Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is Michael McDowell a democrat?

I’ve always got mixed emotions when I hear Michael McDowell ripping into Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin.

On the one hand, I'm delighted to have the Shinners challenged on criminality and the Colombia escapade. On the other hand, I can’t accept that a Minister for Justice is justified in making charges on the basis that “I know what I know.” The precedent being set is highly dangerous. What’s to stop him, or a successor in office, from trailing information, to which he has privileged access, in order to blacken a political activist or opponent who is pursuing the government on a legitimate basis?

This type of activity is compounded by other disquieting activities which one shouldn’t expect from a serving Justice Minister:
(a) leaking the contents of a confidential garda file to a pet journalist regarding Frank Connolly and the Colombia 3 and
(b) contacting Jody Corcoran of the Sunday Independent in order to get access to leaked tribunal documents which should not have been in the possession of the journalist in question.

Are these the actions of a real democrat, particularly one who is both Minister for Justice and a senior counsel? Surely such a man should be upholding the law and the rights of every individual citizen, understanding the need to do so even when it does not suit his political purposes?

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