a complacent and sedentary club

In the Irish Examiner, Fergus Finlay reacts with something close to incredulity to the effusive tributes to Liam Lawlor in the Dáil last week. He says that he will have suggestions for reforming the club next week and wonders, and worries, about what they’ll have to say when the time comes for Dáil Eireann to go through the same charade about Charles J Haughey.From the Irish Examiner

I’m sure they believed all this. No doubt Liam Lawlor was a good family man, a hard worker, and a diligent constituency representative according to his own lights. But by his actions he debased the currency of politics. Perhaps there was a time in his life when he had an ambition for politics and for democracy, but for most of his career he used Dáil Eireann as a base for activities that were intrinsically unworthy, and diametrically opposed to the things he was elected for. I have no doubt he had a diplomatic passport because TDs are issued with one on request, and I have equally no doubt that he used that passport to make money. In mourning the passing of a popular man, someone in Dáil Eireann should have noted that corruption in politics is corrosive and terminally damaging, and that the same popular man had contributed more than his fair share of that corrosion. But the Dáil isn’t that kind of place any more. It was always a club. And those who worked there, but weren’t elected, were never a real part of the club. The fact of election marked people out, made them different in some way from the rest. And those who were elected, irrespective of party, ideology or personality, always had something in common with each other. That fact alone always meant that reform of the institution, of the club, was never going to be radical. Club members don’t reform themselves.

  • Tom

    Yet another messanic diatribe from the Prophet Finlay. His contribution to Irish public life will never be underestimated by himself!

  • Henry94

    And those who worked there, but weren’t elected, were never a real part of the club. The fact of election marked people out, made them different in some way from the rest.

    They were members of the Dail. They were accountable to their voters. Finlay was an appointee. A spin doctor. Power without responsibility.

    But he should try running for the Dail. Maybe then he would understand the difference.

    He could run on a “Speak ill of the dead” ticket. The result would tell him something he doesn’t know about the people of Ireland.

  • Occasional Commentator

    If speaking ill of the dead is such a bad thing, then surely telling lies is just as bad. Many of those who spoke in the Dail would not have been honest. If any TD couldn’t honestly say good things about Mr. Lawlor, then surely keeping quiet would have been the best choice? If some of them could honestly speak well of him, then good luck to them.

    Criticism of a public figure should stand or fall on its own merits, not on whether the person in question is living or dead. If somebody wants to defend the reputation of a recently deceased person, they should stick to rational arguments and not just point out that the they’re dead.

    For the sake of grieving family, it might be a good idea for critics to just keep quiet temporarily, but nobody should claim that they have lost the argument as a result.

  • Joe

    “Yet another messanic (sic) diatribe from the Prophet Finlay. His contribution to Irish public life will never be underestimated by himself!”

    This is just oul partisan prejudice. I can’t see how anyone could fairly so describe Finlay. His point was more than valid as the dogs in the street knew Lawlor was monumentally corrupt and disgraced his profession, party and nation. The tributes to him in the Dáil were pretty hard to take if one cares about probity.