I have said in the past that denial is a crucial factor when living in a corrupt country like Ireland. This is especially important for those directly involved in politics, business and even the media.
However, sometimes, this absolute refusal to face reality can result in some bizarre reasoning. The following examples will make the point.
Former Irish Press editor and historian Tim Pat Coogan, a man who is widely respected, made the ludicrous claim at the Humbert Summer School that Haughey’s corruption was due to head injuries he suffered in a car accident in the 1960s.
The Fianna Fail politician and form EU commissioner, Padraig Flynn also made bizarre comments about Haughey but I don’t pay too much attention to him because I genuinely believe he occupies a different reality from the rest of us. The second example is even more surreal.
Ben Dunne has learned that the Moriarty Tribunal is going to make damning findings against him. In a desperate attempt to avoid facing reality Dunne is claiming that various traumatic events in his life, like his kidnapping by the IRA in 1981, have affected his ability to recall certain matters under investigation by the tribunal.
By far the most crucial ‘forgotten event’ is a meeting between Dunne and a Revenue Commissioners chairman in 1987, arranged by Haughey, that resulted in a capital gains bill on the Dunnes Stores family trust being reduced by about €22 million. Dunne made a substantial payment to Haughey shortly after this meeting.
Dunne is asking rational people to believe that his traumatic experiences have only affected his memory on matters that could get him into serious trouble. In all other respects, his memory is apparently perfect.
If Moriarty does make the connection between Dunne’s payment and a Haughey ‘favour’ it will do serious damage to the campaign by Haughey supporters, led by Bertie Ahern, to fabricate the most grotesque lie in Irish history – That Haughey was really an honest man.