Monday, February 28, 2011


Well, FG had a huge win - we will see how they go and I wish them well.
I really do not see the difference between FF and FG, and I am worried about utilities like our ESB, funding of the health service and stagnation in politics, I do not think FG will deliver real political reform.

On other fronts there has been mixed news.

Shane Ross in Dublin, Luke Ming Flannigan and Thomas Pringle in Donegal South are great steps forward, independent, honest and forward thinking people may help to change our flawed system.

Personally, seeing Pringle and Flannigan elected is great, these two candidates were pointedly ignored by RTE.

But there have been dissappointments, people like Michael Healy Rae and the FF 'independent' Tom Flemming been returned in Kerry south is bad, dynastic and opportunistic politcos getting back in to milk the system.
Lowry being returned in North Tipp is also bad, the man is a prime example of pothole politics.

The Greens were wiped out, this may allow the grass roots of the party regain control and refocus their ethos in the right direction, rather than holding on to power for the sake of power itself.

Galway West returned Eamon O Cuiv, but got rid of Frank Fahy. FG's straetgy failed here as they were beaten by 'independent' Noel Grealish and a real socialist independent Catherine Connolly. Labour did well here with Mr Nolan, a replacement for the formidable Michael D Higgins - a man I hope will be our next President.

In Dublin Central, FF were wiped out - and Mary Lou McDonald got in despite the blegarding she faced from the press while an MEP

Although I dont like negative politics I was delighted to see Paul Gogarty lose in Dublin Mid West, his were the first election posters I saw, about 12 hours after the election was called, on the other hand it was a bit sad to see Trevor Sargent lose in North Dublin, a good public servant who, unlike FF deputies, did not need to beforced to resign on principle.

Dublin North Central saw the end, for now, of the Haughy/Lemass dynasty - although one has to say that Sean Haughy is a very decent man.

Chris Andrews from Dublin SE who failed in his brief and his first cousin Barry in Dunlaoire are more dynastic politicians gone as are Connor Lenihan in Dublin SW and Mary Hanafin also in Dunlaoire.

It was dissappointing to see Ivana Bacik lose out in Dunlaoire as she has been a great champion of womens rights.

Connors big brother Brian Lenihan survived the Dublin cull in Dublin West, the man who as minister for finance made decisions that led us to the brink of disaster, a precipice on which we still teeter, but another of the Lenihans - 'Aunty' - Mary O Rourke went to the wall in Longford/Westmeath - very badly with only 3046 first choices out of 57,525 valid votes.

In Galway East, Labour had a major victory with Colm Keaveney from my Alma Mater being returned to the Dail, although seeing adynastic FG candidate also elected is a bit hard.

More thoughts later

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Where Next??

Well, we have an election in a few days, and it looks like FG may even form a single party government.
FG, like FF, are a throwback to the foundation of the state, a party that came into existance as a result of a civil war almost a century ago.

Einstein I believe once said that lunacy could be defined as repeatingthe same action again and again and expect a different result.

FG and FF have dominated Irish politics since the foundation of the state, voting for either will make no difference, as I have said before our political system is outdated, dynastic and not fit for purpose.
Essentially FF and FG are two cheeks of the one arse, quite happy to give the illusion of choice to a disillusioned public.

What we need is real change, and FG, a party with internal rifts, will not achieve that.
Their proposals at political reform are window dressing, their leader is the son of a former politician as is the current Taoiseach.

I think the worst aspect of FG is that they wish to privitize state assets like the ESB in order to continue the bank bailout.
It is hard to get an actual accurate picture of how much it will cost, upwards of 40Bn Euro, and that is not our debt. The tax payer should not be expected to pay for the gambling debts of reckless bankers and speculators.

If there is to be real change, to break from the perpetuation of a two party system and all their vested interests, we need to go to a list system, reducing the amount of constituancy politicians and electing people for national office on a national basis, not select people by accident of address and their standing within a particular political party.

The only long term solution to our current problems is to adopt Amhran Nua policies on electoral reform.

