Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of articles 2007-2010 on social justice by Michelle Clarke

October 17th, 2015
Ireland we have moved on.  Woof Magic is in vogue.  The canine companion, a Jack Russell and his owner, sit still looking at the outstanding Cliffs of Moher.  Yes you can now take your dogs on holidays.  It’s called ‘pet humanisation’.  You get your app and the rest is history.

1st July, 2007 22:45

Rocky, what a splendid photo and wearing a Captain’s Cap as well. (A reply about a dog who visits prisons to sniff out illegal drugs)

by Michelle Clarke

Ronan. I read with interest your posting, though I may differ in view, and the attached detail also.

Rocky…/top-prison-sniffer-dog-gets-extra-security-41 is a splendid specimen of canine but he is unaware of moral effects of sniffing trips to Limerick jail. In a way, Rocky, similar to myself with brain injury, just engages in the known act ie sniffing drugs (not me) at the intent of others who determine what his function is.

However, I am a dog lover, for their company, for their empathy, for their ability to assist me with my walking, meeting people, and the possibility of being able to live independently in a community with the supports of my advocate.

I tend to look for the positive effects for animals for no other reason than the shame that Ireland is second from the bottom in Europe engaged in destroying their dogs; ill treating their dogs and worst of all, as highlighted by the Reverend Ian Paisley today on the BBC  Panorama programme…/dog-fighting-gang-with-irish-links-jailed-1.7455… which showed up the cold and callous minded people, trading, profiteering, stealing, and worst of all abusing dogs viciously in dog fighting rings. What makes this even worse is to be informed of a supposedly intelligent GAA player being visibly and actually involved in what is criminal and I mean really criminal ie active participation in dog fights.   You see here it is not identified as a social deficit for him, as can be the case of many prisoners, because he is a member of the GAA and respected and revered.  However the truth is we are talking about serious intent to cause harm to a living animal – this creates an abyss about human nature, act, mind and violence.

Ronan. Is there a positive that can be arrived at regarding Rocky and the other sniffer dogs? We have had the well advertised suicide conference in Kerry this weekend – the interesting point is that 20% of suicide are apportioned to blame.  Herein lies a vacuum.

A blitz to the prison with Rocky and much to the surprise of prisoner officers many illegal drugs and mobile phones are sourced. Open Publishing site writers have prompted this for months so therefore let us assume that the prisons have made serious provision for ‘Withdrawl’ and more importantly rehabilitation for prisoners in need of same. This is surely a right to people.   The film Trainspotting aptly describes withdrawal and you are right, it is to be avoided. It is inhuman.  Psychosis is real.  What about programmes to deter people from illegal drugs and engage them in rehabilitative activities but with dogs.  Puppies behind bars is a programme in the US prisons.  The inmates work and train animals for people war veterans who traumatic stress disorder.  People can learn empathy.  To see lifers reduced to tears as they hand over the dogs to their new owners must count.

There are many groups fighting for the rights of dogs and animals and doing exceptional work.  I read the Science magazine and noted an article by researchers in Australia – ‘Household pets keep kids healthy’ – the immuno system is 2% enhanced. Surely, this is worth reviewing; I have immuno deficiency from ill-health, I am sure the company of my dog helps my immune system and he definitely lessens stress.

Ronan……I may have a different view but the photo, the content, the ‘Dawn Raid’ by the prison officers with Rocky on the vulnerable drug dealing prisoners……is the key point, therein answers can be found, I hope.

Dogs for the Blind, Sniffer Dogs for drugs (yes in prisons but also in our pubs, or other locations where drugs are being dealt)

Optimism by Amoz Oz (Israeli Novelist who has campaigned eloquently for therights of Palestinians).

‘I am optimist – with no timescale’

No 1

Sunday May 03, 2009 16:30


Words, Sentences, Theories Abound In Ireland

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity

What can we the plain people of Ireland contribute to the theorists, the politicians, the business people, the developers, the professions; I would suggest a little common sense is needed.

What can we, the plain people of Ireland, contribute to the Theorists, Government politicians, the Bankers, the professions, the economists – to those who have constructed NAMA. These are the people we must learn to trust and if this is so, we the plain people of Ireland must be able to contribute our views, in a collective way, as part of the people grassroots press.

The common sense view is free and this is about democracy.

Simon Carswell has written an excellent book which is called ‘Something rotten – Irish Banking Scandals’. It is worth reading particularly if you can recall the Banking Scandals that have already occurred in Ireland.

