(Re a recent E-mail from Dublin lawyers acting for Monica Leech,demanding that I remove the "Monica Lewinsky" poem from this website or face litigation in the High Court.:)
I absolutely reject your allegations that the poem/article on my web site "is tantamount to an allegation that Mrs Leech prostituted herself".
I am surprised that you could misconstrue my light hearted political satire in the article http://www.soldiersofdestiny.org/monicalewinsky.htm in this way.
It is regretable that irish libel law is a licence to print money for the legal profession,and makes it very difficult to comment on the behaviour and actions of our politicians or prominent businessmen without facing a law suit for "defamation".
Perhaps this is the reason that corruption and cronyism has been alive and well in government circles for the past two decades and shows no sign of going away.
It is clearly stated- more than once- in the poem on my website, to which you refer, that no relationship of a sexual nature is implied, between Minister Martin Cullen and your client Monica Leech. Indeed in one line of the poem I go further, and actually say and that any such allegations " are lies".
It is public knowledge however that your client has had a business relationship with Minister Cullen for many years and was his election agent long before he achieved notoriety in the eyes of both environmental conservationists and responsable citizens who abhorr wanton waste of taxpayers money.
Persons closely associated with government ministers and persons or companies which benefit from government contracts must be prepared to face public scrutiny-just as the minsters themselves are.
The topic of which I have written on my web site has- as you are aware- been the object of an official government investigation, the outcome of which did nothing to allay the fears in the minds of the electorate that nepotism and other problems of incompetence and wasteful expenditure of taxpayers money continues to be exposed on a daily basis by courageous investigative journalists and official tribunals of enquiries alike.
It seems that these problems remain to this day in the Fianna Fail government.
If your client has the audacity to sue the irish national radio station, on which a caller made a lewd remark in the context of a public discussion reguarding the substantial P.R. fees paid to her, by minister Martin Cullen,then that is her entitlement and good luck to her-if she profits by it.
That she should be awarded a fortune in court at the expense of the taxpayers whose licence fees finance the same state radio station, would be an injustice.
Too many businessmen,judges,politicians and associates of Fianna Fail have enriched themselves for too long at the expense of the media, and those courageous enough to expose waste incompetence and cronyism in government.
Thank God for America, freedom of speech, and the world wide web.
I shall vigourously contest any further allegations or misconstruing of my material on this web site-all of which is sourced from facts already in the public domain.
Prostitutes are- on the scale of respectability- held in far higher esteem than lawyers, by most concerned citizens on both sides of the Atlantic.
"Fianna Fail" are very able 'pimps" in an irish context. This political party has long maintained an oppressive regime of censorship and harsh libel laws which have ensured that the crimes of their own corrupt politicians & leaders have remained buried for decades until a few courageous reporters,such as Frank Connolly, finally exposed them.
Could I ask you one question.As your prestigious firm does a lot of work for the state,who is funding this costly High Court raid on the Media and RTE's pockets.?
Is Monica gambling her own dosh, or is the Fianna Fail government using taxpayers funds to underwrite another Beverley Flynn style circus heading for the Four Goldmines? Beverley has not paid her multi million euro bill to RTE yet, and probably never will, unless her unbridled arrogance determines that she remains in the front line of politics during the next election. (Bankrupts cannot be elected to the dail).We await her decision on this Hamlet like quandary with great interest.
"To pay or not to pay -that is the question?"
yours etc, Soldiers of Destiny.org
A second pot of gold for Monica.?:When the Monica Lew-sorry-Leech payment controversy erupted in the media in 2005 poor Joe was on his RTE state radio soapbox,exposing the follies of politicians etc in his inimitable way.
A Blaggard came on air (live!) and was heard by a shocked nation to make a lewd remark to the effect that her large PR fee (300,000euros) from Minister (and long time colleague) Martin Cullen, was a reward for services more associated with President Clinton-than a respectable irish politician.
Whether this event will enrich Monica once more-and bring to an end live interviews on irish radio-will be much argued and discussed (at great expense for the losing side) in the irish High Court shortly,after the general election.
Monica has unleashed a barrage of writs only matched by the Israeli Air Force bombing of unfortunate souls in southern Lebanon.
Dont mess with Monica you media scandalmongers-if you do she may empty your pockets,as well as the taxpayers.!
Ironically, part of Monica's brief during her 3 year term of office as an unqualified P.R. agent ( she was not a member of the irish public relations professional body which normally tenders for all government work) for Martin, was to persuade the public to accept double taxation (refuse charges/bin taxes) in the famous "Race against Waste" publicity blitz in the media. If there is indeed a "Race against Waste" herself and Martin, are firm favourites to win first prize.
Cartoon courtesy of "The Phoenix"magazine.
"JOBS FOR THE BOYS" (AND GIRLS) RIP-OFF:-
Martin,s pals in Waterford are making a mint.They have bought a warehouse to store the junk.and judging by the rates they charge(the dearest in the country) they will have the cost of the property recouped in a few years. Even 50 million euros worth of incompetence is followed by a stroke, to profit from the misadventure.!
Under the freedom of information act(recently interfered with by Fianna Fail)we have at great expense and effort unearthed an E-mail sent by minister Martin Cullen to his personal press attache,Monica Leech in December 2004; Another scoop for; www.soldiersofdestiny.org first with the new shit to hit the fan.!
Please send a copy of Martin,s Christmas poem to his beloved P.R. beauty,Monica,to all your friends;-
"Monica Leech you are truly a peach, lovely Soldier of Destiny:
You spin and you win, and new votes you bring in;
and your loyalty is only to me.
Thee, I must surely reward, so your tender, put forward,
as I have many coins to disburse;
accompany me, over land and sea, and together we'll empty the citizen,s purse.!
Some people speculate, if we both sleep in late;
on some junket in far off lands...
What they do not realise,-,A cigarette is my prize,
and all of the gossip is lies.!
From Martin to Monica:
We have travelled afar,and seen many a star;
While lying on exotic sands,
Soul mates we may be, in our Destiny,
But in truth we have never held hands.
Roughshod I may ride...
Crush Heritage with Pride;
As my highways traverse Erin,s land.
Royal Tara may disappear,neath my tyrannous sneer;
As I mix fresh cement with the sand.!
But my love affair, when I leave my lair...
is a lady named "Waterford".
And a highway or two, plus a local hospital new,
To this end all my schemings are toward.!
Monica Leech,,you I beseech;-
to be always by my side.
You cost twice as much, as other some sutch;-
but Carr is a faithless spin-bride.
For Monica Lewinsky I don't give a shinsky.!
Only voters suck up to me.
My Monica Leech,is a precious peech;
A true Soldier of Destiny.!
Merry Christmas dear mugs, from political slugs....
We're off to the Fianna Fail bash.!
