Mary O’Rourke and the Lenihan’s: A family of traitors

Mary O’Rourke’s response to the Anglo tapes.

Absolutely astounded that two high flying bankers would treat the Central Bank of their country in that fashion…It makes the case for an immediate set up for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to deal with it.

I’m ashamed the government spent so long playing games about the chairman of the PAC.

On how her nephew dealt with the situation.

Her first attempt to answer this question was typical O’Rourke gobbledygook and is worth quoting in full.

Of course it does, I have always held to the full idea which is now becoming more in the open. I mean if those two bankers, it’s like a thriller, isn’t it, a bad thriller. If those two bankers were willing to do that on the Central Bank of their country they were willing to do it on anyone or any government. It paints the bank in a dreadful light and these are the people that people trusted in this country.

She was asked the question again – Was Brian Lenihan aware of the bank’s attitude?

I’m quite sure he wouldn’t have been privy, how could he have been, to those phone calls…Fianna Fail wants an inquiry, why would we not?

Did the government of the day make bad decisions, well I don’t know. that’s why I want an inquiry, why everyone in Fianna Fail wants an inquiry.

I most desperately want it because I know to the day he passed away Brian was for his country, he was for his country, he was not for anything else.

Clearly, O’Rourke is desperate to protect the ‘good’ name of her traitor nephew Brian Lenihan Jnr.

That’s to be expected as she, along with her brother Brian Lenihan Snr., are also guilty of betraying Ireland and its people.

Shane Ross: It was Europe wot done it

Here’s how Shane Ross responded to a question on the Anglo tapes corruption.

What about the Irish narrative of victimhood, this (the Anglo tapes) suggests that we shafted Europe with the bank guarantee and our bankers took advantage of that?

Shane Ross: It takes two to tango, Europe lent us all this money and if there’s a borrower there’s a lender.

The lender and the borrower are both equally responsible and they lent the money to a bank that was in big, big trouble.

And if they had looked at it properly they would have realised they were in big trouble.

Just because a couple of cowboys behaved extremely badly at the top of one small bank Europe cannot exonerate itself and say it has no responsibility.

They have huge responsibility because they lent to certainly four banks which were behaving irresponsibly so I don’t think we can let Europe off, certainly not.

Phew, that was a close one. I thought for a moment he was going to mention corrupt Irish politicians, corrupt Irish bankers and corrupt/incompetent regulators.

Michael Clifford: The immoral electorate is to blame

As sure as night follows day, when scandal and corruption raise their ugly heads there will always be a journalist ready and willing to write a ‘We’re all to blame’ article.

Irish Examiner columnist Michael Clifford, writing about the Anglo tapes, is the journalist in this case.

According to Clifford a lack of public morality caused by the vacuum created after the ‘moral guidance’ of the Catholic Church disappeared is principally responsible for the corruption within Anglo Irish Bank.

Public morality didn’t, and still doesn’t, appear to have much purchase in this State.

With little pressure to observe proper standards coming from the electorate, how can we expect that public morality is going to be observed in institutions such as banks?

So there you have it folks; the blame does not lie with the corrupt politicians, nor with the corrupt bankers, nor with the corrupt regulators but the immoral (and presumably corrupt) electorate.

Anglo vermin will not be made accountable by our corrupt political/administrative system

The first thing to be said about the ongoing Anglo tapes revelations is that David Drumm, Peter Fitzgerald and John Bowe are nothing more than common vermin.

Vermin with big salaries, big cars, and big ego’s are still vermin and always will be vermin.

What Irish citizens need to keep in mind is that these vermin could not survive, never mind prosper, without the absolute protection afforded to them by our corrupt political/administrative system.

There is a growing consensus that the then government and financial regulator were duped into handing over billions to Anglo, that somehow it wasn’t the fault of the political/administrative system.

This is music to the ears of politicians and civil servants who will be delighted to see the blame shifting from them, the real culprits, to the greedy vermin bankers.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

As we here at Public Inquiry have been saying for years – Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state.

The crucial difference between an intrinsically corrupt state and a properly functioning state is the response of the respective states when corruption is uncovered.

