No law for the powerful, strict enforcement for decent citizens

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

 

David Aminu committed a crime by defrauding the Department of Social Welfare of €136,000 in welfare payments. The crime came to light in 2015 when Mr. Aminu wrote to the Dept. admitting his crime and offered to repay the stolen funds. An immediate Garda investigation was launched as a result of the confession. Mr. Aminu was charged, found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison.

Mr. Aminu’s defence pleaded that he had confessed, was repaying the stolen funds and was unlikely to reoffend. It was also pointed out to the judge that if Mr. Aminu were sent to jail he would face automatic deportation on his release with serious consequences for his wife and family.

None of this cut any mustard with the judge. Accepting that Aminu was a good man, that there would be long-term consequences for him and his family if a jail term was imposed and that the only aggravating factor was the actual crime the judge nevertheless took a stern and very narrow view.

Aminu must suffer a term of imprisonment to punish him and deter others.

Although this is an extremely harsh judgement it is, nevertheless, the law and in all functional democracies the law must be upheld and equally applied.

Unfortunately, Ireland is not a functional democracy and, as a consequence, justice like that meted out to Mr. Aminu is strictly reserved for ordinary citizens.

Those with power and influence are seldom subject to the law and can do pretty much as they please.

Here are just some recent examples of how those with power and influence get away with serious criminality.

On the same day that Mr. Aminu’s case was reported the Central Bank revealed that banks were admitting to thousands of additional cases of criminally defrauding those on tracker mortgages. The number of victims of this criminality has now reached over 30,000. People have lost their homes, their savings and some, it is thought, their lives. The Central Bank knew what was going on and did nothing; it’s still, effectively, protecting the criminal bankers. There have been no arrests, no charges, no justice.

Senior civil servants are also protected by the state when they commit crimes, even when they openly admit guilt. Senior staff at the Office of Corporate Enforcement (the grandiose title always makes me laugh) responsible for the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial perverted the course of justice by deliberately destroying evidence and coaching witnesses. In functional democracies such crimes are taken very seriously. In Ireland there were no charges, no trial, the guilty were protected by the state.

For 20 years now there has been an avalanche of criminality spewing from the ranks of our police force, we have yet to see a police officer on trial. Just recently, the most senior police officer in the state decided that no charges would be brought against any member of his force who were found to have falsified up to a million breath tests. The police chief said he was not prepared to spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on the scandal, that the money would be better spent on ‘protecting the community’ – from ordinary criminals like Mr. Aminu presumably.

Predictably, there was no objection to this banana republic abuse of law enforcement from politicians or, indeed, judges.

And then, of course, there’s the criminal politicians who, over the decades, have been defrauding the state through false expenses claims and robbing citizens money by stealing food and drink in the Dail bar and restaurant. Irish citizens won’t even be allowed to pass election judgement on these criminal politicians because, incredibly, data laws protect their identities.

Just think about that, we live in a country where public representatives can openly rob citizen’s money and property with complete impunity and we’re not even allowed to know their names never mind throw them in jail.

For so long as our country is misgoverned and exploited by a corrupt ruling elite we will rarely witness a judge say that a banker, police officer, government official or politician should be jailed

I suspect that when Mr. Aminu sat down to write his letter of confession he was not aware that in Ireland there is no law for the rich and powerful and strict enforcement for ordinary decent citizens.

I also suspect that if he knew the truth he would have burned that letter.

Copy to:

Senator Craughwell (Independent)

I’m copying this article to Senator Craughwell in the hope it might help to inform him of the reality of corruption in Ireland. From a number of twitter conversations it is clear that the senator has little idea of how the disease of corruption is destroying the lives of countless thousands of Irish citizens.

 

Garda corruption: the stripped down truth

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

And so the usual avalanche of meaningless, naïve and uninformed analysis is upon us in response to the latest scandal – the sacking of yet another Garda Commissioner. Yes, she was sacked, there are many ways to sack a person without actually seeming to do so.

So for those who wish to bypass all the utter bullshit that will be spewed out over the coming weeks in response to this latest episode of police/political corruption – here’s the stripped down truth.

Our police force is an irredeemably corrupt organisation. It will never be reformed from the inside because to do so would mean having to retire, fire and prosecute hundreds if not thousands of police officers.

