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Green Party
Comhaontas Glas
Leader John Gormley
Chairperson Dan Boyle
Secretary-General Colm Ó Caomhánaigh
Deputy leader Mary White
Founded 1981 (1981)
Headquarters 16-17 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
Youth wing Young Greens
Ideology Green politics
International affiliation Global Greens
European affiliation European Green Party
European Parliament Group European Greens–European Free Alliance
Official colours Green and gold
Dáil Éireann
Seanad Éireann
Northern Ireland Assembly
Local government in the Republic of Ireland
Local government in Northern Ireland
Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Political parties
Politics of Northern Ireland
Political parties

The Green Party (Irish: Comhaontas Glas; lit. Green Alliance) is a green political party in Ireland. It was founded as the Ecology Party of Ireland in 1981 by Dublin teacher Christopher Fettes. The party became the Green Alliance in 1983 and in 1987 was renamed to its current title.

Green Party candidates have been elected to all levels of government; local, Dáil and European Parliament, and in 2007 the party gained its first representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Northern Ireland party having become a region of the Irish Green Party in the previous year. On 14 June 2007, following negotiations that agreed on a programme for government, the Green Party entered into government with Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats (the latter of which has since disbanded but its two TDs remain part of the government).



The party's first electoral outing was when 7 candidates contested the November 1982 general election under the Ecology Party banner, winning 0.2% of the vote. Following a name-change, they contested the 1984 European Parliament elections, with their party founder winning 1.9% in the Dublin constituency. The following year they won their first election when Marcus Counihan was elected to Killarney Urban District Council during the 1985 Local Elections. The party nationally ran 34 candidates and won 0.6% of the vote. The party continued to struggle until the general election of 1989 when the again renamed party won its first seat in parliament, the Dáil, when Roger Garland was elected in Dublin South. In the 1994 European Parliament election Patricia McKenna topped the poll for the Dublin Constituency and Nuala Ahern won a seat in Leinster. They retained their seats in 1999. In the general election of 1997 the party gained a seat when John Gormley won a Dáil seat in Dublin South East. At the general election of 2002 that it made a breakthrough, getting 6 Teachtaí Dála (TDs) elected to the Dáil with 4% of the national vote. However, in the election to the European Parliament of June 2004, the party lost both of the European Parliament seats which. In the 2004 local elections at county level it increased its number of councillors from 8 to 18 out of 883 and at town council level its number of councillors increased from 5 to 14 out of 744. However, the vast majority of its seats were lost at the 2009 council elections, including its entire traditional Dublin base, where - with the exception of a Town Council Seat in Balbriggan - it now holds no council seats at all in Dublin and only three County Council seats in total.It has about fifteen hundred members.


The National Executive Committee is the organising committee of the party. It comprises the party leader John Gormley, deputy leader Mary White, Chair Dan Boyle, Young Greens representative, Treasurer and ten members elected annually at the party convention.[1] As of 21 March 2008, its 15 members are:[2] John Gormley – Leader, Mary White – Deputy Leader, Dan Boyle – Chairman, Martin Nolan – Treasurer, Elizabeth Davidson – Deputy National Coordinator Barra Roantree – Young Greens, Andrew Byrne, Elizabeth Davidson, Andrew Murphy – National Coordinator, Cadogan Enright, Edel Hackett, Sara Garbett, Phil Kearney, Stiofan Nutty and Karly Greene


The party did not have a national leader until 2001. At a special "Leadership Convention" in Kilkenny on 6 October 2001, Trevor Sargent was elected the first official leader of the Green Party. He was re-elected to this position in 2003 and again in 2005.

Sargent resigned the leadership in the wake of the general election to the 30th Dáil. During the campaign, Sargent had promised that he would not lead the party into Government with Fianna Fáil. In the election outcome the party retained 6 Dáil seats , making them the most likely partner for Fianna Fáil. Sargent and the party negotiated a coalition government and at the 12 June membership meeting to approve the agreement, he announced his resignation as leader.

In the subsequent leadership election, John Gormley became the new leader on 17 July 2007, defeating Patricia McKenna by 478 votes to 263. The deputy Leader is Mary White.


