In a year of much internal turbulence, it’s a Christmas miracle the Greens still have the energy to fight with one another.
This week’s domestic incident was around the contentious Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (Ceta) with Canada and like all major issues within the Green Party, almost no one outside of Leinster House had any idea what it was before the bill was scheduled on Tuesday.
As with most other issues within Greens, it seems half the party sleepwalked into a mess of their own making.
It’s under dispute just who was told what and when about the bill, which has been maligned by environmental campaigners everywhere, but it’s clear certain Greens did not expect the vote to be scheduled on Tuesday.
What’s also clear is that Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar did not expect to have to grant Eamon Ryan a second deferral of the vote in order to get his TDs in line.
It’s hard to believe that none of the Green ministers at cabinet saw this particular probably-shrinking-due-to-climate-change iceberg coming either, knowing the party members had passed a motion to actively campaign to reject Ceta in 2016.
Internal messages show some within the party including Chair Hazel Chu is considering a special convention on Ceta, a testament to how little input Eamon Ryan has had on the issue, as this conversation seems to be going on without him.
Like the accusations of bullying, an exodus of members, a minister hung out to dry over a Mother and Baby Homes bill he had very little to do with and all the issues that came before, the Green leadership is nowhere to be found.
The wayward TDs themselves have yet to hear directly from the leader and their more amenable colleagues say for all their wide-eyed shock that the bill was scheduled, they should have known it was coming.
TDs are emailed every week with lists of issues and motions that are coming before the Dáil, and the Ceta bill was included in one such email and discussed at a parliamentary party meeting.
And while going into government was not everyone’s cup of tea, the group as a whole RSVP’ed to the tea party.
What’s clear is it wasn’t debated in detail and the law was not laid down by Eamon Ryan.
The Green Party leader has already had to discipline two of his TDs for voting against the government and could have been facing the same conundrum in a matter of months had he not been given another crack of the (literal) whip by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste.
Green TDs say privately they expect to lose their seats in the next election as those who gave them transfer votes, and by extension seats, expected radical change.
However, dyed-in-the-wool members say the party has always been pragmatic, bending to reason and compromise has always been part of their DNA and their current tenure in government reflects that.
The problem for TDs is that their tenure in the 2007-2011 government was exactly the same as it is today and all that pragmatic compromise amounted to electoral wipeout.