Perjury law: Only applies to the peasants

Go away and give careful consideration to the manner in which you are giving evidence said the judge to Marie Farrell.

And in case there was any doubt whatsoever in Ms. Farrell’s mind the judge added:

There are very severe penal sanctions for people who commit perjury.

And the judge is right, there are severe penal sanctions for those who lie under oath but, and it’s a very important but…the severe penalties only apply to the little people, to the peasantry.

Politicians, bankers, government officials, and other members of the ruling class do not have to worry about such niceties when it comes to giving evidence under oath.

For decades we have watched such people, time after time, lie under oath without even a warning from a judge.

For example, it is almost certain that Bertie Ahern lied under oath to the Mahon Tribunal.

Much of the explanation provided by Mr. Ahern as to the source of the substantial funds identified and inquired into in the course of the tribunal’s public hearings was deemed by the tribunal to be untrue.

In a functional democracy Mr. Ahern would, at the very least, be put under immediate investigation. In Ireland the DPP and the Garda Commissioner are still sitting on the tribunal report a full two years after the final report.

Why is this? Well, again judge Mahon gives us a hint.

It (corruption) continued because nobody was prepared to do enough to stop it. This is perhaps inevitable when corruption ceases to become an isolated event and becomes so entrenched that it is transformed into an acknowledged way of doing business. Specifically, because corruption affected every level of Irish political life, those with the power to stop it were frequently implicated in it.

So we can ask the question – what are the chances that the current Garda Commissioner will act on the Mahon Tribunal Report.

Well, let’s put it this way. Politicians promoted Commissioner O’Sullivan and as a recent tribunal concluded – loyalty comes before duty in our police force so Bertie has nothing to worry about but Marie Farrell should watch her step.

Let's give the Minister for Justice the benefit of the doubt – for now

The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was answering questions before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva today.

She told the committee that the Government would have an independent police authority in place by the end of the year. It should have been in place since 2005, after the Donegal Gardai corruption outrage but better late than never.

She also said that GSOC would have the power to independently initiate investigations without having to first ask the Minister for Justice. We’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.

On the issue of legislation in this area the Minister said:

The legislation was originally introduced in 2005 and was found to have these gaps in it so we are bringing in these changes later this year.

Let’s be kind to the new minister, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt by accepting that she has no idea of the dark reality lurking behind this legislation and how it’s linked to the Donegal Gardai corruption.

Let’s accept that she’s a political innocent when she speaks of ‘gaps’ as if the presence of these gaps were some sort of oversight by the politicians and civil servants who drew up the legislation in 2005.

Let’s accept she naively believes that the so-called gaps in the legislation were not deliberately designed to specifically ensure that the police and their political masters could continue to enjoy the benefits of operating far outside the requirements of public accountability as they have since 1922.

Let’s accept that she’s green enough to believe that her predecessor, Alan Shatter, would have introduced the current reforms even if the recent avalanche of corruption within the Gardai had remained hidden.

Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt – but only this time.

Child holocaust: Denial of justice

The most important fact to keep constantly in mind as the latest chapter in the child holocaust horror unfolds is that nothing, absolutely nothing, is actually being done to face reality and provide justice for the victims.

Politicians, state officials, police and church representatives have all responded in a manner that is entirely predictable in a country whose governance is deeply dysfunctional at a moral, political and societal level.

Denial: The activities of the church have been known about for decades but were never acted upon, they were simply ignored.

It was only when the story went international, when outsiders, when non-Irish humans heard what was going on that there was any kind of response at all.

The official response to date has just one single aim – to bury the reality of what happened in a septic tank of denial.

Political: The Government has set up an inter-departmental group to decide how to proceed.

Note: the group has not been set up to act but merely to look into the matter. This group will achieve nothing apart from giving the impression of action, it is not meant to achieve anything.

Police: In a functional state the immediate police reaction would be to cordon off the area and treat it as a potential crime scene.

In dysfunctional Ireland a newspaper is in charge of the site while the police struggle to fit in their response with the wishes of their political masters.

The newspaper, The Irish Daily Mail, hired a private engineering company to carry out a subsurface radar examination of the site. A spokesperson for the newspaper said the results of its investigations would be made available to the police and government.

Question: What kind of country would see nothing unusual about allowing a newspaper to head up an investigation into any crime scene but in particular a crime scene that could involve crimes against humanity?

Meanwhile, a Garda spokesman said they would provide any information and assistance they could to the inter-departmental group set up to investigate the matter, we’re ‘feeding’ into the process the spokesman said.

