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Not possible to negotiate revised deal, Ryan tells Bailey

Mr Ryan was responding to calls from the leader of the party in Northern Ireland to secure changes to the draft programme for government.

Ireland’s Green Party leader has rejected a call from his Northern Ireland counterpart to renegotiate the draft programme for government.

Eamon Ryan said it would not be possible to change the terms of the blueprint.

Clare Bailey, the party leader north of the border, is one of several prominent members who have come out in opposition to the proposed deal that would see the Greens enter government in the Irish Republic along with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

On Sunday, she said the principles of climate justice and social justice were not reflected in the draft programme for government.

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Clare Bailey said changes could be secured to the current draft deal (Liam McBurney/PA)

Clare Bailey said changes could be secured to the current draft deal (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Clare Bailey said changes could be secured to the current draft deal (Liam McBurney/PA)

She said the few “environmental wins” agreed by negotiating teams from Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Greens were not enough for her to endorse it.

Ms Bailey and party chair Hazel Chu were among eight prominent party members who have issued a joint statement opposing the programme that, if approved by the parties’ respective memberships, would see a new Irish government formed.

The statement, which was also signed by Green TDs Francis Duffy, Patrick Costello, Neasa Hourigan, said the plan would deliver an unjust recovery.

Ms Bailey, who said the most vulnerable would worst hit by the deal, urged her party to try to push for changes.

“What I believe at the minute is that we can build back a better deal,” she told BBC NI’s Sunday Politics show.

“I don’t think that’s it’s this deal or nothing. I think there are other options that need to be explored.

“So we can have another deal, we can review this deal, we can push it a wee bit further, we can talk to other parties. So it’s not one or the other.”

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Eamon Ryan has urged members to back the draft programme for government (Niall Carson/PA)

Eamon Ryan has urged members to back the draft programme for government (Niall Carson/PA)

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Eamon Ryan has urged members to back the draft programme for government (Niall Carson/PA)

Responding to the suggestion, Mr Ryan said there was no room to secure changes at this stage.

He told RTE Radio One: “I don’t believe it would be possible or in the national interest to go into another prolonged negotiation process.”

The outcome of the membership votes among the three parties will be announced on Friday.

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 must back the deal.

The party is constituted on an all-island basis so members on both sides of the border can have their say.

But just 195 of the Greens’ 800 members in Northern Ireland have registered to vote on the draft programme for government.

Ms Bailey denied this was due to a feeling that it was not the business of northern members to get involved in politics south of the border.

She said she would support the party whatever the result of the vote.

“If it’s ratified and if we do go into government, I am 100% committed to the Green Party and I will stand by my party,” she said.

“And I will support them and we will move forward together because this should not break us as a party. We need to be stronger than that.”

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

PA