Not a good day

1st February, 2011

What a terrible day yesterday was for Irish politics.

First we had the unedifying sight of Ivor Callely being granted €17,000 for lost earnings following his suspension from the Seanad over the expenses scandal. I bear the man no ill will and the victory he achieved in the Courts showed, it seems, that he acted within the rules. What it also shows is how rotten those rules were and how completely dysfunctional the ethical infrastructure of political life is in this country.

Then, in a Lazarus-esque move, we saw Willie O’Dea appointed to the Fianna Fail “front bench”. Only a week after Michael Martin’s apology to the nation, he promotes a man who was shown to have had scant regard for the justice system and who, despite having been shown to have filed a false affidavit, didn’t think it a resigning issue and had to be forced from office.

The next Government has a tough job ahead of it if it wants to restore public faith in politics. It was made harder by yesterday’s events