A year ago today, the Mahon Tribunal report was published to much hand-wringing and promises of action. Since then, indeed within about three weeks, it has been completely forgotten - hardly a word in the media, no apparent follow-up civil or criminal investigations, no pressure from anyone in political or media circles to ensure a thorough examination of the possibility of prosecutions, etc. etc.
I wrote this this the day before publication:
http://www.politics.ie/forum/news-co...ml#post5087675How it will play out..
The report will come out. Hacks will furiously speed-read bits of it, without fully understanding the detail or the context, the initial narrative will be set by those bits of it (mostly involving Ahern, even though he is only a sideshow) and by hand-wringing over the costs and the length of time, etc. Most people won't bother finding out any more past this point, others will try but not understand what they are reading fully, some will get it.
The long-prepared spin campaign, fine-tuned over several months, will kick in - O'Callaghan and Ahern will release prepared statements decrying the method, talking about their 'right to a good name', and perhaps announce a judicial review or some other legal campaign - all will serve to give the impression that the report isn't the end of the story and will help smokescreen the actual findings against them. A number of commentators, particularly the child-like contrarians such as Browne and Harris, will latch on to this narrative and push it - as ever wishing to be seen to be different from everyone else. This will help obscure the detail some more.
Eventually people will get bored of it, except for some journalists - who will continue to pick over it. Some will concentrate in methodical detail on the real meat in the report - others (particularly the Sindo and the Business Post) will spend their time attacking the tribunal. The revelations about the relationship between Frank Dunlop and others will be largely overlooked, and the narrative of him having 'suddenly converted to the truth' in April 2000, though a complete falsehood, will continue.
FF will talk about 'lessons learned', will accept the findings but attack the inquiry anyway, portray it as being all about a different generation, perhaps announce their own internal inquiry, and hope that the whole thing blows over before they have to expel Ahern (though they might have no choice but to sacrifice him anyway). They will leave the dirty work of undermining the tribunal to others or to a designated spokesman.
People will forget it all and no-one will be prosecuted. Ireland will continue on its merry way with little or nothing changed.
Three weeks after the report was published I posted this:
http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...r-country.htmlNow, of course, 'investigations are ongoing', etc., but, as with the Moriarty Report a year ago, and Goodman etc in years gone by, it's a fair bet that the big business interests and politicians named in the report will not have to lose much sleep over the long arm of the law catching up with them. It is Ireland, after all.
I'm not even going to bother asking if there's any chance of the Gardaí/DPP following all the leads and interesting side-stories that Mahon couldn't follow to conclusion, I'm not stupid - why would the Gardaí have any interest in actually trying to find out what the most powerful people in the land were up to all those years?
So, I ask this question slightly disingenuously, but I'm open to persuasion:
Is the behaviour of politicians, the DPP, the media, and the Gardaí towards top-level corruption still much like that exhibited during the 1989 'investigation'? Someone stealing a pair of runners will get the book thrown at them, someone prostituting their office to allow others to make millions get overlooked entirely.
Does the Rule of Law actually exist in your country?
The findings of the report were stunning. Not that most people would realise because, of course, the media concentrated all their attention on people like the clown Flynn and the sideshow that was the charlatan Ahern. There was a LOT more to it than that, taking in very big (and still riding high as a 'respected pillar of the community' in Cork) business interests, the incredible wrongdoing and subsequent false evidence of the country's biggest bank, AIB, the complicity in corruption of the Gardaí, other senior politicians and big business interests still covered for by the perjurer Dunlop etc. Issues such as what was turned up about the Neilstown Stadium project (and Ahern's role in it), Golden Island and the last-minute tax designation were hardly mentioned in the media coverage. Nor was the complicity of AIB in sanctioning large round figure VAT-free, invoice-free payments to a company that they themselves set up for Dunlop (they also set up the corruption 'war chest' account for him in Terenure, cashing cheques they knew he had falsely endorsed under a different name) which was used to hide the scale of payments going out (subsequently used for corruption) to Dunlop from the one man who objected to corruption and to Dunlop, Tom Gilmartin. There was hardly a word said about the extremely dubious last-minute (the night before the government fell in 1994) tax-designation of O'Callaghan's Golden Island shopping centre in Athlone, entirely separate from the ordinary designations already announced some weeks previously.
The Tribunal also even had some hard-hitting and thinly-veiled criticism of Mr. Justice Adrian Hardiman, whose own condemnations of the Tribunal and a particular witness before it were not in any way impeded by the fact that he had acted as Liam Lawlor's Senior Counsel before that very Tribunal (as which he described Gilmartin's allegation against Lawlor that he gatecrashed a London meeting and hustled himself in on the Bachelors' Walk project as 'crazy.. off the wall stuff... intrinsically unworthy of belief', despite it later being proved to be true - this didn't stop him attacking Gilmartin's credibility as a Supreme Court judge anyway). Does Ireland actually do the whole concept of 'absenting oneself due to being conflicted'? http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...ia-missed.html
None of this you would know from the (lack of) coverage. And where is the CAB investigation at? I know that there were CAB people looking at the report's findings, but a year on no sign of any appreciable intervention.
Anyway, to fill in the gaps for those of you who weren't born yet this time last year (about half of you, judging from varying post quality......), here is some of what you missed...
To learn a bit more about AIB's involvement in mistreatment, corruption and cover-up... http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...about-aib.html
For the Garda cover-up and complicity in the continuation of corruption.. http://www.politics.ie/forum/justice...on-1989-a.html
For an overview of the incredible injustice done to Tom Gilmartin several times over.. http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...gilmartin.html
To learn more about the dubious last-minute tax designation of Golden Island by Ahern.. http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...signation.html
For the incredible (and possibly unprecedented) veiled attack on a Supreme Court judge, Hardiman... http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...ia-missed.html
For the story of Ahern, Dunlop, O'Callaghan, and the Neilstown stadium affair.. http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...-contacts.html
An example of condemned in the report still being treated as a god (he's very rich, you know).. http://www.politics.ie/forum/media/1...callaghan.html
The main Mahon report thread from the day of publication.. http://www.politics.ie/forum/tribuna...published.html
Any point holding my breath waiting for some criminal investigation to occur? Or is that just for kids who nick runners, or people who don't pay their TV license? Those questions might possibly include a little sarcasm... But seriously, IS there a principle of the rule of law governing your country?