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Cablegate: Ireland: Cabinet Member On Greens, Eu Commission

VZCZCXRO5508
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHDL #0426 2811436
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081436Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0246
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST PRIORITY 1089

C O N F I D E N T I A L DUBLIN 000426

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR EI EUN
SUBJECT: IRELAND: CABINET MEMBER ON GREENS, EU COMMISSION

REF: A. DUBLIN 422
B. DUBLIN 419
C. DUBLIN 415

Classified By: Ambassador Daniel M. Rooney. Reasons 1.4(b/d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: A long-time insider in the governing party
Fianna Fail (FF), believes negotiations on a new Program for
Government with FF's coalition partner, the Greens, will be
successful. She cautions, though, that the Greens are
unpredictable. Also, Prime Minister Brian Cowen is
consulting colleagues about his difficult decision on the
next Irish nominee for the EU Commission. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) On October 8, Ambassador Rooney met with Mary Hanafin
(PROTECT), Irish Minister for Social and Family Affairs.
Hanafin, of the Fianna Fail (FF) party, is participating in
negotiations on a new Program for Government with FF,s
junior coalition partner, the Greens. Green Party members
will vote on the Program at a party convention this Saturday,
October 10, and must approve the Program by a two-thirds
majority (ref A). Hanafin said the negotiations were
cordial, but then added that theatrics demanded that there be
plenty of pounding the table and other indications of
indignation on the part of the Greens' negotiators. On the
night of October 7, a negotiator (whom Hanafin did not name)
had gathered up his things and left the meeting in a huff,
only to return the next morning calmed down and ready to
continue talking.

3. (C) Hanafin said she was confident the Greens would
approve the Program for Government, but added that it was
difficult to tell what would happen when dealing with a party
in which each member,s single issue often seems to override
a comprehensive party program. She said she had the
impression that, if some of the Greens had their way, the
Program for Government would emphasize "hares, stags and
badgers while everyone else in the country is drowning in
this economy." (NOTE: some Greens members are strongly
opposed to traditional Irish hunting. END NOTE.)

4. (C) Hanafin said Prime Minister Cowen had recently been
talking to her about the next Irish nominee for EU
Commissioner. Echoing other interlocutors (ref C), she said
it would be a difficult choice since taking someone from FF
would probably mean losing a seat in Parliament thereby
weakening an already slim majority, but naming someone from
the opposition would be going against PM Cowen,s grain.
Hanafin said there was a window of only about two weeks to
inform EU Commission President Barroso of the Irish nominee,
in order to have a chance at getting a substantive Commission
portfolio "such as agriculture." Hanafin added that the task
of nominating an EU Commissioner had just gotten harder after
the previous day's sudden resignation of the Speaker of
Parliament (ref B) -- now the Prime Minister would have to
find two qualified candidates for these "plum jobs."
ROONEY

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