Burma: More democratic than Ireland

It may seem bizarre to say, but Burma is a more democratic country than Ireland.

We don’t have a ruthless military junta denying democracy and good government to the people but we do have a ruthless ruling elite who, effectively, do the same thing.

Burma, like Ireland, may be a blighted country but it has two treasures that will, I believe, ensure the eventual return of real democracy – a politically educated population and courageous visionary leadership.

You only have to look at the passion and focused determination of the Burmese people, their hunger for real and fair government to see that they understand exactly what real democracy is all about.

These people have the same fears and worries that Irish citizens have, and more, but at rock bottom they know that national pride, prosperity and freedom is impossible without a foundation of courageous, visionary and accountable democracy.

The people of South West Donegal are about to exchange the possibility of quality democracy in return for petty favours from local gombeen representatives.

They neither know, nor apparently care, about the damage such political ignorance will bring down on their heads and the heads of the population in general.

Before very long the rest of the Irish population will be indulging in the same disastrous trading of democratic principles in return for empty promises from a corrupt, incompetent and arrogant body politic.

You only have to observe the actions, words and almost magical charisma of Aung San Suu Kyi to realise that the quality of Irish political leadership emanates from the foulest sewer.

I don’t need to labour this point; I only have to envision the amazing political and personal bond between Aung San Suu Kyi and her people and then, painfully, recall the recent drunken interview given by our incompetent prime minister.

If Ireland had a political leader with even one percent of the vision and courage of Aung San Suu Kyi our country would be well on the way to recovery and a brighter future for its people.

Bruton: Every penny must be repaid – on time

Here’s what former Taoiseach had to say about the current financial crisis (Six One News, 3rd Nov.).

Given that we fought a war of independence to get the sovereign right to borrow…we have a responsibility to repay every penny we owe, on time.

To my knowledge Bruton is in receipt of three state pensions – TD, Minister and Taoiseach.

He, his family and friends, at enormous expense to the taxpayer, enjoy the convenience of a state Mercedes complete with two drivers for the rest of his life.

Since 2001 he has drawn down €241,978 under the Secretarial Assistants Scheme which was introduced to assist former Taoisigh in tidying up loose ends after leaving office. This is in addition to the staff they are already assigned for ‘ordinary’ work.

To my knowledge Bruton owns a large and prosperous farm in Co Meath which, I’m sure, attracts very generous national and EU payments and subsidies.

All in all, John Bruton is a very rich man.

We can be sure, given the greed and arrogance of our political class, that he will work very hard to minimise his contribution to rescuing Ireland from the disaster that he and his fellow politicians created in the first place.

Questions for Mr. Varadkar

I agree with Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar that bankers have done more damage to the economy than the IRA and that they should be arrested and prosecuted.

We here at Public Inquiry have been hammering on about this matter for years now.

I do, however, have have a number of questions for Mr. Varadkar.

Why is it only now he’s calling for action against the vermin that have infested the financial sector for decades?

Is he not aware that financial institutions have always had carte blanche to rob and plunder the accounts of customers, even under Fine Gael governments?

Is he aware that as he made his passionate call for the arrest and prosecution of bankers that financial institutions still enjoy complete freedom to rob and plunder as they please?

Is he aware that the actions/non actions of the so called Financial Regulator coupled with Soviet style secrecy laws frequently has the effect of protecting the vermin?

Is he aware that all the protections enjoyed by the thieving vermin were put in place by politicians who are all fully signed up members of a corrupt political system?

Does he understand that the thieving vermin could not have robbed a single citizen or brought down the state unless they enjoyed full political permission to rob and plunder as they pleased?

Does he understand that Lenihan’s response to his call for the arrest and prosecution of bankers (files to the DPP bullshit) is just the usual delaying tactic employed by all governments until the matter is forgotten about?

Does he understand that it is the corrupt political system that lies at the heart of the disaster that has befallen our country?

Does he understand that in addition to bankers there is an urgent need to arrest and prosecute several politicians?

Is he not aware that the corrupt political system that has brought catastrophe upon the Irish people needs to be torn down and consigned to historical infamy?

No, I doubt if Mr. Varadkar is aware of or understands any of the above and that is the pity for this and many generations of Irish people to come.

Copy to:
Leo Varadkar

Fact; stating the feckin obvious and traitors

Fact: Ireland is bankrupt.

Fact: The EU is calling the economic shots.

Fact: The IMF will become part of our financial governance.

La la land: Brian Lenihan:

The country’s finances have been stabilised.

