Well, gombeenism is still alive and well in Galway East. I wrote about Michael 'The Stroke' Fahy - Galway coco councillor before.
After being released from Prison on appeal he was allowed - how I dont know - to stand and win a seat at the council as an independent.
On his return to Galway coco Cllr Fahy did not refer to his own absence - but noted other developments such as the green light for the re-opening of the Athenry-Limerick railway line.
"It lifted my heart last Friday when I arrived back near my own home to see the work started on the railway line. It will be a huge boost for south Galway"
And we should have seen this as a warning shot of his intentions.
So, the Western corridor opened, and the Stroke pulled off another one, using his position to benefit himself from public finances.
He was jailed in 2007 in relation to fraud and attempted theft in connection with a fence constructed on his property during a road expansion in his area.
He was sentenced to a year in jail and fined 75,000, in a retrial in 2008 he was again convicted fraudulently obtaining benefits from the Council, convicted and fined 30,000.
He is appealing this.
But not to lose the big picture, while he is costing the tax payer money in apeal after appeal, he now has had a railway bridge constructed on his property, worth in the region of 2 million Euro.
A spokesperson from Irish rail would not confirm the cost on the grounds that individual prices paid for such strucures were sensitive commercial information that could predudice future transactions - so we cannot find out how.
The Councillor is one of only four farmers to benefit from the use of an overbridge on the railway line, he described its costruction as a coup.
A level crossing was not good enough for him.
This waste of resources, when 100,000 euro has been removed from the Galway west budget is a disgrace.
On the main Clifden Galway road, major roadworks are underway, and yet the people of South Connemara are not to get a traffic filter at the Recess cross road, which with the increase in speed on the road is becoming increasingly dangerous, with high road usage.
However, Cllr Fahy has managed to have an expensive structure built on his farm during the construction of a new railway line!
This has to be taken in context when we see that Representatives of Iarnród Éireann and of its parent body, CIE, appeared before the Oireachtas Transport Committee after media reports claimed that fraud and malpractice at Iarnrod Eireann could have cost the company close on €9 million.
Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Dick Fearn broke down the €665,000; €271,000 related to collusion with a contractor, €363,000 to the illegal sale of railway equipment such as sleepers, and €30,000 to invoices for work not done.Three employees were dismissed as a result – but not, apparently, tried for fraud or jailed for what might well be described as theft.
Although the Stroke resigned from FF he is still close with senior members of the party, Mary Hanafin TD, daughter of Sen. Des Hanafin in particular - does this nepotism ever end!!
Sen Hanafin senior was a very conservative FF member, oposing divorce, and his son continues in that vein with his opposition to gay marriage.
Mary Hanafins Mother Mona, and Brother - Senator Hanafin - were among a select group who welcomed him home on his release from prison.
Since then Sen. John Hanafin has been appointed to a very plum position on the permanent delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
And there is the issue that despite the fact he could not attend meetings because he was jailed County Councillor Michael Stroke Fahy kept his council seat and pay.
Galway County Council approved a request by Cllr Fahy that ensured he would not lose his sea
A resolution proposed by Cllr Michael Regan (FF) and seconded by Cllr Tomás Mannion (FF) meant that the local government act did not apply to Cllr Fahy for missing meetings in March and April because he was "sick and in Dublin"
These actions allowed Fahy to keep his seat and further benefit himself at the publics expense, at a time of cutbacks, reductions in public spending and increased hardship for the average citizen, the Stroke got his bridge to nowhere.
Tribal loyalties and ties to FF still hold strong, despite corruption and gombeenism.