When the war is over nothing will have changed

In March 2009 I wrote the following about Enda Kenny’s leadership.

One of the greatest mysteries of Irish political life is how Enda Kenny is still leader of Fine Gael.

His performance in poll after poll is pathetic and the reason is obvious, he’s a nice man but a completely ineffective politician.

The last thing Ireland needs at this time is a ‘nice man’. What’s needed is a courageous, visionary, kick-assing son of a bitch with one focus – the best interests of the Irish people.

In the end it doesn’t matter who wins this latest Fine Gael war because neither Kenny nor Bruton has what it takes to lead Ireland.

Cowen is dead man walking so that just leaves Gilmore who will, most likely, enter a coalition with FG after the next election.

So will Gilmore do what’s necessary to save Ireland – highly unlikely?

A new government may make some changes perhaps even significant reform but the corrupt system itself will remain intact.

We will see the same parties, the same politicians, the same civil servants operating the same corrupt system that benefits a minority but is extremely damaging to the Irish people and the country as a whole.

Because you’re the injured party…

A current advertisement warning against insurance fraud goes as follows:

Joe had an accident but when he exaggerated his injuries to get more compensation he put his hand in your pocket and took your money.

Every day in Ireland false and exaggerated insurance claims are driving your premiums up.

Protect yourself, report suspect claims; because you’re the injured party.

A similar advertisement can equally serve as a warning against alleged fraud by politicians:

Politician X receives unvouched expenses but when he exaggerated his claims to enrich himself he put his hand into your pocket and took your money.

Everyday in Ireland false and exaggerated claims by politicians are driving up already high levels of cynicism and contempt for the State.

Protect yourself; throw these people out of public office, because you’re the injured party.

Expenses scandal confirms political system is still rotten to the core

We are constantly told by politicians that things are different now. We’re told that the (corrupt) political system has been reformed, that the system is now transparent and accountable.

The ongoing expenses scandal gives the lie to all such assertions.

There’s not even a need to make an argument on the matter, the words of the politicians themselves are sufficient to confirm that the system is still rotten to the core.

Michael D Higgins: (Labour TD)

I think it’s important that we acknowledge the new system is there and hope that people will realise that people like Ivor Callely are exceptional and allow the rest of us to address the really serious issues.

I would worry about my own sanity if I regarded it as politically important.

I do insist that presenting this exotic behaviour as anything typical would be quite irresponsible.

Clearly, Higgins does not think that alleged fraud by an Irish politician is a serious issue or politically important.

This attitude displays a disturbing ignorance of reality.

All corruption in Ireland ultimately originates from the corruption of the political system but people like Higgins have yet to even notice that fact never mind actually act against the disease.

He’s happy to wallow in ignorance and denial while blaming the media for everything.

Dr. John Doyle (DCU)

Irish politicians have very few supports in staff and other facilities compared to other EU parliaments…the broader picture is that Irish politicians are not on the gravy train compared to the Europeans and North Americans.

Lise Hand (Columnist with Irish Independent) when asked to respond to Doyle’s comments.

Just picking my jaw up off the floor here.

Mary O’Rourke (Fianna Fail TD)

Apparently he (Callely) is hunting for a get out clause. I think it’s all very nauseating and awfully bad for the body politic and it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

This is the politician who believed Bertie Ahern’s lies were quite reasonable explanations and was/is a great admirer of the criminal Haughey.

After Haughey died O’Rourke described his long and destructive record of criminality as ‘a few bumps on the road.’

Mary Hanafin (Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism)

The answers that have come forward to date are not very clear. Senator Callely has to explain the situation to the Senate Committee.

There are certainly serious questions being asked and I believe he should be absolutely up front and clear about it.

Answers not very clear? Callely should be up front and clear. Is this the same politician who regularly stated, without embarrassment, that she believed every convoluted word from the mouth of the chancer Bertie Ahern?

The reason for this rank hypocrisy from O’Rourke and Hanafin is simple. Callely is not important; in fact he’s not even liked within Fianna Fail. He’s not a Fianna Fail mafia don so he can be discarded,

Senator Regan (Fine Gael)

I think this is an important issue, an issue of fraud by a member of this house.

Regan was told to withdraw the remark and did so immediately. Fraud by an Irish politician – the very idea?

