GREEN Party leader John Gormley last night promised to introduce legislation which he said would radically reform funding of political parties.
Addressing his party conference in Wexford, the environment minister said his legislation would stop political donations from big corporations, restrict the spending of money by political parties between elections and reduce the limits at which donations have to be declared.
In a swipe at the opposition parties, Gormley asked: "Who took money from the banks and the builders? It wasn't just Fianna Fáil, but also Fine Gael and the Labour Party. But there is one political party in this state that has never received a cent from any bank or any building company. That party, I am proud to say, is the Green Party".
The Green leader also said he wanted to send out a message to white-collar criminals "with their champagne and caviar lifestyle".
He said: "You won't get away with it. You will be pursued. You will be held to account. You will face the full rigours of the law. And you will pay for what you have done to our country."
On his new planning bill, Gormley said the days of "bad planning, dodgy rezoning and brown envelopes" are over.
"I will be tackling rogue developers. In the past, some developers have thumbed their nose at the system knowing that they'd probably get away with it. I will change all that. My new planning legislation will make rogue developers pay punitive fees to retain unpermitted buildings if they have flouted the rules."
On the economic crisis, Gormley called on the opposition parties to "stop the bickering and the grandstanding and the opportunism... You know an election is not going to solve our economic woes. You know the same tough decisions will have to be made regardless of who is in government".
He said the Green Party would do "whatever is necessary, even if it means losing some power, because right now the needs of the country are greater than the needs of any political party".
But Gormley vowed that the Greens would be "part of the cure" and would get "Ireland back on the road to recovery".