Thursday 23 February 2017

Greens just can't shake off that sinking feeling

IT ain't easy being Green. John Gormley arrived in Cork on a cold, wet and miserable day -- and arguably the warmest welcome the Green Party leader received was from the Labour party's Lord Mayor of Cork, Michael O'Connell.

Perhaps he felt for Mr Gormley, himself a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, and was impressed that the Dublin TD became the first party leader to visit City Hall to hear about Cork's political priorities.

Mr Gormley was offered a cup of tea, but only party chairman Dan Boyle took up the offer, quickly sipping the beverage under the forbidding stare of portraits of two former Lord Mayors of Cork, Tomas Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney.

The historical fact wasn't lost on anyone present that both Lord Mayors came to untimely ends: one shot by British forces, the other died on hunger strike.

Fresh from RTE's debate with the party leaders, Mr Gormley was nonplussed about analysts' claims he performed poorest of the five politicians on show.

In typical soccer parlance, he insisted it was a debate of two halves -- and after being "deprived of the ball" in the first half, he reckoned he did alright in the second half.

A bit like the shy boy in the playground of a new school, the Dublin TD acknowledged that it was difficult for him not to be marginalised with Gerry Adams insisting on scrapping with Micheal Martin and Eamon Gilmore only interested in scrapping with Enda Kenny.

No one, it seemed, would fight with him.

It also didn't help matters that Mr Gormley's selection of a blue tie from a party colleague prompted one rugby legend -- aka Brian O'Driscoll -- to tweet about his colour choice, prompting a raft of internet rumour-mongering about the subliminal messages being sent out.

Blue for Blueshirts, perhaps?

Having been courted by virtually every major political party in 2007, the Greens have largely been ignored this time around -- a bit like a beauty queen long past her prime.

The polls threaten political climate change of a more terminal kind for the Greens.

The small Green cavalcade then headed up to the historic English Market -- an obligatory photo opportunity. Few escape the market without being photographed with a specimen from O'Connell's Fishmongers.

En route, the party leader snatched a quick cheese sandwich. He needed the sustenance because several shoppers didn't take too kindly to the Green's involvement in the last coalition -- and the resultant consequences for their pay packets.

But Mr Gormley expressed confidence that the Greens can soar by 1pc in the opinion polls by next weekend.

Mr Boyle -- ever the optimist -- was also adamant that the Green Party can still defy both the pundits and the polls.

"When I got elected in 2002, our share of the national vote was 3.7pc -- so I am working on the basis that a lot of the undecided (voters) are still available to be convinced before February 25," he said.

Unfortunately for him, his vote slipped by just seven votes in the 2007 General Election -- but he still managed to lose his seat.

Irish Independent

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