Oh dear oh dear, what are the Greens at?

It really does sadden me to witness the viciousness of the attacks on both sides of the De Burca resignation debacle.

The party though has adopted a rather unseemly, distasteful culture which appears designed to rid the organisation of any dissenting voice or constructive criticism.

Good people have been let go or encouraged to leave and have been very publicly and personally attacked by their former ‘colleagues’ for doing so.  How and why has it come to this?

And now the poor poll results for both party and leader.

Here’s a report in the Irish Independent on the latest results:

Irish Independent

If the Greens were “shellshocked”, in the words of Paul Gogarty, at the resignation of Deirdre de Burca from the party and the Seanad yesterday, they will be even more deeply traumatised by this morning’s headlines.

Green Party support has slumped 3pc to a miniscule and statistically dismissive level.  Leader John Gormley’s satisfaction level has fallen correspondingly.

People formed their opinion before Deirdre de Burca launched her onslaught, accusing the Greens of abandoning their political values and integrity and of being no more than an extension of Fianna Fail.

She went on to accuse John Gormley of failing to serve the party properly and of allowing an insidious “drift” to develop.

Green Party TDs rallied around their leader yesterday in exchanges that eerily echoed those of Fine Gael TDs a few days ago.

Trevor Sargent said Ms de Burca’s criticisms didn’t ring true and were unfair. Yet it seems a world away since the same Trevor Sargent waved a cheque and challenged Dublin county councillors to own up about bribery. A long way too from the Rumble in Ranelagh when John Gormley shouted down Michael McDowell for daring to question his Green integrity.

For a party with only a handful of representatives in the Oireachtas, the departure of Ms de Burca is a significant blow, and her stinging valedictory words, together with today’s poll findings, will shake Green nerves.


3 Responses to “Oh dear oh dear, what are the Greens at?”

  1. 1 steverawson February 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I think what is happening to the Green Party is that it is undergoing a major re-positioning while in Government. This is not a criticism but an observation.
    The vote on NAMA, rather than the vote on Lisbon, signaled a major shift in the party’s political compass. The issue now is no longer about fundamentalist greens and realistic greens or Fundis and Realos, but about Greens with a more socialist or left wing worldview and Greens who would view themselves more along the lines of Christian Democratic economic and social policies.
    Many of those unhappy with the new policy direction believed that they had no option but to leave. People may not have been explicitly told to leave, but were certainly given no encouragement to stay. In fact, many have just drifted away, to be replaced by new members happy with the Greens new found policy positions on NAMA and it’s narrowly defined role in Government.
    Health warning
    Finally and just for the record folks, Damian Connon is a paid employee of the communications staff of the Green Party with a very clear brief to scan online discussions and rebut any comments that may appear contrary to the Green Party Parliamentary Party’s viewpoint.

    It’s all part of standards communications practice and reputation protection….what Damian might describe as standard ‘procedural guff’.

  2. 2 Pat February 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Nobody likes airing their dirty linen in public. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get aired at all if you shove it under the carpet. The stench just gets worse.

  3. 3 Damian February 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm


    Great to see you blogging.

    Totally disagree, however, with your claim that: “good people have been let go or encouraged to leave.”

    The Greens have lost good people. There’s no doubt.

    But they were in no way encouraged to leave. The opposite is true.

    On our role in government, on Lisbon, on Nama, on many other issues, the party has bent over backwards to include and accommodate dissenting voices – up to an including allowing these voices to try to hijack big meetings with procedural guff. As you well know, this is part of the Green Party’s “unique” organisational culture, and will hopefully continue long into the future.

    Which other organisation would require every major decision to require a two thirds majority?

    The people who have left did so for their own reasons. They weren’t encouraged. They weren’t forced.

    In many cases our ex-greens were frustrated that they couldn’t force the party to adopt their own minority views.

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February 2010
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