Stating the feckin obvious: Brian Lenihan:

The €15bn adjustment over the next four years will have an impact on the living standards of citizens. (but not politicians)

Too late Mr. Lenihan:

On reducing the deficit by 2014, Minister Lenihan said the problems will worsen if action is delayed.

The ship has sunk, the building has burned to the ground; the train has crashed, the wagon has no wheels…

Solution: Kick out the traitors and build a new republic

What Mr. Gibson does not know…

Neil Gibson of Oxford Economics was interviewed over the weekend about the Irish situation.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

People have accepted that they had a very good ten years enjoying the boom and have been willing to dip into their pockets to repay. I think that’s a fantastic achievement for the Irish economy and its people but we are approaching a tipping point where that may no longer be achievable.

Here’s what Gibson does not know:

He doesn’t know that the financial and social catastrophe which is enveloping Ireland began 31 years ago when the criminal politician Haughey came to power.

He doesn’t know that the corrupt political system spawned by the criminal Haughey is responsible for the disaster and that the Irish people, far from willingly dipping into their pockets to repay, are being forcibly fleeced of all they own in order to bail out the gangsters who are the chief supporters of the corrupt political system.

He doesn’t know that the tipping point he rightly claims is approaching will finally, finally, finally force the Irish people to get off their knees and destroy the corrupt political system that has brought total ruin upon the nation.

I don’t know that either – but I’m hopeful.

Yet another scandal, yet another excuse, yet another rip off

Yet another scandal, spawned by a previous scandal, that’s going to be ‘scrutinised’, by yet another useless state ‘watchdog’ (Irish Independent).

This latest scandal concerns payments of €30 million to legal firms, over a nine month period, for advising the government on the banking bailout.

The so called watchdog is the Public Accounts Committee.

Like all government committees the PAC is nothing more than a talking shop, it has no power to act on its investigations and there’s not the slightest hint that our corrupt political system is about to bestow any such powers.

Politicians, (Pat Rabbitte in this instance) are, yet again, outraged at such waste and are demanding immediate action.

Is there anything we can do about these extraordinary fees or do these guys just think they can name any figure?

Well, yes Pat, they can and that will remain the case for so long as our political system remains a dysfunctional entity.

Yet again, we see a super highly paid civil servant coming out justifying the scandalous payments because the super highly paid government ministers who should be answering the questions have absconded in their super expensive Mercedes.

Department of Finance secretary general Kevin Cardiff admitted it was not possible to monitor how many hours were worked by the firms or how many staff were assigned to the task.

Having admitted his department’s total ignorance of the matter he then went on, bizarrely, to state.

I can tell you honestly that the money spent was well worth the money. The risk of not taking that legal support could have cost us a lot more.

Mr. Cardiff also admitted that the firms hired had a potential conflict of interest given that they also carried out work for banks and wealthy clients but, don’t worry, he assured destitute taxpayers, they all had Chinese Walls to avert any problems.

Phew, that’s a relief, for a moment there I thought destitute taxpayers were in danger of being ripped off.

Mr. Cardiff further assured impoverished taxpayers.

We haven’t come across instances where they felt compromised

I can just imagine Mr. Cardiff approaching a staff member at the legal firm Arthur Cox, which got more than €10 million for ‘advice’.

Eh, excuse me sir. Are feeling compromised?

No, oh that’s great, the taxpayer’s will be so relieved.

Clientelism: The foundation of our corrupt political system

Pat Kenny is an experienced, well informed and articulate current affairs broadcaster.

It was therefore deeply depressing and indeed disturbing to witness his (unwitting) endorsement of our corrupt political system (Frontline, 18th October).

In response to a call from Niall Crowley of Claiming our Future for a more diverse participation in politics Kenny said:

We do have a very intimate relationship with our politicians, not like in Britain where you might not see your local MP from one end of the decade to the next.

Here, we can drop along on a Saturday or Sunday and meet all of our TDs. There is a real connection, whether they’ll do anything about what you say to them is another question, but we can meet them.

We can meet Bertie; we can meet Brian, go into a particular pub in Offaly on a Saturday night and meet Brian Cowen.

Crowley, rightly, responded that that’s not participation, it is clientelism and very dependent.

The brutal truth is that clientelism is the foundation on which our corrupt political system feeds and, in turn, infects every level of Irish society. It is the single biggest reason for the destruction of our country.

Clientelism has nothing to do with democracy, in fact, the practice destroys democracy. Citizens are forced into selling their vote in return for petty favours most of which they are already entitled to in any case.

Politicians, caught up in the corrupt, undemocratic circle, vie with each other in plundering state resources to pay for votes to maintain their power.

