Taoiseach’s diary: 2006

As part of an ongoing process we have FoId the appointments diary of the Taoiseach, from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2006. The Department of the Taoiseach has redacted certain information from the diaries:

Redactions marked A are Section 28 Personal Information
Redactions marked B are Section 2 Functions of Taoiseach as member of a Political Party
Redactions marked C are Section 24 Northern Ireland/International Affairs

The Financial Regulator

I don’t want this post to seem like an “I told you so” post. But it might appear that way. I started irishcorruption.com/publicinquiry.eu back in 2005. One of the biggest issues myself and my uncle Anthony covered, and still cover on that blog, is the lack of regulation of the banks. And when the country was in a credit boom, and nobody, or at least very very few, were asking questions about regulation of the banks, myself, and to a much deeper degree Anthony where highlighting this issue ad nauseum. Almost all of these posts were also copied to the office of the Financial Regulator.

August 22, 2005 Toothless IFSRA
August 25, 2005 Allied Irish Banks investigates itself
September 28, 2005 Banana Republic
October 10, 2005 Irish/Italian accountability
November 15, 2005 The sheriff is not for the good guys
December 13, 2005 Irish (Banks) Mafia
December 23, 2005 Legal actions, dodgy dealings and resignations
January 9, 2006 The (Irish financial) Wild West Show
March 24, 2006 Still waiting for law enforcement
March 26, 2006 Former AIB executives settle with Revenue for €323,313
June 7, 2006 Ireland – The Wild West of European finance
August 1, 2006 Irish Financial Regulator – Bizarre and toothless
August 2, 2006 Rampant corruption – rampant profits
September 28, 2006 A corrupt state
October 13, 2006 Bank robbers and bank robbers
December 12, 2006 Failing to make connections
December 14, 2006 Maintaining the illusion
January 23, 2007 State contempt for consumers
March 20, 2007 Irish Financial Regulator – Betraying the consumer
April 4, 2007 The Financial Regulator, banks and credit unions
April 25, 2007 Insider watchdog
May 3, 2007 It’s all in the mind
June 17, 2007 AIB: Still ripping off customers with impunity
June 13, 2007 Man of steel turns to straw
August 23, 2007 A corrupt and secretive financial market
August 21, 2007 Dublin – A conduit for dodgy deals?
August 27, 2007 Dublin operation – A sloppily-run pig sty

And that’s just the first two years of blog posts. Never let anyone tell you that no one could have seen what was coming.

The Digest – Dec 20 2009

Your Sunday supplement – some stuff I find interesting, you may too. The rest of them here.

– Home

This article from the Wicklow People about certain officials’ activities in relation to the granting of a waste permit, a deal worth almost €400,000 to local landowners, raised my eyebrows.

A FORMER director of Environmental Services at Wicklow County Council had a signed waste permit and removed and replaced with an unsigned version.

Papers released by the Department of the Environment under the Freedom of Information Act show that the existence of the permit only came to light after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it had a copy of the permit retained in its files.

The battle of wills between the department of the environment, John Gormley (head of the department, incidentally) and Dublin City Council, relating to the Poolbeg Incinerator, continues. John Gormley opposes what his own department, in conjunction with the council, is doing in his own constituency. During the week he appointed an inspector to investigate the contract for the incinerator. Bizarre stuff, altogether.

Constantin Gurdgiev has published a leaked memo indicating that Irish researchers won’t have access to E-Journals for much longer. Our third level institutes are going back to paper and print, it seems, as the rest of the world moves online. Underfunding is looking terminal, bring back fees, for fuck sake, I say. Also: a partially related post from Ferdinand Von Prondzynski.

Anthony McIntyre, former IRA Volunteer, prisoner in Long Kesh and member of the Republican movement, on the inactions of Gerry Adams in relation to his brother Liam being a child sex abuser.

On RTÉ’s This Week Gerry Adams says his father, also Gerry, also a republican of note in his day, was a child abuser too.

World and Other below the fold…

Continue reading “The Digest – Dec 20 2009”


I was looking through the RTÉ online archives the other day and found the clip below from May 2006. I thought it may interest some of our readers, given that we’re nearing the end of 2009.

