Lobbyists: The corrupt political system will continue to protect them

Once again there’s debate about how to control lobbyists. Once again we have politicians and commentators telling us, this needs to be done; that needs to be done. We need legislation; we need transparency and accountability blah, blah, blah.

There will, of course, be no effective action taken to control lobbyists, as any such move would seriously damage the interests of very powerful people.

And the current corrupt political system will never allow that to happen.

The ‘we have to regulate lobbyists’ debate was also a hot topic in 2000 (14 years ago) as a result of Frank Dunlop’s corrupt activities.

The following letter was published in the Irish Times 21 April 2000.


Once again the politicians have set up a committee in response to the latest seepage of corruption from the body politic.

They seem to be completely unaware that the entire political system is operating from the sewers as far as ordinary citizens are concerned.

This latest committee will consider what legislation is required to control the activities of lobbyists in light of the Frank Dunlop revelations.

Its real purpose, of course, is to give the impression that action is being taken until the controversy has blown over.

Remember the Denis Foley committee?

All forgotten now.

Yours etc.,

Anthony Sheridan

In our corrupt state useless words take the place of law enforcement

If a policeman, politician or regulator resident in a functional democracy read this article there would be immediate arrests, a special court sitting would be urgently arranged and jail cells prepared.

In our intrinsically corrupt state there is no independent authority with the power or will to act, not even the police.

There is no politician with the vision or courage to do what needs to be done.

Our political system is so mired in the culture of corruption that even endlessly outraged politicians like Shane Ross can only respond with pathetic bleating from the sewer that is our body politic.

They have been nakedly arrogant, dismissive and the whole thing smacks of hubris.

Arrogance, hubris? Just words, useless words.

I repeat, in a functional democracy these activities would be seen and acted upon as very serious criminal acts – Accountability would be swift and effective.

The hypocrisy of Pat Rabbitte

Responding to media and other criticisms of the Government’s recent attempt to substantially increase the cost of submitting a freedom of information request the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte said:

To present it as killing off the Freedom of Information Act is the kind of hyperbole that is just not worthy of respectable public discourse.

Responding to the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrats Government’s plan to subvert the Freedom of Information Act in 2003 the then leader of the Labour Party Pat Rabbitte said:

It is a sad commentary on the self-appointed watchdogs of the Progressive Democrats that they are prepared to collude in shutting out the public and the media.

Questions for the Data Protection Commissioner

I rang the Data Protection Commissioner yesterday to ask some questions regarding the latest penalty points controversy.

The controversy arose when the Garda Commissioner demanded the return of documents that were handed over to the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), John McGuinness, by a whistleblower.

The Data Commissioner is in full support of the Garda Commissioner’s demand for the return of the documents.

This puzzles me, as the Commissioner apparently did not see any legal problems when a whistleblower handed over documents on the same matter to his office and to several other state authorities in 2012.

Predictably, the official I spoke with was uncooperative and used the following standard list of excuses:

I’m not going to talk about what happened in 2012.

The matter is very complex.

We cannot give you answers if you were not personally involved in the incident.

The matter is confidential.

I’m not aware of the full facts and therefore cannot answer your question.

If you want answers you will have to put them in writing.

Following Email submitted to Data Protection Commissioner.

For attention of Data Protection Commissioner:

Via Official:

In 2012 A Garda whistleblower, without the permission of the Garda Commissioner, handed over a report documenting serious allegations of abuse of the penalty points system to the following authorities.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Justice, Minister for Transport, Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission, Data Protection Commissioner, Road Safety Authority and several opposition TDs.

To my knowledge the Data Commissioner did not judge that the receipt of this report was a breach of the law.

To my knowledge the Data Commissioner did not judge that the receipt of this report by the other named authorities was a breach of the law.

It is reported in yesterday’s Irish Examiner that the Garda Commissioner has written to the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, John McGuinness TD, demanding the return of documents recently provided by a whistleblower.

The Garda Commissioner is quoted as saying:

I am of the view that these files, containing personal data, are files which I am responsible for and accordingly should be returned forthwith to me.

The Data Commissioner, Mr. Hawkes, supports the Garda Commissioner’s claim that he is entitled to the return of the documents saying the he (Mr. Hawkes) has a duty to act on alleged breaches of the law.

Mr. Hawkes is quoted as saying:

I must support the Garda commissioner’s efforts to retrieve all personal data which was removed from An Garda Síochána without his authorisation.

I would be grateful if the Commissioner could answer the following questions.

Does the Commissioner believe that the handing over of documents to him in 2012 by a whistleblower alleging abuse of the penalty points system was legitimate and therefore not in breach of the law?

Does the Commissioner believe that the handing over of documents to the other named authorities by a whistleblower in 2012 alleging abuse of the penalty points system was legitimate and therefore not in breach of the law?

Yours Sincerely
Anthony Sheridan

PJ Mara enjoys love-in with RTEs Miriam O'Callaghan

PJ Mara, the former advisor to the corrupt/criminal politician Haughey was interviewed on the John Murray Show this morning.

Predictably, he was treated with the utmost respect and also very predictably; the words ‘corruption’ or ‘criminality’ was never mentioned.

There was no reference whatsoever to Haughey’s long career of corruption, no mention of the enormous damage he inflicted on Ireland and its people, no mention of how he corrupted the political system and how that disease of corruption infected almost every level of Irish society and, ultimately, led to the loss of our economic sovereignty and national disgrace on the world stage.

Clearly, RTE is of the opinion that it is best not to mention such unpalatable matters. After all, denial is easy and lazy and facilitates those who may wish to avoid answering the tough questions.

Instead listeners were treated to Miriam O’Callaghan giggling out inane questions like a besotted schoolgirl who had just met her hero.

If Ireland was a functional democracy and possessed an objectively professional national broadcaster like the BBC with a hard hitting presenter like Jerry Paxman the likes of Mara would be immediately stripped of their pretentious idiocy without mercy.

Copy to:
Miriam O’Callaghan