Gleeson’s mealy mouthed apology

Former AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson, predictably, is the latest guilty individual to pass on the blame for the catastrophe visited on Ireland and its people.

The great recession of 2008, the worst the world has seen for eighty years didn’t start in Ireland or in the Irish banks. But there’s no doubt that there were decisions made in AIB which made things worse than they needed to be for citizens, for employees and for shareholders. I wish to express my sincere regret for my part in those events.

So, AIB made some bad decision but it was the global crisis that’s really to blame. Nothing to do with the rampant greed and criminality in the financial and political sectors, criminality that is continuing unchecked as I write.

I include below a full outline of the financial impact Gleeson had to endure for his mealy mouthed apology.

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Fianna Fail: Some habits die hard

Let’s be honest, Fianna Fail doesn’t have the best of records when it comes to honesty and integrity in politics.

But….enter Michael Martin and it’s onwards and upwards for the party. A new deal, a new, fresh, clean honest way of doing things to replace the old, eh, dodgy methods.

But wait…what’s this?

Fianna Fail accuse RTE of unfair treatment on ‘Claire Byrne Live’ programme.

Solution:

Fianna Fail’s 3,000 delegates at this weekend’s Ard Fheis will be asked to back a motion to abolish the television licence due to “lack of balance in RTE.”

I guess some habits die hard.

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Siteserv and supporting journalists

It’s always interesting to note the language used by establishment journalists when reporting on the questionable activities of those they tend to support.

Here’s some quotes from an article on the Siteserv controversy by John Downing in this morning’s Irish Independent (my emphasis).

Both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin believe that Messrs Kenny and Noonan can be made to look bad as they pick over the details of a reported loss to the taxpayer of €105m.

Opposition party leaders Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams moved with alacrity on Tuesday to capitalise on work done by Kildare North Independent TD Catherine Murphy.

Yesterday was day two of their onslaught. And Martin and Adams pushed for an independent inquiry into the sale by IBRC of the Siteserv company to businessman Denis O’Brien’s Millington for €45m.

Posted in Fine Gael, Government, Media coverage | Leave a comment

Michael O’Regan: A captured journalist?

I wrote recently that Michael O’Regan, parliamentary correspondent for the Irish Times, may be a captured journalist.

Because O’Regan spends most of his working life interacting with politicians and government officials he is unlikely to even consider the suggestion that he may be a captured journalist.

A recent contribution by O’Regan adds weight to the suggestion that he is indeed a captured journalist.

During a discussion (Today with Pat Kenny; part 3) on the naming of alleged Ansbacher names under Dail privilege by Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald O’Regan said:

I have to say this, when I saw the list of politicians allegedly having Ansbacher accounts I had to laugh. The whole idea that some of the people on that list would have had Ansbacher accounts. Now, that’s just a personal view of the people involved.

This is a deeply disturbing attitude for any journalist to hold. An absolute refusal to even contemplate the possibility that certain people of power and influence may have broken the law.

It is reasonable to assume that before the Ansbacher nest of criminality was exposed Mr. O’Regan would have been outraged at the suggestion that the Taoiseach of the country held such an illegal account.

It is reasonable to assume that this journalist would have laughed if handed the Ansbacher list containing the names of hundreds of some of the most powerful, influential and respected names in politics and business who held illegal Ansbacher accounts.

Here’s another uninformed comment from Mr. O’Regan.

And the other point that you made Pat (Kenny) was, Richard Bruton said it was investigated by his government. It was also apparently investigated by a previous government, so this is not a file that was lying around the place and nobody dealing with it.

Here are the facts:

For two years the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton failed to act on a file given to him by civil servant Gerard Ryan. The file contained very serious allegations of tax evasion by Ansbacher account holders.

It was only after Gerard Ryan contacted the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to highlight his concerns that the Minister handed over the dossier to the Gardai who are now investigating.

So this was a file that was lying around the place with nobody dealing with it until Gerard Ryan forced the Minister to act.

Clearly, O’Regan is either chronically unaware of the details surrounding this latest Ansbacher scandal or he’s a captured journalist who automatically rejects any suggestion of wrongdoing by those he sees as incapable of such behaviour.

For comparison, here’s the contribution during the same discussion by journalist Martina Devlin. Her analysis is informative, questioning and balanced.

What I find interesting is that a privilege given to the Oireachtas by the Constitution is absolute and its been endorsed by the courts. But Dail Eireann itself has limited that privilege with its standing orders. It says that if it’s defamatory you must not say it and she did say something that was defamatory. She needed to be on really solid ground if she was going to do that. I believe she believed that what she said was true. I do believe she felt she was acting in the public interest. However, she wasn’t on firm ground, she tripped up on those standing orders which said if it’s defamatory you shouldn’t say it.

