Catherine Martin: Classical singer who takes up Green baton in coalition talks

Some believe she has leadership ambitions and will not be willing to play second fiddle

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin:  uneasy about an alliance with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin: uneasy about an alliance with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Photograph: Laura Hutton


Green Party leader Eamon Ryan’s choice of Catherine Martin to lead the party’s negotiating team in Government formation talks has led to comparisons with Éamon de Valera choosing Michael Collins to lead Treaty negotiations.

幸运飞艇开奖记录开奖广加75505No death warrants or anything dramatic like that, but some see it as presaging a damaging split in a party which prides itself on a karmic approach to politics.

The Dublin Rathdown TD and deputy leader has emerged as the leading figure of a minority in the parliamentary party who have been uneasy about an alliance with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

幸运飞艇开奖记录开奖广加75505She is a surprising figurehead. She is not a left-wing firebrand like Saoirse McHugh or Cork councillor Lorna Bogue. She is centre-left at most, and would be seen as a natural collaborator who has forged good relations across all parties. She founded the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in the Oireachtas and also pressed for anti-bullying protocols and structures in the Leinster House campus.

幸运飞艇开奖记录开奖广加75505Those close to her say she is not opposed per se to coalition, but wanted cast-iron guarantees way beyond those Ryan was prepared to accept.

幸运飞艇开奖记录开奖广加75505Her stance is said to have strained the previously close working relationship between them.

Taught music

From Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, Martin trained as a classical singer and performed nationally when younger. After graduating from NUI Maynooth, she taught music and English at St Tiernan’s Community School in Ballinteer.

She had briefly flirted with politics. Her brother Vincent P Martin (now a senior counsel and Green councillor in Kildare) was an Independent councillor in Monaghan in the 1990s. She was co-opted to his seat for a while but then left politics. She and her husband, architect Francis Noel Duffy (now also a Green TD) decided to become involved in the Greens after starting a family a decade ago.

Martin was elected a councillor in 2014 and came from nowhere to win a Dáil seat in 2016. She did it with an unstinting “boots on the ground” effort, canvassing every home numerous times. As the party’s second TD, it took a long while for her to emerge from the shadow of the high-profile Ryan. She is cautious by nature. “Every decision is thoroughly researched and she seeks advice widely. She does not say things lightly,” says a former colleague.

Her ferocious denunciation of Simon Coveney last week would have bolstered her standing with the doubters

Initially, she focused on strong suits such as education and Irish, but as time went on began to front on more issues.

Some in the party find it hard to gauge where she stands. “I am never really sure what her politics are,” says one colleague. “At the moment she seems to be aligning herself with the young Greens and the Saoirse McHugh end.”

‘Big stand’

A supporter says, “This was a big stand for her. She could have sat on the fence. These are two parties who would buy and sell you in a second.”

Her ferocious denunciation of Simon Coveney on RTÉ last week would have bolstered her standing with the doubters. It also showed her objections ran beyond climate change to a wider left-wing agenda.

In the end, she was in a minority of three out of 12 TDs, along with her husband, Duffy and Neasa Hourigan (Patrick Costello abstained). Her appointment was a no-brainer. Given the deputy leaders from the two other parties are lead negotiators, if Ryan had not chosen her, it would have spelled “serious split”. She has said strongly she accepts the decision and will negotiate in good faith.

幸运飞艇开奖记录开奖广加75505Is there a bigger game at play? The party’s leadership must be decided within six months of the election. The party’s membership profile is younger and more radical. Some in the parliamentary party believe she has ambitions to be leader.

“I would not be surprised if she runs,” says a supporter. “Eamon Ryan has had a long stint. He is bright and full of integrity but is he right strategically?”

But is she? Time will tell.