Tag Archives: corruption

Congratulations Mr Karzai

The recent elections in Afghanistan were declared fraudulent by the US, Europe and the UN a short while ago, yet last week we saw Mr Obama, Mr Browne and the rest of the free world congratulate and accept Mr Karzai as duly elected leader of Afghanistan. How was this allowed to happen? Quite simply because the opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah pulled out of the new election claiming that not enough guarantees had been put in place to ensure the same fraud would not happen again the second time around. Astonishingly, this allowed Mr Karzai to claim victory in the election unopposed despite evidence of fraud on a massive scale. This shining example of the west’s passionate belief in the rules of democracy comes at a time when rising Taliban attacks are resulting in an increased number of allied casualties and must surely stick in the throat of any soldier who actually believes he or she is putting their lives and others at risk to further the cause of freedom and democracy in Afghanistan.

It also exposes a much deeper and much more troubling fact which is that the civilised west is only interested in democracy as long as it delivers the right result for the west and not the country it is supposed to serve. This has been evident for some time now and is a policy that has been used covertly for many years  in places like Latin America where democracy was replaced by murderous dictators and tin pot generals with the tacit encouragement and support of the Reagan administration, and overtly in Palestine with the refusal of the west to accept Hammas as duly elected leaders of the Palestinian people, despite them being democratically elected as such.

This corruption of the democratic process is indicative of how the west, and in particular America, will turn a blind eye to corruption, murder, and even genocide, to further the interests of the civilised west as opposed to furthering the cause of democracy. It also exposes the hypocrisy and double standards that lie at the heart of that great neo-con project of imposing democracy on errant states by the civilised west.

And who will pay the price for this corruption? Well you can bet your bottom dollar it wont be Mr Obama, or Mr Browne, or Mr Berlusconi. Being such courageous people they prefer instead to leave that to service men and women, and the innocent men women and children who through no fault of their own, find themselves paying the ultimate price for western corruption of democracy.

If the worlds self appointed policemen are themselves willing to be part of such corruption then how are we supposed to take anything they do seriously. The answer is that we cant. Nor indeed should we.


Fab Vinnie, David Lee Roth and Michael O Leary

Back in the early eighties Dave Lee Roth, the spandex wearing ‘wella’ haired front man for 80’s superband Van Halen was being interviewed by Vincent Hanley otherwise known as ‘Fab Vinnie’ for the then hugely popular MT-USA Show on RTE. Vinnie, obviously in awe of the golden haired Roth, couldn’t contain himself and asked him what it was like to be so fabulously wealthy?

With a deft wave of a gold and diamond bejewelled hand, Roth flicked back his hair and looked right at Vinnie with those dreamy eyes and said

‘ You know Vincent, by the time I get to pay my manager, my lawyers, my accountants, my staff, my entertainment bills and the taxman, I’ve just about enough left to buy a small Caribbean island!’

I was reminded of this the other day while watching Michael ‘Arc Angel’ O Leary tell the nation in RTE’s Prime Time debate on Lisbon that we should vote for Lisbon because we are broke, because it is good for business and because he would rather have Europe run Ireland than the ‘Shower of incompetents in Leinster house‘. Michael went on to tell us that he was an important businessman. He employed a thousand people. He paid huge amounts of taxes here in his home country and told the nation that he brought inward investment with his company Ryan Air. Readers should note that it was at that point the memory of Vincent Hanley interviewing Mr Roth nearly a quarter of a century ago popped into my head.

You see, when Michael pays all his taxes etc you can be sure that his take home cheque wont leave him standing at the ATM machine praying to the God of ATM machines to please give him something, anything except that heart sinking message of

‘Sorry you have insufficient funds for this transaction’.

That aside, as long as Mr O Leary pays his fair amount of taxes and covers his costs which I’m sure he does, no matter how much he pays he should not feel that he has any rights or privileges over other tax payers, or that this gives him a right to a bigger say in our democracy than any other citizen of this state, be they taxpayer or welfare recipient.

