Greens set to provide political anoraks with leadership battle denied to us by Fine Gael

Your essential end-of-week politics catch up: Dublin City Council move shows impact of local elections

Green Party contest: Could Roderic O’Gorman or Pippa Hackett face a leadership challenge from Catherine Martin after the next general election? Photograph: Eamon Ward

Story of the Week

The Green Party is set to provide political anoraks with the leadership contest denied to us by Fine Gael earlier this year as the race is on to succeed departing leader Eamon Ryan.

While Simon Harris took over as Fine Gael leader unopposed, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman and Minister of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett are set to battle it out over the next two weeks.

There was much praise for Ryan in the wake of his announcement that he would be leaving the role both for his decency and unwavering campaigning for the environment over three decades.

He said he was stepping down to “pass the torch to a new generation of leaders” and also so he can focus on family life.


Ryan said politics has become too demanding, too “divisive” and there has often been “vile attacks” on social media.

Harry McGee has written a profile of Ryan where he says that despite the “moonshots” he was a realist at heart.

The party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin surprised everyone by saying she was stepping down from that role and would not be putting her name forward to replace Ryan “at this point in time”.

Later in the week she did not rule out a future bid for the leadership saying “never say never” while also saying she is committed to supporting whoever becomes leader in the current contest.

Could O’Gorman or Hackett face a leadership challenge from Martin after the next general election?

O’Gorman was quick to say he was not running to become “interim leader” when asked about Martin’s remarks.

The Dublin West TD is running on a platform that highlights his experience as a senior Cabinet Minister and arguing that while Ireland needs a strong Green Party to keep the environment at the centre of public debate, it cannot be a single-issue party and needs to deliver in areas like childcare, housing and education to build support.

Hackett is a farmer from Co Offaly and as she put it she is “not your conventional Green”. Her supporters have been highlighting her rural credentials and she has said the party has never had a non-Dublin or woman leader adding that her “perspective and certainly my different life experiences can make the Green Party relevant and relatable”.

More than 4,000 Green members will be considering who to vote under the party’s one-member, one-vote system before the new leader is unveiled on Monday July 8th.

Bust up

The usually genteel environs of the Upper House witnessed a blazing row between Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Independent Senator Rónán Mullen on Thursday.

It was all over legislation to regulate fertility treatment and surrogacy.

The Minister accused Mullen of being “an absolute disgrace” and setting himself up as a champion of women’s rights but that he had for years sought to control women and their reproductive health.

He accused Mullen of having “an obsession with controlling people’s sexuality.”

The Senator in turn claimed Donnelly is “probably the worst Minister we have ever had, no friend of children with scoliosis, that’s for sure, but very good at the virtue-signalling politics that gets you plaudits in certain quarters”.

Marie O’Halloran has a full report on the bitter changes in the Seanad.

Banana skin

Dublin City Council is about to provide a clear-cut example of how who is elected to local authorities can have a very direct impact on those they represent.

Homeowners in the city are set to have higher Local Property Tax (LPT) bills under a new Fine Gael-led powersharing arrangement that’s expected to be ratified today.

As Dublin Editor Olivia Kelly reports Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have consistently voted for the lowest possible annual LPT charge, but have agreed to increases from 2026 to secure the support of the Green Party and Labour for their power pact.

LPT, which is based on the value of a property, has a base rate that can be raised or lowered by 15 per cent by councillors each year.

Since the introduction of the tax in 2013, Dublin city councillors have always voted for the maximum discount. That looks set to end.

While homeowners will not welcome higher bills, the councillors backing the plan will be hoping they do welcome much improved services for Dubliners which they argue can be delivered with the increased revenue.

The Green Party hailed the agreement as a €60 million deal to “clean up the city”, promising more street cleaning as well as more pedestrian crossings, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure.

It will be interesting to see how the increased LPT goes down among Dubliners, whether they punish the politicians responsible at the ballot box, or reward them if they see benefits for the city of increased funds for services.

Winners and losers

This week’s winner is Minister of State Jack Chambers who has been chosen by Tánaiste Micheál Martin to become the deputy leader of Fianna Fáil. He has also been tipped for promotion to senior Cabinet role, perhaps even Minister for Finance, if the current holder of that job, Michael McGrath, is announced as Ireland’s next European Commissioner. Not bad for a second term TD who is still just 33 years old. Read Sarah Burns’s analysis here.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak may be ruing his decision to call an early general election and he should get used to being in the loser category for the next few weeks as the UK heads for the polls on July 4th. Some opinion polling suggests that he could lose his seat as part of a Conservate Party collapse that could see Labour get a majority of between 200 and 300 seats. Ouch.

The Big Read

Political Editor Pat Leahy looks at what’s next for the Coalition in the wake of the departures of Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan from the top table. There are some big decisions ahead for Taoiseach Simon Harris, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and whoever emerges victorious in the Green Party leadership race – not least how will RTÉ be funded, who will be Ireland’s next European Commissioner, the budget and the timing of the next general election. That’ll be available on on Saturday.

Harry McGee meanwhile, sat down with Ryan to talk about his decision to leave the political stage after 13 years as Green Party leader. That’s online this evening.

Hear here

As well as looking at the Green Party leadership race, the Inside Politics podcast on Wednesday turned to Northern Ireland where voters will select their 18 Westminster MPs next month. Mark Hennessy and Freya McClements discussed what really matters to voters in these elections and whether the issue of Irish unity is on the radar.

Freya McClements: “Part of this election has been the fact that it did take everybody by surprise… that was a particular difficulty for the All-Ireland parties, specifically Sinn Féin who when this UK general election as call was obviously right in the middle of the Local and European elections down south”.

Who will replace Eamon Ryan? / Northern Ireland votes

Listen | 43:11