And a happy Yuletide,,From my new P.R. bride,
who has spent all your hard earned cash.!"
AN INVESTIGATION IS ANNOUNCED TO CALM THE POPULACE.
WATERFORD,S WARRIOR QUEEN,the georgious Monica.Ready to lock horns with Radio Telefis Eireann, Ireland's national radio station, in a battle to the death for hard cash.
Gee what excitement,even Pat Rabbite is in a tizzy,at Bertie,s discomfort...
The Taoiseach of Ireland,King Bertie Ahern,defender of the True Faith-and other Papal titles/medals etc. too numerous to mention: beatified successor to His Imperial Majesty Charles J.Haughey; Emperor of Kinsealy and The Blasket Islands; Protector of the Great Bahamas offshore tax havens, -reluctantly announced his willingness to permit an investigation into the 'Monicagate affair',to quell rising public anger among his loyal taxpaying vassals and serfs in the cities and towns of Ireland.
Monica Leech was for the baying press and media bloodhounds,a new morsel of scandal. She found herself a seasonal celebrity peech, reluctantly catapulted into the same limelight she had so diligently shone on her mentor and benefactor Martin Cullen - at great expense. Santa Claus (Martin ) had stealthily filled her silk stocking with a small fortune,from the government stealth tax fund, when nobody was watching.! Now it was laid bare.An informer,-presumably.
Lovely stroke Martin,and you never even dropped the hand…! alas hell hath no fury like a jealous suitor (or rival P.R. agency). Someone tipped off the press.
"Begrudgers and informers'"cried Martin, drawling on a Woodbine, "Ireland is full of them".
Bertie, all in a tizzy,and mindful of his new socialist credentials, consulted his (T.D.) "Politburo" colleagues, in Leinster House about handling this wanton waste of taxpaying comrades funds, but it was his costly, capitalistic, American "Spin" Doctors who advised him what to do.
They told him to make a calming statement to mollify the unruly mobs who were threatening to storm the Bastille-like gates of the "New Kremlin" (formerly, Leinster House.)
He set up one of his usual tribunals, which always bought him lots of time, until (ten years later?) the heat had gone out of the mob's fury.In fact people had forgotten why these tribunals were set up in the first place.The old generation who witnessed their inception had long ago died off ,and the new youngsters were so high on cocaine and ecstasy,and took so little interest in politics that they thought "rezoning" was another term for getting high on some prohibited drug.
bertie declared that this would be just a 'Mini Tribunal' as the cost of such public enquiries was running into billions of euros.The crooked developers were still getting richer by the day, and as for the numerous crooked politicians unearthed during the exhaustive legal process,most of them had also died or retired.Their sons were now in situ, ready to carry on the "good work." ("What's in the cat is in the kitten").
So Bertie, in his press release,declared that his errant Minister, Martin Cullen would at last, be the subject of a rapid investigation by an "independent' appointee . He appointed a retired apparatchek from the trusty Civil Service (Revenue) to defuse the crisis.
Martin Cullen's press office then boldly declared that he had been hoping for an investigation all along to clear his name.!(not to get back our money mind- what incredible spin doctors they have- in every department.!!)
"But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Bertie publicly accepted that the notorious Minister for All Controversy, Computer Chaos, Cronyism, and Crushed Castles; –the said Martin Cullen,- did reward,by way of payment of taxpayers booty, the sum of 300,000 Euros to a close confidant and camp follower,one Monica Leech, for P.R. services such as the notorious "Race against Waste" campaign. He more or less admitted that there appeared to be a case to answer,stating that;
"The most comely courtesan in the land, would have to work on the flat of her back for at least a lifetime to garner this kind of money…and as even high class escorts are frowned upon in catholic Ireland, and lowly brothels and lapdancing clubs are raided by our gallant Garda Siochana as a matter of course…we,the Soldiers of Fianna Fail, accept that the public need to know why all this money has changed hands.!"
“If Martin had indeed gotten 'special services' during his junkets to Bangcock ,and elsewhere, there is a case to be made that the taxpayers had received fair value for money…
But to be innocent of all wrongdoing…and hand out this kind of cash, makes Minister Martin appear to be indeed a buffoon of the first order. And buffoons are not tolerated lightly in the ranks of the Soldiers of Destiny.
"However if Martin goes,Waterford goes with him, and the dilemma is -we need his votes desperately in the forthcoming election ” Bertie declared.
Bertie later retracted his first statement and the new 'spin' declared the terms of enquiry would be restricted;
“The main and only issue is whether the Minister was within his rights to make the appointment of Ms Leech in a single tender process”
Well Bertie,here is news for you.The main issue for most citizens is; that Fianna Fail Ministers can stealthily reward their close cronies and supporters, after achieving high office,with a veritable “Kings Ransom”,for doing a few months clerical work, P.R. whatever; answering the phone etc, and “sexing up” these tasks to justify an incredible handout, under the all embracing guise of a “public relations”contract.
In short, there was no bang (even for Martin) for these 300,000 bucks. "Race Against Waste" indeed.
one need only look at the company Bertie Ahern keeps today
The picture of Bertie and Moriarty is on our home page, to see the total hypocrisy of it all.
How many more such “golden handshakes”, lie buried in the long grass,where the Soldiers of Destiny,daily stalk the salaried taxpayers of Ireland.? Tax the millionaires Bertie, not the poor. Is it any wonder the public purse is always empty when the old,the sick, the handicapped,-and even the Simon Community come looking for succour..
The Fianna Fail tendering process for “jobs for the boys” is of course aptly captured in the story of the three “Paddies”(builders, all) who tendered to build a public lavatory,for the local council, on the seaside promenade in Brighton,England...
The three Paddies were interviewed in turn by a panel of three Brighton councillors,and asked to give a breakdown explanation of their respective tenders. Paddy the Scotsman was first,and gave the lowest quotation of 12,000 pounds, with a cost breakdown of 6000 pounds for labour and 6000 pounds for materials.
Paddy the Englishman wanted 15000 pounds for the job; 8000 pounds for labour and 7000 pounds for materials….
Paddy the Irishman was the dearest at 22,000 pounds,total…but he got the contract.
When asked to give a breakdown of the relevant aspects of this rather high estimate,he whispered in the three councillors ears…
“If I get the job,boys,…there,s 5000 pounds for me …5000 pounds for ye…and we will get the Scotsman to build the lavatory.!
N.B. There is no statutary obligation for the Board of Works to accept the lowest tender from any applicant for contracts.
And finally a real (if incredible) tale of Loos, in county Longford.....
-another stroke "for friends of Fianna Fail "folk.? Public money spent by public(toilet)town councillors..
it has to be a put up job by the soldiers of destiny.
An ode to a Longford Loo...
