Greens and the M3

Here’s some great quotes of Cuffe guff from Ciaran Cuffe, circa 2005, re M3 motorway. “The sanctioning of the motorway is too high a price to pay for progress”, and “Approving the road in its proposed location would be an act of cultural and historic vandalism”. Yes, indeed! And he continues: “How much of Ireland’s history is this Government prepared to sacrifice on the altar of economic growth? ” So, you’d think he’d do something about it then, wouldn’t you?

I am reminded of the final passage of Animal Farm, where the animals look in on the pigs as they entertain the local farmers to a big feast. Four legs good, two legs better.

Green Reaction

From today’s RTE website:

Garland ‘betrayed’ by deal: The founder of the Green Party and its first TD, Roger Garland, has said he feels betrayed by the decision of the party to agree a programme for Government with Fianna Fáil. He said if reports of what the deal contains are true, it was ‘unbelievably bad’. He added that he believes the last thing voters had in mind when they voted Green was returning Fianna Fáil to power. On RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr Garland said he feared for the future of the party if delegates at this afternoon’s special conference approved the deal.”

This has very little chance of being passed today. Fair play to Mr. Garland for calling it as it is.

Ten answers from the Greens

I asked Ten Questions of the Greens yesterday. The deal is in, the answers are with us, and the jury must now decide. Good luck to the 500 delegates to today’s Green Party special conference, for they’ll hardly recognise a single Green party policy.

1) Shannon flyovers will continue exactly as normal. Demanding Dail approval for non-UN sanctioned flights is sophistry at its greatest. This is not a concession from Fianna Fail. Thus, the Greens don’t think the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians worth a second thought. Shame. 1-0 to FF.
2) A carbon tax is to be introduced, with not a single commitment on the level or the timing. So we just might, maybe, get a 1% fuel surcharge or an increased VRT level on SUVs? Give me a break. For someone paying €100,000 or more for an SUV, paying a few extra bob will make no difference at all. Pathetic. 0-2 down, maybe it’s just a slow start?
3) The M3 motorway through the Tara-Skyrne valley is continuing as before. This was the easiest thing possible to get a concession on and the one thing they’ve missed. Irreplaceable harm to Ireland’s greatest cultural heritage from the Bronze age traded for a seat at the cabinet table. 0-3 to the Greens.
4) Transport 21 is exactly the same as before, with some extra money for public transport thrown in. Road building programme to continue exactly as before. Where’s the gain there? 0-4 to the Greens.
5) Apparently, according to the Irish Times, Mary Harney was offered Foreign Affairs before flatly refusing and instead asking for Health again. Private hospitals will continue to be built on public grounds. We’re heading for a humiliating 5-0 down at half time scoreline here.
6) No mention of Jackie-Healy Ray anywhere, so I presume you’ve let FF do the deal anyway and you’ve sanctioned it with a nod and a wink. Tens of millions spent on bricking over large parts of South Kerry is OK then, because it cannot be seen from Dublin 4. You are in government you know, you can demand something. Oh God, 6-0.
7) I presume spending on parks and the environment will improve, but I have no details of this yet. Will I give this a goal to the Greens? No. Because the top-rate of tax will still be reduced to 38% and because the PDs are still going to be in government and there’s still going to be half of South Kerry tarmacademed over. 7-0 then.
8 ) The Greens have shook hands with Bertie and his FF cronies on a deal. They will be propping up FF for five years. Another goal by Bertie Beelzebub. And the PDs (Princes of Darkness) are to be included too. That’s worth 9-0.
9) I voted for the Greens precisely to not vote for FF. I voted for peace, sensible environmental policies, and better governance. Not this. A Green vote will never come from me again. Are you expecting to pick up votes at the next election? Just look to what has just happened to the PDs! 10-0 to FF.
10) The Greens haven’t even announced what Ministries they’ll be getting. That’s “a matter for the Taoiseach”. Huh. Admit it, this deal stinks, and you’ve got nothing, absolutely nothing, of value here. Get out before it is too late! 11-0 to FF and the Greens are still grinning.

I sincerely hope this deal is turned down by the Green party faithful. This is a monstrous deal that gives FF everything they want and gives the Green’s nothing.

Ten questions for the Greens

Green Party members Eamon Ryan, Dan Boyle and (right) Ciaran Cuffe outside the Green Party office in Dublin city yesterday. (From Irish Independent)

Ten questions that need answering before you step into bed with FF:

1) Will Shannon flyovers be curtailed or stopped? The renditioning of prisoners is being facilitated by the (neutral) Irish government. Can you be a part of that disgrace?

2) Have you secured concrete assurances that Ireland will begin to honour its Kyoto commitments about carbon emissions, without buying dubious carbon credits?

3) Will the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skyrne valley be stopped and a more sensible route chosen, or do you intend watching over the desecration of sacred, irreplaceable land?

4) What changes will be made to Transport 21 in order to make it deliver basic public transport services for Dublin and our other major cities?

5) Will you support a government with Mary Harney as Health minister, who favours the building of private hospitals on public land?

6) When Jackie-Healy Ray carts off millions of euro in – let’s face it – bribes to support your new government, who will be accountable for this blatant squandering of public money, this pork-barrel politics?

7) What money have you secured for extra discretionary spending on the environment, to set up the parks for Dublin you’ve proposed and the cycle-lanes, clean water, and so on?

8 ) What powers do you have to clean up corrupt governance in Ireland when you are shaking hands with the most cunning and devious of them all?

9) What do you say to the many Green voters who voted for your party with the express understanding that you were being elected to get rid of Fianna Fail? Will you apologise? What will you do when your vote halves at the next election?

10) Okay, so you enter government knowing you’re entering a pact with the devil. Will you at least listen to that Dalkey sage, Chris De Burgh, father of the ex-miss World etc, who says “Don’t pay the ferryman, until he gets you to the other side”? Huh?

Failure to nominate Taoiseach?

What happens on June 14th if neither side can obtain a majority in the nomination of Taoiseach? We have to assume that the current Ceann Comhairle will be reappointed (Rory O’Hanlon, FF), unless a deal is done beforehand. Also, last time out, Sinn Fein abstained from the vote, apparently on principle. Since no one is speaking to them this time either, they will not vote on either option. If they do abstain, then the two opposing sides still have to get 83 votes from 161 remaining deputies. The constitution doesn’t specify the numbers but definitely indicates that it has to be the majority of the Dail. My central thesis is this: that on June 14th neither FF or FG will be able to form a solid 83 seats vote.

There are precedents for the non-election of a Taoiseach. It happened in 1989 and confusion reined about the proper, constitutional solution. The Dail transcripts make for interesting reading. Haughey: “The situation which now obtains, where the Dáil has failed to agree on the nomination of a Taoiseach is unprecedented in our history.” Well, it can happen!

Eventually, a recess would be ordered and a deal would have to be hammered out in the interim, before a new nomination process would be ordered.

Why will neither side be able to reach 83? Because I believe that FG+Lab+Greens (=77 seats) will try to force a vote for an alternative coalition, without any realistic possibilty of it happening. Throw in Michael Lowry and one of Finian McGrath or Tony Gregory, and you have 79 votes. The PDs are in a difficult position now, especially with the growing rumblings from the on-going Mahon tribunal. If they decide to not enter a new coalition with FF, then FF would be left without sufficient votes to form a government. That would be 80 (their 78 seats – Rory) and possibly 3 independents.

I do believe this scenario is unlikely, but possible.