Decentralisation, another light-bulb political idea that has cost the exchequer dearly. When big decisions are being made for political rather than practical reasons, without being fully thought through, something is going to go wrong.

There are now millions of euro worth of empty sites dotted around the country which were bought – some at the height of the property market – to accommodate departmental sections due to arrive in the area under the decentralisation program. Some of these sites were bought as recently as 2006.

The program has been squandering money since its Charlie McCreevy inspired inception in 2003. A 2005 report by the Public Accounts Committee detailed 600% overspending on some projects. In his Budget announced in November 2008 Brian Cowen shelved the plans until 2011. It is widely accepted decentralisation will now be conveniently forgotten.

What becomes of the lands is anyone’s guess, their values are going through the floor.

The Kenny Report

Irish Labour have a scanned version of the Kenny Report online, but in a somewhat difficult to read format. I downloaded their version and subjected it to some OCR processes in Abbyy Reader. The document is not 100% OCRd, but is now largely so (I have not spell checked every word or checked for other errors). I also split most pages so that it is easier to read, and it is now available to search on Scribd.com, or download from there if you wish. This OCR should be considered Beta, I will come back to it and do a better job soon.

I’ve also uploaded a Microsoft Word version of the OCR (you can see the errors and mistakes). If anyone wants to help make a new correct and fully digital version of the Kenny Report, please let me know.

I’ve also uploaded a raw version to Google Docs. If you want to help, seek to become a collaborator.

Sympathies for a sex offender… again

Danny Foley - convicted today.
Danny Foley - convicted today. (Photograph The Irish Times)

Around fifteen years ago in Duagh, Co Kerry, a man named Liam Sheehy raped a local woman in her car. She was giving him a lift home from the town when he pulled the handbrake and raped her.

During the trial a retired principal of the local community college gave character evidence on his behalf, as did the local parish priest, a supervisor in Munster Electronics and a well-respected veterinary surgeon. Despite this he was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Although Sheehy had no personal involvement in what Mr Justice Morris called “disgraceful conduct by misguided persons” around Duagh in a campaign against the rape victim and her family, one did emerge. Continue reading “Sympathies for a sex offender… again”

The Digest – Dec 13 2009

The weekly round-up. Last week’s here.


How I missed this one last week, I don’t know; Fergal’s excellent piece on the social dynamics, misconceptions and misinterpretations of fascism, and around the word ‘fascist’.

Watch out, The Guardian; Elaine Byrne is looking for help investigating the accounts of a 1940s Irish politician.

Nyder O’Leary with the most thought-provoking piece I’ve read on the Budget, and wider economic thinking, anywhere – blogs or newspapers.

It was suggested several times that a third tax rate on high earners should be applied. This was rejected on the basis that it wouldn’t raise any real revenue, and that many of these people would probably up and leave the country (like, say, the owner of Newstalk). This is, quite probably, true. The tax wouldn’t be any great economic benefit; and yet it would set an entirely different tone to who we value most in our culture. It would have told the wealthy that a significant responsibility for the country’s well-being lay with them. It would have said that we don’t judge the worth of an individual in monetary terms. It would have sent a message that, if a rich individual felt they had no duty to society and wanted to retreat to a tax haven, then they could fuck right off and we’d be happy to pay for their ticket; that this super-class are due no more respect than a care assistant or street-sweeper.

John McGuirk in stirring-up-lefties shocker; “The Sickest part of Green Culture”

Ehem. Marc Colemanwrites in The Indo on Brian Lenihan;

Heroism is not an overstatement to describe the man’s achievement. But the Greeks do tragedy as well as mythology.

Like many other high achievers, Lenihan is a Belvedere boy. One of the few private schools on Dublin’s northside, Belvedere boys are known for their lack of snobbery, their decency and their charity to others. But they have a flaw: they have a sense that they alone are always right. And often, this is true.

“Hero; A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.”

Might have to ask The Frontline Alliance about how they feel about ‘Fianna Fail ministers for finance’ being added to the definition.

