What might have been for the Greens


ONCE UPON a time, there was no limit to the Green Party’s ambition.

That was before the 2007 election, when the party resolved to run a candidate in every constituency in the State.

Some areas were proving problematic. South Tipperary, for example, isn’t exactly a Green stronghold.

The party’s press secretary at the time was Gerry Mullins, who has since moved on – he is now chief executive of the representative body of private coach and bus companies.

Gerry was in Leinster House during the week to discuss problems in the sector with Mattie McGrath. And he reminded the Independent TD – champion of the huntin’, shootin’ fishin’ and septic-tank brigade – how things could have been so different.

Mullins heard that a popular Fianna Fáil politician in south Tipperary was having problems securing a place on the party ticket. It was none other than Mattie.

He rang McGrath to see if he would consider running for the Greens.

“He was very cagey, but he didn’t rule it out. He said, ‘Look, it’s never any harm to meet’, and kept his options open,” Mullins recalls.

On the strength of that call, Mullins went to the head honchos in the Green Party and told them he might have found them a promising candidate in with a good shout of a seat.

But his news wasn’t so warmly received. “There was a general feeling that we shouldn’t give him a call back.”

And so ended Mattie’s brief flirtation with the tree huggers.

Meanwhile, negotiations opened with another big name.

Mick Wallace had a number of meetings with the Greens and gave serious thought to running for a seat in Wexford under their banner.

“He hemmed and hawed and for a while I felt that we had him in the bag but, in the end, it didn’t work out,” says Mullins.

Just as well. The Greens have enough problems to be going on with . . .