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Greyhound waste.


Concoct a good story. Among your cast of characters include the late lamented auditors of Anglo Irish Bank, a dodgy semi-state transport company, a collection of Dublin city councillors, and an outfit owned by an offshore Isle of Man business.

What would you expect?

Hardly the tale of the 12 apostles? Something a little murkier?

Somehow, that unseemly bunch has regrouped in mysterious business dealings. The unlikely heroes are a collection of Dublin city councillors.

At the centre of the story is a waste outfit called Greyhound. It makes oodles of money. So much that it has decided to hide its accounts from public inspection.

In December 2010, Greyhound adopted unlimited liability status. As a result, Greyhound will not be obliged to reveal its figures. At the same time Greyhound's owners -- Buckley brothers Brian and Michael -- transferred their shares to limited liability companies in the Isle of Man.

The Buckley brothers -- one a former investment banker, the other an accountant -- know their way around. Happily for them, the Isle of Man does not require such entities to publish accounts.

So the wily brethren do not have to publish their accounts while still reaping the benefits of limited liability. Now we will never know how much loot they are making. Rather a pity, because rather a lot of the loot is our loot.

Greyhound is in the news because last month it took over Dublin City Council's waste collection. Last year it won a gold-plated contract to handle South Dublin County Council's waste collection service. The Buckley brothers, Michael and Brian, must have thought they had won the lotto.

They had. For the second time.

And how did they win it?

Apparently, this versatile company was selected by a well-known firm of buccaneers in suits, a company that disgraced itself as auditor to Anglo Irish Bank.

Indeed it lost the Anglo audit after its failure to spot the sudden transfer of chairman Sean FitzPatrick's multi-million loans out of Anglo's books into the books of Irish Nationwide -- every year-end for eight years.

Quite a faux pas from Ernst & Young. They should be in the State's doghouse. Instead, the same blue-blood auditors are creaming off State work.

For some unknown reason, the former Anglo auditors were employed by the council to choose a new waste firm for its juicy waste contract. For some even less obvious reason E&Y were given an outrageous €250,000 for coming up with the name of Greyhound.

It is far from clear why the council could not pick the waste operators themselves. They have a waste department, presumably with a more specialist knowledge than Ernst & Young. Instead, they lashed out €250,000 of taxpayer's money to Ernst & Young, the villains of the Anglo fiasco.

What more, in the name of God, does a company have to do to find itself struck off the State's list of favourites?

If Ernst & Young cannot be blacklisted for their Anglo howler, they should surely have been given the cold shoulder for State or local government work for several years? If they had waved the red flag on Anglo we might never have been left in our financial pickle. They didn't. Every year for eight years they missed their chance to rumble Anglo.

So the council's award of a contract to Ernst & Young, and then to Greyhound, demands public explanation. The big question is: how much did Ernst & Young or Dublin City Council know about Greyhound?

Not much. Or so it seems.

Last year, after I became aware of the earlier award of South Dublin Co Council's gig to Greyhound, I wrote to the council protesting that they were unfit to handle the contract. I had a good reason. Greyhound had already won the lotto -- for the first time -- a few years ago. They had already milked a semi-state body of lashings of taxpayers' loot. It emerged in an Oireachtas Transport Committee enquiry that Greyhound's behaviour over an earlier contract with CIE's Iarnrod Eireann was disgraceful.

Greyhound had overcharged Iarnrod Eireann. Under questioning, Iarnrod Eireann boss Dick Fearn admitted that: "Basically the money charged [by Greyhound] did not tally with the actual work done." Ouch.

He went on to say that there were "discrepancies between the amount invoiced and the actual work done". Ouch, ouch.

As a result of its "dissatisfaction", Iarnrod Eireann re-tendered the contract. Greyhound lost the gig.

Not only did Greyhound lose the gig, but it was forced to settle with Iarnrod Eireann for a massive €1.3m in compensation for the "discrepancies". Probably small potatoes for a waste outfit.

It is a puzzle why Greyhound agreed to pony up such a vast amount. The "discrepancies" must have been serious. Luckily for them, Iarnrod Eireann protested that they saw no sign of fraud. The compensation deal was kept under wraps until it was exposed at the Transport Committee.

Nevertheless when the council came to award the waste contract, they would surely have raised their eyebrows on hearing the name "Greyhound". The alarm bells must have rung as they realised that a fellow State- subsidised outfit had earlier run into a massive spot of bother with Greyhound. Perhaps their chosen consultants, Ernst & Young, had noticed? Well perhaps not. Ernst & Young are not very good at noticing things. They did not even notice when an Anglo bank director transferred millions from his own loan accounts to another bank -- eight times in eight years.

There was not even a single eyebrow raised. When I asked the council why they had given Greyhound the contract in the light of the waste company's explosive blow-up with Iarnrod Eireann, an astonishing reply shot back from a deputy manager.

"Until I received your email no person from the council who was involved in the sale of the council's refuse service to Greyhound Recycling and Recovery Limited was aware of any previous difficulties between CIE and Greyhound."

