Ansbacher Report

I had previously uploaded the entire Ansbacher report to the internet earlier this year. However it was not OCRd, and was difficult to read because the documents were seperate. I have now begun the process of OCRing the report and combining all of its appendices (several thousand pages). If anyone has copies of any other reports that need to be digitised and OCRd, please get in touch.

Ansbacher Report

Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 1 & 2
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 3 (Roger P Ballagh)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 4 (Padraig Collery)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 5 (P Vincent Doyle)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 6 (Denis Foley TD)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 7 (Gerald Hickey)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 8 (Mary Meagher McCarroll)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 9 (Susan Sheridan Mack)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 10 (Maurice Neligan & Dr Patricia Neligan)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 11 (Sonia Rogers)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 12 (Des Traynor)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 13 (Blue Jeans Limited & JB Agencies)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 14 (Harold Murray)
Ansbacher Report, Appendix Volume 15 (James McCarthy)

The tax defaulters list; June to September

The Revenue Commissioners published their quarterly list of tax defaulters during the week. It’s always worth a scan through if you’re a nosey bollocks who doesn’t like tax avoiders journalist at a loose end.

Revenue Tax Defaulters List for June 1 to September 30 2009

€179.4m was recouped altogether, with details of the big-baddies being made public. It was a colourful bunch this time too, a postman, the owner of a lap-dancing club, a taxi driver, a singer and – with impeccable timing – a priest, were all amongst the redden-faced. The usual types were in there of course also – property developers, construction industry types, farmers, auctioneers, company directors, etc.

The papers and broadcasters, as is their perogative, covered the stories of the lads and lassies fined big numbers. I prefer the other stories though, the ones that tend to get glossed over… you know, the people fined just forty or fifty grand – as opposed to millions – for trying avoid contributing to the country’s coffers…

It’s been a tough few months for Michael McDarby and Séan Acton. Back in February 2008 the two lawyers from Mayo were dragged before the Solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), where they were found guilty of eight counts of professional misconduct. An embarassing incident, no doubt. According to the Mayo News, the counts included… Continue reading “The tax defaulters list; June to September”

More Anglo FOIs

Deputy Joan Burton (Labour) has been kind enough to share more of her Freedom of Information requests relating to Anglo Irish Bank. I have scanned and OCRd these documents for easy searching. If any other TDs wish to share their requests, please contact us.

Burton 1 (Ireland notification to EC)

Burton Anglo 2
Burton Anglo 3 (Result of appeal for internal review)

Burton refusal

Anglo 3 is interesting. It contains an email to the Financial Regulator Patrick Neary on October 11, 2008:

Min v anxious that we have the pwc work on anglo asap so that we understand their book in detail – sees them as most likely source of trouble, esp given share price movements during the wk

It also contains this email from John Paul Coleman at Anglo, dated January 20, 2009:


As discussed as at the 30th September 2008 (last published accounts) the Bank had €2.835 billion of perpetual bonds not guaranteed under the scheme.

This includes the Banks GBP300million preference shares (€371 million at 30th September).Attached is the note which will be in the Banks annual accounts showing this for September. The note has both dated and undated but I have highlighted the undated (perpetual) bonds.

Any additional information needed please let me know.


BOI & AIB: A year? More like a week…

Four days ago on this site I noted Miriam Lord’s article in The Irish Times about representatives of Bank of Ireland and AIB appearing before the Oireachtas Finance Committee. Ms Lord wrote…

The Bank of Ireland went so far as to say it wouldn’t have to go back to the Government next year for a further handout. Sheehy was similarly upbeat about AIB.

Today RTÉ Business Editor, David Murphy spoke on the One O’clock News (TV) on the likely repercussions of this NAMA-related story

Previously people expected that the discount on the loans would be in the region of 18% for Bank of Ireland. [Today] Bank of Ireland has got more information regards how the loans will be valued and it has checked it against its own loan portfolio and as a result it has given a broad hint that the figure will be 25%. That’s a big change there, that means they will require more capital…

Later on the Six One Mr Murphy went a step further…

Bank of Ireland had expected a discount of 18% on the €16billion of loans it will transfer to NAMA, now that discount will be more like 25%. That means the bank will need more capital, potentially a billion euro more than expected.

If things are bad for Bank of Ireland they are worse for AIB which is to transfer a much bigger €24 billion of loans to NAMA.

The weaker position of both banks means using the stock market to raise funds is a less likely option. The only alternative is getting State money to stay above water.

RTE News understands one option under consideration by Government is for the State to convert the €3.5 billion already given to both banks into ordinary shares to plug the gap in their finances – but that would imply massive state shareholdings.

