Dublin West TD Paul Gogarty has refused to comment on speculation that he is to step down as the Green Party's education spokesman.

Motions that he backed on continuing in coalition were defeated yesterday and he said he would be making a statement tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in his closing remarks to his party conference, the Green Party leader John Gormley has said next month's Budget will present difficulties but with it will come opportunities.

The party's finance spokesman Dan Boyle said tax revenues available to the Government had shrunk to 2003 levels, but the public expenditure they were expected to support had grown by 50% since then.

Earlier, delegates passed a motion opposing the reintroduction of third level fees.

The motion also calls on the Minister for Education to ensure any changes to the fees structure do not hamper access to third level.

A motion calling for the introduction of a climate law, which would be binding on each Government department, was also passed.

The law would ensure Ireland meets its greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

Delegates also voted in favour of a motion prohibiting the planting of GMOs on public lands and the sale of genetically-modified products carrying a State-sponsored quality mark.

They also called on the Environment Minister to implement more free recycling schemes.

Elsewhere, Communications Minister Eamon Ryan condemned last night's attack in Antrim, which he described as a dangerous and sinister return to a past that we thought we had left behind us.

He said the Government would make every effort it did not taint a hard-won peace.

The conference observed a minute's silence for the victims of the attack.