29 February 2008

The Man who cannot be responsible

John Gormley, leader of the Green Party and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is once again washing his hands in a large bowl of innocence and ignorance. In a luke-warm interview with Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio 1 the once fiery critic of the FF government said this morning that he "cannot be responsible" for actions, policies, mistakes [and the many shenanigans] of Fianna Fáil.

Despite Pat Kenny's best efforts to bring his interview partner to a serious statement on the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern's unsolved financial irregularities and the revelations at the Mahon Tribunal, John Gormley (photo) weaseled out and produced once again his meanwhile only too well-known excuses. As the "line minister" who is responsible for the Mahon Tribunal in a technical and administrative sense, he pointed out that he could not comment on its procedures. Instead he urged people "to trust in the competence of Mr. Justice Mahon and his excellent team".

No one I know questions the competence and sincerity of Judge Alan Mahon and his tribunal. We all know that it is probably the only way to bring to light the numerous skeletons hidden in the cupboards of Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fáil. But many people here question the sincerity and political judgment of John Gormley and his fellow Green Party TDs.

Of course he is not - and never can be - responsible for Fianna Fáil and their actions. That was a rather cheap excuse from a man whose intelligence is well known and whose opposition speeches I used to read with joy. Nor has he anything to do with Bertie Ahern's financial matters. Of course not! But he and his party are responsible for keeping FF in government and Bertie in charge. No one forced them into the coalition with their once worst political enemy, and no one I know understands why they did it. (I expect that the Irish voters will give them the same kind of message in the next election that they gave the PDs in the last one...)

Like many Irish people I was deeply disappointed by the Greens' abandonment of their long held principles when they crossed the line and joined the government.
But an even deeper disappointment is their silence and self-imposed ignorance on the matters that recently came to light at the Mahon Tribunal. Even the former Tanaiste and PD leader Michael McDowell (whose direct adversary John Gormley was for many years, standing in the same constituency and - by winning his seat - ending McDowell's political career for good) had more critical words for Bertie Ahern when he was his deputy and coalition partner.

It appears that Gormley and his party have adopted a kind of bunker mentality. As long as they don't make any big mistakes themselves, they are save inside the government and getting on with their silent transformation of Ireland into a country that complies with their ideas of green and environmentally friendly.
For that they seem to be willing to close their eyes to everything else and drive their bio-diesel-powered green bulldozer at high speed around the country. One day, however, they might realise that they are driving directly towards the Cliffs of Moher. By then it might well be too late for a U-turn, and 25 years of good policies as a serious and widely respected opposition party will have been wasted, for three men's personal desire of power.

The Emerald Islander

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