Gormley follows in rival's footsteps on 'sad day' for Greens
Published 28/02/2011 | 05:00
HE went the same way as his great political rival.
The Greens didn't want their leader John Gormley, who saw all six of his TDs lose their seats, to suffer a repeat of what happened to Michael McDowell of the Progressive Democrats.
The two had jostled since 1989 in the Dublin South-East constituency and led parties that suffered massively for going into government with Fianna Fail. Now, for the first time since 1992, neither of them will sit in the Dail.
On count day in 2007, Mr McDowell was barracked and heckled when he entered the front door of the count centre at the RDS in Dublin to concede defeat and announce his departure from public life.
It was an ignominious end to a long political career.
Just before seven o'clock, accompanied by his wife Penny Stewart, the now former TDs Paul Gogarty and Eamon Ryan and party supporters, Mr Gormley walked up only to the door of the RDS count centre.
"It is a sad day for the party," he said. "We have suffered a major defeat. But the party will regroup. We will continue. We're a party with a vision for the future."
It was the culmination of a shattering day. Mr Gogarty had conceded defeat almost as soon as he saw the boxes open in Dublin Mid-West, Mr Ryan saw his seat go in Dublin South, Ciaran Cuffe was never given a chance in Dun Laoghaire, Mary White in Carlow-Kilkenny was on the way out too.
As the counts got under way on Saturday, Greens in Dublin North were hopeful Trevor Sargent would hang on. But, as Mr Gormley arrived at the RDS, Mr Sargent was facing defeat at his count centre in Swords.
In the RDS, Mr Gormley would not commit to any decisions about his future.
"Those are all questions we have to deal with in the coming days. We're not making any rash decisions."
Mr Gormley said it was pointless to have regrets about the Greens' time in government.
"You're operating from hindsight and you can't do that. We had to make a decision at the time. I stand by those decisions. We made difficult decisions.
"I'm very proud that we emerge from government now as a united team."
He then walked by the door of the RDS, turned for the gate and led his supporters down the road.