Mea Cúpla Focail


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From top: Media outside Dublin Castle this morning ahead of the Disclosures Tribunal into the alleged smearing of garda whistlebower Maurice McCabe; Tony Groves

There will be individual embarrassing moments and several more mea culpas before we arrive at a consensus that a good man was done down by a system and that, because the system is to blame, nobody is to blame.

Tony Groves writes:

There’s a story, perhaps apocryphal, that while preparing for the biggest court case of his nascent career, Cicero spent his time practising only oration and voice projection.

When asked if he would not be better off spending his time learning the legal arguments for the case, he is said to have replied “Only a bad orator need learn to be a lawyer”.

Now this story is most likely baseless, but I couldn’t help thinking about it while watching the Garda Whistleblower controversy evolve. Thirty Six times Clare Daly, Luke Ming Flanagan and Mick Wallace raised concerns to the Dail, but it was only when RTE broadcast the widely known slurs, that the “government” deigned to actually address the issue.

When I say address it, I mean speak around it, throw shapes of indignation and then search for a vehicle to park it in, while they can get back to the business of making announcements and issuing plans that hope to lead to future announcements of updated plans.

There has arguably never been a more inefficient government, nor have we ever had a more unambitious opposition.

All of which leads me to the vehicle of a public inquiry and back to Cicero.

Up and down the country, Lawyers, Barristers and Public Relations Gurus are practising their oration and vocal projection. Headline writers can today file their copy for the upcoming Charleton Inquiry.

Words like Defiant, Refute and Rebut will be thrown around like “mea culpas” at a Fine Gael Parliamentary Party meeting. Phrases like “unaware of”, “not privy to”, “had no knowledge of” and “in the strongest possible terms” will be deemed acceptable answers to the most important questions.

All the while, we will be placated with fluff pieces that assure the public that the Judge has the “power to compel” and “ask the hard questions” that will “bring closure”.

Those responsible will point at the next person up in a vicious blame circle. Sincere expressions of sincere regret will be made that would make the Banking Inquiry blush.

There will be individual embarrassing moments and several more mea culpas before we arrive at a consensus that a good man was done down by a system and that because the system is to blame, nobody is to blame. Sure we all partied, on his good name.

Cicero won his case, he rose in esteem by defeating his rival orator (Hortensius) and climbed the rungs of power. The guilty party (Gaius Verres, Governor of Sicily) was sentenced to exile and was given the traditional nine days to squirrel away as much plunder to feather his retirement nest.

Our guilty parties will also be “exiled” and in the words of Oliver Callan be “subject to the full rigours of a massive pension”. Cicero said we must “let the welfare of the people be the ultimate law”.

Ultimately, I predict that the conspirators and the participants in this sinister plot will fare out very well.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tony Groves is a full-time Financial Consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the Financial Industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld


18 thoughts on “Mea Cúpla Focail

  1. bisted

    …well that fairly much sums it up…give that man and Maurice a couple of million and spare us another farce…

  2. classter

    This piece sums out so much of what is wrong with political discussion in Ireland.

    Vacuous, self-righteous, hyperbolic & utlimately self-defeatingly cynical.

    ‘There has arguably never been a more inefficient government, nor have we ever had a more unambitious opposition.’

    1. Tony Groves

      If you buy faulty goods from a shop you’d demand a refund. When our political class break electoral mandates we let them slid; saying “that’s politics”. Arghhh!

    1. Daddy

      RTE are trying to kill him off by moving his show to Saturday 2pm. He’s too good and the Government don’t like that.

  3. EggHead

    A good piece, what worries me is that it will prove to be true and we’ll all move on having learnt nothing.

  4. Kolmo

    I hope all this decades long lack of back-bone, serve the master vested interests above all else type of politics doesn’t awake a streak of less than democratic politics we haven’t seen since the heyday of abusing peoples frustrations in the 1930’s.

    The mentality that thought it reasonable to falsely accuse someone of child molestation is extremely sinister – but the scandal has been replaced with what Drinks/Beef/Gambling industry shill is going to accept the position of CEO in FG.
    Why are the politicians so afraid of the Gardai?
    (I understand a majority of Gardai are decent, humane people,but working within a dangerously politicised system)

  5. Truth in the News

    The submissions and evidence given to earlier inquiries into the assertions of certain members
    of the Guards, requires independently, a criminal investigation, the question is who can carry it
    out, certainly not the existing heiracahy in the Guards, their is little point in the public interest placating words of Peter Charleton, that telling lies offends the taxpayer, when the citizen through
    the justice system has no criminal procedure or remedy to correct and punish the words and
    actions of liars.

  6. SebCoCo

    A public inquiry that (most likely) result in any criminal prosecutions. Remember, Mick Wallace went to prison for a few hours over Shannon Airport

  7. MKG985

    The judge opened this inquiry this morning by asking how can he review evidence based on lies. What a great little country!

  8. Truth in the News

    If enough of people gather outside the Head Quarters of the Guards in the Park
    and demand resignations and prosceutions, they will soon get the message, just
    as Ceausescu did……. we are slowly getting near that threshold, and the only
    reason that this Tribunal was established was to fend it off.

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