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Monday, October 24, 2011

With the greatest respect M’lud, I differ

Today’s papers carry a letter signed by 8
former Attorney’s General in relation to the forthcoming referendum on the
right of the Oireacthas to make findings of fact as part of their inquiry. Our learned friends have been motivated by
what they see as the right to protect a citizen’s good name. They are worried that Oireachtas committees
will start asking a few questions that some people may be reluctant to answer.
A few of the signees have a few good reasons to be wary of anyone kicking over the carcass of the Celtic Tiger and asking questions. Dermot Gleeson served as Attorney General to the Rainbow government in the mid 90’s. That’s the same Dermot Gleeson who doorstepped Brian Lenihan to get the infamous bank guarantee scheme about 3 yearsago that has trashed the states finances.
Another signee is Harry Whelehan who has experienced the rough end of an Oireachtas committee following his disastrous handling of the Fr Smyth extradition case. Interestingly Whelehan's successor as AG is conspicuous by his absence from the list.
Goldman Sachs man in this republic is Peter Sutherland, attorney General to Garrett Fitzgerald’s
coalition in the mid 80’s and former FG candidate in Finglas. There are those who regard the collapse of the world economy in 2008 as engineered by Goldman Sachs for the benefit of
Goldman Sachs. Recently Suds as he’s known to his friends suggested we front
load austerity. God help the power divil, where has he been since 2008?
David Byrne who served as AG to that fine leader Bertie Ahern became competition commissioner in the EU. While he had no role in banking, one would
think that completion requires openness and accountability. I could go on but you get my drift!
This type of intervention makes me cynical. The net beneficiaries of any tribunal have been lawyers. We have no more money to pay out however it is now more crucial than ever that we get answers to some of the worrying matters that have damaged our country. I believe there should be a committee to examine the collapse of the 3 main banks.
It will strengthen our democracy
if politicians are seen to this competently as they did in the case of the DIRT report. The ideal vehicle to do this is through an Oireachtas Committee. There exist a number of reports like the Nyberg Report where the investigation work has already been done to provide any committee with the where with all to ask people like Peter Sutherland or Dermot Gleeson to explain why they did what they did and why they expect the irish taxpayer to shoulder the burden they now
It’s the least we can expect of those who have been lucky enough to serve in the highest legal position in cabinet.
Company law already allows the appointment by the Minister of an investigator under the companies act. Greencore, Telecom scandals all investigated on the cheap effectively about 20 years and we all know what happened. Yes there were people who went off to the
courts in relation to the findings at the time and what is proposed differs little in process other than it’s the Oireachtas committee and not the minister who decides. The key thing is that cost
is significantly less and the time period is shorter. It seems that for 40 years one law is good enough for companies and accountants but is not good enough for Barristers.
To quote one eminent lawyer Dr Wynne Jones the citizens right to the high court still exists and any changes in the constitution still are in the context of that provision. That’s why I’m voting yes, I want TD’s to be able to act as legislators and representatives not as poodles.

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