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.

 

 

Mattie McGrath TD: A dangerous ignoramus

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Independent TD Mattie McGrath is a dangerous ignoramus and is therefore unfit to serve as a public representative.

His condemnation of those who have objected to the handing over of the €300 million maternity hospital to the Sisters of Charity clearly and disgracefully displays his ignorance of the heinous crimes against humanity committed by the Catholic Church over many decades.

I think this row is a storm in a teacup. As far as I can see it’s a just a bash the nuns period in Ireland.

When I hear morons like McGrath make such ignorant comments I think of the depraved priest Fr. Reynolds who admitted to abusing more than twenty girls, one of which he raped by inserting a crucifix into her vagina and back passage.

Reynolds is just one of thousands of priest, nuns and brothers responsible for the holocaust of abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church against children and adults.

It is the long history of heinous crimes against humanity by the Catholic Church that forms the basis for the widespread revulsion of the Government’s decision to hand over the proposed €300 million National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

But according to McGrath the almost universal horror in response to Government plans is nothing more than a storm in a teacup.

There can be only two reasons for McGrath’s extreme views and ignorance.

Either he hasn’t read any of the many reports of recent years outlining in disgusting detail the countless accounts of horrific abuse carried out by priests and nuns or he is aware of these reports but believes the current objections to the handing over of the hospital to the Catholic Church constitute a greater injustice than the decades of horror.

If McGrath has not read or sufficiently informed himself of the crimes committed by the Catholic Church then he is unfit to serve as a public representative.

If he is aware of the crimes but still believes, as he has stated, that the objections are actually outrageous sectarian attacks on the nuns, then it is reasonable to conclude that his natural morality has been seriously damaged by the warped morality of the Catholic Church.

Here’s an example of the brutal reality McGrath’s damaged morality refuses to see.

Extract from the Ryan Report:

One person described how they attempted to tell nuns they had been molested by an ambulance driver, only to be “stripped naked and whipped by four nuns to ‘get the devil out of you.”

Another described how they were removed from their bed and “made to walk around naked with other boys whilst brothers used their canes and flicked at their penis.”

Yet another was “tied to a cross and raped whilst others masturbated at the side.”

McGrath compounds his ignorance by supporting what I call the idiot’s myth regarding the running of hospitals by nuns. This idiot’s myth claims that if only the nuns were put back in charge of hospitals all the problems besetting the health service would instantly disappear.

Put in a couple of nuns with buckets and scrubbing brushes supervised by a matron with the mindset of a parade ground sergeant major and they would be performing open heart surgery before you could say – most Irish politicians are gombeen morons.

Here’s McGrath’s response when asked if religious orders should be taken out of the health service completely.

They are mainly out of it and we can see the bedlam. When we had matrons and sisters in charge of the hospitals, they were clean, they were efficiently ran, they weren’t over staffed with managers and they did a good job.

Here’s the reality that McGrath’s damaged morality is incapable of comprehending.

Extract from the Murphy Report:

The complainant alleged that the nun was complicit in the abuse on these occasions and that the nun herself participated in the abuse and watched it taking place. She alleged that she was gang-raped by three or four men in that house and that Fr. Cassius was one of the participants in the rape.

McGrath and ignorant politicians like him are unfit for public office.

Copy to:

McGrath

 

 

Diarmaid Ferriter: Denial and the language of cute hoorism

 

By Anthony Sheridan

This article is dedicated to the millions of Irish citizens who have suffered and continue to suffer because of the absolute refusal of Irish journalists and commentators to call a spade a spade.

The spade in this instance is the disease of political corruption and how that disease has infected every aspect of how our country is governed.

The commentator in this instance is historian Diarmaid Ferriter.

Ferriter is a highly regarded academic, a man who is steeped in the study and history of Irish politics, a man who regularly frequents the airwaves and print media delivering his opinion and analysis on current and past events and in particular on current and past political events.

Because individuals like Ferriter are highly respected they have a profound influence on how people think, how they form their opinions, how they understand what’s happening in politics and in the country in general.

