Israel/Ireland: Corruption comparison





By Anthony Sheridan

The ongoing corruption scandal involving the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provides a stark comparison with just how corrupt Ireland’s political/state system is.

Here’s a brief list of some of the charges against Netanyahu:

Receiving expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen in exchange for favours.

Striking an illicit deal with a newspaper in exchange for favourable political coverage.

His wife, Sara, is also under investigation accused of using government money to pay for private chefs at family events and electrical work in the family home.

In Ireland, this kind of corruption is casually accepted as part and parcel of normal political activity.

For example, it has just been revealed that the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) paid out €1.5 million of taxpayers’ money to favoured newspapers to publish propaganda articles in favour of Fine Gael.

Or, to put it another way: The Government struck an illicit deal with newspapers in exchange for favourable political coverage.

The response to this corrupt act in Ireland was to appoint a senior government official to review the actions of senior government officials.

The response in Israel saw the police directly investigating the chief suspect, the Prime Minister. As a result of that investigation they have recommended that he be charged in a court of law. This is the norm in functional democracies.

Here are some more stark comparisons between how things are done in a functional democracy such as Israel and a corrupt state such as Ireland.

In Israel the police are independent of the political system and are therefore free to investigate political corruption.

In Ireland the police are, effectively, a branch of the political system and therefore do not investigate political corruption.

In Israel there is a specialised anti-corruption police unit.

In Ireland there is no such unit.

In Israel, all crime, including political corruption, is dealt with through police investigation and the courts.

In Ireland, there are two separate systems for dealing with crime. One for ordinary citizens that involves police, courts and punishment and another made up of tribunals, commissions and committees deliberately, and very successfully, designed to ensure there is no accountability or punishment for those with power and influence.

In Israel regulatory agencies such as the Central Bank or corporate enforcement operate independently of the political system.

In Ireland all regulatory agencies are subject to political control and influence.

In Israel the media use the word ‘corruption’ when writing and speaking about corruption.

In Ireland the word ‘corruption’ is never used by establishment media. Instead, the fuzzy word ‘culture’ is used.

So, for example, there’s no such thing as police corruption in Ireland but rather a ‘culture’ that provides journalists and politicians with a safe area in which to endlessly discuss reform of the ‘culture’ while completely ignoring the brutal reality right in front of their eyes.

In Israel, Prime Ministers and former Prime Ministers can face prison when found guilty of corruption.

In Ireland the notion that a Prime Minister or former Prime Minister would be the subject of a police investigation never mind actually do jail time is so ludicrous as to border on the insane.



Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies





Elaine Byrne is, once again, writing about scandal and regulatory failure in today’s Sunday Business Post (Sub reqd). This time it’s about the failure of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to do its job regulating the political system. I hope to respond to her article in the next day or so.

In the meantime, I’m republishing this article (with some minor editing) I wrote in April 2015 outlining how all regulatory bodies in Ireland are, in reality, fake.



Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies

2 April 2015

It’s not often a minister for justice makes me laugh but the latest comment on police reform from Frances Fitzgerald had me in stitches.

Making excuses for her complete failure to establish a police authority the minister said that, in the meantime:

“A kind of shadow board would be set up.”

Ok, let me first state an absolute fact. This government will not set up a police authority. The next government; if it is spawned from the same corrupt political/administrative culture, will not set up a police authority.

The reason is simple; the establishment of a genuinely independent police authority would end the corrupt nexus between the body politic and the police force. That corrupt nexus has served the interests of politicians, their friends in the Golden Circle and senior police officers since the foundation of the state; it will remain firmly in place for so long as that culture exists.

What we will see is the establishment of a fake police authority, an authority that from the outside looks and acts as if it’s the real thing but, in reality, is a fraud.

The setting up of fake regulatory agencies is the single greatest achievement of our corrupt political system. These fake authorities are so successful that they have not only fooled ordinary citizens, they have fooled the media, the international community and even many of the politicians who established them in the first place.

The system can best be understood by comparing it to those fake Hollywood wild west towns built to make cowboy movies.

Walking down the main street everything looks real so long as nobody actually believes there’s anything of substance behind the facades.

So, for example, when a citizen opens the door marked ‘Financial Regulator’ they find themselves in a wilderness populated by drifting tumbleweeds, each one with a tag reading – secrecy laws forbids the answering of any questions.