In the short term, to deal with our incredible debt the next Government has to take immediate steps.

1 - Publically refuse to use the ECB/EU credit card facility of Nov 2010 on the grounds of it being self defeating.
2 - Take emergency steps to balance the budget, immediately: The government has spend 2-3 years looking at potential cuts so there should'nt be a mystery of where to find them. Lead from the top: bonfire of the quangos and luxuries. It wont save all the money but it will set the example.

3 - Resolve the banks immediately with a take it or leave it offer to creditors to take equity or nothing. Not as a bluff. As a reality. The only government interest should be maintenance of a payment system. Cite EU commitment to competitive markets free of state support.

4 - Reverse NAMA: Write off the "NAMA" bonds in exchange for giving the banks full ownership of the NAMA SPV in proportional ownership.
In refinancing the banks, a mechanism must be developed to re-finance from the bottom up - i.e. within certain perameters, the family home, the primary residence, must be secure - given that, mortgauges could be partially bought by the Government and the % of the residence would in essence become a council house.

5 - Having finished up with the bank crisis and removed the uncertainty over the states contingent liabilities, start concentrating on growing the economy by tackling the sheltered sectors and vested interests that act as a drag on real economic activity.
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quangocracy Ireland

In 1961 Eisenhower in his farewell address warned against unwarranted influence, and we in Ireland should be warned by this due to our current situation, because forewarned is forearmed.

We the People failed in our democratic process to guard against the acquisition of  unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by a media, financial and political complex.

The potential for failure due to the rise of misplaced power exists, and as we have seen in Ireland, has had direct and dire effects, with 150% of our current tax collecting ability tied up in a dysfunctional banking system.

This danger as we have seen exists, and it persists, and has had a direct effect on our sovereignty with the IMF/ECB control of our financial independence. 

We have had in Ireland, in the past ten years a confluence of these interests, bankers, developers, speculators, an utterly corrupt political establishment and an utterly incompetent, unaccountable civil service.

The situation is that while relatively few people really benefited from the boom - we had the biggest gap between the rich and middle classes after the USA - the ruthless greed of the few has caused the situation to become strange in that private debt has become a public burden.

Our schools, hospitals and people will suffer due to the greed of the few for decades.

As I have said before, a disproportionate amount of Irish politicians come from dynastic political families.
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are really two cheeks of the one arse in that they go to the same schools and colleges, the same restaurants, the same social events, take the same vacations, own holiday homes in the same areas and as we saw recently belong to the same golf clubs.

Politicos rely on developers, business and bankers for political funding.
Politicos rely on control or collusion with the media for political support.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the influence of Tony O Reilly

As I have said before, You don't need a formal conspiracy when interests converge.
They don't need a meeting, they have like interests and know what is good for them and their ilk - and they are getting it.

We seem to have an unseen, unelected government on this Island - a Quango state.

Legislation is not determined by elected officials, it is now determined by private meetings, Quangos whose appointee's are not subject to approval by parliamentary oversight.

These quango decisions are made in private, in secret.

No official should be able to withhold from a free press and public the facts they have a right to know, as these decisions and facts affect peoples lives.

Fianna Fail, with their abuse of the Freedom of Information act, have stifled a great deal of information - in particular with unvouched expenses, undisclosed earnings and details of meetings that have been supressed.

The concept of secrecy should, as JFK said, be repugnant to a free and open society.

For a fuller disclosure on quangos I would advise you visit this excellent thread at - but this is a list of the quangos you pay for, whose decisions form government policy, and many of whom you may never have heard of.
The other thing you will find is that a great many people have multiple appointments, due to nothing more than political affiliation, so this system of patronage ensures they have additional income for their loyalty.

