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Saturday 16 December 2017

Gormley outburst blamed on 'stress of office and fear of losing his seat'

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

GREEN Party leader John Gormley's emotional outburst about Government being like an "asylum" was caused by the "pressure" of being in office and the "stress" of potentially losing his seat.

The claims were made by his supporters as the Irish Independent learnt that a private poll by Fine Gael found that Mr Gormley's Dail seat is vulnerable in Dublin South East.

News of the poll comes after Mr Gormley's outburst in the Dail this week, where he compared working in Government to being in an asylum and warned the opposition that they would soon be experiencing "sleepless nights", non-stop criticism and a "no-win" situation when they got into power,

Green Party Junior Minister Ciaran Cuffe admitted that the "stress" of losing one's Dail seat was always there for Mr Gormley and the other members of the party because there had never been a guaranteed seat for the Greens. But he said he believed Mr Gormley's speech was mainly a reflection of the pressures of being in Government at this time.

"So I think in John's case, certainly in my own, it's not so much the pressure of losing a seat, I think it's the very real emotional pressure of being in Government and making really difficult decisions and having not as much room to manoeuvre as we might have during the boom years," he said.

Fine Gael's private poll in Dublin South East, which was carried out last month, found that Labour's Ruairi Quinn would top the poll and that its sitting TD Lucinda Creighton and Fianna Fail's Chris Andrews would be safe.

But it predicted that Mr Gormley would lose his seat to Labour's second candidate Cllr Kevin Humphries.

Although polls from political parties have to be treated with caution, it is widely accepted that Mr Gormley faces a challenge to hold on to his seat in Dublin South East, which dumped former PD leader Michael McDowell at the last election.

A spokesman for Mr Gormley could not be contacted for comment yesterday.


Mr Cuffe attempted to lighten the mood yesterday by putting up a photo of a snowy Leinster House on his Twitter account with the caption "Exterior view of the Asylum this morning".

But the Green Party is also under pressure from the knowledge that its key remaining legislative plans -- holding elections for a more powerful Dublin Mayor, introducing legally binding climate change targets and banning corporate donations -- are now unlikely to be delivered during its remaining few months in power.

The Friends of the Earth environmental group yesterday said a generation of environmentalists would "never forgive" the Green Party if it did not pass a climate change law before leaving office.

Mr Cuffe said yesterday that his party had managed to introduce significant legislation such as civil partnerships for same sex couples and an updated Planning Act. He said the climate change bill would be published before the end of the year -- although he could not say if it would be passed into law.

"It's a very ambitious programme, we're not going to get through it all, but I'm very proud of what we have achieved," he said.

Irish Independent

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