Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of emails to Government and related. Year 2010 (January to June – 17 articles) by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Scales of Justice at Dublin Castle
Date: Saturday 23rd January 2010 20:17:21
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Cahill Gavin <>, John Corrigan <>, conp <>, Gabriel Bradley <>,,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dublin Castle: Woman with Scales of Justice in one hand and Sword in the other…..

Equilibrium is threatened

by Michelle Clarke

The Scales of Justice stand resplendent at Dublin Castle but ‘the message is conveyed inwards’ when the message ought to be outwards to embrace the whole Island of Ireland.

The time is here for change. We need Transparency. We have the chance now to achieve it.

How long more do we have to wait for the outcome of the Mahon Tribunal? What about the adage – Justice delayed is Justice denied.

Are we denied Justice? Do we really need a tribunal regarding the banks? Is it not suffice to say we became part of the global de-regulation of financial markets and factor in the positive of how we benefited handsomely in Irish Financial Services Centre for providing backroom work for world banks who were attracted to our tax breaks?

We need to note that in the US – those who breach the law in Corporate positions have already been arrested and sentenced to long periods in prison. The legislation is what counts. We have the added advantage in Ireland of the  Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), surely this model can be adapted to criminalise those who abused power in their corporate prestige world of the last few decades?

No 1

Date: Friday 5th February 2010 18:52:44 -0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Cahill Gavin <>, Byrne, Daryl <>, Budworth, David <>, Ariana Ball <>, Archiseek IRELAND <>
CC:, AnneMarie E. Rooney <>

5th February 2010


Landlords Reduce Rents by 25% urgently to kickstart our economy

Well done to all at Cooley Environmental Group

by Michelle Clarke (Ashfield)- Utilitarians

Sean you have made a real effort contributing to Citizen Journalism over the years to keep us ‘connected’ if not integrated virtually.

Also well done to Archbishop Hynes and all the behind the scenes contributors.

The photos make it homely and show us the beauty of our Northern counties.

‘Back to Basics’ is sound advice in this deepening days of depression. The depression alas is two fold. It is our country, our society being embalmed by global greed and then the people, the individuals who fight ‘the black dog’ who comprise our society.

I am in Dawson Street and have just read a notice that I would like to share with you.

The name of the Italian eatery is Carluccios. It has a marvellous clientele and widens the Irish taste buds to what excels in Italy.
The notice on the door is clear.

The landlord states that they have informed their staff that business cannot continue because the LANDLORD WILL NOT RE-NEGOTIATE THE RENT DOWNWARDS.

You mention Sean about the Encumbered Estates Act. Why can we the people of Ireland not learn something from the past. Landlords ought to be humane and consider taking say 25% off their rents for a period of time.

If they don’t we will find ourselves with vacant premises and no tourism.

No 2

Subject: The Church and Abuse of Power
Date: Friday 5th February 2010 20:41:07 -0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: The Very Revd Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin <>, The Tubridy Show <>, The Irish Catholic – Ireland’s biggest and best-selling Catholic newspaper since 1888 <>, OKeeffe, Minister <>,, Kathleen Soden <>, John Corrigan <>, ivana catherine bacik <>, Hugh Kane <>, Ethics <ethics@Harvard.Edu>
CC: Rose Noone <>, Brian Glynn <>,, Barbara <>,, Anne M. O’Gorman <>, Andrew Harkness <>

Thursday February 05, 2010 16:37

Abuse of Power – The Wrongs of the Catholic Church
by Michelle Clarke

Well done Kevin (article written on Citizen Journalism site). Good photography also.

Hope you are feeling well after that dedicated week with no food outside the GPO before Christmas.  Absolute power corrupts and power corrupts absolutely or something to this affect and your experiences of abuse have necessitated you to go on a hunger strike to try and stop the denial perpetrated by the System.

People must stand accountable and it is now the time to ask members of the Church to come forward and make the necessary legal statements about crimes committed under their auspices.

The Boston Globe (well worth reading their book on Betrayal and the Catholic Church) kicked to touch on this topic over a decade ago. It is time for the Irish to do some piggy backing on US research and findings and look to the Catholic Church for financial reparations.

It is said that in 1997 the Catholic Church land values were worth IR£1 billion. We know a lot of this land was sold. Where did the money go? I would suggest it is gone to the Vatican bank yes it left Ireland and if so, who has the money now?

Kevin I am coming back to the word you used that has really made me think – you spoke about the sanitisation process. You are right, religious orders have become chameleons and have reappeared in places like All Hallows and housing associations providing education and housing.

Then there is the powerful Opus Dei at Lismullin – a beneficiary of the FAS fetac education grants etc. They are also supposed to be providers of student accommodation on University campuses. I ask and my reason is well founded ‘at what cost to the beneficiary’. I suggest it is in return for secrecy and life time commitment.

One more question. By comparison to child sexual abuse, it may be secondary but does anyone share with me the power of the Church to grant an annulment to a 15 year marriage; after the State has granted one a divorce in court and in favour of a husband who left the marriage for an affair with another woman (children as proof of relationship).  His wife sustained brain injury in a horse riding accident and this caused division in the marriage.
The Catholic Church usurped the woman’s status and the question that remains unanswered is if  was Opus Dei the driver in preference to the new adulterous relationship rather than the commitment the marriage vows are supposed to represent?  Kevin. I have written to Archbishop Martin etc. etc. They choose not to hear. I applaud your persistence.

The words of Jonathan Swift come to mind only the meaning is in reverse. The Church okay have the knowledge but they are blind. Swift said ‘Give Vision to the visionless’

Where did the money go? Is it in Switzerland or Lichtenstein or even the Virgin Islands? Or maybe just maybe, you get a good return for hidden funds at the Vatican bank?

