Elaine Byrne: Not speaking full truth to power




By Anthony Sheridan

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne and two or her colleagues, Hugh O’Connell and Barry J Whyte, recently wrote an extensive piece on the failings of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).

Similar articles on the issue of poor or non-existent state regulation have been penned by a long line of journalists in a long line of newspapers over a timescale of many decades.

They all have one thing in common – they fail, for various reasons, to speak the full truth.

So here’s the full truth in just four sentences:

One:       Those who wield power are responsible for enacting and enforcing anti-corruption laws that are critical to the proper functioning of a state.

Two:     When those in power fail in their duty to confront corruption, the state and its people suffer.

Three:   Ireland and its people have suffered enormously from the disease of corruption over the decades as a direct result of this failure.

Four:     The people who are directly and indisputably responsible for this failure are the three mainstream political parties – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

These four points should form the basis for every single article written by Irish journalists when they are addressing the issue of political and state corruption.

Unfortunately, Irish journalists have a very poor record of speaking truth to power. Instead, we get articles like that written by Ms. Byrne that pulls punches all over the place out of fear, ignorance or support for those who corruptly wield power.

For example, Ms. Byrne speaks of ‘governance failures’, ‘mistakes’, ‘shortcomings’ and ‘blunders

Here’s the truth: Those who wield power strip all regulatory authorities of power in a deliberate strategy that is specifically designed to protect the corrupt. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

Ms. Byrne also uses the royal ‘we’ instead of precisely identifying those who facilitate political and state corruption. For example, she tells us that:

We excel at the disease of implementation deficit.

Here’s the truth: The ‘we’ Ms. Byrne speaks of consists of the three mainstream political parties who have wielded power since independence. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

Ms. Byrne also writes about the ‘national addiction to reports’. There is no national addiction to reports. Irish citizens are fed up to their back teeth with reports and reports on reports that result in zero accountability.

Here’s the truth: The establishment of reports, reviews and tribunals is a strategy specifically designed by those who wield power to protect the corrupt.

So, as Mary and Joe soap make their case before an empowered judge the politically protected corrupt casually perjure themselves in front of a disempowered judge at a tribunal. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

To her credit Ms. Byrne is one of the very few commentators who have come even close to speaking truth to power.

Here’s how she wrote about a speech she made at the McGill Summer School in July 2012. She was speaking to an audience that would have included many of those responsible for protecting the corrupt.

Official Ireland is predominantly male, predominantly over 50 and predominantly people who earn over €100,000. For the most part, it includes the speakers at this MacGill summer school and those that attend it.

That didn’t go down too well. That part of my speech was greeted with an audible murmur of disapproval (my emphasis) at MacGill in Donegal last week.

Yet every single inquiry into public life that we have had in this country over the past 15 years has come down to one singular thing, the operation of power by Official Ireland. The political tribunals, the church scandals, the police inquiries, the hospital failures and the banking crisis were ultimately about the abuse of power.

She ended her article with this:

These mostly male, middle-aged decision makers are responsible for the (economic) collapse in the first place because they never shouted stop.

This is an example of what I mentioned at the beginning of this article – a failure to speak the full truth to power.

Here’s what needs to be said to the powers that protect the corrupt:

The three mainstream political parties of this country, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party are directly responsible for infecting the political and administrative systems of our country with the disease of corruption.

The evidence for this is overwhelming and indisputable. These are the parties that have wielded power since independence. These are the parties that have consistently and intentionally failed, power swop after power swop, to challenge the disease of corruption.

These are the parties that must be permanently removed from power if the people of Ireland are ever to enjoy the benefits of living in a functional democracy free of rampant political corruption.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne



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.



State failing in its duty to enforce law


By Anthony Sheridan

The following very serious allegations of criminal activity emerged during the recent Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

The deliberate destruction of evidence.

The coaching of witnesses.

The altering of witness statements.

The former solicitor for the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell has admitted that he destroyed evidence.

It has been accepted by the current Director of ODCE, Mr. Ian Drennan, that senior members of his staff participated in the coaching of witnesses and the altering of witness statements. It has also been acknowledged that the former Director of ODCE, Mr. Paul Appleby was involved in some of these activities.

The following three facts also emerged during the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

One: That Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two: That Supt. Lordan, after discussing the alleged crime with a colleague deemed it was not necessary to launch a Garda investigation.

Three: That the whole issue (the destruction of evidence) was outlined to Judge Mary Ellen Ring and she did not indicate that any issue should be raised with the Garda.

To my knowledge Garda officers do not have the power to decide whether or not an alleged crime should or should not be investigated. To my knowledge such decisions come strictly within the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is deeply disturbing that a judge, on being informed that evidence in a criminal trial had been deliberately destroyed, would not instruct the Gardai to investigate the matter.

It seems clear to me that the law enforcement agencies of the State are failing to act in an appropriate manner in response to the alleged crimes as outlined above.

With that in mind I have submitted the following complaints:


Formal complaint submitted to Cobh Gardai on 10 July concerning the alleged crimes of ODCE solicitor Mr. Kevin O’Connell and other staff members of the ODCE.

Formal Complaint

I wish to formally report the following allegations of criminal activity that emerged during the course of the trial of the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick.

One: That the former solicitor for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, contrary to law, deliberately destroyed documents that were relevant evidence in a criminal trial.

Two: That, contrary to law, witnesses were coached and statements altered by Mr. O’Connell and other senior civilian ODCE staff which resulted in the contamination of evidence.

Both of the above allegations have been accepted as true by Mr. O’Connell and the Director of ODCE, Ian Drennan.

(See attached ODCE press release).


Anthony Sheridan


Formal complaint submitted to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) against Chief Supt. Lordan concerning his decision not to investigate the destruction of evidence in a criminal trial.

11 July 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find complaint against Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, for failing to properly carry out his duty on coming into possession of significant evidence of criminal activity.

This complaint is based on a report in the Irish Times dated 23 May 2017 reporting on the trial of former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick (The full report is included below).

Specifically, the complaint is based on the following facts arising in the report.

One:  That Chief superintendent Lordan was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two:  That Chief Superintendent Lordan wrongly took it upon himself not to investigate the illegal destruction of said documents.


Anthony Sheridan

Note:  It was my intention to make a formal complaint against Judge Mary Ellen Ring for her failure to act on being informed about the destruction of evidence.  Unfortunately, it seems there is no authority in Ireland to which citizens can make complaints regarding the actions of judges.

Copy to:


Dept. of jobs, Enterprise and Innovation




Fitzpatrick decision: A Banana Republic decision


By Anthony Sheridan

If I was an establishment judge and wanted to make a questionable and disgraceful decision that would damage my country and its people I would announce my decision the day after a major international act of terrorism.

If I was an establishment politician responsible for setting up a law enforcement agency with a mandate to bring white-collar criminals to justice but who were also friends of my political class I would ensure that the agency was starved of funds, starved of effective legislation and led by compliant staff who were willing to operate under political instruction.


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.