Ship of state sails into stormy waters




By Anthony Sheridan


The party on the bridge of the ship of state was in full swing. The captain, his officers, first class passengers and the bulk of the media were celebrating the epic achievements of their great and glorious ship.

Servants scurried about frantically filling glasses, restocking food trays and cleaning up the mess made by some of the more over-indulgent partygoers.

Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of the ship the steerage passengers, who could only barely hear the sound of good times high on the bridge, chatted among themselves about their hopes that the ship would also take them to a better place.

Then, at 2008, a mild but distinct shudder knocked over some of the more precariously balanced drinks and food trays on the bridge as it rippled its way down the entire length of the ship.

What the hell was that, one annoyed journalist demanded to know as she ordered a refill of her gin and tonic from a cowering waiter.

Don’t you worry your pretty little head said Captain Cowen. I’m in charge of this ship; a ship bestowed upon me by my good friend Captain Bertie and navigated by generations of great Fianna Fail leaders with the occasional input from our ruling elite colleagues in Fine Gael and Labour.

Oh Captain Cowen, I’m so impressed, cooed the journalist. I’m going to write a glowing article about your legendary intelligence and political wisdom.

Deep in the bowels there was no such assurance as the steerage passengers struggled in vain to save themselves from the catastrophic flood that had finally breached the hull as a result of decades of corrosion from the disease of corruption.

They looked on in horror as the lives and dreams of their families and friends were swept away in the putrid waters of cronyism, nepotism and gombeenism.

As they waded past the bodies and lost possession of their kind, they began to move upwards to look for assistance, guidance and sympathy from those steering the ship of state.

All through 2009 and 2010 the party continued unabated on the bridge.

Bankers surrounded by their good friends in the Financial Regulator’s Office. Property developers feeding in the trough of endless profit constantly topped up by the captain and his officers. Journalists eagerly assisting their political masters in exchange for a bottle of hooch and a cheap headline.

But some were beginning to suspect that all was not well.

Tell me, said Noel Whelan from the Irish Times to senior officer Brian. The ship seems to have slowed down considerably and, while I’m no expert, the bow appears to be an awful lot lower in the water than it was before the party began.

There’s absolutely nothing to worry about Noel, whispered Brian soothingly. There’s been a bit of a storm in international waters which resulted in some moderate turbulence for the ship.

But the captain is worried that the ordinary, uneducated people down on the lower decks might not understand what’s happening.

Of course, of course, replied Noel in sympathetic agreement. Is there anything we in the media can do to help?

Well, now that you mention it, there is something you could do. The captain would be forever grateful if you and your colleagues could man the broadcast system to the lower decks. You’ll be working with your good friends at RTE who have already agreed to do everything they are ordered,…er, I mean, asked to do to calm the masses.

Of course Brian, what are your instructions?

Just keep on broadcasting the term ‘Lehman Brothers’, over and over again. It’s crucial that you never stop and never question the wisdom of Captain Cowen’s brilliant navigation of our great and glorious ship.

Now, now Brian, you know we in the mainstream media never question the amazing intelligence and courage of our great leaders but this Lehman Brothers thing, what does it mean?

Well, just between you and me Noel, it doesn’t mean anything. We have legal advice, which of course must remain secret, that the term has a mysterious calming effect on the lower classes, but; to be fully effective it must be repeated endlessly.

You can rely on us in the mainstream media to remain loyal to the captain said Noel as he grabbed a Bloody Mary from the tray of a passing waiter.

By 2010 the people’s struggle upwards to freedom was blocked by a series of iron gates that had been firmly shut by agents of the state.

The police ordered the protesters:

Get back down to your own level, nothing to see here; no way through.

Behind the police, social welfare agents shouted:

We’re cutting your allowances to make sure those on the bridge have enough resources to live in the comfort they’re accustomed to as they plan the mass burial of your dreams and ambitions.

