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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 22, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Raced through the Mahon report already? Indulge in these long reads instead

    Laura Slattery

    The fifth and final report of the Mahon Tribunal is 3,270 pages long, which would certainly pass the time during all but the most problematic of toilet visits. It follows in the glorious tradition of these notoriously long documents, in which every word is no doubt a keeper.

    1. War and Peace: The 1869 multi-volume Leo Tolstoy classic is ironically used as shorthand for “epic” publications. Its first edition had 1,225 pages, which is 63 per cent shorter than Mahon. But which one has the most jokes? (Probably the Russian.)

    2. The US tax code (and most of its counterparts): Accountants presumably have mixed feelings about the unwieldiness of the average tax code, which justifies their fees even as it costs them 80 per cent of their eyesight just to do a preliminary scan. The US version runs to more than 72,000 pages long.

    3. Facebook’s privacy policy: This runs to 5,830 words, which can be summarised as “we don’t believe in privacy, to be honest”. Pithy by Tolstoy standards, then, but as the company’s critics have helpfully pointed out, also somewhat less concise than the US Constitution.

    4. Steve Jobs: A Biography: At 600-plus pages, Walter Isaacson’s book, published soon after the Apple founder’s death, is “an encyclopaedic survey of all that Mr Jobs accomplished”, according to the New York Times review. The trouble is he accomplished a lot.

    5. The Moriarty Tribunal report: At a mere 2,348 pages, Mr Justice Moriarty was brevity personified in his final report compared to Mr Justice Mahon. Or maybe the latter just found 40 per cent more corruption. Who can yet say? Only the speed-reading masochist community.

    • JOD says:

      Yeats said all there is to say 79 years ago.

      ”All that(‘)s sung/All that(‘)s said in Ireland is a lie.”

      That’s all you need to know about this rotten kip.

    • JOD says:

      In fact, that’s all the world needs to know about this dump. And I intend to tell as many as often as possible who’ll listen. Hope I ain’t the only one.

    • anoes says:

      JOD, Are you single by any chance? Your indefatigable positivity has me weak at the knees!

    • JOD says:

      “Had de Valéra eaten Parnell’s heart
      No loose-lipped demagogue had won the day
      No civil rancour torn the land apart.”

    • JOD says:

      79 years and more of nothing but the same old story kinda hard to stay positive all the time. But as I say to my good lady when we talk about all the crap that the National Lying and Deception Tendency has caused: ”At least we’re not like me granddad bobbing about the North Atlantic in a lifeboat that’ll shortly sink thanks to torpedoes hurricanes and Irish neutrality”.

      Of course nowadays ”torpedoes” and ”hurricanes” are spellled ”2 trillion USD wasted in illegal wars and torture” and ”international financial crisis” respectively. Irish neutrality is …well… Irish ”neutrality” and ”lifeboat” is spelled ”200 Billion debt”.
      Hey. Where there’s life there’s hope. Tell the band to play louder and find something cheerier than ”Autumn” we might yet enter harbour still an all. :)

    • JOD says:

      Still believe in miracles.

    • barb.ie says:


    • PeRisCope dept. says:

      ”Although the Tribunal recognises that corruption is most obviously a failing of individual morality, it believes that it is also a problem of systemic failure.”

      Have an horrible feeling that what’s being revealed today is just the tip of a gigantic iceberg the size of the country. We’ve barely sketched the beginnings of a map of filth, if you like, that to be truly accurate has to be as big as the territory.

      Of all the hazards that have been so far charted, MV Ireland has yet to meet Herself head-on. If that ever happens, all will change and change utterly. But until then, guess we’re still a-sail lacking rudder and compass in fatal seas.

    • stillstarvin&PRediCting@HMG.HRH says:

      ”A well functioning democracy cannot survive without citizen trust and confidence in those who govern. Thus, behaviours or acts by officials that diminish citizen trust and confidence are a direct threat to democratic governance. White trust is a renewable resource, ”it is much easier to destroy than to renew’ (…). Many factors can destroy trust in government. However, none may destroy trust easier or faster than unethical behaviour of blatant corruption of public officials.”

    • eamon says:

      are these corrupt former politicians keeping ther pensions ??????????????????

    • LC says:

      Report certailnly supports those who say Ireland is run by hypocrites.We may be good at the craic but we are world beaters at hypocrisy. To read Ahern’s statement tonight you’d think the Mahon Tribunal made it all up. Even Joyce couldn’t do that. The question now is: Will the big names have their collar felt and be accomodated at the state’spleasure?

    • Kristy says:

      Ok so 15 years and 300 million Euro later, all they came up with was 2,348 pages.

      So a little over EUR 127,768 to produce each page. Ridiculous.