So that was it. The council knew nothing about it. No one in the council had bothered to do a bit of googling. The CIE/Greyhound story had been in the newspapers. It had been publicly debated by the Oireachtas Transport Committee. Yet no one in the council knew a damn thing about it.

Who did they expect to tell them? Greyhound to incriminate themselves? Or the slumbering victims at CIE?

What a tough process the selection of Greyhound must have been! The council says it did not even know of the very public black mark on Greyhound's record. According to the deputy manager, the contract did not "involve a competitive tender under procurement rules, but instead involved a competitive bid process with interested parties, carried out on behalf of the council by Ernst & Young."

After I told the council of Greyhound's history, the deputy manager asked Greyhound for their comments.

Their managing director replied that "an accounting issue was brought to the attention of Greyhound... it was rectified immediately to the satisfaction of both parties".

An "accounting issue"? Perhaps they should have called in Ernst & Young.

The only opposition has come from much-maligned city councillors whose constituents are now victims of an appalling service from Greyhound. The councillors, led by a long-time adversary of Bertie Ahern -- the plucky Mary Fitzpatrick -- have challenged Greyhound at every turn. At all stages they have been steamrolled into submission.

Greyhound, CIE and Ernst & Young -- all damaged goods -- are the clear winners.

National Heritage park trashed by Brian Hayes & OPW


This is the aftermath of the scene of devastation in the Dublin's Phoenix Park  eight weeks after MCD promotions hired the venue to host a three day concert here.
Some 135,000 people paid upwards of 50 Euros per ticket, and  the promoters made an estimated gross profit of 9 million pounds, before expenses.
A government Quango named the Office of public Works has been charged with maintaining and preserving the Phoenix Park as an amenity for the people of Ireland.
The junior Minister who oversees  the Office of Public Works, one Brian Hayes has publicly defended the holding of these concerts and refused to preclude the continuation of such gigs here in the future, despite the availibility of many large stadiums such as Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium in Sandymount Dublin.
Junior Minister Hayes has refused to reveal how much monies changed hands between the promoters and the OPW for the hire of the Phoenix Park except to say it was a “six figure sum”
It could therefore have been anything 100,000 Euros or 900,000 Euros.
The OPW is an organization which has long been know for its cronyism and lack of transparency, during the reign of the previous government.
There has always been the whiff of brown envelopes about its allocation of contracts, as it is not obliged to accept the lowest tender for any of the multi million Euro contracts it awards every year.
The Phoenix Park was classified as a national historic park by Unesco in 1962.
No Environmental Impact Study was proposed or carried out by the OPW, under Junior Minister Brian Hayes before this contract was awarded.
The Gardai reported that the Phoenix Park was an unsuitable venue in which to hold these concerts.
It is reported that a 50,000 Euro bond was lodged with the OPW to cover the cost of cleaning uop the mess.
The estimated cost of the clean up is now 80,000 Euros-and rising.
This figure does not quantify the fear,trauma and inconvenience caused to the many thousands of residents who live adjacent to the Phoenix Park, who witnessed appaling acts of public drunkeness,urination in gardens and who were effectively barricaded in their own homes  for the duration of the concert.

Genetically modified potatoes wanted-or needed- in Ireland.?

Afri expresses dismay at the EPA decision to grant GM potato licence
Press Release, 26th July 2012

The justice and human rights group Action from Ireland (Afri) has expressed dismay at the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a license to grow genetically modified potatoes in Ireland.

Joe Murray of Afri described the move as short sighted and one that threatened Ireland’s economy by eroding its reputation as a ‘green, clean’ food producer. “The move by the EPA to grant approval for the GM potato trials by Teagasc is completely ill-advised. It will do serious reputational damage to Ireland’s flourishing organic industry at a time when there is an ever increasing demand for organic food. By contrast, there is little appetite for GM foods either in Ireland or in Europe” said Mr Murray.

“The argument that Ireland needs a blight resistant GM potato is ridiculous because there are already blight resistant potatoes in Ireland – and they are not genetically modified and therefore do not pose any risk of contamination to other crops,” Mr Murray continued.

Waylon (Gary) White Deer, Choctaw artist, whose ancestors sent a cash donation to Ireland during the Great Famine, also criticized the decision of the EPA calling it a “dangerous step”. Mr White Deer described the decision as having critical consequences for food sovereignty and biological diversity. “It is important that the Irish people don’t give up their food sovereignty. This is a risky experiment which, if unchecked, will eventually lead to the corporate control and manipulation of Irish food sources. Now that GM has got//ten its tentacles into the Irish soil it is important that we don’t let them spread.”
There are many dangers associated with genetic modification including the handing over of control of food to corporations whose only interest is in the maximisation of profits. Other dangers include the patenting of seeds and the loss of biodiversity.

