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Gerry O'Carroll: The loutish drunk TD and his pal the cowardly Minister for Justice Ahern

ISN'T it a terrible disgrace that we can't get a decent Minister for Justice in this country.

Imagine if we had someone with a bit of guts and enterprise what could be done with the gangs and criminal bankers.

We'd probably have a new prison to put away the gun criminals where they'd be sharing cells with the white collar gangsters who dragged this country down.

Instead we've been stuck with bungling Michael McDowell last time around and now with self-styled bootboy, Dermot Ahern.

Like all bootboys of course, he's a coward behind it all.

Nothing exposes that more than his refusal to condemn fellow Dail Club member and utter disgrace, PJ Sheehan.

Let me be straight here. PJ Sheehan is a very lucky man he is not appearing before a District Judge for drink driving, public order and breach of the peace, not to mention common assault.

Instead he got a let off from two gardai - using their discretion they advised him not to drive drunk from Leinster House.

The thuggish Sheehan then had a pop off the woman garda who stopped him driving and told her that her career would come to a sudden stop when Enda Kenny's Fine Gael come to power.

Sheehan should be down on his knees thanking her for saving his life, his wife's life (yes, she was with him) and the lives of innocent motorist.

But instead of condemning him like he should, Bootboy Ahern has bottled it once more and said he couldn't have a go off his old mate.

And typical of Ahern, instead of going after the wrongdoer, he is now going after his biggest foe, the media.

Yes, indeed journalists Paul Williams and Jody Corcoran are to be investigated over who leaked them the story about the drunken lout in Leinster House.

It's some country alright. It's akin to Morning Ireland being investigated over Brian Cowen's Garglegate.

As a colleague once commented, if Watergate occurred here, Nixon would still be in office and Woodward and Bernstein would be banged up.

When asked about the issue, Dermot Ahern said: "PJ Sheehan on a personal basis is a good friend of mine. I like him. It's unfortunate that this situation arose, but is is entirely a matter for PJ Sheehan".

It must be the first time in history that a Justice Minister has failed to condemn a drunken driver.

Is it a case of turning a blind eye to such activities simply because the culprit is a Dail colleague?

And as for Eamon Gilmore's uncharacteristic silence, I fear it doesn't bode well for the morals of the so-called alternative Labour government when its would-be leader won't condemn what is clearly a grave lapse in conduct.

As a young garda in Dublin in the late 60s and 70s, I was aware of many instances where gardai were threatened by members of the Oireachtas.

On occasions where politicians were stopped for drunken driving, or were caught drinking after hours in a pub, there were threats of demotion and banishment to the remotest corner of Ireland.

Ironically, west Cork, where Sheehan hails from, was one of those places often invoked for a transfer.

These threats were issued without fear of sanction, and were indicative of the parochial political culture of the time, something we like to think that we've moved on from.

Plus ca change, eh?

That makes Dermot Ahern's stance on all this absolutely sickening.

It's hypocrisy in the extreme.

Yes, the gangbangers can rest easy with such a gobshite in charge of law and order.

Nightmare continues for family of Delany

THE dreadful nightmare goes on for the family of tragic Robert Delany (below), the young father-of-two who was left in a permanent vegetative state after he was gunned down in October 2008.

The second anniversary of this heinous act is now approaching, and the recent arrests suggest that the garda case against the perpetrators may be gathering momentum.

The Delany family have also received assurances from Government.

I had the honour of meeting his brave father Terry and sister Sinead on the Late Late Show some months ago and I have been humbled by their dignity and grace.

Robert, who should have had his entire life ahead of him at the age of 27, remains trapped in a miserable existence somewhere between life and death.

He was shot as he looked out of his Tallaght apartment and it is believed the shooting may be connected to a minor incident in which Robert had earlier intervened.

It is heartbreaking for his family to visit him in hospital each day and see the shell of a once-vibrant man.

Several people have been arrested for questioning in connection with the shooting but the family still await justice for Robert.

We've previously highlighted the fact that former members of the IRA are suspected of involvement.

Over the past two years the thugs who carried out this attack would have hoped that interest would have waned in the matter. Thanks to the bravery of the family that will never be the case.

Katie is our true sporting icon

I'VE often praised top sports stars such as Padraig Harrington, Brian O'Driscoll and Derval O'Rourke in this column. Each has contributed immeasurably to Irish sports and their various successes have lifted the nation's spirits in times of doom and gloom.

Yet it appears there is one sports star who shines brighter than them all, and that's champion boxer Katie Taylor from Bray. Last Saturday she clinched her third world boxing title at the age of 23.

Despite her tender years, Katie has already notched up a vast array of medals, yet she rarely receives the attention she deserves. Now she's finally reaping some plaudits and deservedly so.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and President Mary McAleese were fulsome in their praise, and Sports Minister Mary Hanafin was quick to hop on the bandwagon, rushing to congratulate Katie on her return to Dublin Airport and clinging to her in front of the cameras. It reminded me of a similar PR stunt when Charlie Haughey stepped up to the podium to congratulate Stephen Roche after the cyclist won the Tour de France.

Despite Katie's immense success, it's appalling that RTE didn't see fit to broadcast her bout live on TV, restricting it instead to online viewers. Yet what else can we expect from the myopic mandarins in the State broadcaster?

Something tells me Katie Taylor won't be worrying about the coverage. In her typically understated way she's already focusing on the next big bout, which will surely bring further glory.

On behalf of Herald readers everywhere, I wish to congratulate her and her family on her wonderful achievements. Katie is a true sporting icon and a marvellous role model for the youth of the country.