David Langwallner: J’Accuse…!


From top: Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar; David Langwallner


To: Taoiseach and Tanaiste of the Republic.

An Open Letter by Citizen Langwallner Letter to Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin

(With gratitude for inspiration to Émile Zola)

Mr Taoiseach and Mr Tánaiste, our joint vectors of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism, may I address you remotely?

Would you allow me, in my gratitude for the benevolent reception that you gave me, Mr Taoiseach, at one brief Fianna Fáil fundraiser, to draw the attention of your rightful glory and to tell you that your star, and that of the undermining sorcerer’s apprentice that is the Tánaiste, so happy until now, is threatened by the most shameful and most ineffable of blemishes?

The world is now in meltdown, economic, political and societal, and it is Stage 5 Coronavirus meltdown in Ireland. Such a happy vista.

You have, of course, both passed healthy and safe through base calumnies; you have conquered hearts or fabricated and manufactured said consent.

Pre-Covid, Mr Martin and you, Mr Varadkar, were ostensibly prepared to preside over the solemn triumph of our proposed economic recovery which would crown neo-liberal Ireland’s great decade of work, truth and freedom or not.

In fact, no recovery exists apart from the siphoning of growth to corporate law firms and multinational agencies. Growth goes out of the country, or in the coffers of our corporate law firms and accountancy firms, and little firms and little people go to the wall as vulture funds, fronted by Goldman Sachs, move in. And Ulster Bank has now left. The sun has got its hat on!

The country is, in fact, controlled by vulture funds and vultures play on the dead or the about-to-be-dead plain people of Ireland and let us not like Greeks worship false EU gods. They certainly did not bail out Greece and now there are other hands outstretched in the begging bowl that is Europe.

Thus, the virus coupled with 2008 double meltdown, and NAMA has kiboshed everything. Meanwhile, Eurocrats enrich themselves with one last ride. Nero fiddling as Rome burns and surging inequality increases and Ireland, no more so than Greece, will not be bailed out.

But what a spot of mud on your collective names – I was going to say on your reigns – is the state of our country at a wider level. And it is to you, Mr Taoiseach, that I will proclaim it, with the sorcerer’s apprentice and demiurge that is Mr Varadkar, this truth, with all the force of the revulsion of an honest man.

For your honours, I am convinced that you are unaware of it. And with whom will I thus denounce the criminal foundation of these guilty truths, if not with you, the first magistrates of the country?

For given our political appointment structure and flouting of Bangalore principles, you are both, in effect, the judge superior to the judge penitent.

Yeats foresaw much earlier in September 1913 what they were like and nothing has changed.

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone;
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Or now just pray and survive? Pray to survive. The Hunger Games

The ostensible neo-liberal agenda is purely cosmetic and abortion, at one level, is a sideshow and involves the devaluation of life or a detour not to reflect on the value and significance of life. Though proposed euthansia might be at one level a choice which is now proposed It will certainly suit a neo liberal agenda and induce a cull or nudge a cull.

In short, it is an awful Malthusian and superficial agenda of false liberalism not real liberalism that is being promoted. It is a Malthusian human liquidation in increments. Corporate facsist disposal of the useful or as Céline clearly saw, and he was a fascist Mr Varadkar. in Death On The Installment Plan.

Italy is often portrayed as a paradigm of corruption, a kind of benchmark of the same with the toxic interrelationship between organised criminality and, of course the Christian Democrats.

As is historically documented, many very strange and indeed criminal actions were perpetrated and covered up in Italy by the Christian Democrats and their cohorts, the Mafia.

In Ireland it is a much more complex picture. Shabby lies and shabby cover-ups concealing a much more awful deep-seated multi-generational institutionalised corruption involving our Mafia, bankers, lawyers and politicians.

Why? Well both social structures are run by Catholicism or should that be the secularisation of same? Catholicism, unlike Protestantism, exonerates the cardinal sins of simony, nepotism and greed and as they are so intrinsic and crucial to the way the Catholic mindset works, they are normalised, institutionalised and expurgated.

