Are the wheels of justice creaking into action?

By Anthony Sheridan

On September 23 last I submitted a complaint to Cobh Gardai regarding the alleged criminal leaking of information at Cabinet table discussions.  Over the years I have submitted a number of similar complaints regarding alleged political corruption. 

I do not submit these complaints with the expectation that those suspected of corruption/criminality will face charges or even be investigated.   

Irish citizens will be painfully aware that when it comes to political corruption the wheels of justice remain rusted to the tracks.

The principal reason for submitting the complaints is to substantiate my belief that we live in a dysfunctional democracy where the rich and powerful are allowed to operate outside the law.

I was therefore surprised and delighted to get a telephone call from Cobh Gardai requesting my presence in the station to make a statement regarding the complaint. 

It would appear that somebody in Garda Headquarters has decided that the matter warrants investigation.  

Could it be that those rusty wheels are beginning to move?

Middle class revolution

By Anthony Sheridan

You’re talking absolute bullshit, journalist Larissa Nolan told economist Dan O’Brien on RTEs Brendan O’Connor Show

The issue was housing and O’Brien was telling the nation that house prices and rents were declining and that people should stop catastrophising everything. 

It’s astonishing that O’Brien, the chief economist with the Institute of International & European Affairs, is so ignorant of the extent and causes of the housing crisis. 

Ms. Nolan also admitted that she didn’t fully understand the underlying reasons but during the discussion she uttered two words that come into common use when a political system becomes hopelessly corrupt – treason and revolution.

Government policy on housing is tantamount to treason

Why treason, O’Connor asked in surprise?

Her reply [paraphrased]: 

Because the government has betrayed the people by ignoring their needs in favour of facilitating profit for private landlords.

She’s not the only person to hold this opinion.  Here’s Dr. Rory Hearne, Assistant Professor of Social Policy at Maynooth University:

Rising rents is Government policy, and has been since 2011, in order to attract the vulture and real estate investor funds and raise property values to benefit banks.

Ms. Nolan outlined her personal position in stark terms:

I’m in the professions, I work 52 weeks of the year and I am nowhere near to being able to buy a one bedroom apartment for me and my son, and that is wrong.  There will be a revolution on this soon if it isn’t fixed.

O’Brien, in a further demonstration of his ignorance, asked Ms. Nolan:

Why would any government who wants to win votes have a policy to make housing more expensive?

Nolan admitted she didn’t know but then, unwittingly, provided the answer:

They wanted the rents to go higher and it is now out of control and everybody’s being affected.  It didn’t matter so much when it was a certain class being affected, that’s not my view but I notice that socially…and now that it’s moving up the ladder, it’s affecting middle class people with good wages.

As Ms. Nolan says, things have got out of control.  The disease of corruption has debased the political system to such an extent that there is now only one policy – ensure that house prices and rents continue to soar in order to feed the greed of the rich few.  That policy, long inflicted on the poor, is now beginning to destroy the wealth of the middle class.

All corrupt regimes exploit and abuse the powerless poor at the bottom of the pile principally by denying basic rights and inflicting oppressive taxes. 

European aristocracies engaged in this despotism for centuries until an emerging merchant/middle class found it necessary to begin cutting off heads in order to gain power and respect.

Ms. Nolan describes herself as being ‘in the professions’.  In other words, she [accurately] sees herself as middle class.  And it is the middle class that invariably leads the people in destroying corrupt political regimes. 

When the middle class begin to [correctly] describe government as treasonous and suggest revolution as a possibility then a bout of head rolling cannot be far away.

Copy to;

Larissa Nolan

Dan O’Brien

Allegations of political criminality reported to An Garda Siochana

Politician holding a mask in front of his face speaking to a large crowd of people. (Used clipping mask)

By Anthony Sheridan

The political administration of Ireland is corrupt.  There’s an endless list of examples of such corruption stretching down through the decades but there is no need to delve into the past to make the point. 

We only have to note that serious criminality occurs on an ongoing basis at the very heart of our democracy.  A small group of just 18 citizens [ministers] wields executive power on behalf of the people.  Under the Constitution it is a criminal offence for any of these ministers to breach Cabinet confidentiality.

