I have always admired Sunday Independent journalist, Gene Kerrigan, as a writer who pulls no punches particularly when he’s writing about corruption in Ireland.
I was therefore very disappointed to read his article of June 24 where he effectively makes a complete fool of himself by defending the activities of thief, liar and tax evader Mick Wallace.
Kerrigan begins by making the idiotic claim that Wallace is the man to stop corruption in Ireland.
All Wallace has to do, according to Kerrigan, is introduce legislation that would make tax evaders ineligible for membership of the Oireachtas.
Once the legislation was in place Wallace would resign (with honour, apparently) and get on with what Kerrigan describes as his varied and useful life.
And, presumably, the people of Ireland would find themselves living in a land of milk and honey basking in ever lasting happiness.
Clearly, Kerrigan has been reading up the gombeen’s guide on how to defend the indefensible – some quotes with comment.
Wallace did wrong in defrauding the Revenue. He’s paid a price, quite rightly.
Wallace did do wrong but he has not paid the price.
He’s still contaminating our parliament. He hasn’t’ been brought to justice for his actions.
He will not be brought to justice because our corrupt political/administrative system makes no provision for taking action against the activities of people like Wallace.
To introduce and enforce strong, effective anti corruption laws would endanger the entire corrupt system.
This is not going to happen in the short to medium term.
Since the revelation, Wallace has brought to Irish politics a quality that has been blatantly absent – shame.
Wallace, to his credit, displayed the shame appropriate to his misbehaviour.
Only a fool believes Wallace is ashamed of his actions or that his activities can be excused by (feigning) shame.
He has/is exploiting the corrupt political/administrative system for all its worth to avoid accountability for his self-confessed crimes.
Only today we read that the thief/tax evader has refused to cooperate with members of the Dail committee investigating his activities.
Wallace, the man suffering from great shame according to Kerrigan, refused to supply the exact date when the settlement with Revenue was reached.
This is a key detail because he can only be investigated by his fellow TDs if the settlement was agreed after he was elected.
Wallace also refused a request to give Revenue permission to hand over their file to the Dail Members Interests Committee.
These are not the actions of a man feeling shame and remorse for his crimes, they are the actions of a man bent on evading responsibility and justice.
The odium heaped on him has by now become comical.
Odium, as all Irish politicians know, is harmless when compared to the great benefits to be had from operating within a corrupt political/administrative system that accepts corrupt practices as the norm.
In the great tradition of Fianna Fail supporters of the criminal Haughey, Kerrigan resorts to the ‘sure worse things have happened’ argument.
What about King Leopold’s economic and physical rape of the Congo and what about the shameful treatment of Eastern European mushroom pickers – Kerrigan bizarrely asks.
What kind of mushrooms, I ask, is Kerrigan on?
I don’t know Mick Wallace, but I’ve liked him for about a decade.
This final quote is, apparently, the reason for Kerrigan’s bizarre defence of Wallace.
He likes the man therefore he (Wallace) should be let off, should not be brought to account.
This narrow, blind mindset is common in Ireland. It allows criminals like Haughey and others to plunder the state with complete impunity.
Genuinely, I never thought Gene Kerrigan, of all people, would fall prey to such a damaging mindset.