Economics Editor for the Irish Times, Dan O’Brien, sounded slightly right wing as he debated crime in Irish society with Fr Peter Mc Verry on Today with Pat Kenny (Tuesday).
According to O’Brien recession, poverty and inequality have little effect on crimes rates (See O’Brien’s Irish Times article on the issue here).
The availability of drink and drugs coupled with a reluctance to throw people in jail are, apparently, the principal causes of increased crime rates.
O’Brien was very confident discussing crimes committed, in the main, by the lower classes but when questioned about white-collar crime he became decidedly less gung ho.
Keep in mind that the following views are expressed in a country destroyed after a corrupt political system allowed (and still allows) white-collar criminals to break the law with impunity.
O’Brien: If society decides something is a crime then, you know, it should be investigated and those who break the law should be punished as society decides.
So, you know, whatever we decide and clearly, you know, there’s a problem with white-collar crime and there has been an enormous….interrupted.
Pat Kenny: But even white-collar wrong doing which has not yet being categorised properly as a crime…interrupted.
Peter Mc Verry: Society doesn’t decide what’s a crime; people in designer suits decide what’s a crime.
O’Brien: Well, I certainly think that we need, from a political perspective, to say that certain types of behaviour in financial institutions…
we need to look at making certain actions criminal as a means of deterring people because the consequences are so enormous that there is a case to be made for criminalising certain kinds of reckless behaviour particularly in financial institutions.
So, after the Titanic has sunk O’Brien wants the State to look at making certain actions criminal and believes there’s a case for criminalising certain kinds of reckless behaviour.
It would be interesting to hear what kind of (white-collar) reckless behaviour he believes should remain outside the law.
O’Brien believes that jail should be used to take criminals out of circulation and to act as a deterrent to protect society but, apparently, only wants this to apply to the lower classes.
Fr. Mc Verry is right on the button when he says that it’s people in designer suits that decide what’s a crime.
Ireland and its citizens will continue to suffer severe consequences until those suits, both political and business, are locked up.