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.
Dublin West Greens celebrate passage of Civil Partnership Bill
Dublin West Green Party representative, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the passage of the Civil Partnership Act as a major milestone for equality in Ireland.
“I am thrilled to see the passage of the Civil Partnership Act through the Dail and Seanad and being sent to the President for her signature. The new law will for the very first time recognise same-sex couples and give them a range of rights and responsibilities in areas such as taxation, inheritance, family property and domestic violence legislation. It will also give certain protections to both heterosexual and same-sex couples outside of marriage or civil partnership, if these relationships break down”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“While some aspects of the debate on this bill have been contentious, I believe that the vast majority of the public understand that the legal recognition of same-sex relationships is something that is long overdue. This bill has been a priority for the Green Party in Government and we have worked along with the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General to ensure that it gives the maximum amount of protection possible, within the constraints of the Constitution”.
“The taxation and social welfare provisions for same-sex couples will be finalised in the Finance Act after the Budget. This means that we can expect to see the first civil partnership ceremonies early 2011”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
Green Party Dublin West representative, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the decision of the Green Party to campaign in favour of the Lisbon Treaty in the referendum to be held on the 2nd October.
“I’m delighted that the Green Party will be campaigning in favour of the Lisbon Treaty in the forthcoming referendum. We had a detailed and passionate debate on the issues and in the end the party members voted by 66.66% to support the Yes campaign. As someone who lectures EU law, I strongly believe that the Lisbon Treaty significantly improves both the range of issues that the EU can deal with and the way in which it conducts its own business”, stated Roderic O’Gorman.
“If Lisbon is ratified, the EU will be given the power to co-ordinate energy policy across the Member States. Not only will this be essential in the fight against climate change, but it will also increase our energy security at a time when oil and gas are getting more scarce and more expensive”.
“Some of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty include new steps to control the EU’s powers. Lisbon will give legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This document sets out a range of rights that we enjoy as European citizens. All directives and regulations that come from the European Union will in future have to comply with these rights. Further, Lisbon gives national parliaments the opportunity to team up and police the EU Commission to make sure it is not passing laws in areas that should be the responsibility of the Member States”.
“I look forward to discussing these and other issues with residents of Dublin 15 during the referendum campaign”, concluded Roderic O’Gorman.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for me in Friday’s local elections and everyone who helped out in my campaign. I’d like to say a particular thanks to the members of the Dublin West Green Party, my campaign manager Barra and my family.
Obviously I am very disappointed not to have taken a seat on this occasion. I take comfort from the fact that I almost doubled my share of first preference votes and on the final count 1 was only 600 votes short of taking a seat.
I think the fact that the Green Party failed to win any seats on Fingal County Council is deeply concerning, particularly with the new Fingal County Development Plan being drawn up. On the doors over the last few weeks, people were very supportive of the ideas I was proposing for inclusion in the new Development Plan, including no rezoning of land for housing in the Dublin 15 area, a new section on Safe Routes to School and an emphasis on new community facilities.
Unfortunately, I will not be in a position to directly input these proposals into the Development Plan as a member of the Council. However, I fully intend to campaign on these and other quality of life issues for residents of Dublin 15. The need for proper planning is the reason I stood for election in the first place and I intend to continue to work on this and other issues as a member of the Green Party over the next few years.
The Green Party has launched a new website – www.bikescheme.ie – to help commuters take advantage of the ‘Cycle to Work’ tax scheme which was created by the Government as part of the Budget.
The scheme allows people to get up €1,000 tax back on money spent on a bicycle or cycling equipment which is to be used for commuting to and from work.
The Bike Scheme website provides employers and employees with details of how the scheme works and allows them request a special information pack from the Green Party. The website also includes a map of bike shops across the country, so people can start shopping around immediately for their new bicycle.
Cycling has major health benefits, increasingly it’s faster and cheaper than using the car and it does not produce carbon emissions so it’s better for the environment. The Green Party have worked in Government to develop this tax scheme to make it cheaper for commuters to take up cycling, along with securing extra funding of €5 million to improve cycle lanes across Dublin. I would urge anyone in Dublin 15 who is interested in switching to the bike to log onto the Green Party Bike Scheme website so they can take full advantage of the tax breaks.