Green Party in choppy waters as Twitter storm and WhatsApp disputes escalate

Green TD Steven Matthews apologised to the party’s deputy leader Catherine Martin over a misunderstanding after he made a joke about being excluded from a picture she posted on Twitter.

he latest controversy involving the Green Party and Twitter has emerged days after the party’s communication director had to apologise for tweeting there was “not one sensible person” on a TV panel involving one of the party’s own TDs.

The Sunday Independent can now reveal a bizarre series of events last September after Ms Martin, the Culture Minister, tweeted a picture of Green TDs, senators and councillors at the party’s think-in in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, Co Clare. The image she tweeted cropped out Mr Matthews, the chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee.

The Wicklow TD made light of the matter by posting a printout of a photoshopped image of the tweet on the door of his office in Leinster House. The image contained the tweet with a meme from the Pixar/Disney movie Cars and an arrow pointing to where he was cropped out.

Ms Martin was contacted and told about the photoshopped printout on Mr Matthews’s office door, which is on a corridor with other Green and Independent Oireachtas members, and within 24 hours it was removed.

One source with knowledge of the matter said “it was a private misunderstanding that was resolved amicably between the two” though a second source with knowledge of the issue said they understood Mr Matthews had apologised to the minister.​

Mr Matthews declined to comment when contacted, while Ms Martin’s spokesperson did not respond to queries about the matter.

“Any attempt to make anything more of it is from a bad faith actor and certainly not doing either Catherine or Steven any favours,” the first source said.


Catherine Martin’s tweet about the party’s think-in in Ennistymon, Co Clare

The story has emerged just days after communications director Thomas Molloy tweeted there was “not one sensible person” on an RTÉ TV panel discussing the eviction ban. The panel included Dublin Central TD Neasa Hourigan.

Mr Molloy deleted the tweet, apologised for an “idiotic mistake” and explained it was meant to be a text to a friend. But the tweet led to a row in a private WhatsApp group for Green Party elected representatives after two councillors criticised Mr Molloy’s comments.

This prompted the group administrator, Limerick TD Brian Leddin, to delete the councillors’ messages and lock the group. Mr Leddin reopened the group on Tuesday morning after being contacted by the Irish Independent, which had been leaked the WhatsApp exchanges.

But Wicklow county councillor Erika Doyle, who is married to and works for Mr Matthews, then posted in the group: “I feel very sorry for the leakers’ constituents as this snake behaviour is fully representative of their character. Leak that!”

The group’s other administrator, Dublin South-West TD Francis Noel Duffy, husband to Ms Martin, warned members he would begin removing them — and within minutes the group was locked again.

Ms Doyle said later she would “happily have it out” with the leakers.