Greens go for it

The Green Party have endorsed the programme for government, 441 votes to 67. Earlier today Fianna Fáil rubberstamped the same deal. There are reports that Trevor Sargent will stand down as party leader.. but that would seem to be an unfair punishment, if the twittering is accurate, for securing two ministries. Adds RTÉ has other details of the proposals. And Irish Times Breaking News has the quote from Trevor Sargent

“I’m stepping down on the basis that I said I would step down. My word is my bond. I am honour-bound to step down.”

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  • Rapunsel

    I’m a member here in the north . I’m not convinced it is a good move and had I been in Dublin may have voted against. But this is the democratic will of the party and I suppose those who voted against have to consider their positions. John Gormley was interviewed this evening on RTE Radio 1 and stated that the thing he was proudest off was not anything in the proposed programme for government but that the greens had a chance of getting into power. many of us ( perhaps naively ) are in the green party for an ethical alternative , for honesty and integrity in politics , for standing up for principles and not sacrificing these for power. Several members are saying the party will get slaughtered in the next southern elections as Bertie hobbles their ministers and they become a junior partner ala PDS . What I have found especially annoying the refusal of senior party members to state that Trevor Sargent’s position is untenable either as party leader or government minister. I’ll sleep on whether to cancel my direct debit

  • slug

    As Trevor Sargent is a protestant, does this bring us one step closer to a United Ireland?

  • Hi Rapunsel,

    Speaking as someone who gave the GP my #1 in the election, I’m delighted that they have entered government and now have the chance to implement their policies.

    I certainly didn’t give them the vote so they could sit in opposition, I gave them the vote so they could get into government.

    If they had thrown away this opportunity they could have forgotten about ever getting my vote again. I don’t see why FF is so unacceptable and FG is… two sides of the same coin surely, except now the Greens are the second party and not the third after FG and Labour.

    Ideally I would like a Labour/Green coalition, but that’s unlikely given that Labour seem to be determined to maximize the FG vote and commit political suicide.

    I see Trevor Sargent has resigned as leader. I hope the party reinstates him as soon as possible. He is a capeable and honest politician, exactly who we need as Tánaiste.

    I’m not a party member, so I don’t know if you care what I think, but I am a voter, who voted Green, so perhaps you should.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    GreenVoter

    the boy Trev got some/many votes on the back of his anti-Bertie stance as well as his pro-planet stance, so resigning probably aint enough but I grant you it is probably a little old fashioned if not silly to use the word principle in the context of ROI politics.

    It is also a problem that it does not look like a great deal for the greens – carbon tax may sound good but the FF record on collection and payment is not good on that type of thing – hence all the tribunals.

    The other ‘left’ parties will be delighted and excited that the Grrens will probably disappear at the next lection with the Warriors of Destiny claiming that they have saved the planet themselves.

  • The Dubliner

    Add up the cost of all those concessions to fringe minority crackpots and you have a monstrous waste of taxpayer’s money. I’d be surprised if it comes in at under 10-15 billion. Crackpots schemes such as “Ensure that the ESB installs a new smart electronic meter in every home in the country which will allow people to reduce their bills by cutting back on unnecessary use of electricity” will likely cost far more than they save and use waste more energy creating the wealth within industry that is needed to raise the 1.5 billion of taxes to finance it – assuming a cost of 1,000 per meter installed and the fact that there are 1.5 million households in Ireland. This is a criminal squandering of taxpayers’ money that will likely rank alongside the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of 1982-1987 as reckless “spend, spend, spend” economics.

  • Dubliner,

    Stop your wind up, you know full well Bertie has no intention of implementing much of what is in this wretched deal. He took the greens like sleeping children. This deal could have been on the table last weekend, but Bertie new if it were a full conference would have to be called and not a round robin as happened today. More important the weekend papers would have had the details before the conference and the deal would have been revealed as a win win for Bertie.

    There is nothing in this deal that the greens could not have got by standing back and offering FF their vote issue by issue. The FF crook had no where else to go, for even for him SF was a step to far.

    As for honesty in politics, the greens have joined a coalition led by a man who has a host of questions to answer due to the evidence given to the Mahon Tribunal. Time will tell, but I would bet my pension that Ahern will turn out to be a bigger thief than Charles Haughey.

    however even if he were an honest politico, he is a pro globalization, and a neo conservative economic advocate. He is about to privatize much of the public health care system.
    This deal also spits in the face of the Iraqi people and then for the greens to claim to support them was shame-less.

