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Ireland’s new “independence:” An avalanche of corruption

The Irish exit from the bailout, an "exit" that involves decades of austerity and the continued supervision of the Troika and European Central bank, was met immediately by the rich smell of corruption arising from the Irish gombeen capitalists.

One element of the aroma, involving charities, pointed backwards and assured us that crony capitalism and a bloodsucking parasitism on the Irish working class had survived unchanged throughout the crisis. Another element, from the new Irish water company, looked forward to the endless opportunities for graft in the modernisation and privatisation programmes now being implemented. In the background was the persistent smell of  police corruption.

Much has been done to convince us that inflated secret payments to charity CEOs were examples of bad practice in an   isolated sector. In fact, in the case of the  Central Remedial Clinic, where millions raised by parents of handicapped children went into the pension pot of the CEO, there were three elements operating that are illustrative of Irish society.

Class hatred

The confessional nature of the Irish state meant that many state functions were hived off to religious organizations and charities. State money was provided without any real transparency and as a result a culture of  corruption, impunity and of abuse of the poor grew up.

The tradition of crony capitalism meant that appointments to these boards involved an informal network where one hand washed the other, with pay and perks decided by your golfing partners.

One of the ways class hatred has expressed itself during the bank bailout is that the capitalist cronies have been immune from any hardship and overwhelming blows have fallen on the very poorest, with a mass withdrawal of services from children with handicaps and those with learning difficultes.

The new crop of scandals involving the onslaught of privatisations began with hidden payments of over 100 thousand in consultancy fees paid before the new water company had been fully established. 


Rather than this causing any embarrassment, a chief economic advisor to the government has counterattacked with the claim that €2 billions of efficiency savings have been lost because the legal fiction of a new company offered the opportunity for mass sackings. It was not the fat cats who were the criminals, but the thousands of workers who had spent their lives in the water industry.

In the case of the guards, it is over a year since allegations were made that an informal system allowed superintendents to tear up thousands of traffic tickets for those with political pull. There was no response. There was also no response to a complaint from Socialist TD Clare Daly, one of the TDs who put forward the allegations, that the garda had tried to frame her on drink-drive charge.

Now a year later, with whistleblowers emerging inside the police, the garda commissioner arrogantly questioned the right of TDs on the public accounts committee to question him and was immediately supported by the minister of justice.

What is astounding about the avalanche of corruption is that there is little response. The logic here is the logic of class struggle. Attempts to construct a working class opposition have failed. A left unity project has collapsed in disorder, with the fragments scrabbling for election around a reformist programme. Labour are in government and the trade union bureaucracy in partnership with capital.

Irish capital has learnt nothing and understood nothing. Their role as agents of imperialism is to plunder Ireland and impoverish the working class. Building a movement based on the needs of the working class, taking the first steps to build a revolutionary party, these are urgent tasks that can no longer be avoided.


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