GREEN Party leader John Gormley yesterday vowed not to follow the example of former PD leader Michael McDowell if he loses out in the general election and walk out on his party.
Mr McDowell shocked party colleagues when he instantly quit as leader of the Progressive Democrats (PDs) after losing his seat in the Dublin South-East constituency. PD TDs who were losing their seats at the same time only heard the news over the radio or television.
But Mr Gormley, who admits he is fighting for the "final seat" in the same constituency, said his party did things differently.
"We operate in a very different way. We've operated collegiately until now and we will keep doing so. It's something that I am very proud," he said.
Mr Gormley was joined yesterday for his party's final election news conference in Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel by other Green TDs under pressure to hold on to their seats, such as Dublin South TD Eamon Ryan and Dun Laoghaire TD Ciaran Cuffe.
He said it would be a historic election and urged voters to give their number one votes to his party to ensure there were TDs committed to the environment and political reform.
"They (the opposition) may plagiarise our policies but they really don't know what they are about," he said.
Mr Gormley said the Greens had been attacked by the opposition for introducing the carbon levy on fuel -- but even they were pledging to increase the levy in the future
"It is being used by other parties particularly in rural areas. It's completely opportunistic but unfortunately we haven't had enough truth and honesty in this election," he said.
He added that his party was willing to enter a coalition with Fine Gael -- but only if its "green lines" on issues such as electoral reform and job creation were met.
"So far, all parties have been found wanting, including Fine Gael. Those lists of non-negotiables are there and we will not deviate," he added.
The Green Party has said that its election budget was just €30,000 -- and that it was not accepting any corporate donations unlike the other parties.