Tag Archives: law

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Leak No Evil

The Irish government has been rocked to its core this week after thousands of classified files containing highly sensitive information were leaked and published online. Politicians and senior establishment figures are reeling in the wake of the revelations, which implicate many of the country’s ruling elite in various scandals and nefarious activities which allegedly took place over the last few years.

It is believed that the confidential data was released by a disgruntled civil servant earlier this week. Mickey Reilly, a 44-year old Dubliner who has worked in the Department of Transportation for twenty years, is alleged to be the man responsible, and is currently being pursued by the Gardaí. It is thought that a particularly miserable Monday at work is what drove Reilly to take such drastic action. Reports indicate that during the course of the day, already severely hungover and way behind with his workload, he had his hat crushed by an overweight woman on the Dart, got his tie stuck in a printer in a manner found most amusing by his colleagues, and, most worryingly, farted loudly in an elevator in front of an attractive co-worker.

It was this very Monday evening that a humiliated and emboldened Reilly procured the secret files from a government database and published them en masse on his hastily prepared and somewhat unfortunately named whistle blowing website MickeyLeaks. The site received hundreds of thousands of hits in its first few hours online, although Gardaí are investigating the possibility that some of this traffic comprised individuals with a particularly specific sexual fetish mistakenly soliciting Mr Reilly for an activity known in such niche circles as ‘damp squibbing’.

By Tuesday morning the nation’s media had seized on the most salacious of the newly disclosed secrets, bringing disgrace and shame upon many of Ireland’s most recognisable faces. The following is but a brief synopsis of a few of the more shocking stories to be divulged in the MickeyLeaks scandal.

The politicians of Ireland are most prevalent among the alleged incidents, with few currently sitting members of government escaping the sensationalist headlines. Records of expenses claimed by TDs have shown the errant spending of taxpayers’ money that has occurred in recent years.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore and his team of attachés claimed thousands of Euro after a diplomatic trip to Japan, most of which seems to have been spent on alcohol and escorts, with the remainder puzzlingly set aside for a shovel and a bag of lime. It has also emerged that Taoiseach Enda Kenny himself has been skimming extra packets of pink wafer biscuits and purple Snack bars from the Dáil canteen. One of the more troubling disclosures is that Leo Varadkar had a hundred thousand business cards printed that read Leo Varadkar: Politician, Patriot, Amateur Gynaecologist, accompanied by a rather lewd picture of the Minister.

Another startling revelation concerns a directive from Minister for Health James Reilly to remove all the beds from a Dublin hospice last year and relocate them to his house for the weekend so he could have all the Fine Gael lads over for a slumber party and watch some Sex and the City DVDs.

One of the most serious allegations is that a new government jet had to be purchased recently, at massive cost to the taxpayer, after Ruairí Quinn and Pat Rabbitte took it out for a spin after a night in Leggs. They ended up crashing it into a field after running out of fuel while circling around looking for Alan Shatter’s house, so they could land and ring the doorbell, then call him a wanker and run away when he answered.

Another state institution to be damaged by these accusations is An Garda Síochána. One particularly embarrassing story related by the leaked files concerns a Galway sergeant who attempted the off-duty arrest of two young men in a pub who he claimed were ‘acting like feckin’ queers, so they were’. The sergeant was later promoted for his actions.

A separate document details a case whereby a second-year student at the Garda College in Templemore was removed from the course before his final exams after it emerged that he was in fact a sheep. It is believed his unusually high scores in both the cognitive and physical aspects of the training were enough to mask his true identity for such a long time. It is rumoured he is now working part-time as a security guard at a major third-level institution.

Another document pertains to the visit of President Obama last year and the unit of Gardaí that were assigned to chaperone him. It has emerged that three of these officers were suspended from duty after they took the President’s iPhone from his hotel room while he was in the shower, and took dozens of photos of their testicles with it. They then tagged the President in these photos on Facebook with the caption, ‘I hereby award these balls the Congressional Medal of Honour.’ The reports indicate that the President was most displeased, especially since his wife Michelle, on seeing the pictures, briefly changed her relationship status to ‘It’s complicated’.