A quick trip to the confessional and you are born again, absolved, washed clean. This, of course, encourages wrongdoing, mostly of a financial nature, as the soul is absolved and you can start wrongdoing again. Bless me father for I have sinned. Can I sin again?

It is a noticeable feature of Catholicism that its practitioners are obsessed with sexual activity and the regulation of same historically by religious orders and presently by the penetration, to use a barbed word, of secularised Catholicism into the activities of our largely disgraceful HSE and many family lawyers.

You were, of course, Leo, a Minister for Social Protection and are well aware of, how to put it delicately, the shortcomings of TUSLA and the HSE. None of this is to disparage true Christian belief, not much evident in Ireland, but extremism. Are you an extremist, Taoiseach, or a force of progress? The Tánaiste is obviously not a moderate. But can even Leo see the light?

You are presiding over a society where vulture funds break up entire communities and repossessions are destroying the social fabric. Where hyper-inflated rents and property prices make housing for most a factual impossibility. What lies are you peddling to our snowflake generation, Michael and Leo?

Now I have written extensively, but not recently, about the police but the following in snapshot and elaboration needs to be said.

First, the systemic framing of people for child sex abuse is or was in effect the policy of justice officials and the police. Was and is.

The segmented police inquiry under Peter Charleton, the McCabe tribunal, offered up a few sacrificial lambs pensioned off and sidelined but it did not deal with the larger structural problems of our toxic criminal police force and Department of Justice.

Further, the Supreme Court  JC case which Hardiman J  dissented, permitted the police to further perpetuate State banditry and criminality and frame people left, right and centre and have that framing upheld by the State.

The criminality of Templemore, of breathalysers, of framed allegations of sex abuse and their licensed thuggery. Legal niceties and false symmetry of the JC case are a total irrelevance if they give stimulus and support to criminals, that is to say State criminals, to inflict their criminality on us.

Ersatz logic, a McDermott J phrase, is turning a blind eye to the destruction of evidence and selective amnesia by justice officials. The Irish pattern after all is to cover up, divert blame and compress the truth into the blandishments of face saving and ass covering.

But of course, as you know fully, the McCabe tribunal was not an inquiry but a farce and travesty. And the Fennelly report was a joyous act in non-existent reportage. No structural solutions or recommendations. The official untruth. The official non-report cover-up.

Mr Varadkar, in a glimmer of self-reflexiveness, said, honestly, that the Department of Justice is not fit for purpose. In fact, it is the department of injustice and criminality. A toxic organisation from Berry to Aylward and beyond.

But of course Covid allows permits and gives the police more powers to destroy lives. the lives of others. Aided by the yellow dog press and the public apologists for State criminality among the highest reaches, if that is a meaningful statement, of our journalistic community.

The police force, as Mr Giuliani did in New York (a fellow right-winger, Leo), need to be disbanded and replaced by properly ethically trained officials otherwise it is martial law and our largely non-corrupt army that is the alternative. What is also clear from the ongoing report into the reform of police is that the culture of corruption is so systemic that reform cannot come from within.

In terms of the Bingham principles, the rule of law has broken down as the institutions of state themselves are knee deep in corruption. The gatekeepers themselves are not fit.

The raison d’etre of our commercial law firms is in fact to train the young in the joyous trade of tax evasion, or should that be avoidance, and in the redaction and concealment of documents in fake inquiries so the truth or allocation of responsibility never comes out for the architects of banking and fiscal collapse for that is professionalism but not, of course, vocationalism. Technical achievement devoid of a moral compass is very dangerous.

It need not be stressed that we are not in actuality a sovereign state but are controlled by Brussels, the IMF and the rather grey plutocracy of Canadian and American corporate firms, not least lawyers.

The Tyrrelstown eviction trial eventually lead, in fact, to the doorstep of Goldman Sachs as I discovered, to my horror. Should I have to take on a constitutional challenge to create a right to housing and prohibition against arbitrary evictions? Heaven forbid. I would imagine the reception would be far from warm. Perhaps I could do it remotely?

