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Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan

offsite link 13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips

offsite link Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony

offsite link Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young

offsite link Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien

offsite link Interview with Cathal Goulding Mon Dec 26, 2016 17:11 | Cathal Goulding

offsite link Trump, Russia and the CIA Sat Dec 10, 2016 18:23 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link Why is my rent so high? Mon Oct 31, 2016 18:51 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link State failing in its duty to enforce law

offsite link Elaine Byrne/Fergus Finlay: Afraid to condemn their own? Anthony

offsite link Jobstown trial exposes mainstream bias Anthony

offsite link RTE: Blatant censorship and manipulation of news Anthony

offsite link In the event of a terrorist attack…in Ireland Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Anthony
    By Anthony Sheridan   Corruption expert Elaine Byrne is correct to criticise members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for their sometimes over-robust comments regarding the Garda Commissioner?s evidence in front of the Committee (Sunday Business Post, 25 June). But I suspect Ms. Byrne, in common with all establishment journalists, is using the … Continue reading "Elaine Byrne/Fergus Finlay: Afraid to condemn their own?"

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne is correct to criticise members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for their sometimes over-robust comments regarding the Garda Commissioner?s evidence in front of the Committee (Sunday Business Post, 25 June).

But I suspect Ms. Byrne, in common with all establishment journalists, is using the relatively minor issue of comment-happy politicians to avoid facing the brutal reality of police corruption. For nearly twenty years now, beginning with the Donegal scandal, we have witnessed an avalanche of police corruption.

The single most obvious observation regarding this constant stream of corruption within the force is the complete lack of accountability.

No charges, no court cases, no jail time. This is the norm in a dysfunctional democracy like Ireland.

The current Garda Commissioner, Norin O?Sullivan, is continuing this dishonourable and disgraceful tradition of circling the wagons to, effectively, protect the corrupt at the expense of democracy and the interests of the Irish people.

In a functional democracy Ms. O?Sullivan would have been sacked long ago and, in all likelihood, find herself under criminal investigation.

And as I mentioned above, Ms. Byrne is not the only journalist/opinion maker with a disturbing tendency to focus on the irrelevant in order to avoid confronting the disease of corruption that?s rampant among the upper echelons of Irish society.

Fergus Finlay, an uncompromising, loyal supporter of the establishment, has worn his fingers to the bone battering out article after article on his keyboard in response to the never-ending stream of corruption scandals that have caused so much suffering and damage to Ireland and its people.

Yet, much like Ms. Byrne, Finlay never, ever actually identifies the source of corruption in Ireland ? the mainstream political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

Indeed, in a recent article Mr. Finlay went out of his way to clearly state that the political system is not corrupt. After nearly wringing his hands off in anguish over the State?s continuing failure to deal with poverty, hunger and abuse of children Finlay absolves the politicians and places the blame firmly with the royal ?we?.

These things have happened because of the choices we?ve made.

And in case ?we? haven?t got the message Finlay hammers it home by dismissing recent political scandals such as that involving Marie Whelan, Mary Mitchell O?Connor and Shane Ross as pathetic parochial pettifogging.

Apparently, there is no connection between political shenanigans (corruption in functional democracies) and the suffering and injustices inflicted on the vulnerable, according to Finlay.

In 20 years? time, none of those pathetic parochial pettifogging political issues will matter a damn. They don?t matter a damn now.

He goes on:

The Government made a hames of it and the opposition and media are making a meal of it. But that?s all it is ? no corruption, no crime, no illegality. Just stupid political mismanagement, made worse as usual because no-one can admit a mistake.

No corruption, no crime, no illegality ? just some (innocent) political mismanagement.

This seems to be the rallying cry for establishment journalists like Byrne and Finlay when it comes to defending our corrupt political system.

They simply refuse to acknowledge that (Political) corruption is rampant, (white-collar) crime is rampant and illegality is rampant throughout the upper echelons? of Irish society.

It is not, I suspect, that they are unaware of the brutal truth but rather that they don’t have the courage to condemn their own.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

Note:

It has always been my practice to send a copy of articles I write to those I criticise. Recently however, Mr. Finlay finally lost patience with reading my analysis of his views and angrily blocked me from his twitter account. He had no need to block me; a simple request to desist from sending my articles would have been sufficient.