At another gate, a politicians announced:

Don’t worry, although many of you are doomed we promise, going forward, to reform the way our great and glorious ship is navigated.

As you suffer and die we are planning to replace the officers on the bridge with another group of officers who have really, really, really promised to work in the interests of those of you who are lucky enough to survive.

Through all the shouting and bedlam an endless media drone could be heard – Lehman Brothers…Lehman Brothers…Lehman Brothers…Lehman Brothers


Initially, the people were downcast when their path to freedom was blocked. But as more and more of their kind drowned in the dark waters of despair they became angry and began to organise.

Rejecting the authority of those on the bridge the people elected new leaders and began to rattle the iron gates demanding to be let through, to know who was responsible for the catastrophe that was playing out on the lower decks.

But the gates were strong and the agents of the state were steadfast in their determination to keep the unruly masses in their proper place.

Meanwhile, back on the bridge an approaching ship interrupted the party.

Hello SS Ireland, this is the SS EU, what the hell is going on over there; your ship is way down at the bow, you appear to be sinking.

Not at all, slurred back Captain Cowen. We’re jush, hiccup, I mean, just having a party to celebrate the success of our great little nation, now feck off unlesh, hic, you have some more money to give us.

Standby SS Ireland, we’re sending over a three-man boarding party.

As Captain Cowen joined ex Captain Ahern in the luxury stateroom where they argued over who had the biggest pension the new captain, Captain Kenny, was assuring the Troika and the unruly masses that the ship of state was now on a new course, a course to paradise.

Already, he claimed, his crew had repaired the breached hull. There was no need to worry about the dangers posed by leaking water and certainly no need to cancel the party on the bridge. The ship, he declared, would be safe under his captaincy.

But Captain Kenny, like his predecessors, was lying.

He was lying to the desperate citizens trapped below decks when he promised democratic revolution. He was lying to the Troika when he promised to carry out reforms. He was lying when he said the ship of state was secure. The hull wasn’t repaired, the water was still flooding in and the ship was still sinking.

As time moved on into 2013 and 2014 the ship became unstable and began to tilt at an alarming angle.

Captain Kenny, with unquestioned support from his media partygoers, blamed the surging masses and their leaders for the instability as they finally escaped onto the decks where they could see, for the first time, just how and who was steering their ship of state.

At 2015 the bankers, property developers, financial regulators and politicians, including former captains Ahern and Cowen, began to take to the lifeboats.

Many journalists, loyally standing by their political masters, helped them rescue their credibility, political legacies and justifications for decisions made in office.

Other journalists, on witnessing reality for the first time, went into deep shock. One of them, Fergus Finlay of the Irish Examiner, approached Captain Ahern who was loading up several lifeboats with family, friends and loot.

Captain Ahern, what are you doing? If you take all those lifeboats for yourself you will be condemning ordinary citizens to drown in the depths of despair.

Jazus, will you look at that eejit of a journalist, Captain Ahern replied contemptuously. No wonder we were able to fool the people when we had half the media in our pockets and the other half believing everything we said.

Just as civil servants gently lowered Captain Ahern and his loot safely onto calm waters, Finlay turned and, for the first time, noticed the massive iceberg that had struck the ship.

The giant neon sign atop the iceberg that read – POLITICAL CORRUPTION – finally shocked him out of his denial as to who was responsible for the catastrophe.

You Maniacs! You’ve sunk the country, Damn you! God damn you all to hell the befuddled journalist howled as he pounded the heaving deck with his fist.


At 2016 the steerage passengers finally broke down the doors to the bridge. What they witnessed shocked even the most hardened of water protesters.

Captain Kenny was engaged in a vicious fistfight with wannabe captain Martin for control of the ships wheel.

Ah ha, crowed Martin: You thought the people had thrown us overboard, well….we’re baaaccck. Now step aside, it’s our turn to steer.

Feck off said Captain Kenny punching Martin in the eye: We got more votes than you, so there.

