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Martin to back deal when Greens vote as husband says no

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Green TD Catherine Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Green TD Catherine Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Green TD Catherine Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Greens have moved a step closer to entering government after influential deputy leader Catherine Martin backed a historic coalition deal with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

But the party split over the issue was underlined last night as her husband, fellow TD Francis Noel Duffy, rejected the programme for government that his wife helped negotiate, claiming it would make the Greens "complicit" in "regressive" policies.

Their disagreement played out amid a broader 'virtual' battle for the hearts, minds and votes of Green members.

Two-thirds of speakers at a special online convention backed the deal and that proportion must be replicated in a postal ballot of over 2,600 members for the Greens to go into government with the Civil War parties.

The result of the vote will be announced next Friday when results of ballots in Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are also expected.

There remains some uncertainty over whether the Greens will pass the deal, with opponents like Mr Duffy and finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan speaking strongly against it.

Ms Hourigan said last night that the deal would make the climate emergency and housing crisis worse, claimed it might be "the most fiscally conservative government in a generation" and warned: "We might miss the boat here - but this boat might be the Titanic and people might drown."

Ms Martin spearheaded the Green negotiating team and is challenging party leader Eamon Ryan for the leadership in a contest to take place next month.

Risk

Closing the conference, Mr Ryan appealed to members, saying the Greens needed to serve the Irish people by going into government.

Earlier in the day, Ms Martin backed the deal while telling colleagues she wants it reviewed every two months and renegotiated in December 2022 when the Taoiseach's role is rotated.

While she said entering a coalition was not without risk, she described it as the "best achievable" in the circumstances.