Removefiannafail

end corruption,stroke politics, & incompetent administration

Aer Arann,a rich man's traffic avoidance carrier-in the taxpayers pocket

       A new Aer Lingus in the making ? 20 million Euro subsidy for private enterprise airline.?

The increased taxpayersfunding of  Aer Arann,an Airline which is already very successful, is possibly a repeat of the Air Lingus story.
Two heavily subsidized entities,Irish rail and a local airline are in direct competition with each other,and as business flows to the private airline,our national rail system will require more and more taxpayers funding.

50,000 seats must go.90% off.Sale never ends.!
Travel from Dublin to Kerry,Galway,Sligo or Knock Airport any day of the year 10% of the original price.!!
Minister Martin Cullen announced in march 2005, an incredible never ending subsidy of 300 Euros on every ticket purchased from Aer Arann, between now and eternity . You can get to your favorite golf course fast-and spend more time on the fairway.!
The real ticket cost is 330 Euros.wealthy businessmen,Lawyers,horse breeders,etc only  pay 30 Euros.! Why travel by overcrowded,unreliable trains when you can fly to Cork,Kerry and Donegal, for the same price as a train ticket?
Forget Irish rail. Forget stuffy,unventilated trains. Forget delays and  railways.

Fianna Fail have increased their internal flight subsidy  to Aer Arann from 1 million Euros in 1995 to 20 million (and climbing) in 2003.
Can this be the beginning of a new "Aer Lingus"….even before the old one is sold off.?
(Even Fine Gael have called for an increase in the current subsidy,and this service is in direct competition with our taxpayer- funded, public railway system where jobs are currently at stake.)
C.I.E.unions take note.! Soon your trains will be empty.

95,000 euros plus costs for a dry cough and anxiety.?

A FORMER electrician at Leinster House who brought a High Court action for damages after he claimed he was exposed to asbestos while working there, has settled his case for over €95,000 in a landmark decision in the high court which will have huge implications of precedence and could cost the government hundreds of millions in compensation payments.
Noel Hamilton, of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin, had sued the Commission for Public Works, Ireland and the Attorney General.
He claimed he was exposed to large quantities of asbestos in the course of his employment and suffered severe personal injuries.

Mr Hamilton's Counsel, David Hardiman SC, said the plaintiff had worked in the basement of Leinster House from 1979 to 1990 and had also worked at Dublin Castle.
In Leinster House, he worked on the central heating system for the Dail and other Government buildings.
Counsel said Mr Hamilton was exposed to airborne asbestos fibres in the course of his work.
The court heard the defendants did not deny liability and the case was before the High Court to decide the nature of the injuries and damages.
Mr Hardiman added that there was large scale removal of asbestos at Leinster House on two occasions in the 1980s.
Counsel said Mr Hamilton and his colleagues saw "fully suited spacemen" working at the removal of what was subsequently recognised as asbestos containing pipe lagging.
Mr Hamilton, he said, made little note of it at the time but in the 1990s he developed a dry cough. His doctor referred him to a specialist and counsel said he still has a dry cough.

Mr Hamilton, he added, now has a deep-seated mental anxiety in relation to asbestos which one consultant described as a post-traumatic syndrome.

A stealth tax on high flyers..and civil servants.

CAR-parking charges  rose (again) at the Dublin Airport (Aer Rianta) car parking Monopoly areas,January 2006

(" to fund new parking facilities." according to the press release)

The hourly rate for the short-term car parks beside the terminal buildings, will increase by 30c to €3.

The daily charge at the long-term car parks will rise by 50c to €8.50.- a whopping 60 euros for those on a weeks holiday.!!

The daily charge for using the short-term car parks remains unchanged at an incredible €30.!

The DAA said the charges were in line with the extortionate car parking rates in Dublin city centre car parks.!

(not quite....shoppers dont spend a few days in grafton Street,-at a time)

Wonder why the McAvaddies want to build a rival airport-a rival car park would enrich them beyond their dreams.


Dont drink the privatized water, Bertie.!

NONE of the private water schemes supplying drinking water to Irish households meet minimum standards, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),December 2005.

A report also found that just under 20pc of all water supplies in the country were contaminated with E.coli at least once during 2004.

'The Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland' reported that 7pc of the population is supplied by private schemes, none of which are deemed to be "satisfactory".

More than 20pc of these contained an unacceptably high level of the potentially fatal bug, E.coli.

Public schemes in four counties - Sligo, Kerry, Donegal and Leitrim - were also found to have traces of E.coli on more than one occasion.

"As such its (E.coli) presence in drinking water is a good indication that either the source of the water has become contaminated or that the treatment process at the water treatment plant is not operating adequately," the report stated.

Too late for B.Lenehan,but C.J.H. & other Fianna Fail oldies may live forever...

The supply of organs in China is severely restricted because of religious traditions that require the body to be whole when it enters the afterlife.

Yet the country has carried out more organ transplants than any other, except the US. Since 1993, China has performed 60,000 kidney transplants, 6,000 liver transplants and 250 heart transplants.

One reason, however, for the demand in organ sales is that transplants are big business. Whereas a liver transplant costs nearly €35,000 for a foreigner, it is 30pc lower in China than in many countries.

An Israeli newspaper recently reported that dozens of people were flocking to China each month for cheap transplants.

"If I had never had my kidney transplant in China, I would already be dead," Abraham Sassoon, from Eilat, told the 'Maariv' newspaper.

"A Chinese sentenced to death saved my life."

Well one Fianna Failer is still fighting for his life-and his money since he was diagnosed with "Ansbachers Syndrome".This dreadful disease has left many of the Fianna Fail tenters feeling very ill indeed.   Dr Mary Hearney pioneered research into the malady in the late nineties nevertheless it is incurable when it lodges in the bloodstream of octogenarians like property magnate John Byrne..

He was desperately fighting for his financial health, in April 2006,aided by some of Dublins most prestigious legal eagles.

THE High Court has reserved judgment on a bid by multi-millionaire property developer John Byrne to overturn part of the Ansbacher inspectors' report into illegal off-shore accounts.

Lawyers for Mr Byrne contend that a reference in the report that he could use a trust set up in the Cayman Islands at all times was inconsistent with findings that he was "truthful."

Mr Byrne (86), of Simmonscourt Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, has also strongly disputed that he was the beneficial owner of the trust. He claims the inspectors in relation to how he is dealt with in their report,had acted in breach of fair procedures and in excess of their powers.

The judicial review application was opposed by the inspectors - Judge Sean O'Leary, Ms Noreen Mackey, Paul Rowan and Michael Cush.

In submissions yesterday, Lyndon MacCann SC, with Shane Murphy SC, argued the inspectors were entitled to cut through the legal and company facades in order to meaningfully report to the court in relation to the Ansbacher situation.

Bill Shipsey SC, with Paul Gallagher, for Mr Byrne, said the inspectors could not, in circumstances where they found Mr Byrne was telling the truth about the factual situation relating to the operation of the trust, then draw conclusions which were directly contrary to his sworn evidence.

