Home > Uncategorized > MEDIA BIAS IN FAVOUR OF RICH AND POWERFUL

MEDIA BIAS IN FAVOUR OF RICH AND POWERFUL

(New Material Further Down -Irish Times Spin to Protect Central Bank, ESRI, Minister for Finance and Senior Officials From Responsibility for Banking Crash; JOBSTOWN Trial and the Media)

RTE NEWS FAILS TO MENTION THAT 38 TDs VOTED AGAINST UNDERMINING OF IRISH NEUTRALITY BY FIANNA FAIL AND FG-INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE GOVERNMENT

GOVT HAD MADE MILITARY ALLIANCE WITH BRITISH AND FRENCH NAVIES TO PUSH REFUGEES BACK TO “HELL ON EARTH” IN LIBYAN DETENTION CAMPS

ONLY PERSON INTERVIEWED WAS SECURITY ANALYST DECLAN POWER

HE SAID: “THIS (integration into EU Operation Sophia) is Good For Ireland and the EU”

WIKIPEDIA    “Declan Power is a former Irish Army, soldier, defence analyst and author.

Power’s later years of service were spent attached to the Chief of Staff’s Branch at Defence Forces Headquarters (DFHQ).

Power originally joined the Army Reserve (then FCÁ), before serving in a variety of roles in the Defence Forces. He later had a number of appointments in Ireland and abroad, including internal security, peacekeeping and anti-terrorism duties. He also attended the Military College and a number of other specialist Defence Force schools and courses.”

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 Discussion on Media Bias-Introduction

(Read:  The Political Economy and Media Coverage of the European Economic Crisis …

By Dr Julien Mercille   PhD(UCLA)   Department of Geography   UCD)

Outside of RTE, all media in Ireland are privately owned for-profit  businesses. The proprietors have a vested interest in supporting capitalism generally and in advocating a profitable business environment including pay restraint and low taxes on business and wealth.

And RTE is effectively directed by a government committed to ultra free market capitalism-the new totalitarianism.

In addition, commercial media are highly dependent on advertising revenue from other private businesses. During the false boom, large property supplements with newspapers were commonplace. Irish Times actually purchased a property selling website at a hugely inflated price.

It is not surprising therefore that these newspapers cheered on the boom and failed to point out the dangers of an economic crash. Like other parts of the Irish elite, financial, economic and business correspondents failed to point out what is now agreed to have been obvious dangers.

Just one year before the economic crash,  Independent Newspapers strongly  supported FF led by Bertie Ahearne in the period leading up to 2007 election. A columnist at the newspaper, Eoghan Harris was subsequently appointed to the Seanad by  Taoiseach Ahearne.

“Harris and the Sunday Independent backed Ahern during the recent(2007) election. In a Late Late Show appearance at a key point in the campaign he strongly defended Ahern and poured scorn on his political enemies”-Stephen Collins  Irish Times 04/08/2007

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s News At One, Mr Harris said that his strong intervention backing the Taoiseach on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show in the days before the General Election may have been a factor in his appointment-RTE News August 2007

Interestingly, Eoghan Harris had been adviser to David Trimble, DUP Leader, in Good Friday Negotiations

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What is actually said or written in Media is not the only source of distortion of Truth-What is Omitted is Equally Important-False Underlying Assumptions can also be a major source of distortion of truth. There is also, of course, deliberate circulation of false stories through compromised, compliant or naive journalists, editors and Proprietors. This has been highlighted by articles published which falsely smeared whistleblower, Sergeant McCabe.

further down:see articles on this issue by Justine McCarthy, Michael Clifford and Gene Kerrigan

“At the opening of the Garda whistleblower tribunal, the tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton, said he wanted to know if the media was being “used as an instrument for the dissemination of lies”. Irish Times

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The Media and The Jobstown Trial

Comment on my Facebook Post

John Sullivan A core element of the political / media nexus in the Jobstown
trial was to align the water protest movement in the wider public mind with trouble- police, courts, jails, etc. When 100 plus thousand were on the streets over water, the sheer scale of it terrified the golden circle and their political and media mouthpieces. In Jobstown they spotted an opportunity, even apparently Joan B saw the opp to link cops, riot shields, etc with water charges. Every RTE coverage of the trial referred to the “water charges protest in Jobstown” – except – the last one. At 1 pm on Thursday June 29, RTE dropped the water reference as they were announcing the first item, the “not guilty” verdict. Rotten and corrupt to the core.

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Cliff Taylor Irish Times 27/05/2017

“The problem was that by the time anyone realised that the banks were in a mess it was way too late.”

“There is no big gap in Irish law which allowed the banking crisis to happen. The Central Bank’s powers have since been beefed up, for sure, but even back when the bubble inflated it had the legal firepower to at least limit the damage. Also, as a 2016 report of the Law Reform Commission into regulation and corporate law pointed out, since 1992 it has been an offence for a bank or building societ to fail to manage its business in accordance with sound administrative and accounting principles. The laws and regulatory powers were all there. The problem was that by the time anyone realised that the banks were in a mess it was way too late.”  Cliff  Taylor-Irish Times

WRONG!!!  THEY KNEW BUT TOO MANY PEOPLE WERE BENEFITTING!

Deputy Governor of Central Bank, Tom O’Connell and Professor Alan Ahearne  at Banking Inquiry

“One can only surmise that, as Professor Alan Ahearne has said here to your committee(Banking Inquiry), too many people were benefitting from the boom time for prudent avoidance measures to have been taken.”
Deputy Governor of Central Bank, Tom O’Connell Tells All at Banking Inquiry
Full Discussion http://wp.me/pKzXa-kL
“It’s sometimes said that nobody seemed to know that a property boom or bubble was developing. That’s … that is completely incorrect in my view ——Ireland’s banking and economic crash should never have happened, should never have been allowed to happen, with all the consequences of huge increases in unemployment, rising emigration, enormous debt, suicides, etc., that we have seen.-the liquidity pumped out into the banks was €140 billion, you know, with the … both from the Central Bank and the ECB. I mean, once you spell that out, that’s €140,000 million – there are 12 digits in that.

One can only surmise that, as Professor Alan Ahearne has said here to your committee(Banking Inquiry), too many people were benefitting from the boom time for prudent avoidance measures to have been taken.

——- Dep. Gov.TOM O’Connell at BANKING 

The Inquiry found that the almost universal adoption of the “soft-landing theory” without any substantial testing or challenge “must be regarded as a key failing for the government, the Central Bank and the Department of Finance”-Ciaran Lynch TD Chair of Banking Inquiry

Mr O’Connell (Deputy Governor and Chief Economist at Central Bank)  also said contrarian views(to the Soft Landing Theory) in the Central Bank “weren’t well received”, and concerns had been “blocked” from reaching a higher level in the bank due to “political and property interests on the bank’s board”.

Central Bank had to ‘pull punches’ despite indicators

Colin Gleeson

 

Irish TimesWednesday, June 10, 2015, 20:11

The Central Bank had to “pull its punches” in relation to concerns about the economy despite indications of great difficulty ahead, its former assistant director general told the banking inquiry on Wednesday.

Thomas O’Connell was appointed assistant director general and chief economist of the bank’s economics division in April 2005. His responsibilities included economic analysis, research and publications, monetary policy and financial stability.

Mr O’Connell said it was his opinion as early as 2001 that “things were going crazy” and a “massive” property bubble had developed. Financial Stability Reports( Annual Reports on Health of Financial System by Central Bank) however tended to include “reassuring” summaries that did not correlate with their data.

“You have the body of the (2007) report (with) all the indicators pointing in the wrong direction and then you have an overall assessment of what’s happening…If I was asked to do an objective assessment on the basis of the indicators I would be inclined to say ‘yeah we’re heading for big trouble’, but a Central Bank being a Central Bank, can’t really say that. It has to sort of pull its punches really.”

Mr O’Connell also said contrarian views in the Central Bank “weren’t well received”, and concerns had been “blocked” from reaching a higher level in the bank due to “political and property interests on the bank’s board”.