No 3

Subject: ‘Has Deal opened roads for Orange parades – RNU
Date: Wednesday 10th February 2010 17:57:03 -0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Caroline N. Jones <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Belfast Galleries <>,,
CC: Mary Cleary <>, Liam Carey <>, Karen Greville <>, <>, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament <>, Ariana Ball <>

Wednesday 10th February , 2010 16:09

Parades: Why not look to the Possibilities as distinct from the past problems?

Why can’t we think using a little imagination for a change?

by Michelle Clarke (Musket) – Island of Ireland

12th April is the next significant date… and albeit Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson failed to ‘Shake hands’ they shared ‘humour’ and what a good place to move forward from.

Last night, Gay Byrne interviewed Former Taoiseach Mr. Ahern. Mr. Ahern gave a good insight into his regard for the Revd. Ian Paisley. It was an evolving acceptance that culminated in an interlude. Mr. Paisley withdrew to say a prayer and Mr. Ahern joined him and this created a foundation for a mutual discussion that led to greater acceptance…..Thankfully.

Discussion needs to take place about the Parades but why not consider a change of Location?  Why not focus on the Boyne Valley where history emanates from or even Tara Hill, Co Meath.   John Hume spoke of ‘Diversity’ in unity’. Now it is up to the people of Ireland to make this happen and to include our diaspora in the celebration of a successful forging ahead for Peace on the Island of Ireland.


Who gave the Musket when two legends met at a Boyne site? Who are the legends and what is the meaning?

No 4

Subject: Garda Corruption
Date: Saturday 13th February 2010 00:39:09 -0000
From: Michelle Clarke <>

Saturday 13th February 2010

Solicitor John Devane suing Gardai in the High Court
Brehon Law to Human Rightspublication date

by Michelle Clarke  (Brehon)

We can all ask ourselves the question ‘Do we need to know’ followed by ‘Do we really need to know’?

Well this article and postings indicate that there are definitely times when ‘we need to know’ and when we need to know viz a viz the rights of our more vulnerable members in society.

Media coverage today alerts us to Watch and Wait for the outcome of this High Court case.

The headline reads ‘Solicitor suing Gardai after he was quizzed in Child Sex probe’

John Devane, a Limerick solicitor, is suing the Gardai. He is claiming that he was falsely accused of sexual assault on a child after playing Santa at school’s Christmas party. Devane claims in the High Court yesterday that the allegations that he assaulted a special needs child were part of “witch hunt” against him.

He states the impact on his emotional, physical, psychological health. I also ask what about the special needs child also?

Mr. Devane has brought an action seeking damages for ‘alleged slander, unlawful detention, and a failure to vindicate his rights’

This case and arrest date back to 1999….surely this is justice delayed being justice denied to all concerned.…/solicitor-suing-gardai-after-he-was-quizzed-in-childsex-probe…

No 5

Subject: Urban Abandonments and Dereliction
Date: Wednesday 24th February 2010 19:08:37
From: Michelle Clarke
To: markets <>, markets <>, Fagan John <>, Contact <>, conp <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Amy.Mahon@Taoiseach.Gov.IE
CC: Mary Cleary <>, Karen Murphy <>, Karen Greville <>, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament <>, Clare Finglas <>, Budworth, David <>, Bannon, Mary <>, Ariana Ball <>

Wednesday February 24th, 2010

Waste lands and George Orwell.
How can we effect change and stop the abandonment and dereliction? 

What about the developers, builders and toxic debtors?

by Michelle Clarke

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 yet 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 by the British in the World. It was cycle tour by a man named Turtle Bunbury who has written book 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 citizen journalism site and wonder if there could be a new vision and some inspiration going forward instead of the constant deluge of disaster news.

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 website http://www.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 Roadf, once affluent Dublin 4, it made me think of this site and someone’s comment that how can we have houses of such value e.g. in the good times 8 m 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 and beyond?

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 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.

No 6

Subject: Land commission comparison
Date: Saturday, 27th February 2010 18:52:25
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Email address list

Saturday February 27th, 2010 17:32


Is Nama defunct before it ever starts?

Is it another kind of Land Commission post Treaty 1921 Ireland?

by Michelle Clarke (John Henry)


In those times late 1800’s, early 1900, they referred to the ‘Encumbered Estates’ and something in the region of over 70% of large estate homes had to be relinquished to demolition.

If we look to economics and supply and demand, the equation appears to be that we have too many properties worth virtually nothing at this moment in time and the question is what do we do?

The 1911 census in the National Archives will leave us in no confusion as to what our poverty was like then. Our Georgian houses were nothing but tenements with 12 to 16 people living in what would have been a formal drawing room or dining room or even library in earlier times, when the nobility lived in Ireland. The answer here to the question,is that the big houses were no longer wanted by the rich who had left the country (as is the case with tax exiles today e.g. Bono).

Take a look at Dublin these days. Look at the number of estate agents advertising houses for rent or for sale, or flats within. Every second to third house around Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square has a sign outside….what will be the outcome? Will these buildings become tenements of the future or will they be knocked down?

Going by the news today most of the Developers seem to be making statements that they are ‘broke yes flat broke’

What does this mean for the Island of Ireland?

We seriously need to stop the blame game.

We ought to stand ashamed of No. 6 Elgin Road with its boarded up gate. For people who know this road which is the location of the US embassy – about half the houses are refurbished while the other half are of the era of pre-63 potential tenement houses in flats.