Yes replied Martin but you ignored the dangers posed by water and now you’re sinking.

Nearby, a group of establishment journalists led by John Downing of Independent Newspapers huddled together insanely muttering the same mantra over and over again:

This has nothing to do with water; this has nothing to do with the people’s anger at political corruption. Everything will be all right so long as we keep assuring ourselves that Sinn Fein is to blame for everything.

Amid the bedlam the government broadcaster RTE launched its latest deny reality TV show – ‘Let’s Get Back To The Good Old days’ presented by soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy and featuring such stars as Mary Coughlan, Alan Dukes and Noel Dempsey.

But by now the people had seen enough. Brushing aside the huddled group of journalists they rushed towards the bickering twosome at the wheel of state intent on taking control themselves.

And so, as we celebrate the centenary of the rebellion that launched the ship of state we wonder will the current conflict result in a change of course to the left or to the right or are we about to witness a final plunge into the dark depths of political despair.

Tune in for the next episode but be sure to bring a lifejacket – just in case.


Labour: In the same political sewer as Fianna Fail


By Anthony Sheridan

I see ex Labour TD/Minister Kathleen Lynch is claiming that her party was punished for putting the country first.

This puts her in the same camp as Brian Cowen and his gang of incompetents who also claimed they were punished for doing the right thing by the country.

It’s pathetic but not at all surprising that Labour, because of its betrayal, finds itself in the same political sewer as Fianna Fail.

Fianna Fail: Pay your water bills, you fools


By Anthony Sheridan

Within days of the election Fianna Fail are back to their old hypocritical ways. Here’s Dara Calleary on the party’s policy on water bills.

We will not be charging people for the next five years and we will abolish Irish Water.

But we will make no refunds to those who have already paid.

Those who received recent bills and those who receive bills up to the abolition of Irish Water should pay those bills because it’s the law.

But we won’t refund those payments either.

You should pay because it’s the law – imagine that from the most corrupt party in the history of the state.

Fergus Finlay: Politics is not corrupt

corruption (1)

By Anthony Sheridan

The headline of the article was not only dramatic, it was 100% true.

Politics is corrupt; public administration is corrupt, and democracy is dead

Unfortunately, the author of the article, Fergus Finlay, does not believe the truth of his own headline. He makes his real views crystal clear in the body of the article.

I’ve had correspondents who have accused me of being stupid and naïve because I should have realised years ago that politics is corrupt, public administration is corrupt, and democracy is dead.

Maybe I am stupid and naïve, but I don’t believe politics is essentially corrupt.

So Finlay believes those who have corresponded with him hold the view that politics is corrupt whereas he believes there is merely a risk of the state going corrupt.

I am absolutely convinced that the issue of accountability, and how its absence runs the risk of corrupting our state, should be a central issue in the general election campaign.

But it is obvious (and should be to Finlay) from the rest of his article that Ireland is indeed a corrupt state.

He writes about the horror inflicted on Grace by state authorities. He expresses hope that the investigation into the horror will be free from obstacles.

He is naïve in the extreme.

The scandal will be covered up or put on the slow train to nowhere until it becomes a non-memory. I can say with absolute certainty that there will be no justice whatsoever for Grace. This fact is easily proven by simply looking back on the endless stream of similar cases that have been run into the sand of unaccountability over the decades.

He then goes on to list, as if to punish himself for his naivety, other areas of public life where corruption is rampant – Banks, builders, politicians, the legal and accounting professions, charities.

Then, blinded by this close encounter with the glare of truth he, as always, makes a quick escape back into the cave of shadows.

In the comfort of the cave he talks to the shadows about how the wording of the Constitution might be used to persuade the corrupt to mend their ways.

He writes about the defeated referendum proposal to give Oireachtas Committees greater powers of investigation.

Even if (and it’s a big if) such committees successfully investigated wrongdoing and corruption the state would, as it has done with the conclusions of many investigations/tribunals, simply ignore the findings.

