Today the Greens have announced their intention to withdraw from government but have pledged to support the budget due in 15 days time. John Gormley, party leader and environment minister, said he wants an election held in the second half of January 2011.
The behaviour of the Greens is inexplicable. They must have known that a political crisis would ensue once an announcement was made to withdraw from government(even if that withdrawal is not until January 2011). The Green Party could have kept its powder dry until a budget was passed. Then it could have announced its intention to withdraw. Now everything is thrown up in the air. There is a strong likelihood that the budget will not pass as the two independents- not to be outdone by the Greens- have cynically withdrawn their support from the government.
The two Independent TDs Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry have withdrawn their support from the FF/Green government. Mr Lowry said that it was highly unlikely that he would support the government's budget proposals unless FG and Labour were given an input into the formulation of the budget and supported it. Mr Healy-Rae said that it was very unlikely that he would support the budget.
These two Independent TDs have used their political leverage to secure concessions for their constituencies. Now that the well has run dry they seek to put the onus on the opposition to support the government. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Lowry cynically speaks about "the duty and responsibility and obligation of FG and Labour to support the budget", conveniently ignoring his own obligations. No wonder the Irish electorate is disillusioned.
Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry give the government a majority of 83-79 when they vote in its favour however Sinn Fein may win the Donegal SW by-election on Thursday next. In that event the government would most likely fall on the budget. However that is not the end of the story. Healy Rae has left some wriggle room and could yet vote for the budget. He is demanding fairness in the budget. This just adds to the uncertainty. On balance I believe Healy Rae will support the budget. After all he comes from the FF gene pool. He has stated that he would have to see what was in the budget before deciding to support it.
Today we have witnessed political clown acting of the highest order on the part of the Greens and the two Independents. Clowns are figures of fun but certainly should not be elected to the Dail.
Healy-Rae's remit never seems to extend outside the South Kerry constituency. Almost every sentence uttered by him includes the words South Kerry.
The country is on its last legs with negotiations ongoing on the EU/IMF rescue package. Yet the Greens, Lowry and Healy Rae appear determined to play political games. Shame on them.