Further, nothing is being done to solve housing rental and purchase hyperinflation leading to conditions of liveability which further accentuate social decline and disintegration. Nama, a toxic bandit organisation which our friends in the north are prosecuting, has not provided public works or social and affordable housing.

Our Supreme Court upheld Nama as being in the national interest, yet seems perversely disinclined to establish a right to housing which only they could but choose not to do so or indeed a prohibition against arbitrary evictions an aspect of the right to housing.

The Omerta code in Ireland is breached by independence which, in the eyes of the establishment, blends too easily into class treason or as one far-too-sinister junior counsel reminded me, ‘letting down the side and not wearing the jersey’. But who are the traitors, Michael or Leo? And whose jersey are you wearing .

Independent mindedness is, in fact, dangerous. The stubborn obstinacy of resisting corruption can lead to personal ruin. Independence is not just a rarity in Ireland it is regarded as deeply strange.

A very prominent and pleasant Irish judge, a rarity, said of the late Adrian Hardiman, mentioned above, that, say what you wish, he was a voice of independence in the country, as if that was so unusual. But no more of him or his ilk. No more independent people in the judiciary who do not wear the jersey. Not more who are not one of us.

It is said of one high ranking civil servant that he knows where the bodies are buried and of course has buried them to serve his political paymasters. Such creatures in fact run the country by inaction, inertia, framed criminality, double dealing and as was evident in the redaction of documents in our banking inquiry, by the concealment of probative evidence which of course the courts also do with the utilisation of the doctrine of privilege to conceal state infamy and protect state appointed reputations of dubious merit. And then prosecute the just whistle-blower or threaten her or them with the same. not one of us any longer.

Critical and inquiry driven skills are not in abundance in our non educational system where history is now optional and this is also breeding a mindless conformity and submission to authority.

But if any serf gets disruptive and blows the whistle then they go the way of Ibsen’ s whistle-blower in his play “Enemy of The People”. They are ostracised, marginalised, traumatised, often prosecuted and turned into an unemployable gibberish wreck by the true enemies of the people.

Winter is coming. Winter has in effect arrived and so will the IMF. Barbarians are at the Gates. The Gothic tribes are setting the agenda and now the virus. the biblical plague.

Tier 5 lockdown in Ireland has led to the curtailment of all liberties. Ireland adopting the Singapore or Chinese capitalist model. The best boy in the class of corporatism from the Michael Smurfit school of business and the Sutherland school of law and the cleansing of liberties and dissent.

But perhaps and only perhaps a coalition of the centre left and centre right of the non-compromised NGO’s of civilised independent people can build a better tomorrow. I think not.

Such is thus the simple truth, Mr. Taoiseach and Mr. Tanaiste (to revert to the formal), and it is appalling, it will remain a stain for your tenure. I very much doubt that you have no capacity in this affair, that you are the prisoner of the Constitution and your entourage. I repeat it with a more vehement certainty: the truth marches on and nothing will stop it.

Today, the affair merely starts, since today only the positions are clear: on the one hand, the culprits who do not want the light to come; the other, the carriers of justice who will give their life to see it come.

I said it elsewhere, and I repeat it here: when one locks up the truth underground, it piles up there, it takes there a force such as an explosion, that, the day when it bursts, it makes everything leap out with it. We will see, if we do not prepare for later, the most resounding of disasters.

But this letter is long, and it is time to conclude.

I accuse both of you of neglecting homelessness, mass evictions, hyper-inflated and unsustainable living structures, the control of the country by transnational corporations and vulture funds.

I accuse you of the whole-scale abuse of civil liberties and the mismanagement of the virus and the dehumanisation of the Irish people by the imposition of a corporate feudalism with scant respect for any human rights.

I accuse you of facilitating the destruction of our healthcare system now on the point of implosion with the virus.

