Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cowboy Kingdom

It's safe to say abuse of public funds in Ireland has been going on for as long as I can remember. The latest scandal, which disturbingly was laughed around by most of the panel on the Tonight with Vincent Browne show last night involves Independent Michael Healy Ray, who won his fathers seat at the last general election.

You might remember his father. Jackie Healy-Rae held the previous government to ransom in return for support for implementing austerity measures on the Irish people. He was one of the 81 men and women who sold our country down the river in return for the EU and IMF bailout.

The controversy surrounds Michael Healy-Rae's appearance on a reality TV show in Ireland in 2007.
It has come to light that over 3,500 calls were made from Dail Eireann in support of him at a cost of €2,600. The bill was paid by the Irish tax-payer. Both of the Healy-Rae's have denied knowledge of the affair.
All things considered it's at the small end of the scale. But imagine an employee running up that sort of phone bill at the expense of an employer and you see where there might be difficulties with the employer. Would the employer seek retribution? Depends on the employer I guess, but few would deny the employer might have a case.
That's why the casual attitude in which it was passed off on Vincent Browne last night was difficult viewing. These programmes influence opinion. I've long voiced Vincent Browne as one of the few voices who has outed time and time again the social inequalities in Irish society, but his panels are becoming repetitive and offer mainly spin-driven dribble to their viewers lately. Sad as I am, I used to tune in every night. But I'm tiring of the bullshit being fed to the people. The episode was treated as a light affair despite the fact that it is front page news in Ireland today. But that's the Irish Establishment for you. One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

It is pure abuse of power in my opinion, no matter who is involved. The junior Healy-Rae is adamant that he will not be paying back the money as he was not the one that made the calls. But I think he is missing the point. With their hugely inflated wages and expense accounts already angering many Irish people and at a time when our services are being cut impacting on the most venerable in society, this latest shame for politics is unforgivable, but like many before it will be forgiven and probably forgotten about by the end of the day.
It's shameful and nothing short of it and just one more example of the standard of politician in Ireland. Like many developers from the Tiger era the Healy-Rae's are nothing short of Cowboys, and as we know from the movies, Cowboys rarely lose.

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