Sean Fleming’s PAC: A game of make-believe cowboys



By Anthony Sheridan

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is, and has always been, a powerless talking shop, this is no accident. Those who wield the real power in our country would never allow any entity, political or regulatory, to put their interests at risk.

From time to time, however, some members of PAC get a bit uppity, start to stray beyond the limits of the strict rules under which they are forced to operate.

Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald and Independent TD Shane Ross are recent examples of this dangerous tendency to actually make the corrupt accountable.

But those who wield real power in our country can rest easy again under the ‘leadership’ of the new chairman of PAC, Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming.

Fleming is obediently conforming to strict new rules designed to put his committee firmly back in its box.

Satire is sometimes the only way of responding to such shameful acquiescence.

Here’s my take:

Sean Fleming TD is the new sheriff in town and he’s a mean dude who means business. Sean the Sheriff is the new chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) so watch out all you corrupt bankers, property developers, crooked police officers and misspending civil servants, Sean the Sherriff is a comin ta get ya.

As a member of Fianna Fail, the most notorious criminal gang in the Wild West of Irish politics, Sean will have the lowdown on any critter that tries to put one over on the good folks of his town.

Yessiree, Sean the Sheriff ain’t gonna take any prisoners when it comes to dealing with nasty varmints who try to infect his town with corruption, fraud and gombeenism.

In this report Sean the Sheriff is described as:

An experienced, cautious and eagle-eyed (sheriff) politician.

Will he have any problems speaking up, he was asked.

I guarantee that won’t be a problem. There will be no punches pulled at all.

And to make the point Sean the Sheriff pulled out his massive six-gun and pointed it in a threatening but most impressive manner.

But wait, that’s not a six-gun, it’s…it’s…a water pistol.

Yes, I know, said Sean the Sheriff, despondently. I don’t really have any (fire) power at all; it’s just a game of  make-believe cowboys.

But what about the previous sheriff, John McGuiness? Didn’t he have a cap gun, which, while totally ineffective, did make a bang?

Yes, but he banged (his mouth off) too much which annoyed some very important people so they’ve taken it away and replaced it with this totally silent water pistol.

But surely they should be giving PAC more powers, not less, to fight the ruthlessly corrupt who are armed with such lethal weapons as corrupt politicians, bent lawyers and crooked accountants?

Sean the Sheriff could only reply, as instructed, with this incredibly stupid statement.

Use the powers you have to the best ability without having to use the powers you don’t have.

And so, as Sean the sheriff reloads his water pistol, the townspeople continue to cower in fear of the corrupt, still waiting for a sheriff with a real gun to ride into town and chase out the baddies.

It could be a long wait.

Coy  to:

All PAC members

John McGuinness

Shane Ross


Sean Fleming TD: A jellyfish in charge of PAC

Sean Fleming TD: A jellyfish in charge of PAC




By Anthony Sheridan

The mainstream/establishment media commonly refer to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as a watchdog relentlessly working on behalf of the public to bring wrongdoers to account.

The brutal truth is that the PAC is a fake (See here for the truth of fake Irish regulatory authorities). It has no effective powers to actually bring anybody to account, it is nothing more than a waffling chamber where over-paid politicians listen endlessly to the echo of their own worthless gibberish.

And this is no accident; the PAC, in common with all so-called Irish regulatory authorities, is specifically designed to give an impression of accountability.  With no real accountability the corrupt have a clear road to continue with their activities without hindrance. We see the proof of this every day throughout the media.

In recent times however some members of the PAC such as its previous chairman Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness and Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald committed the cardinal sin of Irish politics – they began to take their role as public representatives seriously, they actually began to ask real questions, make real demands for accountability.

This would not do, some very powerful people were very upset at this development, their interests were being put at risk by this outbreak of democratic accountability.

And so, as part of the negotiations to form the current government, the PAC was not only put back in its box, there was a heavy padlock fitted and the key thrown away.

And to make double sure that this so-called watchdog knows its place and does what it is told a new chairman, Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming, was appointed.

