The Green Party has had its first blooding in how to manage scandal in public life. Secrecy is the crucial element in Irish public life if a politician or party wants to avoid having to provide embarrassing and far fetched explanations to the public.
And Trevor Sergeant’s explanation (8th item) regarding the illegal supervision of Seanad election voting was far fetched.
Green Party councillors had received an email instructing them to submit their ballot cards for inspection. Because they’re new to power and because they still have political integrity they naively made their outrage public. Tut, tut, first rule in Irish political life – All law breaking must be kept secret.
Sargent explained that the email was sent because of
“a mistaken understanding based on an old rule that unfortunately was presented as the current situation.”
Brilliant, pure Fianna Fail. Just mouth words, it doesn’t matter what they are, doesn’t matter if they make sense or not, nobody is going to delve any deeper. Well, almost nobody.
The situation is simple. For years Irish political parties have been breaking electoral law by forcing councillors to submit their ballot papers for inspection to ensure that deals done are being adhered to.
So what is Sargent talking about? Was there an old Seanad rule that allowed parties to break the law? Does the ‘current situation’ mean that that rule is now outlawed?
How are other parties, used to illegally tampering with electoral law, going to make the difficult transition to genuine democratic practices?
Or, has the Green Party learned the lesson and arrived at a ‘suitable alternative (secret) arrangement’ whereby Fianna Fail can be sure of their pound of flesh?
Ah, the death of innocence.