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Did the media fail to sound alarm bells before the financial crisis?

CONOR BRADY Irish Times Sat, Mar 6, 2010

Key Paragraphs

“As far back as 2005, for example, the New York Times reported that Dublin had become “the Wild West of European finance.In the same year the Economist singled out Ireland’s housing and construction industry as the most vulnerable in Europe. A year earlier, the Economist warned that Irish property prices were overvalued by 42 per cent. Irish news media had access to the same data. Moreover, in recent decades all of the principal Irish news media have appointed correspondents in many specialised areas who are possessed of relevant professional training.”

“Perhaps some of the news media organisations, riding high with buoyant revenues and plentiful advertising, also became complacent and preferred not to see the stormy waters ahead.”

Conor Brady was editor of The Irish Times from 1986 to 2002. He is a Garda ombudsman commissioner

 

Full Text of Article

Many people in key positions were aware of problems before our financial tsunami struck, yet these did not make it into the mainstream media in a coherent and authoritative way

COVERING THE Crisis was the topic of a recent two-day seminar organised in Brussels by the European Journalism Centre. Participating journalists concluded that their colleagues had “failed to sound the alarm bells effectively”. The seminar also looked at the Irish situation, probing how journalists might report events if this country were to follow Iceland into the economic abyss.

It prompts the question of how Irish journalism has covered the story so far.

There has been much fine reportage on the evolving crisis in the banks. Painstaking inquiries revealed the structural abuses in Fás and elsewhere in the State’s expenses regime.

Various news media have presented vivid detail about the extent to which regulatory responsibilities were abandoned by the State. Others have outlined how banks dodged around the rules to advantage favoured individuals.

But there are broader issues to be addressed in regard to the role of the news media.

Did they do enough to bring the various developments together in a way that enabled people to form a picture of what was happening?

Was the forming of this crisis reportable earlier? Were emerging trends apparent? Did they do as good a job as they might have in flagging the approaching storm?

The news media do not carry the solemn responsibilities of government, senior public servants or, indeed, of regulators or economists in the employ of the State.

They will rightly say that theirs was not the primary responsibility for identifying the emerging crisis. Why should they be expected to have seen what politicians and civil servants apparently did not? But they have a public role. They are “the gatekeepers of change”, “society’s looking-glass” and “the watchdogs”.

They have, or should have, the role of standing back from the consensus, of asking the hard questions – especially when the rest of society appears to be in comfortable agreement on most of the answers.

Irish society – as in most other western democracies – has accorded many privileges to the news media. They have access to all levels of government, and they are enabled, to a considerable degree, to examine all of the components of the decision-making process.

We have seen the evolution of a banking crisis; a crisis of public finances; a crisis of competitiveness; a failure of political and administrative competence; a failure of regulation. We can recall instances of focus upon some or all of these. But can it be said that these were linked together and raised as sustained concerns in any of the principal news media until the tsunami had struck?

Why did Irish journalism seemingly not achieve the same clarity of perspective as some of its counterpart practitioners elsewhere who were looking in upon us?

As far back as 2005, for example, the New York Timesreported that Dublin had become “the Wild West of European finance”.

In the same year the Economistsingled out Ireland’s housing and construction industry as the most vulnerable in Europe. A year earlier, the Economist warned that Irish property prices were overvalued by 42 per cent.

Irish news media had access to the same data. Moreover, in recent decades all of the principal Irish news media have appointed correspondents in many specialised areas who are possessed of relevant professional training.

Is it possible, paradoxically, that over-specialisation by journalists has had the effect of making it more difficult for the news media to see the wood for the trees?

Perhaps they did not fully join up the dots and see the bigger picture.

Perhaps, in spite of the proliferation of journalists engaged in political coverage, the news media did not sufficiently grasp the nexus that ran between political corruption, ideological arrogance, regulatory abdication and greed – all of which created the conditions for the development of the present crisis.

Or could it be that some were influenced subliminally by the rebuke issued by the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, when he wondered why those who were talking down the economy did not “commit suicide”.

Perhaps some of the news media organisations, riding high with buoyant revenues and plentiful advertising, also became complacent and preferred not to see the stormy waters ahead.

It has been argued that the property supplements helped to fuel the unsustainable boom. They certainly reflected it. But to focus unduly upon them is to miss the mark. They were never more than a small sub-set of the news media. Their existence did not inhibit or curb the other elements of the news media or those who worked in them.

Perhaps the shortcomings in reportage were due to the difficulty that often characterises news media – and not just in Ireland – of standing back from the individual story and seeing the wider set of connections beyond the minutiae of events that are local and immediate.

Or it may be that the Irish news media have not been as good in penetrating the thinking in the more powerful echelons of the financial community in the same way that they have penetrated other sectors in public life.

The answers to these questions are not clear. But the questions should be asked.

It is evident now that many people in key positions were aware over time that there were serious systemic issues in the business and economic sectors. Yet this did not make its way into the mainstream news media in a form that was sufficiently sustained, coherent and authoritative.

Where sustained concerns were raised for the most part the authors were academics or commentators rather than news journalists.

Yes, there were some exceptions. But they were just that – exceptions that constituted a very small minority.

To take perhaps the most salient case: a review of the archives of the principal news media over the past five years shows minimal focus, beyond routine reporting of official publications, on the office of the Financial Regulator.

But is it not now clear that a shocking process of “regulator capture” had long been in the making, with politicians and influential bankers effectively subverting the institution and reducing it to a cypher?

I do not have answers to these questions. But I have concerns that I do not hear nor read much analysis of them.

I believe it would be good for Irish journalism if such analysis were to take place. Perhaps it might lead us to the conclusion that the Irish news media did as good a job as was possible and that it would be unreasonable to have expected any better.

As we strive to make our way out of this crisis, the news media are rightly devoting extensive resources and energies to the scrutiny of performance and standards across public life.

Some time spent on self-examination would be well spent, not merely to analyse what has gone by but in order to learn lessons that may strengthen the journalism of today and tomorrow.

Conor Brady was editor of The Irish Timesfrom 1986 to 2002. He is a Garda ombudsman commissioner

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IRISH TIMES HAD CLOSED DOWN DISCUSSION ON SALE of AIB -REFUSED TO PRINT MY LETTER TUE, March 14   -Only REOPENED COVERAGE AFTER LABOUR PARTY TOOK UP THE ISSUE

Taoiseach Confirms That Proceeds of AIB Share Sale Will be Used To Pay Down State Debt not To Build Social Housing or Expand Health Services or other State Capital Investment

“Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the proceeds of the sale of 25 per cent of AIB will go towards paying down the State’s debt and would not be used for infrastructural development.

“The paper asset shares are being swapped for a cash injection. That will go towards debt reduction, as the Minister for Finance has made clear,” Mr Kenny said.”  Dáil Reply 21/03/2017

READ BELOW:This is due to the concession of all economic sovereignty by Dublin under EU FISCAL TREATY

Irish Times Closes Down Discussion of Sale of AIB (99% owned by state)

An opinion piece by Paul Sweeney,  Chair of Tasc Economists’ Network and former chief economist with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is carried below. It was published on March 13 in the Irish Times

As the effect on the sale and on the use of it’s proceeds of the EU Fiscal Treaty had been discussed recently at a seminar held by Nevin Economic Research Institute, I sought to raise serious matters discussed at the seminar in a letter to the editor (just below). It was confirmed at the seminar that the proceeds of the sale could not be used for capital investment in social housing, extension of hospitals etc. It would be used to pay down state debt to international financiers.  It came as no surprise to me that the letter wasn’t published.

Neither was I surprised to read the following in Irish Times 20/03/2017:

“The Government is preparing to sell a 25 per cent stake in AIB as early as May as it continues to recoup €21.8 billion injected into the lender during the crisis.”-Joe Brennan, Markets Correspondent

Because it is not pointed out that the proceeds must be used to pay down state debt, a reader might be led to believe that the proceeds would be available to government to expand “the fiscal space”under the EU Treaty. This is not so.