When such influential individuals fail to understand the reality of how our country is (mis) governed they do serious damage to any hope of rectifying the situation. They become, in effect, part of the problem.

Political corruption is the most serious problem facing our country today. Political corruption lies at the core of almost all that is rotten in our country. Political corruption should be front and centre in the minds of every single journalist and commentator who writes or speaks about what is happening in our country today.

And yet, the word ‘corruption’ is rarely uttered or written, the term ‘political corruption’ is avoided like the plague by mainstream media and political commentators. Political corruption is never, ever the subject of a major, stand-alone documentary by any media outlet.

Ferriter provides us with the most recent example of this depressing fear of calling a spade a spade. In a 900-word article on the subject of political corruption he manages to avoid using the word even once.

Even the headline avoids the reality.

Diarmaid Ferriter: cute hoorism has cast a long shadow.

Cute hoorism is not proper English; it is a meaningless term in the broader world. It is strictly an Irish term with just one function – to avoid calling a spade a spade.

It serves just one psychological function for those in denial – If I don’t write or utter the term ‘political corruption’ then I don’t have to acknowledge its existence and therefore I don’t have to identify those responsible for the disease.

Opinion makers and in particular academic opinion makers should use proper, accurate and powerful words to drill right down to the heart of very serious problems such as political corruption.

Ferriter’s headline should read:

Diarmaid Ferriter: Political corruption has cast a long shadow.

In common with most other commentators Ferriter knows there is something very seriously wrong with Irish politics but is not prepared to state the brutal truth – our political system is intrinsically corrupt, it is beyond repair, it is the principal reason our country has morphed into the status of failed state.

Instead of identifying and criticising those responsible, the ruling political elite principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour, Ferriter, in common with many other deniers, blames the ordinary people of Ireland.

They (the people) were only too happy to embrace the abolition of rates that finished off all pretence of autonomous local government, enhanced an unhealthy concentration of power at the centre and had serious consequences for the funding of local services.

He goes on to confirm his total misunderstanding of today’s political realities by completely misreading the reasons for the rise of the water protest movement. While acknowledging that the rebellion against Irish Water was justified he asserts that the issues that triggered the protest were – charges, pollution, fairness and conservation.

Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong again.

Political corruption and betrayal was and still is the overwhelming reason for the rebellion against water charges. A significant and growing percentage of the population have lost faith in the political system and by extension, state authority.

Quoting Arthur Griffith, Ferriter writes of individuals, operating in an imaginary Ireland, disparaging those making serious efforts to resolve serious national problems.

Pious patriots praised an imaginary medieval Ireland and then wondered why Ireland was decaying around them but were determined to preserve their picturesque ignorance:

Ferriter is writing about himself. He operates in an imaginary Ireland that still believes the old corrupt political regime is fit for purpose, that it works for the good of the people and the country. That is why he cannot bring himself to utter the dreadful ‘corruption’ word, it would mean acknowledging and therefore having to deal with the brutal reality of a hopelessly corrupt political system.

Here’s my interpretation of the above quote as it applies to Ferriter and other commentators who cannot or will not acknowledge the brutal reality of our corrupt political system.

Delusional commentators praise and defend an imaginary democracy and endlessly wonder why that democracy continues to decay around them. In order to preserve their picturesque ignorance they insist on only writing and speaking in the language of cute hoorism.

Copy to:

Diarmaid Ferriter

Fergus Finlay: Damaged by vile corruption?

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Once again Fergus Finlay is anguishing over the horrors inflicted on Grace by the State. Here are some of his anguished comments taken from Today with Sean O’Rourke:

It’s one of the most shaming things that I’ve come across for a long, long time.

It’s impossible to believe that in the 1990s and 2000s our systems are allowed to run like that.

This is something that has happened again and again and again. It’s not enough to know what happened, we have to know why it happened.

Here’s why it happened and why it will continue to happen.

Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state where, over several decades, a cabal of political parties principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour morphed into a corrupt ruling class.

In effect, Ireland is a one party state where these three entities pretend to be separate parties while plundering the State’s resources and abusing its citizens.

