The abuse of public funds by Sinn Fein’s Aengus O Snodaigh to the tune of €50,000 is no big deal financially speaking.
Politicians have been plundering public funds for decades and that situation is unlikely to change until the corrupt political/administrative system is totally dismantled.
The incident is important, however, in that it confirms that Sinn Fein is not the radical party it has always claimed to be.
The reaction by Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and O Snodaigh himself places their party firmly within the main stream body politic sphere of get what you can out of the system while the going is good.
It was excessive but, we’re told, he broke no law, he did nothing wrong.
These words have confirmed (and condemned) Sinn Fein as a fully signed up member of an irredeemably corrupt political/administrative system.
If Sinn Fein was the radical party they have always claimed to be they would never even have engaged with the rotten system in the first place. If they were truly revolutionary they would have refused to take their Dail seats.
Instead, they would have stood outside the gates of Dail Eireann, with the people, and stayed there until the disease of corruption had been excised from the body politic.
This incident, and the reaction to it, also puts paid to any hope that the party might reform the rotten system from the inside.
It’s doubtful that Sinn Fein, in common with all other parties, is even aware of how corrupt the political/administrative system really is.
Sinn Fein’s rising popularity in recent years, I believe, is a desperate plea from ordinary Irish citizens for real accountability and transparency from a courageous and visionary political party.
This incident and the cynical/dishonest reaction to it have dashed any hopes that Sinn Fein is the party with the courage and vision to root out the disease of corruption from Irish public life.