Ryan says it is not up to Greens to set date

Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 00:00

THE DATE for a general election is a matter for the Taoiseach and not the Green Party to decide, Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan said.

The objective for the Green Party was to get the Finance Bill and other pieces of budgetary legislation passed and that a general election should then follow.

“The exact date for that is a matter for the Taoiseach but we have set out our timelines and objectives,” Mr Ryan said.

He was speaking yesterday following reports of a rift between Fianna Fáil and Green Party Ministers over the junior Coalition party’s priority legislation on climate change, corporate donations and waste levies being enacted before the general election.

Mr Ryan said he was confident Bills other than those relating to the Budget would be passed before the election was called.

“There’s a huge amount of legislation and not just on the finance side,” he said.

“I would like to see . . . other legislation which I think is to the benefit of the country in terms of changing corporate donations, the introduction of a climate Bill and indeed other measures.”

Mr Ryan said he believed the Green Party could get a corporate donations Bill passed. “I know our Fianna Fáil partners agree with that.

“The legislation has been agreed in Cabinet. It’s a matter now of just drafting it. It is complex and difficult legislation. I think it can still be done in the lifetime of this Government,” he said.

This would be one of many examples of “significant changes” brought about by the Green Party that would be of benefit to the country in the long term, he said.

Mr Ryan said the Green Party had decided to call for an election in mid-January in an attempt to “depoliticise” the budgetary process.

“We feel that actually it was better to say ‘yes, get this legislation through and then have an election’ . . . It does reduce the political tension in some ways at a very difficult time and I think it was the right thing to do.”

Mr Ryan said he was not ashamed the Green Party had supported Fianna Fáil. He said the Government inherited a situation that would have been a significant challenge to anyone.