The system became irretrievably infected with the disease of corruption in 1979 when the criminal politician Haughey came to power and reached its catastrophic end in 2008 when the rotten system careered over the cliff of economic disaster taking with it the wealth, dreams, ambitions and, most of all, the trust of the Irish people.

Since that year of national betrayal a significant and growing number of citizens have been actively working to bring down the entire rotten edifice and replace it, for the first time in history, with a truly democratic republic.

This corrupt system, which Finlay so admires, is directly responsible for the creation of a culture where vulnerable citizens like Grace are left unprotected and vulnerable to the devices of extremely evil and brutal people.

Lest anyone think I’m being too harsh on Finlay, consider this:

On the very day he was shedding crocodile tears over the horrors inflicted on Grace an article, written by him, was published in the Irish Examiner praising Enda Kenny, one of the principal architects of the corrupt political culture responsible for her suffering.

Finlay’s article is a grave insult to the countless thousands of Irish citizens, including Grace, who have suffered and even died as a direct result of political corruption.

The article is sickening in its pathetic attempt at lightheartedness when writing about a man who is responsible for so much damage and suffering.

Here’s a sample of quotes:

There may be a few moves in Enda yet – a tango with Angela, a cha-cha-cha with the entire European Council.

When all is said and done, Enda Kenny will be remembered, I think, as being bigger than the sum of his parts.

Maintaining the dignity of a small country that believes in human rights, while also protecting the special relationship we have with a country that is vital to our interests, is no small task. (On Kenny’s St. Patrick’s Day visit to the White House)

Here’s a fact: Grace will never dance a tango or a cha-cha-cha. The corrupt political system, as represented by Enda Kenny, has seen to that.

Here’s another fact: Grace will never be remembered for the sum of her parts because the corrupt political system responsible for her nightmare destroyed any potential she may have had for happiness.

And a final fact:

To even think, never mind actually print, that a compulsive liar like Kenny represents an administration that believes in human rights, given all the vile revelations of recent decades, is nothing less than vomit inducing.

The most charitable interpretation of Finlay’s blind loyalty to the corrupt political system that has wreaked such devastating damage and suffering on Ireland and its people is that he too has been somehow damaged by its vile influence.

Copy to:

Fergus Finlay

 

Coveney and Varadkar: The battle of the balls

 

By Anthony Sheridan

There are two reasons the water charges issue has blown up again.

First, Coveney is very worried that Varadkar’s balls are growing bigger than his so it’s time to throw himself about a bit to show potential leadership supporters that his balls are actually way bigger than Leo’s.

Ok, it’s demeaning for the refined Simon but power is power and sometimes one has to lower one’s standards to reach the dizzy heights.

Second, those of us who successfully defeated, not just the government but also the State itself and all its powerful agencies, have rightly begun to celebrate victory.

Fianna Fail, being a party without a trace of integrity or scruple, is always open to twisting itself inside out if it means gaining an advantage. So no problem there with abandoning previously held principles.

Poor old Fine Gael though, a party used to talking down to and issuing diktats to the great unwashed is finding it very difficult to accept that they have been defeated by such lowly peasantry.

The overall picture is that we are witnessing the continuing and very welcome disintegration of the ruling political elite who have done so much damage to Ireland and its people over the decades.

History is finally catching up the gangsters.

 

Disclosures Tribunal: Truth and lies

 

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

By Anthony Sheridan

Judge Charleton has made an impressive start to the Disclosures Tribunal. It’s a pity his fine words are meaningless in the context of the sewer of corruption within which it will be carried out.

Here’s the reality behind his fine words:

He wants to find out if the media was used as an instrument for the dissemination of lies. Far from being used, the media were willing conspirators in the lies spread about Maurice McCabe.

The dogs in the street or at least the media dogs that live close to and sometimes off politicians and government officials were more than willing to spread the muck on McCabe.

Judge Charleton warned that there could be consequences for those who lie at the tribunal.

