Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Corrupt "elite" in Ireland don't go to jail

We live in a tin-pot shithole of a country where 272 people were jailed in 2012 for not paying their RTE licence fee (some inaccurately refer to it as a TV licence).  

If you are a corrupt planner, senior civil servant or politician – I'd better be careful here, as they might sue me – you can abuse your public position for personal gain, safe in the knowledge that your establishment  fellow-travellers in the judiciary will let you off. 

The following piece by Fintan O'Toole in today's Irish Times - with more examples - is well worth a read...

Ten things you can do in Ireland that almost certainly won’t land you in jail

Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 12:54

Beata Schmid has been told to turn up in the High Court in Dublin today packed for a trip to prison. An Garda Síochána has been told to make sure there are officers in court “with a view to conveying Ms Schmid to prison”.

Ms Schmid worked for a division of IBM Ireland and sees herself as a whistleblower. She told the court in her last appearance before Judge George Birmingham that she had discovered and reported “severe discrepancies” in sales records. She downloaded the data on to a memory stick which she took home. IBM then went to court and secured an order requiring her to hand over her laptop and the memory stick, which she did.

IBM then went back to court demanding the return of a second memory stick on to which it believes she made at least a partial copy of the data. She insists she does not have a second memory stick. The judge ordered her to produce it nonetheless and told her that she will go to prison today if she does not comply.

I make no comment on the rights and wrongs of this case. I don’t doubt at all that the court will apply the existing law fairly and with integrity. I merely draw attention to a certain poignancy – Beata Schmid, who rightly or wrongly sees herself as a corporate whistleblower, may well go to prison just days after the collapse of the trial of those accused of corrupting the planning process in Dublin.

Here are 10 things for which we can say with confidence that Beata Schmid almost certainly would not go to jail.

1 Systematically paying workers a significant portion of their wages “under the counter”, without deducting tax and insurance. And regularly sourcing the cash for these from local banks using fraudulent cheques made out to nonexisten 

individuals. (Goodman beef processors, as concluded by the beef tribunal.)

2 Undermining the integrity of a key State commercial competition by exerting an “insidious and perverse” and “pervasive and abusive” influence on the process. (Michael Lowry, Moriarty tribunal report.)

3 Acting in a manner that was “profoundly corrupt to a degree that was nothing short of breathtaking”. (Lowry and Ben Dunne, in relation to attempts to influence arbitration of rental payments to Dunne, Moriarty report.)

4 Making corruption “both systemic and endemic” at every level of Irish political life. (The Mahon tribunal)

5 Stealing money raised for a friend’s life-saving operation. The Moriarty tribunal found that Charles Haughey stole a  “sizeable proportion” of Brian Lenihan’s medical fund.

6 Committing perjury. Charles Haughey lied to the McCracken tribunal, claiming that he had not received money from Ben Dunne but later conceding he had done so. The Bailey brothers “hindered and obstructed” the Flood tribunal in a number of ways, including making untrue statements under oath. Not only did Mick and Tom Bailey each give false evidence under oath, but the tribunal found that they had colluded to concoct that evidence.

7 Insider trading. Both the Supreme Court and the Director of Corporate Enforcement concluded that businessman Jim Flavin had improperly used inside information in dealing in the shares of Fyffe’s. But a High Court inspector found that this was okay because “Mr Flavin genuinely believed that he was not in possession of price-sensitive information.” Perhaps uniquely in the developed world, insider trading in Ireland is not about objective facts but about one’s state of mind.

8 Covering up and repeatedly facilitating sexual attacks on children by known predatory paedophiles. (Several Irish bishops, the Murphy report.)

9 Operating a massive and systematic tax fraud against the State. In 1993, the then huge sum of £2 billion was held in nonresidential accounts the banks knew to be fraudulent. Allied Irish Bank alone had 88,000 “non-resident” accounts – thepractice was highly organised throughout virtually all Irish banks. The public accounts committee found it to be “an industrywide phenomenon”.

10 Manufacturing a therapeutic substance without a licence, not informing women that you knew had been infected withhepatitis C and not informing the Department of Health of the infection as you were obliged to do by law. (Senior management of the Blood Transfusion Service Board, Finlay report).

These are some of the socially destructive things you can do in Ireland, confident that there is a tiny chance you will beprosecuted, a tinier chance you will be convicted and a chance of going to jail that recedes towards vanishing point.

