Friday, June 25, 2010

Banking Scandal -and its not even a headline

If Fianna Fail had one bit of good news in the past few weeks, it was FGs melt down. The media management has been magnificent..
The entire medias eye was off the ball, and FF will get away with the biggest failing in the political history of the Island.
The two reports dealing with a disasterous financial meltdown that lay the blame squarely on the Government.

Dermot Ahearn said the crisis was no ones fault, and the mantra is repeated.
The FF/Green manta is the crisis is outside our control - it was due entirely due to external factors.

This is a lie

The Watson/Reingling report states the crisis was home grown - and due to overly light regulation and political mismanagement.

Governor Honohan said in his report that the collapse of Lehman Brothers did not cause the Irish banking crisis.

The financial regulators were disfunctional, 'intrusive demands" from line staff were set aside when senior regulators were approached.

To quote the Watson Reingling report “internal procedures were overridden, sometimes systematically.”
The regulators did not do their jobs, and on the basis of political and business favours they were overlooked.

Having light touch regulaton is one thing, but the shelving of investigations is to me criminal, and someone needs to answer that.
The excuse that the crash was unforseen is untrue - there were some very serious people who warned of the crisis.
In April 2007 Prof. Morgan Kelly warned we were heading for a recession with a hard crash because we had a classc set up for a property bubble bust.
Bertie in response to this and other warnings said that sitting on the sidelines moaning and cribbing - and was surprised that people who warned of a potential bust did not commit scuicide.
Regling / Watson said that by the middle of the decade, the financial and property boom in Ireland presented features that should have sounded alarm bells loudly.
Domestic financial stability reporting by the Central Bank had failed in this regard.
Brian Lenihan emphasised that the reports were "preliminary, scoping reports", which would point the way to a more detailed examination by a Commission of Investigation.
One wonders who is going to be in charge of it? Perhaps a tame high court judge or Fianna Fáil Senator Ivor Callely?
It will investigate the banks, but not the government, this is pointless - the politicians were as responsible as the bankers.
In the banks already a few token heads have rolled.
But the people who have been bought in to run our banks were alreeady senior members of those boards.

We are leaving foxes in charge of the henhouse
I believe we need someone like Eva Joly, a Norwegian born French judge with an outstanding history investigating corruption by politicians and vested business interests.
She finished her work quickly in Iceland.
We need to know what senior regulators failed to investigate concerns, we need to know what politicians were involved in getting tax breaks for regulators.
We need to uncover and prosecute those guilty of corruption and incompetence - otherwise they will do it again.

Free Blog Counter

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FG Dynastic squabbles

Well, again we see the headless chickens running the coop, or ruining the coup perhaps, as Enda Kenny has fired one of the most popular deputies on his bench.
It also shows that FG, after a few polls not favouring Kenny, hit the panic button and head for self destruct.

At the age of 24 Enda Kenny - like Brian Cowen - was elected to the Dail to replace his father Harry died.
Kenny is currently the longest-serving TD in Dáil Éireann still in office, and is the incumbent Father of the Dáil.

He was challenged as leader by Richard Bruton, the brother of a former leader who - unlike his brother John - seems popular with people, and is very bright.

We want change in this country, we need a change in the way things work - but yet again, in the main opposition party, we see the same names and the same families and that will not deliver change.

With the set up that we have, dynastic politics are here to stay, and make no mistake about it - it wont change, as that requires legislation, so politicians voting to reform the way things are done on this Island is like turkeys voting for Christmas.

It is laughable when FG talk of reform, the same clans have been in politics since the foundation of the state.
They are as culpable as FF for the current system, which is not fit for purpose.

This jittery response also took the attention off FF and the banking reports published by Klaus Regling and Max Watson, which are far more serious issues than the internal squabbles of dynasties within FG


Free Blog Counter

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Politicians Expenses - Beverly Flynn and how its done

Well, can you say you were surprised! And this is just the start, and its not the first time either

With the leaking of politicians expenses, we are beginning to see a buildup of this topic, as we saw in the UK.