Senator Dearey (Green Party)

Dearey was asked what should happen next (regarding Callely)

Well, you’ll appreciate I’m the newest kid on the block in there. I was appointed in the last couple of days in February so the intricacies of Oireachtas procedures are not something I would claim to be an expert on yet.

So, this politician needs to become an expert on the intricacies of Oireachtas procedures before he can give an opinion on the difference between right and wrong.

Senator Mullen (Independent) (From Galway but lives in Dublin)

On being asked what advice he received from a fellow politician in relation to claiming expenses when he first entered the Senate in 2007.

You could claim your expenses from Ahascragh (Galway) and if you’re here long enough you’ll have a house out of it.

Senator Mullen’s response to this advice:

We all deal in our own way with bad suggestions like that. You don’t necessarily give the person a lecture on ethics and propriety on the spot.

Senator Mullen is a deeply conservative Catholic who constantly lecturers Irish citizens on ethical matters.

It would appear that ethics in politics, if that’s not an oxymoron, do not feature in this Senator’s sense of morality.

Senator Butler (Fianna Fail)

Gets paid €20,000 more in travel expenses because he says he’s moved home to county Carlow although his home address is listed as Foxrock in Dublin.

Senator Doherty (Sinn Fein, Donegal)

Senator Doherty questions why Fine Gael TD Dinny McGinley, who lives in the same town land as Doherty, claims substantially more travel expenses.

McGinley claims that he was advised by security people back in the troubles to stay within the state. Fear that he might become a war casualty results in him having to take a longer route to and from Dublin.

Apparently, nobody has informed the TD that the war ended about 20 years ago.

Senator Regan (Fine Gael) who angrily accused Callely of fraud said that McGinley’s claims were a minor matter but Senator Doherty responded that they amounted to tens of thousands of Euros.

Senator Doherty believes that politicians are grossly overpaid on expenses.

It doesn’t cost me €466 to get from Donegal to Dublin. I have a car over a four year loan period. Repayments are €310 per month and I get €466 per return journey.

Senator Regan (Fine Gael) on being asked why politicians do not use public transport.

There’s an efficiency problem with that. Coming from Donegal might not work for a local TD who needs to get back to his constituency to attend particular events. Some have to go back mid week so there’s a practicality to it.

Bullshit is the only possible response to this view.

Senator O’Brolchain (Green Party)

Asked did he think people (politicians) were going by train and claiming mileage for it?

Well, I’m absolutely certain of it. I know of many instances of that, there are many instances where people are abusing the system.

Senator White (Fianna Fail) The following comments are a mixture of insult, paternalism and lies.

I’m very conscious listening to the discussion so far that the Irish public is listening out there very, very worried and probably incensed.

They’re not understanding some of the language that’s being used -vouched, unvouched etc and I think it’s very confusing.

First of all I would like to reassure the Irish people that a new regime has just being brought in. It’s a radical change over what has gone on forever as far as I’m concerned.

It is highly transparent system now and to be honest when I first came to the Senate in 2002 I was amazed at the lack of transparency and the lack of having to produce vouched receipts.

I am acutely conscious that it’s taxpayers’ money that I am being paid and accountable for every day.

But I would really like to reassure the people that we now have a highly transparent system.

This stupid politician, who, by the way wants to be President, didn’t say if she intends educating a ‘confused’ and ‘ignorant’ Irish public on the meaning of such ‘complex’ words like vouched and unvouched.

Senator Labhras O’Murchu (Fianna Fail) (Based in Tipperary)

When O’Murchu was asked about his expenses he said that when in Dublin he stays at Comthlas headquarters for about €50 per night. He claims that he uses the balance of money to pay for the rest of his daily expenses.

O’Murchu is Director General of Comthlas. Comthlas has refused to make any comment on the matter.

Jackie Healy-Rae (Fianna Fail independent)

Healy Rae admitted that up until recently he has been driving to the Dail from his Kerry constituency in the company of another Oireachtas member. He refused to name the other politician or whether both of them have claimed expenses.

When pressed on the matter he responded:

I know my own business and I won’t be declaring it to you or anybody else.

In other words this backwoodsman is telling the media and the people of Ireland to take a hike.

His ignorant and arrogant attitude is a clear indication that nothing has changed in this country and as I have said on many occasions nothing will ever change until these traitors are thrown out of public office and the entire corrupt system under which they enrich themselves is brought crashing down.

