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3rd week - Feb 2008



weekly paste-up of some news and links arising from the campaign to Save the Tara Valley NOT comprehensive -please see other sites on the Links page - but hope it may be useful ~
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Greens offer a 'reason to vote'

By William Graham Political Correspondent in Dublin

SECTARIAN politics aimed at one section of the community and not the other is one reason why so many in Northern Ireland feel disaffected, Green Party leader John Gormley said at the weekend.

Mr Gormley said the Northern Ireland Greens, as a political entity, have emerged as a result of the Good Friday Agreement, and the party offers people a reason to vote.

Addressing the Green Party conference in Belfast on Saturday Mr Gormley said the DUP and Sinn Fein have fought their war and signed their treaty, and "that is their legacy".

Save Tara Campaigners picket the Green party Conference , Belfast

"It is now our turn. We are the result of a political climate that soars far above sectarianism or religious identification," he said.

"Climate change, pollution and the challenges of the globalised economy do not stop at national border."According to Mr Gormley other parties in the north are steeped in the past or their own pasts, or are more comfortable defining what they are against rather than what they are for.

"We Greens are growing and we are confident. The choice to vote Green is a distinctly different and conscious political decision than the choice to vote DUP, or SDLP, or UUP, or SF.

"It is distinctly different also from voting Alliance. It is a positive choice to identify with a forward looking and internationalist political project."

He told delegates that it was up to the Greens now to "spread the word, to recruit more members and to compete aggressively and confidently in elections".

The question of lack of transparency and vested interests in the Stormont executive in undermining democracy was also raised at the Greens conference.

Mr Gormley said opaque party funding and the absence of an effective opposition at Stormont has made voters sceptical.

The Republic's environment minister said popular concern about issues like climate change presented a unique opportunity to his party.

Mr Gormley also claimed that "unique arrangements that limit disclosure of sources of party funding combined with a deep-rooted suspicion that developers have an undue influence on decision-making, undermine democracy".

He said Ireland had missed an opportunity in failing to invest properly in wind energy and the same potential must not be lost for tidal power.

"I spoke about wind power in the early 1980s and it was pooh-poohed," he said.

"The Danes and the Germans didn't have the same attitude and made the investment and became world leaders, even though their resources were not a fraction of ours.

"We have these resources in our seas and elsewhere and we need to tap into climate change and energy efficiency needs to go centre-stage in northern politics."

Mr Gormley also expressed opposition to a nuclear power plant at Derry, a proposal already been dismissed by Derry City Council.

Dr John Barry, Green Party co-chair, said their vision and political agenda was "fit for purpose'' for post-conflict Northern Ireland.

"We are the only party with the 'Heineken effect' - we can and do reach parts of the Northern Ireland electorate that other parties cannot reach, whether hard or soft nationalism or Sinn Fein or the SDLP or the hard or soft unionism of the DUP, UUP and Alliance Party,'' Dr Barry said.

Green Party assembly member Brian Wilson said the executive had failed to deliver on policies to boost the environment.

Lack of progress on an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and withdrawal of money for renewable energy questions the administration's commitment to meaningful change, he said.

Mr Wilson said that the Green movement is not limited by borders and that climate change can only be solved by global action.