The buying and selling of votes/power then moves to other areas of public life. Bankers, businessmen, friends of the most powerful parties all pay their corrupt dues and are rewarded with grants, tax concessions and in very many cases allowed to openly operate outside the law.

To facilitate this widespread corruption and law breaking regulatory authorities are stripped of resources and/or ordered to desist from investigating friends of the powerful.

By destroying democracy clientelism reduces citizens to beggars, destroys national pride and national self esteem and results in a nation of politically ignorant citizens.

If Ireland had evolved into a real democracy the likes of Haughey, Ahern, Burke, Lawlor, Lowry et al would never have survived a single day. Most of them would have served time.

If Ireland had evolved into a real democracy bankers, developers and the many other so called professions would never have had the opportunity to indulge in their corrupt activities in pursuit of vast wealth.

All this activity, all this corruption, all this social and democratic destruction has one single origin – Clientelism.

The fact that somebody as influential as Pat Kenny sees this (corrupt and corrupting) system of clientelism as an integral and laudable part of our system of government is an indication of how far we have to go before the building of a new, and truly democratic, republic can begin.

Copy to:
Pat Kenny

Ivan Yates: Fine Gael's Bertie Ahern

Retired Fine Gael politician and former Minister Ivan Yates is a man without any moral standards.

He doesn’t believe in restraints or principles, he’s completely indifferent to questions of right or wrong. He is, according to himself, a totally amoral person (The Saturday Night Show).

During his interview with Brendan O’Connor Yates clearly and cynically demonstrated his amorality.

On politics

He left politics because it was too difficult. Funerals, clinics, public meetings – all too much hassle. TDs are nothing more than glorified County Councillors in a system that regularly throws up ill equipped people.

Politics is not about the country, it’s about getting re-elected, I wanted to change the world but I copped myself on, he cynically declared.

On the economy

Adjustments have to be made and we (the peasants, not Yates) have to be disciplined and do what’s necessary.

This should include; getting rid of quangos, reform the civil service, means test or get rid concessions to the elderly such as free travel, free electricity, free TV licence and free telephone.

Pensioners should also be made to pay more because they invariably have their houses paid for and the cost of living has come down.

On his own pensions (To my knowledge this greedy businessman is in receipt of two pensions from the taxpayer)

O’Connor: You get a fairly hefty pension?

Yates: I have a fairly hefty pension; I’ve collected it since the day I left the Dail.

O’Connor: That’s the kind of thing…you’re loaded. (Big cheer from the audience).

Yates: Can I answer that, can I answer that. Whatever the system is, I’m entitled to it.

O’Connor: You shouldn’t be getting a pension at all. By your own rationale would you not say the country is going down the toilet.

You’re a fairly wealthy businessman and we’re still paying you a pension even though you’re not of pensionable age?

Yates: To be honest with you, for me to do something on my own behalf would be a cosmetic stunt but I’m quite happy to reform the system.

This type of cynicism and rank hypocrisy is the predominant attitude within the Irish body politic.

Yates is only unique in so far as, as a self confessed amoralist, he wallows in and actually enjoys milking the system at the expense of pensioners, the elderly and ordinary citizens.

In contrast to the ecstatic welcome afforded to Mary O’Rourke the previous Saturday, Yates was subject to some challenges from the audience, especially with regard to his greedy and arrogant attitude to his pension.

Presenter O’Connor, in line with most RTE journalists, was having none of it.

Constantly apologising to Yates for asking (embarrassing?) questions he also acted as a buffer between the greedy ex politician and the angry audience.

O’Connor scolded one disrespectful peasant who angrily demanded that Yates give up his pension.

It’s not Prime Time and we’re not going to ambush Ivan Yates. I don’t think he’s the worst of them anyway.

The bizarrely ironic aspect surrounding the attitude of this greedy and amoral businessman is that he regularly preaches to the nation about what needs to be done to resolve our problems while remaining totally oblivious to the part he personally has, and continues to play, in the destruction of our democracy.

He is, in effect, Fine Gael’s Bertie Ahern

Copy to:
Ivan Yates
The Saturday Night Show

Why Callely's stupidity scares the body politic

Senator Ivor Callely is a non entity; he’s nothing more than an arrogant moron who doesn’t even possess the political intelligence necessary to get him out of his troubles.

But let there be no doubt, it is Callely’s political stupidity, his complete failure to understand and play by the rules of the corrupt political system that makes him so dangerous.

His failure to resign, his failure to accept the findings of the Seanad Members Interests Committee, his failure to respond quickly and effectively to the ongoing series of media revelations all continue to expose the rotten political system.

