independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Green senator saw red during tough negotiations with Fianna Fail

GREEN Party Senator Dan Boyle has revealed he came "close to losing his mind" in the tough negotiations with Fianna Fail.

He also said that Transport Minister Noel Dempsey provided the biggest "angry moment" of the entire eight days of negotiations to form a new government.

In an article in the Green Party's newsletter published today, Mr Boyle said: "We argued. They stonewalled. We got the changes we could. Came close to losing my mind."

He was asked by then party leader Trevor Sargent to form part of a three-man negotiating team, just a week after he had lost his seat in Cork South Central.

He told the Irish Independent yesterday that the negotiations had been tough because it was a situation the party had never been in before.

He and the other negotiators -- John Gormley TD and outgoing party secretary Donall Geoghegan -- were confronted with Fianna Fail's more experienced team of Finance Minister Brian Cowen, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and Arts and Tourism Minister Seamus Brennan.

"It was a stressful time, there's no doubt about it, but in terms of life experience and being involved at the coalface of something historic, I wouldn't have wanted not to have the opportunity," Mr Boyle said. He revealed that the Green Party team had used different forms of emotion - "plausibility, the friendly approach, the angry approach" - when dealing with the Fianna Fail team. But he said the highest level of anger only came in the final hour of negotiations -- and the source was Transport Minister Noel Dempsey.

"It was ironic that the highest level of anger came in the final hour," he said.

"It was a philosophical difference -- our belief is that the roads programme in its current form goes against the need to have climate change measures.

"If you're increasing private car use and you're not balancing it out with public transport, it sends a mixed message."

Senator Boyle did not elaborate. but said it was no secret that Noel Dempsey was at the centre of it.

Although this did not prevent the parties agreeing a programme for Government, Mr Boyle made it clear that his party would not support the €2bn M50 outer ring road

In the same newsletter, Green Party programme manager Donall Geoghegan revealed how a secret committee had been set up three years ago to plan the party's entry into Government.

Mr Geoghegan also said that the party had initially believed that its negotiations with Fianna Fail had failed after six days of talks.

"We decided that there just wasn't enough in it to allow us to continue. It was a genuine assessment, not a negotiation ploy," he insisted.

However, he said the party had been subjected to a public 'love bombing' by Fianna Fail and eventually agreed to sign up for the coalition Government following further negotiations.

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