And it is crucial to keep in mind that the decision not to act against corruption is no accident. It is a deliberate policy, designed to protect the corrupt, faithfully adhered to by the ruling political class principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

Again, I don’t have to argue the point here. We simply have to look at the record of non-action by the mainstream parties over the past several decades to see the truth.

In his conclusion Mr. Finlay asks:

Could a lack of accountability kill democracy?

It most certainly could, we wouldn’t be the first country to be killed off by the disease of corruption.

But I’m optimistic that the current corrupt political/administrative system, that has done so much damage to Ireland and its people will, ultimately, be defeated.

It will be defeated by the emerging power of the growing number of citizens who have rejected the old regime and are successfully challenging its culture of corruption.

This election is shaping up to deliver a major victory for those who are determined to create a functional, genuinely democratic republic.

Mr. Finlay is a loyal supporter of the old regime, not because he’s corrupt, stupid or naïve but because he has lived all his adult life too close to the core of the rotten system.

Over the years that closeness has damaged his objectivity to such a degree that he is no longer capable of recognizing that the source of his anger and puzzlement is right there in front of his eyes.

Copy to:
Fergus Finlay

Miriam Lord endorses Michael Martin


By Anthony Sheridan

Michael Martin and the Fianna Fail party will be delighted with this glowing endorsement of their leader by Irish Times columnist Miriam Lord.

Lord, in common with all establishment journalists, possesses an amazing ability of writing about Irish politics and in particular about Fianna Fail without ever mentioning the dreaded phrase – political corruption.

Michael must be delighted to have so many friendly journalists singing his praises in the comfortable realm of denial.

Copy to:
Miriam Lord

PJ Mara and speaking ill of the dead


Nauseating is the only appropriate word to describe the response to the death of PJ Mara.

Before continuing I want to make comment on one of the most ridiculous, most hypocritical of Irish cultural myths – the demand that we should never speak ill of the dead.

In the vast majority of cases this is a laudable principle. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes in life; we all do some wrong. So when an ordinary person dies it is right that their mistakes and wrongs be forgiven and forgotten.

But it is completely different when the person in question is not an ordinary person. When the deceased person’s actions and decisions had a massive impact on the lives of other humans and on their country.

I will use an extreme example to make the point. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that the actions of child killer Robert Black should be put to one side just because he died.

At the other extreme nobody would object to the avalanche of praise and respect afforded to Nobel laureate and poet Seamus Heaney when he passed away in 2013.

My point is obvious; when somebody with a significant public stature dies their lives should be honestly appraised with perhaps an emphasis on the good but certainly never a complete denial of the bad.

And that is one of the great hypocrisies of official Ireland. When a member of their class passes away the truth is immediately locked up and the doors to lies and hypocrisy are opened. Anyone who dares make even a sneaking reference to anything negative is immediately attacked as speaking ill of the dead.

One such individual was Alan Barrett, Director of ESRI on the Marian Finucane Show last Sunday.

Mr. Barrett, tentatively, made some references to the truth regarding Mara’s career but he didn’t get very far before Ms. Finucane interrupted his flow.

I found the coverage quite extraordinary and not wanting to criticise political journalists there’s an element of which it’s terribly self- indulgent by the people who are writing about it. My perspective is that this is a guy that worked with possibly the most corrupt man in Irish history, Charlie Haughey. A man who almost spawned a generation of men who behaved wrongly.

Marian Finucane had heard enough, Barrett was talking truth and that is unacceptable when referring to an honoured member of the political ruling class.

We don’t want to demonise him.

Barrett went on to make his point, all the time being very careful of his words in case he spoke too much truth.

When he suggested that a lot of Mara’s work was nothing more than facilitating access to government ministers Michael O’Regan, parliamentary correspondent for the Irish Times and probably the most captured journalist in Irish media, took him to task.

All parties do it argued O’Regan as if that was justification enough for political corruption.