I accuse you of permitting and facilitating a criminal police force and justice department. And the higher management deserves to be in prison.

I accuse you of knowing full well that TUSLA is a corrupt entity and it should be abolished.

I accuse you of the toleration of the manipulation by post truth and spin an already dumbed-down media. I exonerate you, mildly, on the EU dispensation and flirtation destined to failure.

Finally, I accuse you by inaction and indeed action of treason or let us use milder expressions, a fundamental failure to understand the national interest and the interest of the Irish people and of indirectly or directly dehumanising and interning them, and frustrating any local attempt for them individually or collectively to earn a crust.

While proclaiming these charges, I am not unaware of subjecting myself to charges of treason. And it is voluntarily that I expose myself. So the perils are not inconsiderable.

As for the people I accuse, I do not know many of them, I never saw many of them, I have neither resentment nor hatred. To me, they are only entities, spirits of social evil. And the act I am hereby accomplishing is only a revolution to hasten the explosion of truth and justice.

I have only one passion, that of the light, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. I am waiting.

Please accept, both of you, the assurance of my deep respect.

David Langwallner is a barrister specialising in public law, immigration, housing and criminal defence including miscarriages of justice. He is emeritus director of the Irish innocence project and was Irish lawyer of the year at the 2015 Irish law awards. His column usually appears here every Tuesday and Friday ans sometimes Thursday!. Follow David on Twitter @DLangwallner


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62 thoughts on “David Langwallner: J’Accuse…!

  1. White Dove

    Wonderful piece and superbly edited. I love Langwallner’s writing but his Broadsheet pieces are particularly good.

      1. Charger Salmons

        It is more Bono than pro bono tbh.
        But then again I’ve yet to meet a lawyer who ever tires of hearing their own voice …

  2. Rob_G

    David, what exactly do you think that ‘neo-liberal’ means?

    Ireland has the most progressive system in the EU, with the top 5% of earners paying 40% of all income taxes; which policies precisely do you consider to be ‘neo-liberal’?

    1. millie bobby brownie

      Would the way in which our public transport system not be considered neo-liberal to a point, for example? As in, run for a profit and now with Go-Ahead running a number of bus lines in Dublin or Transdev with the Luas?

      1. goldenbrown

        yup, income tax is just a corner of the ideology

        for me it’s most visible tangible component is PRIVATISATION
        (the thing FG and their fanboys have erotic dreams about at night)

          1. Brother Barnabas

            just teasing, rob

            obv FG privatised irish steel, bord gais, aer lingus

            but the biggest and most damning of their privatisations is most certainly the provision of social housing (which Frillz has highlighted on multiple occasions on these pages)

          2. Rob_G

            King of disappointed BB, as even though I disagree with you more often than not, you at least try to argue in good faith (even if you are wrong).

            Ok, so “bin collection deregulation”, which happened almost 10 years before FG actually entered government, is all we have been offered so far as evidence of FG’s neo-liberal agenda – goldenbrown, you are up to bat.

          3. Rob_G

            Irish Steel – well, you could well be right; why in the blue blazes would the government need to own a steel company, though?

            Bord Gais – this is true. Conditional as part of the IMF/EU bailout though – I would call this a half

            Aer Lingus – also true. The privatision process started under FF though; I will also call this a half.

            For social housing – I am not sure that the decision of all the LAs in the country, with varying levels of FG representation, not to build social hosuing can really be laid at the door of FG (or indeed any party).

            The fact that the state continues to provides housing in all sorts of manners for vast numbers of people does not really tie-in well that the FG or FF or both are crafting some sort Randian hellscape.

