Sunday 26 February 2017

Fact is, these truths belong to everybody

Our establishment is obsessed with 'guarding' information that frankly is not theirs to withhold, writes Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for the private session of the Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting at Leinster House Picture: Tom Burke
Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for the private session of the Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting at Leinster House Picture: Tom Burke

There, now, Commissioner – that wasn't too painful, was it? Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe went in front of the Public Accounts Committee and gave evidence on matters affecting the public accounts. That's the way it should work. People with information help the politicians come to an understanding of how things are working – or not.

Before that could happen, the PAC had to get over a bad case of the political collywobbles. And the Garda Commissioner had to play out his odd belief that it's "my force". And that he alone will answer questions, and decide what questions he'll answer. Apart from such trivialities, what's this row about?

It's about two things. One, the brazen corruption of the penalty point system. And two, the peculiar habit this country's establishment has of hoarding information. We'll deal with the second of these first. There's always some reason to hoard information, to refuse a straight answer, to claim that this information is privileged, it's need-to-know, and no one except a very, very few needs to know.

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