Friday, March 23, 2012

Fianna Fáil and its Damage to the State

Barely 24 hours after the release of the final report, Fianna Fáil's has decided to ignore the allegation that Bertie's cabinet ministers tried to collapse the tribunal, because a) it's not "a finding", b) no one is named and c) sure, it was only a bit of school-yard name calling anyway.  It's a serious allegation, according to Micheál Martin; but not one that he accepts.  So we'll move on from that, shall we?

Wait a minute.  This is at the heart of the matter.  Let's look at the reasons.  That it is "not a finding" is irrelevant - this is not a court judgement, but it is the considered view of the State through the lens of a tribunal that - as Fianna Fáil so often complained about - left no stone unturned.  That it is in the headline section (under 1.85 and 1.86) is enough.  Is Martin suggesting that because it's not "a finding" that it's irrelevant, and doesn't need to be addressed?  It was clearly the Fianna Fáil members of cabinet - including Martin himself - who were involved, yet he's splitting hairs about what may or may not constitute an attack?  This cannot simply be brushed aside.  Remember when Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh resigned in 1976 when Paddy Donegan called him a thundering disgrace for sending a bill to the Supreme Court?  That wasn't merely a matter of confidence, but an ignorant disdain for the offices of state.  Martin and his colleagues in cabinet represented both the executive and the legislature, and their comments on the probity of the tribunal - an extension of the judiciary - was an appalling indictment on their disregard for Justice Mahon and his colleagues.

Fianna Fáil were in power too long.  They were the masters of the Universe, they were unimpeachable.  They bounced off the tribunals every now and again, but nothing ever stuck. Bertie, the teflon Taoiseach, was a miracle worker.  He carried them through thick and thin, somehow keeping the PDs, and then the Greens onside, and all those independents.  But at the base of it all was an ignorance of law, a disrespect of office, and a treacherous obsession with the spoils of office.  The country became their plaything, its wealth and structures their party fund, and if they could make a few quid on the side, whether that was Jim McDaid practicing medicine, or Ray Burke or Pee Flynn taking donations (not even trying to dress them up as consulting fees!), then so much the better.

All the while, the country was going to ruin.  Fianna Fáil blamed Lehman Brothers, the banks, Europe, the Euro, the Regulator, anyone but themselves.  The problem was that for all that time, since 1997, no one in Government was actually doing their job.  No one was interested in doing their job, least of all their leader,  Bertie Ahern.

By the time it came to Ministers attacking the tribunal in late 2007, the state, the people, the roles they were supposed to serve and the responsibilities they held meant absolutely nothing.  All that mattered was power, office, and the protection of their privileged position. That their actions compromised the rule of law didn't concern them.  That their actions breached the principle of separation of powers didn't concern them.  that their actions undermined the integrity of the state didn't concern them.  Whether Fianna Fáil decide to ban Bertie Ahern or not is irrelevant.  The party has done more of an injury to this state than the IRA and the British Government combined.  The leadership should be imprisoned, and Fianna Fáil should be proscribed as a political party. 

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