end corruption,stroke politics, & incompetent administration

Simon Coveney,tax dodgers son, is dodging the truth. .

// Sea of protest urges Coveney to prevent fish farm plans

Salmon and sea trout anglers along with inshore fishermen insist a planned explosion of giant fish farms on the west coast will lead to a senseless destruction of the Irish environment and damage key industries.

It has been claimed that thousands of existing jobs in tourism, angling, and shellfish industries will be wiped out by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) proposals to create mega salmon farms off Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands. More than 250 people from all over Ireland protested on Saturday outside Marine Minister Simon Coveney’s constituency office in Carrigaline, Co Cork

Mr Coveney had signalled in advance that he would not be present to receive a petition.

 “Our mission,” said Glenda Powell from Cork’s Blackwater Lodge and salmon fishery, “is to strive to safeguard our wild salmon and sea trout, their marine habitat, and inland waterways. 

“If the massive salmon farms are granted, it will probably lead to the extinction of many native species on all of our rivers and lakes. Why can the Government not see the need to protect what we already have — our natural, native fish?” 

Environmental scientist Roderick O’Sullivan said BIM plans, already backed by Mr Coveney, were: “Celtic Tiger stuff all over again — these huge untried complexes are based on Alice in Wonderland ambition, selfish greed, and a refusal to listen to common sense.” 

The Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (Fissta) put into the letterbox of Mr Coveney’s closed office an objection to the proposed deep–sea salmon farm in Galway Bay. Fissta is being backed in its objection by organisations such as No Salmon Farms at Sea, Salmon Watch Ireland, An Taisce, Coastwatch, Friends of the Irish Environment, Irish Seal Sanctuary, Save Bantry Bay, and Save Galway Bay. 

Alec O’Donovan of Save Bantry Bay said a World Wildlife Federation report on salmon farming had “been buried” out of embarrassment by the Government due to the environmental risks. The WWF report claimed excessive use of chemicals such as antibiotics, anti–foulants, and pesticides could have “unintended consequences for marine organisms and human health while viruses and parasites that transfer between farmed and wild species, as well as among farmed species, present a risk to wild populations or other farms”. 

Brian Curran from Save Galway Bay said anglers have been the watchdogs of the environment and object to the industrialisation of deep water bays. London–based Dr O’Sullivan said the Department of Marine “refuses to listen to any voice but its own”. Taxpayers’ money, he said, would support a reckless explosion in salmon farming.

 “We voice our objections to the building of giant salmon farms killing off more of our wild salmon and sea trout; we also object to the huge volumes of filth and toxic wastes from these farms; we object to the huge volume of insecticides, fungicides, and dangerous chemicals flushed into our shallow bays and estuaries, and, furthermore, we object to the gross exaggeration of 500 jobs to be created.” 

He said salmon farming was highly mechanised, required fewer and fewer workers, and “any new menial jobs created will be cancelled out by local job losses in key industries such as angling and tourism”. He said it was bizarre that Mr Coveney, who has responsibility for BIM, was asking the state agency to apply to his office for a licence to build the farms.

Monday, December 17, 2012

By Eddie Cassidy

Irish Examiner

Budget 2013


Quangos-patronage and cronyism-and an old movie trailer revisited.


A Euroskeptic in the European parliament.


Bog men rule Ireland.

The way it used to be..
"Be in no doubt: what we are witnessing on the protected bogs this 
summer is the natural heritage equivalent of allowing Newgrange to be disassembled 
stone by stone.  It is nothing short of heritage vandalism.  The impacts reach far beyond 
environmental protection: e.g. does the rule of law – a central principle of democracy –
mean nothing in modern Ireland?  Can the law simply be flouted without consequence?  
And what sort of a precedent does this set for other environmental conflicts in Europe?  
As the EU celebrates 20 years of EU nature protection,"

 Will the European Commission 
simply stand by while at least nineteen priority habitat Natura 2000 sites are destroyed?  
To the Commission, our question is: “If not now, when?”

Michael O Flynn owes NAMA one billion Euros,but he still has the time and money to sue Lucinda Creighton,a Fine Gael TD.!

When will we have an end to the "big business" donations lobby in Irish Politics.?
When will political parties be allocated state support for election expenses commensurate with their size.?
This jockeying for influence with money must end.
Irish Independent June 8 2012.

DEVELOPER Michael O'Flynn's defamation action against Fine Gael Minister of State Lucinda Creighton may get a High Court hearing date late this year.

The proceedings by the well-known Cork developer and Fine Gael donor, whose companies have had loans of about €1bn transferred to NAMA, were initiated in late July 2010 just days after Ms Creighton gave a speech entitled "Standards in Public Life and Accountability" to the MacGill Summer School in Co Donegal.

Mr O'Flynn, founder of O'Flynn Construction, alleges he was defamed in that speech of July 20, 2010, and in a follow-up interview with Ms Creighton broadcast on RTE Radio's News At One the same day.

He also alleges defamation against Ms Creighton in a follow-up Irish Times article on July 24, 2010, entitled: "Developer attended Creighton fundraiser - TD says she did not know of Commercial Court hearing".

Ms Creighton, Fine Gael TD for Dublin South East and Minister of State for European Affairs, has denied defamation.

The case was listed before Mr Justice Eamon De Valera when he was allocating hearing dates for cases to be heard by a jury.

Declan Doyle SC, for Mr O'Flynn, said his side wanted a hearing date but understood the defendant had a difficulty with a date in this court term.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for Ms Creighton, said his client would be out of the country on business for a time in early July, that business having been organised last November.

Counsel said the action related to three separate alleged defamations and was a very recent case which was likely to take four days.

Mr Justice De Valera said he only had limited dates available and those were in early July. Given the circumstances and that this was a very recent case, he would adjourn it to the next court list to fix dates in November.

The defendant will have to realise the case will have to go on at some stage, the judge said.

Mr O'Higgins said his client did appreciate that but she had commitments. Mr Doyle said the plaintiff was keenly aware of the defendant's commitments and did not want "to mess" with those.

