Gardai under pressure from PAC

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I’ve just been listening to the special sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (Room 3) investigating the scandal surrounding financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore.

The atmosphere is more tense and more dramatic than any TV thriller.

Auditors and senior civil servants responsible for making sure the Gardai obey the law, just like the rest of us. are hanging each other out to dry in an increasingly desperate attempt to distance themselves from the overwhelming stench of corruption emanating from our by now hopelessly compromised police force.

I feel strange saying this but the chair of the committee, Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming, is doing a great job in getting answers from these very uncomfortable civil servants.

The Committee is on break at the moment but resumes action at 5 pm.

Well worth a listen for the drama and to witness just how rotten our police force and administrative system really is.

 

 

 

Fergus Finlay: Living in the cave of shadows

Fight Corruption in Politics-by-Elkwaet
Fight Corruption in Politics-by-Elkwaet

We have betrayed one of our fellow citizens. We need to feel a sense of shame about that.

This is the opinion expressed by Fergus Finlay in an article about a woman who suffered unspeakable and degrading cruelty at the hands of the state.

On the assumption that the ‘we’ Mr. Finlay speaks of includes me I want to make my position crystal clear.

I am in no way responsible for the horrors inflicted on this woman by the state.

I strongly believe, however, that Mr. Finlay is responsible, at least to some extent, for what happened to her and that he should indeed hang his head in shame for the part he has played in her suffering.

I am in no way responsible because I have been campaigning against political/administrative corruption in Ireland since 1982 when I first realised that I lived in an intrinsically corrupt state.

If influential political operators/opinion makers like Mr. Finlay arrived at the same conclusion at the same time it is highly likely that this woman would never have suffered because she would have been living in a functional democracy where justice and accountability were an ingrained aspect of governance.

But this woman did not and does not live in a functional democracy.

She lives in a state where politicians can be filmed openly asking for bribes and not only are they not arrested and charged but are allowed to continue in office. Political corruption is to blame for this.

She lives in a country where corrupt politicians are allowed to sit in our parliament as if they were individuals of principle and integrity. Political corruption is to blame for this.

She lives in a country where politicians regularly manipulate the law to help their friends or spy on journalists and ordinary citizens to protect their own corrupt interests. Political corruption is to blame for this.

She lives in a country where bankers, property developers and other powerful groups receive massive financial, political and legal support at the expense of the state and its people. Political corruption is to blame for this.

But most of all she lives in a country where the state frequently intervenes, sometimes illegally, to protect the powerful and the corrupt. Political corruption is to blame for this.

Mr. Finlay is, of course, in no way corrupt himself. Indeed, he is a man of passionate anger when it comes to the many injustices that are frequently exposed in our state. But in addition to anger Mr. Finlay frequently expresses puzzlement about the endless stream of corruption that has blighted our country since independence.

Here’s why he is puzzled.

Corruption-Saturates-Asia-Stifling-Economic-Growth

Mr. Finlay lives in Plato’s cave of shadows. He firmly believes that the mainstream political parties are real. Trapped within his cave he does not see that they are merely shadows masquerading as democratic entities.

He does not see that Ireland, unique among Western democracies, is ruled by a single political class made up principally of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour. He does not see that these fake entities play a game of election musical chairs as each in turn, or together in coalition, plunder the nation’s resources.

He does not see that this corrupt political class has spread the disease of corruption throughout the land but particularly within the civil and public service where loyalty to the state and its people has been, largely, abandoned.

He does not seem to be aware that since the catastrophe of 2008 this corrupt political regime has been engaged in a life or death struggle with a significant and growing percentage of the population who have been politically radicalised and are determined to rid their country of the disease of political corruption.

Mr. Finlay does not see all this because he lives in the cave with the shadows. All he sees are shadows posing as democratic politicians, shadows that pose as law enforcement agencies, shadows that pose as accountable government departments but in reality are nothing more than obedient lapdogs to their corrupt political masters.

Blinding flashes of truth from outside the cave increasingly encroach on Mr. Finlay’s comfortable existence in the cave of shadows. His anger and puzzlement continues to grow as he witnesses the ever increasing incidence of abuse and corruption

The recent brutal treatment of Grace by the state is just one of countless cases of abuse and corruption that has triggered his anger over many, many years.