Selling AIB

Letter to Irish Times from Paddy Healy (UNPUBLISHED)

Dear Editor,

Economist Paul Sweeney (Selling AIB, Irish Times, March 13) rightly points to the urgent need for the state to invest in housing and health.

AIB  reported a pre-tax profit of €1.9bn for last year, an increase of 72% on the previous year.

Paul points out: “At the same time, public investment in 2016 was at its lowest level ever, not even covering depreciation”…“Therefore, a proportion of the billions to be raised from the sale of bank shares should be invested in Ireland. More than €6 billion has been raised to date from AIB, and it was used to repay the national debt. This is a misallocation of resources when so much public investment is needed.”

This matter was discussed at a recent seminar held by the Nevin Economic Research Institute entitled  “Investment and the Fiscal Rules” Among the questions asked by Paul Sweeney and I was whether proceeds of such sales could be used to build public housing to remedy the homelessness crisis described by Minister Coveney as a national emergency. The speaker, Eddie Casey (Chief Economist and Head of Secretariat at the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council) held out little hope that this could be done. He intimated that the EU authorities would be within their rights under the EU Fiscal Treaty to insist that the proceeds of any such sale should be used to pay down state debt though Irish debt to GDP ratio is now down to 76%.

This highlights the extent of the derogation from Irish economic sovereignty involved in assenting to the Treaty.

The obvious question which also arises is whether any sale of AIB shares can be justified as the bank has now returned to profitability. Would it not be appropriate that the Irish state which owns 99% of the shares should reap the profits having bailed out financial gamblers who had invested in the bank? Will our second biggest bank be bought by vultures, further reducing Irish economic sovereignty?

It would appear that the government decision to sell is also driven by the requirement to continue paying down debt under the requirements of the EU Fiscal Treaty.

Paddy Healy,  88 Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3,  Phone   086-4183732

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Former Abbott Allowed to Talk Right Wing Nonsense By Marian Finucan

Retired Abbott of Glenstal was allowed to ramble on for forty Minutes on Marian Finucan while promoting his new book

“People are often misled—-democracy is a crude instrument……… Irish people are sometimes told by politicians that a small amount of people have all the money–all is needed to meet your needs is to tax the aristocracy—-

This leads to  expectations–a person traelling from Youghal to Tullamore wants a 500 (five hundred) seater bus outside the door-a post-office van won’t do—!!!!

 Marian Failed To Point Out

The worth of the 300 wealthiest people in Ireland has hit €100bn, following a bumper year for property, bonds, stocks and other assets. (See Update: Super-Rich Irish Awash with Money on this blog)

According to the Sunday Independent Rich List, the estimated wealth of the country’s richest people has increased by over €12bn to €100.03bn on last year’s numbers. The total was boosted by some significant gains in the tech sector.

Of the top 300, the top 12 has as much wealth as the other 288!!!

The Top 12 have more than  50 billion in assets !!!!!

Surely they could be required to pay a few billion to the state in tax each year?

On The Other Hand

Homelessness is increasing every month. The homeless are just seeking a roof over their heads-not a 500 seater bus!!

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JOURNALIST Philip Boucher-Hayes(RTE) BRAVELY EXPOSES McCABE SMEAR CASMPAIGN

RTÉ journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes has made a statement to the Charleton Tribunal concerning a conversation he had with the former Garda commissioner Martin Callanan about whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Mr Boucher-Hayes is believed to be the first journalist to give details of a such a conversation to the tribunal.

The tribunal is investigating allegations that senior Garda management directed a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

In his statement it is understood Mr Boucher-Hayes said that during an off-air conversation with the then commissioner in 2013 about matters disclosed by Sgt McCabe, he was told that Sgt McCabe had personal issues and was being driven by a particular agenda.

He said the top garda recommended that he should get further details from the then head of the Garda press office, Supt David Taylor, who was with the commissioner in RTÉ at the time. Mr Boucher-Hayes did not follow up on this suggestion.

No comment

There was no comment yesterday from Mr Boucher-Hayes or RTÉ and efforts to contact Mr Callinan were unsuccessful.

The tribunal’s terms of reference include investigating whether current commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan influenced or attempted to influence broadcasts on RTÉ on May 9th, 2016, purporting to be a leaked account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission report, in which Sgt McCabe was branded a liar and irresponsible.

An important witness in this regard will be Boucher-Hayes’s RTÉ colleague, crime correspondent Paul Reynolds.

The tribunal is also investigating Supt Taylor’s allegation, in a protected disclosure, that he was directed to draw journalists’ attention to an allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sgt McCabe and to say the sergeant was motivated in his actions by a desire for revenge against the Garda.

One of the topics aired during a recent sitting of the tribunal in relation to legal representation, was how the tribunal would address the topic of journalistic confidentiality, or privilege.

Damaging

Since then the tribunal is understood to have written to a number of journalists whom the tribunal believes were in contact with Supt Taylor, to ask about the details of these contacts and whether they involved remarks damaging to the reputation of Sgt McCabe.

Given that the tribunal is investigating an alleged smear campaign, the testimony of journalists who might give evidence of being briefed by senior Garda management against Sgt McCabe has obvious relevance.

 


AS Trump Bombs rain on Syria, Mainstream Western Media Abandon All Objectivity

Two Senior British Commentators Say Assad Chemical Attack May Be Fake News

Listen at the links below

Exclusive: British journalist destroys MSM lies on Syria

Former British Ambassador Speaks

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS6Oa_aDS6E

 

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Taoiseach Confirms That Proceeds of AIB Share Sale Will be Used To Pay Down State Debt not To Build Social Housing or Expand Health Services or other State Capital Investment

“Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the proceeds of the sale of 25 per cent of AIB will go towards paying down the State’s debt and would not be used for infrastructural development.

“The paper asset shares are being swapped for a cash injection. That will go towards debt reduction, as the Minister for Finance has made clear,” Mr Kenny said.”  Dáil Reply 21/03/2017

READ BELOW:This is due to the concession of all economic sovereignty by Dublin under EU FISCAL TREATY

Irish Times Closes Down Discussion of Sale of AIB (99% owned by state)

An opinion piece by Paul Sweeney,  Chair of Tasc Economists’ Network and former chief economist with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is carried below. It was published on March 13 in the Irish Times

As the effect on the sale and on the use of it’s proceeds of the EU Fiscal Treaty had been discussed recently at a seminar held by Nevin Economic Research Institute, I sought to raise serious matters discussed at the seminar in a letter to the editor (just below). It was confirmed at the seminar that the proceeds of the sale could not be used for capital investment in social housing, extension of hospitals etc. It would be used to pay down state debt to international financiers.  It came as no surprise to me that the letter wasn’t published.

Neither was I surprised to read the following in Irish Times 20/03/2017:

“The Government is preparing to sell a 25 per cent stake in AIB as early as May as it continues to recoup €21.8 billion injected into the lender during the crisis.”-Joe Brennan, Markets Correspondent

Because it is not pointed out that the proceeds must be used to pay down state debt, a reader might be led to believe that the proceeds would be available to government to expand “the fiscal space”under the EU Treaty. This is not so.

Selling AIB

Letter to Irish Times from Paddy Healy (UNPUBLISHED)

Dear Editor,

Economist Paul Sweeney (Selling AIB, Irish Times, March 13) rightly points to the urgent need for the state to invest in housing and health.

AIB  reported a pre-tax profit of €1.9bn for last year, an increase of 72% on the previous year.

Paul points out: “At the same time, public investment in 2016 was at its lowest level ever, not even covering depreciation”…“Therefore, a proportion of the billions to be raised from the sale of bank shares should be invested in Ireland. More than €6 billion has been raised to date from AIB, and it was used to repay the national debt. This is a misallocation of resources when so much public investment is needed.”