The Irish clergy, already much maligned in recent years, do not emerge unscathed from these leaks either. One incident concerned the bishop of a small parish in Cork fabricating a supposed miracle in order to garner interest from locals. The deception involved carving crude likenesses of the Virgin Mary onto objects such as trees, walls and rocks. The ruse fell apart somewhat when the deluded bishop attempted to carve the face on a statue that was already of Mary, claiming that it looked ‘even more like Mary than usual’.

A number of alarming cases of alleged child abuse are also recorded in the documents, including one particularly heinous example of a punishment given to an unruly child in a Christian Brothers school in Carlow. The boy was made to perform every single role in the annual Nativity play, which for the sake of realism was scripted exclusively in Aramaic and Latin, and had been extended to over three hours that year. Although he collapsed from exhaustion during an encore, the Carlow Examiner described it as ‘a virtuoso performance’. Remarkably, the priests responsible were not reprimanded for their actions, but were instead simply moved around repeatedly from parish to parish.

Ireland’s legal profession has also taken a hit in the wake of this exposure. The leaks have confirmed persistent rumours that one of the country’s top barristers, Michael O’Shaughnessy Shaughnessy, does not actually have a cocaine habit, and instead prefers to simply enjoy the odd cigarette and a nice bottle of red at the weekends. Needless to say he has already been sacked by the other partners at his firm, Shaughnessy, Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy Shaughnessy, who released a statement earlier today remarking that he ‘has brought disgrace upon this noble profession’, and that he was ‘a complete bastard’.

Staying with legal matters, the judiciary has not been spared humiliation as a result of the leaks. A prominent High Court judge, Mr Justice Ulick O’Gogarty, has been incriminated in a bizarre sexual scandal. The sordid details of the case are too offensive to publish, but it is believed that the judge has been banned from Dublin Zoo for life. It is also reported that some of the zoo’s sloths are currently undergoing extensive psychological counselling as a result of the ordeal. A spokesman for the zoo commented that ‘unfortunately sloths are often vulnerable to this sort of abuse, since they are such lazy feckers’.

Ireland’s finance sector has come in for much criticism over the past few years for its craven greed and corruption, and these documents serialise even more serious examples of this avarice. One branch of AIB illegally repossessed an entire seaside housing estate so that the staff could go on a surfing trip over the bank holiday weekend and have somewhere to stay.

Another report indicates that Anglo Irish Bank is partly responsible for massive inflation rates over the last number of years, after it allowed its investors to use Monopoly money instead of real money as part of their property speculation.

One of the most damning indictments of all concerns a bank manager who had his entire office plated in solid gold at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Unfortunately he was found dead in the room shortly afterwards, having suffocated due to the fact that he couldn’t open the door, which now weighed about two tonnes.

Thousands more of these sorts of stories appear in the documents, and the fallout from their shocking revelations is sure to continue unabated for some time. Reilly is already a hero to the ordinary people of the country for exposing the sins of its most powerful citizens.

It is believed that the fugitive civil servant is currently taking refuge in an Ecuadorian fast food outlet in Dublin’s city centre, and is seeking asylum there, which is somewhat confusing since it clearly has no powers to grant such a thing.

Gardaí have surrounded the building and are presently attempting to coax him out. When asked by a journalist if Reilly was facing a long and tortuous incarceration for his crimes, a senior Garda official remarked,

‘Ah no, sure we’re just going to give him a bit of a telling off. What do you think this is, America?’

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Sanctimony of Marriage

A few weeks ago an article appeared in The Irish Times concerning the treatment by Iarnród Éireann staff of a same-sex couple on their way home from a march supporting gay marriage. The relevant details are in the link provided, but the situation can be summed up in the succinct reply the men were given when they protested their case: “Irish Rail doesn’t recognise same-sex marriage.” How admirable of such an organisation to step out of their remit of having people driven around in trains and branch into holding strong opinions on weighty moral and societal issues. Obviously the company does, however, recognise a PR disaster when they see one as they were quick to issue an apology.