The judge observed, given the nature of Ms Creighton's job, she was likely to find herself committed at very short notice and said he would put the case first in the next jury case call-over list.

The proceedings arise from a speech to the MacGill Summer School in which Ms Creighton said: "We cannot, on the one hand, condemn Fianna Fail for entertaining developers in the Galway tent, while on the other hand extend the biscuit tin for contributions from high-profile developers."

"We need a politics that is about serving the people of Ireland, not simply about replacing Fianna Fail," she also said. All money received by the party from developers involved with NAMA should be given back, she added.

Judge attacks HSE legal bill in face of service cuts

A JUDGE has said it's amazing how health bosses claim to have funding shortages but have no problem paying €800 an hour to legal teams to represent it.

Judge Gerard Griffin, pictured, made the comments after hearing that HSE West stopped funding services for a teenager with psychiatric and psychological difficulties.

"It is something that amazes me ... to send in senior counsel, junior counsel and solicitors who charge €800 an hour and then say they have no money," he said.

The judge held a letter signed by HSE area manager Catherine Cunningham, containing just one line acknowledging receipt of correspondence on a recommendation that the youth receive long-term HSE care.

"We wrote to the HSE looking for more services and they wrote back to say there are no more that they can offer due to financing issues," said Kevin Dinneen, defending.

Judge Griffin adjourned the matter to November 15 to give Ms Cunningham an opportunity to attend court.

"Jail is not where this young man should be. He needs psychiatric help and some effort should be made to give him that."

Irish Independent.November 09/2012.

Fianna Fail's Kerry stalwarts in court after early morning raid.!

Jackie and the misses pleading for mercy for their political progeny.

TWO members of the Healy-Rae clan have ended up in court -- one accused of giving "a mouthful of abuse" to a garda, and one for having people on his licensed premises after hours.

Ian Healy-Rae (26), of Sandymount, Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, whose father Michael is an independent TD, will avoid a conviction if he makes a contribution of €1,000 to the court poor box.

And in a separate incident, his uncle, Kerry county councillor Danny Healy-Rae, was ordered at the same court sitting to make a donation of €800 to the court poor box for having people on his licensed premises after hours.

Late-night drinkers were "herded out" the back door of Danny Healy-Rae's pub in Kilgarvan as gardai were knocking on the front door in the early hours of the morning, Kenmare District Court heard. Danny Healy-Rae, who is the licensee, was not there at the time.

The court heard that the drinkers were ushered out of the pub at 2.40am on March 31.

Inspector Fearghal Patwell said gardai heard people inside and when they looked through the curtains they saw them being ushered through a door by Danny Healy-Rae's son, Dan.

The gardai knocked on the door for a further 10 minutes but were not admitted.

When they set up a checkpoint outside the pub at 2.52am, a door in the private quarters of the premises opened and they were approached by Danny Healy-Rae's wife, Eileen.

Danny Healy-Rae's defence said although his client was not on the premises, he accepted it should have been closed since 1am but an employee was celebrating his birthday.

He said the celebrations were taking place in the kitchen, separate from the bar, and the drinks were not being paid for.

He said when knocking was heard on the front door, those inside thought it was members of the public trying to get in.


Meanwhile, Ian Healy-Rae's solicitor said his client "lost his head" when he verbally abused a garda outside O'Reilly's Bar in Kilgarvan on July 9 last.

Garda Noel O'Leary told Kenmare District Court last Friday that he found Ian Healy-Rae in an intoxicated state but when he told him to go home he got a "mouthful of abuse".

He was subsequently charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour under Section Six of the Public Order Act. His defence said Ian Healy-Rae had apologised for what he did.

He said if a conviction was recorded against his client, he would not be able to get a visa for the United States, where his grandmother lives.

The bankers always win.!

A tale of soup kitchens and bankers pensions:


A Fianna Fail legacy.Homes exploding-in slow motion.

Thousands of walls and floors of newly build Celtic Tiger era homes are slowly exploding, as the mineral Pyrite reacts with Oxygen.

A three hour debate in the Dail yesterday once again highlighted the awful legacy left to thousands of homeowners in this State from a blatant failure to implement proper building regulations in the construction of homes during the property bubble era. Yesterday it was the creeping destruction caused by pyrite that was in focus but much reference was made also to those homeowners, such as the residents of Priory Hall on Dublin’s north side, who are living with the agony of being forced out of their homes which are serious fire hazards because the fire safety regulations were not implemented during construction.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan laid out the Government’s response to the recent report from the Pyrite Panel, a committee set up by the Minister in July of last year to examine all aspects of the pyrite problem. In the course of the debate many contributors spoke of the great suffering of people who see their homes disintegrating around them as the pyrite in the infill under the ground floors chemically reacts with oxygen, moisture and other minerals and expands slowly but with devastating force destabilising walls and ceilings. However, while empathy was in great evidence, a definitive solution and a firm timescale for its implementation was much more tenuous.

Essentially the Government do not want to accept that the State had any role in the disaster that unfolded. Of course there was acute culpability on the part of the quarry companies who supplied the material containing the pyrite, the big builders and their architects and the banks and insurance companies who all profited massively from the home building boom. However a number of state agencies were in place which were supposed to insist on strict standards of building. The Pyrite Panel Report exonerates these agencies from any blame saying that there could not have been awareness of the problems caused by pyrite before 2007. The Minister enthusiastically seized on this to put all the blame elsewhere. This is not tenable.

It is simply not believable that there couldn’t have been any recognition of the pyrite problem during the building boom here. In Britain there were warnings about it in the civil engineering literature more than thirty years ago. In Bristol in 1992 there was a major International Conference on the Implications of Ground Chemistry for Construction where detailed papers were presented on the problems of ‘pyrite heave.’

It beggars belief that major quarrying companies here, one of which is a multi billion operation, would not have this knowledge and could not have tested the material they were supplying for problem materials like pyrite. Nor is it credible that the responsible State agencies – the Building Regulations Advisory Body and the National Standards Authority of Ireland – should not have been aware of this issue and supervised accordingly.

