The Fourth Estate in Ireland 2012 is a Myth by Donal Peter Buckley

by Donal Peter Buckley
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad, March 1, 2012
May 4, 2012

There is no Fourth Estate in Ireland 2012.

There never was a Fourth Estate in Ireland.

There are many commentaries and column semantics, even  hacks in fear and in hock to the establishment have spectacular media exposure. The Irish media and the establishment are of one voice.

Follow the money trail to nepocron ( nepotism and cronyism) to uncover political corruption in Irish politics and Irish commercial life.

Without any challenge from a vigilant media political corruption thrives.

Ireland’s population of 4.5 million is in bailout mode to the Troika yet:

Irish politicians pay themselves more than their counter parts in UK, US , France or Germany.

There are cronyism and nepotism circles led by a public service of 300,000 with guaranteed jobs, pay and pensions.

Public service pay is 50% higher than the private sector.

Politicians justify bloated pay and pensions with the squeal “the rules allow us to pay ourselves more than any other European politicians”.

Who makes the laws (rules) to enrich the politicians and their extensive cronies and public service cohorts?

Why … the politicians make the “rules” which allow them to pay themselves such extravagant salaries, pensions and perks.

Therefore the extraction (from public, borrowed funds) to politicians is legal, the politicians and the wider public service say it is legal and they make the law.

Meanwhile the poorest, means tested pensioners are shivering in cold and dark conditions after the same law makers cut their fuel and light allowances not once but twice in the latter half of 2011.

2,000 excess…Irish citizens died from cold related illnesses in 2010.

These deaths were excess deaths from hypothermia and other cold induced illnesses .

Excess deaths are Irish citizens dying who were not statistically estimated to die from cold.

The Irish Government were aware of the statistics (Age Action Ireland) and while they paid cronies huge amounts of public monies other Irish people were dying from the cold.

Stay with this one Irish government atrocity for a while, don’t brush over it, 2,000 killed off from lack of heating.

Billions of Euros paid to Banks and Bond holders by the Irish Government and to support this unsustainable debt burden Irish people must die from cold by having their fuel allowances cut.

The cuts are a deliberate act of Irish Government in 2011/2012.

With full knowledge that Irish citizens will die from cold related illnesses the Government knowingly decided to cut fuel allowances not once but twice in 2011.

What is going on here, what kind of society have we in Ireland in 2012.

Where is the outcry from the Churches, from the TDs (elected representatives) and Senators, the Co Councillors and the Trade Unions, from the Army Officers, from Sinn Fein who fought for civil rights in the Northern part of this Island?

I asked a local Bishop and his response was: ”We don’t get involved in politics, we preach the Gospel” and he had an urgent appointment, had to go.

2,000 excess deaths were not any concern of that good Bishop, he preaches the Gospel.

Are there Human Rights violations involved in Government acts against their own citizens, or is this raised only when citizens die from bombs and bullets?

Is cold a weapon? Cold caused by deliberate withholding of heat from citizens?

Moving on (for a moment) to  hospital trolleys, to waiting lists for urgent operations, lack of hospital beds, educational deprivations and creation of deprivation by withdrawal of services from certain areas of towns and cities over decades of neglect and parish pump class distinction so petty it is ludicrous.(refer to

But stay with the 2,000 dead Irish citizens who have bereaved families, these are statistics with a human story attached to each death.

What has brought Irish people to this state of dumb acceptance of such atrocities.  An internationally endemic corruption of any ethical or moral standards is practiced in Irish politics and in needless human suffering. On an individual level death from cold must equate with the horrors inflicted by democratic governments in the Iraq invasion.

The end results are the same (death), democratic governments act deliberately and with full knowledge and people are killed.

Governments and  many in the populations of  these democracies  are deaf and dumb to everyone’s plight except their own protected environs. There is no outrage, no protest, no impact on individual intellects.

Students used to demonstrate against social injustices, Trade Unionists used to march, Bishops and Priests were heard to support people who were oppressed…!

The lack of any challenge to every area of power in Irish society  may be caused by a tame, media in fear of their own shadows and in hock to their political masters.

Ireland needs a Fourth Estate to challenge political corruption.

Where is it going to come from… I don’t see any hopeful signs.

Recently a group of journalists got together and voted Mr Edna Kenny  politician of the year.

The only redeeming feature was they omitted to state best or worst politician of the year!

Journalists? They voted for a leader who led an assault on the weakest, most ill, oldest, poorest and least educated groups in Ireland. Meanwhile Mr Kenny, Irish Taoiseach was bunging 35,000 per annum pay rise to a crony, a fella Mr Kenny knew from down his part of the tracks. The average wage in Ireland is Euro 35,000.