We know this law has been broken in the case of the proposed appointment of Catherine Zappone.  We also know that no member of the Cabinet has acted to protect the integrity of the Constitution by bringing the minister[s] involved to justice.

With this in mind I have submitted the following report to An Garda Siochana [Cobh] requesting that they investigate the alleged crime.

For attention of:

An Garda Siochana – Cobh

22 September 2021

I wish to report a number of allegations concerning breaches of Cabinet confidentiality as laid down in Article 28.4 of the Constitution.

First allegation:

That a minister in the current Cabinet illegally leaked information to a media source concerning the Katherine Zappone appointment.

I submit the following information in support of this allegation.

On September 1 2021 the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe was interviewed by RTE presenter Claire Byrne. It is clear from Minister Donohoe’s comments that he is aware of the allegations of criminal activity within the Cabinet. 

Claire Byrne:  ”One of your party colleagues leaked the news about the Katherine Zappone appointment while the Cabinet meeting was still in session. Do you understand what the problem is?”

Minister Donohoe:  ”Of course I understand what the issue is here. I know there are allegations and the case is being made that material did emit from Cabinet when decisions were being made.”

A number of other ministers were also interviewed by media indicating that they are aware of the criminal allegations, including: Taoiseach Michael Martin, Minister Catherine Martin….and others.

The Irish Examiner newspaper is a possible link to the ministerial leak as evidenced by a comment in that newspaper by the paper’s political editor, Daniel McConnell on September 2:

”As Cabinet was still ongoing, news of the appointment was reported online by the Irish Examiner.”

Second allegation:

Fine Gael senator Regina Doherty has accused former minister Shane Ross of breaching Cabinet confidentiality.

I submit the following information in support of this allegation:

Report in Irish Examiner, 29 Oct 2020

Former Minister for Social Protection, now Senator, Regina Doherty demanded action to be taken against Mr Ross for the book [by Mr. Ross] which she says breaches Cabinet confidentiality.

In the same report Mr. Ross appears to confirm that breaches of Cabinet confidentiality were common:

You might as well have an RTÉ camera in the room the way information was being live tweeted to journalists.

Report in the Irish Independent, 28 Oct 2020 concerning the same allegation.

Mr. Ross admitted he did not seek a High Court ruling to reveal details of Cabinet meetings as required under the Constitution.  He justified his action with the following comment:

I don’t expect there will be any prosecutions, either, as the precedent is there for them having done this.

Mr. Ross further revealed that leaks were a big issue when he served as minister and revealed an incident concerning Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.

The result of that was one day Simon Coveney said,

This item we are now discussing, okay, it is out on RTÉ already what is being said at this cabinet meeting.’’

Relevant section of the Constitution:

Inserted a new subsection in Article 28.4:

3º The confidentiality of discussions at meetings of the Government shall be respected in all circumstances save only where the High Court determines that disclosure should be made in respect of a particular matter-

i. in the interests of the administration of justice by a Court, or

ii. by virtue of an overriding public interest, pursuant to an application in that behalf by a tribunal appointed by the Government or a Minister of the Government on the authority of the Houses of the Oireachtas to inquire into a matter stated by them to be of public importance.

I request that this matter be investigated as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

Hard copy to:

Garda Commissioner

Clerk of the Dail

Minister for Justice

Minister Catherine Martin: Not fit to serve

By Anthony Sheridan

Green Party TD Catherine Martin is unfit to represent the people of Ireland.  On Thursday 2 September she cashed in her political integrity when RTEs Claire Byrne asked her how she felt about the abuse of Cabinet confidentiality.

I think that’s an internal matter for Fine Gael. 

This is a lie because Ms. Martin knows that breaching Cabinet confidentiality is a criminal act and that she, as a cabinet minister, is not only obliged to acknowledge the crime but to act on that knowledge.

By failing to act Ms. Martin has tainted the seal of office bestowed on her by the people of Ireland and thrown in her lot with the cabal of political shysters who have inflicted so much damage on Ireland over the decades.

