With the announcement of a coalition deal between Fianna Fáil, Fianna Gael, and the Green Party, it seems some commentators have been lured in by a myriad of promises, related to housing, climate, and direct provision, to name a few of the issues addressed in the document.
These promises give the Greens the cover they need to enter coalition while keeping a decent portion of their voter base happy…for now.
But have they learned nothing from their last disastrous outing in government?
There were promises made then too. We all saw how that worked out.
A bank bailout. Relentless austerity that forced workers to pay for the crisis. And despite Eamon Ryan wanting to ”get people out of cars”, there were more buses cut from the fleet than under any other government.
If the Greens appear to have learned nothing, the same cannot be said of the electorate, who voted overwhelmingly to break from the toxic cycle of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
For the first time in history, we had an opportunity to form a minority left-wing government.
We now find ourselves in the bizarre situation of a return to power of a government almost nobody wants, which is understandably demoralising for those who voted for change.
But the seismic political shift we saw has not been undone, and this government can expect a groundswell of resistance, particularly from a politicised youth who will not accept another term of poor housing, low wages, a crumbling health system, or indeed accelerating climate catastrophe.
Much has been made of the Greens as the ‘climate conscience’ of this ‘grand coalition.’ But time and again, People Before Profit have argued that the only way we can avoid absolute catastrophe is with a radical change in our economic system, and it is clear that the Greens are not committed to such radical action.
Even if they were, a government coalition with two of the most right-wing parties in the state will put paid to any hopes they have of changing the system from within.
Only the building of a mass movement for climate action and justice can deliver the kind of systemic change that we need. People Before Profit are not the only ones to say this – we have seen inspiring radicalism and energy from young climate strikers, who are unlikely to sit back as the Greens waste 5 years in a hopeless coalition with the parties of the past.
The genie is not going back in the bottle.