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Labour new Constitution proposal all at sea

Among many other pointless plans, the Labour Party has proposed setting up a convention to include experts and ordinary citizens to draw up a new Constitution fitted to modern times (RTE).

The party hopes it will be ready for the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 2016.

None of the political parties seem to be aware of just how bad the situation is in this country. We are a failed state going down fast and no amount of pious or grand plans is going to alter the nightmare.

A complete clear out of the old corrupt political system is what’s required and none of the present cabal of parties is capable of even acknowledging this reality never actually make it happen.

The new constitution idea is akin to the crew of Titanic proposing a six year analysis of safety at sea guidelines as the ship begins to slip beneath the waves.

Elaine Byrne and the thee political morons

Journalist and political scientist, Elaine Byrne, had her work cut out for her on last night’s Late Debate.

Lined up against her were three moronic dinosaurs representing the current corrupt political system that has destroyed this country.

George Lee’s resignation was the topic of discussion but the underlying discussion was about the Irish political system and the need for reform of that system.

Elaine Byrne was saying the system is broken and, of course, she’s absolutely right but the dinosaurs are so far stuck up their own political rectums that they hadn’t the slightest inkling of what she was trying to tell them.

The political dinosaurs were Senator Regan of Fine Gael, Niall Collins TD of Fianna Fail and Joe Costello TD of Labour.

But before I deal with these morons I want to first quote the daddy of all political morons, Eoghan Harris where he rants on about the need for politicians to serve a political apprenticeship before they get too opinionated.

When reading this quote keep in mind that Harris never did a days political work in his life, he was appointed to the Senate solely for his unassailable ability of licking Bertie Ahern’s rear end

What’s been really concerning and worrying in the last few days is the way the discourse on the George Lee issue has become a general rejection of the notion that there should be no apprenticeship of any sort in politics.

The apprenticeship in politics is a very important preparation in terms of character. Listening to people who are annoying you, boring you, actually cranky people is a test of character and stamina and teaches people how to deal with the public.

I mean at the end of the day politics is about the rule of states and peoples and it starts with human beings, it’s not an abstract issue. I know there’s a delusion among college students and certain sections of the younger sections of the pol course (?) not the old guard I notice.

There is this delusion that all you have to do is assemble people with first class honours degrees and put them into politics and the country will be a land flowing with milk and honey. That is not how the real world works.

Incredibly, this idiot, who pontificates from the benches of that useless organisation, Seanad Eireann, claims to know how the real world works.

This moronic talk about political apprenticeships reminds me of Martin Mansergh’s (a prime example of an intellectual fool) idiotic idea that newly elected TDs shouldn’t address or criticise a Taoiseach until they’ve served for a number of years.

Not surprisingly, the political morons on the panel all agreed with Harris.

Costello (Lab)

I agree with Harris in terms of apprenticeship. I thinks it’s very important that people have to spend some time there learning…Elaine is missing the point she says the system is broken. We all agree that reforms have to take place…it’s not the political system that has failed the country, it’s the government that has failed the country and the two are totally different.

Collins (FF)

There’s an attempted circling of the wagons by the establishment around all the political parties and anyone who’s associated with politics saying the system is wrong. The system needs tweeking in particular areas, nobody’s disputing that, we all accept we have to try and better ourselves but this notion that Dail TDs and senators shouldn’t be available to the public who elects us on any level I think it’s farcical and the people who are making those comments don’t understand the work of public representatives in this country as far as I’m concerned.

Collins went on to give an example of how Irish political representatives work which sounded like a sketch straight out of Ballymagash.

We had a debate in our parliamentary party this evening about the dog breeding legislation. I met three groups of my constituents who are involved in dog breeding, that’s all part of it, we get out and about.

Byrne was completely stumped.

Dog breeding, you talk to them about dog breeding?

At this stage I lost the run of the discussion after falling to the floor in convulsions of contemptible laughter.

Collins wasn’t laughing though, he was, again, attacking Byrne because she’s an academic, what would her type know about the plain people of Ireland?

But Byrne is more tuned into the brutal reality of Irish politics than any of these morons.

It’s about politics, it’s about Ireland. We should have citizen assemblies where the citizens take ownership of the reform process where people can go into a room and say what needs reform.