Copy to:
Michael O’Regan

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Political interference with Gardai must end

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has called for an end to political interference with the force (Irish Examiner).

The organisation cannot look for permission to speak from a political master. As it stands, too many careers are dependent upon political interference.

There will be no real reform of our dysfunctional police force until this rotten nexus between politicians and senior police officers is permanently removed.

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Michael Martin: Hypocritical, cowardly, self-serving waffle

The great dilemma facing those who reject the legitimacy of Sinn Fein as a political party is that party’s participation in government in Northern Ireland.

Leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin was asked about this on Morning Ireland.

How can you find it acceptable that Sinn Fein should sit in government in Northern Ireland but are not fit for purpose in the South?

There’s a fundamental difference between the constitution of the republic and the political entity of Northern Ireland, we know that from our history. In persuading the provisional IRA movement to give up violence a form of government had to be established that involved cross community input.

So…..the Northern Ireland ‘government’ is not really a government, it’s more an agreed mechanism to promote cross community input.

But the Northern government is a legitimate government is it not?

There’s a fundamental difference between the political entity and I think you would have to accept between the constitutions that establishes our government and that in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland government is based on a constitution? I didn’t know that.

I wonder how the people who voted for their representatives in Northern Ireland and those who operate that democratic mandate on their behalf feel about this hypocritical, cowardly, self-serving waffle?

Posted in Fianna Fail, Northern Ireland | Leave a comment

Formal complaint against RTE regarding blatant bias against Sinn Fein

Once again we witness blatant bias and intolerance by RTE when reporting/analysing the politics/activities of Sinn Fein.

I have submitted the following detailed complaint in response to the latest disgraceful example of so-called professional broadcasting by the station.

21 April 2015

To whom it may concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against the presenter of Today with Sean O’Rourke, Sean O’Rourke, for a breach of section 22 of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, which came into effect on 1 July 2013 under Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

On Friday 17 April last, during a panel discussion on the controversy surrounding the naming of alleged Ansbacher names in Dail Eireann by Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald Mr. O’Rourke was anything but fair, objective or impartial.

Mr. O’Rourke was obviously leading the panelists into condemning the actions of Mary Lou McDonald by attacking Peadar Toibin the Sinn Fein representative on the panel.

As soon as a panelist agreed with Mr. O’Rourke’s obvious view on the matter he moved on to the next panelist.

For example, when David Hall suggested that perhaps there were some questions to be answered by the body politic Mr. O’Rourke interrupted him demanding a direct answer to the question – Do you think it was an abuse of Dail privilege?

As soon as Mr. Hall confirmed it was an abuse Mr. O’Rourke moved on to the next panelist.

Mr. O’Rourke failed, deliberately in my opinion, to interrupt and challenge Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins when she made false claims in relation to the issue.

For example, Senator Higgins falsely claimed that Mary Lou McDonald had presented allegations as findings when she named names in the Dail. It is not acceptable to just allow a panelist to refute this false claim, as Mr. Toibin did. The presenter has an obligation to clearly state that the claim was false.

Mr. O’Rourke, in direct breach of Section 22 of the Code, strongly and emotionally expressed his personal view on the issue as witnessed in this exchange between Mr. O’Rourke and Sinn Fein representative Peadar Toibin.

Toibin: I’m saying to those people that they are innocent until proven guilty.

O’Rourke: No, you’re really saying, and what she’s using Dail privilege to do, is say they’re guilty until proven innocent because why won’t she say it outside the House to the people who are still alive?

Toibin: You have to let me answer the questions. You’ve been firing them at me left right and centre.

O’Rourke: Yeah, well if we got an answer to one or two of them.

It is crystal that Mr. O’Rourke was neither objective nor impartial in the following exchange. His tone was accusatory and condemning of Mr. Toibin, Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Fein.

O’Rourke: Does the word smear mean anything to you?

Toibin: It does, of course. What do you mean by that?

O’Rourke: I mean the… by naming or reading extracts which name individuals in Dail Eireann under privilege, the cloud of suspicion is raised over these people.

Toibin: The best way to actually clear any cloud of suspicion over these individuals would be for the Government, the Taoiseach has had this information since last November and yet we’ve had no efforts by the Government to have an investigation into these allegations…

Mr. O’Rourke allowed Mr. Toibin’s political rival on the panel, Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins, free rein to interrupt Mr. Toibin at will. Mr. O’Rourke himself constantly interrupted Mr. Toibin to the point where Mr. Toibin was effectively prevented from making adequate rebuttals.

The very obvious overall tone of the discussion, and in particular Mr. O’Rourke’s contribution, was one of bullying, intolerance and extreme bias.