When you go down to Longford town
Look out for the Superloo there, ensconsced in the centre of the square...
and if you feel so inclined park upon it your behind.
As on the seat you luxuriate pause a while to ruminate....
IT is costing far too much to spend a penny in the town's controversial Superloo but it will cost half a million euro to remove it.
The toilet costs €34,000 a year to run and Longford Town Council is expecting just €1,200 to be recouped in receipts this year.
Councillor, Jimmy McDonnell, estimated it costs the council €8.50 every time someone uses it.
But the council is tied into a deal over the Superloo on Market Square. The council is signed up for another 14 years with the company which manages the facility. The penalty contract is "enormous" according to Town Manager, James Clarke, as the council would have to fork out €500,000 to get rid of the Superloo.
"There is an enormous penalty," said Mr Clarke. "It is a crazy amount of money to get out of the contract but the biggest difficulty is it is not used by the public."
The facility is maintained almost every day under the terms of the contract. "They are very clean and it is serviced regularly," he added.
Yes... yes ,but who owns this fantastic latrine this costly brown trout disposal machine
Perhaps the town councillors all have a share.? A stock market flotation would only be fair
Then ratepaying folk would happily fart in a fancy latrine that is state of the art.
If the money they spent is gone instead under the mattress of a Fianna Fail bed,
then poorer the citizens of Longford will be, and Fianna Fail should be strung from a tree.!
"Up yours Bertie"
"There are times when one wonders how it is the Irish economy is such a success," says Vincent Browne, my favourite "cut and thrust",somewhat eccentric, journalist. (A spade is a spade,with Vincent, and no bullshit in between.!) Oddly he and C.J.H. are good pals.! He even tried to touch Charlie for a loan on one occasion.
"With the crowd of incompetents, dullards and nitwits that run the country, how did they not screw up the economy or induce others to do it for them?
These are the same people who are responsible for the engagement of media consultants, transport policy, e-voting, the purchase of grand houses for the state and the running of the police force. I am referring, of course, to Messrs Martin Cullen and Michael McDowell.
The Monica Leech story is hilarious. The first thing that Cullen gets into his head, when he becomes a junior minister and then a cabinet minister, is to hire Leech as a public relations consultant.
When he went to the Office of Public Works (OPW), he thought that the very thing it needed was a PR consultant in Waterford. The OPW never had a PR consultant before in a regional centre, but for a reason that was not explained in the report by Dermot Quigley, there was an urgent need for a PR consultant for Waterford.
In fact, it was so urgent that the usual tendering process could not be gone through.
The kind of thing that a PR consultant was needed for in Waterford was to announce an opening ceremony for refurbished government offices, the renovation of a Garda station, the doing up of a fire station and the start of a drainage scheme. If you think I am making this up, just read the report.
Cullen then gets his legs under the ministerial desk at the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and, again the first thing he needs is a PR consultant.
And guess who he has in mind?
It doesn't matter that the department already has lots of press officers, nor that it already has contracted a very expensive outside PR agency, Drury Communications, Ms Leech's services cannot be done without.
She earns a packet of money, and it transpires that 30 per cent of her time is devoted to discussions with the minister, which costs the state around 84,000Euros.That is for discussions with the minister, quite apart from her other functions.
What her other functions were is not at all clear from the Quigley report, especially as he notes there is a scarcity of documentation detailing what she did. She had an involvement in spatial strategy, but Drury Communications was specifically engaged to look after the PR aspects of that, so what was she doing?
And Quigley thinks this is all OK, for he failed to find a hard government regulation that Cullen transgressed in his department's engagement of Leech.
Cullen's ministerial record is such that he would be disqualified for the position of messenger boy in the Dail. He made a spectacular mess of the two major projects with which he has been associated: the purchase of Farmleigh House and the e-voting business.
The money he squandered on Leech is nothing compared with the funds he poured down the drain on these projects. It would have been ironic if he had been dismissed for wasting a few hundred thousand euro on Leech when he was retained and promoted, having wasted (56 million) on Farmleigh House and another 50 million on e-voting.
But whatever the excuse for getting rid of him is, he must be got rid of. We can't have another two and a half years of going forward and "rolling out"something or other. If he is allowed stay, he will have ground traffic to an absolute halt by the time of the next election wherever he is.
An old vulture named Hockey
Got exceedingly cocky,
While he feathered his lair near Kinsealy,
He proceeded to milk,
Ben Dunne and his ilk,
Did he do them some favours ?- not really.!
The Lesser -Beaked Bertie
Got exceedingly shirty
when accused of a like minded crime,
Some money was found-it was just a whipround,
and you all know he hadnt a dime.!"
With artful cunning
Performance quite stunning,
His soul he laid bare to the nation,
RTE said "Dont cry,
Take that tear from your eye,
For we know twas a bad situation.!"
Your wife and her shysters
Dined on champagne and oysters,
While you slept out rough in "St Lukes"
Thank God you avoided
The troubles outside it
Builders,and bankers, are far the worse crooks.!
But now your in clover,
Your trials are over,
Youve reaped the rewards of your toil:
Each mortgage, stamp duty,
Daily adds to your booty,
5 more years are assured with such guile.
Your vice is not Greed,
"Power" is all that you need,
Being called "Boss" at the end of each day.
But its hard to contain,
The avarice & Gain,
Of T.D.s as they frolic and play.
When you climb up a tree,
Find an errant T.D.,
Uncovered, by media hacks;
To the "Gene Pool" he goes,
Or to worser woes,
Arbour Hill, for evasion of tax.!
Their sworn testimony,
Is pure baloney,
With bluster, and lies, we contend,
But frozen sleet,
On a Moscow street,
Quickly brought that charade to and end.
25 February 2007 By Vincent Browne
We journalists are an important species. It is not widely appreciated, but a free society depends on our freedom to do more or less what we like and any curtailment of our freedom is a curtailment of everybody’s freedom.
We journalists are an important species. It is not widely appreciated, but a free society depends on our freedom to do more or less what we like and any curtailment of our freedom is a curtailment of everybody’s freedom.
Any law that curtails our freedom to write or broadcast what we think is important is repressive, a gross interference with the freedom of the press, one of the essential freedoms.
The essential freedom.
Take the libel laws, for example.
The indignity of journalists having to bother about the reputation of others is shameful.
As for contempt - another example of the super-preciousness of the judiciary
It is not sufficient that people have to bow and scrape to them in their courts, with ‘‘may it please, your lordship’’ and ‘‘with respect, your honour’’, but they presume to order journalists how to do their job in saving democracy and the liberties of all.
Something else that is not appreciated is that journalists have a code of ethics. Not many other professions have such a code and I have never heard of judges having a code of ethics. Medics claim to, but we all know about them. Lawyers?
Ethics? An oxymoron.