We need to think our way out of situations where houses can be left vacant by owner landlords.  Prime Time last night showed our young men who have completed part traineeship in trades related to building out of work. Where is an Taisce, Anco, FAS in the harnessing of these talents in our Georgian Houses vacant in the affluent parts of our city.
It was interesting to see a young man leave his home in an estate somewhere in the country and as he walked down his route, there was a house boarded up. He has a trade, this need not be the case. Boarded up houses like this are bad for the social wellbeing of our people. Let us have a meeting of minds to generate potential and alternatives for these young men. They have the skills to refurbish the house which could be used as a place for young people to gather and say learn computer training skills, etc.

The Royal Irish Academy is a haven we all should avail of. You enter the Georgian doorway from Dawson Street and you step back in time. Look out for the postcards advertising “Celebrating Thinking 2-30 March 2010” – this is for all people in Ireland to access, young and old, rich and poor

Elgin Road is selected by the writer as an example to the public for us to think about property and utilisation of same. I was talking with a woman who lives in one of these houses and she made an interesting point. She said the like of an Taisce aren’t going to look for houses to be left vacant for years once the fire places and doors remain within. However she did make the point about dry rot. If this gets into one house, then it seeps and it ultimately damages all the houses in the terrace. Now this is something to review.

We need to start reading books like Bertie Ahern suggested i.e. Bowling Alone by Putnam or another more recent book called Spirit Level – their ideation is a fostering of communities once more.

No 7

Subject: NAMA; EU Directives; Public Tenders;
Date: Wednesday 3rd March 2010 20:34:17
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Reception <>, OKeeffe, Minister <>


Wednesday 3rd March 2010
NAMA sanctioned by EU – to Bacon  – and the surplus of hotel beds
– to the people – high rents to vacant units

What can ordinary people do to halt the Recession train speeding out of control

and into a tunnel?

Look and see and listen and hear and think is a good start.

An example: Young architects are focusing on the design of Green “Eco” properties but I ask why the design and not the redesign of the much neglected Georgian and Victorian houses that form part of the wealth of this country. Yes wealth. The doorways promote tourism but the registered owners have asset value most likely.  The reality is that rents remain low; and expenses high.  The outcome will be landlords will respond to an increase in value of properties by either selling or leaving them vacant.

How do we promote community in these hardened times.? We could start by asking people to communicate at a local level and utilising the internet to share ideas and knowledge.

The Italian restaurant in Dawson Street called Carlucci’s took the ‘bull by the horns’ and one day just announced they had closed because the rent was too high and they precipitated reaction. I asked the girl behind the counter when it re-opened and she said yes the landlord responded and reduced the rent.
This is common sense.

Tourists who visit Ireland focus on Grafton Street so it is really important that shops remain open and doing business. All must be complicit in this. They may buy cheaper products and sell less but if this is the case then the landlord must charge less rent. Well done to the media coverage on the shop owners – the Grafton Street Tenants Association. They are making a stand. It seems incredible now that the boom is over that old legislation prevents landlords’ contracts reducing the rent. The only way forward is to promote rent reduction and effective management at community level. This avoids going out of business and strikes because it means people are thinking about the reality and while on their feet!

We don’t need urban abandonment. We need prosperity, growth, community enhancement, thinking and knowledge.

In the days of the last major recession in the early 1980’s, builders as they were known then and mainly in the local authority market, went to the wall monthly. Local Authority contracts became less and less and if awarded a contract the builders had to provide an insurance Bond and at that time there was only one provider – the Insurance Corporation of Ireland. If you could not get the Bond then you did not win the public tender. Competition was vicious at that time.

Have times changed? This last boom has related not so much to public tenders but to NRA (National Roads Authority EU related contracts and private development. The boom has halted and we are left with many half completed buildings.

The EU is the new dimension here from the 1980’s. We are now part of the Euro and the ECB (European Central Bank) has an impact in the whole governance of this country. We are all talking about NAMA and the fact that it has rescued the Greedy Developers but there is a significant change (to be learned perhaps) from the 1980’s.

Today’s Independent has an interesting heading:

NAMA builders can still apply for State Contracts. Now here is a change. This is what we are not hearing from the economists. Unlike in the 1980’s when builders went to the wall, there is a proviso incorporated via NAMA and the EU directives that protect the vehicle structure in what can be called a practical way. The EU directive has provided a kind of canary in a mine symbolism. If the bird ain’t singing then there is no oxygen. So yes the developers have been given some oxygen re. public service contracts and the assumption is that there may be plenty of these since they were not the main focus of the last recession.

The interesting point here is that if the civil service are the facilitators of these contracts ….. could they be responsible for cutting of the supply of oxygen …. by not understanding market forces?

Look out where you work. If you know a landlord owns a number of properties along a street, it might just be worth approaching him as a group. If he has held the properties since the 1950’s then he ought to feel ashamed not to reduce the rent.

The urban abandonment links are really interesting. They highlight what we need to prevent. Who wants to always follow the herd of sheep?

No 8

Subject: Moral bankruptcy or is it? This is comment to article published on Citizen Journalist re Niall Harnett RIP – sent to prison.  Shell to Sea campaigner
Date: Wednesday 24th March 2010 18:13:50
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Mary <>, Liam-IPRT <>, Liam Dargan <>,, John Corrigan <>,,, Houlihan Martha <>, Hugh Kane <>,,,, Grainne M. Roughan <>, Fíona Ní Chinneide <>, Fagan John <>, Dwyer Ciara <>, ConsumerInfo – Carefor Irl <>, consumerinfo <>, conp <>, Conor R. Savage <>, Brian Glynn <>, Cahill Gavin <>,,, Anne M. O’Gorman <>
CC: Contact <>, Caroline N. Jones <>

Wednesday 24th March 2010


Niall Harnett receives a 5 months prison sentence. Why? What Cost?
by Michelle Clarke (Menlough)

Niall Harnett is the next person sentenced to 5 months in prison. Why? He is a campaigner against the usurpation of the rights of landowners in the Corrib area who object to the proposed workings of Shell (and who campaigned against work to date carried out by the MNC Shell) at the Corrib and who represents those who seek a fair outcome from the planning permission – details to be released shortly.

