If we were to choose one reform to improve Irish governance, what would it be? I would probably start with our libel laws, which directly allow mediocre bullies to shut down legitimate discussion and dissent, and indirectly help promote a culture of groupthink. We need more information and more discussion in this country, not less. And the Independent has done us a huge favour by releasing the Anglo tapes.
The law can stifle the dissemination of information and debate in other ways as well. I’ve no idea why the DPP has asked the Indo to stop releasing more tapes, assuming that this Irish Times story is true. All the Irish Times tells us is that “it expressed concern about the potential consequences of the emergence of certain other information into the public domain.” No doubt the DPP has its reasons. But the cost to the general public both in Ireland and abroad is high, since we all need more information, not less, about how bankers behave in practice.