27 June, 2007

The Joys of Government

Well, we've lost our innocence, and that's for sure. The memories of that day of debate and discussion in the Mansion House will stay with us all for a long time.

I think being part of Government is positive. The issues can't wait, and despite the long list of what we didn't get, I think the deliverables are many.

The Programme for Government can also be the starting point for other initiatives that individual Ministers take. Much of what a Minister does isn't headline news, but indicators such as John Gormley's appointment of Dr. Conor Newman to a Committee to provide advice on the Lismullin archaeological find close to Tara is welcome. For me, the big issue there, if we can't move the road, is to ensure that the surroundings of the proposed Blundlestown interchange don't become an American strip-mall, and that requires determination from both John and Meath County Council.

The inter-twined issues of climate change and energy are two of the biggest issues that we have to face over the next five years. While I don't think that we'll convert Fianna Fáil to the cause overnight, I do think that we'll be able to nudge the wheel of the ship of State onto a slightly more sustainable course that could steer us clear of some of the shoals and shallows that lie ahead. We were never going to get everything that we wanted, but I think for a Party with 6 out of the 166 seats as opposed to Fianna Fáil's 78 we got an OK deal.

One of the big challenges is changing focus from being a small campaigning party of opposition to being a party of Government. When I heard of the latest killing in Mountjoy Prison I immediately went back to my press release from five weeks ago , with a view to saying I told you so. However, as part of the Government, albeit a back-bencher, what I need to do is ensure that the new Minister for Justice addresses my concerns. I have high hopes that Brian Lenihan will make a decent go of it.

In the months and years ahead we'll have to ensure that our Programme gets implemented, but also continue to put issues on the agenda that are often seen as peripheral to mainstream politics.

We won't always get what we want, but on the issues where we disagree, we'll do our best to try and bring our partners around to our way of thinking.


shareefy said...

Well, im sure you´ll do what is best for the greens. I hope it doesn´t go wrong foe you. Just curious, but what happened as regards the numbers of junior minsiters and senators for the greens?

Ciarán said...

Shareefy, Trevor's our Minister of State with responsibility for Food and Horticulture, and we're hoping to have two Senators as part of the Taopiseach's nominees.

It would be great to see Dan Boyle back in the Oireachtas.

TheCitizen said...

This post ignores a few pertinent facts.

1. It doesn't matter how small your party is. What matters is that your party is a key party in keeping the Government in power. The PDs dominated the Government agenda for the past ten years with 4 and then 8 TDs. The Greens aren't needed in this government and they will struggle to wield any significant influence outside of commissions and other talking shops.

2. Tell me more about your position on Beverly Cooper-Flynn, which has been the single biggest story of this Government to date?

arachne said...

Ciarán, your 6/166 versus 78/166 excuse isn't good enough. SF, FG, Labour and the Greens all opposed co-location up until you guys turned. I can't say what the Independents supporting this Government thought before the election. That's 81/161 elected as opposing co-location versus 80/161 elected as supporting it. This figure actually indulges your plea in that it includes the 78 FF TDs, who (although it is clear now that FF fully supports this policy) were happy for the PDs to take the heat for it before the election. There are many other issues where you won't be able to plead 6/166 versus 78/166. I think FG are quite right to go after you, Labour too. If they feel as betrayed as I do, they can never be harsh enough.

shareefy said...

ah thank you much! i´m a little isolated from the world of politis at the moment!!!
Dan Boyle would be the obvious choice alright! Good luck to him and the other lucky person!!

tomcosgrave said...


I must say that your silence in relation to the questions that have been asked in the above comments is deafening...

Ciarán said...


Fianna Fáil do not need the Greens to be in power. You can see the numbers, as Thecitizen pointed out.

I think its about more than commissions and talking shops. There are significant actions in the Programme for Government regarding climate change, one of the most significant issues or our time. I'm also enthused about the reform of local government, and although I would have liked an elected mayor for all of Dublin in 2009, I think the fact that it will happen in 2011 will mark an amazing sea-change in local government. Prior to that the Commission on Local Government Reform will hopefully recommend the devolving of powers to local government along the lines of the suggestions in the Barrington Report from some twenty years ago. The last Government took little or no action on foot of the Indecon Report or previous reports. I hope that John Gormley will take steps to radically transform local government.

As regards Bev, we could easily have a hissy fit everytime we're upset about the actions of anyone who supports the Government, but as I said on Vincent Browne the night before the 30th Dáil first met, our aim is to implement the joint Programme for Government, and to use our Ministries to advance green ideas.

We cannot divert our time over the next five years to being the judge, jury or executioner of the actions of our colleagues in Government. At the next election it will be the electorate who make this decision.

Finally Tom, It is by no means clear that Labour and Fine Gael would have taken a line any different from Fianna Fáil on Shannon and the M3 Motorway.



TheCitizen said...

Good to see you engaging with your commenters!

For the record, I completely agree with you on the local government and climate change reforms and I fully support the Greens on both of these issues.

As for La Cooper-Flynn, you are most unconvincing. I can only interpret Bertie's love letter to her in one way - a message to the Greens that it's FF business as usual, and that crooks and cheats are welcome partners in government despite the Green Party's natural antipathy towards them.

I feel that FF's semi-permanent presence in government is the biggest challenge to our democracy and I am sad that the Greens are part of a FF government. I genuinely believe that institutions of state are hollowed out by corruption and patronage the longer one party stays in power.

TheCitizen said...

Also, Arachne's point on colocation is a good one. The GP are facilitating a right-wing campaign against public healthcare, with Boston rather than Berlin as the model. Which is terrifying. An end to co-location should have been a non-negotiable Green position.