Not alone do journalists have a code of ethics, but it is their trade union code of conduct.
What other trade union has a code of conduct?
Here are some morsels from that code of conduct: ‘‘A journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards." See? Part of our very being.
‘‘A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism."
That’s our role in life, defending the right of the people to ‘‘know’’. Yes, there is an irksome codicil to this about eliminating ‘‘distortion, news suppression and censorship’’, but that needn’t detain us here.
‘‘A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate, avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion, selection or misrepresentation."
How about that for a ringing declaration of principles to which all journalists adhere?
We are often accused of unjustifiable intrusion into people’s privacy. How wrong can one get? Isn’t it appreciated that at the heart of our code of conduct is the principle: ‘‘A journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into anybody’s private life, grief or distress, subject to justification by overriding considerations of the public interest."
And who is the best person to decide whether there are ‘‘overriding considerations of the public interests’’? We are, of course. Who else?
Then there’s that simple statement of our core principle: ‘‘A journalist shall protect confidential sources of information."
That’s at the centre of the integrity of our profession.
Were anybody or any institution to trespass on this fundamental principle, by God we would fight to the death.
There are other bits about journalists not accepting bribes or inducements, about not lending ourselves to the distortion or suppression of truth, not mentioning a person’s age, sex, race colour, creed, sexual orientation, plus stuff about not manipulating photographs or endorsing products - all tagged on recently for reasons of political correctness.
Thankfully, none of us pays any attention. You know yourself...
It is troubling that there have not been demonstrations on the streets these past few days protesting the arrest and detention of a journalist, Mick McCaffrey, who bravely - and exclusively, let it be said - revealed the contents of a draft of the George Birmingham report on the Dean Lyons case.
That was a shocking case involving yet more scandal within the Garda Siochana.
Members of the force induced an innocent man to confess to two gruesome murders in which he had no involvement.
Had McCaffrey not reported that story, we, the public, would never have known about it - well, not for two weeks anyway.
The reason he was harassed and browbeaten by the authorities is because of a bizarre piece of legislation that was passed secretly by the Oireachtas a few years ago allowing investigations to be undertaken in private and criminalising the publication of anything about these investigations until the reports had been completed and published officially.
This is an affront to journalists and to freedom-loving people everywhere. It makes no difference that the public would have known about this anyway within a few weeks. It’s the principle that matters.
The same holds true for the courageous stand taken by Geraldine Kennedy and Colm Keena of the Irish Times. They received tribunal documents to do with Bertie Ahern’s private financial arrangements. They published the information in the national interest and, when ordered to produce documents, they destroyed them to protect their source.
The contention that it was for the courts to decide where the balance of the public interest lay between protecting journalists’ sources on the one hand and protecting the integrity of tribunal procedure on the other hand is an insult to the journalistic profession.
Why should judges be in a preferred position to adjudicate on where the balance of the public interest lies, rather than journalists?
Day after day, journalists have to wrestle with whether to invade privacy in the public interest, whether to defame people in the public interest, whether to obey the law in the public interest or to obey the courts in the public interest.
We are constantly embroiled in these philosophical cogitations.
Why not leave it to us experts, whose steadfastness in the pursuit of the public good is without question?
There are those who would reply that journalists are merely hirelings of moguls in the pursuit of profit, and that the public interest matters not a whit to them, only glorification for themselves.
This is slander which must not go unpunished. What are the libel laws for if not to protect the dignity of those entrusted with the public interest? Where are the courts now? Typical
‘If this were played upon a stage now,I could condemn it as an improbable fiction’
‘ Twelfth Night.’Shakespeare.
I suppose we owe a great debt to the reform minded ,public spirited citizens(members of ‘An Taisce’) Michael Smith and Colm Mac Eochaidh who placed an advertisement in the Irish newspapers asking anyone who had knowledge of corruption in public life and the planning process to come forward and reveal their story.
Ironically the only firm of solicitors who were prepared to act as intermediaries in the project were Donnelly & Neary who are comfortably based in Newry-John Bull’s part of the Emerald Isle.! The Flood Tribunal followed,in the Republic and is costing hundreds of millions of Euros as the Legal Eagles from the ‘Four Goldmines’(Dublin’s‘ Four Courts’ )make a gargantuan and expensive meal out of the whole exciting can of worms.
One witness William Gogarty pried the lid open,and the rest is history.They must be rather proud of what they set in train.
Unfortunately ,while the corruption and sleaze associated with our planning process for decades made multi-millionaires of many of the crooks involved- including the now infamously corrupt, former Taoiseach, Charles J.Haughey-the long drawn out denouement made multi- millionaires of another group –the legal profession.
Vast sums of money were spent on a somewhat farcical tribunal which ,if our police force had ever been empowered to recruit or employ people with the expertise to do the job-would have been unnecessary.Then again our police chiefs are to this day ,political appointees so how far would that enquiry have gone…..
The C.A.B.(Criminal Assets Bureau) was also set up to pursue illegal money across international borders and had some considerable success,so much so that other countries emulated this agency.
Unfortunately they spent much of their energies impoverishing ‘honest criminals’ such as cigarette smugglers ,street traders evading tax, soft drug peddlers,and as always- the long persecuted brothel keepers.
The lower classes always fare worse than the white collar fraudsters when the scales of justice are weighed in Ireland-as in most of the unjust world in which we live. When some of the better class villains are ex Dail T.D.’s ;former Ministers of State; and even discredited Euro commissioners,they are allowed to keep much of their ill-gotten gains,and rarely endure a criminal prosecution.
On the other hand some hard working,not so lucky villains had their property assets and wealth seized in entirety by the Criminal Assets Bureau.
Meanwhile Charles J. Haughey and others are graciously facilitated with a happy settlement which entails a fraction of their ill gotten property sold off to pay the taxman’s bill.
Anyone who has ever been learned from the hard school of life and practical experience knows that in this world there are two very distinct and separate Courts of Law…
Nevertheless the public were treated to an unprecedented spectacle as the Tribunal Circus performed to packed houses in Dublin Castle,where mostly retired old age pensioners were daily entertained by astute legal eagles cross questioning shady and discredited property multi-millionaires, hoodlum politicians,and corrupt planning department public officials who were permitted to strut upon the stage with supreme arrogance and-in some cases- cock their nose at all and sundry.
Some of them gave such cheek that the learned Tribunal judges considered them disrespectful and one of them even spent a few weeks holidaying in private quarters in a comfortable part of Mountjoy Jail.
Many of these players had become so wealthy and above the law, from the entrenched corruption by which they profited that they escaped relatively unscathed-even after the Revenue Commissioners were finished enquiring into their affairs,and reducing their huge asset base by a few million Euros in settlement.
