Labour TD Derek Nolan recently delivered a political sermon with the heading:
Deputy Nolan was writing about the decision of Social Democrat TDs not to pay their water charges and didn’t mince his words:
There is no future for our democracy in people picking and choosing which laws they obey.
In July 2013 Labour Senator Denis Landy alleged that a political person attempted to bribe him within the confines of the Oireachtas. He has refused to name the person involved or report the matter to the Gardai despite numerous calls for him to do so.
Senator Landy’s refusal to report the matter seems to be in breach of Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 which states:
19. (1) A person shall be guilty of an offence if he or she has information which he or she knows or believes might be of material assistance in
(a) preventing the commission by any other person of a relevant offence, or
(b) securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any other person for a relevant offence and fails without reasonable excuse to disclose that information as soon as it is practicable to do so to a member of the Garda Síochána.
The list of offences under this legislation includes bribery.
The Labour Party, through a spokesperson, responded to this extremely serious incident by declaring that the bribery attempt was a matter for Senator Landy himself.
In effect, the Labour party is saying that Labour TDs who are offered a bribe have no obligation to report the matter to the Gardai; they can simply treat the matter as private and personal.
This disgraceful response also seems to be in breach of Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011.
So here’s my direct challenge to deputy Nolan.
One: Will you publicly condemn Labour Senator Denis Landy, (as you have publicly condemned Social Democrat TDs), for refusing to report to the Gardai bribery allegations he made in July 2013?
Two: Will you publicly call on Senator Landy, even at this late stage, to report the bribery allegations to the Gardai as he is obliged to do under law?
Three: Will you publicly condemn the disgraceful Labour Party response to this extremely serious matter?
Four: Will you publicly call on the Labour Party to issue a statement confirming that Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 takes precedence over the party’s policy that bribery attempts are a private matter between a politician and the person offering the bribe?
Your response to this challenge will decide whether your condemnation of Social Democratic TDs is based on genuine concern for the rule of law or whether it’s based on traditional Irish political hypocrisy.
One week, I believe is a reasonable length of time for a response.