Advisory Board for Irish Aid
Advisory Council for English Language Schools
Affordable Homes Partnership
Agriculture and Food
An Bord Bia
An Bord Pleanála:
An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta & Gaelscolaíochta
An Daingean Education Support Centre
An Post (ta Total Mayhem)
Office of the Appeal Commissioners for the purposes of the Tax Acts
Aquacultural Licensing Appeals Board
Army Pensions Board
Arts Council, The
Athlone Education Support Centre
Athlone Institute of Technology (ta Total Mayhem)
Attorney General, Office of the
Beaumont Hospital Board (ta Total Mayhem)
Blackrock Education Support Centre
Board of Trinity College Bord Altranais
Bord Gais (ta Total Mayhem)
Bord Iascaigh Mhara
Bord na gCon
Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge
Bord na Mona (ta Total Mayhem)
BreastCheck The National Cancer Screening Service
Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (ta Total Mayhem)
Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (ta Total Mayhem)
Building Regulations Advisory Board (ta Total Mayhem)
Carlow County Enterprise Board
Carlow Education Support Centre
Carrick-on-Shannon Education Support Centre
Cavan County Enterprise Board
Cavan Education Support Centre
Censorship of Publications Appeal Board
Censorship of Publications Board
Central Statistics Office
Chester Beatty Library
Chief Medical Officer of the Civil Service
Chief State Solicitor, Office of the
Children Acts Advisory Board
An Chomhairle Leabharlanna
Citizens Information Board
Civil Defence Board
Clare County Enterprise Board
Clare Education Support Centre
Classification of Films Appeal Board
Coimisiún Logainmneacha, An
Coiste an Asgard
Combat Poverty Agency
Comhairle na Nimheanna
Commission for Aviation Regulation
Commission for Communications Regulation
Commission for Energy Regulation
Commission for Public Service Appointments, Office of the
Commission for Taxi Regulation
Office of the Commissioner of Valuation and Boundary Survey of Ireland
Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests
Companies Registration Office
Company Law Review Group
Competition Authority
Comptroller and Auditor General, Office of
Connemara & Árann Education Support Centre
Córas Iompair Eireann (ta Total Mayhem)
Cork City Enterprise Board
Cork Education Support Centre
Cork North Enterprise Board
Courts Service
Crafts Council of Ireland
Dental Council
Dental Health Foundation
Digital Hub Development Agency
Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Donegal County Enterprise Board
Donegal Education Centre
Drug Treatment Centre Board
Drumcondra Education Centre
Dublin Airport Authority
Dublin City Enterprise Board
Dublin Docklands Development Authority
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Dublin Port Authority
Dublin Transportation Office
Dublin West Education Support Centre
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Enterprise Board
Dundalk Education Support Centre
The Economic and Social Research Institute
Economic and Social Research Institute Committee on Top-Level Appointments in the Civil Commission on Public Service Appointments
Employment Appeals Authority
Enterprise Ireland
Environmental Protection Agency
Equality Authority
European Regional Development Fund
European Social Fund Financial Control Unit
Fáilte Ireland
Family Support Agency
FÁS International Consulting Limited
Financial Regulator
Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau
Financial Services Authority of Ireland
Fingal County Enterprise Board
Fire Services Council
Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Foras na Gaeilge
Further Education & Training Awards Council
Gaisce Gradam an Uachtarain
Galway City and County Enterprise Board
Galway Education Centre
Garda Siochana Complaints Board
Gort a Choirce Education Support Centre
Health and Safety Authority of Ireland
Health Information and Quality Authority
Health Insurance Authority
Health Research Board
Health Service Executive
Heritage Council, The
Higher Education Authority
Higher Education and Training Awards
Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal
Horse Racing Ireland
Houses of the Oireachtas Commission
Housing Finance Agency
Industrial Development Agency
Information Commissioner, Office of the
Injuries Board
Inland Fisheries Board
Institute of Public Administration
Institute of Public Administration
Central Bank of Ireland
Integrate Ireland Language and Training Awards
International Education Board of Ireland
Ireland - US Commission for Educational Exchange, Fulbright Commission
Irish Auditing & Accountancy Supervisory Authority
Irish Aviation Authority
Irish Blood Transfusion Services Board, The
Irish Dental Health Authority
Irish Film Board
Irish Film Classification Office
Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal
Irish Human Rights Commission
Irish Manuscripts Commission
Irish Medicines Board
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Irish National Stud
Irish National Opera
