Gormley admits Greens fighting for survival

 

THE GREEN Party leader has acknowledged that his party is fighting for its political future but he does not think it is facing oblivion.

John Gormley said the Green Party was “here for the very long haul” and that it would continue to pursue its objectives even if its representation in the Dáil fell after the general election.

“We really do believe in what we are doing and it’s not a case of comparing us to the PDs – we’re here for the very long haul,” he said. “We had a vision of what Irish society could become. We’re not going to give that up now.”

The Green Party won six seats in the last Dáil but the latest Irish Times-Ipsos MRBI poll put the party’s core vote on just 1 per cent.

Mr Gormley said voter attitudes toward the party had “changed markedly” in the last week.

“The first week there was resistance,” he said. “Last week we found people were committing to number one votes and we have to keep that momentum up.”

Mr Gormley said the Green Party faced a difficult challenge and that each of the seats it was realistically targeting was the final seat in a constituency.

He said voters were beginning to see the Greens had “behaved responsibly in government” by demanding a new Central Bank governor and financial regulator and attempting to introduce legislation on corporate donations.

“We did put the national interest first and it’s up to us to communicate that over the last two weeks [of the campaign] and, if we can do that, we will be in with a shout.”

Mr Gormley said he would like to see a change to how the Irish political system worked.

However, he described some of the reform proposals put forward by other parties as “opportunistic bandwagoning”.

“What concerns me is that you are getting more of the same . . . I don’t see radical alternatives,” he said.

“The Dáil is where we need the transformation, the Seanad does need to be slimmed down, it does need to be radically reformed but the idea of scrapping it willy-nilly doesn’t make sense to us,” he said.

When questioned about the possible consequences of the bank guarantee scheme introduced in September 2008, Mr Gormley said this would have happened regardless.

“[There would have been] no difference had any other government been in place because they would have got exactly the same advice,” he added.

Mr Gormley was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Irelandprogramme.