Here?s the article that so angered Mr. Finlay.

 

 

Anthony
    By Anthony Sheridan   This letter in today’s Irish Times perfectly pinpoints the blatantly unprofessional, pro-establishment stance of mainstream media.   Coverage of Jobstown trial Sir, Your coverage of the acquittal of the Jobstown Six was bizarre. It would have been easy from a cursory glance at the stories and analysis to miss … Continue reading "Jobstown trial exposes mainstream bias"

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

This letter in today’s Irish Times perfectly pinpoints the blatantly unprofessional, pro-establishment stance of mainstream media.

 

Coverage of Jobstown trial

Sir,

Your coverage of the acquittal of the Jobstown Six was bizarre. It would have been easy from a cursory glance at the stories and analysis to miss the central point: that they were acquitted.

Your focus instead on the alleged ?contempt? by Paul Murphy and his supporters in using social media to highlight their case did not adduce a single jot of evidence that the jury saw or were influenced by their activities ? if there had been such evidence you can be sure the trial would have been halted.

Yet the logic was clear ? the implicit suggestion was that if they did get off it was only because they ran an improper, raucous campaign alongside the trial.

That is a calumny not unlike the libellous suggestions made in the UK at the time of the acquittal of the Birmingham Six that they were probably guilty.

What happened in the Dublin trial was that a jury bravely defied conventional wisdom and the establishment to strike a blow for freedom of assembly.

More power to them.

Yours, etc,

PADRAIG MAGOWAN,

Brussels.

 

Anthony
      By Anthony Sheridan   RTE continues its alarming lurch from the status of national broadcaster to that of a broadcaster servile to the requirements and defence of politicians and other powerful figures in Irish society. The station?s disgraceful coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial is just the latest example … Continue reading "RTE: Blatant censorship and manipulation of news"

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

RTE continues its alarming lurch from the status of national broadcaster to that of a broadcaster servile to the requirements and defence of politicians and other powerful figures in Irish society.

The station?s disgraceful coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial is just the latest example of this disturbing trend.

I have submitted the following complaint to RTE in response to this latest failure to properly act according to its mandate.

 

 

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find formal complaint regarding the manipulation and censorship of news by RTE in its coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

Background: There are three reasons why the collapse of this trial constitutes a major news event of national importance:

One: Sean Fitzpatrick was central to the creation of Anglo Irish Bank, a bank whose collapse cost the taxpayer ?35 billion and played a significant role in the economic catastrophe that has destroyed the lives of countless thousands of Irish citizens since 2008.

The collapse of Anglo Irish Bank and the ensuing economic collapse resulted in the forced emigration of 300,000, mostly young, Irish citizens. Mass unemployment coupled with massive loss of personal wealth particularly in housing, savings and pensions.

Widespread despair and loss of confidence in the future, a factor that contributed to hundreds of suicides. A very serious and dangerous loss of faith in the political system coupled with a serious loss of faith in the professionalism and objectivity of state agencies particularly those charged with regulation.

A heightened and justified suspicion regarding the standards of professional and objective balance of media outlets and in particular the balance and objectivity of the national broadcaster, RTE.

Two: The trial of Mr. Fitzpatrick was the longest and most important criminal trial in the history of the state. Even if this trial were a standard trial with none of the consequences listed above it would still warrant serious, in-depth analysis and coverage particularly by RTE which has an obligation to provide such coverage.

Three: The failings of the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) that were the direct cause of the collapse of the trial raises extremely serious questions regarding the procedures, professionalism and honesty of those responsible for investigating such cases. These failings are in and of themselves grounds for major news coverage coupled with professional, in-depth and rigorous questioning by RTE of all the parties involved.

RTEs Public Service Statement outlines the broadcaster?s obligation:

Providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of Irish and international politics and public affairs and contributing to an informed citizenship.

RTE failed in its obligation to properly report, explain and analyse the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

This complaint is composed of two parts.

ONE: The editorial decision taken by RTE management to prohibit any reference whatsoever to the story on the news and current affairs programme, The Late Debate.

TWO: The minimalist and carefully choreographed management of the story across all of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes.

The Late Debate:

The Late Debate is one of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes. The programme is described on its website as follows:

Cormac Ó hEadhra presents live debate and analysis of all the news and political stories of the day, including coverage of today’s events in the Oireachtas

The show is broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of every week and, as the above description indicates, covers all the news and political stories of the day.

