28 May, 2007

Great to be back

Ouch. That was close.

Let's be clear. A deal with Fianna Fáil would be a deal with the devil. We would be spat out after 5 years, and decimated as a Party. But, ... would it be worth it? Power is a many faceted thing. I met a few pals this evening and we discussed it all. One is in IT, another works for the fourth estate; another works for the UN and the last guy is an Astrophysicist who is used to looking at far-away galaxies.

Can you change Fiannna Fáil? No, if their only measure of success is cranes on the skyline. Bertie has got to move on from that benchmark. I worry about his moral compass. How can you lead Mary Fitzpatrick down the garden path by running her on the ticket and then apparantly leaflet every house in the Constituency ('in this area' mar dhéa), saying vote Ahern1, Brady 2 and Fitzpatrick 3?

Sure, Cyprian had to be rewarded after 17 years or so as the fixer, but dumping Mary in it on election morning? That ain't right. I still worry about a story told about Bertie when the old Sorting Office on Sheriff Street was still operating. A small crack in a pane of glass was letting in a draft and the Super wasn't prepared to fix it. Bertie's advice was to advice the post sorter to throw a brick through the window and ensure that the whole window got fixed. The advice worked, but no-one reprimanded the Super for not doing his job.

In Dún Laoghaire John Bailey has a bit of explaining to do to Fine Gael about a letter that allegedly came from Fine Gael urging voters to give their number one to himself. At least the highest spenders (as far as I can see) didn't appear to have been elected in Dún Laoghaire and that shows that money can't necessarily swing the election for you. Lorcan Allen would be proud.

On another note, roll on legislation that limits election spending by including the year before the election, rather than the artificial period of the three and a half week campaign.

Anyway our UN friend, just back from the Balkans is well used to dealing with fellahs who were carving their initials on their enemies' chests 15 years ago, so he gave us all great insight into the art of dealing with people who aren't your best of friends. He's as political as they come, and has great influence, but he's not in Government. My media pal seemed appalled at the prospect of a smaller party taking the silver, but I assured him that no-one was rushing into that sort of an arrangement. Our astronomer friend added a sense of perspective to it all. Give things time to settle down, and then take soundings.

Well, I've still got a lot of posters to take down over the next few days. I won't be rushing things. Maybe I'll even take some time off to see how the Mahon Tribunal unfolds.

Oh, It was of course the Pirates of the Caribbean III that I went too with the kids on Friday, not the Pirates of Penzance as I mentioned on RTE. I hope no-one was expecting me to think straight at 1 in the morning!

Dan, commiserations; Mary, welcome on board.

We're currently taking soundings; Mark Twain would be proud of us!

Coffee in Hughes and Hughes on the Marine Road this morning, and I'm absorbed reading the election results
"Look at this"
I keep reading.
"See this, see this thumb? That blister is from counting your votes all day Friday."
Well, said I, aren't you lucky that I didn't win by a landslide?


Ian the Great said...

I'm not a voter in your constituency, nor am I party aligned, but a huge congratulations of your re-election. I would have been genuinely sad to see you go, as you are - without a doubt- the best politician at using the internet for communication. Your youtube videos especially are fantastic. They meet the 3 essentials: short, focused, visually impacting.

More of the same please!

And please advise others on doing the same. The Green party have been good in using them, but much of the presentation isn't great.

A hearty congrats again. I do hope however that you can have a go at bringing genuine reform into the government. Especially anti-corruption and transport.

Eamon Costello said...

Think what could be done with Environment and Transport. The Greens are made for coalition even with the devil.

keep your friends close...

Ian the Great said...

Oh and could you add an RSS feed for your blog please? It makes life much easier, and I don't have to constantly check back here.

arachne said...

I'm saying the country needs to change direction. I voted FG No.1, you No.2. I will still vote for you if you curb FF esp on Tara, rural one-off housing, and corporate donations etc.

I will be less likely to vote for you if the Government limps on the full 5 years - the Greens should leave at the first sign of trouble. Staying out of government may be a bad idea - it just leaves us back at square one, 5 more years of misery.

You owe FG, and acquiescing in a situation that excludes them from power for a full 5 years despite their increased mandate would not be right. Please do take the possibility of an FG-led government, however remote, seriously.

bonglord said...

Congratulations Ciarán on your re-election, it was a nail biter! DublinNorth may be right, The Greens with Environment and Transport would be magic!

All the best, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I live in your constituency and would vote for you at my first opportunity - I'm a foriegn national so I don't have a vote yet.
My 2 pence.... I'd love to see what the Green Party will do in government with the FF's and how you would be standing up for policies that the FF's only agree on in princple - all talk and no show by them...

