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Green Party's leader fudges opposition to Shannon warport

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday May 14, 2007 16:32author by Anti-war Report this post to the editors

Trevor Sergeant's opposition to incinerators outweighs his opposition to Irish complicity with US military

Trevor Sergeant, leader of the Green Party in Ireland, has refused to take a firm stand on the issue of US troops utilising Shannon Airport during an interview with Pat Kenny (RTE, Monday 14th May 2007).

Sergeant stated that, though against the use of Shannon by the US military, his opposition does not at this moment amount to a precondition for Green Party participation in a coalition. According to Sergeant, the Green Party membership will decide on its criteria for coalition after the election results are in. Until then, there are NO preconditions. Except that five minutes' earlier, during the same interview, Sergeant was categoric that Green Party opposition to the building of an incinerator in Cork harbour consitututes a precondition for its involvement in coalition.

One can't help but draw the following conclusions:
1. Sergeant, in common with much of the Green Party, is a one-issue activist: environmentalism. Other issues – including Irish complicity in the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan – are of lesser importance.
2. Sergeant – in common with every politician (that's EVERY politician) running for election to the Dail – is prepared to fudge "principals" and policies in order to garner votes.

author by MFpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not EVERY politician. Here's an extract from the Sinn Fein manifesto (to be launched on Wednesday):

Demilitarisation and Solidarity for a Better World

• Enshrine neutrality in the Constitution.

• Ensure Irish troops train and serve abroad only under the auspices and leadership of the United Nations, and only with prior Dáil approval.

• Prohibit use of Irish airports, airspace, seaports, or territorial waters for preparation for war or other armed conflict by foreign powers or to facilitate any aspect of illegal acts such as the US Government’s programme of ‘extraordinary rendition’.

• Withdraw from the EU Rapid Reaction Force, Battle Groups and NATO’s Partnership for Peace.

• Incrementally increase Overseas Development Assistance to 1% of GNP by 2010, ring-fence the ODA budget and keep all such aid un-tied.

author by anti-warpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To Sinn Féiner:

Ignoring for the moment Sinn Féin’s naive faith in UN forces (the murderers of Patrice Lamumba), Sinn Féin has shown itself equally flighty with its principals when it comes to elections. Witness the craven submission on the issue of corporation tax. So why should anyone believe that Sinn Féin’s participation in government depends (among other things) on the demilitarisation of Shannon?

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Greens are showing hypocrissy in regard to supposedly supporting an environmentalism agenda, when they flipflop on the Shannon issue.

Anyone remember the Depleted Uranium cloud that passed over Europe recently, Ireland included?

Of course the authorities are now speculating that the Chernobyl might have been worse than was initially imagined, and that the coming upsurge in cancer will be due to that.

The US and their illegal use of chemical weapons that are polluting a lot more than just their initial targets are as much of an environmental issue as incinerators.

It seems to me that the only reason that Sargent has the balls to hang onto the issue of the incinerator is because McDowell has already moaned about it too. It's a safe issue and it wont compromise the one and only plan Sargent has: grab for power even if it means selling your soul.

author by karen fallonpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 17:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i find it sickening to say the least that a ministerial member of the green party has these priorities. the cost to human life through the use of the brittish and ammerican war machine is planetary wide. while i do understand and hold objection to the use of incinerators due to obvious enviromental damage, surely one incinerator cannot be compared or prioritised over a nations ongoing gennocide and irelands complicity in it?

author by unmanageablepublication date Mon May 14, 2007 18:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trevor Sargeant stood beside Bertie Ahern in the shadow of the GPO for the military parade.
we know this cos we were the only group protesting the FF leadership's glory guns
and military fetish.

We caught a glimpse of the little divil on the big Screen.

Dear Leader of the green Party:-

Why did you support the Taoiseach's homage to weaponry of war during the
Easter Rising commerorations in April 2006?

Do Phallic killing objects that serve no worthwhile cause but to maim and destroy
do something for men in suits?

