In the Irish Examiner, Fergus Finlay reacts with something close to incredulity to the effusive tributes to Liam Lawlor in the Dáil last week. He says that he will have suggestions for reforming the club next week and wonders, and worries, about what they’ll have to say when the time comes for Dáil Eireann to go through the same charade about Charles J Haughey.From the Irish Examiner –
I’m sure they believed all this. No doubt Liam Lawlor was a good family man, a hard worker, and a diligent constituency representative according to his own lights. But by his actions he debased the currency of politics. Perhaps there was a time in his life when he had an ambition for politics and for democracy, but for most of his career he used Dáil Eireann as a base for activities that were intrinsically unworthy, and diametrically opposed to the things he was elected for. I have no doubt he had a diplomatic passport because TDs are issued with one on request, and I have equally no doubt that he used that passport to make money. In mourning the passing of a popular man, someone in Dáil Eireann should have noted that corruption in politics is corrosive and terminally damaging, and that the same popular man had contributed more than his fair share of that corrosion. But the Dáil isn’t that kind of place any more. It was always a club. And those who worked there, but weren’t elected, were never a real part of the club. The fact of election marked people out, made them different in some way from the rest. And those who were elected, irrespective of party, ideology or personality, always had something in common with each other. That fact alone always meant that reform of the institution, of the club, was never going to be radical. Club members don’t reform themselves.