Eg: the civil partnership issue. Apart from Greece, Irl is the ONLY country of the original EU countries that have NO policy regarding same-sex couple recognition. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

It's time... time for change.

Anonymous said...

Funny that Ciarán, when I recruiting for Ógra FF in IADT 2 years ago I asked you about a coalition with FF, you were open to it then, but why not now? Maybe it has something to do with you now relying on leftist votes to stay in the Dáil due to the threat of RBB.....A FF/Green coalition weould be the only chance the Greens have to implement their green polcies before they feel the squeeze at the next election, take it while you can.

United Irelander said...

Congrats Ciarán.

shareefy said...

Good luck negotiating with the devil! But, as you seem to be thinking yourself, it might be better to bide your time!
Id hate to see the only moral party left having the same fate as the PD's. There is no way ff can be in government for 20 years!

But then again teflon isn't biodegradable!?!

Anonymous said...

Its allot easier to criticise from the opposition benches then to be a member of government, actively making changes to better this country. Its time for the green party to get off their moral high horse. If you want to make the kind of changes that are needed in this country, then you need to be in government.

Slandering a government that has brought this country prosperity and stability for 10 years is behaviour that will not been taken seriously by anyone. The mere fact that opposition politicians (including members of the green party) suggest or imply that the economic success in this country happened "by chance" shows how dangerous it can be to let inexperienced and misguided people into government.

There is no such thing as a perfect country, and I believe that Fianna Fail have done an excellent job at managing Ireland over the past 10 years. I also believe that with the Greens in government, many areas that have been neglected during the rapid development of Ireland will get much need attention, i.e. transport and planning.

Remarks such as "A deal with Fianna Fáil would be a deal with the devil" are sensationalist nonsense. You have 2 options before you:

1. Wait until the next election, when you MAY have a chance to become part of your 'choice' coalition government and attempt to implement the changes that you claim are desperately needed now.

Or 2. Actively seek a coalition with FF, so that your changes can be implemented NOW, when they are needed.

But of course, it is much easier to moan and groan from the opposition benches about how much better things would be if you had a chance in government! Maybe that is the option you want Mr. Cuffe?

Anonymous said...

So if you have a problem with cranes? And by that I assume you mean the construction industry?

So please, I'm dying to know, what jobs would you create to employ the thousands you seem to wish unemployed?

Perhaps they could all work at your nearby Superquinn and pack your free trade coffee and tofu?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - if Ireland is reliant on the construction industry for employment it is in big trouble. The dog on the street knows the boom is over. The only saving grace - in employment terms - is that many of those employed in the sector are short-term economic migrants who will leave when the jobs dry up: which they inevitably will. We have built our economy on a house of cards (or rather houses of cards). Lets hope the next government can deliver some real infrastructure before all the multinationals that provide the crucial jobs pull out.

Anonymous said...

I normally vote green, both local and national but I think your comments about FF will come back haunt you (and your party). FF and FG are more or less identical at this stage. FF is sleazier. But that's not something Irish people care about, deep down. Look who we voted for in the majority? Don't get me wrong, I hope the greens form part of the next coalition Government, but I think that ship is about to set sail. I hope the greens can have an impact nationally, as Government, not as the honourable opposition. better to roll up your sleves and get on with it than snipe from the moral high ground for the next 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Well Ciaran i cant say your friends and my friends would have the same occupations but that could be accidental.

Any way time for your party to walk the walk having spent so much time talking the talk. Or may be you perfer it that way.

Anonymous said...

Fair dues for speaking your mind, probably not your smartest career move considering your colleagues are busy being circumspect and licking ass! I think it's power at any price for some of your very ambitious party elite.

Eoin Brazil said...

Hi Ciaran, you might want to listen to yesterday's drivetime, they did a good job with one of the normal Tribunal actors who do the voice overs reading this blog entry.

I think for 2 cents you're right but then I voted against the government so who am I to say. Congratulations on your re-election btw.

Anonymous said...

I write in frustration and annoyance at your use of the word decimate. I am sure that you used the word to describe complete destruction. This is a common misconception. The word in fact means to reduce by 10% i.e. to 90%. To decimate the number of Green TD'smeans to reduce them to 90% of their original number. The word decimate might sound sexier than destroy but its incorrect use is commonplace, so please make an effort and don't join the illiterati. Indeed, its use to describe obliteration has corrupted the true meaning.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on your reelection.

