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Greens divided on government deal

Thursday, 18th June, 2020 10:06am

Opinions are somewhat divided amongst Leeside Green Party members with many unsatisfied with the recently drafted Programme for Government.

While many see the programme as a valuable opportunity to progress the Green’s agenda, others feel it is too vague and lacking in firm commitments of an environmental nature.

The Green Party needs two-thirds of its 3,000-plus membership to endorse the Programme for Government.

Speaking to the Cork Independent, Councillor for Cork South Central, Dan Boyle, said that he is confident that his party will pass the programme, but that it is “in no way certain”.

Cllr Boyle said: “I'm confident that a majority of the party is willing to accept the Programme for Government. We've been in this situation twice, in 2007 and 2009, and on those occasions there were significant majorities, 84 per cent each time.”

According to Cllr Boyle, every programme for government involves a “huge amount of compromise” and involves the use of language that is often left “uncertain”.

Meanwhile, Councillor for Cork South East, Lorna Bogue, said that she will not support the new programme due to a lack of commitment to environmental issues.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time on Tuesday evening, Cllr Bogue said that one of the reasons she will reject the programme is the exclusion of any commitment to remove a proposed liquid natural gas (LNG) fracking terminal in Cork Harbour.

“That’s something that my constituents are very concerned about. I don’t see any commitment to stopping Cork LNG, and that’s really something that environmentalists should be particularly concerned about,” said Cllr Bogue.

She added: “It’s not the only deal breaker that I have. There are many deal breakers, for example, there is an incinerator that’s due to be put in place in Ringaskiddy. There’s nothing in there about stopping incineration.”

Cllr Bogue said that she does not believe that the proposed programme will provide the seven per cent funding per annum that the Green Party has been asking for until the next government is elected.

“From what I’ve seen from reading through this programme, it seems as though the most we’re going to get for the first five years is closer to about four or four point five per cent, and that has been backed up by Minister Simon Coveney,” said Cllr Bogue.

Cllr Bogue said she believes it will be “very difficult” for the programme to make it through her party as she says there is “little in the way of commitments” in the deal.

Midleton county councillor Cllr Liam Quaide has also expressed his reservations about the deal. Cllr Quaide told RTÉ’s Drivetime on Tuesday: “The deal sounded very promising. However, the details gave rise to a lot of concerns. Crucially, across the entire Programme for Government, there's a lot of vague language, instead of clear timelined, costed commitments which is what our negotiating team sought.

“This requires a great leap of faith in the two parties - which is particularly challenging with Fine Gael, who have brought us unprecedented crises in housing, health and the environment in an economic boom. So we're now expected to trust they'll radically change course during a deep recession without seeing where that money will come from or timelines,” he added.

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