Green Party European elections star Saoirse McHugh has warned that both she and the ‘Green wave’ could “leave” the party if leaders join a coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil after the next general election.
Ms McHugh told the Irish Examiner last night that her view remains unchanged despite the majority of party members at the Greens’ annual conference refusing to rule out such a coalition.
In a non-binding vote on Saturday, party members voted against a motion to ban any potential coalition with either Leo Varadkar or Micheál Martin’s parties.
The show-of-hands vote was rejected by a six-to-one majority, with party leader Eamon Ryan, TD Catherine Martin, and councillor Roderic O’Gorman in favour of keeping options open.
Mr Ryan told delegates the Greens “must be open and prepared to enter coalition”, saying: “I know from experience how hard that can be, but also what can be achieved.”
Senior party sources said that Mr Ryan and others want to keep coalition options open as climate change must be central to the next Government’s agenda.
However, Ms McHugh told the Irish Examiner that any “compromise” can no longer be allowed.
“People voted for the Greens to get the Greens, not more Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil,” she said.
“I think it would be quite dishonest to tell them you’ve voted Greens to get a government which thinks it’s [climate change] about not using plastic straws in the office.
“I would probably be so sickened [about coalition] I would consider it (leaving the party), because it would be a poor choice on so many levels. I would leave, they’re my views.”
She said she and Mr Ryan have spoken on the issue.
Ms McHugh was supported by Cork City councillor Lorna Bogue, who told the Irish Examiner she agrees that any coalition could see young voters quit.
However, senior party members stressed that all options need to remain open to push through reforms.