But there is yet another dimension which is the consequence for farmers who become enslaved by debts to the corporations who provide GM seeds. I recently re-read the shocking statistic that a quarter of a million farmers in India have committed suicide as a result of using GM seeds. I read, for example, about the death by suicide of a respected Indian farmer called Shankara after his GM crop had failed – twice. His death has been attributed directly to his use of genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiraling debts – and no income. So Shankara became one of an estimated quarter of a million farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops, in a crisis that has been branded the ‘GM Genocide’.

Similar things are happening throughout other parts of Asia and Africa…

But not only in Asia, Africa and Latin America, GM is now coming to Ireland as Teagasc has announced that it has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for a licence to grow GM POTATOES (of all things)! One cause of the Famine in Ireland was the lack of biodiversity of potatoes being grown, with most dependent on the ‘Lumper’. When blight struck this variety, almost the entire crop was wiped out. But there was another variety known as ‘Butes’ which grew successfully in parts of Kerry throughout the Famine period. This variety which has been shown to be highly blight-resistant is now available from Irish Seed Savers Association in County Clare. We need to be supporting groups like the ISSA rather than going down the risky road of genetic modification. We are calling on the Minister to initiate a country-wide consultation on the issue of GM. This is a subject that needs to be discussed and debated rather than being slipped through when people are preoccupied by the economic collapse and the consequences of other such bad governmental decisions"
http:/www.afri.ie

Slurry on our finest beaches.Tourists beware.!


21 JULY 2012
The environmental lobby group Friends of the Irish Environment has questioned the primary role of Local Authorities and the EPA in controlling the spreading of slurry.
 
 The call follows the E.coli outbreak which this week forced Clare County Council to ban swimming at three of the county's most popular beaches at Lahinch, Kilkee and Spanish Point.
 
 Clare County Council acknowledged that the water runoff from the excessive and sustained rainfall of the past two months has had a negative impact on bathing water quality, elevating bacterial levels.

 

 Slurry spreading can cause bacterial contamination when proper procedures are not followed. The Nitrates regulations state that slurry spreading may not take place when the soil is waterlogged or when heavy rain has been forecast within the next 48 hours. Yet, spreading has been regularly taking place all along the coastline under both of these conditions. The economic price to Counties like Clare is now clear to see.'

 

FIE says that current legislation makes the Local Authorities, under the general supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency, responsible for the enforcement of the slurry spreading regulations.

 

'The system is irrational, as it is DAFF (the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) who supported the Farm Waste Management Scheme by an enhanced package of financial supports for farmers and DAFF who carry out on-farm inspection on behalf of the Local Authorities in every county.'

 

'Why is the Department of Agriculture then able to wash its hands of responsibility for the pollution caused by farmers?'

Take the time to read Max and his interview with a famous Irish economist who takes no prisoners.

Corrupt city councillors target religious institution owned land for building restrictions (until their mates buy it up on the cheap)


A JUDGE has made orders formally quashing a more restrictive zoning of 2,000 acres in Dublin city's new development plan.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke has also directed Dublin City Council to meet to consider how the now unzoned lands are to be zoned.

Mr Justice Clarke, who was recently promoted to the Supreme Court, made the orders following a decision he made while on the High Court bench in a case taken against the more restrictive "Z15" zoning by the Sisters of Charity.

The judge stressed yesterday it remains open to the Council to zone some or all of the 2,000 acres as resource lands for the city provided it gives full reasons for doing so and complied with other aspects of his judgment upholding the challenge by the Sisters in relation to their lands in the city.

About 51 per cent of all of the lands which were zoned Z15 are held by religious institutions with the Sisters' 108 acres of lands accounting for about a half per cent of the entire lands in the plan.

In a judgment last April, Mr Justice Clarke found all the Z15 zoning aspects of the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 must be quashed because the Council failed to give adequate reasons for such "highly restrictive" zoning.

The Council and the Sisters had differed as to what should happen as a result of the judgment and the judge heard arguments form both sides before delivering a supplemental judgment this week setting out the formal orders arising from his decision.

The judge noted the main issue between the sides related to how the Council should now deal with the lands that had been zoned Z15 but were now effectively unzoned.

He said he was proposing directing a three stage process to address that issue. The first stage will involve a meeting of the Council to adopt proposals to deal with the lands that had been zoned Z15 while the second stage will involve a public consultation process of six weeks to receive submissions on the new proposals.

The third stage will involve a final meeting of the Council to consider those submissions and the City Manager's report on those before making a final decision on appropriate inclusions in the plan.

If during that three stage process a material amendment to the plan is proposed, the relevant procedures applicable under the Planning Act 2000 to such a material amendment will apply, he said.

The judge also upheld arguments by the Sisters that the Council's decision to adopt the Development Plan, and all of the Z15 zoning references in the plan itself, should be quashed.

He also granted a declaration the lands owned by the Sisters whch had been zioned Z15 are now subject to no zoning unless and until changes to the plan are adopted by the Council in accordance with the process specified by the court.

