Discipline and proportionality are what failed the former Ceann Comhairle…

Interesting defence of John O’Donoghue in today’s Irish Times:

Other than a general sense that he was tearing the arse out of it, we still have no settled view of the precise nature of O’Donoghue’s sin. Everybody agrees that some of his expenses were excessive, but nobody has set out a clear measure by which this could be judged, or proposed any guidelines by which, in future, the scale of similar accusations might be assessed.

Quite so. Although I don’t buy the idea that ‘due process’ was as open to Eamon Gilmore as Mr Waters is trying to imply… Getting rid of a chair of a democratic assembly nearly always requires some form of regicide in most western democracies… Despite what Waters (and many others) claims, there is no due process for forcing a Ceann Comhairle to come clean, or walk the plank…

Confidence in the house is the only critical metric on that score…Otherwise proportionality is the key measure; and that is and probably cannot and perhaps even should not be legislated for a priori by some artificial formula or other. But whatever can be said of the intemperance of some of the critics of Mr O’Donoghue, the manner of his going has revealed an inability of the house’s own auditing mechanisms (ie the Oireachtas Commission’s job) to impose even the minimum of discipline to the extent that the former Ceann Comhairle ignored pressure to discontinue the level of expenditure he had once sustained as Minister of Arts and Sports… (as noted previously here on Slugger…)

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty