noonan, who ruled himself out.

There was even a suggestion that defenestrated MEP Ciaran Cuffe could run for the job. The Greens, as they like to point out, often do things differently. More as we get it, as they say, in the course of the day; the runners and riders will have to start making themselves known today.

Meanwhile, here’s Harry McGee’s profile of Ryan and an assessment of the politics of his move.

Miriam’s take is here.

And The Irish Times view: a severe blow to the Green Party.

Meanwhile, the In the News podcast has a run-through of the day’s events and what comes next.

Elsewhere our front page has news of the planned Aer Lingus work-to-rule. If this does go ahead, and especially if it escalates into a full-scale strike, it will very quickly become a political issue as disappointed would-be holidaymakers ask the politicians: what are you going to do about this? The responsibility will fall to Minister for Transport, er, Eamon Ryan.

Debate continues today in the Dáil on the EU’s migration pact, with a vote due this evening. Here’s Marie O’Halloran’s account of the Dáil debate yesterday.

Election fallout, of a sort: TikTok could face fines for running political ads after a complaint was made.

Will the by-elections ever take place?

Listen | 27:02

Hugh Linehan is joined by Pat Leahy and Harry McGee to look back at the week in politics. With our recent obsession on the local and European elections winding down, today we take a look at the week's Dáil debates and at the "guillotining through" of the huge piece of legislation that is the Planning Bill into its final stage. The panel also discuss whether Dáil vacancies arising as a result of TDs becoming MEPs will ever be filled in the lifetime of this Government. The panel also pick their Irish Times articles of the week.

Best reads

Jack Power in Brussels has a good assessment of Ursula von der Leyen and her chances of retaining the European Commission presidency.

In Glasgow, Mark Paul finds himself on the edges of a bar brawl.

Michael McDowell has some hard words on the EU migration pact.


All eyes will be on the Green leadership contenders today to see who’s in and who’s out.

Meanwhile, this afternoon Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin – along with Northern First Minister Michelle O’Neill – will officially open phase two of the Ulster Canal redevelopment project at Clones Marina in Co Monaghan.

In the Dáil, it’s another long day, running from 9am until midnight. Leaders’ Questions is at noon, followed by a series of Government Bills and another three-and-a-half hours of debate on the EU migration pact. The weekly votes are at 11.30pm.

The migration pact will also be discussed in the Seanad, along with a motion on cancer services and the Government Bill on automatic pension enrolment.

At the committees, it’s another busy day, where the sessions include a hearing at the transport committee involving representatives of the Dublin Airport Authority. The full schedule is here.

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