Date: 27th August 2013 (16.36)
(Follow on to articles written on Citizen Journalism site in 2009) on Ireland’s “Legal Corruption”)
Abolition of Senate referendum, Republic of Ireland.
What has changed?
Are we ready to abolish the bicameral system?
Do we yet have an effective Separation of Powers that ensures we prioritize the Rule of Law?
This detailed site started in 2009 merits attention now. Ireland in 2004 was fifth from the bottom in the corruption stakes in Europe so it would be most interesting to see if we have improved? There is a clear agenda for the coalition Government on their return from summer holidays if this piece of citizen journalism is examined. We need to ask questions such as what has been achieved to combat corruption in Ireland? What is outstanding?
The Separation of Powers is about the system of checks and balances. Abuse of power must be recognised and acted upon in line with the Constitution.
Dearbhail McDonald comments on the post-crisis plight of the judiciary. Judges take-home pay is reduced by one third since 2009 but more significantly that the income for new judges is now 45% lower than their colleagues who were appointed before 2012. Judges are guaranteed security of tenure and a pension, but this also has changed. Now new judges are expected to serve for 20 years instead of 15 before they are eligible for a pension. Quite rightly Dearbhail McDonald says that ‘the deterioration in the relationship between the executive and the judiciary has led many senior barristers and solicitors to rule out becoming a Judge’. This could mean that the checks and balances scrutiny based on the Separation of Powers is jeopardised based on purely economic cut-backs on the instruction of the Executive.
The referendum concerning the abolition of the senate in September 2013 surely is an instruction to delete rather than prune. Bureaucracy abounds in the senate but also the executive while it appears that the judiciary are now opting to retire from the bench and choosing to return to practicing law, if not like Fidelma Macken, former retired Supreme Court Justice, who has returned to work in the UK.
We need to know that corruption is being tackled with rigour but also that the Separation of Powers is preserved in line with the Constitution.
At last, the financial crisis is entrenched over 5 years now and it appears that nothing will ever be done to tackle the people who fuelled the crisis by their unregulated actions.
Things look like they may be changing:
Mr Lynn, solicitor, who escaped to Brazil, sits in prison in Brazil, facing extradition. The solicitors purse was scorched and money talks and reputation was damaged, so the legal profession sought another way of ensuring that he be returned to Ireland even though Ireland has no extradition warrant with Brazil. We await to see if they will be successful in their actions. The Scales of Justice in Ireland surely says let him stand before our courts.
Another strategic move is to plea bargain, that which is carried out so effectively in the US and something we really need now to reprimand those who breached the law and contributed to the financial crisis because of their reckless and unregulated actions.
Matt Moran, Anglo Irish Bank, Chief Financial Officer, working with the bank at the time of the nationalization in 2009 ‘has been granted immunity from prosecution from the criminal investigations into the bank’. The DPP has finally engaged with serious necessary action and has produced the ‘Immunity Agreement’ which they have been working on for 2 years now.
It’s time now for the onus to rest with the Chief Financial Officer of what remains of Anglo Irish bank who can actively data mine because he knows where the sources rest. Yes, he will be able to follow the monies worldwide and who knows with Switzerland making arrangements to reveal who holds overseas accounts, we may find funds returning to Ireland especially now when we really need them to return.
Michelle Clarke (Comyn)