Encountering Systemic Corruption - (and how to break the cycle).
Stage 1. “Ignorance is bliss!” You are completely unaware of ‘the problem’. Something goes wrong in your life. You take your concerns to the authorities, fully trusting that they will do their jobs and help protect and support a law-abiding citizen who has been wronged.
Stage 2. Bewilderment and Confusion. Instead of doing their jobs - and for reasons that you can’t yet fathom out - ‘the authorities’ seem to be more interested in making your issue ‘go away’. Or worse still, they either deceive you into believing they are properly looking into matters or, they start treating you as if YOU were ‘the problem’.
Stage 3. Betrayal and Dismay. You eventually realise that you are being systematically deceived, and that the authorities are deliberately giving you the proverbial run-around (at best), and may even be actively conspiring against your interests - in direct contravention of the law and the Constitution - and contradicting of all of their publicly-declared mandates and codes of conduct.
Stage 4. Shock and Disbelief. You simply can’t get your head around the notion that ‘the system’ that you have been brought up to respect since childhood, as well as so many ‘respected people’ in well-paid positions of authority and responsibility could be party to such craven hypocrisy, deception, exploitation of the trusting public and other abuses of their privileged roles.
Stage 5. Frustration and Anger. Realising the levels and depths of the corruption you are facing - often as a single, alienated individual who finds it hard to convince others of the reality of the situation you have found yourself in - you begin to succumb to frustration and anger. Many wronged citizens never escape this cycle, spending the rest of their lives trying in vain to get some justice. Instead, they find themselves locked into a never-ending ‘dance with the devil’ as an utterly corrupt legal and political system callously protects its own underhanded interests.
Stage 6. Resignation. After writing numerous letters to other so-called ‘authority figures’ and supposed ‘statutory oversight bodies’ and finding yourself being repeatedly and systematically ignored, rebuffed or otherwise treated with disdain and contempt, you decide to approach the media. But it seems that they too (especially State-sponsored media) can be equally coy when it comes to exposing the truth about the situation, and are often less-than-enthusiastic about genuinely naming-and-shaming some of the big names amongst Ireland’s ‘connected elite’. So, you resign yourself to the fact that you are living in a banana republic; a corrupt state; a pretend democracy where there are two different sets of rules - one for ‘them’ and another for the rest of us, and that as a single individual citizen, you simply cannot be expected to take on the system, and so, demoralised, you resign yourself to the ignominy and the injustice.
Stage 7. Empowerment and Determination. But what happens if you refuse to be cowed, silenced or intimidated and, instead of playing by ‘their’ corrupt rules, you decide to do something about it!? What if you decide that this disgraceful situation isn’t going to continue ‘in your name’! What happens when you realise that it is precisely because so many ‘good people’ (just like you) that give up the ghost - that these scoundrels continue to get away with it - year after year after year!? Well, maybe that’s when you make the decision to join Integrity Ireland - and become a part of the solution.
Corruption and misconduct in public office is a creeping, insidious cancer that makes victims of us all - although most of the perpetrators seem contemptuously unconcerned at the fact. Engaging in corrupt practices when you are in a position of responsibility is an offence against all of us. And every time we settle for the unacceptable; every time we do NOT speak out against wrongdoing, or otherwise chose the ‘easy’ way over the principled, honest, and courageous way; we compromise what is best in human nature and heap further burdens on our children, and on our children’s children.
“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his immortal soul?” (Mark 8:36)
What will be our legacy to to future generations? How do we explain to them how our beautiful Ireland - the legendary ‘land of saints and scholars’ - became the haunt of despots, thieves and tricksters? Will we be able to look our children in the eyes and say to them truly and honestly, that we are proud of how we lived?