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Thousands of Green Party members to join online conference on coalition deal

Leader Eamon Ryan will try to persuade the party’s members to back the deal.

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Eamon Ryan will seek to persuade members to back the deal (Niall Carson/PA)

Eamon Ryan will seek to persuade members to back the deal (Niall Carson/PA)

Eamon Ryan will seek to persuade members to back the deal (Niall Carson/PA)

More than 2,600 members of the Green Party will take part in Thursday’s online conference on the Programme for Government deal.

The conference is due to last a number of hours and will see Green Party leader Eamon Ryan try to persuade the party’s members to back the deal.

The Green Party requires two-thirds support from its members, a higher amount than the other parties, which means a deal could yet be scuppered as some grassroots Green Party members have expressed concerns about going into a coalition with two large centre-right parties.

On Monday, almost all Green Party TDs supported the government formation blueprint, including deputy leader Catherine Martin.

Green members in Northern Ireland are also entitled to vote on the agreement, including South Belfast MLA Clare Bailey.

Meanwhile, the youth wing of Fine Gael said they will vote against the Programme for Government between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party.

It comes as the Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar warned of a “political crisis” if the membership of the three parties fail to endorse the programme for government deal.

In a statement, the youth wing of Fine Gael said it would not be voting for the deal.

It said: “Fine Gael in Government over the last nine years have made transformative progress in this country economically and socially.

“As a party we believe Fine Gael is at its best when it governs responsibly and genuinely seeks a Republic built on equality and opportunity rather than equality of outcomes.

“It is our members’ view that these values and Fine Gael’s distinct identity will be irreparably jeopardised by entering government with Fianna Fail and the Green Party.”

The youth wing of Fianna Fail (Fianna Fail Ogra) said it campaigned during the election not to enter Government with Fine Gael but it will respect the views of members.

It said in a statement: “We cannot reconcile the neglect the country has endured under Fine Gael in government.

“We fought and campaigned hard to remove them from office in this year’s general election.

“As a democratic organisation we respect and have acted on the vote taken by our members on February 29.

“I am confident that our members will debate the matter respectfully and with due diligence.

“We will respect and accept the result of the membership vote on this Programme for Government.”

The three parties will spend the next nine days persuading their respective memberships to back a deal to form a new coalition government.

Mr Varadkar, Micheal Martin and Mr Ryan, finalised the deal to form a coalition government on Monday, more than four months on from February’s inconclusive general election.

The deal, which came after almost two months of negotiations between the parties, will now be put to their respective memberships for approval but each party has different rules.

Fianna Fail needs a simple majority of its more than 15,000 members.

Fine Gael has an electoral college system which gives greater weight to its TDs, senators and councillors than the party membership.

If the deal is passed by the various memberships, it is expected that a new government will be in place for the end of June or the first week of July.

PA