Green leader Eamon Ryan will today appeal to thousands of party members to take a leap of faith “without the politics of division”and back the coalition deal.
Addressing the party's online convention on the programme for government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, he will say there is a “daunting responsibility” on the Greens in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis to take action, in what could be an “historic opportunity” for the party.
Mr Ryan told the Irish Examiner ahead of the crunch convention, which over 2,600 have registered to attend online, that the coalition pact was “not an easy decision” but that members need to trust themselves, to trust the party and ultimately to trust the deal made with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
Nonetheless, already, internal critics of the deal-set to be voted on and counted by Friday week-have warned it is a “poisoned chalice” Green negotiator and TD Neasa Hourigan, who helped forge it, also says that, under its terms, carbon emission reductions will be back-loaded it doesn't go far enough on public housing.
Mr Ryan said the deal was “an historic opportunity” for the Greens and the country, that there was indeed a sense of a “daunting responsibility” but that Ireland was “in the middle of a crisis” and there was a need to make “hard decisions”.
We need state enterprise, to provide public housing, to provide public health and tackling climate action that delivers a just transition.
He insisted that the leap needed to face the environment challenge could only be done together.
“Yes, we have to work with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to make that leap.”
"We have seen the politics of division in the east and west and this is the type of politics that doesn't suit us at the this time,” he explained.
Green negotiators will address the meeting as will advocates and opponents of the deal.
A key group to watch are members from the North, who number around 600, and who may break towards a no vote.
The Greens must get two thirds of its estimated 3,200 members to back the deal.
Cork City South East councillor Lorna Bogue said that the deal represents "Green flavoured austerity" and that the party had a choice to "be a watchdog or a lapdog".
"I'm worried about the basis of the policy. My concern is that the policies which underly the document are austerity. They don't use that term, but if you read the document, the economic approach is austerity."
Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe said that his party should “grasp this nettle” and the extraordinary opportunity to promote a green agenda “even if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are not our natural bedfellows.”
“We can stand on the sidelines saying ‘do something’ or roll up our sleeves and get in. We have to have trust in them. We can’t wait, we can’t sit this one out. I don’t think the electorate would thank us.”