'Deplorable': Departed Green senator Deirdre de Búrca

THE Green Party yesterday rounded on departed senator Deirdre de Búrca, with one senior member accusing her of "political blackmail" and deputy leader Mary White lashing out at her "deplorable" behaviour.

In a letter to party members, White said: "It is a simple fact that Deirdre's behaviour was driven by her failure to secure a senior EU post in Brussels. It is less known that she threatened John Gormley and her party colleagues that she would set out to damage the party if she did not get that job.

"For the past two weeks she has stayed away from parliamentary party meetings and communicated a number of threats and deadlines to her colleagues".

Another senior figure, who did not wish to be named, went even further.

"She told us that she wanted a specific job offer by midnight on Thursday or else she was going to resign and go to the media. It was political blackmail and we were not going to be bullied," he said.

In her resignation letter, de Búrca said she had lost confidence in party leader John Gormley and claimed the Greens had "gradually abandoned our political values and integrity..."

But party figures are openly stating that de Búrca's explosive departure was linked to her failure to secure a position in new EU commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn's cabinet.

Another Green TD told the Sunday Tribune that "de Búrca was offered a position in Luxembourg where she could apply for a transfer to move to Brussels after six months. She could have earned her spurs there and got used to the system but she demanded a specific job and gave us a deadline".

There is a unanimous view in the party this weekend that de Búrca's departure will not affect the Greens' future in government.

While de Búrca was not contactable yesterday, the man tipped as her possible successor in the Seanad, Clare councillor Brian Meaney, described her actions as "devious", "Machiavellian" and the result of "an ego not satisfied by a role in the Seanad".

Meaney took particular issue with her criticism of John Gormley, claiming "she stuck the knife into John and twisted it". Gormley, he said, was a "hard-working, honest man whose integrity I do not question and who has a dedication to public life I don't question". He said if everybody took the same attitude as de Búrca, Sarkozy and Merkel would have been at the centre of Ireland's affairs last week and not Greece's. The Greens were "doing the right thing" by the country in government.