Achill native Saoirse McHugh has quit The Green Party, she announced yesterday.
McHugh rose to prominence as a candidate for the European elections last year and contested the Dáil and Seanad elections earlier this year - where she failed to win a seat, but put in a very strong showing, taking 6.5 per cent of the first preference vote in the Dáil election and finishing in seventh place on the first count.
In a Twitter tweet on Thursday morning she outlined her reasons for leaving The Green Party saying: "I have left the Green Party. I doubt that’s a surprise to most people. The reasons I have left are obvious, I joined the Greens with the hope of furthering the cause of climate justice. The Programme For Government that has been agreed on is a terrible document.
"The membership was told it contained certain things that it didn’t. This government, I believe (and I hope I’m wrong ) will do massive damage to the idea of environmentalism by linking it with socially regressive policies.
"Only by viscerally improving people's lives will support for climate action be ensured. Our problems in housing, tax avoidance, healthcare, agriculture etc are inextricably linked with and reinforce environmental breakdown and because of this, solutions must be mutual.
"The Just Transition Greens are an affiliate group that has been set up. While I am not involved with them anymore (I couldn’t stomach being affiliated with the Greens ) I support and understand what they are doing. I hope they break off and form an actual eco socialist.
"I don’t believe that our pathway to a just and free society lies in electoral politics. I have seen how brilliant and brave people are bullied and silenced within parties that profess to be grounded in equality and democracy. I’ve seen how much effort and energy gets taken up by elections and internal party struggles.
"Our only way forward is climate justice and that’s what I will continue to work towards but the Greens no longer provide a vehicle to do that.
"I do hope I’m mistaken and I hope this government exceeds all expectations. I’d happily be proven so wrong."