Gormley reeling after de Búrca attack

JOHN Gormley was left reeling last night after one of his own senators accused him of selling out Green principles for the trappings of power because he cannot stand up to Brian Cowen.

Déirdre de Búrca launched a scathing, highly personal attack on the Environment Minister in a resignation statement – branding him a stooge of Fianna Fáil.

She insisted he had let the Greens abandon their values and integrity in Government to the extent the party was now “paralysed” due to a fear of a voter backlash at the next election.

The criticism that Mr Gormley is letting Fianna Fáil “run rings” around him is even more damning as Ms de Búrca had been seen as an arch loyalist.

In a withering parting shot, she announced she was quitting the Seanad and the Greens because Mr Gormley had created a culture of “drift” where holding office was more important than political purpose.

The Environment Minister dismissed the allegations as “entirely without foundation”, stating the party was united behind him and braced to take any voter anger “on the chin” for “doing right” by the country economically.

Green TD Paul Gogarty attacked Ms de Búrca’s “outrageous” claims, stating they were intended to deflect from the real reasons for her departure.

This is believed to be a reference to a failed attempt by Ms de Búrca to get a position on EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn’s cabinet.

Mr Gormley said he had lobbied on Ms de Búrca’s behalf for the post, but to no avail.

The force of Ms de Búrca’s attack on Mr Gormley surprised many in the party, though they said they had been aware of her unhappiness for some time.

“I believe that we have lost our way as a party and have gradually abandoned our values and our integrity since becoming part of this Government. In many respects (we) have become no more than an extension of the Fianna Fáil party.

“Staying in Government appears to have become an end in itself,” she said on her website.

The outgoing senator painted a picture of chaos and defeatism within the Green parliamentary party, where daily meetings were needed to plot how to cope with a Fianna Fáil machine “running rings” around them by stonewalling and sidelining Green policy objectives.

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said every day in Government was a “fight” but the party had pushed through many of its key priorities, such as civil partnership.

Ms de Búrca’s move follows the resignation of three councillors last year.

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