If allegations that up to 50,000 penalty points cases were illegally quashed by gardai over a three year period are true then the matter can be categoried as a major corruption scandal.
And because Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state we can say with absolute certainty, and well before any investigation reaches a conclusion, that nobody will be charged, nobody will be held accountable.
We are already seeing the standard state response to such scandals.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan:
We’ve proved over the years that we’re well capable of investigating ourselves.
Just one word in response to this – Donegal.
Any allegation of impropriety at whatever level within the Garda is a matter of huge concern and that’s why it’s so important to allow the Assistant Commissioner and his team to get on with the business of examing these matters and reaching proper conclusions.
This is the standard ‘nobody should talk about this matter until the (long drawn out) investigation is complete’ (and forgotten).
With luck this internal Garda investigation will be completed sometime before the end of 2013. If its publication goes unnoticed by the media the matter will be quietly dropped.
If there is a media reaction another investigation will be initiated and so on it goes.
If any lessons can be learned from the examination when it is complete these will be taken on board.
This is another standard strategy to cover any wrong doing that may appear in the report.
The wrong doing can be ignored by simply stating that lessons have been learned and it won’t happen again. When it does happen again, as it inevitably will, the process is simply repeated.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar:
People need to have confidence in the penalty points system and we absolutely cannot live in a country whereby people can get out of anything because they know somebody.
The corrupt system of ‘getting out of anything through knowing someone of power and influence’ is an integral part of Irish culture and has been since 1922. That corrupt culture is the sole cause of our downfall as an independent state.
I’m confident that the Garda investigation is going to be thorough and I trust them to do that.
This is either the opinion of a fool or of somebody not really interested in getting to the bottom of this scandal.
The most hilarious and bizarre response comes from Conor Faughnan of AA Roadwatch who has seen the evidence first-hand.
I do not believe this is corruption, but institutionalised bad practice that has become custom and habit over the years.
This is an extreme example of denial which is very common in Ireland.
The mindset behind it is simple – If we call it (crime/corruption) something else then it’s all right, we dont have to deal with reality, happy days.
The priority is that it stops from now, that it does not happen any more, and that is a bigger priority then raking over the coals of individual cases.
Translation: If it stops now we’ll say no more.
This attitude only applies to people of power and influence. Ordinary citizens are, of course, always subject to the full and immediate force of the law.
The priority was to clean it up and if that was done that should be the end of the matter.
If we studiously ignore what has happened we can pretend that it didn’t actually happen at all and hope that those involved will be more careful about being caught in the future.
The scandal was ignored on Morning Ireland (10th Dec).
The programme did, however, give extensive coverage to a murder that occurred in Northern Ireland 23 years ago.
This lack of interest in allegations of major corruption was repeated on the News at One.
The scandal got a mention at the tail end of the programme but was very cleverly folded into a report on the annual Christmas road safety campaign where it became practically invisible.
You would imagine that the much lauded Garda Ombudsman would have an interest in these very serious allegations of corruption within the force.
I rang the Garda Ombudsman Office to inquire if they were investigating the matter – they’re not.
Apparently they can only investigate matters that involve complaints from members of the public who have been directly wronged by a Garda or a matter that they deem to be in the public interest
I was informed that they were ‘monitoring’ the situation and would decide what to do after the internal Garda investigation was complete.
Other state agencies ‘monitoring’ or ‘investigating’ the matter:
Department of Justice
Department of Transport
Comptroller and Auditor General
Road Safety Authority
Now that a (secret) ‘investigation’ is underway and Christmas is almost upon us it is likely that the whole unsavoury matter will be long forgotten by the time the next, inevitable, scandal breaks.
As I wrote at the beginning, there is only one certainty surrounding this whole murky matter – Nobody will be held accountable.