Crime almost always pays of course-and white collar political corruption pays better than most types of criminality.It’s almost incarceration proof. Prison sentences are virtually unheard of for ‘respectable’citizens on the take,although 80 year old George Redmond was famously ‘rapped on the knuckles’ and spent a year in the library section of Dublin’s most comfortable prison,Wheatfields in Clondalkin.
This was afterwards quashed on a technicality,perhaps he will be compensated by the State?almost everyone else has been…
Only the little people pay most taxes and only the little people serve expensive long and miserable prison terms –usually for miserable offences.Selling Marijuana is a more dangerous pastime than corruption in high public office.
If you value your freedom,only trade legally in cigarettes and alcohol,both of which are large and legal industries worldwide. They are also far more deadly drugs than Marijuana.
Selling sex ,in Ireland,is by far the fastest way to a large fine and a prison sentence….
When I took a few lessons in computer usage in the local library,I discovered the world of the Internet and the wonderful access to instant information and knowledge that it opened-besides being able to persuade the Press to publish many of my musings on Irish Political Life.I also used it to book cheap Airline seats for my retirement wanderings.
Writing letters to the Irish papers,etc became a simple task,as did communicating with people all around the globe.
This was immeasurably useful when I joined a ‘home exchange’ holiday club and was able to offer my home and car in Gran Canaria,during the summer months when I was occasionally visiting Ireland,or touring Europe.
I have already had some wonderful holidays in some of my favourite countries such as Austria,and they cost me little more than the price of a Ryanair air ticket.
Ryanair and Michael OLeary has done for the skies and travel, what the internet has done for communications and freedom of expression.More than the E.E.C. have ever done for the common man...
Both, have begun to make the world a smaller place,a more accessible place;and I believe when all it’s peoples are internet empowered -and the exchange of information and knowledge is totally unfettered and uncensored–we will live in a better and a more free world .Oppression and government censorship will be consigned to history.
It is a little more problematic co-coordinating the home exchange concept if you do not have a second home to offer, nevertheless these clubs are expanding rapidly since the advent of the internet.I recommend them highly.
As my retirement from business more or less coincided with my new found internet skills I was able to keep in touch with all the news and happenings in Ireland during my winter sojourn in The Canary Islands. Another wonderful plus for the world wide web.
So it was at this time (2003-2004)that I began my prolific ‘ letters to the editor’ writing phase.My rising indignation with all things ‘Fianna Fail’ prompted me to initiate a campaign against them.
I felt that I could play some small role in helping to unseat them.As Mother Theresa,the saintly Calcutta based nun,who administered to the poorest of the poor once replied,when a critic described her efforts as a mere useless ‘ drop in the ocean’; She positively declared; "the ocean is made up of little drops"
People in Ireland are a little exhausted by endless revelations of nepotism and corruption,never ending Tribunals,and are becoming a bit ‘turned off’ the whole subject of political corruption.Nevertheless we all have a part to play in trying to bring it to an end.The system must change to do so,and Fianna Fail will fight tooth and nail to prevent their councillors losing their power to drive a coach and four through orderly and fair planning laws.
I include here a few of my own ‘drops of water’ many of which I am proud to say were published in the Irish papers on a fairly regular basis.The subject matter is boringly similar in all of them so I have tried to vary my approach in order to retain the readers interest.
The bones are as it were clothed a little different,each time ,and a drop of topical essence of the day’s own scandal added for flavour.
When Bertie’s Party decided,in 2004 to put a another stealth tax/‘levy’ on the thousands of ‘one off rural houses’countrywide that his Cabinet had facilitated with an easement of the planning laws,there resulted an unprecedented avalanche, or ‘Bungalow Blitz’ of planning applications, lodged with local authorities throughout the land to beat the deadline for the new charges of up to 20,000 Euros per property.The rising cost of property was receiving a new stimulus from the same government who expressed alarm at the inability of many young people to purchase a house of their own…
In parallel with this alarming influx of applications,Bertie Ahern and,Martin Cullen,Environment minister, had actually drawn up,by July 2004, new legislation which would totally emasculate ‘An Bord Pleanala’as an effective entity.
The rationale was to speed up the speculative building of ‘one off houses’ in the countryside by rural landowners who were being left out of the Dublin based, builders ‘profit feeding frenzy’due to the soaring demand for new homes.
All power,and decision making on planning matters was to be incorporated in the Minister for the Environment,and the work of the local planners in the scattered local council planning departments,was to be centralized and streamlined.
Martin Cullen would be Master and Overlord of all planning with the abolition of the system of checks and balances which prevented a drift into chaos.
This was tyranny,- despotism of the worst kind.
Their‘ Planning vandalism for profit’policy had moved to rural pastures,and the pace was quickening. Our city dwelling young people had been milked dry by the same cabal of sharks and politicians.Young couples were commuting longer and longer distances to work,being forced into rural housing as far away as Trim Balbriggan and Arklow, by skyrocketing suburban house prices .
Fuel prices,already heavily taxed, were rising alongside the growing anarchy in Iraq,where President Bush had become embroiled in a 21st century Vietnam.
.The ‘Jackals of Destiny’Fianna Fail appeared unassailable in Leinster House.Their agenda of profiteering for a well connected circle of builders/farmers/speculators was in full swing
My letter,here was an interpretation of what I believed Fianna Fail were up to,and was published in ‘The Examiner’
‘Could I be permitted to interpret Fianna Fail’s latest press release,in plain English, so that it is comprehendible to the average unsophisticated mug in the street.
What the Minister really said…’read my lips…’
’The Minister for the Environment, Mr Martin’Cu’ Cullen,in August 2004 announced that he was seeking to introduce a standard planning service in an attempt to end regional disparities in the planning system. While the Minister will not seek uniform requirements for planning for developments such as rural one-off houses, this is an area he said he wants to see "evened out" to bring "some coherence" to the State's planning system.
(read;-‘It will be open season for developers, and farmers selling sites,because I’m taking over now…!’)
He insisted that "a county border should not be the determining factor in the planning process.(read;-you can build in Donegal even if you happen to live in Kerry)
Mr Cullen said there was a tendency among planners to behave "extremely arrogantly, acting like demi-gods".(read-you shaggers won’t interfere with our speculative activities any more’)
"The process has to be open, transparent and consistent".(read;- wide open ..rubber stamped and no refusals.!)
"It is all about balance. Local authorities themselves have identified unnecessary requirements"
(read;-Planners in some areas are very troublesome,and all these section 140 motions are getting us bad publicity)
"They are processing 80,000 planning applications a year and need a simple administrative process. e-planning, where basic principles are well-established, could bring certainty and coherence to the system," the Minister concluded.
(read;-You won’t even have to go down to the local county council with troublesome plans and petitions ,anymore-just e-mail my new one-stop shop for instant permission-and who says I haven’t learned a thing or two about electronic voting!!)" ends.
