A lot will be said about the Green Party over the next few weeks and I’m sure plenty of people will seek to write our epitaph. It’s too early to attempt a full analysis of what went wrong at this stage, but we do need to start shaping that debate.
Firstly though, I like to say that I’m hugely grateful to the people who voted Green in this election, both nationally and here in Dublin West. It is a real confidence boost to see that, despite all that has happened, over 40,000 people kept faith with the party and our vision for the country.
Obviously, the results are hugely disappointing for me personally and for the entire Party. However, anyone who is serious about their membership of the Green Party understands that we are in politics for the long haul, and that the journey is never going to be easy. The issues we care about; our environment, our community and creating a just society, are too important to be ignored.
I intend to work, both nationally and locally, to rebuild the Green Party and regain the trust that was lost during our period in Government. As a party, we need to reflect on the mistakes that were made over the last three and a half years, but also be proud of the significant achievements we did obtain. By having a open and frank internal dialogue, I think we can bring ourselves to a position where we can develop, both organisationally and on the policy front, and prepare for successful Local and European election campaigns in 2014.
Green Party Dublin West candidate, Roderic O’Gorman, has endorsed the ‘Get on Board for Youth Mental Health’ campaign. The campaign is being run by a number of youth groups, to promote youth mental health within the political agenda.
“I’m delighted to support this really important campaign. Mental health issues can effect up to 1 in 5 young people. Intervention at an early stage offers relief, but also prevents these problems getting worse as the individual ages. However, this requires that the proper services are in place”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
The Get on Board for Youth Mental Health campaign is being run by four youth groups: Foroige, Belong To, Reach Out and Headstrong. The campaign are asking candidates in the general election to pose with a mock bus ticket showing that they are ‘on board’ for supporting youth mental health. The climax of the campaign will be in the final week, when a large turquoise double-decker bus will tour the country.
“The key aim behind this campaign is to highlight the importance of youth mental health at this stage to election candidates, with a view to making further progress on the issue in the next Dail. If elected in Dublin West, it is certainly a cause I will champion”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Green Party Dublin West candidate, Roderic O’Gorman has called on the next Minister for the Environment to take action to limit the amount of posters that candidates can use during elections. He was speaking after high winds caused hundreds of election posters to be ripped from polls and strewn around Dublin West.
“The large number of election posters that have been blown down over the last few days proves why we need to move away from the current approach to election posters. Not only have the posters created an awful mess, but hundreds of cable-ties have been left attached to telephone and lamp posts across Dublin West. I have seen some with up to ten separate cable ties flapping in the wind, now that all the posters are blown off”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“Personally I have always tried to use a relatively small number of posters, as I think myself and my team should be spending as much time as possible knocking on doors. It strikes me as madness that politicians and parties spend such a large amount of money on pictures of ourselves. Surely, there are more effective ways of getting our message out to the voters?”.
“In France for example, each party is entitled to erect a poster and manifesto sign in a designated location in each village of the constituency. This would be a much more satisfactory approach, as it still gives candidates the opportunity to advertise their policies, but in a much more orderly manner”.
“I hope that the next Minister for the Environment will bring forward some reasonable proposals to deal with the issue of election posters. In the meantime, it is vital that myself and all the other candidates do our bit to clean up our posters but also to remove cable ties from lamp-posts, even if they aren’t our own”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Looking forward to taking part in the Dublin West candidates debate being run by Phoenix FM on the 16th Feb, in the Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, at 8:00PM.
For me, today’s antics by FF and FG gene-pool independents showed more than ever why political reform has to be one of the key campaign issues during the general election. At the very time when the eyes of the world are upon us, the IMF, the EU and any potential overseas investors were treated to the spectacle of the Minister for Finance being dragged to meetings with a number of former FF and FG politicians, where they presented their list of populist demands. They were then able to march to the plinth of Leinster House and claim they had won big for their interests (though RTE questions how real some of their ‘wins’ actually were).
I’m from a small political party. Some would say that small political parties have had too great an influence on politics in Ireland (see Democrats, Progressive). However, at least smaller parties attempt to represent the entire country. The Green Party ran candidates in all constituencies in 2007 and hope to do the same in 2011. The ‘gene-pool’ independents currently in the Dail make a virtue of the completely parochial nature of their representation.
Maybe there is a place for purely geographical interests being represented in a legislature. The EU has the Committee for the Regions (though it has no major legislative powers). But certainly, the parochialism of Lowry, Healy-Rae and McGrath has no place in our main legislative chamber. This is why I get so angry when I hear abolishing the Seanad being touted as the political reform we need. Yes, the Seanad needs reform, but the DAIL is where the major problem lies.
In my view, any politician who isn’t making serious commitments on Dail reform in this campaign, can’t be taken seriously (they should be making commitments on local government reform too, but I’ll talk about that later on).