Thursday, June 21, 2007

Accountability? What's that?

The BBC reports that "Dwr Cymru Welsh Water is facing charges of supplying water unfit for human consumption" following cryptosporidium contamination that left about 230 people ill. The Drinking Water Inspectorate is bringing five charges against the company, which will appear before Caernarfon magistrates in July.

Wales: 231 people ill; 70,000 homes boiling their water for two months; five charges.
Galway: 236 people ill; 90,000 homes boiling their water for three months and counting; zero charges.*

When can we expect to see someone held to account for the situation in Galway?

Don't hold your breath: we don't really do accountability in this country.

Next time the Dáil is on TV have a look at the Government benches. They don't use the actual front bench, so what's called the front bench - the Taoiseach, the Ministers - they'll sit one row back. It's a nice image: when you go looking for the front line of responsibility in Irish government - it's empty.

(*See The Irish Times and The Guardian for the Galway numbers.)