Tuesday 13 November 2018

New politics? It's more a case of 1983 all over again

Former garda commissioner Patrick McLaughlin
Former garda commissioner Patrick McLaughlin

Dr Eoin O'Malley

The resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan does not bring to an end an extraordinary episode in Irish politics, but it will probably be the height of the drama. The issues will be farmed off to a commission of inquiry which, depending on the terms of reference, the judge and the extent and context of the taping, could last for more than a year.

The issues in the recent garda controversies are numerous – and distinct – but roll into one for many of us. Penalty points, alleged bugging of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission and whistleblower issues will keep up pressure on Alan Shatter. But, by the time we see a report, many of these events – which are not easy to follow – won't have much fuel in the tank to lead to a sacking.

'Revelations' that would have been shocking when delivered with some immediacy have a tendency to lose their power over time, especially when couched in careful, legal language.

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