      Ireland being Ireland naturally there wont be charges against the politicians.
      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    • Scarecrows of the Stipe says:

      The country isnt a dump but there is some amount of garbage running it alright

    • JOD says:

      It’s a dump by comparison with what it should have been, could have been Scarecrow. It’s a dump by comparison with the model outlined in the Proclamation by those who killed and were killed so all might be changed, changed utterly &c.
      It’s a dump littered with ghost estates and destroyed businesses and repossessed homes and broken families and lives lost to suicide depression alcoholism and despair.
      It’s a dump where the CIA doss down their kidnap-n-torture flights en route to and from various third world hellholes to whom they outsource their dirtiest work.
      It’s a dump of the values this place alleged She had (in Her now-utterly subordinated Constitution) about the observance of international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
      It’s a dump full of bad gambling debts and zombie banks that have sucked the life out of the economy.
      It’s a dump where tarmacadamned scian dubhs like the M3 are thrust through Ireland’s cultural historical spiritual karmic heart and aeons of history are destroyed so FF cronies can grab all the EU roadbuilding money.
      It’s a dump where unwanted children were handed over to money-grubbing institutions staffed and run by brutal animals in dog collars and young single mothers were enslaved all their lives washing others’ dirty laundry in priivate.
      There’s loads of reasons why I think this kyp’s a dump. But I will grant you. On a sunny day there’s no more beautiful place on earth. Provided you can shut your eyes and ears to all the filth. Something the Irish are very good at doing and have been for centuries.

    • JOD says:

      Which is why, as you say, we’ve so much garbage.

    • Inigo Unsworth says:

      I am very grateful to the Mahon Tribunal in revealing how the Irish political scene stinks to high heaven but I regret to say that any independent observer of this aspect of life in Ireland might say, “You mean, you’ve only noticed this corruption in political circles recently when most people in Ireland have known about this for years”. Sadly, corruption in Irish governance has been an ever-present fact of life in which we as the long-suffering public were aware of its existence but felt either powerless to confront it successfully or excluded from a sanctified ‘inner circle’ who were able to glide past with ease and impunity all the inevitable but legitimate ‘slings and arrows’ that act as a normal check and balance mechanism in a civilised society.

      But I think that this corruption went much further and unfortunately has come to contaminate the Irish psyche. I believe that the Mahon Tribunal, as tenacious and justified as it has been in its quest for truth and justice, has merely uncovered only part of the soiled picture of governance in Ireland over the past 90 years.

      As we well know, Ireland was dominated and ruled as a colonial dominion by Britain for over 700 years until it achieved independence less than a century ago in 1922. Since then and up till quite recently, the Irish Republic had steered a course to re-establish its celtic identity and culture by distancing itself from the former colonial power: this strident pro-Irish/anti-British ‘angle’ to a newly-independent nation was especially prevalent during the period from the 1930s to the 1960s. Even looked at objectively, this was understandable as the fledgling Irish Free State, as it then was, wanted to set up a distinctive ‘Irishness’ to all aspects of life within the 26 counties while all the time desirous of uniting with the (still-British) 6 counties of Northern Ireland.

      To bolster this resurgence in the Irish Republic’s confidence it its own identity, the Catholic Church played a leading role. As a result, a successful political double-act developed between a new Irish political class and the spiritual leader of 95% of the public, the Catholic Church. By the early 1930s, I would posit that this Irish version of a political, moneyed, and spiritually-inspired powerbase had been solidly established and continued to hold sway in Irish affairs for more than 50 years.

      To put it bluntly, this mendacious duo of a power elite based on an unholy Irish version of God and mammon was firmly established early on and it has maintained this unassailable position in that it ruled essentially a corrupt (Christian) theocratic country on the edge of western Europe up to quite recently only being thrown off its grubby perch by the chilling winds of recession that are now howling all around the world. It is a salutary reminder that absolute power corrupts absolutely and Ireland is not immune to this truism.

      The Mahon Tribunal revelations of political shenanigans in Ireland combined with the steady stream of shocking disclosures of how the Catholic Church had abused its faithful for many years must surely have an effect on us the Irish people, how we perceive themselves, what we perceive as living in a modern, civilised society and also how others perceive us.

      Does the Taoiseach, the government and other people in positions of power and influence have the will and the ability to lead Ireland out of this morass that strikes at the heart of what it means to be Irish and the proper execution of governance in a country?

    • Perhaps the saying is true: “What men can do, women can do better”. The first edition of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is slightly surpassed by the English edition of his wife’s (Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya’s) autobiographical memoir “My Life”, which runs to 1,250 pages (if you include the various appendixes, indexes and 64 pages of colour illustrations). See http://www.press.uottawa.ca/book/my-life

    • Inigo Unsworth says:

      In light of the opprobrium on Irish governance arising from the Mahon Tribunal where a political tragicomedy of nation-shattering dimensions has emerged, rather than descend into a pit of collective existential despair, I propose the following for those in a position of power and influence over us to regain the trust and confidence of the Irish people -

      A New Proclamation of Principles that might include:
      *We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by corrupt governance within our own nation has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.
      *We hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrade to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and its exaltation among the nations.
      *The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by domestically-inspired corrupt governance, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
      *The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman.

      (With apologies to those who penned our 1916 Easter Rising Proclamation)

    • JOD says:

      @ 18 nice one. You know the story goes that just as Pearse finished reading the last word from the step of the soon-to-be-ruined GPO, a bowler hatted gentleman in the faintly interested crowd unleashed a stream of pee upon the pavement loudly proclaiming ”NOW THAT WE’VE OUR OWN REPUBLIC WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT!”

      Been all downhill from there you ask me.

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