The Green Party currently have six TDs and three Senators. Party Chairman Dan Boyle and Déirdre de Búrca were nominated by the Taoiseach to Seanad Éireann after the formation of the Fianna Fáil–PD-Green Party government in 2007 and Niall Ó Brolcháin elected in December 2009. De Búrca resigned in February 2010, and was replaced by Mark Dearey.

The Green Party has strong links with its counterpart in Northern Ireland, the Green Party in Northern Ireland, which voted to become a region of the Irish Green Party in 2005 at its Annual Convention, and again in a postal ballot in March 2006. Brian Wilson, formerly a councillor for the Alliance Party, won the Green Party's first seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 2007 election.

The Irish Green Party is a member of the European Green Party. Though it previously held a more eurosceptic stance than is usually articulated by most other green parties in Europe, the decision by two thirds of party members to endorse a Yes vote in the second Lisbon referendum in July 2009[3] is evidence of an attitude more favourable towards the EU that has been growing within the Party since the second Nice referendum.[citation needed]

The Green Party also has a youth wing, known as Young Greens, which has several hundred members in branches throughout the country. Founded in 2002, it campaigns for protection of the environment, human rights and more funding for education. It is closely associated with youth members of the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

Dáil election 2007

Although the party's share of first preference votes increased by some 22% from 3.84% to 4.69% nationally in the 2007 general election, held on 24 May 2007, the party failed to increase the number of TDs returned. Mary White won a seat for the first time in Carlow-Kilkenny however, Dan Boyle lost his seat in Cork South Central leaving the party with the same number of TDs as before. Those elected were:

The Green Party in Government

The Green Party entered into government with Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats on 14 June 2007 and has two senior ministers John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Eamon Ryan, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Trevor Sargent is the junior minister for Minister of State for Food and Horticulture.

The Green Party approached the 2007 General Election on an independent platform, ruling out no coalition partners while expressing its preference for an alternative to the incumbent coalition.[4][5] The results of the election ruled out the possibility of a Fine Gael/Labour/Green government without support from a combination of the Progressive Democrats, Sinn Féin and various independents (77 seats) leaving it 7 seats short of a majority.[6] Fine Gael ruled out a potential coalition arrangement with Sinn Féin [7] opening the way for Green Party negotiations with Fianna Fáil.

The Negotiations for Government

Before the negotiations began Ciarán Cuffe wrote on his blog that "a deal with Fianna Fáil would be a deal with the devil... and [the Green Party would be] decimated as a Party.".[8] The negotiations were undertaken by Dan Boyle, Donall Geoghegan (the party's general secretary) and the at that time party Chair John Gormley. The Green Party walked out after 6 days in what Donall Geoghegan later said was due to there not being "enough in [the deal] to allow [the Green Party] to continue".[9] The negotiations restarted on the 11th June with a draft programme for government being agreed one day later, which under party rules needed 66% of members to endorse it at a special convention.[10][11]

On 13 June 2007, Green members in the Mansion House, Dublin, voted 86% in favour (441 to 67; with 2 spoilt votes) of entering coalition with Fianna Fáil. The following day, the six Green Party TDs voted for the re-election of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach.[12]

This is the first time the Green Party have entered government in Ireland.


Before their entry into government, the Green Party were vocal supporters of the Shell to Sea movement,[13] the campaign to reroute the M3 motorway away from Tara and (to a lesser extent) the campaign to end United States military use of Shannon airport.[14] Since the Green Party entered government, there has been no substantive change in government policy on these issues, which means Eamon Ryan now oversees the Corrib gas project. The Green Party made an inquiry into the irregularities surrounding the project (see Corrib gas controversy) a precondition of government at their last annual conference[15] but changed their stance during post-election negotiations with Fianna Fáil. The County Mayo branch of the party still supports moves to move the refinery to an alternative location.[16]

2008 Budget

The 2008 budget, announced on 6 December 2007, did not include a carbon levy on fuels such as petrol, diesel and home heating oil, which the Green Party had sought before the election.[17] A carbon levy is, however, included in the agreed Programme for Government and will be introduced at some stage during the lifetime of this government.[18] The 2008 budget did include a separate carbon budget announced by Gormley,[19] which introduced new energy efficiency tax credit,[17] a ban on incandescent bulbs from January 2009,[20] a tax scheme incentivising commuters' purchases of bicycles[21] and a new scale of Vehicle Registration Tax based on carbon emissions.[22]

