Fitzpatrick decision: A Banana Republic decision

 

By Anthony Sheridan

If I was an establishment judge and wanted to make a questionable and disgraceful decision that would damage my country and its people I would announce my decision the day after a major international act of terrorism.

If I was an establishment politician responsible for setting up a law enforcement agency with a mandate to bring white-collar criminals to justice but who were also friends of my political class I would ensure that the agency was starved of funds, starved of effective legislation and led by compliant staff who were willing to operate under political instruction.

 

Sensational news: Government to prosecute tax evaders

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Sensational news from acting Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton in response to the Panama Papers scandal.

Cheats using offshore bank accounts to evade paying tax here will be vigorously prosecuted.

No mercy shown to those found to be evading paying tax here.

Obviously if there are offences of Irish law discovered in this, you can be absolutely sure they will be vigorously prosecuted.

So there you have it folks, straight from the horse’s mouth.  Tax evaders are to face the full rigours of the law.

It’s an historic first for our tax haven/banana republic.

Ah no, I’m only joking. Bruton is a liar just like the rest of them. Nobody will be prosecuted…I mean, the very idea.

Denis O’Brien: Are the sharks moving in for the kill?

shark-blood

Cliff Taylor of the Irish Times writes an article with the headline:

The question is, why has Denis O’Brien sold Topaz now?

Taylor doesn’t actually give an answer so here’s my take on O’Brien’s decision to sell.

I’m no expert on the markets but I suspect Denis O’Brien is in trouble after his failure to successfully float his company Digicel.

While Denis is fabulously rich to ordinary folk like you and me, on the Stock Market he’s just another billionaire shark swimming around looking for a kill. But great danger lurks here; when a shark attempts but fails to make a kill the other sharks immediately sense weakness and move in to attack. Financial market sharks are a species that have a particular taste for cannibalism.

And really, ‘poor’ Denis has only himself to blame for his predicament. He must have thought he was dealing with bog standard extremely obedient Irish politicians when he presented his fellow market sharks with the following terms and conditions.

Despite the company running at a loss with massive debts of $6.5 billion Denis was intending to:

Retain 61% equity stake in the company and 94% control. Ordinary investors were being offered A shares but he held on to B shares with 10 times the voting rights of every A share.

He’d have the right to decide which directors were appointed to the board, and have control over decisions such as mergers and acquisitions, sale of assets, salaries, dividend payments, and the entire direction of the company.

I imagine, after recovering from fits of laughter, the market sharks quickly got down to the serious business of sharpening their best butcher knives.

So, I think ‘poor’ Denis’ decision to sell Topaz is a desperate attempt to get in some cash, to reduce his massive loans and liabilities before he’s torn to shreds by his fellow market sharks.

Nothing personal you understand, but I hope they get him first.

Tom Lyons: A journalist unlikely to ask the tough questions

photo-original

Tom Lyons is the business editor of the Sunday Business Post so you would think he would know more than most about what goes on in our corrupt state.

But judging from the questions he asks in a recent article regarding the ongoing Siteserv scandal it seems that Mr. Lyons is, in common with most Irish journalists, almost totally ignorant of the political corruption that lies at the heart of our failed state.

The problem with journalists like Mr. Lyons is that they fly at a very comfortable height above the deep dark sewer of political corruption. They only see the surface, they have little interest in probing the depths to see what lies beneath. They see a flat, calm surface surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. For these journalists all is well within the world of Irish politics and business.

Of course, from time to time a blob of pus surfaces giving off an obnoxious stench. On such occasions the journalists get all excited and head for their keyboards to analyse and speculate about the origin of the stench.

But because they have little knowledge of the rot beneath the surface they end up asking silly/naive questions similar to those asked by Mr. Lyons in his article.

Lyons, seemingly puzzled and angry that the Commission of Investigation into the the former Anglo Irish Bank is on the brink of collapse asks:

Did the Attorney General provide advice? If so, what advice? if not, why on earth not?

Can the commission legally carry out its job?

Did anyone ask that question? And if so, why did they get it so wrong?

