Don’t blame minions for the mess

YOUR editorial on the Willie O’Dea affair blames what you call “our tolerance of institutionalised dishonesty” for the problems of the country (January 20).

This is the “we are all to blame” hypothesis that absolves powerful people in government, banks, church, construction, etc, who have done incalculable damage not only to the institutions which they controlled but to society at large.

This attitude also ignores the fact that many in the media acted as cheerleaders for these powerful people. It is, therefore, the very influential and not the ordinary people who have abused the trust placed in them and who, as you say in your editorial, are helping to destroy social cohesion.

Your editorial quoted former Taoiseach Ahern as saying that the “ethics” in government of the political party of which he was leader was “to get in here and stay in here”. We saw this power-at-all-costs philosophy played out last week in relation to the debate on O’Dea. That attitude was on full display in the performances, for example, of Foreign Minister Micheál Martin telling the minions to mind their manners on RTE’s Primetime and Justice Minister Dermot Ahern’s shut up and know your place message to critics in the Dáil.

The reason they get away with this arrogance is that it is tolerated by media people whose job is supposed to be to hold powerful people to account.

It is no wonder ministers think they can get away with anything when large parts of the media indulge in, or even approve of, the institutionalised arrogance and dishonesty that your editorial complains about.

So instead of blaming all of us minions you in the media should look a little closer to your own very influential position and use it more effectively to hold the powerful to account.

Anthony Leavy

Shielmartin Drive

Sutton

Dublin 13

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