The discussion, now successfully steered away from truth, reverted to the usual lies and hypocrisy.

O’Regan went on to extol the great achievement of the (corrupt) Haughey aided and abetted by his (henchman) PJ Mara.

As I said, all very nauseating but depressingly predictable.

Copy to:
Marian Finucane
Michael O’Regan

Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar


Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar.

War is the most obvious and most deadly consequence of political lying. Over the centuries, countless millions have died because politicians lied when they should have told the truth.

But war is not the only cause of death as a result of political lies. There was a massive increase in the suicide rate following the economic collapse in 2008 (Recession directly to blame for up to 566 suicides).

These desperate people died, at least in part, because our politicians lied to them.

In Ireland, alone among Western democracies, political lying has become a fully accepted part of political discourse. It is also common right throughout the civil and public service.

Political lying has become part of Irish political culture principally because lying politicians are rarely challenged by the media.

Here’s Pat Rabbitte casually demonstrating this truth when asked about election promises regarding child benefit:

Sean O’Rourke:

You didn’t go into all that detail before the general election, you kept it really simple – Protect child benefit, vote Labour?


Well, I mean, isn’t that what you tend to do during an election?

The criminal politician Haughey lied right through his decades long career, including lying under oath at various tribunals and investigations. Despite the enormous damage done to Ireland and its people by this criminal’s lying he was, largely, fawned upon by large segments of the media and members of the establishment.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern almost certainly lied under oath at the Mahon Tribunal. My assertion that lying is the accepted norm in Irish political and administrative goverance is confirmed by the disgraceful fact that no action has been (or ever will be) taken against Ahern by any state authority.

Political lying is the principal cause of the catastrophic economic collapse of 2008 that resulted in thousands of suicides, massive emigration and the horrific destruction of the wealth, hopes and ambitions of hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.

And yet, a disturbingly large section of the media and most of the establishment appear to be more than happy to live in comfortable denial amidst the wreckage and suffering caused by political lying.

The following is just a sample of various journalists, commentators and politicians who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not make the obvious link between political lying and the infliction of great hardship.

Caroline O’Doherty: Irish Examiner:

Kenny’s lie was:

A fisherman’s tale.

O’Doherty then went to use most of her article to advise Fine Gael on how best to present their (lying) leader to best advantage in the upcoming election campaign.

Caroline O’Doherty is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Editorial: Irish Examiner:

Kenny was, while dishonest, just a Walter Mitty character using:

Folksy parables.

The editor warned that Kenny must act quickly if he wants to be re-elected and, as always, took the opportuntiy to take a swipe at Gerry Adams/Sinn Fein.

The editor of the Irish Examiner is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Eilis O’Hanlon: Sunday Independent:

Kenny ruined it by going a ‘a little bit too far’ in attempting to portray himself as the man who saved the country from anarchy and, predictably, O’Hanlon blamed the media:

So why the outcry last week? The media, having got bored with the feel-good narrative which the Government has been pushing since the Budget, saw a chance to put the Taoiseach on the back foot.

Eilis O’Hanlon is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Michael Lehane: Morning Ireland (RTE):

On being asked did the whole issue matter:

It doesn’t matter but there is a political vacuum there because the Dail isn’t sitting so the focus didn’t come off it (but) it has gone the distance now.

Michael Lehane is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Pat Rabbitte: Labour TD: (Speaking on RTE):

The Taoiseach makes the point, perhaps in a folksy, homespun way.

Pat Rabbitte is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Noel Whelan: Irish Times:

Mr. Whelan believes that Kenny is a storyteller whose utterance was no accident.

It was part of a cleverly designed but clumsily implemented strategy from Fine Gael to remind voters of how serious the crisis was so as to talk up its part in turning it around.

Noel Whelan is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Gerry Adams: Sinn Fein president:

Mr. Adams accused Kenny of being a spoof who tells tall tales. Mr. Adams said he was not accusing the Taoiseach of lying but of just getting carried away with himself.