I have no doubt that the judge is genuine in his warning but, again, his words are meaningless. Lying under oath is a long established tradition among the ruling elite in this country. Bertie Ahern lied under oath at the Mahon tribunal with not the slightest fear that he would be investigated never mind actually charged with a crime. The culture of lying created by our corrupt politicians still holds power.

Just last week we witnessed the current Taoiseach lying through his teeth but instead of being thrown out of office in disgrace his mealy-mouthed supporters demanded that he be treated with sympathy and respect.

I’m not quite sure what the Judge meant when he said:

The truth is bitter though it is not shameful.

I believe truth is sometimes bitter but always enlightening, always cleansing. Truth is a vital element in a functional democracy, that’s why it’s such a rarity in Irish politics.

Truth poses the greatest threat to the power of our corrupt political/administrative system. That’s why the State goes to such lengths to suppress the truth, that’s why citizens like Maurice McCabe are attacked by the State when they try to expose the truth.

I wish judge Charleton the best in his attempts to expose the truth but in the end it will be a wasted exercise because the tribunal system was designed by our corrupt politicians with the specific aim of suppressing truth.

Kenny says boo – Varadkar Coveney run away

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The liar Kenny said boo to the so-called rebels and they ran away. These are the cowards, Varadkar and Coveney, who believe they have what it takes to lead the country – Pathetic.

With Kenny back in charge and the McCabe corruption safely in tribunal deep-freeze for at least three or four years the way is clear for a full return to the political criminality that passes for democracy in Ireland.

Copy to:

The cowards

 

Fergus Finlay: Hypocrite

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I genuinely felt like getting sick as I read Fergus Finlay’s ‘letter’ to Maurice McCabe in last Tuesday’s Irish Examiner. I have never read such a sickeningly patronising, grossly insulting attempt at excusing the diseased political/administrative system that has inflicted so much suffering and despair on the people of Ireland.

Before commenting on this disgraceful example of rank hypocrisy it will be useful to know something of Finlay’s background.

He is a loyal, unapologetic supporter of the rotten establishment that has destroyed our country, the same establishment that has destroyed the lives of Maurice McCabe and his family.

He is a loyal supporter of the Labour Party, the party that has been betraying Ireland and its people since, at least, 1992 when Dick Spring went into coalition with the criminal politician Haughey.

This was after Spring, having rightly accused Haughey of being ‘a cancer in the body politic’, promised the Irish people that he would remove the cancer of corruption. Fergus Finlay was a political advisor to Dick Spring when the decision to enter coalition with the corrupt Haughey was made.

This is the man who now has the gall to write a letter to Sgt. McCabe on behalf of the Irish people. This is a man operating under the delusion that Sgt. McCabe might be grateful for receiving some new insight into the nightmare that has consumed his life for nearly a decade.

Here’s a sample of the sickly, patronising waffle written by Finlay:

Dear Sgt. McCabe,

You deserve our gratitude.

You’ve more than earned your title of Sergeant, a title that has always earned respect in Ireland.

You’ve tried to do your job to the best of your ability.

We’ve seen how you and your wife and children have suffered.

You have spoken the truth to power…despite unbearable pressure, without flinching. You’ve tried to serve the interests of the public the best way you know how.

I sincerely hope that Maurice McCabe never gets to read this mush written by a man who is long on meaningless platitudes but zero on challenging the political corruption that is the ultimate source of Maurice McCabe’s horrific treatment.

Rank hypocrisy comes naturally to establishment figures like Finlay. This is crystal clear when we witness his nauseating defence of some of those responsible for McCabe’s nightmare.

Writing about the file that was used to destroy McCabe, Finlay is critical of the ‘system’ but not of those responsible – he writes:

The first instinct of some people (my emphasis) in the HSE is to cover up.

Having placed the blame on some vague, unidentified, unaccountable people in the HSE Finlay then strongly supports those who are actually responsible.

I have faith in the senior management of the HSE. I believe people like Tony O’Brien (Director General of HSE) have tried as hard as they could to change the culture of the organisation.

Finlay then goes on to defend Fred McBride, the CEO of Tusla, an organisation that, in a functional democracy, would be under immediate criminal investigation as a result of its actions/failures.