There is a saying ‘Right is Right and wrong is no man’s right’. To come to terms with this, it is necessary to have both patience and tolerance and this we have witnessed in those who have supported breaches of natural law at the Corrib, Tara Hill and other projects. Thankfully, Maura Harrington has escaped prison this time but to the others in prison presently, the support is behind your endeavours and those who are committed to the cause are continuing with the ‘battle’.

There is a book worth reading by Fintan O’Toole – the Ship of Fools. For anyone who is conned by the financial and economic catastrophe that has overtaken the Island of Ireland, this book is worth reading because in no uncertain terms, it re-focuses one’s attention to our ambitions of being a Republican Nation with the ideals as contained in the Proclamation, as distinct from those wizard financial deals undertaken by the elite. We have been caught by a global swing of greed with a contingent of powerful financiers with an ability to back horses and greyhounds as a mindset, who believed that they could fix the ‘race’. Well some of them are already caught ie US, Italy, France, England and more are in the hands of the Garda Fraud office, the CAB, the SNO on the Island of Ireland.

Well they failed and it is now time for the people in Ireland (not the 1% who own vast amounts of the wealth and who are tax exiles) to start taking back our rights. We need to learn that wealth is different to income and that wealth remains in the hands of the few versus the many.

Niall and others I hope you can get your hands on the book inside in the prison.

Keep in mind ‘The Dream’ and use the time out to replenish from the ‘the reality of the fight’. Rest and restore your energy. May you enjoy plenty significant moments. This may help you keep your spirits up.

Working with prisoners, and working with groups, they were asked what was really important to them while they were doing ‘time’, the irony is that their answers were mainly the same. When one takes account of the high rates of recidivism and this study, we and the Irish Penal Reform Trust; the lawyers, the Judiciary, and the fraudulent bankers and developers can learn a lot.

The memories were not about big houses, motor cars, clothes, designer labels, champers – it wasn’t the lack of internet, or shopping. In fact, a lot of prisoners had a dislike of returning to the rat race of life! The following are the memories that kept their spirits up:-

My kids, my kids, my kids (this was said most often) – the touch the sound and the smell – note the senses

my wife girlfriend or partner with the proviso (only one at a time)

Sex (usually accompanied by ‘Sorry about this’!)


Walking the Dog especially in the Spring

Being able to go for a walk on my own

Having a night in or out with my mates or girlfriend

Running through the fields

Having a meal with family

Being told off by my Mum

Sitting on the settee surrounded by family

Having a good old row with the Missus

Going down a Street where people know me

Seeing someone smile at me and mean it

Source:  Discover your inner sloth by Gillian Bridge…it is about enjoying the leisurely dynamic and banish stress from your life and relationships.…

What a learning curve? Niall you are focused and you aim to achieve something similar to W.B. Yeats to hurl the little streets upon the great or words to that effect.

I hope some members of our ruling classes take time to read this and learn what incarceration ‘can mean to prisoners and re-orientate their comprehension and understand to a fairer system of justice. There are a lot of people who need to re-focus from the hectic life style to near Zen focus.

No 9

Subject: Urban abandonment or should we focus on the potential?
Date: Friday 26th March 2010 18:26:24 -0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Houlihan Martha <>, Hanna, Rosemary <>, greenerhomes <>, Fagan John <>, Contact <>, Clare Finglas <>, CIC Mailbox <>, Celina Carey <>, Belfast Galleries <>
CC: Karen Addie <>, Karen Greville <>, <>, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament <>, Bobby Kerr <>, Bobby Geraghty <>, Ariana Ball <>, Aine Kavanagh <>

Friday 26th March 2010

A grand plan for a Grand Theatre (History related with a scientific approach) – Electric canal barge to the Grand Canal Theatre

by Michelle Clarke

Boomtime Ireland of the 1960’s gave way the recession in the late 1970’s when too many builders ‘went to the wall’ and many were heard of no more. Joe Duffy’s show today indicated one major change – those thinking of suicide as the route out of desperation have Console to phone! Perhaps I am a little cynical but back in the 1970’s the Samaritans were there, there was the secrecy code of doctors, priests and disaster just had to be faced. Realistically, things were a lot worse then.

We need Hope. We need to encourage those people who are for their own personal reasons ‘hiding’ little snatches of money be it Euro, Stg, US$ or even the old IR£, to start spending. Buy Irish, spend local and while you are doing it, think of those who have taken the risk to start up a business and support them, their community, their family and then maybe we can start the climb back to prosperity.

When the going gets tough the tough get going and when better than now to urge people to move forward. Well done to the like of Michael O’Leary, Ryanair and to his Horse that won in Cheltenham.  Michael O’Leary pays his taxes in Ireland and he promotes tourism with motivation, drive, innovation that can only be admired. We need his humour and ‘get up and go’ to deal with this crisis.