And yet, Mr. Finlay has never once stopped to take a hard look at the shadows and ask the most obvious question – are they real, have I been wasting my entire life shouting at shadows?

I have never lived in the cave of shadows. That’s why I could see I was living in an intrinsically corrupt state in 1982. That’s why I’m not to blame for the horror visited upon Grace by the state.

My anger is, and has always been, directed at the true source of Grace’s suffering, the corrupt political/administrative system that continues to inflict so much damage and suffering on the people of our state.

I’m sure Mr. Finlay will strongly disagree with my analysis but to do so with any credibility he must answer the following question.

Why is it that decade after decade after decade we witness the same horrors, the same corruption originating from the same political/administrative system without ever witnessing accountability or justice?

How many more Grace’s have to suffer unspeakable cruelty before Mr. Finlay walks out of the cave of shadows into the light of reality?

I hope it’s not too many.

Copy to:
Fergus Finlay

culture-of-corruption

Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar

CroppedImage608342-lies-better1

Political lies cause suffering and death. Enda Kenny is a political liar.

War is the most obvious and most deadly consequence of political lying. Over the centuries, countless millions have died because politicians lied when they should have told the truth.

But war is not the only cause of death as a result of political lies. There was a massive increase in the suicide rate following the economic collapse in 2008 (Recession directly to blame for up to 566 suicides).

These desperate people died, at least in part, because our politicians lied to them.

In Ireland, alone among Western democracies, political lying has become a fully accepted part of political discourse. It is also common right throughout the civil and public service.

Political lying has become part of Irish political culture principally because lying politicians are rarely challenged by the media.

Here’s Pat Rabbitte casually demonstrating this truth when asked about election promises regarding child benefit:

Sean O’Rourke:

You didn’t go into all that detail before the general election, you kept it really simple – Protect child benefit, vote Labour?

Rabbitte:

Well, I mean, isn’t that what you tend to do during an election?

The criminal politician Haughey lied right through his decades long career, including lying under oath at various tribunals and investigations. Despite the enormous damage done to Ireland and its people by this criminal’s lying he was, largely, fawned upon by large segments of the media and members of the establishment.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern almost certainly lied under oath at the Mahon Tribunal. My assertion that lying is the accepted norm in Irish political and administrative goverance is confirmed by the disgraceful fact that no action has been (or ever will be) taken against Ahern by any state authority.

Political lying is the principal cause of the catastrophic economic collapse of 2008 that resulted in thousands of suicides, massive emigration and the horrific destruction of the wealth, hopes and ambitions of hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.

And yet, a disturbingly large section of the media and most of the establishment appear to be more than happy to live in comfortable denial amidst the wreckage and suffering caused by political lying.

The following is just a sample of various journalists, commentators and politicians who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not make the obvious link between political lying and the infliction of great hardship.

Caroline O’Doherty: Irish Examiner:

Kenny’s lie was:

A fisherman’s tale.

O’Doherty then went to use most of her article to advise Fine Gael on how best to present their (lying) leader to best advantage in the upcoming election campaign.

Caroline O’Doherty is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Editorial: Irish Examiner:

Kenny was, while dishonest, just a Walter Mitty character using:

Folksy parables.

The editor warned that Kenny must act quickly if he wants to be re-elected and, as always, took the opportuntiy to take a swipe at Gerry Adams/Sinn Fein.

The editor of the Irish Examiner is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Eilis O’Hanlon: Sunday Independent:

Kenny ruined it by going a ‘a little bit too far’ in attempting to portray himself as the man who saved the country from anarchy and, predictably, O’Hanlon blamed the media:

So why the outcry last week? The media, having got bored with the feel-good narrative which the Government has been pushing since the Budget, saw a chance to put the Taoiseach on the back foot.

Eilis O’Hanlon is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Michael Lehane: Morning Ireland (RTE):

On being asked did the whole issue matter:

It doesn’t matter but there is a political vacuum there because the Dail isn’t sitting so the focus didn’t come off it (but) it has gone the distance now.