They should have recalled Mr Byrne  but failed to do so. The inspectors' findings could not stand.

 

 

A sweetner for the "real" government.

Sources within the department of Agriculture,have stated that a generous compensation package, funded entirely by the irish taxpayer,will shortly be forthcoming to compensate some of the richest farmers in the State. 3,700 sugar beet producers in Ireland, grow 1.3 million tonnes of beet yearly which is turned into 199,000 tonnes of sugar by Greencore. E.E.C reforms,will halt production of this heavily subsidized crop in Ireland.

Hunting "stealth tax" rebels, in the Wicklow mountains..

Dick"s new fighting rubbish scourge personnel carrier.!

A MOBILE clean-up squad has been handed €350,000 by Environment Minister Dick Roche,in January 2006, to end the scourge of illegal dumping in his constituency by bin tax dodging,ordinary citizens.

The money is being spent on a special vehicle to remove rubbish illegally fly-tipped and to buy specialist equipment including CCTV with night vision.

The Wicklow Uplands Council will carry out the project in the hilly parts of the county.

No need to tender ...

MARINE Minister Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher has been ordered to appear before a Dail committee.

The minister has been asked to respond to the controversial awarding of a bid to build a new national conference centre in Dublin's docklands area.

Following a heated exchange yesterday between members of the Oireachtas Committee for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and Dublin Port CEO Enda Connellan, Committee chairman Noel O'Flynn said he was not satisfied with the answers he had received from the chief executive and ordered the minister responsible to respond himself at the next committee meeting.

"There are many questions left unanswered. To satisfy itself, the committee needs to access all relevant documentation," he said.

Labour TD Tommy Broughan and Green Party TD Eamon Ryan grilled the head of the semi-State body over the project, stating they were astonished that the bid to turn over 32 acres of prime city centre land to the Anna Livia Consortium headed by Bennett Construction was done without inviting bids from rival developers first.

"This smells of a sweetheart deal," Mr Broughan told Mr Connellan when he questioned him on why the Code of Practice on the Governance of State Bodies was not followed. Under the Code, any contract valued at more than €70,000 should be put out to public tender.

"You didn't follow the Code of Practice and it was wrong of you to pursue this without going to tender," he charged. "It is a very unusual deal. How can you say you have the best deal if you only have one bidder?," Mr Ryan asked the CEO.

Dublin Port intends to re-develop the parcel of land located east of The Point Depot into a national conference centre.

No refuge.Battered by taxes- and husbands.

UP TO 45 desperate women and their children were turned away from a refuge in Dublin in one month alone in 2006 because there was no room for them.

The families, who were victims of domestic violence, went to the Rathmines refuge but were forced to find shelter in a B&B or hostel where some of them were tracked down by their tormentors.

Some of the women returned to violent partners who taunted them with jibes like 'You tried to leave but couldn't get away'.

As it emerged that one in five women are abused in their intimate relationships, the shocking reality of overcrowding in the refuges where women look for shelter emerged yesterday.

There are just 24 family spaces available in three refuges (Rathmines, Coolock and Bray) in the greater Dublin area.

Fraction

This is a fraction of the almost two spaces per 10,000 of the population that is internationally recommended.

Support group Women's Aid staged a protest to the Dail - with one bride in a group of five carrying a placard reading 'beaten, raped and hospitalised five times' - to highlight the need for two new Dublin shelters, promised by the Government.

"We are using the symbol of the wedding dress and the 'bride', a deeply significant symbol of intimate relationships, to highlight the darker side of such intimate relationships," said director Margaret Martin.

"While our statistics show that marriage is still the most common context for domestic violence, it is by no means the only context, and many women experience domestic violence at the hands of co-habiting boyfriends and exes.

"One of the shelters last Monday told me they turned away 17 people that day.

"Women who are turned away might be offered B&Bs or homeless hostels, but if you grabbed a few things and left home this is not going to make you feel any safer. No matter how kind the people in the B&B are, women under threat want to feel safe. Getting into a refuge gives women the space to talk about it. They can explore different issues and support is really important to them."

She said the Government had failed to live up to its commitments to fund more refuges in Dublin and there was a chronic underfunding of services. Two out of five women were turned away from shelters in 2004 and two out of every five calls to the Women's Aid Helpline went unanswered due to a lack of resources last year.

112 women have been murdered in Ireland since 1996 and 72pc of these women were murdered in their own home. Almost half of them were murdered by a partner or former partner.

Ms Martin appealed to organisations and individuals to join the Women's Aid 'Making Every Voice Heard' campaign by writing to their local politicians to highlight under-funding of domestic violence services.

Whats new in corrupt planning strokes.?

Kildare County Council,s indifference exposes public safety failure and National Roads Authority negligence

An Bord Pleanala has refused permission for a 108 bed hotel and filling station on the N7 at Goffs in Kill, Co Kildare following an appeal by An Taisce on grounds that:

"The proposed development would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard and obstruction of road users, because of the extra traffic movements generated by the development onto the very heavily trafficked National Primary Road The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."

The proposal would breach "national policy to control frontage development onto national roads and to preserve the carrying capacity and safety of such roads."

This decision raises questions as to:

1. Why did Kildare County Council permit a development in breach of national road safety policy?

2. Why did the National Roads Authority (NRA) fail to exercise its legal responsibility under the Planning Acts to appeal the decision, leaving An Taisce as the only body to do so?

3. Why did the Mid East Regional Authority fail to intervene with regard to a development contravening Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area 2004

An Taisce considers that a mounting level of permissions being granted on National and Regional Roads establishes large scale failure to consider public safety and the maintenance of the operational integrity of the roads system.

While the NRA intervened with regard to a case in Co Kerry in 2004 and a number of other cases since, it is still largely negligent in failing to exercise its responsibility with regard to preventing development which would undermine the public safety and operational integrity of National Roads. The Mid East Regional Authority has failed totally to intervene in any way with regard to the protection of both National and Regional roads which is an objective in the Regional Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area 2004.

An An Taisce spokesperson stated: "If current lax planning continues, the long term cost in accidents, congestion and need for further investment in roads compromised by development will be immeasurable"

The poor exploit the poor....

POOR FARMERS EXPLOIT POOR LATVIANS.

A group of Latvian and Lithuanian mushroom pickers were paid about €2.50 an hour, with no holidays or days off, not even Christmas Day, Siptu revealed last night.

The women claim they were let go immediately after they complained about new conditions imposed by the employer Kilnaleck Mushrooms in Co Cavan, and now face possible eviction from their home which is on the same farm.

Siptu spokeswoman Irene Donegan described the case as one of the worst she had ever come across and said that it appeared the employer had broken every single piece of labour legislation.

"It is an appalling story," she said. The women say they were forced to work between 80 and 100 hours per week for an average of €250.

The employer deducted €25 from that while they paid a further €50 in rent for the house which 10 of them shared.