When the door marked ‘Standards in Public Office’ is opened citizens are met by an official endlessly chanting – Political accountability? No, never heard of it. We just dig holes in the sand and fill them in again.

When the Troika arrived they already knew there was something odd about the way things were done in this town so they opened more doors than usual.

Inside the austere and impressive door to the legal system, for example, they found mountains of stolen loot surrounded by hundreds of partying solicitors and barristers. Clear out this den of iniquity they instructed the government, we’ll be back to check on it.

When they returned a year later they failed to notice that what appeared to be a reformed legal system was actually an act performed by actors hired for the day from a nearby spaghetti western movie set. The drunken solicitors and barristers were still partying just over the hill.

Down at the end of the town there’s a brand new, freshly painted building with the title, Charity Regulator. Inside there’s a large office with an impressive array of filing cabinets, computers, desks and stern looking officials.

On closer inspection however, the files are just blank paper, the desks and computers are made of balsa wood and the officials are shop mannequins.

So what, at first glance, looks like a real regulator turns out to be nothing more than the usual cynical exercise in deception. Because this is a new regulator, no citizen has yet been damaged by its fraudulent front but, in time, thousands will inevitably suffer heavy financial loss and perhaps worse.

Irish citizens have lost faith in the State and its administrators. They know that almost all state agencies are steadfastly loyal to the corrupt political system that created them and exercises control over their activities.

The long-suffering people of Ireland are waiting for somebody to lead them in knocking down all the buildings in Irish cowboy town.

Copy to:

Frances Fitzgerald


Elaine Byrne: Failing to join up the dots on state corruption




By Anthony Sheridan

State corruption is rampant in Ireland and does enormous damage to the country and its people. The disease of corruption originated from and still thrives within the political system. In 1979, with the coming to power of the criminal politician Haughey, the disease became malignant and spread to most areas of governance and then to the private sector.

Ireland is not, and never has been, governed by a political party or a coalition of parties. It is ruled by a corrupt political class who simply take turns in plundering the state.

That corrupt political class is made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour (now nearly extinct) with willing support, when unavoidable, from smaller parties such as the Progressive Democrats (now extinct), the Green Party and currently the Independent Alliance.

The disturbingly low standard of Irish journalism is one of the major contributing factors in not just allowing political corruption to exist but to flourish without any serious challenge.

The great majority of journalists are either willing participants, state captured, in denial or are simply ignorant of the brutal reality regarding the extent and source of state corruption in Ireland.

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne appears to be one of those who are completely ignorant of the source of corruption.

Writing recently [Sub. required] about the ineffectiveness of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) Ms. Byrne finished her article with this question:

Does the Government actually want the GSOC to do its job?

That a person whose job it is to analyse corruption and who has been writing and commentating on corruption for many years has to even ask this question is a disturbing indication of the abject failure of Irish journalism to even acknowledge the disease of state corruption never mind actually expose those responsible.

To answer Ms. Byrne’s question – no, the Government does not want the GSOC to do its job. That’s why the Commission is chronically underfunded and understaffed. The strategy of underfunding regulatory agencies is just one of a long list of well established tactics utilised by parties of the ruling political class to prevent any threat to their power.

Ms. Byrne goes on to ask another question the answer to which is right in front of her eyes should she ever choose to open them.

Why was it necessary for a tribunal and all its costs to be deployed when GSOC should have done the job?

This question relates to the political decision to instruct the Disclosures Tribunal to investigate a matter surrounding allegations made by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe, allegations that should have been properly dealt with by GSOC.

The answer to Ms. Byrnes question is:  The ruling political class enacted laws that strips tribunals of any power to bring to account those found guilty of corruption. This guarantees that any corruption exposed during the course of a tribunal is merely recorded in the final report and deposited on a government shelf to gather dust.

This deliberate strategy provides the ruling political class with a powerful tool with which to permanently sidetrack any scandal that may pose a threat to their power. The strategy has been immensely successful in protecting the corrupt and the Disclosures Tribunal will be no different.

Commentators and journalists like Ms. Byrne spend much of their time and energy analysing the never-ending stream of corruption that inflicts so much damage on Ireland and its people but, for a number of reasons, are incapable of joining up the dots that are lying all over the corrupt political landscape.

Here is a list of just some of those dots that may be of some help to puzzled commentators such as Ms. Byrne.

