Everyone loves you until they don’t. That’s what the Green Party have been feeling today, as the attention from other parties suddenly wavered, and left them as second best. Meanwhile everyone’s attention is focussed on the coronavirus story, as Ireland’s first case lands in Dublin Airport, and then makes their way up to Belfast.
A bit Green
The Green party has been around for a long time now. And yet, and yet, it’s focus on questions of urgent, critical ecological issues has always resulted in a bit of an earnest air. So, Eamonn Ryan’s plan to establish a multi-stranded talks process, involving- to start- a seven hour meeting with Sinn Féin may not have been the best start. Basically, people can get really tired of that kind of thing, really fast.
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are still circling each other, with FG playing the part of a child who would prefer to take its ball back home anyway. FF may not have the bandwidth for seven hour multi-strand meetings with a third-wheel party at the same time.
And Mary Lou McDonald, at one of her public meetings (which are still being very well attended) took up a comment describing the Greens as Fine Gael on bicycles.
(What did she mean? Shh, nobody mention class. Nobody ever refers to the obvious references to class in public discourse and it’s always been a bit mysterious.)
Basically, the Greens are a nice-to-have for a FF/FG coalition, but can be replaced by FF/FG indos. They’re a must-have for Sinn Féin, who might want to play along with the strands a bit less transparently if they actually mean to get any agreement.
It’s not good, but it’s not a surprise either. Ireland joins the list of countries with the Coronavirus confirmed. The patient is in Northern Ireland, having flown in from Italy through Dublin Airport. Hopefully they’ll be OK.
Unfortunately its probably too late to say the same about the Irish public, which has spent the last few days circulating fever dreams on WhatsApp and explaining their plans to Joe Duffy to fight off a virus with an axe.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that Italy has Europe’s lowest rate of washing hands after going to the loo, at 57% and we have all been giving it the side eye.
chart cc by Niall McCarthy