Cllr. Michael Fahy of Galway County Council was recently found guilty of fraud and theft. Fahy had caused over €7,000 to be paid by Galway County Council to a company for fencing on his own land.
Fahy denied guilt to the end and when things became desperate he tried to implicate others in his crime, notably, council staff and the company that installed the fencing. Fahy was fined €75,000 and sentenced to one year in jail.
I agree with the many commentators who claim that the sentence was too severe. A fine and suspended sentence would have been more appropriate.
But a discussion about the case on a recent Liveline programme demonstrated the amazing ability of Irish people to avoid reality at all costs. They simply don’t have it in them to say – ‘Perhaps the punishment was too severe but the man is guilty and should suffer the consequences of his actions.’ Here are some of the excuses.
After positing the novel idea that Fahy should serve his sentence only after his mother dies, Actress and journalist, Jeananne Crowley made the following excuses:
His sentence was unfair because a rapist was recently let off and that’s a far more serious than ‘diddling’ Galway County Council out of a bit of fencing.
We watch the tribunals and don’t see Frank Dunlop being brought to trial.
He’s been shamed enough.
He offered stones in return for the fencing.
He paid the money back.
This kind of thing goes on all the time, people do favours and get favours back.
Yes, it might have been illegal but doesn’t really rank with other crimes.
We see so many people who are not held responsible.
He wasn’t trying to avoid responsibility.
He’s been punished enough.
He’s been made an example of because he’s a politician.
Other neighbours and friends
We had a judge who recently failed to face allegations.
Many people have been allowed to escape the net.
He was a prominent member of the GAA.
He did an awful lot of good for the community.
He was doing it for the good of the community; he wasn’t doing it for himself.
Garrett O’Callaghan, however, came up with the most incredible excuse for Fahy’s behaviour.
In a contribution that bordered on the hysterical O’Callaghan said he was horrified, shocked and stunned by the sentence and apparently without a hint of tongue in cheek claimed that Fahy put up the fence to protect himself and his mother because people in rural communities were in grave danger from drug addicts in fast, souped-up cars, trying to kill them.