Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, second from left (The Irish Times)Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and leader of the Green Party in Ireland, John Gormley, made a visit to Newgrange for the Winter Solstice, as if seeking some ancient wisdom to guide his troubled people though the dark of winter, to a place of light and hope. Well, he found some, but it may not have been what he wanted to hear. This is the man whose party campaigned vigorously for the protection of the Hill of Tara, and then said he had he had no power to change the M3 motorway, when he got elected and appointed Minister, by Bertie Ahern. The following is an excerpt from The Irish Times -Not all gloom for the winter solstice - 22 December 2008
Neither cloudy skies nor protests at Green failures could dim the conviviality of Newgrange watchers
Cameras were poised hopefully as the minutes passed. Still no sun rose over the familiar ridge facing the monument. It seemed so unlikely that no one was even willing it to happen. But the crowd was happy, not tense with expectation.
A female protester challenged Minister for the Environment John Gormley as he entered the passageway, reminding him of his failure to save the Tara landscape. Her comments encouraged other remarks; conversations strayed briefly from Newgrange and the technical achievements of our ancestors to the disappointing performance of the Greens in Government.
The robust man with the Nordic skier's hat summed it up: "They were full of big righteous talk when they were the opposition but once they got a bit of power, hah, they turned into mice." Strong support for mice as a species resulted in him quickly amending his comments: "I meant rats." "Hear, hear!," endorsed a formidable looking matron with a walking stick, "they've sold out. It's disgusting." Colourful images of self-righteous "eco rats" bearing low-energy light bulbs inspired further exchanges.
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