The missing link in the Irish regulatory system

The Government has still not implemented the key recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal almost a year after its publication.

This refusal to respond to major corruption is normal in corrupt states.

In Ireland, such matters are dealt with as follows:

Corruption discovered followed by denial and/or blame. If the scandal continues to attract attention the matter is sidelined into a powerless tribunal or government committee.

When a report is published it’s ignored.

The key point is that no action is ever actually taken against anybody.

The whole idea, which is the norm in functional jurisdictions, of taking the evidence/facts and placing them before a court of law is skipped.

The Irish system ignores this vital step of bringing people to account and simply carries on as if nothing of note had been uncovered by the investigation.

We can see this in the response to the Mahon Tribunal.

The tribunal made some very serious findings including the fact that corruption affected every level of political life.

In other words, the tribunal effectively agrees with the core philosophy of this website – that Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state.

This fact has been completely ignored. Instead of actually doing something to cure the disease of political corruption the politicians focus on some other matter.

In this case it’s the problems and difficulties surrounding the establishment of an independent planning regulator.

Planning Minister Jan O’Sullivan:

A number of key issues had to be resolved before such a regulator could be established.

Should the minister’s powers be fully transferred to an independent regulator or should the final forward planning decisions remain political in nature to be taken by the minister/ government/ Oireachtas with a regulator providing an independent advisory/supervisory role?

Decisions, decisions, decisions – but never the real decisions that need to be made.

After diverting attention away from the actual corruption the political system reverts to waffle mode.

Minister O’Sullivan again:

I am determined to see this recommendation is fully and comprehensively considered and appropriately acted on.

It is important not only that we address this crucial issue but that we do it right.

So there you have it. Serious and widespread corruption is uncovered, an investigation ensues, a report is published, the political/administrative system ignores its findings and simply skips over the vital step of bringing the guilty to account.

This missing link in the regulatory/justice system is one of the principal differences between a country like Ireland and functional democracies.

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Minister O’Sullivan