Green recovery will require careful cultivation

An early flurry of electoral successes in Dublin prompted talk of green shoots for the Green Party but the countrywide count cautioned that careful cultivation would be required.

Green recovery will require careful cultivation

The excitement was unleashed when former minister Eamon Ryan polled strongly in the Euro elections with signs pointing towards him taking the third seat in the constituency.

Together with tallies showing a fine performance by newcomer Grace O’Sullivan in the South constituency, it was enough to make Greens believe that perhaps the horror story of the last five years could be consigned to history.

Then came victory for another first-timer, Patrick Costello, who topped the poll in the Rathgar-Rathmines area of Dublin City Council, bucking a trend that saw Sinn Féin candidates cross the finish line first in most other areas.

Mr Costello was swiftly joined by party chairman, Roderic O’Gorman, and sitting councillor, David Healy, who both took seats in Fingal County Council, and by Ossian Smyth and Catherine Martin in Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

South Dublin County Council also got a new Green councillor in Francis Noel Duffy who is married to Catherine Martin, who is new to the area but is a former Carrickmacross town councillor. Ciaran Cuffe, former TD and minister for state, ran for Dublin City Council and also made it safely home, along with newcomer Claire Byrne.

And the winning ways finally extended outside of Dublin to include Marianne Butler who secured a seat on Louth County Council around teatime.

But although nine in the bag in Dublin and Louth tripled the party’s complement of county councillors nationally since the 2009 election, the resurgence was not reflected in the rest of the country’s local elections.

However, the fact that progress was uneven across the country will prove a challenge for party strategists. And while Eamon Ryan is an undoubtedly popular candidate and Grace O’Sullivan an exciting prospect, it can be hard to turn around a Euro-focus into a plan to rebuild a party within a general election timeframe.

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