It is being reported in todays Sunday Independent that Labour Senator Denis Landy from South Tipperary was offered a bribe of a holiday in New York in return for going AWOL during a series of votes in relation to abolishing the Seanad.
My first instinct on reading the Sunday independent article is that we are in the midst of silly season, although some would argue the Sunday Independent engages in the politics of silly season every week.
Politicians are few and far between around the grounds of Leinster House. Political hacks have to amuse themselves somehow, they are prone to exaggerating the importance of stories while the Dáil and Seanad are not sitting. Hence this political time of year is called silly season. The Senator Landy story is striking because it suggests there is a shadowy figure stalking the corridors of Leinster House offering bribes in an effort to bring down the government. I’m sure that’s a short list of suspects for the conspiracy loons.
Who is this Labour Senator Denis Landy that has made this serious accusation ?
Senator Landy was previously a member of South Tipperary County Council from 1991 up until his election to the Seanad administration panel in 2011. He also unsuccessfully contested the 2001 south Tipperary by-election and the 2002 General election for the Labour Party.
Senator Landy has been around the political block a few times. One has to assume this fella is neither politically naïve or a political halfwit. Although the latter cannot be discounted – if last weeks Seanad antics are anything to go by.
Unless Senator Landy has been living under the rock of Cashel for the last twenty years – He can’t have failed to notice the numerous tribunals involving allegations of politicians being bribed. Only last week Frank Dunlop has testified that he paid a total of £19,000 in bribes to four Dublin councillors in exchange for their votes on rezoning matters. Does he not realise how corrosive this has been to Irish politics ? The body politic has been rocked time and again. Confidence in our political system has never recovered from the revelations of corruption at the heart of Irish politics since the 80’s.
Senator Landy said “I was approached by an individual in Leinster House and offered flights and a stay in a top hotel in New York should I go missing during this week”.
Senator Landy was offered a bribe plain and simple. The fact that he refuses to name the person is all the more strange. Unless boy wonder has some sort of attorney general given right to ignore an attempt at bribing a politician Senator Landy has an ethical obligation to reveal this person to the authorities.
A simple auld political soul would assume maintaining integrity of the Seanad, that great bastion of democracy, with all its legendary checks and balances would be at the forefront of Senator Landy’s mind.
Why not name this shadowy figure ?
Has this person tried to bribe other legislators past or present ?
Who is this person working for ?
Why reveal all to the Sunday Independent and not to the relevant authorities ?
All these questions need to be asked and pursued. It’s not good enough for any politician to say I was offered a bribe but I’m not telling you who tried to bribe me. Imagine the future farcical situation when a Labour TD raises corruption in public office and a member of his or her own party refused to name an individual who tried to corrupt public office.
There is of course an alternative explanation for all this. Occam’s razor, In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, Is Senator Landy making all this up ?
Why would a senator make up something as serious this ? Quite simply, publicity. The publicity starved Labour Senators are suffering from cabin fever, they are desperately trying to stay relevant in the face of being ignored by their own party leadership. The same way the poor man will tell you the kids need shoes, the poor labour senator needs publicity.
It is as simple as this, Senator Denis Landy is failing to uphold the highest ethical standards his office requires by not revealing who tried to bribe him, or he is lying about the attempted bribe. Which is it ?