Gormley launches fundraising bid to save the Greens from extinction
Published 28/03/2011 | 05:00
THE Green Party is facing a massive funding crisis and will begin a national collection in a bid to secure its survival.
Outgoing leader John Gormley last night said he would spend the coming weeks targeting party supporters and sympathisers for contributions because the party has now lost all of its state funding.
The former environment minister also said he planned on running in the next general election, but ruled out a run in the local elections in 2014.
Between now and a new leader taking charge, Mr Gormley said he would work to drum up financial support for the party -- which was obliterated in last month's general election.
The party needed to achieve 2pc of the national vote in the election to secure continued state funding but fell short with just 1.8pc.
Before the election, the party had just €30,000 to try and avoid a wipeout.
Some 300 members met on Saturday for the Green Party's first post-election meeting since losing all of its six Dail seats.
Mr Gormley admitted that rebuilding the Green Party -- which is also at risk of losing its three senators and has just three county councillors -- is going to be "enormously challenging".
"My priority between now and May is to ensure we get a satisfactory funding base and we can do that. A lot of people, who are funnily enough not Green Party members, have said we don't like the idea of having no Green Party in the country so they would be prepared to pay up, say, €100," Mr Gormley said after Saturday's day-long meeting with members.
"If we get a few people like that, quite a number of them actually to pay €100, we can keep this party going."
The leader added that he would like to target some 1,000 people to make contributions of €100 each to kick-start the rebuilding process.
The leadership issue is expected to be raised at the party AGM in May, but a postal vote of members may not follow until later in the month or in June.
To date, Kilkenny-based councillor Malcolm Noonan is the only one to publicly declare his plans to launch a leadership bid.
Others linked to a bid are former energy minister Eamon Ryan and Senator Dan Boyle.
Former junior minister and Carlow-Kilkenny TD Mary White said she has yet to consider her future role in politics.
"I've given no thought to anything. I've a very good friend who's a moral philosopher, and he's always advised me to never make a decision after losing your seat, or moving house or any personal upheaval," she said.
Her colleague, former Dublin Mid-West TD Paul Gogarty, said that in "all likelihood" he would return to politics.
Asked whether he would contest the next local elections in 2014, he said he would consider running in the "next available election".
"I never got elected because I was Green. The three times I did get elected was in spite of being Green but I lost my seat because I was Green," he said.
Mr Gogarty said he is planning a return to the world of journalism and has taken to the blogosphere to begin the readjustment period since losing his seat.
Calling himself 'Gogsy' on his new online blog, he introduces himself as a "journalist by profession, political activist by vocation and husband and proud father by the grace of God".
Mr Gogarty infamously cursed in the Dail, resigned as education spokesman and tweeted his election concession within an hour of the count beginning.
"In my home area of Lucan/Palmerstown to the west of Co Dublin I am still known to many as 'Gogsy'. Hence the blog name Gogsy's Roving i," he said.
"Some in media circles use the moniker Go-Go, but I was Gogsy long before that. Right back to the time when I plagued neighbourhoods with my ghetto blaster and serenaded Spanish students on the green with my guitar," he added.