Dan Boyle: Green And Bear It


From top: Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan arriving at Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 yesterday; Dan Boyle

Too many in the Irish media attempt to frame political debate rather analyse its complexities, before communicating political positions in their widest context.

This week I listened to hosts of two different programmes on Newstalk read out the same text from a member of the public, one programme for a second time having also done so yesterday. The text was that Bertie Ahern thought The Greens were ‘flaky’.

It seems this was a text of such quality it needed repetition. It was an opinion expressed by Ahern, but the wider context the text sender or the programme makers weren’t prepared to acknowledge was the opinion was expressed before Ahern decided he needed the Greens in government.

The station is also running an online poll on whether The Greens should or should not be in government. Apparently it is unnecessary to ask such questions of other political parties.

Other media outlets have sought to frame the process of government formation in similar terms. The Greens needed to step up to the plate. The Greens needed to be responsible. The Greens needed to realistic in their expectations.

The implied narrative is that The Greens should be compliant. The Greens should know their place. The process is becoming more difficult to achieve because of a lack, on the part of The Greens, to compromise.

By participating in the process The Greens are compromising. By putting aside policy positions knowing they won’t be entertained much less agreed to, The Greens are compromising. By prioritising which policies are more important than others The Greens are compromising.

To start and expect only a partial implementation of policies is compromise by The Greens. There seems a total absence of questioning as to what compromise is being offered by others who seek to participate in government.

For too many media political analysts, even after nearly forty years in existence, the Green Party is seen as being narrow in focus being subsumed with environmental issues, and because of that having little relevance in social or economic policy areas.

Added to this is the constant misrepresentation of what Green Party policies are.

The Green Party does not want to stop road building, it wants to have less spent on new road construction, with more being spent on sustainable transport infrastructure.

Greens do not favour culling the national herd. We want to encourage greater diversity in our agriculture which would decrease our reliance on livestock.

Diversity informs many aspects of Green policy, which seems surprising to some commentators.

Housing policy has to be more than encouraging home ownership provided through the private sector. Social housing needs to be ramped up. Renters need better access and standards.

But apparently Greens are not supposed to know or speak of those things. A

s someone who helped negotiate participation in government in 2007, and helped renegotiate continued participation in 2009. I would always advocate being in government rather than opposition.

However if condescension and misrepresentations is the tone that awaits The Greens being in government, it’s going to prove very difficult for many Green Party members to accept such a fate. Again.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator and serves as a Green Party councillor on Cork City Council. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle


15 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Green And Bear It

  1. bisted

    …might as well go for it now greens…most got their seats through being included in the preferences of people who voted for change…they have betrayed those voters…they have used the environment as a flag of convenience and young people have seen through the bluff and assumed that mantle…

    1. jamesjoist

      I haven’t listened to the wireless in ages , apart from music Would I be right in thinking the station in question is Today FM ?

        1. :-Joe

          Ye, Newsderp MF..
          – Oireland’s corporate neo-liberal economic finance wing of the establishment for the state status quo and the minority elite benefits media system.

          :-J – https://

  2. Johnnythree

    This is tedious. The greens need to be straight up – yes we need to reduce the national herd, yes we need to build less roads, yes we need to incentivise public transport. Thats the basis on which they should negotiate. I agree with Bertie Ahern – they are flaky because they wont state their position. Change means loss and nobody wants loss but we all have to accept that changes are necessary now. Is there anyone in the Green Party with a pair of nuts? (I mean that in a non gendered / pro decisive manner obviously)

  3. Joe

    The Green liar who sought my vote swore to me that they would not go into government with Fine Gael, a vote for them would be a vote for change.
    The Greens are two faced lying hypocrites

  4. :-Joe

    Dan, great articulation as usual but..

    Eamonn Ryan leads you and the Greens, as an even more substantial policial movement then ever before, back to the doorstep of power in government and what is his reward?..

