Eoghan Dalton Reports

Newly elected Green Party TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh has said he “makes no apologies” that he will be putting climate action ahead of other issues when he takes his seat in the Dáil.
The Butlerstown native, who is the first TD the party has ever had in Waterford, received 3,996 first preferences and was elected with 9,738 votes on the seventh and final count.

Marc Ó Cathasaigh awaiting results.

Marc Ó Cathasaigh awaiting results.

He told the Munster Express following his win that biodiversity loss will also be among his priorities. “There’s a whole host of issues that have to be delivered in Waterford – we know that. The hospital has to be delivered, we need the funding for the North Quays delivered.

“But the Green Party has never made any apologies about the fact that we’re a party that looks ten,15, 20, 50 years into the future and we know that we need to deliver climate action urgently.”He added: “I’m incredibly proud to be returned as a Waterford man but there’s a huge and serious job of work in front of us.”

Marc was assisted over the line thanks to the Green Party’s traditional transfer friendliness, but also due to strong transfers from other progressive candidates. He received almost 1,400 from poll-topper David Cullinane – with only Una Dunphy and Matt Shanahan getting more – and only Mary Butler received more from Labour’s John Pratt.
However the decisive figure came from fellow Tramore dweller Dunphy: he benefitted from 41 percent of her transfers.

It gave him breathing room of some 3,000 votes over Fine Gael’s John Cummins and allowed him to take the seat. He paid tribute to his campaign team with who he had hit the doors across the city and county in the lead up to last weekend’s vote. Marc was only elected to Waterford City and County Council last May and described his journey since then as a “rollercoaster ride”, capping a period where the party has now made breakthroughs at local, national and European level.

“Even to get the breakthrough at council level was momentous. Obviously we then had Grace (O’Sullivan) going to the European Parliament and that was amazing. It’s testament to the work we’ve put in.”Aside from politics he is employed as a primary school teacher at Glór na Mara in Tramore and is married to Roisin O’Grady.

The couple have three boys and Roisin laughed as she explained that they hadn’t seen much of each other in recent weeks. Speaking just after being elected at the count centre after 3 o’clock Monday morning, Marc admitted he had “never been less informed” about the overall result of an election. However the Greens have been able to pick up seats in cities across the country including Kilkenny and Limerick, as well as a healthy number in Dublin.

“That phrase, ‘the people have spoken’, well, they have – but they’ve never said anything like this across Ireland before and it’s going to take us a little while to figure out what that means.”