Green Party Northern Ireland

The Green Party Northern Ireland is a green political party in Northern Ireland. Like many green political parties around the world, its origins lie in the anti-nuclear, labour and peace movements of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Green Party Northern Ireland
LeaderClare Bailey MLA
Deputy LeaderCllr Malachai O'Hara
Youth wingYoung Greens
LGBTQ wingQueer Greens
Membership (2020)700[1]
IdeologyGreen politics[2]
Political positionCentre-left
National affiliationGreen Party
European affiliationEuropean Green Party
International affiliationGlobal Greens
European Parliament groupEuropean Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours  Green and   blue[3]
House of Commons
(NI Seats)
0 / 18
NI Assembly
2 / 90
NI Local Councils
8 / 462

Since 2006, the party has operated as a region of the Green Party of Ireland[4] and also maintains links with other Green parties, including the Scottish Greens and the Green Party of England and Wales.[5]

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

The party also has LGBTQ policies and an 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.[6][7] It is considered to be more to the left than most parties in Northern Ireland.[8]

The Green Party has been involved in several major campaigns since entering the Northern Ireland Assembly, including clean rivers and anti-nuclear campaigns, 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.[5]

The Green Party campaigns not just for more environmental protection but also for politics for the common good. Former leader Steven 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 to alternative 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, Agnew believes the status quo should remain "until the people of Northern Ireland decide otherwise", but stated that the Green Party does not consider the issue as one that should divide its members or society.[9] 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 country of the United Kingdom where political donations are secret.[10]


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.[11]

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.[4][5] 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.[12] 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.

The party supported a no vote in the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum.

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 rights, issues, welfare, campaigning, lobbying and raising awareness.

On 14 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.[13]


Election results

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.[14]

At the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly election, the Green Party won its first seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly, when Brian 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.[5] 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,[15] 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,[16] in which the party won a seat on North Down council,[17] with their candidate Steven Agnew.[18] 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.[17]

In May 2016 the Greens picked up their second seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly when Clare Bailey took a seat in south Belfast.

In 2019 the Greens picked up seats in local elections across the country. They managed to double the seats and won 4 seats in Belfast City Council.

Devolved legislature elections

Election Body Seats won ± Position First Pref votes  % Government Leader
1996 Forum
0 / 110
None 3,647 0.5% No Seats None
1998 Assembly
0 / 108
None 710 0.1% No Seats None
0 / 108
None 2,688 0.4% No Seats None
1 / 108
1 6th 11,985 1.7% Opposition Kelly Andrews and John Barry
1 / 108
6th 6,031 0.9% Opposition Steven Agnew
2 / 108
1 6th 18,718 2.7% Opposition Steven Agnew
2 / 90
6th 18,527 2.3% Opposition Steven Agnew

Westminster elections

Election Seats (in NI) ± Position Total votes  % (in NI)  % (in UK) Government
0 / 17
None 451 0.1% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 17
None 281 0.0% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18
None 539 0.1% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18
None 3,542 0.5% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18
None 6,822 1.0% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18
None 7,452 0.9% 0.0% No Seats
0 / 18
None 1,996 0.2% 0.0% No Seats
1983 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
North AntrimMalcolm Samuel4511.06
1987 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
East LondonderryMalcolm Samuel2810.66
By-elections, 1987–1992
By-electionCandidateVotes %Position
Upper BannPeter Doran5761.69
1997 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
Belfast NorthPeter Emerson5391.35
2010 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
Belfast SouthAdam McGibbon1,0363.05
North DownSteven Agnew1,0433.15
South DownCadogan Enright9012.16
StrangfordBarbara Haig5621.77
2015 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
Belfast EastRoss Brown1,0582.74
Belfast SouthClare Bailey2,2385.76
Fermanagh and South TyroneTanya Jones7881.54
North DownSteven Agnew1,9585.44
West TyroneCiaran McClean7802.06
2017 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
Belfast EastGeorgina Milne5611.35
Belfast NorthMalachi O'Hara6441.45
Belfast SouthClare Bailey2,2415.15
Fermanagh and South TyroneTanya Jones4230.85
North DownSteven Agnew2,5496.54
StrangfordRicky Bamford6071.66
West TyroneCiaran McClean4271.06
2019 general election
ConstituencyCandidateVotes %Position
East AntrimPhilip Randle6851.87
StrangfordMaurice Macartney7902.16
West TyroneSusan Glass5211.37

EU Elections

Election Candidate Seats won Position First Pref votes  %
1989 Malcolm Samuel none 7th 6,569 1.2
2004 Lindsay Whitcroft none 7th 4,810 0.9
2009 Steven Agnew none 7th 15,764 3.3
2014 Ross Brown none 8th 10,598 1.7
2019 Clare Bailey none 7th 12,471 2.2


The Green Party's Chairperson is Kate Barry and the Secretary is Liz Byrne. The party treasurer is Luke Robinson.

The Party has spokespeople in the following areas:

  • North Down: Rachel Woods MLA
  • South Belfast: Clare Bailey MLA
  • Bangor Central: Cllr Stephen Dunlop
  • Bangor West: Cllr Barry McKee
  • Holywood & Clandeboye: Cllr Kathryn McNickle
  • Bangor East & Donaghadee: Ciara Henry
  • East Belfast: Cllr Anthony Flynn
  • North Belfast: Cllr Malachai O'Hara
  • Strangford: Ricky Bamford
  • Young Greens: Ashley Jones
  • Queer Greens: Cllr Anthony Flynn

Elected representatives


Local councils

  • Stephen Dunlop, Bangor Central, Ards & North Down Council
  • Kathryn McNickle, Holywood and Clandeboye, Ards & North Down Council
  • Barry McKee, Bangor West, Ards & North Down Council
  • Anthony Flynn, Ormiston, Belfast City Council
  • Brian Smyth, Lisnasharragh, Belfast City Council
  • Áine Groogan, Botanic, Belfast City Council
  • Malachai O'Hara, Castle, Belfast City Council
  • Si Lee, Castlereagh South, Lisburn & Castlreagh City Council

See also


  1. "2,600 Green Party members register for govt deal vote". 17 June 2020 via Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. Nordsieck, Wolfram (2017). "Northern Ireland/UK". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  3. [bare URL]
  4. "Greens working for peaceful progress in Northern Ireland". 13 December 2006. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  5. "Profile: Green Party". BBC News. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  6. Mannion, A.M. (12 January 2006). Carbon and Its Domestication. Springer. p. 222.
  7. "Our Principles". Green Party in Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 5 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  8. Clarke, Liam (20 April 2011). "Green Party manifesto unveiled by new leader". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 5 May 2014. [dead link]
  9. "Green Party leader Steven Agnew reacts to leader debate". BBC News. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  10. Walker, Stephen (29 March 2014). "Green Party's Steven Agnew in political donations call". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  11. Belfast election results 1973–1981, ARK, accessed 13 January 2013
  12. "QUB Greens Blog". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  13. "North's first transgender election candidate bids for Assembly seat". The Irish Times.
  14. Whyte, Dr Nicholas. "Local Government Elections 2005". Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  15. "Green Party NI candidates in 2010 general election". BBC News. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  16. "Green Party to elect Northern Ireland leader". BBC News. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  17. "Green MLA Steven Agnew steps down from council". BBC News. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  18. "European election predictions: Full analysis of how DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP, SDLP and others could perform in May". Belfast Telegraph. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.