This did not happen in response to the collapse of the Fitzpatrick trial.

On Tuesday 23 May the dramatic and highly newsworthy collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial occurred but RTE, for whatever reason, prohibited any mention of the story on The Late Debate.

On Wednesday 24 May, despite universal coverage and analysis across all other media outlets, RTE, for whatever reason, prohibited any mention of the story on The Late Debate.

On Thursday 25 May, despite continuing widespread coverage and analysis across all other media outlets, continuous reaction from politicians, press editorials and opinion makers, RTE for whatever reason, prohibited any mention of the story on The Late Debate.

I use the word ?prohibited? here for the following reasons:

The singular fact that such an important and immediately current news story was not discussed in any manner or form strongly suggests news manipulation. The total silence of the presenter and the numerous politicians and journalists who participated in discussion over the three-day period adds weight to the charge of news manipulation.

Even if a story is unlisted for coverage it is common practice for RTE presenters to ask questions and request opinion from panel members regarding recent or breaking stories. Over the three day period, despite the massive background presence of this major news story, the presenter of the programme Cormac Ó hEadhra made no reference whatsoever to the scandal. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that Mr. Ó hEadhra was acting under instructions from a higher authority.

On the three nights in question, politicians and journalists formed part of the discussion panels. Despite the massive background presence of this major news story no politician or journalist made any reference whatsoever to the issue. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that all panel members were acting under instructions from RTE management to remain silent on the issue.

The minimalist and carefully choreographed management of the story across all of RTEs flagship news and current affairs programmes during the three days of 23/24/25 May.

RTE made no effort whatsoever to interrogate or challenge government ministers, government officials or, most critically, officials from the ODCE in response to this major scandal.

A brief summary of RTEs coverage between 23 May when the story broke to 25 May when the story was effectively killed off by RTE clearly exposes RTEs minimalist strategy in covering this scandal.

23/24 May ? Drivetime: Less than 30 minutes coverage over the two days consisting of short reports by RTE journalist Orla O?Donnell and a brief interview with Sunday Business Post journalist Tom Lyons.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

Six One News and Nine News: Standard news reports on the collapse of the trial coupled with cosy chats between RTE journalists principally focusing on the judges decision and lack of resources for the ODCE.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

23 May – Prime Time: Yet another report on the background of Sean Fitzpatrick and Anglo Irish Bank followed by a cosy chat between RTE journalist and a journalist from Independent News and Media.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

24 May ? Morning Ireland: A brief six minute interview with Roisin Shortall of the Social Democrats raising questions in relation to the part played by the ODCE in the scandal. This was the one and only reference to the scandal by Morning Ireland.

This virtual news blackout by one of RTEs most listened to current affairs programmes is in itself a blatant and disgraceful manipulation of news.

27 May ? Saturday with Claire Byrne: The collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial was not discussed in any shape or form on this programme.

The disgraceful failure to discuss the scandal on this programme amounts to nothing less than news censorship that benefitted the interests of politicians and other powerful people while damaging the interests of the Irish people and the professional reputation of RTE as an objective broadcaster.

28 May – The Week in Politics: Brief discussion between minor politicians on the scandal.

No government ministers, no government officials, no ODCE officials questioned. No in-depth analysis, no hard questions.

It is not a defence to claim that adequate news coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial was impossible because of the parallel terrorist attack in Manchester. Many other stories of much less importance than that of the trial collapse received ongoing coverage. For example, the Fine Gael leadership campaign continued to receive wall-to-wall coverage and priority over all other stories.

RTEs policy of employing it?s own journalists to chat with each other in response to major scandals is lazy and unprofessional journalism.

There is also a growing suspicion among listeners and viewers that the policy is a deliberate strategy designed to protect politicians and other powerful people from being made accountable.

The abject failure of RTE to provide in-depth and robust coverage of the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial is just the latest example of the station?s alarming drift from the status of national broadcaster to that of servile government broadcaster.

