12 Feb 2010

Irish Green Party in freefall with Deirdred resignation


The Irish Green Party needs to wipe the slate clean and refound its self.

A lesson for the rest of us on how not to do things.

Dear John,
I am writing to inform you of my intention to resign from the Green Party Parliamentary Party and from Seanad Eireann with immediate effect.

It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation, having served as an elected member of the Green Party for eight years on Wicklow County Council and for a further two and a half years as a member of Seanad Eireann. During that time I have worked faithfully on behalf of the party to try to advance its political agenda in order to put this country on a more sustainable path.

I regret to say that I can no longer support the Green Party in government, as I believe that we have gradually abandoned our political values and our integrity and in many respects have become no more than an extension of the Fianna Fail party. I have had a number of conversations with you as Party Leader over many months now about my growing discomfort with the decisions that the Green Party has been supporting in government. You have been very aware of my frustration with the fact that despite the Green Party holding the balance of power in this government for some time now, our willingness to try to exercise that influence appears to grow less with every passing week.

As a party, we seem to have been paralysed by the electorate’s rejection of many of our candidates (including myself) in the local and European elections last June. Any suggestion that we challenge Fianna Fail, or face it down over important issues, seems to bring up a great fear in us that we will have to leave government. In fact staying in government appears to have become an end in itself now for the Green Party. While I was always aware that our political inexperience as a party would leave us vulnerable to being manipulated by Fianna Fail in government, what I hadn’t predicted was the strong attachment to office that appears to have developed since we became part of government.

It is with regret also that I must also inform you that I have lost confidence in you as Party Leader. The Parliamentary Party has had almost daily meetings now since well before Christmas at which we have discussed the very real problems we are experiencing in getting Fianna Fail to co-operate with us in implementing policy initiatives that were agreed as part of the original, and the revised Programme for Government. From stonewalling us and trying to unravel key aspects of our policy initiatives being implemented, to ignoring our input into the preparation of new legislation, to reneging on two key agreements made between Party Leaders, the Fianna Fail Party continues to ‘run rings’ around us and to take advantage of our inexperience and our very obvious fear of facing the electorate.

Despite the fact that you have been asked on many occasions over the past few months by the Parliamentary Party to take a stronger line with Brian Cowen and the Fianna Fail party in relation to certain core issues, you have clearly been unable, or unwilling to do so. Unfortunately the effect of this unwillingness to act is that the Green Party has been slowly haemhorraging support because of a growing public perception that we have lost the courage of our convictions and have become no more than an obedient ‘add-on’ to Fianna Fail. For example, I am aware that you as Minister have a key report in front of you from Dr Niamh Brennan on the issue of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. I’m afraid I lack the confidence that the findings of this report will be acted on in the timely and appropriate manner that the public interest requires.

I believe that in your role as Party Leader you have done a disservice to the Green Party and to its members in allowing this ‘drift’ to occur. It would appear that holding onto office and to seats have become more important to the party than holding on to its fundamental political purpose. We have lost our way as a party and I am sad to say that it has reached a point where I, and most of the people I know, will be unable to vote Green in the next election.

I don’t take this decision to tender my resignation lightly. I am very clear however that I do not want to be part of what the Green Party is continuing to support in Government.
Yours sincerely


Everyones Favourite Comrade said...

A very simple explanation of the drift to the right of the Irish Green Party in their pursuit of electoral gains.
With all due respect this has been a common theme with Green Parties across much of Europe so it does beg the question, what reason is there to think the Green Party of England & Wales will be any different?

Anonymous said...

I think it's a tad ironic that the previous post puts this down to the Irish Green Party's "pursuit of electoral gains." When it is clear that the Irish Green Party's strategy has been electorally suicidal and has led to heavy electoral losses rather than electoral gains. I don't think anyone in their right mind in the Green Party of England & Wales would want to pursue such a vote-losing, seat-losing, support-losing polically suicidal strategy.

You would have to be on a deathwish to want to emulate the Irish Greens.

Cllr Darren Johnson AM

eddiepops said...

With friends like these...
Did ever occur to any of you that we are doing the best that we can under the worst economic collapse this state has ever faced? Or to afford us even a little of the benefit of the doubt? Or perhaps recognise that with less than 6% of the vote that it might not be appropriate for us to get everything we want, even if it were affordable, which it isn't. Or failing all that, to try and inform yourselves a little beyond snippets and articles from self serving people who've just left the party, for whatever reason. Less of the political tourism and self righteousness, more understanding and solidarity, please.

Everyones Favourite Comrade said...

It has occurred to me, its one of the reasons I have rejected the politics of concession which the Irish Green Party has embraced

Derek Wall said...

The Irish 'Green' party has no friends!

You need to embrace ecology and social justice and drop the criminals in FF

Anonymous said...

If the European Greens had integrity and cohesion they would have expelled the Irish Greens by now. But of course some of the other European Green Parties have also sold out…

At least there's a chance that the GPEW will learn from the Irish blunders.

I think Eddiepops, who's one of a few Irish GP apologists still operating, means well but he can't see the wood for the trees. Asking us for "solidarity" – that's hilarious.

The Irish Greens, after 32 months in government, have left us in no doubt whatsoever that they have sold out on nearly all their principles and policies. And they will sell out on anything left in order to put off as long as possible the date of the next general election. After which they will be finished, though John Gormley and Eamon Ryan will be living off the fat of the land with their ministerial pensions and so on. Mind you they'll probably move abroad because Irish people will hate the sight of them, understandably.

I say that as an ex-founder-member of the party who saw the writing on the wall (not on this blog!) a long time ago.

Perhaps the key development in the party's downfall was the loss of discipline in recruitment. After the 2002 general election success (6 TDs elected, the same number as in 2007), the Greens were flavour of the month and nearly everyone wanted to join. The trouble was that nearly everyone did join! All sorts of chancers, yuppies, ex-PDs (right-wingers from the failing Progressive Democrat party), and, crucially, various plants or entryists. Partly because the party had abandoned consensus decision-making and not replaced it with a tight system, it was easy for the entryists to exert their influence, and Gormley & co, blind with ambition, were happy to go along with them. The "negotiations" with Fianna Fáil after the 2007 election were a joke; it was almost total capitulation, and that's how it has been ever since.

"Green" means nothing any more, in Ireland anyway. Gormley & co lied their way into power, and then they couldn't stop lying, and found they actually liked lying, and liked it more and more…

While Gormley did a few good things in the past, I must point out that many fine, honest people worked long and hard to build the Green Party/ Comhaontas Glas into a movement that was making a real difference to Irish lives, and promised much for the future. All destroyed, in three mad years. Some of those fine, honest people – good friends of mine – have passed on, and while I mourn the loss, I'm glad they're not observing the current disgrace.

It's obvious that Deirdre de Burca was shafted by Gormley, though he says it was FF. The funny thing is that she seems surprised.