All this applied to the countryside.In Dublin a small group of well connected builders had built up a massive land bank of potential re-zoning land,and appeared to be drip feeding new houses on to the market to maintain the ever rising prices.
It was always the case that only Fianna Fail Connected Builders got planning permission.
Now that the demand for housing had exploded in Dublin,the careful control which the councils had exercised on development potential land, had backfired and prices were going through the roof.Only the Bovale/Bailey brothers were being favoured with out of town rezoning -and a few comrades of the"Soldiers" in the Tallagh/West area...
It did not help that the banks aggravated the price spiral in their own interests by turning a blind eye to the falsification,or "sexing up" of loan applications by hard pressed applicants.
A published study of the Dublin housing market by Trinity professor P.J. Drudy,in 2003 was pretty scathing in its criticisms of Fianna Fail.
Let it not be forgotten that the banks and building societies were also in criminal partnership,of sorts, with Fianna Fail in the greatest rip off of the century ,of our young people so desperate to own a home of their own, at any price.If these amoral,greedy, profit driven organizations were using prudent lending criteria and the old rules which restricted loans to a multiple of annual income were still in force the housing rip off would come to a standstill.The same banks,which aided and abetted thousands of businessmen to avoid paying their taxes through off shore a and fraudulent 'non resident'accounts ,and got off virtually scott free for their crimes-were now complicit in the great housing gouge of our young by 'Friends of Fianna Fail.'
Fianna Fail will never -and can never- reform the status quo, as their relationship with landowners,builders and big business is so intertwined as to preclude that possibility.The current Oireachtas report and recommendations on reform, will gather dust, in government Archives,as did the last report on this subject commissioned over a decade ago.
Fianna Fail is 'Big Business' ;Fianna Fail is 'The Builders Party';Fianna Fail is the Embodiment of Corruption since the day that C.J.H.hijacked it,many years past.I do not believe it is capable of re-inventing itself.Even now 'Cu Cullen is driving new highways out from 'The Pale,cutting across our most precious heritage,The Hill Of Tara in the process-,having soaked Dublins citizens dry,-the new speculators,farmers,and landowners of the hinterlands,await the arrival of our dispossessed youth,who will be fleeced once again in the towns of Navan ,Trim,Kells,etc,and face a long (and expensive )commute into Dublin,- all for the privilege of owning a home of their own.Civil servants -,who don’t want to leave-can consider themselves lucky!-they won't have so far to travel for gainful employment thanks to their forced repatriation.
They are currently signing 25 year leases throughout the country,to rent offices from their golden circle,the bills for which will be paid by ,unchecked taxation upon a whole generation of our young people,in future decades
If this government are allowed to continue with their folly after the next general election,the long term scenario is a despairing one.
Fianna Fail’s recently highly publicised ,disreguard for unchecked , systematic abuses of all kinds, by developers,businessmen,and local councils alike;- therefore comes as no surprise.
This has emboldened the worst of the ‘Gombeen Mentality’men of their tradition,within the worst county councils,to increase their scurrilous attacks against ‘An Taisce’,meanly,withdraw all funding for this voluntary organization, call for its virtual annihilation,as a ‘Cinderella’guardian against their unchecked abuses.
If a responsible coalition is ever newly elected ..,their first duty lies in removing the corrupting powers of arbitrary reversals and rezonings by local –or, indeed,central government-politicians.
A body totally independent of politics, a proper, professional ‘ Department of Planning’ entity is the only answer to the current debacle.
The ghosts of Burke,and Lawlor,Redmond and Haughey will continue to re-surface until this concept becomes a reality.
if Fianna Fail are ever wrenched from power and their tyrannical overlordship contained; if their electorate vote buying- at any cost- is halted;if their self serving obeisance to Big Business comes to an end;- the new administration must lay the old era and regime to rest- forever.!
A New Entity with powers of implementation of swift and sizable financial penalties,against illegal developments,quarrying,dumping,agricultural pollution,etc in combination with a decisive prosecution mandate,is the most urgent requirement of this state .
When the ‘ Department of the Environment’and its Master and Overlord ,Martin Cullen,and all the bad memories associated with it,and the wanton destruction of Fianna Fail are consigned to history,then and only then will our small nation emerge from its long dark night of ignorance,apathy,and corruption.
The electorate have been bought..with their own money.
THE HEALTH SHAMBLES
The Health Service Survey,of Dr Sean Barrett-a Trinity College economist,published in 2004 was a shocking indictment of a Fianna Fail government which will surely be remembered for its unprecedented and systematic network of organized corruption;-its chameleon like mastery of the art of "public relations" and deception;- its astounding bluff and arrogance in the face of exposure;and its utter incompetence in managing the Nations affairs,whether it be infrastructure projects,public health,or just plain old waste disposal!
The Trinity College economist, who was a member of the Brennan Commission on health service reform, was scathing about the lack of systems to develop cost consciousness and lack of incentives to manage costs effectively. "The cost of the health service - at €9 billion - is up 125 per cent over six years, and the numbers employed have jumped by 47 per cent," said Barrett.
"Yet there has only been a 4 per cent increase in in-patient discharges over the same period."
It ought not be lost on the electorate that some 40% of them are also paying, double digit-yearly price escalating, private health insurance.They are, in effect, a cow being milked twice ,-on public taxation,and private desperation!(V.H.I).The abundance of new" stealth taxes,"besides!
The most despairing fact in all of this is the absolute lack of a credible alternative coalition government to the Fianna Fail/P.D Alliance.It is indeed a Dark Age for Politics in the small Nation of Ireland.How dare Bertie Ahearn lecture us about" the need to pay for services"Its akin to a mugger, telling his victim, that he is obliged to pay for his Heroin habit -or a bank robber telling the account holders that they must finance his extravagant lifestyle!"
Where have all the poor farmers gone?all gone to the bank every one.!
June of 2004,I read two interesting articles around the same period ,concerning the cost of Minister Cullen’s new Superhighways and how some of the mammoth Health Budget is spent in distant parts of the Island.
The newspapers declined to reprint my views on the subject,so I offer it to you as a ‘premier release’but first the details of the Irish Times report;-
4. 36,000 an acre paid for 'low-hope' land
Farmers in the mid-west have received more than €36,000 per acre for land with "low hope" development value from the National Roads Authority (NRA).
The payments, made under the 2001 deal between the Irish Farmers Association and the Government, show that when the separate compensation categories of goodwill, injurious affection, severance, disturbance and "new for old" buildings are included, the initial price paid for land in the mid-west rose by a multiple of five before compensation was agreed.
However, in a number of cases, particularly over lands required for the Fermoy by-pass in Co Cork and the Carrickmacross by-pass in Co Monaghan, the proposed payments were deemed insufficient by farmers.
