Irish women and children first to suffer as government cutbacks hit
Nothing but the same old story as the elites go scot-free in Ireland
Yet as this is written, public spirited people are patrolling the banks of the Shannon, approaching worried looking citizens to enquire are they thinking of a walk or of suicide. No one has gone to jail. No one has even been asked to give a public account of their failures on watch.
Currently an effort is being made to bamboozle the public by holding hearings of the Public Accounts Committee of the Dáil which enquires as to how public monies were spent. It’s a meaningless exercise, the money is gone and retribution is inevitably far to seek.
However, a proposal which might have helped the people to understand what happened and to provide consequences was nipped in the bud in the early days of the present ‘reforming’ Government taking over from Fianna Fáil. This was the holding of a referendum, to change the Constitution so that the Dáil could hold committee hearings, like those conducted by the US Senate or the UK parliament into matters of public interest and make findings of fact.
The Referendum was defeated for two reasons, one people didn’t trust the politicians to hold such hearings lest they used them for private, star chamber purposes and two because a group of ex-attorneys general (of all parties) gave a powerful jolt to public opinion by writing to the papers saying that such a referendum would take away a man’s right to his good name, and the independence of the judiciary.
One of the signatories to that letter was Dermot Gleeson, the chairman of Allied Irish Bank during the Celtic Tiger era, another Peter Sutherland of Goldman Sachs, a further defender of the individual’s right to his good name was Michael McDowell, who followers of IrishCentral shall remember from journalist Frank Connolly’s article, gave confidential documents from his department to the Irish Independent which formed part of his case outlined under privilege in the Dáil that Connolly had visited Colombia on a forged passport to see his brother, who at the time was in jail as a member of the Colombia Three.
In the uproar that followed McDowell’s manoeuvre, a noble work by one of the most valuable men to ever visit Ireland, Chuck Feeny, was destroyed. This was the public enquiry institute of which Connolly was the chief journalist and distinguished figures like Mr Justice Fergus Flood, the chairman. At the time, Bertie Ahern said on television that no country, not America, not France, could stand for such an outside agency supplying information to its public.
Ahern conveniently overlooked the activities of Sky Television, CNN, The BBC and the Murdoch press when he said this but on losing office, he subsequently took a job with the scummiest publication in the English language, The News of the World, which Murdoch was forced to shut down and the Irish public never read the results of the story that Connolly and his team had been working on - an investigation of Ahern’s finances.
Given this background and the traditional Irish deference to the authority of both Christ and Caesar it is not surprising that the professionals have managed to keep the rich and the venial from appearing before the bar of justice.
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