As a reminder, they read as follows:

Irish Trust Bank and Ken Bates – Ireland’s first major banking collapse

Patrick Gallagher and Merchant Banking, the downfall of a property tycoon (I remember this particularly well)

PMPA, the failure of Ireland’s biggest insurance company and the lost deposits

Insurance Corporation of Ireland: the State’s bail out of Ireland’s biggest bank

Edmund Farrell, his removal from Irish permanent

Ansbacher: a secret bank for Ireland’s golden circle

National Irish bank, encouraging tax evasion and ripping off customers

The DIRT Scandal, bogus non resident accounts

Offshore tax evasion, nowhere left to hide hot money (Not true, FT makes interesting reading about offshore accounts)

Politicians and the banks, clearing debts for VIP customers

John Rusnak lost $691 million

AIB and Foreign Exchange

AIB and the Faldor scandal

George Santayana speaks words of wisdom, ‘those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’.

I ask how did Ireland get caught out by developers, banks, business people, brokers, etc. at such quick haste from the last financial crisis, as experienced by most people in a certain age group, given the chapters in Simon Carswell’s book, as highlighted above?

How much of where we are at, is in fact due to the Global emphasis undertaken worldwide from the 1980’s onward?

Wednesday Irish Times 29th April 2009, I noticed a most intriguing article from Simon Carswell, Finance Correspondent.

We all are aware that Sweden encountered a similar crisis circa 1990. There is a Swedish model per consequence. A valuer who was appointed by the Swedish Government to a nominated ‘vehicle’ to determine property values during Sweden’s banking crisis reported that there was a period OF DENIAL ABOUT THE PROBLEMS IN THE MARKET….HE WENT ON TO SAY THAT THIS CAN ‘DESTROY’ THE VALUE OF PROPERTIES.

Now this is a gem of wisdom to those of us around in the early 1980’s, those of us forced to emigrate, then 1990’s in the UK etc.  This is the time, we are least at guard………this is the time, we need to take a deep breath and open our minds to solutions as distinct from blaming people. The people we blame have already lost significant sums of money, we need to ensure they don’t take to the ‘Bottle’ or ‘no good’ practices. We need to harness strengths with good common sense.  We all can make a contribution. Some people have real common sense and are not driven by the profit motive. Tap into this.

Today on Radio 1, RTE. Professor Honohan, Trinity College spoke and his words were blunt. If the Government did not give the guarantee, AIB and Bank of Ireland would be insolvent right now. He went on to say, some powerful political party had a very unhealthy relationship with property developers for too long. We are now worse off than Iceland according to Professor Honohan. He stated that Iceland was getting its act together internally and there is a slight improvement in their economy. Ireland, he said has got to face up to some hard facts. He welcomed NAMA WITH A CAUTION and that caution being, it has to be independent of any political interference.  The Truth is:  NOTHING HAS REALLY CHANGED SINCE LEMASS.

Michelle Clarke

No 2

Saturday 24th October 2009, 16.35
The importance of Honesty among the Judiciary

 by Comyn – Law and Equality

Reporter: I am very interested in the context of your posting. The qualities of the judiciary, in a country that is supposedly democratic ought to be above reproach. For Mr. Justice Johnson (retiring) to have included the word ‘honest’ as per your quote, is suffice to say, that the Judiciary are not above reproach.

I recall reading something from a Judge of the 1950’s who said the most important quality for a Judge was firstly to be a good lawyer and then to have a solid knowledge of the law. To me, this is common sense but common sense has become driftwood in the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger.

Does anyone speak of the Mahon Tribunal these days? When will we have a conclusion and when will we stop paying these massive salaries to legal beagles who know ‘what their best interest is’ yes ‘go slow’ get paid more.

Our Commercial Courts are the new order of the Decade? Where is the money coming from?

We need to cut our Cloth according to its Measure but this doesn’t mean the middle class and near impoverished, as well as the elderly. The decision needs to be made, and the ‘sterling qualities of expertise and genius’ needs to be tapped, with persuasion to forego income and wealth in line with a just and fair society.

Do people really take account of the number of solicitors being struck off the rolls? You occasionally hear the name but there is no significant emphasis on a professional ‘doing something that is illegal’. There is a kind of sympathy extended to them, it is part of that paternalism that is invoked by being a member of a profession.

Lynn owes e80 m and rising no doubt. People claim to have met him in Europe but when they query it, they are told it is difficult to charge him. What does this mean? I know law is not retrospective but surely there are enough precedents in Law to charge for fraud, deception, etc. etc.