This matter was discussed at a recent seminar held by the Nevin Economic Research Institute entitled  “Investment and the Fiscal Rules” Among the questions asked by Paul Sweeney and I was whether proceeds of such sales could be used to build public housing to remedy the homelessness crisis described by Minister Coveney as a national emergency. The speaker, Eddie Casey (Chief Economist and Head of Secretariat at the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council) held out little hope that this could be done. He intimated that the EU authorities would be within their rights under the EU Fiscal Treaty to insist that the proceeds of any such sale should be used to pay down state debt though Irish debt to GDP ratio is now down to 76%.

This highlights the extent of the derogation from Irish economic sovereignty involved in assenting to the Treaty.

The obvious question which also arises is whether any sale of AIB shares can be justified as the bank has now returned to profitability. Would it not be appropriate that the Irish state which owns 99% of the shares should reap the profits having bailed out financial gamblers who had invested in the bank? Will our second biggest bank be bought by vultures, further reducing Irish economic sovereignty?

It would appear that the government decision to sell is also driven by the requirement to continue paying down debt under the requirements of the EU Fiscal Treaty.

Paddy Healy,  88 Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3,  Phone   086-4183732

 

Selling AIB: Who should own it, and where should the sale profits go?-PAUL SWEENEY

Paul Sweeney, Irish Times Monday, March 13, 2017, 10:36

The Government strategy for privatising AIB has focused solely on the art of the deal – the price, how much to sell, and when to sell our 99 per cent. There has as yet been no discussion about what comes next, including control of Ireland’s second-largest bank; its future governance; the importance of credit to SMEs and individuals; or where the billions raised will be invested. These longer-term considerations are far more important than this short-term focus on the deal.

AIB has a long history of being bailed out by taxpayers, of poor corporate culture, of excessive remuneration, and of overcharging customers. Its rescue cost billions and, along with the other banks, the bailout nearly bankrupted Ireland.

Credit for business and individuals is too important to be left in the hands of a self-appointing bank board or clique. Thus, the first issue for discussion beyond the deal is AIB’s future ownership.

For some, it does not matter if AIB is controlled from abroad, provided we get the best price. Ireland, it is argued does not need to own its own banks – the market will provide, and if it collapses again on its foreign owner, then we won’t have to pick up the rescue bill.

However, credit is vital and we have seen how vulture funds behave.

It is important to have greater control over credit, so the State should retain a significant blocking share of AIB and make it the important indigenous bank in order to keep an eye on its behaviour. Its objectives and shareholding structure should be changed, and a sufficient number of public interest directors should be appointed.

Public shareholding

A large public shareholding may reduce the price, but that would bring big benefits. We would get a share of future profits, keep control in Ireland, and ensure it is governed in the interests of all stakeholders. This should guarantee that AIB does not become a pariah yet again, sucking the life out of customers, shareholders and Ireland.

AIB cost the taxpayer when its ICI subsidiary collapsed in 1985. Then there were the Rusnak and Faldor frauds, its 53,000 bogus non-resident accounts in the mid-1980s, its €508,000 debt write-off for the corrupt taoiseach Charlie Haughey, its overcharging of customers. So continued oversight at AIB’s top is thus essential.

The bank’s model of governance should be the wider stakeholder interest rather than the narrow, ineffectual “shareholder value”. Banks are too important to be left to bankers – or even regulators, who have failed citizens so badly before. Today banks are setting reserves aside to pay fines so that they can act as they like, indicating a return to the vulture culture. By acting now, we have the opportunity to maintain some control, ensuring credit flows and respect for customers.

Finally, the decision to use the capital raised to repay the already declining national debt must be reconsidered.

The Irish national debt has been reduced to 76 per cent and continues to fall. Debt maturity compares favourably to other countries with a “wide and varied” investor base. This is a remarkable achievement, one that looked near-impossible just a few years ago.

Planned investment

At the same time, public investment in 2016 was at its lowest level ever, not even covering depreciation. While private investment is high, much of it is by multinationals and has no impact here. Greater public investment is crucial because there is a housing and health crisis. The Government recognises this and is stepping up planned investment, but it still lacks ambition.

Therefore, a proportion of the billions to be raised from the sale of bank shares should be invested in Ireland. More than €6 billion has been raised to date from AIB, and it was used to repay the national debt. This is a misallocation of resources when so much public investment is needed.

In conclusion, there should be a debate about the bigger issues around the sale of our shares in AIB.

Getting a good price is certainly important, but this is a unique opportunity to ensure that the bank is prudently run in the interests of wider Irish society; that it continues to be controlled from Ireland; that reasonable credit is available; that its governance eliminates malfeasance; and that its bosses are not overpaid.

Finally, some of the capital from the sale must invested in Ireland, and a significant shareholding must be retained.

Making AIB an Irish citizens’ bank is not a radical but a prudent path. It will be bitterly opposed by the elite. The Government should take it.

Paul Sweeney is chair of Tasc Economists’ Network and former chief economist with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions

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Should journalists always protect their sources?

Michael Foley  Professor emeritus of journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology

Last Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017, 01:08

At the opening of the Garda whistleblower tribunal, the tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton, said he wanted to know if the media was being “used as an instrument for the dissemination of lies”.

For most people his remarks are perfectly reasonable, but for journalists, he has stepped into an ethical minefield.

The judge’s comments related to the issue of journalistic privilege – the right to maintain the anonymity of a source of information. If it existed at all, he said, it was because there was a public interest in protecting investigations by the media. But “does journalistic privilege attach to communications to a journalist where that . . . may not be in the public interest but, instead, where the source is perhaps solely motivated by detraction or calumny?”. Or does such privilege apply when the media is used as a tool of “naked deceit”?

For journalists, this is not arcane stuff. Journalists have gone to jail rather than reveal their sources of information – two in Ireland, since the foundation of the State.

Code of ethics

There are hundreds of journalistic codes of ethics, but you would be hard pressed to find one anywhere that does not call for journalists to maintain the anonymity of confidential sources. The National Union of Journalists’ code says: “A journalist shall protect confidential sources of information.” Contrast that with other clauses in any code and it will have qualifying statements such as “subject to the justification by overriding considerations of the public interest”. The shortest ‘principle’ in the Press Council of Ireland’s code of practice, principle six, states: “Journalists shall protect confidential sources of information”, no ifs, no buts. There is no public interest override, nor is there an exception that allows a source’s motive to be taken into account; it is absolute. Never, ever reveal a source.

So it would appear that if Mr Justice Charleton does question journalists as to their sources, it might be legally challenged.

There is no protection of journalistic privilege in this state. There are protections in some other jurisdictions; some US states give journalists a legal protection, and Sweden has had similar legislation for years. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled – in the case of a British journalist, Bill Goodwin – that protection of confidential sources is an essential means of enabling the press to perform its important function of public watchdog and should not be interfered with unless in exceptional circumstances where vital public or individual interests are at stake.

Journalists have tended to view this ruling as vindication of the absolutists’ view of source protection, usually forgetting the qualifying clause in the judgment, “unless in exceptional circumstances where vital public or individual interests are at stake”. Presumably Mr Justice Charleton will view it as a vital public or individual interest when he asks a journalist for the source of the information concerning Garda Maurice McCabe that is being inquired into.

Fake sources

However the tribunal works this out, which may or may not mean a journalist is asked the question that lands him or her in contempt of the tribunal, there are still wider issues about protection of sources, especially in a world of ‘fake news’ and where we now apparently have ‘alternative facts’. Anonymous sources are used daily in the media. “Government sources”, “sources close to . . .” or even more obliquely, “it would appear . . .” or “the indications were that . . .”, as if journalists wear the T-shirt “trust me I’m a journalist”.

Why should the public trust journalists who offer so much information without any meaningful indication of where it came from? In many cases the anonymous source is not a fearless whistleblower, but a manipulating spin doctor working for the rich and powerful and hiding behind a journalist’s promise of anonymity.

If that is the case, who gains most by the journalists’ willingness to go to prison rather than reveal a source: the source or the public? As the philosopher Onora O’Neill said in a BBC Reith Lecture some years ago: “I am still looking for ways to ensure that journalists do not publish stories for which there is no source at all, while pretending that there is a source to be protected.”