Ireland's neutrality would have been beneficial in a world where illegality and
perversion of the the UN by US/K was a shame to us- but sure don't worry
on it at all. The greens should have led a counter-protest.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 18:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

C'mon Sean, c'mon Karen

Don't blame Trevor for the mess - the fault lies, apparently, on the shoulders, and possibly the heart, of their German Green guest in their recent Conference, who, according to our sources, "advised the leadership of the Green Party" not to commit to any specific agenda and not to pledge on any issue to do with the War and Shannon before negotiations for power begin!
Trevor is a good man, a practical man and he listens to European advice! Never mind Patricia making all kind of noises (she's a woman after all!) and never mind John Gormley coming to anti-war Press Conferences.....they're no.,2 and 7 after all.
Trevor knows where the Green Party should be going - he's almost sure he can drive it there.....so don't blame him....blame the German Greens, blame Fianna fail and the PDs but don't blame Trevor! Hasn't he, after all, been warning us re: climate change for the last few years?
And he knows that the irish electorate cares more about the incinerator, cares more about public transport, cares more about taxes...he knows the War is not an election issue, he knows the War and the use of Shannon is only a blip!! Don't you Trevor?

Troops out of Iraq and Shannon Now!!
Troops out of Iraq and Shannon Now!!

author by bagsnatcherpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 18:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The use of Shannon by US troops is not an election issue.

Seargeant could say what he likes about it and it still wouldnt lose or gain him any votes.

author by The Insiderpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 19:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It isn't an election issue - most people are concerned with health, transport, jobs etc.

Shannon's use by the US military is a long way down the list of important issues to most people.

Not belittling the issue, it is simply not on most voter's minds.

author by SP supporterpublication date Mon May 14, 2007 21:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The socialist party have clearly said thet won't be part of any big business government. They won't sell out on any principles.

Related Link: http://www.SocialistParty.net/election07
author by strategistpublication date Tue May 15, 2007 07:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look, electoral politics is a stupid game to garner the vote of a sheep like electorate who are unable to think rationally and ethically or evalute complex issues, are highly self absorbed have very short attention spans and are easily panicked,by a bad soundbite. Most weathered politicians know this. This is the raw material they must work with. Even a good man, if clever, must play the game until he is in a position of power where he can do what he actually wants to. Meanwhile, only a fool would blow his chance to get the power by getting drawn into controversy on a volatile issue. Once elected, promises mean nothing and weak stances can be changed to stronger ones more in keeping with good ethics and politicians can then get on with doing what is best for the sheep whether they appreciate it or not. I suspect trevor and sinn fein and others know this. Dont be naive. Leftys can play the game too. but once they are in, they are less likely to fuck us over than the neo con pd's and FF. Give em a chance to try willya? stop knocking them before they start. Ye gave the scumbag PDs and fianna fail 10 years after all. So Get behind the green and sinn fein candidates in this election. And if nothing else, voting sinn fein will REALLY ANNOY our lords and masters!! :)

author by Sharon . - Individual .publication date Tue May 15, 2007 09:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi strategist !

" havent you heard of strategy?"
Haven't you heard of compromise leading to appeasement ?

" Look, electoral politics is a stupid game to garner the vote of a sheep like electorate who are unable to think rationally and ethically or evalute complex issues, are highly self absorbed have very short attention spans and are easily panicked,by a bad soundbite. Most weathered politicians know this. This is the raw material they must work with. "
Yes indeed - stupid people just asking to be taken advantage of , if not by you then by some other brutal 'strategist' . You paint a frightening scenario , Sir .

" Even a good man, if clever, must play the game until he is in a position of power where he can do what he actually wants to. Meanwhile, only a fool would blow his chance to get the power by getting drawn into controversy on a volatile issue. "
A "position of power" such as that obtained by , for instance , Charles Haughey , you mean.... ?
What is 'absolute power' known to do , Mr. Strategist ?

" Once elected, promises mean nothing and weak stances can be changed to stronger ones more in keeping with good ethics and politicians can then get on with doing what is best for the sheep whether they appreciate it or not."
Elect those for whom 'political promises mean nothing' ?
Yes ! That's a new approach . It should work , shouldn't it ... ?

" I suspect trevor and sinn fein and others know this. Dont be naive. Leftys can play the game too. but once they are in, they are less likely to fuck us over than the neo con pd's and FF. Give em a chance to try willya? stop knocking them before they start. Ye gave the scumbag PDs and fianna fail 10 years after all. So Get behind the green and sinn fein candidates in this election. "
How long have "leftys" been in Leinster House , Mr. Strategist ?
In other words - how long has it been since 'they' (ie those in Leinster House) "....fuc**d us over.." ?

" And if nothing else, voting sinn fein will REALLY ANNOY our lords and masters!! :) "
No , not so . Not now . The Provisionals are no threat to those you consider to be our "...lords and masters ." That is why the latter have no qualms about financing them from the public purse and the former have no qualms in accepting same .
Back to your drawing board , Sir !