Gay marriage is quite a contentious issue at the moment. New York officially legalised it this year, and there is currently an ongoing debate in Australia after the gay brother of politician Bob Katter criticised his sibling’s remark that gay marriage “deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed.” It’s quite impressive that a hick Australian politician can find the time to sneer at the idea of same-sex unions in between asserting that Muslim immigrants are ruining the country and complaining that Aborigines get preferential treatment. Incidentally Katter also refutes climate change, and admits to throwing eggs at The Beatles in 1964 as an act of ‘intellectual reaction against Beatlemania’. Indeed.  It’s people like him that make you sorry we didn’t find somewhere even more remote to send all of our criminals back in the day.

The usual argument against allowing same-sex marriage is that the sanctity of marriage must be protected. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman and exists mainly for the purpose of procreation, so they say. This of course ignores couples who can’t, or simply choose not to have children, and conveniently glosses over single-parent families, as well as the sheer amount of straight couples that are truly awful parents. Procreating is easy, it’s the next part that requires a bit of effort.

There is also the slightly more pressing matter of our planet being hugely overpopulated. In a hundred years time there’ll be 9 billion of us perched on the only mountain-top that hasn’t slipped underwater, huddled around watching the world’s last drops of oil burn away, cursing all that time we spent inventing nuclear weapons and thinner phones when we should have been relocating to Mars. If anything we could probably do with a few married couples who don’t plan on producing any more mouths to feed.

The religious conservative right is, of course, the loudest voice calling for the integrity of marriage to be preserved. The polemicist Christopher Hitchens made an interesting point a few years ago that if any group should embrace the idea of gay marriage, it is the conservative right. He notes that the gay movement has moved away from the idea of being different and set apart from everyone else, and has expressed a willingness to conform to conventional societal norms.

He states that gay marriage is an example of the socialisation of homosexuality, given that marriage is such a fundamental part of human society, and the fact that many within the gay community now want to be classed as husbands and wives like everyone else. He is absolutely right but obviously such a daring display of logic and reasonable thinking will not dissuade the right wing from inarticulately and loudly voicing their grievances.

The arguments about preserving marriage as it is are interesting because such rationale is not applied uniformly. Changes to law and social tradition are often welcomed if viewed as positive progress. For example, not so long ago voting was the exclusive preserve of men who owned land. Now it is a right for all adults. Most sensible people don’t see this as an erosion of values. Rather it is simply a reflection of changing values. Society is dynamic and is constantly evolving, and the law has to keep up if we’re to progress. The view persists, however, that legalising gay marriage will somehow cheapen the whole thing. Although I’m pretty sure that with Vegas weddings, the astoundingly huge divorce rate, constant infidelity, and people playing Kelly Clarkson for their first dance, the gays couldn’t possibly cheapen it any more even if they tried.

Most of the opposition to changing the status of marriage is based in religion, especially in countries with a strong religious conservative base like America. Even himself is guilty of it. Incidentally I’d imagine Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers are just over the moon with how their vision of a true secular nation turned out. Nice job lads. Many of these religious types are profoundly un-Christian when it comes to certain matters, homosexuality being a prominent example.

Refusing to mind their own business, they seem intent on telling everyone else exactly why they’re going to Hell. Some of the hatred and invective directed towards certain groups of people by self-proclaimed followers of Jesus is somewhat at odds with his whole message. A wise man once said that it seems the more you talk about Jesus, the less you have to act like him. In fairness though, anyone would find it hard to act like a 2,000 year old Jew who’s lived in an ethereal paradise for most of his afterlife. The accent would be a nightmare to get right.

Whatever the reasons, religious fundamentalist types seem to love imposing their views on others. Imposition is the key term here, because everyone is entitled to their opinion but nobody has the right to impose it on another. Live your own life by whatever moral code you wish, but don’t force other people to live by your values. If you don’t agree with abortion, do not ever set foot in an abortion clinic with a view to availing of their services while you have a foetus inside you. If you don’t agree with gay marriage, don’t any time soon find yourself entering a civil union with a homosexual person. These are not difficult situations to ignore. In fact they are rather difficult to manufacture and would require quite a bit of planning. There are not many stories that begin with you telling the lads in the pub, “You’ll never believe what happened to me yesterday” and end with “Well I’d better head off, me and the husband are up early to go and buy some new curtains. Simon says blue is so last year’s colour.”

