I’m voting for Eamon for Green leader. I was proud to nominate him too. I’m doing it mainly because I think he’s a rare politician in Ireland who combines a wider vision with minute policy depth and detail.
Lots of people have technical policy insight. Many can do the big “vision thing”. Eamon can do both.
He’s also got the cabinet experience we’ll need in the coming couple of years, something which I think is much needed and often undervalued.
But I’m also personally grateful.
In 2011, I had just moved home from a year overseas and was fairly down. I’d signed on the dole and didn’t know what I was going to do next.
Eamon got in touch, asking me to do a submission to the council on Dublin’s public realm. He wanted some detailed suggestions, but also to try set out what a green vision for Dublin City would look like.
He brought me into the party office on Suffolk St (he was covering a lot of its running costs personally), set up meetings with his contacts across the city, and made sure my lunch was covered every day I was in town.
After many meetings and conversations (and a good hashtag campaign, in the days when a hashtag was a newfangled thing), we ended up producing this report: A Vision for Dublin’s Public Realm. Some parts haven’t aged well, but most of it is stuff I’d still love to see done today.
What it meant to me, though, was someone with serious experience who put a bit of faith in me and gave practical support.
This what Eamon does and will do. He puts others first. He rebuilt the party by building up others.
I know this is something he doesn’t just do in his own county. He’s travelled far, identifying strong candidates, cajoling and persuading people across the country to run – and supporting them when they did. I think that’s why every Green TD outside of Dublin is supporting him.
I’ve seen similar stories from Pippa in Offaly, Pauline in Galway, Steven in Wicklow, Brian in Limerick, and Grace and Marc in Waterford.
(He has also posed for some joyously lame “local politician clean up” photos over the years with Roderic in Dublin West.)
It might seem mad now, given our recent successes, but Eamon did a lot of this at a time when it wasn’t clear if the Irish Green Party would actually still exist in the coming years. The media stopped asking us about the party’s future: we were largely irrelevant.
Eamon was ploughing on, funding big chunks of the party out of his own pocket, and (I know for a fact) turning down big opportunities as a former energy minister, so that he could continue rebuilding our party.
He wasn’t alone, of course. Lots of people fought and worked to get to where we are today. But I don’t think anyone has done as much as Eamon to not only rebuild the party, but rebuild credibility in the eyes of the media and wider public. We’ll need to keep doing that.
From nothing, he has lead us to being one of the most electorally successful Green parties in the world.
Dedication, sincerity and perserverence. Qualities which Eamon has proven in the past, which we’ll need in the future. That, married with the experience he brings, makes him a candidate worthy of your support.
We’re lucky to have two great candidates for leader, but Eamon undoubtedly has my number 1.