Monday 5 December 2016

Gene Kerrigan: New boss will be a lot like the old boss

This crisis isn't about laziness or national stereotypes, it's simply about politics, writes Gene Kerrigan

Published 20/02/2011 | 05:00

Before we get down to business as usual, let's sincerely state some positive things about three people who've recently taken a hiding, Brian Cowen, Brian Lenihan and Micheal Martin. Their party will probably take another hiding at the polls next Friday, and deservedly so. And I've no problem whatever with kicking politicians when they're down. But it's just as important to understand why they did what they did.

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It's true that Irish public life has been fouled by the personal financial carry-on of too many politicians and people in positions of power, but not every politician is on the take, they are not all -- or even very many -- personally corrupt.

At the end, what mattered most to Brian Cowen was that people acknowledged his personal integrity. "In every decision I took, as Taoiseach, I can honestly say the common good was my overriding concern." And I've never heard anything, on the record or off it, to even hint that Cowen was ever on the take. He was involved in one financial controversy, in 1994 -- something to do with shares -- and it was beyond doubt that he behaved entirely honourably in that matter.

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