Functional democracies like the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and so on have lots of corruption but when corruption is uncovered there is a response.

There are independent authorities empowered to act against the corrupt.

There is a level of awareness among the political classes that there are certain lines that they simply cannot cross.

There is a high level of political intelligence/awareness among the electorate that manifests itself in anger if the political/administrative system is suspected of trying to cover up corruption.

There is a clear blue sea of separation between regulatory/law enforcement agencies and the political system.

In Ireland there is no authority independent of the corrupt political system with the power to act against the vermin in the financial sector or any other area where white-collar crime is rampant.

In Ireland politicians have a choice, go along with the corrupt political system or find yourself ejected from it.

Roisin Shortall and Nessa Childers are two recent examples of politicians who stood up to the rotten political system and as a result found themselves out in the cold.

Ms. Childers was right on the button in her comment after resigning:

I felt I was being corrupted by the system.

In Ireland most of the electorate are politically ignorant. That is, they don’t realise that power rests in their hands and not with the politicians.

In other words, most Irish citizens do not understand what real democracy is.

Over the decades Irish citizens have come to believe that they must sell their vote (power) to the local gangster/gombeen in return for petty favours.

If the local gangster/gombeen succeeds in buying enough votes (power) he travels to Dublin where he plunders state funds in order to pay off his constituents thus ensuring his re-election.

In functional democracies like America or France citizens are aware that power flows from them, that it is temporarily given to politicians and when a politician is found to have acted corruptly or otherwise acted against the interests of the state they are made to pay the price.

The opposite is the case in Ireland.

Citizens see power as flowing down to them from politicians. It is the politician who is seen as the power source and it is to that power source that the citizens go, cap in hand, to ask for favours.

It would never occur to most Irish citizens to actually challenge the local gangster/gombeen on a national issue unless the matter had some bearing on that citizen’s personal interests.

Let me finish by coming back to the Anglo tapes and who is effectively responsible for the protection and prosperity of the vermin within the financial sector.

The corrupt political/administrative system has been, effectively, protecting and facilitating major criminal activity within the Irish financial sector for decades.

This is not just my opinion.

For absolute proof we have only to look back at the hundreds of examples of barefaced fraud and criminality that have occurred in that sector without any effective response whatsoever from the so-called regulatory agencies.

It should therefore come as no surprise that when the Anglo vermin walked into the Central Bank and demanded billions of taxpayers’ money they were slavishly accommodated.

After decades of effectively facilitating/ignoring widespread criminality the so-called regulatory agencies had lost all credibility and respect.

After decades of effectively facilitating/ignoring widespread criminality the so-called regulatory agencies could hardly stand up to the vermin and demand that they act ethically/legally.

The bankers knew that, they knew they were dealing with a morally bankrupt political/administrative system and accordingly treated them with the contempt they richly deserved.

That contempt for the politicians and so-called regulators can be clearly heard vomiting from the mouths of the vermin bankers

And let me be clear, the situation has not changed.

The political/administrative system is still corrupt, still effectively protecting the criminals within the financial sector, still betraying Ireland and its people.

That’s why I can state the following with absolute confidence:

No banker will go to jail; there will be no proper inquiry.

There will be no accountability demanded from the corrupt political/administrative system that created and protects the cesspool where the vermin prosper.

There will be no justice/accountability until Irish citizens destroy the corrupt political/administrative system that has destroyed their country and their futures.

Copy to:

Central Bank
All political parities

Banker Michael Somers: A saint in the making

It has been observed by many commentators that public cynicism towards the political and financial communities has increased greatly since the economic collapse in 2008.

But who could blame people for their cynicism when they hear comments like that recently made by deputy chairman of AIB Dr. Michael Somers when speaking about the possibility of debt write-offs.

Quoted in the Sunday Independent the good Dr. said he was not anxious to see AIB writing off loads of debt any time soon.

Why was that, he was asked?

It’s taxpayers’ money said the good Dr., and I want to see as much of that money as possible returned to the taxpayer.

My goodness such concern for the taxpayers’ of Ireland had me in tears.