Whenever an individual or party decides to enter government in Ireland they must make a choice.  Challenge and expose the rot eating away at the core of the state or abandon all principles and collaborate with those who have no regard for democracy or the interests of the country. 

Clearly, Ms Martin has chosen the latter.  It’s likely that her motives are based on the genuine but naïve belief that the end justifies the means. That the implementation of her party’s political agenda is worth the abandonment of her political principles – if so, she is seriously wrong in that belief. 

Ireland is not a normal democratic state.  The disease of political corruption has polluted the administration of the state to such an extent that all who associate themselves with the diseased become diseased themselves. 

This disease must first be eradicated before our country has any hope of becoming a healthy democracy.  For that to happen good people must deploy the weapons of courage and principle against the political shysters.

Ms. Martin’s failure to do so will see the people remove her and her party from power at the first opportunity.

Copy to Catherine Martin

Relevant section of interview with Minister Martin.

Claire Byrne: How do you feel about Cabinet confidentiality being abused?

Catherine Martin: I think that’s an internal matter for Fine Gael.

Byrne: But it’s not just a matter for one party, it’s a very serious matter for government.

Martin: And that’s why I’m saying I’m not happy with the process. I hope lessons are learned and transparency is put in place.

Byrne: But when it comes to the leak, that’s a criminal offence?

Martin: That’s an issue for, you know, that is absolutely unacceptable that leaks would happen like that but it’s up to that individual…interrupted.

Byrne: No, it’s not, it’s a really serious matter for government, it’s a really serious matter for the entire cabinet and a really serious matter for you as a member of that cabinet.

Martin: It is and it’s a really unnecessary distraction from… blah, blah, blah…

Copy to:

Catherine Martin

Youth power – Don’t ask – Take

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner journalist Aoife Moore is not happy.  The young people of Ireland are suffering because they don’t have a seat at the table [of power] she thundered in a recent article.

Focusing mainly on the youth wings of political parties Moore tells us the young are bullied, harassed, their complaints go unanswered, they’re not viewed as important, all of which is driving them away from politics.

Nothing will change, she asserts, until the grown-ups give the young a seat at the table of power.

This bizarre idea that young adults are children waiting for the ‘grown-ups’ to hand them power portrays a serious lack of understanding about the role young people play in politics.

Instead of whinging about being ignored by those at the table of power the young should be upending that table and forcibly taking their rightful place in the governance of the country.

Young people should be organised and focused in challenging the ‘grown-ups’, they should give no quarter in their determination to gain power and implement their policies.

The regular injection of political radicalism by the young is one of the mainstays of a healthy democracy.

Sadly, such political radicalism has never taken root in Ireland and forced emigration is the principal reason.  The primitive economic strategy of boom and bust has always suited the ruling establishment.  In boom times friends are looked after, when bust inevitably follows ordinary citizens are made to pay and forced emigration is just one of the costs.

Banishing young people to the four corners of the world removes political radicalism from the body politic thus eliminating any threat to the stale but very comfortable political establishment. 

This is why successive Irish governments, unlike most other governments in the world, have staunchly refused to grant a vote to emigrants. Out of sight, out of mind and forever out of power has always been the self-interested strategy of the ruling political class when it comes to young people.

Those who remain behind are usually politically apathetic or become members of youth wings of the establishment parties.  Within these ultra-conservative entities the young morph into clones of their ‘grown-ups’. They are quickly indoctrinated into the ways of political gombeenism which includes stamping out any sign of political radicalism – and so, the rotten establishment wheel continues to spin.

But change is coming as we’ve seen from recent elections but it’s not coming from the lost youth in the establishment parties that Ms Moore is so concerned about.  It’s coming from outside the ruling political class, from an increasingly radicalised electorate determined to create a decent country not just for the young but for all citizens.

Copy to:

Aoife Moore

When the establishment betrays the people’s trust

By Anthony Sheridan

The political establishment that has [mis]ruled Ireland since independence is on the verge of extinction.

For clarity, here’s a good definition of the term ‘establishment’.