(P.C. Worlde Michelle Clarke Doc Martin Phoenix – contributors to Citizen Journalism site) – you have created an appealing invitation to explore our city in Dublin. I want to add this new exploration: Yes, somebody despite of the recession is willing to take a risk:-

The Grand Canal Theatre is open and there will be an electric canal barge which will have a kitchen and seating for as many as 48 people. It is called the MV Cadhla and its focus is tourists and theatre goers. Just imagine it will provide tours from Charlemont Luas station, near Ranelagh village, to the new Grand Canal Theater using the Grand Canal which was built by the Guinness Brewery.

What is interesting about this barge which cost euros 1 m to build – it is powered by batteries that cost euros 100,000 but they are charged over night and the carbon emissions are recorded. This is thinking ahead and we need more of this and it is people at ground level who can inspire. This is not a time to bring the country to its knees with strikes, we did this in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the National Wage Agreements.

We need people to spend; to spoil themselves and go to the theater, go to the pub, interact, support those who are genuinely in need. Can anybody out there confirm that you can be sentenced to prison for begging. A man who sleeps outside told me he had been imprisoned for 3 months for begging. Yet what a paradox. People like this man who receives money keeps it in circulation whereas others still don’t know what to do with their deposits in Anglo Irish Bank now controlled by IBRC, Bank of Ireland, AIB, when the Guarantee ends in September 2010. How bizarre – you would think one would have learnt the lesson from the shares price reductions (E 30 to zero or a few cents in the case of Bank of Ireland)

No 10

Subject: Citizen Journalism: ‘Vincent Browne ‘Call to arms’
Date: Friday 9th April 2010 18:21:25 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Legal (LFD) <>, John Corrigan <>, Fagan John <>, Dymphna Moore <>, Dwyer Ciara <>, Cllr Maria Parodi <>, Clare Finglas <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Bobby Geraghty <>, Bannon, Mary <>
CC: markets <>, Karen Greville <>, Irish Emigrant Publications <>, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament <>, Contact <>, consumerinfo <>,, conp <>, Byrne, Daryl <>, Ariana Ball <>

Friday 9th April 2010

Vincent Browne both a Thinker and an Actor against injustice

by Michelle Clarke (Imagination and Technology)

Reply to Citizen Journalism site:  Donklymore and Grim Reaper

What about ageism?

Well done Vincent Browne – he makes one feel that the ‘world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where the circle ends’ as the song says.

Yes, this may be his entry to Politics but if not, he is politics, Ireland style. He is the raconteur with the probing insights and not afraid to air them on all media sources.

Only found the politico site last night… is excellent and comprehensive, covering wafts of time in a generational trend;

Ireland sinks in a quagmire of corruption and it is time for re-birth. The challenge is Confrontation but now we have the fodder so the opportunity exists to change.  We need to ask questions  – how are we going to engage with those already tainted with corrupt practices? How are we going to convert them to non corrupt business, professional practices, how will we coax them not to bribe politicians. and opt for the transparent route?

This is the time for our young people but remember they are the product of those who have engaged in shady practices that are being outed at present. What will be the impact on their children? What road will they travel – consider Robert Frosts poem ‘Two paths in a wood diverged and I took the one less travelled on’.

No Vincent Browne is not too old to use the imagination and be creative. We need this now and perhaps with the wealth of knowledge stored in his brain for a number of decadess, he can assist our young people to make firm judgments about corruption and re-shape our dead weight society, reaping the advantages and tapping into our hidden potential and talents.

Re-shape material includes

Blue sky computing? I bet you will find some ‘old’ people like Mr. Crozaire, Zimbabwe, aged 92 and RIP in the last few days. He created, minus the computer technology, the Irish Times crossword for decades. What a contribution? This is the brain versus technology and yet there is room for all.

Blue computing is also known as cloud computing and it will be very much part of the future so google it and find out i.e. if you are really interested in being involved in the reshaping of our Island of Ireland.

The DDDA successfully devalued the Irish Glass Bottle Site by 80% with the flick of a pen and nobody in this country asks why it was tracked to Nama with such speed. I would suggest they follow the link to Cloud Computing and there could be a good way of marketing this property (but then maybe this has been the plan of NAMA/NTMA heads). We pay them to be intellectual and clever so let us see them perform now with the marketing of sites like the Irish Glass Bottle site. Balance Sheets are snapshots in time…the losses today, could be gains tomorrow. Remember what they used to say to us at school in the 1960’s – take your head out of the clouds missy.’.

Another thought is that ‘Greed is not as good as we thought’. Then we must look at the fact that energy sources are getting smarter. This will be interesting. You will be able to cost energy usage within the context of your home. You will know at the exact cost of your bath at the time you decide to have it!

They say this decade will see old people work longer. There is a study that says older people are likely to choose to work for themselves and for more years when they get older.

It looks as if Vincent Browne the TV3 programme and his really well put together website and archives linkages, is going to fall into this category. These people have a category now; they are called the ‘Olderpreneurs’

We need more like Vincent Browne in this country and as for those who have a chequered history i.e. non transparent/dig out mentality, we need to work out whether prison will serve best or what else can be done to make them pay reparations.

Reality …….

No 11

Subject: Ireland as a member of the ECB relinquished interest rate & currency sanctions
Date: Friday 16th April 2010 18:32:33 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: markets <>, Legal (LFD) <>, John Corrigan <>, Fagan John <>, Dwyer Ciara <>, conp <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Amy.Mahon@Taoiseach.Gov.IE,
CC: Mary Collins <>, Mary Cleary <>

Friday 16th April 2010


Ireland as a member of the ECB relinquished interest rate & currency sanctions

Moral Bankruptcy and the need for change
by Michelle Clarke

Reply to contribution on Citizen Journalism site:  ‘Fool me twice’ Shame on me.   Is this what you really believe Michael?

