Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of emails to Government and related. April to June 2011 by Michelle Clarke




Keep the Home Fires Burning
Friday 1st April 2011 17:10:54 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke

Date:,,,, Contact <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Dearbhail McDonald <>, Dermot Lacey <>, <>, Eamon Gilmore <>,,, O’Shea, Fergus <>,, Constantin Gurdgiev <>, KT Hawklett <>, Paddy Healy <>, <>,,,, <>, <>

Friday 1st April 2011


The moan and groan society  – Keep the Home Fires Burning

Worth a thought:  Ireland needs economic growth.  We need to start on the streets and the land  and seas and with our people to create markets once again.  Our pubs as a retreat are disappearing, coffee shops are struggling hard to keep afloat, shops, offices, are facing rent increases only and businesses are being closed down due to inordinate rents.  Minister Shatter is reviewing this ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’.  Let people start thinking and taking responsibility albeit the crisis is caused by global banking.  It is time to put the shoulder to the wheel and start creating economic growth.  Vincent Browne’s show last night had people with resolution but a sense of what is possible.

“It’s akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” said Niall Gaffney, chief executive officer of IPUT, a real-estate fund and among the largest owners of offices and stores in Dublin. “If contracts can be torn up retrospectively, it’s going to do huge damage to Ireland’s reputation.”

A simple equation goes.  If I am a section 23 landlord and I have a loan which is tax deductible with expenses.  Then let us assume I rent the house to a person who gets rent allowance from say the Community Welfare Officer.  Common sense says that there need not necessarily be a change in the law but that people have a sense of moral purpose and reduce the rent to what is acceptable to both parties.  One more point.  If the estate agent acts as the go-between, they should be liable if the tenant proves to be pocketing the rent allowance or getting it from a variety of sources!  This does happen.

Wally ming/ming walley/jerryblake/opusdiabolus Citizen Journalism site contributors

Imagine you lot in the same class at school…….moan moan moan blame blame blame. What does it say? Maybe you are born with little motivation or incentive or for that matter a sense of hope. Give me a little Pollyanna please.

Ireland is in crisis – some say the worst crisis since the foundation of the State. The EU-IMF are really angry with us and we are being punished for a recklessness so much so that we must pay the price dearly for our great Celtic Tiger extravagances. The fact is we are bankrupt as a nation state and we cannot meet these debts (and let us say euros100 bn). What are we the people of the Island of Ireland going to do about this? After all you can rest assured that those who made the millions are gone into exile and provided they invested wisely, which they no doubt did, they have the choice not to return and this applies to their families also.

Wipe the slate clean i.e. apart from the 100 bn debt.

Have we any family silver left?

We have our agricultural land which is ours … we have our forestry provided it is not sold off as part of state assets. We have our seas but let us recall that EU has covered the option up to our shores. Have we gold? Some prospectors say yes. Have we silver and while we are talking about it what else have we got? We need a little World War II hindsight to ferret out resources that we have but we just overlook because international markets supply them. We have infra-structure and yes we have the Luas. While we are at we must say thank you to the EU for all the NDP funds over the last number of decades since we joined the EU in 1973.

This site started about a Berlin Conference and tourism. Jerry Blake – you jump on the band wagon about nepotism. Tough sh.t. Action, Performance, Creativity, Connectivity, Interaction is the CV that creates the action. Now is a time for action. Are you saying that because someone has a connection with somebody on a state board and knows the person is capable of doing the job that because of the connection that person should be overlooked. Well I say Grow Up. Move with the Times.

Tourism can become our bread and butter, as can agriculture become our source of food and drink (alcohol and otherwise) potential. Baileys at one time brought massive funds to Guinness nearly one tenth of its world profit – why can we not regain this footing. Instead we see Bailey’s slashed in price. Marketing where are you? We need you? This is about reviving some potential within Ireland Inc. Where is that Bailey’s and Ice cocktail?

Stress Test and the banks. People are not stupid … we only have to search into our hearts to dig up case histories of what recession/depressions can do to people, to families and societies. Negative Equity has always existed. Take the UK 1988 when you bought an apartment for £90,000 and within 6 months it was worth £140,000 – what a feel good factor? Then out of the blue interest rates start rising, not once a year but every few weeks and all of sudden your repayments are no longer £700 per month but are £1200 per month. Back then you had trackers also, and endowment insurance type. Outcome; then for lots of people is the same as now. One job is lost, then a second job is lost and all of a sudden you are adding an extra £1200 each month to your outstanding mortgage (plus compound interest) and yes you have personal crisis, if not disaster. There is a financial cost and a massive social cost. We know this has happened. We know people who have told their story time and time again and we have not listened. Now we need to listen and find some alternatives.

Tourism must work. We may be wrecked due to the Celtic Tiger onslaught but we are not in a scorched earth scenario. We are not Tripoli. We have options. Our people are our best resource. Let us think our way out of the problem as distinct from dwelling on the Past. 2016 is about 100 years since the Proclamation. Surely this is about a value versus cost asset

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: PSNI- Young man aged just 25 years old – Mother’s day April 3rd 2011 is murdered: Why?
Date: Sunday 3rd April 2011 19:53:44 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Anne M. O’Gorman <>,, brendan riesebeck <>,, DE BRÚN Bairbre <>,, Contact <>, <>, Cahill Gavin <>,,,, Dearbhail McDonald <>, Dermot Lacey <>, Derek Toner <>, <>, Eamon Gilmore <>,, O’Shea, Fergus <>,,, geraldine callanan <>, Constantin Gurdgiev <>, Ann O’Connell <>, KT Hawklett <>, Paddy Healy <>, <>, Private Office DFP <>, Hanna, Rosemary <>, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament <>,,,

Sunday April 3rd 2011

Surveillance, Security, Equity

Niemoeller wrote the poem

Don’t walk in front of me,
I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me,
I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.