For your convenience I include a transcription of the relevant section of the discussion.

Yours etc,
Anthony Sheridan

Extract from Today with Sean O’Rourke.
Broadcast 17 April 2015

Sean O’Rourke: Brenda Power, do you think she deserves to be censured?

Brenda Power: I think she abused Dail Privilege. Whether or not it’s one that the public will have sympathy for is another question, I think she has possibly more support on this than you might suspect because I guess there’s a lot of unfinished business with regard to the period in Irish politics that she was highlighting and a sense that maybe all the issues weren’t ventilated at the time.

Sean O’Rourke: What do you make of it David Hall given that all the people named have vehemently denied they had these off shore accounts?

David Hall: I think there’s a significant amount of support for a certain period in Irish politics, not necessarily a certain period but a general integration of Irish politics where there’s questions to be answered. It is unfortunate for those people deceased who are not in a position and families….

(Interrupted by O’Rourke.) Do you think it was an abuse of Dail privilege?

Hall, Yes, all things being equal, yes, I do.

O’Rourke: Lorraine Higgins whether there was abuse or not it seems to (be it’s) being played by Sinn Fein as political/Dail insiders effectively defending their own and there’s no particular benefit attempting to censure Mary Lou McDonald?

Lorraine Higgins: Look, this has become part and parcel of the kind of stunt politics we expect from Sinn Fein. At the end of the day Mary Lou needs to reflect on presenting allegations as findings in the Dail and she’s a member of the Public Accounts Committee, that was the proper realm to bring up these concerns when they were investigating the Ryan report. I just think with privilege comes responsibility so Mary Lou needs to be mindful of that.

Peadar Toibin: Mary Lou didn’t present them as findings. Over and over again she said they were allegations. What’s involved here is an authorised officer of the State making very, very serious allegations and the only corroborated element of this whole process is that that officer handed the information to Minister Richard Bruton. For two years the Minister sat on those documents and only when Mary Lou raised this issue did the Minister decide to give the documents to the Gardai.

(Interrupted by Senator Higgins) Peadar, it’s not for the politicians to investigate revenue offences, it’s up to the Revenue Commissioners and the Gardai.

Toibin: Are you saying it was ok for Minister Bruton to sit on a document…

(Interupted by Sean O’Rourke.)

O’Rourke: You’re changing the argument there Peadar Toibin. First of all, the former chairman of Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily, assured the PAC that these investigations (sic) had been thoroughly examined and were found not to warrant further action. And Mary Lou named individuals. For starters, I’m not aware that she or your party have accepted the denials made by the people she named.

Toibin: Well, first of all, I haven’t seen the documents from the authorised officer, I have no idea what’s contained in those documents…

(Interrupted by O’Rourke.)

O’Rourke: No,no, that’s not the question. Does your party and does she accept the bona fides of the people she named under Dail privilege?

Toibin: What I can tell you is that Mary Lou is not saying that these individual are guilty of…

(Interrupted by O’Rourke.)

O’Rouke: Does she accept the bona fides of those people and does she accept…

(Interrupted by Toibin.)

Toibin: You need to ask Mary Lou that question but what…

(Interrupted by O’Rourke.)

O’Rourke: Ok, does Sinn Fein accept those denials of the people that were named?

Toibin: What I’m saying to you is…

(Interrupted by Senator Higgins.)

Senator Higgins: It’s a yes or no answer Peadar.

Toibin: It is not about the individuals concerned.

O’Rourke: Yes it is, very much so. If you were Sylvia Barrett’s family and if you were Declan Costello’s family it would most certainly be about their bona fides and so what you are saying to those people?

Toibin: I’m saying to those people that they are innocent until proven guilty.

O’Rourke: No, you’re really saying, and what she’s using Dail privilege to do, is say they’re guilty until proven innocent because why won’t she say it outside the House to the people who are still alive?

Toibin: You have to let me answer the questions. You’ve been firing them at me left right and centre.

O’Rourke: Yeah, well if we got an answer to one or two of them.

Toibin: I’m saying that they’re innocent until proven guilty and I’m saying that Mary Lou is saying that she is just echoing the allegations by an authorised officer…

(Interrupted by O’Rourke.)

O’Rourke: Does the word smear mean anything to you?

Toibin: It does, of course. What do you mean by that?

O’Rourke: I mean the, by naming or reading extracts which name individuals in Dail Eireann under privilege, the cloud of suspicion is raised over these people.

Toibin: The best way to actually clear any cloud of suspicion over these individuals would be for the Government, the Taoiseach has had this information since last November and yet we’ve had no efforts by the Government to have an investigation into these allegations…

(Interrupted by Senator Higgins.)