The media’s job is to hold Mr Kenny  and his cohorts to account not to crawl, brown nose and ingratiate themselves with the leader of a Right wing political party.

Where is the aspiration to impartiality, balance or some objectivity by journalists who practice cronyism openly and without any realisation of what journalism is about.

Third rate hacks in a country of cronyism and nepotism  have a long infamous tradition in little parochial Ireland.

Read the Sunday Independent 26 Feb 2012 for evidence of parochialism and fawning over the lovely Enda Kenny and self promotion of the Editor and everything “Independent”.

Where is that Fourth estate?

Sunday News Prints 8 April 2012:

The Irish media are stampeding to print recently discovered words such as “nepotism”, “cronyism” and “political corruption”.

Mouthing the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunal reports (using these Tribunals’ findings as cover) the weak Irish media has come out to play at pretend Fourth Estate reporting.

Decades too late the embedded media are braving the establishment wrath by repeating exactly what the Tribunals have stated. How brave is that?

Watch this space for any persistent green shoots of real media challenges into the future.

The Sunday Independent seems to dabble in black humour and this week have surpassed themselves by claiming ethical standards and courage in the face of their beloved establishment’s condemnation as endemically corrupt.

The Irish Independent’s political editor voted Mr Enda Kenny politician of the year 2011. And a recent edition  of The Sunday Independent dedicated huge chunks of news print to praising Mr Kenny (interspersed with self- indulgent praise for all things personal within the Sunday Independent).

The Irish Labour Party are sensitive to such close associations between Fine Gael and the Independent News and Media group. Cosy relations with Mr D. O Brien and Mr Lowry TD add fuel to the fire and Labour fear their support might be incinerated while attached to such a larger Fine Gael Party in power. Labour are demanding strong actions against such endemic cronyism and nepotism as reported in the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunal findings.

Senior, long serving Labour Ministers have only now realised that the political establishment is steeped in corruption , “endemic corruption” and have been gifted the power of speech on this matter by Moriarty and Mahon Tribunals combined. Now they clamour for action and law enforcement.

To an international reader this may be an excellent case study of Democratic Practices in the 21st century. Are there any differences identified, are other democracies radically different? Is political corruption endemic (Mahon Tribunal) in all democracies?

20 thoughts on “The Fourth Estate in Ireland 2012 is a Myth by Donal Peter Buckley

  1. David Llewellyn Foster commented on 13 May 2012.

    A good statement of facts, of how things are.

    Now for the review of why the pen is not mightier than the sword.
    There is no thesis or one piece of research capable of answering.
    The distaste for PR is endemic and PR (propaganda and spin…normally at infantile standards or school yard type thinking) may be indicative of a sick political society, so insecure that leaders do not trust their own intelligence to do their elected duties.
    Taking advice is fine but allowing the inmates to run the asylum … that is incompetent. For example when a US President ordered the closure of a detention centre … and four years later the place is fully operational.Who is running that show?

    Party hacks and cronies hardly constitute best quality advice allowing for the incompetence of these elected warmongers and proponents of many things which are blatantly illegal.
    Any intellect attempting to communicate with its elected representative has to wade through a sea of PR incompetents to reach an elected representative who is also a decision maker.
    Communications failures may be a major obstacle to reasoned representation from the electorate.Elected representatives are isolated and ignored.
    Elected leaders are isolated and captured by their entourage of advisers and political hacks and develop the syndrome of dependency and trust in their small isolated groupings.Weak elected leaders are devoured by such a system.
    The Generals and vested interests win every time.
    Maybe weak leadership can be measured by the wars raging , the torture and human rights abuses, the citizens with no shelter, food or social services.
    The countries thriving in 2012 are not at war, have less recourse to illegal activity and are not of course in recession? Have these countries equitable social systems and strong leadership?

  2. The Fourth Estate in Ireland is a Myth:
    I have presented a case study which might be used to compare any other country’s media claims to this grand title of Fourth Estate.

    I fear there are many similarities but few distinctions to be found.
    Is there a democracy which boasts a media to challenge the establishment power brokers?
    Deliberate negations of this post by introducing spiritualism and bible thumping rhetoric serves not only to undermine the subject of this post (challenging political corruption and abuse of power) but also undermines any spirtualism preachings as there is no logic to breaking the thread posted here.

    Such subverting of posts raises questions of a hidden agenda furthest away from any religous concepts and closer to policing this site with intent to silencing free speech.
    Write a post on spiritualism or religion and express fine virtues there or follow the written communications on a given post.