He upheld arguments by the Council that a reference in the plan outlining "the need to esnure that there is an increase in the amount of resource lands available in the city" should remain in the plan and not be deleted.

He would leave in that reference because, due to the absence of reasons for the Z15 zoning in the plan, he had not reached any conclusion whether it would, on principle, be permissible to provide for Z15 zoning or something like it in general terms. He had not reached conclusions whether some form of zoning or zonings designed to maintain resource lands might be justified, the judge added.

He also ruled that provisions allowing social and affordable housing, but not residential housing, to be considered on lands zoned Z15 could not be reproduced in any new development plan.

The judge also awarded all costs of the case to the Sisters against the Council, minus a sum of €15,000 to reflect that the Sisters had lost one issue relating to whether the Z15 zoning breached Article 44 of the Constitution.


52% of households liable to pay the iniquitous 'Household Charge"have not paid.


http://irelandafternama.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/what-are-the-real-household-charge-numbers/

Norway is in credit to the tune of 850 million Euros.They never gave away their natural assets to foreign companies.

The shocking report the government and the ERSI tried to bury.!

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/rt220/WP436.pdf
13th June 2012.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has  distanced itself from the controversial 'The Cost of Working in Ireland' report.

The document, deemed a working paper, suggested that up to 44% of working parents could be financially better off on social welfare, when costs such as childcare and transport are taken into account.

"Professor Richard Tol, now at the University of Sussex, is the senior author of the Working Paper," said an ESRI statement.

"We are aware that Professor Tol is now in possession of a revised draft of the paper which indicates that the percentage of people with children who would be better off on social welfare than working is not 44%, but less than 10%.

"Professor Tol did not follow ESRI procedures when submitting the working paper, which is how it came to be posted on the website.

"In the light of this episode, procedures for the release of working papers on the ESRI website will be revised to ensure that a similar situation does not arise in the future."

The think-tank also denied that the Government had any role in the removal of the document from the ESRI website.

"The working paper ….was removed from the ESRI website yesterday because senior ESRI researchers, who are experts in this area, concluded that the analysis it contains is seriously flawed.

"This was the sole reason for withdrawing the Working Paper. Any suggestion that the paper was withdrawn because of pressure, of any sort, from government, or any other source, is entirely unfounded."

Earlier today, Professor Tol said that the conclusions in the paper still stand.

"I'm a bit surprised for two reasons," he said.

"That I had to hear this from a journalist, and second that the paper is withdrawn - because as far as I know the conclusions stand.

"It is true that we are revising the paper, but it is mostly to do with the flow of the writing and we're doing additional analyses - but we're not changing the conclusions."

Exclusive!-Real letters, real stories from real people.

Mortgage default looming?
Private and Confidential
Housing Loan Accounts/Arrears
Dublin City Council – Block 2, Upper Ground Floor
Civic Offices
Wood Quay
Dublin 8


xxxxx 2012

Re: DCC loan account xxxxxxx – xxxxx  xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx Dublin 15


Dear Sirs

I am writing to you in relation to my mortgage at the above property. I have phoned in the past to outline my difficulties.

I am currently working a 4 day week and my net salary is €450 per week. 

My childcare costs are €200 per week for one child 4 days a week in crèche. Gas and Electricity (25 per week), phone (10 per week) home insurance (6 per week), car insurance (12 per week), car tax (12 per week) petrol (40 per week), groceries including nappies (80 per week), college fees (50 per week), clothing for my son including shoes (25 per week), doctors visits during the year, based on at a minimum of 4 visits and medication (6 per week). This is a deficit of €16 per week and does not include the countless incidentals which come up during the year like birthday presents or the cost of Christmas or books or a holiday.

I have not paid my management fees for two years. I owe almost €2000. I am €500 overdrawn on my credit card. I have been borrowing from my parents for the last two years to meet the mortgage payments.

I just can’t keep it up anymore. I have no money to live on. I’m driving on three bald tyres that I cannot afford to replace.

Is there anyway that the payments can be reduced for a time, so maybe I could start to try to pay off some of the management fees before legal action is taken against me.

I would appreciate any assistance you can offer. I purchased the apartment at the height of the boom therefore I have a large mortgage even though I purchased through the affordable housing scheme. It is a small one bed which is not suitable for a mother and growing two year old boy. 

Yours sincerely,
                                       (name witheld)

Exclusive: real letters real stories real people.!

