Irish public life has been criminalised

The only quibble I would have with this excellent letter is the suggestion that the criminality only began 13 years ago.

I believe corruption/criminality has always been an integral part of Irish public life but the disease became endemic in 1979 when the criminal politician Haughey gained power.

Laughing boy Brian Cowen was laughing at more than Fine Gael in the Dail chamber on Wednesday: he and his party were also laughing at the people of Ireland.

On the day that it was formally acknowledged that the old, the sick and the disabled of Ireland would have to pay a heavy price to support the gambling debts of the friends of Fianna Fail, through paying off the Anglo debt of €22bn, all Cowen could do was sneer at the problems of the opposition.

It is amazing to me that when the Fianna Fail mask slips, all that is revealed is exactly the same face of arrogance and cocky contempt.

The one thing Fine Gael should learn from their travails is that, no matter who the leader, if they don’t learn the nature of the opposition they face, then they will never connect with the depth of anger that exists in this country at the way public life has been criminalised.

The most awful truths are often the most difficult to contemplate.

But the reality is that 13 years of cowboy banking, cowboy building and cowboy spending could only have happened through the orchestration of the cowboy politics represented by the Fianna Fail hegemony.

Words like nepotism, largesse and cronyism are employed by polite and civilised society to convey its discomfiture with immoral conduct.

But the times in which we live demand that we develop a language and attitude more fitting to both describe and challenge the enemy Ireland faces today.
Very simply, public life has been criminalised.

We need to ‘man up’ as a nation and admit this.

The people who did the criminalisation manage successfully to pass themselves off as part of the political discourse. There is always some “policy”-based argument for decisions that result in the same outcome.

But the result is always the same: public money is effectively stolen.

It is more than ironic that a state agency, the HSE, should have referred the seeming theft of €2.5m to the Garda Siochana when, over in the Dail, the chairman of Anglo admitted that €22bn would never be accounted for.

It’s no wonder Brian Cowen is laughing at us.

Declan Doyle

Lisdowney Co Kilkenny