I watched, in deep shame and embarrassment, an elected representative of this blighted state casually relate on prime time television (10th report) how he had recently paid out €850 to buy votes. Let me quote the exact words of Labour TD Emmet Stagg.
If a club in my constituency is raising funds they will write to me and ask for a donation and I feel obliged because I’m in a competitive position with my colleagues in the constituency to pay up. Last week I paid out €850 in that category, you do that or you don’t get elected.
I’m a TD since 1987 and for about the first 15 years I was in constant debt arising from the cost of being a TD. That was a period that the tribunals are investigating now and it left politicians and public representatives very vulnerable to awards of unauthorized money if you like to put it that way and that did occur and it was very tempting because you were broke.
Mr. Stagg is part of a system so corrupt that he thinks it perfectly normal to use taxpayer’s money to buy votes.
He is part of a system so corrupt that his casual admission of vote buying goes completely un-remarked on by his political colleagues and the national media.
He is part of a system so corrupt that he thinks it perfectly normal for citizens to solicit favours from their politicians at the expense of fellow citizens.
He is part of a system so corrupt that he doesn’t even notice the ignorance of citizens who think power emanates down from politicians instead of up from the people.
The fact that Mr. Stagg seemed completely ignorant of the meaning of his words is an indication of how corrupt Irish public/political life has become.
Politicians in the most corrupt states in the world like Zimbabwe, Chad or Haiti would not be so unaware of the implications of what they were saying.
In other words, the politicians of these countries are more educated on the disease of corruption than any Irish politician.