Michael Lehane is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Pat Rabbitte: Labour TD: (Speaking on RTE):

The Taoiseach makes the point, perhaps in a folksy, homespun way.

Pat Rabbitte is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Noel Whelan: Irish Times:

Mr. Whelan believes that Kenny is a storyteller whose utterance was no accident.

It was part of a cleverly designed but clumsily implemented strategy from Fine Gael to remind voters of how serious the crisis was so as to talk up its part in turning it around.

Noel Whelan is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Gerry Adams: Sinn Fein president:

Mr. Adams accused Kenny of being a spoof who tells tall tales. Mr. Adams said he was not accusing the Taoiseach of lying but of just getting carried away with himself.

Gerry Adams is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Fergus Finlay: Chief Executive of Barnardos and former Labour Party advisor: (Late Debate RTE):

Why are we getting our knickers in a knot about it? Mother of God, this kind of thing happens all the time. It’s a bit of craic, that’s all it is, a bit of political craic and I don’t see how it affects anything other than the gaiety of the nation for a week.

I think it shows that we don’t have a sense of humour. You know, let’s get a grip for heaven’s sake, it’s about nothing.

Fergus Finlay is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Gary Murphy: Professor of Political Science, DCU (Late Debate RTE).

The Taoiseach does have a habit of self-aggrandisement or over-egging situations. He’s guilty of guilding the lily so to speak.

Professor Murphy is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Catherine Halloran: Political Correspondent Irish Daily Star: (Ryan Tubridy Show, RTE):

I think it’s his folksy way of trying to relate to people.

It’s better than telling lies. At least we know he has his finger on the pulse he met the man or woman who told him this and I don’t doubt for a second that he has met those people, he’s a politician… The fact that Enda does take the time out to stop and talk to people and listen to their experiences means he’s in a position to make judgement on them.

Catherine Halloran is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Shaun Connolly: Irish Examiner:

Mr. Connolly believes Kenny was simply caught out telling an over-excited porkie. He was guilty of a slightly embarrassing, but ultimately harmless, comment.

Shaun Connolly is not aware or doesn’t care that political lies cause suffering and death.

Copy to:
Enda Kenny
All individuals quoted
All political parties
Government

Why the State is targetting Sinn Fein

In recent times I have written several articles on the very obvious anti Sinn Fein propaganda campaign being conducted by the mainstream political parties and state agencies aided and abetted by a large segment of the media.

I am aware that writing such articles can be seen as supporting Sinn Fein and, by extension, supporting violence both political and criminal.

This article is to make my position crystal clear.

The core philosophy of this website is that Ireland is an intrinsically corrupt state. By this I mean that, unlike functional democracies, the Irish state actively defends, supports and protects those involved in corruption.

Corruption, to one degree or another is, of course, present in every country on the planet. Corrupt behaviour is an intrinsic aspect of human nature, it will always be with us.

But there is a huge difference between a country that suffers from a degree of corruption and a country that is, in and of itself, intrinscially corrupt.

A state is corrupt when its powers and resources are principally utilised for the benefit of a tiny but very powerful minority of individuals and organisations at the expense of the people and the greater good.

This is overwhemingly and indisputably the case in Ireland.

The corrupt regime is made up, principally, of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour with the unquestioning support of most state agencies and a disturbingly large section of the media.

Family dynasties constitute the core of the corrupt political system. Over the decades the corrupting influence of these families has spread the disease of corruption right through the influential pillars of the state and society such as the legal system, higher civil servants, the police and so on.

At some critical point, which I believe was during the 1980s when the criminal politician Haughey was at the height of his powers, the state flipped from being a democracy with some corruption to a state that that had become corrupt in and of itself.

From that moment right up to today state power does not, for the most part, operate for the good of the people. It works to maintain, protect and enhance the power of the corrupt elite.

This corrupt political/administrative regime is directly and wholly responsible for the economic catastrophe that has wreaked so much damage and loss on Ireland and its people since 2008.

And this is where Sinn Fein enters the picture.

The 2008 economic catastrophe caused serious panic within the corrupt regime. For a short period it was feared that the power, influence and wealth built up over many decades would be lost as the people began to transfer their alligience to political forces outside its power base.