The ruling class or authority group in a society; especially, an entrenched authority dedicated to preserving the status quo.

An establishment’s greatest resource is the people over whom it exercises power.  Its success depends on the people’s willingness to tolerate its behaviour.

When an establishment betrays the people’s trust one of two things will happen.  The ruling elite will attempt to preserve its power by becoming ever more oppressive, even to the point of violence, or the people will bring it down and replace it with a new establishment that will return the balance between rulers and the ruled.

For example, abuse of power and an abject failure to respond to the needs of ordinary people trigged the French revolution in 1789.  The revolution marked the beginning of the end of the divine right of kings to rule and the eventual emergence of the middle class political establishment we see in France today.

In addition to getting rid of corrupt regimes revolutions also serve to enlighten citizens to the fact that it is they, and not the ruling elite, who are the rightful owners of political power. They become aware that power flows from the bottom up, that those at the top exercise power solely on sufferance from the people. This sense of people power is as strong in France today as it was in 1789. 

Unfortunately, the opposite is the case in Ireland. This is because there has never been a political revolution in our country and as a consequence there has never been a change in the mindset that sees power as belonging to the powerful. 

We had a rebellion in 1916 that ultimately persuaded the British establishment, who were distracted by the brutality of WWI, that a degree of independence for Ireland within the Commonwealth was better than more war and rising criticism from the international community.

This resulted in the relatively smooth replacement of an oppressive, self-serving colonial establishment with an equally oppressive, self-serving home-grown version. 

This home-grown establishment immediately set about creating a political regime that ensured the subservient mindset instilled in the population over centuries of colonialism lived on as a powerful means of political manipulation.

They created a system of gombeen clientelism where crumbs were handed out in payment for votes.  Citizens were led to believe that the natural order of power in a democracy was a top down system, where the ruling establishment knew best.  

This is why, unlike functional democracies, Ireland never benefitted from the healthy tension between a Left/Right political system.  There was never any real political opposition in our parliament. We never witnessed political parties seriously competing with each other to promote and implement their own political ideologies for the greater good of the country.

All we got was a political ruling elite, principally made up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, masquerading as separate political parties. They are, and always have been, one political class with one overriding ambition – to exploit the people and resources of Ireland for their own benefit.  The only competition they engaged in over the decades was in the Tweedledee Tweedledum race for government where the opportunities for self-enrichment are most plentiful.

As the political establishment became weaker in recent years smaller parties such as the Progressive Democrats, Labour and, currently the Greens were recruited to support the ruling political class.

The abandonment of most, if not all, of the ideals and policies of these smaller parties was the price demanded and received in exchange for admission to the exclusive ruling elite club.

The British left-wing journalist, Owen Jones, provides the best definition of this particular type of establishment:

The establishment represents an attempt on behalf of powerful groups to “manage” democracy, to make sure that it does not threaten their own interests.

But the century long manipulation of the people and contempt for democracy by this political regime is rapidly coming to an end.  Irish citizens are beginning to realise that it is they who are the rightful owners of power and not the ruling political establishment.

It is crystal clear from recent elections and polls that the people are rejecting the old regime and are demanding real change in how the country is governed. That this demand for change is being ignored not just by the political centre but also by mainstream media demonstrates just how out of touch the establishment is with this revolutionary redirection in Irish political history.

The consensus among the ruling regime is that housing, health and the economy are the reasons for their continuing loss of power, that if these problems are fixed they will survive – it is a vain hope.

While these problems are obviously of huge concern to the electorate they take second place to the demand for radical political change.  People have come to realise that the old regime must be abolished and replaced with a genuinely democratic system. This change of mindset in the electorate is not a temporary phenomenon, it’s permanent – the old corrupt regime is finished.

The dramatic and historic rise in support for Sinn Fein is the most visible sign of this new emerging political landscape.  But that party should take note.  If it fails to radically overhaul how the state is governed, if it fails to abolish the old establishment and create a genuinely democratic balance between rulers and the ruled then it too will be rejected by the power of the newly enlightened electorate.

