Michael Fingleton, INBS and Mespil

Prime Time Investigates did a special into the banking and lending industry in Ireland the other night, and highlighted previously undisclosed 100% fast track loans given to politicians, including former Finance Minister Charle McCreevy.

Nothing of the programme was really surprising, but it did add extra details to the dealings of Michael Fingleton, a man with a coloured history, as I blogged about back in April.

Part of the reasons none of the details were the surprising is because there is prior form. Irish Nationwide have been giving special loans to special people for a very long time. If you cast your mind back to the Mespil Homes deal in the early 1990s, you see the same pattern.

So who else did Irish Nationwide (Michael Fingleton being one in the same, as Primetime demonstrated) provide loans for? Let’s look again at Mespil, as I blogged back in April:

The current editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, then a reporter, wrote a story in May 1993 that Michael Fingleton got a mortgage from Irish Nationwide, the society he was managing director of, towards the purchase of a 1-bedroom flat in the Mespil Estate. In all, Mr Fingleton bought four apartments. with one mortgaged from the society.

But Mr Fingleton was not the only one to buy apartments in the estate, and not the only one to get a mortgage from Irish Nationwide. Solicitor Andrew O’Rourke bought two apartments in trust for two daughters of then Fianna Fail taoiseach Albert Reynolds, Emer and Leonie.

100% mortgages were advanced to 51 customers to buy 93 apartments. These included the then Attorney General Harry Whelehan, broadcaster Marian Finucane, AIB’s Anthony Spollen, former publican Dessie Hynes and the then Comptroller and Auditor General Patrick McDonnell.

Of course Mr Fingleton had not declared the purchased of the apartment, as he was obliged to do under the Building Societies Act. He later corrected the record. The following year, further details emerged. Central Bank filings in 1994 showed that seven loans totalling £342,000 were made to people and a company connected with society chairman Peter O’Connor. Five loans totalling £163,000 were made to people connected to director John Murphy.

Four loans with a total value of £125,500 were made to people connected to Mr Fingleton, including the £110,000 loan to himself. Three loans were advanced to Peter O’Connor, son of the chairman. Mr Fingleton’s brother also took out loans.

As long ago as 1994, Mr Fingleton’s salary, then an enormous £249,000 a year, was questioned by shareholders.

In 1999, Mr Fingleton was threatened with imprisonment by a High Court judge over the employment and treatment of a branch manager in Cavan town.

All very interesting. But how does it relate back to our current questions?

Fast forward to 2000, and the Flood Tribunal is in full swing. On April 19, 2000, Frank Dunlop stopped stonewalling and after reflecting overnight, said he had participated in wholescale corruption. I myself was at the Flood Tribunal that day.

Someone else was giving evidence that day though, Michael Fingleton.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? In 2000 Mark Keenan wrote an analysis of the Mespil deal for the Sunday Tribune. He looked at it from the angle of the tenants of the apartments, elderly people who had their rented homes essentially sold from under their feet. But let’s look at it again in light of the Primetime programme.

Continue reading “Michael Fingleton, INBS and Mespil”

Today, Dec 22; over the last ten years

My little way to mark the end of the first decade of the millennium, through an Irish prism; selected news stories from the December 22nds of the last ten years. All from the Irish Times archives.

1999 McCreevy plans action on PAC report into DIRT

2000 Court fixes Lawlor case for this month

2001 Minister refuses to comment on IMMA argument (about political interference in appointment process)

2002 Ex-O’Brien accountant says letters were forged

2003 Ray Burke paid €41,492 pension as ex-minister (despite claiming free legal aid)

2004 Revenue takes €97m from tax-evaders in three months

2005 O’Brien fails to stop Bacon testifying

2006 Ahern says he was treated unfairly

2007 Tribunal raises new £5,000 sum raised by Taoiseach

2008 Bank manager supports Gilmartin’s allegations

2009 Labour seeks answer to RTÉ report (on Charlie McCreevy’s – amongst others – relationship with Michael Fingleton)

Anyone seeing a pattern?

Note: I think one is from a December 21st or 20th because the 22nd was a Saturday or something. They were collated over the course of the day whilst working on another piece.

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"”