Shame and honour

On this evening's Tonight with Vincent Browne, guests Justine McCarthyTimmy Dooley, Conor McCabe and Liam Twomey consider the damage caused to the Fianna Fáil party by the findings of the Mahon tribunal, published last week. Below, Vincent Browne outlines his thoughts ahead of the programme.

How it is that one person, Bertie Ahern - against whom very damaging findings have been made by a tribunal - is shamed and how it is that another person, Denis O’Brien, against whom very damaging findings have been made by a tribunal, seems to be almost honoured by the leaders of the State?

Bertie Ahern has suffered the humiliation of having to resign from the party he led for 14 years, to avoid being expelled next Friday. All because a tribunal has failed to believe his explanations for over €200,000 coursing through his bank accounts. Meanwhile Denis O’Brien who was found by a tribunal to have made payments to a Government minister far in excess of €200,000 is seen rubbing shoulders regularly with the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and was an invited guest of the State at a conference in Dublin castle last year.

There are demands that Bertie Ahern be prosecuted for corruption, even though no finding of corruption has been made against him; while Denis O’Brien has escaped all sanction – formal or informal; social or personal – as a consequence of the findings against him.

Could it have to do with wealth and power? Bertie Ahern has at most modest wealth, even allowing for the dig outs or whatever they were. And although he held power for over ten years he now holds no power. Meanwhile Denis O’Brien is a billionaire, according to Forbes magazine, with enormous media power and even more enormous potential media power.

Both had rejected the findings made against them.


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