Boyle confident Greens will not suffer wipeout

 

THE GREENS are to run candidates in all 43 constituencies in the general election and, despite poor opinion poll ratings, expect to have a presence in the next Dáil, party chairman Senator Dan Boyle has said.

The party will resign from Government as soon as the Finance Bill passes through the Oireachtas, even if Taoiseach Brian Cowen delays further in calling a general election.

“The Finance Bill is going to be published in the middle of January. It will take three to four weeks to process it in both Houses. Our commitment is to leave Government on the passage of the Finance Bill,” Mr Boyle said.

“We don’t know whether there will be a government in existence for a number of weeks after we leave Government, and we don’t know the choice the Taoiseach will make as regards the length of the election campaign.

“The earliest an election could have been was mid-February and it seems the latest an election could be is late March.”

It normally takes six weeks for the Finance Bill to pass both Houses, but he expects it will only take “three to four” this time.

“We’ve tried to quicken up the process as much as we could: we’re bringing the Oireachtas back earlier, we’re publishing the Bill earlier – around the 20th [of January] I believe.”

When the Greens made their declaration of intent last November to withdraw from Government, party leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley said: “We believe it is time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011.”

Mr Boyle commented: “We were probably over-optimistic in saying that an election could be called in January, rather than for January: there was a lot of confusion that was caused by that.”

There are still a number of items of legislation initiated by the Greens which remain to be passed by the Oireachtas, including Bills on the Dublin mayoralty, corporate donations and, most recently, climate change.

The party will be running in all 43 constituencies in the election, including Cork South-Central, where Mr Boyle himself is a candidate.

“I would be confident that we will have a Green presence in the next Dáil,” he said.