GREEN Party councillors in Cork have called for Eamon Ryan to be replaced as party leader, saying they "can't be sentimental" about the future of the party.
City Councillors Oliver Moran, Colette Finn, and Lorna Bogue, and County Councillor Liam Quaide believe their party needs a new leader and have called on Deputy Catherine Martin to challenge Eamon Ryan for the position.
In a letter sent to Deputy Martin, and seen by The Echo, the councillors said that they believe Deputy Martin is the “right person” to lead the Green Party, and add that “we will need a leader who we trust to do the right thing for the country and the party” regardless of the outcome of Government formation talks.
Councillor Oliver Moran said that he voted for Eamon Ryan in 2011, signed his nomination papers in 2016, and said he owes a debt of gratitude to Deputy Ryan.
However he said that sentimentality cannot come into the debate, and believes that now Deputy Martin is the right person to take the reigns.
“She has a harder nose. She’s surer in the Dáil. For people outside the party, and outside her Dáil constituency, she’s flown under the radar this last decade.
"That’s deliberate. But she’s been a revolutionary force within the party. She’s changed the way we think about politics, canvassing, negotiations, organising locally, everything,” he said.
"Catherine knows small town Ireland, she was born there, it’s in her blood. She has grit like no other, she consults widely, she considers each move like chess, and she moves with certainty.
"That’s what we need for the next decade of the party. It’s a critical time for the party organisationally, how we communicate with the public, and how we work with others to achieve our agenda.
"She’s that person now, like no other,” Mr Moran added.
Councillor Lorna Bogue, who criticized the current party leader recently for “fudging” on red line issues in Government formation talks said that in her six years in the Green Party, Deputy Martin has been the backbone of it.
“From a personal perspective, Catherine has always been supportive of me as a young woman in politics and I think that she speaks to an environmentalism that is as much about lifting people up from poverty as it is about reducing carbon.
"These have always been the values of the Green Party and I think the membership will be looking for a leader who will strongly assert these values. No better woman than Catherine,” she said.
Councillor Colette Finn said: “I worked in Africa many years ago and it made me realise that politics should be everybody’s business.
"Politics shapes how we live our lives and what constitutes a good society. I believe Catherine understands this.
"She has remained close to the community that elected her and she has supported and listened to the grassroots members of the party.
"Now I believe we need a leader with her capabilities.”
Ms Finn added that Eamon Ryan has led the party through “very lean times” and thanked him for it, but added that a leadership change is now needed.
“I believe Catherine Martin is the best person to lead that change,” she said.
County Councillor Liam Quaide said that Eamon Ryan deserves great credit for his role in rebuilding the Green Party since 2011.
“He has brought unflinching positivity and determination to that challenge. Catherine Martin has also played a central part through those years, and along the way has earned enormous respect as a parliamentarian and policy-maker.
"The party has grown over the past year in particular, and that has brought challenges as well as opportunities,” he said.
“We need to reach out more effectively to rural Ireland, and give as much prominence to our social justice policies as our environmental mandate.
"I believe Catherine is now the best person to lead the party on the next stage of that journey,” he added.
City Councillor Dan Boyle and County Councillor Alan O’Connor are not involved in these calls.
The party’s constitution states that a leadership election must happen within six months of a general election, and nominations for the contest opened yesterday.