Cormac Lucey: Still not in the big picture

I received the following comments from Cormac Lucey in response to my recent article on the fallout from the Mahon Tribunal Report.

My response to Mr. Lucy follows below.

I’m sorry that you were disappointed by my piece. Nowhere do I suggest that Bertie is “innocent of everything that happened”.

There is no doubt that those in government at the time must accept political responsibility for what happened to the economy on their watch.

But they got precious little help from “the experts” as this piece, which I wrote a year, attempts to demonstrate.

I would argue that Bertie didn’t deserve the adulation he enjoyed at the height of his powers. But nor does he deserve the opprobrium he “enjoys” today.

The same bodies which assured Bertie’s government that everything was OK in 2007 are today reassuring Enda’s government that our debts are sustainable.

We should look behind the pantomime villains which politics throws up and examine carefully the vested interests which endure long after “the villains” have left the stage to be replaced by new pantomime figures.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lucy, the pantomime villains you speak of hold positions of power where they can do pretty much as they like.

In almost all cases they put themselves, their party, the continuation of power for as long as possible and, of course, the behind the scenes vested interests before the country or its people.

They can do pretty much as they like because our administrative system- legal, public/civil service, law enforcement, regulatory agencies etc. do not operate like those in functional democracies.

In almost all cases these so called authorities go to great lengths to protect those guilty of corrupt practices and in many cases are themselves complicit in corruption.

At any time in the last thirty or so years politicians could have prevented the banks from routinely robbing their customers, could have allowed so called regulatory agencies to actually regulate rather than protecting the thieves, could have thrown their corrupt fellow politicians in jail.

They chose not to do any of this. As we can see from the (non) response to the Mahon Tribunal Report, they are still choosing not to do this.

Furthermore, many in the media seem to be completely blind to the big picture which is right in front of them.

Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state. It is different from all other Western democracies in that it refuses to act against corrupt politicians or white- collar crime in general.

Anyone who doubts what I say need only ask themselves the following simple questions.

If a Mahon Tribunal type report were published in a functional democracy would there have been arrests by now?

The answer is, of course, a resounding yes.

Why, then, have there been no arrests in Ireland?

Because state authorities, including the body politic, put the preservation of their corrupt system before the good of the country or its people.

The evidence for this is overwhelming and obvious to anyone looking at the situation with a completely objective mind.

The article you wrote in 2011 deals with some reasons for the economic collapse in 2008. While the collapse of the economy is a catastrophic event it is only a (an inevitable) symptom of a corrupt political/administrative system.

Political/administrative/business corruption is the big picture. This is where the power lies and ordinary citizens are completely powerless to do anything about it – to date.

Bertie Ahern does deserve the opprobrium he’s getting. It’s an absolute minimum ‘punishment’ for what he has done to Ireland and its people.

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if this low-grade politician did what he did in a functional democracy he would now be in jail.

As a victim citizen of a corrupt state I can say with absolute certainty that neither Ahern nor any of those named in the report will be brought to justice.

That fact alone confirms that Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state.

Copy to;
Cormac Lucey

Ryan and Martin: Running for cover

Now that it has been established that Bertie Ahern lied under oath at the Mahon Tribunal all those who loyally served under him have to make a choice.

They have to admit they were complete fools to believe such drivel, make up some excuse for their gullibility or, for the first time in Irish political histroy, admit they knew he was lying but kept quiet to protect their own particular interests.

The third option, telling the truth, has never happened in Irish political life but here are examples of option one and two.

Micheál Martin has opted for the ‘Im a fool’ excuse. Asked by the Irish Daily Mail if he was a knave or a fool to believe Ahern’s evidence Martin replied;

I believed what Bertie Ahern said at the time of the tribunal and I was wrong and I was disappointed.

Now only a fool would believe that this fool is telling the truth when he says he believed the fool Ahern but at least he’s not blaming anybody else for his stupidity.

Former Green Party minister and loyal Bertie Ahern supporter Eamon Ryan took the second option – an excuse.

Questioned on Tonight with Vincent Browne (March 22) he placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Irish people.

Vincent Browne: You were implicated in the whole thing.