In test cases to come before a new arbitration system to get under way within weeks, farmers argue that their deal with the Government allows them to take into account the value of similar parcels of land in the locality - even development land which bears full planning permission.
The farmers maintain that under Paragraph 10 of their agreement the compensation they may receive should take into account the price of a similar amount of land locally. Some have argued that the only available land in the area is development land where a farmer is selling sites.
The Irish Times understands that some farmers have made submissions, backed up by valuers and professional property consultants, that on this basis they should be paid development land prices for their land.
The NRA has told the Department of Transport it is opposed to this interpretation of the paragraph which, it says, was put into the deal to get an aggregate value of local land and not the most expensive development land. Although the NRA was a signatory to the IFA deal, it was precluded from the final talks.
Since it was signed in 2001, "medium-hope" value in the mid-west has been valued at more than €54,000. Land with "high-hope" value was acquired at just under €64,000.
Should agreement not be reached on the test cases before the new arbitration system, which is non-binding, the way would be open for the cases to be referred to the State's normal arbitration compulsory purchase system which is binding.
Recent cases under the compulsory purchase system have given awards of more than €220,000 per acre for land required for the Ennis by-pass in Co Clare. In Sligo, compensation payments made more than €628,000 per acre for non-zoned land with "hope value" for a commercial zoning.
My letter re-Highway Budgets;
‘Oh to be a farmer in the way of Martin Cullen’s bulldozers!’
Irish farmers countrywide were receiving compensation payments of up 64,000 Euros an acre in the years 2003/2004, for-in some cases- scrub land, purchased by the N.R.A. to build the plethora of new highways which minister Cullen was building across archaeological sites throughout the nation.In some cases up to 500,000 Euros an acre,has made instant millionaires of our poor farmers.Thanks be to God,for Bertie..amen.
In other instances like the Carrickmines debacle,massive compensation is being claimed from landowners who in a corruption-free environment would never receive re-zoning to built on such sensitive sites,in the first instance.
Is it any wonder that the final estimates for our new infrastructure end up costing three times more than envisaged.?
Bertie Ahern ought to consider his party’s position and let the people who really run(and milk) this country dry,park their tractors forthwith, in Leinster House.
Some things, it seems, never change .Many of the same faces who formed part of the most corrupt cabinet ever to re-gain power in 1987-with the cornerstone of a handful of power hungry P.D.’bodyguards’(led by Mary Hearney) ,are still pre-eminent.
While Burke,and Flynn,are( finally?) gone . Brennan,Cullen,Ahearn,-all the same old pack are still wearily clinging to office,just as Haughey did,leech like and irremovable into old age.
During their long reign,we know now,as we always suspected, that only the ‘little people’ever paid taxes…Builders,Publicans,Farmers, etc paid nothing.
.The stroking continued unabated even when C.J.H.retired with his ill gotten gains,donated by these big business interests who never paid a penny to the exchequer.
Finally the I.D.A.and the Americans arrived,like the cavalry,to re-invigorate a broken economy.
The continually ongoing and unabated practice of ‘stroke’politics at local government level countrywide,through section 140 motions/planning abuses,by- in many cases-both of our largest political entities;has entirely discredited the planning process in this state.
Let any parties or coalition aspiring to form the next government,as alternative to Fianna Fail,-now place the reform and removal of such powers forever from ‘stroke’ politicians of whatever hue or affiliation,they may be.
This honest step may alienate certain landowner and business interests countrywide.
The despoliation of our children’s children’s heritage/ inheritance is already in full swing.
One third of all new houses are of the ‘one off variety’.It is almost too late to mitigate the damage done by the pander politics of a corrupt political party.
August 2004. A MARRIAGE IN TROUBLE?
Good and bad news in this weeks papers. Syndicates of Ireland’s 120,000 farmers were reported to be investing in a 20 million Euro office block in eastern Europe-one of many such deals which are quietly enriching the rich…politics was pessimistic with Sinn Fein reported to be a growing threat to the conventional old time parties.
My letter was published in the Examiner but the second part was censored!(or inadvertently left out);-
‘Nice to see property section reports of our poor farmers buying up those office blocks in Prague and Warsaw,which Liam Lawlor does not already own.
It’s fulfilling a civic duty-investing the proceeds of their Brussels sourced C.A.P. funds in the new-entrant countries,rather than Ireland.
Maybe the milk ,at least ,will be cheaper here….some day.
Hopefully Polish farmers will one day be able to reciprocate,and buy a few one- off rural office blocks,with secure long lease tenants in Cahirciveen or Castlebar …when Martin ‘Cu’Cullen has finished building his Roman Road Empire on the ruins of bygone conquistadors.
The bad news is that pending the hoped for self destruction of Bertie’s P.D ‘minders’;-the I.R.A.are dissolving themselves and Gerry Adams and Co. are dusting off their C.V.s as potential coalitionists
‘ Kiss and make up,Gerry and Bertie.!’? ‘Car-with- the- Star’aspirants and partners with their fraternal Mafiosi partners,- the other ‘Republican Party’, whose present marriage has gone cold…In politics, anything is possible.
An alternative cobbled together coalition of Greens, Pat Rabbite,and Big Farmers,also has an air of unreality to it. Pity the long suffering ,common people.
‘Who will deliver us from these turbulent tyrants’?
Pat Rabbite leader of the Labour Party and Enda Kenny of Finn Gael have signed a pact of co-operation called ‘The Mullingar Accord’,while Bertie’s boys have summoned the Catholic Church and it’s most radical priests to hear group confessions from the party and prophesies a new future in which they would retain office ‘ ad infinitum’ by implementing a more caring policy of throwing a few of the Celtic Tiger morsels to the hungrier wolves in our society….
VANDALS, HUNS, AND VISIGOTHS.
In August of 2004,Minister Martin Cullen ,who will be remembered ,if at all, as the greatest Heritage Vandal in Irish History,was, in conjunction with the rest of the government, putting the finishing touches to their version of ‘Operation Overlord’-the invasion and destruction of ancient monuments and archaeological sites nationwide.
The ‘N.R.A. (The National Roads Authority) was the title of the facilitating state bureaucracy set up to implement his Blitzkrieg. The new law would allow the N.R.A. to proceed with the speed and ruthless devastation of a Panzer Division,and Martin Cullen was their General Rommel.
Meanwhile thousands of reluctant Civil Servants awaited the construction of their new ‘Work Camps’ in various regions ,where the ‘ Soldiers of Destiny’ awaited their arrival.
Although the ‘relocation refugees’ were not to be stripped of their jewelry and possessions on immediate arrival at their allocated ‘ Auschwitz’ (indeed many were to be promoted for their sacrifice),- the promise of profit and prosperity for their captors lay in the new houses,offices,and services which would cater for the bodily needs of the relocated multitudes . But first the roads must be finished…at all costs.