HSE related dilemma

"My son has been in extreme discomfort for the past 4 weeks.The pain was hindering his ability to carry out his work. He is self employed and his income has plummeted to breadline level due to the current recession.
He has a wife and two small children, and only gets by, because his mortgage is reasonable by current standards-having bought his home before the era of madness commenced.
We -his parents- gifted him money to assist ,as his wages were very low at the time. 
He is one of the luckier ones. 
Nevertheless his community charges are approaching 2,000 Euros per annum and of course a plethora of new government taxes are expected in the coming budget.
This story is about a visit to his local GP where a tentative  was made of his problem,but it required confirmation from a specialist.
 He was given the name of a specific doctor who has aq clinic in the local hospital here in Dublin.
When he phoned for an appointment he was told that person had taken a year off from his public service employment.
The waiting list for appointments for almost any specialists in hospitals in the Dublin area stretches from 6 months to two years.
Another member of my family made a similar public appointment which was 18 months forward from the day it was made.!
She recently got a letter from this hospital 15 months after the day it was made.
The letter asking if she still intended to keep the appointment.
 There were many many more people waiting for an appointment listing.
After  such a delay many people make alternative arrangements and some of them  fail to notify the hospital.A valuable slot for someone else is therefore lost.
Some people might even have died during such a delay (if the complaint was life threatening). 

Back to  the specialist .He had not gone on a round the world cruise.
He was in fact beavering away in a number of other private hospitals in the vicinity.
My son did what countless thousands of other desperate sufferers do in the same situation year in year out.
He made an appointment to see the specialist in one of his numerous private clinics.
The waiting time was seven days.
On the appointed day, he duly arrived 15 minutes before the appointment time.
He sat in a waiting room with 16 other people still ahead of him in the queue.
90 minutes later and 150 Euros short, he left the consultants room with a diagnosis.
He was informed that the operation was not a major procedure but nevertheless it would cost about
1500 Euros,the anesthetist's fee alone amounting to 700 Euros.
He was also chastized by the consultant for not having private health insurance.
In the same breath the consultant warned him that the public health service was about to get even worse in the near future.(Is this concievable?)
The car parking area of the private hospital was  “pay per hour”as is normal nowadays in many hospitals.(Every little helps)
My by-now-rather-annoyed son's singular act of daring (anger) when confronted with a two hour parking charge, was to mount a kerb and drive his car across a  field, so as to exit the car park without paying the 6 Euro charge.!
Arriving home, he made enquiries about a  private health insurance plan.
 He was informed that it would cost him 2,800 Euros yearly.(add 20% to that figure each year?)
This additional burden is out of the question for him and his family.
We loaned him the money to assist  in his purchasing a home some years ago.
 We will gladly give him the money to pay for a vital medical procedure that cannot be postponed for a number of years."
                                                          name and address of author withheld.

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Nailing the bondholders.!

 
THE BALLYHEA THESES

On October 31st 1517 Martin Luther ‘Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light’ nailed his famous protest, his 95 Theses, to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, in Germany. At that time the Catholic Church was the major power in Europe but Luther was becoming more and more uncomfortable with its increasing abuse of that power. What pushed him over the edge and prompted him into his drastic action was the sale of ‘indulgences’, whereby rich Catholics could bypass the notion of confession and penance and simply buy their way into heaven. All seems kind of crazy now, doesn’t it, that anybody – much less the highest authorities in the church itself – would even contemplate such an idea, yet there it was and it came from the very top.

Pope Leo X wanted to finance the renovation of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and had started selling indulgences as part of a fund-raising campaign. The Archbishop of Mainz in Germany (Albert of Mainz, no less) had bought himself into that position (I know, I know – scandalous, right?) but had borrowed heavily to do so and was now deeply in debt. The sale of indulgences was a way out; he agreed to allow it in his territory in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Luther was incensed, composed his 95 Theses in protest – here’s number 86, just to give ye a flavour: ‘Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?’ What he wanted to do was open debate on what was happening, expose what he felt was a scandal.

In Ballyhea and in Charleville, in our weekly protest marches for the last 66 weeks, we’ve been trying to expose a crime, the extortion (The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats) of tens of billions of euro from the Irish people by the powerful ECB. And so, in a gesture which is as relevant as it is symbolic, we’ve travelled to Germany, home of Martin Luther, and we will ‘nail’ (okay, we’ll blue-tack) our own protest to the door of one of the new churches of European society – in fact to its very cathedral, the head office of the ECB in Frankfurt. This is what it will say:

Today, June 6th 2012, nearly 500 years on from Martin Luther’s stand On October 31st 1517 when, ‘Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light’ he nailed his famous protest, his 95 Theses, to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg in Germany, we’ve come from Ireland – from Ballyhea, from Charleville, from a few other areas – and we’re on a similar mission.

We don’t have 95 Theses, we do have a righteous cause and we do have our own protests, our own Theses:

1) Why has the ECB never accepted blame for its own negligence in oversight since the launch of the euro?

2 ) The euro was an incomplete currency from creation, lacking in the kind of centralised control mechanisms enjoyed by such as the dollar, pound, yen etc.; in those circumstances the ECB should have been extra-vigilant – it wasn’t.

3) In the early and mid-000s a tidal wave of hundreds of billions of cheap euro flooded out from the private banks at the core of Europe, in France and Germany especially, and swamped the economies of those countries on the periphery; the ECB ignored every warning sign.

4) When the bubble burst in Ireland, in 008, our national debt stood at less than €50bn, our National Pension Reserve Fund at just under €0bn, so in effect we were less than €30bn in the red.

