Saturday 16 December 2017

Green shoots appear as Ryan attempts comeback

Former party leader John Gormley and party leader and European Elections candidate Eamon Ryan
Former party leader John Gormley and party leader and European Elections candidate Eamon Ryan
John Drennan

John Drennan

THE economist David McWilliams noted last week that one of the lesser known indices of national prosperity was the state of the pub trade.

Alas, this is a more interesting variant of economics than we studied as the Greens frolicked by the canal banks at their Ard Fheis yesterday.

Instead, we began to wonder if the political state of our Greens was a uniquely Irish variant of the prosperity index.

Politically, the rise of the Greens accompanied the peak of the bubble when Ireland felt it was sufficiently prosperous to risk electing a few environmentalists to the Dail.

Sadly, the Greens' status as the political version of the bespoke designer kitchen meant that when the bust arrived Ireland felt we couldn't afford the Greens any-more. It didn't, of course, help that the poor Greens were trapped in the basement when Biffo's ramshackle Fianna Fail mansion collapsed in a heap.

This meant that, for a time, the Greens appeared to be consigned to the same elephants' graveyard as the Irish Parliamentary Party.

Intriguingly though, just as little green shoots of life have begun to appear in the economy, the Greens' political corpse has started to twitch with signs of life. Suddenly there are indications the Greens might actually, courtesy of the revival of their leader, Eamon Ryan, win more seats than Labour in the European elections.

Ryan was in feisty form as he tore into a Government who "without the Troika to blame have nothing to say... and no vision as to where we go from here".

Happily, the enduring strength of the old Green gene meant we finished on a slightly eccentric note as Ryan eulogised the virtues of being able to, through "grow with nature again as before I grew".

As Ryan hoped the closing lines of Paddy Kavanagh's Canal Bank sonnet about "feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib, to pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech" might inspire the Greens to victory, it was hard to suspect their fate would be driven by more pragmatic sentiments.

In particular, should Paddy get the notion that electing a few Greens might be the lucky charm that will end the dreary age of austerity, we may experience the qualified delights of a Green Spring.

Sunday Independent

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