Some of the 17 women have worked for Kilnaleck for up to three years. The women say they paid €500 to a recruitment agency in their own country for the job in Ireland.

They were told they would be paid at least the minimum wage of €7.65 an hour.

An investigation by the Department of Social Welfare into the women's status concluded they were effectively employees.

Ms Donegan said that decision should ensure that the employer is obligated to settle up with the Revenue.

Dubliners to pay the bills of Kerry farmers...?

1. Taisce warns of costs of one-off housing in Kerry

The traditional settlement in Kerry was far from the one-off rural house in the countryside even in the pre-Famine era, according to An Taisce, which says it is "bogged down" by planning matters in its desire to protect the environment.

In a survey of settlement patterns in pre- and post-Famine Kerry in 1841 and 1894, the National Trust for Ireland found that the clustering of houses was the norm. This contrasts dramatically with the "ribbon" development of recent decades, in which the roads radiating from towns around the country have been built up.

Such development has now gone out of control, an Taisce's agm in Killarney heard. Some 9,100 planning applications were made in the last two years in rural areas, towns and villages, and more than 80 per cent of these were granted. Thousands more residential units have been applied for in major towns.

An Taisce in Kerry, which is at the coalface of the planning controversy in rural Ireland, carried out the survey.

. "Areas where the population is falling are remote areas where there are no applications. Therefore it is not the planning process that is leading to depopulation," Dr McMullin said.

In one of the strongest attacks yet on one-off rural housing in Kerry, Dr McMullin said the new pattern of housing would shortly lead to huge extra public costs for school buses, postal and refuse collections.

"Car dependency will have long-term effects . . . A lot of accidents in Kerry are caused by cars coming out of houses or from side roads in rural areas."

"UNIONS RULE HERE"

For all the benefits of the partnership process, it has also dramatically increased the powers of the big unions, with their massive public sector memberships, to the point where the union barons are now more powerful than most government ministers. Look at Dublin Airport, where union political power has dispatched one transport minister and continues to severely curtail another.

There are plenty of other examples where the power of the unions is utterly out of proportion to the size of their memberships. The real key is that those memberships are in the public sector, before which the government continues to prostrate the interests of the ordinary taxpayer.

It's now abundantly clear that the wretched benchmarking exercise was simply a way of capitulating to powerful public sector unions. When Joe O'Toole described it as like visiting an ATM, he was 100 per cent correct. The latest fiasco over computer systems in the health sector is just another example of the lack of accountability bedevilling our public administration.

Surely if senior public servants want substantial benchmarking rises, they must be accountable when something goes wrong? Surely, also, recruitment and promotion in the public service must be completely opened up, to ensure a better interchange of experience between the public and private sectors.

In particular, the public sector should be able to recruit expertise in areas such as IT from outside, when required. As it is, promotions and recruitment in many areas remain surrounded by arcane rules.

It is important to acknowledge that the union leaders are doing nothing wrong.

They are bound to act in their members' interests - to squeeze from the exchequer as much money for as little work as possible. That's fine. But we should stop pretending that this is in the public interest.

Tell us, what about equality between the public sector and the private sector? What about pensions? The private sector worker is now expected to pay not just for today's pensioners - and, remember, those who enjoy public sector pensions are being paid for supposed increases in productivity - but also to provide for his or her own pension needs in the future.

How about a bit of equality for the 1.6 million non-public sector workers who are creating the wealth that sustains the two million non-workers and the 400,000 public sector workers?

The unions talk much about social solidarity. But how is social solidarity reinforced by an unfair spread of the burdens of providing for our old age? Shouldn't that burden be shared more equally? Just a bit of equality would do, really.

Even the dogs in the streets, with cancer get get better treatment.

Google 
The government gave more money to horse racing last year(2005) than to any other sport.

According to figures published in 2006, the horsing sector received 261 million euro in government grants.

In its end of year review for 2005, the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism revealed it also provided a generous handout of 65 million euro to the greyhound dog industry.

And 119 million euros went towards developing phase one of the National Sports Campus (Bertie Bowl) at Abbottstown where Bertie,s swimming campus has already wasted dozens of millions of taxpayers money....

DOGS suffering from cancer are treated up to 10 times faster than humans, a Sunday Independent investigation has found.

Now opposition TDs and the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) say there is an urgent need for a properly-funded screening programme, which would save many hundreds of lives through early detection.

Dogs, cats and other animals contract cancers in exactly the same way as humans do. But their treatment is fast, efficient and life-saving. Once cancer is suspected by a vet, blood and tissue samples are taken, just as they are in human cases.

And test results for animals are returned in a matter of hours - or days in the worst cases. But official figures show that humans in the Irish health system are often waiting as long as three months for test results to come back.

Defenders of the system say that while so-called "non-urgent" tests, such as smear tests, may take several months to return, urgent cases are handled much faster.

However, that is dependent on the patient being in the hospital system, and in many cases it can take several weeks to secure an appointment.

Susan Barry, a vet with the Anicare Clinic in Glasnevin, Dublin said: "We see our animals at least once a year, so we can check them over for anything suspicious.

"If anything is detected we can have blood tests back within the hour, or in the case of biopsies we get them back within a day or so.

"Worst case scenario is that the bloods are sent away but we would have them back in five working days. We can get the results back so quickly because we do most of the treatment in-house, and there is little or no referral to other clinics." According to the Women and Cancer in Ireland 1994-2001 report, published last week, an average of 6,201 women are diagnosed with cancer each year.

The three commonest cancers were breast, colo-rectal and lung. The number of deaths annually from the disease was 3,474.

The ICS said the waiting times for treatment and test results can not be condoned, and that patients are unduly suffering "agonising and nervous waits" for results to come back. Joan Kelly of the society said: "It is not acceptable that patients are waiting as long as they are for tests, and the fact that we have only one consultant in Ireland handling possible genetic conditions is certainly not good enough."

The ICS said that the introduction of a national screening programme is vital to tackle Ireland's high cancer mortality rates.

Last week, a caller to the Ray d'Arcy radio show said that, following the diagnosis of her mother, aunt and cousin for breast cancer, she and her sister got smear tested and went for genetic tests to assess their risk levels. The sister living in England received her results in less than two weeks, while the Irish patient waited over 12 weeks for her results to come back. She was also told that she would be waiting a year for the results of the hereditary test.

Figures obtained from the NHS in Britain show that average waiting times for smear-test results are a third of what they are here.

Patients receive news within "an ultimate period of one month", compared to a 12-week wait here.

Liam Twomey, health spokesman for Fine Gael, said that after nine years in power, the Government is still struggling to find its way in handling cancer treatment. He said a national screening programme which is adequately resourced is the best way to reduce the numbers dying from cancer every year. He also said that the multi-referral system of patients is slow and inefficient, and needs examining.

"There is no doubt that not enough is being done to deal with cancer treatment in this country. A national screening programme will save lives. Look at the UK where it has been in place for a couple of decades and women there are used to getting checked by a well-funded system that works well," he said.

