Roderic O’Gorman (Green) (10 Days To Election)

Having discussed all of Dublin West’s sitting TD’s and one of its main challengers, time to wrap things up with the people likely to be fighting it out for the four seats.

Roderic O’Gorman is a long-time Green Party stalwart in this area. He first contested elections for the Greens in 2004 at the local level and 2007 at the national level, but it took until 2014 for him to win a local race, in Castleknock. He followed that up with more defeats in general and by-elections, before riding the Green Wave to a huge 3’000+ first preferences in last years locals. In the meantime, he has also served as the Chairperson of the Greens from 2011 to 2019.

O’Gorman, despite his relatively young age of 37, is the kind of guy where it feels like he has been around forever. The Greens are a party, like others on the left, that I think routinely suffers from jumping from candidate to candidate in areas, never giving them a chance to settle in, but in Castleknock and Dublin West, that hasn’t been the case. O’Gorman is their man here, and that vote counter has been slowly eking up, even with the post-2011 apocalypse.

O’Gorman is the kind of figure that the Greens are happy to have leading the way here. He comes across very well anytime I have seen him speak, seeming articulate, confident and genuinely committed to the key Green talking points. His personal manifesto may be largely a sort of bland Green list of bullet points, but there are specific policies there that are worth considering for the constituency, like O’Gorman’s efforts to help draft legislation to clamp down on scrambler bikes, or the efforts to get a move on with the electrification of the commuter line and further extension of the Luas. His staying power is unquestionable. Having been one of the central figures of the party since the 2011 wipeout, if he was elected and managed to solidify his position, I can easily imagine him being a potential successor to Ryan.

Of course, the Greens may have emerged from the shadow of John Gormley, but the stain has not entirely been erased yet, anymore than it has from Fianna Fail or their candidates. The Irish Greens remain one of the most conservative environmental political parties in Europe, with pro-business leanings and endorsement of capitalist thinking that is as surprising as it is unpalatable. I don’t meant to sound like a dyed-in-the-wool socialist when I say that, because I am not, but I, like many others, have found the return of the Green Party to prominence to be one that has come without adequate consideration for the nitty-gritty of their economic plans. This includes things like the sale of public land to private developers and carbon taxes that may not be adequately fair to low-income households.

Also, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the party generally is trying hide a low-key civil war between fundamentalists who advocate total commitment to environmental policies and stringent red lines when it comes to coalition and realists who are more willing to talk to the bigger parties and offer compromises. O’Gorman would appear to be among the latter, successfully arguing against a recent conference motion that coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fail should be ruled out, and for a motion that the party should define itself as “anti-neoliberalism” instead of “anti-capitalism”.

For all that I like O’Gorman and the talk he talks, I would be lying if I said I was not concerned at the walk he will walk if elected, and if the Greens get into the finer details with Varadkar or Martin. Make no mistake about it, the urge to be in power in 2007 led the Greens to become a pro-austerity Renfield, and it is only the dominance of climate change as an issue that has seem them bounce back as quickly as they have. The youth vote, the Greta generation, is latching onto them, helped by the younger wave of candidates who are sounding increasingly aggressive. When and if the Greens do get their shot at entering government, it will be interesting to see if they become cohesive or fall apart.

But do they deserve the chance to try? It might be hard to swallow, but I do think that “Yes” might be the answer. The Greens are the only party treating the environmental crisis with the seriousness that it deserves, and every vote for them is a wake-up call to other parties to take note. Lessons may well have been learned from what happened under Ahern and Cowen, and that younger generation strikes me as the type that will be less inclined to compromise than maybe Ryan, or O’Gorman, should expect. A strong Green party might be able to extract key environmental promises, and should be able to effectively dangle the threat of collapsing a government if their demands are not met and adhered to. That is to say, the exact role they should have played from 2007 to 2011, but failed to.

But will O’Gorman be elected? He has been trying for a long time now, seeing half of his vote vanish between 2007 and 2011, before setting a record total in 2016. That local performance last year was a spectacular sign of how things were going for the Greens: if replicated on Election Day, O’Gorman would have half of the votes he needs for a seat from Castleknock alone, with plenty of signs that there are Green votes throughout the constituency. The Green Wave may not saturate the country as much as some people thought it would at the start of the campaign, but all the signs are there that it will strike in Dublin West. There is a large youth vote here, and O’Gorman will undoubtedly be transfer friendly. The wait really should be over for him come February 9th.

And the Greens in general should have a good day. I can see them picking up a lot of final seats, and they may even, on a very good day, get to double figures, such is the potential of the vote coalescing under them. Seven or eight seats is more likely, and that will make them a force in the next Dail, the leading light of the centre-left.

Victory for O’Gorman is a seat, it simply has to be viewed in that manner. Defeat is to lose out again, though one suspects that if that were to happen, it would be close, and O’Gorman would be down for another go as soon as possible. But I doubt that it will come to that.

This entry was posted in General Election 2020, Ireland, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Roderic O’Gorman (Green) (10 Days To Election)

  1. Pingback: Who I’m Voting For In Dublin West (2 Days To Election) | Never Felt Better

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