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'I'm tired of middle-aged men pissing away my future all the time'

We spoke to two Young Greens ahead of the Green Party conference this weekend.
Mar 27th 2015, 6:06 AM 49,824 130

IMG_5311 Lorna Bogue and Diarmuid Burke Source: TheJournal.ie

LORNA BOGUE AND Diarmuid Burke would freely admit they didn’t join the Green Party out of any major ideologically loyalty.

“It was a process of elimination,” they both say, pouring scorn on all of the main political parties. But that doesn’t mean they’re not passionate and excited about what the Greens are doing post-2011 election wipeout.

Bogue, 23, is chair of the Young Greens while Burke, 22, is the branch co-ordinator for the youth wing of the former government party.

Young Greens, which is an all-Ireland organisation, has a small but not insignificant membership of around 100 and lots of influence when it comes to the Green Party national executive.

“Last year has seen a huge growth spurt,” Burke said.

Bogue, who has a degree in Irish Music and Dance, explained that she was “not political at all” in college, but decided to get involved for one simple reason:

I wanted to get involved in politics because I’m just kind of tired of middle-aged men pissing away my future all the time. So last summer I was like ‘alright, I’ll get involved’. I’d sat on the sidelines long enough, I’d shouted at the TV long enough, so I got involved.

She believes Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are “pretty much the same” and ended her involvement with Labour – part of her “misguided political youth” – after the Savita Halappanavar case.

She said the party was dismissive of her concerns in a letter so she joined the Greens last year and was elected chair of the Young Greens a few months later.

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Burke was born in Limerick, but has lived in Dublin for most of his life. He is currently doing a masters in political communications in DCU and got involved with the Greens a couple of summers ago.

Neither voted for the Greens in the last election and both were pretty disgusted at the last government. But they realised that the Greens were responsible for some policies they actually agreed with, citing civil partnerships in particular. Burke explains:

Like Lorna I didn’t vote for them in 2011 because I wasn’t happy with a lot of decisions that that government had taken. I’d only just been able to vote, and maybe I wasn’t aware of what the Greens were doing in government. I hated Fianna Fáil. I’d always hated Fianna Fáil, so I felt angry at he Greens for getting in with Fianna Fáil.

He said that the Greens in government “deal with the unsexy things, the things that don’t win votes” saying the party had a willingness to tackle unpopular issues.

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Both see the party as occupying the unpopular ground and not being too concerned about votes, but that’s a good thing, Bogue claims.

I am sick of gombeen politics. I don’t want to be part of it.

Bogue said that people who view the Greens as a single-issue party can be convinced of its merits. She cites a recent meeting with farmers, a traditionally anti-Green group.

I think they were half expecting me to pull out a ‘meat is murder’ sign but after chatting to them, they were much more willing to sort of accept that we weren’t out to get them. That we’re not just about the environment.

On their own political ambitions, Bogue said she may run for the party in Dan Boyle’s old seat in Cork South-Central at the next election, but added that it will be up to the selection convention to decide.

Burke, said that the more involved he’s become in politics the less inclined he is to run.

He’s focused on setting up more Young Greens branches in colleges around the country and is desperate for the party to get 2 per cent at the next election so as it will receive some state funding.

“The party is essentially running on fumes, donations and savings,” he added.

The Green Party annual conference takes place in Kilkenny tonight and all-day tomorrow.

More details here and the conference brochure and agenda is here

VIDEO: Watch Eamon Ryan explain why the Greens would do a deal with anyone (including Sinn Féin)

Watch this video of Eamon Ryan getting REALLY angry about Alan Kelly

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Hugh O'Connell

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