Just days after Pat Kenny and his neighbours were told by a High Court judge to end their land dispute through mediation, Gormley has taken stock and asked the opposition parties to “come on board” with the Government, give peace a chance and tackle climate change. “Put away the petty squabbling and the cheap shots, forget the negative nonsense, and come on board and work with us in the best interest of the country and the planet.”
Flower Power was all around Gormley as he delivered his keynote address to delegates. In a scene that resembled a garden from the Teletubbies, the speech was delivered on a green stage, with a green pulpit behind a row of bright yellow and orange flowers.
However, Gormley refused to sit on the garden fence and, in his talk of world peace, he went where no minister had gone before and condemned China’s abuse of human rights in Tibet. This caused the Chinese ambassador, his interpreter and another official to leave in protest. Journalists scurried behind, having finally found a story in what was beginning to feel like a very long convention.
There was excitement from other quarters earlier in the day when Communications Minister Eamon Ryan offered to strip. In a speech that was met with a few wild screeches, he said: “I will take off my jacket, I will take off my shirt, as long as we achieved our objective of more speedily moving this country in a greener direction.”
Dún Laoghaire TD Ciarán Cuffe, meanwhile, was giving a workshop in a hotel room on “how to reduce your carbon footprint in 12 easy steps”. He told those gathered they should switch to induction cooking. “The heat is only going into the pot, not out onto the stove.”
Aware of the importance of getting the most out of one’s politicians, one lady put up her hand and sought the TD’s advice.
“I’ve switched, but I still burn out every pot I have,” she said. To which another budding Darina Allen replied: “Well, new pots take a while to get used to.”
Moving on to his audition to replace Fair City’s Niamh in the next Surf ad, Ciaran told those attending the workshop they only needed to put a wash at 30 degrees. “If you’re worried about your clothes coming out grey, they won’t,” he reassured them.
Then came his own big confession: “I used to be a great man for putting the tea towels in at 90 degrees. I found errors in my ways, but I haven’t looked back.”
In the foyer, promotional stands included the Irish Seed Savers, the Vegetarian Society of Ireland and a man who displayed his bee colony.
They may have swapped their sandals for suits to be in government, but the old stereotypes of the Greens will never be shaken.