How times and attitudes have changed. There was a time when bankers were only interested in ruthlessly raking in as much profit as possible no matter how destructive their greed was to customer or country.

Surely I thought, the return of Jesus Christ himself cannot be far off when he will confer sainthood on bankers for their self-sacrifice in saving the common people of Ireland from a fate worse than, well…worse than that of struggling to survive under the yoke of ruthless bankers.

And saint Somers was quick to point out that it’s only current bankers who will be saved, who will avoid the fires of bankers’ hell.

Speaking of those dastardly villain bankers who caused all the trouble in the first place saint Somers said:

Most of the guys who were around at the time deserve to be beaten up.

Beaten up, my goodness and to think there are so many nasty cynics going around claiming that no banker will face justice.

Wild West banking hasn't gone away you know

The corrupt political/administrative system that brought Ireland to its knees in 2008 is still in place.

For a short period of time after the rotten and incompetent Cowen government fell there was panic among the elite that have ruled and ruined Ireland for the last several decades that their time was at an end.

That panic has now receded with the knowledge that the enormous cost to be paid for the decades of corruption has been safely transferred onto the shoulders of the current and future generations of ordinary Irish citizens.

Nowhere is the relief more evident that the old rotten regime is still in place more evident than in the financial sector.

Recent calls from a number of bankers for a relaxation of financial regulation are a clear indication that the system is almost back to its abnormal and destructive worst.

Just last week deputy chairman of AIB Dr. Michael Somers revealed that international banks have told him that they were pulling out of Ireland because of over-regulation.

Now let’s be clear about what’s happening here.

Prior to the economic collapse in 2008 there was absolutely no financial regulation whatsoever.

Banks and other financial institutions regularly engaged in blatant criminal activity without any response from so-called regulatory agencies.

And let’s not fool ourselves (again).

Some international banks may be complaining about regulation but I suspect that the real pressure is coming from within the Irish financial sector.

After all, the gangsters who infest the sector have never experienced any kind of regulation never mind actual law enforcement.

The problem for the Irish political system is, of course, the presence of the Troika.

In the good old days Irish politicians made sure that banks had a clear field to rob and plunder at will without having to worry about inconveniences such as law enforcement.

That Wild West financial environment is not so easy to maintain these days since the arrival of professional regulators in the form of the Troika.

But be absolutely sure about one thing. As soon as ‘regulation’ is back within the hands of our corrupt political/administrative system it will be the Wild West all over again.

Central Bank waffle 1994 – The more things change…

From the Attic Archives – Cork Examiner 23rd December 1994.

This article should provide a bit of a laugh for all those out there whose lives have been destroyed by our corrupt political/administrative/regulatory system.

A bank must be seen to be sound and viable and a safe haven for deposits, according to Central Bank Governor, Maurice O’Connell.

Banks need to be profitable, he told an anniversary seminar of the Irish Bankers’ Federation.

A bank must have a good credit rating. This is why high capital adequacy and other prudential requirements are laid down.

The Central Bank has an obvious interest in seeing that the profits of the banks which it supervises are adequate but not excessive, taking one year with another.

The Irish banking sector has recently been the target of much criticism. It has been accused of ignoring the needs of the small business sector, of paying unduly generous salaries to its senior executives and of making huge profits.

Much of the criticism was simply populist, unfair and unreasonable.

But he added that financial institutions are in a position of some privilege because of their influence in the economic life of the country and a public perception cannot be dismissed.

This imposes certain community obligations that must not be abused.

For Ireland’s financial institutions to develop in a healthy environment, there were two other requirements besides adequate profitability, said Mr. O’Connell.

Supervision must be to the highest standards to demonstrate full confidence in our system.

The Central Bank is well aware of its responsibility in this regard and is committed to applying the highest prudential standards.

Lastly inflation should be minimised, if only for its corrosive effect on the financial system, said Mr. O’Connell.

Insolvency legislation and the publication of personal details

I heard somebody say over the weekend that people who enter into an arrangement under the insolvency service will have certain details published by the Insolvency Serivice of Ireland (ISI) on a public register.