    • Good questions Donal well expressed. Personally I think there is a strong argument to suggest that the real problem in our world is religion or the literalism that passes for it, and this is why there is no effective free speech nor a wholesome Fourth Estate. It’s all down to fear, money, intimidation, complicity and conformity. Look at John Pilger ~ hardly persona grata or dining with presidents. Wikileaks? Wasn’t that strong enough for you? There are some courageous people posting on this site, so we have to understand the territory we are occupying.

      • Bob Dylans song “Blowing in the wind” is more relevant than ever in 2012.
        Understanding the territory we are in when challenging political corruption is essential and that it is dangerous territory indeed.A review is overdue and higher ground and better territory must be an objective.The alternative is another generation of brave writers repeating their predecessors works and being ignored by the power brokers and war mongers in the western world.Dylan says it all.

    • Donal , there is a difference between bible thumping and well thought out and reflective theology . Which all begs this question : can one talk about the abuse of power without talking about speaking truth to that power ? and that begs another question : can one talk about speaking truth to power with any modicum of intelligence and omit the revolutionary nature and actions and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth who cleaned out the money changers in the temple with a whip ?

      Answer –sure one can omit Jesus of Nazareth from the conversation , but it is a glaring omission that reduces the conversation to something of a mumbling unintellegence murmur . this omission is deliberate and has in and of itself a hidden agenda , and that is that man can save himself all by himself , which any student of history will tell you man is doing a lousy job of self saving .

      i have written many posts on spirituality and have been met with scorn of those ignorant of the vital nature spirituality . And rest assure , i never change the subject on someone’s post . surprised that i would say that ? you know why i never changed the subject , because when one talks about corruption , the antidote is christ who is the subject. if you have a better solution to the problem lets hear it .

      • Bible thumping was a description of the effect of drowning out the content of a post primarily about a case study of cronyism and political corruption.This post is for the WWW and not for reduction to any two way conversation. Most posts are reduced if narrowed down to the status of a two way conversation unless the content is relevant to the subject.
        John Pilger and Wikileaks are given as arguments of the Fourth Estate and the question is asked if those works are “strong enough “? Another question must be what has Wikileaks changed, what has forty years of courageous writing, documentaries and other media work changed.
        There must be a review of this question, why are such notable achievements in writing, journalism and broadcasting also emphatic failures in their objectives?

        • That is a very difficult question Donal to answer in any satisfactory way short of a thesis. However, what I would say is that the Internet gives us an unprecedented opportunity to talk about change and articulate movement, share ideas and foment activism, but as a medium although it is powerful, like every medium that has preceded it, the Web needs to be understood and negotiated effectively. It is naive to suppose that change will happen just because people want this or that, or protest, or draw attention to criminality by elites. Change will only occur as a result of real evolutionary experience and the implementation of effective political mechanisms. The American empire is presently in the ascendant, but some of us see this as the prelude to a spectacular fall. We can shout all we want at “powers” that be, but nothing will change their ruling pragmatisms and empirical agendas until sound mechanisms for accountability are inaugurated and operated, and that isn’t going to happen any time soon in a world where force is still the only trump. The world needs to grow up and disown cynicism. Change will only occur through the agency of the Law, but what law or whose interpretation of that law is a question for philosophers, mystics, scientists, scholars and tribunals to determine. If you have an innovative idea, put it out there, others will pick up on it sooner or later ~ but there is not a lot that is new under the Sun. This said, there is strong evidence that mankind has entered a new phase of its development, and that we are capable of harnessing the means to advance the principle of enlightened governance in an unfolding cosmos that is expanding exponentially before us Earthlings, as we contemplate the deep field images relayed to us from Hubble…

        • David Llewellyn Foster May 11- 727pm wrote a very reasoned response to the question of why change has not happened even after decades and centuries of brave writers challenging the establishment lust for war, political corruption and abuses of power.

          A global perspective on such a problem is naive.
          When John Pilger wrote on specific wars or government atrocities such as Diego Garcia military expulsion of an entire island people he was not addressing a global disaster.Robert Fisk reports on wars and invasions and mass killings of innocent peoples but not from a global perspective.

          The review might be on why such dedication to writing on abuses of power by western governments does not have any (or little) effect on warmongers in our democracies. From local and national politics there is no outcry, no outrage from elected representatives in any concerted way.

          The media fail to function as a Fourth Estate and stumble from one atrocity by their respective governments to the next with dumb, blind and deaf deference to the medias’ respective political masters.
          Rupert Murdoch’s response to the projected “collateral damage” estimated at possibly 1 million people in Iraq … etc. might be studied.