The Department of Health said: "More than €920m additional cumulative funding has been made available since 1997 for the development of treatment and care services for people with cancer." ?

 Most of it has disappeared  on wages , perks and pensions, into the great black hole called the National Health Service.

The blind are not spared.?

SUMMONSES against a blind man for failing to make income tax returns were struck out yesterday after a court heard documents which would have allowed him do so were seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Vincent Stack, Maplewood Park, Tallaght, Dublin, contested two summonses for failing to make the returns in 2002 and 2003. He appeared before Dublin District Court with the assistance of another man and his solicitor.

The court heard he paid €4,300 tax for the first year and nothing for the second.

But CAB searched his home and seized "every shred" of paper he had, his solicitor said. As a result, he was unable to make any returns because he had "nothing to go on".

A solicitor for the Revenue Commissioners said the case officer was unavailable.

The defence objected, saying a "better excuse" was needed because the Revenue was fully aware of the history of the case.

"It is not fair. My client is blind and he has come here (to court) with assistance. This could not be considered a normal case and there must be somebody in the Revenue who knows that," his solicitor said.

Judge Timothy Lucey said "How can I convict somebody who does not have his documents because CAB took them - and he is blind to boot."

"The Wicklow Syndrome"

A SENIOR environmental enforcement officer who led investigations into illegal dumping in Wicklow claims she was harassed and intimidated during the inquiries.

Sonia Dean, who was the chief illegal-waste investigator for the county council, examined a series of illegal dumps.

She has said that she was followed, threatened and targeted by thieves attempting to steal investigation files.

Dean, who is now head of Dublin city council’s waste enforcement team, said last week that the theft of her laptop was just one of a number of suspicious incidents that took place when she was investigating illegal dumping in Wicklow.

"Somebody purposefully broke into the jeep for the laptop; that’s my personal belief," she said.

"He did not touch any of the other cars. He drove straight to the back of the car park where my jeep was."

"He broke in, he had a look at the file boxes in the back of the jeep, then went to the driver’s door, put his hand behind the seat and took the laptop. The jeep was dark so he would have had to have known it was there," said Dean. "He also wasn’t bothered by the fact there was a security camera or that the alarm on my jeep was going off throughout."

Detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation examined the CCTV footage at the time, but last week said their investigation had been inconclusive.

Dean says the theft of her laptop was one of a number of unusual events that took place during her investigations.

"I’ve had poison mail and strange calls from private numbers," she said. "My post has been tampered with, opened and stolen. I have been followed and threatened.

"The intimidation stopped when I left Wicklow. It’s very hard to pin it down and say it’s because of this or that. A lot of it could be coincidence.

"It does seem strange that whenever something comes up about the Wicklow cases, stupid things start happening again. To me it was very simple, you do the investigation and you take them to court, but the whole thing became so murky."

A recent report on illegal waste in the republic concluded that large-scale illegal dumping is no longer taking place. Compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency, the report also found that illegal cross-border movement of waste "has reduced significantly".

Holy water dries up in Wicklow.

As far as we know there are more holy spring wells in Ireland than in any other country in the world. About 60 years ago a survey claimed there were about 3,000 wells in the country. Their survival can be credited to our ancestors who through the ages revered and cared for them. However, although they are ancient heritage deserving protection, without living spring water flowing through them they are insignificant.

Ancient wisdom helps to explain the function of the Holy Wells

These wells were specifically designed to contain the spring water rising from the bowels of the earth. Uniquely this water filtered through rock as it reached the surface, making it the purest source of clean water in Ireland.

The wells are designed to prevent direct sunlight from reaching the water thus preserving the subtle energies that are destroyed by sunlight. This may explain the water's curative powers claimed by Irish people.

The Irish people's practice of caring for the wells, leaving gifts and visiting them frequently with love and gratitude empowered the water's life force thus helping to preserve its curative powers.

Evidence proves that our remote ancestors harvested water and therefore ensured that the special water flowing out from the well was not wasted. Ancient channels still exist proving that they deliberately channeled the well water into the nearest streams, rivers or lakes to activate and renew the pristine quality of the waters through which it flowed. Thus the Irish network was constantly being nourished and purified.

Today it is estimated there are almost 3000 illegal dumps around Ireland,many of which are leaching poisonous waste into the aquifers.Cement Roadstone has been to the forefront of creating these sites in Wicklow and other counties.Cement Roadstone is closely associated with Fianna fail,toll bridges,and Ansbacher.Des Traynor ran his offshore banks from within this company.

Irish customs and gov.internet police halt the poor from importing cheap drugs

The IMB stressed that the importation of prescription only medicinal products for personal use via the internet is illegal and those found to be in breach of the law could face a hefty fine and up to 10 years in jail

THE State’s drug policing body is now spending around a third of its time investigating the sale of medicines over the internet, it was learned yesterday.

In the last five years the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has been involved in the closure of 12 websites illegally selling medicines over the internet. Three were based in Ireland. Most drugs availible in Ireland sell for up to 50% cheaper in Spain ,where the same strictures requiring a doctors prescription for common antibiotics etc,are nort applied, and citizens can purchase most drugs without the expense of a visit to the doctor.Spanish pharmacists do not of course have the enormous mark up (on an already overpriced drug ) as do their irish counterparts. Fianna Fail hurt the old the sick and the handicapped-where it hurts most-in their pockets.

Stealth and secrecy stifles safety of workers

Freedom of Information - Government failing to live up to pledges (Examiner)

THE insidious erosion of the public’s basic right to information is one of the more cynical faces of the current administration.

Motivated by a culture of secrecy that would not be out of place in the Orwellian world of Big Brother, this Government ranks as the least accountable ever to hold sway in Ireland.

The Coalition’s blatant disregard for basic principles of openness and transparency is reflected in the increasing exclusion of public bodies from the remit of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

As revealed in this newspaper yesterday, the latest example of its shoddy denial of people’s right to know involves the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) which until recently was open to FoI queries.

Inexplicably, the lid has been tightly clamped on its work, removing its investigative activities from public scrutiny. At a stroke, workers have been deprived the right of access to information about their accidents.

This means, for instance, that where documents relating to HSA investigations of workplace accidents are concerned, a worker seeking compensation for injury will in future be denied easy access to them.

Instead, the injured party faces the daunting prospect of having to go through a costly legal process in order to ascertain the relevant information.

Rightly or wrongly, a cynic could be forgiven for perceiving the hand of powerful elements with strong political associations behind this mysterious departure.

Rather than giving people greater access to what is going on behind the closed doors in the corridors of power, the shutters are coming down. Clearly, in the HSA case, the FoI process has been turned on its head.

The question is, who is being protected? Undoubtedly, the latest change militates against the rights of vulnerable individuals.

And, arguably, it is manifestly to the benefit of powerful factions with deep pockets.

