Monday, September 28, 2009

Building Gated Communities

I am writing in response to the article by Leo McMahon in the Southern Star last week regarding the proposal by Dr. Anthony Calnan to erect gates at either end of Ballymodan lane in Bandon to prevent anti-social behaviour at night.
For those that are not aware Ballymodan Lane is located less than 200metres from the main Garda station in Bandon, a station that is the regional headquarters of the Garda Síochána and one that is manned 24hrs a day. It is also a public access to the local shopping centre and is used regularly by walkers at night.
To suggest that permanent gates be erected at a location in the centre of the town on a public laneway to prevent anti social behaviour is certainly not an answer to the problem in my humble opinion. Might I suggest that Garda on the beat at night might be a more appropriate response to anti-social behaviour.
Blocking access to a public right of way removes rights to the public and if erected at this location why not at any other? I am aware of many locations in Bandon where youths gather at night, where noise nuisance is a problem and where the disposal of beer cans and rubbish is a common sight. There are many estates with pedestrian walkways where rubbish is dumped nightly there are many main towns in Ireland where at weekend drunken youths cause public nuisance, driving at speed through urban areas, causing noise nuisance and putting in danger pedestrians and other motorists on public roads.  Is the answer to build gated access to the towns thereby preventing automobiles entering the town at night?
The problems with public nuisance is however multi generational. As an example, dog owners are generally of an age much older than those that congregate in lanes consuming alcohol. However they do use public laneways and gardens to walk their dogs and cause a public nuisance by allowing them to defecate on public areas or private gardens without any thought for the property owners or public health as all faeces contain bacteria. Many dog owners deliberately bring their dogs to foul public areas, pavements, parks, playgrounds and even beaches resulting in a serious health risk to the public. Is the answer to ban dogs?
In the past twenty years there has been a major cultural and behavioural shift in the general publics attitude to nuisance. We have allowed public nuisance to develop to the state where people are now afraid to leave their homes at night. This is what is unacceptable. The answer is not to build gates and move the problem on elsewhere but to deal with the problem as with any disease. Diagnose the problem, treat the cause.
If Dr. Calnan’s recommendation of a gate to be erected at Ballymodan lane is seen as an acceptable solution to anti-social behaviour perhaps the same might apply to any such location in Bandon, Skibbereen or other towns in West Cork. If this is seen as an acceptable solution one might as well return to the days of walled towns and lock down the population after dark to prevent youths from congregating or causing a nuisance.
The solution to anti social behaviour is not removing the rights and privileges of every citizen to free movement rather to adequately police the area and use the mechanism of the law to prevent nuisance in the first place. One might consider that adequate policing would be the first means of addressing the problem, or education on the problems of alcohol consumption or restricting the sale of alcohol to youths might be more appropriate, why not earlier closing times for nightclubs or raising the minimum age for purchasing alcohol. While I sympathise with anyone who has to deal with nuisance (myself included) what is needed is some mechanism to promote behavioural change and educate those causing the problems on social responsibility.
Preventing access to public thoroughfares in not an answer. It is the equivalent of amputating an arm to cure a sore finger.

Declan Waugh

Money in Politics, how to influence Government Policy

There is a feeling within the wider community that our political system has lived the high life for too long. Yet one of the greatest dangers facing our political system is the passivity of our society in demanding transparent legislative and bureaucratic  systems to serve the best interest of our community. In our attempts to restore confidence in our political system, we must start by examining how society helped create the political and economic crisis we now find ourselves in.

As a society we must examine the recent past and ask ourselves what have been the major contributors to the recent failures of our political and economic system.

For me one of the main failures has been that we as a society tolerated and still do a political system that accepts financial donations from businesses and special interest groups. This was especially prevalent during the period 1992- 2007 resulting in a system of political courtship and influence supporting unsustainable development while benefiting the interests of a few creating the social, economic and political difficulties we now face as a generation.

How did this happen and why has our political system failed our community?

If you examine the facts as presented by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) they may help in explaining where it all went wrong and what we must do to prevent it from happening again.