And this is not about the dark past: in the three years after the bank collapse, 2008, 2009 and 2010, the conviction rate for white-collar offences fell dramatically. In 2004, there were 467 convictions for white-collar crimes; in 2010, there were just 178. This is in spite of the fact that the number of recorded white-collar offences rose by 33 per cent in the same


A country that can’t enforce its own laws against acts that cause immense damage to citizens is not merely not a republic – it’s not even a functioning State. And only a dysfunctional State would be refusing to talk about the catastrophic failure of its

legal system.

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anna said...

yes - i read this today- thought it was excellent- also note the comments underneath which added a few more.
and never mind the deliberate corruption- carelessness re other peoples lives as well- sometime in the last 8- 10 yrs a drunk driver mowed down 2 people' matter. the judge said' this is a serious matter- and he got a fine and 18 months suspended sentence!
however thsi is about white collar crime- and it is Rampant

Nenad said...

You know ... I always wonder why terrorists kill the wrong people?

The Gombeen Man said...


I seem to remember an off-duty garda running over and killing someone too. The incident happened in Lucan, but the copper was breathalysed in Harcourt Street. Much further away and time to give any alcohol in the blood time to diminish (should it have been there, of course).

@ Ned.

Now that's an idea. Where's me balaclava!!!

John said...

Hi,GM, and what gets the main news? Pat Kenny goes to Newstalk, meed we say more.

The Gombeen Man said...

Hiya John. Yes, you're best away from it all. One paper devoted five pages to it, according to Morning Ireland.

Bulwark said...

I don't agree that it is a matter of social class, simply because, in Ireland, plenty of people don't go to jail

On one side, yes, those people he lists committed egregious criminal acts, some which usurp the very foundation and legitimacy of the Irish State (if any).

But on the other hand, how many times do you read in the papers of something like "Paddy O'Brien, of Ballybride, Co Dublin, with 172 previous convictions..." being involved in yet another criminal endeavour, successfully scratching No. 173, and getting off scott-free. Or remember convicted sex-attacker Graham Griffiths who avoided jailtime by being sentenced to paying his victim 15000 euro?

O'Toole is making it a social class issue, but I'm not sure if this is truly the case since there are plenty plenty of people out there getting away with almost murder.


The Gombeen Man said...

"Paddy O'Brien, of Ballybride, Co Dublin, with 172 previous convictions..." being involved in yet another criminal endeavour, successfully scratching No. 173, and getting off scott-free?"

That's a fair point B.

Nenad said...

Sorry lads, this is a bit OT again but just want your opinion on this. Check this out and read the comments: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/former-imf-director-ireland-wont-get-funds-to-cover-bank-costs-602335.html

And now this (comments again): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sXexdHr4kw

Let me know what you think ...

Bulwark said...

Nenad, I'm sure GM has more interesting (and defintely funnier) thoughts on the matter, but this is what I think about it.

What you see in these comments is what happens when the heavily indoctrinated belief of Irish Nationalism is confronted with the reality of it being a multi-dimensional disfunctional shithole: aggressive denial. So every time there is a negative opinion of Ireland being expressed (your YouTube video), every time that a policy will be decided upon that shows Ireland as a beggar of foreign funds (your BreakingNews article), you will get an aggressive and completely deluded argumentation to counter it. The more serious the implications are, the more insane the counter-arguments will be.

History is rife with nations using scapegoating to shield themselves from criticism, but is very thin on nations manning up and dealing with it. So at least in this, Ireland is the rule in all its mediocrity, not the exception.

The Gombeen Man said...

Great song, Ned.

The comments you speak of,sadly, describe a mentality that is all too prevalent here.

You can always turn moderation on your YouTube video. That saves you having to deal with such arseholes.

As Bulwark says, "aggressive and deluded" "arguments" abound in most forums here.

Nenad said...

Thanks for your support lads. Means a lot to me. I'll say more about this tomorrow.


Ella said...

Sure tis a great little country that we have here!?!?! (depending on your standing in Irish society of course...)

Nenad - knock off your comments or you'll be plagued with patriots.

Nenad said...

You're probably right!

Just a few remarks on the subject "Ireland won't get funds to cover bank costs":
Why should it? After what those Anglo-Irish-Tapes revealed!
Speaking about patriotism: Irish patriots should not not beg for foreign funds (as Bulwark mentioned). It's beneath them! They should cover the costs themselves. They are patriots after all ...

The Gombeen Man said...

There is also the small matter that it was Paddy and Mary "investror", both the "ordinary Irish people" beloved of Michael D, and shyster Irish institutions that created the debts in the first place.

But no, in true Irish fashion, they now say that it is the lenders fault, not theirs.

Always someone elses fault, and now I find myself having to take up the slack becuase 20% of them chose not to pay their mortages even though they can. Oh, and the banks can't go after them.

Mad place.