    The fact is what the greens have done is join with the two most right-wing parties in the RoI in a coalition, such a coalition is a first on this earth. I fear the green party will be getting the black spot and a clowns hat from their international colleagues, and rightly so.

    But hey the green leadership are happy as they now sit in a right wing conservative government which only considered the environment as an after thought.

    Am I bitter, sure I am, bitter and angry, as any decent man should be whenever an honest man is enticed by a crooked satraps shilling.

  • páid

    Slug poses….

    “As Trevor Sargent is a protestant, does this bring us one step closer to a United Ireland?”

    Well I have long been of the opinion that any moves to reconcile Ireland will involve more shifting of Southerners than Northern prods.

    And Trevor’s honest and selfless behaviour may help Southerners with that shift.

    As for steps to a united Ireland, how many steps are there and what is a United Ireland?

    I, for one, don’t think an expanded ROI will ever happen.
    But North/South division may have past it’s HW mark.

  • middle-class taig

    Mickhall

    Yeah, but…

    Greens can do next to nothing sniping from the sidelines. they must present themselves as a realistic party of government. They owe it to themselves (and to their counterparts across Europe) to give the gov gig a lash.

    If they can exert as much influence on FF policy as the PDs have done for the last two terms, Irish society will be the better for it.

    The sad thing is that they have obviously been rolled in the negotiations. But I think that failure is more naïveté than sell-out. They must now show that they can play Tyrone football in office. We’re about to find out if they can provide an effective left-of-centre bulwark against FF’s excesses.

  • Aquifer

    “Add up the cost of all those concessions to fringe minority crackpots and you have a monstrous waste of taxpayer’s money.”

    Yep. It’ll take the Greens to keep the roads lobby in check.

  • curous

    The very fact the Green party with six seats has been invited to form government with FF must be a rude awakening and embarrassment for Sinn Fein who polled poorly in the recent 2007 election.

    Interesting enough the Green Party is the only other party which has an all Ireland cross border political mandate like Sinn Fein.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Party_(Ireland)

    However, unlike SF the GP is not an all out republican party whose main agenda is a United Ireland.

    Is there not a message here for Gerry Adams that the voters in the ROI are more interested in their country’s green policies than in forcing 10% of Unionists in the north to support an all over republic United ireland?

  • “If they can exert as much influence on FF policy as the PDs have done for the last two terms, Irish society will be the better for it.”

    MCT

    There is a major difference between the PDs as a FF coalition partner and the Greens. Bar the fine detail there are few real differences between FF and PDs thus the latter has always been pushing against an open door when it has managed to get its platform through in that FF and the PDs are both pro business and pro globalization parties.

    The same cannot be said for the greens so they are not natural bedfellows with their two coalition partners. I feel people are missing the point of having a radical green party, it is not to tinker at the edges here and there but to wake the general public up to the sheer waste and dangers environmentally of how society is run.

    Once in government they are bound by Cabinet responsibility, so for example how can they make a fuss over the violations of human rights at shannon, they cannot. Some greens will claim they can have more influence quietly blowing in Berties ear. In you dreams one is tempted to reply, for the fact is the greens are a public proactive party which forewarns the electorate or they are nothing.

    As my friend Chris wrote, the greens have no joined a long list of once radical organizations who have chosen to become “the mud guard of the two failed civil war parties”.

  • dub

    mickhall,

    how you can say that bertie will turn out to be a bigger “thief” than CJH is quite simply mind boggling… for someone of your evident intelligence to come out with something like this is hard to understand… whatever his faults Bertie is clearly a man for whom the material trappings of life mean very very little.. i think your political prejudices have made you lose all perspective here and quite frankly you have libelled a decent hard working man. Shame on you.

  • Mauds gone

    I gave the Green party a transfer vote – the reason being that I thought they would help bring about an end to renditions flights in Shannon, and look after the re-routing of roads around Tara Hill. The strongest position the party ever found themselves in was negotiating with Farty Ahern. If from that stance they couldn’t have some of their most fundamental policies accepted, how are they supposed to do so now, while giving Farty a prostate exam with their tongues. Trevor – You’re a sell out and a fake!

  • Dub

    If you found what I wrote offensive I apologies, but I remember when people mentioned CJH behavior, they were often told by some that they were slandering a great and honest man, I suppose time will tell.

    However I note you have failed to deal with my main point about Mr Ahearn, i e that the Mahon Tribunal has shown that he does have questions to answer about his probity. I cannot over look the fact that he is useing much the same strategy as charlie did in that he is ignoring these questions.

