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.

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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

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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.

 

Breaking: New minister for investigative judges to be appointed

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

Letter in today’s Irish Times regarding the latest Garda scandal.

 

Sir,

Surely the time has now come to appoint a minister for investigative judges. The said minister would be responsible for keeping us informed of the progress being made by the growing legions of such judges and, crucially, would create yet another firewall for politicians to hide behind.

Otherwise the consequences could be an extremely serious outbreak of democratic accountability.

Yours etc,

Anthony Sheridan

Cobh, Co Cork.

Irish media should be fighting gagging law

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

I have submitted a complaint to Newstalk management against presenter George Hook for breach of Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 (See complaint below).

This is my second complaint in recent times against Mr. Hook for breach of this particular code.  This complaint is under investigation by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and I am hopeful that a decision will be forthcoming soon.

In June 2014 I outlined my reasons for making such complaints against Mr. Hook and other broadcasters.  Here’s some of what I wrote:

The actual opinion expressed by Mr. Hook is of little importance.

What is of huge importance is to witness the implementation of a draconian, anti-democratic law specifically designed to repress what, in functional democracies, is the norm – the free expression of opinion.

Of even greater importance is the disturbing reality that this oppressive law was introduced and is being enforced with hardly a whimper from the media.

Before commenting further on the media reaction I am going to express my opinion as why this law has been introduced.

It was not introduced to protect the sensitive ears of Irish citizens from the personal opinions of broadcasters such as George Hook. It was not introduced to protect listeners from being led astray by broadcasters and it was not introduced as a result of any public demand.

It was introduced to stop outright or at least have a severe chilling effect on the media questioning of powerful people and in particular powerful politicians.

The legislation is, I believe, principally aimed at RTE because of its powerful position in the media and because of its vulnerability to political manipulation.

 

Complaint submitted to Newstalk on 29 Sep 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to lodge a formal complaint against George Hook, the presenter of the Newstalk radio programme High Noon for breach of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, which came into effect on 1 July 2013 under Section 42 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

On 28 September last Mr. Hook made the following comments in response to the wearing of T-shirts in Dail Eireann by a number of politicians.

Well, in the Dail you had six Left wing TDs wearing T-shirts.  The Anti Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit TDs wore ‘Repeal’ T-shirts on the issue of the amendment of the Constitution.

This has nothing to do with the repeal in my mind.  They could have been wearing T-shirts for free to air, for rugby, for free childcare.

The point is that once again this group of Lefties have no respect for our Constitution, have no respect for our traditions, have no respect for our history in the Dail because nobody but nobody in Dail Eireann is allowed wear an emblem.

That’s the way it is, you can’t do that.  As was pointed out to these Lefties, children who came into the public gallery were wearing T-shirts and they were asked to remove the T-shirts before they were allowed into the public gallery.

Everybody else conforms except these six loonies.  And what’s even more annoying about it is, unless they are clamped down and strongly clamped down by the appropriate committee on performance then what’s next?  Water, vivisection, it could be anything.

Everybody now with a half-baked idea that they’re upset about will be able to come into the Dail and wear a T-shirt or carry a flag or whatever.

And I have to say that Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd-Barrett, Gino Kenny, Brid Smith and Mick Barry are a disgrace to the position they hold as elected members of Dail Eireann.

It is clear that Mr. Hook is expressing very strong personal and partisan views and is therefore in breach of section 4.22 of the Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Current Affairs.

I include the relevant section of the Act below for your convenience.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Sheridan

4.22. It is an important part of the role of a presenter of a current affairs programme to ensure that the audience has access to a wide variety of views on the subject of the programme or item; to facilitate the expression of contributors‘ opinions – sometimes by forceful questioning; and to reflect the views of those who cannot, or choose not to, participate in content. This being so, a presenter and/or a reporter on a current affairs programme shall not express his or her own views on matters that are either of public controversy or the subject of current public debate such that a partisan position is advocated.

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Newstalk

BAI

 

 

Water protester convicted on trumped up charge

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

This week witnessed one of the most disgraceful acts of political oppression this country has ever seen.

Water protester Derek Byrne was found guilty and fined €300 for shouting abuse at another citizen.

The only reason Mr. Byrne was convicted was because his insults were directed at a member of the ruling elite – The president, Michael D Higgins.

Mr. Byrne did not directly address Higgins; he was not even in his presence at the time. The insults were merely directed at the president’s car as it sped past a group of protesters.

Mr. Byrne was convicted on a trumped up charge for political reasons, to send a message to all those uppity peasants out there that the state will not tolerate any challenge to its power.

But in a way it was a victory for those of us who reject that corrupt power because the weaker a corrupt state becomes the more oppressive its forces become in response to those who challenge its power.

