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Political Corruption in Ireland 1922 - 2010: A Crooked Harp? [Paperback]

Elaine Byrne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Mar 2012
This book is the only scholarly account of Irish corruption from 1922-2010. It empirically maps the decline in standards since the inauguration of Irish independence in 1922, to the loss of Irish economic sovereignty in 2010. This volume offers important perspectives on corruption theory. It argues that the definition of corruption is an evolving one. As the nature of the state changes, so too does the type of corruption. An incremental legal revolution, which emphasised individual rights instead of moral responsibilities, has occurred. The Irish party system, political culture and media influenced the character of Irish corruption. New evidence is presented on the early institutional development of the state. Irish public life was motivated by an ethos which rejected patronage and which sought to build a political framework on ethical foundations. Original archival research provides fresh insights into how the policies of economic protectionalism and discretionary decision making ultimately led to eight official Tribunal inquires into scandal. The emergence of state capture within political decision making is examined by analysing political favouritism towards the beef industry. Unorthodox links between political donations and business or personal interests was the principal cause of scandal. The degree to which this impacted on policy choices which exacerbated the depth of Ireland's economic collapse and necessitated intervention by the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in 2010 is considered. This book will appeal to students and scholars of Irish politics, corruption theory, governance, public policy and political financing.

Frequently Bought Together

Political Corruption in Ireland 1922 - 2010: A Crooked Harp? + Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger + Who Really Runs Ireland?: The story of the elite who led Ireland from bust to boom ... and back again
Price For All Three: £29.41

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press (31 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719086884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719086885
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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... scholarly and politically alert, forensic and fascinating. David Gardner, Financial Times, 03/06/2012 -- David Gardner. Financial Times Among the many angry books to poke through the debris of the crisis that still engulfs Ireland, this is the most scholarly explanation of how it happened. David Gardner, Financial Times, 03/06/2012 -- David Gardner. Financial Times "Byrne has produced a perspicacious, highly readable account of the way Irish corruption morphed as the state's political, economic and social structures changed. In the wake of Ireland's loss of economic sovereignty, the book's central message - that only a vibrant, transparent political culture offers effective protection against the corrosive power of corruption - seems particularly vital." Peter Geoghegan, Freelance Writer/Journalist, Times Literary Supplement 26/10/2012 -- Peter Geoghegan. Times Literary Supplement an absorbing and very accessible book on how a defective moral code at the top of Irish politics and society contributed to the effective ruin of the country. -- Tom Gallagher. Open House: Issue No. 221 Byrne, on the page as in reality, is never less than fair and never more than concise -- Michael Smith. Village : 18 [a] powerfully made arguement -- Fintan O'Toole. The Irish Times WeekendReview "The publication of this book is to be warmly welcomed. There was a flurry of scholarship on brokerage and clientelism in Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s with important studies by Max Bax, Paul Sachs, Lee Komito and J.P. O'Carroll being published. However, as Byrne rightly notes, much recent scholarship on corruption has focused on governance in Africa, Asia and South America while ignoring corrupt political cultures in societies such as Ireland. Byrne's well-written and detailed analysis is a very successful attempt to redress that balance." (Niamh Hourigan, University College, Cork, Irish Journal of Sociology, 2014) -- Niamh Hourigan. Irish Journal of Sociology

About the Author

Elaine Byrne is an adjunct lecturer in Irish Politics at Trinity College Dublin

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A failed State? 6 Jun 2012
By Póló
"I might have appointed somebody but I appointed them because they were friends, not because of anything they had given me"

Bertie Ahern, on RTÉ Six One News, 26/9/2006

This says it all. The whole theme of this book is encapsulated in that one unguarded sentence as Bertie admitted to the "lesser" crime as a defence against the "greater" one.

A central theme of this book is the broadening of the definition of "corruption" over the years from one of straightforward bribery (where a favour is given in return for a direct cash payment or return to the individual) to one where the return may not be as simple as a direct payment but rather the maintenance or enhancement of power. This latter can be quite diffuse and benefit the individual or a much wider grouping such as a political party.

Bertie was admitting to rewarding his friends, probably those who supported him or the Fianna Fáil party politically, and is attempting to brush off what is actually corruption as mere cronyism.

As well as tracing the development of forms of corruption (and the public's perception of them and reaction to them), this book revisits, in admirably summary form, many of the scandals which typify the turning points down the years.

I was intrigued to read what the Locke's distillery scandal was all about. I had been familiar with the name as a term of abuse but little else. I was also fascinated to read of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid's insider dealing in Great Southern Railway shares. A case of the divine end justifying the secular means, no doubt.

The book is packed tight with this sort of stuff and it is all used to illustrate the evolution of the public sense of corruption.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars about time 31 May 2012
if anyone from inside and outside of ireland wants to know how ireland went bust should really read this book

the book covers and shows reaction from the major irish political scandals in the last 90 years, nothing was learned

I was very angry reading this book

some of the scandals I knew before and some I never knew before

in 50 years, another book will cover more irish political scandals, ireland is going to be failed by its political masters again
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading 22 Sep 2012
By James O'Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Political Corruption in Ireland 1922-2010: A Crooked Harp?This book is by far the most important work published in recent years. The author both demands and justifies the necessity for a paradigm shift in the perception of politics and rule. Many years of experience in South East Asia and Central America, where every facet of society is dominated by bribery and corruption, have made me cynical of any possibility of real progress in those `primitive' countries. After reading Dr. Byrne's book I have come to the realisation that the only difference between those third world countries and Ireland is that Ireland has evolved a system of sophistry where corruption is endemic but obfuscated beyond challenge. Apparent compliance with vague regulations, rather than moral responsibility, permeates the psyche of the nation.

This work is scholarly, accessible, topical and entertaining, while providing a blueprint for similar groundbreaking research and publications worldwide.
5.0 out of 5 stars Political Corruption in Ireland 1922 - 2010 19 July 2012
By ladbroke1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book while on holiday in Turkey and was fascinated by the contents. It lists a series of misdeeds carried by people in power for their own self-gain. It is shocking to think that people who could profess to have the interest of the State of Ireland as their priority and then behave so dishonestly. There is nothing surer than 'power corrupts'but it is truly amazing that we the Irish citizens continued to re-elect these people or their ilk for so long.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why was this text not copy-edited? 17 Aug 2012
By C. O'Shaughnessy - Published on Amazon.com
As a professional editor, I found it distracting, frustrating and annoying to come across so many grammatical errors in this text. The punctuation seems totally anarchic. As I say, this is distracting and diminishes the content. Does Manchester University Press not have professional copy-editors? Although I'm fascinated by the subject matter and was very much looking forward to reading this book, again and again the absence of copy-editing was infuriating. Just one example: on p.239 "Ireland has born witness..."
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