Michael Smith: Want Green? Vote No

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From top: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin; Michael Smith

For Greens to vote for the Programme for Government is an ‘act of environmental surrender almost to the point of cynicism’, argues activist and Village magazine editor Michael Smith.

Michael writes:

So I fell to thinking about whether I should put my limited weight behind the leadership of the Green Party.

It is currently struggling to obtain a two-thirds majority from its party members to approve the Programme for Government that its Parliamentary Party has ratified with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

What is the Greens’ record in Government?

Poor.

In the run-up to the 2007 general election I was centrally involved through an organisation we called HEAT with a campaign to lobby for the political parties to treat climate seriously.

We wrote a number of articles saying what would be required and we helped wreck the Ryanair AGM and a Bord Pleanála hearing on the new runway for Dublin Airport, forced pro-climate helium balloons onto the 9 0’Clock news and trailed the renegade Minister for the Environment, Mr Roche around, with a cockroach.

We privately wanted the Greens to get in, so they would implement a climate agenda. The Greens duly justified their decision to go in to government with dodgy Bertie Ahern on the basis of the climate imperative, and their members ratified it by the necessary majority.

At the time, I went to the effort of going in to print to say they were right to make the risky leap I suggested only they focused, in ways, I specified, on implementation.

In fact they were in power for three and a half years, and despite an imploding economy failed to reach their unambitious target of 3% annual emissions reductions.

They failed to get a Climate Act, publishing a largely toothless bill that was never enacted.

They also achieved little for biodiversity which continued its precipitous decline or on planning where development continued largely as one-off housing and sprawl, especially from Dublin into Leinster.

As to what they call ‘Social Justice’ income equality, measured by the Gini Coefficient, decreased and was disimproved further when the Greens pulled out. The FF-Green government was a blip in the progress made on income equality over most of the last 20 years.

The Greens introduced lots of environmental legislation but in my experience legislation is not for the most part what is required; it is implementation.

There is an existing edifice of planning and biodiversity laws for example – but they are not implemented. Introducing new laws largely results in simply more rules that are not enforced. For the Green Party it has to be about results, not rules.

I had tried the optimism thing, I had tried hoping the Greens would be able to outmanoeuvre an inadequately Green Programme for Government. But that was in 2007. And it didn’t work. Once bitten…

I believe any fair commentator would be struck by the fact the Greens have never acknowledged their implementation failures in that government, or – especially – why they arose.

Indeed I have noticed a pattern on social media when attention is drawn  to the sectoral failures of the Party in 2007-2011, and an eminence in the party replies indignantly – but never by a precise outline of the achievements.

Until they acknowledge their tendency to soft-mindedness and acknowledge they need to put in place mechanisms such as the use of indicators and a focus on enforcement, especially through a more intelligent use of the law, I will remain sceptical as to whether Ireland’s Green Party is a force qualified to lead the fight on behalf of its environment.

Optimists and analysts know that the past is not a pointer to the future – unless its lessons remain unlearnt. The Greens seem unreconstructed. At least its leaders and negotiators do.

Once bitten certainly… but more importantly and precisely the dog hasn’t learnt its lesson and we have to decide what we should do about it as it runs around the yard looking for people to pet it.

Is the Programme for Government any good?

No.

There are ways you implement an environmental agenda. You can, for example, establish indicators of policy for everything from income equality to voting rates to water quality and emissions rates to employment and GDP. Those indicators should have targets that can be monitored and assessed so regularly that, if any of what has been agreed is flouted, the Greens should consider pulling the plug on government.

For the Green Party quality of life indicators should have been central. They do make some commitment to them but it is not clear what they intend to do with them. And, extraordinarily, there is no commitment to environmental indicators.

Beyond indicators there must be budgets and timetables for environmental measures.

Agenda-driven enforcement agencies must be instigated, and legislation enacted that is justiciable (so the public or NGOs can litigate breaches), that is tight (rules should read “shall implement” not “shall have regard to”) and mandatory not discretionary (rules should read “shall” not “may”).