Increased oppression is an indication of failing power.

 

The people now know what you are Mr. Ross

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

For decades Shane Ross has campaigned against political corruption. Here he is angrily attacking the system over the (corrupt) political appointment of judges.

Now what does that tell you about the system here? It tells me one thing, that you’re as bad as the ones that came before you…

What I see here today is you and your senior cabinet colleagues putting up some sort of a smokescreen but basically what you’re trying to do is defend the (corrupt) system as it always has been.

Ross was elected to challenge the corrupt political system. His decision to support the Government’s Apple appeal has betrayed that trust.

His once in a lifetime opportunity to do real damage to the corrupt system that he has fought against for so long – has evaporated.

He is now just another gombeen politician who will support the corrupt system until the people throw him out.

His betrayal is copper-fastened by his abandonment of the passionate, angry and articulate attacks on the system (as quoted above) to be replaced by the standard gombeen language of insulting, patronising platitudes.

I’m very, very keen from now on that multinationals should be seen to be paying their fair share of tax.

The people now know Mr. Ross that you too are as bad as the ones who came before you.

Copy to:

Shane Ross

Independents must decide: The people or the corrupt political system

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

Despair and extreme anger over the level of political corruption is the only reason Katherine Zappone and members of the Independence Alliance were elected to public office.

They now hold power within that corrupt political system and are facing the exact same dilemma that other political entities faced in the past – to support the corrupt system or to challenge its power and fight to bring it down.

The Progressive Democrats under Des O’Malley and Mary Harney promised the Irish people that they would rid our country of political corruption – They lied and were removed from power by the people.

Labour under Dick Spring promised the Irish people that he would rid our country of political corruption – He lied and was removed from power by the people.

The Green Party under John Gormley promised the Irish people that he would rid our country of political corruption – He lied and was removed from power by the people.

Labour under Eamon Gilmore and Joan Burton promised the Irish people that they would rid our country of political corruption – They lied and were removed from power by the people.

Now Katherine Zappone and members of the Independence Alliance have to make the same decision – the people or the corrupt political system.

If they fail to support the people they too will be removed from power and the fight will go on to rid our country of the disease of political corruption.

Ultimately, the people will win.

Copy to:

Katherine Zappone

Independent Alliance

 

Independent Alliance TDs must decide: The people or the corrupt regime

 

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

Every Irish citizen elected to public office and in particular those who are granted ministerial power have a decision to make:

Support and cooperate with the corrupt political system that has evolved over the past number of decades – or – challenge that system and risk having to pay a high price.

Sadly, the vast majority of elected representatives have so far opted to support and cooperate with the corrupt system resulting in enormous damage to the well being and interests of Ireland and its people.

Today members of the Cabinet will meet to discuss the European Commission’s decision that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple.

A decision by the Government to appeal the Commission’s conclusions will not serve the interests of the Irish people.

Fine Gael ministers will, as always, support the corrupt system.

Members of the Independent Alliance, as listed below, will have to decide whether to support the corrupt system or act in the interests of the Irish people.

Copy to:

Denis Naughten

Shane Ross

Katherine Zappone

Finian McGrath

John Halligan

Sean Canney

Principle of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ does not apply universally in Ireland

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

There seems to be a great deal of worry amongst Irish establishment figures that the Brazilians may not grant Pat Hickey the protection of the almost universal principle of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.

Here’s former CEO of the FAI Fran Rooney on RTE yesterday.

It’s a real concern that the men’s presumption of innocence is being ignored… the whole presumption of innocence is a key issue here.

In light of the above comments it will no doubt come as a great shock to barrister Fran Rooney to learn that the ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ principle does not apply universally in Ireland.

It will come as an even greater shock to anxious establishment figures like Rooney to learn that the principal was abandoned to protect the multi-million Euro Mass card monopoly enjoyed by the Catholic Church.

Any Irish citizen who sells (even one) a Mass card without the express permission of a Catholic bishop is guilty of an offence which may result in a ten year prison sentence and/or a fine of €300,000.

This law is even more draconian than that enacted to combat ruthless drug lords. If (Catholic) Brazilian politicians were to enact such a law Irish establishment figures like Ryan Tubridy, for example, would be choking on their breakfast cereal.

To copper-fasten the law and ensure no citizen dares challenge the financial interests of the Catholic Church Irish politicians inserted the following section into the Charities Act 2009:

Section 99:

(2): In proceedings for an offence under this section it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved on the balance of probabilities, that the sale of the Mass card to which the alleged offence relates was not done pursuant to an arrangement with a recognised person.

So there you have it – in Irish legislation – in black and white – Guilty unless you can prove you are innocent.