Press release

Eamon Ryan steps down as Green Party leader after 13 years

18th June 2024
Eamon Ryan

Minister Eamon Ryan has announced today that he is to step down as leader of the Green Party after 13 years.

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Transport also confirmed that he will not contest the next General Election and will instead look to continue his work for the environment and nature in different ways. Minister Ryan said that he had made the decision in the knowledge that there is a talented group of people in the Green Party to bring the party forward.

Minister Ryan took over as leader of the Green Party in May 2011 at a time when the party was at one of its lowest points, when it had no Oireachtas representatives and only three councillors. Working on a largely voluntary basis, he rebuilt it, travelling around the country and expanding the membership. He was re-elected to the Dail in 2016 and following record local and European election results in 2019, he led the party to its best-ever General Election performance the following year, when 12 TDs and four Senators were returned. This put the party in a position to negotiate one of the most environmentally-focused Programmes for Government ever agreed across Europe. 

“I have been in public life now for close to 30 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. Yesterday’s approval of the NRL at the Environment Council was another one of those memorable days when we said yes to protecting nature across Europe. However, as a leader, it is important to always know that there is a time to go and a time to pass things on to new talent.”

"I will continue my lifelong campaigning for climate justice, but in a different way. I have worked 24/7 for many years in politics but am no longer in a position to do that because of family and parenting commitments.” 

“This is a decision I came to a while ago, but the time wasn’t quite right to announce it. We are into a new political cycle now. The local and European elections have been completed and while the next election won’t happen immediately, it is something that every party will be preparing for over the coming weeks and months. This is a good time to hand over to a new leader, who can bring a new perspective, and new way of doing things to the job.”

Since 2020, Minister Ryan has been a Government leader and Minister for both the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Transport – two key departments at the centre of Ireland’s climate transformation. He was elected to the Dail initially in 2002 and was re-elected in 2007, when he was appointed as Minister for Communications, Natural Resources and Energy. 

His terms as both a TD and Minister have been marked by a series of major policy achievements. Minister Ryan:

  • Introduced higher energy standards for new builds (2010) which saw most homes reach an A3 rating, lowering heating bills and emissions.
  • Helped lead the country through Covid, reducing the loss of life.
  • Enacted Ireland’s internationally recognised Climate Act 2021. 
  • Put in place the legal and regulatory foundation for Ireland’s off-shore wind and solar revolutions. 
  • Designed Ireland’s national retrofitting scheme – every week 1,000 additional households are enjoying warmer homes that are cheaper to heat.
  • Oversaw the delivery of more than €1,200 of electricity credits to 2.1 million households which helped people during the cost of living crisis.
  • Accelerated the National Broadband Plan with record numbers of households connecting every week. 
  • Phased out the use of smoky coal to improve air quality, something three previous ministers had announced and failed to do.
  • Introduced the first Deposit return scheme reducing the amount of litter on our streets and roadsides.
  • Initiated the successful Eircode scheme. 
  • Secured the introduction of cost-rental housing providing a fair rent option for people.
  • Championed Ireland’s recognition of Palestine.
  • Campaigned for and helped ensure the approval of the EU Nature Restoration Law.
  • Introduced the first transport fare reductions in 75 years and the greatest expansion of public transport in recent history.
  • Put in place legislation to reduce speed limits on our roads.
  • Appointed to leading roles in international climate and energy diplomacy, championing climate justice for developing countries as a lead negotiator for the European Union at the last two COPs.
  • He is currently Chair of the International Energy Agency.
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