The only way to understand political events in Ireland is to be aware that the entire system is intrinsically corrupt. Once that understanding is in place everything falls into place, once that fact is understood and accepted, puzzlement disappears. The O’Donoghue scandal is a case in point.
O’Donoghue was doing what practically every politician has been doing for decades – working a system set up by politicians for the benefit of politicians and faithfully operated by loyal civil servants. The corrupt expenses system is part of the corrupt political system and the corrupt political system is part of a national corruption that has diseased every level of Irish society.
That’s why opposition politicians ignored the O’Donoghue scandal for so long; they’re part of the system. When the pressure became too much one of them, Eamon Gilmore, broke ranks in an attempt to distance himself and his party from the fallout and, at the same time, earn some brownie points.
Only the politically ignorant will be fooled by Gilmore’s stunt. If he genuinely had the interests of citizens at heart he would have acted to end the expenses scam years ago. Instead, he and his party colleagues work the system with the same gusto as most other political parties.
For so long as everyone operating the corrupt system plays by the rules there’s no problem. But if an honest politician appears on the scene (to date, this has never happened) or a crisis triggers a panic as happened in this case then things begin to fall apart.
This was clear on Today with Pat Kenny (Wed) when Conor Lenihan, in an attempt to hang Eamon Gilmore, effectively admitted that the system is rotten.
Lenihan put an end to Gilmore’s high sounding (fake) words by simply asking him why Pat Rabbitte, Labour’s representative on the Oireachtas Commission, never objected to O’Donoghue’s expenses or the appointment of a political advisor to the Ceann Comhairle.
Gilmore spluttered and waffled but was unable to provide an explanation.
When politicians, who happily and without scruples operate all their working lives within a corrupt system, suddenly become principled, their hypocrisy is inevitably going to be exposed by their former co-conspirators.