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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 11, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    Forty Shades of Green Sing Off Same Hymn-Sheet

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    The Green vote was something of a triumph for the party leadership. Whatever their critics think of them, you can’t quarrel with a tally of 84% for the revised Programme for Government and a 68% rejection of the anti-Nama motion.


    Hmm, wish I could get that vote in Dublin South-East (Photograph by Brenda Fitzsimons)

     The Greens are a very democratic party but it would have been truly democratic to have released the revised Programme a few days in advance of the convention in order to give members time to consider it properly.

     As things stood, when I arrived at the RDS around 11 am, the Programme hadn’t yet been printed, although it was available on the party’s website. Inevitably the parts leaked to the media were the sexier items such as maintaining free third-level fees and hiring extra teachers. People were voting on a document that most of them would not have had a proper opportunity to read and consider.

    Sinn  Féin also holds conferences in the RDS Concert Hall but they generally allow the media to sit-in on the proceedings. Labour is also very open, as I recall. Yesterday, Security guards made sure we didn’t penetrate the inner sanctum of the Greens, but it would have been interesting and informative to hear the debate and would probably have benefited the party as well. Maybe it’s time for a change of approach here. (Not every day one can describe the  “Shinners”, given the past history of their movement, as more democratic than the others!)

    The Nama opponents seem to be split between docrtinaire anti-Nama and proponents of more stringent conditions for Nama. But it now looks as if Nama is going to sail through and, like it or not, we shall be stuck with it for the next ten years at least.

    Then it’s on to the Budget. John Gormley sent out a strong signal that the Budget was going to be extremely tough but that the Greens would be backing it, at least in its essentials. Fasten your seatbelts, folks!

    • Gold says:

      I really love reading articles that has lots of knowledge to impart. I admire those writers who share the best of their knowledge in writing such articles. Keep up the good work and continue inspiring readers.Thank you so much.

    • Ray D says:

      When will we the people get to vote on this melange. The process that the Greens have put in train as to how to spend (waste?) the taxpayers money without taxpayers input is profundly undemoctaric.

    • Damian says:

      Deaglán, it’s not like we had the document and were holding back. This wasn’t theatrics!

      Eamon Ryan worked through the night in government buildings finalising the text – it’s why he looked so wrecked. By the time the vote came through at 7pm yesterday, he, and several others, had been working for 36 hours straight.

      There were futons and sleeping bags in the green party headquarters as people waited to start printing.

      In the end we got the document at 10.30am and had teams at print shops and at photocopiers around the city getting the programme printed. It was clear there would be a delay in getting hard copies so we put it up online and tweeted it at 11.10am.

      At the last few special conventions media have been kept outside the room because members wanted to speak freely. It’s not a leadership dictat. The debate and atmosphere in the room was very good, though, so I agreed it’s a shame that the media couldn’t have experienced it.

    • The proposals on party-funding are welcome but they are being longfingered because the Electoral Commission has to “recommend” changes in 12 months. The failure to tackle the pertinant question of corporate-donations to referendum campaigns was also dodged. (I wonder why?) I welcome the proposals for the Electoral Commission to take charge of the registration-process. But what exactly does this mean? Is it intended that they take on the role currently executed by the local-authorities to such disasterous effect? I was mistakenly deleted from the register in 2006 after the Council sent someone to inquire as to the accuracy of the register in my town. I informed the checker that I was on the register twice and that at each election/referendum I had been sent two polling-cards (though I only used one of course). To my horror, I later discovered on checktheregister.ie that both my register-entries had been removed. I rang the council and they sorted it out, putting it down to a “mistake”. But it underlines the danger of leaving the register in the hands of local authorities – a layer of government steeped in corruption according to the Tribunals. Reports in the Irish Independent after the local-elections pointed to possible fraud in Co.Monaghan and Longford, with multiple registrations of foreign-nationals at empty houses. Some of these houses turned out to be the property of members of political parties. The Electoral-Register also fails to take account of changes of residence, deaths and emigration – I know this from my own experience of receiving two polling-cards until the 2007 election. What is needed is a centralised register, with each individual registry entry linked to a PPS no. That will allow for the removal of duplicates from the register. Having said that, we also need to ensure that the E.C. does not become politicised. Members of political-parties should be banned from appointment to the body, owing to conflicts of interest. In the rigged 2004 Presidential Election in Ukraine, the E.C. was packed full of Yanukovich supporters who declared him the victor.

    • Liam says:

      I hope this finishes the Greens , they had the opportunity to kill Nama and they didn’t take it.

    • Galway Tent says:

      Net Present Value For Dummies – By Limerick Escapee & Language Teecher.

      NPV of NAMA to Green Party Leaders: Zero.

      NPV of NAMA to Taxpayers: €38 billion in lost interest
      (assuming ‘break-even’ from forced house-price-inflation causing homelessness).

      NPV of Mr Gormley’s Pension – Oct 2009: Not bad.
      Escape from Ringsend’s lousy bicycle paths and incinerator. Free at last.

      NPV of Mr Gormley’s Pension – Oct 2012: Excellent.
      Retirement in Bali. Lucrative directorships in the Green Friends-of-EPA Industry.


    • damiank says:

      “The Green vote was something of a triumph for the party leadership”

      Well yes, if you define triumph as holding onto pay and pension entitlements for the time being.

      If you define triumph as advancing the interests of the Irish people (other than a few teachers) and/or demonstrating that the Greens are a party that can be taken seriously. Well no. They have shown that they care for the nation’s interests no more than the stereotypical politicians they railed against when not in power.

      What did Orwell say about 2 legs good 4 legs bad ? But then the Greens are all vegetarians so probably aren’t up to date on farming literature.

    • tony shannon says:

      This is essentially a triumph for political expediency and personal greed. If the Greeds ….oops…..Greens had any integrity they would have opposed Nama and got out of bed with the govt party who are essentially responsible for the ruination of the economny and the country.

    • Mick says:

      It’s amusing to read about the Greens pontificating on government as if the party actually matters. Of course the majority supported the revised Programme for Government and NAMA, if they didn’t they would have brought forward a General election after which it will be P45s all round for the Greens. So make the best of it, you’ll be following the PDs into the dustbin shortly.

    • Jonathan says:

      I’d say the major motive for this “triumph” is the understanding that if there were a general election the Vegetables would (deservedly) be wiped off the map.
      FF always use their junior partner as a “flak-taker” and then spit them out when they’re done with them. All you need to do is spend 5 minutes reading about the history of the PDs to work that one out. But apparently the Vegetables were too stupid to see it.

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