Michael McDowell speaking in the Dail,2003.
"Will any of the top brass in the Goodman organization,darken the District Court door?" he commented,speaking of the Larry Goodman beef fraud which cost irish taxpayers hundreds of million of pounds in fines and money reimbursed to the E.E.C. agricultural funds.
"Will any of them spend a night in jail and hang their Armani suit on the back of the cell door in Mountjoy?.They will not.Not a single person will be brought to account for the most substantial and highly organized tax evasion in this country."
"I have seen poor individuals whose dishonesty has led them to be prosecuted and imprisoned for diddling the dole(unemployment relief).
I would wait with baited breath to hear one word of criticism of the Goodman organization from some senior source in Fianna Fail.
We have never heard it and I dare say we never will because they have been bought and stay bought.They know that Goodman knows where the bodies are buried.They dare not even rebuke this man because they know that he has information on them and he would bring them down like a group of skittles if the truth ever emerged!"
(Stirring stuff from mad mullah Mcdowell....)
THE campaign of name-calling was in full reverse in 2005 when the Mullah McDowell became a partner in the Ahern Axis of Evil.! Lying propaganda replaced serious debate.Bertie venemously attacked the Fine Gael/Labour alliance and nervous Fianna Fáil ministers seems to have reached fever-pitch in September.
In response to the recent meeting in Mullingar of Fine Gael and Labour leaders, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has made particular reference to what he sees as the inability of the leaders of any alternative government to manage a successful economy.
As quoted (Irish Examiner, September 6), Mr Ahern said of the Rainbow: "When they last had the chance, this country was nearly down the tubes."
It seems that the Taoiseach has a very short memory, as his recollection of their period in office is at variance with the facts.
When Fine Gael and Labour were in government from 1994-1997, the Irish economy was booming.
The Rainbow government was the first in 27 years to return a budget surplus, and inflation was at a record low of 1.6%.
Tourism revenues increased at a rate of 12%, and exports rose to over 80% of GDP while Enda Kenny was Minister for Tourism and Trade. While Richard Bruton was Minister for Enterprise and Employment, 1,000 jobs were being created every week.
There was a 40% increase in investment by the State in science and technology while Pat Rabbitte was minister with responsibility in that area.
The overall number of house completions rose by 15% while Liz McManus was minister of state for housing.
The Taoiseach also dubbed the Fine Gael/Labour alliance as the "axis of taxes" in an attempt to portray any alternative government as an administration of high taxation.
It seems Mr Ahern has no sense of irony.
As has been demonstrated recently by Eddie Hobbs and others, Ireland is not the low-tax haven that Fianna Fáil claim it is. In fact, just this week Richard Bruton highlighted the fact that every household in Ireland is paying €5,500 more in stealth and spending taxes than the Government is willing to admit publicly.
In a climate where families and small business are being strangled by such taxes, any attempt to present the FF/PD Government as the low tax option simply doesn’t add up, just as any attempt to discredit the achievements of the Rainbow government will not wash with the electorate. In the 1980s, it was the irresponsibility of both the Haughey and Lynch factions within Fianna Fáil that brought the country to near bankruptcy.
The Taoiseach may have forgotten the 1977 FF manifesto, but history hasn’t. The untold human suffering brought on the country by both his own mentor, Mr Haughey, and the Fianna Fáil faction to which the Tánaiste belonged was immeasurable.
In stealth and secrecy, they prosper;
FINANCE Minister Brian Cowen has decided in November 2005, to retain the fees charged under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, despite concerns they are preventing scrutiny of Government decisions.
In doing so, he has chosen to ignore recommendations by Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly that a review of the fees be undertaken.
The number of FOI requests has fallen substantially since the Government decided in 2003 to introduce fees and place restrictions on the type of material that would be made available.
Last year, just 12,600 requests were made, compared with 18,400 in 2003 - a fall of more than 31%.
The people ofIreland have once more fallen for the lies and propaganda. they will rue the day that a corrupt and self serving Fianna Fail were re-elected-
Dearbhail McDonald( Sunday Times) August 2006
A PRISONER detained with 20 other men in a holding cell in the basement of Mountjoy prison, where Gary Douch was killed, was granted leave to sue the jail for damages just hours before Douch was beaten to death by a fellow inmate on Tuesday morning.
