Green Party city councillor blasts Eamon Ryan for 'fudging' red line issues in Government formation talks

Green Party city councillor blasts Eamon Ryan for 'fudging' red line issues in Government formation talks
Green Party candidate Cllr. Lorna Bogue with party leader Eamon Ryan TD on the top of Shandon for the launch of the General Election campaign in Cork in February. Picture Dan Linehan

A Green Party Councillor in Cork City has hit out at her party leader for ‘fudging’ on red line issues, and said that talking to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on government formation “would be a waste of everyone’s time” if those red line issues weren’t respected.

Speaking to The Echo, City Councillor Lorna Bogue said she felt that the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael clarification that they would aim for an average of 7% reduction in emissions over a ten year period was “not good enough”.

The parties made the assertions as they attempted to get the Green Party on board for formal Government talks, which they have. 

The Green Party was seeking a guarantee of 7% per year.

Councillor Bogue thinks pursuing talks is a futile exercise, and believes no deal that doesn’t accept the Green’s red line issues would be accepted by the membership.

“If we don’t get these basic things then there’s not much point in us actually continuing to have a conversation with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. 

"If they can’t even accept the basic stuff it seems as though we shouldn’t be talking to them because that would be a waste of everyone’s time,” Ms Bogue said.

Cllr Lorna Bogue, Green Party Councillor for Cork City South East
Cllr Lorna Bogue, Green Party Councillor for Cork City South East

“We have been getting a narrative from Eamon Ryan that he’s not going to accept anything less than 7% (emissions reduction) per year. 

"That’s what he has been saying. I was sitting beside him when he said that during my campaign launch. He’s on record as having said this quite a lot.

“So then, for him to come back to the members and say it’s actually a commitment to consider a policy for a 7% average over ten years? 

"That’s a fudge. We’re not stupid. I just really don’t feel as though it’s going to pass through the membership.

“There’s pressure now on the parliamentary party because they can’t exactly present something to the membership that they know the membership isn't going to sign off on either,” she added.

The TDs in the parliamentary party can now decide to bring a programme for government before the party members for approval, where a two-thirds majority is needed for it to pass. 

It’s a democratic process Ms Bogue said, which “ensures the parliamentary party can’t run off and make their own decisions.” 

She added: “I generally tend to be open about what I think about things, because I don’t want to bulls**t my constituents. 

"I want them to know what I think about things. 

"I know I am a public representative and I owe a duty to my constituents to let them know my thinking on things,” Ms Bogue said.

Even the clarification letter given to the Green Party on the emissions issue from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael didn’t come remotely close to the Green Party membership’s expectations.

“We all had high enough expectations as to what this clarification would be. What we got instead was an A4 page where Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar’s names were misspelled.

“It wasn’t signed by them, and it was presented as this great concession. 

"Actually, if you read the text of it, the language is really slippery, and not the kind of commitment that I, as a member of the party, would be happy with, and many other members of the party would not be happy to accept it,” Ms Bogue said.

“I saw this and I just said it was greenwashing. It’s not good enough. It’s not acceptable. 

"It’s a fudge on what we asked for, and I don’t think that we should have entered into negotiations on the back of the response that we got to our 17 baseline requirements,” she added.

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