So let’s recap: A newspaper is leading the investigation while government bureaucrats and the police ‘feed’ off each other’s ruminations on how to proceed.

The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald stated clearly that any decisions (that may be taken) about criminal investigations are the responsibility of the police.

Translation: This horror has nothing to do with my government or me; it’s a matter for the police.

The police: It’s a matter for the bureaucrats.

The bureaucrats: We’re anonymous, unaccountable and are subject to strict secrecy laws.

Department of Justice refuses to answer simple question

On 4 March last I phoned the office of the Minister for Justice to find out the names of the Gardai who, we are told, were disciplined for their part in the penalty points scandal.

The Department has refused to answer my question.

I was informed by the Information Ombudsman that I could make a formal complaint if no substantial reply was received after six weeks.

I have removed the name of the civil servant with whom I have been in communications with on this matter.

My complaint was made on an official form on the Ombudsman’s website hence the structure.

Which public body is your complaint about? The Department of Justice.

When did the action you are now complaining about take place? 4 March and on going.

Please tell us: What happened? Where did it happen? Who was involved? How were you affected?

The Department of Justice is, effectively, refusing to answer a question.

The sequence of events are as follows:

4 March: I emailed the following question to the Minister for Justice.

To Whom It May Concern:

It is public knowledge that a number of Gardai have been punished as a result of the penalty points controversy.
I request the name, rank, location and punishment meted out to the Gardai in question.

If this is not possible I request the regulation/legislation under which it is not possible.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

5 March: I received the following acknowledgement.

Dear Mr Sheridan,

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email dated 4 March, 2014.
Yours sincerely,

Minister for Justice and Equality

13 March: I sent the following email to the Minister for Justice

Dear Mr.

I would be grateful if you could give a rough indication of when I could expect a reply to my email of 4 March last.

Yours sincerely
Anthony Sheridan

13 March: Received the following acknowledgement.

Dear Mr. Sheridan,

I write to acknowledge receipt of your email dated 13 March, 2014.

Yours sincerely,
Minister for Justice and Equality

20 March: Rang the Information Ombudsman and was advised that I could make a formal complaint if no substantial reply was received after six weeks.

2 April: I sent the following email to the Minister for Justice.

Dear Mr.

I would be grateful if you could give a rough indication of when I could expect a reply to my email of 4 March last.

Yours sincerely
Anthony Sheridan

2 April: Received the following acknowledgement.

Dear Mr Sheridan,

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your latest email of 02 February 14.
Your previous correspondence is currently being dealt with and a further reply will issue as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

It is now six weeks since I submitted my question without a substantial reply. This question could have been answered within an hour or, at most, within 24 hours.

It is reasonable, therefore , to assume that the Department is refusing to answer the question.

I submit my complaint.

What do you want the public body to do to put things right?

Answer the question.

Garda/political corruption – Nothing will change

The Irish Examiner editorial describes the latest revelations in the Ian Bailey case as mind boggling.

That Gardai may have considered paying someone in order to frame a man for murder is described as not only corrupt but almost unbelievable.

The Irish Times speaks of an appalling vista and grave national concern that Gardai may have acted illegally in securing convictions in the courts.

And yet this stuff is old hat, it’s all happened before. Garda corruption in Donegal involved a whole range of crimes including framing a man for murder.

Nobody was charged, some were allowed to retire on full pension and, to my knowledge, just three gardai were fired.

In other words, major criminal acts carried out by police officers and confirmed by an Oireachtas inquiry were effectively ignored.

The political response was exactly the same as the response we are now witnessing in respect of the latest scandals.

Denial, useless internal reports, full support for the Gardai and minister, promises to legislate to prevent it happening again blah, blah, blah….

The then Justice Minister McDowell and his civil servants who drafted and introduced the ‘this must never be allowed to happen again’ legislation must have been complete morons or they deliberately drafted the law to ensure the minister and Gardai remained unaccountable.

I suspect most intelligent citizens would opt for the latter explanation.

So what’s happening now?

Well, editorials are expressing shock and outrage, politicians are expressing their unqualified confidence in the minister and the Garda and everybody is supremely confident that the interim Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan, will act decisively to reform the force.

So let’s have a look at what she has done to restored confidence and clean out the corruption that’s obviously rampant within the force.

She has decided to leave in place the punishment meted out to completely vindicated Garda Maurice McCabe by her predecessor.

And she’s conducting a survey to ask rank and file members how the organisation can be improved.

Pathetic and all a bit sad so to finish I’ll express the brutal truth.

