Green Party in Northern Ireland

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Green Party in Northern Ireland
Leader Steven Agnew MLA
Chairman Jenny Muir
Founded 1983
Headquarters First Floor
76 Abbey Street
Bangor
County Down
Northern Ireland
Youth wing Young Greens
Ideology Green politics
Nonsectarianism
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
1 / 108
Local government in Northern Ireland
4 / 462
Website
www.greenpartyni.org
Politics of Northern Ireland
Political parties
Elections

The Green Party in Northern Ireland works in co-operation with green parties across Britain and Ireland, Europe and even globally. Like many green parties around the world, its origins lie in the anti-nuclear, labour and peace movements of the 1970s and early 1980s.

The party has a youth wing operating in Northern Ireland, the Young Greens.

Policies[edit]

The Green Party has four key values: social justice, environmental sustainability, grassroots democracy and non-violence.[1][2] It is considered to be more left-wing than most parties in Northern Ireland.[3]

The Green Party has been involved in several major campaigns since entering the Assembly, including clean-rivers and anti-nuclear campaigns and opposition to Fracking and fighting the austerity agenda. It has also campaigned against the development of incinerators at Belfast North Foreshore and Lough Neagh, and against proposals to extend the airport runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.[4]

The Green Party campaigns not just for more environmental protection but also for politics for the common good - demanding economy for people and planet. Green MLA Steven Agnew has championed the rights of children in Northern Ireland through his private member's Bill which is seeking to establish a statutory duties on government departments to work together to deliver optimum children's services. Steven Agnew MLA has also been a long-standing supporter integrated education and a society based on equal rights and mutual respect for all traditions. This has included bringing forward the first motion on marriage equality to the Northern ireland Assembly in 2011. The party has also called for funding to be focused on improving public transport infrastructure and supports 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. The Green Party in Northern Ireland campaigns for transparency in political funding, responsive local government, caring for communities, effective community planning, a dynamic and sustainable local economy, environmental protection and a ban on Fracking and for animal welfare.

On the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, the Green Party believes the status quo should remain "until the people of Northern Ireland decide otherwise".[5] The party has also called for greater transparency in politics, arguing that political donations in Northern Ireland should be made public. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where political donations are secret.[6]

History[edit]

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.[7]

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 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] It also maintains links with the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party of England and Wales.[4] These arrangements are said to 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]

In 2007, a Green society was established at Queen's University Belfast.[8] 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 — pushing for the inclusion of same-sex marriage within party policy — was achieved at the 2011 AGM after a unanimous vote.

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.[9]

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.

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.[4] The Greens fought the election on the Green New Deal, calling for job creation in the green energy sector.

The Greens fielded four candidates in the United Kingdom general election, 2010,[10] none of which managed to secure a seat. However, the number of votes for Green candidates more than trebled.

Brian Wilson MLA stood down ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2011,[11] in which the party won a seat on North Down council[12] Steven Agnew.[13] Steven Agnew subsequently stepped down from his position on North Down Borough Council as the Party took a strong stand against so called 'double jobbing' or dual mandate and was replaced by John Barry.[12]

Election Body First Preference Vote Vote % Seats
1996 Forum 3,647 0.49%
0 / 110
1998 1st Assembly 710 0.09%
0 / 108
2003 2nd Assembly 2,688 0.4%
0 / 108
2007 3rd Assembly 11,985 1.7%
1 / 108
2011 4th Assembly 6,031 0.9%
1 / 108

Officers[edit]

The Green Party's Chairperson is Jenny Muir and the Secretary is John Hardy.

The Party has spokespeople in the following areas:

  • North Down: Steven Agnew MLA / Cllr. Dr. John Barry / Noelle Robinson
  • South Belfast: Clare Bailey
  • East Belfast: Martin Gregg and Ross Brown
  • Strangford: Barbara Haig
  • South Down: John Hardy
  • Lagan Valley: Luke Robinson
  • Newry & Mourne: Ciaran Mussen
  • North Coast: Garrett Mussen
  • Tyrone: Ciaran McClean
  • Fermanagh: Tanya Jones
  • Young Greens: Georgia Grainger

Elected representatives[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mannion, A.M. (12 January 2006). Carbon and Its Domestication. Springer. p. 222. 
  2. ^ "Our Principles". Green Party in Northern Ireland. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Clarke, Liam (20 April 2011). "Green Party manifesto unveiled by new leader". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Profile: Green Party". BBC News. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Green Party leader Steven Agnew reacts to leader debate". BBC News. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Walker, Stephen (29 March 2014). "Green Party's Steven Agnew in political donations call". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Belfast election results 1973–1981, ARK, accessed 13 January 2013
  8. ^ QUB Greens
  9. ^ 2005 Northern Ireland local election results
  10. ^ "Green Party NI candidates in 2010 general election". BBC News. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Green Party to elect Northern Ireland leader". BBC News. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Green MLA Steven Agnew steps down from council". BBC News. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "European election predictions: Full analysis of how DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP, SDLP and others could perform in May". Belfast Telegraph. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 

External links[edit]