Callely: Questions and answers

Shortly after the Seanad Members’ Interests Committee found that Senator Callely had misrepresented his normal place of residence for the purpose of claiming allowances I rang Seanad Eireann with a number of questions.

I was asked to put my queries in writing and received answers last Friday.

Two of the more important questions/answers are reproduced below (My emphasis).

Question 1

The Committee found that Senator Callely was continuing to commit the offence of misrepresenting his place of residence in West Cork.

Who is responsible for rectifying this matter and is the matter being dealt with?

Answer

The Committee determined [paragraph 3 page 8 of the Select Committee on Members’ Interests of Seanad Eireann Report, dated 14th July 2010 ] that it is a matter for Senator Callely, in conjunction with the relevant authorities, to take account of the findings of its report and to regularise and make good his allowance affairs and to cease to misrepresent his normal place of residence.

On foot of that determination the Houses of the Oireachtas Service has written to Senator Callely informing him as to how the resolution of Seanad Eireann, of the same date, suspending him from the service of the House and withholding his salary for that period is being implemented by the Service and that his travel and accommodation expenses will not recommence unless and until the necessary declaration as to his normal place of residence has been submitted by him.

Question 2

It emerged during the course of the investigation that Senator Callely was claiming an overnight allowance while staying in his family home. When he was questioned about this matter he replied.

I comply with the regulations.

and

My claims, I understand, meet the definition of the Department of Finance.

Is Senator Callely correct in his claim that he is complying with the regulations and do his claims meet the definition of the Department of Finance?

Answer

Section 1 of the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members ) Act 1962 as amended by the Oireachtas (Miscellaneous Provisions) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices (Amendment) Act 1996 and the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial, Parliamentary, Judicial and Court office Act 1998 provides that “where a Member…..makes an overnight stay in the Dublin area…..the Member may …be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas an overnight allowance in respect of accommodation in the amount sanctioned by the Minister for Finance…”

There is no express legal prohibition on a Member making such an overnight stay in his family home.

There we have it in black and white. Irish politicians can claim overnight expenses while staying in the family home.

Given the low level of honesty within the body politic it is reasonable to assume that the vast bulk of politicians do, in fact, make this claim.

Only radical surgery will root out the malignant cancer

Irish Independent

Justice demands bankers in handcuffs

THE nation still waits and grows weary waiting for people to be charged for bankrupting our country.

How long does it take to read a file and make recommendations? What’s the delay in assembling the evidence?

Yes, it’s complex; yes, it’s time-consuming — but if there is a problem due to shortcomings in legislation or in the linking of a chain of criminal causation, the country should be told.

The endless silence is sapping the will of the people and having a corrosive effect on our democratic system.

Several people in America involved in the financial crisis of 2008 are serving jail terms.

Granted, Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty, thus saving the court’s time, but much work had to be done to bring him before the court.
In this country, by contrast, no file has even been presented to the DPP.

The general consensus among the people at large is a weary shrug of the shoulders and a fatalism that white-collar crime is never punished and that this is par for the course in Ireland.

There is a storm brewing beneath the surface that will shortly explode. The only thing that’s keeping the lid on it is the forlorn hope that some people in the future will be led away in handcuffs for destroying the economy and bankrupting future generations.

The Minister for Justice should give monthly bulletins on the progress of the different investigations and what the potential time span is for charges to be brought.

Talk about a whistleblower’s charter will not cut the mustard. If there is evidence of criminal conduct, then people need to face trial speedily.
The old maxim that justice delayed is justice denied is a two-way street.

It was coined with the rights of the defendant in mind but it could also be read as being a comfort to innocent bystanders that they would not have to wait in perpetuity for people to face prosecution.

This is not about revenge, it’s about decency and the rule of law. Attempts to spin the line that it is all behind us and so we should move on are dangerous.

The cancer that caused the patient to be put on life support needs to be cut out before the patient has any chance of healing.

Joseph Kiely
Donegal Town

That cancer is corruption within the administration of this country. That cancer is now so malignant that treatment (political reform) is pointless. Only radical surgery (revolution) will cure the patient.

Very serious allegations against politician goes mostly unnoticed

Ivor Callely used forged documents to claim almost €3,000 in Dail expenses.

This is the first line in a story by Luke Byrne in the Irish Mail on Sunday.

It’s an extremely serious allegation, even by the very low standards of honesty within the Irish body politic.