Fleming has the backbone of a jellyfish as demonstrated by his response to the new restrictions imposed on the committee he is, allegedly, in charge of.

So the power has now been taken… they don’t want them (committees) operating independently of the commission with free reign.

And his personal view on the stripping away of any vestige of power his committee might have wielded?

Use the powers you have to the best ability without having to use the powers you don’t have.

More on this later…

Copy to:

All PAC members

Is this why the charity sector is not regulated?


By Anthony Sheridan

The Irish charity sector has a massive turnover of over 8 billion annually with over 3 billion of that coming directly from the pockets of taxpayers and yet, the sector is completely unregulated.

Why is this?

The most likely reason is that effective regulation would interfere with the interests of some very powerful people.

For decades, government after government, was asked to bring in legislation to establish an effective charity regulator, they never did.

Why is this?

The most likely reason is that effective regulation would interfere with the interests of some very powerful people.

Then, years later and after some particularly nasty scandals, the government was forced to draft legislation and establish a charity regulator but decided not to enact the legislation or allow the regulator to begin operations. This decision was made on the grounds that it was too expensive to spend five or six million a year to regulate an industry with a turnover of over 8 billion.

Why is this?

The most likely reason is that effective regulation would interfere with the interests of some very powerful people.

Then, after even more nasty scandals, the government was forced to allow the Charity Regulator to begin operation but only with very restricted funding and without the power to actually investigate any alleged wrongdoing.

Why is this?

The most likely reason is that effective regulation would interfere with the interests of some very powerful people.

Now we have the latest scandal involving the charity Console. Here’s what’s (not) happening.

The Charity Regulator has no power to act.

The Public Accounts Committee is going to discuss the matter but, like the Regulator, has no power to act.

The HSE has been aware for the last ten years that something was wrong but took no effective action.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, apart from having a ridiculously pompous title, is a toothless tiger.

Why is this?

The most likely reason is that effective regulation would interfere with the interests of some very powerful people.

Meanwhile, countless thousands of very vulnerable people are suffering untold agonies because the state and its agencies don’t care enough to look after their needs.

Why is this?

The most likely reason is that effective regulation would interfere with the interests of some very powerful people.

Copy to:

All agencies mentioned

‘Slab’ Murphy sentencing decision: A manipulation of justice for political ends?


By Anthony Sheridan

In a functional democracy the decision to defer the sentencing of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy until polling day would be seen as a blatant manipulation of the justice system in support of a political agenda.

And this questionable decision is not without precedent. In 2007 Judge Alan Mahon suspended the tribunal he was chairing until after the approaching election when then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was due to answer allegations made against him.

So, in 2007, a judge suspends an investigation that, if it had continued, would have resulted in bad publicity for a Taoiseach and his party in the run up to an election.

In 2016 a court decides to deliver a sentence on polling day which is likely to deliver massive political advantage to the incumbent government and do serious damage to the prospects of an opposition party.

The court could have waited until Monday 29 to deliver its sentence ensuring that the event remained solely one of justice. The decision to deliver the sentence on polling day has, whether intentional or not, turned the event into one of justice and politics.

No functional democracy would tolerate such an apparent manipulation of justice.


Tom Lyons: A journalist unlikely to ask the tough questions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can the commission legally carry out its job?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are they so many legal bars to accountability?

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

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

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

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

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

Copy to:
Tom Lyons

Data Protection Commissioner farce continues

The farce that is administrative/political governance in Ireland continues with the latest episode surrounding the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).

When Austrian law student Max Schrems first made his complaint to the DPC regarding the transfer of data by US companies to data centres outside the EU he was arrogantly dismissed as being vexatious and frivolous.

But the European Court of Justice thought otherwise and ruled that the practice was invalid.

Now the High Court has quashed the DPCs decision and ordered her to conduct an (real) inquiry into the matter.

The DPC has now pledged to the court that it will investigate the original complaint as quickly as possible.

Max Schrems will not be holding his breath on that promise. He was (rightly) contemptuous of the DPC today over the fact they she took three years to deal with his initial complaint.

