Let me offer you a few facts.
Fact 1. Dublin county councillors were bribed to vary the county development plan so that entirely unsuitable land could be rezoned for residential and commercial development.
Fact 2. Inappropriate rezonings took place, contrary to the interests not only of the local people, but of the Irish State.
Fact 3. A hugely-expensive tribunal — costing over €300 million — found evidence of widespread political corruption.
Fact 4. Thousands of people are trapped in houses they can’t sell, thanks to the collapse of the housing bubble, driven by the greed and corruption of some developers and some politicians.
Fact 5. Nobody went to jail for any of this, apart from the bagman, Frank Dunlop, who passed the dodgy money from the developers to the politicians in return for their votes.
In the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Dunlop was unable to continue giving evidence in a planning corruption case, and the State dropped all charges against the accused who were as follows:
- Jim Kennedy, property developer and Gibraltar resident.
- Former senator and county councillor Don Lydon, Stillorgan. Mr Lydon agreed at the planning Tribunal that he was the most prominent supporter of planning proposals by Monarch Properties.
- Former Fine Gael councillor Liam Cosgrave, Merrion Park, Blackrock. In the same court three years ago, Mr Cosgrave pleaded guilty to making a false or misleading report of a political donation. Mr Cosgrave, son of a former Taoiseach, also admitted to the Tribunal that he failed to declare a donation of €3,000 from Dunlop.
- Former councillor Colm McGrath, Swiftwood, Saggart, described by Dunlop as Mr Insatiable. McGrath was deselected as a council candidate by Fianna Fáil when it emerged that he had received a donation of £30,000 from Owen O’Callaghan, the man responsible for having the Neilstown Town Centre development moved to Quarryvale, thus depriving a community of a heart.
- Current councillor, Tony Fox, Mountainview Park, Churchtown.
All of these men are entitled to go forward with no blemish attached to their names, and yet, the general public is left scratching its collective head. Who will be called to account?
The Tribunal pulled no punches, remarking among other things that
[The tribunal] came under sustained and virulent attack from a number of senior government ministers who questioned, inter alia, the legality of its inquiries as well as the integrity of its members
So who exactly is guilty? Who will be charged for all the corruption, all the destruction of communities and ruination of lives?
This being Ireland, I suspect the answer is nobody.