Gormley likens being in power to asylum


MINISTER FOR the Environment John Gormley has compared being in Government to being in an asylum.

The Green Party leader said the Opposition would be placed in a “straitjacket” in government because they would have to endure a “no-win” situation, constant criticism and little choice.

Mr Gormley also warned that any incoming government faced the choice of being part of a federalised Europe with harmonised taxes or a two-tier euro. He told Labour leader Eamon Gilmore that “it is a problem that you will have to face up to if you are in government”.

Speaking during the debate on the deal agreed with the IMF and the EU institutions, Mr Gormley said the Opposition claimed they were being “placed in a straitjacket. And I think that is a very apt analogy . . . Because when you are entering government you are entering an asylum, believe you me”.

Speaking directly to Mr Gilmore, Mr Gormley said: “You will have to endure the no-win situation. You will have to endure the non-stop criticism. And you will be sitting here and you will no doubt be looking up at the Sinn Féin deputies who will be criticising you non-stop and you will be saying, ‘I have no choice. I have to act in this way.’ And there is nothing worse in a democracy when you as a politician have to say those words. Where you say, ‘I have to act in this way because my choices are limited.’ And that is the reality, Deputy Gilmore. You will be faced with that lack of choice and even more besides.”

Earlier Mr Gormley had warned that the future of the EU was “one of those things we’d like to avoid but it’s now unavoidable”. Ireland would have to choose between a federalised Europe or a two-tier euro. “If there is such a thing as a federalised Europe it will lead to harmonised taxes. These are the realities that everybody has to face up to.”

The Minister also addressed the accusation that “the junior partners in Government don’t have the courage to go. I’ve said very clearly that we want to stay to put through a budget. It takes courage to stay in, to put through the toughest budget that this country has ever seen. I don’t relish it . . . I think it is the right thing to do.” He was optimistic that “we can recover faster than many people predict”. He said Ireland was “trading in the black. Our exports are exceeding our imports.”

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the fundamental issue was a question of choices. It was a case of whether they obtained funds “at a more affordable price, whether we take them at an unaffordable and prohibitive price or whether we decide to ensure our revenues and spending are brought into line more quickly, in respect of which we are prepared to enforce deeper cuts, higher taxes, put more enterprises at risk and not use the adjustment period in a sensible, responsible and rational manner. Those are the choices.”