Treaty of Lisbon

In 2007, the Green Party launched an internal debate on the party's stance on the Treaty of Lisbon. At a special convention on 19 January 2008 to consider whether or not to support what would become the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, the party voted 63.5% in favour of supporting the Lisbon Treaty fell short of the party's two-third majority requirement for policy issues. As a result, the Green Party did not participate in the referendum debate, although individual members were involved on different sides [23]

Following the Irish Government's negotiation with EU member states of additional legal guarantees and assurances, and the subsequent adoption by Dáil and Seanad Éireann of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill (2009), the Green Party held another special convention meeting in Dublin on 18 July 2009 to decide its position on the second Lisbon referendum. At the meeting precisely two thirds of party members present voted to campaign for a Yes in the referendum . This is the first time in the party's history that it campaigned in favour of a European treaty.[3]


Senator Deirdre de Búrca

In 2010, Déirdre de Búrca, one of two Green Party Senators nominated by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2007, resigned from the party and her seat, citing her lack of confidence in John Gormley's leadership.[24]

Trevor Sargent

On 23 February 2010, Trevor Sargent, one of six Green Party TDs, and former leader of the party from 2001 to 2007, resigned as [25] Minister of State for Food and Horticulture due to allegations over contacting Gardaí about a criminal case involving a constituent.

Local and European Elections 2009

In the 2009 European Election the party received 1.9% of the vote nationally (a reduction of 2% since 2004) and no candidate was elected.[26]

In the 2009 local elections the party received 2.3% of the vote nationally (a reduction of 1% since 2004) and 3 candidate were elected to County Councils compared to 18 previously.[27] It also had 15 candidates elected to town and borough councils.


  1. ^ Structures / About / Home - Green Party / Comhaontas Glas
  2. ^ People / Home - Green Party / Comhaontas Glas
  3. ^ a b John Gormley (18 July 2009). "Greens back Lisbon Yes". Green Party. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  4. ^ RTE (25 February 2007). "Poll shows loss of support for FF". Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  5. ^ John Gormley (24 February 2007). "Speech to Green Party Convention 2007". John Gormley's blog. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Rainbow coalition is still possible, says Kenny". The Irish Times. 28 May 2007. p. 8. 
  8. ^ Ciarán Cuffe (28 May 2007). "Great to be back". Cuffe Street (Ciarán Cuffe's blog). Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  9. ^ "Green senator saw red during tough negotiations with Fianna Fáil". Irish Independent. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "Ahern and Sargent in govt talks". RTÉ 9 O'Clock News. 11 June 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "FF & GP agree draft programme for govt". RTÉ 9 O'Clock News. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Greens vote to enter FF-led coalition". RTÉ 9 O'Clock News. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  13. ^ Shell to Sea' campaign gets cross-party support –, 21 November 2006.
  14. ^ Military use of Shannon not a campaign issue, but now contentious – Village, 12 June 2007
  15. ^ Prominent Shell to Sea activist to oversee Corrib project –, 16 June 2007.
  16. ^ Connaught Telegraph, July 5, 2008
  17. ^ a b Treacy Hogan (6 December 2007). "'Green' Budget signals war on climate change". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  18. ^ "Agreed Programme for Government / Government / Home - Green Party / Comhaontas Glas". Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  19. ^ John Gormley (6 December 2007). "Gormley delivers carbon budget". Green Party. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  20. ^ Treacy Hogan (7 December 2007). "Gormley lights the way with ban on bulbs". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  21. ^ John Cradden (2 December 2008). "Get on yer bike". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  22. ^ Senan Molony (6 December 2007). "So, how Green was it for you? Just look at red-faced drivers". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  23. ^ de Bréadún, Deaglán (21 January), "Greens will not take party stance on Lisbon Treaty", The Irish Times: 1, 
  24. ^ "Déirdre de Búrca's statement of resignation". RTÉ News. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  25. ^ "Sargent resigns as Minister of State". RTÉ News. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 
  26. ^ "RTÉ News: Elections 2009 - European Elections". 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  27. ^ "2009 Local Elections". Elections Ireland. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 

External links

See also

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