The reality is that there was a serious lack of supervision of building standards during the bubble. The developers and bankers who financed them had the ear of the political establishment and wielded enormous power. As in the financial markets deregulation, and so called self regulation, was the order of the day. The result is a litany of housing developments all over the country with massive problems and a generation of homeowners suffering enormous stress as a result.

What this means for the ordinary people who made enormous sacrifices to buy homes and are now left with building that are either heaving with pyrite or potential fire traps was brought home forcefully in a letter sent to each Government Minister and Dail deputy two days ago by a young mother from Priory Hall. She describes the heartbreak of being forced to move from one emergency accommodation to another with her partner and two young children when the fire hazard was uncovered. ‘Little did we know, a year later we’d still be wondering when, if ever, will we get to go home and where our homes will be. . . Priory Hall was our home but due to the incompetent builder and an incompetent Dublin City Council, it looks like Priory Hall will never be our home again.’

Tellingly this young mother rounds on the political establishment. ‘Phil Hogan still refuses to meet with the residents, Enda Kenny has made empty promises. Will anyone help us?’

Clearly neither the victims of pyrite nor of fire hazardous homes can afford to wait until torturous proceedings are fully played out in courtrooms as those culpable try to evade paying. They need action now. This means the State setting up an emergency fund and putting together taskforces of engineers and construction workers to carry out the necessary remediation on an organised basis. In the meantime bring in urgent legislation forcing all those in the construction industry responsible for the situation to pay into that fund until all costs are covered.


Do we need an incinerator in Sandymount.?

As other nations throughout the world struggle to cut the amount of waste piling up in their landfills and marring the landscape, Sweden is facing an entirely different sort of challenge -- they've run out of trash. Now they're forced to import some more.

Swedes, you see, are among the planet's least wasteful people, on average recycling around 96 percent of the garbage they produce. And with what's left, they've found a way to use, having implemented a world-class waste-to-energy incineration program capable of providing electricity sufficient to power hundreds of thousands of homes.

But their hyper-efficiency has led to a unique problem: a trash shortage that could threaten the energy production capacity.

So, what is Sweden to do? Well, according to Swedish officials, the notoriously tidy nation will begin importing garbage from their neighbor Norway -- about 800,000 tons of it annually, in fact, to fulfill their energy needs.

Perhaps the best part of all is that, in solving their problem, Swedes actually stand to profit from this endeavor; the Norwegians are going to pay them to take their waste, proving quite succinctly that one nation's trash can truly be another's treasure trove.

Interrogating the bankers.


A tribute to Sean Quinn (the younger) a victim of blind justice,recently released from a luxury suite in a Dublin Institute of Correction. (He has not been corrected yet..)


The strange case of how "Bloodhound" waste acquired a near monopoly of waste collection in the Republic of Ireland.

(Originally published February 2012)
"Greyhound waste"  have moved their dirty money to the Isle of Man.! 
(have moved the money that they extort via their stranglehold on householders waste disposal in Ireland)

SO after all last week's hullabaloo, how much do we really know about Greyhound Waste aka "Bloodhound" Waste.?

Well, for a start, did you know that it is a criminal company? You didn't? Perhaps you should know a bit more.

Last year Greyhound -- the outfit that has won a series of State waste contracts -- was prosecuted and found guilty of three charges brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was fined and costs were awarded against it.

It takes a lot of aggro for the EPA to bring a company to court. Greyhound was served with 10 notices of non-compliance before eventually being forced in front of the beak.

Quite a casual attitude to the law.

Perhaps the errant company learned its lesson? Was it chastened by the experience? Was it a one-time offender?

What do you think? These cowboys of the waste industry seem simply to have carried on as before. Believe it or not, they were visited on the same site in Clondalkin, Dublin, by inspectors nine times in 2011 -- after the convictions in court. They were served with a further five non-compliance notices. The court clash seems to have left the lads from Greyhound unfazed.

Last week the EPA told me that even now, once again, there is an active investigation into Greyhound. Amid all the public kerfuffle about Greyhound's despicable behaviour to its customers on the ground, the EPA had cause to visit them as recently as last Thursday.

The latest EPA report on Greyhound was issued on December 12. It is a damning account of their cavalier attitude to the law. It is clear that they play fast and loose with the rules.

The report found Greyhound was a repeat offender, once again guilty of non-compliance with the conditions of its waste licence. The Agency has threatened it with another court action. The pong around the Clondalkin area has been intensifying in recent months. There were several other health and safety issues on the site in the last few weeks.

This is the company that won the waste contract for CIE, for South Dublin County Council and for Dublin City Council.

All right, they may be a bit cavalier with the courts and immune to the sensitive nostrils of the villagers of Clondalkin -- but what else do we know about them?

Well, we know that they are hell-bent on cash upfront. Apparently they have insisted on upfront payments from their targeted 140,000 Dublin City Council customers. That means (subtracting waivers and refusals) that they have probably already trousered well over €4m in cash for the gig. Greyhound has banked this little nest egg.

What sort of a company demands such massive amounts of cash upfront?

And where is this mountain of cash? Does Greyhound really need it badly? Is it in Ireland or stuffed offshore?

Difficult to say. Greyhound is a silent company. It refuses to communicate with the media. It has cutely opted for the road of unlimited liability. That means that neither its employers nor its customers can inspect its accounts. Worse still, its owners have relocated their shareholdings, offshore -- to the Isle of Man. As a result, no meaningful post-2009 information about Greyhound is likely to see the light of day.

So we may never get a picture of Greyhound's financial health. Whether it is solvent, on the pig's back, or teetering on the brink. Long live the Isle of Man, the guardian of commercial secrets.

Nor will we be able to compare its solvency with its competitors. Yet we do have some indication of how it rates against them in their relative respect for the law. Very tellingly, last week, the EPA made a damning comparison of Greyhound with its peers.

