Green Party Leader and Minister for the Environment; John Gormley had the following to say when asked about being a watchdog in government (RTE News, including audio and visual at bottom of page).
“We never assigned ourselves that role because it’s a role which you cannot fulfill properly and do your work as well. We’re not the moral watchdog of any political party…we look after our probity and our standards…we cannot be responsible for events that took place before our entry into government.”
This principle is still as bizarre as it was when first adopted by the Green Party as an excuse not to act against the chancer Bertie Ahern. Challenging and bringing to account those suspected of corruption is a crucial role for all members of a real democratic government.
Sticking your head in the sand and saying, ‘we’re just going to look after our probity and standards’ is mealy mouthed and cowardly and is a betrayal of basic democratic principles.
Green Party chairman, Dan Boyle, warned that Ireland cannot progress as a nation until those responsible for recent events are imprisoned – So, that’s it, no more progression.
On the plus side for the Greens. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Trevor Sargent, is travelling to Paris for St. Patrick’s Day. He’s flying Aer Lingus, not using any (road) transport at taxpayer’s expense and saving on an expensive hotel room by staying at the embassy.
Obviously, his Excellency, Martin Cullen couldn’t be expected to endure such deprivation but other ministers should be encouraged to follow Sargent’s good example.