And there’s where my problem with Europe lies. Deep under my skin I get the creeping feeling that Europe is getting more concerned about markets than people. More concerned about the economic imperative than the  social one. The more I hear ‘We need to be at the heart of Europe winning friends and influencing people‘, I can’t help but wonder if the whole European project amounts to nothing more than a lobbyists paradise? If so why not send a ‘Frank Dunlop’ to Brussels and save all this voting malarkey. Frankly speaking, a word in the right ear from a ‘Frank’ would surely see a jacuzzi in every house in the land. Just imagine it. A Europe with a budget worth billions of euro, covering nearly half a billion people, controlled by a gargantuan political structure where things get done by ‘winning friends and influencing people’ and where the social agenda is being tamed to allow free market conditions to prevail. What’s not to like for  Michael and many like him. It’s a businessman’s paradise!

So every time I hear a well paid business man, politician, economist, banker,  or lawyer tell the nation that they too are sharing the cuts and the pain like everyone else in this seemingly ‘banama’d’ republic, the memory of Mr Roth comes back to me. It rises up when I hear well paid commentators and journalists tell the nation that public sector pay must be cut, education and health cuts must be implemented, that we are all living beyond our means. And it really hits home when one realises that the cuts that the well heeled are taking are more than the average yearly wage of over 80% of the people in this country.

Europe and Ireland. A world of equals? I don’t think so.


Guest of the Nation

A short film I made some time back about an asylum seeker awaiting news of his family back home. Given the issue of asylum seekers raised it’s head this week I thought it would act as a reminder to people what many of them are running from.

The film highlights the plight of many asylum seekers who have been traumatised and tormented by forces in their own countries, many of whose regimes are encouraged and supported for financial and geo-political reasons by the very countries in the west that seek to stop such people seeking sanctuary. The film hopes to stimulate debate as to whether we should be looking at the push factors in the refugee issue as well as the pull factors.  What drives them to travel great distances, risk life and limb to get to our shores? In many cases it is because of brutality and human rights abuses, in many more it is for economic reasons brought about by appalling corruption and mismanagement of their economies by corrupt Governments, many of whose leaders are welcomed here as ‘Guests of the Nation’ having millions of taxpayers money spent on lavishing them in gifts, honours and trade.

A very different welcome than we extend to the victims of these same leaders.



Garret Fitzgerald and the 200K AIB loan write off.

Are there no heroes left? Has ‘Goodness’ abandoned us altogether? Has it scurried off into the night wearing a mohair coat?

I ask this only because I am in shock. Yes. In shock I am. Having listened to Garret Fitzgerald or ‘Garret the Good’ at the weekend, exhorting us all to vote for Fianna Fail’s Eoin Ryan, fearing for his health, I googled him and came across the following report on RTE’s website dated Wednesday, 17 February 1999 which reads

‘Former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald has confirmed that AIB and Ansbacher wrote off debts of almost £200,000 that he owed them six years ago. He was in financial difficulties at the time because of the collapse of the aircraft leasing company, GPA, in which he was a shareholder. Dr Fitzgerald was quoted in today’s Examiner newspaper as pointing out that the write off occurred after he had left politics. He insisted that no favours were asked or given.’

Now maybe I’m being picky here but if you took out the name Garret Fitzgerald and replaced it with Charlie Haughey in the above piece, could you tell the difference between the two? I heard Eoghan Harris allude to this last year on the Late Late Show but put it down to Eoghan just being daft! But now I find that, though Eoghan is still as daft as a fish on a bicycle, Garret was indeed the beneficiary of a 200k loan write off courtesy of AIB, that great friend and patron of politicians. Add to this the fact that this all took place in 1993 when 200k was a hell of a lot of money and one begins to get a bad feeling.

The Moriarity Tribunal investigated the matter, and compared the treatment by AIB of Fitzgerald with their treatment of Charles Haughey. They found no evidence of any wrongdoing, indeed the Tribunal heard evidence as to the considerable hardship that Fitzgerald went to, to the extent of selling of his family home to repay the debt to the best of his ability.