First let me explain that the SIPO are an independent body established to provide a supervisory role under the Ethics in Public Office Act and the Electoral Act 1997.

The Standards in Public Office Commission recently published a list of political donations for the general election in 2007. It makes very interesting reading and is available for the public to view on their website. If you are interested in politics and who funds our public representatives I would recommend that you check out this website where details of donations received by every TD are outlined. For further information and much more view

Examination of the figures show that in 2007 political candidates and our elected TD’s received over €705,000 in private donations from companies and individuals to support their election campaigns. Many Dáil deputies received the maximum allowable donation from special interest groups. A significant proportion of this came from cash donations from companies with interests in the property and the financial sector.

In the period 1997- 2007 according to figures published by SIPO over €2,225,000 was donated to political parties. This figure only includes disclosed donations by political representatives so one can only image that the true figure is substantially larger as many TD’s did in fact not disclose any political donations.

According to legislation the maximum value of donation(s) which a candidate at the Dáil general election may accept from the same person in the same calendar year is €2,539.48 yet politicians are only required to disclose donations with a value of more than €634.87.

In some cases individual TD’s received substantial election donations often exceeding the total expenditure spend in their election campaigns. Furthermore the  relevant the taxpayer reimbursed political candidates to the tune of €2,638,013 in 2007.

How does this work, well lets take one example; according to figures submitted by Christy O Sullivan TD and released by SIPO the Cork South West TD received at least €23,000 in political donations, including generous contributions from wealthy business interests, in the lead-up to last year’s general election. The former Cork County Councilor who was elected on his first attempt was one of the main beneficiaries of supporter donations in the country, according to figures  submitted by Deputy O Sullivan to the Standards in Public Office Commission. His largest contributions came from property developer Dave Dwyer, Baltimore with further large contributions from property developers, Barry Harte, Timoleague, Jim Canty, Rosscarbery, Micheal Keohane, Ballingurtee, Micheal Kirby, Clogagh, Bandon, Pat o Driscoll, Castlefreake and Cronin & Buckley Engineering, Ballincollig.

Niall and Patrica Whyte Downeen gave €2,500 as did Jim Kiely of Drimoleague and Martin O Connell, Bandon Rd, Jerry O Donovan, Dunmanway Rd contributed €2,000 while Enniskeane supermarket owner Derry O Connell donated 1000 along with Dan Twomey, Bandon who also gave €1,000.

Election expenses incurred by Christy O Sullivan again published by SIPO amounted to €17,578, as with other candidates State that means the taxpayer reimbursed him to the tune of €8,700. One must ask the question, is this a misuse of public money or should we change the system? In this example noted the candidate obtained far more in political donations from private donations to fund his campaign that what he spend on his election campaign yet he subsequently also received a large reimbursement from the state leaving him with a sum of €14,022 for his own personal use in addition to his generous salary and expense allowance as an elected Dail deputy.

Information published by SIPO also informs us that Minister Willie O Dea declared €2,500 in donations while Deputy Tom Kitt received €17,750, Deputy Sean Haughey received €3,450, Deputy Martin Cullen €18,585 and Deputy Beverly Cooper Flynn received €12,000. Minister’s Noel Dempsey received €19,763, Micheal Martin €22,135, Conor Lelihan received €6,650, Batt O Keefe received €11,000, Former Taoiseagh Bertie Ahern received €19,000, Taoiseach Brain Cohen received €2,458 and Minister Mary Coughlan received €1,000.

It was Deputy O Sullivan however within Fianna Fáil, that gained most from political donations in County Cork last year with his election fund swelled by a minimum of €22,900 courtesy of generous supporters.

Fine Gael also benefited by receiving donations from special interest groups with deputy Jim O Keefe received €2,500 from Havenview Investments, €2,500 from Spencer Dock Development and €2,500 from Treasury Holdings. Party colleague Deputy Simon Coveney received twelve donations totalling to €23,200, while the labour party Ruari Quinn received €13,640, Pat Rabbit €4,500 and Eamon Gilmore €3,500. Green Party leader and Minister John Gormley received €4,500, Minister Eamon Ryan received €4,000 and Trevor Sargent received €1,200 donations principle received from green party members.

