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Green Party leader not ruling out tanaiste role in next government

Eamon Ryan has said he would not seek to be taoiseach in the next government.

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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)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said he has not ruled out becoming tanaiste in a coalition government with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Mr Ryan said he had no interest in being taoiseach, with the leaders of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael set to take turns.

Government formation talks between the three parties continue this week – more than three months on from February’s inconclusive general election.

The plan would see Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin hold the position for two years and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar hold it for another two years.

Asked on RTE radio if he would like to share the position of rotating taoiseach, Mr Ryan said “no”.

He said: “No… I think we should fixate on delivering practical change and changing the way the economy works. I think (becoming taoiseach) would become the whole story and it’s not what I’m looking for.

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“Again, it is not something I have talked to the other parties about… I’m not going to rule out tanaiste because it is a very different role.”

Mr Ryan said he has no issue with deputy Green Party leader Catherine Martin challenging him for the leadership of the party.

Ms Martin last week said she is giving “serious consideration” to challenging Mr Ryan for the leadership after being urged to do so by councillors and members.

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Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

He said: “It’s absolutely fine. Our tradition and rule is that after a general election, a new leader has to be elected within six months.”

Ms Martin is leading negotiations for the Green Party in coalition talks with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Mr Ryan said he remains focused on the talks and not the leadership contest.

“That is how we do things, last week Catherine said she was focused on the talks for government formation. That’s the first task.”

Nominations for the leadership election will open on Tuesday while ballots will be sent to members at the beginning of July.

Ballots are due to be counted on July 23.

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