Green Party leadership race will get scratchy enough soon

Jack Chambers’s star on the rise in Fianna Fáil

Minister for Children and Integration Roderic O’Gorman and Senator Pippa Hackett have both declared their candidacy to become the new Green Party leader. Photograph: Gareth Chaney & Stephen Collins/Collins

Good morning.

Day one of the Green Party’s leadership contest and the choice has now become clear: it’s Rodders vs Pippa. If that sounds like the tennis final at the Protestant Girls Friendly Society, don’t be put off: it will all get scratchy enough soon. All elections do.

Our front page story today suggests that Roderic O’Gorman is nudging ahead, with the support of 16 councillors and TDs to just five for Hackett at last count. But Offaly-based Pippa Hackett, a Senator and ‘super-junior’ Minister of State for agriculture with a seat at Cabinet, also had some prominent party members in her camp.

Ultimately, regardless of public declarations of support from Oireachtas members and councillors, the more than 4,000 members of the Green Party will determine the winner through the one-member, one-vote system operated by the party. Nominations close next Monday and the new leader will be announced on July 8th. Exciting.


As expected, candidates began to make their bids public from yesterday morning and after early morning endorsements from Senator Pauline O’Reilly and junior minister Ossian Smyth – who also offered himself as deputy leader – Hackett confirmed she was in the race on Newstalk in the afternoon.

O’Gorman jumped in before her at lunchtime. His supporters propose him as the more senior candidate, with a long record in the party and Cabinet experience. Hackett’s fans say as a rural-based candidate, she is better placed to disrupt the idea that the Greens are anti-rural. Though it is probably true that both the party’s Dublin and rural seats are under threat.

The campaign is expected to last three weeks. Harry McGee has the details of how the campaign will work here.

Jack White has profiles of the two main contenders.

Cormac McQuinn analyses the race here.

And Miriam Lord asks the important question: should they have considered the two Johnnies?

Chambers steps up

Elsewhere there was more exciting news in Fianna Fáil where Micheál Martin named Jack Chambers as his deputy leader. The party has been without one since 2020. Chambers is a young man whose star is clearly on the rise. He was director of elections for the recent local elections, when Fianna Fáil retained its position as the largest party (albeit by a wafer thin margin over Fine Gael) of local government. With a vacancy arising potentially in the Department of Finance next week – if the speculation about Michael McGrath becoming Ireland’s next European Commissioner is proved correct – Chambers may be poised for an even greater promotion. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Budget warning

The budget oversight committee heard the customary warning from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council about the growth in Government spending yesterday evening. Though as economist Stephen Kinsella observed yesterday on RTÉ, they don’t have to get elected. Meanwhile, the Government delayed a vote on the EU migration pact last night to allow for more debate on the issue next week. And a challenge against it has been initiated in the High Court. Migration continues to occupy a central place in political debate.

‘Tory wipeout’

Finally, in another election taking place not far from here, there’s a couple of major new polls with seat predictions in the UK. One in the Times, suggests the expected Tory collapse will give Labour a 200-seat majority. The other, in the Daily Telegraph, predicts a Labour majority of more than 300 seats. “Tory Wipeout” warns the Telegraph.

Best reads and listens

Two great pieces from our foreign correspondents this morning. The first from Brussels Correspondent Jack Power, who visited the Paris suburb from which 28-year-old Jordan Bardella, far-right candidate for prime minister, comes.

While London Correspondent Mark Paul attends Nigel Farage’s political cabaret in Clacton.

Bizarre story about three gay men being chased in the Phoenix Park from Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward in the Seanad.

In this week’s Inside Politics podcast, the team discuss Eamon Ryan’s decision and the upcoming election in Northern Ireland


The Taoiseach is in the Isle of Man for the British-Irish Council today.

A shorter day in the Dáil today after the 15 hour days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Questions all morning until leaders’ at noon. Government legislation in the afternoon is a Bill to provide enhanced enforcement powers over childcare providers, while People Before Profit have a Private Members’ Bill in the evening which would compel the Central Bank to cap interest rates at 3 per cent. The Dáil adjourns at the civilised hour of 8.50pm.

The Seanad will hear a question on commencement matters this morning from Senator Sharon Keogan on “whether climate or weather modification operations have taken place in Irish airspace”. What could this be about? Surely not the widely debunked conspiracy theory about “chemtrails” – the idea that the vapour trails left by airliners under certain atmospheric conditions are actually evidence that the planes are actually spraying chemicals into the atmosphere? Intriguing.

Later the Upper House will dispose of the remaining stages of the assisted human reproduction legislation before adjourning at the even more civilised time of 4pm. Late lunch anyone?

Horse Racing Ireland is in at Public Accounts Committee, while the Committee on Drug Use gets cracking with officials from the HSE and the departments of Health and of Justice. Full schedule of meetings here.

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