In an uncharacteristic outburst of frankness, Kildare FG TD Bernard Durkan yesterday made the shocking revelation that there were TDs who should never have been elected to the Dáil. The man from Mayo is obviously trailing his coat for the 'Every dog on the street knows that' Award, 2007.
In a debate on the Electoral (Amendment) Bill he was heard to mutter the following:
I do not care how many people supported them, or assented to their election. I still believe it was wrong that they were elected. It is wrong to make a decision that allows people with criminal records, for example, to be elected. The election of such people does nothing for society or for local and national politics.He stopped short of suggesting a rake of Lee Enfields and a conveniently located stone wall as a solution to this problem, which is the course of action I would naturally choose meself.
I was, however, somewhat disquieted by his advocacy of the 'purest and simplest' form of democracy. Do I detect the beginnings of a beerhall putsch in the offing? Somebody should tip off the bar staff at Doheny & Nesbitt's before there's pint pots broken .
Forgetful readers may need to be reminded that born again guardian of political virtue Mr Durkan was up before the beaks at the DIRT inquiry in 1999 regarding the write-off of IR£20,000 in loan interest by ACC Bank, knowledge of which emerged when he was, wait for it, sitting on the Public Accounts Committee and presumably ensuring that money wasn't squandered on such fripperies as hospitals, schools and public transport.
According to an Indo report at the time
One leading senior counsel said last night that Mr Durkan's dealings with the bank would be a cause of legitimate concern for fair procedures: ``He could appear to be too hard on the bank to show he is not biased in their favour, or seem to be going easy on them because of his past dealings with them. It's all a matter of perception.''The same report noted that our Bernie was represented in his dealings with the bank at the time by a certain Charlie McCreevy. No conflict of interest there either, wha? And anyway so, the writing off of loans, interest and other stuff for politicos was common practice back in them days; an essential part of the democratic process as we understood it, blah, blah blah.
Somewhere in the deepest pits of Hades old Charlie Haughey must be laughing hard enough to split the seams of his favourite state-subsidised Charvet shirt.