This poem is about war at its worst extreme, the purge of the Jewish people, the mentally afflicted and others deemed by Hitler and his supporters to below a defined Aryan specification (to use a crude analogy).The Peace Process – today for the saddest of reasons Martin McGuinness, Peter Robinson, Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly have to ask the question to those who have walked ahead of them but remaining on that different route, the one of violence: A young man aged 25 who as a Catholic had the courage to join the PNSI as a catholic and he is dead on Mother’s Day – what an inhumanity has been carried out and by who?These people fought hard for the Peace Process and yet they did not persuade others who either chose to fall behind them and take a different lead. What happened to the Peace Process – what happened to John Hume and others. The Peace Process was about people North and South walking beside and being my friend.  Alas, Is this too naive?


by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Trawling Citizen Journalism site from 2005. Iosaf replied and we exchanged several postings….
Date: Sunday 3rd April 2011 21:03:19 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed list: and Citizen Journalism site

Sunday 3rd April 2011

(Posting written by me Saturday September 4th 2004 23.46)

Equality Justice and Law Reform – Please deal with the Prostitution issue

 by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics – Please

Jenny : I am most impressed with your article and again people in Dublin take action on the streets and via the net to demand justice.

Kerb crawling is not acceptable. I once knew a woman in the 1980’s who took such offence to kerb crawlers outside the offices at Fitzwilliam Square that she used her car to ‘shame them’ away.

I live in Dublin 4 and walk ‘a little bit drunkenly particularly at night’ due to head injury. Let me tell you the kerb crawlers exist here.

What concerns me about your area is its proximity to the Phoenix Park. Several years ago I was asked to read a book by a sociologist on Rent boys, it was harrowing. I would suggest that Government Departments who engage in research for Ministers in this area are aware of the content. Evidently, the Irish politicians continue to file it under denial category.

At all costs children must be protected. You mention Drumcondra and Castleknock; personally I believe kerb crawlers exist everywhere and children are susceptible no matter what location; but some are more susceptible than others.

Minister McDowell must be asked to review this issue. As you say Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world and the economics of supply and demand says there is need.

Public Health intervention is critical. Singapore albeit you say (towards Fascist in approach) at least deal with the issue. We need to register brothels. We need to protect women who are prostitutes, to monitor the HIV possibilities.

I lived in Zimbabwe in the early 1990’s and I worked with two nuns who set up one of the first centres in Harare for women and their children with HIV – it was so sad, they had little or no future just people who cared to give them with the core understanding in giving people and children ‘dignity in death’.

In Ireland, our ignorance and denial is astonishing. The documentation, the books of self-revelation life stories exist, the daily news…….yet the denial says don’t hear a child’s hidden messages…….a vulnerable person’s near silent plight.

Kerb crawling leaves anyone vulnerable and susceptible. We need to take action. If someone has an addiction to sex and has the money to pay for their need………contain it in an environment suitable……..not venture into a random choice based on kerb crawling……..

An aside comment by my little niece of five recently filled in the line about houses in the Castleknock area, ‘with prostitutes dressed up as lawyers’. Who want’s to spoil the innocence of any child for the mentality of a leery kerb crawler.

It is wakey wakey time for people. The women stood up in the inner city to the drugs in the 1980’s; women again made a stand over pensions via the media several months ago and the relevant Govt. Department had to retreat………..

The ‘Profession circulates money’ but then the denial creates deviance that need not necessarily happen.

Let us open our eyes to the fact that Dublin was the sex capital of Europe i.e. the Monto only over one century ago.

The time has come register brothers, the ‘Yellow Card’ with thumb print and photo like Singapore.

Michelle always selects a quote from New International book of quotations – Great Women


You hold the Power – Aretha Franklin 1942 (US Singer)

‘Cause a rose is still a rose
Baby, girl, you’re still a flower
He can’t lead you and then take you
Make you and then break you
Baby girl, You hold the power’

Subject: Citizen Journalism site: Matt cartoons witty political cartoons and satirical sketches – Telegraph
Date: Tuesday 5th April 2011 12:14:54 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,,, Dearbhail McDonald <>, Dermot Lacey <>, <>, Eamon Gilmore <>,,, geraldine callanan <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Constantin Gurdgiev <>

According to an article in the Sunday Business Post :


The Blackrock Clinic is 25 years in existence.  It identified a market for the provision of private health and was successful.  However another venture is the private clinic in Cork either now closed or pending closure.

Do people realise that bureaucracy at its worst stymies the administration of private hospitals now?  People have a variety of health cover insurance sources and their choice of hospital has to include up to 200 methods of payment.  It is one extreme to the other from the monopoly of the VHI to now.  All in a decade.  Who is protecting the vested interest really?  Will Quinn insurance survive with the Quinn family request for a 7 year time period.  What about the patient who is sick and who has to get care – it is no wonder the really sick go straight to A&E.  At least you know you will have a multi-disciplinary assessment even if the wait is two days. (On trolley).