          Argument that we should wait for “real evolutionary experience”… assumes that evolutionary experience is traveling on automatic pilot towards a better world of principles and observance of law and morality.There is no evidence for this expectation.

          There are old ideas developed over decades which may be worth revisiting. Starting with the international laws instituted after the two world wars of the 20th century and rafts of law and UN human rights legislations in existence and ignored by our democratic leaders when the political and economic climate suits their purposes ( eg after 9/11).

        • Agreed Donal, all points taken. What we seem to have inherited in a “democratic” context are nothing but interminable committees ~ buck passing exercises by paid minions, while the real controllers are the financiers and resource brokers, war racketeers, religious bigots, corporate barons and Pentagon procurement lobbies. Chris Hedges advocates civil disobedience as the only recourse now that the instruments of legislative and judicial governance and economic regulation have failed. Maybe he is right, there are just too many gravy trains, deploying their convenience tactics within comfort zones in a sea of misery world-wide. The USA has failed, & we have all failed to shout loud enough and long enough to make a difference. The majority have been blinded by media spin. The world needs mavericks and risk-takers, possibly even the equivalent ofmore Genghis Khans. Law is evolving, and shambles along painfully slowly, witness the “ecocide” initiative of Polly Higgins, and others in the field of environmental and indigenous rights. We can’t expect miracles despite what God’s own true believers say. You are right to call into question the role of the “fourth estate,” but it is only ever the brave minority who will walk their talk, the rest are preoccupied with earning a living, surviving and lining their pockets. I don’t actually think we need to wait for evolutionary experience as it is happening all the time. You can neither push the river nor hold back the tide. To switch metaphors, too many have perished under the wheels of the juggernaut. The problem is we do not learn from experience, and why? Because the educational process has been appropriated by corporate charlatanism, so natural ambition and real achievement is corrupted by the allure of celebrity and gain. One thing many people share is our loathing and contempt for PR , we are sick of it and from it. Collapse may be imminent ~ so better to prepare for change by doing what we can to implement positive movement in our own lives and lead by example, build our local communities, & vote with our wallets if we are fortunate enough to have anything in them but non-biodegradeable debt. Crisis is opportunity say the Chinese, so perhaps they are practising what they preach, and I mean generically not politically. Where there’s muck there’s brass, we can tinker on but where there is wholesome soil there’s wealth…

        • Donal , forgive my delayed response . i was out performing this weekend . i have read what you both wrote all the way thru . my take is this :

          1. There is an assumption on your part that the things in the Bible that are an account of undermining and outlasting empires , be they Jews or Christians who gave their lives when speaking truth to power are some how not relevant to the post modern world .

          2. the second assumption is that intelligent exposition of usage of the Bible like i do is bible thumping .
          3. the 3rd assumption follows from assumption 1 and 2 , which i am seeking to drown out the conversation , when i am seeking to get to the root of the problem and stop playing with shadows , but instead deal with substance.

          4. the substance in this case has to do with the quandary and question as the failure of brave writers in regards to entrenched power . Ergo , this brings us back to the message of the bible that over and over keeps telling us that you can change kingdoms all you want , but without a real change of heart via the kingdom of heaven ”within” a person , ultimately external change will go back to its original place , though with a different face , for nature abhors a vacuum . are we so naive as to think that we can change the world permanently without some kind of intervention that changes us from within . such folly . and the unchanged world is the proof of that folly.

          and might i add that we can apply as relevant now == the principles shown in Chomsky’s ”Manufactured Consent ” to just about anything the media is doing today , for where is the lasting change against that Consent that is continually manufactured ? if anything technology has made the problem worse exponentially .

          You are correct about one –Dylan said it all . but not just in one song . he was just getting warmed up with that in 62. the artist is always in a state of becoming . if as many people that took that song as seriuos as they did would take his Christian music albums like ”Slow train coming ” and ”Saved ” ( 1979–1980) , things would really change, because the public would not be so fooled easily once you know the truth . What you may think is not relevant is relevant in every post . And what you dismiss cannot be dismissed so lightly.

        • Arguments for spiritual development are not dismissed lightly. Your spititualism grand plan is relevant to the universal human condition and each to their own in all aspects of religion.
          There is however a world of realism, a practical human endeavour for survival with dignity and humane values and personal spiritualism must only assist any ethical existences.

          The media failures to challenge the establishment abuses of power at every level of society, based on basic ethical standards or any humane and impartial criteria, is the subjective argument here.
          There is no grand plan proposed, only simplicity itself if only journalism and media found the b***s for the job they are paid to do.