An EPA spokesman told me that the "number of visits [to Greyhound] and non-compliance is high -- for any company".

Competitor waste companies are obviously not so dismissive of the law as Greyhound, but it does not seem to count when contracts are being dished out. Other more law-abiding waste operators were in the frame, but Greyhound was selected.

How in the name of God did they win the contract?

Especially, as they had previous form. Their experience when they were forced to return €1.3m to Iarnrod Eireann for overcharging, as revealed in 2009, should be sufficient to eliminate them from any future State contracts -- local or national.

If that alone was not enough, the devastating words of Dick Fearn, chief executive of Iarnrod Eireann, that "basically the money charged [by Greyhound] did not tally with the actual work done" should have sealed its fate for future contracts.

Not at all. These are State contracts, Irish-style.

South Dublin County Council say they did not know about the CIE scam! Dublin City Council say that they did, but awarded the contract to Greyhound anyway!

Which council was worse?

We also know that there was no competitive tender in either case.

We also know that it was Ernst & Young, the disgraced auditors of Anglo Irish fame, who were awarded the job of finding a waste collector; it chose Greyhound for both councils. We also know Ernst & Young received around €250,000 in both cases.

Nor was there any competitive tender for the Ernst & Young task to find a waste operator. E&Y are on a "panel".

Consultants like E&Y have had a good week. Last week the Department of Finance agreed, under pressure from AIB, not to tell the Irish people how much they had paid another old favourite -- PricewaterhouseCoopers -- for work done for the State- owned bank. The usual bull of "customer commerciality" was offered as the excuse.

In Ireland insiders protect insiders. The wagons are being circled. AIB and the Department are re-establishing the old culture of secrecy. Keep the gigs in the family. PwC has milked the bankrupt banking sector. E&Y have been faithful servants of the councils.

Greyhound has responded to its favoured status by seeking blood from its new victims. Hard-pressed citizens claim that its behaviour merited it being renamed "Bloodhound Waste". It initially refused to empty the bins of 18,000 customers who had not paid the €100 upfront fee and registered with it for collection.

Eventually, as Greyhound began to feel the heat from the Dail, it conceded ground. It began collecting waste from everyone -- but by that time it had already extracted the cash upfront from the vast majority of customers.

So there we have it : an outfit with convictions for law breaking; whose latest accounts are not available; owned offshore in the Isle of Man; which has been forced to cough up €1.3m for overcharging; whose charges "did not tally with the work done"; which demands payment upfront.

What an ideal company to sweep the boards in Ireland's mysterious world of waste.

With qualities like that there is no need for such an outrageous indulgence as a competitive tender.

In the Dail last week, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, declined to respond to suggestions that there was anything unusual in giving the contract to such a company.

Nothing has changed.

Maybe the Taoiseach was right. No rivals could possibly compete with Greyhound and offer all these unique ingredients for a State contract, Irish-style.

- Shane Ross

"Irish" bus driver makes a killing..against the taxpayer.!

Saturday October 13 2012
A bus driver who claimed he had been bullied and assaulted by a colleague has been awarded €22,000 damages against Dublin Bus in the Circuit Civil court.
Mihai Pascu told the court he occasionally asked the driver on the shift before him not to leave the cab in a dirty condition.
Mr Pascu, of Foxborough Rise, Lucan, Co Dublin, said his colleague had invited him out of the crew room to apologise and when they got outside he had been punched in the jaw, knocked unconscious to the ground and kicked in the legs and shoulder.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane said she accepted Mr Pascu's account of what had taken place and liability rested with Dublin Bus.

The greatest cover up in world history.?

After nine years of research in Chernobyl contaminated territories, professor Bandazhevsky, pathologist, discovered that Cs137 incorporation with food, at low doses, leads to the destruction of those vital organs where Cs137 concentrates at higher levels than the average body level. With his wife Galina, paediatric cardiologist, Bandazhevsky described the "Caesium cardiomyopathy", which according to several scientists, will bear his name. The cardiac damage becomes irreversible at a certain level and duration of the Caesium intoxication. Sudden death may occur at any age, even in children. After publishing these results and denouncing the non-intervention policy of the government, Bandazhevsky was jailed for alleged corruption and held under house arrest, pending his trial.

A spokeswoman for Mr Howlin said work on identifying the surplus staff was continuing

Government closes open information loophole.

Statement from KildareStreet on September 19th 2012

KildareStreet forced to stop publishing Dáil and Seanad transcripts by Oireachtas is a non-partisan website which makes it not only easy for people to keep tabs on their elected representatives in the Houses of the Oireachtas, but actually possible for them to do this - quickly, clearly, and electronically - for the first time ever in the history of the Republic. KildareStreet provides a readable copy of the parliamentary record, allows voters to finally search for and find information within it, get RSS feeds for TDs and Senators and set up email or RSS alerts for people or search terms. It also allows active commenting by visitors on what was said.

On September 18th, 2012, with no warning or published statement of intent, a significant change to the Houses of Oireachtas website housing the public record of Dail and Seanad debates was made, effectively killing for the foreseeable future.

The public data that was previously published at has been mothballed, and all new publication there has ceased. Without the publication of these XML-formatted transcripts from the Oireachtas and the Seanad,, Ireland’s largest open data project to date, has been summarily terminated by the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Key points for visitors

  • XML is the universal format for complex open data. Before yesterday Ireland’s parliament was a world leader in this regard, publishing the entire record of proceedings as structured open data. That leading position has now been abandoned.
  • The government’s eGovernment Strategy explicitly states that “All public bodies will publish appropriate data in machine-readable formats to facilitate re-use”. Taking a pre-existing repository of data and cancelling it has accomplished the precise opposite.
  • The Oireachtas's Head of Communications has stated, unconvincingly that Kildare Street “may not have the software to capture our content from our new debates site.” Since there is no longer any XML data feed (or any other data feed) to capture, we challenge him to cite whatever magical software he imagines can capture a vacuum.
  • As the Oireachtas budget for the new site is not made public, we cannot tell you how much it cost to summarily break KildareStreet. What we can tell you is that KildareStreet receives no government funding and has been run for three and a half years on a single private fundraising bequest of €5,800, raised from 67 heroic private citizens in 2009.
  • Since then, we have served 2,633,823 pages (971,399 in the past 12 months) to 570,486 unique visitors, 86.24% of them in Ireland, with 7,871 of them receiving automatic email alerts for specific topics. Approximately 35% of our trafficoriginates from addresses allocated to the Irish Government (Source: Google Analytics). KildareStreet’s traffic first swept past that of the Oireachtas Debates site a week after launch.

