Yesterday in the Senate, using parliamentary privilege, Terry Leyden accused Fintan O Toole of committing a crime. This is the exchange that took place:
Terry Leyden: It’s serious when people are riotin’ outside the House.
Pat Moylan : The Senator should not be commenting on anybody.
Terry Leyden : an’ very serious when Fintan O’Toole is incitin’ ’em.
That seems clear and unambiguous to me. Fintan O Toole incited a riot according to Senator Terry Leyden, who was speaking with the protection of parliamentary privilege.
And yet, when confronted by Fintan on the radio today, Terry Leyden could do no more than splutter that what was written was written. He would neither withdraw the accusation nor repeat it, even though the person he defamed was on the other line challenging him to produce the evidence.
He couldn’t produce the evidence because there was no evidence for his accusation. What Leyden said in the Senate was simply untrue.
Slander is slander, whether hidden behind parliamentary privilege or not, and Terry Leyden did not speak the truth when he accused Fintan O Toole of inciting a riot.
He then went on to bluster that people in Greece had been killed in riots, prompting Fintan to ask if he was blaming him for that as well.
Three things occurred to me, listening to Terry Leyden bluster and squirm as he tried to worm his way out of the awkward corner he found himself in.
The first was what a useless, cowardly specimen of humanity he is.
The second was Leyden’s complete failure to understand that people have a democratic right to protest, and that Fintan was perfectly within his rights to address any meeting he chose.
The third was that Fianna Fáil has completely lost contact with reality when a man who occupies an unelected seat in a highly questionable chamber sees fit to pronounce on anything to do with our democracy.
It’s ironic that Terry Leyden should regard public protest as undemocratic considering the fact that he didn’t have to go before the people to obtain his sinecure. In fact, he hasn’t presented himself before the electorate in 18 years.
That’s how detached from reality these guys are.
Curiously, Leyden was considerably more circumspect when claiming to know the names of the Golden Circle who participated in the dirty attempt to rescue Anglo-Irish bank. Waving a piece of paper which he claimed had four names written on it, he called on them to hold their hands up, but declined to name them in the chamber.
Look, the method of electing Senators is a disgrace and produces disgraceful senators like Leyden. It’s a mix of privilege and mediocrity, a means of rewarding failed politicians and bribing union leaders. It keeps the questioning classes quiet while achieving nothing. We need reform of this Senate, and perhaps we need to abolish it entirely, but more pertinently, we need reform of our politicians.
Let us rid ourselves of these inward-looking, closed-off gobshites and replace them with people of character and vision. We have no future as long as hill-billies like Terry Leyden can accuse people of integrity of committing crimes and get away with it.
Terry Leyden: the man for whom the word Oaf was invented.
Top 10 Seanad Expenses, 2005–2008
Paddy Burke (FG) €286,033
Paul Coghlan (FF) €249,516
Terry Leyden (FF) €248,622
Geraldine Feeney (FF) €246,369
Michael McCarthy (Lab) €240,163
Peter Callanan (FF) €230,392
Maurice Cummins (FG) €219,692
Camillus Glynn (FF) €217,224
Kieran Phelan (FF) €216,775
Marc MacSharry (FF) €214,018