Fred McBride would not tolerate the sort of practice that permeates large bureaucratic systems.

So Finlay is suggesting to McCabe, the victim, that while ‘some people’ and ‘bureaucracy’ within these organisations are to blame the senior management are innocent bystanders deserving of sympathy.

Keep in mind that Finlay believes he is writing a personal/public letter of support and apology to the man whose life has been destroyed by these and other organisations.

Finlay ends his disgraceful article with a statement that bears no relationship whatsoever to the reality of how our country is misgoverned.

I believe that you will be vindicated Sgt. McCabe. I believe that justice will be done in the end and that we will know who did this.

Firstly, we already know exactly who did this – The corrupt political system that has infected agencies of the state like the HSE and the Garda Siochana is responsible.

Secondly, tribunals are nothing more than a mechanism created by our corrupt political system to sidetrack justice and accountability. This tribunal will be no different from any other. It will arrive at the same mealy-mouthed conclusion as Finlay does in his article – the system was to blame, bureaucracy was to blame – no individuals will be held to account, no justice will be done.

The depth of Finlay’s hypocrisy on this matter can be gauged by reading an article he wrote less than three months ago in which in lectured the people of Ireland for having the default position of demanding heads every time a controversy arose. It’s time we all got a grip of ourselves, he admonished; he goes on:

As for the rest of us, we need a break too, and some sense of proportion about all this stuff. “Off with their heads”, as the default response to every controversy — especially when it’s amplified a thousand times by the poisonous side of social media — is not just wildly disproportionate, it’s killing the kind of public discourse we need.

 

And here’s what he had to say about Garda Commissioner Noreen O’Sullivan, the individual at the heart of Maurice McCabe’s nightmare.

Maybe her main crime is that she’s a woman in a macho world. Whatever it is, I hope she withstands the pressure. She’s a breath of fresh air — and could do a lot more if she was given a break

I wonder if Finlay were to meet Maurice McCabe would he have to courage to say to his face – I think the Commissioner who has mistreated you so badly is a breath of fresh air, that she could do a lot more if only she was given a break.

Somehow I doubt it.

Copy to:

Fergus Finlay

Irish journalism: Suffering from a serious malaise

demand-real-journalism-logo

By Anthony Sheridan

 

A well-informed, objective media is one of the cornerstones of a healthy democracy. Journalists in a healthy democracy do not just report news and current affairs; they also have a duty to be rigidly impartial in their analysis of events.

Disturbingly, Irish journalism comes nowhere near the standards necessary to robustly challenge the State and its agents particularly when it comes to political corruption.

The recent publication of Hell at the Gates by journalists John Lee and Daniel McConnell is just the latest example of the disquietingly close and frequently grovelling relationship between the media and those who wield power within the Irish political system.

John Lee, writing about an interview he conducted with former Taoiseach Brian Cowen as part of his research for the book provides us with a good example of this cringing, extremely deferential type of journalism.

The (Irish Mail on Sunday) article is not available online so I have reproduced it in full below.

The headline gives a good indication of the tone of the article:

An astute, self-aware, intelligent man

Before making further comment on the article I want to express my opinion of Brian Cowen, an opinion that I believe is held by the majority of Irish people.

At best, Cowen is a political idiot. I do not say this as an insult (although it obviously is); I say it because it’s a simple fact. Cowen is nothing more than your typical Fianna Fail backwoodsman, gombeen politician who never had to do anything courageous or visionary to reach the apex of political power.

As a privileged member of one of the many political family dynasties that have plagued Irish politics since independence he was effectively handed power following the death of his father.

He was literally enthroned as Taoiseach by the disgraced Bertie Ahern who was forced to resign after his true pedigree was exposed at a tribunal.

But when Cowen, for the first and only occasion in his mediocre career, was called upon to show courage and vision in leading the nation he failed miserably.

As one editorial put it:

The worst Taoiseach in the history of the State.

And yet a stranger reading John Lee’s article could easily conclude that Brian Cowen was a politically intelligent, insightful and courageous man whose overriding mission in life was to promote the best interests of the Irish people.