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by paul o toolepublication date Tue May 15, 2007 09:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you look back at the record of every single candidate since 1922 there has not been one pre-election promise fulfilled.

Elections are only a beauty contest for ugly people

author by Workers Party (Cork)publication date Tue May 15, 2007 11:11author email cork at workerspartyireland dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

ALL PARTIES NEED TO BE CLEAR ON SHANNON MILITARY USE - TYNAN

Cork North Central Workers’ Party candidate Ted Tynan has said that the continuing use of Shannon Airport for the transportation of US troops on their way to Iraq is a matter that all political parties need to address directly.

Mr. Tynan said that hundreds of thousands of Irish people had taken to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq and he said the ongoing use of Shannon by US troops is an outrage to the majority of Irish people. He said parties needed to be absolutely clear that they will not be part of any government which continues to facilitate the transportation of troops and equipment to Iraq.

“A recent opinion poll commissioned by the Peace & Neutrality Alliance showed that 58% of the Irish people were opposed to the use of Shannon Airport by US troops and just 19% were in favour of their presence. This, along with the fact that the government totally ignored public at the start of the war on Iraq, shows that this is still a major issue with the electorate”, said Ted Tynan.

“The Workers’ Party is utterly opposed to the use of Shannon Airport, and indeed other airports including Cork, for foreign military purposes. Other parties need to be clear and especially those who are considering participation in coalition governments. They should come out now and state unambiguously where they stand on the matter and that they will not support a government that allows the Shannon military stopover to continue”, said Mr. Tynan.

Ted Tynan has been an active anti-war campaigner for many years and played an active role in the Cork Anti-War Campaign. He is a member of Anti-War Ireland.

Related Link: http://www.workerspartyireland.net
author by karen fallonpublication date Tue May 15, 2007 20:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i was of course addressing the article. i do have very strong views on the use of shannon and the murder and ecological damage that causes. the article reffers to the inability of the green representative to address the shannon issue. i will not get into a political argument. it is not my thing really but if shannon is not addressed by the politicians and made to be the tremendously important issue that it actually is then the murder will continue.
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE.

author by john mcdermott - www.soldiersofdestiny.orgpublication date Tue May 15, 2007 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Getting Enda to clean up the farmers s**t and find a better way of disposing of faecal waste is probably highest on the list!

Do check out the Cryptosporidium horror video below :
Not suitable for under 14s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUyuZJr9ncY

This is the ugly face of Fianna Fail
This is the ugly face of Fianna Fail

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUyuZJr9ncY
author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Wed May 16, 2007 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We've just heard that Bronwen Maher from Dublin North Central has signed the IAWM/PANA pledge on Shannon. This follows Green Party friends Patricia McKenna from Dublin Central, Niall O Brochain from Galway West and David Grey from Kerry North who have also signed.
The number of TDs and prospective TDs who have signed the pledge now stands at 28 with a few "replies still in the post".

Watch this space.

Make Shannon and the War an Election Issue!

author by greeniepublication date Thu May 17, 2007 04:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

GP candidate Niall O' Brollchain snubbed the galway airshow to go to the galway antiwar ("99 red baloons"anti airshow war machines) protest instead and this as mayor of galway. An action which he knew could harm him politically. (many people in galway support the airshow) There is Anti War principles in action for you. He had the support of trevor in doing this. Surely that tells you something. There were no FF TD'S or councillors there. In fact the garda tried to intimidate niall and co.into not having the protest. This was all reported on indymedia.

All greens I know are anti war and anti shannon warport. Many have attended shannon protests. There are good people in the GP.

author by Deirdre Clancy - AWI (personal capacity)publication date Fri May 18, 2007 19:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I urge all anti-war groups in Ireland to send out notices and press releases urging people not to vote Green. They have sold out on the Shannon issue. I sent their office an e-mail asking whether their TDs would make the de-militarisation of Shannon Airport a pre-condition for going into government, and they didn't respond. We know that the party voted against a motion to this effect also. This is despite their vocal and strong stance against the war when public opposition to it was at its height and they were likely to gain public brownie points for such a stance. This included a choreographed walk-out from the Dail chamber.

Their fudging and refusal to take a firm stance on this issue at this time is therefore incredibly hypocritical. No doubt there are some individuals within the party who aren't happy with this state of affairs, but that isn't good enough.

