Wigmore - Fianna Fail, teh auctioneers in the election campaign, Tom McGurk and the Sunday World
THE LOW point of the election cammpaign was reached on Thursday, Febbruary 11. In the Shelbourne Hotel Michael O'Leary, flanked by five civil servants, unveiled the National Development Corporation to an inncredulous press which discovered that the new body would do nothing that was not already being done by other agencies and that anyway there was no money left ower once the losses of the semi-state bodies under its aegis were absorbed. Hardened reporters broke down in tearful and uncontrolllable laughter as the O'Leary entourage argued among themselves, tried to shout down the press, engaged in common verbal abuse and generally managed to convey an insight into the state of the public service which would have made Fawlty like a creation of the Harvard Business School. The inntrepid O'Leary then dashed off to Cork to appear on a Today Tonight outside broadcast with Des O'Malley. The two senior politicians gave a dissplay of debating skills which would have done horse traders at Puck Fair proud.
HOW MANY members of the Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party hope they will lose the election? Here is a list for starters: George Colley, Des O'Malley, Martin O'Donoghue, Albert Reynolds, Seamus Brennan, the Andrews brothers and Bobby Molloy. Why then it may be asked should some of these give the appearance of making an effort to win? Answer: because they want it to be clearly understood that the blame lies solely with one CJ.
FIVE FINE GAEL candidates and 14 Fianna Fail candidates for this election describe themselves as auctioneers, There are a considerably higher nummber of such people running for the Dail now but they prefer other designations. The public should beware. The aucctioneering profession and public life don't mix. The conflict of interest esspecially in relation to planning perrmission is far too great. Like mem bers of the civil service, the Gardai, the clergy and of the bankruptcy proofession, these people should be deebarred from public life - the only possible proviso being that they fully disclose all their interests and allow their personal and company finances to be thoroughly examined by the press.
ONE CANDIDATE for this election, Dessie Hynes, the Independent canndidate for Dublin South East, has attempted to make a major issue of this conflict of interest. He has bommbarded the newspapers and RTE with statements pointing out the potential abuses involved but not a word has seen the light of day as yet. He has warned of the dangers of "closet auctioneers" and has stated that if elected he will introduce a Bill to the Dail "to exclude members of the aucctioneering profession from memberrship of local authorities and requiring auctioneer TDs to register their busiiness interests, particularly land deallings, for public discussion." Mr. Hynes has special knowledge of these dangers because of his knowledge of the "Watershed scandal" which was reevealed exclusively by Wigmore last June. This concerned one Alexis FitzGerald, the boy mayor now seekking election for Dublin South East, having been repudiated by the elecctorate of Dublin South 7 months ago. This man was requested by Mr. Hynes to purchase a shed for him, instead he went off and bought the shed for himself. He then sought to have a light placed above the shed by Dublin Corporation. VOTE DESSIE HYNES IN DUBLIN SOUTH EAST.
NEW LEVELS of journalistic depravity were reached by one Tom McGurk in The Sunday Tribune colour comic on Sunday, February 7. Off his own bat he interviewed the leader of the Opposition at his splendid home in Kinsealy and then wrote the most cringing puff piece that has appeared throughout the campaign. The article puts him right in there as a leading contender for the title of The Worst Journalist of The Year 1982, and his regular TV column will certainly come into the reckoning. John Feeney is not likely to be deposed lightly however. Everything he has written about the election has been wrong. But his most noteworthy effort of late has been to get a piece about solicitor Pat McCarrtan all wrong, having to apologise for it and then getting the apology wrong .
THE LIBEL case in which the Sunday World has been entangled has unearthhed a particularly vulgar piece of jourrnalism. Last Tuesday three young women gave evidence and the defence counsel asked the court to forbid pubblication of their names as they were innocent parties in the affair and such publication might cause some distress. The judge replied that while the court could not make such an order it was usual that the newspapers respect the privacy of those drawn into such cases and the court would ask that this disscretion would be used. The next day's Irish Press and Irish Times took their responsibility seriously and referred to the witnesses as A, Band C. The Independent, with typical sensitivity, published the names. Vincent Browne.