One of our more distinguished gombeen politicians, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, was in typical arrogant mood during an interview on The Week in Politics yesterday.
When asked about the possibility of Ireland getting money back by way of European retrospection legislation he replied:
I think if we go there naively and put out our hand and say; give us the money, we won’t succeed.
This comment and the accompanying sneering smile tells us a lot about Noonan’s intelligence and complete lack of diplomatic skills .
My translation: That was good wasn’t it? Did you notice how I cleverly linked my reply to the lads on the Anglo tapes? Aren’t I fierce clever, not many people are as clever you know.
When asked for his response to the Anglo tapes Mr. Clever was very much plain old Mr. Gombeen.
It was appalling but of course it was recordings that were made over four years ago so we’re revisiting the past.
My translation: That’s all in the past and the matter is no longer relevant. People need to move on.
There has been a general distaste of bank culture right across Europe and indeed across the world.
My translation: This sort of thing happens all over the world, Ireland is not unique, it’s time to move on.
When asked what the Government intended to do about the economic crimes of David Drumm Noonan again took refuge in his gombeen mindset.
Well, I wouldn’t like to repeat a difficulty Mary Harney got into when she made remarks that were deemed to prejudge a court case.
My translation: We politicians really want to get these people but unfortunately we can’t say anything in case it would affect any future court case, so come back to me in, say, ten maybe fifteen years time and I’ll answer that question.
It’s very complex, very intricate and the prosecuting authorities are fearful if they move too quickly or imprudently that they’ll blow the case and with the separation of powers we must leave them do that.
My translation: These matters are beyond the understanding of ordinary peasants so they are best left to the ‘experts’ to deal with. And of course, due to the separation of powers, there’s absolutely nothing we politicians can do to force the authorities to complete their investigations any time soon.
Noonan was then asked why the Americans were capable of immediate action against whistleblowers like Edward Snowden while Irish authorities never acted.
The American system is different than the Irish system.
Well why don’t we change our system if that’s what it takes?
Because we have a constitutional mechanism which protects all citizens, it’s called the separation of powers and it’s up to the prosecution authorities and the criminal justice authorities to deal with it.
The Guards make inquiries in this country, we don’t politically interfere with the Guards, they give their books of evidence and their files to the DPP and the DPP decides who to prosecute.
My translation: Ireland is a progressive, civilized state that respects and protects the rights of all citizens no matter what charges are made against them.
America, on the other hand, is a primitive state that hunts down suspects without due process and its enforcement authorities are subject to political pressure.
On the warning by former boss of the Office of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, (that title always makes me laugh) that his office did not have enough resources.
We’ve heard the resources argument year after year, he got all the resources he needed and he got extra time to do his job.
This dismissal of Mr. Appleby as an effective liar was accompanied by another sneer but this one was not smiling.
It was one of pure contempt for an official who dared to ask for more resources to fight white-collar crime.