An Attorney General must be chosen who isn’t obstructive, and civil servants must embrace, however reluctantly, mandated Green Party policies.

I know about the tedious matters of implementation and enforcement of environmental measures because I bagged myself a law degree years ago and because I’ve taken lots of miserable enforcement actions and legal cases.

I’ve signed over a thousand submissions on the fruits of bad environmental policy over the years and wrote a dozen policy documents for An Taisce around the turn of the millennium.

If you’re a Green and you don’t know how implementation works in Ireland, especially if you thought you could negotiate a second Programme for Government for your party without making an acute study of what went wrong with the first one (2007-2011), you might be better going back to environmentalism school before you promote the merits of the environmental sections of the Programme for Government 2020.

As a relatively sober well-disposed Green-watcher I might be expected to give the Party the benefit of the doubt. However, their agenda is a planetary one and I of course don’t want history to repeat itself as farce so I had to hope this Programme for Government would be better than the last one.

But unfortunately the Programme for Government is every bit as loose as the 2007 one. It’s the same old Greens. More aspirations. A Programme for Government chock full of them.

Of course there are some good policies in the Programme for Government but there would have been some good policies without the Greens, and in 2020 every Church gazette and office newsletter contains Green policies. Mostly the deal is aspirational on the environment.

There are promises on climate that won’t kick in in until the Greens are out of government, perhaps replaced by a backlash anti-environmental government that’ll reverse the changes before they even register.

Green negotiator Neasa Hourigan, whose post-negotiation performance has been measured and impressive, notes of the proposed 7% average annual emissions reductions that:

“It’s very likely that that will be back-loaded for 2026, 2027, ’28, and that there will be some attempt to force the government of the day to adhere to the decisions that were made in 2020”.

Simply put, that’s no good, and would probably not happen anyway.

More specifically, giving the cattle industry a free pass by recognising biogenic methane as ‘different’ is a foolish sop.

The Green leadership, many of whom are immersed in the culture of cosmopolitan Dublin, are unduly concerned not to discommode the fierce agricultural lobby of which they know and like little.

There’s next to nothing on biodiversity, particularly enforcement of our mostly-EU-derived rules. On planning, the Greens – extraordinarily – don’t seem to have concerns about the high-rise permissions now peppering Dublin City centre; or with Eoghan Murphy’s reduction in apartment sizes; or with one-off housing or let’s face it with sprawl. That’s why you never hear from them on these issues, even in the Programme for Government. Silence.

Though Green Party members are concerned about planning, its elected members don’t like to be seen to say No. They’re happy to champion a ‘Town Centre first’ policy but would sooner manage a McDonald’s than oppose one-off housing or even sprawl, lest someone scream ‘God gave me the land’ or ‘Housing Crisis’ at them.

The media and public have entirely failed to register that for the modern Green TD planning is very yesterday.

On the social agenda, the living wage is programmed for the end of the Government, meaning no criticism can be made of failure to honour the commitment right up to the last days of a 5-year government, by which time the policies of the likely incoming new government will be more important.

The social housing proposed is not for new social housing. Co-living will continue. The Land Development Agency will facilitate the sale of most of our public land to private developers.

As to Sláintecare, the consensual plan for the health system, Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall has noted there would not be any additional money for this year or next, though the Fiscal Advisory Council says it will require an additional €3bn annually. That suggests a serious gap in the health plan, in a pandemic.

There is no commitment to new taxes except the carbon tax, – no windfall tax on property speculation or rezoning, no site-value tax, no increase in CAT or CGT, or Corporation Tax, no increase in income tax or the USC; or any commitment to seek to retrieve the Apple €13bn.

The stuff on transport is subject to maintenance of the existing inflated budgets for “roads maintenance” and, though Greens like Ossian Smyth suggested it had been cancelled it is certain the Limerick-Cork motorway will proceed at a likely cost of €1bn as will the Castlebar-Westport dual carriageway (€250m). There’s €360 million, a sum much counted by the media, for walking and cycling, but nearly €6bn of spending on roads in the next five years.

