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NAMA Wine Lake >>
Haughey, one of many
Wednesday December 20, 2006 14:23 by jim travers
Gone but not forgotten
The Moriarity Tribunal has given us a clear indication of the past state of Irish politics. if we are to learn anything, it should be that political life must be more carefully scrutinised and that initatives proposed by politicians must be more openly debated before taxpayers are asked to pay for such proposals. Charlie was not a bad man, he was just give toys to play with and his friends made the game more real.
Looking at it from the ground level.
So after 20 million euro's of taxpayers money and the carry-on Mahon tribunal ,with no doubt more of the same to be revealed in future tribunals that what has come out of the Moriarty Tribunal has confirmed to every dog in the street (and the dogs knew this a long long time ago) that Irish politics is rotten to the core. We must not blame Charles J, alone for this saga, but a collective intertwined political party system of silence and towing the line that divides the real purpose of politicians being elected to represent the people by the people and for the people. This Alice in wonderland belief that one political party would be more caring and openly honest to the people above all other parties is but a method of promoting and justifying our belief in a so called democratic process where the people have a choice but that choice is basically the same. If the Charles J Haughey saga was an isolated individual problem then we could believe and say that we slipped a bad apple into the pot, but these saga's appear to carry over from one era to another, disguised as another problem where lessons will be learned and the taxpayer once again makes everybody else financially happy (including the guilty) as political representaives play another game of cat and mouse. The Garda stop drivers for driving 10 KPH over the speed limit, throw the book at them and collect for the state a nice amount of extortion money so that tribunals can investigate people who milk the same people dry and walk away with a pension or possibly a fine that was accummulated over time as interest on the initial sum. Bertie as an accountant, now leader of a political party and taoiseach of this country signed cheques and never asked "what for". Brian Lenihan received money to help him with his operation and nobody asked "why", for the man did not need to secure money that might be questionable and open to investigation in the future. Or was it that politicians seen taxpayers money as being like candy to a baby . Will the Mary Harney, mammy saga comeback to haunt yet another politician because her poor sick mammy took instant priority over another less fortunate citizen who's poor sick mammy was told to feck off and wait, Mary is here.
Remember in the bad old days of the seventies when we were all told to tighten our belts, (Fianna Fail ground supporters included) as politicians of all political persuasions sat confortable in the knowledge that while the nation struggled and sent its sons and daughters to foreign lands in order to secure a living ,our so called republican, nation once again political leaders watched a world recession pass by and wondered why such a recession never really affected Ireland. Kick our Fianna Fail put in Fine Gael, for what, we get the same old system of political power that is so far away from the realities of what people want and need that eventually the same problems of political corruption and wrongdoings are once again regurgitated, only this time looking differently but smelling just the same.
Haughey was alowed to do what he done because everybody around him had some part of the action and therefore financiall benefitted from his actions. There is no difference in taking a single Euro or taking a thousand, the Gardai will pursue you for theft, that's if you are an ordinary joe soap and not a political untouchable. What we find in the Moriarty tribunal is but the tip of the iceberg that will not come to haunt other politicians, for in the final analysis politicians will not serve one single day in prison, nor will they pay a heafty fine that represents the wealth accummulated out of the crimes he or she executed against the people. Like the IMO, political party politics is like a closed shop where the boys and girls look after one another because some day they just may need one another to dampen the aftershocks created by their ill doings.
We see it today, in the dying years of the Celtic Tiger as taxpayers money is being used like confetti
at a church wedding to finance project that seem to cost more and more money despite the fact that the same projects need to be reajusted again and again in order for them to work. Look at the M50, port tunnell, transport services, health, education, security, all becoming an increasing burden on taxpayers for services that appear to be getting worse and worse. constructions companies can complete projects at half the cost in other countries but when they come to Ireland the cost goes out of all proportions.
But what happens when the Celtic Tiger collapses and all the economic workers quit this land to greener pastures? The irish people are left with a massive financial burden that will only be resolved through higher taxes on money we can least afford to give to a crime riddled political system. Haughey told us we had to tighten our belts during tthe imes of our recession but failed to release the tension of the belt once the tiger began to roar. The only real benefit ordinary Irish people received from the Celtic Tiger was their ability to borrow beyond their means, but now the time has come to pay back for the privlidge of being handed those benefits. I dont blame Charle Haughey, I blame the people who collectively made up the room of political power and debate for allowing such a system to pervail without any real opposition to its progress. Opposition parties had the collective power in threatening to walk out of the house and cause a destablisation of the democratic system if the government party at that time did not act. Do not tell me that nobody was aware or that it was just speculation at that time, everybody knew what was going on, everybody had a thought ,a feeling a sense of wrong doing and the people on the streets knew the sleeze that made up political life at that time. So why did our political representatives not know, when they were sitting in the heart of politial administration?
There is a litany of political wrong doings by politicians over many years, who despite the educational, financial, career and political backgrounds appear to be hell bent on corruptive practices that make our own wrong doings( speeding, parking, drinking ect, ect) that really only effect ourselves but are pursued with great vigour by the state in the courts against us. We criticise the antics of the late Martin Cahill (the general) but we fail to appreciate the magnitude of these political crimes against the people and in so doing take no positive action that really and meaningfully bring to justice the people who take part in these crimes.
Once again big business plays its part in the sleeze of personal political financial gain,but this sleeze is happening even to the present day where taxpayers money is being channelled in all direction on projects, iniatives, support and donations to people, orginisations and state bodies without any real analysis being undertaken regarding the value for money issues to the taxpayer.