But even more disturbing is the very low key reaction by the mainstream media.

There was a very short interview with Fianna Fail TD Mary O’Rourke on RTEs News at One (1st report) in which she was asked some totally irrelevant questions.

Can the Taoiseach remove him from the Seanad? How damaging to politics is Callely’s continuing presence in the Seanad? Should he be thrown out of Fianna Fail?

No questions relating to political corruption, fraud, crime, police, arrest – no anger, no sense of outrage – just bland questions by the state broadcaster to a member of the most corrupt political party in the country who replied as if this was the first time she had heard of such behaviour.

RTEs flagship news broadcasts Six One and Nine News made no mention whatsoever of the allegations and as far as I can ascertain no report appeared on their website.

Today’s Irish Times and Irish Examiner merely regurgitated the RTE Mary O’Rourke interview.

Perhaps Michael Noonan could ask the Gardai to make the case a political priority?

Parish pump politics – Alive and well

From the Attic Archives.

Cork Examiner (?) 15th January 1992

Martin calls for change

Ireland’s financial and economic woes will never be solved until the country rids itself of its ‘unhealthy emphasis on parish pump politics’, Fianna Fail Deputy Michael Martin stated in a hard-hitting address in Cork last night.

Deputy Martin added that the current political, electoral and parliamentary systems waste too much time and need to be radically overhauled if the economy is to thrive.

His statements were made during an address to the Munster and Connaught Society of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

Well, we know what happened – the economy is dead but parish pump politics is alive and well.

Idiots and the tragedy of Ireland

Apologies in advance for the use of strong language in response to an editorial in last Saturday’s Irish Independent.

The piece must surely qualify as the stupidest, most ill informed editorial penned in recent years.

The editorial, responding to the ‘sensational’ revelation that bankers tell lies, needs to be analysed line by line to expose the full ignorance of the idiot who penned it.

The level of ambiguity displayed by the banks in the lead-up to the €440bn bailout by those taxpayers was finally laid bare before the Dail Public Accounts committee.

Only now is it beginning to impinge on the brain of this idiot that Irish banks are ‘ambiguous’.

At this rate it will take him decades to realise that the Irish financial sector is infested with ruthless scumbags who are supported and protected by politicians and an incompetent ‘regularity’ system that does exactly as it’s told – to do whatever it takes to protect the interests of the scumbags.

It is these scumbags, in collusion with a corrupt political system, who are principally responsible for the destruction of our country and the strongest word the idiot can muster is ‘ambiguous’?

It smacked of an attitude and era which fostered recklessness and risk-taking beyond belief.

Obviously, the idiot believes that the ‘attitude’ and the ‘era’ are behind us.

He obviously believes the bullshit that spews from the mouths of Cowen and Lenihan about the country/economy turning corners.

He believes the bullshit that spews from the mouths of politicians and so called regulators that a new era of financial regulation has dawned, that Irish citizens are now safe from the thieving maws of the scumbags who infest the financial sector.

This is a typical, narrow brained, Irish reaction to unpleasant realities.

Brutal realities can be safely ignored if they’re consigned to the past. And because they’re in the past they don’t require any action so everybody can ‘go forward’ into the future full of light and happiness.

Never mind that the same ruthless bankers are still in place, never mind that the same corrupt political system is still in place, never mind that there is, in reality, no financial regulation whatsoever in this country, never mind all that.

The important thing to keep in mind is that, finally, bankers have been found to be ‘ambiguous’ – halleluiah.

We should not forget what was divulged this week. Banks bluffed in public about the state of their finances. They were, at the very least, disingenuous in the way they presented their financial health.

The idiot obviously believes that Irish bankers getting caught bluffing in public is an event of earthquake proportions, that nothing like it has ever happened before, that such a ‘crime’ must never be forgotten.

Clearly, the idiot has lived his entire life in a hole on the Skellig Islands

In doing so, they (the bankers) increased exponentially the amount of liability taxpayers have had to guarantee. They left our senior politicians and civil servants with few options.

The depth of ignorance displayed by this statement is deeply disturbing. The idiot seems to be totally unaware of the part played by incompetent and/or corrupt politicians and civil servants in the destruction of our country.

He believes, apparently, that all this came upon the politicians and civil servants suddenly, that they, like the idiot, were completely unaware, over many decades, of the rampant criminality common within the Irish financial sector.