Irish Prison Service
Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology
Irish Sports Council
Irish Water Safety Association
Kerry County Enterprise Board
Kildare County Enterprise Board
Kildare Education centre
Kilkenny County Enterprise Board
Kilkenny Education Support Centre 
Labour Court
Labour Relations Commission
Land Registry
Laois County Enterprise Board
Laois Education Centre
Law Reform Commission
Leargas The Exchange Bureau
Legal Aid Board
Leitrim Enterprise Board
Limerick City Enterprise Board
Limerick County Enterprise Board
Limerick Education Centre
Local Government Computer Services Board
Local Government Management Services Board
Longford Enterprise Board
Louth County Enterprise Board
Marine Institute
Mayo Education Centre
Mayo Enterprise Board
Meath Enterprise Board
Medical Bureau of Road Safety
Medical Council
Mental Health Commission
Mining Board
Monaghan Education Centre
Monaghan Enterprise Board
National Advisory Committee on Drugs
National Archives
National Building Agency
National Cancer Registry, Ireland
National Centre for Guidance in Education
National Centre for Partnership and Performance
National Centre for Technology in Education
National College of Ireland
National Concert Hall
National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism
National Consumer Agency
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment
National Council for Special Education
National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery
National Council on Ageing and Older People
National Development Plan Community Support Framework Evaluation Unit
National Development Plan Community Support Framework Information Office
National Development Plan Community Support Framework Information Technology Unit
National Disability Authority
National Drugs Strategy Team
National Economic and Social Council
National Economic and Social Forum
National Education Welfare Board
National Gallery of Ireland
National Library of Ireland
National Milk Agency
National Museum of Ireland
National Qualifications Authority of Ireland
National Rehabilitation Authority
National Treatment Purchase Fund
National Roads Authority
National Safety Council
National Social Work Qualifications Board
National Treasury Management Agency
National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission
National Development Finance Agency
National Social Work Qualifications Board
National Sports Campus Development Authority
National Standards Authority of Ireland
National Statistics Board
National Tourism Development Agency
National Treatment Purchase Fund
Navan Education Centre
Offaly County Enterprise Board
Office of the Revenue Commissioners
Office of the Ombudsman
Office of the Information Commissioner
Office of the Chief Medical Officer for the Civil Service
Office of the Appeal Commissioners
Office of Public Works
Ombudsman for Children, Office of the
Ombudsman, Office of the
Ombudsman for the Defence Forces
Opticians Board
Ordinance Survey Ireland
Patents Office
Pensions Board (?)
Pensions Ombudsman (?)
Performance Verification Group: Civil Service
Performance Verification Group: Education Sector
Performance Verification Group: Health Service
Performance Verification Group: Justice and Equality Sector
Performance Verification Group: Local Government
Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
Port of Cork (Authority?)
Port of Waterford Company
Postgraduate Medical and Dental Board
Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council
Press Council of Ireland
Private Residential Tenancies Board
Probation Service
Property Registration Authority
Public Appointments Service
Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland
Railway Procurement Agency
Registrar of Friendly Societies, Office of the
Registration of Titles Rules Committee
Registry of Deeds
Rent Tribunal
Revenue Commissioners, Office of the
Roscommon County Enterprise Board
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Royal Irish Academy
Royal Irish Academy of Music
Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital (Board?)
Science Foundation Ireland
Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA)
Shannon Development
Slig County Enterprise Board
Sligo Education Support Centre
Social Welfare Appeals Office
State Claims Agency
Social Welfare Tribunal
South Cork Enterprise Board
South Dublin Enterprise Board
St Luke's Hospital Board (Hmm)
Standards in Public Office Commission
State Laboratory
Sustainable Energy Ireland
Tarbert Edcuation Support Centre
Teaching Council, The
The Abbey Theatre
The Arts Council
The Building Regulations Advisory Body
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board
Thurles Education Support Centre
Tipperary North County Enterprise Board
Tipperary South County Enterprise Board
Tralee Education Support Centre
Tuam Education Support Centre
Údarás na Gaeltachta
University of Limerick
Valuation Office Ireland
Valuation Tribunal
Veterinary Council of Ireland
Western Development Commission