‘What is economics? A science invented by the upper class (Celtic Tiger chimps) in order to acquire the fruits of the labour of the UNDERCLASS’
August Strindberg (1849-1912)  Swedish dramatist

Subject: Why not a Book of Commemoration at the Mansion House or somewhere South of the Border? There is a book in Omagh and quite rightly so.
Date: Tuesday 5th April 2011 17:08:41 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Liam Carey <>, <>, Left Field – Labour News <>,, <>,,, Nigel Dodds <>, NicantSithigh, Aisling <>,, O’Shea, Fergus <>, Ann O’Connell <>, <>,, Paddy Healy <>, Quirke, JohnF (Corporate Affairs) <>, QUINN Marie <>, Quirke, JohnF (Corporate Affairs) <>,, Reception <>, Shane Clarke <>, <>, Sean Crudden <>, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament <>, The FrontLine Audience <>, Trust Ireland <>, The Very Revd Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin <>, The Ireland Funds <>, UK INFO – Customer Care Inbox <>,,, Vincent Browne <>

Tuesday 5th April 2011

A chance meeting with the Lord Mayor of Dublin

Revitalisation and Revival  

by Michelle Clarke

Opus’ –  your views are valid but let us have some hope please.

Walking down Dawson Street yesterday and watching all the taxi cabs waiting for customers – too many and a product of de-regulation in extreme. Passing by the Mansion House, the thought came into mind about the young PSNI policeman who died because a bomb was detonated under his car outside his home. A young man, a Catholic who chose to enter the PSNI, a member of the GAA and most of all an Irish man. A further thought came to mind and that was to ask if the Mansion House had a Book of Condolence for Ronan Kerr, for his family, his friends and fellow officers.

By sheer chance I was introduced to the Lord Mayor Mr. Breen. No: the decision is No Book of Condolence. Why not?

Opus you rightly refer to pomp and glory of the sovereignty that are invited to our shores (and include the entourage for Princess Grace of Monaco’s son and partner). Perhaps it would be more appropriate for the Queen of England to visit after the 2016 commemorations but if we have any regard for the fragile Peace Process surely we in Dublin City must have a Book of Condolence for this brave young Irish man.

Somebody has written about the revival of villages and tourism. If you look up the Lord Mayor of Dublin site this is already an idea that has gained sponsorship and enthusiasm…

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Emailing: Fink Builds BlackRock Powerhouse Without Goldman Sachs Backlash – Bloomberg
Date: Thursday 7th April 2011 20:33:35 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,,,, Contact <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Dearbhail McDonald <>, Dermot Lacey <>, Dearbhail McDonald <>, <>, Eamon Gilmore <>,,,, Constantin Gurdgiev <>, KT Hawklett <>, Paddy Healy <>,, <>,, <>, Kathleen Lynch <>, <>, Michelle Clarke <>, Mary Collins <>, Nigel Dodds <>,, O’Shea, Fergus <>, <>, Private Office DFP <>, Quirke, JohnF (Corporate Affairs) <>,, Shane Clarke <>, <>, The FrontLine Audience <>, Trust Ireland <>, The Ireland Funds <>,, Vincent Browne <>, Provost <>,, <>

Thursday 7th April 2011

‘It manages $1.4 trillion for public pension funds in states including New York, New Jersey and California, and invests $240 billion for central banks and sovereign wealth funds such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’

The Stress tests and the link to Fink and BlackRock

Mon. Trichet and the ECB announces an interest rate rise and there may be more to come.  Portugal has joined Ireland and Greece for support from the ECB.  Herein lies a slight advantage and the challenge to remove the contentious 12.5% corporation tax which makes Ireland a ‘haven’ for Foreign Direct Investment and in particular its links to the US. This particular incentive relating to Ireland only will more than likely move to the back boiler of EU-IMF agenda now.

We need to move up a beat.  They say markets have no memory and as people with certain ABI (acquired brain injury) consequences can confirm, this sometimes can be advantageous.

This Bloomberg account will help those who are interested in changing lane for a while to take a different perspective.  We may choose to sell off the family silver but already the like of private equity funds are highlighting the profit potential assets in Ireland.  The time is near for take-over, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence.  We need the expertise in our financial institutions to be keen, able and motivated.

‘To work, to transform this world, is to become somebody and to build the human community’
Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez


Subject: Citizen Journalism: Irish Retailers Fight Investors Over Rents After Economy Sinks – Bloomberg
Date: Thursday 14th April 2011 16:52:08 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: <>, Left Field – Labour News <>, <>, O’Shea, Fergus <>, Ann O’Connell <>,, <>,, Hanna, Rosemary <>, Shane Clarke <>, <>, Stephen Booth <>, The FrontLine Audience <>, Trust Ireland <>, The Very Revd Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin <>,,, vincent Browne <>

Thursday 14th April 2011

Worth a thought: 

Ireland needs economic growth.  We need to start on the streets and the land and seas and with our people to create markets once again.  Our pubs as a retreat are disappearing, coffee shops are struggling hard to keep afloat, shops, offices, are facing rent increases only and businesses are being closed down due to inordinate rents.  Minister Shatter is reviewing this ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’.  Let people start thinking and taking responsibility albeit the crisis is caused by global banking.  It is time to put the shoulder to the wheel and start creating economic growth.  Vincent Browne’s show last night had people with resolution but more importantly they had a sense of what is possible.
“It’s akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” said Niall Gaffney, chief executive officer of IPUT, a real-estate fund and among the largest owners of offices and stores in Dublin. “If contracts can be torn up retrospectively, it’s going to do huge damage to Ireland’s reputation.”
A simple equation goes.  If I am a section 23 landlord and I have a loan which is tax deductible with expenses.  Then let us assume I rent the house to a person who gets rent allowance from say the Community Welfare Officer.  Common sense says that there need not necessarily be a change in the law but that people have a sense of moral purpose and reduce the rent to what is acceptable to both parties.  One more point.  If the estate agent acts as the go-between, they should be liable if the tenant proves to be pocketing the rent allowance or getting it from a variety of sources!  This does happen.
by Michelle Clarke