Not before time, an Oireachtas committee will next month scrutinise the gradual strangling of the FoI process with a view to making recommendations to the Government about how the system should be improved.

But the committee members would be unwise to hold their breath, judging by the contemptuous attitude of faceless civil servants towards Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly.

When she contacted officials at the Department of Finance concerning the surreptitious HSA change, about which she had been kept in the dark, the Information Commissioner was told it was up to her to find out what was going on.

That speaks volumes about this Government’s arrogance towards the public.

Originally, when the FoI Act came into force in 1997, more than 100 bodies or sensitive divisions of Government departments were excluded from its remit. Since then, 50 more bodies and agencies have been brought into the exclusion zone.

An unflinching champion of people’s right to information, Emily O’Reilly has openly complained about the exclusion of from public scrutiny.

When greater restrictions and higher charges were attached to FoI queries, it was widely seen as a deliberate attempt to make it more difficult for the average person, and the media, to access information on decisions which influence people’s lives.

As predicted, there has since been a significant fall-off in the use of FoI channels. Not only is the culture of secrecy still operating, it is flourishing.

By any standard, the cynical denial of the public’s right to information makes a mockery of Coalition pledges to bring greater accountability and transparency to governance.

The growing exclusion of public bodies from the FoI spotlight is a matter of the gravest concern.

 

 

 

Do the spin merchants deserve more.?

Civil servants in the government press office have demanded longer holidays and a special benchmarking award.

"The workload which we are subjected to, for two years before every election is unbelievably stressful" one civil servant said yesterday. "An amazing amount of projects and plans are drawn up and "rolled out" before the gullible media on a daily basis." he said.

Meanwhile Ministers are traversing the globe with their lovers/partners,while we handle their debacles back home.

"We are obliged to somehow re-package all the old promises that Fianna Fail made before the last election,and present it as new policy.The task is extremely challenging, and stressful for everybody in the government press office. You only have to listen to Martin Cullens speeches to know how hard we work .We are entitled to a super-special benchmarking award ".

.Fine Gael have announced that they are to employ their own rival public relations team to counter Fianna Fail’s purveyors of propaganda, and plausible denials of wrongdoing. The endless cock-ups by ministers and civil servants, when discovered and reported in the daily papers, cause disquiet among T.D,s,and the quick presentation of "damage limitation" press releases forms an important part of the battle for the hearts and minds of confused citizens.It may determine who gets to drive a Car with a Star after the next election.

The incumbent government are always best placed to win.Their largess to their camp followers and cronies is always reciprocated at election time. They will have the best treasure chest, and all the resources of the state at their disposal.

Besides retaining the services of a top American Public Relations Firm,who specialize in the ‘ managing’ or massaging of election campaigns;Fianna Fail already use taxpayers money to fund a secret army of ‘Special Advisers ‘who strategically disseminate an endless flow of propoganda dressed up as" new plans" to counter the home truths which the opposition try to raise in the limited, Dail question time. This "task force" of media manipulators have as their brief, the task of deflecting or distracting, the electorate from thinking too much about political incompetence, waste, inefficiency, corruption, cronyism, or theincreasing tax exempt wealth of multi-millionaire horse breeders and Builders, like the Magniers,the O,Briens, and the Bailey Brothers,-the old C.J.H. set, whose untold riches finance much of the war chest ,for Fianna Fail, in every General Election.

Gerry Hickey,Una Claffey,Gerry Howlin,Joe Lennon,Mandy Johnson,are some of the homegrown bunch of shadowy and influential figures who inhabit this twilight world…of deception -all of whom command massive salaries and expenses,(well deserved we may add) while carrying out their covert campaigns of "bullshitting2 the electorate.

Failure of Fianna Fail,s infernal fauna frightening ferry from the Blackwater.

The European Commission’s Environmental Directorate has informed Friends of the Irish Environment that their complaint against the licence for the Airboat on the Blackwater is justified. FIE had been alerted to the case by the Blackwater Valley Alliance, recently formed to address concerns about the River.

The Blackwater river is protected under two European Directives, both as habitat for animals and plants and as a site of international importance for bird life.

The Airboat project, ‘The Kingfisher’ was launched by Fianna Fail Commerce and Trade Minister Michael Aherne last month and, according to the boat’s operators,(Fianna Fail entrepreneurs) is " supported by The Department of Trade and Commerce, East Cork Tourism, East Cork Area Development, the Department of the Marine and Youghal Town Council." Kieran O'Sullivan, brother of Irish international rugby coach Eddie O’Sullivan, has been licensed to operate the boat from Youghal to Cappoquin on the River Blackwater. He is promising customers an ‘exciting ride that they will enjoy and an experience that they will never forget.’

Research by FIE indicates the boat produces noise levels of 90 decibels and has been used to scare away and redistribute Geese in Canada. ‘The maximum level of sound permitted under the Irish Windfarm Development Guidelines at the nearest residence is 40 decibels’, the organisation said. ‘Decibels increase logarithmically - 90 decibels is the equivalent of a pneumatic drill.’

The Head of the Infringement Unit of the EC’s Environmental Directorate, Julio Gara Burgues, has written to the organisation stating that it is correct in its assertion that the licensing legislation fails to ensure an appropriate assessment of the impact of the Airboat.

The organisation has also written to the Minister for State for the Marine Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher and to Dick Roche, the Minister for the Environment, asking them to revoke the license and amend the legislation. So has the Blackwater Alliance, and both groups are awaiting a reply from Bertie,s boys down Cork way who are determined (at any price to the local wild life) to introduce tourists to,"white water rapids" style speedboat thrills on the river Blackwater.!

Driving test charges to soar.?

January 2005 report; STATE driving testers are to get a massive €20,000 bonus each to carry out extra tests and help clear the huge backlog of those trying to get their full driving licence.

A total of 113 testers will receive €2m worth of bonuses to do eight extra tests a week over the next 12 months.

They will each receive an average €400 extra a week - on top of their annual salaries of between €33,000 to €40,000.

From next Monday they will get €50 for every additional test which lasts under an hour. The measure will deliver 40,000 extra tests and help to clear the massive backlog.

Already 90 of the Department of Transport testers have signed up to the lucrative bonus scheme which begins next week.

The additional tests will be carried out during lunchtime, evening times, and all day on Saturdays. The scheme is to start next Monday and run for 12 months.

The tests are based at a network of State driving test centres nationwide.

Another 40,000 tests will be carried out by the National Car Test (NCT) company which already tests the road-worthiness of cars through a network of centres.

There are now 127,000 L-drivers on provisional licences waiting for the driving test.

The average waiting time is 43 weeks, but this rises to more than a year depending on where you sit the test.

The number of provisional licence holders has also soared to 404,000 in the past few months.

Fianna Fail; dumping on "beauty sites" in Donegal

Donegal & Fianna Fail mountainy men thwarted in dumping plans.

January 2006; PLANS for a major landfill site on a mountainside in one of the most spectacularly beautiful and remote parts of the country, have been resoundingly rejected by the planning board.