All anti-war groups should urge their mailing lists not to vote Green and also to challenge their Green candidates on this issue, and should copy these notices to the press, as a matter of urgency.

author by confusedpublication date Sat May 19, 2007 02:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lets vote for FF instead. Or not vote at all in a mute protest, or perhaps draw a slogan on the ballot paper and spoil our vote. Equally useless.

When you have the choice between different shades of not great then do you protest the mildest shade because they aren't ideal and hence assist the darkest shade in getting the upper hand?

Yes the current system perpetuates capitalism and hence wars for resources and all that follows. however a new system is not an option right now and the greens are on balance best of a bad lot in many constituencies in many respects.

Personally I believe they are just playing the game until they get into a better position to assert themselves. Many people have been taken in by propaganda on the subject of shannon and a strong stance at this point in time risks losing the votes of a programmed sun reading populace. Alas not everyone has the benefit of your personal understanding, insight and experience on the subject, (or your IQ.)

Chamberlain once said that it was his civil duty to mislead the public in their own interests as they hadn't the facility to understand the intricacies of complex issues. I don't mind a benign person doing this. the problem comes when a sociopath does it for personal gain. The real problem is telling these people apart. Chamberlain was a bit of a scumbag but there was some truth in his words. I suggest you read "the prince" again sometime. Even a good man must sometimes do bad things for the overall good.

So deirdre, with all due respect, if I have only the choice of green, labour, FF, PD then who do you suggest I choose?

Now if my Green representative is the only one of that lot to have actually taken a personal stand on the war should I still snub him or her because you say so? (this is the case for me)

author by UncleWarpublication date Sat May 19, 2007 02:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And Who started this thread anyway?

There have been several unconstructive threads on indy lately nit picking the lefties / greens and discouraging indy people (probably lefties) from voting at all. It smells a bit funny to me.

Gee, I wonder who such threads will benefit most in electoral terms?

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Sat May 19, 2007 09:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To those who complain that any criticism of the Green Party, and particularly its leadership, would finally benefit the Fianna Fail/PD/Fine Gael cabal, let me say that this is a very hackneyed argument against all criticism.....'don't talk, don't shout, don't wash our linen in public' because it will benefit our opponents'. How many times have we heard this before?

However, while I share her sentiments, I don't fully agree with Deirdre's sweeping statement above. There are a number of members of the Green Party, all of them prospective TDs, who have signed the iawm/PANA pledge:

"I, the undersigned, give a firm commitment that if elected I will not participate in any government that allows Shannon Airport or other Irish facilities to be used by the United States to conduct war in Iraq or any other imperialist war"

They are Patricia McKenna (Dublin Central), Bronwyn Maher (Dublin North Central), Niall O'Broichan (Galway West), David Grey (Kerry North) and John Hickey (Kerry South). In my opinion, they deserve all the support they can get from anti-war activists, support and encouragement they will need especially if the Greens get to a position to be 'negotiating' for power.

By the way, the number of those who, from a diverse set of political affiliations, have already signed the pledge above has now reached 80 (eighty)!! And the number is growing by the day. Check the other thread re: the iawm Press Conference next Tuesday when all will be revealed. There are a few interesting surprises there.

author by Deirdre Clancy - AWI (personal capacity)publication date Sat May 19, 2007 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look, folks: I know what you're saying and where you're coming from. But frankly, it's easy to sign a pledge. There are people in the Green Party I have plenty of time for, Bronwyn Maher being one, but I am looking at the overall picture here. And if they're fudging on Shannon now coming up to the election, there's every probability they'll do nothing meaningful on the issue if they get into government. They'll be safely installed and won't want to jeopardise that. It was clear from the conference that Sargent in particular is hungry for power. And if they go into government with Fine Gael, which is the only possibility, given that Sargent has made a commitment not to share power with Fianna Fail, then that's it. Fine Gael will have the upper hand and they've already made their position clear on the Shannon issue. Fine Gael are intellectually honest - they think we should drop the pretence that we're neutral and get involved in a militarised Europe. While I admire that honesty and straightforwardness (compared to the Bertieisms around the war issue), I don't expect that any serious anti-war activist would want FG to have the upper hand in government.

There are plenty of other possibilities in terms of voting, aside from the two main parties, Labour and the Greens. Remember that. There is People Before Profit, the Socialist Party, Sinn Fein and a host of independent politicians. These might not all be to your taste, but surely one or other of them will be.