Sinn Fein Deputy Martin Ferris declared €8,650 in political donations while his two party colleague Caoimhghin O Caolain and Aengus O Snodaigh did not declare any donations along with independent TD Michael Lowry, Minister for Health and former Progressive Democrat Mary Harney and Deputy Liz MacManus of Labour.

Meanwhile Independent Kerry TD. Jackie Healy-Rae received €24,900 in donations.

Twenty five Fianna Fáil deputies did not declare any political donations to the Standards in Public Office Commission including Deputies Mary O Rourke, Dick Roche, Dermot Ahern, Frank Fahy and John O’Donoghue. Meanwhile twenty three FG deputies did not declare any political donations including Party Leader Enda Kenny, Deputies Phil Hogan, Brian Hayes and P.J Sheehan.

An examination of the disclosed donations to political candidates and parties clearly shows us that special interest groups have befriended politicians handing over millions of euros in cash to the main political parties. So why is this relevant to us? if a business makes a large financial donation to a politician, does this represent a conflict of interest can it influence the ability of that individual or party to make decisions?

So when we reflect on our political system, what legislation it enacts, who it benefits, who is appointed to bodies by political parties and ultimately how we have got to where we are now, it must be obvious that we the public must demand legislation to prevent political influence from special business interest groups. This must start with stricter regulations on lobbying and political donations something that Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley has pledged to do. 

Declan Waugh

€500million investment package in the Irish electricity sector – EIB

The European Investment Bank is to lend up to EUR 500m to help Ireland secure and green its electricity supplies and support Europe’s economic recovery. Two loan contracts to that effect were signed today in Dublin by EIB Vice President Plutarchos Sakellaris and the chief executives of EirGrid Plc and Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in the presence of Irish Energy Minister Eamon Ryan. 

• EUR 300 million for the Ireland Wales electricity Interconnector; first EIB loan for EU recovery plan energy project 
• EUR 200 million for wind farms; first EIB loan for renewable energy in Ireland 

EIB will lend EirGrid up to EUR 300m towards construction of a 256 km cable between Ireland and Wales. The East-West Interconnector (EWIC) will underpin the development of renewable energy by enabling the import and export of excess wind power, It will improve security of supply and facilitate competition through connecting the Irish electricity market with the rest of Europe.

ESB will receive up to EUR 200m in loans to develop its renewable energy business by installing 248MW of wind power capacity by 2012 in various locations. The total cost of the investment programme is estimated at EUR 475m.

The loans bring total EIB support for Ireland in 2009 to EUR 850m, almost double 2008’s total of EUR 450m.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan said: “I warmly welcome this investment by the EIB in Ireland’s energy future. We are transforming energy policy in Ireland and today’s investment will propel this transformation. I congratulate both EirGrid and ESB and know they are ambitious semi-state companies who deliver on their commitments. I look forward to the completion of these projects. We are well on the road to Ireland becoming world leader in green energy and the fight against climate change.”

“Ireland is very dependent on imported fossil fuels but has huge potential for wind power. Both these projects help Ireland in its ambition to go green and secure future energy supplies, helping Europe as a whole meet its climate change goals,” said EIB Vice President Plutarchos Sakellaris.

“The EIB is particularly happy to be able to support EirGrid and the interconnector, which was identified as key project in the European Economic Recovery Plan endorsed by EU leaders last year. The ESB loan is also our first to the renewables sector in Ireland, where we hope there will be many more opportunities for cooperation in the future,” he said.

ESB Chief Executive Officer Padraig McManus said: “ESB is engaged in major investment in renewable energy to realise its ambition of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. We are expanding our wind portfolio to 600 MW by 2012. By 2020, one-third of ESB’s generation will be wind-based. Today’s announcement is part of that strategy.”

