For so long as we keep talking we do not have to face the reality of what we are as a nation

When scandal, corruption, arrogance and incompetence raise their ugly heads in Ireland, as they frequently do, they are dealt with by talk.

The entire nation engages in endless discussion until the matter is, quite literally, talked out of existence or until another scandal comes along, as frequently happens, and changes the topic under discussion.

The one thing that must never be done, and is never done, is to actually deal with the matter in hand.

To do so would require facing the reality of what we are as a nation.

In a corrupt state that is not possible.

Michael Lowry and Mick Wallace, for example, have been immersed in scandal after scandal in recent times but remain members of our parliament.

They are still, for the most part, seen as fine upstanding public representative and are still treated with the utmost respect by most of the media.

The only response to the activities of these men has been talk, talk, talk and more talk.

Or take the recent scandal surrounding the penalty points system.

Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows that something very rotten has occurred here yet all we do is talk, talk, talk until the matter is forgotten or superseded by another scandal.

The reason for this situation is simple. The corrupt political/administrative system, for so long as it holds power, will never allow anything more than talk – actual action in response to scandal and corruption will never become an option.

But then, amidst all the endless talk, a never to be repeated historical fluke occurred when Enda Kenny handed power to ordinary people to take direct action against the corrupt system.

They could have, literally with a stroke of a pencil, removed one of the supporting planks of the corrupt system and quite possibly triggered the collapse of the entire rotten structure.

Tragically, the opportunity was lost and we now find ourselves back in the land of endless talk.

Reams have already been written outlining a million suggestions for political reform. Television and radio stations have been invaded by hordes of politicians, commentators and journalists eager to broadcast their ideas for a brand new political system, a brand new Ireland – but it’s all just talk, talk, talk.

Some may accuse me of being too dramatic about all of this but to those I would point to an article in yesterday’s Irish Independent by former Fianna Fail politician Mary O’Rourke.

In the article O’Rourke, who was leader of the Senate from 2002 to 2007, advises the current leader, Maurice Cummins (FG) on how best to reform the institution.

Read my report on reform from nine years ago in 2004 for some ideas and implement the wishes of the people as expressed 34 years ago in the 1979 Senate referendum, she advises.

At moments like this I place my head in my hands and despair for Ireland and its people.