This is why politicians, from all parties, are in such a panic over Callely, why they hate him so much. His political stupidity is unwittingly exposing them, and the rotten system they so efficiently operate for their own benefit, to public scrutiny.

Let’s just look a one aspect of the corrupt system that has been exposed – Did Callely commit a criminal act when he falsely claimed €81,000 in travel expenses?

The Committee for Members Interests found that Callely had deliberately misrepresented his normal place of residence for the purpose of claiming allowances.

This action resulted in a loss to the taxpayer of €81,000 but the entire body politic is of the opinion that this particular act by Callely is not a criminal offence.

As far as members of Seanad and Dail Eireann are concerned Callely is guilty of nothing more than breaking the internal code of their exclusive club or as the committee’s report put it:

Not acting in good faith having regard to all of the circumstances.

They clearly believe that the alleged submission of false claims by Callely for €81,000 for travel expenses is not a criminal act and can therefore be dealt with as an in house breach of the rules.

On the other hand they believe that the alleged submission of false claims by Callely for €3,000 for mobile phones is a criminal act and should be dealt with by the Guards.

Here’s what two senators had to say on the matter

Independent senator Joe O’Toole (Marian Finucane Show, Sunday 22nd August).

It’s very important to know that a committee of the Seanad or of politicians should never be allowed, in a democracy, to investigate crimes…crimes should always be the business of the Gardai…if somebody is found to have committed a crime or is suspected to have committed a crime, that’s a matter for the Gardai.

It would be a banana republic if you put senators and TDs in charge of investigating a colleague with the power to penalties above and beyond what’s there.

This quote is slightly out of context but it’s clear that Senator O’Toole does not believe the committee was investigating a crime, he does not believe that Callely committed a criminal act when he falsely claimed €81,000 in travel expenses.

He does, apparently, believe that the alleged submission of a false claim by Callely for €3,000 for mobile phones is probably a criminal act and is therefore a matter for the Guards.

Independent senator Ronan Mullen’s reaction to the alleged false travel expenses claim by Callely for €81,000:

I find it hard to see where it could be made out that there was a criminal act per se. A person has to be judged according to the law as it stood at the time they did what they did.

During a recent RTE interview regarding the alleged false expenses claim by Callely for €3,000 for mobile phones Mullen said:

But we can park, at least, the criminal side of it and say let the proper authorities do their work and hopefully they will do their work and investigate it and let’s not do anything here to impede that.

Again, it’s clear that Mullen does not believe that Callely committed a criminal act when he falsely claimed €81,000 in travel expenses but does believe that the alleged submission of a false claim by Callely for €3,000 for mobile phones is probably a criminal act and is therefore a matter for the Guards.

The law on the matter is crystal clear (My emphasis).

Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001 Section 10 (False accounting).

A person is guilty of an offence if he or she dishonestly, with the intention of making a gain for himself or herself or another, or of causing loss to another

(a) Destroys, defaces, conceals or falsifies any account or any document made or required for any accounting purpose,

(b) fails to make or complete any account or any such document,


c) in furnishing information for any purpose produces or makes use of any account, or any such document, which to his or her knowledge is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular.

(2) For the purposes of this section a person shall be treated as falsifying an account or other document if he or she—

(a) makes or concurs in making therein an entry which is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular, or

b) omits or concurs in omitting a material particular there from

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

In a real democracy like the UK, for example, Senator Callely would be under police investigation.

Tory Peer, Paul White known as Lord Hanningfield is under police investigation for allegedly dishonestly submitting claims for expenses to which he knew he was not entitled.

It’s worth reproducing the UK law for comparison purposes (My emphasis).

section 17 of the Theft Act 1968

17. False accounting.

(1) Where a person dishonestly, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another,

(a) destroys, defaces, conceals or falsifies any account or any record or document made or required for any accounting purpose;


(b) in furnishing information for any purpose produces or makes use of any account, or any such record or document as aforesaid, which to his knowledge is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular; he shall, on conviction on indictment, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.

(2) For purposes of this section a person who makes or concurs in making in an account or other document an entry which is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular, or who omits or concurs in omitting a material particular from an account or other document, is to be treated as falsifying the account or document.

The law regarding the allegations in both jurisdictions is practically identical. In the UK it’s a matter for the police and the courts, in Ireland it’s a political matter.

In other words, it’s the difference between an accountable democracy and a banana republic.

The bottom line is simple: The corrupt political system in Ireland cannot allow a serious police investigation into political expenses because to do so would risk exposing the whole rotten system.

Copy to:

Seanad Committee for Members Interests

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?


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.


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?


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.