However, our politicians are so overpaid that corruption on expenses will not be such an issue.
I still believe that Taoiseach Cowen is a fundamentally decent and honest man, but the FF party are corrupt to the core, and that is something he cannot deal with effectively

Some politicians really do take the micky, in particular those with a dynastic sense of entitlement.

Another example of the faults in Ireland's dynastic system is the bauld Bev Flynn.
Elected to her fathers seat in 1997 she is a good example of what is wrong with our system.

And don't think this is an anti Bev rant, she is just an example of what one can get away with in constituency based politics.

Flynn has had a complex relationship with Fianna Fáil.
She resigned from the party in February 1999 because of the allegations against her but rejoined November that year.

In April 2001, she was expelled from the party but was allowed to rejoin Fianna Fáil again before the 2002 general election.

She was expelled again in May 2004 after the results of her libel case were made public.

She successfully contested the 2007 general election as an independent and was readmitted to the Fianna Fáil party April 2008, and that's an important date in relation to expenses.

On a national level she is best known for the libel case cost that the tax payer a fortune.
RTÉ journalist Charlie Bird claimed that while at National Irish Bank Bev had assisted clients of the bank in evading tax by funnelling undeclared income to schemes in the Isle of Man.

Flynn denied the claims and sued for libel in the High Court in 2001.
The jury found the allegations were found to be substantially true - that RTÉ had proved Flynn had encouraged people to avail of illegal investment schemes.

So we have a sitting TD, guilty of advising people to illegally avoid tax.

Thus, despite Flynn technically winning the case, she was awarded no damages, along with costs being awarded against her. Flynn then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Ireland, where she lost.

Flynn at first offered to settle with RTÉ for €590,000. RTÉ rejected this and moved to have her declared bankrupt in 2007.

Being bankrupt would stop her being a TD

Her lawyers were granted a postponement on proceedings to allow her to challenge the constitutionality of legislation which bars bankrupts from Dáil membership.
It was a litigious frolic in her own interest. She subsequently abandoned plans to challenge the legislation.
In June 2007, Flynn announced that she had reached a final settlement with RTÉ, with Flynn paying €1.24 million of the outstanding €2.4 million.

That leaves the tax payer with a bill of €1.16 million for RTE's legal bill as RTÉ, Ireland's public service broadcaster, is part-funded by a television License fee.

It also shows a two tier law system, a person fined 600 Euro could not say to the courts 'I'll pay half of it' - she essentially did.

Other funds that are questionable

In 2008 she rejoined Fianna Fáil, but still claimed an entitlement to a tax-free allowance available to independent TDs.

However, upon her return to Fianna Fáil there were questions about whether or not she continued to qualify.

She responded that, in addition to her €106,000 basic salary, she still qualified for the €41,000 allowance as she won her seat as an independent TD.

After meeting with the Taoiseach Brian Cowen January 2009, she stated that she would no longer claim the allowance.
In 2004 she claimed enough mileage last year to drive around the circumference of the Earth two times over.

She even claimed over €8000 in mileage for a period when the Dail only sat six times.

Bev Flynn was a member of the Western Health Board from 1999 until 2004. I did try to find out how much she claimed in expenses for that period from the WHB - which is declared separately from TDs expenses, but was told I would have to pay €200 for administrative purposes - so much for freedom of information.
She was also a member of Mayo County Council from 1996 to 2003, one would also like to find out what her expenses were during this period, which overlaps with her work as a TD for 7 years.

In last weeks municipal elections in Iceland, voters sent the old party system a clear message.
Reykjavik, saw the new Best Party take six out of 15 council seats and more than a third of the vote.
The new party won the elections by protesting against a system it says has failed.

I can only hope that Amhran Nua can achieve the same thing.

Free Blog Counter