Green Party in Northern Ireland

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Green Party in Northern Ireland
Leader Steven Agnew MLA
Deputy Leader Clare Bailey MLA
Founded 1983
Headquarters First Floor
76 Abbey Street
County Down
Northern Ireland
Youth wing Young Greens
Membership  (2016) 500 [1]
Ideology Green politics
Political position Left-wing
European affiliation European Green Party
International affiliation Global Greens
European Parliament group European Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours          [2] Green and blue
NI Assembly
2 / 108

NI Local Councils
3 / 462


The Green Party in Northern Ireland is a green party in Northern Irelandwhich works in co-operation with green parties across Britain and Ireland, Europe and globally. Like many green parties around the world, its origins lie in the anti-nuclear, labour and peace movements of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Since 2006, the party has operated as a region of the Green Party of Ireland[3]and also maintains links with other Green parties, including the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party of England and Wales.[4]

The party has a youth wing operating in Northern Ireland, the Young Greens.

The party also has an LGBTQ policy and activist group operating in Northern Ireland, the Queer Greens.


The Green Party has four key values: social justice, environmental sustainability, grassroots democracy and non-violence.[5][6] It is considered to be more left-wing than most parties in Northern Ireland.[7]

The Green Party has been involved in several major campaigns since entering the Northern Ireland Assembly, including clean rivers and anti-nuclearcampaigns, opposition to fracking, and fighting the austerity agenda. It has also campaigned against the development of incinerators at Belfast North Foreshore and Lough Neagh, and against proposals to extend the airport runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.[4]

The Green Party campaigns not just for more environmental protection but also for politics for the common good. MLASteven Agnew has championed the rights of children in Northern Ireland through his Private Member’s Bill which is seeking to establish a statutory duties on government departments to work together to deliver optimum children’s services. Agnew has also been a long-standing supporter of integrated education and a society based on equal rights and mutual respect for all traditions. This has included bringing forward the first motion on same-sex marriage to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011. The party has also called for funding to be focused on improving public transport infrastructure and supports the creation of an independent environmental protection agency for Northern Ireland. They also campaign for a shift toalternative energy for Northern Ireland and were involved in the setting up of a lobby group for the sector. The Green Party in Northern Ireland campaigns for transparency in political funding, responsive local government, effective community planning, dynamic and sustainable local economies, environmental protection, and for animal welfare.

On the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, the Green Party believes the status quo should remain “until the people of Northern Ireland decide otherwise”.[8] The party has also called for greater transparency in politics, arguing that political donations in Northern Ireland should be made public. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where political donations are secret.[9]


In the Northern Ireland local elections of May 1981, Peter Emerson, Avril McCandless and Malcolm Samuels stood as the first candidates to use the Ecology label in Northern Ireland and gained 202, 81 and 61 votes respectively; the first in a large urban area, the other two in smaller rural constituencies. Emerson had previously stood in the same area in 1977.[10]

In May 1983, the Northern Ireland Ecology Party was launched at a press conference held in the Europa Hotel, Belfast, with members of the British and Irish Ecology parties in attendance. At the same time, the three parties put forward one combined policy on Northern Ireland, the first time that UK and Irish political parties had held a common Northern Ireland policy.

In 1985, ecology parties throughout the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom changed their names to Green Party.

The party became a region of the Green Party of Ireland in 2006.[3][4] These arrangements are said to demonstrate the Northern Ireland party’s cross-community nature, as the Green Party claim to be the only party that actually lives the Good Friday Agreement through its operational set up through North-South and East-West links.[citation needed]

In 2007, a Green society was established at Queen’s University Belfast.[11] In 2010, the LGBT Greens NI were established: a policy group and lobby group specialising in LGBT community issues within Northern Ireland. The LGBT group dissolved in early 2012, as their main aim — pushing for the inclusion of same-sex marriage within party policy — was achieved at the 2011 AGM after a unanimous vote.

In February 2015, the Queer Greens party group was set up to become the LGBTQ issues and activist wing of the party. The group is taking charge of party policy on LGBTQ issues, campaigning, lobbying and raising awareness.

