independent

Monday 18 December 2017

Action rather than empathy is needed

IT'S GOOD to see the Labour Party's big guns looking for against dodgy politicians and the bankers who helped drive the country to economic ruin. They share the view of most of the people of Ireland, which is a good thing in our political masters.

There is one difference though - unlike most people, those Labour ministers are in a position to actually do something about bringing those accused of wrong-doing to court. Of couse this leaves one wondering why they don't devote more of their energy to pursuing that course of action rather than whinging to the media about all that is wrong in the world. We've had a couple of weeks of this now and it's starting to look more like the behaviour of a party that wants to curry favour with populist opinion than get on with the dirty work.

First we had Labour Minister Pat Rabbitte saying how he found the "interminable delay" in garda investigations into our cohort of reckless bankers and corrupt politicians "unconscionable". Admirable eloquence as always from Minister Rabbitte; but the taxpaying public who are carrying the can for our errant bankers are entitled to feel it was just another case of all talk and no action.

Last weekend, Labour's Ruairi Quinn was quite happy to tell the Sunday Independent how he shares "the public's frustration that, after four years, no one has yet been prosecuted". It might be reassuring to know that Minister Quinn shares our pain, but we would be a lot more impressed by action rather than empathy from a working class hero on a €153,000 a year pay packet that comes courtesy of, you guessed it, the good old, reliable working class.

Also last weekend, we had Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore telling the Sunday Independent of his party's anger over the "extraordinary and deeply frustrating situation" where those who were accused by tribunals aren't being brought to account. We weren't told what the Tánaiste is doing to redress this situation, which he finds so disconcerting, but the record speaks for itself and we are left to conclude: Not enough.

Ninety eight per cent of those polled in a weekend survey said they think there has been too much delay in bringing to court those found by tribunals to be corrupt or those who committed illegal acts in financial institutions. That amounts to an unequivocal condemnation of the performance of a government that promised to cut out the rot infecting Ireland's political and financial system. Meanwhile, the reformers we elected seem unable to do any better than trot out a load of old waffle about how they share our pain and the need for due process.

They need to do better than that. We need to see our elected representatives looking busy about getting on with the job of bringing big wig wrongdoers to book. And there's a lot more at stake than whether the country looks bad to potential foreign investors; it looks bad to us, the poor fools inhabiting a blighted, outcast island where the rulers debate a law to make smoking in our cars illegal while the miscreants who brought the nation to ruin are at liberty.

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