I heard you a few weeks ago on the Last Word/Matt Cooper show, Today FM. Talking about your Neighbourhood Noise Bill, you said that if a dog in a neighbour's house was barking continuously, then it was clear to you that it was not getting sufficient exercise, and that you would be on for the dog warden/relevant authorities to be contacted and the matter taken further.

(1) Is this a deal-breaker for you, in terms of the formation of the next Government?

(2) In light of your "deal with the devil" comment, if your party does decide to go into Government, will you be willing to serve either as a Minister or as a Junior Minister?

(3) Given that Trevor Sargent is your leader, that John Gormley is your president, that Eamon Ryan is generally perceived as having performed better than any other GP member over the course of the election, and that all of the above are Dublin-based, what do you think your chances are of attaining a ministerial position?

(4) In terms of ethics, standards in public life, and vis a vis the holding of ministerial office, what is the current status of your high-profile shares?

(5) In the event of being offered/accepting a ministerial position, do you appreciate how the electorate (or certain sections of it, at least) might find it amusing/hypocritical to see you advocating this, that and the other in relation to financial interests in the political sphere/conflict of interest/corporate donations, especially given your recent history regarding shares?

Anonymous said...



• verb 1 kill or destroy a large proportion of. 2 drastically reduce the strength of.

— DERIVATIVES decimation noun.

— USAGE The earliest sense of decimate was ‘kill one in every ten of’, a reference to the ancient Roman practice of killing one in every ten of a group of soldiers as a collective punishment. This has been more or less totally superseded by the sense ‘kill or destroy a large proportion of’, although some traditionalists argue that this later sense is incorrect.

— ORIGIN Latin decimare ‘take as a tenth’.

Anonymous said...

Well done for speaking your mind. The decision on whether or not to do a deal with FF is a tough one. They have been spinning against the Greens since the election.
The obsession with a "stable" government, and the line that the Greens could not be relied on to give that stability is all about limiting your options should more scandal emerge from the tribunal.

Hypothetical scenario. One year in, huge revelations from the tribunal. Bertie gives lame explanation. If the Greens try to pull out of government, they will be cast as the unreliable party who are plunging the country into an election after only one year. They cannot be trusted. Do not vote for them, as they are not able for the rough and tumble of government.
If the Greens stay in government, Labour and Fine Gael will have the high moral ground, and will destroy the Greens at the next election.

Add to that the strange attitude of the Irish voter. People are unhappy with government policies, so they destroy the PDs but leave FF untouched. People are happy with the economic performance of the government, but they ignore the influence of the PDs and laud FF. It seems to be a guaranteed lose for any party that goes into government with FF.

CelticLad said...

As the Green Party chew over a possible deal with “the Devil” it’s interesting to see that the Green's gnawing and spitting over the last decade regarding GM crops and their pre-election desire for a so-called “GM-Free Ireland” have been moved to the side of the plate. Currently in Ireland there is a GM potato field trial option approved until 2010 and GM products are used in all elements of the Irish feed and food chain. Can the taste of power make anything palatable or have the Greens finally digested the scientific facts that approved GM crops are safe and here to stay? Somewhat like the Green Party?

Law Bra said...

I can't believe Tara wasn't one of the Big Ticket items, but Health was.
Is there a different Green Party I can vote for next time?

Anonymous said...

Well done on getting re-elected. Don't go and spoil it all by going in with FF though. They are congenitally opposed to what the Green Party stands for. Do you really think they'll stop the developers doing exactly what they want? That they'll drop carbon emissions? That they'll reform Local Government?
Remember all the promises they put in to the Programme for Government in 2002 - metro to Dublin airport by 2007; overseas aid to 0.7% by 2007; directly elected mayors (and yes, they did legislate for that - they just unlegislated for it a year later when they saw they wouldn't win the votes).
Labour will be the ones who will decimate us if we go in with FF.
A deal with the devil is right. Don't do it. For the good of the party.

Eoin O'Mahony said...

Ciaran, I read about your opposition to gov with FF in this morning's Irish Times. I'm with you: stick by it and I hope you are able to register your dissent in the mansion house today. Gormley campaign worker from Dublin 6.

Anonymous said...

you have let down all of your voters by going into government with the devil, and you will regret it come te next election

Anonymous said...

Well,I really hope you all enjoy your hard earned extended holidays ......

50% more sitting days in the Dáil, remember that one? Looks like this is the first of many manifesto promises to be broken by the Greens in government.Not bad going - you've only been "in power" a (very)wet weekend!Enjoy it while you can lads, as you'll all be out of a job come the next election!

Ciarán said...

Thanks for all the critical, if not necessarily constructive comments, but I would ask that you identify yoursel(f/ves) in future,



Anonymous said...

Well this was prophetic.