On Monday morning John Mac Menamin, a High Court judge, adjourned a full hearing of the prisoner’s judicial review application until October to allow John Lonergan, the governor of Mountjoy, time to respond.
That evening Douch, who was serving a three-year sentence for assault, was moved to the basement and placed in a holding cell with six others. He had asked for a transfer to a safe cell for his own protection after telling wardens that he feared for his life. In the early hours of Tuesday, he was beaten to death by a prisoner.
Three separate inquiries are now under way into Douch’s death at Mountjoy, where five inmates have been viciously assaulted in recent weeks.
If the High Court declares that the circumstances of the prisoner’s detention at Mountjoy amount to cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, it could open the floodgates for hundreds of offenders detained in substandard conditions in Irish prisons.
Now housed in Mountjoy’s main C wing the prisoner, who was moved to the basement following an assault in the main prison, has lodged a false imprisonment and compensation claim for the two weeks he was held in a 14ft by 9ft cell with up to 20 others. The prisoner claims that conditions in the holding cell are in breach of his constitutional rights and the European convention on human rights.
In his affidavit, which has been seen by The Sunday Times, the prisoner says he was in a 24-hour cell with 20 others and was forced to sleep on a bench. There was one toilet in the cell, but despite the fact it was blocked inmates continued to use it. The prisoner also claimed there was no running water and he had not been able to wash or shave for more than two weeks.
"The [prisoner] is subjected to sanitary, sleeping and eating conditions which fall far short of what is acceptable," say the papers filed in the High Court. "The regime fails to maintain the minimum terms of human dignity, respect and bodily integrity to which the applicant is entitled."
The case, the latest in a series of court actions against Mountjoy, highlights the extreme measures prisoners are taking to address conditions.
Two months ago a prisoner who was forced to sleep overnight in an overcrowded cell crawling with mice and cockroaches, lost his High Court bid to be released from Mountjoy. Lawyers acting for Jonathan Duffy, who brought an emergency claim for release under a habeas corpus application — used to remedy illegal detentions — claimed he was moved out of the cell because he brought a court action, rendering his action "moot". The prison denied Duffy was moved because of the threat of legal action.
The government was warned by officers at Mountjoy that the failure to curb violence could expose the prison to litigation. Because of chronic overcrowding, the punishment B wing is also used as an overflow for inmates awaiting transfer to other prisons. Holding cells are used to safeguard at-risk inmates, but overcrowding is leading to violence in the so-called protection units.
"Vulnerable inmates are at the mercy of violent inmates and serious assaults [sexual and otherwise] may occur, as has been the case in the past," said John Ward, the former secretary of the Mountjoy branch of the Prison Officers’ Association, in a report to the governor in December 2003. "The prison is failing in its basic duty of care and the very essence and basic requirement of the court order as contained on the warrant: ‘to safely keep the body of’ is being recklessly and flagrantly disregarded. This, in turn, leaves the state open to litigation."
Violence and fear in Irish prisons
14 October 2007 Sunday Business Post
A new report by a European human rights watchdog raises serious concerns about the treatment of people held in Irish prisons. Ian O’Donnell reports.
The report of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) depicts an Irish prison system distorted by a climate of violence and fear, as well as documenting verbal and physical abuse by gardai.
The CPT, a non-judicial body set up by the Council of Europe, aims to protect those in custody and prevent ill-treatment, rather than to condemn states for abuses. A delegation from the CPT visited Ireland for the fourth time in October last year. Previous visits took place in 1993,1998 and 2002.
The CPT has the right to unlimited access to places of detention, such as prisons, police stations and psychiatric hospitals. The publication last week of the CPT’s most recent report on Ireland sounds a number of alarm bells.
It found a ‘‘considerable number’’ of persons claimed to have been ill-treated by gardai. These incidents involved people being kicked, punched and hit with batons. The doctors accompanying the delegation found injuries consistent with these allegations.
In one case, a man arrested in Cork alleged that he had been verbally abused by officers on the street, handcuffed and thrown into the back of a Garda vehicle. When he complained about the tightness of the handcuffs, they were tightened further.
Two days after his arrest, he developed a medical condition in both arms that required a period of hospitalisation. Even six months later, his wrists remained scarred.
