Trevor Sargent

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Trevor Sargent
Trevor Sargent.jpg
Teachta Dála
In office
November 1992 – February 2011
Constituency Dublin North
Minister of State for Food and Horticulture
In office
20 June 2007 – 23 February 2010
Preceded by Brendan Smith
Succeeded by Ciarán Cuffe
Leader of the Green Party
In office
6 October 2001 – 17 July 2007
Preceded by None
Succeeded by John Gormley
Personal details
Born (1960-07-26) 26 July 1960 (age 54)
Nationality Irish
Political party Green Party
Spouse(s) Heidi Bedell (m. 1998 div. 2013)
Domestic partner Aine Neville
Residence Tacumshin, County Wexford
Occupation Author & Illustrator
Religion Church of Ireland
Website www.trevorskitchengarden.ie

Trevor Sargent (born 26 July 1960) is a former Irish Green Party politician. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin North constituency from 1992 to 2011.[1] He was leader of the Green Party from 2001 to 2007.

Personal life[edit]

Sargent trained as a primary school teacher in the Church of Ireland College of Education. In 1981, he started teaching in the Model School Dunmanway West Cork. In 1983, he was appointed Principal of St. George's National School in Balbriggan, County Dublin, which was his home for 30 years. He is a fluent Irish speaker and has made many appearances on the Irish-language TV channel TG4. He was a guest judge on TG4's Feirm Factor and a guest gardener for Season 2 of Garrai Glas in 2011. He also made an appearance on The Podge and Rodge Show on 10 April 2006. He is the current chairman of the Board of Sonairte, The National Ecology Centre, in Laytown, County Meath, which he helped found in 1987. He is active in GIY Ireland. In 1998, he married Heidi Bedell, former councillor and co-ordinator of the Green Party. They later divorced in 2013. Sargent lives with his partner, Aine Neville, in Tacumshin, County Wexford, where they are developing an organic horticulture enterprise. They are also members of the Wexford Naturalists' field club.

Local politics[edit]

A committed environmentalist since the early 1980s, Trevor Sargent first became politically active when he joined the Green Party in 1982. However, it was not until 1989 that the Green Party made an impact on national politics, winning its first seat in Dáil Éireann through Roger Garland. In that same year Sargent stood for election to the European Parliament, but was unsuccessful. Two years later in 1991, he was elected to Dublin County Council.

He is well known for waving in the council chamber a cheque received in the post from a builder who was seeking to rezone land for a housing development. When he asked the other members whether any of them had also received cheques, he was assaulted by a number of his fellow councillors. Sargent alleged that Fianna Fáil councillor Don Lydon put him in a headlock and attempted to snatch the cheque from him.[2] This is one of the incidents which eventually led to the creation of planning tribunals to look into planning matters in Dublin County Council. (See Mahon Tribunal)

Dáil Éireann[edit]

At the 1992 general election, he was elected to Dáil Éireann and retained his seat at the 1997, 2002 and 2007 general elections, topping the poll in 2002.[3] Having been elected to Dáil Éireann, he resigned his county council seat in keeping with Green party policy on dual mandates. This policy has since been adopted by the Irish government and is now compulsory. Having been the only Green Party member of the Dáil between 1992 and 1997, Sargent was joined in 1997 by John Gormley, and in 2002 by an additional four Green Party TDs.

At a special "Leadership Convention" in Kilkenny on 6 October 2001, Sargent was elected the first official leader of the Green Party. He was re-elected to this position in 2003 and again in 2005.

Following the 2007 general election, the Green Party entered talks on forming a coalition government with Fianna Fáil. A programme for government was agreed after over a week of negotiations, which was ratified by 86% by a special conference of the Green Party membership, following passionate endorsements of the deal by Sargent and the rest of the Green leadership. However, Sargent announced that he would resign his position as leader of the party and would not accept a seat in cabinet, as he had promised he would not lead the party into government with Fianna Fáil before the election. He was succeeded as leader by John Gormley. Instead of entering cabinet, he was appointed Minister of State for Food and Horticulture by Bertie Ahern on 20 June 2007.

He served as the Minister of State for Food and Horticulture from June 2007 to February 2010. He resigned as Minister when he admitted unlawfully contacting Gardaí about a criminal case involving a constituent who had been assaulted. [4] He lost his seat at the 2011 general election, along with all the other Green Party TDs.

Post politics[edit]

In March 2012, he published his debut book 'Trevor's Kitchen Garden', a week-by-week manual and diary in book form about growing food in a small garden, based on his blog of the same name.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Trevor Sargent". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "Lydon to quit two jobs for Seanad from July". RTÉ News. 1 May 2003. 
  3. ^ "Trevor Sargent". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Sargent resigns as Minister of State". RTÉ News. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010. 

External links[edit]

Oireachtas
Preceded by
New seat in constituency
Green Party Teachta Dála for Dublin North
1992–2011
Succeeded by
Clare Daly
(Socialist Party)
Party political offices
Preceded by
New position
Leader of the Irish Green Party
2001–2007
Succeeded by
John Gormley
Political offices
Preceded by
Brendan Smith
Minister of State for Food and Horticulture
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Ciarán Cuffe