Ryan: No, we raised the whole issue of corruption… blah blah blah blah…

VB: But you were in government with Ahern.

Ryan: We went into government with Bertie Ahern and no matter what we did he was still going to be Taoiseach. The Irish people returned Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach in 2007, not us.

VB: You defended Ahern when everybody knew he was a liar

Ryan: The Irish people made a democratic decision that they were going to return Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fail. That was not our call, it was the Irish people that did it.

VB: It was your call to go into govenment with someone you knew was telling lies to the tribunal.

Ryan: It was the Irish people who returned Bertie Ahern.

VB: You went into governent wth someone who you knew was lying.

Ryan: It was up to the tribunal to discern that (that Ahern was lying).

VB: Rubbish; you remained happily in government. Did you think it credible? (Ahern’s evidence)

Ryan: No, I didn’t. (Rejecting the ‘I’m a fool option’).

VB: You’ve never said that before in public. So you remained in government disbelieving the evidence the leader of government gave to the tribunal on the issue of corruption.

Ryan: One of the reasons you stay in government is to get things done…blah blah blah blah…

It is obvious from this exchange that, at the very least, the integrity and honesty of Eamon Ryan and the Green Party was seriously compromised by their association with the corrupt Fianna Fail party.

Copy to:
Eamon Ryan
Micheál Martin

Rank hypocrisy of Micheál Martin

Irish Examiner Journalist Colette Browne has an excellent piece in today’s edition in which she exposes the rank hypocrisy and dishonesty of Micheál Martin regarding the very serious charge by the Mahon Tribunal that Fianna Fail ministers tried to collapse the tribunal.

Here’s her comment on Minister of State Martin Mansergh:

Another Minister of State, Martin Mansergh, was aghast that Ahern had to appear before the tribunal at all: “No other head of state in the EU has to appear before tribunals… In France, the president is immune from prosecution. It’s a ridiculous way to conduct public affairs.”

State still as corrupt after 35 years

Over 35 years ago journalist Joe McAnthony was thrown out of Ireland because of his investigations into corruption. There are strong suggestions that the Gardai led the charge in forcing this journalist into exile.

Here’s his view on the Mahon Tribunal:

What we’ve had in Ireland over the years is a kind of collaboration between different powerful influences and they create a circumstance in which at times it’s virtually impossible to do anything.

Take the Ray Burke case. The story contained all the evidence for a criminal prosecution but there was no police investigation. I was visited by a detective and after asking me some questions he said:

Nothing will ever be done about this case

Nothing has changed in the last 35 years.

Cormac Lucey: Blind to the true nature of a liar like Bertie Ahern

Whenever a major scandal breaks there is always at least one commentator who will write what I call a ‘We’re all to blame’ article.

Economist Cormac Lucey fits the bill on this occasion.

Writing in the Daily Mail (Saturday, March, 24) Lucey’s article is entitled.

A guilty victim, yes, but also an easy scapegoat for all our woes.

Here are the opening paragraphs.

They weren’t able to catch Al Capone for his gangland crimes, so they convicted him for tax evasion.

They weren’t able to defeat Bill Clinton politically, so his Republican opponents unleashed Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr against him.

And the Irish Establishment wasn’t able to defeat Bertie Ahern politically when he was at the peak of his power; so it has had to make do with the Mahon Tribunal after he has retired.

Now I agree with the mentioning of the gangster Al Capone and the liar Bertie Ahern in the same article but what the hell is all that about the ‘Irish Establishment’ out to get poor Bertie?

Lucey goes on to blame everybody – except poor Bertie.

Whether we are talking about the economy, building standards or ethical standards we can always blame Bertie.

It suits those being crushed under mountains of debt to blame Bertie rather than accept personal responsibility for their own errors.

As leader of the most corrupt political party in the state the liar Ahern is the man principally responsible for the collapse of the economy, low or non- existent building standards and the total removal of ethical standards from the body politic.

Lucey seems to be suggesting that the liar is actually innocent of everything that has happened in the last few decades.

Until I read this article I had always seen Cormac Lucey as a well informed, independent minded and balanced commentator on political/economic affairs.