Citizen Journalism: Gordon Brown ‘not most appropriate person’ to head IMF, says Cameron Politics section


Wednesday 20th April 2011 18:46:12 +0100


Michelle Clarke

To: <>, Eamon Gilmore <>, <>, Liam Carey <>,,, geraldine callanan <>, Cahill Gavin <>, Constantin Gurdgiev <>,, Ann O’Connell <>, KT Hawklett <>, <>, <>, Hanna, Rosemary <>,,,, Jane Campbell <>, <>, John Devitt <>, <>, <>, Kathleen Lynch <>,, Liam Carey <>, <>,, Michelle Clarke <>, Mary Collins <>, Nigel Dodds <>,

Wednesday 20th April 2011

Today’s Guardian newspaper:

‘Brown has emerged as the favourite to take the £270,000-a-year role when the incumbent managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, stands down’

Take a perspective: read the last two editions of the Phoenix and we have people in NGO agencies earning far in excess of this – for example reference the profile of Angela Kerins, Rehab. When do we get real? How did Doherty merit a pension via severance and a salary of approx 450,000 euros. Now it looks as if people with excessive earnings are in for a rude awakening when the IMF-EU group become more entrenched!! Time to re-focus and take a stand. The severance package – does anyone know how the Revenue calculate the tax due and the average. Politicians are remarkably quiet about Capital Gains Tax (McCreevy reduction factor) and pensions for people with wealth capacity via income and investment and beneficial tax incentives. Do the revenue operate a ‘spread’ analysis over a number of years for tax reduction, for instance. This surely is part of fiscal rectitude.

‘If there is a technological advance without a social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery’
Economist Michael Harrington

Date: Thursday 21st April 2011 20:14:02 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen journalism and undisclosed email address list

Thursday 21st April 2011

Shame and the Shameless – Part III Angela Kerins in this weeks Phoenix magazine
by Michelle Clarke

Liam Flannery is right to highlight this outrageous alleged payment of public finances to a woman working for people with disabilities.

The country is awash with charities and no transparency, ethics, or accountability. The web has distinct advantages but not when it acts as a motivator to pay donations and exploit people and their needs at the same time. Think of a vulnerability category e.g. suicide and there are now a host of websites and you will note on each of them the prominence of the word ‘donation’ and details. What about humanity and contact with no cost? Where is value in this society i.e. is the value that is not related to financial costing?

Is there a Third Sector/Charity gravy train in motion on this Island of Ireland? Perhaps we have learned same from our EU masters?

Our world today is facing massive social and political upheaval. Aid is destined to places like Libya, to Nigeria, to the Ivory Coast not forgetting Haiti and even Japan. There is an international community relating to this aid: in our case, the EU external aid budget that amounts to euros 12 billion p.a.

You might find it interesting to note that a UK think tank have found that the EU’s aid budget suffers from ‘poor accountability, un-necessary bureaucracy, and most critically, less than half the money spent actually goes to the world’s poorest people’.

What this is saying to people is that we need to question more; be not afraid to ask for value for money exercises and seek transparency and accountability at each tier of the Third Sector/charity chain. Ireland can benefit from this UK research and also can question the efficiency of the EU and its auspices to ensure we are receiving a fair deal for what we contribute to this fund for external aid.

We are in a tight space now economically, socially, politically and we need to get VALUE FOR MONEY FOR OUR AID SPENDING both in the context of EU external aid and most particularly on the home front. Corruption is insidious and we must stamp it out for a more equal society.

Sweet Charity!!

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Citizen Journalism.  He told Judge Hugh O’Donnell: “From this day forwards I am no longer practicing as a solicitor”.
Date: Thursday 21st April 2011 22:56:26 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <>,,,, Nicola Yau <>,,

Thursday 21st April 2011

He told Judge Hugh O’Donnell:
“From this day forwards I am no longer practicing as a solicitor”.

Separation of Powers and the Judiciary

by Michelle Clarke

We need people like Mr. Martin Coen LLB in this country. Appointments to the Judiciary by a Government in power must not be tainted. Now is the time to speak out about such a system that openly and blatantly discriminates. Well done to the Irish Independent and Citizen Journalism for publishing on this matter.

Corruption, we know is rife but little reference has been made via media sources to the Judiciary and corruption. The absence of media coverage begs the question why?

Ireland is a country that faces Easter quite rightly on its knees. The people need to take a stand and seek moral re-alignment in both their conscience and in their actions so that we can examine and judge accordingly those who have behaved, acted and financially benefited in an improper and often illegal way. Easter and the symbolic nature ought to invoke a rebirth in attitudes.

Example of an injustice:

People must speak out.

Today a father of two went to a local post office to get his Dole. He was refused. The person behind the counter with no sense of morality just said the owner said money cannot be paid today. It would be paid next Tuesday. People in the queue added to the man’s plea and by making a stand this atrocity of power of the owner was stopped in its tracks. Is this what privatisation of post offices is really about? Who brought in these silent changes?