Corruption is rampant within the Gardai because our corrupt political/administrative system, by doing nothing, allowed that corruption to flourish.

That rotten system will do nothing in this instance. Things will remain exactly as they are, exactly as they were allowed to remain following the Morris Tribunal.

Enda Kenny: Uno duce; una voce

Enda Kenny’s adoption of the criminal Haughey’s dictum Uno duce, una voce puts the final nail in the coffin of his so-called democratic revolution.

Expressing an opinion in public is now, apparently, forbidden by ‘the great leader’.

His assertion that the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan deserved absolute respect is laughable. In a functional democracy Callinan would have been sacked long ago.

So not only is the so-called democratic revolution over, but Fine Gael are fast morphing into a clone of Fianna Fail, the most corrupt political party in the country.

Copy to:
Enda Kenny

Garda corruption: The elephant in the room must be ignored

Despite the best efforts of the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, the Government and others it has now been established that there was widespread corruption within the Gardai in relation to the handling of the penalty points system.

Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan are also guilty of attempting to cover up the corruption. In a functional democracy such behaviour would result in immediate dismissals, a proper police investigation and likely prosecutions.

Let me repeat that:

In a functional democracy Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan would be immediately dismissed from office and become the focus of a police investigation.

In a functional democracy those police officers that acted corruptly would also find themselves out of a job and under investigation.

But because Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state, that is, a state that actively tolerates, facilitates and protects the corrupt, no action whatsoever will be taken.

The response to this latest incidence of corruption is exactly the same response to every other incidence of corruption over the past several decades.

Our Prime Minister:

The Taoiseach expressed confidence in the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice. He claims that the dysfunctionality and inefficiency in the force is now being addressed.

This is to completely ignore the fact that corruption has occurred.

The Garda Inspectorate, Robert Olsen:

It’s a very minor piece of the huge remit that the Garda Siochana has and it kind of slipped by the wayside.

This is to completely ignore the fact that corruption has occurred.

The Opposition:

Various opposition spokespersons have called for apologies and resignations but nobody has called for a criminal investigation

This is to completely ignore the fact that corruption has occurred.

Garda Inspectorate: Not to be trusted?

I laughed last week when I turned on the radio and heard somebody say (yet again) that the country/economy had turned a corner.

I laughed even more when I listened to the Garda Inspectorate, Robert Olsen; tell the nation that the recent ‘problems’ within our police force was nothing more than a ‘systems failure’. (Morning Ireland, Thursday 13 March).

Clearly, Mr. Olsen is a newcomer to Ireland and is therefore completely unaware of how obnoxious that particular phrase is to the people of Ireland.

For decades we’ve heard the phrase trotted out to explain the rampant corruption within practically every department of government.

We’ve heard it used to cover up and facilitate the widespread (and still ongoing) theft by banks and other financial institutions of countless millions from the State and customers.

We’ve heard it used to explain away the child abuse holocaust and subsequent cover up perpetrated by the Catholic Church.

And now, Mr. Olsen wants us to believe that the widespread corruption within our police force is nothing more than a ‘systems failure’.

In common with all those who have used this obnoxious and insulting excuse in the past, Mr. Olsen is talking bullshit.

And although Mr. Olsen is only new to our corrupt culture it seems he has already become adept at defending those who operate within that corrupt culture.

Here’s a portion of the interview he gave on Morning Ireland in which he was clearly caught out but still managed, in the great Irish tradition of calling a spade a shovel, to wriggle out of an awkward situation.

Your report says it was mismanagement (not corruption) how did you arrive at that conclusion.

The Garda Inspectorate’s remit is not about investigating wrong doing. We did an inspection of the processes and we didn’t go into and it’s not our role to do investigations of individual incidents that may or may not have been more than mismanagement.

If it’s not your job to find out whether there was corruption or not, how can you say that there wasn’t corruption?

Well I can say it because that’s not what we had looked for.

You’re saying it’s not your job to look for it?

It was a systems failure.

If it wasn’t corruption, was it incompetence?

Well, I think it’s mismanagement, we’re very clear on mismanagement and you can take that wherever you want.

So lets’ just focus on one particular answer give my Mr. Ollsen to see if there’s any logic whatsoever to his reply

Question: If it’s not your job to find out whether there was corruption or not, how can you say that there wasn’t corruption?

Answer: Well I can say it because that’s not what we had looked for.

No, not a shred of logic to that answer; does not make sense in any manner or form. So it seems that Mr. Olsen has cottoned on to another great Irish tradition – whatever you say, say nothing and, of course, that’s exactly what Mr. Olen was saying – nothing.