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

FF/FG and associates - same old crap

What we need to look at is politics as a business. And business means profits, and profits means you look at who benefits.

For starters a disproportionate amount of Irish politicians come from dynastic political families.
They go to the same schools and colleges, the same restaurants, the same social events, take the same vacations, own holiday homes in the same areas and as we saw recently belong to the same golf clubs.

Politicos rely on developers, business and bankers for political funding.
Politicos rely on control or collusion with the media for political support.

You don't need a formal conspiracy when interests converge. They don't need a meeting, they have like interests and know what is good for them and their ilk - and they are getting it.

The bank bail-out took care of reckless bank speculators who were pals with politicians - Charlie McCreevey and Celia Larkin never had to go through the formal channels at Nationwide, and CJ was afforded special treatment at several banks.

The choices that really matter in this country have been reduced, there are two main political parties, a handful of banks and insurance companies.

Dep. Creighton - who did not cow-tow to Kenny after the failure of the so called heave, and has maintained her integrity at least. However, one feels she is bound for the back benches.

"It is not a good image for any political party to be in receipt of donations from developers who are associated with NAMA"
She insisted that there could be no room in Fine Gael for "cute-hoor" politics, which she said had "defined and tainted Irish public life like an incurable cancer"

She was right in one respect, and to go further, the strains of clienism, gombeenism, dynastic politics and the appointment of utterly incompetent but politically loyal people to government bodies are an incurable disease that has long infected FG as well as FF.

Media coverage and convergence of interests is also an issue.

I have written before about Paul Williams 'reporting' on the Shell to Sea protesters. After his incredible biased reporting for TV3 and a tabloid he has been a corporate guest of Shell at the 2007 England Rugby match at Croke Park, part of what Shell told the Phoenix was their “stakeholder engagement list.”

Shell spends huge amount of money on PR, in 1998 “Shell spent US$30 million on contracts with PR company Fishburn & Hedges alone.”

The article “Irish Times Shell PR” in the May 22 issue of the Phoenix looks at how in Ireland Shell have successfully changed the line of the Irish Times over the last two years to the point where now the Irish Times now frequently send their crime correspondent to cover protests in Erris.

What I did not write about Paul Williams boss.

Protesters are attacked and marginalized in the press, yet no questions are asked about Ray Burke - who is one of the few politicians in this country that went to jail for corruption - and his role in the deal.
Bertie Ahern, whose personal finances have never been fully explained, also further did favors for the big oil companies.

Exxon Mobil was awarded licenses for exploratory drilling in the Porcupine Basin, which is in the Atlantic roughly parallel with Clare and Kerry.
For the exploratory bid Exxon Mobil combined in a consortium with Providence Resources.

Providence Resources are also engaged in exploration off the south east coast of Ireland.

If the Shell deal goes through, that sets a precedent to increase profits to other companies, like Providence Resources.

Forty five per cent of Providence Resources is held by Sir Anthony O’Reilly, and his son is the company’s CEO.

Tony is also, of course, CEO of, and owner of a large shareholding in, the Independent News and Media group.
IN&M owns the Sunday World, the Sunday Independent, the Star, the Irish Independent, the Evening Herald, part of the Sunday Tribune, and many local papers in Ireland.

There are clear grounds for linking the commercial interests of the O’Reilly empire, and the political influence it wields through its major media holdings.
A politician attacked in such a wide range of press is looking at electoral failure.

To look at this in the context of oil and gas consider the wild unsubstantiated slanders which have been directed at the Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo by O’Reilly papers.

Something which they engaged in earlier, and to a much greater extent, than the rest of the national media.
This reached a crescendo of almost parody in August 2007 when one columnist opined “Shell has been scandalously remiss in not employing someone to bump off a few of these fellows” as ““the rule of law has to be enforced, by apparently harsh measures if need be”.

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