Senator Higgins: Politicians don’t investigate revenue matters Peadar, I thought you would knonw that. It’s up to the Revenue and the Gardai.

Toibin: (continuing) And we know that very senior authorised officers in the civil service felt so strongly about these issues that they felt they needed investigation, that they lodged them with the Minister and that he sat on them for two years…

(Interrupted by Senator Higgins.)

Senator Higgins: Are you saying that members of PAC were wrong in deciding not to call Mr. Ryan to make an oral submission?

Toibin: PAC can’t deal with it. Members of PAC were given legal advice that they can’t actually deal with it.

Senator Higgins: You’re skewing the facts here Peadar, you’re skewing the facts absolutely.

Toibin: Attention is being focused on Mary Lou…

(Interrupted by Senator Higgins.)

Senator Higgins: Righty so, rightly so.

Toibin: (continuing) and all the attention is diverted off these allegations that are being made by this authorised officer…

(Interrupted by Senator Higgins.)

Senator Higgins: The Gardai have investigated, the Revenue has investigated, the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals have investigated and PAC has examined, how much more needs to be done?

Hall: It’s very important to remember this has been investigated, some people don’t like the outcome of investigations but this has been investigated by a number of State bodies and outcomes have been determined and to be fair to all concerned and particularly those named, they are innocent as has been proven by those investigations and it is unfair to suggest anything else.

Copy to:
Peadar Toibin
Lorraine Higgins
David Hall

Posted in Media coverage, RTE, Sinn Fein | Leave a comment

Brian Hayes and the big gombeen lie

In 2006 the then Justice Minister Michael McDowell branded Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton the Dr. Goebbels of propaganda.

Shortly afterwards he unreservedly apologised and shook the hand of Bruton on the floor of the Dail. McDowell said his remarks were over-the-top, unacceptable and intemperate.

It’s unlilkely we’ll witness a similar response from Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes to his latest anti Sinn Fein rant in the Irish Independent.

Hitler, Goebbels, cult, murder machine, big lie are words and names littered all over Mr. Hayes’ article.

It’s grotesquely hilarious to witness the likes of Hayes accuse Sinn Fein of Nazi like propaganda strategies while employing those very same strategies himself.

There are two reasons why we won’t be seeing an apology from Mr. Hayes for his intemperate and unacceptable language.

Firstly, Michael McDowell and Richard Bruton are members of the ruling elite of this country, they’re insiders. Members of this elite do not refer to each other as Nazi’s. It’s unacceptable and intemperate behaviour. McDowell realised this and apologised.

Secondly, Sinn Fein are not only outsiders but are rapidly building a power base that threatens to bring down the exclusive insider’s club that’s directly responsible for leading the country over the cliff of misery and poverty.

Operating within his comfortable bubble of delusion Mr. Hayes seems to be completely unaware that ordinary citizens have woken up to the big gombeen lie that he and his fellow politicians have been peddling for decades.

Irish citizens are no longer prepared to put up with the corrupt political regime that has betrayed their interests for so long.

Copy to:
Brian Hayes

Posted in Body Politic, Fine Gael, Government, Sinn Fein | Leave a comment

Sinn Fein: Now ‘deeply sinister’

I see Sinn Fein has been promoted from ‘sinister’ to ‘deeply sinister’.

Watch out for all the moronic sheep commentators aping this latest moral judgement from Michael Martin, leader of the most corrupt political party in Irish history.

Posted in Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein | 1 Comment

Sinn Fein’s choice

Letter in today’s Irish Times accurately outlining the political choice facing Sinn Fein.

Sinn Féin’s options

Sir,

I firmly believe that in the current political climate, Sinn Féin has a realistic chance of forming the next government, if (and it’s a very big if) it nudges Gerry Adams toward stepping down as party leader as soon as feasibly possible. It has two potential replacements in Pearse Doherty and Mary Lou McDonald, either of whom is capable of leading the party into the next election.

Gerry Adams, on the other hand has become a political liability as he has far too many skeletons that come clattering out of the closet at random and unexpected intervals. This achieves nothing but to hastily cordon off any inroads Sinn Féin has made with the middle-aged and middle-class electorate in the south.

It’s clear that a substantial number of these voters have grown weary of the centre-right and are looking for a viable alternative. However, they tend to squirm uncomfortably when reminded of Sinn Féin’s past.

For me, the party has a clear and simple choice; either strongly suggest to Mr Adams that he resigns as leader, then achieve substantial and tangible political success, or accommodate the man’s ego, let him continue to lead the party into the centenary year of the Easter Rising, and subsequently leave the door ajar for the formation of yet another centre-right coalition, in whatever form it takes.

Yours, etc,
Thomas Bonner
Donegal Town.

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