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7% emissions cut a red line for joining coalition, says Ryan

The Green Party leader issued a six-page letter in response to the invitation from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Green Party leader has said a commitment to cut emissions by 7% is a red line for his party joining a coalition with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Eamon Ryan indicated his party is ready to join the coalition if the two groups meet his party’s demands.

Mr Ryan said one of the key demands in forming a Government is a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 7% per year.

He listed the Green Party’s wishes in a six-page letter in response to the invitation from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Speaking at Leinster House on Wednesday he said: “The party are asking a number of questions of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to try and establish how we might deliver that kind of change.

“We have prepared a number of questions that seek clarity on issues including emissions targets, energy, housing, well-being, social justice, biodiversity and economic projections.”

Asked if the 7% cut in emissions was a red line for the party, he said: “I think that is fair to say. The real big red line is the climate issue. We have to have a scale of ambition.

“I think it is going to be good for the economy and will drive investment and there is a lot of opportunities.

“That is one of the commitments that we really have to get because that drives everything for us. It drives the social contract and the economy as well.”

Mr Ryan said who gets to be premier is not a priority for him or the Green Party.

Current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said any junior partner in a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael coalition will have a role in deciding how the position is allocated.

Mr Ryan said: “The Taoiseach thing – that’s not on our list of priorities. It is not something we are looking for and it is not on my agenda or anyone else within our parliamentary party. That’s not going to be part of our talks and what we are looking for.

“We have spent a lot of weeks talking within our parliamentary party – I’m on a webinar this afternoon with some of our members and councillors. That is healthy and what politics should be about. That is not something to be discouraged.”

Mr Ryan said the economic situation facing the country is “stark” but the Green Party will step up to play its role to help the economy recover if it enters coalition.

“We have to do everything to see us coming out of that as quickly as we can. That is why I think this new European green deal can drive the investment here and the restoration of the economy.”

Fine Gael has welcomed a response from the Green Party to the prospect of entering government together.

Fine Gael’s lead negotiator on formation talks, Simon Coveney, tweeted: “Green Party letter is a welcome & serious response to FG/FF framework doc. outlining key Green priorities & questions. We’ll work to ensure it’s the beginning of a productive engagement.”

PA