And when somebody like Mr. Olsen says nothing he is, effectively, supporting his boss the Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan.

And in supporting these men, who clearly have many questions to answer, Mr. Olsen is in danger of placing himself and his office in the same place as every other so-called regulatory/advisory agency in this country – on the side of the system rather than the side of objective analysis.

Mr. Olsen’s loyalty to his boss was confirmed at the end of the interview when he was asked did he think the whistleblowers were vindicated.

He refused to give a straight answer. Now let’s be clear here, there is absolutely no problem with Mr. Olsen simply expressing what is a clear fact, what every reasonable person believes – that these brave whistleblowers are indeed vindicated men.

The fact that he refused to give a straight answer suggests that Mr. Olsen is reluctant to cause any offence to his boss, the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.

By refusing to give a straight answer it seems that Mr. Olsen is faithful to another great Irish tradition – loyalty to the boss, to the system, above all else.

Mr. Olsen is new to his job, he’s new to this country but Irish citizens should not rest easy in their minds that he is loyal to their interests.

His use of the discredited ‘systems failure’ excuse and his loyalty to his boss make him, at the very least, suspect.

Copy to:

Robert Olsen
Alan Shatter
Martin Callinan

It doesn't matter who's in power when the entire body politic is corrupt

The following quotes are taken from an Oireachtas debate on October 22 2008.

The current Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, is strongly criticising the then Minister for Justice, Dermot, Ahern, after the publication of the Morris Tribunal which dealt with corruption in the Gardai.

The point to note is that when a body politic is corrupt, as ours is, it doesn’t matter who’s in power when corruption is uncovered.

The sitting minister simply waffles in defence of the corrupt system while his opposite number makes the obligatory noises about accountability and transparency.

When power changes the roles are simply reversed and the corrupt system remains firmly in place.

Everybody knows and obeys the golden rule – You may waffle all day about corruption but you must never, ever actually act on the matter as that would be damaging to the interests of all who prosper within the corrupt system.

Shatter’s comments are, effectively, comments about himself.

(My emphasis in the quotes)

My only conclusion is that the Minister is a political gurrier unfit to hold ministerial office.

The speech delivered by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in the House this morning and the attack by him on a Member of this House and a former Member was a disgrace.

To make that his main offering on the Morris report shows the level of political stupidity to which the Minister can descend.

I was the Fine Gael spokesperson on justice in the 12-month period leading in to the formation of the Morris tribunal… and formed my own view that there was a need for a public inquiry.

I emphasised on that occasion the importance of such an inquiry… in the public interest in order to restore confidence in the force.

I said at the time that these matters should not have been left festering.

On that occasion, the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform kicked essentially to touch.

I then made the point in this House that a banana republic would not deal with an issue as serious as this in such a manner.

In my view, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Dermot Ahern, is not only unfit to hold the office he holds, but he should resign.

(His) Arrogance is extraordinary.

Garda/State corruption: The facts

The Garda Inspectorate report has been published and already we’re witnessing the usual bullshit response particularly from politicians with a vested interest in defending our corrupt political/administrative system.

So for anybody out there who may be unsure of the facts surrounding this scandal here they are – without any bullshit:

Fact One: Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state. We see this fact constantly reiterated when the corrupt political/administrative regime works day and night to protect the interests of the corrupt.

Fact Two: The inspectors report confirms that there is widespread corruption within the Gardai. This fact has been publicly known since the Morris Tribunal.

Fact Three: No prosecutions were brought against any Gardai as a result of the Morris Tribunal.

Fact Four: No prosecutions will be brought against any Gardai as a result of the current spate of corruption.

Fact Five: The then Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, failed to introduce effective measures to eliminate Gardai corruption. This failure can only be because McDowell is an incompetent or the legislation was deliberately formulated to give the impression of accountability and transparency while allowing the widespread corruption to continue. I suspect the latter is the case.

Fact Six: The events in the run-up to the establishment of the Morris Tribunal are practically identical to the events in the run-up to the current spate of corruption.

That is:

Denial – secrecy – blame the whistleblowers – secrecy – attack those calling for an investigation – secrecy – refuse to apologise when the truth outs – secrecy – pretend to act as a result of the investigation – secrecy – allow the corrupt system to remain in place in order to protect the interests of those who benefit.

Fact Seven: Political/administrative corruption lies at the heart of all our problems. Corruption is so ingrained, so much a part of our culture that it’s not even recognised as a problem.

The disease of corruption will continue to inflict horrendous damage on Ireland and its people until such time as it is acknowledged and acted upon as the core reason for our failure as a state.