Deputy leader of Sinn Fein Mary Lou McDonald was not pleased when Pat Kenny said the nation was scandalised over the Inkgate incident (Frontline, 5th March).
To say the nation is scandalised is blowing things out of proportion.
That Ms. McDonald seems blind to the deep anger generated by this latest rip off of taxpayers hard earned money indicates that she and her party are more in tune with the corrupt political/administrative system than the radical reform ideals they constantly proclaim.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte is another politician who seems very comfortable operating within our corrupt political/administrative system.
The implications of the new standing charge for low-use electricity customers were ‘not earth-shattering‘ according to Minister Rabbitte.
He was responding to the move by ESB Electric Ireland to hit more than 100,000 domestic electricity customers with a 50 per cent increase in their standing charge if they use an average of two units or less per day from February 1st.
Minister Rabbitte has suggested that the new charge is aimed at (by definition, relatively wealthy) holiday cottage owners (100,000 of them?) rather than a scam to rip off the most vulnerable in society.
Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is yet another politician who has settled very easily into our corrupt political/administrative system.
Just after he was elected Mr. Flanagan said he would donate half of his €92,000 salary to fund projects in his community.
One year on from his promise Mr. Flanagan has refused point blank to give even a broad outline of where his alleged donations have gone.
I decided to donate on the basis of guaranteed anonymity. The alternative is that I get community groups complaining that one group was favoured over the other.
In a functional democracy this silly excuse would be greeted with hilarity and even deep skepticism.
In a deeply corrupt state like Ireland, where barefaced lying is the norm among the political class it is simply unbelievable.
I don’t believe for a moment that any of the above politicians are corrupt in any way but they do operate within a deeply corrupt political/administrative system and must, like almost every other state official, react to that system as circumstances and their own particular personal/political interests dictate.
Whether that’s denial, lying or arrogant dismissal doesn’t matter a great deal.
In the end all such reactions do serious damage to Ireland and its people.
Mary Lou McDonald
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan
One thought on “Politicians comfortable within a corrupt political/administrative system”
Aengus OSnodaigh did not benefit personally from his use of ink cartridges supplied by the Oireachtas. Like every other Oireachtas member, he was given a printer for his office and the cartridges to suit it were available at the Oireachtas stationery store. Each re-fill took four cartridges (one black and three colour) and he was unaware that they cost €130 each, so costing €520 each time.
As soon as he was told of the expense, he stopped using the cartridges to that extent. At the time, Sinn Fein had only four TDs and so, had limited access to the Oireachtas professional printing presses, of which other parties availed.
He used the cartridges to print communications with his constituents. There is a vast difference between this kind of expenditure and, for example, junkets, expensive accommodation or haircuts.
If you are claiming to fight corruption, you should be clear about what kind of expenditure is involved. It costs money to run the Oireachtas: heat, light, catering, furnishings, cleaning and maintenance AND printing facilities all cost money. There is a danger that in the midst of an economic crisis, that in search of a story, individual items of expenditure are hightlighted, without context, and used to provoke outrage for no good reason other than to sell newspapers or increase audience figures.
Aengus OSnodaigh admitted that his use of the ink was more than other TDs’ but to call it corrupt is surely unfair in the circumstances, to say that the national was scandalised by it, in my opinion is just ridiculous.
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