Monday 14 April 2014
Notablespot-hogs are the members of the Dáil Éireann Public Accounts Committee, including the articulate and sassy Mary-Lou McDonald (Sinn Féin) and self-appointed scourge of corruption Shane Ross (Indep.) and the Chair John McGuinness (FF, Carlow-Kilkenny). It's a tough job for a public representative but somebody has to do it. They are also laying into Rehab, a traditionally Fine Gael good works organisation which diverts a substantive chunk of their government funding to salary and pension of the senior executives. Rehab are currently taking the heat off the CRC, a traditionally Fianna Fáil good works organisation which diverts a substantive chunk of their government funding to salary and pension of the senior executives. Am I the only one of the country who is reminded of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the parallel but unconnected House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) ? Those worthies on the 1950s made hay (using a powerful metaphor chipper&shredder) out of root and branch extirpation of things of which they disapproved.
On the subject of not behaving very well, I've written about men bullying women with impunity in my own cosy academic organisation and also about tolerating innocent children duffing smaller children up, so that shopping your peers becomes established early as something that is streng verboten. The title to the first of these links is "Nobody Died But . . ." and the same could be said about Frank "Paco" Serpico. Like Maurice McCabe, Serpico was a police whistleblower: in the NYPD in the late 1960s and early 70s. Corruption was rather more than doing a nixer for your neighbour about an inconvenient speeding rap. Serpico used to see his colleagues pocketing half the evidence when they made plain-clothes drug-busts. But then again, as my pal Pepe Malpica pointed out 20 years ago, Ireland will ever be in the ha'penny place when it comes to corruption. Serpico complained about the behaviour of his colleagues to those higher up the NYPD food-chain and was either ignored or told to shut-up. On 3rd Feb 1971, Serpico was shot in the face during a drug-raid and there is a strong suspicion that he was set up to take the hit by his team. Certainly they let him bleed on the floor rather than making a "Man Down" call to get medical help instanter. I don't think that the quashers of penalty points would do that to McCabe. Although no Garda would get one of their own murdered, it is clear from the Smithwick Tribunal that some of them were happy to call the shots (literally) on their oppos from the RUC. Or if not exactly happy, not unhappy enough through “some misguided sense of loyalty” to identify their colleague(s) who was more inclined towards IRA than RUC. Serpico is retired now and celebrating his 78th birthday today. The world, not just NYC because the they made a compelling film of his story, is a better place for his actions.