After 18 months of deliberation, An Bord Pleanala has turned down an application by Donegal County Council for a landfill facility at Meenaboll in the middle of the county, because of the risk of landslide and the area's wilderness character.

The proposed site, up to 1,000 feet above sea level, is two miles from the boundary of Glenveagh National Park and is clearly visible from the surrounding mountain peaks.

It slopes to the River Finn, a major salmon river on one side, and towards Gartan lake, a public water reservoir, on the other.

Welcoming the decision yesterday, Gerry Mulgrew, spokesperson for the Meenaboll Environmental Protection Group, said: "We have fought this all along on four issues.

The site is too high, too wet, the ground is unstable and a landfill site would pollute the river Finn, which is a major salmon river, and Lough Gartan."

The decision is a major blow for Donegal County Council which is currently operating just one landfill site for the whole of the county at Ballinacarrick, in the south of the county which is nearing capacity.

In its decision, An Bord Pleanala indicated that there was a real risk of environmental damage due to landslides with consequent significant adverse effects on the environment in terms of water pollution.

The board also considered that the development would constitute an "unwarranted intrusion" into and adversely affect the wilderness character of the landscape.

It would potentially have significant adverse effects on protected and endangered faunal species, according to the board.

The golden eagle has recently been re-introduced into Glenveagh National Park and has been sighted in the Meenaboll area.

The controversial site was first mooted by Donegal County Council in February 2002 and became the subject of a major Environmental Impact Study.

But according to the local environmental group, which claims there had been very little public consultation prior to the completion of the EIS, the main reason for the choice of Meenaboll had been its remote location in the centre of the county.

"All there is out there are sheep and deer and they don't vote, but the Council underestimated the concerns for the environment from the wider community.

A ten minute walk on that site would have been worth more than a month behind a desk preparing a report," said Mr Mulgrew.

Mr Mulgrew added that rainfall levels which had been quoted in the EIS had been taken from Malin Head Station and not a monitoring station located three miles below Meenaboll, where figures were 40pc higher.

In their battle to prevent the landfill going ahead, the group travelled to Brussels last month on the invitation of MEP Marian Harkin and relayed their concerns there.

It is the second blow for Donegal County Council in attempting to find a location for a new landfill site. In 1999, plans for another so called 'super-dump' at Coravaddy, near Letterkenny were eventually scrapped following a huge opposition campaign.

Anita Guidera

© Irish Independent

The homeless stay homeless.!

THE provision of social housing over the past decade has halved - as 44,000 people are left on waiting lists, it was claimed in Jan 2006

Homeless organisation Focus Ireland yesterday hit out at the Government's housing record.

The group, which launched a new plan to provide a home a day for homeless people for the next five years, said while 12pc of all new houses built in 1995 were for social housing, last year that figure was 6.5pc.

According to Focus Ireland chief executive Declan Jones, 22,000 families were on waiting lists for social housing ten years ago, yet today the number stands at 44,000. "There's not enough of these houses being built. The Government promised that between 2000 and 2007, 41,500 social houses would be built. We're about 29,000 short of that.

"It is estimated that a further 73,000 would be needed between 2005 and 2012, but the Government hasn't provided the capital," said Mr Jones.

The charity's target is to make a home a reality for 2,010 people by the year 2010. To do this it will take nearly €200m, €40m of which the group is planning to raise itself.

A priceless pee.

THE only public toilet in one of Ireland's top tourist destinations is costing the local town council a pretty penny.

A whopping €34,000 was spent by the authority last year on the public loo in Westport, Co Mayo. Yet those using the facility, which is located in the town's Mill Street carpark, contributed a meagre €1,500 towards its upkeep.

"It is the dearest piddle in town," commented town councillor, Tereasa McGuire. "It is an important thing to have but it is very expensive," she added. Town manager Peter Hynes said the costs arose because it was a permanent building, which had to be supervised for as long as it was open.

Another councillor Myles Staunton said he was "astounded" when he read the figures and asked if there was any provision for the council to terminate the lease agreement.

"There are so many toilet facilities in the town's several hotels and numerous pubs that I don't think this can be justified," he said.

Green party councillor opposes Sinn Fein/I.R.A./Fianna Fail rezoning pact in contentious Donegal.

A Green Party councillor at the centre of a controversy since her missing vote paved the way for a contentious rezoning decision yesterday began an attempt to block the move.

Florence Doherty paid up outstanding rates on her pub business - a debt that threatened to have her barred from Bundoran Town Council - and started a petition against the rezoning process.

She said she missed the vital council meeting in the Co Donegal resort last week because she was held up collecting her new-born grandson from Sligo General Hospital 22 miles away.

The five members who attended the meeting split 3-2 in favour of rezoning coastal conservation land for housing.

The land is owned by prominent hotelier Brian McEniff. His niece Elizabeth McIntyre and his brother-in-law Philip McGlynn, Fianna Fáil members of the council, backed the motion. It was also supported by Sinn Féin councillor Michael McMahon.

The other two councillors at the meeting, Fianna Fáil's Tiernan Brady and Fine Gael's Denise Connolly, voted against.

The decision meant the rezoning plans could be put to public consultation - the first of a series of steps towards final approval to build houses on the land, which is part of an 8km scenic cliff walk.

Ms Doherty's absence sparked local speculation. She would have been expected to oppose rezoning. Mr Brady's casting vote as chairman would then have ensured defeat of the motion.

The same meeting voted unanimously to bar any member who had not paid their business rates.

Members of the council heard that Ms Doherty, who owns the Palace Bar with her husband Tom McNulty, had only paid part of €7,000 rates due and had refused to pay the remainder.

After paying the outstanding amount yesterday, Ms Doherty said she was against the rezoning, and was starting a public petition.

She said she missed the meeting because there was a three-hour delay by the hospital in discharging her grandson.

Paddy Clancy

© The Irish Times

Leas Cross.

Despite the ringing of alarm bells in official corridors, the Government only responded to the Leas Cross debacle, after an RTE Prime Time investigation in May 2005 .( Not surprising as Bertie Ahern had performed the opening ceremony !)

The programme was greeted by a wave of revulsion and public outrage which stung the Government into action.

The allegations of badly treated patients provoked an unprecedented outcry and the nursing home subsequently closed.

But a searing document seen by the Irish Independent shows that health board officials had real grounds for worry much earlier - as far back as the summer of 2004. Raising compelling concerns, it was sent to the Northern Area Health Board by Martin Hynes, who was then investigating complaints about the nursing home, on behalf of the health authorities.

It listed complaints the author was made aware of, including, The practice of only one nurse on at night when around 91 residents were there;

Referring to the practice of sending high dependency patients to Leas Cross for respite care from other centres he asked: "Is there an element of warehousing in Leas Cross?" He also asked whether foreign workers in the home may have been nervous about speaking out on behalf of patients in case their jobs or status were jeopardised.