Ireland is a young nation and like many young nations, we are still on a learning curve and we have gained and lost and no doubt will gain again if we use the mistakes ‘as portals of discovery’ (I think this is James Joyce).

Today, the Quinn group responded to the challenges of our new Regulator (the Risk-taker and Risk-assessor) appointed by the Central Bank in January this year. Quinn employees not unlike the OAPs in response to the medical card debacle took to the streets to sing the praises of Quinn but Mr. Elderfield, Central Bank, stood tall yesterday expressing his grasp of the Quinn insurance and insolvency position and today Quinn Insurance capitulated and the route of Administration is the way forward.

Ireland like Iceland and the PIG’s (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) are like naughty children in the eyes of the major players Germany and France to a lesser degree. Ireland is perhaps a little more petulant given the Lisbon Treaty and the fact that we had to call a second referendum so that we could get the sanction of our people to sign up to Lisbon. What would we vote now, I wonder? There is a question for Vincent Browne’s show. Maybe Mr. Elderfield would become part of his panel and enlighten us more about Risk, Treasury, Marketing of the Asset Book of properties from Anglo, Irish Nationwide etc.

Elderfield had an allocation of 2/3 persons when he took up his assignment in January but he claims he needs 150 staff who will operate from the Treasury Holdings Building.

Gerald Corrigan, Goldman Sachs Chairman has summed up the state of dealing with Financial Affairs – ‘Financial Reporting by Sovereigns is more of an Art than a science’. Yes some of our more elitist crafted bankers sure were artists and they operated their own private sphere of blue sky heaven.

The title refers to the fact that Ireland like other EU states changed from their own currencies to the Euro. The choice meant that our Central Bank forfeited control over currency purchases and interest rates. The power of these two mechanisms ought not to be under estimated. Ireland has for instance had to go with ECB low interest rates when its own Central Bank in punt times would possibly have increased the rates. We need to be aware of the impact of Europe and the potential of the IMF, if we continue on this path into a financial, moral and ethical abyss.

Jasper – The Ghost

No 12

Subject:  An Bord Snip…. Further to meeting you at O’Brien’s yesterday ….
Date: Tuesday 4th May 2010 18:18:55 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:; undisclosed email address list

4th May 2010

An Bord Snip Or perhaps we should say An Bord Snipe

by Michelle Clarke

The McCarthy report, to give it the formal title was rightly abbreviated to An Bord Snip. As the months roll on, its performance is in doubt. It appears to have lost its flow. Sean Barrett, Trinity College Economist, has an interesting piece in today’s Sunday Business Post. Some might say this is ‘intellectual sniping between our two leading universities i.e. Trinity College Dublin and UCD but leave the sniping aside, we are well advised to start Snipping to reduce the potential 100 billion deficit that exists for as some say three generations i.e. going forward. 

Sean Barrett clearly states that the duty rests with the Department of Finance to start clamping down on the payment of state subsidies and tax breaks because of the ‘dire state’ of public finances. In other words, those public servants who feel aggrieved by tax cuts, hark back before you consider going out on strike. According to Dr. Barrett’s figures these tax breaks and subsidies are costing the state in excess of 500,000 euros p.a. and they lead to a ‘proliferation of quangos’. The snipe can be snipped in this case if public servants commit themselves to cut backs.

We snipe a lot at the excesses of the HSE but the time is right now to contribute solutions. There is a public treatment patient fund and as the name suggests it provides for public patients through the private health system. The National Treatment Payment fund is reported to have paid 40 million euros. to 3 private hospitals last year to treat public patients. How can this be when we consider the predominant position of the public hospitals via A & E? Who is making the money? Are there any grassroots suggestions here?

Snip again. Our prison population is now over over 4,200.  Professor O’Donnell, Institute of Criminology, UCD, has recently reported that the number of people in Irish prisons is set to top 100 per 100,000 – the highest number since the formation of the State yet conditions for many are ‘Dickensian’. The figures last year reveal that a considerable number were imprisoned for non payment of fines. This is a criminal indictment on the State given the supposed large number of citizen advice bureaus, Mabs, Fas, community hospitals etc or are these the quangos Dr. Barrett refers to!

Maybe others can raise issues on this article to prompt politicians to re-activate An Bord Snip and change attitudes at all levels.

No 13

Subject: Transparency International
Date: Thursday 6th May 2010 22:22:02 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <>
To: Vincent Browne TV3
CC: John Devitt <>

Thursday 6th May 2010

It was good to view your show last night.  It was great to see John Devitt, Transparency Ireland, chosen for the panel.  I get his daily update regarding ‘Transparency International’ – we need more positive attitudes towards being the less ‘legally corrupt’ country in the EU and beyond.  Change is in the process and it is ECB who will dictate with IMF as the navigator. 

The Irish times had an informative letter recently about just how much a month a retired teacher, civil servant receives after full service.  I was shocked to learn that it is between 2,000 and 3,000 euros net per month.  Why I am shocked is that invalidity based on working in the UK amounts to between 420 to 470 euros per month presently depending on the weakness/strength of euro to sterling.  If one is in the medical profession and say widowed, you have your husband’s pension, your own pension and then of course add in your private pensions.  The point of the short Irish Times article was to awaken peoples’ attention to retirees who benefit excessively from their pension rights.  It is virtually impossible to live on 430-470 euros per month without having to be beholden to others even if at times the Community Welfare Officer.  It is even more difficulty to embrace Truth and Honesty.