 

Copy to:

RTE Complaints

RTE Director General

All RTE journalists involved in the story

Anthony
  By Anthony Sheridan Following recent terrorist attacks in the UK there has been a great deal of discussion about how prepared Irish security agencies are in the event of a similar attack here. Here?s what will happen in the event of an attack. Police Commissioner Noreen O?Sullivan will immediately declare that the attack is … Continue reading "In the event of a terrorist attack…in Ireland"

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Following recent terrorist attacks in the UK there has been a great deal of discussion about how prepared Irish security agencies are in the event of a similar attack here.

Here?s what will happen in the event of an attack.

Police Commissioner Noreen O?Sullivan will immediately declare that the attack is a legacy issue as it occurred in the past and, as she is operating in the present, it has absolutely nothing to do with her. However, she will reassure everybody that as soon as she finds her phone she?ll report the matter…to somebody.

Taoiseach in waiting Leo Varadkar will courageously take time out from planning his latest strategy to bring welfare cheats to justice to express full confidence in O?Sullivan?s determination to continue monitoring the activities of Sinn Fein and water protesters.

The establishment media will suspend their propaganda campaigns against Sinn Fein and left wing parties and engage in a massive talk-in among themselves on how best to ignore the new reality and return to their comfortable bubble of irrelevant self-importance.

The Government will appoint an exhumed judge, all retired judges being currently busy, to conduct a tribunal of inquiry into the attack and thereafter refuse to answer any questions in case it would prejudice the outcome.

The Government Press Office will issue a statement expressing confidence that the Garda Rapid Response Unit will arrive at the scene before the tribunal issues its final report.

Anthony
  By Anthony Sheridan Comedian Oliver Callan, as usual, wrote a brilliantly funny and cuttingly accurate analysis of the farcical election campaign between Varadkar and Coveney. But former Minister Gemma Hussey from the Marie Antoinette wing of Fine Gael was not happy with what she described as  ?this appalling stuff?. Callan?s mocking and derisive tone when … Continue reading "Gemma Hussey: Fine Gael’s Marie Antoinette"

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Comedian Oliver Callan, as usual, wrote a brilliantly funny and cuttingly accurate analysis of the farcical election campaign between Varadkar and Coveney.

But former Minister Gemma Hussey from the Marie Antoinette wing of Fine Gael was not happy with what she described as  ?this appalling stuff?.

Callan?s mocking and derisive tone when writing about Fine Gael political aristocrats only adds to the general cynicism surrounding politics she thundered.

How can people (the peasantry) ever hope to become full citizens of our democracy if they?re subject to such bitter and crass attacks on members of the ruling elite, she asks.

Gemma Antoinette doesn?t expand on what she means by ?full? citizenship or ?our? democracy but I suspect she?s referring to those peasants who are obedient to and appropriately respectful of the ruling class made up of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Hussey’s letter below:

Sir,

Oliver Callan is a terrific comedian and mimic. But as a political columnist, he is bitter and crass (?Leo and Simon are the brand leading the bland”), Opinion & Analysis, May 29th).

The mocking, derisive tone of his piece on the Fine Gael leadership contenders is a case in point. Should you not think for a moment whether such appalling stuff is partly responsible for the general cynicism and disengagement about politics which puts people off becoming full citizens of our democracy, a democracy which we?re lucky to have?

Yours, etc,

Gemma Hussey,

Dublin 4.

 

Anthony
  By Anthony Sheridan I’ve just been listening to the special sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (Room 3) investigating the scandal surrounding financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore. The atmosphere is more tense and more dramatic than any TV thriller. Auditors and senior civil servants responsible for making sure the Gardai obey … Continue reading "Gardai under pressure from PAC"

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I’ve just been listening to the special sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (Room 3) investigating the scandal surrounding financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore.

The atmosphere is more tense and more dramatic than any TV thriller.

Auditors and senior civil servants responsible for making sure the Gardai obey the law, just like the rest of us. are hanging each other out to dry in an increasingly desperate attempt to distance themselves from the overwhelming stench of corruption emanating from our by now hopelessly compromised police force.

I feel strange saying this but the chair of the committee, Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming, is doing a great job in getting answers from these very uncomfortable civil servants.

The Committee is on break at the moment but resumes action at 5 pm.

Well worth a listen for the drama and to witness just how rotten our police force and administrative system really is.

 

 

 

Anthony
  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 … Continue reading "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.