But surely we can trust the Greens because they’re informed and honest?

Well, as some of this shows, I’ve never found them good on policy. That’s one of the reasons for the environmental disarray the country finds itself.

But let’s look for example at their policy on the extraction of peat from bogs.

A Press Release from Pippa Hackett and the Green press office last week landed in my inbox. I’ve been receiving these press releases for years and never learnt anything from them. They’re mostly half-baked environmental tittle-tattle, shaggy dog stories, a substitute for substantive policy discussion.

Anyway this particular portentous release was headlined: ‘Greens welcome decision by BNM to end peat extraction and begin bog rehabilitation’.

It went on:

“Speaking in response to the decision by Bord na Móna to end peat extraction, and to commence work on its Enhanced Peatland Rehabilitation Scheme (EPRS) on 65,000 hectares of their land, County Offaly-based Senator Pippa Hackett welcomed the announcement: This is an historic moment in our country’s relationship with peat, and this announcement is a welcome start to this decade of change, as we shift away from peat as a source of carbon emissions, to peat as a carbon storage and sequestration. We especially welcome the commitment that all employees will be retained for the vital work of re-wetting and restoring our bogs”.

First of all, only litigation (a means largely eschewed by the too-nice Greens) by NGOs, including Friends of the Irish Environment, stopped Bord na Mona’s industrial bog removal. The Greens dine off such litigation but do not bother to attend its hearings or to understand its judgments.

Moreover, in fact of course Bord na Móna has not given up on peat extraction. It intends to restart making briquettes, has been facilitating illegal domestic peat-mining on its own lands and aims to resume its profligate peat-compost production.

Someone in the office here – I’m editor of Village magazine – whacked out a tweet drawing attention to this. But – for reasons they will have to explain – Pippa and the Greens weren’t interested.

The Press Release stayed up. I complained to the Greens’ Press Officer whose name was at the bottom of the release but he didn’t bother to reply.

So the Greens continue to believe, and apparently want the world to believe, that Bord na Móna has stopped mining peat. The truth is they’re embarrassed.

That’s fine – they’ve a lot to be embarrassed about. But if they don’t remove their tainted Press Release when the delinquency is pointed out that puts them in the same ethical, and competence, bracket as Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fáil.

It would be very difficult to be excited about them entering government charged with defence of our environment, if they don’t care about either bogs or the truth. If the Greens are the sort of party that thinks that Bord na Móna has stopped extracting peat, or if it doesn’t care, why should I, or anyone, support them?

That’s not all; indeed the problem is pervasive.

Though they mouth antagonism to it, they’re unlikely to stop the LNG Gas Terminal proposed for the Shannon estuary. They may have a policy of terminating it – though most of the heavy lifting again is being done by NGO litigation.

But that’s not what the Programme for Government says. It merely commits to “withdrawing the terminal from the EU Projects of Common Interest list in 2021”.

The Green Party should note, indeed many of its elected representatives already know, that it’s difficult to stop Shannon LNG as WTO rules and EU Energy law, including under Directive 2009/73, will allow the operators to build it and import fracked fuel.

The American owners are reported to be pursuing the plans undeterred. Shannon LNG could be analogous to Dublin’s incinerator which snared former Green Environment Minister John Gormley who wanted to stop the facility that anachronistically went ahead in the teeth of the relevant Minister’s aggressive opposition.

The Greens have been getting a free ride in the press, most of which – like Village – have not been well disposed to Sinn Féin and which nurture half-Green notions – as long as, above all else, they don’t interfere with economic growth: an agenda Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael share.

The Irish Times congratulated the Green Paryty negotiators’ although nobody in that newspaper would know what a realistic Green Programme for Government would look like. It editorialised:

“Many of the green ambitions have to be fleshed out during the government’s lifetime but if FG and FF leaders live up to the goodwill they expressed that should not be a problem”.

