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McDowell Still an Issue


No its not a rant fresh from holidays, I returned last night and flicked on Qand A for a quick run down of what is moving and shaking. Contrary to much received opinion, including my own, the issue of McDowell and Frank Connolly is still dragging along. Im sure Micheal was happy to see his party colleagues in the audience support him, I would be, if only for a leadership contest.

Still, I am amazed that the government has not been so successful in putting this one to bed. There exists a sizeable body of opinion which reckons that McDowell was somewhere between right on and not wrong. This body would be helpful in packing away news by leaking something new to play with, which has happened.

Yet it still rumbles on, I am still against what McDowell did, and I happened across a post at in fact ah which again sums it up nicely. The material is not enough to substansiate the whole national securtiy issue, i fail to see how Frank Connolly can hold our democracy to ransom. I understand he may have been in Colombia and may be a raving 'ra head. I still think the Minister pushed the boat by releasing
a) Flimsy evidence which even Sam Smyth admitted may not be Connolly
b) More than this in the form of a confidential Garda intelligence file which shouldn't be subject to leaks, on grounds of national security.

It cuts both ways, however and clearly Connolly is milking the Ministers act and playing victim. The guy has been forced into a corner by a minister with little respect for his responsibilities to individuals in this state to ensure their liberty is unabused. I thought this is what limited government is designed to achieve, silly me.

Similarly an excellent piece has been posted at Fi Fie Foe Fum by Al,

We have a public servent who takes it upon himself to lobby a non-national funding organisation to end it's relationship with a organisation which has shown no evidence of any activity other than prying into the less savory aspects of the government's record of accountability. No history of mouthpiecing for the provos, the shinners, or any shade of republicanism. Alongside this, he has released to a newspaper, confidential police documents along with an inference (unprovable to date) that a citizen might be involved in some sort of activity opposed to the public interest. No need to support either claim with the force of law, and no need to specify the supposed threat in a post physical-force era.

The national security argument still looks a little like a cover for some political posturing ahead of the (rumoured) exit of party leader. Also scoring a few shinner-baiting points along the way. The actions still have not been placed in the proper context of the national security threat and until it is, I think we all would be right to be sceptical of McDowell.

Equally, I think some scepticism on Connolly is required. There is no need to turn the guy into a martyr for nationalism, since the issue here lies far from Colombia and closer to Kildare House. The lessons to be learned from this episode regard the finer points of Irish democracy, there is division of powers for the purpose of preserving a man from unnecessary forms of government interference. Im still unconvinced McDowell acted properly. Im equally sure that Connolly should not be the direct recipient of our sympathy. He knows how to conduct himself in the media and is equally likely to be playing a game.

Slugger also has a good round-up, here.

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