Gormley to stick with FF despite setbacks
Published 29/03/2010 | 05:00
GREEN Party leader John Gormley has vowed to remain in government with Fianna Fail and to face up to the continuing tough and gruelling challenges.
Entering government is the biggest reality check anyone can ever encounter and "hits you like a sledge-hammer", Mr Gormley told up to 300 party members in an address to the annual party conference on Saturday night in Waterford.
Overseeing the greatest economic downturn the country had ever witnessed "tests your mettle". But the party had stood solid, taken the blows and suffered the haemorrhaging of seats in last year's local elections, he said.
"Government isn't for the faint-hearted. Yes, it's an enormous privilege, but it's also tough and gruelling, and you get results," Mr Gormley told party members.
"We didn't enter blindly into this. Of all the parties, we knew it was not going to be plain sailing. We were the realists who knew that there were stormy waters ahead. But equally we knew that this was the opportunity to implement the policies that this country needed to get back on its feet."
The Greens were in government to get things done, to do the "right thing" and do things that have not been done before, Mr Gormley said as Earth Hour kicked-in and lights were dimmed as part of an environmental initiative.
He cited planning regulations, bans on corporate donations and creating Green jobs as being part of the effort to do the "right thing".
"And yes, there have been times when, like the Samuel Beckett character in his book 'The Unnamable', we have said: 'I can't go on, I'll go on.'"
The Environment Minister's speech took place against the backdrop of a new opinion poll which showed the Greens -- unlike their coalition partners in Fianna Fail -- managing to stabilise support at 5pc.
Mr Gormley paid tribute to former party leader and junior minister Trevor Sargent who drew a standing ovation. The Dublin TD resigned several weeks ago over the leaking of letters written to gardai.
"But, I think we all agree, that it was the manner of his parting that said most about the character of the man. No excuses, no delays just decisive action.
"He is a credit to the Green Party and to Irish politics -- a man who epitomises what it is to do the right thing," Mr Gormley said.
Pledging to bring people found guilty of white-collar criminality to justice, he warned that there could not be one law for the rich and one law for the poor or one law for those in authority and one law for the less powerful.
"No institution can be above the law -- and all of those people guilty of those heinous crimes against children must be brought to justice and the survivors of sexual abuse treated with compassion and respect."