With anonymity, the source holds all the cards. A decision to give anonymity has to be agreed before the information is given, so that before the journalist has heard what the source has to say, he or she has given a binding undertaking never to reveal the name, whatever the outcome. If that outcome leads to a miscarriage of justice, for instance, is that going to instil confidence in another person whose information is of great public interest, but who now fears giving it to a person who would rather see a guilty person go free than give a name to a court?

Professional duty

This is not an argument for abandoning the principle of defending the right of anonymity. It is right and proper that codes of conduct state clearly and unequivocally, as the NUJ’s does, that a journalist shall protect confidential sources. Codes lay down guiding imperatives and all journalists must have a strong duty to follow such codes. Such a duty ensures professionalism among journalists, and also helps the public to know what journalists themselves believe are the principles of the profession.

Maybe it is now time for journalists to adopt a new imperative to judge and guide their actions – trustworthiness. Are my actions likely to increase the trust between me and my readers, viewers or listeners? Such an approach would have journalists seriously question the use of anonymous sources, and ensure that they are used rarely – and that when they are used, a full explanation is given as to why. If trust became central to journalist practice, fewer anonymous sources would be used and so the problem of anonymity would rarely arise.

Michael Foley is professor emeritus of journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology

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MAJOR OMISSIONS DISTORTS TRUE FACTS OF IRISH TAX SYSTEM AND PROTECT THE IRISH SUPER-RICH

A progressive personal taxation system involves individuals being required to pay  a higher proportion of their income in ALL TAXES as their income increases. This is not the case in Ireland. WHEN ALL TAXES ARE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT the poorest 10% of income recipients pay THE SAME PROPORTION OF THEIR INCOME in tax as the richest 10%!! This has been shown by the Central Statistics Office(CSO). Pro-rich journalists habitually quote statistics for income tax only and omit the affect of VAT and other indirect taxes on taxation facts.

Following   Bertie’s Boom-time  Adviser and Progressive Democrat Founder, Gerard Howlin’s  Advocacy of INCREASED TAXATION of the OLD and the LOWLY PAID in Irish Examiner a few days ago (See Irish Super-Rich Awash with Money on this blog)

 Now Cliff Taylor in   Irish Times 04/03.2017 advocates

“Broadening Tax Base” To THOSE ON LOWER INCOMES

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/cliff-taylor-why-we-need-to-broaden-the-tax-base-1.2996912

“At the other end of the spectrum, some 140,000 taxpayers are paying more than 45 per cent of all the income tax and USC – some €9 billion in cash terms. This represents about 18 per cent of all tax revenue collected. Meanwhile the top 10 corporate income taxpayers now pay more than €3 billion annually.

We are reliant for almost €1 in every €4 collected in taxes on a relatively small number of companies and individuals whose incomes could be significantly affected by a downturn or changed foreign direct investment (FDI) patterns.

In contrast, water charges and property charges are more stable sources of revenue. They provide a buffer when economic growth slows or stops. The European Commission, IMF and the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council have all warned about the narrowing of the tax base. But the “ new politics” dictates that this is ignored.”

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Collusion between Senior Gardai and Pet Journalists Undermines Democratic Rights of All

Politicians Who Abandoned Maurice McCabe Now Cynically Trying to Bask in His Glory To Cover Up Their Collusion


Examples of Good Journalism:  Justine Mc;arthy, Sunday Times; Gene Kerrigan, Sunday Independent: Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner

Gene Kerrigan

Those sleeping dogs, they just might bite

The 2011 election created a political force that saved the garda whistleblowers from being ignored by TDs, writes Gene Kerrigan

PUBLISHED, Sunday Independent,19/02/2017 |  

Here’s a quote from the current political debate about the Garda whistleblower scandal. It’s from Martin Heydon, no less – the chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party.

Martin, a poll-topper who’s apparently tipped to go places, represented his party on Morning Ireland last week.

The subject was the political spin-off from the attempted character assassination of Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

“Fine Gael,” Heydon said, “is leading this charge for justice and the truth.”

Fianna Fail was heard bemoaning the fact that McCabe has been “failed by the State”.

Meanwhile, you could hardly turn around without tripping over Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin telling one and all about how “Maurice” expressed his “gratitude” to Howlin for speaking out.

Now, Sgt McCabe did his duty and suffered for it. His duty involved protecting law and order from dysfunctional elements within the Garda. He did that duty with admirable consistency and courage. Gratitude may be due to him, he owes gratitude to no one.

The actions of the political parties last week trivialised a very serious matter. First, they sought to claim kudos for their supposed support of the whistleblowers. Then, they speedily slid away from the substantive issue and indulged in political point-scoring; finally, they moved on, using the whistleblower scandal as the launch pad for the contest to see who gets to be the new leader of Fine Gael.

And, now, it’s All About Enda.

The whistleblower phenomenon is a response by decent cops to a sinister development within the Garda – a bullying, oppressive and incompetent cronyism that ruthlessly puts its own welfare in place of the duty the force owes to serve the public.

It involves not just abuse of the penalty points system but a murder, a serious assault and the attempted abduction of a child – along with a string of questionable responses to people in need of protection.

The cover-up of this bullying includes persistent abuse of the whistleblowers and what might have been an abortive attempt to give false evidence against Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission. We have to wonder, if they tolerate this being done to a garda sergeant, what would they tolerate being done in private to a witness or a suspect?

McCabe’s unease with developments within the force dates from 2006. When the internal processes didn’t work, he sought support from our elected representatives.

FG claims to be the law and order party. It shows little respect for the law, or the welfare of the people employed to enforce it. The notion that it has had any role in – much less led – the “charge for justice and the truth” is a terribly unfunny joke.

FG did nothing to support the whistleblowers. Not one thing. The party stood by the garda hierarchy, and when Commissioner Martin Callinan said the whistleblowers were “disgusting”, FG continued to stand by him.

Leo Varadkar, to his credit, distanced himself from the “disgusting” insult (that was in 2014 – the late date at which Fianna Fail also bestirred itself on the matter).

Enda Kenny panicked over a revelation about garda station recordings and manoeuvred Callinan into resigning – although it was an issue on which Callinan was blameless.

FF’s intervention embarrassed FG by making an issue of the whistleblowers. In this, as in every single other issue, FF responds only in so far as its actions support its current great project, the return of the party to ministerial office.

It will support and oppose or turn a blind eye according to its reading of what will best advance that objective.

What mattered to FG was killing the controversy. It made no attempt to support McCabe, even for cosmetic purposes. It was content to let the bullying, oppressive cronyism continue, with all the potential consequences for the public.

When it replaced Commissioner Callinan it could have committed to a fresh start – instead, it appointed the next in line from the hierarchy, his deputy.

FG’s Labour partner was equally unconcerned, as year followed year.

After the 2011 election, there was a range of new TDs. Some were left wing, others were members of the awkward squad. This meant that the traditional parties – who had resolutely avoided the whistleblower issue, and anything else that didn’t suit their conservative agenda – had competition.

Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Joan Collins and Ming Flanagan sought to raise the whistleblower issue but were stymied. On December 4, 2012, they raised it during questions about the Household Charge – which was procedurally inadmissible.

“Honest gardai are being undermined,” Wallace said, “those gardai need protection”, and as he was silenced each of the others spoke in turn along the same lines – ensuring the matter was put on the Dail record.

A month later, Daly was arrested and held in handcuffs by the side of the road. She was taken in on suspicion of drink-driving, had a sample taken and details entered on the Pulse system.

Within hours, dozens of gardai checked the Pulse details; an email about the arrest was sent up through the garda hierarchy – it was forwarded to 57 people, with a total of 145 garda-related people being informed.

Gardai leaked the details to the media and Daly was widely smeared; the usual FG/FF/Labour fanboys gloated on social media.

By the time the results of the sample cleared Daly of drink-driving, the damage was done.

Meanwhile, the whistleblowers continued to be bullied. John Wilson had a rat tied to his front door.

Through 2015 and 2016, Wallace and Daly hammered away relentlessly in the Dail, ensuring the whistleblower issue didn’t die.

