Tuesday 24 April 2018

James Downey: Greens should go down with their colours flying

James Downey

James Downey

FIANNA Fail never liked the idea of appointing an ombudsman to investigate and remedy injustices inflicted on citizens by the bureaucracy. And nobody liked it less than Charles J Haughey.

Never mind that we were decades behind other advanced countries in mounting this exercise in fair play and accountability. Never mind that in the event, it proved a great success, with thousands of grievances rectified. Haughey thought, and the party still thinks, that governments and other power groups are there to do as they please and the citizens are there to obey.

Besides, he nourished a personal grudge against the first holder of the office. Michael Mills had been political correspondent of the 'Irish Press'. Haughey thought that should mean a Fianna Fail hack. Instead, Mills distinguished himself for impartiality and independence. He was supported by his editor, Tim Pat Coogan, and Coogan's boss, Vivion de Valera.

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