Saturday 29 April 2017

Coalition to row back on Greens' cabinet triumphs

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THEY spent four years in power with Fianna Fail, and now the legislative pet projects of the Green Party are to be abandoned by the new Government.

Among the most notable casualties will be the Dublin Mayor Bill -- with no election for the new post until 2014 at the very earliest.

The Fine Gael-Labour Coalition will also drop the Green Party's climate change bill in favour of its own version.

It is also going to revise the new planning act introduced by Green Party leader John Gormley last year. And while there is no commitment to scrap the Green Party's stag hunting ban, many Fine Gael TDs are determined to do so.

The Green Party spent three-and-a-half turbulent years in coalition with Fianna Fail trying to get key legislation enacted.

That support cost the party dear, with all of its TDs wiped out at last month's general election.

The Greens had managed to get through the carbon levy, civil partnership and a national insulation scheme, but other measures fell by the wayside as the Government collapsed.

Legislative aims not achieved include water charges, a ban on corporate donations, and noise pollution legislation to allow people to complain about house alarms and loud parties.

Although the Government has committed to funding another key Green-backed project, Metro North, there are still doubts about whether this 18km rail link from St Stephen's Green to Swords in Dublin will go ahead.

A government source estimated that around 80-90pc of the bills that were going through the Dail and Seanad before the general election would be revived in some shape or form.

But the Government is actually going to implement a ban on corporate donations -- a measure that had been resisted by Fianna Fail while the Greens were in Government.

Green Party deputy leader Mary White, who lost her seat in Carlow-Kilkenny, said the new Government had a mandate to make changes.

But she was concerned at reports of its plans to reduce the supervision of local authority planning decisions at a national level -- a key part of last year's Planning Act.

"Planning is what has brought us to our downfall. Dodgy rezoning, building on food plains, extraordinary county development plans. And to reverse that now ... is sending up a red flag that we are entering a new era of build or bust in the future," she said.

Ms White said the decision of the electorate had to be respected, even if there might be "wailing and gnashing of teeth" over the fate of Metro North.

Irish Independent

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