Here’s the answer which I suspect will shock Mr. Lyons.

Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state ruled by an elite group of people who enjoy the full support of all state agencies including the civil service and Gardai. There is a corrupt nexus between the political system and practically every state agency.

This corrupt nexus facilitates and protects the interests of the corrupt ruling elite at the expense of Ireland, its people and democracy.

Over the past several decades Irish citizens have witnessed, to their utter despair, an avalanche of corruption that has destroyed everything they value.

And yet there has been no accountability whatsoever and there never will be until the current corrupt political/administrative system is removed from power and influence.

And that is unlikely to happen without informed and objective journalism leading the way.

Instead of flittering about over the sewer of corruption journalists like Mr. Lyons should be asking tough, relevant questions such as:

Why is there so much white-collar crime/corruption in Ireland?

Why do white-collar criminals almost always get away with their crimes?

Why does the State resolutely refuse to act to stamp out white-collar crime?

Why is it that the media/journalists seldom, if ever, deal with political/business corruption as a subject in and of itself rather than just responding to the latest incident of corruption?

Why is there almost always a close link between white-collar crime and the political system?

Why is Ireland governed under a cloak of Soviet style secrecy?

Why are they so many legal bars to accountability?

Why is it that Ireland, despite decades of rampant corruption, has still to establish a powerful, independent and efficient anti-corruption agency similar to those in many other countries?

Judging by Mr. Lyons’ concluding point in his article it is unlikely that he will be the journalist asking such tough questions.

The collapse of Anglo Irish Bank cost the state billions, destroyed the wealth, hopes and ambitions forever of thousands of Irish citizens and almost certainly led to many deaths by suicide.

Yet Mr. Lyons can only find room in his article to express sympathy for the former management of the rotten bank.

The management that received lotto sized salaries, the management that can rest easy in the absolute certainity that, if they did any wrong, will find comfort and protection within our corrupt political/administrative system.

Copy to:
Tom Lyons

Drumm: Rueing the day he fled Ireland’s corrupt shores

Here’s a sentence that has never been uttered in Ireland.

Wearing ankle shackles and handcuffed behind his back, former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm shuffled into a US court.

In Ireland, Drumm would have arrived at court in a limo after receiving a polite invitation from an apologetic policeman.

In Ireland, if Drumm was, by some miracle, found guilty it’s likely he would hear the same words from a judge as his criminal friends, McAteer and Whelan, heard when they were found guilty:

It would be “incredibly unjust” to impose a custodial sentence.

Indeed, Drumm, as he sits manacled in a US jail must be reflecting about the enormous mistake he made in fleeing a corrupt state where he would surely have been ‘looked after’ to a country where law enforcement is real and police and judges operate independently of the political system.

Nothing will change under new Central Bank governor

Irish Times columnist Cliff Taylor has a piece in today’s edition on what skills the next governor of the Central Bank will need to do his/her job.

Here’s the key point in the article:

Whoever gets the job, the public verdict – rightly or wrongly – will quickly form on whether Ireland is going back to the old days of a central bank “captured” by Government and the banks, or whether the institution’s independence is underpinned for the future.

Here’s the reality:

For decades there has been a corrupt nexus between the political system, the Central Bank and the banking sector. The principal function of this corrupt nexus is to allow bankers to rob and plunder the resources of the state and its citizens at will.

The Central Bank has never acted independently; it will not act independently under the new governor, no matter who gets the job.

All I can say is Permanent TSB my arse’

All I can say is Permanent TSB my arse’

This was the comment from shareholder Breeda O’Byrne at the Permanent TSB AGM today.

Another customer/victim of TSB, Sarah Hogan said:

Banking for life, we are with you every step of the way.

That’s what your website proclaims. And you most certainly are, Sir. You are bleeding us dry.

Ms. Hogan demanded immediate action surrounding the manner in which the bank was treating its customers/victims.

She has no hope. This is the reality.

There has been numerous such AGMs since 2008 and the script is always the same. Customers vent their anger, the bank managers waffle back insults, the government abandons the people and gives full, unqualified support to the bankers.

This AGM is no different.

