Green Party members from all over the island of Ireland have spent today tuned into an all-day online Special Convention to decide whether or not the party should go into government on the basis of the draft Programme for Government. The contributions from the party’s spokespeople, TDs and councillors have been very impressive. The same can be said for the observations from those members who spoke in the evening session.
At a meeting held yesterday, Wexford Greens held its own analysis of the programme. Wexford, like many other constituencies, has seen a big surge in memberships over the past six months, and it was many of these new members who were most to the fore in expressing their opinions on the programme’s content. We are fortunate in having so many members, old and new, who are hugely knowledgable on specific policy areas.
The Wexford meeting gave a foretaste of what was to come at the Special Convention: while there is a general desire to see Green policy implemented, it is tempered with a healthy amount of cautious scepticism at the Greens and there would-be partners remaining in step in the months and years ahead. The lack of detailed costings in the PfG is a concern as is the possibility of an austerity-led approach coming to the fore. However, while it may lack detailed costings, the overall direction and tone leaves one in no doubt that this is the most forward-looking and sustainable PfG ever in this country with social justice, environment, public sector reform, the green economy, transport, housing, heritage and tourism among the areas due to receive a major overhaul.
First of all, however, the Green Party’s members must vote on whether or not they want the party to enter government. Some consider such a move an absolute must for the party, others fear it may be a leap of faith into terra incognita.