end corruption,stroke politics, & incompetent administration

Jackie Healy Rae, estranged Fianna Fail T.D. now consigned to their "Gene Pool" The ugly face of irish politics. It's no Kerry joke neither.!

 Jackie Healy Rae(& spouse)  celebrates his election victory in Kerry.

Irish General Election 2007: Some questions that voters should ask the politicians
By Michael Hennigan, Editor and Founder of

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy ordered increased armed Garda patrols and committed 20 extra officers to fight organised crime in the wake of five violent deaths in a week. Justice Minister Michael McDowell plans to agree a list of offences with the judiciary where bail would only be allowed in the most exceptional of cases, following a report that 23 of 24 associates of a slain drugs trader were given bail by the courts despite serious charges against them.

So the penny only drops for McDowell on bail, after a week of gun violence.

Also on Thursday, Minister for Health said on the publication of the Health Bill 2006: "This Bill is a central part of the health reform programme. We are getting tough on setting standards and tough on enforcing standards. An independent organisation with teeth is now being created. "

So a Minister for Finance can see virtue in providing tax incentives to promote the building of nursing homes but until a television programme exposed the appalling treatment of old people in some of them, it would never dawn on well paid ministers and civil servants that nothing was amiss.

Hundreds of millions of euros are wasted on IT projects and cost overruns on other public projects and it takes a public outcry to prompt the introduction of basic controls.

When Ministers simply work part-time on issues of government, should we be surprised at the glacial speed and the lack of ideas or interest in promoting reform?

The issue of reform isn't on the agenda and while partisans can battle over laundry lists of self-styled achievements and plans, the part-time Parliament and Government takes years for urgent issues to be tackled.

It for example has required a public tribunal, the involvement of the former Boston police chief and 2 reports on Garda (police) structural reform to come forward with proposed basic management system changes and nobody can honestly say when the changes will be implemented. 

There are so many examples of neglect, incompetence, sheer cluelessness, laziness and inertia that can be summed up with an overarching conclusion: The Buck Stops Nowhere.

Last month the Irish Independent summed it up well: Five ministers were on hand to reveal plans for a fabulous new Dublin Metro line. On the same day, commuters witnessed the biggest traffic jam in Irish history.

I'm not into the journalism of holier-than-thou moral outrage expecting perfection, which is seldom found in any area of life. However, a system:

that produces 30 ministers, the majority of whom would not get within an ass' roar of a credible management job in the private sector;

where public service "reform" without credible job targets or accountability that was surreally termed "benchmarking" and gave Ministers a double-payment, single special payments averaging 10% to TDs, senators, the rest of the civil service and every public service retiree - but no publication of the final report on the system as everyone knew that the claim that public servants were underpaid compared with comparable positions in the private sector, was an absolute fraud;

where the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says post- so-called benchmarking that a six-hour day and half day on Friday applies in the public service;

where the management consultancy industry has effectively become a branch of government with one Minister staking a claim to a world record, having commissioned 145 reports and reviews over a 4 year period;

where a public planning tribunal investigating planning corruption has been sitting since 1997 but the system that spawned the corruption and makes millions for farmers, lawyers and developers, remains untouched;

where the most significant reform effort over a decade was the back-of-an- envelope decentralisation plan; ()

where the opportunistic lauding of competition in aviation, highlighted that we owe very little to our own legislature for the limited removal of anti-competitive restrictions in the economy. In the words of William Prasifka, the chairman of Ireland's Competition Authority, who said last June that

"in too many areas, Ireland has not willingly embraced competition. European Directives forced the introduction of minimum levels of competition in the telecommunications and energy sectors. In other areas, such as taxis and pharmacies, legal advice or court actions precipitated change,"

where the Taoiseach will receive pension earnings of €282,000 in his first year out of office; TDs get a 50% pension after 20 years service and the funding cost of a full indexed linked public service pension would cost 28% of salary for each of 40 years in the private sector, contrasts with 900,000 workers in the private sector who have no occupational pension and;

where State planners cannot even plan for electricity demand resulting in the risk of Third world-style brownouts and balckouts according to the Economic and Social Research Institute

- is indicative of a banjaxed system of public governance.

