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#Elections2019: Ryan wants rainbow alliances as party is in full bloom

Green leader Eamon Ryan has called for a series of rainbow alliances with other parties following his party’s historic election wins.

The party is on course to win almost 50 seats and could also elect one MEP in each of the three European constituencies.

The so-called Green wave of support, where candidates topped polls across wards, has also prompted questions about if the Greens would enter government and with whom.

MEP hopeful Saoirse McHugh in Midlands-North West set immediate red lines by insisting she would never enter government with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.

The 28-year-old, who would be the youngest MEP if elected to Europe, said she would quit the Greens if they entered a coalition with either.

Ms McHugh, who is from Achill, Mayo, told Newstalk: “I think incrementalism in terms of climate action is done at the cost of support for more radical measures -— and I just don’t trust that Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael will implement a big, radical system change.”

This later prompted Mr Ryan to say this was her personal opinion. Mr Ryan says the party will work with any other group that implements their policies. 

He also went further, calling for a series of pacts in local government.

He said he anticipates a “rainbow coalition with a range of different parties” in local government, particularly on public transport issues. 

Mr Ryan also said the government’s current National Development Plan was not fit for purpose.

The party looks set to win multiples of its 12-seat tally five years ago, securing huge first preference votes across areas. 

There was a double win for couple Hazel Chu and Patrick Costello, who won seats in the Pembroke and Kimmage-Rathmines constituencies of south Dublin. 

Ms Chu, the first Irish-Chinese councillor ever elected, was a first-time candidate and won over 30% of the vote.

Overall, the Greens by yesterday evening had secured 40 seats and were in the race potentially for another eight.

Wins included five candidates topping polls in Dublin City. Elsewhere, the party made breakthroughs, winning two seats in Limerick City, one in North Clare, two in Galway, two in Cork City and one in Waterford. 

The party was also still in contention possibly for another two seats in Westmeath and Cork city last night.

But the big win for the Greens would be if it elects all three of its candidates to Europe, as predicted by an RTE exit poll this week.

With former minister Ciaran Cuffe set to top the poll in the constituency of Dublin, there are also hopes that Greenpeace activist and Senator Grace O’Sullivan may get one a seat in the five-seater Ireland South while a win for Ms McHugh in Midlands-North West would be a major breakthrough for the Greens, particularly in the vast rural constituency which stretches from Donegal to Louth.

Mr Ryan said that, with the strong local election vote, the party could put itself in a position for general election wins, where it would hope to triple its Dáil seats from two to six.

The surge in Green support has also ramped up the pressure on the government to publish its climate change strategy.

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