What the people built up in social service since the foundation of the state, politiclal parties appear to be hellbend on dismantling everything in favour of private enterprise, which in the long run will cost the taxpayer more than what it current costs. A clear example of privitisation working against the interest of the people was Eircom. Eircom may have been percieved to be bad but let us not forget that politicians from all the main political parties played their part in digging a hole for our state run telecommunications company. What have we now, a privately operated telecommunication system that is now classed at third world standard despite the houls of Mary O'Rourke telling us to buy, buy, buy shares, she very quickly got rid of hers and left a lot of people with a burden around their necks.Smart telecom also proved that the private sector is not there to make life better for us all with lower costs and added benefits, its there as a business first and a provider second.
We now see our political parties including the PD's turning to our transport services and attempting to dismantle what the state on behalf of the people has built up over the years. Privitisation of our transport services will not improve the current problems we face in the provision of service, if anything it will make things worse. Academics appear to support the opening up of the transport market to private operators but the same academics fail to take into account the failures of the private sector in the provision of transport service for all classes of people in many other European countries, combined with the most obvious knowledge that the irish public transport market is a unique market in that the main concentration of commuters are located in Dublin and that number of commuters do not make account for the majority of the population in Dublin. Once again privitisation will not bring to commuters any real beneift in both the cost of commuting or the frequency of services. And we must not forget that what the RTE Prime Time television program failed to realise when it mentioned lucrative financial routes operated by Dublin Bus, wa that lucrative routes in one area helps finance the operation of less profitiable routes in other less usd areas. If we take the Dualways private bus company sinario when the same company withdrew the 631 service to Lucan, simple because it was loosing money on the route, where was all the politicians when the people of Lucan needed this service. They turned on Dublin Bus and screamed on behalf of their constituents, why did they not do the same to the private operator for after all the same private operator blocked Dublin Bus from using the same route in order to provide a service to communters.
Now you might ask "what has all this to do with poor old Charlie"?
Well even to this present day politicians are looking for new and innovative ways in defrauding the public of services they have build up over the years and that means lots of money. They say its a better and newer system, they say its is more evenly distributed system, they even say it will benefit the public in the long run. But time and experience has shown us that when politicians put their hands on anything that is in the interests of the people, you can safely say that money is at the top of their agenda and personal gain will follow once that time has passed.Take for example Olivia Mitchell ,Fine Gael's shadow minister for transport vigoursly supporting the privitisation of our transport services when the same person has absolutely no experience in the provision and operational processes of providing public transport services to the public. She probably has never sat on a bus, never mind stand in an operational control room and try to understand the complexities of providing such a service. So what is her interest in the provision of public services and her hell bent belief that the private sector can do a better job or be a replacment for our current public transport providers?
Money, money, money and private eneterprise at heart, even if that enterprise is increasingly supported by the taxxpayer under the guise of an open market economy where consumerisation is at the heart of any service provided. Are you contributing to a VHI health plan at its highest level? No, well wait in a long line queue or join a political party and have that queue dramatically reduced by your ability to pay your way out of death. Charlie fed bread to the pidgeons but kept the meat for himself. He left some meat on the bone so his faithful followers and party colleagues could lavish on his unwanted remains. Colleague, leader, BOSS this man rode his horse on a stretch of sand where no other mortal was allowed to walk his or her dog, all compliments of the local authority who fined others but wiped the shit off the sand when the horse decided a drop was necessary. You and I carry a doggie bag, Charlie carried a mobile phone to inform the city manager that shit was cluttering his space.
And when we all stood outside the local supermarkets shouting Charlie,Charlie Charlie, clammering to shake his hand and wish him well, we all placed our hand deep in our pockets to take out the last few pennies we had to support the political cause and then walked home and waited for pay day and the labour exchange to open its gates. If we had a dislike for Fianna Fail then we done it for Fine Gael , a diffrent party with different colours but with the same traits as their opposition.And Charlie went home in full confidence that the people were behind him and his political colleagues were on his bandwagon, eager to be part of the action and take the part in the gratitude showered on politicians by the public for steering Ireland out of another famine and a hell hole state they were in. Charlie took what was presented to him with very little opposition. Politicians today still play their games of take and take more, the only difference today is that they do it under the guise of being politically correct. Take our Dail for example, a country with a population of just over 4 million people has more political representatives than that in the United Kingdom. Politicians lavish in more holidays, rest days and overseas trips during festive occasions than any other main political representative in the western world. They are better paid than MP's in the UK and command expenses that George Bush woul give his right are for a position of a lesser responsibility but with a greater take. And Bertire walks across the lawn with George, a statesman a superpower Irish leader who cannot send a naval ship across the seas unless the weather is fine, and George sniggers" let this little irish minnow have his day of power once American interests are secure in Ireland.
A lot of things have happened in politics since the Charlie days and we cannot blame Charlie for all of them. Its amazing how reports and criticisms come hot and heavy long after that person has ceased to be able to refute them or be challenged to refute them. There were a lot of people who benefitted from Charlie being at the helm and a lot of people covered their trails as best they could, should Charlie fall from power. Ben Dunne may be at the forefront of criticism and a lone target for those who could not secure his favours at that time, but Ben Dunne was just one cog connected to a wheel containing many other cogs that used the political system to advance their own personal objectives. If you or I were offered the keys of a new car would you be worried and insistant on the car being a Nissan rather than a Toyota before you accepted the offer.
Charlie is gone, and I was not one of his supporters, but its time to let the man rest and turn our attentions to the bad tasting soup that lies in the pot of Dail Eireann . Mary O Rourke said it yesterday that her brother got an operation in America and that was all she was prepared to comment about. Once again the living have more to fear from the living and not the dead.