herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Vain, ineffective group of Twitterers who let whole country down

John O'Donoghue once described the Green Party as a bunch of tree-hugging, muesli-eating wackos, adding "Ireland needs Green economics like a lettuce needs slugs."

In fact, this was one of the milder criticisms that a Fianna Fail minister could have made.

He could have thrown in Dan Boyle's infuriating Twitters.

The Greens' biggest weakness of all is that they were utterlynaivety, i.e. vanity -- and that's why their parliamentary party has been unceremoniously dumped in the recycling bin.

From day one, it was clear that John Gormley and his colleagues had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

The late FF stalwart Seamus Brennan at least did his best to warn them.

"You're playing senior hurling now, lads," he declared. "And you're playing with fellas who have All-Ireland medals."

In fact, the Greens didn't even know how to hold the stick.

In opposition, they kicked up a huge fuss about the building of a motorway near the Hill of Tara.

Gormley walked in on his first day as Minister of the Environment to discover that his FF predecessor had given the go-ahead -- and to the Green leader's intense frustration, there was nothing they could do about it.

It went from bad to worse.

At their first ever Cabinet meeting, Gormley and Eamon Ryan stayed quiet because they didn't know when they were allowed to speak.

Eventually they found their voices, but they never managed to get a grip on their coalition partners in the same way that the PDs had done.

Time after time, they got caught up in silly controversies while their policy agenda withered on the vine.

An obvious example was Gormley's decision to tighten up the motor tax laws, which raised the bizarre scenario of van drivers being arrested for using their work vehicles to pick up a pint of milk. Apart from the introduction of a carbon tax, the Greens' list of achievements in government was pitifully small.

They talked a lot about the need for a climate change bill, a ban on corporate donations and directly elected mayor for Dublin.

They could have done all those things, but instead they panicked and pulled the plug at the worst possible moment -- and although Gormley spent the campaign pleading to be put back into government with Fine Gael, the electorate had already made up its mind.

The future for the Greens looks bleak. The reality is that other parties have quietly stolen their environmental clothes, leaving them shivering in the cold -- and without any Dail presence, it looks as if they will fade away into irrelevance.

Before shacking up with FF, Ciaran Cuffe warned on his blog that it would be "a deal with the Devil". Satan has just called to collect his soul -- and he must be thinking it was cheap at twice the price.

hnews@herald.ie

Promoted articles

Entertainment News