Green Party in Northern Ireland

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Green Party in Northern Ireland
Comhaontas Glas i dTuaisceart Éireann
Leader Steven Agnew MLA
Chairman Dr Mark Bailey
Leader of Irish Green Party Eamon Ryan
Founded 1983
Youth wing Young Greens
Ideology Green politics
Political position Left wing
International affiliation Global Greens
European affiliation European Green Party
European Parliament group European Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours Green and Blue
Northern Ireland Assembly
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Local government in Northern Ireland
3 / 582
Politics of Northern Ireland
Political parties

The Green Party in Northern Ireland (Irish: Comhaontas Glas i dTuaisceart Éireann) is the Northern Ireland region of the Green Party in Ireland, based on the principles of green politics. It works in co-operation with green parties across Britain and Ireland and in Europe and was formerly a party in its own right. Like many green parties around the world, the Green Party in Northern Ireland have their origins in the anti-nuclear, labour and peace movements of the 1970s and early 1980s.

In 2007, the first Green MLA Brian Wilson was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly, representing North Down. In the European Election of 2009, Steven Agnew stood for the Green Party and managed to triple its vote from 4,800 votes in the 2004 European Parliament election to 15,674 votes. The Greens fought the election on the Green New Deal, calling for job creation in the green energy sector.

The party voted to become a region of the Green Party in Ireland in 2005 at its annual convention, and again in a postal ballot in March 2006.[citation needed] The party has a youth wing operating in Northern Ireland, the Young Greens.


The Green Party has four key values: social justice, environmental sustainability, grassroots democracy and non-violence. The Green Party has been involved in several major campaigns since entering the Assembly including a clean-rivers campaign. It has also campaigned against the development of incinerators at Belfast North Foreshore and Lough Neagh. The party has also been fighting against proposals to extend the airport runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.

The Greens have called for funding to be focused on improving public transport and for the creation of an independent environmental protection agency for Northern Ireland. They also campaign for a shift to alternative energy for Northern Ireland and were involved in the setting up of a lobby group for the sector.


In the Northern Ireland local elections of May 1981, Peter Emerson, Avril McCandless and Malcolm Samuels stood as the first candidates to use the Ecology label in Northern Ireland and gained 202, 81 and 61 votes respectively; the first in a large urban area, the other two in smaller rural constituencies. Emerson had previously stood in the same area in 1977.[1]

In May 1983, the Northern Ireland Ecology Party was launched at a press conference held in the Europa Hotel, Belfast, with members of the British and Irish Ecology parties in attendance. At the same time, the three parties put forward one combined policy on Northern Ireland, the first time that UK and Irish political parties had held a common Northern Ireland policy.

In 1985, ecology parties throughout the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom changed their names to Green Party.

The Green Party in Northern Ireland now operates as a region of the Irish Green Party, with links to the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party of England and Wales.[2] These arrangements demonstrate the Northern Ireland party's cross-community nature, as the Green Party claim to be the only party that actually lives the Good Friday Agreement through its operational set up through North-South and East-West links.[citation needed]

Electoral history[edit]

The party's first electoral success in Northern Ireland was at the local council elections of 2005. Cllr Raymond Blaney was elected onto Down District Council and Brian Wilson, formerly of the Alliance Party, took a seat on North Down Borough Council. The party's third local councillor was Ciaran Mussen, elected to Newry and Mourne District Council.[3]

There have been a few changes since in the Downpatrick area. Cllr Bill Corry took the Downpatrick seat after Cllr Blaney retired and in 2008 Cllr Cadogan Enright was co-opted onto the council in place of Cllr Corry who retired. At the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2007, the Green Party won its first seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly, when Brian Wilson won a seat in the North Down constituency. Overall the party won 11,985 first preference votes or 1.7% of the total – a rise of 1.4% since the 2003 Assembly election.

2007 saw the establishment of the Greens at Queen's University Belfast.[4] Since entering the Northern Ireland Assembly the Green Party has campaigned for an independent Environmental Protection Agency, alternative energy grants, a nuclear-free Northern Ireland and GM free Northern Ireland.

In 2009, the Green Party stood Steven Agnew in the European election – he secured 15,674 votes, trebling the Green Party's share of the vote.

In 2010, the LGBT Greens NI were established: a policy group and lobby group specialising in LGBT community issues within Northern Ireland. The LGBT group dissolved in early 2012, as their main aim of pushing for the inclusion of same-sex marriage within party policy was achieved at the 2011 AGM after a unanimous vote.

The Greens fielded four candidates in the United Kingdom general election, 2010, none of which managed to secure a seat. However, the number of votes for Green candidates more than trebled.


The Green Party's Chairperson is Dr Mark Bailey, Secretary is Mr John Hardy and Treasurer is Mr Mark Simpson.

The Party has spokespeople in the following areas:

  • North Down: Steven Agnew MLA / Cllr. Dr. John Barry / Kelly Andrews
  • South Antrim: Danny Donnelly
  • South Belfast: Clare Bailey
  • East Belfast: Martin Gregg
  • Strangford: Barbara Haig
  • South Down: John Hardy
  • Lagan Valley: Luke Robinson
  • Newry & Mourne: Ciaran Mussen
  • North Coast: Garrett Mussen
  • East Antrim: Dr. Mark Bailey
  • North Belfast: Peter Emerson
  • Mid Ulster: Denice Corbett
  • QUB Greens: Chloe Minish

Elected representatives[edit]

  • Steven Agnew, MLA for North Down
  • Dr. John Barry, co-opted to North Down Borough Council to replace Steven Agnew
  • Ciaran Mussen has been involved in local politics in Northern Ireland since at least 1985 when he was elected to Newry & Mourne council as an Independent Nationalist.[5] He stood for the Green Party in 2005 and has campaigned for the right of people living in social housing to alternative energy.[6]
  • Cadogan Enright was co-opted onto Down District Council in 2008 taking over from Cllr Bill Corry who retired. A lifelong environmentalist, Cllr Enright joined the Green Party in the mid-1990s over his concerns regarding climate change. A chartered and certified accountant with post graduate qualifications in building standards, Cllr Enright is one of the founding members of Sustainable Development Ltd. based in Downpatrick. The company promotes environmentally friendly building standards and small scale renewable energy.[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]