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Madam - Máire Geoghegan-Quinn is undoubtedly an able person, but why is it that your front-page story and editorial lead welcoming her appointment makes no reference to your own correspondent's excellent expose (Fintan O'Toole, Should misuse of power debar EU hopeful?, 17th. Nov.) of the "parallel system of justice" she ran whilst Minister for Justice - a system which was found to be unconstitutional by the High Court?

Granted, she inherited the system from her allegedly corrupt predecessors, Ray Burke and Padraig Flynn, but she made no effort to wind down a system whereby people convicted of a crime could petition the minister to have the punishment set aside or mitigated.  The system was widely used by (mostly Fianna Fail) TDs to reward their supporters for services rendered and was thus completely open to corrupting the political as well as the judicial system.

How such a Minister could be considered suitable for the European Court of Auditors, never mind the European Commission, is beyond parody. In 1993 alone  she mitigated 2,283 sentences in response to 4,050 petitions.  It was well known at the time that many well connected Fianna Fail supporters were effectively above the law and were not slow to boast about that fact.  Why we are surprised that "brown paper bag" money may have changed hands in the circumstances is beyond me.

It is also sad to see her appointment welcomed by Women for Europe chairwoman Olive Braiden, who said that  Ms Geoghegan-Quinn was the "ideal person" for the position and sees her appointment as an important endorsement of the role of Irish women in the Europe Union and a recognition of the important role women played in the recent Lisbon Treaty referendum.  

It is nothing of the sort. It is Fianna Fail gombeen politics at its worst, rewarding clientalist politics and corruption and an insult to all honest citizens, men or women - particularly when much more qualified people like Michael Martin, Mary Robinson or John Bruton could have been appointed.

The people of Ireland put aside partisan divisions to vote for the Lisbon Treaty to guarantee the continued appointment of a Commissioner from Ireland. How unsurprising is it that Fianna Fail Leader, Brian Cowen, has now used that national victory for entirely partisan advantage, and to the shame of every honest citizen in Ireland and Europe.  The Corrupt politics of the Haughey, Ahern, Burke, Flynn and Geoghegan-Quinn era are precisely what we have voted to get away from.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 18th, 2009 at 06:37:25 AM EST

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