The problem is that it was not goodwill on the part of the bigger parties to leave so much fudged and untimetabled. A key comment was from Simon Coveney, Fine Gael’s principal negotiator and a heavyweight force for the status quo, who told his parliamentary party that:

“…the climate emissions that we’re trying to achieve will be mostly happening in the last five years of the decade, and not something that this government has to deal with”.

Could it be that the Irish Times editor is wrong about the significance of expressions of goodwill on climate?

Reflecting this possibly loose thinking, the Irish Times’ political correspondents makes little effort to understand the environmental agenda or its dependence on implementation. All the while serially promoting the coalition government as mature and pragmatic, nevertheless.

Political correspondent Harry Magee famously praised the Green Party’s record 2007-2011 in advancing income equality  when in fact they uniquely for governments over the last two decades reduced income equality.

When this was pointed out to him by Tweet, he did not deign to reply, let alone to correct.

A small other example of symbiosis was when the same journalist misreported that Catherine Martin had changed her mind from opposing coalition with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. She had never opposed coalition, merely suggesting more of the Greens’ questions should have been answered before a decision was taken to enter discussions, When this was pointed out neither Magee, nor Martin who must stay the right side of the pol-corr gang, corrected the mistake.

If you’re looking for the truth you will have to look beyond the old staples in the Irish Times and the Green Party.

Pragmatism means following the evidence. That is precisely what the Programme for Government does not do – on social and environmental matters. It wouldn’t deliver necessary change on climate and biodiversity.

And it doesn’t even factor in the likely disorderly No Deal Brexit we face, which the ESRI and Department of Finance said a year ago would reduce GDP by 5% over ten years .

Counter-intuitively, in fact dissenters of this deal should include more pragmatists than idealists. Indeed they should make common purpose.

It is said that environmental NGOs, apart from Extinction Rebellion, support the deal. I would not rate as democratic the processes by which environmental NGOs have endorsed the Programme for Governnment.

An Taisce’s support went through no democratic process and centred on the climate. There was no input from its biodiversity or planning wings.

Friends of the Earth has a model that centres on being unrealistically positive about nearly all governmental climate initiatives so it can claim its leaders, and its members, are making a difference.

The Business Post reported on June 21 that some NGOs would withdraw support from the Greens if they do not go in to government. That’s nonsense, unlikely and unsupported by evidence. None of these charities should, legally, be engaging in party politics at all.

The only argument for the rotten deal is that there is a possibility the alternative is even worse though the probability is that there would be a new election where the environment would be a bigger issue, and there is a possibility the Greens could veer toward Sinn Féin instead of Fine Gael and hope to negotiate a greener deal, though Sinn Féin’s environmental credentials are scratchy.

Either way, if the Greens say No and take the line that they are out on pragmatic grounds they should lose little, or less.

That the Greens and their new-found false friends in the media have come to this: vote for this deal because the alternative is worse, is depressing for anyone who has the energy left to care.

The focus for discontent must be on the leadership and the negotiators. The Greens should reflect on, and face up to, their role as the electoral wing of the environmental movement.

Only when the Greens negotiate a radical and progressive Programme for Government notable for its rigour will they have been worth voting for. Not this time, certainly.

The democratic process is about making choices. Some may think the likelihood is that if the Green members vote down the Programme for Government there will be a better ultimate outturn both for the country and the party.

If you don’t believe this…Want Green, Vote Green (as their smarmy advice went), vote for the Programme for Government. Assuage the deluded strongarmers. But be aware it cannot reasonably be seen as an act of idealism, of honesty or even of pragmatism.

You are tainting yourself with incompetence and surrender almost to the point of cynicism. You are endorsing people and a platform that do not deserve it.

The real question is what can you do to mitigate the Greens’ mess and  ensure they stop systematically compromising all who offer them goodwill.

Michael Smith is editor of Village magazine.

