Motley’s Niamh Browne and Emer Walsh take a look at the transformation of Ireland’s Green Party and explain why it is time to ghost them just like they did their progressive cause.
The Green Party has always been a safe option for the liberal voter concerned with the environment and sustainability. One such voter was Motley’s own Niamh Browne who wrote an article advocating for young people to give the Greens a preference, an article which has since aged like rotting fish in the sun.
The party’s historic unpopularity changed drastically last February, when the Green’s won 12 seats and over 155,000 first preference votes, which allowed them to enter a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green Party coalition, the first coalition of the so-called “Civil War” parties.
This surge in support for the Green’s was ultimately pinned down to the more general popularity of left-wing parties as a whole with Sinn Féin, Social Democrats and PBP-Solidarity also performing exceptionally well. Young people were the horse power behind this surge, and by god, if you wanted to dissuade young people from getting involved in politics, nothing else could be quite as effective.
When the Green Party entered the coalition, they had done so on the promise that 17 demands would be met. Including: the end of direct provision in Ireland, the consideration of the implementation of a Universal Basic Income, and annual reductions of 7 percent in carbon emissions. These demands were the last ounce of hope left-wing voters had to see any progressive change now that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were back in government. Regrettably, it seems that such promises were quickly abandoned once the coalition formed.
Since the coalition’s formation, a disconnect between Green Party TD’s has occurred. In a vote on the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Bill, Party Whip Neasa Hourigan voted against the party and TD Joe O’Brien abstained from the vote. Hourigan resigned as Whip and both lost their speaking rights. As to why they voted against the bill, they stated that the bill did not go far enough to protect those who are most vulnerable to losing their tenancy.
We have also seen a wave of Green Party members leaving the party, with the most notable members being Green Party MEP candidate Saoirse McHugh, Chair of the Queer Greens Rob O’Sullivan, and the Commercial and Fundraising Officer of the UCCSU, Beth O’Reilly. In a Twitter thread detailing why she decided to leave the party, McHugh stated: “Our only way forward is climate justice and that’s what I will continue to work towards but the Greens no longer provide a vehicle to do that.”
Added to this, the Green’s have out done themselves in exhibiting severe incompetencies to the point of sheer cringe since the coalition’s inception. Within a month of the new government formation, the leader of the Green Party used the n-word openly in Dáil Eireann, fell asleep during a debate on a motion to strengthen workers rights during a pandemic and then woke up to vote against the bill along with the 11 other Green TD’s. It truly is an omnishambles.
Instead of acting as the government’s voice of progressiveness, the Party has completely abandoned their policies and assumed the same neo-liberal approach that their coalition partners adopted towards the end of the 2011 financial crisis. Since entering coalition negotiations, the Green Party has misled their own party members on the Programme for Government, they have neglected their commitment to strengthening worker’s rights and they seem more concerned about bicycle lanes in inner-city Dublin than they do about implementing structural change targeting the real enablers of climate change; large corporations.
To ensure a cleaner and more sustainable environment for everyone, it is time for us to rethink our approach to climate change. The Green Party has abandoned their commitment to a cleaner and greener society, therefore the time has come for us to abandon our support for the Green Party.