On the 14th of January 2016, the party announced that it had selected Ellen Murray as its candidate to contest the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly elections for West Belfast, making her the first openly Transgender person to stand for election on the island of Ireland.

Election results[edit]

The party’s first electoral success in Northern Ireland was at the local council elections of 2005. Cllr Raymond Blaney was elected onto Down District Council and Brian Wilson, formerly of the Alliance Party, took a seat on North Down Borough Council. The party’s third local councillor was Ciaran Mussen, elected to Newry and Mourne District Council.[12]

At the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the Green Party won its first seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly, whenBrian Wilson won a seat in the North Down constituency. Overall the party won 11,985 first preference votes or 1.7% of the total – a rise of 1.4% since the 2003 Assembly election.

In 2009, the Green Party stood Steven Agnew in the European election — he secured 15,674 votes, trebling the Green Party’s share of the vote.[4] The Greens fought the election on the Green New Deal, calling for job creation in the green energy sector.

The Greens fielded four candidates in the 2010 UK general election,[13] none of which managed to secure a seat. However, the number of votes for Green candidates more than trebled.

Brian Wilson MLA stood down ahead of the 2011 Assembly election,[14] in which the party won a seat on North Down council,[15] with their candidate Steven Agnew.[16] Agnew subsequently stepped down from his position on North Down Borough Council as the party took a strong stand against so called ‘double jobbing’ or dual mandate; he was replaced by John Barry.[15]

Devolved legislature elections[edit]

Election Body Seats won ± Position First Pref votes  % Government Leader
1996 Forum
0 / 110

Steady None 3,647 0.5% No Seats None
1998 Assembly
0 / 108

Steady None 710 0.1% No Seats None
0 / 108

Steady None 2,688 0.4% No Seats None
1 / 108

Increase1 Increase6th 11,985 1.7% Opposition Kelly Andrews and John Barry
1 / 108

Steady Steady6th 6,031 0.9% Opposition Steven Agnew
2 / 108

Increase1 Steady6th 18,718 2.7% Opposition Steven Agnew

Westminster elections[edit]

Election Seats (in NI) ± Position Total votes  % (in NI)  % (in UK) Government
0 / 17

Steady None 451 0.1% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 17

Steady None 281 0.0% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18

Steady None 539 0.1% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18

Steady None 3,542 0.5% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18

Steady None 6,822 1.0% 0.0% No Seats

1983 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
North Antrim Malcolm Samuel 451 1.0 6

1987 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
East Londonderry Malcolm Samuel 281 0.6 6

By-elections, 1987-1992[edit]

By-election Candidate Votes  % Position
Upper Bann Peter Doran 576 1.6 9

1997 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
Belfast North Peter Emerson 539 1.3 5

2010 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
Belfast South Adam McGibbon 1,036 3.0 5
North Down Steven Agnew 1,043 3.1 5
South Down Cadogan Enright 901 2.1 6
Strangford Barbara Haig 562 1.7 7

2015 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position
Belfast East Ross Brown 1,058 2.7 4
Belfast South Clare Bailey 2,238 5.7 6
Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tanya Jones 788 1.5 4
North Down Steven Agnew 1,958 5.4 4
West Tyrone Ciaran McClean 780 2.0 6


The Green Party’s Chairperson is John Hardy and the Secretary is Joseph Elliott.

The Party has spokespeople in the following areas:

  • North Down: Steven Agnew MLA / Cllr. Dr. John Barry
  • South Belfast: Clare Bailey MLA
  • East Belfast: Martin Gregg and Ross Brown
  • North & West Belfast: Malachai O’Hara
  • Strangford: Barbara Haig
  • South Down: John Hardy
  • Lagan Valley: Luke Robinson
  • Newry & Mourne: Ciaran Mussen
  • North Coast: Garrett Mussen
  • Tyrone: Ciaran McClean
  • Fermanagh: Tanya Jones
  • Young Greens: Georgia Grainger
  • Queer Greens: Anthony Flynn

Elected representatives[edit]


Local councils[edit]

  • Dr. John Barry, Holywood & Clandeboye, Ards & North Down Council
  • Paul Roberts, Bangor West, Ards & North Down Council
  • Ross Brown, Ormiston, Belfast City Council

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