There’s an excellent example in today’s Irish Examiner of how Irish officials can operate both inside and outside of reality at the same time.
This amazing ability allows Irish politicians and civil servants to break a law or rule and, at the same time in their minds, obey that very same law.
This case involved tendering rules surrounding procurement procedures by Waterford City Council.
An internal auditor’s report looked at €4.9 million worth of spending and found that proper procedures were not followed in €4.3 million of the expenditure.
But Waterford city manager Michael Walsh assured everybody willing to believe him that no companies were given work on the basis of favouritism.
I mean the very thought that the setting aside of rules specifically designed to prevent favouritism could be seen as an abuse of power is an outrage against the unquestionable honesty of all state officials.
No – Mr. Walsh provided a perfectly clear, honest and uniquely Irish explanation.
Bending the rules’ isn’t the language I would like to use. We weren’t fully compliant is the point the auditor is making… and I accept that.
I want to be clear about this, in the circumstances we very deliberately decided that we were not going to be fully compliant but we did ensure, I can assure you, that there was competitive tendering.
In fairness, you have to admire this ability to make two completely contradictory statements while, apparently, believing the substance of both.