Getting filmed and photographed while cycling must get tiresome. Despite that, the man who was left to keep the Irish Green flag flying is still whizzing around on two wheels and smiling at photocalls on his pushbike, writes RTÉ's Ailbhe Conneely.

Born in Dublin, Eamon Ryan grew up south of the city in Dundrum. He came from a long line of bankers – his grandfathers and parents were all involved in the business.

His father Bob, from west Cork held a prominent position in Munster and Leinster Bank and became the first PR manager of AIB.

The second of four children, Ryan attended the private Jesuit college, Gonzaga, in Ranelagh. Gonzaga is one of the few schools in Ireland to offer a course in ecology and Ryan studied the subject there. It Is said to have helped kick-start his interest in environmental matters.

He went on to UCD where he studied commerce and managed the university’s Marketing Development Programme. After securing his degree, he went travelling. He worked his way around the world and visited the US, Australia, China, Europe and Russia.

That trip did not go to waste. Inspired by his experiences abroad, he set up Cycling Safaris on his return to Ireland, a company which organises pushbike holidays in Ireland and Europe. That was in 1989, ten years ahead his entry into the world of politics.

In 1993, he helped set up the Dublin Cycling Campaign – an independent voluntary group which successfully lobbied local and national government to bring about improved conditions for cyclists and recognition of the benefits of cycling.

In 1995, Ryan secured a position on the advisory committee of the Dublin Transport Office where he remained until 2002.

In 1998, Ryan was co-opted onto Dublin City Council in John Gormley's seat. He topped the poll in the Rathmines electoral area in 1999.

He ran in the 2002 general election. Viewed as young, affable and a refreshing politician, he was elected as a TD for Dublin South. He was one of six Green Party TDs in the 19th Dail where he served as the spokesperson for Transport, Enterprise, Trade and Employment as well as Communications, the Marine and Natural Resources.

By this stage, Ryan had married the Dublin-based writer Victoria White with whom he has four children.

He secured a seat in the 2007 general election and the Green Party, under the leadership of Gormley, went into coalition with Fianna Fáil. Ryan was given the position of Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

One of the regrets expressed by Ryan about the Green Party’s time in coalition with Fianna Fáil is that it did not raise red flags ahead of Budget 2008 which saw increases in spending on social welfare, health, education and public sector pay.

In January 2011, Ryan resigned as minister when the Green Party withdrew from government. He succeeded Gormley as leader of the Green Party but the party was annihilated in the 2011 general election.

It failed to get a sufficient percentage of the national vote to get funding from the State. The former junior coalition partner set about rebuilding the party, which was viewed with contempt by many for failing to hold Fianna Fáil to account.

The Green Party re-emerged in 2014, running a number of candidates in the local elections.

Ryan also ran for Dublin Bay in the European Elections and just fell short of winning a seat.

However, his result along with the increase in the party’s vote in the local elections, gave the Green Party a much welcomed boost after years in the political wilderness.

But, with no Green voice in the Dáil in recent years, the party has found it difficult to lift itself out of that wilderness. The aim this time around is for the party to put a “green voice” in the Oireachtas.