5) We did have a problem, a budget deficit that year of €13.1 – large, but not insurmountable if tackled with decisiveness and courage.

6) Nearly five years of austerity budgets later our national debt stands at nearly €170bn and rapidly heading for €00bn, our National Pension Reserve Fund has been raided to the tune of €17bn, stands at just over €5bn (it had grown during 008/09/10), which means we’re in the red to the tune of about €165bn, an eight-fold increase. Our budget deficit for this year will be over €14bn, which means that despite all that austerity, all that massively increased national debt, we’re STILL no further forward in that most vital area.

7)The reason we are now many times worse off than when all this began? We’ve been bailing out the bank bondholders. One fateful weekend in September 008 top representatives of the Irish banks met with top members of the government, presented them with a doomsday situation, secured a two-year blanket guarantee of all their deposits and liabilities; they did so while offering incomplete/false/misleading information, so that the then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan boasted that it would cost ‘only’ €5bn.

8) Gradually the true picture emerged and since then, to mid-April 01 (per current Finance MinisterMichael Noonan), the Irish banks have paid out over €103bn in bonds.

9) In that time, we – the Irish people – have committed €67.8bn to the Irish banks (€6.8bn per Minister Noonan again, a further €5bn through NAMA), with talk now that they will require a further €4bn in the next year or two; this in a country whose GDP at the moment is at around €160bn.

10) The bulk of that commitment has been at the behest of the ECB which has used its financial muscle – cheap funding to our Central Bank – to blackmail successive Irish governments into assuming for the Irish people a debt that is not ours.

11) Those bank bonds were private deals between consenting adults in private for-profit institutions, deals done under the prevailing fundamental rule of commerce – ‘WARNING, your investment can fall as well as rise.’ The lending institutions fully understood that warning but, blinded by the potential profits, heedless of the bubble building in Ireland, they plunged in anyway.

12) When the Irish banks failed those bonds failed with them; under that fundamental rule of commerce, of capitalism, those bondholders should then have taken their hit, their haircut. Enter the ECB, and its blackmail policy as applied to Ireland.

13) The ECB feared contagion if the Irish banks didn’t pay their bondholders, the risk of collapse to the big banks at Europe’s core in Germany and France – who had huge exposure to massive loans made to all the at-risk countries – and thence to the euro itself.

14) Since these were ECB fears, then the ECB itself should have assumed the responsibility for those bonds, and it had the capacity to do so.

15) Instead, the ECB has forced that responsibility on to Ireland, which – as evidenced in the numbers above – does NOT have the capacity to carry it.

16) So we ask, by what right do you do this to us? To echo Martin Luther’s Thesis 86, ‘Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?’, we ask Why does the ECB, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, pay the bank bondholders with the money of poor believers rather than with its own money?

17) What are the ethical, moral, legal or even logical grounds for what you are doing to Ireland? You have spoken often and loudly of the ‘moral hazard’ effect if Ireland doesn’t pay for the recklessness of its bankers; what of the ‘moral hazard’ effect on the bondholders, whose own recklessness doesn’t just go unpunished but is actually fully rewarded?

18) How do you explain your unprecedented interference in the course of commerce, your corruption of the one of the basic laws of capitalism, that of profit-and-loss?

19) Before there can be any borrower, reckless or otherwise, there has to be a lender; why is it that under your edicts those who so recklessly loaned hundreds of billions not just into Ireland but also into Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, are themselves the last and the least to suffer?

20) In 010 you ‘allowed’ the Irish Central Bank print an additional €30.7bn to enable two zombie banks pay failed bonds, the infamous Promissory Notes as collateral; not a cent of that €30.7bn went to the Irish people, why should we now be made liable for even a cent of it?

21) Since this crisis began your management of it has abysmal; despite all your measures, all your meetings, not alone has it never gotten even a whit better, it has gone from bad to worse to catastrophic.

22) We call on you to admit to your own mistakes, to your own negligence from day one of the creation of the euro right up to the present moment.

23) We call on you to rethink everything you’re doing, not just to change course but to reverse course and start again.

24) We call on you to write off the Promissory Notes in their entirety, to write off the bank debt you have already forced on us, the Irish people, and to do with those banks what you should have done from day one – assume responsibility for them yourselves.

25) This started life as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), became the European Economic Community (EEC), then the EU.

26) In a genuine community the strong help the weak; in this community you – the strong – have taken advantage of the weakness and vulnerability of one of the smallest countries in the EU and forced debt on us that is not ours.

27) Over the years we’ve had the addition of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank, layer on layer of administration.

28) The most significant of those, however, has been the formation of your own institution, the ECB, in 1998. Since 1998 the ECB has been growing ever more powerful, to the stage where it is now beginning to dictate even to the elected representatives in Europe.

29) The proposed ESM treaty, as written, gives even more powers to the bankers and financiers, powers unprecedented in any democracy anywhere, ever – problem unprecedented in any kind of jurisdiction, even in the likes of the USSR or North Korea.

