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NI Green Party leader opposes draft programme for government

Clare Bailey and party chair Hazel Chu voice opposition to the deal that would see the Greens enter government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail

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Green Party candidate Clare Bailey (PA)

Green Party candidate Clare Bailey (PA)

Green Party candidate Clare Bailey (PA)

The leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland has become the latest high-profile member on the island to state her opposition to the draft programme for government.

Clare Bailey, a Stormont Assembly member, had originally abstained when the Greens’ parliamentary team voted on the blueprint agreed with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail last week.

Ms Bailey has now joined the three Green TDs who are opposed to the deal – Francis Duffy, Patrick Costello, Neasa Hourigan – and a number of other prominent members to make a statement opposing the programme, among them party chair and Dublin city councillor Hazel Chu.

“As Green Party elected representatives and members from across this island, we believe that this draft Programme for Government represents an unjust recovery,” they stated.

“That’s why we will vote no on this draft Programme for Government.

“This offer of government represents one of the most fiscally conservative arrangements in a generation. Regressive taxation in the form of carbon and sugar taxes are included while corporation tax and the top rate of income tax remain unchanged.

“It’s a deal that was negotiated in good faith but fails to deliver on our promise to tackle homelessness and provide better healthcare. It sets out an inadequate and vague pathway towards climate action.

“A better deal is possible – voting no on this Programme for Government is a step towards securing that better deal.

“Transformative change was called for by the electorate earlier this year. That call must be answered by not only the Green Party, but every party that promised positive change.”

The Green Party has the highest threshold of the three parties to secure the approval of its membership.

Two-thirds of members registered to vote on the proposals ahead of next Friday must back the deal.

Just 195 of the Greens’ 800 members north of the border have registered to vote on the draft programme for government.

The eight people to sign the statement of opposition are Ms Bailey, Mr Duffy, Mr Costello, Ms Hourigan, Ms Chu, councillor Lorna Brogue and 2020 general election candidates Sean McCabe and Saoirse McHugh.

PA