Tribunals have just one function – to protect the corrupt.

Dail Committees (all of which are deliberately powerless) have just one function – to endlessly jump up and down in futile anger while the corrupt walk free.

So called state regulatory bodies such as GSOC, Central Bank, SIPO, An Garda Siochana, Charities Regulator to name just some are all deliberately underfunded, understaffed, willing participants in corrupt practices or act out of justified fear of state reprisal if they enforce the law.

Laws are frequently written with the deliberate intention of protecting the corrupt. For example, laws governing the operation of GSOC are drafted in such a manner as to make it almost impossible to properly investigate complaints. (I’ll be writing about this particular scandal soon).

Irish journalists are constantly writing and talking about corruption scandal after corruption scandal but studiously avoid joining up the dots – why?

Because when the dots are joined up they point straight at those responsible for infecting our country with the disease of corruption – the corrupt political class made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

And therein lies one of the greatest barriers to eradicating the disease of political corruption that has inflicted so much suffering on the Irish people – the total loyalty and support afforded to the corrupt centre of Irish politics by a disturbingly large percentage of journalists.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

Daniel McConnell: Happy to wear establishment blinkers


By Anthony Sheridan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy to:

Daniel McConnell


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


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

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



Jobstown trial exposes mainstream bias



By Anthony Sheridan


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


Coverage of Jobstown trial


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

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

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

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

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

More power to them.

Yours, etc,




RTE: Blatant censorship and manipulation of news




By Anthony Sheridan


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

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

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



To Whom It May Concern:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RTEs Public Service Statement outlines the broadcaster’s obligation:

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

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

This complaint is composed of two parts.

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

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

The Late Debate:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Copy to:

RTE Complaints

RTE Director General

All RTE journalists involved in the story

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

RTE journalist Claire Byrne brings Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell to heel


By Anthony Sheridan

RTE journalist and Bertie Ahern admirer Claire Byrne found herself having to deal with a very nasty situation at the weekend. The incident was so serious, so obnoxious that she felt compelled to give it top priority on her weekly current affairs show, Saturday with Claire Byrne.

Never mind war, famine, political crisis or international terrorism, this was a matter so serious that the politicians on the panel were pressurised by Byrne into giving an immediate judgement on the matter despite the fact that they had no prior knowledge of what had occurred.

And what was the dreadful incident?

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell posted a satirical critique of three Fianna Fail members of the Cowen family on his Facebook page.

Farrell posted a mock up poster from the movie Back to the Future, with a picture of Barry Cowen and Michael Martin (not a member of the Cowen family) accompanied by a legitimate critique of the political policies of Ber, Brian and Barry Cowen   over the past number of decades.

Probably because of her admiration for former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern Claire Byrne was outraged by this ‘attack’ on an ‘innocent’ Fianna Fail family.

She first addressed her outrage at Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty.

Byrne: And what he’s saying in each of those instances is that the Cowen family and Fianna Fail put the interests of Fianna Fail before the interests of the country. It is below the belt stuff, isn’t it Regina, it’s pretty nasty?

What!!! A Fine Gael politician makes the political point that three Fianna Fail politicians, who coincidently happen to be members of the same family, put the interests of their party before the interests of the country.

I challenge Claire Byrne to state exactly what is wrong with that opinion. What exactly is nasty, below the belt or indeed untrue about Farrell’s very funny, 100% legitimate piece of political satire?

It really is worth looking at this broadcast in detail because it’s a good example of how far the establishment media and in particular journalists in RTE have become politicised in favour of the ruling political elite.

Byrne begins by pressurising Fine Gael TD and Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty into expressing outrage over the incident despite the fact that Doherty had no knowledge whatsoever of what had occurred.

Byrne:   It is below the belt stuff Regina isn’t it, it’s pretty nasty?

Doherty: (Making an immediate, uninformed judgement).

I didn’t see it until you put it in front of me a second ago. I had to double look at it to see was it a joke or somebody else. It’s not something that I could ever subscribe to. When you actually have to revert to being personal between two politicians or two political parties, I think you’ve lost the argument, I think it’s a pity.

Clearly Doherty was afraid to challenge Byrne’s outrage so she submissively fell into line.

But Byrne was not happy with that, she wanted more.

Byrne: So will you be speaking to Alan Farrell in your role as Chief Whip about that?