Real reform would also mean establishing a truly independent police force that would see the severing of the corrupt nexus between the force and the corrupt political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

A politically independent police force would mean corrupt politicians would find themselves under regular investigation for their criminal activities.

A politically independent police force would see, for the first time in our history, bankers, property developers, members of the legal profession, civil servants, so-called regulators, judges and even police officers regularly facing justice before the courts.

A politically independent police force will never become a reality until the corrupt political system is first removed from power.

All other talk/analysis surrounding this issue should be treated for what it is – utter bullshit.

Daniel McConnell: Happy to wear establishment blinkers

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Establishment/Irish Examiner journalist Daniel McConnell tweeted the following in response to the Irish Water debacle in Louth and Meath.

It is amazing how quiet the anti-water charge brigade have been the past few days with events in Louth and Meath.

What’s really amazing is the apparent ignorance of journalists like McConnell when it comes to understanding the real, underlying reason for the rebellion against water charges.

Journalists such as McConnell are apparently incapable of going beyond the economic collapse of 2008 when analysing the on-going, historic changes in the political landscape.

They appear to be completely unaware that the water charges campaign has little to do with water and everything to do with the dramatic and continuing collapse of the old corrupt political regime made up principally of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the now almost extinct Labour Party.

Since the 1992 election when Dick Spring reneged on his promise to rid Irish politics of the disease of corruption by joining forces with the criminal politician Haughey, the Irish people have been progressively losing faith in, not just the political system, but the State itself.

This undeniable and obvious rejection of the old regime is there to see in election results for all those not wearing establishment blinkers.

Those wearing blinkers such as McConnell appear happy to analyse the political scene under the simplistic and insulting (to citizens) idea that it’s all down to an ignorant people, angry with austerity, being led astray by evil Trotskyists.

Copy to:

Daniel McConnell

 

State failing in its duty to enforce law

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The following very serious allegations of criminal activity emerged during the recent Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

The deliberate destruction of evidence.

The coaching of witnesses.

The altering of witness statements.

The former solicitor for the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell has admitted that he destroyed evidence.

It has been accepted by the current Director of ODCE, Mr. Ian Drennan, that senior members of his staff participated in the coaching of witnesses and the altering of witness statements. It has also been acknowledged that the former Director of ODCE, Mr. Paul Appleby was involved in some of these activities.

The following three facts also emerged during the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

One: That Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two: That Supt. Lordan, after discussing the alleged crime with a colleague deemed it was not necessary to launch a Garda investigation.

Three: That the whole issue (the destruction of evidence) was outlined to Judge Mary Ellen Ring and she did not indicate that any issue should be raised with the Garda.

To my knowledge Garda officers do not have the power to decide whether or not an alleged crime should or should not be investigated. To my knowledge such decisions come strictly within the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is deeply disturbing that a judge, on being informed that evidence in a criminal trial had been deliberately destroyed, would not instruct the Gardai to investigate the matter.

It seems clear to me that the law enforcement agencies of the State are failing to act in an appropriate manner in response to the alleged crimes as outlined above.

With that in mind I have submitted the following complaints:

One:

Formal complaint submitted to Cobh Gardai on 10 July concerning the alleged crimes of ODCE solicitor Mr. Kevin O’Connell and other staff members of the ODCE.

Formal Complaint

I wish to formally report the following allegations of criminal activity that emerged during the course of the trial of the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick.

One: That the former solicitor for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, contrary to law, deliberately destroyed documents that were relevant evidence in a criminal trial.

Two: That, contrary to law, witnesses were coached and statements altered by Mr. O’Connell and other senior civilian ODCE staff which resulted in the contamination of evidence.

Both of the above allegations have been accepted as true by Mr. O’Connell and the Director of ODCE, Ian Drennan.

(See attached ODCE press release).

Signed……………………………………………………………………

Anthony Sheridan

Two:

Formal complaint submitted to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) against Chief Supt. Lordan concerning his decision not to investigate the destruction of evidence in a criminal trial.

11 July 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find complaint against Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, for failing to properly carry out his duty on coming into possession of significant evidence of criminal activity.

This complaint is based on a report in the Irish Times dated 23 May 2017 reporting on the trial of former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick (The full report is included below).

