Great scandal and nobody bats an eyelid

On last Friday’s Late Late Show, Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, repeated the following statement which he first made in September 2008.

“The public service destroys ambition, resists change and is so insulated from reality that information can be withheld from a minister, unfavourable reports are doctored and answers to parliamentary questions are master classes in dissemination and obfuscation.”

If a serving minister in an accountable democracy accused civil servants of doctoring unfavourable reports it would be a cause of great scandal and would spark an immediate investigation by state authorities.

In Ireland, nobody batted an eyelid.

4 thoughts on “Great scandal and nobody bats an eyelid”

  1. All societies have their problems, but I think Ireland is unique among Western and developed countries in having had the Catholic church extremely involved in the development of our institutions right from the start.

    The Catholic church – the epitome of unaccountability – has infused a culture of doing without thinking or asking – and – sadly, they have infused even worse traits, such as utter hypocrisy into the Irish Psyche.

    In other societies, where the individual people are no better or worse than us in potential, they employ the feedack loop of questioning, testing and improving. Accountability of individuals and organizations is rightly deemed crucial to improvement and sometimes to survival.

    I have talked with politicians on my doorstep and tried communicating with the bigger guys in writing regarding the separation of church and state; the response is always the same. A kind of disbelieving and giddy chuckle is followed by ‘well it’s nice not to be talking just about the potholes at the end of your road’. I have had to remind them that the ‘potholes at the end of our roads’ are a very visible symptom of a deeply ingrained failing in our politicians and public servants to take responsibility and be accountable.

    This is not a problem that is fading out either, Jack Lynch would baulk at the number of of ministers in government today who are also in Opus Dei and other fanatical cultish organizations, and demonstrating very odd allegiances indeed.

    When I see very young children being frogmarched from school to church regularly near where I live (and with no regard for traffic signals) I am reminded that the vast majority of our schools are under the forceful and direct control of the local Catholic bishops. School principals know how to talk and behave to get and keep their jobs even if they are not fanatical themselves. Our Catholic primary schools are of course exactly where the process of switching off the natural tendency to question and test begins; the natural tendency so valued and regarded as a national asset in other societies is dumbed down in ours. An thus we get what we get….

  2. I did not watch the Late Late as I cannot subject myself to “Pat the Plank”. Another Civil Servant by the way who works for the State broadcasting company and paid out of Public Funds(ie Licence Fee).Maybe it’s a deliberate ploy, if you make things boring enough nobody does bat an eyelid.

    “The public service destroys ambition, resists change and is so insulated from reality that information can be withheld from a minister, unfavourable reports are doctored and answers to parliamentary questions are master classes in dissemination and obfuscation.”

    How true, but are we surprised. NO!!!

    Remember that politicians come and go but Civil Servants remain the same. So they are the ones really running the country and of cource like any good “One Party State” you are only told what they want you to know.

    We wonder why there are not protests on the streets, remember that one-third of the working population are either Civil or Public servants. That would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

    With one-third of the work force currnetly or soon to be unemployed that leaves just on-third to generate the wealth to pay for the other two-thirds of the working population as we know Civil Servants dont generate wealth they are purely spenders. I’m sorry but simple economics dictate that this is not possible, the only result can be Revolution.

    This country really does need to “wake up and smell the coffee”

  3. Republic of Ireland 1916 – 2009 RIP, brutally defiled, raped, robbed, tortured and finally killed by FF corruption, nepotism and gombeenism. Sadly missed by her family, the hard working honest citizens who fought hard for her freedom. Burial later this year following the intervention of IMF or EU.

    I quote “Digout” on, I hope he/she does not mind me plagerisingtheir wonderful comment but it just about sums up this country.

  4. While I understand the pessimism I don’t think it is appropriate.

    My first post is about identifying underlying causes of why things are as they are in Ireland.

    But implicit in all of this should be the possibility for improvement.

    I believe we have a lot to optimistic about.

    I feel very strongly that separating church and state and endeavouring to build accountability into how we do things should be our first objective.

    Instead of marching children from schools to churches teach them about balance between rights and responsibilities. Start with things like littering, petty stealing, racism and so on.. These are the REAL seeds of moraility. Important too is to teach tolerance of other ideologies and the dangers inherent in trying to impose and one of these exlusively!

    But the bottom line is that things will get better sooner or later!!

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