    The public, with any sense.. are dumbfounded.. It looks nothing short of being a cheap and grubby political opportunistic assasination from the back seat of the electric boat. It makes Ryan look dishonest and/or weak, either a front to gain votes for political maneuvering after the election or that his leadership is considered untrustworthy by his own party. – I get the fact that this leadership election maybe just a part of Green party policies internally btw.

    You’re deluded by greed for power if you think being in government AGAIN with the exact same nature, same idealogy and the EXACT SAME behaviour as was shown before last time the Greens entered into a Faustian bargain with F-f/g will yield anything better a second time.

    Already the contempt and disdain the establishment has for your party is noticeably evident and right now they still need you to get elected and take power for themselves. It’s so blatent even to the cat’s and dog’s on the street are surprised you’re willing to stay blinkered with your eyes on the prize.

    I’m not sure which is worse, the contempt the establishment system of Elites, F-f/g, the media etc. are showing for you or the contempt you are all showing to the public and democracy itself by going along with it. AGAIN !!! . It’s a f****** disgrace…

    The green’s are showing no backbone, principle and responsibility to the public good and democracy by selling out AGAIN and supporting a corrupt anti-democratic system of F-f/g politics. You’re spineless and it’s no wonder you’re already a joke of a political party in many people’s minds.. You want to join the main offenders and opposite antagonists to your worthwhile vision of environmental change. You must think all the people are stupid.

    I take no pleasure in saying any of this because like yourself, Ryan seems like a decent and good human being and Green policies are usually well thought out, more progressive and at least trying to move us forward more than most of the rest and many are already an inevitable necessity in the future.

    The Green party have policies which show forsight, direction and real leadership. Potential leadership through progress for the public good, the environment and the planet as a whole first that’s been lacking for IDK?.. Almost a hundred years? – In no small measure thanks to the F-f/g extremists taking the easy option of averice, greed and short-term self-interest every time. Now you are doing the same.

    The truth is nothing changes easily and it’s grass roots mass mobilisation through multiple activist groups by people like Extinction Rebellion who will be the ones to stand up and show no compromise on the environment to force the changes and gains on the issues and get the job done the hard way where self-interest and invertibrate failed idealogy and promises have failed before.

    The greens are joining the establishment and are proving to be a bunch of self-serving career politicians willing to compromise anything for the delusional lie to the public, A lie that they can’t honestly believe themselves and be sane at the same time, that by being in power and subservient to F-f/g will change more as the spare wheel exuse for more scraps for allowing more corruption.

    Dan, you’re all eating you own horse-manure by the cart load… but keep clinging on to the “You have to be in it to win it”.. mantra, the Green Party’s main goal seems to have already been achieved and disregarded by the F-f/g establishment system.

    Get into government and everything is a bonus.

    – Well done. Just stop lying that it was the best and only thing the party should or soon to be, could do.

    :-J – https:/

  5. Gabby

    Cows crap, they can’t help it unless they suffer from a bout of constipation. Diversify Irish agriculture by encouraging farmers to grow soya beans as a cash crop. Soya burgers, unfortunately, result in flatulence, which in turn adds something gooey to the ozone layer, just as cow patties do. It’s Catch 22.

    1. Cian

      This. Next election SF will put in a second candidate to catch the overflow. No more greens.

    2. V'ness

      Well actually if you look at the order of deemed elected and the transfer distributions
      it was everyone else in Opposition – Labour, PbP, RISE (if that’s what they’re still called) Joan Collins, that got the majority of the Sinn Fein Surplus
      Only for the SF Surplus the Soc Dems and Labour would have come out of GE2020 with just six seats between them, and not each

      I’d say all of them have more to worry about in the next election than the Greens
      two or three of their recent gains are flimsy alright, but they’re never going under 10 seats again

      And their Local and EU seats aren’t going anywhere either

  6. Mé Féin

    “The Green Party does not want to stop road building…” I know! We have that beauty in the Skyrne Valley to prove it. Good man, Dan.

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