Sinn Fein is being targeted because it poses the greatest threat to the power of the corrupt regime. It is the best organised, best financed, most powerful political force outside the mainstream. It is united, focused and led by a cohort of articulate and committed politicians.

It is for this reason and this reason alone that the corrupt political/administrative system, in cooperation with its many friends in the media, has targeted Sinn Fein.

The corrupt regime knows very well that if Sinn Fein gains power, even partial power in a coalition, the game is up. The cosy golden circle that has abused Irish democracy and its people for the last several decades will no longer hold sway.

People from outside the ruling elite, dangerous people with principles, people who will actually do what’s right for the country rather than vested interests will be exercising power within the corrupt citadel.

It is therefore absolutely crucial, from the corrupt regime’s point of view, that Sinn Fein’s power is destroyed or, at least, damaged to such an extent that it becomes an irrelevant political force.

It is this black propaganda campaign that I write about. It has nothing to do with Sinn Fein’s politics/policies per se but rather to challenge and expose the continuing efforts of a ruthless and diseased political system that will do anything, even commit criminal acts, to preserve its power and influence.

Copy to:
All political parties
Government

Time to force civil servants and politicians to serve the state

The appointment by Fine Gael TD John Perry of his wife as a parliamentary assistant is just the latest example of how our gombeen political system works.

Wink, wink, nod, nod and when caught out, throw out the first thing that comes to mind – Ah shure it was just a temporary arrangement and I’m now appointing somebody else.

The gombeen system is backed up by a civil service that’s 100% loyal to the politicians and their cronies. Secrecy is the principle weapon but legislation is also a powerful force when it comes to ‘looking after’ the lads and ladies in Dail Eireann.

I rang the Oireachtas this morning to ask what legislation they were referring to when refusing to tell the taxpayers of the country how much it was costing them to fund the salary of Perry’s wife.

Section 37 of the Freedom of Information Act, I was told. I had a look and, while I’m no expert in the area, it seems to me that using this Act to protect the likes of Perry and his wife is an abuse of the FOI Act.

It is long past time that politicians and civil servants are forced by law to serve the people of Ireland and not their own selfish interests.

Unaccountable deals made by state officials should be made a criminal act

RTE’s This Week programme has exposed the latest dodgy deal surrounding the establishment of the Irish Water quango.

The goings on in smoke filled backrooms is justification alone for Irish citizens refusal to pay the water tax.

Here’s an analysis of the dodgy dealing.

The following groups were involved.

Irish Water and the Dept. of the Environment representing the interests of Irish Water and the Government.

The County and City Managers Association (CCMA) which was representing the County and City Managers (I know, I couldn’t figure it out either) and, presumably, representing the workers of these entities.

Ordinary citizens/taxpayers.

The first decision, made by the groups with power, Irish Water, the Government and the CCMA, was to exclude the taxpayer.

It seems at least some meetings were held in secret and no minutes were kept during the most crucial meeting. This is standard practice in banana republics.

The second decision taken was that the taxpayer would pay for all agreements reached by the interested parties. There was no need to inform the taxpayer of this decision since the practice has been in place since the establishment of our banana republic.

Ok, so here’s how the deal went down.

The CCMA had information that Irish Water badly needed to ensure its successful establishment. The CCMA effectively blackmailed Irish Water by threatening to withhold or delay handing over the information unless their demands were met.

Irish Water and the Government quickly conceded to all demands. This was no problem since the non-represented taxpayer was paying for everything.

The agreements reached, if implemented, will cost Irish citizens countless millions over the years.

In my opinion the individuals involved in this agreement are traitors. They made their decisions in full knowledge of the pain and loss suffered by their fellow citizens since 2008, yet they ruthlessly went ahead anyway.

The unaccountable divvying up of our money by public officials, particularly when it’s done in secret; should be made a criminal act.

Copy to:
Dept. of Environment
Irish Water
CCMA

Journalist Michael Clifford: Getting it wrong on the bank inquiry

According to journalist Michael Clifford the lack of a paper trail concerning the major decisions taken during the 2008 financial crisis is of minor importance (Irish Examiner).

If that were all that was wrong in the department, we’d all be in clover.