          4. Brother Barnabas

            whether privatisation of irish steel was sensible or not is entirely beside the point – it was a FG-pushed privatisation

            bord gais – no, it was not actually a requirement of the IMF bailout. that was a FG ruse. simply wasnt true.

            however, these individual examples are a distraction from the real thing – and it is FG’s obsession with divesting the state of as much responsibility as possible and leaving it all to private interests

            health, housing, education, transport etc

            and we are seeing the impact now in the utter sh1tshow around rural broadband

          5. goldenbrown

            (sorry for the late reply I’m not on here all time)

            I certainly won’t be handing FF any prizes here but their modus operandi is different to FG – with them it’s pure personal greed, brown envelopes wheras with FG it’s ideology – they are the Irish Tory party – I know plenty of them first hand and they’d fit in very well at any UK Conservative Party conference ;)

            but back to the question, I’d go for the main pillar of what I’d regard as a civil society anyway – housing and the right for a citizen to have a home to live in. odious Noonan certainly loved the vulture funds, didn’t he? what was it he said again…oh yeah “vultures, you know, carry out a very good service in the ecology”


            hell we even get a ‘lil section of our own here, lol:


            the other main item for me is water – FG certainly tried their best to get it over the line had a major conniptions when they couldn’t succeed…for now at least

      2. Rob_G

        what you are suggesting is any level of private industry involved in mass-transit is an example of neo–liberalism; actual neo-liberalism would be a bus company could set up tomorrow and compete on whatever route it wanted. Instead of a bus regulator tightly controlling which companies operate on which routes, as is the case currently.

        1. millie bobby brownie

          My understanding of it is less than perfect obviously. I do think the idea of running a public transport system for profit kind of goes against the whole idea of a public service and, as we have seen in the recent past, the increase in the cost of using the public transport system coupled with a lack of improvement or seemingly significant investment to fit the demands of a growing population has led now to a perceived need to move to the use of private companies to help deal with this, and even calls to privatise our public transport system. So my question here is, does that then make it fall subject to a neo-liberal agenda? And if we widen the scope to include all public infrastructure and amenities, does it follow a similar pattern, and if so, what does that say about how the country has been governed over the past, say 20-odd years?

          1. Rob_G

            You would be a long time trying to ring profit from public transport.

            There are myriad reasons for the lack of investment in PT but they relate more to the the relative underrepresentation of urban voters when it comes to drawing of electoral boundaries – for example, there have been loads of public investment in bypasses for provincial hamlets. And while I find this regrettable, it doesn’t really jibe with ‘neo-liberalism’.

  3. Harry

    Excellent writing by David and as thought provoking as ever.
    The biggest neo liberal stunt by FF and FG has to be NAMA or more correctly SCAMA.

  4. AC

    I am a fan. I do like what he has to say but it is not a piece that would reach to many. He has a beautiful use of language that I would love to command. Know your audience. I was lost for long part of his writings. All I know is that effective communication is one where a message is passed and understood. Vast parts of this, I struggled to understand. I will attempt to read and re-read this. It will probably educate me on topics today that I have not bothered before to look at. I know he is an intelligent man, if he has something good to say then please dumb it down. I do not have the time or inclination to spend on this type of article. Still a fan and will try to comprehend.

  5. Steph Pinker

    Oh my! There are few things sexier than a strongly-worded beautifully written thesis.

      1. david langwallner

        i am 56 years of age and have no desire to write a sexy thesis is for the non entities of the trinity faculties.

        just the best barrister in the universe

        1. bertie blenkinsop

          Jeez, I hope I look that well that I’m sixty six.
          What’s that?
          Fifty six?
          Ah well…..

  6. benblack

    Best cappuccino – in this galaxy – I’ve ever had anyway, David.

    Is Legal Coffee Drinker still a contributor on this site?

  7. Charger Salmons

    Mate – this is Broadsheet not Rumpole of the Bailey.
    We already have someone who drones on and thinks he’s the best thing since sliced pan.
    Isn’t that right Nigel ?

    1. millie bobby brownie

      I quite enjoyed your saucy banter, Steph.

      (have to agree too; smart is sexy)

          1. benblack

            Yeah, BB, because this my column.

            Tight enough, biatch?

            Why are you so brutish and cruel to me, BB?

          2. benblack

            In your tighter than tight pants, no doubt.