Rollingnews

Earlier: Derek Mooney: Unless Someone Votes No, We’ll All Be Done Slowly

33 thoughts on “Michael Smith: Want Green? Vote No

  1. Help

    What gets me is the most important time for government and we have none
    Principles as the titanic sinks

  2. Nigel

    Just because the alternative being worse is a depressing prospect doesn’t make it true, or, at least, very likely. The real records that need to be examined are those of the major parties, not the minor one. Literally the entire weight of the desire for the entire transformation of every level of Irish society is being rested on the smallest, weakest party in the coalition, but also the only other party that seems to be actually willing to sully themselves by going into power, precisely so that they can be scapegoated for its failure to manifest. FF and FG have the power to keep doing what they do BECAUSE PEOPLE VOTE FOR THEM. The Greens and other progressive parties are weaker and more dispersed because people refrain from voting for them, or vote inconsistantly, often, as far as I can tell, because they can’t wave magic wands and make FF and FG over into progressive, green-conscious parties overnight. The only parties some people will vote for is ones whose motto is The Good Is The Enemy Of The Perfect.

  3. Nigel

    Desperately wondering where the sense of urgency is in the major parties that turn issues every bit as, if not more, potentially deadly and disruptive as the pandemic into things to be bargained heavily for, while everyone else opts to sit it out for the next five years:

    ‘…the scientists found that in areas that have become hotter in the last generation, or have experienced more extreme temperature swings, bumblebees are less abundant. In Europe, they are 17 percent less plentiful than they were in the early 20th century. The scientists examined the abundance of 66 species across the two continents. The approach suggests “climate chaos” is a primary driver of the drop in bumblebees, says study leader Peter Soroye, a doctoral student at the University of Ottawa.’

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/02/bumblebees-going-extinct-climate-change-pesticides/

  4. Joe Small

    Massive shortage of realpolitik here. The Greens are unfortunate in that they seem to have these opportunities at times of great economic crisis.
    Smith seems more a professional protestor that someone who could help achieve something within government.
    I don’t know how anyone can expect any positive outcome from the Greens rejecting the Programme for Government. Keeping your hallowed principles intact while sitting on the opposition benches twiddling your thumbs for a few years won’t be much fun.

    1. The Dude

      The Greens will probably be toast in 5 years time if they go into government. Yet they’d definitely be toast in a few weeks time if there’s another election.

      Condemnation by the Greens’ northern leadership of the PfG may yet have the opposite effect in focusing determination by southern Greens to proceed. After all, why should members listen to someone from another jurisdiction telling them not to do something, while not offering any real alternative?

      If Eamon Ryan’s assertions as to firmly reviewing the NDP are correct, that gives them immense power that they will not otherwise have. If there are any serious stinkers in there, at worst the Greens can walk. Any time to go to the electorate other than now would better suit the Greens – as an election now would be fought on economic issues rather than environmental notions. The Green surge was unexpected – and cannot be relied upon to reoccur, particularly following the Covid Crash

      Varadkar has boxed clever and will go to the electorate blaming the greens if coalition is not agreed, despite the situation arguably having been contrived by the unwillingness of both FG and FF to talk to SF. FF put itself into a very poor bargaining position by not talking to SF, as FG knew they had the upper hand despite being the smaller party. It may turn out that FF will be the loser in the longer term, but if I was MM, I would not be rushing to the electorate in a hurry, given the apparent lack of talent in the people around him.

      Governance is more often about securing the least worst outcome, rather than getting the ideal.

      Personally if I were a Green, I would rather opt for maybe being toast in 5 years than becoming toast now.

      An agreement has been reached, giving the Greens some power that they otherwise will not have.

      The alternative is an election and possible political extinction. The Greens need to get on with it.

      1. Vanessanelle

        I’m not to sure they’d be toast as you put it Dude

        Catherine Martin is the real deal
        And will keep them relevent and valid as a political party
        She is capable of attracting not only support and new members,
        But also better Candidates
        Which is what is missing in Politics

        A great option for Minister for Ed too btw

        Eamonn Ryan is a bit too much of a policy odd ball
        And far too precious about himself for a Green

  5. AC

    Loads of us have lost jobs and have families to support. The future looks bleak with Brexit and the world economy shrinking. Is emigrating even an option now? We hear that there will be tough decisions to be made. They wont call it austerity but it essence it will be. People are really worried about the Greens in that they will put even more burden on the people. Don’t want to hear, well we need a to do this now or our kids wont have a planet to live on. If it was utopia in Ireland….all China has to do is open another coal plant. I know things need to be done…but how do you do that when so many will be struggling to keep a roof over their heads and keep their kids from going to bed hungry.

