Time to worry as future of life as we know it depends on eco-warriors

TREVOR SARGENT rallied his eco-warriors with a defiant cry that they were about to go into Government by breaking through the glass ceiling — unfortunately he was speaking in a conservatory at the time.

It was the perfect unintended metaphor to sum up the awkward tension palpable between Green rhetoric and the reality of Irish politics.

Not for Trevor, the piffle of 2% tax cuts and extra gardaí, oh no. He declared, without a hint of pomposity, that: “This country, and indeed future life on Earth, depends on us succeeding as Green Party candidates.” Phew, that puts bin charges into perspective.

And therein lies the ironic tragedy of the Greens. The tide is slowly turning in their favour, but it won’t become a tidal wave until the polar ice caps start melting in earnest and then it will be too late to save anything. If only we’d listened.

And, indeed, you couldn’t help hearing Trevor roaring on Ireland in the conference hotel’s Herring Choker bar as he posed for a phalanx of photographers, who just happened to catch him enjoying the match in that casual alpha male kind of way, draped in a handy tricolour no less.

Though, strangely, his very public devotion to the boys in green only lasted 20 minutes until he slipped away to watch himself on the Six O’Clock News.

This didn’t stop Mr Sargent invoking the spirit of the Drismeister and co in his live televised keynote speech, which was all very moving and timely — if you ignored the facts that he mistook Ireland for Leinster and Croke Park for Lansdowne Road.

Still, we knew what he meant, didn’t we? Well no, not all the time, as his delivery seemed to alternate between that of an over-excited imitation of that weird bloke at the bus stop who shouts at you for no reason, to a concerned father telling you a children’s story with a sombre twist — Bertie and the Builders. Has he fixed things for them? Yes, he has!

There was so much arm waving and thumbs-aloft positivity emanating from Trevor that, at several points in the speech, he could have put a wind farm to shame.

The result being he powered through the text at such a rate the Greens were left with several minutes of airtime to fill at the end of their RTÉ slot which they duly did with endless whooping and displays of adoration of Trevor from the crowd.

Mr Sargent became so enraptured that, at one point, he seemed to heckle David Davin Power with a shout of “Here comes the news!” as the political commentator was about to go live on air while standing on a very large box at the other end of the room.

The professional that he is, ‘DDP’ stoically refused to acknowledge the Green ruffians and addressed the nation regardless.

So, the future of life on Earth depends on them? Perhaps it’s time to start worrying.

Green day: pitching for a rearview look at the sidelines of Irish politics

Compiled by Harry McGee

Good conference for: Niall Ó Brolcháin.

The Galway mayor benefited from the conference being hosted on his turf. Also got a plug in for his eco-friendly Toyota Prius.

Bad conference for: Michael McDowell.

The PD leader, right, was name-checked in almost every speech including that of leader Trevor Sargent. Biggest boo of the weekend came when the TV cameras in Croke Park fixed on him and Bertie Ahern.

600: Number of people who attended the leader’s speech.

Mood: Euphoric, despite the ropey speech made by Sargent.

Commitment: Top marks have to go to the small group of activists who proved their green credentials by cycling from Dublin to Galway for the conference.

Shock convert: Irish Examiner almost fainted from shock when Mayo Fine Gael TD Michael Ring walked through lobby yesterday morning. Turned out that he was a guest on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, coming from the Galway Bay Hotel.

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