Gushing Greens pour oil on troubled waters


Slick onrush of Greenspeak unleased as Fianna Fáil’s Coalition pals pedal to the rescue

WHEN IT comes to pouring crude oil on troubled waters, the Greens are giving BP a close run for their money.

For God’s sake, think of the guillemots, John, and the soggy feathers of the little ducks and the ruffled feelings of the furious electorate.

BP’s little accident set them back an estimated $8 billion. And the company is worth multiples of this country. Nobody knows what will be the eventual cost of the Green’s determination to continue greasing their creaking coalition.

There was another huge spill yesterday, this time in Carlow, where John Gormley and his team uncapped another gusher in an attempt to smother the latest threat to their tenure in power.

This disaster was set in motion when news reached Green Party headquarters of the unfortunate series of events in Galway during Fianna Fáil’s annual think-in.

John Gormley took the phone call. What? A tired Taoiseach succumbed to emotional confluence in the early hours and turned up a few hours later on Morning Irelandin a deeply congested state? Nation aghast? Government under pressure? Leave it to us. The Greens will sit on the storm, again . . .

A plan was hatched. They operated under the radar until yesterday, and then the spewing commenced on Morning Irelandand continued into the party’s pre-season think-in.

Stand aside Trevor! Stand back, Dan! Say nothing Paul! Thar she blows! And with that, John Gormley and his parliamentary party unleashed the crude in a slick onrush of Greenspeak.

“Manure is no longer a waste, it’s a resource” announced Mary White, finally confirming what many have long suspected about the value of bullshit to waffling politicians.

When party chairman Dan Boyle introduced Minister Eamon Ryan to say a few words, an anguished ‘Oh, Jesus!’ escaped from a journalist in the second row.

Paul Gogarty and Niall Ó Brolcháin heard it at the top table and started to giggle as Eamon began to speak.

“Our new food strategy? It’s going green” he declared at one point, conjuring up visions of hairy bacon and mouldy sausages.

“I was in Birr yesterday at the Organic Farmers Conference,” soothed Ciarán Cuffe. Was it a confluence too, we wondered? Do organic farmers smell differently from ordinary farmers? Everyone stressed the need to focus on the future. The party has so much on its plate for the coming year.

“It’s tough times, it’s not easy but I think what our people want to see is some sense of hope and optimism from our politicians,” mused the Minister.

It begged an obvious question, which was duly asked. Did he think the behaviour of the Taoiseach in Galway gave hope and optimism to the people? There followed an intense period of questioning on Garglegate.

The first one set the tone: Are you entirely satisfied that the Taoiseach’s lifestyle can allow him to do his job properly?”

“Fianna Fáil is Fianna Fáil. We are the Green Party” replied Eamon, before proudly standing on his record. John Gormley wanted to rise above “what I call political gossip”.

He said the Taoiseach had “an off day” and we all have the occasional off day.

But what about his off-night? “Were you with him?” demanded the Minister for the Environment of the man who asked the question, determined to confine his observations to the daylight hours.

“It’s only a bad interview. What more can I say.” Eventually, he gingerly advanced the word “inebriation” as he rowed in behind the Cabinet line, insisting that there was no foundation whatsoever to that particular rumour about the Taoiseach on the night in question.

He cited two journalists, this reporter and David Davin-Power, who had “clarified” this very point. Having already pleaded guilty in print to thoroughly enjoying the late-night libations in Galway, I reluctantly felt compelled to issue an instant clarification to the clarification relied upon by John Gormley (and his cabinet colleagues).

I told the Minister at the press conference I wrote that the Taoiseach didn’t look drunk, but I couldn’t say that he was sober either. John looked doubtful.

I then explained I work for “the paper of record” and didn’t have a breathalyser with me.

This drew a laugh from the non-parliamentary party Greens in the back of the room.

After the press conference, another journalist, not named by the Minister, approached him to tell him what he saw on the night.

Paul Gogarty said this was politics, not The X-Factor. If De Valera and Lemass were around today, they probably wouldn’t be great media performers either.

It makes a change from the Winston Churchill defence.

Later in the evening, Minister Dermot Ahern echoed the “no-foundation” line on the evening news. A man is entitled to let his hair down, said the Minister for Justice, adding that it had been “an unfortunate two days”. Bryan Dobson did a double-take. “But you said he had a nasal disorder!” he harrumphed.

“At best of times he has a difficulty in relation to congestion,” said Dermot. With a totally straight face.

It’s been a mad week. And the Greens will be hoping that oil’s well ends well for them.