By Anthony Sheridan
I recently engaged in a twitter discussion with former Green Party TD Dan Boyle on the question of politican corruption. Incredibly, and somewhat depressingly, Mr. Boyle does not believe that political corruption is a major problem, he does not believe that political corruption is principally responsible for most of the damage and suffering inflicted on Irish citizens over the decades.
Indeed, despite years of direct political involvement Mr. Boyle claims he has no direct evidence of the disease.
I believe corruption exists but I have no specific evidence of it.
Here’s the verbatim account of our discussion.
Dan Boyle: The significant whataboutery of many in Irish life, reacting negatively to the latest in horror homelessness stories, shows the horrible link that when becoming richer as an economy we seem to become poorer as a society.
Anthony Sheridan: Ah yes, once again it’s the royal ‘we’ that’s to blame. This avoids the brutal truth – the corrupt Centre of Irish politics is responsible
Dan Boyle: We all exist in a society. You don’t isolate. Nothing ‘royal’ about it. Bigger picture exists despite personal animosity.
Anthony Sheridan: You do isolate, you identify the guilty (in this case, corrupt politicians) and make them accountable. The ‘we’ generalisation is a cop out.
Dan Boyle: To you it is. Choose isolation if you want. All it leads to is constant conflict and little, if any, progress.
Anthony Sheridan: Your reply does not make sense. Focus on the brutal truth – our corrupt politicians are responsible.
Dan Boyle: Your use of the phrase ‘corrupt politicians’ is meaningless. It’s a convenient catch all phrase that doesn’t forward debate in any way at all.
Anthony Sheridan: Wow…that’s an incredible comment given the massive suffering, loss and even death as a direct result of political corruption. No wonder the Greens are in the waiting room of extinction.
Dan Boyle: Of course there are politicians who are corrupt, but most politicians regardless of where they sit on the policy spectrum, are not. Pretending they are, and using politicians as a generic reason for all that is wrong in society, is just plain wrong.
Anthony Sheridan: It is not just some corrupt politicians, the political system itself is rotten to the core. You are an insider and like all insiders you are blind to the rot all around you. The countless victims of political corruption do not have the luxury of ignoring the brutal reality.
Dan Boyle: I’m not an insider but I am someone who has had experience of where and how the system falls down. You put this down to corruption, I put it down to competence. Where the system most falls down is where those in charge have no accountability mechanisms.
Anthony Sheridan: You are an insider, It’s deeply disturbing how unaware establishment politicians are of the true nature of political corruption. I’m confident that in time the rotten system will be brought down and replaced with honest politics. We’ll have to agree to disagree until that day.
Dan Boyle: I’m not an insider I hold no public office. I believe corruption exists but I have no specific evidence of it. Laws need to be strengthened and greater resources given to help prosecute more. Corruption needs to be eliminated but lack of competence is the real problem.
Anthony Sheridan: Your admission that you have no specific evidence of corruption defies belief. The disease of corruption is obvious and rampant throughout the political and administrative system. You live in a bubble of denial Mr. Boyle, a fact that does enormous damage to the Irish people.
Dan Boyle: I speak honestly on the basis of my experience. If specific evidence was made available to me I would have acted on it. If such evidence is available to you, I would encourage you to have it acted on. Most failures in Irish politics are as a result of cock ups not conspiracies.
Anthony Sheridan: I am genuinely astonished at your apparent ignorance of the rampant corruption within the political/administrative sectors. Clearly, you pay little attention to news and current affairs. Such ignorance is a guarantee that the guilty will continue to thrive.
Dan Boyle: Again not what I’m saying. Convictions depend on evidence of sufficient quality. Corruption exists. It is notoriously hard to prove. But I’ll repeat lack of competence is the greater cause of maladministration in Irish public services.
Anthony Sheridan: We’re going around in circles now. Just to finish, it is deeply disturbing and bodes ill for the future of our country if your ignorance and naivety are common [and I suspect that is the case] within the body politic. Thank you for engaging in the discussion.
Dan Boyle: You can call me ignorant as much as you like. You have no greater information or experience on this than anyone else has. Your shock and scorn is immaterial.
Anthony Sheridan: It’s not about me, it’s about ridding our country of the disease of political corruption, clearly there’s a long road ahead.