Former TD feels betrayed over decision


Green dissent

Ronan McGreevy

The Green Party's first TD, Roger Garland, has said he feels "totally betrayed" by the decision to opt for coalition with Fianna Fáil.

Speaking before the vote in the Mansion House last night, Mr Garland described the deal agreed between the two parties as "unbelievably bad", and predicted that the Greens could face a "wipe-out" at the next election.

Mr Garland, who won a Dáil seat in 1989, which he lost at the next general election, did not attend yesterday's Mansion House meeting because of a long-standing family engagement.

However, he had been vociferous in recent days in opposing any attempts by the party hierarchy to enter into coalition with Fianna Fáil.

He said Green voters had voted to specifically keep Fianna Fáil out of power and would now feel betrayed.

He told RTÉ's Today programme: "We have to look at the profile of those who voted Green. I suspect Green voters are middle-class, liberal, forward-thinking and educated, probably somewhat lefty.

"Their first priority was to get the present Government out. I voted Green and I transferred to Labour and then Fine Gael. That would be typical of the average Green voter.

"They would have been happy with a Fine Gael-Labour-Green Party coalition. The last thing they had in mind was that by voting Green they would be re-electing Fianna Fáil.

"The Green Party are the only party with any real ideas. I think the present voters' mood from various vox-pops is one of extreme anger. I suspect at the end of the five years, the anger will become worse and could lead to the wipe-out of the party for a few paltry environmental gains."

Mr Garland described proposals for a carbon tax, without a date or an agreed level as "waffle". He said accepting the continuation of military flights through Shannon airport was "completely against all green principles of world peace".

He also criticised the decision to accept the present M3 motorway route through Tara, and the continuation of corporate donations to political parties as being contrary to core Green Party values.