Mick Clifford at the Irish Examiner and Katie Hannon at RTE investigated and analysed the scandal, their unimpeachable reporting gradually unfolding astonishing facts and allegations.

The political parties, which now claim to have led the charge for justice and truth, still waited for the issue to die.

Had the problem been taken up in the Dail, as it could and should have been, with ministers making decisions and reporting back to deputies – all in the open – a sinister development could have been knocked on the head by the democratic process.

Instead, it has blown up in the parties’ faces.

It led to the discrediting of the Taoiseach, as he sought to talk his way around the issue, and – inevitably, given his history – describing a meeting that didn’t happen, complete with dialogue.

It has damaged the reputations of more than one minister.

It almost split FG/FF.

It has led to a tribunal.

It has led to questions being raised about that attempt to falsely claim, at the O’Higgins Commission, that Sgt McCabe admitted being motivated by malice.

It has led to the damaging involvement of Tusla, for reasons that have yet to be adequately explored.

And the political parties have been caught jockeying to claim credit for a public service they not only didn’t perform but which they wilfully neglected.

The thousands of voters in Wexford and Dublin North, who elected Wallace and Daly, and elsewhere who elected Joan Collins and others, can be satisfied that they’ve created an intelligent, committed force outside the moribund party structure.

And those TDs have in turn done some service to the public way beyond their constituencies.

Sunday Independent

 

 

Irish Examiner Saturday, February 18, 2017

Michael Clifford

The most ludicrous utterance from a politician about the McCabe affair this week was also the most representative, says Michael Clifford.

 

On his way into the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Shane Ross said his Independent Alliance would be representing Maurice McCabe’s views at the Cabinet table.

Lucky McCabe. Apparently, Shane had been in contact with the beleaguered garda sergeant. The transport minister didn’t physically beat a path to the McCabe home. But he was in telephone contact, and he was now taking it upon himself to be McCabe’s representative at the Cabinet table.

Ross has long considered himself to be the people’s champion, and this week there was no better

The sight and sound of politicians scrambling to identify with McCabe during the week must have elicited wry amusement in Mick Wallace and Clare Daly. That pair had travelled the hard yards with McCabe for nearly five years, while most others either gave the story a passing nod, or ignored it because it offered no electoral capital.

All that changed over the last nine days. The story has hit a chord with an appalled public, and therein lies thousands of floating voters, ready to be harvested.

Mary Lou McDonald was interviewed on RTÉ’s News at One on Tuesday about the unfolding affair. Four times in the relatively brief interview she referenced “Maurice”. The Cavan-based garda sounded like her Very Best Friend Forever.

Micheál Martin does know McCabe to a certain extent. They first met in 2014, but the sergeant had been more or less sanitised by that point. During the week, Martin came across as somebody who had stood shoulder to shoulder in the trenches with the cop, their friendships forged in the heat of battle.

Then there is Brendan Howlin. On RTÉ radio on Saturday, the Labour Party leader breathlessly revealed how he had had a “long conversation” with the garda that morning, and he related what McCabe and his family wanted done to address the horror that had been visited on them. He, the fearless Brendan, was going to carry their load.

Howlin’s grab for the reflected glow was probably the basest. He was in cabinet in 2013 when his then colleague, Alan Shatter, accused McCabe, and the sergeant’s then confederate John Wilson, of failing to co-operate with the internal Garda investigation into the penalty points scandal.

On October 1, 2013, Shatter said under Dail privilege: “Having engaged with members of this House, and published material, they didn’t co-operate with the garda investigation that took place.”

Very few in the Dail batted an eyelid as the sergeant and ex-guard were accused by the minister of justice of failing to comply with an internal investigation covered by garda rules. Whether intended or not, an impression was created that the complainants had acted mischievously in kicking up a din about a scandal and then withdrawing when an investigation was launched. None of it was true.

Where was Mr Howlin then? Six months later the tide was turning on McCabe’s public standing. On March 26, 2014, the day after the resignation of Martin Callinan, Shatter apologised, saying it had not been his intention to mislead the House or create any upset.

During that intervening period there wasn’t a peep out of Brendan Howlin, or other ministers, up until Leo Varadker’s declaration of support for the whistleblowers the week before Shatter’s apology.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said he had had a ‘long conversation’ with Maurice McCabe in recent weeks.

For the last week or so, “Maurice” has been namechecked across the media, as politicians queued up to be associated with him in public. God knows with the cost of advertising today, who wouldn’t want to sidle up to a bit of free publicity.

I, for one, would have been saved a few sleepless nights if all these politicians had been so welcoming of McCabe and his tidings four years ago.

I knew McCabe back then. I had seen the evidence, met the victims of crime whose plight this turbulent cop was attempting to have addressed. Yet something wasn’t adding up. Why was there such little take-up on the story by politicians or media?

The scurrilous rumours about child sex abuse were out there being spread like manure. People didn’t have to believe the lies to shy away from McCabe. Why take a chance?

Why be associated with somebody who is discommoding the most powerful institution in the country if there is even the smallest chance that he turns out to be toxic? Why get involved in something that may see you targeted as Daly had been when she had been erroneously arrested, or Wallace had been live on TV when Shatter divulged an innocuous traffic incident he’d been involved in. Why bother?

In such an environment of indifference and febrile rumour, I was nagged by a feeling that despite all the evidence, despite McCabe’s obvious sound character, I was missing something that discredited his story.

One day in early 2014, I briefly found myself in the company of Conor Brady, the former editor of the Irish Times and former chair of the Garda Ombudsman Commission. We barely knew each other, but in the course of a conversation about the Garda controversies he asked had I met McCabe. “He’s an impressive guy,” said Brady. “A serious man who should be listened to.”

Brady had encountered the sergeant through his former role in GSOC. At that point I realised my doubts were unfounded. I was not crazy (well, not too crazy). Everything did make sense.

Three days after that encounter, Brady went on the This Week programme on RTÉ radio and said much the same thing in public. To my mind, that was a crucial moment in the tide of public opinion turning in relation to McCabe.

Brady, a sober and mainstream voice with an intimate knowledge of policing, wasn’t just saying that this cop was a credible person, as others had. He wasn’t just referencing the penalty points issue that had been highlighted by Wallace and Daly.

He was indicating that this was a man without baggage, a rare voice bearing the truth about the darker elements of Garda culture. For me, that confirmed what I’d thought I knew but had questioned because so many seemed not to want to know.

Maurice McCabe has done the State some major service. Just look up reports from the Garda Inspectorate, the public accounts committee, the Comptroller and Auditory General. Read the reports from Sean Guerin SC, or retired judge Kevin O’Higgins. Talk to the victims of crime in Cavan/Monaghan whom he ensured would receive justice.

Talk to 400 or so members of the Irish Road Victims Association, who rose to their feet to applaud McCabe at their annual function last November when he received an award for his work on road safety.

Maurice McCabe and his family have paid a terrible toll for his bravery and persistence.

It’s really terrific that so many politicians are now flocking to bask in his reflected glow. Pity it took so long.

Pity he and his loved ones had to endure so much pain until this day arrived.

Name and shame the rumour-mongers who slurred Maurice McCabe-JUSTINE McCARTHY

On April 12, 2014, the Irish Independent published a report beneath the headline: “Girl wants new probe into alleged sexual assault by garda.” Written by Paul Williams, a crime correspondent, it said: “A young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted as a child by a serving garda claims the incident was covered up through a botched investigation. The woman claims she was six when a colleague of her garda father abused her. Both men are still serving members of the force.”

Any journalist who had contemplated reporting on the allegations of misconduct being made by the whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe recognised him as the unidentified garda in Williams’s story. For we had been warned to treat McCabe with the utmost suspicion. Generally, it was crime reporters who received the warning from their garda sources, and relayed a tread-carefully SOS to non-crime beat colleagues, who get shorter shrift from the garda press office. The former head of that office, Superintendent David Taylor, has alleged he was instructed to traduce McCabe in briefings to journalists. In defamation law, to call someone a child sexual abuser is the most serious allegation you can make, being devoid of any possible justification.