EirGrid Chief Executive Dermot Byrne said: “Today is a major milestone for Ireland’s electricity infrastructure and for our power market, with the signing of this very important tranche of funding for the East West Interconnector project. When completed, the interconnector will help ensure secure electricity supplies for consumers, it will promote competition and will enable power to be efficiently transferred between Ireland and Britain, providing Irish wind producers with access to export markets.”

The European Economic Recovery Plan, approved by the European Parliament and EU ministers in July, proposes spending EUR 4 bn in 2009 and 2010 on key energy projects to help counter the effects of the financial crisis on the real economy. It allocates EUR 110 m for the Ireland-UK interconnector.

The total cost of EirGrid’s project is estimated at EUR 601 mn. Engineering group ABB has been awarded the contract to design, manufacture and install the interconnector. EirGrid expects the project will result in approximately 100 jobs in Ireland and 100 jobs in Wales during the construction phase. The project is due for completion in 2012.

Ireland currently meets 95 percent of its energy needs through imported fossil fuels. The Government has an ambitious strategy to meet 40 percent of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020. EIB staff will attend the Irish Wind Energy Association’s autumn conference on Thursday to learn more about future wind power projects in the country.

Background information:
The European Investment Bank is the bank of the European Union. It was set up under the 1957 Treaty of Rome with a mandate to support EU policies. It has six priority areas for its lending: poorer regions, the environment, transport and energy networks, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), innovation and research, and secure and sustainable energy supplies. In 2008 it signed loans for EUR 57.6 bn, of which EUR 51.5 bn was for projects within the EU’s 27 member states. To help cushion the impact of the economic and financial crisis the Bank has raised its EU lending target for 2009 to EUR 70 bn. For more information see:

EirGrid plc is a leading Irish energy business, dedicated to the provision of transmission and market services for the benefit of electricity consumers. It is a state-owned commercial company. EirGrid holds licences as independent electricity Transmission System Operator (TSO) and Market Operator (MO) in the wholesale trading system in Ireland, and is the owner of the System Operator Northern Ireland (SONI Ltd), the licenced TSO and market operator in Northern Ireland. The Single Electricity Market Operator (SEMO) is part of the EirGrid Group. For more information see

ESB is the state owned electricity company of Ireland. It is a vertically integrated utility, providing electricity generation, distribution and electricity supply with an annual turnover of EUR 3.5 bn and activities in 100 countries. ESB is currently implementing a multi-billion euro capital investment programme to make the company carbon-neutral by 2035. Half this investment is directed at promoting renewable energy generation. The plan also involves major investment in its electricity networks infrastructure to facilitate greater renewable energy on the system, the development of a recharging network for electric vehicles and the implementation of a smart metering project. For more information see:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How The Lisbon Treaty Might Help Save The World

Since I graduated from college almost twenty years ago I have believed that the European Union offered the only realistic political choice for attempting to address issues of sustainability, for ensuring humanitarian and social justice and, in more recent years, for dealing with what is the greatest challenge facing humanity tacking: climate change.

As an environmental scientist I largely owe my career to the EU for its role in forcing Ireland as a member state to introduce environmental legislation. Without the EU bringing into force various directives on environment, employment, waste management, water resources, soil protection, air quality, renewable energy, biodiversity protection etc.; it can be generally assumed that Ireland would never have bothered and the country would truly be a third world country.

Do you really think, given the qualifications of most elected Dail representatives, that they would be capable of governing this state without guidance from the EU? Given the performance over the past twenty years, I think not. If it were not for the EU mandate of protecting citizens rights and continuously introducing new legal directives that require implementation by member states, Ireland would not now have such regulations that protect its citizens.

Nevertheless, we are now in the 21st century and entering a new kind of era that no other generation has faced before. Over the summer I read the excellent book D-Day by military historian, Anthony Beevor. For our generation, it is almost impossible to understand how in the course of some three months in Normandy alone some 400,000 soldiers were killed or seriously wounded fighting for peace in this part of Europe while some 35,000 innocent French civilians were killed in the battle. Over the last century the challenge facing people was Fascism or Stalinism, today the challenge is climate change and sustainable development. While World War II may have claimed the lives of some 70 million people, this figure pales into insignificance when we consider the implications of climate change worldwide.