    Surly when major property developers accuse him of shenanigans with them and then the greens enter into a coalition without raising publicly whether he was in cahoots with property developers or not. Then I as someone who strongly opposed the greens entering a coalition had a duty to voice my concerns.

    If Bertie feels i have slandered him, I am sure he is able to post a reply to slugger. Then we can all debate the matter.

    regards.

  • Mauds gone

    Dub –

    Decent, hard working men don’t spend €60,000 p/annum on make up. And if they did, you and I wouldn’t be carrying the cost of it.

  • dub

    Mickhall,

    Sure Bertie has questions to answer but the point i am making is that he is plainly not a corrupt man… Vincent Browne who has pursued these questions more thatn most has acknolwedged this. Remaining questions should be answered of course but the difference with charlie is and i say it again is that bertie is plainly a man with no interest in wealth per se… if he is so corrupt where is all the money?? i just think it is silly to get something like this which is an issue to be sure out of all proportion… the danger is that this feeds off irrational anti Fianna Fail prejudice which is basically down to snobbery in many cases… not something wich the Left should entertain for a minute.. but that is the tragedy of the left in irish politics.. they have always tried to be “respectable” and tied themselves to ultra conservative Fine Gael.

    Regards,

    Dub

  • Crataegus

    I was of the opinion that the Greens and FF virtually had to do a deal but I am surprised that the Greens accepted this deal. There is a big difference between a decent hard fought compromise and a one sided series of concessions.

    Yes Greens are a minority party, but FF need their votes for stability. Yes the bulk of the programme for government will belong to FF but negations are about compromise and even with the difference in size both have to modify some of what they were proposing. It is not just about adding on a wish list, but also taking out parts that are offensive. I would have thought that they would have put down a marker and show FF suffering some token pain by ensuring real progress and concessions on one of the following three topics.
    Co location
    Tara road
    US flights in Shannon.
    The way I see it the negotiations were a roll over by FF, yes there are a few rail way lines (and glad to see it) and loft insulation grants, but in the end there really was nothing there that forces FF to accept change or discomforts their supporters. However the Greens have to shaft the peace campaigners, the Tara campaign and those who are opposed to Co location etc.

    It may be that in the fullness of time there will be changes of real substance that impact on local government, or energy production, but the greens in government are going to have to work their socks off to make up for the ground that they have already conceded.

    The way I see it business as usual for FF with a few Green bells and whistles.

    The only marker that the Greens laid was Sargent’s resignation as leader and refusal to take up a cabinet post. Although this was not planned it may create a useful fallback position for them on conduct in the near future. The tension on the Greens from their various support groups will grow. I don’t see this government lasting. FF may have been too cute for their long term good.

  • DK

    Hmmm – 2nd attempt at posting this.

    The greens seem to have succeeded in stopping rendition – or am I missing something? This from the rte site (emphasis mine):

    “The Irish Government is completely opposed to the practice of extraordinary rendition. To that end, the Government will encourage and support An Garda Síochána in the investigation an enforcement of these Statues. It will do this by making resources available for specialised training in the provisions of those Statutes to members of An Garda Síochána and by other means as may be required by An Garda Síochána in order to ensure effective protection for the dignity of all persons within or passing through the State. We will ensure that all relevant legal instruments are used so that the practice of extraordinary rendition does not occur in this State in any form.

  • Rapunsel

    Green Voter, I doi care what you think , you have a vote in the south and I don’t so although I am a party member , your vote in the election is/was more important than mine. I think Crataegus sums it up quite well in his post. It’s about policies and principles. We now will have Green TD’s tied to a FF whip and collective cabinet responsibility. Given that the Greens can only go into government as part of a coalition for the foreseeable future they are going to be tied to the FF as the PD’s have been. Not good with a third term Taoiseach and a resurgent FG. Short term power gain and a political miscalculation

  • Wilde Rover

    Hmm. The PDs once referred to themselves as a governmental prophylactic for FF.

    Will the Greens describe themselves as a bio-degradable prophylactic for FF?

    Can we expect FF to come out smiling again and the Greens to end up in the political bin, soiled and unwanted, or will the Mahon Tribunal diagnose a terminal disease within the Soldiers of Destiny?

  • Crataegus

    Rapunsel

    I simply cannot understand why the Greens voted for this deal? You are a member of the Green Party is it because they are over keen to get in and try to change the world or at least the 26 counties?

