Not the Irish way to bring politicians to book…

In the wake of Peter Hain’s resignation, P O’Neill notes it was a referral to the Metropolitan Police that forced his hand, whereas the worst an Irish politician can expect is a referral to a tribunal. It is, he argues, the Irish way to let our politicians off lightly for flagrant breaches of public trust.

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  • Oiliféar

    The last two UK prime ministers have been questioned by the police for bribery-related scandals, but neither resigned. Fair play to Hain for doing the right thing.

    I can’t open the link but the Irish way may be long, slow public humiliation until everyone knows what happened (or at least not) and there’s no need to say anymore about it – a kind of trial by “we all know what you did” and death by a thousand cuts.

    The only one to survive it that comes to mind was Haughey in 1970, but it eventually got him too two decades later.

  • When it was no longer of any political relevance?

  • perci

    Mick,
    Would you be including Ian Og as an Irish politician?
    According to this definition of “gombeenism”; sure them that’s in da Nort are just as worse as them that’s in the free-shtate.

    At the very core of political corruption in Ireland is the concept of “gombeenism”, a word that describes a degraded form of representation in which those elected to be legislators devote themselves instead to client politics. Public time and money are spent procuring services that are freely available to the electorate and this gives the politicians the aura of power while re-enforcing a culture of political illiteracy. In such a climate, corruption thrives.

  • Greenflag

    ‘In such a climate, corruption thrives.’

    The climate is not too dissimilar in other ‘democracies ‘ . In the USA ‘gombeenism’ is writ large as ‘the Lobbyists’- the Insurance Industry – NRA- Military Industrial Complex- Drug companies etc etc etc . In the UK it’s called a seat in the House of Lords or an OBE/CMG etc or Company Directorships etc etc.

    ‘Public time and money are spent procuring services that are freely available to the electorate ‘

    They may be freely available for those people who have the time , inclination and ‘expertise’ to deal with government bureaucracy.

    The electoral system PR in multi seat constituencies is also a major impediment to politicians focusing more on ‘legislation’ than on client politics . There might even be a hidden democratic benefit in this . We have more than enough laws . Not that we should not have reform when needed .

    Corruption thrives when ‘politicians’ are not held accountable to the same standards of financial probity as the ordinary citizen . Easy to say I know .

  • Oiliféar

    “When it was no longer of any political relevance?”

    True. And not true. Whether it was immediately relevant or not, it was important to the body of Irish politics to exercise that demon. (Which we are still in the process of doing.) Even at Hughey’s death the “we all know what you did and are letting you know by not saying it” style punishment was present through the constant drum beat of media, attendees and commentators that is was the Irish way to “not speak ill of the dead.” (Not to mention the empty seats in the public gallery, for fear that it might ever be said of the man that “he had a great send-off”.)

    The fact that it was no longer immediately relevant is aside the point. The question was whether the Irish way to let their politicians off lightly for flagrant breaches of public trust. If I can be treated to a little whataboutery – sure, didn’t the English dig up Cromwell to hang him? Surely the most futile of efforts at punishment, but a necessity to restore public trust. And it’s the restoration, not the punishment that is most relevant.

  • Greenflag

    Bertie the Transparent 🙂

    Mr Ahern expressed concerns over France’s veteran far-right activist Jean-Marie Le Pen and his allies who said they will go to Ireland next year to help ‘No’ campaigners.

    ‘They will be coming, we know that and of course it is a concern. More importantly for us is the money that they may also bring with them as well,’ Mr Ahern said of campaign funding.

    ‘We on our side will of course be governed by rules on transparency, but they may not play by the same rules.’

    Sinn Fein are pushing the NO vote . Guess who is coming to help them ? Monsieur Le Pen and apparently the UKIP / British National Front.

    Hilarious:)

    Bertie the Transparent expects Mr Sarkozy and Auntie Agnes Merkel to come to Dublin to help galvanise the Yes vote .

    ‘ sure, didn’t the English dig up Cromwell to hang him? Surely the most futile of efforts at punishment, but a necessity to restore public trust. And it’s the restoration, not the punishment that is most relevant.’

    We’re a long way from 1660 (The Restoration ) even though 1690 is not until next July 🙁

  • Oiliféar

    RE: “The Restoration” – yes, saw that afterwards, no pun intended 🙂

  • The Dubliner

    “Corruption thrives when ‘politicians’ are not held accountable to the same standards of financial probity as the ordinary citizen.”

    And the ordinary citizen gets a full-scale public inquiry costing hundreds of billions in fees of every description that scrutinises every last detail of his or her affairs in order to see if their is any substance to malicious rumour?

    Gee, I don’t think so. Politicians, clearly, are held to a far higher standard of scrutiny than the “ordinary citizen.” These tribunals need to cease.

    In the case of Hain of hundreds of other British politicians who are corrupt, if there is evidence against them, then it is referred to the prosecution service. That is the same situation with Irish politicians. However, unlike Britain, if there is no evidence, the Irish hold a tribunal to dig for it and, while they’re at it, to dig back to the time when the politician had his first paper round.

  • As Tic

    Peter Mandleson

  • Greenflag

    ‘And the ordinary citizen gets a full-scale public inquiry costing hundreds of billions in fees of every description that scrutinises every last detail of his or her affairs in order to see if their is any substance to malicious rumour? ‘

    Billions ? Millions surely . I suppose if you add it up over the past 20 years
    .

    Where there’s law there’s injustice and where there are lots of tribunals there are lots of rich solicitors . Which is why there are so many politician solicitors .

    Formerly in ancient times there were hordes of priest politicians who scavenged off the people in this life while promising them ‘eternal vacuous rewards’ in a supposed next life .

    The priest politicians have now been replaced by the solicitor politicians . The praying have been replaced by the preyed upon 🙁

    Satan saw a lawyer.
    A viper slay.
    As it crawled up the leg of a table.
    It reminded him most marvellously,
    Of the Story of Cain and Abel

    Coakley -17th century English poet .

    Coakley was /is still right .