The new Oireachtas debates website does not have a search engine of any kind, is hostile to disabled users, is riddled with bugs which lead users to dead-end error pages, and has been intermittently offline since launch. It is impossible to link to a particular statement, or to follow a particular topic, or to get email alerts of any kind. All of these services and more have been freely provided by KildareStreet, to the benefit of city councillors, TDs, Senators, charities, students and voters. With the launch of the new Oireachtas Debates site, these services no longer exist and we can no longer provide them to you. stands as Ireland’s leading example of citizens using public data sets to deliver crucial information. By abandoning provision of records in an open and free format, the Houses of the Oireachtas have taken a chilling step backwards for open data, for e-government and for transparent democracy in Ireland.

Need to contact us?

You can reach John Handelaar on

### End

Seanie is still playing golf.


More shite and water pollution with the coalitionists.

12 September 2012.
Friends of the Irish Environment have decried the decision of the Minister for the Environment to extend the slurry spreading season again this year.
The group claims that the European Agricultural Commissioner made it crystal clear last year that such extensions should not be granted in Ireland, due to the likelihood of heavy rainfall outside the agreed periods.
A statement from the European Commission in January of 2011 in reply to Marian Harkin, MEP, absolutely forbid such extensions.
Commissioner for the Environment J. Potocnik told the Irish MEP:
"The contention that fertiliser spreading be permitted during times of occasional suitable weather during the closed period overlooks the fact that growth is either very limited or not taking place which would mean that the risk of leaching, particularly of nitrates into ground and surface water would be very high. Likewise, weather forecasting is not sufficiently precise as to ensure fertiliser would not be subject to run off and leaching in the event of poor weather following application, particularly when such conditions frequently occur during the established closed periods."
FIE says that this year conditions had been 'so wet that much of the nitrogen had not been taken up by the crops as it was'.
'The Heritage Council's submission to the proposed expansion of stocking rates under Food Harvest 2020 highlighted the impact of changing weather patterns on Irish farming:
'Other impacts of climate change on agriculture are likely to exacerbate water quality issues. Changes in rainfall patterns will affect grass production, which will require new grazing/housing patterns. This in turn could result in the need for disposal of additional animal waste/slurry - this will then put greater pressure on the need to control diffuse pollution into our surface and ground waters.'
FIE says that excessive nitrogen leading to poor water quality was not the only problem arising from slurry spreading outside the agreed season.
'The closure of beaches along our coast because of high levels of e.coli is directly linked to spreading slurry when the ground is waterlogged and rain occurs', they say.
'The regulations require that no slurry spreading take place when heavy rain is forecast in the next 48 hours. However, not only is it difficult for farmers to know when heavy rain will hit their particular area, but no heed is given to the soil moisture levels. Any rain at all on waterlogged soils will lead to run off into watercourses.'
The group has been in contact with the Met Office about the possibility of issuing warnings similar to blight warnings to ensure that the likelihood of contamination is reduced to a minimum.
'Ireland has Europe's highest levels for cryptosporidiosis and e.coil STEC infections, both of which are carried by animal's manures. The incidence of e.coli STEC infection rose a further 200% in the first six months of this year', the organisation said.
'The failure of successful Governments to support a programme of anaerobic digesters is increasingly serious.'
The group points out that 'in an EU LIFE supported project, Silver Hill Foods have installed a converter to deal with the slurry of 3 million ducks - 70,000 tons per annum. T'he unit extracts dry pellets for fertiliser while capturing the methane gas to power the operation and no slurry spreading is necessary. This is a model for Irish farmers.'
'Given the likelihood of wetter summers and more intense rainfall, the Minister must address this issue rather than simply extending the slurry season against the advice of the European Commissioner.'
Verification and further information:
Tony Lowes, Friends of the Irish Environment.

Rolling in the Aulas

THE scene: the Aula Maxima in Maynooth College , Kildare on the outskirts of Dublin. A reunion of National University business alumni and other distinguished citizens selected by Maynooth College for special recognition.

Centre stage are Dr Sean Quinn and Professor Bertie Ahern.

Dr Quinn: "Morning Bertie, welcome to the Maynooth College reunion. Irish business is well-represented here today. I just love my honorary degree. With my underprivileged background, no one would ever have thought... Did you get yours for the same reason as me, Bertie?"

Professor Bertie: "Er, not exactly. Actually I received a higher honour, not a mere doctorate."

Dr Quinn: "Oh sorry, Bertie. That loud yellow suit of yours makes you look like an honorary doctor. I presumed that your time at the London School of Economics or your stellar career as an accountant justified an academic award. What qualifications did you bring away from the LSE and what class of accountant are you? ACA or ACCA?"

Professor Bertie: "Er, pass on that one, Doctor. Maynooth leapfrogged the honorary degrees hurdles specially for me. I am a professor."

Dr Quinn: "Congratulations. What class of a professor, Bertie?"

Professor Bertie: "The lads here tell me that I am a 'junked' professor."

Dr Quinn: "A what?"

Professor Bertie: "A 'junked' professor."

Dr Quinn: "What in the name of Ukrainian banditry is a 'junked' professor supposed to teach?"

Professor Bertie: "I haven't a clue, Doctor Sean. I assume that I will be lecturing in junked bonds after my vast experience as finance minister and Taoiseach. Sure, Irish bonds are all junked bonds since I left the Taoiseach's office."