Public Services Card: Some still forced to comply

By Anthony Sheridan

Two years ago I qualified for the Free Travel Pass but was denied the entitlement because I refused to accept the legitimacy of the Public Services Card.  The Data Protection Commissioner [DPC] has now ruled on the issue:

The Department does not have a legal basis for processing personal data when it’s in the case of a person who’s seeking to avail of a service with the public sector body other than the department itself.

But…there’s always a ‘but’, the DPC has also ruled that:

The legislation only allows the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to insist on its use for its own services.

They [the ID cards] can continue to be used in the context of availing of free travel or availing of benefits that a person is claiming from the department.

So, not withstanding further clarifications, my current understanding is:

All citizens outside the remit of the Department of Social Welfare now have the option of using the card as identification if they so choose.

Those citizens within the remit of the Department of Social Welfare are not granted the right of choice, they must accept this illegal and very dangerous card if they want to receive their entitlements.

I will not be accepting this card until I am granted the same rights as all other citizens.

Presumption of innocence does not universally apply in Ireland

By Anthony Sheridan

During a discussion on Today with Sean O’Rourke surrounding the controversial bail granted to a taxi driver accused of sexual assault Senior Counsel and lecturer in Law at UCD Paul Anthony McDermott was crystal clear:

We have the concept of bail because of the presumption of innocence. Under our system nobody can decide you have committed a crime other than the jury. So, not the media, not the Gardai, not anyone.  It is only a jury. 

So we take the view that unless and until twelve members of the public decide you have committed a crime the system works on the basis that you didn’t commit it. 

That is regarded as a constitutional right but even if we amended the constitution in the morning the European Convention on Human Rights to which Ireland is a party also requires a presumption of innocence.

I’m sure Mr. McDermott will be greatly surprised to learn that his statement is incorrect.

The Irish state does not universally extend the presumption of innocence to its citizens.

There is one very specific crime that the State considers to be so heinous that those found guilty are not just liable to a prison sentence of ten years or a €300,000 fine but are also deprived of the presumption of innocence principle.

That crime is the selling of even one Mass card without the written permission of a Catholic bishop.

There are many who will find it difficult to believe that such a law could exist in a modern democratic republic; so here it is in black and white.

Charities Act 2009

99: [1] A person who sells a Mass card other than pursuant to an arrangement with a recognised person shall be guilty of an offence.

[2] In proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities, that the sale of the Mass card to which the alleged offence relates was not done pursuant to an arrangement with a recognised person.

I am not a legal person so I am open to challenge on my interpretation of this law; which is:

A person who sells a Mass card without the permission of a Catholic bishop will be presumed guilty until he/she can prove the contrary.

The crux of the presumption of innocence principle is very straighforward:

It is not for the accused to establish his/her innocence. It is for the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused.

Article 99 [1] turns this principle on its head.

Therefore; in Ireland:

The presumption of innocence that is implicit in Article 31.1 of the Irish Constitution does not apply to those accused of this crime.

The presumption of innocence under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights does not apply to those accused of this crime.

The presumption of innocence under Article 11 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not apply to those accused of this crime.

To my knowledge nobody from the legal profession has challenged this draconian law so it is reasonable to assume that, for that profession, there is no difficulty.

It is, however, reasonable to expect members of the legal profession such as Mr. McDermott to include this exemption to the presumption of innocence principle when delivering an opinion on the issue.

Copy to:

Mr. McDermott

Today with Sean O’Rourke

Alison O’Connor and professional deceit

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Even for a Fine Gael journalist Alison O’Connor’s portrayal of Brian Hayes is way over the top. Hayes, who’s abandoning politics for a more lucrative career in the financial services industry, is portrayed as a virtual Irish Nelson Mandela.

O’Conner writes of the terrible conditions Irish politicians such as Hayes have to endure in order to serve the people. Having to stand for election, having to put your face on a poster, having to survive on €100,000 plus generous expenses – my goodness, such horrors.

But like all establishment journalists O’Conner reveals her bias in the detail. She tells us that Hayes’ greatest talent lay in making the government look good.