It is fairly apparent that we are slowly but surely moving towards a world where gay marriage is not an outlandish concept. Each generation of young people is by and large more liberal and tolerant than the last, so it’s basically just a question of waiting for the ignorance to die out. Which, thanks to modern medicine, can take fecking ages. This is invariably a good thing though. Hopefully if any of my grandchildren turn out to be gay my decrepit body will have survived long enough to enjoy the wedding. I just hope they’re not Kelly Clarkson fans.


B.Y.O.D.O.B.

The Union of Students in Ireland has this week reported several cases of Irish J1 students encountering difficulty with their passports in the United States. It seems that many of them had doctored their passports with a laminate sheet in order to appear to be over the age of 21. Even when this laminate is removed, the residue can be picked up by scanners in airports, alerting the authorities to the fact that it has been tampered with.

Since passport fraud is a federal crime in the US and carries a minimum 10-year prison term if convicted, the Irish consulate will no doubt be contacted by a large number of students over the coming weeks who have ‘misplaced’ their passport, and require a replacement to travel home. It’s either that or endure a horrific Midnight Express-like few hours in a back room somewhere in a US airport having some military reject customs officer get to know your colon as if he just bought it dinner and half a dozen Cosmopolitans.

It’s a ridiculous state of affairs when 18, 19 and 20-year old young adults have to resort to falsifying their passports so they can have a few drinks or go to a bar or club. Many Irish people have quite an unhealthy attitude to alcohol, but notwithstanding this fact, each adult should be allowed to choose whether or not they want to drink. Alcohol can lead to lapses in judgement and there are very few young people who haven’t made mistakes while drunk, but dealing with the consequences of your actions is an essential part of maturing into an adult. Besides, half the relationships in Ireland are based on such mistakes.

America’s overly puritanical attitude is, if anything, a counterproductive measure. It infantilises young adults and ensures that Americans are years behind in terms of their maturity and attitudes concerning alcohol. Not to mention the fact that physiologically, they have built up very little tolerance to it. At the age where most reasonably sensible Irish people have stopped drinking themselves into unconsciousness like they may have done from the ages of say, 16 to 18, the Americans have much less experience to draw on and consequently many of them have an attitude, and physical reaction to alcohol that belies their years. Lightweights, I believe, is the preferred clinical term. Your average nagan-wielding schoolgirl on her way to Wezz on a Friday would probably drink any 20-year old frat jock under the table. Although she’d probably then do unspeakable things to him while he was unconscious, which is another issue entirely.

The US is in exalted company, however. Only about a dozen countries have such a high legal drinking age, including such stalwarts of progressive thinking and liberalism as Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cameroon, Kazakhstan and Israel. In fact in Israel you’re conscripted into the Defence Forces at 18, and can’t even enjoy a glass of champers to celebrate when you successfully ‘relocate’ your first Palestinian family from their home in the middle of the night. How inhumane is that?

Not only is the reasoning behind the law flawed, but it is also unrealistic to expect it to be enforced successfully. It is fairly easy for teenagers in Ireland to get their hands on drink if they want it, but the fact that these kids are invariably still in school, and under the care of their parents, severely limits their opportunities to get wasted. The fact that it still occurs so regularly speaks volumes for the ingenuity of our teenagers, by the way, who are forever being maligned in the media for wanting to enjoy one of life’s great pleasures a year or two before it is arbitrarily deemed to be socially acceptable.

In the US, on the other hand, you have college students living in dorm rooms hundreds of miles from home, all of them old enough to drive, smoke cigarettes, get married, vote, or join the army. And these adults are expected to go through their last few years of education before joining the workforce without enjoying the occasional tipple? Common sense dictates that they will drink regardless, so why not allow them to legally have a few beers in a bar as opposed to making them hold illicit parties where everyone drinks out of red cups like some kind of playschool lunchtime, only with more whiskey and a lower standard of conversation.

America’s drinking laws are symptomatic of the country’s attitude toward its citizens. Apparently all that freedom and democracy only go as far as the door to the bar, after that you’re on your own. As for the Irish, I’m sure most of them are dying to get back to a country that embraces our weakness for alcohol without judgement. As unhealthy an attitude as that may be, it also happens to be the prevailing one among the Irish people. Now that’s democracy in action. Sláinte.