Specifically, the complaint is based on the following facts arising in the report.

One:  That Chief superintendent Lordan was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two:  That Chief Superintendent Lordan wrongly took it upon himself not to investigate the illegal destruction of said documents.

Signed……………………………..

Anthony Sheridan

Note:  It was my intention to make a formal complaint against Judge Mary Ellen Ring for her failure to act on being informed about the destruction of evidence.  Unfortunately, it seems there is no authority in Ireland to which citizens can make complaints regarding the actions of judges.

Copy to:

ODCE

Dept. of jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Media

 

 

Elaine Byrne/Fergus Finlay: Afraid to condemn their own?

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne is correct to criticise members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for their sometimes over-robust comments regarding the Garda Commissioner’s evidence in front of the Committee (Sunday Business Post, 25 June).

But I suspect Ms. Byrne, in common with all establishment journalists, is using the relatively minor issue of comment-happy politicians to avoid facing the brutal reality of police corruption. For nearly twenty years now, beginning with the Donegal scandal, we have witnessed an avalanche of police corruption.

The single most obvious observation regarding this constant stream of corruption within the force is the complete lack of accountability.

No charges, no court cases, no jail time. This is the norm in a dysfunctional democracy like Ireland.

The current Garda Commissioner, Norin O’Sullivan, is continuing this dishonourable and disgraceful tradition of circling the wagons to, effectively, protect the corrupt at the expense of democracy and the interests of the Irish people.

In a functional democracy Ms. O’Sullivan would have been sacked long ago and, in all likelihood, find herself under criminal investigation.

And as I mentioned above, Ms. Byrne is not the only journalist/opinion maker with a disturbing tendency to focus on the irrelevant in order to avoid confronting the disease of corruption that’s rampant among the upper echelons of Irish society.

Fergus Finlay, an uncompromising, loyal supporter of the establishment, has worn his fingers to the bone battering out article after article on his keyboard in response to the never-ending stream of corruption scandals that have caused so much suffering and damage to Ireland and its people.

Yet, much like Ms. Byrne, Finlay never, ever actually identifies the source of corruption in Ireland – the mainstream political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

Indeed, in a recent article Mr. Finlay went out of his way to clearly state that the political system is not corrupt. After nearly wringing his hands off in anguish over the State’s continuing failure to deal with poverty, hunger and abuse of children Finlay absolves the politicians and places the blame firmly with the royal ‘we’.

These things have happened because of the choices we’ve made.

And in case ‘we’ haven’t got the message Finlay hammers it home by dismissing recent political scandals such as that involving Marie Whelan, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Shane Ross as pathetic parochial pettifogging.

Apparently, there is no connection between political shenanigans (corruption in functional democracies) and the suffering and injustices inflicted on the vulnerable, according to Finlay.

In 20 years’ time, none of those pathetic parochial pettifogging political issues will matter a damn. They don’t matter a damn now.

He goes on:

The Government made a hames of it and the opposition and media are making a meal of it. But that’s all it is — no corruption, no crime, no illegality. Just stupid political mismanagement, made worse as usual because no-one can admit a mistake.

No corruption, no crime, no illegality – just some (innocent) political mismanagement.

This seems to be the rallying cry for establishment journalists like Byrne and Finlay when it comes to defending our corrupt political system.

They simply refuse to acknowledge that (Political) corruption is rampant, (white-collar) crime is rampant and illegality is rampant throughout the upper echelons’ of Irish society.

It is not, I suspect, that they are unaware of the brutal truth but rather that they don’t have the courage to condemn their own.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

Note:

It has always been my practice to send a copy of articles I write to those I criticise. Recently however, Mr. Finlay finally lost patience with reading my analysis of his views and angrily blocked me from his twitter account. He had no need to block me; a simple request to desist from sending my articles would have been sufficient.

Here’s the article that so angered Mr. Finlay.

 

 

Jobstown trial exposes mainstream bias

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

This letter in today’s Irish Times perfectly pinpoints the blatantly unprofessional, pro-establishment stance of mainstream media.

 

Coverage of Jobstown trial

Sir,

Your coverage of the acquittal of the Jobstown Six was bizarre. It would have been easy from a cursory glance at the stories and analysis to miss the central point: that they were acquitted.