Did Lynn suffer a massive loss in his e80 m with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the US September 12 months ago? Well, we all know that Madoff the Pyramid guru and scandal is now in his seventies in jail for life; thanks to the Federal system of law in America. Apparently he is sharing a bunk bed with a real gangster.

The US have not been ‘sitting on their hands’ since the collapse of Lehmans. No they have been thinking and acting. People have been held accountable and fast tracked through the legal processes and placed in prison as criminals. There is none of this ‘white’ collar ‘blue collar’ categorisation in the US – Enron proved that.

Also countries like Switzerland, the Bahamas, yes the Tax Havens are under serious threat. 5,000 names of US Swiss Bank holders are to have their names released to the US revenue and there is a potential for some 50,000 more greedy people to have their names released. Who knows what this will in effect do to capital markets – it will cause an injection to the EU, Britain, the US, to a lesser degree Japan, China, Asia. It is going to be a really interesting dynamic.

Nobody could predict the Lehman crisis but now that it has happened transparency and accountability is the battle cry so let the masses pay heed and vocalise the need to source taxes from those who have failed to pay in the last decade and who seek to remain tax exiles yet own major businesses in IRELAND. I admire O’Leary of Ryanair on two scores. In the 1980s when the recession was really bad, he saw an opportunity and he gave emigrants very cheap travel to other countries for work and secondly, he can jest about his view of politicians because he pays considerable tax in Ireland and lives in the Country.

Reporter: This is a good posting. Have you any more detail about this retiring Judge and his views on the Judiciary?

No 3

Tuesday Feb 23, 2010 17:26

Waste lands and George Orwell.
Originally: ‘Urban abandonments and dereliction…’
How can we effect change and stop the abandonment and dereliction?

by Michelle Clarke re Developers, Builders, Toxic Debtors 

Today’s Irish Times: Elgin Road, a three storey over basement property adjacent to the American Embassy is featured in all its abandonment and linked in ownership to the brother of a former Taoiseach of Ireland. The link is harrowing because of the recent Mossad (or supposed to be) assassination and the link to forged passports.

When does all the bad news stop, when can we start to progress again? Last night thankfully there was a programme about the history of the Docklands and the fact that in 1796 it was the largest canal programme undertaken by the British in the World. It was cycle tour by a man named Turtle Bunbury who has written book…/docklands/…/pub_books_docklands_wr_bec…on both its history and more importantly on its recent advancement. This gives hope and do we need hope?

It made me think of this site and wonder if there could be a new vision and some inspiration !!!!

We sure need it. We each can make contributions. The Frontline had an interesting panel last night. A man by the name of Collins involved in the internet market spoke of the importance of the young acting on ideation via the web. I agree with him, about the potential for Ireland (refer Pat Kenny the The scope is here to develop markets. Our environment has the potential and social networking sites have massive scope in a small island community like Ireland.

Looking at the houses on Elgin Road, Dublin 4, while out for a walk, it made me think of this site and someone’s comment that how can we have houses of such economic value e.g. in the good times 8m euros beside derelict houses that have remained in situ without investment for periods of decades. Today, we witness the houses and again we must ask the same question. Why can such houses remain abandoned during the boom times and yet others are the homes of the ‘elite’?

Surely this would suggest a wealth tax on property or if not a wealth tax, a utility tax. How much space is not properly utilised because people choose to be wasteful in order to gain wealth via appreciation in property over decades. Why is there so much vacant space around Dublin 2, 4, and 6….?

Motivation is vital to our people and this is a about creating an environment that inspires the ordinary people to be creative. – surely this was what created the ideation of a Celtic Tiger and the regeneration of areas e.g. Temple Bar and all the inspiration one can find therein.

Be it in Moyross in Limerick City or elitist Dublin 4, properties in this state of decay and dereliction cannot create an environment for inspiration and vision so the answer must be for people to react and start seeking change.

NAMA is real and it will behave like a real mercenary docking the value of properties by 85%, 95% and more. Likewise the Docklands will be held out to slaughter and the DDDA? What we need is a market and some equity? We do not need to crucify those developers who took a chance.

Michelle Clarke 2010
2015 recommend:  Dr Rory Hearne especially needs revision now day before the budget.


No 4


About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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2 Responses to Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of articles 2007-2010 on social justice by Michelle Clarke

  1. Pingback: Open publishing; emails – Social Justice Ethics Transparency and Accountability | canisgallicus

  2. Pingback: Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of articles 2007-2010 on social justice by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

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