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Gerry O'Carroll: Trevor had some neck trying to influence garda

What next for our beleaguered Government?

Last week it was mired in Willie O'Dea's troubles, and today the Green Party is in the merde after now ex-minister Trevor Sargent interfered in a criminal prosecution.

In an exclusive story in this newspaper, it was revealed that Trevor personally intervened in due legal process. The details are truly shocking.

Trevor, right, had the temerity to write directly to a prosecuting garda and lecture the officer in the hope that one of his constituents would not be prosecuted.

His communication was not lawful, but, absurdly, the act of law that was broken does not provide for any criminal sanction. But the details put him perilously close to trying to influence a member of the gardai in the conduct of their duty.

Ultimately, the constituent Dominic McGowan was convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour and was fined €500, so thankfully Trevor's attempt to influence the garda didn't succeed. That's very important, for the record.

Needless to say the ramifications of this matter are very disturbing. I'm heartened to hear that the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has requested a report on the matter. This is unbelievable behaviour and I've no doubt it will lead to yet another furore.

That a Green Party minister should have betrayed all the principles that the party so loftily espoused is disgraceful. The Greens have always projected themselves to be the whiter than white party, the Persil party.

Trevor was one of the first to lambast Bobby Molloy in circumstances that were, in principle, broadly similar.

They trumpeted their partnership in Government as one that would clean up politics by ushering in a new era of openness and transparency. Now it appears that one of their members has betrayed their ideals.

I fear the Greens forgot their roots as soon as they got their backsides on the comfortable leather seats of their lean, green Prius cars. They have sold out on so many occasions, all for the prize of staying in power.

Even so, the actions of Trevor are truly beyond the Pale.

In my 34 years in An Garda Siochana, I had something of a similar experience.

I recall a senior Government minister who made repeated attempts to intervene on behalf of a criminal whom I subsequently dealt with.

The minister involved me in correspondence as he attempted to speak on behalf of his friend and constituent.

It didn't work, and I subsequently helped to convict the man of armed robbery. Since then, as a democrat and a member of the gardai, I have always abhorred the practice of TDs and ministers intervening on behalf of constituents.

It is an affront to democracy and most especially an insult to victims.

Let's hope Trevor is the last politician to commit such an act -- as I firmly believe the practice should be outlawed.

Hollywood legend Jon called to reveal delight at healing rift with Angelina

I was thrilled to receive a phone call on Monday night from my old friend, the actor Jon Voight.

The pair of us had a wonderful reunion last weekend at the IFTAs, before he flew to Vienna for a long-awaited meeting with his daughter Angelina Jolie. Jon then rang me from London as he prepared to head back to Los Angeles, and he told me the story of their reunion.

Pictures of the pair later appeared in the papers, but I'm delighted to confirm that there was nothing staged about those smiles. Jon told me he had met Angelina, Brad Pitt and their six children and revealed they had managed to heal all of the old rifts.

He said they had a marvellous time and that while he may be a so-called famous actor, "at the end of the day she's my daughter, they're my grandchildren, they're beautiful and we had a wonderful time".

He described Brad Pitt as a wonderful father who was instrumental in healing the family rift.

Gentleman

Jon kept me talking for nearly half an hour and promised to keep in touch.

It was a lovely way to end a fantastic weekend during which we had a great chance to catch up -- we first met when I advised him in the film The General.

Jon had invited me to a party on Friday night, where I got to rub shoulders with the likes of Patrick Bergin, Matt Dillon and John Boorman. Then he brought me to the IFTAs as his guest. I watched as he worked the room like a pro. He posed for photographs, signed autographs and had a smile for everyone -- a gentleman of the screen.

He was horrified at what he called malicious and despicable gossip surrounding Angelina's relationship with Brad and said he believes they are very much in love.

And so I was delighted to get that call on Monday and hear that he is reunited with his daughter and family. Jon is a fantastic man and I couldn't be happier that all past rows with Angelina are forgotten.

O'Dea's exit shows need for cross-party leadership

There are some who might say it is akin to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, but I believe Brian Cowen needs an urgent Cabinet reshuffle.

After last week's circus in the Dail and the controversy surrounding Willie O'Dea, the public is this week looking at a very bruised and battered Government.

It's fair to say confidence is at an all-time low, and it's time the Taoiseach got rid of some of the dead wood. He should have the courage to wield the axe immediately. Already there have been calls for the heads of Eamon O Cuiv, Noel Dempsey, Martin Cullen and Calamity Coughlan. And Cowen himself will have to watch out for his own political skin, now that his most loyal friend O'Dea can no longer guard his back.

Nonetheless, last week's carry-on has taught me that I have little faith in the ability of any single government to address our problems.

And it is my opinion that we will hear a growing cry and demand from the public for a government of national unity.

Come on girls, it's time to kiss and make up

I was saddened, and slightly annoyed, to hear that The Afternoon Show's Sheana Keane and her former colleague Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh are still not back on speaking terms.

Sure, the dynamic duo had a rough year, with their less-than-friendly working relationship dogged by allegations of bullying.

Despite this, they were a winning combination on TV and really it's time to bury the hatchet.

Girls, why don't you kiss and make up?


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