Greens come to terms with wipe-out
Published 27/02/2011 | 13:10
The Greens have claimed their dramatic collapse into political oblivion is the price to pay for a 'deal with the devil'.
It was completely wiped out with senior figures quick to rue their decision to form a coalition government while sticking the knife into the Fianna Fail party.
But leader and former minister John Gormley faced up to the shattering defeats and vowed to regroup and rebuild.
"We have suffered a major defeat, but the party will regroup. We will continue. We're a party with a set of beliefs and values and a vision for the future," he said.
"We have great people here. We're going to rebuild this party."
Mr Gormley had always faced a tough battle in Dublin South East, where he has vigorously campaigned against a huge waste incinerator, and blamed his failure on being in a government which made savage cuts.
Ciaran Cuffe was hardest on his own party branding the four year long coalition a 'Faustian pact'.
The defeated Dun Laoghaire representative said the decision to share power had come back to haunt the party but backed his leader insisting they could rebuild.
He also spoke of the party's achievements in reforming planning and introducing civil partnership.
The Greens were hit by the same fate other small parties have suffered after joining a coalition - their support was simply not strong enough to withstand severe public anger with an outgoing government.
Mr Gormley attended the RDS late on Saturday evening to face up to the total loss of appeal.
"We worked hard for the country," he said.
"We actually called this election because we believed it was the right thing to do.
Mr Gormley said his party also suffered because it agreed to support the passing of the budget just days after pulling out of the coalition only a matter of few weeks ago.
"We also believed it was the right thing to do to go through with the budget. We did that. It was not in our political interest but it was in the country's interests," he said.
Mr Gormley would not be drawn on his future as leader, adding only that he would not make a rash decision.
He rejected any similarities between the Greens and the now defunct Progressive Democrats, which also propped up a Fianna Fail government and later suffered at the polls.
"We were there before the PDs, we're outlasting them," he said.
"We will continue and we will continue because we have a core set of values and we will follow through on that. We will rebuild this party make no mistake about it."
Trevor Sargent, a former party leader and junior minister, was initially put up as the only possible survivor.
He earned respect after resigning from office last year after interfering in a criminal investigation on behalf of a constituent who felt wronged.
Despite that, and standing down without accepting a ministerial pension, Mr Sargent failed to secure sufficient transfers in Dublin North.
Outspoken Paul Gogarty was the first to accept the collapse using his favoured social media outlet Twitter to concede defeat.
His more senior colleagues followed suit and admitted the utter failure after Mr Gormley and former minister Eamon Ryan only managed to pick up a third of the quota in their constituencies in the capital.
Mary White in rural Carlow-Kilkenny also suffered.