Anyway, onto…


Continue reading “The Digest – Dec 13 2009”

"Same people… influencers, same holders of power"

I was on Adrian Weckler’s blog earlier watching recommended clips on Youtube when I happened upon the one below via the ‘related videos’ function.

It’s Matt Cooper talking at the Irish Institute of European Affairs Young Professionals Network.

Now, ignore the fact it was a “Young Professionals” event – seeing as he speaks about elitism, sameness, people being treated certain ways because they’re wealthy etc – and have a listen.

The last two minutes particularly (this was filmed a few days before the Budget…)

I worry, as well, about… I about things like… for example recently, the Farmleigh initiative whereby an awful lot of the failures of Irish life – the guys who were treated with extraordinary deference because they’re wealthy – went up, as if they had no responsibility for the mess we’re in [like] “we’re the guys who have all the ideas to dig ourselves out”. Continue reading “"Same people… influencers, same holders of power"”

A minister's short memory; A Govt's short-term policy

Minister Martin Cullen spoke to The Irish Times Travel supplement about the hotel industry on Wednesday, post-Budget;

He warned that a lot of the Republic’s hotels, which have an overcapacity of “about 15 per cent”, “will probably go, through Nama or one way or another”. He said: “In fairness to [hoteliers] they are kind of focused. What we want them to do is to focus on their own business, to stop worrying about what the other fella is doing, to focus on how you can be more competitive.”

The Minister was clear about where the Republic’s tourism industry got it wrong: “We priced ourselves out of the market. Golf is a very good example. We had and still have a fantastic golf product, but charging guys €400 and €500 for a round of golf on the west coast of Ireland was crazy. That is all gone, because they lost their market, and we have got to go and rebuild that market…”


At one point in the late nineties there was a shortage of hotel rooms, partially weakening Ireland as a tourism destination. This would likely have changed naturally as the economy developed, accompanying the influx of foreign direct investment. In those circumstances the industry would have developed in same way as has elsewhere; with individuals or groups with an interest in building a reputation (and sustainable profit) in the sector setting up hotels. That would have quickly filled any vacuum in the market that existed.

Instead, the Government of the time, led by Minister Cullen’s Fianna Fáil party, altered the policy. Matt Cooper covers what happened thereafter better than I could in his excellent book Who Really Runs Ireland? The Story of the Elite Who Led Ireland from Bust to Boom… and Back Again.

My emphasis;

The support for development of the hotel industry made sense at one point. There was a shortage of suitable stock of hotel bedrooms and associated facilities, which put Ireland at a disadvantage as a hotel destination. Unfortunately the availability of massive capital grants to offset against income from other investments persuaded many land-owners and builders – with no experience in how to run hotels of real interest in the provision of the necessary service – to enter the hotel construction game. Continue reading “A minister's short memory; A Govt's short-term policy”

A Smart Budget for a Smart Economy?

[Cross-posted on Irishelection.com – please appreciate I wrote this at 1.30am after a day spent reading official documents. Mistakes are a possibility, I’m open to discussion in comments section]

It’s about a year since An Taoiseach announced plans to develop ‘The Smart Economy’ (the successor to ‘The Knowledge Economy’, remember that?). In those twelve months we’ve heard constant mention, plugging and referencing of the phrase. It has become a Government mantra, said constantly when the state of the public finances is discussed. On Drivetime today Brian Lenihan spoke about it, on the Nine News Brian Cowen picked up the baton and later he handed it onto Eamon Ryan for Prime Time. You can be guaranteed we’ll heard it mentioned every few hours in the next week too.

“We need to settle the public finances with a view to developing a model for sustainable growth through the Smart Economy, going forward”, don’t say it doesn’t ring a bell.

I can’t find an explicit definition of what the Smart Economy would be constituted of, but if asked, I’d guess a Government representative would describe it as something like; “an economy that has a workforce that is able, educated, competent and competitive in areas and skills which will be needed by companies in growing industries, to attract those companies”. Fair?

Continue reading “A Smart Budget for a Smart Economy?”