Greens in Irish Government

23:54 Thu 14 Jun 2007. Updated: 01:05 15 Jun 2007
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The Irish Green party have gone into coalition with Fianna Fáil—and with the remnantds of the Progressive Democrats, and a few Independents. I have to say that this appears to be a triumph for FF, who have managed to secure a substantial majority in a situation where they’re not reliant on any one of the three smaller groups.

In other words, the Greens did exactly what I hoped they wouldn’t do. They did get some Cabinet positions, Minister for Communications & Natural Resources and Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government. Is that enough? I doubt it, and it seems to me that they simply caved in regarding a number of their key positions. They got the two Ministries and a vague commitment to a “carbon tax”, and I think that’s about it.

If they’d gotten even one of their major points, such as the M3 road route or the health system, it might seem a reasonable move. But this way it seems that they’re really getting on board in the hope that they’ll be able to nudge Fianna Fáil (and the country) in the right direction while they’re in government. This might sound sensible, but I think FF will refuse to be nudged, and will bully the Greens without compunction.

It’s possible that the Greens will do well out of this, depending on how the country goes over the next five years, but it’s more likely that FF will manage to use them as disposable shielding (which is what happened to the Progressive Democrats, although I have no sympathy for them).

Despite that, it may be that the Greens are doing the country good by risking themselves, in that even a slight shift towards a more ecologically-friendly Ireland might be critically important in the near future.

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