 

Bertie,s "coach and four" to cost the irish taxpayer more.

Friends of the Irish Environment claimed( February 2006) that the Government’s planned new legislation to "fast-track the planning process" will lead Ireland into multimillion fines by the EU.

The EIA Directive guarantees citizens the right to comment on major projects that will effect the environment. If the proposed new ‘major projects unit’ in an Bord Pleanala requires a fee with objections, it will fall foul of the same Court proceedings that are now underway in the EU Court of Justice and the the Irish Courts. The EU has made it clear that it is contrary to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive to make comment by the public subject to a "participation fee".

Ireland is the only EU member state to have required the payment of a fee for considering the public’s opinion.

The new bill is based on the old saw that because of what are actually very few major battles it is concluded that ranks of efficient protestors - rather than political and administrative failings - are the cause of infrastructural delays…

As to the debate over a new division of the High Court, the current delays are caused because our Court system is chronically underfunded. This leads to long delays even to gain leave to bring a judicial review. It’s not more Courts we need, but more funding for the ones we have.

Mugged twice! (second time by Fianna Fail)

A WOMAN whose handbag was robbed at a popular tourist lake and thrown away by the thieves has now been landed with a litter charge.

The raiders struck while her car was parked at Lough Muckno, a popular beauty spot in Co Monaghan. They got away with the handbag, containing more than €200 in cash and several credit cards.

Now the victim, who does not want to be named, has been sent a bill by Monaghan County Council for €125 after the bag was discarded near the lake at Castleblayney.

"It was bad enough to lose my handbag without being told now that I will have to pay a penalty for litter," she said yesterday, adding she did not intend to pay it.

A spokesman for the council's environment section said the unusual case would be investigated.

Deviant doctor delays court hearing,evades justice."Friends of Fianna Fail "?

A FORMER patient of Cork doctor James Barry said she is 'in shock' after learning he will not face trial for allegedly sexually assaulting 38 of his female patients.

The doctor (80), who was charged with over 200 counts of sexual assault, was told his case would not go forward for trial because of unreasonable delays in the bringing of court proceedings.

The prosecution of the case was delayed when the GP brought judicial reviews in the High Court and later in the Supreme Court, both of which refused to grant him an order preventing his trial from going ahead.

But yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Sean O'Donnabhain made an order prohibiting the listing of the trial.

Dr Barry is alleged to have photographed 38 female patients in various stages of undress between 1966 and 1995, while practising as a family doctor.

Last night, his former patient "Mary", who did not want to be identified, said she felt cheated in her quest for justice.

She said her claims relate to an incident that happened in 1992.

Relish

"I'm in shock and can't understand this at all," she said. "We've been given no day in court. This man has been named for the past 10 years, on and off, and you'd think he would really relish a day in court if he feels innocent, to clear his name and make it clear to the public that he is innocent. Why would he not go to court and sort it out?

"At the time, I went to my solicitor and made my complaint after I wrote down what happened. It's so painful to write all this stuff down. I've had nights crying, writing it down on my own. It's very painful stuff. And I gave it to my solicitor. That's all you can really do.

"I really did want my day in court, and a number of other women as well. We didn't delay the court. This man is going to just get away with it."

"These things are drawn out and nobody knows why. I've been following it and it's been 15 years of pain."

Dr Barry, of Lauriston Lodge, Glanmire, in Co Cork, was first investigated by gardai in June 1995. Gardai seized a number of videotapes after conducting searches of Dr Barry's clinic, his consulting rooms, and his home.

Following complaints from other female patients Dr Barry was charged in October 1997 with 237 sexual offences.

Dr Barry complained to the European Court in April 2004 that the Government had breached the European Convention on Human Rights, which states everyone is entitled to have criminal charges heard 'within a reasonable time'.

Last December, the Court of Human Rights ruled that Dr Barry's case had been unnecessarily delayed and that his rights were being violated on that basis.

A technologically backward nation of high tech multinationals.

A REPORT on the development of broadband in Ireland, published in March 2006, strongly criticised the Fianna Fail for having made little progress in the last two years.

Price, hassle and structural resistance in the telecom sector have discouraged two in three customers with dial-up internet connection from switching over to high-speed connectivity, the report will say.

The Dail joint committee on communications, marine and natural resources, angered at a failure to act on its recommendations in a report two years ago, will separately release a list of up to three dozen questions it wants answered.

The questions are believed to reflect industry unhappiness at the state of efforts to free up the market from the effective stranglehold of Eircom, and over the powers and effectiveness of Comreg, the telecoms regulator.

Committee Chairman Noel O'Flynn is then expected to accede to his members' demands that Eircom, Comreg and Minister Noel Dempsey be each hauled before the committee to account for the broadband deficit.

This country has one of the lowest levels of broadband penetration.

Some financial data re (poor) farmers

A COMPANY owned by beef baron Larry Goodman is the country's top earner under the Single Farm Payment. The firm Irish Agricultural Development got over €500,000 a year from the EU.

And the names of two wealthy tillage farmers, who sought to suppress details of their six-figure earnings from Brussels, can now be revealed.

Walter Furlong from Co Wexford receives €263,049 a year from the EU's Single Farm Payment while Cork farmer Terence Coughlan receives €244,857.

Both men objected to having their names and earnings released in a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper, but the Information Commissioner upheld our right to gain access in a recent ruling.

Mr Furlong from Co Wexford is primarily a tillage farmer with about 2,500 acres of land in Wexford and south Kilkenny and he also owns a major chunk of the Target fertiliser company.

Terence Coughlan from Rathcormac in Co Cork is also primarily a tillage farmer with about 2000 acres, the vast majority of which is leased to grow wheat and barley.

Mr Furlong is Ireland's fifth highest earner under the scheme and Mr Coughlan is in seventh place.

The average farmer earns about €11,000 from the system, and the Irish Farmers Association last year called for a cap on the maximum amount which can be received.

The money paid from Common Agricultural Policy funds is based on the level of subsidies paid in the past to farmers.

The system was radically overhauled two years ago so that farmers no longer have to produce any food or animals on their land to receive it.

They don,t  even have to allow the taxpayers to enjoy the (idle) amenity of the countryside.Hill walkers will continue to be persecuted according to the I.F.A. 

The aim was to end the system where farmers were producing unprofitable crops purely to receive the highest possible level of subsidy.

The current system is supposed to run until 2013, but it came under strong attack from Britain last year and could face further challenges in the years ahead.

The names of the highest earners were released to the Irish Independent last year by the Department of Agriculture and Food last August, but Mr Furlong and Mr Coughlan objected.

However the Office of the Information Commissioner subsequently upheld the Department's decision to release all the information demanded. (only of the top ten of course.!)

The top 10 recipients are: 1. Irish Agricultural Development €508,390; 2. Kepak Farm €346,118; 3. John O'Shea €304,383; 4. Patrick Reynolds €284,838; 5. Walter Furlong €263,049; 6. Cyril Goode €257,061; 7. Terence Coughlan €244,857; 8. Richard Cope €229,815; 9. Simon Mangan €224,421; 10. Patrick Howard €212,358.

