Chu defends Seanad run despite Green leadership's opposition

Lord mayor's candidacy exposes fault lines of the split within the party
Chu defends Seanad run despite Green leadership's opposition

Lord Mayor of Dublin and Green Party chairperson Hazel Chu who is to run as an unofficial Green Party candidate for the Seanad by-election. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Green Party chair and Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has defended her decision to stand for the Seanad by-election, against the express wishes of her party leader Eamon Ryan.

Ms Chu has formally announced her candidacy having received the required nominations from Oireachtas members and has insisted there was no pact between the Greens and the other coalition partners Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil preventing her from standing.

Backed by her party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin and several noted internal critics of Mr Ryan, her candidacy has exposed the fault lines of the split within the Green Party.

Speaking about the fact she is standing as an independent candidate without the support of her party, she said: “I am not endorsed by the party."

"The party executive had a motion for a selection convention, that didn't pass, it didn't reach the two-thirds threshold to pass."

"But it does not mean that the party was preventing anyone from voting, or saying that anyone could not run.”

Ms Chu said previously there had been some discussions on that topic internally within the Greens.

“This is why my nominations include a good few of my colleagues because they allow me to believe that there wasn't a pact in place and that there isn't a whip in this particular situation,” she said.

On Wednesday night, three Green Party Senators — Pippa Hackett, Róisín Garvey and Pauline O'Reilly — tabled a motion of no confidence in Hazel Chu as chair of the party.

The two proposed motions read: "That the Parliamentary Party no longer has confidence in the chair of the party" and "That the Oireachtas members of the parliamentary party will vote for and publicly support both government candidates in the upcoming Seanad by-elections."

The vote was deferred.

In a letter to Green Party members in Laois-Offaly, Senator Pippa Hackett said she put forward a motion of no confidence in Hazel Chu because being party chair comes with responsibilities.

“Her decision to run as an independent candidate has been deeply divisive, and I believe it not only undermines her role as chair of the Party, but also our position in Government,” Ms Hackett told Constiuency members.

She added: “Previously, when an ordinary member of the Party decided to run as an independent candidate in an election, they were asked to withdraw their membership.

“In addition, the pressures this raises within the coalition government are significant.”

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