Where is the empathy, the compassion, the respect, the due diligence of Social Welfare for a person in receipt of the Dole, a person who may have had no meal for the last two days because his dole money is inadequate to support his wife and children? Shame on us. If this man had not made a stand, he could have been bullied into not receiving what is due to him and being left without funds for the Easter weekend.

Michelle Clarke

Subject: Citizen Journalism: Warren Buffett’s former ‘heir’ misled board, says report Business The Guardian Transparency: ‘Give vision to the visionless’ Jonathan Swift
Date: Thursday, 28th April 2011 12:28:25 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:; undisclosed address list

Thursday 28th April 2011

The corner stone of investment banking, the point of Chinese Walls, the Dawn Raids… cannot take advantage….it is not just or equitable and ultimately it breaks the law.   What is stopping the CAB (Criminal Assets Bureau), the Fraud Squad from engaging forthwith with the like of Anglo Irish Bank ….  are we short of expertise?  Where is the Whistleblower’s Charter for protection of those who know!

Lies and confabulation can be most simplistic and damning.

Sokol met investment bankers representing Lubrizol before his share purchase and told them that Berkshire was interested in a takeover. After the deal was done, a Citigroup banker phoned Buffett to congratulate him on the deal. “This was the first time Mr Buffett heard that investment bankers played any role in introducing Lubrizol to Mr Sokol, and did not square with Mr Sokol’s remark in January that he had come to know Lubrizol by owning the stock,” the report said.The report concludes: “His misleadingly incomplete disclosures to Berkshire Hathaway senior management concerning those purchases violated the duty of candor he owed the company.”

Sokol’s remarks “did not satisfy the duty of full disclosure inherent in the Berkshire Hathaway policies and mandated by state law,” the report added.

“His remark to Mr Buffett in January, revealing only that he owned some Lubrizol stock, did not tell Mr Buffett what he needed to know … [I]ts effect was to mislead: it implied that Mr Sokol owned the stock before he began considering Lubrizol as an acquisition candidate, when the truth was the reverse.”‘

Candour definition:  Honesty and Straightforwardness

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Citizen Journalism: Social Investing and Getting Rich Doing Good — Printout — TIME. Interesting programme viz a viz low level crime and the costs of recidivism. Could these bonds work?
Date: Saturday April 30th 2011 20:25:49 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <>, Prison Library Office <>, Derek Toner <>,

Saturday 30th April 2011

Social Finance’s first and, so far, only SIB was launched last September: 17 investors, including the Rockefeller Foundation, bought bonds totaling about $8 million to finance an eight-year project led by the nonprofit St. Giles Trust to reduce recidivism among low-level criminals, who in the U.K. have a re-conviction rate of 60%. Each recidivist costs the government more than $200,000 a year in judicial and incarceration costs. The St. Giles program, “Through the Gate”, uses peer advisers — most of whom are ex-cons themselves — to mentor newly released prisoners and counsel them on issues ranging from housing to employment and training to rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse. The programme will target 3,000 male ex-offenders released from Peterborough Prison in Cambridgeshire. If it cuts the re-conviction rate by 7.5% or more compared with a control group, investors will recoup their money plus a graduated return that is capped at 13% a year’

Quotation selection:
J.K. Galbraith (born 1908) Canadian born Economist, author of the Affluent Society
‘The salary of the chief executive of the large corporations is not a market
reward for achievement.  It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture
from the individual to himself’  Add to this Bankers..Ministers..An Post…etc

Subject: Citizen Journalism: By chance saw most informative article by Leo Varadkar in the Daily Mail yesterday about the Cliffs of Moher – New 7 Wonders of the World possibility. All you have to do is vote as follows: …. if you get a chance it is worth a vote.
Date: Sunday May 1st 2011 12:43:41 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, <>,, <>, <>, Martin Holohan <>

Sunday May 1st 2011

Fear, apathy, media negativity (published….)

by Michelle Clarke – Concerned Citizen  


Yes we need to heed the point that the minimum wage applies to the masses but somewhere I read that it is the 1% that are responsible for 25% taxes paid on average to government coffers.

The tribunals in their day have resulted in funds in excess of a 1 billion euros being collected from people willing to shaft their fellow taxpayers and more importantly citizens and no doubt more funds will come from similar sources in the years to come.

However what can we do to shake up our citizens to formulating a vision that will create policies that will favour a more equitable society. We have the Bail-Out albeit we are unsure yet as to whether it costs the Irish taxpayer 85 billion / 100 billion euros or even double this.  As yet it may be that we the Irish will have to default and if this is the only way forward then we will be writing off debt and becoming a bad debt to the balance sheets of those senior debtors who took the risk in the first place and provided loans to our Treasury.

This is not the first time we have hit serious economic and political crisis since the foundation of the State and more importantly it will not be the last. The circle dictates the psychology and psychology tells us about the peaks and the troughs within the human being and human beings comprise our society.

Cash is King at present. However, the hoarding of cash due to fear is causing the economy to stagnate. This week the news informed us of the ‘plight’ of a man admitted to Accident and Emergency and when examined – his body was wrapped with wads of euro cash totaling over 60,000 euros…this is fear in the raw sense that creates a paranoia and fear to trust. There are people out there afraid to deposit money in banks. Why because for nearly three years now the news is negative and the time is coming when the 2008 granted guarantee may be canceled and the banks are free to party again and who knows we could face another financial crisis. We need the banks to start marketing again. We need them to retrieve the capital flows that left the country over the past 3 years.