Beatings of prisoners were also reported, and the CPT expressed ‘‘serious concerns’’ about the effectiveness of Garda investigations into allegations of abuse by prison staff. In addition, there was a worrying level of inter-prisoner violence, with frequent stabbings and assaults, and an increasing number of prisoners seeking protective custody - in reality 23-hour a day lockup - out of fear for their safety.
Limerick Prison, Mountjoy Prison and St Patrick’s Institution, both in Dublin, were deemed unsafe for staff and inmates. This indictment of the system’s failure to meet its duty of care is not diminished by the government’s refusal to accept its validity.
The level of violence in Irish prisons is attributed to the availability of illegal drugs and the absence of meaningful activities. Bored young men with little else to occupy them, and few targets to meet, find diversion in obtaining, trading and consuming drugs.
There were also a lot of complaints about the unpredictable behaviour of prison officers and even suggestions that some of them played a role in inciting violence. Prisoners in Mountjoy claimed that, in the evenings and at weekends, certain staff members - apparently under the influence of alcohol - would start rumours that one prisoner was planning to attack another.
Such behaviour, even if rare, is undeniably destabilising. In its response to the CPT report, the Irish authorities claimed that allegations of poor relations between staff and prisoners were baseless and that, in general, prison officers got on well with those in their custody.
But to suggest that the prisons are operating smoothly, while acknowledging escalating levels of violence, gang conflict and a steady inflow of contraband, indicates a disturbing myopia - or worse, an ingrained complacency.
The CPT found that conditions in prisons were variable, with some inmates enduring prolonged periods in small, dilapidated cells with another prisoner and having to use chamber pots for toilets. More than one in four prisoners continue to slop out, despite repeated promises that this practice would be eradicated.
Hygiene problems are most acute in prisons such as Cork and Limerick, which also bear the brunt of routine overcrowding. While the government suggested in its response to the CPT that these problems would be resolved with the construction of new prisons, the CPT stressed the limited role that prison expansion played in terms of addressing crowded institutions and impoverished regimes.
It called for a review of the law and practice relating to pre-trial custody and the development of an improved range of non-custodial sanctions. The CPT was highly critical of the use of prisons for foreign nationals who were awaiting deportation or had been refused permission to land.
These people were not convicted criminals and should not be treated as such. They should be properly be accommodated in a dedicated facility, with appropriately trained staff.
The delegation met a man from Liberia who had been brought from Shannon Airport to Limerick Prison on a Friday night. By Tuesday morning, he had already attempted suicide twice and was being kept naked in a special observation cell with only a blanket to cover him.
That such a sequence of events could unfold is scandalous, but an overview of the series of visits by the CPT to date reveals a lack of urgency by the state in taking remedial action. For example, in 1993 the CPT was informed that the drafting of new prison rules was ‘‘at an advanced stage’’ and that the aim was to have them in place in the latter half of 1995.
This was in belated recognition of the fact that the prison rules introduced in 1947 were obsolete. In 1998, the CPT was told that the new rules would probably enter into force in early 1999. In 2002, this protracted process was expected ‘‘to bear fruit shortly’’. In fact, the rules only came into force this month.
Similarly, since 1993 the CPT has been recommending that arrested people should be entitled to have a lawyer present during their interrogation. The government notes that it is not persuaded of the need for change in this regard, but promised to keep the matter under review.
CPT recommendations generally require a shift in attitude, rather than additional expenditure. What is needed is an acceptance that, no matter what theymay have done, citizens are at their most vulnerable - and in need of the greatest level of protection - when detained by the state.
When instances of ill-treatment by gardai and prison officers come to light, the routine response is that they are random aberrations and should not be interpreted as having any relevance outside of the narrow set of circumstances that gave rise to them. The accumulated weight of CPT observations over the last 15 years suggests a less benign interpretation.
The fact that allegations of abuse emerge regularly suggests that the system is failing in some ways. This is despite the best efforts of many committed and compassionate professionals who police the streets and patrol prison landings.
The recent introduction of new prisons legislation and the establishment of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission and the Garda Inspectorate will hopefully be drivers of significant change.
Moving things forward will require a vigorous and sustained debate and the first item on the agenda must be how to tackle the pernicious effects of inertia.
Ian O’Donnell is professor of criminology in the school of law at University College Dublin