Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.59 17 May 2020


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The Green Party leader says he doesn't think the 'public would look too kindly' on anyone looking for another general election.

Eamon Ryan was speaking ahead of what he described as a 'critical' week in government formation talks.

The Greens are currently negotiating with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to try to reach a programme for government.

Yesterday, The Irish Times reported that draft plans are being drawn by the Government on how any election would operate amid the coronavirus crisis if negotiations break down.

The plans are reported to include a proposal for voting to be broken up over a number of days to ensure social distancing.

Speaking on On The Record With Gavan Reilly today, Deputy Ryan was asked whether he believes the plans were 'kites being flown' by Fine Gael on the prospect of another election.

Ryan: 'Public wouldn't look too kindly' on anyone looking for another election

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He responded: "I don't read too much into that.

“The economic situation is so serious, that anybody seen to be favouring an election… I don’t think the public would look too kindly on that."

On the subject of the ongoing talks, Deputy Ryan reiterated that the parties involved have agreed to not offer a running commentary on proceedings.

He said: “[The talks have] started and they’re going well, but they need to ramp up… I think a lot of that will happen in the next week.

“I think the structure is being put in place - led by Catherine Martin on our side, and Dara Calleary and Simon Coveney for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

"It’s working, but there’s a lot of work to do. Nothing is decided, and I think the next week will be critical because it really does ramp up then."

'Decisions need to be made in June'

The Green leader reiterated his hope that the negotiations would be finished by the end of this month or early June.

He explained: “I think there will be decisions that need to be made in June that need a government… it is an incredibly difficult time, and different to any previous government talks.

“We have to take into account the immediate changes that are coming - not just what was in everybody’s manifestos three months ago, but also what are our proposals for the economic recovery."

If a deal is reached, it would have to be agreed to by the Green Party's members - something which could prove a significant challenge for the leadership given strong opposition from many members to the prospect of a coalition with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

However, Deputy Ryan says he thinks the differences in opinion within the party is a healthy thing.

He said: "We have a wider, bigger, longer-term environmental crisis facing us that we have to address at scale.

“The scale of change we need to make to address climate change is beyond compare, and the speed is also beyond compare.

“If you understand that and believe that, and believe there’s an urgency to it, how do we achieve it? My perspective on that is it has to belong to everyone - it has to come from the bottom up, not putting all the emphasis on the individual responsibility."

Deputy Ryan also said he remains in favour of a national unity government - suggesting it's time for different politicians to come together for the country.

Main image: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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