McDowell should resign
Many Irish Americans are shocked at the recent behavior of Ireland's Minister for Justice Michael McDowell.
McDowell has pursued what amounts to a vendetta against Frank Connolly, the executive director of an independent watchdog group established with the backing of Irish-American industrialist Chuck Feeney, the Center for Public Inquiry.
In September, McDowell browbeat reluctant police officers to travel to Colombia, where, as they had originally feared, they found no information useful enough to make a case against anyone.
Last week, he used parliamentary privilege to make allegations against Connolly that the authorities had already determined would not stand up in court. Then he selected documents that formed part of the confidential Garda investigation, and slipped them to a favored journalist.
In doing all of this, McDowell abused his power, undermined the police and the judicial system, victimized an Irish citizen and succeeded in persuading Feeney into withdrawing funding -- at least temporarily -- from a useful independent watchdog.
Defending his actions, McDowell claimed that, although not a single charge has been made against Connolly, the man was part of a labyrinthine IRA conspiracy involving leftist guerillas in Colombia, narcotics, forged passport applications, and "tens of millions of euros."
McDowell's said he was legally permitted to behave in this fashion solely because of his own belief in these claims, and that they represented a major threat to the security of the Irish state.
However, as even the usually-hawkish Fine Gael party has pointed out, no such threat exists; the IRA has long stood itself down, and the CPI's reports have proved, if anything, a little dull.
This means that either McDowell is a fantasist cowering before a non-existent bogey-man or a unionist-leaning blusterer who attempted to deceive the Dáil with a post-facto justification for carrying out a political with-hunt.
The taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, should decide which -- either way, he is unfit to hold office.
To the rescue?