Saturday 20 January 2018

Editorial: Era of light-touch governance is now over

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Light-touch regulation, in the public mind, is a concept exclusively connected with our banks.

In fact, be it the church and child abuse, political ethics, building control, the environment, the medical profession or the Gardai, light-touch regulation has been the endemic feature of Irish governance. Sadly, the consequences of the Irish love affair with this unfortunate concept proves the truth of Dwight D Eisenhower's warning that institutions that are not regularly examined deteriorate swiftly.

The Gardai have in fairness been regularly examined by a plethora of inquiries which have on far too many occasions painted a portrait of a force which has degenerated, in certain areas, into a form of unarmed militia dominated by a culture of 'blue silence' and 'negligent oversight'. The problem in our case is that examination, with the brief exception of Michael McDowell, has too rarely been followed by consequence . . . well for those examined at least.

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