It seems one of the iron laws of coalition politics that the minor party gets eaten up.
Fianna fail’s last coalition partner the Progressive Democrats actually ceased to exist as a party after two terms in with the Soldiers of Destiny.
The PDs did, of course, come from the FF gene pool.
Once established as a vehicle for the O’Malley clan they got themselves religion.
Thatcherite economic religion.
As with all dominant parties the strength of Fianna Fail is that they don’t actually stand for anything other than being in power.
It was a case of the tail wagging the dog.
In the end when there was a backlash against the ruling lot the small party could be badly damaged by even a small swing.
Now it is the turn of the Green Party.
My number One vote in town and council went to the Greens, little help that it was, but it was a gesture to the local guy who is genuine gem.
As I write this the Green party have a total of three-yes THREE-county council seats in the 26 county state.
The sad thing is that the party has excellent local councillors. The fish rots from the head.
The current coalition government-led by Fianna Fail-have two Green Party ministers.
Party leader John Gormley and Eamonn Ryan.
I met Eamonn ten years ago when we were both part of a Bord Failte delegation to Berlin.
He was selling cycling holidays and I was running a mountain guiding business in Donegal.
He was instantly likeable bloke and very committed to a clean environment for both business and ideological reason.
When he was elected as a Green Party TD I would have been one of the first to congratulate him.
He did consider running for President, but his party weren’t in favour.
He had a latter from me at the time offering to help run his presidential campaign in this part of our Republic.
Some time afterwards I spoke to Eamonn on the phone and joked with him if there was any chance of the GP getting into government in order to block the awful gas pipeline gouging out a scar across my father’s county of Mayo?
He said there was no chance.
You should never make predictions-especially about the future!
Recently Eamonn was embarrassed by the circulation of a picture of him in 2005 on the picket line in Mayo protesting at the Shell gas pipeline.
Now in government Eamonn has-err-adjusted his position on the pipeline.
The Green’s unique selling proposition was that they were ideologically driven to keep the environment clean and any development should be sustainable.
The Shell to Sea campaign did not forget Eamonn’s support for their struggle against the oil company.
John Gormley’s big difference has been to ban high-powered light bulbs (I’m not making this up).
As part of his Green credentials Gormley was a familiar site around Dublin cycling around Dublin.
Now he sometimes cycles in his ministerial working day with a high-powered government car crawling behind him.
Events dear boy events.
When the austerity programme was implemented this year, a belt-tightening exercise, which could last as much as five years, the Green minister didn’t let out a whimper.
Last night I watched Eamonn on RTE he was almost in tears as the local government the wipe out of the party unfolded.
All political careers, we are told, end in failure.
Small parties in coalition with larger partners often come to grief like the Greens here in Ireland.
Today John Gormley his party would continue in government with Fianna Fail in truth the Greens can do little else.
Fianna Fail will bounce back from this mid-term mauling.
The outlook for the Greens isn’t nearly so sanguine.