Your focus instead on the alleged “contempt” by Paul Murphy and his supporters in using social media to highlight their case did not adduce a single jot of evidence that the jury saw or were influenced by their activities – if there had been such evidence you can be sure the trial would have been halted.

Yet the logic was clear – the implicit suggestion was that if they did get off it was only because they ran an improper, raucous campaign alongside the trial.

That is a calumny not unlike the libellous suggestions made in the UK at the time of the acquittal of the Birmingham Six that they were probably guilty.

What happened in the Dublin trial was that a jury bravely defied conventional wisdom and the establishment to strike a blow for freedom of assembly.

More power to them.

Yours, etc,

PADRAIG MAGOWAN,

Brussels.

 

RTE: Blatant censorship and manipulation of news

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

RTE continues its alarming lurch from the status of national broadcaster to that of a broadcaster servile to the requirements and defence of politicians and other powerful figures in Irish society.

The station’s disgraceful coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial is just the latest example of this disturbing trend.

I have submitted the following complaint to RTE in response to this latest failure to properly act according to its mandate.

 

 

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find formal complaint regarding the manipulation and censorship of news by RTE in its coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

Background: There are three reasons why the collapse of this trial constitutes a major news event of national importance:

One: Sean Fitzpatrick was central to the creation of Anglo Irish Bank, a bank whose collapse cost the taxpayer €35 billion and played a significant role in the economic catastrophe that has destroyed the lives of countless thousands of Irish citizens since 2008.

The collapse of Anglo Irish Bank and the ensuing economic collapse resulted in the forced emigration of 300,000, mostly young, Irish citizens. Mass unemployment coupled with massive loss of personal wealth particularly in housing, savings and pensions.

Widespread despair and loss of confidence in the future, a factor that contributed to hundreds of suicides. A very serious and dangerous loss of faith in the political system coupled with a serious loss of faith in the professionalism and objectivity of state agencies particularly those charged with regulation.

A heightened and justified suspicion regarding the standards of professional and objective balance of media outlets and in particular the balance and objectivity of the national broadcaster, RTE.

Two: The trial of Mr. Fitzpatrick was the longest and most important criminal trial in the history of the state. Even if this trial were a standard trial with none of the consequences listed above it would still warrant serious, in-depth analysis and coverage particularly by RTE which has an obligation to provide such coverage.

Three: The failings of the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) that were the direct cause of the collapse of the trial raises extremely serious questions regarding the procedures, professionalism and honesty of those responsible for investigating such cases. These failings are in and of themselves grounds for major news coverage coupled with professional, in-depth and rigorous questioning by RTE of all the parties involved.

RTEs Public Service Statement outlines the broadcaster’s obligation:

Providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of Irish and international politics and public affairs and contributing to an informed citizenship.

RTE failed in its obligation to properly report, explain and analyse the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

This complaint is composed of two parts.

ONE: The editorial decision taken by RTE management to prohibit any reference whatsoever to the story on the news and current affairs programme, The Late Debate.

TWO: The minimalist and carefully choreographed management of the story across all of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes.

The Late Debate:

The Late Debate is one of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes. The programme is described on its website as follows:

Cormac Ó hEadhra presents live debate and analysis of all the news and political stories of the day, including coverage of today’s events in the Oireachtas

The show is broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of every week and, as the above description indicates, covers all the news and political stories of the day.

This did not happen in response to the collapse of the Fitzpatrick trial.

On Tuesday 23 May the dramatic and highly newsworthy collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial occurred but RTE, for whatever reason, prohibited any mention of the story on The Late Debate.

On Wednesday 24 May, despite universal coverage and analysis across all other media outlets, RTE, for whatever reason, prohibited any mention of the story on The Late Debate.

On Thursday 25 May, despite continuing widespread coverage and analysis across all other media outlets, continuous reaction from politicians, press editorials and opinion makers, RTE for whatever reason, prohibited any mention of the story on The Late Debate.

I use the word ‘prohibited’ here for the following reasons:

The singular fact that such an important and immediately current news story was not discussed in any manner or form strongly suggests news manipulation. The total silence of the presenter and the numerous politicians and journalists who participated in discussion over the three-day period adds weight to the charge of news manipulation.