    1. Nigel

      Voting conservatively got us the economic crash austerity and more of our money funneled to the rich people responsible for that same crash, and did nothing to adress real and known environmental problems, many of which are driven by the same economic models that put the burden of the crash on the poorest. Why do you think voting, and acting, conservatively now will make things better for anyone but those same people? The conservative choice is NOT the safe one, on any level. It is literally the most dangerous and destructive thing you can do.

    1. Nigel

      Communism has a woeful environmental and social justice record, and it’s pretty clear capitalism is completely unwilling to and incabable of dealing with our current crisis. So perhaps the answer is to deprioritise our economic sytems entirely and reprioritise other systems. For the sake of survival.

      1. AC

        I am glad you said that… Just finished reading The Gulag Archipelago after it was recommended by a friend. I thought poverty was falling worldwide. Do economic systems not raise people out of poverty? I am not sure if capitalism is what caused the crashes. It was not following the rules of capitalism that caused it. To keep a very complex and multi variable cause about it, the result was major losses and those very losses been turned into a social debt….that is not capitalism. Is there a name for this other system or systems? Not having a go but would actual do some reading about it.

        1. Nigel

          Capitalism doesn’t have rules, not at the level that matters, and the way it works is to funnel money and power to the top, exploiting labour and resources while giving as little back to both of those as they can. Like Communism in Russia and China, Capitalism works a certain way that is observable and real, while the supposed rules are fictions to keep everyone else in line and to appeal to when the system inflicts its damage.

          1. AC

            So whats your answer? If not communism, definitely not fascism and capitalism to you also does not work…. what is next?
            If I have an idea, I take a load of risk. I borrow and personally invest my savings and friends savings and start a company. Its very popular and provides a great service and my employees numbers grow and grow. I would make sure to pay competitively so I don’t lose my employees to competitors. I make HUGE profits.
            Under your system, what should happen to those profits?

          2. Nigel

            We’ve been modeling a potential way forward with our pandemic response. The biggest fault in the response is trying to wrench everything back to the way things were rather than exploring the possibilities – working from home, cycling, walking, less consumption – suggested by a system where, for a while, people, and the environment, were more important than the economy. Remember, the disruption is going to come, ready or not. Our economic system is driving that disruption, not preparing for it or trying to avert it.

          3. Cian

            @AC
            If I have an idea, I take a load of risk. […] I make HUGE profits.
            Under your system, what should happen to those profits?

            Don’t make huge profits. Once you have paid back the original investment, reduce your prices so you aren’t make huge profits and/or invest that money into the company.

  6. A Person

    God love you Michael, the Greens did not answer your twitter question. Is that your main spat?

    However answer this question:

    “On planning, the Greens – extraordinarily – don’t seem to have concerns about the high-rise permissions now peppering Dublin City centre; or with Eoghan Murphy’s reduction in apartment sizes; or with one-off housing or let’s face it with sprawl.”

    If we can’t build high rise in the city, where do we house people? If we can’t build smaller apartments for people who want smaller apartments, where do we house people? How do we prevent sprawl by not allowing cities to be at least in part high rise. The logic of DCC politicians only permitting 6 storeys is coming home to roost.

    Not all of us can afford to live in penthouses on the Quays, looking down on the poor people who have to commute from Laois because that is only where they can afford to love.

    1. AC

      When you speak of the housing crisis, the one thing that has surprised me is that no one has brought up the impact of Air BnB. A buddy had been looking for an apartment where I am from and found it hard to find anything….Crisis hits…. no tourists etc…. now he says he has a load of choices. I am not saying it is the cause of the housing crisis but it has a big impact.

    2. Nigel

      I mean for feck’s sake if high-density urban planning isn’t Green what the feck is?