My puzzlement was cleared later on in the article when he mentioned that he once acted as special advisor to former Tanaiste Michael McDowell.

Now I know exactly where Mr. Lucey is coming from and why he’s blind to the true nature of a liar like Ahern.

Copy to:
Cormac Lucey

Corruption is endemic

The following quote is from an editorial in yesterday’s Irish Times.

In truth, the vast majority of politicians are people of integrity, motivated by a sense of civic duty and a commitment to public service. Corruption in Ireland is not rife.

Wrong; Corruption is rife at every level of Irish society and in particular, as reported by Mahon, it is endemic within the political system.

Furthermore the vast majority of politicians operate very comfortably within the corrupt political/administrative system.

Ignorance and gullibility

Letter in yesterday’s Irish Times.

The people of Ireland can only hope that the the ignorance and gullibility evident in this letter is confined to the author.


I have never been a supporter of Fianna Fáil, but I must say that I have been impressed very much with Micheál Martin’s handling of the whole affair thus far.

The pressure to hold ranks and kick for touch on this one must be enormous but the Corkman’s statesmanship has been paramount.

I hope he keeps his nerve and is rewarded for showing another view of Fianna Fáil.

He is at the opposite end of the spectrum to where Haughey, Burke, Flynn and Ahern gather.

Yours, etc,

Pat Burke Walsh
Rosslare Strand
Co Wexford.

O'Malley's view

Letter in yesterday’s Irish Times


Noel Whelan (Opinion, March 24th) suggested expelling Bertie Ahern was of a different order to the expulsions of Neil Blaney in 1972 and of me in 1985, because in this case the party is expelling a former leader.

He is wrong.

Blaney’s and my expulsions, both for “conduct unbecoming” a member of the party, were about the future direction of Fianna Fáil.

In 1972 the party chose constitutional republicanism over ethnic bigotry, and in 1985 Fianna Fáil chose corruption and personal aggrandisement over basic ethical standards. Those expulsions mattered.

Expelling Bertie Ahern was an attempt at damage limitation and to re-cast the party’s position on past events.

But Ahern epitomised the Fianna Fáil approach to politics since Haughey took over the party’s leadership.

It will take more than his expulsion to rid the party of the stain with which successive leaders and senior members have tarnished it.

Yours, etc

Desmond O’Malley

Bertie Ahern is a liar

If Ireland was a functional democracy Bertie Ahern, Padraig Flynn and many others named in the Mahon Tribunal Report would have been arrested immediately and placed under police investigation.

Bertie Ahern lied under oath. In functional democracies this is perjury and is treated as a very serious crime. In Ireland perjury is only a serious crime for citizens who do not enjoy the benefits of power and influence.

Over the last three decades or so politicians, senior civil servants, gardai, solicitors, bankers, property developers and a whole host of other individuals from the so called professional classes have lied under oath.

They have committed the crime of perjury in the full knowledge and confidence that no state authority will act against them. No member of the ruling elite of Ireland has ever been charged with the crime of perjury.

Bertie Ahern will never face such a charge because our corrupt political/administrative system will ensure that he is protected from any such charge.

It is also obvious from reading the Mahon Report that many other witnesses committed the crime of perjury. None of them will be charged not just because they are untouchables but becasue any charge of perjury against anybody could force the state to act similarly against liars like Bertie Ahern.

Reynolds: In great evidence giving form?

It’s been two years now since Alert Reynolds was excused from giving evidence at the Mahon Tribunal because he suffers from a significant cognitive impairment which can cause memory loss and difficulty with speech.

Since then he’s been out and about living life to the full with not a sign of that nasty impairment.

The five medical ‘experts’ who made the diagnosis must be astonished by Albert’s miraculous ability to speak and act just like everybody else despite his condition.

Tribunal chairman, Alan Mahon, said at the time that the tribunal reserves the right to review this decision in the event that it receives information which might suggest a change or an improvement in Mr. Reynolds’ medical condition.

Perhaps the judge should have a look at Albert’s latest social outing in Tipperary (RTE, 3rd report).

He looks in great evidence giving form to me.