        • If personal spiritualism is only an assistance or an appendage tacked on to ones life ,it can do no good for a particular ethos , be that individual or collective. The spiritual has to be at the center at the expense of what man thinks is ethical , because man’s morality is a mere made up construct that has clearly failed .

          The relevance of one having a spiritual center in this discussion comes down to a public that cannot be deceived by the power play of media industrial complex. Once one knows the truth , and follows the truth , does it not stand to reason that one cannot be lead astray and manipulated by a lie ?

          I will grant you that the secular man who is a wake to these things in regards to media manipulation can also not be tricked . there can be no doubt about that. but that man is rare. that is why i propose an authentic intimate relationship with the living Christ as the antidote to the media run amok .

          various secular movies with this messianic theme would be :

          1. Metropolis ( german )
          2. Alphaville ( french )
          3. Man facing southeast ( brazialan )

  3. Well said, DPB. There would be 4.5 million potential “gospels” in Ireland, if we were to take the idea of sovereign intelligence at all seriously: bravo then ~ Finnegans Wake! One of the founding fathers of the US an American president, possibly Jefferson, warned us to beware of the man of only one book, a phrase attributed to Aquinas curiously enough. So perhaps the real problem in Ireland, most ironically given its literary proclivities and traditions, is an endemic affliction of “monobibliophilia.” The question is what is this eponymous book that is now so fetishized as to render them mesmerised into stony silence, complicit in abject denial? Has anyone actually read this mysterious tome? Maybe they all believe it exists but it is actually a complete phantasm, a charming Celtic delusion – a Beckett absurdity of epic proportions.

    • interesting that you should qoute Jefferson from Aquinas , because Aquinas the Angelic doctors scope was so wide that even he in all his knowledge at the end of his life called his Summa nothing but straw . He had been tapped into a higher thing than knowledge at that point . but not so with Jefferson . He went to his grave entrenched with knowledge as supreme as a one book person , namely the constitution . His Deistic god lay flat on the belly of the universe unable to transcend knowledge for T.J. his deity apathetic , unwilling to intervene in anything be it for Jefferson or Voltaire. ….. while the God of the middle ages rode on horses with the wild truth bringing men of great mental ability to a more expanding way of thinking . but then again should we be surprised ? the heavenly city of the 18th century was the real dark ages. ..and we have been paying the price ever since.

      • The Myth of a Fourth Estate…? Political corruption?

        Have we missed something in rocketkirchner’s comment?

        When media challenge happens balance of power is restored in society. Ample time then for spiritual discourse in peaceful surroundings. Meanwhile there is work of a very temporal kind outstanding.

        The Irish case study simplifies a big international myth that media are independent vehicles of truth and high journalistic ethics.

        • D — the chicken or the egg? which came first ? or in any case which should come first in anything ? you may have missed something in the rocket kirchner lexicon of thinking as this all rides down Niagara falls in the barrels of my skull via kissing the blarney stone upside down …is this : the balance of power will only be restored in society when spiritual discourse is at the dead center of things , not the other way around .
          To attempt to change the temporal without any spiritual deep change is like re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic …despite how popular that damn movie is.

          peace and spirituality and truth burns much brighter and is refined around and juxtaposed to its hostile lying surroundings. …Rome –first century A.D. Nero , the lions, and the singing Christians.

          you want to chop down a rotten tree . gotta get to the radix –root . ..and stop messing with the branches . it in Ireland or the whole damn corporate media worldwide.

        • Rocket I totally agree with you insofar as the quintessential nature of spirituality is concerned and its deep significance for the morality and sanctity of the world, but…what if my spirituality doesn’t jive with your brand? What then? How tolerant are you prepared to be? What are the criteria that determine the legitimacy of a particular symbolic belief, what if I don’t believe in the Roman catholic saviour but prefer the virile Horus? What if I think Orpheus is more important than “Paul”? What if I think Rudolph Steiner was wrong about Christ but Voltaire was right? What if the Irish problem with their lacking 4th estate is all down to religion,or what passes for it?

        • David , well given the fact that i have spent over 40 years in interfaith dialogue (even before my conversion), and have been asked and spoken at secular high schools and colleges on the subject, this is no problem. i am into the Thomas Merton approach to the problem.

          first we hammer out what we can totally agree on and then exhaust that totally. then go to our differences. Actually people are very surprised when they meet me because they say ”i have never met a christian like you . i can talk to you . you are different”. dialogue is what it is all about. in fact i named my first album ”Dialogue”. LOL.

Comments are closed.