Bertie,s roadside Celtic Tigers in High Court.


THE Equality Authority may get involved in High Court proceedings brought by an elderly Traveller couple in chronic ill-health seeking a heated caravan with indoor plumbing.

The couple have been living for the past eight years in a decrepit mobile home on a "temporary" halting site in west Dublin.

When the case was mentioned before the High Court yesterday, Siobhan Phelan, for the authority, told Mr Justice John Quirke it considered applying to be joined to the proceedings.

Eoin McCullough SC, for Brigid and Paddy Doherty, said Ms Doherty was particularly unwell and he was anxious for a speedy hearing.

Counsel for the State and South Dublin County Council said they would file opposition papers within three weeks and the judge adjourned the case to allow that to happen.

Ms Doherty is almost 70 and was admitted to Tallaght hospital on December 12 last. While she is now well enough to go home, she remains in hospital because her medical advisors do not wish to release her home until her living conditions have improved.

Mr Doherty (74) said he did not believe a house was the appropriate solution to their problems. Their poor living conditions could be just as well addressed through provision of a properly heated and insulated mobile home with an indoor toilet and shower, he said.

In their action, the couple are seeking orders compelling the provision of a centrally heated, insulated and internally plumbed caravan. The failure to provide such a caravan breaches their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003, the Equal Status Act, the Housing Acts and the Constitution, it is claimed.

The Dohertys have been married for 53 years and have 17 children. Their only income is the old-age pension. They have lived in a second-hand mobile home at Lynch's Lane site, Clondalkin, since 1998.

Ann O'Loughlin Irish Independent.

Distraught Fianna Fail vixen under pressure at Mahon Tribunal

A daughter of FF councillor Tony Fox broke down in the witness box at the Mahon Tribunal in March 2006 when she was quizzed about money she had in bank accounts in the early 1990s.

Dental nurse Caroline Fox denied that Ir£5,410 (€6,879) which was lodged to two accounts in her name in a six-week period had come from her father. Mr Fox has denied that he received a £1,000 bribe from lobbyist Frank Dunlop in return for supporting the rezoning of lands at Ballycullen.

Ms Fox, who had failed to respond to a letter from the tribunal about her financial affairs, began to sob in the witness box when she revealed that in 1992 she and her father were "not communicating". She had got married abroad in September 1992 and had a wedding party when they returned home. They received a lot of money gifts which they lodged into their accounts.

Farmers get away with murder.?

March 2006: THE families of two teenage girls killed in a horrific accident left a court in tears yesterday after a local farmer was found not guilty of dangerous driving causing their deaths.

A jury acquitted farmer Cyril Hobson (36), from Kilmagig House, Avoca, after deliberating for just 25 minutes.

Relatives of Stephanie McCauley (15) and Vanessa Byrne (13) left the court in tears. Stephanie's father Tommy said: "That's not a court at all."

If we have an accident can we go directly to a private hospital, Bertie.?

March 2006;A FAMILY spoke of their heartbreak yesterday over the death of their mother on a hospital trolley.

Stroke victim Nancy Lucas (74) was admitted to Dublin's Mater Hospital conscious but slipped into a coma four hours later. She was not seen by a doctor and her family were "fobbed off" when they tried to get attention for her.

At the inquest into her death, Mater consultant Eamonn Brazil said "corners are being cut" at the hospital's A&E department.

Quangos and Logos.Hands clasped,they spend and squander.

Logos for sale one and a half million euros apiece.!Citizens information quango "Comhairle" wastes millions on new logo

A State agency dealing with some of the country's hardest-pressed citizens is planning to blow over €1m on an image makeover.

But sources who have viewed the short-listed designs are so unimpressed they suggest the State should seek a refund.

Statutory agency Comhairle has commissioned a private company to design a new logo for the Citizens Information service to replace its familiar emblem of two clasped hands. Comhairle is directly funded by the Department of Family & Social Affairs.

Its board of directors is due to select an image in May from a shortlist of six designs submitted by the company, Language Communications Ltd in Dublin.

While Comhairle has privately estimated the total cost of rebranding at €500,000, sources in the Citizens Information service, who are angry about the move, reckon the final bill will come in at around €1.5 million.

Of more than 700,000 queries handled by the service each year, 30pc are related to social welfare.

The average old age pension is €182 per week. If the €1.5 million cost of implementing the new image is an accurate projection, the price of the makeover would pay 158 pensioners for a year.

With 200 offices around the country as well as a phone service operated from a call centre in Cork and a website, the implementation costs will include repainting office buildings in the new colour scheme, new stationery, business cards and signage. The intention is to streamline the image of the three Citizens Information services even though the drop-in centres and the phone service already carry the clasped hands logo. A spokesperson for Comhairle was unwilling to comment on the matter. Sources working in the Citizens Information service are worried about the apparent waste of money and how it will be perceived by its many non-privileged customers. Comhairle has run three "roadshows" of the six submitted logo designs for staff at its offices around the country. One source who viewed the selection was aghast that the half-dozen designs lacked "the impact of the clasped-hands logo we already have".

Justine McCarthy(Irish Independent)

Legal profession extend the frontiers of "compo culture"

A FORMER electrician at Leinster House who brought a High Court action for damages after he claimed he was exposed to asbestos while working there, has settled his case for over €95,000. in May 2006

Noel Hamilton, of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin, had sued the Commission for Public Works, Ireland and the Attorney General.

He claimed he was exposed to large quantities of asbestos in the course of his employment and suffered severe personal injuries.

Worked

Mr Hamilton's Counsel, David Hardiman SC, said the plaintiff had worked in the basement of Leinster House from 1979 to 1990 and had also worked at Dublin Castle.

In Leinster House, he worked on the central heating system for the Dail and other Government buildings.

Counsel said Mr Hamilton was exposed to airborne asbestos fibres in the course of his work.

The court heard the defendants did not deny liability and the case was before the High Court to decide the nature of the injuries and damages.

Mr Hardiman added that there was large scale removal of asbestos at Leinster House on two occasions in the 1980s.

Counsel said Mr Hamilton and his colleagues saw "fully suited spacemen" working at the removal of what was subsequently recognised as asbestos containing pipe lagging.

Mr Hamilton, he said, made little note of it at the time but in the 1990s he developed a dry cough. His doctor referred him to a specialist and counsel said he still has a dry cough.

Notoriety

The notoriety of the dangers of asbestos, counsel said, had been been greatly heightened for Mr Hamilton.

Counsel said a number of people who worked with Mr Hamilton at Leinster House are now dead and all by repute either from cancer or respiratory problems.

Mr Hamilton, he added, now has a deep-seated mental anxiety in relation to asbestos which one consultant described as a post-traumatic syndrome.

The former electrician moved to Dublin Castle in 1990 on the understanding it was an asbestos free zone.