Green Party members -at today's special conference-have voted in favour of supporting the Lisbon Treaty in the forthcoming referendum. However the party leadership failed to secure required two thirds majority.
Members are now free to support whichever side they wish.
Of the 318 delegates eligible to vote at today's conference, 195, or 63%, voted to support the Treaty, while 117 (27%) were opposed.
This is a stinging rebuke for party leader John Gormley who has failed to carry his party with him. Conversely the donkey and cart wing -ably marshalled by Patricia McKenna -has been reinvigorated. The leadership may argue that it came close to a two thirds majority. Nevertheless its position is more perilous than may appear at first sight. Many of those who voted to support the Treaty -today- have strong reservations but did not wish to embarrass John Gormley. In the privacy of the ballot box a large percentage will vote against the Treaty.
Patricia McKenna has claimed that the vote will strengthen the party leadership in its dealings with FF. She is whistling past the graveyard. Bertie Ahern has skilfully neutered the Green Party. Its input into the Programme for Government is minimal. The leadership has sold out on many of its core principles such as co-location, the use of Shannon by the US military and incineration. The government will continue in power irrespective of whether the Greens remain in government or not. Green Party TDs - in their pronouncements -are increasingly indistinguishable from FF. They have lost their radical edge. It is inevitable that party headquarters will attempt to move against the donkey and cart wing . Patricia McKenna is the bête noire of the Realos and will not be forgiven for today's fiasco.
Interestingly only 318 delegates voted at today's conference. An FF or FG convention -for one constituency-would have more delegates.