Ryan 'holding out the olive branch' to Green Party members who were against coalition

Ryan 'holding out the olive branch' to Green Party members who were against coalition
Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party inside the Convention Centre Dublin for the election of the new Taoiseach yesterday. Picture: Maxwells

Eamon Ryan has insisted that he is "holding out the olive branch" to those in his party who were against voting for coalition, but said that he felt that his appointment of Senator Pippa Hackett as a Super Junior Minister was fair.

Mr Ryan, speaking to RTÉ's The Week In Politics, said that he felt Ms Hackett, who will take on a role which sits at the cabinet table overseeing land use and biodiversity.

Choosing Ms Hackett for the role has been seen as a slight on those who did not support the programme for government within the party, with key TDs, such as Neasa Hourigan and Joe O'Brien being overlooked.

However, Mr Ryan said that Ms Hackett was "a real talent" who would bring a much-needed perspective to cabinet.

"I've always said that we have to listen to people those advocates on the other side (of the programme vote). There is a lot of sense to what they're saying and they have to be respected and their opinions heard.

"But someone like Pippa who I think is a real talent, who has real expertise in the issue of farming and agricultural land use does bring a different perspective and I think it was important that we have that voice in the cabinet table, particularly because in how we manage our land, for the future of farming for our country. 

"So I'm really pleased that we have someone with real expertise representing the Green Party but not just the Green Party, providing her expertise to Cabinet to try and help make the change the changes we need to make."

The Green Party leader also confirmed that responsibility for the Direct Provision system will transfer to his party colleague Roderic O'Gorman, who was yesterday named as Minister for Equality, Disability, Integration and Children.

Mr Ryan also said that there had been no deal with Catherine Martin to avoid a leadership contest in the Green Party.

"There will be a contest - we both agreed that we shouldn't really be seen to think about that until after governments formed, and even in the next month when that contest takes place I'll be honest voters, I think we have a clear understanding that actually the first priority is doing our job in government and it's actually getting into our departments get to grips with the brief."

Mr Ryan also rejected the notion that the cabinet makeup had in some way ignored the west

He said that all party leaders had given thought to regional and gender balance in making their appointments.

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