In his article Clifford leads the raging elephant of political/administrative corruption into the room, sticks a long, well sharpened spear up the creatures rear end to ensure maximum pain and then proceeds to completely ignore the ensuing rampage.

Instead he focuses on what he obviously believes are more important aspects of the first days of the latest banking inquiry.

Like, for example, how finance officials had to go home to find out details of that year’s budget or how Fianna Fail is reacting to the inquiry.

This journalist could not be more wrong.

The lack of a paper trail is the single most important aspect of the entire disgraceful episode because it tells us just how corrupt our political/administrative system has become.

Allow me to analyse Clifford’s raging elephant in the room.

Rob Wright, the Canadian public servant who compiled a report on how the Department of Finance was asleep at the wheel during the boom, gave evidence.

Rob Wright is wrong in his conclusion that the Department was asleep at the wheel.

The Department of Finance was not asleep at the wheel. The Department was fully aware of what was happening throughout the boom years, the Central Bank, Revenue and all other relevant state agencies also knew exactly what was happening.

No action was taken because our corrupt political system was, and still is, more concerned with protecting the interests of those who benefitted hugely from the boom than they were/are in the interests of the Irish people.

All our state agencies, including the police, operate under the direct control of our corrupt political system.

Wright was ‘flummoxed’ by the lack of a paper trail surrounding the major decisions made during the crisis.

He was told by many public servants that it was the Freedom of Information Act that was to blame. Nobody wanted to commit to paper anything that might come back to haunt them.

There could be serious ‘hassle’, he was told, if an FOI request revealed a difference of opinion between a minister and a civil servant.

One minister, we’re told, ‘had a lot of concern’ about the Freedom of Information Act after one such revelation.

It is deeply disturbing that civil servants can casually dismiss their disgraceful actions/inactions because of a fear of ‘hassle’ from a minister.

It is deeply disturbing that a minister (and, of course, he/she is not alone in this) expresses concern at the prospect of citizens becoming properly informed by way of an FOI.

It is deeply disturbing that any meeting of ministers and their senior public servants could be conducted without any notes/record being taken never mind the major, life impacting decisions taken during the financial crisis.

To put it bluntly, only those in charge of the most perverse, corrupt, diseased banana republic would think it acceptable to make such decisions while consciously deciding to keep no record in case they were made to account for their betrayal.

As far as I am aware, and I hope to check on this further in the coming year, there is a legal requirement for civil servants to record all minutes of all government/ministerial meetings.

Journalist Clifford ends his article:

The jury is still out on whether this whole thing will amount to a hill of beans.

Wrong again:

The jury is in, every informed person knows what happened, knows that the current inquiry is a disgraceful farce, knows that it won’t even amount to a hill of beans.

The people, in recent elections, polls and protests, have given their verdict – Guilty.

They have delivered their sentence – The abolition of our corrupt political/administrative system.

All that remains is for the sentence to be carried out and, hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.

Copy to:
Michael Clifford
Department of Finance
All political parties

Love/Hate fiction more rational than our corrupt body politic

I tuned into RTEs John Murray Show yesterday morning where the discussion centred on some fictional series called Love/Hate.

Murray and his guest were very excited about the horror featured in the show and wondered would there be another series.

Having never watched an episode of the show I got bored and switched over to another channel for the news but, to my amazement, the same fictional series was been seriously reported and analysed as if it was real – on news programmes for feck sake.

And so it was throughout the day, Newstalk, Today FM, RTE, Liveline, Drivetime, News at One, Six One News and many more, all reporting, analysing, debating, anguishing, speculating who will die next, will there be another series.

The producer, actors, RTE’s head of drama and whoever you’re having yourself were all interviewed at length as to their reaction to this fictional programme.

Actors spoke in shock about the horror they felt as they acted, I stress, acted, in the programme, commentators wondered would the actors/viewers need psychological help in dealing with the fiction, I stress, fiction.

In our bizarre state fiction had finally merged with what passes for reality.

I wondered why and, very quickly, the answer came as I listened to reports of the latest political scandal involving allegations of serious tax evasion by senior politicians.

