The recent polls in favour of Fianna Fail and Bertie Ahern are depressing but they are in no way surprising. A majority felt that Bertie was wrong to take the money but because he’s such a good Taoiseach, he should remain in office.
This kind of double think is exactly what can be expected of a population who has lived in a corrupt state all their lives. The economy is strong, the Opposition is weak and the incident happened years ago so why rock the boat?
In the short term, this reasoning makes sense but in the long term it is very damaging. When people fail to demand high standards from their leaders they will get low standards, and sooner or later, they (or other citizens) will suffer the consequences.
Some of the consequences of Bertiegate are as follows:
Irish politicians can now openly appoint their friends to State boards. This kind of cronyism is ethically and legally unacceptable in most democracies.
Irish politicians can now openly accept large amounts of money from friends and businessmen. Obviously, politicians in senior ministerial positions will attract larger payments. Again, this kind of graft is totally unacceptable in real democracies.
It is now unacceptable to questions Irish politicians about their finances if those finances are connected to personal/family events. This new situation provides an ideal channel for corrupt politicians to secrete bribes/payments/gifts from prying eyes.
Irish politicians from other parties will now become even more reluctant to tackle the disease of corruption. Brutal pragmatism will force them to accept even lower standards in their increasingly desperate desire for high office.
There are, of course, many other consequences resulting from Irish corruption and criminal incompetence ranging from the theft of billions to dysfunctional administration to the actual death of some citizens.