Eamon Ryan has been re-elected as Green Party leader

It has been announced this evening, Thursday, July 23, that Eamon Ryan will remain as the leader of the Green Party.

Postal ballots were issued to 2,336 Green Party members in the Republic of Ireland and 598 members in Northern Ireland. 66.7% of those cast their vote, with Eamon Ryan receiving 994 votes and Catherine Martin receiving 946.

Since 2011, both Ryan and Martin have held their positions as leader and deputy leader of the party respectively.

The deadline for receipt of ballots for the leadership contest was 5.30pm yesterday, Wednesday, July 22, and the count took place today, with the result announced after 7:00pm.

The hustings took a different format this year

Following the formation of the government coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, Eamon Ryan holds the position of Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, while Catherine Martin is Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

For the last number of weeks, both candidates have been setting out their ambitions as potential leader of the Green Party. Ryan had promoted himself to remain in the position due to his experience, while Martin expressed in hustings that although a valuable attribute, experience was not a “prerequisite”.

They have taken part in a number of online hustings through web conferencing technology Zoom. The hustings were organised regionally, according to EU constituencies.

The hustings were chaired by the Green Party’s national coordinator Bláithín Gallagher and the announcement of the vote was made this evening by the returning officers Meabh Cody and Harry McEvansoneya.

Tensions within the Green Party

The announcement of the Green Party leadership comes after recent tension amongst members in the party.

Former Green Party election candidate Saoirse McHugh announced today that she has left the party. She said in a statement: “The reasons I have left are obvious, I joined the Greens with the hope of furthering the cause of climate justice…”

“The Programme for Government that has been agreed on is a terrible document. The membership were told it contained certain things that it didn’t.

This government, I believe, will do massive damage to the idea of environmentalism by linking it with socially regressive policies.

Yesterday evening, Wednesday, July 22, a ‘green-left affiliate group of the Green Party’ called ‘Just Transition Greens’ announced its formation.

The application to form this new organisation, which was approved by the Green Party executive committee, was signed by 16 party members, including Saoirse McHugh.

One of the aims of the organisation is that “members who may be thinking about leaving the party can remain affiliated to it and influence its thinking and decision-making”.

However, McHugh said she is not involved with this affiliate group anymore as she “couldn’t stomach being affiliated with the Greens”.