I agree completely but would go much further. These political dinosaurs and all their fellow representatives from all parties have lost their right to govern or represent the people of Ireland.

The system they represent and defend so strongly is corrupt and beyond redemption, beyond reform.

We should indeed have citizen assemblies, the people should indeed take ownership, not of the reform process, but of the political system itself. The first step in taking that ownership is to destroy the current rotten system.

Gilmore – Impossible to be principled within a corrupt system

The only way to understand political events in Ireland is to be aware that the entire system is intrinsically corrupt. Once that understanding is in place everything falls into place, once that fact is understood and accepted, puzzlement disappears. The O’Donoghue scandal is a case in point.

O’Donoghue was doing what practically every politician has been doing for decades – working a system set up by politicians for the benefit of politicians and faithfully operated by loyal civil servants. The corrupt expenses system is part of the corrupt political system and the corrupt political system is part of a national corruption that has diseased every level of Irish society.

That’s why opposition politicians ignored the O’Donoghue scandal for so long; they’re part of the system. When the pressure became too much one of them, Eamon Gilmore, broke ranks in an attempt to distance himself and his party from the fallout and, at the same time, earn some brownie points.

Only the politically ignorant will be fooled by Gilmore’s stunt. If he genuinely had the interests of citizens at heart he would have acted to end the expenses scam years ago. Instead, he and his party colleagues work the system with the same gusto as most other political parties.

For so long as everyone operating the corrupt system plays by the rules there’s no problem. But if an honest politician appears on the scene (to date, this has never happened) or a crisis triggers a panic as happened in this case then things begin to fall apart.

This was clear on Today with Pat Kenny (Wed) when Conor Lenihan, in an attempt to hang Eamon Gilmore, effectively admitted that the system is rotten.

Lenihan put an end to Gilmore’s high sounding (fake) words by simply asking him why Pat Rabbitte, Labour’s representative on the Oireachtas Commission, never objected to O’Donoghue’s expenses or the appointment of a political advisor to the Ceann Comhairle.

Gilmore spluttered and waffled but was unable to provide an explanation.

When politicians, who happily and without scruples operate all their working lives within a corrupt system, suddenly become principled, their hypocrisy is inevitably going to be exposed by their former co-conspirators.

Kenny outflanked by the real leader of the Opposition

Once again Enda Kenny has been outflanked by Eamon Gilmore.

From a purely political point of view Gilmore’s reading of the situation and his timing were perfect.

Kenny was forced to fall in behind the Labour leader and his demand that O’Donoghue resign immediately instead of next week is a pathetic attempt to appear strong and decisive.

Fine Gael backbenchers should start sharpening their knives.

Ruling (mafia) families

There are 166 TDs in Dail Eireann.

Shockingly, over 25% (42) of them are direct relatives of former or current TDs. According to a Drivetime report during the week nothing like this exists in any other Western democracy. Here’s some further breakdown.

A massive 28 of the 42 are Fianna Fail TDs followed by Fine Gael with 12 and 2 from Labour.

24 are sons or daughters of TDs – 15 Fianna Fail, 8 Fine Gael and 1 Labour.

There are three TDs in the Fianna Fail Kitt family as was their father before them.

Fianna Fail TD, Mary O’Rourke is the daughter of a TD and sits in the Dail with her brother Brian Lenihan and two nephews Brian and Conor.

The three most senior people in government, Brian Cowen, Mary Coughlin and Brian Lenihan all inherited their seats from their father.

And people wonder why Ireland is run like a mafia.

Sunshine for the politicians; shade for the peasants

Prof. Drumm must be sick, sick that he accepted the job as chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Sick that he allowed himself to be duped into taking the job of reforming a heath system that has become an uncontrollable monster. Sick to witness the very people responsible for creating that monster; turn on him like a pack of vicious wolves.

For decades, Irish politicians were in charge of the health service and for decades they did what Irish politicians do best, used it as a means of buying votes. It was ‘jobs for the boys’ and to hell with the consequences.

There was a time when there were only two or three health boards but because every politician wanted a board in his area this number mushroomed into eleven. Imagine, eleven health boards to organise health facilities for about three million people.

