The importation, sale and production of illegal narcotics generates huge revenues for organised criminal gangs and their associates in most nation-states across the Western world. These black-market operations do not exist in isolation but are part of far larger networks of co-operation that exist on both domestic and international levels. Truly successful “narco-gangs” survive in part because they have suborned a significant portion of the citizenry: specifically those in positions of power and influence, and those who can impede or facilitate their criminal enterprises. This has been observed in several Latin American nations, in Asia, in Africa and in a number of European territories. So can we really believe repeated assurances that our island nation (where several underworld gangs have diversified or morphed into narco-terrorist organisations, deploying automatic weapons, improvised explosive devices and no end of willing recruits), is free of corruption or undue influences in the spheres of politics, policing and the judiciary? Given the now well-recorded history of corruption in national and local government in Ireland throughout the 1970s, ‘80s and 1990s, given all the scandals and tribunals of recent times, who can claim with any credibility that Ireland’s would-be elites are immune to malfeasance?
Or is it far more reasonable to assume that as elsewhere in the world the forces of law and order, of good governance, have in part fallen to those who can pay the most? Or that a pre-existing culture of bribery and patronage has made them readily susceptible to further corruption?
The Irish “continuity state” under the spotlight – and a nasty, squirming beast it is.