On April 15 that year, Williams filed a second report, this one headlined: “Alleged garda sex victim wants to meet Martin.” It said the woman was seeking a meeting with Micheál Martin, noting that the Fianna Fail leader had previously referred a dossier of alleged garda malpractice to the taoiseach. That dossier triggered an inquiry by Seán Guerin, a senior counsel, whose report was published on May 9, 2014, leading to Alan Shatter’s resignation as justice minister and the establishment of the Fennelly Commission.

Martin Callinan had already resigned as garda commissioner, following a protracted controversy about malpractice in the force. Nóirín O’Sullivan had been appointed acting commissioner, until the position officially became hers on November 25, 2014.

On May 5, Williams filed a third report, following a meeting between the woman and Martin. “Kenny to set up probe into garda sex abuse claims,” the headline wrongly forecast. It quoted a spokesman for Martin as saying: “He listened closely to what she had to say and he took her allegations very seriously and he has written to the taoiseach.” Williams said the woman was due to meet investigators from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) and that she was taking legal advice about taking court action for damages.

Referring to the garda investigation of her complaint, Williams added: “A file was sent to the DPP who decided the officer did not have a case to answer.” In fact, the DPP’s instruction to gardai was more succinct. It said: “No offence disclosed.”

Williams’s reports began appearing in the same month that Tusla, the state’s child and family agency, created separate files on McCabe and each of his children, erroneously stating that he stood accused of penetrative child sexual assault. McCabe was oblivious to the existence of this information, available to garda colleagues on the force’s Pulse intelligence system. He had been barred from accessing Pulse by a superior officer in late 2012 after he and John Wilson, a former garda, revealed that senior officers were quashing penalty points for favoured motorists.

Why, one wonders, would a garda’s daughter who believed herself the victim of a garda cover-up contact a crime writer known to have contacts at the highest level of the force? If, on the other hand, it was Williams who made the approach to her, who gave the journalist her name and contact details? Furthermore, after Enda Kenny received Martin’s letter about the woman’s allegations, did Martin, the taoiseach or his staff contact Tusla to alert the child protection agency? If so, did Tusla tell them it already had individual files on McCabe’s family? The choreography is the key to understanding the significance of these Kafkaesque events. In December 2015, Tusla contacted McCabe, saying it had information he might be a danger to children, on foot of a counsellor’s erroneous complaint relating to the same woman. At that time, Kevin O’Higgins, a retired High Court judge appointed to investigate McCabe’s complaints of substandard garda investigations in the Cavan/Monaghan division, was preparing his draft report for the government.

It was also just weeks after a failed bid to discredit McCabe behind the closed doors of O’Higgins’s commission. As Michael Clifford revealed in the Irish Examiner last May, O’Sullivan’s senior counsel was planning to question McCabe’s motivation and credibility arising out of a meeting in 2008 during which it was alleged he admitted being motivated by a grudge against a senior colleague. McCabe had said no such thing, as O’Higgins acknowledged after the sergeant produced a recording of the 2008 meeting.

Even after Clifford’s story was published, the whispering campaign continued. Garda sources told their journalist contacts the reported smearing of McCabe at the commission was untrue and evidence would emerge to disprove it. Ten months later, that evidence has not materialised. Luckily for the top brass, O’Higgins’s report never mentioned the exchanges about McCabe’s motivation or the 2008 meeting.

Two days before the report was published on May 11, the RTE crime correspondent Paul Reynolds reported extensively from exclusively leaked extracts that Higgins had found McCabe “prone to exaggeration, and while some of his complaints were upheld, others were proven to be overstated, exaggerated, unfounded and ultimately withdrawn”.

None of this is to impute wrongdoing by Williams, Reynolds or their colleagues. Journalists rely on contacts for information. Protecting sources’ anonymity is a cherished principle of the trade. But, in this case, trust was demolished in the relationship between some journalists and their sources. The debt is cancelled.

Even in media outlets that refrained from reporting the spurious claims, the campaign to vilify McCabe exerted a chilling effect and is partly the reason this controversy has gone on for years. Apart from the anguish this caused the sergeant, his wife and their children, the relentless denigration of McCabe put the safety of Irish citizens at risk by deterring urgent examination of what is rotten in the country’s law enforcement. That is not to mention how such a vicious campaign has accelerated the disintegration of public morality.

We journalists, even if inadvertently, facilitated it by not properly interrogating the false rumours against McCabe. There is an onus on us now to correct the record. We can start by dispensing with the shield of protecting our sources. Why protect a source on whom you cannot rely to tell the truth? Those of us who know the identities of the rumour-mongers have a duty to go to the Charleton Commission and name those names. Journalists’ first obligation is to the truth.

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Claire Byrne on Saturday: No Mention of EU Fiscal Treaty in Hour Long Programme on Future Governance in Dublin!!!

There was extensive discussion of the future governance of the 26-county state under various headings throughout the programme. Yet the “elephant in the room”,The EU Fiscal Treaty was never mentioned.The “Fiscal Space” determined by the Franco-German Alliance was taken as a given and acceptable. David Cullinane Sinn Féin never mentioned the issue as he ducked and dived on a Sinn Féin coalition with FF, FG,Labour. Two Years Ago,Caoimhín  Ó Caoláin said in the Dáil that the Treaty was a major affront to Irish Sovereignty and “flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation”. Things have changed!

http://www.rte.ie/radio1/saturday-with-claire-byrne/programmes/2017/0204/850153-saturday-with-claire-byrne-saturday-4-february-2017/

Claire was joined in studio by Finian McGrath, Independent TD for Dublin Bay North, John McGuinness, Fianna Fail TD for Carlow Kilkenny, David Cullinane, Sinn Fein TD for Waterford, Noel Whelan, Irish Times Columnist and Barrister and Sinead O’Carroll, News Editor, theJournal.ie

What is actually said or written in Media is not the only source of distortion of Truth

What is Omitted is Equally Important

For Example:saying there is a shortage of money for public services while omitting that the Irish Super-Rich Are AWASH WITH MONEY. Instead of taxing this wealth and Income the government is giving them Tax Relief. See on this blog:  http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4

False Underlying Assumptions can also be a major source of distortion of truth

For Example : Taking it as self-evident that Housing Crisis can only be solved over several years without pointing out that because of support of FG, FF, Lab for the Eu Fiscal Treaty in a referendum, these parties have agreed that the Irish State can’t borrow the money at current rock-bottom interest rates to build sufficient numbers of social houses!!!!

Statistical Manipulation :Quoting Selective Statitics with Intention to Deceive-Omission of other statistics required to provide a complete and balanced picture of reality.

Example 1: Evictions

In a Dáil response to Seamus Healy TD, Minister “Tommy Cooper” Noonan made hundreds of repossession of homes disappear by only counting court cases in the legal third quarter when courts sit for only one month whereas courts sit for 3 months in the first and second quarters! See Housing and Homelessness on this Blog http://wp.me/pKzXa-wc

Example 2: Tax

“Ireland Has Most Progressive Tax system among OECD Countries”—Regularly repeated by Ministers, Right-wing economists and compliant journalists who are really propagadists for the Rich. This is regularly supported by Statistics which exclude indirect taxes paid by the poorest citizens on their entire income which they spend.When all taxes are included the lowest 10% of income recipients pay the same rate of tax as the richest 10%–the reverse of progressivity

See Tax Evasion by The Irish Rich on This Blog wp.me/pKzXa-oM

Example 3  Pay

False comparisons of pay in Ireland with that in other European countries are regularly trotted out by advocates for employer bodies including ministers in government.This is done mainly by omitting the social wage (essentially employer PRSI contributions). These are deferred pay of employees which in other countries fund public services such as free health care in addition to pensions and unemployment benefit.Employer PRSI in Ireland is 8.7% of wages as against an EU-15 average of 18.5% and rates in Italy and France of over 29% !!!!  (See Michael_TAFT_NERI_PRESENTATION: NERI Labour Market Conference)