Dear fellow citizens…

Dear fellow citizens,

We live in a state where the Prime Minister can casually and illegally dismiss the most senior police officer in the state without the slightest worry that he will be brought to account for his corrupt act.

We live in a state where a judge, employed to investigate the matter, makes a finding that the guilty Prime Minister can easily manipulate to suit his defence. This is despite the fact that the average five year child knows very well that the Prime Minister is as guilty as hell.

We do not know whether the judge was acting out of fear or favour and we never will but we do know that his report is a disgrace to the principles of democratic accountability.

We live in a state where the media, and in particular the state media, readily allowed itself to be used and abused by the guilty Prime Minister in his cynical manipulation of the reporting of the judge’s report.

There was no angry, embarrassed or protest reaction by the media so it is reasonable to assume that the majority of our journalists are docile sheep more interested in careers and scoops than making the state accountable.

We live in a state where the chief legal officer, the Attorney General, can inform the guilty Prime Minister that the police had been involved in serious criminal activity for years and then turn around and deny to the commission that she ever made such an allegation.

We live in a state where the most senior police officer, who was involved in some very serious controversies one of which led to his sacking, can casually destroy large amounts of documents on the day he was dismissed by the guilty Prime Minister. It is almost certain that the destroyed documents would have provided the investigation with crucial evidence.

We live in a state where every single regulatory/law enforcement authority operates under the all embracing, all corrupting influence of our corrupt political system.

And because there is no law enforcement authority operating independently of our corrupt political system there will be no accountability. The state, as always, will act to protect the interests of the wrongdoers at the expense of democracy and the interests of the people.

We live in a state where the political/administrative system operates exclusively for the benefit of the corrupt ruling elite.

Fake regulatory authorities still betraying consumers

Grainne was on Liveline during the week telling the nation how she felt ripped off by a company that placed a limit on the life of her gift voucher.

She had a voucher worth €200 for a sky dive but because of bad weather there were several cancellations. Eventually, the company told her that she would have to pay a further €120 if she wanted to do the jump. It was all legal, all in the small print, she had no comeback.

For decades gift voucher scams have been endlessly discussed on shows like Liveline but nothing is ever done.

And nothing is done because all our so-called ‘regulatory authorities’ are fake. They are not set up to actually enforce the law but rather to give an impression of law enforcement. (See Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies)

The fake authority in this case is the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). There seems to be an inverse law that the more useless a regulatory body is the more cumbersome its title. It’s as if the organisation is trying to compensate for its complete lack of effectiveness with a long fancy title.

The CCPC also has a complex structure (again, it must be complex to impress and allow for buck passing) including an executive chairperson assisted by no less than four commissioners. All, no doubt on high salaries and generous expense accounts.

The CCPC was spawned from the merger of two other fake authorities – the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency.

So what will this super quango do if it’s not actually engaged in law enforcement?

Well, it’ll do what every other so called regulatory authority in Ireland does.

Conduct polls, carry out surveys, produce shiny/expensive annual reports and advise consumers to shop around while gobbling up millions in taxpayers’ money.

And it’s easy to monitor fake authorities like the CCPC. All we have to do is listen to victims like Grainne telling their stories on programmes like Liveline.

As soon as the airwaves go quiet regarding such scams we’ll know that consumers are receiving the protection they pay for.

Ripped off consumers are strongly advised not to hold their breaths.

Copy to:

Government introduces fake legislation on media mergers

I wrote recently about how our state is populated by fake regulatory authorities created to give the impression that Ireland is a functional democracy while at the same time allowing white-collar criminals free rein to plunder and rob at will.

Another device employed by our corrupt political/administrative system is the creation of fake legislation to give the impression that fake regulators have the power to bring white-collar criminals to account.

The latest, and most blatant example of this legislative fakery; is the recent announcement of plans to regulate the area of media ownership.

A report in the Irish Times tells us all we need to know about the fakery of this legislation.

The report reveals:

One: The legislation is based on guidelines. In other words, powerful media moguls will be presented with the guidelines and politely asked to abide by the non-enforceable principles contained in them.