The National Monuments Act, 2004, has been billed as the "final solution" to the impasse at Carrickmines Castle, which lies directly in the path of the M50 toll road in south Dublin. Demolition of approximately half the site began in August 2004
In fact, the Act is about much more than Carrickmines, as it enables other tolled motorways and commercial real estate developments to proceed without fear of legal challenges on heritage grounds.
Sites currently under threat include the Tara complex, Ireland's premier monument, and the incredible Viking site in Woodstown. On one road alone, the N9-N10 (Kilcullen-Waterford toll road), 14 lesser-known national monuments have been identified and will soon be simply a matter of record.
Many accurate comparisons have been made between the campaign to save Wood Quay in the 1970s and the current fight to save Carrickmines Castle. The tactics of Carrickminders, combining direct action and legal action, are almost identical. Both battles hinged on High Court injunctions, granted under the National Monuments Act.
While the campaigns are similar, Carrickmines Castle lies on the front lines of a war of massive proportions, as it is only one of hundreds of national monuments scheduled for demolition, or already demolished, under the current multi-billion euro road-building programme, and property development frenzy.
A decade ago, the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994, was universally applauded. This amendment was meant to assure citizens that Wood Quay would never happen again. As with each preceding amendment to the Act, it strengthened protections, in accordance with our increased understanding of the "historical, architectural, traditional, artistic and archaeological importance" of our national assets.
The 2004 amendment butchers all preceding ones, removing procedural and substantive safeguards and rendering the Act toothless. It gives the Minister for Heritage unlimited discretion, reduces the number of parties involved in deciding the fate of a national monument, and removes the requirement that the Minister's order to demolish a national monument be placed before the Oireachtas for 21 sitting days. These amendments eviscerate the core democratic checks and balances put in place by the 1994 Act.
The Minister can now consider almost unlimited factors, "to the extent that they appear to the Minister to be relevant in exercising discretion in any particular case", in arriving at his decision to "demolish or remove wholly or in part or to disfigure, deface, alter, or in any manner injure or interfere with" a national monument.
For instance, "any matter of policy of the Government, of the Minister or of any other Minister of the Government" overrides any national monument. What is more, the Minister can justify his action with "any social or economic benefit that would accrue to the State or region or immediate area in which the national monument is situated as the result of the carrying out of the road development".
It appears that the National Roads Authority (NRA), now €10 billion over budget on its projected overall costs under the National Development Plan, had a major role in drafting this latest amendment.
The proposed M3 tolled motorway through the Hill of Tara complex ups the stakes to unimaginable proportions. Before the proposal the Government spent upwards of €10 million on the Discovery Programme, investigating the nature and extent of this spectacular landscape. We now know that the complex began with a single structure, Duma na nGiall, in 3000 BC. Successive generations added to it, in such a way as to enhance the former and integrate the new: to create a complex, whose whole is far greater than the sum of the individual parts.
This new draconian legislation, which will facilitate the Tara toll road, will soon be put to the test in the High Court, as paperwork is being prepared to seek interlocutory injunctions against the M50 and the proposed M3. The constitutionality of the Act itself will be directly contested. Litigation, it would seem, is the only truly democratic mechanism left open to an Irish citizen, since attempts at negotiation have failed.
Much of the funding for these road projects has been provided by the EU. But as of December 2003, Ireland is no longer eligible to apply for many new grants. So the Government has turned to toll companies and public private partnership investment schemes instead. Private partners include the controversial Halliburton/Kellog, Brown, and Root. Land is being compulsorily purchased from private citizens by local authorities and turned over to private multinational companies, which will reap huge profits from generations to come.
The National Monuments Act, 2004, is not designed to preserve monuments, but to facilitate road building and real estate development in an unsustainable manner.
It is unconstitutional, unethical and un-Irish.
This crisis has more in common with present-day China than 1970s Dublin. Fifty years ago, China had 300 walled cities. Now only four remain. Of China's 2,000 historic cities, only about 20 have been well-preserved. An urban planner there recently remarked: "The speed of the urbanisation took everyone by surprise. We managed to save a few but the destruction was so fast it took everyone by surprise."
Surprise, was the speed with which Bertie Ahern’s protégé, Martin Cullen was moving…
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING IN ROYAL MEATH.
Surprisingly, during the same year Martin Cullen,displayed extraordinary compassion and reverence for the souls of the more recent faithful departed whose remains lay underneath other parts of Royal Meath.The key to remaining undisturbed in your last resting place lies in understanding where his complex sympathies seems to lie…It is of the utmost importance not to have been buried,at any time in history , in the path of the N.R.A.(National Roads Authority).Their Panzers/ Bulldozers have a mission and nothing will deflect them.
Yet a surviving piece of Meath’s burials tradition, a coffin stone at Fletcherstown, Clongill, has been reported, rescued by Martin, and is to be restored to its proper position, following the intervention of the Co. Council’s Heritage Office and the Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
The ‘coffin stone’, as local people call it, is described as a "cross base" by the Meath heritage officer, Loreto Guinan. Traditionally, in the era when coffins were carried on the shoulders of mourners from the church to the graveyard for burial, the stone was used as a resting place on the way.
The stone is situated at the crossroads at Oristown, Kells.Co Meath.
Undertakers who conduct funerals to the Old Cemetery, Athlumney, Navan, meanwhile, have stated that the custom of stopping, placing the coffin on a specific stone and praying before the burial takes place is still carefully observed there.
Navan and Slane undertakers/funeral directors, Paddy Fitzsimons, Trimgate St. and Peadar Farrelly, Dunderk, confirmed that emphasis is placed on observing the custom at the Old Athlumney Cemetery.
Mr. Fitzsimons said the stone is located about five yards from the remains of the old Athlumney Church. "You put the coffin down, say a prayer and move on," he explained.
Deputy English revealed that this was the first time he had ever heard of a coffin stone and he knew that many other people would not be aware of the custom.
It pointed to the importance of people sharing their knowledge of such pieces of heritage as Mass rocks or coffin stones with the Heritage Office, he said. He appealed to members of the public to contact the local authority about these heritage items.
The stone at Fletcherstown had been covered over with grass and was accidentally moved from its position. Ms Guinan stressed that the person who moved it was unaware of its existence as it had become overgrown with vegetation.
The council was made aware of it and informed the National Monuments section of the Department. An archaeologist from the Department has visited the site and supervised an investigation. At present, the Department is preparing specifications to return the stone, which is intact, it its original position.
It is hoped that the person who accidentally moved it will pay for it’s restoration.Who will pay for moving Royal Tara?or desecrating the graves of High Kings?