30 October 2008

All depends now on the Green Party

The Irish government has today won the vote on the Labour Party's motion condemning the education cuts in the 2009 Budget, which had been adjourned last night after a long and angry debate in the Dáil. (see yesterday's entry)

The result was 80-74, which means that the original coalition majority of ten has now shrunk to just six votes.
Should further Fianna Fáil backbenchers or independent TDs who support the ruling coalition defect, the government could lose its parliamentary majority in due course.

Today's vote made it quite clear that the government is now completely dependent on the votes of the six Green TDs, the second-largest partner in the coalition.
Should they - for whatever reason - withdraw their support or leave the coalition, Brian Cowen's government would fall like a house of cards, which indeed it has been for some time.

A change of government before the end of the full five-year period for which the 30th Dáil was elected in 2007 looks now more than likely. There could either be a different coalition taking over - as it was the case in 1994, after the short-lived coalition between Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party under Taoiseach Albert Reynolds collapsed - or there could be an early general election.

All depends now on the Green Party, which - probably without intention - has become the crucial political force in Ireland. They can either nail their colour to the mast of the damaged ship of Fianna Fáil, or recover the rests of their once strong morals and decency that have survived 15 months in government and appeal to the mercy and forgiveness of the nation.

This morning the Green Party's youngest TD Paul Gogarty (photo right), who commented in an e-mail that his party "might eventually consider withdrawing from the coalition", stated that he was now "fully behind the Minister for Education".

He said that - contrary to media reports - "the Green Party is not pulling out of government, nor are they climbing down on the education issue".

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said he does not believe there is any question mark over the stability of the current coalition government.

Meanwhile the independent Kerry TD and political 'maverick' Jackie Healy-Rae (photo left) declared that he would continue to support the government.
In statement he said that Minister for Education Batt O'Keeffe had "assured him that educational needs on a school by school basis would be reviewed in a better economic climate".

Last night the opposition claimed the Green Party was facing oblivion over its stance on education cuts, and this view is shared by many political observers and analysts, myself included.

The official position of the Green Party has been that they are in government "for the long haul, even if in the short term they are seeking changes in the education cuts".

But remarks in e-mail correspondence from Paul Gogarty go further. The Dublin TD and spokesman on Education for his party, tells a lobbyist against the budget cuts that "the Greens may eventually have to pull out of government on this or combined issues".

However, he now says "it is not going to happen until the party has exhausted all avenues".

One wonders how many avenues there are in Dublin. Last time I looked at a city map of our capital, I did not notice that many.

And in my opinion the Green Party remains in an uncomfortable fix. Being the youngest of the six Green TDs, Paul Gogarty is probably not yet fully infected with the dangerous virus of incompetence and ignorance that Leinster House seems to spread so easily among our elected representatives. He is obviously still able to see clearly the political reality, to which the more senior members of his party - especially the three Green ministers - close their eyes and ears so conveniently.

Looking at the three Green government ministers, one cannot help but be reminded ever more of the three proverbial monkeys, who see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing.
Quite a change from the once vibrant and ambitious speeches and actions the 'old' Green Party we had for 25 years was famous for.

I take no pleasure in writing this, but for me - until last year a long-time supporter of the Irish Green Party and environmental movement - the party as a force for good, for change and political alternatives, is dead. And if the Irish voters are not entirely blind and stupid, they will give the Green traitors the same treatment they applied to the PDs in the last general election.

The Emerald Islander


declan said...

I feel like you that about The Greens. There is an apt quote the 'A friend in power is a friend lost'. good site keep up the writing.

Anonymous said...

i say tickle the monkeys, or show them a banana, why not mix it up a bit.

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