The greater the inequality in society, the more dangerous it becomes is the Theme in the book ‘the Spirit Level’ recommended by you.  I wholly concur – I once was in that category called ‘dinkies’ but fell from grace during the last recession.  Ill-health, divorce, etc. became the wake.

I really enjoy the show.  I am going to pay for Politico but needless to say I no longer need credit cards so I have to pay in cash, somehow!

No 14

Subject: Rent Allowance to Section 23 property and State divestiture of social housing to private market
Date: Wednesday 12th May 2010 19:30:53 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Cllr Maria Parodi <>, Legal (LFD) <>, Paul Lambert <>, Dermot Lacey <>
CC: Doreen Mescal <>, Mairead_O’,
12th May 2010
Citizen Journalism
Rent Allowance to Section 23 property and
State divestiture of social housing
to private market
by Michelle Clarke

Janet – when you use the rhetoric ‘why should I pay for you and your child’ and then add up the costs to say 12,000 e for a year – the message becomes louder and in need of immediate clarity. What has happened?

Did we privatize social housing during the Celtic Tiger? How did we finance it? I suppose the tax breaks are the factors in this crucial equation. The Government saw public housing and services as a big White costly Elephant in their back yard and they decided to dump on the people by way of section 23 breaks. People forget that these section 23 tax breaks started way back in the early 1980’s and if this is so the policy makers in Government could well grasp their impact in relation to social housing.

The RTE programme on Ghost Estates throughout the country provided a scary documentary. People were conned. All the houses shown were sizeable, well fitted out, the dream home potential but they lacked one major factor and market economics provides an answer here and that is meeting supply with demand. This basic equation was ignored by all, the developers, the planners, the builders, the purchasers. There was a run with the planning authorities in the granting of planning permissions to developers (some of whom were not aloof to providing bribes) and hence the mess of our countryside. Just look at Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Kilmessan – greed has destroyed the potential, the history, the landscape and the people. The owners of the land who sold it are now too rich and wondering where to invest their liquid capital while a large proportion of  people who bought properties are in debt most likely have significant negative equity. Then there are the speculators, young, old, and those with their annuity pension funds who decided to take a chance and become a speculator looking for both income and capital appreciation… we cannot forget these people. We also cannot forget that these captured people were and are the targets of a government policy to shift social housing from the public to private sector.

Back to Sharon and her child. If I am a speculator and deem myself to have relieved the local authority housing provider and was enticed to do so by tax breaks, well the least I expect is to get the market rent for my investment (which may be 100% loan and expenses pa paid by landlord). Sharon and her child are not at fault that they qualify for rent allowance. There will always be a need for social housing because society is about vulnerabilities and inequalities and it is our elected Government who has the job of keeping ‘their house in order’.

What can we do? Matt Cooper, journalist was on the Frontline Pat Kenny show last night. He is suggesting that people badly affected by the negative equity, the ghost estates, get a support from Govt. via the Banks with the name of Debt Forgiveness. This is a kind of swap between debt and equity and it means that the speculators and those who cannot meet their mortgage repayments are provided with support. This is needed and the irony is that people on both sides of the fence need it. The speculator who provides the house for the local authority who pays the rent allowance to the person who needs accommodation.

Then there are the people whose income has dropped and they can’t meet mortgage repayments – a similar support is needed by them so that they can continue to live in their home, with their children, without having to be evicted and then look for rent allowance and possibly not qualify for it.

It is essential to look at this housing issue in the context of all the factors involved. It is worth looking at some of the research done over the past 10 years by our universities. Professor Drudy (Trinity College Dublin)  and Mr. Punch make really interesting reading.

We may have a surplus of houses but then we also have potential major social housing problems arising as people lose their jobs and the market price of houses fall. Anxiety becomes a major player and stress added to the equation often throws up glitches i.e. ill health, divorce, abuse etc.

People need to think. Why can’t Government take back their responsibility for providing houses to social housing tenants? They could start by being efficient in relation to rent allowance allocations presently. They have the PRTB and yet landlords with section 23 properties are way behind in submitting their PRSI details – they say as low as 20%.

Awareness and diligence is needed. The truth is that the State operates through a rent allowance system and for a number of years this was the greatest bandwagon for speculators and estate agents. Tenants too were not above reproach. The system became badly broken. There were many scams and this has to be tidied up. Then let us get to grips with genuine debt forgiveness equations.


Quotation C.S. Lewis, written 1940’s
‘I live in a managerial age, in the world of administration’. 
The greatest evil is now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint…
…it is conceived and ordered…in clean carpeted, warmed and well lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut finger nails and smooth shaven cheeks, who do not raise their voice. 
Hence naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like bureaucracy of a Police State or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern’

No 15

Date: Thursday 13th May 2010 18:02:51 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Cahill Gavin <>, John Corrigan <>, Contact <>, conp <>, Pieter Cleppe <>, Fíona Ní Chinneide <>, Vincent Browne <>, M A Brennan <>, Stephen Booth <>
CC: Liam Carey <>, DE BRÚN Bairbre <>,

13th May 2010

Learning from the past and to compete in the present for a future

Our young people’s inheritance has been squandered. What can we do?

The Gardai were either ordered to or chose to use batons last night. Shame to our Nation that we felt we had to reduce ourselves to violence for a peaceful protest by people who feel justifiably wronged by this financial crisis and Eurozone disaster. Our proclamation is about Freedom and we must observe and ensure these basic human rights.  We became part of the Euro and forfeited two major control features that operate to protect a Nation and its currency. In the days of the Irish Punt, we could devalue it to make it more competitive and in relation to money deposited we via our Central Bank had power to raise or lower interest rates as necessary.

