Ireland’s next government will be formed on Saturday after the Green party voted resoundingly to enter a coalition with two larger rivals.
Members of the environmental party decided by a 76% majority to form an administration with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, a party statement on Friday evening said.
It signed up to a programme that promises radical action on climate change but will also have to shoulder the burden of leading the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19.
Its deputy leader, Catherine Martin, said: “Now we will move forward together, respecting the democratic wishes of the majority of our party at all times, listening to each other … working in unity to protect our country and our planet.”
The Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, will take over the role of Irish taoiseach from Leo Varadkar in an historic reconciliation of a political feud with Fine Gael dating back to the foundation of the state a century ago.
The two larger parties needed the support of the Greens to have a working majority in the Irish parliament, equating to about 80 seats. February’s election was inconclusive and efforts to strike an agreement were hampered as the country’s caretaker government coped with the pandemic.
A total of 1,435 Green members voted in favour and 457 against the coalition deal. It was earlier endorsed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
The Green party’s leader, Eamon Ryan, said: “There’s a sense of responsibility on us now because we do have a job to do. We have to go in and help work with our coalition partners in government in actually getting our country out of a really severe economic crisis.
“People at home who are losing their jobs or maybe risk of that, they want a government to get up and stand up for them and get everyone back working.”
Among key concessions for the Greens is the new government’s target to achieve 7% carbon emissions cuts on average annually.
The office of the Irish president, Michael D Higgins, confirmed the appointment of a new taoiseach and government ministers would take place on Saturday during a ceremony at Dublin Castle.