The family of former Fine Gael TD, Attorney General and High Court judge, Declan Costello claimed he had ‘forgotten’ he had a Guinness and Mahon bank account and he never did anything wrong anyway so stop asking question.

Then I heard the Minister for Enterprise and Jobs, Richard Bruton, without the slightest sign of embarrassment, tell the nation that the witness statement he received from the whistle blower, which contained very serious allegations against senior politicians and state agencies like Revenue, the Gardai and the Office of Corporate Enforcement, remained hidden in his office for two full years because someone in the department had retired.

And I thought to myself – No, the nation’s media treating a fictional series as if it was real is not really all that surprising.

In fact, it’s more rational than the horrific reality we suffer every day under the jackboot of our corrupt body politic.

Is the Iona Institute guilty of intellectually abusing schoolchildren?

Last April, religious militant and director of the Iona Institute David Quinn, delivered a lecture to fifth and sixth year students falsely informing them that the origin of the universe had nothing to do with science but was strictly a matter for religion/philosophy (See full article here).

There is an abundance of scientific evidence relating to the origin of the universe. Scientific discoveries such as background radiation, inflation and the recently discovered gravitational waves are all scientific facts supporting the idea that the origin of the universe is scientific.

In stark contrast, Mr. Quinn’s claim that the origin of the universe is a philosophical and religious one has no basis in fact whatsoever.

Despite centuries of philosophical and religious debate on the question of the origin of the universe not a single fact has been produced to confirm the myriad of speculative opinions emanating from that quarter.

What is really disturbing about this incident is the fact that Mr. Quinn and the Iona Institute appear to have unrestricted access to propagate what is effectively, religious propaganda to innocent students.

It is obvious from reading Mr. Quinn’s article that his lecture had nothing to do with genuine education, that it was not designed to inform students about the pros and cons in the debate between science and religion.

In addition to the lie concerning the origin of the universe Mr. Quinn’s lecture seems to have been nothing more than a vicious attack on New Atheism and in particular on Richard Dawkins.

Mr. Quinn regularly makes such attacks across various media outlets and, while rationally obnoxious, he is entitled to hold and express those views.

But what is not acceptable and what is deeply disturbing, is the apparent freedom extended to the Iona Institute to effectively intellectually abuse innocent schoolchildren.

I made a formal complaint on the matter to the Department of Education.

The response, while entirely predictable, was nevertheless shocking.

Effectively, the Department said – Nothing to do with us, it’s the responsibility of the boards of management and the patron of each school (See below for my formal complaint, reply from Dept. of Education and my response).

This is the same irresponsible response by the Dept/Government as that taken in the Louise O’Keeffe scandal.

Ms. O’Keeffe, who had been sexually abused by a teacher as a schoolgirl in the 1970s, lost her case for justice in the Irish High and Supreme Courts but finally found justice when the decision of the Irish courts was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.

Although disgusting in the extreme it seems that this ‘legal arrangement’ is proving very useful to politicians and civil servants as a means of abdicating any responsibility whatsoever towards protecting children from abuse whether physical, sexual or intellectual.

Copy to:
Department of Education
Iona Institute
All political parties

Formal complaint:

10 April 2014

For attention of Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn

This is a formal complaint regarding a lecture delivered by the director of the Iona Institute David Quinn to a group of fifth and sixth year students earlier this month.

Mr. Quinn wrote about his lecture in an article in the Irish Catholic newspaper of 3 April last. The title of the article, which is provided in full below, is:

The atheist’s act of faith

The question of the origin of the universe isn’t a scientific one at all, but a philosophical and religious one.

My complaint is as follows:

Mr. Quinn’s lecture is based entirely on a falsehood; namely that the origin of the universe is not a scientific one at all but rather a philosophical and religious one.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence relating to the origin of the universe. Scientific discoveries such as background radiation, inflation and the recently discovered gravitational waves are all factual events that give the lie to Mr. Quinn’s claim that the question of the origin of the universe is not scientific.

Furthermore, Mr. Quinn’s claim that the question of the origin of the universe is a philosophical and religious one has no basis in fact whatsoever.

Despite centuries of philosophical and religious debate on the question of the origin of the universe not a single fact has been produced to confirm the myriad of speculative opinions emanating from that quarter.

