By Anthony Sheridan
The headline of the article was not only dramatic, it was 100% true.
Politics is corrupt; public administration is corrupt, and democracy is dead
Unfortunately, the author of the article, Fergus Finlay, does not believe the truth of his own headline. He makes his real views crystal clear in the body of the article.
I’ve had correspondents who have accused me of being stupid and naïve because I should have realised years ago that politics is corrupt, public administration is corrupt, and democracy is dead.
Maybe I am stupid and naïve, but I don’t believe politics is essentially corrupt.
So Finlay believes those who have corresponded with him hold the view that politics is corrupt whereas he believes there is merely a risk of the state going corrupt.
I am absolutely convinced that the issue of accountability, and how its absence runs the risk of corrupting our state, should be a central issue in the general election campaign.
But it is obvious (and should be to Finlay) from the rest of his article that Ireland is indeed a corrupt state.
He writes about the horror inflicted on Grace by state authorities. He expresses hope that the investigation into the horror will be free from obstacles.
He is naïve in the extreme.
The scandal will be covered up or put on the slow train to nowhere until it becomes a non-memory. I can say with absolute certainty that there will be no justice whatsoever for Grace. This fact is easily proven by simply looking back on the endless stream of similar cases that have been run into the sand of unaccountability over the decades.
He then goes on to list, as if to punish himself for his naivety, other areas of public life where corruption is rampant – Banks, builders, politicians, the legal and accounting professions, charities.
Then, blinded by this close encounter with the glare of truth he, as always, makes a quick escape back into the cave of shadows.
In the comfort of the cave he talks to the shadows about how the wording of the Constitution might be used to persuade the corrupt to mend their ways.
He writes about the defeated referendum proposal to give Oireachtas Committees greater powers of investigation.
Even if (and it’s a big if) such committees successfully investigated wrongdoing and corruption the state would, as it has done with the conclusions of many investigations/tribunals, simply ignore the findings.
And it is crucial to keep in mind that the decision not to act against corruption is no accident. It is a deliberate policy, designed to protect the corrupt, faithfully adhered to by the ruling political class principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.
Again, I don’t have to argue the point here. We simply have to look at the record of non-action by the mainstream parties over the past several decades to see the truth.
In his conclusion Mr. Finlay asks:
Could a lack of accountability kill democracy?
It most certainly could, we wouldn’t be the first country to be killed off by the disease of corruption.
But I’m optimistic that the current corrupt political/administrative system, that has done so much damage to Ireland and its people will, ultimately, be defeated.
It will be defeated by the emerging power of the growing number of citizens who have rejected the old regime and are successfully challenging its culture of corruption.
This election is shaping up to deliver a major victory for those who are determined to create a functional, genuinely democratic republic.
Mr. Finlay is a loyal supporter of the old regime, not because he’s corrupt, stupid or naïve but because he has lived all his adult life too close to the core of the rotten system.
Over the years that closeness has damaged his objectivity to such a degree that he is no longer capable of recognizing that the source of his anger and puzzlement is right there in front of his eyes.