AFTER a weekend when Tipperary and Galway’s performances in Croke Park so stirred the blood, it might be tempting to bask in the happy idea that hurling is our national game — or at least one of them.
Our unending romance with the heroic is, of course, deeply appealing, but it may not be an accurate reflection of what we do best.
A report just published by the Law Reform Commission (LRC), which considered sentencing information between 2005 and 2015 suggests, one more time, that our national sport is, in fact, making laws, but not bothering to enforce them. We seem the champions of lip-service legislation; of enacting a series of virtual gestures that have no real meaning.
The tortuous progress of the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Bill through the Dáil is an example of our self- destructive ambiguity on white-collar crime. The LRC report strengthens that perception. It records that no-one has been jailed in the last decade for health and safety offences, not even in cases where life was lost. No-one has been jailed, either, for breaches of competition laws designed to protect consumers. In a country where so many people who held tracker mortgages were led up the garden path by their lender, this bland statistic cuts deeper than is apparent. That no-one has been, or is likely to be, charged over this shows where power and priorities lie in this Republic. Sometimes, too often really, we are our own worst enemies.
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