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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 23, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    George, Deirdre, Willie, now Trevor: Who’s Next?

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s reminiscent of Pegeen Mike’s wan speech at the end of the Synge’s masterpiece: “I’ve lost him surely, I’ve lost my only playboy of the western world.” Trevor is gone! Hard to believe.

    Needless to say there is much muttering and mumbling. Why was the story leaked to the Herald now? Inevitably fingers are pointing at the larger coalition party.

    Perhaps. A little bit of “vingeance” for what the Greens did to Willie last week? They were reluctant executioners it has to be said.

    Maybe it was some other source. 

     Trevor, as has been said, is the father-figure of the Greens. Mister Clean. Pottering about in his garden among the  organic kumquats or whatever is growing there.

     What strange virus has gripped the body politic that everyone is resigning? Who’s next?

    But it wasn’t smart to write that letter.

     It was smart and principled to resign asap. That will stand to him. We ain’t heard the last of Trevor Sargent. He might end up in the Áras  yet, if this plays the right way.

    • Cathal says:

      End up in the Aras yet?!! Are you kidding me.
      He wrote directly to a garda asking him to drop a summons/charge on a constituent. .

      He shouldn’t just resign as Minister but his Dáil seat as well.

    • murphelia says:

      Of course this is just what the benighted country needs, a Head of State with a track record for interfering with the wheels of justice.
      Think the wheel might have come off on this one…!

    • Deaglán says:

      My understanding is that it is only a criminal offence if you write to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      How on earth could Sargent have been so utterly stupid?

      If the Greens thought they could land a punch on the bully boy FFers without their being a consequence – then welcome to the real world.

      The bitterness will eat away at FF, as it always does, and they’ll destroy the working relationship they have with the Greens as they did with Labour and the PDs (before closet Fianna Fáiler Harney took over) before them.

      Won’t be long now for Enda – what was the name of that guy who used to be a TD for a while from RTE? Perhaps him leaving was all part of a great plan by Fine Gael to get blood pulsing in Leinster House and hope it would make others lose the run of themselves – seems to have worked.

    • Michael says:

      Leave the politicians aside for the moment.
      Next time I see a Garda car driving by with a phone number on it stating “confidential”, I will ask myself – what does confidential mean ?. Gardai leaking information to Willie O’Dea and now Gardai leaking information to someone to the Evening Herald [Not proven, Deaglán] I suppose after the Garda Crinion affair and British Intelligence – we should assume that the place is like a leaky ship.

    • livvy says:

      C’mon Ireland.. We all covered the teabaggers and their nonsense. America needs us to cover real citizens with real health issues marching to DC..http://melaniesmarch.com/?page_id=21.

    • Persiancowboy says:

      The Greens learned the most basic of life’s hard lessons today: never ever f**k with the Big Boys!!

      Watched Eamon “Narcissus” Ryan on Prime Time this evening doing his usual “we are providing stable Government and creating 100s of green jobs blah blh blah……inside he must be tearing himself apart at this “hit” they collectively took today. Small boys at a very big table. Things can only get worse for these political novices.

    • Ray D says:

      Something jars about this matter. The fact is that corruption is endemic here and also there was a need for a formal reminder to politicians about these unlawful approaches – unlawful under 1974 legislation. It seems more than obvious and certain that many politicians have done what Sargent did in recent times and that an investigation is necessary to weed out those engaged in unlawful activity of this nature.

      Bear in mind also that Sargent only resigned when found out. I’m sure many other heads could roll – in all parties – on the same basis. But pigs will fly before that happens.

      One thing though – the 1974 legislation should be revisited and strenghtened as a matter of urgency and the Greens should demand both that and a wide investigation immediautely. Don’t hold your breath.

    • The Aras? Ah now, I really doubt that Deaglan. The fact is he broke the law. Not only should a TD resign any ministerial duties he has but he should also leave Leinster House. The same goes for Willie O’Dea. People are forgetting that these type of people, who bring Irish politics into disrepute, are still getting handsome salaries and pensions despite their shameful behaviour.

    • robespierre says:

      I agree – on the scale of tawdriness it is undoubtedly a scuff on his brogues. I for one however will always admire Sargent for his forthrightness, his advocacy on planning matters and planning corruption.

      I firmly believe that notwithstanding the general (and justified) air of cynicism among the great unwashed at the moment that much of the poison inflicted by Burke and Lawlor and the other Mahon/Flood regulars has been washed out of the system.

      For that and many other courageous stances taken by Sargent I will remain an admirer of his politics. We are all apt to err and to fall.

      It manly to take the consequences of one’s actions on the chin and go forthwith.

    • barbera says:

      I know we are coming into the backstabbing season (Marc/Ides of) but what on earth is going on? Cherchez la femme some might say (usually involves hell/fury/scorn). Poor Trevor, all the same, whose only connection with a plot was to plant a few organic veggies therein and whose only crime, that of trying to do a favour for a constituent — real firing squad offence that. I bet there isn’t a politician out there at the moment that’s not afraid to cross the road in case s/he gets done for Jaywalking. Wouldn’t be counting the chickens just yet, Des, somebody’s got access to the Dirt Files — and I’m not talking about tax.

    • barbera says:

      @ 3 Deaglán. Poor DPP. Probably never gets a letter — since it’s a criminal offence to write to him. Wonder what the law would be on sending him a Valentine’s Day eCard.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Interesting Jesuit outlook on politics the Greens have – they say they are honest because they don’t take corporate donations and dig-outs and yet they turn a blind eye to what Fianna Fáil do and consider that to be ok?