Gerry Adams is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Fergus Finlay: Chief Executive of Barnardos and former Labour Party advisor: (Late Debate RTE):

Why are we getting our knickers in a knot about it? Mother of God, this kind of thing happens all the time. It’s a bit of craic, that’s all it is, a bit of political craic and I don’t see how it affects anything other than the gaiety of the nation for a week.

I think it shows that we don’t have a sense of humour. You know, let’s get a grip for heaven’s sake, it’s about nothing.

Fergus Finlay is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Gary Murphy: Professor of Political Science, DCU (Late Debate RTE).

The Taoiseach does have a habit of self-aggrandisement or over-egging situations. He’s guilty of guilding the lily so to speak.

Professor Murphy is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Catherine Halloran: Political Correspondent Irish Daily Star: (Ryan Tubridy Show, RTE):

I think it’s his folksy way of trying to relate to people.

It’s better than telling lies. At least we know he has his finger on the pulse he met the man or woman who told him this and I don’t doubt for a second that he has met those people, he’s a politician… The fact that Enda does take the time out to stop and talk to people and listen to their experiences means he’s in a position to make judgement on them.

Catherine Halloran is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Shaun Connolly: Irish Examiner:

Mr. Connolly believes Kenny was simply caught out telling an over-excited porkie. He was guilty of a slightly embarrassing, but ultimately harmless, comment.

Shaun Connolly is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Copy to:
Enda Kenny
All individuals quoted
All political parties

Why the State is targetting Sinn Fein

In recent times I have written several articles on the very obvious anti Sinn Fein propaganda campaign being conducted by the mainstream political parties and state agencies aided and abetted by a large segment of the media.

I am aware that writing such articles can be seen as supporting Sinn Fein and, by extension, supporting violence both political and criminal.

This article is to make my position crystal clear.

The core philosophy of this website is that Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state. By this I mean that, unlike functional democracies, the Irish state actively defends, supports and protects those involved in corruption.

Corruption, to one degree or another is, of course, present in every country on the planet. Corrupt behaviour is an intrinsic aspect of human nature, it will always be with us.

But there is a huge difference between a country that suffers from a degree of corruption and a country that is, in and of itself, intrinscially corrupt.

A state is corrupt when its powers and resources are principally utilised for the benefit of a tiny but very powerful minority of individuals and organisations at the expense of the people and the greater good.

This is overwhemingly and indisputably the case in Ireland.

The corrupt regime is made up, principally, of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour with the unquestioning support of most state agencies and a disturbingly large section of the media.

Family dynasties constitute the core of the corrupt political system. Over the decades the corrupting influence of these families has spread the disease of corruption right through the influential pillars of the state and society such as the legal system, higher civil servants, the police and so on.

At some critical point, which I believe was during the 1980s when the criminal politician Haughey was at the height of his powers, the state flipped from being a democracy with some corruption to a state that that had become corrupt in and of itself.

From that moment right up to today state power does not, for the most part, operate for the good of the people. It works to maintain, protect and enhance the power of the corrupt elite.

This corrupt political/administrative regime is directly and wholly responsible for the economic catastrophe that has wreaked so much damage and loss on Ireland and its people since 2008.

And this is where Sinn Fein enters the picture.

The 2008 economic catastrophe caused serious panic within the corrupt regime. For a short period it was feared that the power, influence and wealth built up over many decades would be lost as the people began to transfer their alligience to political forces outside its power base.

Sinn Fein is being targeted because it poses the greatest threat to the power of the corrupt regime. It is the best organised, best financed, most powerful political force outside the mainstream. It is united, focused and led by a cohort of articulate and committed politicians.

It is for this reason and this reason alone that the corrupt political/administrative system, in cooperation with its many friends in the media, has targeted Sinn Fein.

The corrupt regime knows very well that if Sinn Fein gains power, even partial power in a coalition, the game is up. The cosy golden circle that has abused Irish democracy and its people for the last several decades will no longer hold sway.

