Words and responsibilities

Last week the powerless Public Accounts Committee published its report on travel abuses within Fás (Irish Examiner).

According to this powerless committee “Fás wrongly allowed executives and board members to travel first class since 1992.”

Use of the soft word ‘wrongly’ here is always interesting. Such words are reserved for dodgy activities within government agencies and financial institutions. When ordinary citizens (peasants?) involve themselves in such activities the words (rightly) used are ‘fraud’ and ‘corruption’.

The ‘responsible’ minister, Tanaiste Mary Coughlin, did what all Irish politicians do in such cases – she abdicated responsibility.

Apparently, she won’t be taking action because the travel details “were arranged and authorised at an official level in Fás”. It is reasonable to assume from this approach that the Minister would have no problem if Fás ‘arranged and authorised’ a bank robbery at ‘official level’.

And let’s not forget that this PAC report was triggered by a report into Fás by the powerless Comptroller and Auditor General. The powerless committee has now recommended that the powerless C & AG carry out yet another investigation based on its report and when complete PAC will carry out an investigation into that report.

No, no, really, I’m not joking but I do feel the first signs of madness beginning to take hold.