The all powerful 'independent legal advice' defence

Before Patrick Neary completely disappears into his very rich sunset there’s one fact that needs to be put on the record.

The board of the Financial Regulator gave themselves the power to decide what they should be paid. In other words Patrick Neary himself decided that he was worth a lump sum of €428,000, a special sum of €202,000 for keeping his mouth shut and an annual pension of €142,670 (Irish Independent).

Some politicians ranted and raved when they discovered that civil servants had taken on such amazing powers but, to date, they’ve done nothing to bring these greedy and incompetent people down to size.

It seems that this reluctance to act is closely related to that most powerful and mysterious concept of Irish public life – Independent legal advice.

Once these holy words are uttered no more questions can be asked. Not even simple questions like; what, precisely was the advice offered and who gave it? No, once these most powerful of words are uttered the silence is total, complete, nothing more can be said on the matter.

It is even said that a member of this special club could get away with robbing a bank operating under the ‘independent legal advice’ concept. In fact, such robberies are quite common in Ireland.

It should be noted, however, that the ‘independent legal advice’ defence is only available to certain classes of people like senior civil servants, politicians and the higher echelons of the business sector. Peasants do not qualify as they are provided with their own special system commonly known as criminal law.