Irish Government to be formed after Greens vote yes to coalition

Micheal Martin
Micheal Martin - (Copyright PA Wire)
21:17pm, Fri 26 Jun 2020
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Ireland’s next government will be formed on Saturday after the Green Party voted resoundingly to enter coalition with two larger rivals.

Members of the environmentalist party decided by a 76% majority to form an administration with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, a party statement on Friday evening said.

It signed up to a programme which promises radical action on climate change but will also have to shoulder the burden of leading the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

There’s a sense of responsibility on us now because we do have a job to do

Deputy leader Catherine Martin said: “Now we will move forward together, respecting the democratic wishes of the majority of our party at all times, listening to each other … working in unity to protect our country and our planet.”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin will take over the role of Irish premier in an historic reconciliation of a political feud with Fine Gael dating back to the foundation of the state a century ago.

The two larger parties needed the support of the Greens to have a working majority in the Irish parliament, equating to around 80 seats.

February’s election was inconclusive and efforts to strike an agreement were hampered as the country’s caretaker Government coped with the pandemic.

A total of 1,435 Green members voted in favour and 457 against the coalition deal.

It was earlier endorsed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “There’s a sense of responsibility on us now because we do have a job to do.

“We have to go in and help work with our coalition partners in government in actually getting our country out of a really severe economic crisis.

“People at home who are losing their jobs or maybe risk of that, they want a government to get up and stand up for them and get everyone back working.”

Among key concessions for Greens is the new Government’s target to achieve 7% carbon emissions on average per year over the next number of years.

Ms Martin added: “The Green Party is stepping up to serve its country, putting people before politics.

“It won’t be easy, but we intend hitting the ground running, entering government in good faith, realising that there is a job of work to be done and to serve the people to the very best of our ability.”

She acknowledged concerns about the deal within her party, evidenced by the quarter of members who voted against going into Government with two parties seen as ideologically to their right.

“You can be assured that we will work every day to ensure that this government will deliver for all the people of Ireland.

“As committed environmentalists, fully aware of the clock ticking against us in the battle for our planet’s future, we cannot afford to turn down the clear opportunity and the responsibility presented to us.

“We all need to work together for our country.”

Irish President Michael D Higgins’ office confirmed the appointment of a new Taoiseach and Government ministers would take place on Saturday during a ceremony at Dublin Castle.

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