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.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Monday, 22 July 2013

OMG! Seven years off Purgatory for tweeting the Pope is like soo cool

If there's one thing that got Martin Luther going it was "indulgences".   

A leading mover in the 16th century Protestant Reformation, Luther took exception to the idea of the Catholic Church taking cash, land, or favours from contributing Christians in exchange for a cushier life in the hereafter.  

Luther had his faults – being a vicous anti-semite was one – but you have to say he was principled in his way, and took a hard line on corruption and shysterism.   Principled, as opposed to promiscuous –  the main urge for Henry VIII's later expedient conversion to the reformed church.

Don't worry, we haven't gone all Holy Joe here on Gombeen Nation.   It's just that a reader brought attention to the story below, which tells of the Catholic Church getting all down and with it with the kids (as opposed to going down on the kids, please note).  

Yes, it seems that subscribing to Pope Frannie's Twitter account will shave a sweaty seven years off your time in Purgatory, should you end up there when you slip off the mortal coil.  

That's a hell of a deal, isn't it?  

And let them scoff.  When you're hopping on the heavenly escalator seven years before your fellow Purgatorians you can – in the spirit of true Christian charity – thumb your nose at them as they continue to sizzle on the subterranean griddle.

Hurry though, the offer won't last for all eternity.  

Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets

Papal court handling pardons for sins says contrite Catholics may win 'indulgences' by following World Youth Day on Twitter
Pope Francis, at Vatican
In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering "indulgences" to followers of Pope Francis' tweets.
The church's granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.
The remissions got a bad name in the Middle Ages because unscrupulous churchmen sold them for large sums of money. But now indulgences are being applied to the 21st century.
But a senior Vatican official warned web-surfing Catholics that indulgences still required a dose of old-fashioned faith, and that paradise was not just a few mouse clicks away.
"You can't obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine," Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
Indulgences these days are granted to those who carry out certain tasks – such as climbing the Sacred Steps, in Rome (reportedly brought from Pontius Pilate's house after Jesus scaled them before his crucifixion), a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.
But attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, a week-long event starting on 22 July, can also win an indulgence.
Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican's sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the "rites and pious exercises" of the event on television, radio and through social media.
"That includes following Twitter," said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. "But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on theinternet."
In its decree, the penitentiary said that getting an indulgence would hinge on the beneficiary having previously confessed and being "truly penitent and contrite".
Praying while following events in Rio online would need to be carried out with "requisite devotion", it suggested.
Apart from the papal Twitter account, the Vatican has launched an online news portal supported by an app, a Facebook page, and it plans to use the online social networking site Pinterest.
"What really counts is that the tweets the Pope sends from Brazil or the photos of the Catholic World Youth Day that go up on Pinterest produce authentic spiritual fruit in the hearts of everyone," said Celli.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Darndale horse and other scumbag sacrifices

Imagine my surprise whilst recently walking down nearby Navan Road, I spotted what looked like a dismembered horse's head placed on a gaudily attired human body (left).

I thought it might be the latest instance of Dublin's many scumbags torturing and killing sentient beings for their amusement. You know... because there's nothing else to do, like. See previous post's comment section.

Thankfully, it wasn't – just a rather unusual advert for Kitchenwise (right).  But back to serious matters.

My perception of urban animal cruelty is that it occurs mainly in "working class" areas - though many such areas contained a high "unemployed" cohort even during the boom, when there was near full employment in most other places.

There have been other instances of animal – not to mention people – cruelty covered on this blog at Smithfield, Finglas and Donaghmede. Now we have Darndale.

My own parents were working class inner-city Dubliners of many generations. The Ma having been brought up in York Street, Charlotte Street, Fatima Mansions and Crumlin. The Ol'fella Pearse Street and Sean McDermott Street. But scumbags they were not - and nor where most of their contemporaries, as far as I could gather. So where has all this come from?

Is it because people have been encouraged to pop 'em out in our "republic" for much of its history (remember contraceptives were effectively banned up until relatively recently) with little  thought for following up the feat with parenting?  

Is it because we are ruled by a gombeen political class that has set the bar for the whole country?  Or because we have an education system based on rote learning and conceived only to peddle bullshit and perpetuate existing class divisions?  One that is happy to see large sections of our population leave school early and illiterate, while the usual select goes off to Uni? 

Has each ignorant, brutalised generation just become worse with every subsequent manifestation?   The case of the horse having its ears lopped off and intestines ripped out just the latest expression?

We seem to have a lot of "this sort of thing" in Ireland when you consider our relatively small population per square metre. It's been bad as long as I can remember but, incredibly, it seems to be getting even worse.

It doesn't augur well for the future, does it?

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

Monday, 8 July 2013

Cyclist hurt by rope tied across road in Dublin.

You really have to wonder about the breed of über-scumbag being brought up these days in dear old Erin.  Particularly - I'm shamed to say it, as a Dubliner of many generations - in the capital.

What about this one below?  If this woman, or anyone else, had been on a motorcycle they would most likely have been decapitated.

And then we have the head of the Dublin Cycling Campaign witlessly advising the perpetrators on how they can hone their techniques...

Cyclist hurt by rope maliciously tied across road ‘hopes it’s a oneoff’

Monique Kelleher was knocked off her bicycle by a rope tied to two poles at head height
(Irish Indpependent 2 July 2013)

A WOMAN knocked off her bike and left with neck and hand injuries after schoolkids tied a rope across a road has said she will continue to cycle.
Monique Kelleher was cycling at night along Mercer Street in Dublin 2 when she hit the rope tied across to poles and went “flying”.

‘I was cycling past and my neck got caught in the rope causing me to fly off my bike and hit the ground,” she wrote in an online account, in which she also posted pictures of
her injuries.

“Luckily, I haven't broken any bones and have come away with light injuries, but someone else may not be so lucky.

‘I just want to warn other cyclists and the public that this is happening as I haven't heard of it before in Dublin,’ she wrote.

This morning, speaking on RTE Radio, Ms Kelleher said that the gardai are investigating the matter – and thanked a couple who came to her aid.

“They (gardai) said that it happened a couple of years back in a adjacent street to Mercer… but nothing more recent. The guards were brilliant and have been really helpful.
“The couple who did help me – they stayed for an hour. They were very helpful,” she added.
“I don’t know if it’s a once-off or not – I hope to think so.”

And she said the incident would not put her off cycling in the city.

“It will definitely make me make different choices on where I cycle, especially late at night.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign has branded the dangerous prank “absolutely unacceptable”.

The campaign's Mike McKillen said he wasn’t aware of this happening in the city before.
She was very lucky that it was just a string or a piece of rope. If it had been a wire, it could have killed her,” he told the Herald.

“This sort of thing is absolutely unacceptable.”

Given that the schools closed last Friday, the rope on Mercer Street may have been tied by local schoolkids, he added.

“It's a serious offence to do that. It's not a joke at all. I've never come across it before in Ireland. Cyclists have enough to contend with. That is the last thing they need.”

Back to Gombeen Nation main page