National lottery: More profit, more arrogance

When Premier Lotteries CEO Dermot Griffin was asked how much extra profit his company would make from the recent massive price increase he, effectively, told the nation to feck off and mind its own business.

This letter in today’s Irish Independent is a good answer to Mr. Griffin’s arrogance.

Against all odds, it’s the lottery

There’s a chance you could win a million or two or even three!

Come September, all it will cost you is €5. Your chance of winning is 11 million to one. You might also have to share with 10 or 20 other winners.

I’m speaking about the new format for the Irish Lotto. They say it will be much better. I think what they really mean is it will be much harder and a lot dearer.

It will be like picking the winner of a 30-runner field in the English Grand National. Plus you must forecast how many horses fall, what fence each horse falls at, what the jockey said as he was falling.

What each jockey had that morning for their breakfast, what colour underpants each jockey wore.

You must also name in correct order the first 10 finishers, you must also name every punter in attendance. Also their age, how much each has in their pocket and lastly their address.

I know it’s a little hard but it’s about the same odds you have of winning the new Irish Lotto.

OK, so do you want to play the new Lotto or answer the few simple questions above?

Fred Molloy
Dublin 15

Banking on a Happy Christmas :-)

So, as part of my Christmas preparations I needed a €100 note to accompany a card. No point in going to my local shop, I thought, better go straight to the local AIB bank and get a nice, crispy, brand new note.

No, sorry, we don’t deal in €100 notes.

What…but you’re a bank? You’re supposed to hold all currency denominations to serve your customers.

Sorry, we do get €100 notes from customers but we don’t hold them directly. Try the Post Office, Credit Union or maybe your local supermarket.

So, back to my local supermarket.

Yes Anthony, we do have €100 notes, how many would you like?

Happy Christmas and a very prosperous New Year to everybody.

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin breaks with commoner boyfriend

I see the highly talented, highly intelligent, beautiful and gifted Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin has broken up with her boyfriend, some guy with the funny/awkward name of Tubridy.

I’m not one for giving out personal advice, of course, but, really, she should try to find somebody from her own level of talent and ability.

RTE: How about a criminal series featuring corrupt politicians and bankers?

Letter in yesterday’s Irish Times

‘Love/Hate’ and drama


Judging from all the media coverage for the drama series Love/Hate, including in The Irish Times, it was by all accounts one of the most successful ever undertaken by RTÉ. There is no doubt that the characters in the series, drawn from working-class areas of Dublin, mirror those in real life, whose activities have devastated many a community throughout the country.

What a pity that RTÉ has never broadcast a series featuring the criminal activities of those politicians, bankers, developers and others from districts such as Dublin 4 and other affluent areas in the city and other parts of the country.

Could RTÉ create a series about these criminals who destroyed our county and ruined countless lives? Undoubtedly.
Would they be let? Never.

Yours, etc,

Bernard Neary
Dublin 7.

The truth about water

Letter in today’s Irish Times.


Water is the new oil. Mega-banks such as Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup and JP Morgan are buying up water resources, engineering infrastructure and water rights worldwide. They know that, as water becomes more scarce with climate change and population growth, there are vast profits to be made. In addition, the lucrative potential of “big data” means that Irish Water, as an asset, is far more valuable with PPS numbers attached than without. Not just water, but our very identities are being commercialised without our consent.

The privatisation of water transgresses all notions of natural justice and threatens ordinary citizens with withdrawal of a life-giving resource that nobody should ever have to live in fear of losing. Privatisation of public services has repeatedly been shown to have disastrous consequences, in terms of quality of service, workers’ rights and value for money.

Any country where access to the basic prerequisites of life can only be guaranteed to the wealthy is a failed society. We elect our politicians to run the country on our behalf, to distribute resources and to ensure a minimum acceptable standard of living for all citizens. In the perennial battle between ordinary citizens and the profit-seeking corporations that seek to dominate and exploit us, we pay our politicians so we can be sure they are on our side? Are they?

Yours etc,

Maeve Halpin,
Dublin 6.

A gangster state: Not even the dodgy are safe

So the EU thinks that our gangster state has been doing deals with companies like Apple – Shock horror.

But, a silver lining, the company may be forced to return a couple of billion of its ill-gotten gains to the state.

And what, one wonders, will the state make of this turn of events – happy days, I imagine.

It just goes to show that when it comes to dealing with our particular gangster state not even alleged tax evaders are safe.

Dept. of Justice: Still closed and secretive

The former Secretary General at the Department of Justice, Brian Purcell, resigned from his office on 28 July last.

Purcell resigned following a damning report that found a ‘closed, secretive, silo-driven culture’ at the department with ‘significant leadership and management problems.’

I rang the Dept. of Justice today for an update on Mr. Purcell’s position and experienced that closed, secretive culture at first hand.

I eventually got on to a civil servant who has not yet being infected with the secrecy virus.

Official one:

Me: Has Brian Purcell being reassigned yet?

Official: You’ll have to put that in writing.

Me: Why, it’s a very straightforward question. It’s public knowledge that he’s being reassigned. I just want to know has he been reassigned yet.

Official: I’m not privy to that information. I don’t know, I couldn’t answer that.

Me: Could you put me in touch with somebody who can answer my question?

Official: You’re going to have to send in any requests in writing, it’s an office policy here.

Me: Where does that office policy come from?

Official: It’s our own office policy, it helps us keep track of what’s coming in.

Me: So you’re telling me the Dept. of Justice doesn’t answer any questions whatsoever unless they are in writing.

Official: In this office it has to be in writing.

Me: Really, does your office have that rule in writing?

Official: I’m only new at the job here so….

Me: Ok, but you are making a statement about the office policy which is very important.

Official: I don’t want to give you any information that’s incorrect.

Me: Ok, could you put me on to somebody who can tell my about your office policy.

Official: Can you hold the line for a second?

Me: Yes, thank you.

The official transferred me to another office.

Me: Has Brian Purcell being reassigned yet?

Official: No, not yet.

Me: When do you expect that to happen?

Official: The post has been advertised and the closing date is 18 September so it won’t be before then.

Me: Thank you.

Data Protection Commissioner responds to the secrecy surrounding the naming of election poster violators

The Data Protection Commissioner has responded to my question regarding data protection and the naming (or not) of candidates and political parties who have been fined for failing to remove election posters in the recent local and European elections.

Dear Mr. Sheridan,

I refer to your recent email query to this Office in relation to the publication by local authorities of persons fined for not removing election posters.

“Name and Shame” schemes may involve disclosure of sensitive personal data (criminal convictions).

Such disclosure requires either the consent of the individual or some other legitimiser in the Data Protection Acts.

Disclosure as part of a “name and shame” policy requires a specific legal provision which triggers Section 8(e) of the Data Protection Acts (“required by or under any enactment or by a rule of law or order of a court”).

An example is the Fines Act 2010 which provides in Section 21 for the publication by the Courts Service of a list of persons who have not paid fines.

In the absence of a legal basis, the position of this Office is that the publishing of names and addresses of private individuals fined or convicted, whether by ways of publication on local authority websites or by way of notices published in the local press (notices paid for by the authority rather than court reports) is likely a breach of the principles of data protection as set down in the Data Protections Acts 1988 & 2003.