30) The proposed ESM treaty as written not only puts anyone who ever works for it beyond the law, it puts any document it ever writes, any decision it ever makes, any building it ever occupies, beyond even investigation – total immunity for itself and anyone associated with it.

31) This will enable it to do whatever it pleases with absolute impunity and with total immunity. The original aims and values of the European project have been lost, we are now fast heading for a new superpower – the EUB, European Union of Bankers.

32) All the diagnoses made by the ECB of this crisis have been wrong, all the prescriptions have failed – in fact they’ve made the situation worse.

33) It’s time to stop, it’s time to reconsider this whole project, it’s time the ECB were brought to account. Just as the Catholic Church was a dominant power in Europe 500 years ago, the ECB has become a dominant force today. Omnipotence, however, doesn’t mean they’re always right, doesn’t mean they should not be challenged. In time, and just as the Catholic Church came to see that what it was doing then was wrong, so people will see that what the ECB is doing now to Ireland and to other sovereign peoples across Europe is wrong.

34) And so, our challenge.

Signed this day, June 6th 2012:

Pat O’Brien Frances O’Brien Fiona Buckley Rob Buckley Richard Chapman Vicky Donnelly Hugh Mellerick Damian Moylan Cathleen Moloney Pat Moloney Diarmaid Ó Cadhla Donncha Ó Briain Lynette O’Donoghue Diarmuid O’Flynn Phil Ryan

Heretic burned at the stake.!


By Mark Keenan
Saturday June 02 2012
The government parties will be forced to break all three of their key election promises if Ireland is to make any real progress in the years ahead, UCD economist Colm McCarthy warned yesterday.

Speaking at the Irish Small and Medium Firms Association (ISME) annual lunch at Dublin's Burlington Hotel where he was awarded the SME Medal for services to Irish business, Mr McCarthy said the Government had engaged in "auction politics" during the last election. Now it was going to have to pay the price.

Costs

In particular, it would have to row back on its commitments not to raise income tax, not to touch social welfare and to honour the Croke Park Agreement to get the country out of economic quagmire it finds itself in.

"This policy of no compulsory redundancies means that who leaves and who stays is decided by the staff themselves and not by the management.

"Public payroll costs need to come down somehow, and it's not realistic to think otherwise. Croke Park will have to be revisited," he said.

In tandem with revisiting Croke Park, he added that the nation's social welfare bill would certainly have to be cut, and income tax would have to be raised if Ireland was to stand a chance of recovery in the current European climate.

"It's not just a local banking crisis; it's right across Europe. This week's vote is just a first step on a long road ahead."

Addressing 500 employers, Mr McCarthy said he believed the euro was in fact a "currency agreement" rather than a true currency. The economist, who authored the 'An Bord Snip Nua' report, was just back from Greece where he has been advising the troika.

Other speakers included ISME chairman John Ryan, who urged that in its efforts to attract foreign direct investment, the Government should not forget Ireland's SMEs.

He called for fast tracking of the long-promised micro finance scheme for small businesses; the introduction a worthwhile employment incentive programme; and for the Government to abolish the opt-out clause in late payments legislation on all domestic business transactions.

- Mark Keenan Sunday Independent.
The pension-related deduction which came into effect in March 2009 reduced voted expenditure by €837m in that year.

The Bord Snip group, which was chaired by UCD economist Colm McCarthy, said in its report last year that public servants are generally entitled to retire on a full Defined Benefit pension (calculated at half of the average annual salary over the final three years of service), after 40 years’ service, together with a lump sum of up to one-and-a-half times the final salary. Employees may retire after reaching the age of 60 (the compulsory retirement age is 65), with pro rata reductions for those with fewer than 40 years’ service, although those retiring between the ages of 50 and 60 incur an ‘actuarial reduction’ to reflect the longer retirement period. (The key benefit of the recently-introduced Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement is that it eliminates the actuarial reduction for this age group.) After retirement, it has been the practice to index pension rates in line with earnings, which carries a very high actuarial cost and is not generally available in the private sector.
The majority of private sector workers have no occupational pension and those who do, face the prospect of low payouts as many funds are in deficit and returns are expected to be low for many years.

In addition to the basic public service pension system, Bord Snip noted the existence of a range of accelerated / ‘added years’ arrangements across various areas of the public service. These accelerated arrangements are more costly to the Exchequer, and their existence and budgetary implications do not appear to be widely known or appreciated by the general public. For example, Gardaí are free to retire on full pension at the age of 50 (an effective 10 years’ added service on the assumption of an entry age of 20); some engineers, who might enter the public service at the age of 35, would accrue full pension entitlements at age 65 (again an effective 10 added years); teachers with 35 years service are eligible to retire from age 55 on; some hospital consultants may be entitled to up to 10 added years of service; and a High Court judge, who might typically be appointed to the bench at 50 years of age, is entitled to full pension at age 65 (an effective 25 added years).