What do you do with the Cash? You can stuff it in the mattress, you can buy Gold or Silver, you can take a chance and buy some shares or for that matter you can go a stage further and buy equities/trusts. All of this is about some people who just keep hard cash in a hidden place. The problem with this is that we deflate the economy, we add to the crises in small to medium businesses because nobody buys anything, thus we facilitate unemployment to those who are mainly represented by the unions which in turn creates unrest via strikes in our public services.

We need a little insight: we need to encourage people to start re-investing in our own banks not (foreign banks), we need to get people spending cash in the economy in small ways i.e. like having coffee with a friends in a local cafe, having a pint with a friend in your local pub, buying Irish products where at all possible. Brown coinage – why not collect it and then make the point of re-circulating same in the cash pool – you can pass it on to charities in your local supermarket, or change it in the bank. Take taxis rather than park in expensive car-parks in town. Then there is the old Punt. It is said that there is a couple of hundred million still to be presented to Central Bank!! Who has it?

Income tax is one source of revenue but another is where the wealth generates tax and we need to balance in our minds eye who generates most and work from there before we engage in militancy.

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Citizen Journalism: World Press Freedom Day safeguarding Free Speech and Democracy – Transparency International
Date: Wednesday 3rd May 2011 00:30:38 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Labour Web Team <>, Vincent Browne <>

Wednesday 3rd May 2011


World Press Freedom Day safeguarding Free Speech and Democracy

 by Michelle Clarke

What has happened especially to the readers of our newspapers on the Island of Ireland?

We hear that O’Reilly Irish Independent newspaper earns in excess of 1 million euros p.a., and yes the newspapers today are spun on the US coup d’etat and Osama Bin Laden but what about May 3rd being set aside as the day for World Press Freedom and the safeguarding of free speech and democracy. May 3rd surely is worth mentioning in the light of this extreme paradox of events on this day especially.

Show me the money or follow the money are about the root causes and impact of corruption. Transparency International press release today makes excellent reading. It challenges its readers to review what corruption means and emphasizes how it ‘ruins lives’ and urges people to ‘Fight Back’. Here is the challenge for the sinking abyss of the Irish economy. We are aware that the Europeans and the IMF have valued us at rock bottom status economically but we must have some investigative journalists out there who can find answers to where the capital flows took flight to back in 2007 (the Criminal Assets Bureau, fraud squad, the Director of Public Prosecutions etc. appear to need some assistance).

We know that recently (as in the last few months) 16.5 billion euros approx. left the Bank of Ireland as more people became less certain of being sufficiently patriotic to keep their monies in our economy. We know that at the time of the Guarantee in 2008, Anglo Irish had funds in excess of 100 billion euros. Where did these Euros go to? Logically we know that those who had shares in Anglo saw their holdings devalued to nothing but what about those who had funds in excess of the 100,000 euros guarantee cover in cash deposits (liquid assets) as distinct from Anglo Irish shares et al – their euros are not devalued, diminished – but they may be overseas in safe havens.

The Financial Times today (front page) is reporting that Billions of Sterling pounds held in Swiss Bank accounts are now to be subject to UK tax at 50%. So what about Ireland? Have we made similar changes to the powers of the Revenue in Ireland so that we can access details as to who holds accounts in Switzerland and then charge them tax and note at a higher rate? Maybe our neighbour (UK) would negotiate on our part for a similar concession from the Swiss bankers?

Article 19 : Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

 “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information through any media and regardless of frontiers”

Media is essential to maintain a system of Governance as reported by Transparency International today May 3rd 2011.  For Citizen Journalism contributors this may be of significant interest: TI makes specific reference to Citizen Journalism and Social Media. This is about an interaction between the media and civil society groups with the objective of being a watchdog and working for the Public Good. The theme of this day is about 21st century media. Interestingly, it states:

‘The shift towards citizen reporting also brings with it new opportunities.
But with the now public crowded space given to citizen reporters and social media users,
traditional journalists also play an ESSENTIAL ROLE INVESTIGATING WRONGDOING,

Keep up the good work ‘citizen journalists’ and those in the social media as a source of grassroots citizen journalism but as for the newspapers Ireland could do with more of the philosophy of investigative journalism with particular emphasis relating to the Public Good.

Subject: Citizen Journalism: Challenge to Journalists in the Broadsheets – Show us the money and where it has gone to?
Date: Thursday 4th May 2011 23:09:46 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <>, John Devitt <>
Challenge to Journalists in the Broadsheets:  
Show us the money and where it has gone to
by Michelle Clarke – Citizen Journalism promotion

Ordinary Citizen – a piece well written. What we need is more open disclosure similar to the Nordic countries and if that means paying higher taxes that is the route to follow.

Equality in society is an essential source of motivation and research now shows that the greater the bipolarity in society, the greater the inequality. We have two tiers presently in Ireland with the middle class being lambasted as the drive globally is those who have versus those who have not. The belief system seems to be to keep the worker bees so busy doing the mundane chores that they have no time to think or advance their situation so that they become wealthy. Sadly we see the excesses of this with Sean Quinn when a man through years of occupation and wealth gathering can make a mis-TAKE which in effect is nothing other than a gamble and lose all. Yes, we can all watch Bloomberg (if we pay for it) but the contracts for difference need caution and some of our 1st generation entrepreneurs got a little too greedy and were caught. Yes it was CFD’s on Anglo Irish shares predicted as an upward option that ignited the fire. Let us wait and see the outcome now. What will be the next gamble for the Quinn Empire i.e. if they retained their personal wealth as distinct from their companies and assets. Will they use the legal route to regain acclaim, power and position, if not but in their own minds only.