It is not so very long ago that we had three major banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank) leaving it quite an non competitive market for people who had funds to be retained in Ireland on deposit. This is where the speculative Anglo Irish Bank found its core market. It pushed up the interest rates and encouraged people to take a chance and move from the major banks to their bank. What went wrong! Greed, Envy, Sloth, Pride – there are a myriad of interpretations but the fact of the matter is that we the people of Ireland are now in a serious financial crisis that is pushing our unemployment levels beyond acceptable levels.

The people marched last night and it is said they plan to march next week and going forward. There needs to be a focus and also knowledge of where we are at, the reasons why, the fact that there is an international level, that as a country we are not on our own – we are, like Iceland,  and we also comprise what is called ‘PIIGs’ (Portugal Italy Ireland Greece Spain).

Austerity is the big word these days and as always it is those at the grassroots that have to pay the price or do they? Here is where a little knowledge can help people enlist changes and learn from past experience.

The crisis of the 1980’s, the 1950’s, the 1930’s is to be repeated and if so, this crisis may be worse. Ireland has had a boom time if one goes down the Celtic Tiger route. Well we do know that in line with the Celtic Tiger, government policy ran a parallel to the property and financial service centre ideation. We forget so easy about how the Tribunals came about and the distinct benefits to the economy at that time.

In 2003 the Revenue celebrated its 80th year serving the state. The 2003 annual report states that there were two major developments:-

a) wide ranging investigation into tax evasion involving offshore accounts and investments. Initially there was a voluntary disclosure which was hugely successful. The success related to increased powers granted to the Revenue and international co-operation to combat tax evasion.

b) the major restructuring of the organisation of the Revenue to attain greater flexibility from the staff. Part of this was to punish those who were non compliant with their taxes.

Lest we forget, we must acknowledge that by 2003 net tax and duty receipts to the Revenue in 2003 amounted to just over 32 billion euros. This was some 400 million euros over the budgeted amount and nearly 3 billion above the corresponding figure for 2002.

Now let us put into perspective the crisis of today. While the Revenue focused on catching all the tax evaders of the 1990’s, a new breed were replacing them and now the Revenue and the Government have the option to do a replay and catch these funds. Worldwide there is pressure being brought to bear on the like of the Swiss Banks to release details of people who hold accounts. Countries like Germany, the US, the UK are legislating against Bribery and Corruption and Insider Dealing has resulted in people found guilty being  put in prison for the first time.

In 2003 tax collection performance resulted in the collection of 32 billion euros but then one must add to this the powers the Revenue have with regard to protecting society. In 2003 illegal drugs with a street value of 600,000 euros were seized. In this case, the Revenue worked closely with the Criminal Assets Bureau. Add to this other seizures like illegal cigarettes, illegal proceeds from oil laundry plants and counterfeit goods and this should reiterate to the people of Ireland that with the right attitude and will, we can adjust ourselves to the Stabilisation and Austerity pact regime enforced upon us by the Eurozone.

Housekeeping can be discussed within the home or by the powers that be in Government. The key factor is that with the power of the internet we can all contribute and we know, as we did in the 1990’s via our Revenue machine, that we can target people who negligently, recklessly and wilfully defrauded the citizens of Ireland, by using the Revenue, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Fraud Detection unit, the ECB, the IMF and organisations like Transparency International.

A society can be judged by how it treats its vulnerable people. The Austerity programme and NAMA are the nominated route as per Minister Brian Lenihan. We need to re-adjust our thinking and focus on our vulnerable, the young population, and those who have retired and start looking for the money to pay of our excess debt in a prompt way. We need to consider Debt Forgiveness for people who bought homes at the height of the Celtic tiger and this can be done by planning, policies, reducing social welfare fraud, and shaming the people who are tax exiles into supporting the Irish economy that has enabled them to become so wealthy in the first place e.g. the horse racing contigent.

Scruples says that if the people march they are expressing their feelings…their anger to what they perceive to be injustice

No 16


Subject: March by all means but peacefully. Always open your mind to the facts
Date: Sunday 16th May 2010 22:11:50 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Amy.Mahon@Taoiseach.Gov.IE <Amy.Mahon@Taoiseach.Gov.IE>, <>, Anne Lee <>, Anne M. O’Gorman <>, et al

16th May 2010


March by all means but peacefully. Always open your mind to the facts

by Michelle Clarke

J (a response on Citizen Journalism site)
A really good photo (not available) that sums up what happened at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday outside the offices of Anglo Irish at St. Stephen’s Green. To see the Effigy of the one time hailed banker in cinders puts pay to the man in the emperors clothes, provided the law in Ireland, the DPP, the Attorney General act in accordance with the Rule of Law.

You promote further action. Yes, the people need to know the extent of the abyss caused by the new elite, the privileged, those who were part of the esteemed political and economic elite, who we now know acted not in the best interests of the citizens but in a fraudulent way.

On the bus today, someone left behind a magazine. Feeling a bit bored I decided to have a look at it and am I glad I did, It was the FT weekend magazine 15th/16th May and guess what – this elitist English newspaper supplement lead article is about Ireland. (‘a plague on all their houses. How the bankers, builders and politicians brought Ireland to its knees’).

Before the next March – this is a good read with the facts neatly assembled in such a way that would support the people protesting peacefully based on the breach of their human rights by people and politicians acting negligently, recklessly and in some cases criminally on their behalf.

No 17

Reviewed: 31st May 2017

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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1 Response to Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of emails to Government and related. Year 2010 (January to June – 17 articles) by Michelle Clarke

  1. Pingback: Citizen Journalism: Selection of emails to Government and related. Year 2010 (January to June) by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

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