The bankers will only stop robbing their customers when the politicians insists that they do so. The politicians will only act to stop the thievng bankers when enough people forcibly demand action.

Until then, the bankers and their political puppets will sit back and sneer at the ineffective/powerless ranting of desperate people.

Joan Burton’s new watchdog

The chief warden at the State’s watchdog compound was not happy to hear the news, so he rang Tanaiste Joan Burton to vent his anger.

Tanaiste; is it true, is the Government giving birth to yet another watchdog?

Now, now chief, calm down. It’s only a temporary measure; as soon as the election is over we’ll have the new arrival put to sleep.

But Tanaiste, we’re already overrun with watchdogs, they’re everywhere and, as you well know, none of them actually watch anything.

Yes, I’m aware of that chief but they do give the impression that there’s regulation and, as you well know, that’s all that matters to politicians.

What about the biggest, most expensive watchdog of them all, the Financial Regulator? Surely it’s his job to watch the banks, surely you should set him on the banks to make sure they treat those in mortgage difficulties with fairness?

Ah bless your innocence chief. This has nothing to do with fairness for ordinary people in trouble with their mortgages. No, this is about protecting the banks, to give them every opportunity to extract every last penny from the peasants.

But…but…Michael Noonan was here just the other day talking to the watchdog about the mortgage crisis and I heard the Taoiseach call on the banks to be nice to those people desperately looking for help.

Now chief, I’m beginning to lose patience with your naivety. My colleagues Michael and Enda weren’t actually demanding action, perish the thought. No, like myself, they were giving the impression of action, a completely different breed of animal, so to speak.

What about the cost Tanaiste? Every watchdog in this compound costs a fortune to maintain, a board, expenses, bonuses, the lot.

As I’ve already said chief, when the election is over we’ll quietly put this watchdog to sleep and continue with our policy of protecting the interests of the banks.

By the way chief, are you calling me on a smart phone?

Yes.

Tell me, where did you get the money for such an expensive item…?

Irish Independent does not approve of new ECB headquarters

The editor of the Irish Independent is not happy that the European Central Bank (ECB) is forking out €1.3 billion on a new headquarters.

I wonder has the editor said anything about the €147 million (probably €247 after all the nods and winks have been paid for) being forked out by our own Central Bank on its new headquarters which will include a seventh-floor cafe with an outdoor terrace where staff can enjoy stunning views of the river Liffey.

Just asking.

Independent Newspapers sensationally outs the real culprit for our economic collapse

An editorial in today’s Irish Independent unreservedly condemns the recent riots triggered by some anti-austerity protesters trying to blockade the opening ceremony for the new European Central Bank’s (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt.

It is noteworthy however, that the editor sees the riots as secondary to the behaviour of the ECB towards Ireland.

The editor sensationally outs the real culprit for our downfall in 2008.

The design and implementation of the euro was at fault, in that it led to a one-interest-rate-fits-all scenario. This led to a dramatic fall in interest rates in Ireland and builders and bankers indulged in a spending spree that resulted in us buying and selling property to each other at ever spiraling prices.

Well feck it anyway. There was I thinking that the economic collapse was caused by our corrupt political system ‘looking after’ property developers and making sure there was absolutely no financial regulation to halt the greed and criminality within the financial sector.

And while I was digesting the dramatic news that the nasty Euro was to blame for all our problems I was struck by the difference in opinion by Independent Newspapers to the major and very violent riots in Frankfurt and the timid (by comparison) treatment of Joan Burton in Jobstown.

The ‘sinister’, ‘terrorist’, ‘Trotskyite’ behaviour of the ‘mob’ at Jobstown threatened to bring down the state, the sky was falling in, Apocalypse was upon the nation according to Independent Newspapers and other mainstream media.

But then, silly me, I realised the real thinking behind the editorial – Blame, blame, blame.

Whatever you do, never admit the truth, never admit that Ireland is a failed state, never admit that our political/administrative system is corrupt and beyond reform, always blame somebody else.

Blame Lehman Brothers, the EU, the Brits, the penguins in Antarctica but never… ever… blame the real culprits.