Prelate's views on party 'ill-judged'

 

GREEN PARTY leader John Gormley has expressed “great disappointment” and described as “ill-judged’’ and “a grave insult” recent comments made about the Greens by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin John Neill.

Archbishop Neill said he was “very upset” at the Greens’ U-turn over Shannon being used by the US military. “Somehow the Greens managed to do a complete turnaround and stabilise the Fianna Fáil Government, and they have stayed there through thick and thin. It’s a very sad thing. It’s not just true of the Green Party, but it is very true of them – power tends to corrupt.”

He was speaking in an Irish Mail on Sundayinterview published on St Stephen’s Day last.

Responding, Mr Gormley said “as a party that probably has the highest proportion of Church of Ireland members in its ranks, we noted with great disappointment the comments of the archbishop”.

In an interview in the Church of Ireland Gazette, he said to “accuse the Greens of corruption was a grave insult”. “Of all of the political parties, we have never been in front of a tribunal,” he added.

He said “obviously, as a small party in Government, it is impossible to get all of your policies implemented. We don’t approve of Shannon airport being used as a military stopover. But the larger parties in this State will not change this position. If this really is a red-line issue for the archbishop, perhaps he would let us know which party he actually supports, now that he has decided to make party political comments?”