Young voters demand a 'greening of the agenda'

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The Independent Online

The rise in support for the Green party in the election is seen as reflecting the presence of a strong non-conventional strain among Irish voters and a search for idealism, particularly among the young.

The rise in support for the Green party in the election is seen as reflecting the presence of a strong non-conventional strain among Irish voters and a search for idealism, particularly among the young.

It also probably reflects a more professional approach within the party itself, which, in the wake of a disappointing result in the 1997 election, took steps to become better organised and more focused. This has paid off with an increase in votes, especially in the Dublin area, winning them six seats. It had called for support so that it could set about "greening the political agenda".

One commentator wrote of the party: "There was undeniably a greater degree of realpolitik in its manifesto, with policies which were sensible and reasonable and showed a degree of political maturity that may have been lacking in the past."

The party presented itself as a cleaner alternative to larger groupings, both in terms of the environment and as a force against corruption. Its manifesto stressed "quality of life" issues, calling for Dublin's traffic problems to be tackled through large-scale investment in public transport.

The Greens gave a high priority to cleaning up Irish public life, describing their party as "the only bulwark against the tide of arrogance and corruption in Irish politics".

Its leader, Trevor Sargent, accused the outgoing administration of perversely claiming to be concerned with quality of life issues.

He said: "The amount of crocodile tears that have been shed in this election campaign would fill the swimming pools of the richest people in society – those who have benefited from this government."

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