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(L-R): Eamon Ryan, Roisin Garvey, Barry O’Donovan, Grace O’Sullivan. Photograph: John Mangan

Two candidates have been announced by The Green Party to contest next year’s local elections in Clare.

Over sixty people gathered at the Rowan Tree in Ennis on Thursday night where Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan declared Roisin Garvey and Barry O’Donovan would be contesting the 2019 local elections.

Inagh native Roisin Garvey will run in the Ennistymon electoral area which covers North Clare. Her father Flan was a member of Clare County Council from 1985 to 2009 as a Fianna Fáil councillor. She was “really humbled by the turnout” and admitted, “I was a busy person since I was born, I have a lot of energy and I’m looking forward to bringing that energy into this campaign”. Garvey claimed the health of young people would be dramatically different if the Greens were in power, “25 percent of children are obese, if the Green Party were in charge that would be zero”.

Barry O’Donovan who resides in Tuamgraney is to seek a seat in the Killaloe Municipal District where one elected official will lose their seat as a result of the report published by the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee. Limerick born, O’Donovan said “I’m putting myself forward because I want to be a voice for the people of East Clare who want a better quality of life without it costing the Earth”.

Eamon Ryan also confirmed at the meeting that Senator Grace O’Sullivan is to contest the upcoming European elections in the south of Ireland. Opening his address, Ryan remarked “I’m watching the River Fergus outside and it is the most stunning sight”. “The Green Party has always been important in Clare, we may have been seen as the posh boys from Dublin but our roots are in Clare, I’m thinking of Donal Ó Bearra and Brian Meaney and the work they did”.

“Being a councillor is a fantastic experience, it is a really republican thing to do” commented the father of four who topped the poll at the 1999 local elections in Rathmines. “The Greens at the minute are the second biggest party in Germany and the biggest amongst women. We should be big and we should be everywhere, there is a space for us in rural Ireland”. He envisioned a country where “farmers, foresters and fishermen will be our frontline heroes”.

Of the two selected candidates, the party leader said. “Barry O’Donovan has protested for fifty years, today he said to me we need to move on from protest and be productive”. He stated that Roisin Garvey came from “one of the most enterprising families” and told the crowd “her first job was in an office and she was given out to for working too hard”.

Senator Grace O’Sullivan. Photograph: John Mangan

Senator Grace O’Sullivan who is only a member of the party for the last four years revealed she is “mad about Clare”. “We know climate change is the greatest risk to all planet life on this island and yet we’re not moving fast enough”. In 1981, the Waterford woman became Ireland’s first female champion surfer, she continued, “We know we have the wind, the waves and light that is good for solar panels, we know we have the innovators and the ideas so why don’t we make it happen”. Grace encouraged people to promote public transport and walking to work and she praised both Barry and Roisin for putting themselves forward, “When you stand up, you have to start thinking about your message”.

Party member Gerben Uunk suggested they lend their support to an Independent representative in Ennis if they have no selected contender, however The Clare Echo understands the party are hopeful of having an official candidate in each of the Municipal Districts. Concluding the meeting, Eamon Ryan said, “The main outcome I hope is to get these two people elected. Then we’ll have a party here in seven months time to celebrate Green Party representation coming back to Clare”.

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