By Anthony Sheridan
Corruption expert Elaine Byrne is correct to criticise members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for their sometimes over-robust comments regarding the Garda Commissioner’s evidence in front of the Committee (Sunday Business Post, 25 June).
But I suspect Ms. Byrne, in common with all establishment journalists, is using the relatively minor issue of comment-happy politicians to avoid facing the brutal reality of police corruption. For nearly twenty years now, beginning with the Donegal scandal, we have witnessed an avalanche of police corruption.
The single most obvious observation regarding this constant stream of corruption within the force is the complete lack of accountability.
No charges, no court cases, no jail time. This is the norm in a dysfunctional democracy like Ireland.
The current Garda Commissioner, Norin O’Sullivan, is continuing this dishonourable and disgraceful tradition of circling the wagons to, effectively, protect the corrupt at the expense of democracy and the interests of the Irish people.
In a functional democracy Ms. O’Sullivan would have been sacked long ago and, in all likelihood, find herself under criminal investigation.
And as I mentioned above, Ms. Byrne is not the only journalist/opinion maker with a disturbing tendency to focus on the irrelevant in order to avoid confronting the disease of corruption that’s rampant among the upper echelons of Irish society.
Fergus Finlay, an uncompromising, loyal supporter of the establishment, has worn his fingers to the bone battering out article after article on his keyboard in response to the never-ending stream of corruption scandals that have caused so much suffering and damage to Ireland and its people.
Yet, much like Ms. Byrne, Finlay never, ever actually identifies the source of corruption in Ireland – the mainstream political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.
Indeed, in a recent article Mr. Finlay went out of his way to clearly state that the political system is not corrupt. After nearly wringing his hands off in anguish over the State’s continuing failure to deal with poverty, hunger and abuse of children Finlay absolves the politicians and places the blame firmly with the royal ‘we’.
These things have happened because of the choices we’ve made.
And in case ‘we’ haven’t got the message Finlay hammers it home by dismissing recent political scandals such as that involving Marie Whelan, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Shane Ross as pathetic parochial pettifogging.
Apparently, there is no connection between political shenanigans (corruption in functional democracies) and the suffering and injustices inflicted on the vulnerable, according to Finlay.
In 20 years’ time, none of those pathetic parochial pettifogging political issues will matter a damn. They don’t matter a damn now.
He goes on:
The Government made a hames of it and the opposition and media are making a meal of it. But that’s all it is — no corruption, no crime, no illegality. Just stupid political mismanagement, made worse as usual because no-one can admit a mistake.
No corruption, no crime, no illegality – just some (innocent) political mismanagement.
This seems to be the rallying cry for establishment journalists like Byrne and Finlay when it comes to defending our corrupt political system.
They simply refuse to acknowledge that (Political) corruption is rampant, (white-collar) crime is rampant and illegality is rampant throughout the upper echelons’ of Irish society.
It is not, I suspect, that they are unaware of the brutal truth but rather that they don’t have the courage to condemn their own.
It has always been my practice to send a copy of articles I write to those I criticise. Recently however, Mr. Finlay finally lost patience with reading my analysis of his views and angrily blocked me from his twitter account. He had no need to block me; a simple request to desist from sending my articles would have been sufficient.
Here’s the article that so angered Mr. Finlay.