Leading the country down the garden path

  • 28 August 2007
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As the Taoiseach walks to give his evidence for the Mahon Tribunal this month with the spirit of Charles Haughey by his side and the memories of Ray Burke, Liam Lawlor and Pádraig Flynn not far behind, one has to question why this was not dealt with promptly by the tribunal, and then by the media in a short, sharp burst of intense speculation.


Media pressure over a short period of time has always put massive political pressure on those suspected of wrong doing, and has resulted in even the mightiest not producing the answers, thus having to resign. This is, after all, how Ray Burke left politics.

What we have now is a slow stop start process, with journalists left to feed off the scraps given to them and all this compounded by the fact no criminal charges can be brought by a tribunal nor can its evidence be used in a criminal trial.

This tribunal has released the pressure that a willing media's persistence would have created. However, in light of recent revelations, sections of the media can certainly be tamed for a price. As Éamon de Valera himself said in the Irish Independent of 1945, "some senators have been elected through corrupt practices".

Let us see how economical Ahern will be with his answers and realize that while this tribunal is adequate to pose those questions that he needs to answer, a more effective media is what is really necessary, because as to when a decision about this Taoiseach's financial dealings will be reached; it is still not yet known.

The scandal of 13 years ago is now ours of today. It has been buried by the Government in the form of a tribunal until now, but even now, the Taoiseach is leading Ireland down a garden path.