I couldn’t understand at the time how the party, and then taoiseach Enda Kenny, felt he would be better off in the European Parliament than at home doing a fine job of making the government look good, despite the slashing and burning that was ongoing.

Note – not fighting for the health and wealth of the people, not badgering his party leader to do what was right for the victims of political and financial corruption, not insisting that corrupt bankers be brought to justice.

No, Hayes’ greatest talent, according to O’Connor, was his amazing ability to ‘make the government look good’ as it destroyed the lives, ambitions and wealth of millions of Irish citizens. In other words, Hayes was a brilliant political liar and propagandist.

And then there’s the accidental admission that Hayes is leaving politics so that he can accumulate even more money.

A politician of Brian Hayes’ experience and profile might stand to earn considerably more in the private sector.

So it’s not about selfishly serving people and country, it’s about who pays the most. And with Hayes’ many connections in politics, government and banking, his new career in the Irish Banking and Payments Federation is sure to make him a very wealthy man.

But there’s always a nagging problem for establishment journalists like O’Conner – how to explain the awkward logical gap between the catastrophic financial, psychological and social damage inflicted on the Irish people over recent decades and the claim that the political system responsible for the suffering is populated by people of high principles and integrity such as Hayes.

The answer – ignore the brutal reality and resort to professional deceit.

And the current choice of deceit is – blame social media.

Quoting a senior Fine Gael source O’Connor writes:

It is proving exceptionally difficult to get them [candidates] to stand because they see the abuse politicians get on social media and feel that a political career just isn’t worth that.

I’ll finish with this thought: Irish citizens will never see the extermination of the disease of political corruption for so long as establishment journalists like O’Connor are willing to loyally defend the rotten system.

Copy to:

Alison O’Connor

Kathy Sheridan: Afraid to speak truth to power?

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

For ordinary Irish citizens, corruption is a dark, malignant everyday reality that causes endless loss and suffering. The political system, the financial sector, planning, property, you name it, corruption is rampant and routine among the top tiers of Irish society. The disease does immeasurable damage to the wealth, health and aspirations of ordinary people.

But in the warm, comfortable bubble where the establishment media happily coexist with the powerful and the corrupt, there is no such thing as corruption. Instead, there is a mysterious entity universally referred to as ‘culture’.

So, for example, there’s no corruption in our police force, our banks or our political system, just this inexplicable abstraction called ‘culture’.

And, apparently, all that’s needed to bring a halt to the massive damage caused by this mysterious ‘culture’ is the application of another magic word – ‘reform’.

So, basically, that’s all establishment journalists write or talk about, culture and reform and it’s off to the Dail bar for drinks – happy days.

But despite the availability of these magic, truth avoiding words, it can still be difficult for establishment journalists to write about corruption without actually using the dreaded ‘C’ word.

Take for example a recent article by Irish Times journalist Kathy Sheridan in which she reflects on the catastrophic economic crash of 2008 which occurred as a direct result of corruption in the political and financial sectors.

The corruption word does not, of course, make an appearance but, to her credit, the truth-avoiding ‘culture’ word only appears in the very last paragraph.

Instead, Ms. Sheridan falls back on another strategy commonly employed by those who are afraid of speaking truth to power. While ostensibly analysing the Irish economic catastrophe she focuses the bulk of her analysis on events in another country thus sparing the blushes of those who wield power in Ireland.

At the beginning of her article she accepts that the people are angry and have lost trust in the system. The bulk of the article is then filled with a long, meandering story about some American financial wizard before ending with a sermonising quote that’s probably meant, somehow, to bring  comfort to the countless victims of the rampant corruption here in Ireland.

It’s about trust, yes. It’s about culture, [oh, there’s that word] behaviour and accountability. But like almost everything that makes life bearable, it’s also about common decency.

Ah yes, common decency. Now if only establishment journalists like Ms Sheridan could bring themselves to speak truth to power, to actually use the ‘corruption’ word, to name those who peddle the disease of corruption to enrich themselves while destroying the lives of so many.

Then, I’m sure, life would be much more bearable for all of us.

Copy to:

Kathy Sheridan