    Surely if the negotiations were shaping up as they were they should have had a few quiet words with FG and Labour whilst Bertie was pimping with the PDs and Independents. (Perhaps they did) All they had to do was ensure that Labour would not take the opportunity and enter into negotiations themselves.

    They could have said look we did our best, thanked those in FF they negotiated with on their professional approach and them bemoaned that unfortunately they (FF) negotiators went in with their hands tied and really there was a vast gap to bridge in terms of basic policy, principle and ethics.

    They could have emphasised a particular point such as the Hospital issue or created a problem that would have played to their favour in the press. There is such a thing as going into negotiations to collapse them if the deal isn’t there, all you need is the exit strategy.

    Result would have been FF well and truly stuffed. FF with a wafer thin majority forced to weather the coming storms and election within 2 years or possibly 1 year depending on by-elections tribunals, bankruptcies etc.

    As it stands you could have a 5 year government but Greens really need to sharpen their wits, or they will be roasted by the electorate next time round.

  • The Dubliner

    Mick, I’m not “Dub” on this thread, in case you assumed I was. As it happens, I agree with the gist of his replies re Bertie Ahern. I’ll just add that the Mahon Tribunal with publish its findings in due course. Until then, I am not drawing any negative conclusions based on allegations from a man who is obviously both mentally unstable, has a clear anti-Irish political agenda, and whose credibility is non-existent. However, it is deeply unfair that such a man’s outrageous allegations can be dignified by a tribunal when he is using the tribunal to freely and maliciously defame all and sundry in Irish political life – including making statements that Bertie Ahern has 15 million in an offshore bank account (proffering only an alleged phone call from an anonymous person who claimed he was a bank official as ‘evidence’ for his entirely invented claim).

    “Stop your wind up, you know full well Bertie has no intention of implementing much of what is in this wretched deal.” – Mick Hall

    Green Party support can be withdrawn if he fails to squander billions of taxpayers’ money in the manner he has promised to the crackpot tree huggers. So, I cannot assume that Ahern will not do as he has promised.

    “however even if he were an honest politico, he is a pro globalization, and a neo conservative economic advocate. He is about to privatize much of the public health care system.” – Mick Hall

    And the problem is…? I wish FF was more to the right, instead of marginally right of centre. It is the elite business people who create the wealth that taxes are raised from. Anything that assists such people create the enterprises that create the wealth is to be encouraged. Workers, contrary to socialist dogma, do not create wealth. Indeed, without the elite business class there would be no workers, either.

    “But hey the green leadership are happy as they now sit in a right wing conservative government which only considered the environment as an after thought.” – Mick Hall

    They are happy to squander the wealth according to their pet projects and whims, having done sweet FA to earn it.

  • Mauds gone

    The Dubliner –

    ~”I wish FF was more to the right, instead of marginally right of centre. It is the elite business people who create the wealth that taxes are raised from. Anything that assists such people create the enterprises that create the wealth is to be encouraged. Workers, contrary to socialist dogma, do not create wealth. Indeed, without the elite business class there would be no workers, either. “~

    Without workers, the business elite would have no means to implement their plans, no production would mean no wealth….
    Also, I don’t see what the proletariat VS bourgeoisie argument really has to do with the privatisation of the health sector. It is a universal problem, which affects everyone from the person who can’t afford to pay for private health care, to the person who is already paying sufficient taxes to have a productive public health system, but needs to also pay high rates for private cover. Is this more affluent member of society not also suffering the inadequacies of the current shambolic system?

  • The Dubliner

    “Without workers, the business elite would have no means to implement their plans, no production would mean no wealth…. ”

    True, but there will always be workers. Business people are an “elite.” It is their intelligence that organises the workers into the machinary of wealth creation.

    Poor countries have plenty of workers. The reason they’re poor is they have a shortage of entrepreneurs. One business person in Ireland (sean Quinn) can amass personal wealth of 4 billion Euros (and create tens of thousands of jobs). One plumber can only fix X number of leaky pipes. 😉

  • mickhall

    Dubliner.

    I feel you are mistaken on a number of points that you have made, for example it is simply untrue to say that the economically poor nations are short of entrepreneurs, they are not actually as a walk down any third world street would tell you, What they are short of is Capital to invest in their business, from start up onwards, plus the necessary technology etc which is essential for any 21st century business.

    As to business being an elite or indeed anything special it is rubbish, in the main the one criteria they have which is different from most of us is a willingness to exploit their fellow human beings.

