Green Party general election candidate Saoirse McHugh has announced that she has left the party.

Ms McHugh said the coalition Government would do massive damage to the idea of environmentalism by linking it to socially regressive policies.

On Twitter, she said that she did not believe that a pathway to a just and free society lay in electoral politics and she would continue to work for climate justice, but the Green party no longer provided a vehicle to do that.

Ms McHugh opposed going into government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and said her decision to leave the Green Party would probably not come as a surprise.

From Achill island, she came to prominence when she ran for the European elections in 2019 and she also ran in Mayo in February's General Election.

Commenting on the departure of Saoirse McHugh, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said every person that leaves, you regret, and hope that they might come back.

But he also pointed to what he said were the successes of his party in the last few years, and the increase in the party's membership overall.

Mr Ryan will find out shortly if he is to retain his position as party leader.

Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan said that Ms McHugh will be a huge loss to the party and she is sorry she has decided to leave.

Speaking to RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney programme, Ms Hourigan said she has massive respect for Ms McHugh.

The Dublin Central TD said it is no secret that the Green Party has been through a difficult time and there have been a number of "robust discussions".

Ms Hourigan said that difference of opinion and divergent voices add to the party, adding that if climate action does not improve everyone’s lives, then it is not lasting or endurable.