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Leadership troubles in GP? May 20, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I saw this in the IT this morning and kind of dismissed it. Then saw it picked up by RTÉ too and as Gearóid Clár suggested it deserves its own thread.

Four Green Party councillors have written to deputy leader Catherine Martin “urging” her to challenge Eamon Ryan for the leadership of the party.

Cork City and County councillors Lorna Bogue, Oliver Moran, Colette Finn and Liam Quaide wrote to Ms Martin yesterday evening, saying they believe she and not Mr Ryan is “prepared to make difficult choices for the greater good”.

Reading the letter it doesn’t appear to be about coalition as such, but what is it about?


1. sonofstan - May 20, 2020

On the surface, a leadership heave after a really successful election campaign, one that saw them increase their seat number from 2 to 12 seems absurd. No heave – so far – against Varadkar, who lost nearly a third of FG’s seats, and, while there are mutterings in FF, nothing like as concrete as this move. So ER’s grip on the party must be very shaky.

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2. Tomboktu - May 20, 2020

Four councillors in Cork. Is that a base or a canker?

Or maybe it’s neither and is intended as a warning shot to remind Ryan that Saoirse McHugh is not alone and her wing of the party needs to be accommodated. And maybe it gives him leverage in the negotiations.

There is no Cork GP TD, so indeed Ryan’s magic leadership touch didn’t work there, but party does have TDs outside Dublin (notably, from a Dublin-country or urban-rural perspective, in Carlow-Kilkenny and Waterford). So, he isn’t an electoral poison touch either outside the capital.

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3. NFB - May 20, 2020

I’d say Martin would be well-advised to ignore such calls. As RTE notes, the GP is required to have a leadership election soon enough anyway. If Ryan negotiates a programme for government and if the membership reject it, then you can start talking about heaves and contests. But if the membership were to accept such a programme, or if Ryan pulled out of the talks, then she’d be in limbo as a potential successor.

Still think the Greens could fracture in the medium term though.

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4. WorldbyStorm - May 20, 2020

It’s interesting to me how the media always seems to be uninterested in the fact they lost all their TDs back in 2011. Okay, they say it as a fact, but they seem to dismiss what that meant. That was a huge shock to the GP of all inclinations whether more left or right or pro or anti coalition. The struggle to rebuild and exceed their original position has taken a decade, something that is no small achievement. No wonder there’s huge caution.

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sonofstan - May 20, 2020

“It’s interesting to me how the media always seems to be uninterested in the fact they lost all their TDs back in 2011”

The media view of 2011 has always been that it was an outlier – angry electorate etc. – but in a few years we’d all see sense and normality would resume, with maybe FG replacing FF as the bigger of the tweedles and some cute lefties on th fringe to do noble, but quixotic things. 2016, with a squint, might support this, but this years election wrecked the picture for good.


5. Alastair McKinstry - May 20, 2020

Under the GP constitution, a leadership election is automatic within 6 months of a general election. Nominations open today.
The big question was /is : will there be candidates other than Eamonn Ryan ?

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rockroots - May 20, 2020

I get that this is being sensationalised as a spontaneous heave when it’s nothing of the sort, but given that it takes – what – four months minimum to negotiate a government these days, that six month rule might be a bit counter-productive. Twelve months might be a better idea to avoid situations like this.

I wonder, if Catherine Martin decides to err on the side of caution, might a lesser-known candidate stand in order to test the waters?


6. Miguel62 - May 20, 2020

If one were to be ultra Machievellian, it could all be part of a strategy to strengthen their hand in the coalition dance! Ryan can point to the “heave” and say he needs more stuff to deliver the party into coalition. Maybe he learned a few senior hurling moves from FF!

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7. Gearóid Clár - May 20, 2020

From my own experience, the only people I know who were voting Green in February above ~30 years of age (i.e. people who were adults during the crash) were hardcore Green supporters.

Many people my age and older who are concerned about environmental issues couldn’t stomach voting for a party led by Ryan, who seems never to have expressed remorse for his role in government during that 2007-10 period.

As big an achievement as the February election was for them, I believe it feel far short of what they could have achieved under a different leader.


irishelectionliterature - May 20, 2020

Now they did do very well but I thought their campaign was awful. They did well in spite of Ryan.
There should have been posters of the Australian fires, droughts and other Climate Change influenced disasters to shove climate change into voters faces.
Get some Irish person who was living in Australia describing escaping the flames or waking up to a smoke covered city.
Still were I Catherine Martin , I’d hold off.