Wars have always been about resources but this century we have a resource problem of gigantic proportions. With some 7 billion people now living on this planet, how is humanity going to deal with dwindling resources for an ever-increasing world population. In the 21st century, how are we going to try and manage our resources and address the critical issues of sustainability? How will we deal with energy, food security, the threat of war, terrorism and the humanitarian and climate change crises? I believe that only through the EU can we hope to address these enormous challenges and the first step is to empower the European commission with new legal powers and responsibilities. If we do not, the system will fail; a system that has brought peace and prosperity to Europe for over half a century.

So how will the treaty of Lisbon protect us?  I will give you some examples quoting text from the treaty.

On sustainable development, protection of human rights and cultural heritage, Article 2 of the Treaty states: “the European Union shall work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance. It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child.

It shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced. In its relations with the wider world, the Union shall uphold and promote its values and interests and contribute to the protection of its citizens. It shall contribute to peace, security, the sustainable development of the Earth, solidarity and mutual respect among peoples, free and fair trade, eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child, as well as to the strict observance and the development of international law, including respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

On supporting developing countries, Article 10a states the European union shall “foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty; assist populations, countries and regions confronting natural or man-made disasters”

On aspects of common security and defence policy Article 17 states: “The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy. It shall provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets. The Union may use them on missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

In developing competences within member states, something that again appears critical to the administration of Ireland’s public sector, Article 2a states: the Union shall “share competence with the Member states in Environment, consumer protection, transport, trans-European networks, energy, area of freedom, security and justice”

On protection of human health Article 2 E states:“the Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States. The areas of such action shall, at European level, be: protection and improvement of human health, industry, culture, tourism, education, vocational training, youth and sport, civil protection and administrative cooperation.’

 On discrimination Article 5b states: “In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall aim to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.”

On immigration Article 63a states: “The Union shall develop a common immigration policy aimed at ensuring, at all stages, the efficient management of migration flows, fair treatment of third-country nationals residing legally in Member States, and the prevention of, and enhanced measures to combat, illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings; in particular women and children”.

On economic and monetary policy, something that is critical to Ireland in its current financial crisis, Article 104 states:  ‘Where the Council decides that an excessive deficit exists, it shall adopt, without undue delay, on a recommendation from the Commission, recommendations addressed to the Member State concerned with a view to bringing that situation to an end within a given period.’

On public health, Article 152 states: “It shall in particular encourage cooperation between the Member States to improve the complementarity of their health services in cross-border areas”

 On the environment and climate change Article 174 states: “ it shall promote measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems, and in particular combating climate change.”

On energy Article 176 A states: “In the context of the establishment and functioning of the internal market and with regard for the need to preserve and improve the environment, Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, to: ensure the functioning of the energy market; ensure security of energy supply in the Union; and promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy; and promote the interconnection of energy networks”.

On administrative cooperation within the European Union Article 176 D states: “the effective implementation of Union law by the Member States, which is essential for the proper functioning of the Union, shall be regarded as a matter of common interest and the Union may support the efforts of Member States to improve their administrative capacity to implement Union law. Such action may include facilitating the exchange of information and of civil servants as well as supporting training schemes.”

On development cooperation Article 188 D states: “Union development cooperation policy shall have as its primary objective the reduction and, in the long term, the eradication of poverty”

The treaty also addresses  economic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries. Article 188 I states: “When the situation in a third country requires urgent financial assistance from the Union, the Council shall adopt the necessary decisions on a proposal from the Commission.”

The treaty has a solidarity clause in Article 188 R stating that: “The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilize all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the Member States, to: prevent the terrorist threat in the territory of the Member States; protect democratic institutions and the civilian population from any terrorist attack; assist a Member State in its territory, at the request of its political authorities, in the event of a terrorist attack; assist a Member State in its territory, at the request of its political authorities, in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

And finally if we don’t like it or wish to withdraw from the European Union Article 49a of the Treaty states that: “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”

As with any complicated legal document there may be issues that some people may not agree with but for me this Treaty provides a glimmer of hope for the future; it shows us that the European Union is making decisions not based on the next general election but for the welfare and protection of the next generation of citizens. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Restoring confidence in our political, financial and legal sector.

