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.
Transparency International Ireland