People from outside the ruling elite, dangerous people with principles, people who will actually do what’s right for the country rather than vested interests will be exercising power within the corrupt citadel.

It is therefore absolutely crucial, from the corrupt regime’s point of view, that Sinn Fein’s power is destroyed or, at least, damaged to such an extent that it becomes an irrelevant political force.

It is this black propaganda campaign that I write about. It has nothing to do with Sinn Fein’s politics/policies per se but rather to challenge and expose the continuing efforts of a ruthless and diseased political system that will do anything, even commit criminal acts, to preserve its power and influence.

Copy to:
All political parties

Journalilst Michael O’Regan: A chapter in a history book

Here are the words of a journalist who has no idea whatsoever about reality outside the bubble that is Dail Eireann.

Michael Martin has emerged, particularly since the marriage equality referendum, as a highly successful leader of Fianna Fail. He’s extremely good in the Dail and in fact at the moment he stands head and shoulders as a parliamentary performer in terms of his own party.

Irish Times (captured) journalist Michael O’Regan.

It’s good that there are so many captured journalists like O’Regan within the media because their ignorance of reality ensures that establishment politicians like Martin also have no idea what’s happening in the real world.

By the time O’Regan and Martin wake up they will find themselves as a chapter in a history book.

Dr. Weeks: Living in the zone of denial

Here’s an absolute law that applies to all commentators writing about Irish politics.

If you write an article analysing any aspect of Irish politics without referring to political corruption or even mentioning the word ‘corruption’, you are wasting your own and your readers time because you are not addressing the raging elephant in the room.

The latest in a long line of commentators to break this law is Dr. Liam Weeks, lecturer in the Department of Government at UCC.

In an Irish Times article, Dr. Weeks repeats the well-known fact that the traditional political parties, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour, are suffering a serious loss of support from the electorate.

He gives two reasons for this development – a declining level of attachment to parties and the collapse in support for Fianna Fail.

However, he makes no attempt whatsoever to explain to his readers why citizens are rejecting mainstream politics in their droves. He could do worse than have a look at this blog where he will find any number of articles outlining the reasons for this development.

Here, for example, is what I wrote on 15 June last. Again, I was writing about the chronic inability/unwillingness of political commentators to recognise the elephant of political corruption.

The emergence of a new politics is directly related to the fact that the old regime (Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour) has, over many decades, loyally served the corrupt political culture of clientelism, gombeenism and stroke politics rather than building a functional, properly accountable democracy.

I suspect Dr. Weeks is not actually aware of this truth. I suspect he operates in the same bubble in which most other political commentators operate. In this bubble he sees the Irish political system as democratic and, for the most part, functional – it is neither.

In order to keep the bubble from bursting Dr. Weeks must, consciously or unconsciously, enter what I call ‘the zone of denial’.

So, in his article Dr. Weeks states the problem – that the electorate is rejecting mainstream politics. He then enters the zone of denial where he can safely ignore the reasons for this development and instead skip to how events will affect the outcome of the approaching general election.

In other words, he describes the past and predicts the future while steadfastly ignoring the reality that connects them – political corruption.

Of course, Dr. Weeks is by no means alone in this. Read the opinion pieces in any newspaper; listen to the many discussion panels on radio/television and you will witness endless analysis surrounding corrupt events but you will never, ever witness any discussion of corruption as a subject in and of itself.

The reason for this is as simple as it is stark. If the disease of political corruption is acknowledged it will have to be acted upon and if that happens it will destroy the corrupt political system so carefully created over the decades by the mainstream political parties of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

These parties and their many supporters in the media will not easily surrender their privileged and powerful position.

Fortunately, while commentators like Dr. Weeks operate comfortably in the zone of denial, an increasing number of ordinary citizens are taking matters into their own hands.

The days of the old regime are numbered.

Copy to:
Dr. Weeks