Two: The guidelines will not be retrospective. This means that the enormously powerful and dangerous media mogul Denis O’Brien can retain the massive power and influence he already wields in the media sector.

Three: The 20% limit on ownership of media outlets is a joke. The Minister tells us that the like of O’Brien would find it more difficult to carry out mergers. ‘More difficult’ is a meaningless measure that will be laughed at by the likes of O’Brien.

Four: The guidelines are expected to say it is ‘undesirable’ for one person to hold excessive influence. Again, this is an utterly meaningless measure. Again, it will be laughed at by the likes of O’Brien.

Five: In an RTE interview (Drivetime, 49′) the Minister, Alex White, peddled the lie that it was not possible to make legislation retrospective, that to do so would raise very, very significant constitutional obstacles.

Six: In the same interview, as the Minister insulted and patronized the intelligence of listeners, he announced that it will be the minister who will make the final decision on whether a merger may go ahead or not.

It is this last aspect of the legislation that really makes it fake. Alex White operates within a corrupt political system that places the interests of powerful people far above the interests of the country or its citizens.

Copy to:
Minister White

Ansbacher: Alan Dukes and Mary Lou McDonald’s naming of names

Who is Alan Dukes referring to in this quote?

That particular intervention, in my view, was unprincipled, it was unscrupulous, it was despicable.

Is it the brutal terror group ISIS?

Is it the US policeman up on a murder charge for shooting a man in the back?

Or maybe he is referring to someone closer to home.

Perhaps Dukes is condemning the current Fine Gael led government for facilitating the bankers in their strategy of extracting every last cent from desperate mortgage holders.

No, none of these. This great pillar of the establishment was directing his outrage at Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald for her courageous attempts to expose the truth surrounding the very disturbing allegations emerging from the Ansbacher files.

And what McDonald is doing is courageous because she’s taking on some of the most powerful forces in this state. If even a fraction of the allegations made by the equally brave civil servant Gerard Ryan are true then we are looking at an appalling vista for some of the most influential and respected people in the land.

McDonald has claimed that her actions are in the public interest, I agree.

Dail privilege is specifically designed to allow politicians expose suspected wrongdoing in the public interest without fear of court action. It is a particularly powerful weapon in exposing attempted cover-ups by powerful political and/or state agencies.

Village Magazine published a redacted copy of Gerard Ryan’s report in its December/January 2014 issue that, in my opinion, clearly supports Mary Lou McDonald’s claim that she was acting in the public interest when she named names under Dail privilege.

This is just one extract from what can only be described as an explosive report. The series of full stops indicates a redacted section. The extract begins with a quote from the editor of Village Magazine.

In the following pages Village publishes the Ansbacher dossier which ‘Authorised Officer’ Gerard Ryan has been attempting to submit to the Public Accounts Committee. We print it because it seems to us there has been a whitewash to prevent investigation of its mostly tightly documented allegations of widespread offshore untaxed bank accounts being held by the political ascendancy.

Authorised Officer Gerard Ryan.

Following the change of government in 2011 I made two unsuccessful requests for a meeting with Minister Richard Bruton TD to discuss these matters. Subsequently I wrote to Minister Bruton, and later to Attorney General Maire Whelan S.C. enclosing a briefing note dealing with the above matters. I have never received a response to either letter.

I also spent a significant period of time preparing a witness statement at the request of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (the GBFI) in connection with the matters referred to above. I completed that statement and submitted it to Minister Bruton on 3 December 2012. Notwithstanding that this witness statement was requested by the GBFI to assist that agency in possible prosecutions arising from the matters uncovered by my investigations, Minister Bruton has, to the best of my knowledge, failed to forward the witness statement to the GBFI at any time in the period of almost 2 years since I submitted it to him.

As a consequence of the above, and in particular of the termination of incomplete investigations of evidence of significant……….followed by failure of various Ministers and agencies of the State to take any effective action to pursue these matters, the public interest in the collection of tax lawfully due and in the investigation and prosecution of Revenue offences has been ignored. It is also clear that the public interest in the disclosure of the matters referred to above has also been ignored.