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Irish greens enter Government with Fianna Fail

The leadership of Ireland's Green Party agreed Wednesday to support a deal with Prime Minister Bertie Ahern that could make it a part of the government for the first time. Splintered Sunrise comments:"The water in Galway has been undrinkable for months. A key issue, one might think, for the Irish Greens. And what do we find today? The Greens going into government with the buggers responsible for this mess."

Here's a summary of the horsetrading:

What they dropped
1 An end to the use of Shannon airport by the US military - This election commitment allowed the Greens to be endorsed by the anti war movement prior to the election.
2 The abandonment of plans to build the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara - Another vote grabber. The government are currently building a motorway along-side a national heritage site. Regularly there are reports of 'finds' of historical significance in the path of this motorway (check 'indymedia.ie' for further information)
3 A ban on corporate donations, Fianna Fail would never dream of allowing this to be considered as they rely heavly on 'donations'particularly from developers in the Building industry.
4 An end to the plan to build co-located private hospitals on public land. This is where the Government, who have failed miserably to invest in Public Healthcare, are offering to give sites on public ground free to private healthcare providers!

What they will get
1 A Ministerial post (environment?)
2 A carbon tax and targets for the reduction of 3 per cent a year in greenhouse gas emissions
3 The establishment of a climate change commission
4 Setting up a commission on taxation
5 New building standards to reduce the energy demands of houses
6 Accelerate growth in renewable energy sources like wind, wave and tidal power
7 Reform of local government with a directly elected mayor for Dublin by 2011
8 Establishment of an independent electoral reform commission which will examine the financing of the political system
Also worth a read: A Greenwash for Bertie Ahern [Harry Browne]:
Like many small parties in coalition, the Greens will be used to put an attractive spin, a Green tint, on the same old policies, and will act as a lightning rod if and when popular opinion turns against the government. Historically in Ireland, coalition has been virtually suicidal for small parties, who fare worse when the next election rolls around and they take the blame for what they did and failed to do....Former Irish Army Commandant Ed Horgan, a peace campaigner and Green member, also spoke up against it, predicting that such a thorough abandonment of principle will see the party wiped out in the next six years. The beneficiary, as usual in Irish politics, is likely to be Fianna Fail.

The sort of politics the Irish Green Party stood for is covered in this twee video:

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