(Originally Published on Corkstudentnews.com in February 2010)
We are now well into the New Year which has so far gotten underway with a bang in political terms. In the last few weeks we have seen the Budget Cuts coming into effect, the Blasphemy Law being enacted and more recently, the first of the so called “Toxic Loans” were transferred to NAMA. One event in particular though has gone rather suspiciously under-reported and that is the return of good old money bags himself, the now former Ceann Comhairle, John O’Donoghue.
As most people will know well by now, O’Donoghue was forced to resign from his position as Ceann Comhairle, in October of last year, after it came to light that he had run up expenses of €250,000 during his tenure as Ceann Comhairle and a further €550,000 in his previous posting as Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism all the while sharing the spoils with his wife Kate-Ann. However, despite all of this, it has not deterred him from returning to active political work.
Almost unbelievably, he has now been appointed to two different Oireachtas Committees in recent weeks. The first being the Oireachtas Environmental Committee and secondly, but more importantly, the Oireachtas Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs. While both of these appointments are unpaid roles, the Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs may be asked to take part in the upcoming inquiry into the Banking Crisis. His appointment to the latter committee was welcomed by its Chairman, Fianna Fail TD Michael Moynihan, who seemed to be brimming with enthusiasm with the appointment of O’Donoghue. When referring to the appointment, Moynihan was quoted as saying that “He’s very able and experienced. We have a lot of serious work to do in the committee and I know he will contribute to it”.
This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so incredibly indicative of Irish political life. A man who personified complete and utter greed in the Dáil, a man who had sent a letter to every TD in Dáil Éireann saying he had done nothing wrong, is now taking part in a Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs which in turn may be asked to take part in the investigation of the Banking Crisis. It is almost hard to comprehend at first until you realise that instances’ like this are the norm in Irish Politics. Even at the highest level, tribalism and cronyism still flourish. This Government only care about themselves and their immediate “circle of friends”. At end of the day, they are comparable to used car-salesmen. They don’t care what they sell to the punter as long as at the end of the day, their job and more importantly, their wages remain intact.