Misprision AND the case for zero
tolerance in the landS of THE FAT CATS

By Keith Harris — Wed, 9 January, 2013

An international news report last week referred to Ireland as one of the most corrupt nations in the developed and developing world today.

It was not a description given by someone with an axe to grind against Ireland in particular but an independent observation based on very real elements. Those who dismiss or ridicule such observations can be as guilty as anyone of aiding and abetting and thus perpetuating that corruption.

I live and work in Ireland but I will NOT extol its virtues and DISMISS its problems simply because I do live there, much as I might like or prefer to.

Inequality, discrimination and corruption do not necessarily have to conform to any defined bracket to exist. Steadfastly adhering to any written stereotype or status quo of what constitutes any particular situation is tantamount to an act of discrimination in itself. Instances of alleged wilfully applied discrimination and inequality against individuals, or corruption within society, must each be separately examined to determine whether such acts effectively took place. That is, if the society in question professes to be democratically free and tolerant and observant towards basic human rights and to have the best interests of all of its members at the heart of its constitution.

Breaking free of the stereotype wheels that keep us on one particular track can prove very difficult and may also be a traumatic experience for some. We hold to what we consider we 'know', believing ourselves safe in familiar domains. Such safety is simply illusion. Acting in such a way is also an indication of a weakness of character.

As a curious aside, it has been said that the development of a society can by assessed by its hospitals, health service and prisons. I personally believe it can also be evaluated by the direction and trend of its general entertainment. Violence and violent behaviour seems the norm for almost all new film and television drama. Computer games focus on violence as an integral part of the 'game'. There is the argument that using vioIence in such a way can be a release of pent up aggression. That is fine if the individual is wise, educated and adult enough to realise that. It is still a sad reflection of the way we have become.

Many people simply refuse to accept that certain events and circumstances take place within the society in which they live, despite the evidence. They do so because they mistakenly feel their own beliefs would be threatened or undermined by admitting the existence of the very things they would themselves prefer not to be happening. Ostriches bury their heads in sand. Simply accepting wrong and doing nothing about it is to condone it, to give it a stamp of acceptance. To illustrate the problems, I will use an example based on a first hand account of an actual case. Sadly it is not rare. The level of genuine concern shown to such matters is much rarer.

If you are from Limerick, then the following matters took place in YOUR city, your community. If you are not from Limerick, then similar matters will probably be taking place withn your own community, though it goes without saying that it would be better if they didn't. If you have knowledge of similar matters that you would like to share then please use the contacts link at the foot of this page.

I was assaulted in a hotel bar by persons employed as 'security staff' for the hotel. I have been villified by so-called managers at this establishment, which is just around the block from where I live and work. During this assault my shoulder suffered damage that required several months of medical treatment and an electric/acoustic guitar I was carrying was broken beyond repair. There was no valid reason in law to justify the actions and behaviour of these people and I challenge ANYONE on the face of the planet today to provide one that holds validity in any just and honest courtroom anywhere.

The incident was reported by myself in person to the local police station shortly after it took place but no action was taken by them. Six months later I am still trying to obtain justice and compensation. Visiting the police station to follow the matter up, I was told that no record could be found of my initial complaint, despite it having been followed up the very next day with a telephone call reporting the damage to the guitar, damge that was not discovered by me until the morning after the assault, when I took the guitar from its carry case. I specifically requested that my report of the damage be added to my reported complaint of the previous night. The resulting lack of any such records led me to write to the station's chief superintendent in an effort to resolve the matter.

Communication with the hotel management has proved utterly fruitless. Records of my correspondence—and their lack of it—have been and will be retained by myself on file. Further details of this matter can be accessed by clicking here.

After unsuccessfully trying to enlist legal assistance to pursue the matter, I paid a visit to the district court to explore the possibility of pursuing a private prosecution. The court clerk informed me that unless I had the names of the people who assaulted me I could not progress the matter and I was referred back to the police station.

I was told by the clerk that I could not prosecute the hotel management despite the fact that these thugs were employed by them. Will somebody get serious here?

I was given a list of local solicitors who belong to the free legal aid scheme. There is the saying that the wheels of juctice turn slowly. I am beginning to wonder if perhaps they don't simply turn backwards in Ireland. There are those who I know will straight away bridle at this, considering it a slur on their sovereign nationality. Such an attitude is part of the problem itself.

A visit to two of the named solictors produced only negative reactions from both. I was the victim of a crime trying to gain access to justice and compensation but instead have been made to feel as though it was myself who was somehow to blame.

"Very difficult," said one lawyer. "You have no witnesses to call, it's their word against yours. I don't see how you can possibly win." I don't consider this particularly sound avice, having myself had many years of legal training. I consider it a cop out. No word from the lawyer on right or wrong, or even of standing up for what is right or wrong. I have further interviews set up with different firms of lawyers, but somehow I suspect that I will find little difference of reaction.

So, I am left with the legacy of having received an injury at the hands of who I would describe as thugs who also destroyed a valuable guitar. The treatment I have been shown in my efforts to gain lawful redress has, I repeat, so far been slanted towards making out that it is somehow myself to blame. Tell it to the dead corn, for I am no fool.

Where the law of the land is broken in such a way as to cause injustice to any individual, it should NOT be incumbent upon the victim to foot the cost of gaining recourse to justice. It is certainly a pitiful situation where any victim of crime or injustice is made to feel a guilty party. Where such circumstances are permitted to exist, then corruption of the impartiality and righteousness of the law is being allowed to suit the desires of individuals and not to suit the letter of the law. This is corruption at one of its most insidious levels.

Surely this kind of behaviouir is NOT deemed acceptable within society. Yet why is it being allowed to occur with little, if any, control? These are questions that must be asked, and acted upon, if any society is to make any serious attempt at ridding itself of the scourge of its own corruption. Where such matters are dismissed and ridiculed, then the fabric of that society or community is itself corrupt and perhaps corrupt to the point of non-recovery except through the onset of self-destruction by anarchy and revolution— the eventual outcome of any widespread corruption within any society.

Society is a structure that has its formative roots in the common good. Corruption comes about as individuals manipulate the mores of society for no other the purpose other than self-gain at the expense of others.

I am a journalist. I am therefore an historian. This page exists because I wish it to. For what it is worth, this is what I do. Bookmark this page for your future reference and to discover developments (click anywhere within this page and then press Ctrl+D).

I am living on the razors' edge, yet I remain firm in my conviction that a primary reason why events such as outlined above continue to exist is that people are prepared to let them.

An analysis of the work of the Irish Equality Authority

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