Like A Small Cuddly Creature Caught In Headlights

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Should Enda Kenny be consorting with Denis O’Brien?

Pat Rabbitte, Elaine Byrne and Sam Smyth  on last night’s Prime Time on RTE 1.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “It’ll be the anniversary of Moriarty and I suppose minister, and I’ll ask the same of Sam and Elaine and I’ll bring you in in a moment Dara [Calleary], Is what has happened since Moriarty?

Rabbitte: “A great deal has happened, you know. There’s a raft of legislation now about to come in for the registration of lobbyists…”

O’Callaghan: “Yeah, but…”

Elaine Byrne: “Minister, on page 2, 541 of the report it says: ‘If anti-corruption measures are to succeed and high ethical standards are to prevail then the example
must be, must come from the top.’  And it doesn’t come from the top when you have the Taoiseach of this country standing on a number of occasions in the last week beside the man at the heart of a tribunal, that gave a benefit of over a quarter of a billion, the largest procurement of an award in the history of State.”

Rabbitte: “I, I, I mean, I have no idea of how the group that was referred to was assembled in Washington, I don’t know anything about it. But I do know that
whoever you stand beside is not going to resolve this problem.”

Sam Smyth: “It wasn’t by accident though, Pat.”

Byrne: “There was more than one occasion.”

Rabbitte: “This Government has a legislative registration of lobbyists for the exposure of the accounts of parties to investigation, for whistleblowers’ legislation and for a series of measures that were hinted at in the case of Moriarty and dealt with far more extensively in this report by the Mahon Tribunal.  There’s a whole…”

O’Callaghan: “I need to get..OK.”

Rabbitte:“There are a whole series of.. there are a whole series of measures for recommendation.”

Byrne: “OK. But it’s perception.”

[And earlier..].

Rabbitte: “It worries me that over all those years that Fianna Fail leadership was prepared to turn a blind eye to certain practices. And you know, Sam [Smyth], can well make points about proportions of the vote and all the rest, there is no way that you can convince the tribunal, or that anybody reading the tribunal, can’t say that this virus in our body politic was predominantly Fianna Fail.”

O’Callaghan: “Dara Calleary?”

Calleary: “I would remind the minister the current most senior political figure in the land, the Taoiseach was very happy to share a platform in New York earlier this week with an individual against whom very serious findings were found in the Moriarty Tribunal. We want to move this on. We were the first party to..”

[Talk over each other]

Miriam O’Callaghan: “They’re talking about Denis O’Brien.”

Rabbitte: “There is one thing that we can be comfortable about. And that is that the man that is presently Taoiseach, whatever his other defects, and we all have defects, he’s an honest politician.”

Calleary: “Absolutely, I completely agree.”

O’Callaghan: “But I suppose coming back to the Moriarty, and we’ll bring up that point. I suppose the point is if you have a Moriarty Tribunal, it makes findings, it makes recommendations and one of the people within it, who is seriously criticised then ends up standing beside the Taoiseach of the day. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with our country. The optics, apart from anything else, look wrong.”

Sam Smyth: “Well it was Pat who said it I think, it’s not just the person who receives the money, it’s the person who gives it is just as important. And there was someone very senior and eminent High Court judge said had made available £994,000, I think, to a Government minister, who he said secured the biggest contract in the history of the State. Now for them to be swanning around together in New York this week…I think Pat if you were on the other side you might see that point differently.”

Rabbitte: “Well I have no idea how the people who were there were there. But…”

O’Callaghan: “Were you happy? Are you happy with Denis O’Brien being on the same platform as the Taoiseach?

Rabbitte: “I’ll tell you something. After what I’ve seen over the last three years on Wall Street, I’d say it’s pretty difficult to walk down Wall St without fraternising…”

O’Callaghan: “But..my final attempt at the same question. Are you worried about Denis O’Brien? For instance… given the Moriarty findings, being on the same
platform as the Taoiseach?”

Rabbitte: “I think there’s a serious question over his conduct at that time, yes.”

O’Callaghan: “No but I’m..of whose conduct?”

Rabbitte: “Denis O’Brien’s conduct.”

O’Callaghan: “I know but therefore are you worried about the message it sends out, about the type of Ireland we now have. That somebody is found a certain way
in a tribunal and then, a few months later, he’s standing beside our prime minister.”

Rabbitte: “On the question of ethics, and on the question of honesty, I have no worries at all about the signals the Taoiseach sends out.”

Watch here

Previously: Last Night In DC