The buck stops where?Jan 25th, 2007 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Ireland
A comical story did the rounds in
Posthumous pursuit of people is not so strange. On a road near Ardglass in Co Down, there was a single storey cottage. Unused for some time, it had become a store for a local framer. Even the door was made of corrugated iron. Tom, a friend was passing one day when he spotted two men in suits standing outside the cottage. He stopped and asked them their business.
“We are from the TV licence office”, they said. “Does Mr Carson live here?”
“He lived here last time I saw him”, said Tom.
“Buck eejits”, he told me, “the man has been dead for years. But I told them no lie. He was alive and well and living there the last time I saw him”.
Bureaucratic incompetence by the Inland Revenue or the television licence authorities is probably of no great significance, nothing is generally done that can’t be undone.
Sadly, bureaucratic incompetence in other public offices can have altogether more tragic consequences. The death of a fourteen year old girl in Dungarvan, Co
As in most such cases the blame will probably be dissipated and responsibility diluted, even a public inquiry would make no difference anyway, lost lives cannot be recovered. But there needs to be a cultural shift towards transparency and accountability. In impersonal structures it is too easy for people to hide, and it’s too easy for people to be lost.
Christians believe in accountability on judgment day; our world would be a safer and happier place if there were a greater degree of accountability in the meantime