This meant that there was eleven separate, grotesquely overstaffed, administrations choking the system to death and literally putting lives in danger. When the situation began to get out of control it was decided to abolish all eleven boards and replace them with a single authority that would bring reform, efficiency and, most importantly, a good health service to the Irish people.

To achieve this laudable aim job cuts would have to be made, work practices would have to change; civil servants would have to move, efficiencies would have to be made, some jobs would even have to be lost. In a nutshell, politicians would have to show courageous leadership and civil servants would have to cooperate.

This, of course, never happened. Instead, the cowardly politicians pretended to abolish the boards, it was all done – on paper. Not a single civil servant lost his job, nobody moved, there were no rationalisations or efficiencies. Everybody was still entitled to guaranteed promotions, guaranteed wage rises, guaranteed benchmarking – for life.

In effect, all that happened was the creation of a new twelfth health board. This was the mother of all health boards, it was going to supervise the inefficiencies and incompetence of all the other boards and for that it required and got a super bloated layer of administration staff.

From that moment, the grotesque monster was rampaging out of control and Irish citizens began to suffer even more, and at times, die. But the cowardly politicians had covered themselves well. In a by now common strategy, the HSE and in particular its chief executive was used as a buffer to distance cowardly politicians from the mess they had created. Mary Harney, the alleged Minister for Health, frequently suggests that the latest scandal is a matter for the HSE, nothing to do with her.

It must have been sickening for Prof. Drumm to listen to the wolf pack as they set about their work of abdicating responsibility in our national parliament yesterday; it was certainly vomit inducing for me. Here’s a flavour of what the cowardly incompetents had to say: (Full report on Drivetime, 3rd item)

Labour TD, Joan Burton spoke about the lack of trust that the public and politicians had in the HSE, about how impossible it was for politicians to get answers. No mention of political culpability.

Fianna Fail TD, Mary O’Rourke who has been in politics for decades, who has held several senior positions in government, who is a member of the party that has held power for more years than any other party, who, by dint of her cowardice, is one of the principal architects of the present mess, was ruthless in her condemnation of the HSE and in particular Prof. Drumm.

She related how she had recently left a boring session in the Dail to take a walk down to Brown Thomas. On the way she met eleven women all with horror stories about friends and relations affected by cancer.

Think about that, an Irish politician leaves our national parliament suffering from boredom, meets several distressed citizens and is incapable of making a connection between the two events. She then demonstrates a complete lack of intelligence by using the event to bolster her attack on Prof. Drumm as if it was he, rather than her that was responsible for their distress.

Fine Gael TD, John O’Mahony from Mayo spoke with the typical narrow minded parochialism, the hypocritical ‘but’ factor that Olivia O’Leary (Drivetime) spoke about. “I’m all in favour of centres of excellence” ‘but’ my constituency should keep its facilities.

Labour TD, Liz McManus spoke of the need for the establishment of a patient’s safety authority. Yet another layer of bureaucracy staffed by self serving unaccountable civil servants.

Fianna Fail TD, Margaret Conlon, amazingly, spoke the truth with clarity. “We cannot talk out of both sides of our mouths; we need to ensure that our resources are not spread too widely and too thinly because if this is the case, everyone loses.” Cleary, Ms. Conlon is a new TD and has yet to learn the mafia traditions of her chosen party.

Fianna Fail TD, Beverly Flynn would make an excellent tutor of those mafia traditions. A politician with no reputation to lose, daughter of a disgraced politician who had no scruples about cheating on his taxes and operating illegal offshore accounts, took the same narrow minded and hypocritical view as Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony.

Progressive Democrats TD and Minister for Health (without responsibility), Mary Harney, mouthed the standard and by now insulting apology to the victims.

Mary O’Rourke spoke about a dawn that is always promised but never actually dawns, that she was in despair over the health services.

Why would she be in despair? She exists in the unaccountable, grotesquely overpaid and arrogant world of Irish politics. She, like most of her colleagues, do not have the courage to actually do anything about the situation.

She only encounters reality when she wanders out of the rarefied world of our useless and boring parliament, she will never find herself in the situation of the eleven distressed women she met, she will never have to worry about a lack of medical facilities for herself or her family.

Her dawn and that of her colleagues arrived years ago when they created a system that provides constant sunshine for themselves, family and friends but leaves a large percentage of the people they claim to represent in the shade and some of them – condemned to the ultimate darkness.

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