Dr Quinn: "Hang on, Bertie. Look at the day's programme here. It says you are an 'adjunct' professor, whatever that is? Not 'a junked' professor."

Professor Bertie: "No matter. I thought they might have meant 'junket' professor. Ha Ha! What about you Sean, in what subject did you get your honorary degree ? A masters in corporate governance?"

Dr Quinn: "No, not at all. I was given the blue riband of honorary degrees -- the Maynooth Doctorate in Laws, known as an LL.D."

Professor Bertie: "Sure, Charlie McCreevy was given one of those LL.D yokes too. What do you know about keeping laws, Doctor?"

Dr Quinn: "Shag all, Professor. But it might come in useful in the next few months when I am visiting my relations detained in hospitality provided by the State."

Professor Bertie: "I suppose the shaggers here in Maynooth will be looking for a few bob for giving us our grand titles? Did you give them a donation, Doctor? Did they name you the Maynooth Professor of Banking after your experiences with Anglo ? Did they not set up a Quinn Foundation of Business Integrity?"

Dr Quinn: "No, that was another Quinn -- Lochlann Quinn. No relation. Lochlann was given an honorary doctorate in Laws by National University of Ireland in 2004. Lochlann is a former chairman of AIB .They even named the Quinn School of Business at UCD after Lochlann."

Professor Bertie: "Do all our universities give bankers awards, making them doctors of laws, or governors, or 'junket' professors? I heard that the last Bank of Ireland governor Pat Molloy was given a doctorate and made a pro-chancellor by Trinity College."

Dr Quinn: "It probably helps to be a banker, Bertie. UCC gave Lochlann's successor at AIB -- Dermot Gleeson -- the chair of the UCC governing body. Caused a bit of a stir, as AIB collapsed during his period at the helm in Cork.

"His brilliance as a banker was spotted by our bright academic friends just before the collapse of AIB. Rather embarrassing timing for UCC really -- but not half as embarrassing as it must be for Maynooth to host you and me, swanning around all over the campus today dressed like stuffed peacocks. Ha ha ha!! Especially when you are the tribunal star and I am lucky not to be behind bars. Is this a judiciary-free zone?"

Professor Bertie: "Definitely. I see Lochlann over there. Hello Dr Quinn, you know Dr Quinn, do you?"

Dr Lochlann: "Good morning Professor Ahern. Are many of your old gang here?"

Professor Bertie: "Buckets of them. I see all the old social partnership junkies up for another free lunch. Scoffing the grub over in the corner is Siptu's Dr Des Geraghty and the same sacred union's Dr Sheila Conroy, both of them got LL.D yokes too. And would you believe it, tucking into the same trough is another of my heroes, Dr John Dunne, the Ibec boss who sold out to the unions on so many partnership deals."

Dr Quinn: "And is that not Dr Kieran Mulvey over there in his robes? Another social partner who saved Ireland? Remember him, Professor?

"I studied the citation when he was getting his doctorate last year. It was enough to make even the bearded Mulvey blush. The eulogy gave him credit for the Croke Park Agreement -- an albatross that may yet sink Ireland's recovery plans. And it described him as an 'independent and original thinker'."

Professor Bertie: "The citation forgot to include the little gem that Dr Kieran Mulvey LL.D sought a nomination to run for Charlie Haughey's Fianna Fail back in 1989. Them citations never mention the little things that matter. He was a soldier of destiny. I loved him once."

Dr Quinn: "Do not knock the citations. They can be pretty accurate. Look over to the left, there's the poet Cathal O Searcaigh parading himself in his doctoral clothing. He was lauded to the heights by Maynooth before his fall from grace. Look how right they were about me too.

"When they gave me my gong, vice chancellor William Smyth could not contain himself. 'Sean Quinn,' he declared, 'has achieved national and international distinction. He is a worthy role model for an Ireland in which entrepreneurship, vision and personal courage are the primary constituents of the human capital which has generated and sustains the Irish economic miracle. He is an Irishman of distinction and is a worthy candidate for recognition by this university.'

"My citation should be mandatory reading for the judiciary, the media, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour and Sinn Fein. The guys in the ivory towers are dead right. Dr Sean Quinn has 'vision, determination and economic insights'. Just like you always had, Bertie. That's why you are a professor. We are both role models."

Professor Bertie: "Good on you, doctor. Thank God I left Fianna Fail. Now I can mix with the mighty in Maynooth without any stain on my character."

Village magazine reborn from the ashes.

[Editorial, April, 2012]
As Mahon finally grinds to a somewhat disappointing report, it is time to recognise that corruption, even more than its cousin greed, did for Ireland in our time. 

Enda Kenny got into trouble by over-generalising on the sensitive issue of just who went mad with greed and borrowing during our distant boom, but he might just as well have gone the whole way and questioned which of us dabbled in corruption too.

