Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The Red Star and the Emerald Isle

The country has been captivated - in a narcoleptic sense, of course - by the ongoing Tribunals in Dublin Castle. There's a marvellous feature piece in today's Irish Independent newspaper about the arrival at the Moriarity Tribunal of Ireland's Leading Businessman, Denis O'Brien, home for Portugal to explain how exactly he won the state's lucrative second mobile phone license.

I don't know who wrote the piece - I'm guessing it's the Indo's quite marvellous Miriam Lord, who writes most of these sort of features for them - but she does a lovely job of tying in Mr O'Brien's remarks of a week or so ago about how Ireland is now a communist state because of the way it's chasing down honest capitalists like, er, himself.

No less remarkable are the remarks of Mr Justice Moriarity as soon as Denis appeared before him. It's an interesting thing - you can't report from a court without the court's permission in Ireland. If you do you're in contempt of court, and you will stay in the calaboose at the judge's discretion. But as I'm quoting from the Indo, I hope that getting jugged for repeating Mr Justice Moriarity's remarks in this forum is out of the question. I woudn't be the first Spailpín to see the cells you know.

"Since we last met in this place, you have been significantly involved in the very commendable and great success of the Special Olympics. It would be churlish of me not to acknowledge and commend you for that success and for your own, not inconsiderable, role in it. It is no secret that on occasions in the past two years and some months, relations between yourself and your advisors and the tribunal have had their low moments. I want to assure you that I welcome the opportunity now of hearing your side of these important events."

Remarkable. Quite remarkable.