The Tribunal concluded in their report:

In summary it would appear that in compromising his indebtedness with the Bank, Dr. Fitzgerald disposed of his only substantial asset, namely, his family home at Palmerston Road, a property which would now be worth a considerable sum of money. As in Mr. Haughey’s case, there was a substantial discounting or forbearance shown in Dr. Fitzgerald’s case. However in contrast with Mr. Haughey’s case, Dr. Fitzgerald’s case involved the effective exhaustion of his assets in order to achieve a settlement whereas Mr. Haughey’s assets were retained virtually intact.

So, Garret had to sell his house to cover part of his loan from AIB. Fair enough. That’s what many people would expect to have to do when the chips are down and most likely will have to do in the coming years, due to the banking crisis caused by a lack of proper regulation by our politicians. But how many of these poor unfortunates, many who are in negative equity, will have the balance of their loans written off by AIB like Garret Fitzgerald, Garret the Good, our former Taoiseach did?

Answers on a postcard please to…..


How to escape from Plasti-cuffs.

This is something our bankers and politicians will never have to worry themselves about.


Honour Among Thieves

Ahh. The Artic waste of a blank white page as I take my first tentative steps at Blogging or maybe it should be called Blagging! Already the acres of content and ideas that I had written in my head leading up to this momentous occasion, and which would grace the pages of this first entry, have deserted me, and cowards that they are, have left me to face my demons alone.

For a long time I have put up with the computer monitor staring accusingly at me from the corner of the room with it’s snide cutting comments like ‘Go on you lazy bastard. Sit there on your couch! The world awaits your great words of wisdom, your wit, your thoughts,  and you, oh rotund one, you, who daily looks more like Jabba The Hut, sit there and moan at the hardship of it all. Call yourself a writer?’

Now, having risen from the couch and slithered over to the computer, I find myself in front of a sneering blank white page, daring me to go on. Is there a point I ask myself in that whiny thinky voice I sometimes hear in my head. Whiny Thinky Voice has a lot of questions to be answered before a letter can be touched on the keyboard. Will anyone bother to read what I write? Will anyone care? Should they? Whiny Thinky Voice can be an irritating fucker believe me, so I was glad to shut him up with these opening words and wipe the sneer off the page as well.

No such problems for the newspaper and TV hacks who seem to ream off thousands of words about anything you can think of in the newsprint and Television media. I have to confess to having stopped buying newspapers in the last few years. Far too much opinion and very little news for my liking. Yet one item which I did pick up on was the story that Noel Dempsey (and I am sure many others as well) is partly funded by bookmakers who in turn are trying their best to lobby the Government to allow gambling machines in their stores. Now I am sure that Mr Dempsey is an honourable man. Indeed after his stout and robust defence of Bertie Ahern during the former Taoiseachs recent troubles with the tribunals, one has to assume that Mr Dempsey along with his other ministerial colleagues sees nothing wrong with obtaining money from big business and despite the reported 17 grand he got from bookmakers, will not gift them any favours or unfair advantages. It does however raise questions as to the credibility of Fianna Failers asking Declan Ganley where he gets his funds from. Recently on Pat Kenny we had the extraordinary spectacle of a ‘very concerned’ FFer Eoin Ryan grilling Mr Ganley as to the source of his funds. Now I am no lover of Mr Ganley but it has to be said that if Mr Ryan and other FFers had grilled their former leader with the same vigour as they did Mr Ganley, they might have some credibility. After all, the party that gave us Charlie Haughey, Ray Burke, Bertie Ahern and many others is hardly the party we all turn to to ensure that corruption is banished from Irish politics.

It’s a hypocrisy that is hard to take yet is brazenly trotted out by such honourable men who are all part of such an honourable political party as Fianna Fail. It is the sort of hypocrisy that gives us the vomit inducing spectacle of Government Ministers on a quarter of a million euro a year, flying around in million dollar helicopters costing 8,000.00 Euro an hour, to land in plush hotels, and after a lobster dinner go forth to tell us, the people, that we are living beyond our means.

I guess it brings new meaning to the old saying of ‘Honour among thieves’.


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