Party Profile: Greens

Primarily a single issue party focusing on environmental issues, but does take stands on economic and social issues. It is socially liberal and has supported same-sex marriage, LGBT rights and women’s rights.

It is by far the strongest voice in Irish politics when it comes to environmental issues, an area almost entirely overlooked by the main parties, and particularly the current Fine Gael-Labour coalition. They push for greater investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and tidal energy, while also opposing sources of energy that pose a threat to both the environment and human health such as fracking, turf and coal. They are one of the few parties to take a strong stance against turf cutting, which causes serious damage to the environment through the release of high levels of carbon dioxide, as well as making flooding more likely through the reduction of bogs. They have pushed for many measures to reduce pollution, reliance on cars and use of things like plastic bags, however these have had mixed success and have often involved regressive taxes, which, while sometimes quite effective, place a disproportionate amount of the tax burden on low and middle earners.

They have also taken part in the Shell to Sea movement and the campaign to end the US military’s use of Shannon Airport.

They served in coalition with Fianna Fail, the Progressive Democrats and 4 independents (including sitting TDs Michael Lowry and Finian McGrath) from 2007 until they pulled out in January 2011. In this time they remained intensely loyal to Fianna Fail and supported policies that would contribute to the economic crisis and recession, and the austerity measures and hardships that followed. However, in return for this they were able to stay true to their core green principles and were successful at putting an environmentalist stamp on the government’s policies, pushing through legislations and programmes to make Ireland an increasingly eco-friendly and sustainable country.

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