Corruption, illegal and legal, has been endemic in banking, in the awarding of public contracts, in planning, in the exploitation of resources and the environment, in the unblinking repayment of unsecured bondholders and ultimately in the obscene maldistribution of wealth.
Ireland is regarded as suffering particularly high levels of ‘legal corruption’ – perhaps as many (not you dear reader or I, of course) need to look into their souls to see if they have been party to corruption as need to see if they are party to greed.
While no laws may be broken, ‘strokes’ and ‘cute hoorism’ such as nepotism, patronage, job-
bery, parochialism, political favours and political donations influence political decisions and policy to the detriment of the common good, disproportionately in this country. Influence-selling has yet to be completely outlawed, while political funding remains open to abuse through loose thresholds on political donations and weak disclosure criteria for political parties. Though legislation is proposed, political lobbying is entirely unregulated and political parties are not required to publish audited accounts.
Disgrace bears little consequence in this society. Ben Dunne still has a weekly column in the Irish Sun, although Moriarty found him corrupt and his principal defence seems to be that he had psychiatric difficulties. Bertie Ahern batted for the Star from behind the contents of a refrigerator and Celia Larkin pontificates on the issues of the day in the Sunday Independent. No-one cares what Moriarty said about civil servants. Denis O’Brien still dominates our Global Economic Forums, the Clinton Diaspora Summit and the horrible Ireland Inc St Patrick’s Day NYSE bell-ringing.
Whatever about the benighted Fianna Fáil, our current main ruling party raised, with corrupt Minister Michael Lowry’s involvement, €1.3 million to clear its debts between 1991 and 1994 and, despite that and an army of dodgy rezoning councillors, most of whom were recognised in the Mahon Report, it rose to political ascendancy last year as if it were a paragon of virtue. There was, and is, no sign of criminal proceedings
for corruption against Haughey, Burke, Lowry, O’Brien, the Bailey Brothers or Liam Lawlor. Michael Lowry, Ray Burke, Ivor Callely, George Redmond, Liam Cosgrave Jnr, Frank Dunlop – that galaxy of unworthiness – all retain their government pensions. Government promises to address Mahon recommendations and seek prosecutions are as tenuous as the forgotten pledges it gave after Moriarty.
Village likes to look at human progress in terms of four spheres that comprise human activity – economic, social, environmental and cultural. On probably all, certainly on three, we live in a corrupt society, morally and often legally.
Economically, Ireland Inc (that well-worn if emasculated phrase!) turns out to believe in bailing out people who were paid excessively for taking risks and then avoided responsibility when the risks went wrong. This reveals as insincere the very premise of the capitalism it purported to believe in. In this respect if you have to do capitalism, it is better to do it the US way with competition and swift criminal penalties for dishonesty.
In Ireland, we failed to regulate, even to maintain functioning capitalism, let alone to facilitate an equal and sustainable society. And from the
Beef Tribunal to the Moriarty Tribunal to the Planning Tribunal and various insipid banking inquiries as well as in cases involving insider trading, public tendering and the whole planning process, it is clear that there is widespread red- toothed corruption tainting important sectors of our economy and reaching right to the top; as well as ubiquitous ‘trading in influence’.
During the boom all the main parties promoted or went along with a tax-reducing, officiary-over- remunerating agenda and the now-ruling parties supported insane stamp-duty reductions. If not corrupt this was at least unfair and reckless. The biggest recent instances of economic corruption are repaying largely foreign plutocrats with their unsecured bonds and Nama‘s decision in most cases to retrieve not the original value of loans, but the haircut price it paid, so losing the potential upside benefit to the taxpayer; and revealing it as sustaining burnt-out speculators when we were expressly promised it would not. Predictably too, NAMA pays some of them up to €200,000 a year to run their troubled companies.
Socially, budgetary policy favours expenditure cuts which affect the poorest most and taxation policy favours the rich. Even during the boom we had very low public expenditure relative to income, leading to unnecessarily poor public services and quality of life. During the boom there were famously more Irish golf courses than playgrounds (the Great Recession will have taken care of more of the former than the latter). and there is a certain corruption in the structuring of society to suit the rich and make equality between people, who are equal moral agents, impossible. The CSO recently showed that the average income of those in the top 20 per cent of the population was 51⁄2 times higher than the average of those in the poor- est 20 per cent. a year earlier it had been just 4.3 times higher. The Gini coefficient which measures income inequality more comprehensively was .34 in 2010, a disimprovement from .299 in 2009 (when Sweden’s, for example, was .23). much other corruption derives from this social inequality. and as for the left campaigning against the idea of property taxes, this magazine despairs.
Environmentally, during the boom we had the highest resource-use per capita in the eU and the second-highest green- house gas emissions in the EU after
Luxembourg. Though emissions have dropped from 18 to 14 tonnes per capita this is due to the economic fiasco not good administration. Ireland has played the fullest role in international climate crimes.
Our water quality should be excellent due to demography and geography. In fact e coli levels in Ireland are seven times those of Northern Ireland and 28 times those of england and Wales (and our chosen antidote of chlorination now offers carcinogenic Thms in the drinking water of an extraordinary – and unknowing – 600,000
citizens). yet septic-tank inspections, mandated by the eU were recently described by protesters from Galway West, as “an injustice to rural people . . . an insult”. and environment minister, Phil Hogan, recently boasted that the new septic tank inspection regime would cover only ten per cent of houses near rivers and lakes. The debate on septic tanks proceeds on the basis that there is no value to the public in clean water. It is left to the eU to see the policy point; and the public interest.
We never had the appetite for good planning. The National Spatial Strategy was deliberately made toothless. and local authorities ignore it – as well as their own local plans, allowing Dublin for example to sprawl into surrounding counties; while cities and towns outside Greater Dublin languish. around 50% of the State’s housing output is built in the least sustainable form – one-off. Since 2001, 170,000 new one-off houses have been permitted in Ireland. Despite this there is a conspiracy to make out that the national spatial problem is the difficulty of obtaining permissions for one-off houses.
We have failed to learn the lessons of the planning Tribunal which have been evident for a decade and a half. While codes of conduct and legislation aimed at curbing corruption are in place for public representatives and officials, there appears to be little understanding and repeated transgression of the codes at national and local level.
politicians have not learnt the clear lesson that Development and other plans need to be assessed quasi-judicially, at the time of creation, for compliance with the National Spatial Strategy. Mahon recommends this only for decisions that counter
managements’ advice. In local government, the risk of fraud and corruption is particularly acute, heightened by the lack of adequate safeguards not just against planning corruption, but against false accounting, misuse of resources, influence-selling and fraud also.
Culturally, our contemporary artists have not held a mirror to our corrupt society. Too few of them have made targets of our ruling elite, too many of them seek the company of the wealthy and the corrupt. Ireland is the capital of the boy band and eurotrash. Colm Tóibín’s celebration of Michael Fingleton, Bono’s exaltation of capitalism and cultivation of Blair, Bush and Ahern, Seamus Heaney’s attendance at a Denis O’Brien dinner find no parallels in the worlds of Joyce, Beckett or Yeats. Aosdána is the smuggest colloquium in cultural history. Jedward.
Transparency International’s Corruption perceptions Index 2011 shows that Ireland’s ranking has fallen recently and it now compares poorly to other northern European nations. Ireland ranks 19 out of 183 countries with a score of 7.5 out of ten, down from 8 in 2010. The cul- ture of this country facilitates influence-selling and is indulgent of corruption, even in high places. That the national edifice should have collapsed was inevitable.
It is this infection mixed with a largely unadul- terated celebration of greed, rather than our mere, derivative, fiscal come-uppance and debt, that will keep this country down for a generation. Greed and Corruption are each rooted in base deference to money and self, rather than the public interest.
Without a change in culture we are doomed.


