'Accountability' without consequences is not accountability

Here’s a snippet from an interview with the Director General of RTE after being asked should those involved in the Fr. Reynolds scandal remain on while investigations are ongoing (Six One News).

I wasn’t directly involved in the decisions that led up to the broadcast of the programme.

But you’re editor in chief of RTE?

Absolutely, and I absolutely take absolute responsibility in that regard.

Here’s a snippet from Kevin Cardiff when he appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee of European Affairs.

My role as accounting officer is to take responsibility for these things, to deal with them when they arise, to rectify them as best I can, to account for them to this committee, to account for them to the Minister.

Brian Cowen and other politicians gave similar replies when asked about their responsibility for the financial catastrophe visited upon the nation.

This saying of the words, I accept full responsibility, without accepting the consequences of that accountability is a typical and uniquely Irish attitude among Western nations.

These people are more than happy to accept the power, privilege and enormous salaries that come as part of their jobs but absolutely refuse to accept any consequences when they make mistakes.

This inability or refusal to accept actual responsibility rather than just saying the words is a common feature of all failed states.