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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Greens to join Irish government
Trevor Sargent talks to the media at party headquarters in Dublin
Trevor Sargent has resigned as Green Party leader
The Green Party has voted overwhelmingly to enter government in the Irish Republic for the first time.

Members voted by an 86.81% majority to join a coalition led by Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fail party.

The party's six Dail TDs will join the coalition, which also includes Mary Harney's Progressive Democrats.

Trevor Sargent quit as party leader after the move. During campaigning, he promised to resign rather than lead the Greens into a coalition with Mr Ahern.

He had been highly critical of the taoiseach's acceptance of money from friends and businessmen after his marriage break-up in the early 1990s.

Mr Sargent said he would not accept a cabinet position but would be prepared to act as a junior minister if offered.

The endorsement of a programme for government, by 431 to 67 votes, came on Wednesday after several hours of discussion at a special convention in Dublin.


Delegates at the Green party conference had to walk past anti-Iraq war activists and anti-motorways protesters on their way into the Mansion House.

The anti-war campaigners were demanding that the Irish government stop the Shannon airport stopover for US troops on their way to Iraq.

The anti-motorway activists want a halt called to the M3 section that by-passes the Hill of Tara in County Meath.

Both causes have been close to the hearts of the Green Party but there was nothing in the deal with Fianna Fail that would affect either Shannon or the motorway.

The Irish government is urged to stop Shannon stopovers
The Irish government is urged to stop Shannon stopovers
Earlier, Roger Garland, a founder of the Greens - who was the party's first TD in 1989 - said he felt betrayed by a deal, he described as "unbelievably bad".

On the other hand Ciaran Cuffe, a current TD, said it was an unprecedented opportunity for the party to help shape cabinet policy for the benefit of the Irish people for five years.

The deal includes a proposed carbon tax; measures dealing with climate change; directly-elected mayors; more money for education and a review of taxation.

Shane Harrison reports on the Green Party vote

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