Unlocking NAMA,Ireland's toxic waste dump.


beating the household tax with a nation wide boycott.

By Shane Ross
Sunday September 02 2012
'ALL that has been decided," protested the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan dismissively last week, "is that there will be a property tax on family homes and that property tax will be collected by the Revenue Commissioners."

That's all. Nothing really.

The last refuge of battered middle-class Ireland is under fire.

Calm down, then. What is all the fuss about? Your family home is being threatened. The Government has appointed the noble army of taxmen as the enforcers.

None of that softly softly local government enforcement stuff that floundered in the case of the household charges debacle. This time it is the jackboot method. The taxman can cut off the family home tax at source. You will never have to send it to them because it will be snatched from your pay packet. They will do it this way because they know you cannot afford to pay the tax.

Your final fortress is under siege. But the soothing message from the coalition spinners is going out: do not fret yet; the rate of family home tax is not set; the method of assessment is undecided; the timetable is not chosen. You could be one of the lucky ones. You could be given a waiver or a discount.

So calm down, say the soothsayers. The softening-up process is in full swing. Just a few hundred euro a year's extra tax for the coping classes, the unsung heroes and heroines of the tottering economy, just another small levy for the bullied pensioners and a knockout blow for the family struggling to rear a few children.

Wait for the autumn rhubarb. These posers in the Government will be waffling about "widening the tax base"; about how the family home punishment measure will be imposed on an "ability to pay" formula; we will be blue in the face listening to the cop-out that "the troika has insisted", or to the worn out canard that the "regrettable" measure "is the product of the Fianna Fail government's recklessness". And, of course, like all taxes this one will be "fair and equitable".

Half-truths by the bucketful are in the can.

This tax is not of Fianna Fail's making, for once. This Government has grown up. It is now making its own decisions. In December it will be producing a Fine Gael/ Labour budget. It is beginning to make political choices. Its most fundamental choice is that the middle class is easy meat -- a decision completely in keeping with its raid on pensioners' savings last year.

Welcome to back-to-front economics.

The case for a property tax back in 2007 was stronger. At the time the residential property market was in a frenzy. House prices were out of control. The Fianna Fail government refused to hose the flames. Instead, it fanned them.

Bertie Ahern's government and the FG/Labour opposition flirted with the mad idea of reducing stamp duty on houses, allowing property prices to go berserk. Instead of introducing a property tax to cool the market and to raise revenue, Taoiseach Ahern and finance minister Cowen let the market rip -- encouraging developers, bankers and buyers to push prices to lunatic levels. A property tax then could have helped to prevent a crash later.

Instead we had our crash.

Today, the bombed-out market needs nurturing. Last week the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released figures showing that property prices had fallen by 56 per cent in Dublin and by 50 per cent elsewhere in the country since the 2007 peak.

And what do the FG/ Labour boys propose to do to remedy the slump in the fortunes of family homeowners?

You guessed it. At a time when all barriers to house ownership should be removed, when the case for the abolition of stamp duty is strong, they have opted to suffocate the dying invalid. A moribund property market is being locked into the mortuary.

So in Ireland 2007 a Fianna Fail/Green government threw petrol on a blazing housing inferno. Then in Ireland 2012 a Fine Gael/Labour Government nukes the ashes -- just in case there is any sign of a few emerging embers. Back-to-front economics rule okay?

Do not be fooled by whispers of waivers. Do not be deceived by the looming public relations charade: a big spin is on the way. Watch out for the monstrous red herring that trophy houses will be hit hardest. And indeed they will. But the Taoiseach has determined that the nation needs €500m from this tax in the Budget. You do not raise €500m from trophy houses. Certainly not from waivers. You raise it from semi-detached houses in middle-class Dublin housing estates.

Dubliners will be worst hit.

If the authorities really are determined to launch this attack with a "value-based" tax weapon, residents of Dublin and other urban areas will be paying the State far more for the privilege of living in houses identical to their rural equivalents.

Dubliners -- families or pensioners -- with similar incomes to their country counterparts, will pay more in family home tax because house prices in Dublin are higher.

Residents of the capital will have paid more for their homes initially, will have lost more on the property slide and will have been levied higher stamp duty on the purchases. Now they are about to be clobbered again.

The Government is making a serious mistake. The Irish property market is not a normal asset class. It is skewed badly. It is perverse, irrational, dysfunctional, inconsistent.

It is impossible to value a house in present conditions when activity is at an abysmal level. Some families own their houses outright, while their neighbours are in negative equity. And should the couple who have paid off their mortgage be liable for the tax while their neighbour is granted a waiver?

The family two doors down may have a lower income than either. Should they be granted a waiver? Should the elderly be given waivers?

Should those who have bought the same house paying 9 per cent stamp duty -- a property tax -- in the boom years be made to pay another property tax today?

Did they borrow money to pay the original stamp duty to the government? Many of the victims of the reckless bank lending in the property boom are likely to be hit on the double, now emerging as victims of the bust when their devalued asset suddenly becomes a taxable liability.

This is not a normal market. It would be brutally unfair on middle-class Ireland to squeeze money from those who have little or nothing left to give. It will push some over the edge.

Go on, they will say. Where else will we raise the money?

Have they completely forgotten about the quango cull?

- Shane Ross