The Green Party has said that finding solutions to climate change can boost the economy in Ireland.

Party leader Eamon Ryan said this would require massive investment in renewable energy, housing and transport.

Speaking at his party's European Elections launch, he said an economic stimulus to make this happen could be funded largely by the EU, but said this option is being completely ignored by Government.

Mr Ryan, who is running in the Dublin European constituency, said the Greens had influence in the European Parliament to push for such investment.

The party said the banks are still broken and accused the Government of lacking the vision to deal with the financial difficulties facing many people.

Mr Ryan also said he welcomes the establishment of an Oireachtas banking inquiry and takes full responsibility for his actions in the last government.

The previous government never agreed with the Troika that State assets would be sold, he said.

The agreement never said that the government would be "compelled" to do this even though this is the contention of Fine Gael and Labour, he said.

The Green Party is running 64 candidates in the Local and European Parliament Elections on both sides of the border.

Elsewhere, Labour Cllr Denis Leonard is to seek the party's nomination for the Longford-Westmeath by-election.

New organisation for independent candidates

A new national organisation has been set up to encourage the electorate to vote for independent candidates.

Independent Together has 16 candidates running under its umbrella in the local elections.

The organisation's aim is to have a majority of independents in councils and in the Dáil.

Launching it this afternoon, founder Jim Connolly, who is not a candidate, said he wants to restore democracy.

Garda whistleblower John Wilson attended the launch, saying: "I call on the Irish people to get up off your knees, stand up and be proud and take our country back."

Mr Wilson had planned to run as candidate but had to pull out because of an illness.

He said the political system is broken and needs to be reformed.

Mr Connolly said all members of Independent Together must have a commitment to democracy, community, accountability, transparency and to fundamental humanitarian principles, which put the quality of life of every citizen as a top priority.