After Trevorgate, Greens will sooner or later end a bad marriage

ALL eyes turned to the head of an unravelling, divided Government as he was forced to deny he had deliberately “unleashed the forces of hell” against his key partner in power.

Of course, that was just Westminster where British premier Gordon Brown was weakly insisting he had not shafted his Chancellor of the Exchequer – such dark political arts would never happen in the dear old Dáil. Oh no, the very idea.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen was more ratty than rattled in the chamber as he railed against opposition assertions his Government was exhausted and imploding.

Outside, the whiff of scandal grew ever stronger as two Garda investigations were announced into the leaking of the police letter written by Trevor Sargent, and – perhaps more damagingly – the claim by Willie O’Dea that the untrue smear allegations about a political rival he peddled to a journalist had been told to him by a garda.

Tourism Minister Martin Cullen hobbled into Leader’s Questions with the aid of a walking stick, but it was Dermot Ahern behind him who looked like he was politically limping after the events and accusations of the night before.

Dubbed the “Minister for Summary Justice” by unkind Fine Gael wags, Mr Ahern remained unusually quiet and restrained as the torrid waves of Trevorgate broke once again across the House.

How different from his snarling, juvenile behaviour during the O’Dea confidence debate when he traded guttersnipe insults with opposition backbenchers in a manner quite unbefitting the holder of one of the great offices of State.

The political hardman revealed his inner, softer, Dermo, as he spoke of his “hurt” at being branded the political assassin who brought Trevor down by Fine Gael and Labour.

That rush to judgment now appeared to be ebbing away from Mr Ahern and towards the garda, or Fianna Fáil north Dublin tribalism, but the damage of the deed still tore at the coalition.

The Greens would never return to the naive aura of glad confident good morning they initially brought to their unlikely marriage of political inconvenience with Fianna Fáil.

Any remnants of trust died with the O’Dea and Sargent careers, it is now just a matter of time until the Greens find an ethical pretext to walk and take their dodgy chances with an angry electorate, rather than continue to live on their nerves and watch for any more Government knives being plunged into their backs.

But the show must go on – for now, and Trevor was paraded one last time before the media thrall to announce his undying love for Fianna Fáil in the manner of a fading star doing one last photocall to cover over the cracks exposed by the passing scandal.

To be fair, Trevor didn’t bother to put much heart into it. All concerned knew he was going through the motions for the greater good of the Greens – a party so shaken and timid, its leader could not even muster the confidence to rule out its coalition partner’s role in Mr Sargent’s downfall just hours earlier.

But as bad as it is, it could all be worse still – take a look at London where Mr Brown spent most of the weekend on Britain’s rolling news channels denying that he had ever physically hit anyone in his government.


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