Sunday 8 December 2019

A judge who makes sense? Well I never...

Judge Paul Durcan
Judge Paul Durcan
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

It's not often this column has much call to praise the actions, thoughts, deeds or statements of an Irish judge.

The media is reluctant to go up against them, the lawyers don't need a judge with a long memory putting them in their little black book and they remain the only section of society exempt from public criticism. Apart from the great Morrissey, of course, who lamented the fact that "I bear more grudges than lonely High Court judges".

But as much as the judges in this country – and any other country where they are not elected, it should be noted – may as well be the Gods of Olympus and we are but mere goat herders in the valleys below, we should also be prepared to give credit where it is due – and credit is most certainly due to Ennis District Court judge Patrick Durcan who has handed a six-month driving ban to a local woman for parking in a disabled car space.

The driver in question, Valerie Scullion, has previous convictions for illegal parking around Ennis, so it's not as if she's a first-time offender. But even if she had been, this is a decision which most people will understand.

The sight of perfectly fit and able people pulling into a disabled space is not an unusual one in this country and it's yet another example of how treating people as children means they behave like brats.

The truth is that you shouldn't even need a law to ensure that there are a few spaces close to the door for disabled people – because this should be a matter of conscience and basic courtesy to others, not something that requires the intervention of the authorities.

At some point in the development of our national psyche somebody decided that laws were only meant to be obeyed when there was a danger of being caught. It's part of the culture of cute hoorism that starts at the top and permeates downwards: a drip feed of conscious amorality which employs the Bart Simpson defence – nobody saw me do it, so you can't prove nuffink.

AA's Conor Faughnan is normally a voice of reason when it comes to matters motoring, but he picked the wrong tack when he criticised the sentence, saying that most drivers will be 'baffled' by the ban because "the penalty in this case is the same as would be handed down to someone convicted of drink driving".

Well, sorry to say it, Conor, but the only thing that proves is that the sentences for drink driving are obviously inadequate, not that this case is too severe.

In a culture that is obsessed with rights and entitlements, the concept of personal responsibility is anathema to a class of people who think that the rules are there to be obeyed only when somebody is watching.

Motorists remain one of the most persecuted groups in this country. They are taxed to the hilt and have to put up with the endless bleating of deranged politicians and a manic cycling lobby which would like to see cars banned.

But this case isn't about the Government inventing a new system of fines to fill their coffers.

It's about basic respect for others and being prepared to actually walk for 30 seconds rather than blithely parking in a spot which will, in all likelihood, result in a disabled person having to drive aimlessly around the car park until a space finally becomes free.

And if you have parked in a disabled space recently and don't see what the fuss is all about?

Well, shame on you and let's hope you never have cause to genuinely need one.


Rani Abraham, the former PA to Premier League chief Peter Scudamore, has gone squawking to the papers to say she discovered some off-colour jokes in her boss's email and "I found it disgusting, vulgar and very disrespectful. I felt I didn't want to see Richard if that was how he felt about women".

It's important to remember that this wasn't behaviour from the Andy Gray/Richard Keys playbook of bullying sexism. No, they were just the joke equivalent of Dad-dancing – a bit embarrassing for all concerned

Interestingly, one of the comments – in the supposedly private emails, lest we forget – jokes about women being irrational.

On an entirely related note, Abraham then complained of feeling 'humiliated, belittled and disgusted' by the gags.

Yeah, nothing irrational or OTT in that reaction, eh?

So, have we learned anything from this incident?

Well, don't employ Abraham as your PA would be the most obvious lesson. After all, aren't tact and discretion meant to be part of that gig?


Well, what the hell are we going to do now? As you undoubtedly know, the Great Kimye have been denied access to the palace of Versailles for their wedding. This is yet another example of those bloody French and how they like to ruin everything.

The snooty Frogs have said that it is "simply not possible" for the world's biggest arse, and his betrothed, to tie the knot there and y'know what? It's probably racist as well as mean and exclusionary.

It's an also a wasted open goal.

After all, Versailles is the ultimate symbol of pre-Revolutionary opulence, narcissism and chronic self-delusion, so the two of them would feel right at home.

And, of course, we all know how the people who hung out there during its glory days ended up. Not that I'm advocating the public guillotining of this pair of delusional half-wits.

After all, public displays of execution are so vulgar ...

Irish Independent

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