Even if a story is unlisted for coverage it is common practice for RTE presenters to ask questions and request opinion from panel members regarding recent or breaking stories. Over the three day period, despite the massive background presence of this major news story, the presenter of the programme Cormac Ó hEadhra made no reference whatsoever to the scandal. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that Mr. Ó hEadhra was acting under instructions from a higher authority.

On the three nights in question, politicians and journalists formed part of the discussion panels. Despite the massive background presence of this major news story no politician or journalist made any reference whatsoever to the issue. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that all panel members were acting under instructions from RTE management to remain silent on the issue.

The minimalist and carefully choreographed management of the story across all of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes during the three days of 23/24/25 May.

RTE made no effort whatsoever to interrogate or challenge government ministers, government officials or, most critically, officials from the ODCE in response to this major scandal.

A brief summary of RTEs coverage between 23 May when the story broke to 25 May when the story was effectively killed off by RTE clearly exposes RTEs minimalist strategy in covering this scandal.

23/24 May – Drivetime: Less than 30 minutes coverage over the two days consisting of short reports by RTE journalist Orla O’Donnell and a brief interview with Sunday Business Post journalist Tom Lyons.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

Six One News and Nine News: Standard news reports on the collapse of the trial coupled with cosy chats between RTE journalists principally focusing on the judges decision and lack of resources for the ODCE.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

23 May – Prime Time: Yet another report on the background of Sean Fitzpatrick and Anglo Irish Bank followed by a cosy chat between RTE journalist and a journalist from Independent News and Media.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

24 May – Morning Ireland: A brief six minute interview with Roisin Shortall of the Social Democrats raising questions in relation to the part played by the ODCE in the scandal. This was the one and only reference to the scandal by Morning Ireland.

This virtual news blackout by one of RTEs most listened to current affairs programmes is in itself a blatant and disgraceful manipulation of news.

27 May – Saturday with Claire Byrne: The collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial was not discussed in any shape or form on this programme.

The disgraceful failure to discuss the scandal on this programme amounts to nothing less than news censorship that benefitted the interests of politicians and other powerful people while damaging the interests of the Irish people and the professional reputation of RTE as an objective broadcaster.

28 May – The Week in Politics: Brief discussion between minor politicians on the scandal.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

It is not a defence to claim that adequate news coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial was impossible because of the parallel terrorist attack in Manchester. Many other stories of much less importance than that of the trial collapse received ongoing coverage. For example, the Fine Gael leadership campaign continued to receive wall-to-wall coverage and priority over all other stories.

RTEs policy of employing it’s own journalists to chat with each other in response to major scandals is lazy and unprofessional journalism.

There is also a growing suspicion among listeners and viewers that the policy is a deliberate strategy designed to protect politicians and other powerful people from being made accountable.

The abject failure of RTE to provide in-depth and robust coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial is just the latest example of the station’s alarming drift from the status of national broadcaster to that of servile government broadcaster.

 

Copy to:

RTE Complaints

RTE Director General

All RTE journalists involved in the story

In the event of a terrorist attack…in Ireland

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Following recent terrorist attacks in the UK there has been a great deal of discussion about how prepared Irish security agencies are in the event of a similar attack here.

Here’s what will happen in the event of an attack.

Police Commissioner Noreen O’Sullivan will immediately declare that the attack is a legacy issue as it occurred in the past and, as she is operating in the present, it has absolutely nothing to do with her. However, she will reassure everybody that as soon as she finds her phone she’ll report the matter…to somebody.

Taoiseach in waiting Leo Varadkar will courageously take time out from planning his latest strategy to bring welfare cheats to justice to express full confidence in O’Sullivan’s determination to continue monitoring the activities of Sinn Fein and water protesters.

The establishment media will suspend their propaganda campaigns against Sinn Fein and left wing parties and engage in a massive talk-in among themselves on how best to ignore the new reality and return to their comfortable bubble of irrelevant self-importance.

The Government will appoint an exhumed judge, all retired judges being currently busy, to conduct a tribunal of inquiry into the attack and thereafter refuse to answer any questions in case it would prejudice the outcome.

The Government Press Office will issue a statement expressing confidence that the Garda Rapid Response Unit will arrive at the scene before the tribunal issues its final report.