A stranger reading the article would not see what most Irish people see.

That Cowen is a loyal member of the most corrupt political party in Ireland, the party that promotes the interests of property developers, bankers and other members of the golden circle that feed off the wealth of the Irish people.

A stranger reading the article would not see that Cowen is a loyal member of the party principally responsible for the economic disaster of 2008 that destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.

However, a stranger who informed himself of Irish history over the past several decades would immediately recognise the rampaging elephant in the room – which is:

The Irish political system is seriously corrupt. In reaction to this political corruption a significant percentage of Irish citizens have rejected the legitimacy of the State and are in open rebellion.

A disturbingly large proportion of Irish journalists are either blissfully unaware of this dramatic shift in the political landscape or are willing collaborators in defence of the corrupt system.

Either way Irish journalism is suffering from a serious malaise that is not only bad for the profession but is having a very serious negative impact on Ireland and its people.

Copy to:

John Lee

Daniel McConnell

 

John Lee’s article – judge for yourself:

When Brian Cowen agreed to meet me for an interview for the book my colleague Daniel McConnell and I were writing, I didn’t really expect him to give anything away.

We sat on straight-back chairs at a table in a quiet corner of the Tullamore Court Hotel. I drank tea he drank mineral water. We discussed family (his brother Barry Cowen had been pivotal in securing the interview for me), mutual friends in politics, and a shared interest in golf.

When the iPhone recorder went on, he was ready. What followed was an insightful, forthright and considered summing up of his years at the top of Irish politics.

It’s said of Lyndon Johnson, that he was at his best with an audience of one. I think this applies to Cowen. He uses your first name, looks you in the eye, is exceptionally articulate and sharp. In the fog of war that engulfed Ireland during his years at the top, much of this was forgotten. Yet he understands why that is.

He spoke about how he felt the day he became Taoiseach, the enjoyment of appointing a cabinet and the brief summer of calm before all hell broke loose.

Bright man that he is, he knew there were claims about him that he had to confront. As the interview progressed I merely pointed to where we were in the chronology, and without pause he would take on the issues that he has been given so much time to think about over those preceding four years. He happily accepted he had made a mistake in not addressing the nation.

When we got to the incident at the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway in 2010, dubbed Garglegate, Mr. Cowen was also ready. He’s been crucified for it, and knew exactly what had happened – and was happy to tell his version of it, which was by no means self-serving. I had been at the Ardilaun too, and the press only asked questions about the previous night’s social session because Simon Coveney had tweeted critical remarks about Mr. Cowen’s performance on Morning Ireland.

Mr. Cowen blames Coveney for that debacle. But he proceeded for almost 10 minutes (a long time in an interview like this) to discuss his PR failures.

He revealed himself to an astute, self-aware and intelligent man.

The great pity is, perhaps, that when he was in charge he couldn’t find a way to reveal more of this side of himself to the Irish public.

 

Hell at the Gates: A propaganda exercise

 

1truth

By Anthony Sheridan

The first step in rewriting the history of Ireland’s political and economic collapse has been taken with the publication of Hell at the Gates by journalists Daniel McConnell and John Lee.

John Lee is political editor at the Mail on Sunday.  Daniel McConnell is political editor of the Irish Examiner.

If we are to judge by the long extracts from the book (6, 472 words) published in the Irish Examiner the rewriting has just one aim – to create a lie that the corrupt political system that destroyed our country is completely innocent of any blame for the catastrophe.

An editorial in the same issue backs up the book’s rewriting of history by attacking ordinary citizens for having the gall to demand a restoration of their pay scales that were so ruthlessly cut by the corrupt ruling elite.

Our enthusiastic, lemming-like demands for the restoration of indulgences funded by borrowing that led to the loss of our economic sovereignty less than a decade ago.

So according to this writer (I wonder who?) corrupt politicians, bankers, property developers and so-called regulators had nothing to do with the country’s downfall, it was all down to the peasants losing the run of themselves.

At first impression this book appears to be nothing more than a disgraceful propaganda exercise.

I will be analysing the publication in greater detail in the near future.