Opinion

Thursday 19 October 2017

Taking on the State is hazardous

Denis O'Brien's confrontational legal approach to his critics in the Dail has its own risks, writes Willie Kealy

Court case: Denis O’Brien is taking legal action over comments made in Leinster House over his IBRC accounts
Court case: Denis O’Brien is taking legal action over comments made in Leinster House over his IBRC accounts
Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy

Denis O'Brien is right. Something needs to be done about the Dail. There was a time when the rules of the Oireachtas were respected by the members. You did not make accusations about people who were not members and could therefore not defend themselves. This has never been an inhibitor of proper debate and has never deprived deputies from raising issues of national importance.

And if a member of the Dail transgressed, they would face the censure of their fellows. Such was the respect that those elected to Dail had for that institution that they did everything they could to avoid that censure. Not any more.

Mary Lou McDonald is the best known example. She named several people in the House as having Ansbacher accounts, including the late Judge Declan Costello who is not only not a member of the House any more, he is no longer even among the living.

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