I was having coffee with a South Dublin Councillor recently and we both agreed. If you let it, the rampant corruption in national and local government bodies would really get you down.
Wicklow County Council Planning Office
People will argue it doesn’t exist. Indeed last March 7 in 2016 three members of the planning office staff were used as pawns by management in Wicklow County Council to try and silence the elected members from pointing out wrongdoing. In fact, management wanted a written rule or protocol to make it impossible.
In my opinion, this was a serious attempt to interfere with the democratic process when they were rolled out with pre-prepared statements to try and silence elected councillors. I can’t say I’d ever let myself be led by the nose like that to hide management activities. It was definitely too much of a coincidence that the three presentations turned up in a defamation case against the council 4 weeks later. This could have been construed as a planned attempt to sway the court decision. A very serious charge.
I wonder did the three members of staff realise that these presentations were to be used in a High Court case? Did they know they could have ended up being called as witnesses to stand over the statements they read out? The judge threw the statements out luckily for them.
One of the tell-tale signs of the corruption epidemic is the latest stunt which all these state bodies announcing that they are going to investigate themselves. They run these investigations for months and eventually come to the conclusion they did nothing wrong even in the face of blatant evidence to the differ.
It’s only when you stand back and start to see the extent of this corrupt practice. The Gardai are currently investigating themselves with the breath test scandal and others. It is so blatant that a blind man in a snowstorm can see that wrongdoing was going on widespread in the ranks of the Garda from top to bottom for a long time.
The current scandal growing bigger every day in the Kildare Wicklow Education Training Board KWETB is another prime example. The parent organisation suddenly announced they were going to investigate themselves over corruption allegations when the scandal became public. The CEO of the KWETB Sean Ashe has suddenly announced his retirement on Dec 31st. To ride off into the sunset with a lotto sized pension. Coincidence? You decide.
When word of this scandal finally leaked all KWETB board members were told on foot of unseen legal advice that they were to be silent about this scandal. They have even gone as far as to order all public KWETB meetings be held in secret. Remember this scandal centres around about a million euro of public money. Now call me old fashioned but all of the acts above do not inspire confidence or trust in this organisation. Instead, it screams to high heaven the opposite.
I won’t get into this one too much but the banks have been regulating them themselves for years and getting away with murder. Even though they destroyed the country, no new legislation has been brought in and the banks continue business, as usual, using taxpayer bailout money. Tracker mortgages anybody?
More Wicklow County Council
We can return to Wicklow County Council in this section too. A number of months ago a local real estate agent made a formal complaint about long-serving Bray Town and County Councillor. He had neglected to list properties he owned in his ethics statement (A requirement by law) for many many years. It seems after the two internal investigations reports that there was nothing to answer for. It was a simple mistake…… One he made every year for many years. Conveniently forgetting he owned the properties in question every year at Ethics Statement time…..
Wicklow was again in the spotlight when the most senior member of management redently retired Eddie Sheehy of Wicklow County Council was requested to conduct an internal investigation into corruption in Cavan County Council. This person had recently lost a defamation case against him and Wicklow County Council. The judge had not so nice things to say about his evidence. He said that Eddie Sheehy as Wicklow County manager acted with Malice or in proper purpose. But yet again another internal investigation that we heard nothing about it. He is now teaching classes in integrity in public office….. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Wicklow TD’s and Ministers
Again standing back it’s amazing that only one of our 5 Wicklow TDs in Dail Eireann has made any attempt to push for the investigation that has been called for by several councillors. Councillors who delivered an inch thick evidence dossier to the then minister of the environment Alan Kelly. We are now on minister number three who has left this investigation in decision stage. over 2 years now it has sat on this shelf.
These are only a few examples. I could fill pages. Just think to yourself. How many times on the radio or TV have you heard the phrase “Internal Review or investigation” when a scandal emerges?
Let me know of any examples you have yourself in the comments below.
It doesn’t have to be in Wicklow. This corruption in local and national government is countrywide.