Fergus Finlay: Living in the cave of shadows

Fight Corruption in Politics-by-Elkwaet
Fight Corruption in Politics-by-Elkwaet

We have betrayed one of our fellow citizens. We need to feel a sense of shame about that.

This is the opinion expressed by Fergus Finlay in an article about a woman who suffered unspeakable and degrading cruelty at the hands of the state.

On the assumption that the ‘we’ Mr. Finlay speaks of includes me I want to make my position crystal clear.

I am in no way responsible for the horrors inflicted on this woman by the state.

I strongly believe, however, that Mr. Finlay is responsible, at least to some extent, for what happened to her and that he should indeed hang his head in shame for the part he has played in her suffering.

I am in no way responsible because I have been campaigning against political/administrative corruption in Ireland since 1982 when I first realised that I lived in an intrinsically corrupt state.

If influential political operators/opinion makers like Mr. Finlay arrived at the same conclusion at the same time it is highly likely that this woman would never have suffered because she would have been living in a functional democracy where justice and accountability were an ingrained aspect of governance.

But this woman did not and does not live in a functional democracy.

She lives in a state where politicians can be filmed openly asking for bribes and not only are they not arrested and charged but are allowed to continue in office. Political corruption is to blame for this.

She lives in a country where corrupt politicians are allowed to sit in our parliament as if they were individuals of principle and integrity. Political corruption is to blame for this.

She lives in a country where politicians regularly manipulate the law to help their friends or spy on journalists and ordinary citizens to protect their own corrupt interests. Political corruption is to blame for this.

She lives in a country where bankers, property developers and other powerful groups receive massive financial, political and legal support at the expense of the state and its people. Political corruption is to blame for this.

But most of all she lives in a country where the state frequently intervenes, sometimes illegally, to protect the powerful and the corrupt. Political corruption is to blame for this.

Mr. Finlay is, of course, in no way corrupt himself. Indeed, he is a man of passionate anger when it comes to the many injustices that are frequently exposed in our state. But in addition to anger Mr. Finlay frequently expresses puzzlement about the endless stream of corruption that has blighted our country since independence.

Here’s why he is puzzled.


Mr. Finlay lives in Plato’s cave of shadows. He firmly believes that the mainstream political parties are real. Trapped within his cave he does not see that they are merely shadows masquerading as democratic entities.

He does not see that Ireland, unique among Western democracies, is ruled by a single political class made up principally of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. He does not see that these fake entities play a game of election musical chairs as each in turn, or together in coalition, plunder the nation’s resources.

He does not see that this corrupt political class has spread the disease of corruption throughout the land but particularly within the civil and public service where loyalty to the state and its people has been, largely, abandoned.

He does not seem to be aware that since the catastrophe of 2008 this corrupt political regime has been engaged in a life or death struggle with a significant and growing percentage of the population who have been politically radicalised and are determined to rid their country of the disease of political corruption.

Mr. Finlay does not see all this because he lives in the cave with the shadows. All he sees are shadows posing as democratic politicians, shadows that pose as law enforcement agencies, shadows that pose as accountable government departments but in reality are nothing more than obedient lapdogs to their corrupt political masters.

Blinding flashes of truth from outside the cave increasingly encroach on Mr. Finlay’s comfortable existence in the cave of shadows. His anger and puzzlement continues to grow as he witnesses the ever increasing incidence of abuse and corruption

The recent brutal treatment of Grace by the state is just one of countless cases of abuse and corruption that has triggered his anger over many, many years.

And yet, Mr. Finlay has never once stopped to take a hard look at the shadows and ask the most obvious question – are they real, have I been wasting my entire life shouting at shadows?

I have never lived in the cave of shadows. That’s why I could see I was living in an intrinsically corrupt state in 1982. That’s why I’m not to blame for the horror visited upon Grace by the state.

My anger is, and has always been, directed at the true source of Grace’s suffering, the corrupt political/administrative system that continues to inflict so much damage and suffering on the people of our state.

I’m sure Mr. Finlay will strongly disagree with my analysis but to do so with any credibility he must answer the following question.

Why is it that decade after decade after decade we witness the same horrors, the same corruption originating from the same political/administrative system without ever witnessing accountability or justice?

How many more Grace’s have to suffer unspeakable cruelty before Mr. Finlay walks out of the cave of shadows into the light of reality?

I hope it’s not too many.

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Fergus Finlay