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On the centenary of the Titanic disaster, how appropriate that Fianna Fáil should have a sinking feeling after its culture of corruption and cronyism was unmasked by the Mahon Report
The Whole Hog, 10 Apr 2012
Or this was, rather, the Ireland these sharp operators were in the business of creating. An Ireland in which they were the go-to boys when anyone needed any fixing done. An Ireland in which unless you went to them it might just be impossible to get anything fixed. Their message was seductive in its way and people were suckered. We’re of you and with you, trust us, we’ll sort it out, just leave it to us, that’ll be grand, ya know yourself, say no more, say nothing. A wink’s as good as a nod. The problem is that the horse was indeed blind...
They were winners and the Irish like to be in the winners’ enclosure, in life as well as at the Galway Races and Cheltenham. For the Irish, someone who keeps winning must have something extra and they want winners in charge, not losers because, begob, we were all losers for long enough. And time and time again, those in charge, who we now know to have been rogues of the worst variety, were feted and celebrated hither and thither and yon by people who knew better but repeatedly left their instincts aside to join in the laughter and the applause.
It’s a short hop from ‘What are you having?’ to ‘What am I having?’ And that’s the hop they made because, of course, everyone gets a slice (fair’s fair). Everything was co-opted into this mission of control and aggrandisement: council houses, grants, welfare allowances, EU funds, tenders, contracts, consultancies, the lot. You name it, they parcelled it up and divvied it out.
Thus, in some still undefined way, a huge number of people were drawn into the conspiracy and, even if only because they were voted in again and again, all of those who put their number one beside a Fianna Fáil name became somehow complicit. The end result of which is the appalling fact that we are now forced into paying off the debts accrued by the banker and builder cronies who lost the run of themselves as the Tiger madness spiralled out of control.
So, what next? Well, the Mahon Report is being referred by the Government to the Garda Commissioner, the DPP, the Revenue Commissioners and the Standards in Public Office Commission. Without wanting blood or wishing ill on anyone, the fact that Ray Burke and Frank Dunlop served time does offer the possibility that charges will follow, at least where the worst of the transgressions are concerned. And in any event, one expects that the Revenue Commissioners will want to follow up with all of the relevant individuals.