Anyone listening to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte talking about white collar crime could be forgiven for thinking he was a politician from Outer Mongolia on a fact finding tour of Ireland (Marian Finucane Show, Sun, 11th March).
The single biggest issue that I encounter at meetings around the country is the demand from audiences to know why nobody in the banking fraternity has been made accountable for what has befallen us.
Minister Rabbitte is an experienced politican of long standing. It’s reasonable to assume that over the decades he’s noticed that white collar crime is endemic in Ireland.
It’s also reasonable to assume he’s aware that the State has never, ever taken any significant steps to bring white collar criminals to account.
At some point in his long career Mr. Rabbite must have thought to himself; why is it that Ireland, alone among all Western states, steadfastly refuses to prosecute white collar criminals?
What’s going through his mind when all those desperate and now impoverished citizens are screaming at him at meetings around the country:
WHY THE FUCK DOESN’T THE STATE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS WIDESPREAD AND CONTINUOUS WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALITY THAT HAS DESTROYED OUR COUNTRY AND OUR LIVES?
Does he think to himself; I must tell Marian the next time I’m on her show about this deep anger that I keep on encountering which seems to have come out of nowhere.
And Mr. Rabbitte (who, apart from his current visit to Ireland, has spent his entire life in a windowless hut high on a mountain in his beloved Outer Mongolia) seems genuinely puzzled about this problem that has destroyed Ireland.
It’s a very difficult question to answer and one is assured that the Office of the Director Corporate Enforcement and the fraud squad and others are seized of this issue.
Mr. Rabbitte seems to be genuinely ignorant of the fact that neither the ODCE nor the Fraud Squad have ever managed to bring a major white collar criminal to account.
He seems genuinely ignorant of the fact that even if the ODCE, miracluously or by some mad accident, brought a successful prosecution the ‘punishment’ available is a paltry fine and/or disqualification from managing a company for a few years.
But most of all Mr. Rabbitte seems genuinely unaware that he’s a senior government minister, that he has power, that he can, if he chooses, take action to force the state to bring the white collar criminals to account.
Unfortunately, for Ireland and its people, there’s as much chance of that happening as there is of an Anglo Irish Bank official ending up in jail.