20 January, 2011

Moving on

It was one of the strangest of days that I've had in my time in Leinster House.

Paul Gogarty's appearance on Morning Ireland this morning summed up how we all felt, and his own blog post clearly expressed the frustrations of the last twenty-four hours. There were lengthy discussions of our Parliamentary Party, and an intense media frenzy. Senator Mark Dearey's iphone app of the Irish Constitution got put to good use!

As I walked out the main gate on Kildare Street an RTÉ cameraman fell over backwards, and then another went down. As I crossed the street yet another cameraman was about to walk backwards into a utility pole and I had to grab his arm to prevent another accident. I met the RTÉ guy later on Merrion Street, and thankfully he was OK, although a bit bruised.

I thought our press conference in the Merrion late this afternoon went fine. We gave our account of events, and left it to Fianna Fáil to give theirs in another forum.

Quite a sense of relief to know that the date has now been set for the election. Friday 11 March is seven weeks away as I write, and it feels good to have a sense of closure in sight for the Green Party's time in Government.

The intervention of the IMF changed everything, and we said back in November that we'd leave once the difficult economic decisions were made. To date we've approved the Four Year Plan, concluded the deal with the IMF and EU and passed a tough budget. The one remaining item is to pass the Finance Bill, and we've said that we'll stay in to ensure that it is passed.

Sure, we'd love to pass important legislation on ending corporate donations to political parties, the Dublin Mayoralty Bill, and the Climate Change Response Bill, and if they can be approved within the time available I'd be over the moon, but I'm not holding my breath that all of this can be achieved. Communicating the importance of the Climate Change Bill has been difficult, and one of the many challenges of our time in Government. Hopefully we can continue on with the legislation during what promises to be a tumultuous Government term.

That pic? That's the view looking out on Government Buildings from beside my office. A frosty sunset on an eventful day.