Every commentator appears to agree that until the banks and the financial systems are cleaned up our economy will not recover. As taxpayers and citizens of this country we have to ask, how did we get here? Who was responsible for regulation of the banking sector in Ireland? Who were the banking executives that so mismanaged our economy? Who are the principle debtors to the banks? What are their assets? Will anyone be convicted for economic and financial crimes in this country?  Finally, how effective are the measures being taken by our Government to protect the welfare of its citizens in dealing with this crisis?

Last week I read with grudging admiration in the Wall Street Journal of how one country, ranked 44th in the world according to GDP (compared to Ireland’s position at 34th), is responding to their own banking crisis; it made fascinating reading. While the similarities with Ireland were noticable; a small powerful business elite accustomed to a lifestyle of excess and businesses fuelled by unchecked credit lines etc., their response to the crisis was remarkable.

As with Ireland their credit ran out, the financial markets were no longer sustainable. The country in question had to inject $2.6 billion (€1.8 billion) to bailout the countries top five bank’s, which had accumulated $7.6 billion in bad debts threatening the survival of this continent’s second biggest economy.

Earlier in March this year, the Economist noted of this same country that the banks were at risk because they were dangerously exposed to the stockmarket slump after rashly securing a large portion of their loans with now almost worthless equities. Does this sounds familiar?

So how is this country attempting to restore confidence in its financial sector you may ask? Their central bank last week made the unprecedented move of publishing a list of the top debtors to the banks, among them some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in that country.

Last Wednesday, their Government’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that the debtors had one week to repay their loans or risk arrest and seizure of their assets.

The list included the countries only two billionaires, two previous heads of the country’s stock exchange, several companies, two state governments, the former governor of the richest state and the ministry of finance.

After injecting $2.6 billion into the country’s top five banks, the central bank fired the top executives of these banks, executives from four of the five banks have been questioned by the economic and financial crimes commission and the country’s top anti-corruption unit and bank managers at five banks have been put on a watch list to prevent them from leaving the country.

Not only that but the head of the EFCC stated “that debtors have one week to bring in their checks or drafts to us or we begin their arrest and prosecution as well as confiscation of their assets because they are people of enormous means”.

Now that’s taking action!  So where is this country.  It’s Nigeria.

Here in Ireland the Government have injected over €10 billion to bailout the banks that we are now told have accumulated €90 billion in bad debts. That’s more than ten times the level of bad debt compared to Nigeria, a country with a population of approximately 160 million people.

The people who got us into this position have committed an economic crime of unprecedented scale against the citizens of this nation robbing us of future economic stability while ensuring that our taxes, which should be being used for essential services such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and building a sustainable economy; are used to bail out a corrupt and irresponsible banking sector.  In my view, we can learn a lot in this instance from Nigeria. 

If our political establishment abdicate on not bringing those responsible to justice and if those individuals and institutions whose actions have been shown to be criminally negligent remain unpunished, one cannot have any faith in our political, financial or legal sector.  The stark reality is that this culpability starts with our former Minister for Finance, now our Taoiseach.

As for NAMA, it poses a big dilemma; the start reality is if the Green Party support the legislation in its current format without protecting the rights and interests of the public, if no one is held accountable, if those who were responsible for this crisis are rewarded or compensated for their actions; the Green Party will have lost all moral authority. In the interim the party may remain in power but it will lose its grassroots support and signal the end of the Green Party. Never before has such a small political party had such responsibility.  For how long can the Green Party support the weight of mistakes by past Governments, mistakes that over the past twenty years the electorate in many respects demanded by voting for them. 

In the end it would be a greater travesty if the one political party that opposed the politics of bribery, corruption and cronyism are the sacrificial lamb that bleeds to death to save our political establishment.