In effect, Mr. Quinn was permitted to encourage students to ignore established scientific facts regarding the origin of the universe and instead accept that his Christian god created the universe.

It is unacceptable and indeed disturbing that somebody with a very strong religious bias like Mr. Quinn would be granted apparent unrestricted access to students to promote a religious viewpoint based on a falsehood.

It is unacceptable and indeed disturbing that any outside influence would be permitted apparent unrestricted access to students to promote a particular view without the long established safeguards of independent/objective supervision and the right to hear an opposing argument.

According to legislation the Board of Management of schools are accountable to the patron and to the Minister. This complaint is addressed to the Minister in this context.

Yours sincerely
Anthony Sheridan

Response from Department of Education:

Dear Mr Sheridan

I refer to your letter addressed to the Minister for Education and Skills.

While this Department sets out the constitution of Boards of Management and rules of procedure it is not directly involved in the management of schools. Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school. The schools Board of Management is accountable to the school Patron.

Accordingly, whereas the Department provides funding and policy direction for schools, the Department does not have the power to instruct schools to follow a particular course of direction with regard to individual complaint cases.

Religious Education is one of 33 Leaving Certificate subjects available to schools. The selection of text books and classroom resources to support the implementation of the curriculum is made by schools, rather than by the Department of Education and Skills or the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

The Office of the Ombudsman for Children may independently investigate complaints relating to the administrative actions of a school recognised by the Department of Education and Skills, provided the complainant has firstly and fully followed the school’s complaints procedures. The key criterion for any intervention by the Ombudsman for Children is that the administrative actions of a school has, or may have, adversely affected the child. The office can be contacted at: Ombudsman for Children’s Office, Millennium House, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1; tel. 1800 20 20 40 or (01) 865 6800 or email oco@oco.ie.

I hope the information that provided is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely,

My response to the Department of Education

28 May 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

Your response to my formal complaint concerning a lecture delivered to fifth and six-year students by the director of the Iona Institute David Quinn is a disgrace for the following reasons.

One: Apart from issuing meaningless bureaucratic waffle, the decision to do nothing will almost certainly result in some degree of damage to innocent children.

After decades of horrific child abuse the very least we could expect of officialdom is to make some enquiries into the matter. Given the history of child abuse in Ireland it is highly likely that the Iona Institute is not the only organisation that enjoys unrestricted access to preach religious and other damaging propaganda to children.

Two: Your indifferent response is a further disturbing reflection of how unprofessional civil servants have become. Scandal after scandal, on an almost weekly basis, gives witness to this decay of professionalism right across all departments.

Three: Your response is an insult to my intelligence. It is an obvious fact that the Department of Education is intimately involved in every aspect of education across all levels. It is also a fact that if you wished, you could easily carry out an investigation into this matter.

That you chose not to thus placing children in potential danger is a disgrace on you and your profession.

Yours etc.,
Anthony Sheridan

Let's give the Minister for Justice the benefit of the doubt – for now

The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was answering questions before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva today.

She told the committee that the Government would have an independent police authority in place by the end of the year. It should have been in place since 2005, after the Donegal Gardai corruption outrage but better late than never.

She also said that GSOC would have the power to independently initiate investigations without having to first ask the Minister for Justice. We’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.

On the issue of legislation in this area the Minister said:

The legislation was originally introduced in 2005 and was found to have these gaps in it so we are bringing in these changes later this year.

Let’s be kind to the new minister, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt by accepting that she has no idea of the dark reality lurking behind this legislation and how it’s linked to the Donegal Gardai corruption.

Let’s accept that she’s a political innocent when she speaks of ‘gaps’ as if the presence of these gaps were some sort of oversight by the politicians and civil servants who drew up the legislation in 2005.

Let’s accept she naively believes that the so-called gaps in the legislation were not deliberately designed to specifically ensure that the police and their political masters could continue to enjoy the benefits of operating far outside the requirements of public accountability as they have since 1922.

Let’s accept that she’s green enough to believe that her predecessor, Alan Shatter, would have introduced the current reforms even if the recent avalanche of corruption within the Gardai had remained hidden.

Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt – but only this time.