By Anthony Sheridan
I genuinely felt like getting sick as I read Fergus Finlay’s ‘letter’ to Maurice McCabe in last Tuesday’s Irish Examiner. I have never read such a sickeningly patronising, grossly insulting attempt at excusing the diseased political/administrative system that has inflicted so much suffering and despair on the people of Ireland.
Before commenting on this disgraceful example of rank hypocrisy it will be useful to know something of Finlay’s background.
He is a loyal, unapologetic supporter of the rotten establishment that has destroyed our country, the same establishment that has destroyed the lives of Maurice McCabe and his family.
He is a loyal supporter of the Labour Party, the party that has been betraying Ireland and its people since, at least, 1992 when Dick Spring went into coalition with the criminal politician Haughey.
This was after Spring, having rightly accused Haughey of being ‘a cancer in the body politic’, promised the Irish people that he would remove the cancer of corruption. Fergus Finlay was a political advisor to Dick Spring when the decision to enter coalition with the corrupt Haughey was made.
This is the man who now has the gall to write a letter to Sgt. McCabe on behalf of the Irish people. This is a man operating under the delusion that Sgt. McCabe might be grateful for receiving some new insight into the nightmare that has consumed his life for nearly a decade.
Here’s a sample of the sickly, patronising waffle written by Finlay:
Dear Sgt. McCabe,
You deserve our gratitude.
You’ve more than earned your title of Sergeant, a title that has always earned respect in Ireland.
You’ve tried to do your job to the best of your ability.
We’ve seen how you and your wife and children have suffered.
You have spoken the truth to power…despite unbearable pressure, without flinching. You’ve tried to serve the interests of the public the best way you know how.
I sincerely hope that Maurice McCabe never gets to read this mush written by a man who is long on meaningless platitudes but zero on challenging the political corruption that is the ultimate source of Maurice McCabe’s horrific treatment.
Rank hypocrisy comes naturally to establishment figures like Finlay. This is crystal clear when we witness his nauseating defence of some of those responsible for McCabe’s nightmare.
Writing about the file that was used to destroy McCabe, Finlay is critical of the ‘system’ but not of those responsible – he writes:
The first instinct of some people (my emphasis) in the HSE is to cover up.
Having placed the blame on some vague, unidentified, unaccountable people in the HSE Finlay then strongly supports those who are actually responsible.
I have faith in the senior management of the HSE. I believe people like Tony O’Brien (Director General of HSE) have tried as hard as they could to change the culture of the organisation.
Finlay then goes on to defend Fred McBride, the CEO of Tusla, an organisation that, in a functional democracy, would be under immediate criminal investigation as a result of its actions/failures.
Fred McBride would not tolerate the sort of practice that permeates large bureaucratic systems.
So Finlay is suggesting to McCabe, the victim, that while ‘some people’ and ‘bureaucracy’ within these organisations are to blame the senior management are innocent bystanders deserving of sympathy.
Keep in mind that Finlay believes he is writing a personal/public letter of support and apology to the man whose life has been destroyed by these and other organisations.
Finlay ends his disgraceful article with a statement that bears no relationship whatsoever to the reality of how our country is misgoverned.
I believe that you will be vindicated Sgt. McCabe. I believe that justice will be done in the end and that we will know who did this.
Firstly, we already know exactly who did this – The corrupt political system that has infected agencies of the state like the HSE and the Garda Siochana is responsible.
Secondly, tribunals are nothing more than a mechanism created by our corrupt political system to sidetrack justice and accountability. This tribunal will be no different from any other. It will arrive at the same mealy-mouthed conclusion as Finlay does in his article – the system was to blame, bureaucracy was to blame – no individuals will be held to account, no justice will be done.
The depth of Finlay’s hypocrisy on this matter can be gauged by reading an article he wrote less than three months ago in which in lectured the people of Ireland for having the default position of demanding heads every time a controversy arose. It’s time we all got a grip of ourselves, he admonished; he goes on:
As for the rest of us, we need a break too, and some sense of proportion about all this stuff. “Off with their heads”, as the default response to every controversy — especially when it’s amplified a thousand times by the poisonous side of social media — is not just wildly disproportionate, it’s killing the kind of public discourse we need.
And here’s what he had to say about Garda Commissioner Noreen O’Sullivan, the individual at the heart of Maurice McCabe’s nightmare.
Maybe her main crime is that she’s a woman in a macho world. Whatever it is, I hope she withstands the pressure. She’s a breath of fresh air — and could do a lot more if she was given a break
I wonder if Finlay were to meet Maurice McCabe would he have to courage to say to his face – I think the Commissioner who has mistreated you so badly is a breath of fresh air, that she could do a lot more if only she was given a break.
Somehow I doubt it.