The Prime Minister of our county has accused the Mahon Tribunal that was established by our National Parliament, of trying to frame him on very serious charges. This is, in effect, what Bertie Ahern meant when he accused the tribunal of trying to ‘stitch him up.’
In addition, several Government ministers, people who were elected to represent the people of Ireland and defend the integrity of the people’s parliament, the Oireachtas, have also made serious allegations against the tribunal and, by extension, against the State.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, made a direct attack on the tribunal by questioning the length of time it was taking to complete its work. He also expressed astonishment at the line of questioning the tribunal was taking against the Taoiseach (Six One News, 1st item).
An even more serious attack on the tribunal was made by Minister for European Affairs, Dick Roche. He angrily declared that he was not happy with the way Bertie Ahern was being treated by the tribunal. He said it was petty, personal, prurient and at times bordered on voyeurism.
Even more seriously, he accused the tribunal of being biased against Ahern and trampling on his rights as a citizen (Morning Ireland, 1st item).
These are very serious charges and in a functional democracy would result in an immediate political and constitutional crisis that would see the immediate closing down of the alleged rogue tribunal or the immediate forced resignations of the politicians who made the attacks if they failed to substantiate their allegations.
Because Ireland is a dysfunctional democracy we got what we always get – a large gaggle of journalists talking among themselves about the matter before we all head off for the Christmas celebrations.
On Six One News we had John Kilraine, Samantha Libreri and Charlie Bird. Later, on a Primetime special, we had Miriam O’Callaghan, Katie Hannon, Michael Clifford and Stephen Collins discussing the matter between re-enactments of tribunal evidence.
On Drivetime, we had Mary Wilson, Fergal Keane, Brian Dowling Justine McCarthy, Harry McGee and others participating in a major fest of incestuous journalistic analysis and not an accountable or even an unaccountable politician in sight.