            Is your memory that poor – brutish and cruel is your phrase.

          3. Brother Barnabas

            you’re flirting with me now, arent you, ben

            I wont pretend I’m not flattered

      1. Steph Pinker

        David: I’m aware, and I support your views regarding the importance of the issues you’ve addressed on BS in this context; it’s your style of writing, coupled with your passion and inquiring mind which I find sexy – as opposed to objectifying you as a man.

        I enjoy reading your contributions and no one is falling out with anyone. We don’t all exist in a cave believing the shadows cast by firelight are reality.

          1. Steph Pinker

            Ben, have a brief read* of Plato’s Allegory of the cave and think about it.

            * …although, something tells me that you are already au fait with it.

          2. benblack

            You give me too much credit, Steph.

            Greek philosophy was only a stepping stone – not a foundation.

          3. Steph Pinker

            One can’t have a stepping-stone without foundation – even if it’s made of sand.

          4. Steph Pinker

            So you’re in two minds then?

            I wouldn’t consider a career in the construction industry if I were you! Hahaha :P

          5. Steph Pinker

            As aesthetically pleasing to the senses as roses are, I prefer wildflowers… and I’ve had too many pricks in my life.

        1. benblack

          I should have stayed with the original analogy and compared the stepping stone to the stumbling block.

          Live and learn.

          1. Steph Pinker

            Is there such thing as an original analogy, thought or concept? In early Western philosophy (historically speaking) each and every thought had already been documented in Eastern culture for millennia through hieroglyphics/symbols and words – notwithstanding, it was all a type of language which was understood. I doubt there is such a concept as original thought because everything is evolutionary; even the stepping stone/ stumbling block has been used metaphorically since time immemorial. Therein lies the problem – we have used our imagination solely to the benefit of ourselves and for nefarious reasons as the human race, with little emphasis on the *human* aspect, to the point whereby imagination and critical thinking are viewed as the sole preserve of the educated and wealthy – when and why did that happen – more to the point, how did we allow it manifest and overcome without caution?

            If we are born, we have to die; what makes one or other of us more worthy than the other?

  8. benblack

    My comments were deleted due to context, I guess?

    Fortunately, they were read by those who know better.

      1. benblack

        So telling Teacher – Rabbi, Messiah – the Light.

        Failing that, Bodger.

        The beginning of wisdom is ……

  9. AB

    David, the message you deliver is so very serious. What is one to do? The frustration of wondering why we don’t have a functioning health service and essentially being told by FF&/FG, for my whole life, that it is too hard to make it work. Is that acceptable? Do these party lines deserve to be voted for again and again and again? What is wrong with us. I can rent an apartment within 5km of my work for 70% of my income. I can’t buy a home period. Maybe I could reside in Plato’s cave. Perhaps I already do. Piss off to the commuter belt they are telling me, we have brought in those that will pay it. We have had little or no alternative perhaps. SF are predestined, by the right, to ruin the country financially if in power. Or is it a case that they might ruin the rigged game as it now stands. You are right, the veil of deceit is so thin at this stage that we can clearly see what is going on. What is one to do? We are all complicit in allowing the status quo to perennially exist. We have acquiesced for so long that the primary political philosophy of the ordinary citizen is apathy. What is one to do? I see that the soul of Ireland is mortally wounded. All of our historical figures are lamenting our current position. We have not honored them, we have not lived up to their ideals or standards and yet their portraits and symbols are all around us as a false sign of their approval. It is a sham of Stalinist proportions. Perhaps Carson was right and perhaps our heroes would also submit, that after all the dust has settled, a British public service might have served us better after all. Outsourcing the department of education and other functions to the Catholic Church was the greatest crime against Ireland yet perpetrated on her. Are the powerful to win the day with apathy riding in step or can our nation be pulled out of the inferno? It is soon or never. What is one to do.

    1. Lilly

      ‘I can rent an apartment within 5km of my work for 70% of my income.’

      That is crazy. Move to the country and grow chickens.

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