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  • Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaks at a 'Global Ireland' news conference in Dublin, Ireland January 8, 2019.

    Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaks at a 'Global Ireland' news conference in Dublin, Ireland January 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 May 2019

“We cannot yet count our chickens, but the exit polls for the Irish Greens are extremely encouraging,” Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said in a statement issued by the European Greens.

Ireland’s Green Party has recently surged in European and local elections, an exit poll showed on Saturday, putting it in line to take its first seats in the European Parliament for 20 years and make the biggest gains in county and city councils.

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According to the Reuters Agency, the Green Party is set to win as many as three of the 13 European seats up for grabs and increase their local vote to 9% from less than 2% five years ago, according to a RED C exit poll for RTE/TG4, a showing that would put them in contention for government formation if repeated at a parliamentary poll.

After 90 of the 949 council seats were filled at 1000 GMT, early results suggested The Greens’ performance was in line with the exit poll. In Dublin, some of their candidates topped polls by significant margins.

“We cannot yet count our chickens, but the exit polls for the Irish Greens are extremely encouraging,” Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said in a statement issued by the European Greens.

European Greens co-lead candidate Bas Eickhout talked of a “green wave” rolling on to Irish shores from the Netherlands, where GroenLinks’ (GreenLeft’s) share of the vote rose to 10.5%, according to an exit poll there.

While Ireland does not hold a significant share of the 751-seat EU chamber - and will initially send 11 MEPs until Britain actually leaves the bloc - an ebb in support for mainstream parties is raising hopes among Europe’s Greens that they could act as kingmakers.

“It is those climate strikes, it is those young people standing up and saying we have to protect our future,” Ryan told national broadcaster RTE.

The exit poll showed that almost 90% of voters feel that the government needs to prioritize climate change more.

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