The momentum is slow to deal with the so called Golden Circle and Anglo Irish Bank. My humble belief is that ‘insider trading’ must apply to what underlies this major collapse of a Bank that set the competitive advantage for our homegrown AIB and Bank of Ireland.
It comes down to the old equation about abuse of power and anyone is susceptible to that. What is essential though is that the Law of the Land, the media, the journalists are hungry to establish the sense of what is Justice and how it is applied.

Clyde – you lay it right at the feet of the media and journalists in particular and the power of Article 19 and Freedom of Expression. Our broadsheets are not making money and yet a certain Citizen Journalism site hasn’t the profile that is indicative of its archives and open newswire. Journalists in the broadsheets by now should be crediting those of us in citizen journalism and moving forward with their new forensic investigative capabilities. As Clyde states –

‘The shift towards citizen reporting also brings with it new opportunities. But with the now public crowded space given to citizen reporters and social media users, traditional journalists also play an ESSENTIAL ROLE INVESTIGATING WRONGDOING, MAINTAINING CREDIBILITY AND PROVIDING REPORTS THAT SERVE THE PUBLIC GOOD’

Show me the money. The money is somewhere – it just doesn’t disappear. It didn’t in Nazi Germany because lots of it made its way into Swiss bank accounts and some of the other 20 tax havens around the world. The search is still on for this.

Daily the ordinary punter on the street needs to look around, think a little outside the box, listen to what another person might be saying. People who have small businesses are really suffering. They are putting in long hours and cutting back on prices of the stock they are selling, they are cutting down on staff or cutting back on wages and bonuses are no more.

People are waiting for the Minister for Justice to bring in legislation to retract on the Upward Only reviews on leases. This is what is killing small businesses.  Xtravision is one of the latest companies to fall into financial problems. They are seeking examinership which will give them 100 days to re-structure. This means the shops are open for 100 days. If you ask them what is the major problem you will find out that if they have 180 shops, as many as 150 landlords have refused to make any concessions on rent. Rent – they may have the excuse that it is legislation that excuses them from reducing the rent but where is their morality. If they fail to be human in their approach to being a landlord with a conscience then surely they ought to suffer from a taxation system that impedes on their ability to generate wealth.

Journalists need to investigate more and also take chances to report on wrongdoing.


by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Pension levy…the vulnerable…the impact
Date: Wednesday 11th May 2011 20:42:44 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Andrew Harkness <>,,; undisclosed list

Wednesday 11th May 2011

Pension levy…the vulnerable…the impact

 by  Bothered and Bewildered ie Michelle Clarke


Pensions are to be docked for the next 4 years to raise the near euros 2 billion to fund the back to work schemes. Hard going on the pensioners who worked hard trying to gather enough savings together to provide for their old age. Is it fair? What is the compound value of this penalty to those people who presently contribute to private pension schemes over their life times? Again is this fair? There must be another way to enforce austerity versus a present day levy on people who only want to provide for their old age.

Add to this the scenario ex. the last Government. Please correct me if I have it wrong. What happens if you are elderly and are admitted to hospital and then into a care home. The state have access to deduct costs from what could be your home if you recover or your Estate if you die? Do we know about this in a knowledgeable sort of way?

Pension funds and equities. The banks used to be the Blue Chips i.e. safe bets for those who wished to take a risk and invest. However, we all now know the reality. The two main Irish banks are now 20 cents approx v. 20 euros +. Many people have suffered harsh losses. Many pension funds are depleted and today we hear that those who manage the funds of wards of courts have also perished from the blight of the financial markets. Does this mean if say a child was awarded say 1 million euros due complications at birth that the Wards of Courts who administer this money and invest it, are now left with substantially less?

There must be another way of making adjustments to the losses on our overall Balance Sheet going forward.

Today, two people well known to us all i.e. if we watch Vincent Browne TV3, Constantin Gurdgiev and Declan Ganley have identified a niche in the financial markets and for Ireland this has serious challenges. St. Columbanus AG, I think is the name. Its aim is to provide access to the Switzerland market for investments. It is an attractive option to Irish people who have money in deposit accounts etc (and especially in the light of the fact that the guarantee period for renewal is imminent). In the absence of any sound reasons to continue investing in Ireland, those of us who didn’t contribute to the massive capital outflows that besieged Ireland are now to be easily enticed to move onwards through a well thought out vehicle and we can be investors in Switzerland. Ireland needs to wake up and start re-structuring their banks and ensuring people who have money are keen to remain in Ireland Inc. with their investments.

Bothered and Bewildered (Michelle Clarke)

Subject: Show us the money…how can we create money.
Date: Thursday 12th May 2011 17:37:46 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, UK INFO – Customer Care Inbox <>, Sheena Doyle <>, Seamus Banim <>

Thursday 12th May 2011

Show us the money…how can we create money?

by Michelle Clarke

TV3 Vincent Browne and four different panelists with different consensus as to what we Ireland Inc. as distinct from the Island of Ireland, owe. The fact is: Austerity is now in the driving seat and the passengers can either attempt to take the wheel, or become proactive or just sit around bleating about how bad things are and that there is no hope and that it is far worse than the 1980’s or for that matter far worse than the 1950’s when so many had yet again to emigrate. At this stage we might as well add in the 1930’s when we owed the Annuities to the former Colonial owner but decided to renege and take their rebuff of tariffs/subsidies on the chin. This was known as the Economic War and to this day there are diehards who still blame De Valera and his cohorts.