I googled the ISI for a contact number in order to clarify the situation and found, curiously, that all queries relating to the ISI must be made through the Citizens Information Board (CIB).

The official I spoke with at the CIB knew absolutely nothing about the ISI and, after trying but failing to transfer me to several different extensions, put me on holding music.

I hung up after eight minutes and rang the Data Protection Commissioner’s office to see if they knew anythng about the publication of such information.

Predictably, they didn’t. This has nothing to do with us an official told me. On further questioning he made the Commissioner’s position clear.

If a government decides to bring in legislation allowing for the publication of any information under any heading then that legislation overrides all our legislation and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Finally, I rang the Department of Justice, the department under which the legislation is being introduced.

Yes, an official confirmed, information will be published on a public register concerning all those who enter into an arrangement under the insolvency service.

He guessed it was something to do with bankruptcy laws but candidly admitted that he didn’t really know why the Government is insisting on publishing such personal information.

Journalist Gavin Sheridan wins significant victory over Nama secrecy

Well done to journalist Gavin Sheridan for his significant victory against the oppressive secrecy of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Gavin spotted a loophole in Nama’s secrecy defences by way of applying for information through a statutory instrument known as the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations.

Nama responded by claiming that it was not a public authority and so did not come under the remit of the statutory instrument. The judge in the case put paid to that particular argument.

The basis for Nama’s claim that it was not a public authority within the meaning of the European regulation was “absurd”, Mr Justice Mac Eochaidh said in his judgment.

At the core of Nama’s appeal was the claim that the words ‘and includes’ in the European regulations were to be understood as ‘may include’.

The judge rightly rejected the claim but that such ridiculous arguments can be made by Irish authorities in order to preserve the powerful weapon of secrecy is a demonstration of how warped and dangerous the thinking in such authorities has become.

Gavin, who has been fighting Nama on this issue since 2010, said that the outcome was a good day for the public’s right to access information.

Invest in a pension? You would want to be stark raving mad

The Government is concerned about the relatively low take-up of private pensions (Irish Independent).

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that it is imperative that the pension industry encourages low and middle-income earners to invest.

This is hilarious for a number of reasons.

First and foremost it is this very government that is in the process of helping itself to €500 million from private pensions.

Many citizens and commentators have described this action as outright theft. The pension levy will continue until, at least, 2014.

In addition to plundering the private pension fund the Government is also behaving in a sly and dishonest manner by not including the impact of the levy in a recent report on pension charges.

An official said the pension levy was not included because it was a temporary measure.

So let’s guess how Sean citizen would respond to this situation while considering whether or not to make a decades-long commitment to a pension scheme.

Oh, I don’t mind making up for that €500 million hole in the pension fund and I believe politicians when they say that the levy will end in 2014.

I also believe that politicians will resist the temptation to rob my pension fund again in the coming decades.

Now, where do I sign?

Anyway, back to brutal reality.

The next hilarious reason is the finding in the report that there are serious problems with high charges imposed on pension savers by life companies and brokers.

For example, Up to €120,000 of a €400,000 pension fund of an individual can be eaten up in charges.

Now, for decades, people have been pleading with politicians to clean up this whole murky area, to get rid of the vultures that infest the Irish financial sector but for reasons unknown no action has ever been taken so the rip-offs continue unabated.

So, back to Sean citizen.

Well, I’m confident that this time the Government will act to protect me from the greedy vultures that, to date, have been allowed a free hand to do pretty much as they please. I’m going to trust the political system to come through for me.

Ah yes, the political system.

Would that be the same system where traitors like Bertie Ahern, Mary Harney and Charlie McCreevy are exploiting a tax loophole to greatly increase their already grotesque pensions?

Would that be the political system where the liar Ahern promised to give back part of his €150,000 pension and then, predictably, reneged on his word.

A final word to Sean citizen.

Well, yes, it is the same system but I’m still prepared, at great sacrifice to me and my family, to invest a major portion of my lifetime earnings in the hope that politicians will remain true to their word.

Com’n now Sean, back to your cell. It’s time for your medicine.