It looks like Cearbhall was right to be sceptical…

What I find odd – and believe me I’m no business expert – is during the cited exchange at the Oireachtas Finance Committee Deputy Michael McGrath said to Richie Boucher of BOI that the discount was never going to be near 18%. Not that he should have needed notifying. This, Mr Boucher conveiniently ignored in his reply…

Richie Boucher: … Bank of Ireland’s modelling, based on various assumptions with regard to what could be the discount, means that we can take the discounts that might be envisaged and still be in a position to meet the regulatory capital requirements. However, in the medium term we will be obliged to look to the level of capital that is appropriate. The level of capital we require is also proportionate to our balance sheet.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Realistically, if the write-off is going to be of the order of 30%, or a further €4 billion to €5 billion, what level of additional funding – whether from the State or from international investors – would the bank require to satisfy the requirements of the markets?…

Richie Boucher: …Based on the modelling we have carried out, our core tier 1 capital will be significantly ahead of the regulatory requirements and will in fact be such that we believe it will satisfy the bond markets on which we are reliant. We are satisfied, taking into consideration the potential discounts we would be obliged to accept in respect of the transfer of such loans, that the bank will be significantly in excess of the requirements relating to its being able to continue to fund its balance sheet on the markets. I do not believe that this will be an issue.

More interesting searches

Like Mark explained last week, we are closely watching the search strings and IP addresses of visitors. Today another one popped up. On Friday I submitted an FOI request to the Comptroller & Auditor General, located at the Treasury Building in Dublin. They would have received my request today.

And today this search:

Search Engine Phrase “gavin sheridan”
Search Engine Name Google
Search Engine Host
Host Name
IP Address [Label IP Address]
Country Ireland
Region Dublin
City Dublin
ISP Treasury Bldg
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length 2 mins 59 secs
Browser IE 7.0
Operating System WinXP
Resolution 1024×768
Javascript Enabled

It is certainly interesting. I would imagine it is curiosity, or perhaps even a desire to know the purpose of my request. However, it is also worth noting Section 8 (4) of the Freedom of Information Act:

Subject to the provisions of this Act, in deciding In deciding whether to grant or refuse to grant a request under section 7:
(a) any reason that the requester gives for the request, and
(b) any belief or opinion of the head as to what are the reasons of the requester for
the request,

shall be disregarded.

Searching for who I am after my request has been submitted is a curious one. Legally, the reasons for my request are irrelevant to the Deciding officer or the FOI officer.

EU public procurement contracts – Ireland

While I was at Personal Democracy Forum Europe in Barcelona last week, I got talking to someone who had a copy of all EU public procurement contracts for the last several years (70Gb of data). I asked for a copy of all data relating to Ireland, and I have now uploaded a zipped copy of this information for the crowd to use. The data is stored in xml format, and as my programming skills are non-existent, I thought this one might be better given to anyone out there who wants to play with it, and made into a more usable format.

Have fun.

EU public procurement contracts – Ireland (10Mb zipped file)

Bankers appear before finance committee… this time

There’s a most interesting and pertinent piece of political writing in today’s Irish Times by Miriam Lord. She watched high-ranking bankers appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

Eighteen months ago…

…when the same Oireachtas committee wanted to ask the same banks about the way they conducted their business, fewer chairmen and chief executives deigned to turn up. To add insult to injury, the bankers then proceeded to talk down to the worried politicians, assuring them their fundamentals were sound.

…Richie Boucher, before his big promotion, was present back in July of 2008. “Unequivocally,” he declared, “we do not believe there is a Northern Rock lurking in Ireland.”

His colleague, David Guinan, stated: “We pride ourselves on the fact that we have been and continue to be very prudent and responsible.” Donal Forde of the AIB offered the following gem: “In regard to lending standards in AIB, we have behaved very responsibly in recent years and we have maintained a very prudent credit stance.” (Correct. There was a whole shed load of them.)

The highlight of the committee meeting was supplied by Willie McAteer, then executive director of Anglo Irish Bank. “Clearly, the whole perception of Ireland and the negative sentiment towards it are obviously of concern to us. However, this sentiment is not borne out by the fundamentals.”

Here’s another rib-tickler from Willie: “I reject the suggestion that banks have been foolhardy in recklessly lending and driving up values . . . in my experience, the banks have been prudent.”


The Bank of Ireland went so far as to say it wouldn’t have to go back to the Government next year for a further handout. Sheehy was similarly upbeat about AIB.

Do you believe them this time ’round?

Read Miriam Lord’s article in full on

Department of the Taoiseach staff diaries

More than four weeks ago I sought a variety of diaries from from the Department of the Taoiseach. I have now scanned, OCRd and uploaded the diaries of three staff members for the period May 5, 2008 to May 31, 2009.

The diary of appointments for Department Secretary General Dermot McCarthy from May 5, 2008 to May 31, 2009, inclusive.

The diary of appointments for Department Assistant Secretary Philip Hamell from May 5, 2008 to May 31, 2009, inclusive.

The diary of appointments for Department Assistant Secretary Philip Kelly from May 5, 2008 to May 31, 2009, inclusive.

One interesting bit: On November 24, Dermot McCarthy met Patrick Neary of the Financial Regulator and Pat Farrell, probably of the Irish Banking Federation. Another regular appearence in the diaries is that of CIF chief Tom Parlon, likely lobbying.