Ryan aims to rejuvenate 30-year-old Green Party

THE Green Party celebrated its 30th anniversary yesterday with leader Eamon Ryan unveiling a new front bench and a return to politics of former parliamentary party members.

Mr Ryan said he was rejuvenating the former government party and wanted to present green vision for the Irish people.

The Greens were wiped out in the last general election, but a new strategic plan aims to elect five TDs and up to 20 councillors by 2016.

Launching the plan at the same Central Hotel in Dublin where the Greens were formed 30 years ago, Mr Ryan maintained: “The Greens are getting back seriously into national politics. We may be down but we are by no means out, and like other green parties in Europe who have suffered at the polls following periods in government, we will use this time to rebuild and come back stronger than ever before.”

Former TD Ciarán Cuffe and senator Mark Dearey will return to the party’s frontline as spokespeople while the average age of the frontbench will be around 36, making it the youngest front bench in Irish politics, say the Greens.

New deputy party leader Catherine Martin added: “Our aim is to deliver simple and practical solutions that promote sustainability and improve our quality of life. Whether it is on a local council, in the Dáil, Seanad, the Northern Assembly or European Parliament, we know that having Green representatives in place makes a real difference and results in real change.”

The tasks of the new spokespersons with front bench portfolios will be to shadow ministers in government, mainly using online media to carry out their opposition duties.

Mr Ryan has made Mr Cuffe and Mr Dearey, two of the party’s nine members from the last Oireachtas, spokespersons on public expenditure and finance. The remaining frontline spokespeople are mainly from the party’s grassroots and have little or no national profile. Other frontbenchers are Roderic O’Gorman (Social Protection), who was a candidate in the recent Dublin West by-election, and councillors Brian Meaney (European Affairs), Marianne Butler (Jobs and Enterprise) and Malcolm Noonan (Environment).

Meanwhile, former party senator and finance spokesman Dan Boyle was joined by party members last night at the Vicar Street venue where he launched his debut album, Third Adolescence.

Mr Boyle says some of the tracks were inspired by the Beatles and that he spent a five figure some recording the 14 tracks.

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