Green Party leader Eamon Ryan believes a "green wave of thinking" across Europe has "risen" in Ireland.

By 10.30pm this evening, the party had secured seven local election seats in Dublin.

The party is also in contention for European seats in the Dublin, South and Midlands-North West constituencies.

Speaking to RTÉ's Elections programme earlier today, Mr Ryan said there is a green wave happening and he is pleased that wave has arrived in Ireland.

He added that if the Irish Green Party return three MEPs the Green Party group in Europe could hold the balance of power.  

"We knew there was going to be a Green vote and it's everywhere; it's rural Ireland, urban Ireland, younger Ireland, older Ireland," he said.

"It's reflective of a green wave of thinking that's happening all over the world, all across Europe. We were waiting for it to rise here and it has risen today.

"We still don't know the results obviously. We're going to be close on a couple of the European seats. I think we're in with a chance.

"The biggest crisis, particularly for younger people, is our housing crisis. As we tackle that we can go green at the same time." 

He acknowledged the turnaround from the party's performance in the 2011 general elections saying: "It's an honour if you get elected, a heartbreak if you lose but you have to treat both with the same calm. Today hopefully can be a day for us."

Deputy Ryan said the exit polls reflect the fact that Ireland is becoming a greener country: "We're starting to make the leap, but that leap is something we have to do."


Read more:
Clear message on climate from electorate, says Varadkar
Strong support for Greens in European elections - exit poll
Live: Arduous task of sorting ballot papers, taking tallies