      The see, hear and speak no evil approach.

      Those who look the other way and do nothing are just as bad.

      Sargent knew about this since last year or longer and it was only when he got caught he resigned – he should have not done in the first place and known not to do it.

      If he really was so noble and high minded he firstly wouldn’t have voted to enter a coalition with Fianna Fáil and secondly he wouldn’t have taken a minister’s position.

      No doubt he won’t be shy putting in his pension claim.

    • The Sentinel says:

      I was just reading some of the British papers. Now I’m wondering if the current Irish, British and Greek governments are in a race for the prize of Most Incompetent Incumbents Ever?

      Though at the rate the Irish government is going, there won’t be anyone left in office to speak at this awards ceremony.

    • Deaglán says:

      Desmond: Report today that Trevor Sargent is giving his Eur 47k pay-off to charity.
      I don’t think Barbera and Blimey are one and the same.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Deaglán, he’s giving away something he shouldn’t be getting in the first place?

      So much for the Greens reforming and cleaning up politics!

      I would also say on the issue of pensions or allowance or expenses that Fine Gael and Labour are just as hypocritical. How many of their members are taking a pension while receiving a full Oireachtas income, claiming attendance allowances, while being well able to afford their lunch and petrol from their basic salary, (when did anyone ever see a TD or Senator use public transport when there isn’t a camera to record the stunt) claiming accomodation allowances for houses and flats that have no mortgage on them.

      Sargent got what he deserved. When he was asked to intervene he should have said no. He knew he had done wrong but kept his mouth shut until it was leaked. Very noble I’m sure.

      The claims that Sargent did the ‘honourable thing’ just don’t stand up.

    • robespierre says:

      Desmond I hope you are going to be able to roll with the punches when Moriarty comes out. It will not make for pretty reading.

      FG also failed to pay its employees taxes correctly under Bruton and have also been found to have breached donor confidentiality.

      I would be very careful about the threshold you set. I remember Enda Kenny telling an outrageous joke at O’Muilleor’s going away that in most countries (Italy notwithstanding) would cause a politician to step down.

      I personally think blithe, casual racism is far worse a sin than the intervention the Sargent was embroiled in. He made an error of judgement.

      You could teach the taliban about fundamentalism. If you are as well versed in FG as you say you are, you would know there are many inglorious chapters in its history too.

    • Alex says:

      C’mon Ireland.. We all covered the teabaggers and their nonsense.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @17 – absolutely – whatever Lowry has coming to him he deserves – won’t get any excuses from me.

      Given every problem Ireland now faces, religiously, politically, socially, legally, professionally or business related stems from people in high places having, tolerating, and fostering low standards.

      So I don’t think setting the bar way higher than it has ever been set is unreasonable.

      Likewise for example, I’m perfectly aware that Richard Bruton, who I know to be a good and decent honest man, has a brass neck to ask higher civil servants to take less pay/pensions/perks (even though he is right) when his own brother has an EU and Oireachtas pension as well as his corporate earnings.

      I’m also making no excuses for the obscene abuse of the purpose of expense and pensions and allowances by Fine Gael & Labour reps. And while Fine Gael and Labour are far from perfect they are far better than anything FF can offer – the worst FG/L government exceeds the best FF one everytime.

      The fact that FG/L play the ‘politics’ game so badly as they let FF decide the rules is probably a good thing – even though it ironically leaves the country in the grip of corrupt governments for far too long – as we are seeing to our cost now.

      Sargent made a whole song and dance about Bobby Molloy doing the same, so he knew full well what he himself was doing was wrong. Yet he did it anyway. He should have had the guts to tell the constituent there was nothing he could do. But then having made the mistake, he kept quiet about it until he was exposed. Now he is also getting a pension pay off – the fact he gave it to charity doesn’t justify him getting it in the first place.

      Believe me, I’m under no illusions about FG. However, I have every faith that FG will actually put through massive reform – they probably won’t reach the scale of decency and honesty that someone like my father, and the group of friends he has been blessed with since they all met each other when they were 18 and 19 and have shared the journey of life with, and the hundreds of thousands like them who pay every penny in taxes, saved, raised good families and contributed fully to their community, but we have to start somewhere.

      No politician, of any party or none – past or present, would pass an audit of their expenses, their election costs, their dealings with constituencies and where/how you blur the line in the useless letters that TD send between departments doing things people should be perfectly capable of doing themselves and told to do.

      We all know the problems that have rotted every aspect of Irish society, from the inside out, were caused by the lowest standards of the few people (perhaps no more than 2000 people since 1922 have held the positions that afforded them the opportunity to inflict so much damage) who geld positions with the ability to do great good or harm.

      So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting my expectations for what Enda Kenny does when he’s Taoiseach so high.

    • Ray D says:

      I have to say that I am surprised that I can agree with practically all that Desmond has written. And the bar is now so low as to be non-existent. Corruption is endemic in our society. I experienced rampant corruption in the public service. And the general public expectation was to demand such corruption by requesting public servants not to apply the rules, or to make exceptions, or to bend them so as to get a benefit to which one was not entitled.

      I have always laughed at the suggestion that we were a priest-ridden society – even a modicum of integrity and honesty would be welcome. I don’t see either FG or Lab doing that, I’m afraid

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