There are several good people in the Greens. Unfortunately, though, there is a conservative streak there too, and this appears to be dominant at the minute. Party politics dictates that those with slightly more radical views will be outvoted by the majority, so unfortunately, I can't say I agree that it's good to vote for the candidate alone, even if the candidate is a person of integrity. I don't agree that they're the 'mildest shade' available. Use your imagination - there are other options.

author by Mpublication date Sat May 19, 2007 18:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here in Limerick East we have a handful of Independant candidates I wouldn't touch with a bargepole, a candidate from a Christian fringe party (even longer pole needed), and Sinn Fein. Despite Sinn Fein's many good social policies, I refuse to vote for that party because of their involvement with murdering people in the past.
I don't feel like I have many options at all. I could spoil my vote but I'd rather use it and I'm afraid I'm veering towards the Greens as the only party I would like to see in government. Of course the problem is they are going to have to share power and that's where we have to be mindful of future strategies and power plays between the future government parties. However, at this stage Fianna Fail being voted out of power is by no means a certainty so choosing who to vote for is not an easy task, even for someone who really wants a change for the collective national and global good.

author by confusedpublication date Wed May 23, 2007 03:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ok, deirdre how about this? vote SP / sinn fein / independent if you have a good option but give your second to the green party. That way, if we don't get a socialist government,(alas little chance!) at least we can go to plan b. But don't dilute the green vote and give their partners in govt an even bigger "upper hand". What good would that do?.

it is a self fulfilling prophesy "don't vote green as their partners in govt will have the upper hand". If people do as you suggest then the scumbags in FG / FFwill end up with an even bigger upper hand. With a scattered left / green vote.

The partners in govt CAN have an effect. look at what the PD's did. (unfortunately!!) Better a few green anti war heads in partnership than none at all.

Btw, given their change on corp tax, (and also the fact that they may have some "US funding" !) do you really trust sinn fein all that much either? The fact is that nothing will really change much under the current framework of party politics. But apart from joe higgins (whom I'd happily vote for if I could), the greens are the ones who have annoyed FF and taken principled stands most in the dail.

Personally, given the limited options in my neck of the woods (with lots of REALLY long poles needed as pointed out by another commenter..heh), I think I'd like to give the greens a chance to see what they do. Nobody knows the future, not even you deirdre. And who knows, they might stick to some of their principles and surprise us all.

I'd definitely vote for you if you considered running though deirdre. You're a strong and principled woman and pretty damn sexy too! :) And that ugly ass dail sure could use a pretty face! Would you ever consider running?? You really should have y'know

author by Abstainerpublication date Wed May 23, 2007 08:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If there is no clear anti-war candidate don't vote. Greens, Labour and SF are all pledged to do deals with pro-war FF and FG. Don't vote for them. The right to vote was won not to throw it away on these unprincipled careerists. Spoil your vote. Write "US Military out of Shannon!" across the ballot paper. Only SP, PBP/SWP, a few independents are clearly pledged against the Iraq war and use of Shannon.

author by From Green Party Manifesto 2007publication date Wed May 23, 2007 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From Green Party manifesto "• end the use of Shannon Airport by US military
forces involved in the war in Iraq"

Independent Foreign Policy and Neutrality
Successive Irish governments have taken a minimalist
approach to neutrality, interpreting it simply as
non-membership of military alliances. The Green
Party has always advocated a positive approach
to neutrality. It gives us the opportunity to take
a completely independent line on foreign policy,
playing a constructive role in world events
focussed on human rights concerns.
The Green Party will
• remain committed to protecting Irish neutrality
from any further moves towards a EU Common
Defence Policy or any strengthening of the EU
Common Foreign and Security Policy;
• seek a referendum to define neutrality in
the Constitution;
• continue to argue that Ireland’s best interests,
along with those of all smaller states, lie in
strengthening the truly pan-European Organisation
for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
as well as the United Nations rather than in
supporting NATO-led initiatives such as the
so-called Partnership for Peace;
• ensure that Irish troops only take part in peace
missions that have a United Nations mandate or
an OSCE mandate;
• maintain the Defence Forces’ proud reputation
in peacekeeping in many of the world’s troublespots
where they have been readily accepted as
honest brokers thanks to our record of neutrality;
• end the use of Shannon Airport by US military
forces involved in the war in Iraq;
• insist that any aircraft suspected of involvement in
illegal movements of prisoners must be searched.

Related Link: http://www.greenparty.ie/en/election_07/manifesto_2007
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