First Published in The Irish Daily Mail
Saturday 30th March Article Written by Shay Healy
In these straitened times, more transparency in public matters would take the edge off the panic which is currently engulfing the public at large, manifesting itself in a large number of family break-ups and nervous break-downs.
So, how are we supposed to crack down on the individual members of both the Dail and the Seanad, on higher civil servants, bankers, builders and billionaires, who appear to have escaped retribution for walking us into a mess. The fat cats just seem to get fatter.
It wasn’t until Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, stood up on his hind legs last Wednesday and barked that when a new law comes into force in 2016, every dog in the country will have to be micro-chipped. This is another tax, but strangely, the microchip that may cost as much as 50 euro per dog, may be our weapon to possibly combat the lack of transparency.
Fine Gael is the right party to introduce a new law in relation to dogs. FG is the barking party, from Big Phil Hogan to attack dog Alan Shatter. Hogan is like an Irish wolfhound puppy, lumbering around, bumping into things and barking annoyingly. He needs to go on a leash for a while, until he calms down a bit.
By contrast, Enda is like a Jack Russell, compact, not afraid to do a bit of sniffing of the other dogs in the European salons. In America, himself and Barak became such buddies they stopped just short of cocking a leg together.
Alan Shatter is like a Doberman who has given up on being soft. This canine is never going to back down. He’s always on top of his brief, snarling just enough to ward off challengers without having to use his teeth.
Would that Dr.James Reilly could flash a similar bit of steel. He looks like a husky who’s had his hair cut by an amateur and his bark is without any timbre. If it were me who had to choose, he wouldn’t be the lead dog on my sleigh, while at the same time I would have confidence in Leo Vradkar as a cross between a boxer and a bulldog, all muscle, physically and mentally. If the snows return, we can rest assured the trail of sand won’t end outside the door of his apartment.
But, what of the solution to curbing excesses in the world of big money. The first step is to increase the scrutiny. It might seem like an obvious thing to do, but we’ve never had the right tools to do it. Now we have the technology, so Simon Coveney’s anxiety over dog licenses may become inconsequential beside the fight for more openness.
Voila! The weapon is the humble microchip, tucked in under the skin of the back of the head of every dog. It bears the dog’s name, address and medical records.
What we have to do is turn the humble microchip into a no-nonsense, kick-ass, superchip with all sort of new apps. The new superchip would have enough information to assist the curtailment of the current culture of padding of incomes through bonuses, illegal pay rises, speculation, unsanctioned increases in pensions and trust funds that frustrate the authorities. We may even find how it is that even when they make a loss, bankers are still paid obscene amounts of money.
And whistle goodbye to brown envelopes and politicians with balls of steel. Attempted bribery of officials would be nipped in the bud and all Traffic Fines and Points Offences would be overseen by the office of the Regulator.
Every member of government from lowly county councillors, all the way up to the Taoiseach, would be required to have themselves micro-chipped. Anyone who is connected to Nama would also be required to have the chip inserted. But this microchip would have to be very sophisticated and capable of detecting unusual activity in pension funds. There would also be a bonus guard, which would detect any surreptitious transference of money between banks.
The whole methodology of calculating expenses would also receive a long overdue overhaul. Use of a limo to ferry a politician between Terminal One and Terminal Three at Heathrow Airport, at a cost of hundreds of pounds, has probably been scratched as a runner for expenses anymore. But as well as rumbling dodgy expenses, the new superchip would be able to pinpoint what you had for that bogey dinner, even the name of the restaurant where you ate.
And if you’re playing offside and the wife gets wind of it, you’ll get it in the neck, because that’s where the microchips are inserted.
It will take several years to implement this new tax and make no mistake, a tax is what it is, a bow-wow tax. The plan is to get vets to insert the microchips at somewhere in the region of 7.50. “But “said the minister, “it could also be as much as 50 Euro. “
The Skibereen Eagle is watching you