The more shameless propagandists use exchange rates only and omit the effect of the high cost of living in Ireland. This is captured by figures based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPPs) See UNITE RESEARCH DOCUMENT: High Wealth, Low Pay & the Social Wage (2016)Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly on the key role of the Social Wage in raising living standards https://unitetheunionireland.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/turth-about-irish-wages-2016-upload-010616.pdf

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IRISH TIMES MISLEADS IN BIASED CAMPAIGN AGAINST RESTORATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE PAY AND PENSIONS

Letter Writer Highlights Miss-Information NOT ONLY THROUGH STATEMENTS IN ARTICLE BUT EVEN MORE SO BY OMISSION OF KEY INFORMATION

Veteran Right-Wing Political Commentator, Stephen Collins, Given UNCONTESTED SPACE  TO THUNDER AGAINST PS PAY AND PENSIONS RESTORATION

The bottom line is that if the substantial public pay increases being sought over and above the Lansdowne Road agreement are conceded them the outcome will be worsening public services for those who need them most or tax increases for already heavily taxed middle-income earners.”—stated as fact by Stephen Collins but shown to be utter rubbish elsewhere on this Blog :Full Details: Super-Rich Irish Awash With Money   http://wp.me/pKzXa-n4

 Pay and the public service

Irish Times: Friday, November 18, 2016, 01:07

Sir, – In the article “Public service to return to its ‘peak’ size next year” (November 16th), you write that “most public service staff are scheduled to receive a second and final €1,000 increase in September 2017. The first €1,000 was paid in January of this year.” In fact, only public servants with an annual salary under €31,000 received any salary adjustment in January this year, and only those paid under €65,000 will get the €1,000 in September 2017. The pension levy has been reduced but that levy in itself is an additional cut in take-home pay over and above explicit salary cuts and is still partly in place.

Furthermore, these pay adjustments will leave public service salaries lower than in 2009, so describing union attempts to restore the pre-Croke Park levels as pay increases, as done four times in the article, is misleading. These changes in the contracts of public servants covering pay and working hours were enabled by the Government’s introduction of Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Fempi) legislation, which, despite the economic recovery, has been renewed annually, most recently in June this year. Describing the unpaid additional hours which unions may seek to reverse as “part of productivity concessions agreed in the earlier Croke Park and Haddington Road accords” is therefore also rather one-sided, unless the meaning of agreement can be stretched to accepting measures imposed by law. – Yours, etc,

DONAL McGRATH, Greystones, Co Wicklow.

Public service to return to its ‘peak’ size next year

Pat Leahy: Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 01:00

The public service will return next year to its “peak” size last seen before the economic crash in 2008, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe told Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday.

In a detailing briefing to Cabinet at its weekly meeting, Mr Donohoe also said the public pay bill would surpass its 2008 levels in 2018.

He said that even without a new public sector pay agreement next year, the pay bill is likely to exceed the pre-bust levels in 2018, 10 years after the economic crash began a sharp drop in public sector pay and numbers.

Total tax receipts, estimated to pass €50 billion next year, significantly exceed 2008 levels largely due to increases in income tax, including the universal social charge (USC).

Mr Donohoe’s warning comes as public sector unions threaten a wave of strikes unless they receive pay increases above those budgeted for next year in the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Yesterday the Cabinet reaffirmed its commitment to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and to the previously indicated timetable for its replacement.

A Government spokesman said there had been no decision to change that policy.

That would mean no negotiation on a new agreement could take place until next summer, with no acceleration of next year’s pay increases.

However, with unions preparing for strikes, few Government insiders believe it can tough it out that long.

Existing employees

Yet with budgets remaining constrained, the Cabinet may be faced with a choice of hiring more public servants or paying its existing employees more.

Excluding local authorities (which are not directly funded by the Exchequer), public sector numbers peaked in 2008 at 285,000.

Yesterday Mr Donohoe told the Cabinet that by the end of 2018 on current projections the total number of Exchequer-funded public servants would be 294,000, with a total pay bill of €17.2 billion.

This would mean the total number of all public employees, including local authorities, would pass 320,000.

Mr Donohoe said the cost of demographic pressures was now estimated at €500 million every year, further squeezing available resources for public sector pay increases.

Yesterday, pay pressures in the economy intensified when unions representing private sector workers said they would lodge pay claims for 4 per cent in January.

Public service union leaders, who are to meet Wednesday in Belfast to consider the fallout from the €40 million pay package offered to gardaí, are expected to reiterate their demand for early negotiations with the Government which would accelerate pay restoration for State employees.

Extra money

According to a number of highly placed sources, it is unlikely that unions will accept any situation under which gardaí would get extra money next year while their members would have to wait for similar additional payments until the following year.

Most public service staff are scheduled to receive a second and final €1,000 increase in September 2017. The first €1,000 was paid in January of this year.

Union leaders at the meeting in Belfast are also expected to demand an end to unpaid additional hours which formed part of productivity concessions agreed in the earlier Croke Park and Haddington Road accords.

Last night Government officials met representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) at Government Buildings as contacts between the two sides continue.

A spokeswoman said both parties had “reiterated their commitment to a continued collective approach to public service pay issues”, and said that demands for the early restoration of allowances “could more appropriately be dealt with by the parties under the relevant provisions of the Lansdowne Road Agreement”.

She said both parties had agreed to remain in contact over the coming weeks.

© 2016 irishtimes.com

Veteran Right-Wing Political Commentator Given UNCONTESTED SPACE  

Stephen Collins: some home truths about public sector pay claims

It has not registered that pay rises for public servants mean cuts in services or tax increases

Stephen Collins   Sat, Nov 19, 2016,

Given the precedents set by the Luas drivers and gardaí, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe faces a horrendously difficult task in trying to hold the line . . .tterShare to Email App

The bottom line is that if the substantial public pay increases being sought over and above the Lansdowne Road agreement are conceded them the outcome will be worsening public services for those who need them most or tax increases for already heavily taxed middle-income earners.

 

“Mussolini” Howlin Fails To MENTION HIS FEMPI ANTI-UNION LAW!

 INTERVIEWER NEVER ASKED HIM ABOUT IT!!!!!

Mr Howlin claimed he did a “remarkable job” of securing two pay agreements and maintaining industrial peace during the troika programme while the country was gripped by austerity cuts.

“What I did was remarkable in five years,” said Mr Howlin. “In the worst of times, compare us to any other programme countries, we maintained industrial peace across the public service. We didn’t lose any days in strike and, yet, I negotiated two agreements that were voted and accepted by the members.”

Speaking in the wake of the Labour Court deal which saw significant additional pay increases for gardaí, who are outside the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, Mr Howlin said the Government’s strategy to date has been a “disaster”.

“It was clear to me that you have to keep the public service together,” he said. “You cannot allow people outside the deal to be advantaged over the those who are in it. The Government ignored that advice. They have allowed people outside the deal to get a better deal.

“It has been a disastrous strategy and I think it is a lack of experience.”-Irish Examiner 19/11/2016


OMISSIONS DISTORT DISCUSSION ON HOUSING AND PUBLIC SERVICE PAY RESTORATION

THE WEEK IN POLITICS 13/11/2016-Panel Minister for  Housing Simon Coveney FG, Anne Rabitte FF, Eoin O Broin Sinn Féin
Topic -Housing-No mention by anybody that Ireland cannot borrow money to build adequate numbers of Social Houses because of Fiscal Treaty Restrictions-Enda has sent a begging letter to EU with no response
Topic-Restoration of Public Service Pay and Pensions– apart from a clip of Seamus Healy TD speaking in the Dáil-no mention by any panel member of the fact that the Government claim that there is no money to fund additional pay and pension restoration is false as government gave 600 million to owners of hotels in budget 2017 and gave 172 million to top 5% of income recipients on average of 186,000 Euro p. a. in last two budgets!

False Underlying Assumptions by presenter and panel distort public debate

Often, the omissions are more effective than the content in misleading viewers

And it is always the rich and powerful who benefit from the distortion!

Surprise! Surprise!!!

It was ever thus!!!!

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