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The spin cycle: Life yet in Green ideas

The Green Party is at risk of being wiped out on polling day by voters angry with their role in Government -- but their election manifesto contains several interesting ideas which could be "recycled".

Public service appointments: The Greens wanted a new appointments service to get rid of the 'it's your turn next' system of promoting civil servants by their seniority. Eamon Ryan TD said the idea was to bring in skilled people from the private sector to senior civil service positions -- and also send civil servants into the private sector to gain valuable experience.

What happened?

This top-level appointments committee has been set up -- but hasn't got a chief executive yet. The Greens also wanted a 'chief information office' in the public sector to boost digital media -- but that position hasn't been filled either.

Banning corporate donations:

The Green Party does not accept corporate donations and is complaining that it is running its campaign on a "shoestring" budget of €30,000, while other parties have a combined war chest of "€5m".

What will happen?

The Greens failed to get their legislation to restrict corporate donations through the Dail before the Government collapsed. Fine Gael, which once banned such donations, is promising to do so again. Labour is not, but has committed to impose stricter limits on political donations.

Getting rid of politicians who fix potholes:

The Greens want to cut the number of TDs by 46 to 120 and have half of them elected by a "list system" -- which its leader John Gormley says would ensure that not all politicians had to fix potholes and go to sports matches and funerals all the time. But his party wants to keep the "rotten borough" of the Seanad -- but reduce it to 50 members and reform it.

What will happen?

The Greens' plan to save the Seanad looks doomed because Fine Gael and Labour are promising to hold a referendum to abolish it. But Fine Gael is in favour of a list system and reducing the number of TDs by 20. Labour wants a constitutional convention.

Retro-fitting homes and buildings to make them more energy efficient:

This was a Green Party policy to improving the insulation in houses -- and thereby reduce the electricity bills and carbon emissions. It provided thousands of jobs for out-of-work builders. The Greens are now seeking to use €550m from the National Pension Reserve to insulate one million homes in the next 10 years.

What will happen?

The Green Party is unlikely to be in the next government, but Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour have all signed up to the "retro-fitting homes" policy so it is likely to continue.

Irish Independent