Golden circle alive and well, says Morgan
Speaking in the Dáil today during statements on the Moriarty Report, Sinn Féin's Enterprise and Employment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said the 'golden circle' described in the report is alive and well in Ireland today. He accused the 'politically bankrupt' Government of continuing to legislate for it's friends in business and construction and 'devaluing the quality of modern democracy'.
The Louth TD said: "No-one was surprised at the findings in the Moriarty Report on the personal finances of the late Charles J. Haughey. The manner in which he conducted himself while holding high office has been well exposed before the Report.
"But the society it depicts, where Government legislates for the interests of a golden circle of privilege in business and construction is alive and well. Decisions have been, and are, taken by Government against the public interest and in the interest of big business.
"A classic example is the changing of Part V of the Planning and Development Act after intensive lobbying from developers. This was changed at the developers' behest so that they can buy their way out of their obligations by paying money to local authorities. As a direct result lower income families have been deprived of homes.
"We have seen the granting of major tax concessions to developers of private hospitals. Former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy admitted that he brought in this concession after lobbying from a private hospital developer in his constituency. Health Minister Mary Harney has extended the concession by making public hospital land available to developers of private hospitals.
"Just as scandalous as anything in this Tribunal Report is the ongoing robbery of our natural gas and oil by multinationals. What of the role of the late Minister Ray Burke - and other ministers still with us - in making and maintaining these sweetheart deals with the multinationals? Do they not warrant an inquiry?
"Why have we not had a tribunal on the privatisation of Eircom to the benefit of multi-millionaires such as Tony O'Reilly and at the expense of thousands of small shareholders? As a result we have a sub-standard telecommunications infrastructure in the hands of a private monopoly.
"All of these measures are legal but totally against the public interest and in the interests of the golden circle that still exists in this country.
"The Moriarty Report states that the conduct of Charles Haughey 'devalued the quality of modern democracy'. That devaluation continues to this day and never more so than under this politically bankrupt Government."