Colm B - May 20, 2020

Part of the issue here, is that a party’s positions are not just based on the views of its membership and public reps but also arise from the social base of the organisation. By that I mean the social profile of who votes for them, of the members,of the party reps/apparatus. It also means the social interests that the party tends to represent. To analyse this obviously requires information on the class, gender, geographic, ethnic etc etc base of a party.
In relation to the Irish Greens, I don’t have the detailed info at hand so I will hazard a guess (welcome if anyone has stats that back up or contradict). Voting base, I’m guessing is largely “middle class” or salaried workers and managers if you prefer, mainly urban or urban periphery. Membership might be different, maybe more small-business especially “environmental entrepreneur” types but also the middle class element as well.
One thing is obvious though, the working class, in at least the sense of waged manual and service workers, are not a major part of the Greens voter or membership base. I have no idea of the gender make up of the social base of the party so can’t comment on that.

The social base is bound to impact on the positions the party takes, though not in deterministic way – it interacts with the individual views, factional activity etc. So while there are a section of members who have leftish outlook, the lack of connection with working class leaves them adrift, basing their arguments on morals/ideals etc. I’m not making a prolier-than-though argument, it’s nothing to do with individual class background but with the overall social make-up of an organisation. So for example the SWP was full of genuine socialists but due to the student recruitment policy was also largely middle class in composition which had an objective impact on their actions and policies (don’t think PBP has same base, from my limited knowledge).


sonofstan - May 20, 2020

“One thing is obvious though, the working class, in at least the sense of waged manual and service workers, are not a major part of the Greens voter or membership base.”

I’d say that’s probably mostly true, now, but there was time, back in the days of the Ecology Party and Roger Garland, that there was more of a class mix – I also remember that Gormley was quite well regarded in inner-city bits of the old Dublin SE for the old fashioned clientist stuff he did.


WorldbyStorm - May 21, 2020

It’s tricky the class thing. The WP definitely had a strong working class component. SF currently most certainly does, it was apparent in their canvassing teams this last decade, people I know in the party, etc (and I think that boxed some in the party leadership in in a good way). Other parties… well, to varying degrees (one thing about the WP that was a real strength was the emphasis not on educational institutions but constituency components).

But I’m always minded by something I learned talking to printers from the 50s onwards. they started out as working class lads (overwhelmingly male) but their class position shifted across their careers as time went on with many of them starting their own companies and so on. That was a high skilled area of work and it came ultimately highly paid (before the inevitable collapse in the 1980s/90s as digital took over). So that transformative aspect of class movement is key too at least to a degree. I think that happened in the LP in particular. Of course that does nothing to contradict ColmB’s point about the class base which I’d completely agree with.

Just re the GP membership, I’ve been mightily impressed by a lot of them I’ve met in recent years – they’re younger but open to unions and left issues in a way that people I know even ten or fifteen years ago weren’t. Not all but many more than I’d have expected.


8. Tomboktu - May 20, 2020

“Martin to give ‘serious consideration’ to Green Party leadership”


What do you do in a situation like this if you’re the deputy leader? Sayng you’ll give “serious consideration” keeps the story rumbling, and despite her statement that her priority is the negotiations, what she has said makes those negotiations very negitiations more difficult.

FF and FG must look at the GP with heightened caution now and ask whether they can trust a party that changes its leader during coalition negotiations. You don’t change the plane’s captain pilot while they’re flying you through some tricky turbulence, and the FF ‘election-gate’ spatt shows the negotiations are tricky.

For the internal mscinations of the GP, does this step and Martin’s response mean Ryan had not secured genuine backing to go into negotiations and maybe secured it on a technicality?


9. roddy - May 20, 2020

The Green party’s 2 MLAs up here are elected in the two most affluent constituencys in the North.While Clare Bailey may be from a working class background her voters most certainly aren’t.


10. oliverbohs - May 21, 2020

All those newly minted Green TDs lining up to credit Éamon Ryan for their party’s success is not surprising but really… the main reason the party exists is to fend off climate ruin, something that matters to people worldwide, something the UN and the Pope and Greenpeace etc etc are vehemently opposed to. World bodies, Greta Thunberg were doing the heavy lifting for Ryan. Irish TDs being lickspittles before their great leader is so pathetic whatever the party, boxes ill for them actually succeeding in getting ideas legislated for


WorldbyStorm - May 21, 2020

In a way I was surprised by that as a phenomenon. It was very old school party dynamics having people come out to express support. And it sits a bit oddly with the necessity for an election in the near future. It will be fascinating to see where this goes.


11. sonofstan - May 21, 2020

I know very little about Martin: I’d always lazily assumed that, given the constituency she represents that she was another nice southside Green of the old school – but then Caroline Lucas represents a very nice and rich cconstituency also, and she many degrees to the left of most of the BLP.

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12. AdoPerry - May 21, 2020

Ivan Yates on his radio show this evening said that his sources indicated that Ryan will step aside and allow Martin to become leader. He claimed that Ryan would lose a leadership election and had decided to step aside but will receive a ministerial position in return. Just like Gormley did. Anyone else hear these rumours?


WorldbyStorm - May 21, 2020

I didn’t to be honest. But this story seems to keep developing.


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