 

Anthony
    By Anthony Sheridan Independent TD Mattie McGrath is a dangerous ignoramus and is therefore unfit to serve as a public representative. His condemnation of those who have objected to the handing over of the ?300 million maternity hospital to the Sisters of Charity clearly and disgracefully displays his ignorance of the heinous crimes … Continue reading "Mattie McGrath TD: A dangerous ignoramus"

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Independent TD Mattie McGrath is a dangerous ignoramus and is therefore unfit to serve as a public representative.

His condemnation of those who have objected to the handing over of the ?300 million maternity hospital to the Sisters of Charity clearly and disgracefully displays his ignorance of the heinous crimes against humanity committed by the Catholic Church over many decades.

I think this row is a storm in a teacup. As far as I can see it?s a just a bash the nuns period in Ireland.

When I hear morons like McGrath make such ignorant comments I think of the depraved priest Fr. Reynolds who admitted to abusing more than twenty girls, one of which he raped by inserting a crucifix into her vagina and back passage.

Reynolds is just one of thousands of priest, nuns and brothers responsible for the holocaust of abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church against children and adults.

It is the long history of heinous crimes against humanity by the Catholic Church that forms the basis for the widespread revulsion of the Government?s decision to hand over the proposed ?300 million National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity.

But according to McGrath the almost universal horror in response to Government plans is nothing more than a storm in a teacup.

There can be only two reasons for McGrath?s extreme views and ignorance.

Either he hasn?t read any of the many reports of recent years outlining in disgusting detail the countless accounts of horrific abuse carried out by priests and nuns or he is aware of these reports but believes the current objections to the handing over of the hospital to the Catholic Church constitute a greater injustice than the decades of horror.

If McGrath has not read or sufficiently informed himself of the crimes committed by the Catholic Church then he is unfit to serve as a public representative.

If he is aware of the crimes but still believes, as he has stated, that the objections are actually outrageous sectarian attacks on the nuns, then it is reasonable to conclude that his natural morality has been seriously damaged by the warped morality of the Catholic Church.

Here?s an example of the brutal reality McGrath?s damaged morality refuses to see.

Extract from the Ryan Report:

One person described how they attempted to tell nuns they had been molested by an ambulance driver, only to be “stripped naked and whipped by four nuns to ‘get the devil out of you.?

Another described how they were removed from their bed and “made to walk around naked with other boys whilst brothers used their canes and flicked at their penis.?

Yet another was “tied to a cross and raped whilst others masturbated at the side.?

McGrath compounds his ignorance by supporting what I call the idiot?s myth regarding the running of hospitals by nuns. This idiot?s myth claims that if only the nuns were put back in charge of hospitals all the problems besetting the health service would instantly disappear.

Put in a couple of nuns with buckets and scrubbing brushes supervised by a matron with the mindset of a parade ground sergeant major and they would be performing open heart surgery before you could say ? most Irish politicians are gombeen morons.

Here?s McGrath?s response when asked if religious orders should be taken out of the health service completely.

They are mainly out of it and we can see the bedlam. When we had matrons and sisters in charge of the hospitals, they were clean, they were efficiently ran, they weren?t over staffed with managers and they did a good job.

Here?s the reality that McGrath?s damaged morality is incapable of comprehending.

Extract from the Murphy Report:

The complainant alleged that the nun was complicit in the abuse on these occasions and that the nun herself participated in the abuse and watched it taking place. She alleged that she was gang-raped by three or four men in that house and that Fr. Cassius was one of the participants in the rape.

McGrath and ignorant politicians like him are unfit for public office.

Copy to:

McGrath

 

 

Anthony
  By Anthony Sheridan During a debate on the issue of the Dail prayer Independent TD Mattie McGrath revealed the following astonishing incident. We had a Muslim delegation here recently (meeting with a Dail committee) and we stood for ten minutes listening to their prayers before we started. It is an absolute disgrace that any … Continue reading "Religion should have no control over the political process"

 

Religion VS Politics

By Anthony Sheridan

During a debate on the issue of the Dail prayer Independent TD Mattie McGrath revealed the following astonishing incident.

We had a Muslim delegation here recently (meeting with a Dail committee) and we stood for ten minutes listening to their prayers before we started.

It is an absolute disgrace that any religious rite would be allowed such access and control over members of a so-called democratic republic.

Copy to:

Mattie McGrath TD

 

Public Inquiry >>

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