Finfacts article; July 2010: Irish public sector pay/pensions to rise 16% in period 2005-2010; Pay up 11%: Pensions up 66%; Pensioner numbers rise 43% to 103,400 (the C&AG's pensioner numbers include local authority staff).

On Wednesday we reported that according to the C&AG's report, that in January 2002, following a request for proposals from interested persons, the OPW (Office of Public Works) entered into a two-year contract with a professional historian to research and write a text for publication on the history of the OPW from the seventeenth century to 2000. The total fee specified for this commission was €76,184, with a completion date of January 2004.

In January 2004, the OPW agreed a further two-year consultancy contract with the author at a revised fee of €78,470. The deadline for the production of the final text was extended to January 2006. No signed contract beyond this date was entered into.

Up to 31 December 2009, the author has been paid a total of €341,714 (inclusive of withholding tax of €68,172). Two completed chapters of the book have recently been received by the OPW.

We Irish of course have a long tradition of taking life slow and last week we highlighted the glacial speed of handling the banking crisis - - Ireland' system of slow-motion government and the lingering death of Anglo Irish Bank.
http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1020582.shtml

Building on bogs debacle.

€3 million Wexford site now worth €290,000
15:01, 23 May 2012 by Kieron Wood
A 15-acre site in Co Wexford, which was bought for €3 million in 2006
is now worth just €290,000, the High Court has heard.
Mr Justice Brian McGovern is hearing evidence about the value of two
properties in Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin, and Oylgate, Co Wexford,
before deciding what damages to award against law firm BCM Hanby
Wallace - now Byrne Wallace.
The firm was sued by KBC bank for failing to ensure that the bank had
proper security for €25 million in loans to property developer John
Kelly and struck-off solicitor Thomas Byrne.
KBC alleged that BCM Hanby Wallace had accepted undertakings from
Byrne without first making proper inquiries about existing charges on
the properties. Ronan Egan, a partner in the firm, agreed that he
should have made further inquiries, but said that the acceptance of
solicitors' undertakings was normal practice at the time.
At a hearing in March, McGovern said BCM Hanby Wallace was guilty of
"egregious" failures. He said that the firm had not only failed to
ensure that there was proper security, but had deliberately misled the
bank.
The judge said KBC was entitled to recover the full amount of the
loans plus certain other costs, less the 2008 value of three secured
properties and the lands at Oylgate, plus about €900,000 received from
Kelly. Costs are likely to amount to several million euro, with five
leading senior counsel, including former Attorney General Paul
Gallagher, representing the parties.
In the High Court this morning, lawyers for both sides said they had
agreed valuations for three of the mortgaged properties at between
€500,000 and €600,000 each. But they strenuously disputed the
valuations of the Dublin and Wexford properties.
Michael Collins, senior counsel for the bank, said the 15.3 acres of
land at Oylgate had been bought by Kelly for €3 million following an
auction in September 2006. BCM Hanby Wallace claimed it was now worth
€2.5 million.
But valuation surveyor Ronan Diamond of Lisneys said that price
represented "hope value", as the land was not zoned for residential
use. Two planning applications had been withdrawn, and the council had
decided not to proceed with plans for a water treatment plant in the
village.
He said four acres of the land was forested and 2.6 acres - known as
the 'winter pond' - was wetlands. "Is this land on which application
was made to build houses?" asked the judge. When told that it was, he
remarked: "Why am I not surprised?"
Diamond said the land was now worth around €25,000 an acre and was in
no way comparable with the €36 million paid for the 1.5 acre Esmond
Motors site in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, which a valuer on behalf of BCM
Hanby Wallace had said was a suitable comparison.
Collins said the bank had originally agreed with a 2005 valuation of
€5.3 million for the Rathmines Road site, a car salesroom which was to
be converted for retail use. But the bank now accepted that it had
been misinformed about turnover figures, which were said to be
€130,000 per week, but were actually €46,000 a week.
He said that, while the solicitors' firm claimed that the Rathmines
Road property was now worth €4.5 million, the only evidence which had
been given at the earlier hearing valued the property at €2 million
The case continues.

European map 2022?

Frankenstein Quango.Watch it if you dare.!

http://youtu.be/wXMmgLukDcQ

Corruption and breathtaking incompetence leaves a multi-million Euro bill for the Irish taxpayer,stretching far into the future.


To prove the colour of the country’s money, a snap decision was made to build Ireland’s first 50-metre swimming stadium. 

A breakneck building project began, to ensure the facility was ready for the moment the government knew the world would be watching — the Special Olympics Summer Games in June 2003. 

The project was Campus and Stadium Ireland and this first speedy installment was the National Aquatic Centre. 

Today the corpse of Bertie Ahern’s dream of a National Stadium is buried in the undeveloped tract of land at Abbotstown in Dublin. 

Its headstone is that single sporting arena to become a reality, despite a decade of high-stakes legal battles and an aborted strategy to leave it in the hands of private operators. Its epitaph is the bitter, costly and sorry story of the National Aquatic Centre (NAC).
 

recession cartoons