  7. Johnnythree

    I don’t get this at all. It’s not easy what we have to do but it’s not hard either.
    I’ve lived in several European countries and seen real, great ideas happen quickly. So I get what the Greens want to achieve. I do also get the traditional part of Ireland is going to resist this because it is change and change equals loss. I am not a Green party supporter or voter.

    They have a great chance to make things better. Lots of quick wins but the Greens are poor communicators and idealists and not marketeers. Lots of what they say is about sacrifices and not outcomes. Look at the success of the Greenways to local tourism? Or Dublin Bikes, Or Eco Tourism, Farmers Markets. All the nice things that make our towns and cities better. They have to shape taxation so that it incentivises start ups, decentralised living, childcare so that it is affordable.
    So much they could do but they are making it so hard for themselves.
    I fear they will be toast in four years.

    1. A Person

      “Dublin Bikes, Or Eco Tourism, Farmers Markets. All the nice things that make our towns and cities better.” You sound like every local authority planner and engineer – middle class, lots of car expenses, 3 holidays a year type. Oh and not pay cuts during Covid. And what is “decentralised living”? Also “childcare so that it is affordable” – to you exactly the likes of you?

      1. Johnny

        They could get behind a drive too have Ireland the leading center of medical cannabis production and research in EU-creating a brand new green domestic futuristic industry with high paying jobs.

        Utilizing ‘second chance’ programs to rehabilitate and upskill non violent prisoners, they could mandate that all cannabis companies licensed in Ireland have 70% women leadership at boardroom level.

        They could insist that all new energy intense farming, like cannabis only uses renewable energy ..

        so much so much…

      2. Johnnythree

        Hello A Person.
        I’m not middle class at all. I’m from a working class background. I have not had a holiday in a few years. I am a freelancer and earn less than 10K per year with my wife earning 35K so I guess I’m not up for a pay cut. The most I ever earned was 40K. I’m not sure if that makes me middle class. We have two kids who we both mind during the week. My wife is also self employed.
        Childcare that is income adjusted and affordable is actually key to getting lots of people out to work or being able to afford to go to work. The examples I used were examples of small initiatives that would create micro enterprise in our towns and support small producers and also make own towns more liveable. I don’t have a car.

  8. Vanessanelle

    And another dance with this Programme for Goverment
    as if the PfG was actually a thing to be taken seriously

    You’ll know the direction, ambition and ethos of the next Government by who gets what Ministry
    Until then any document that pertains to be a Programme for the Next Government is merely spin about a draft strategy

    And actually, Michael Smith is the perfect Man’Sheet Manday columnist
    Preachy
    as well as Biased

  9. Jdawgs

    Politics is becoming a forgotten art. You have to compromise. I would of always supported the greens but screw them. They are more comfortable with just being a protest/opposition party.

  10. Ringsend Incinerator

    tl;dr – are these lads getting lessons from Dermot Desmond in how to waste paper?

    Whatever.

    So where’s Hazel Chu in all this? For or Against?

  11. Formerly Known As @ireland.com

    The Greens in Australia get about 10% of the vote. Due to the electoral system, they get 1 MP out of 150. It is frustrating. At least in Ireland, the will of the people is reflected in the results. Oz does have an elected senate, though. The Greens get a fair share there. So, I feel The Greens in Ireland must use the opportunity to be in Government.

    1. Johnny

      Burn baby, burn-i’d say you will see a Green Party emerge shortly from there ashes of that environmental wasteland, if its not too late….

  12. Joe

    An interesting article, though it’s very very disappointing how little commentary there is on climate justice. Under the Green’s parts of the PfG climate justice has been thrown under a bus by the Green’s who are begging to get into government once and for all proving their neo-liberalist credentials and and that they are simply Blue$hits on bicycles. Hopefully the grass roots Green party membership will show their true colours, reject the PfG and dump Eamon Ryan and his groupies.

    1. Nigel

      Climate justice is a bit of an uphill battle when you’re the only party willing to go into power that actually cares about it at all.

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