Green leader election: Former Dublin lord mayor latest to back Roderic O’Gorman

Nominations for the leadership contest officially opened on Thursday morning

Hazel Chu's endorsement means 13 of the party’s 23 councillors have now declared support for Roderic O'Gorman in addition to four Oireachtas members. Photograph: Stephen Collins

Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu has become the latest Green Party councillor to endorse Minister for Children and Integration Roderic O’Gorman to be the party’s next leader.

Her backing means 13 of the party’s 23 councillors have now declared support for Mr Gorman in addition to four Oireachtas members.

His rival for the role, Minister of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett also has the support of four members of the Oireachtas with three councillors publicly declaring support.

The Green Party operate a system of one member, one vote so ultimately the more than 4,000 members will make the decision on who should lead them.


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Nominations for the leadership contest officially opened this morning in the wake of Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan’s announcement earlier this week that he is leaving the role.

In an interview with Midlands 103fm this morning, Offaly-based senator Ms Hackett said his departure provided the party with the chance of a “fresh start”.

She said: “We do need that fresh start. I think everyone can see, the way the wind was blowing through the local election, certainly losing our two MEPs was a big blow to the party also.

“But ultimately, if the Greens are to succeed as a political party and all the things we want to achieve for the country, to succeed, we need to bring the whole country on board. We need to bring everyone across rural Ireland, across the other cities.

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“And I think there’s probably been this Dublin centric focus, or that perceived Dublin centric focus, for too long”. She said she is not “a conventional Green” highlighting how she is a beef and sheep farmer.

Ms Hackett added: “I’ve been actually the only Cabinet minister for the past four years, that is involved representing Offaly, not just at Cabinet, on the national stage, but also on the international stage ...

“All of that gives an opportunity to be more relevant and more relatable to people outside of Dublin.”

Ms Hackett rejected a suggestion that should would find it difficult to be elected in three-seat Offaly constituency in the next general election. “I dispute that I have no chance of winning office.

“I mean, if I get this right, if I become leader, if I’m able to make the Green Party and its policies more relevant to people, that they’re easier and more affordable to people, I think people do want to do the right thing. And if I can crack that nut, I think that would, you know, support me in that engagement.”

She added: “I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion in any shape or form that I will not get elected to County Offaly. I’m in the same mix as many of my party colleagues across the country.”

On her reason for backing Mr O’Gorman, Ms Chu told The Irish Times: “It’s a simple question of electoral maths and strategy, who can drive the Green agenda and ensure that the public sees the importance of fighting climate change in the next election.

Ms Chu, a former Green Party chairwoman added: “Having worked with Roderic on the leadership team when we got our best results in 2019 and 2020, I think he is the best declared candidate to ensure we bring as many people along to fight the climate emergency in the next election.”

Meanwhile, Bray councillor Erika Doyle has backed Ms Hackett.

In a post on social media platform X she said: “We are lucky to have two incredible candidates for leader in Roderic O’Gorman and Pippa Hackett.

“My vote will go to Pippa, who has been a huge support to me over the years.

“Sincere and focused, she has excellent leadership qualities and will bring a fresh voice to the role.”

She added: “There appears to be a focus on who the elected [representatives] are supporting, but in the Green Party my vote is worth the same as any other member, be they a TD, councillor or regular member.”

Dún Laoghaire councillor Tom Kivlehan is also backing Ms Hackett.

He said he knows both candidates and is a “tremendous supporter” of Mr O’Gorman who has a “really tough brief” in Government and has “done amazingly well”.

However, he said what he was considering in the leadership contest is “voter appeal”

Mr Kivlehan said a leader is someone that gets the party “in the public eye, converting people in and winning votes for you.

“I just feel she might have that a little bit more and that’s why I nominated her.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times