Still talking politely as the ship of state sinks

Transparency International Ireland held a public meeting last week under the headline ‘Restoring Trust in Ireland Inc.’

I’m going to analyse the contributions made in this debate in sections, highlighting what I perceive as the critical moments.

My comments are made from the Public Inquiry view that Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state and that nothing will change until enough people come to accept this reality.

Discussions like this are useful, not because they are going to make a difference, they will not. The time for talk is long past, the corrupt body politic will not shift until they are faced with a radical or even a revolutionary reaction from the Irish people.

Such discussions do, however, help to highlight just how far away we are from even recognizing the seriousness of the situation never mind accepting that radical and immediate action is required.

After an introduction by John Devitt, Chief Executive of Transparency Ireland, Journalist Karen Coleman took over as moderator and introduced the panel.

Justine McCarthy (journalist)
Senator Dan Boyle (politician)
Susan O’Keeffe – (journalist and recent EU election candidate for the Labour Party)
Cobus de Swardt (Managing director of TI)

The first question to the panel was – Can politicians re-establish trust in politics.

Justine McCarthy, who spoke first, was clear and passionate in her view.

Politicians and in particular this government are incapable of re-establishing trust. They treat us with distain and contempt…as a people we are too soft…we let them away with too much…I just don’t believe them anymore.

At one point during her delivery McCarthy turned to Senator Boyle, who was sitting beside her and said; sorry Dan, and later added,

I have nothing bad to say about Dan, he’s a fellow Cork person.

This comment brought great laughter from everybody.

This was the critical moment. McCarthy simply couldn’t bring herself to criticise a politician who was sitting beside her, a politician she knew. Even if Brian Cowen was sitting beside her I believe she would still be reluctant to make strong criticism.

This is the critical difference between the Irish, a people who are politically ignorant, and a nation like France where citizens, as Ms. McCarthy pointed out, would be out on the streets by now.

Nothing will change until Irish citizens and in particular opinion makers like Ms. McCarthy begin to demonstrate real anger towards politicians.

I don’t believe that Senator Boyle is corrupt but he is a member of the corrupt Irish body politic and therefore should be treated with total contempt for bringing disaster on the nation.

Copy to:
Transparency International Ireland
Senator Boyle
Justine McCarthy

3 thoughts on “Still talking politely as the ship of state sinks”

  1. The great difficulty is identifying the honest politicians. You say that you don’t believe that Senator Boyle is corrupt and I am inclined to agree with you. But how do we identify the other non corrupt ones. It is too easy to blame something like ‘the body politic’. That’s like blaming the ‘system’. Its all down to people in the end – the elected and the electorate. As you rightly point out, the Irish are politically ignorant and kept that way to a degree by their politicians. Listen to the excuses from the likes of Emmet Stagg and Ned O’Keeffe about their expenses. They feel obliged to donate to the local football club when asked for a contribution. That’s what the lotto funds are for for heaven’s sake! Their will be no change until we get rid of the parish pump clientelism which all politicians foster.

  2. Irish people keep apologising for Corrupt Politians, no Politian or Official has been held accountable of Corruption in Ireland. Bord Snip should get rid of the Standards in Public Office as they do nothing, what is needed is a CAB Criminal Assets Bureau set up to investigate Corrupt Councils, Politians and Officials. Come to Bundoran and see the real MAFIA in action.

    However, when you see Peter McLoone chairman FAS not being sacked it is because of two reasons
    1. Incompetence
    2. maladministration by Tanaiste Mary Coughlan. The McLoones are very compfy in their taxpayers squandering roles, Peter in FAS, Michael McLoone Donegal County Council manager and Paul McLoone in Failte ireland.
    Mary Coughlan has ignored corruption for years, even when a Report showed job-fixing in FAS Sligo where Pat the Cope relation was given a full time job mary has done nothing.

    Irish people should be saying if Mary Coughlan does not sack the FAS Board then she should be sacked, see you on the dole que Mary!

  3. Have to disagree with you here Haymoon.

    We only need to see that the entire system is corrupt. Of course, not everybody within that system is personally corrupt but everybody has to decide how they are going to react to the system.

    Most politicians just pretend it’s not there, some attack those who point out the brutal reality and others, like Haughey, have no problem, scruples or morals whatsoever about exploiting the corrupt system to its full.

    The majority of Irish people, I believe are ignorant of the reality and are becoming more and more angry and confused because there’s no leadership to guide and educate them about what citizenship is all about.

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