    It is an illusion to think that state run or cooperatives are any less adequate than privately run businesses. The reason the media claims this is so is because they are in business to promote capitalism, but also because a state run or cooperative business does not always have a bottom line as its priority.

    As to your claim that ‘Workers, contrary to socialist dogma, do not create wealth,’ well you are just plain wrong and once Marx published Capital I doubt you will find many economists who doubt this fact. Otherwise why would the capitalist continuously try to drive down the price of the labour value in producing their product/services.

    There is a wonderful quote by the great Spanish revolutionary Buenaventura Durruti which sums this up perfectly. When asked do you not fear the destruction being caused [during the Spanish civil war] he replied,
    ” We have always lived in slums and holes in the wall, we will know how to accommodate ourselves for a time. For you must not forget we can also build. It is we the workers who built the palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and elsewhere. We the workers can build others to take there place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.

    One must take into account the context in which he made this speech, Franco Fascist were at the gates of Madrid about to inflict decades of darkness on the Spanish workers. But it is as true today as then.

    If you feel it is correct to base our moral values on the exploitation by a minority of the majority fine. But in time i am confident that the best within the middle class professions etc will come to see that there must be a better way to organize this bountiful earth. And business people, architects whoever, will come to cooperate with the working classes for the greater good.

    After all is that not want ‘Mauds gone’ is suggesting should happen with health care.

    All the best

  • Mauds gone

    The Dubliner

    True enough, there is a need for the ideas behind industry as well as the means to implement them. It’s fairly logical. But I still fail to see how that is relevant to the comment made by Mick Hall on the health system, which you were remarking on. Can you expand? Thanks 🙂

  • Crataegus

    Dubliner you have a very narrow view of economics.

    There can be a big difference between someone who creates wealth and someone who amasses personal wealth. The first adds to overall wealth the second can be in a zero sum equation ie they do it by screwing someone else.

    As for third world countries there are many reasons for poor economic performance and lack of ‘entrepreneurs’ is probably the least of their worries.

  • dub

    i would just wish to point out that i and “the dubliner” are most definitely NOT the same person!!!!!

  • After 25 years building a Green Party across the island, nobody is more conscious of the risks and pitfalls that lie ahead than the leadership of the Party, including Trevor Sargent and the new Ministers, Ryan and Gormley.

    They have invested large chunks of their working lives to building the party….drawing on the inspiration of the most important international movement in Europe since the end of WWII.

    The choice taken by the Greens was not merely to embrace a static set of written concessions in the Programme for Government. The choice they made was to put their political lives and careers on the line because they believe that ideas without power are just ideas.

    The Green Party is not Friends of the Earth with bells on. The Green Parties across the world occupy a particular role in the international movement for social justice, sustainability and peace. Their place is to seize opportunities to take the influence of the movement into the corridors of ‘power’….and use the platform of the State to present an alternative vision of how power can be used creatively and to empower others.

    The confidence of Green politicians, including Ministers in Government in Finland, Italy, and elsewhee, is invested not merely on their own prospects for political survival…but on their knowledge that the tide is turning….and while Governments come and go…the citizens continue to mobilize and speak truth to power in all its guises and pretensions…

    The Irish Green Party TDs do not lack courage because they have seized the moment to bring their convictions to the heart of Government.

    The Irish Green Party TDs do not lack courage because they have decided to abandon the easy certainties and convictions of opposition.

    The courageous choice is to put everything on the line….to risk everything….when the window of opportunity opens, and there’s an overwhelming sense that all the talking has been done.

  • mickhall

    Peter

    With respect please save us from New Labour-GW Bush and Gerry Adams drivel about politicians making tough decisions and hard choices with a dash of the Victoria Cross thrown in.

    The truth of the matter is the Green Party has thrown in its lot with a right wing reactionary government and by doing so will be jointly responsible for whatever program that government implements. If the new government continues to privatizes the Irish health system, the Green party will have a hand in it. If it drives a motor-way across the tara site etc, the Green party will have played a part in pouring the concrete. If [and when] the coalition turns a blind eye to US renditions and military personal using Shannon, the Green party will have Iraqi blood on its hands.

    The really tough choice for the Green party would have been to reject Berties poisoned chalice and have exposed him by publishing the content of the negotiations and then got on with the really tough job of building a progressive left coalition that can gain real influence and power within Ireland, both north and south. Instead the Greens took the easy and opportunist option and opted for power without honor.

    Best Regards.