Every year, Dublin City Councillors elect a new Mayor and last week was that day again. This would be a relevant event in many cities around the world, but not in Dublin. The mayor of Dublin has a big title (“Lord Mayor”), but absolutely no power to change anything. He will move into Mansion House for the year, will cut ribbons and open shops and has the BIG job of turning on the Christmas Lights in December.
Unless we get a directly elected mayor – and this should have happened years ago – he is just a figure head that we easily could do without. :-O Instead of a mayor, an unelected “City Manager” is running Dublin and he often even ignores what the Dublin City Council wants. “In the interest of the people” is different!!
The new mayor is the 349th one. Mad!
The name of the mayor is Nial Ring. Ring was part of disgraced Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s inner circle in Fianna Fail for many years, but when his party didn’t want to support him when he wanted to be elected as a councillor, he suddenly became a “Independent” candidate. In 2017 he lost his house in Clontarf because he didn’t pay the mortgage payments and had arrears of EUR 500,000, so maybe he is lucky that he can move into Mansion House now.
It took a long time, but the Mahon Tribunal, which investigated irregularities regarding planning applications in Dublin has finally released their 3000+ page report and the news is BAD! They have determined that corruption affected “every level of Irish political life and was allowed to continue unabated”.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was questioned as well over dodgy money transfers and other dubious dealings and the Tribunal decided that he failed to “truthfully” explain the source of money. So in other words, they concluded that he lied!
Not surprisingly Ahern says that he is wronged, but with that damning conclusion, it seems as if Bertie Ahern’s reputation is (deservedly) going down the drain.
Many think that he was corrupt himself, but we will most likely never find out and either way, he was at least tolerating, maybe even condoning the corruption around him.
So, the end of Bertie Ahern is near:
This Thursday, together with the Presidential election, the citizens of Ireland (i.e. not me!) will be asked to vote for or against two referenda as well. One is to change the constitution so that the salary of judges can be economically adjusted, meaning REDUCED. And the other to allow the Dail (Irish Parliament) or the Seanad (Upper House) to “conduct an enquiry that they consider to be a matter of general public importance”.
I didn’t give much attention to the referenda, like most people, but today I checked the wording of the new article in the constitution and I am shocked.
The referendum about the judges pay is no problem. I would definitely vote YES. If all other employees of the state have to live with less money, then judges should too!
But the other referendum would give the Dail or Seanad more or less the same power as a court has. The principal of separating judiciary and executive powers in a democratic state is hugely important, but this article will severly impact that.
I believe the idea was to give the parliament the power to investigate issues that in the past were given to tribunals and that cost a huge amount of money and never produced any results, but I don’t think the tribunals were the right approach. Irish politicians like Lowry, Bertie Ahern and others who were dodgy as hell should have been in front of a court not in front of the members of parliament to explain their acts. It is NOT the role of a parliament to replace courts!
So I hope that it will be a clear NO to the second referendum! It has to be reworded to be acceptable.