the night Jackie Healy-Rae was elected TD for South Kerry the scene in Killarney was like Puck Fair, the Rose of Tralee and a Kerry welcome for the Sam McGuire Cup rolled into one. The party went on for weeks as the new TD went back over pot-holed roads to the villages and parishes that had sent him to Leinster House with such a resounding mandate. It was the culmination of over twenty years of successful local politics, ever since Healy-Rae was elected to Kerry County Council in 1973. Director of elections for Fianna Fáil in numerous campaigns, he became a supreme political strategist. But he broke from the party in controversial circumstances before the 1997 general election. When the party refused to nominate him as a candidate he ran as an independent. Against all the odds he headed the poll. Within a matter of weeks, Jackie Healy-Rae was playing an important role in the formation of the new government by supporting the Fianna Fáil -Progressive Democrat coalition...and winning important concessions for Kerry in return.

and now a little about Switzerland-God help us  all.!

Why Swiss Planners Build What People Want

Switzerland’s political structure is highly devolved. It allows the cantonal and sub-cantonal tiers of government to determine local tax rates.

Tax autonomy leads to tax competition between councils and cantons. Providing inadequate land for housing means councils risk losing inhabitants – and therefore tax income – to neighbouring areas. On the other hand, council areas attracting new inhabitants are able to lower their tax rates or improve services.

There has been virtually no real house price inflation in Switzerland for more than three decades, while at the same time Swiss houses have become bigger and better, allowing more and more Swiss to live in the houses they desire.

Fionnan Sheahan reported that Environment Minister Dick Roche gave part-time local councillors an early Christmas present worth at least €900 each to their wages. And some will get over €6,000 more, arising from the changes.

Councillors already pick up an average of nearly €30,000 each from the taxpayer.

Roche also increased the golden handshake paid to retiring councillors to twice the average industrial wage for those with 20 years' service.

Who gives a tu'penny damn that most workers on the average industrial wage have NO occupational pension?

Sheahan says that the multi-million package will significantly increase the €26m pie carved up by councillors last year. The increased allowances were put together after intense lobbying from Fianna Fáil senators, who are mainly elected by councillors.

The following are some issues that voters should raise with candidates at the General election. As the present Government combination, will have been in power for 10 years, NOBODY should accept the excuse that they didn't have time or money to attend to an issue.

1 The Dáil sits for an average of 93 days each year and it's closed for months when there are urgent issues of public importance in progress. How many days should the Dáil sit and will you publicly support a change?

2 A TD's pay (excluding expenses) has increased by 120% since 1997 - double the increase in the average industrial wage. Tell me, are workers underpaid or are TDs overpaid?

In 1997, the Westminster member was paid a quarter more than the TD, who then earned €44,067. Nine years later the TD/MP pay gap has not just been closed, it has been reversed. Today, the Dáil deputy earns €96,650 and the MP earns 11 per cent less, at €87,132.

TDs will earn basic pay of at least €100,000 in 2007 compared with €72,000 earned by members of the Australian House of Representatives.

A comparable country to Ireland, such as New Zealand, which is similar in population size (4.1m) and economic scale and performance to Ireland, manages with 120 MPs compared with our 166 and has one chamber - no upper house. In 1999, in a non-binding referendum, the New Zealand people voted to reduce the number of MPs to 99: some 84 per cent voted in favour. Even more remarkable: the Kiwi MP is paid just €56,730, under two thirds the Irish rate.

The Sunday Independent reports that the Taoiseach's wage packet has rocketed to €266,492 a year - a 140% increase in less than a decade brought about by the 23 separate pay increases enjoyed by senior politicians. Those increases mean a humble backbench deputy now earns as much as the Taoiseach took home back in 1997 when the FF/PD coalition government first came into office.

Self-styled "ordinary Joe" Bertie Ahern is among the top earners of Prime Ministers in Europe with almost double the pay of the PM of oil-rich Norway, which has a fund for future generations worth more than $200 billion.

Ahern expends much of his time opening events, shops, pubs and offices but he seldom makes major speeches on public policy. In the period between elections, he does not make himself available for in depth media interviews. (and neither would I )














Minister of State






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