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Martin's husband sorry over twitter dig at her Green leadership rival

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The Green Party’s Catherine Martin with husband Francis Noel Duffy.

The Green Party’s Catherine Martin with husband Francis Noel Duffy.

The Green Party’s Catherine Martin with husband Francis Noel Duffy.

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin's husband has apologised after he retweeted a comment attacking Eamon Ryan.

Hours after it emerged Ms Martin was set to contest the party leadership, her husband Francis Noel Duffy retweeted and liked a comment suggesting Mr Ryan was trying to strike a government deal so he could get a ministerial office.

The online post said the Green Party leader was trying to strike a deal with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael so he could "creep off to a ministerial seat".

The Twitter commenter added that Ms Martin wants to "bury" Mr Ryan and the "old Greens".

Inadvertently

Mr Duffy eventually removed the comment from his Twitter page and posted a statement "disassociating" himself with the post which he said he "inadvertently" retweeted.

He said anyone who knows him will realise this is not his "approach to politics".

It is understood he personally contacted Mr Ryan to apologise for any upset caused.

It came after Ms Martin wrote to supporters telling them of her intention to contest the leadership in the coming months.

Yesterday was the deadline for declaring an interest.

Meanwhile, Mr Ryan is coming under pressure from senior party figures to object to controversial Independent TDs Verona Murphy and Noel Grealish playing any role in the next government.

Several senior party figures are believed to have contacted Mr Ryan to say they oppose their involvement in government formation.

Fingal TD Joe O'Brien criticised Ms Murphy yesterday for asking questions about direct provision.

MEP Grace O'Sullivan was critical of Mr Grealish's comments about Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the State pension age remains one of the key stumbling blocks in the government formation talks.

The three party leaders involved in negotiations met yesterday to try to resolve their differences on plans to increase the pension age to 67 next year.

However, after a four-hour meeting between Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Mr Ryan, agreement had not been reached and their negotiating teams will have to find a resolution in the coming days.

A Fianna Fail source suggested the increase to 67 could be delayed for a number of years in line with some other EU countries where it is not due to go up until 2028.

System

However, a Fine Gael source said this would be "too much of a fudge".

The leaders have agreed to set-up a commission on pensions which will examine a new auto-enrolment system and the contributions people will be expected to make.

Mr Martin wants the pension age to remain at 66, while Mr Varadkar is insisting on it being increased in line with a long-running government strategy aimed at reducing the cost of State pensions.

The Green Party campaigned in the General Election to stop the pension age increasing but it is not a red-line issue for the party in the talks.

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party are understood to be close to reaching agreement on the national deficit.

The three leaders also discussed how to address a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 7pc a year.