It hasn’t yet occurred to the idiot that the total absence of effective financial regulation is no accident.

Perhaps he believes that the Soviet style secrecy laws that provide water tight protection for the scumbags just suddenly dropped out of the sky leaving our politicians and civil servants with few options.

Perhaps the idiot thinks that, despite decades of fraud and criminality within the financial sector, there’s nothing odd about the fact that not a single official or institution has ever faced a judge; that it was only in 2008, after beggaring the nation; that a financial institution came under investigation?

Perhaps the idiot even believes that the current investigation is an actual real investigation and not the standard Irish strategy of bluff, delay and obfuscation that will, ultimately, result in a non effective/irrelevant report years down the line.

What we have learned, and no doubt have yet to discover, about how some lending institutions behaved should never, ever be forgotten. Not this year, not next, never.

What we have learned has already been forgotten. Ansbacher, DIRT and dozens of other scams, costing Irish taxpayers countless millions, have all been forgotten.

How many times have we heard a politician/banker tell the nation – the past is another country, we must move forward, must make sure this never happens again – blah, blah, blah. Apparently, the idiot believes it all.

It is to our eternal credit as a nation that we have, despite a deep-seated anger, knuckled down and borne the inevitable.

The impression given here is that the people of Ireland, realising the seriousness of the situation, have united in a patriotic movement to save the nation.

This, of course, is total bullshit. Irish citizens, since independence, have sold their votes to the local chancer in return for small favours. The local chancer was more than happy to buy power so cheaply and use it to his own advantage.

This buying and selling of votes/democracy has corrupted the administration of the country and resulted in a politically ignorant electorate.

Irish citizens are incapable of voting, thinking or acting in the national interest, they act solely in self-interest or in the interest of a particular group of which they belong.

If Irish citizens were politically educated, if they were aware that it is they and not their corrupt leaders who hold power, the current government would have been thrown out of power in 2008 when disaster struck.

The greatest indictment of Irish democracy is that this government and in particular Fianna Fail are still in power, still working in their own interests at the expense of the nation and Irish citizens just lie down and take it.

Yet when we look in on ourselves, there is a source of great hope. And it is to ourselves we must look, because we are the ones carrying this country on our shoulders.

I don’t know what circles this idiot operates in but my sense of the country is not one of hope but despair.

Yes, ordinary citizens are carrying the country on their shoulders but it is not by choice. Citizens are being forced to suffer and pay for the corruption, incompetence, greed and arrogance of the ruling elite while that same ruling elite are busily insulating themselves against the disaster.

Bitter lessons have been learned.

What lessons? Could this idiot provide the nation with a single example of a lesson learned?

The tragedy of Ireland is that its people are oppressed by their political ignorance to the point of docility when, in this time of national crisis, the complete opposite is required.

The people of Ireland need to do what the people of Iceland did – eject from office all those responsible for betraying the nation.

They need to educate themselves on what real democracy is all about so that if a politician or banker ever threatens the national interest again they will quickly find themselves behind bars.

The very last thing the Irish people need is the self-indulgent; everything will be all right if we just ignore reality, kind of drivel contained in this editorial.

Copy to:
The idiot

Irish inability to call a spade a spade

The editorial in last week’s Sunday Business Post calling on Senator Callely to resign is a typical example of how difficult it is for Irish people to call a spade a spade.

On the one hand the writer states:

It is not the case that most or even many politicians are in Callely’s class when it comes to abusing the system of expenses and allowances.

This is immediately followed by:

But politicians of all parties have designed and exploited disgracefully a system of allowances and expenses which any private business would find outrageously loose.

What, I wonder; is the editor thinking when he writes ‘all parties have disgracefully exploited the system’ but only a minority are in ‘Callely’s class’ when it comes to abusing the same system?

Is the editor so naïve and ill informed that he believe that Callely’s behaviour is the worst ever and that while all other politicians are exploiting the system their behaviour is not as bad as Callely’s?

Does the editor really believe that only a minority of politicians are ripping off the system?

Here’s what a properly informed editor should have written.

Politicians of all parties have designed and exploited a system of allowances and expenses that enables them to legally defraud taxpayer’s of massive amount of money on an annual basis.

This contemptible behaviour will continue until somebody designs a system where this behaviour results in a jail sentence.

Copy to:
Editor, Sunday Business Post