Doherty, probably fearing she might be seen as disloyal to a fellow member of the political elite, reassured Byrne of her willingness to deal with Farrell’s ‘pretty nasty’ behaviour.

Doherty:  I’m not happy about it but I’ve just seen it now and I’ll talk to him later on maybe.

Byrne then turned to Fianna Fail TD Jim Callaghan who also had no knowledge whatsoever of the incident but was more than willing to fall in line with Byrne’s outrage.

Byrne: Jim have you seen this?

Callaghan: No, I haven’t.

Byrne: Here I’ll just give you a copy of it there.

Callaghan: (instantly and without reading the article) I don’t like the idea of politicians referring to the families of other politicians.

He (Farrell) shouldn’t be making personal attacks on people’s family and it’s something I’d never do and I don’t think he should do it.

Later on in the programme former Environment Minister and Labour Party TD Alan Kelly also criticised Farrell’s post, saying it was “downright stupid”.

So let’s clarify where these politicians and this RTE/Fianna Fail supporting journalist stand on the issue of political critique/satire.

They believe that it is unacceptable for any politician (in this case, Alan Farrell FG) to criticise another politician (Barry Cowen FF) by referring to other members of that politician’s family who are or were politicians (Ber and Brian Cowen FF).

So, for example, the actions and policies of Brian Cowen, without doubt the most incompetent Taoiseach in Irish history, cannot be referred to in a critque of his politician brother Barry because they’re family.

Similarily, the actions and policies of the criminal Fianna Fail politician Charles Haughey can never be used in a critique of his son Sean Haughey, because they’re family.

And so on across the many, many Irish political dynasties that have done so much damage to Ireland and its people over the decades.

This, of course, is an idiotically bizarre idea because such references, such critiques are routine and totally legitimate.

So here’s the nasty truth…

Alan Farrel committed, or was perceived to have committed, the most heinious crime any Irish establishment politican can commit – he publicily mocked a fellow member of the ruling political elite.

The exchange of jibes and insults within the confines of Leinster house is fine, all politicians know it’s just a cynical game. But to publicly lampoon a fellow member of the ruling elite, particularly on a hated social media platform like Facebook, is unforgivable.

That’s probably why RTE journalist Claire Byrne was so angry, that’s probably why she used her immensely powerful media platform to bring Farrell to heel.

And it worked.

Within minutes of Byrne’s strong disapporval at this insult to her beloved Fianna Fail, the cowardly Alan Farrell removed the offending article from his Facebook page.

A disturbing example of the power of the establishment media.


Copy to:

Claire Byrne

Alan Farrell

Regina Doherty

Jim Callaghan

Alan Kelly

RTE complaints

RTE News and Current Affairs

Fianna Fail

Fine Gael

Is the establishment media finally waking up to political corruption?


By Anthony Sheridan

Well Halle…fucking…lujah (excuse my French) somebody in the establishment media woke up, shook the sleep from their eyes and, catching a glimpse of reality, exclaimed – what the fuck is going on around here?

I strongly recommend the countless victims of Irish political corruption to read today’s editorial in the Irish Examiner. The actual word ‘corruption’ is used in reference to how the country is run. The word ‘cancer’ is used to describe the (corrupt elite) social order of the country. The mafia word ‘omerta’ is used in relation to how public institutions operate in what the writer coyly describes as our ‘dishonest republic’.

But the most amazing aspect of this never heard of before honesty from an establishment newspaper is the absence of any blame on the ‘sinister fringe’ of the water protest movement and not even a mention of ‘evil’ Sinn Fein.

What’s going on, could it be that at long, long last the establishment media is finally beginning to realise the truth, finally beginning to see that the rot and corruption that has destroyed our country has its source in the political establishment that is almost universally supported by that very media?

But there’s still some puzzlement, still some uncertainty surrounding the brutal reality that our political system is irredeemably corrupt.

It is difficult to understand why we have allowed this nasty, destructive culture prevail, why we tolerate a kind of passive-aggressive corruption wilfully deployed to conceal (the truth).

It is not ‘we’ who do not understand. The majority of Irish citizens are only too well aware of who is responsible for the crimes inflicted upon them over the decades – the corrupt political system.

The ‘we’ the writer should be addressing is the establishment media who have shown total loyalty and support for the criminal politicians who have plundered the wealth of the nation and dragged its good name through the mud.

Copy to:

Irish Examiner