The point is markets are supposed to have no memory, they tend not be predictable, the unforeseen must be factored in, and then lets add some philosophy and add in the touch and power of mysteries. As an example in the 1980’s – Ireland produced the ‘moving holy statutes’ and today who knows if it was real or not but they sure gathered attention in the media and for that matter in the lives of many people. This time we have the arrival of President Bush, Prime Minister David Cameron and no less Queen Elizabeth II. Who would ever have envisaged this in the hideous 1980’s of dire unemployment, high debt and no economic growth?  At least, we are in a position now to be the proper Host Country to such prestigious guests. There has to be a spin off in Tourism and for all the people interested in such pageants there will be a creative burst of genius and who knows some ideas that might kick-start the economy. Today’s radio spoke of a man who was made redundant from the motor industry…he did some thinking and he came up with a brilliant idea. Spokes repairs, yes he saw the potential of the bicycle market and he is back in a business that has ever increasing demand.

People (and include our diaspora) are the grassroots of an economy. Conversation spurs on initiative, sharing, opportunities. Personally, I believe that the loss of our traditional pubs has had a negative impact. The time is here for pubs to attract back their old customers and blend in with the new and younger people. Twitter, the internet create the linkages but what the pubs need to do is to build on this and encourage people to regain ground and our old pub culture. Instead of cards – why not access twitter and chat on topics and try and create ideas. For the pubs to work it is time for the drinks companies like Diageo to reduce price. Our towns; our villages, our communities within our cities are dying. Do we want to follow the same route as the English pub with non owners and just managers appointed by the breweries and half hearted menus? We need to reconnect with the traditional form of Irish pub so that people once more communicate with each other in person as distinct from virtual. The virtual is great but it does not make up for human contact.

Coffee shops are great but in Ireland apart from say Bewleys in Grafton Street, or Starbucks at the Canal, again there is a lack of centred/heart. We are not Europe with its history of cafe bars. We are Ireland so let companies like Diageo re-focus and with the Government compliance to actually reduce their tax take, create a pub scene again. Companies like Tesco use Ireland as well as contribute to it. However profit is their purpose and our corporation tax together with other incentives make Ireland an above average infrastructure to be used by corporates. This means off licence is big bucks to them and again this takes from the pub and people drink at home and more than likely more than is good for their health. If you have people back taking a drink in pubs you create business for taxis, hotels, etc. This idea of brown change – why not make a concerted effort to recycle it via tips rather than hoard it in piggy banks.

Met a friend at the Bagel today. We had a good chat about everything and then we started discussing TV3 Vincent Browne last night….we both agreed that there is a definite need for some creative thinking as to how cope with the debt. We agreed that the banks are in dire need for restructuring and we added drastically. Tony suggested a novel idea. He had heard that as many as 40 million people actually hold Irish passports? I was shocked. Even if it only was 20 million. His idea is simple but far fairer than the levy of 0.8% on pensions. He suggested a 5 euro charge at each renewal. We now need to start think about the power of one to make a change… Now there is a sound idea from a person with years of experience in business.

Monetarist Policy: Mr Durkan ESRI on V Browne p.m. – we may just need the ECB to create funds.

The Germans: what has happened to the German who had the novel idea to record his travels, including his breakfasts, on his blog as he travels around Ireland… this is tapping a market surely

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Affordable Housing. Making hay while the gloom descends. What about Georgian Dublin and Unesco?
Date: Wednesday 18th May 2011 17:04:03 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,,, Contact <>, Dearbhail McDonald <>, Dermot Lacey <>, Derek Toner <>, <>, Eamon Gilmore <>,,,, Constantin Gurdgiev <>, Cahill Gavin <>,, KT Hawklett <>, Hanna, Rosemary <>,, <>,

Wednesday 18th May 2011

Affordable Housing. Making hay while the gloom descends

by Michelle Clarke

Austerity is now the Irish agenda. These ‘8 days of Dublin shut down’ are over after President Obama’s fleeting visit and Ireland no matter what links exist is on the road to an IMF agenda of austerity.

The depression is hitting home. Home loan lending is at the lowest ever level i.e. ever recorded. The graph in today’s Independent is grim and scary. The first quarter 2011 issued 3,259 mortgages i.e. half the same period last year

and 44,000 less than at the peak of the boom in 2006.

We have ghost estates going nowhere and the sensible approach is to demolish the partially built houses. There are blocks of apartments empty as can be seen if you take a train from Heuston station. We need to know what is vacant? Then we need to know who is living in appalling circumstances in the older estates like Dolphin House etc. People may not wish to leave their existing communities but that doesn’t mean that they should not be encouraged to move to vacant apartment blocks under the auspices of Dublin City council who in turn can pay off NAMA. This is about housekeeping at government level and humanity.

The fall-off in mortgages, the people in negative equity, the cases before the courts where people cannot pay the debts must be matched to the surplus and the alternatives that are available. The affordable housing scheme has all but fallen apart. Now is the opportunity for people with poor housing conditions and in need of housing to get together and place pressure on the Government to provide in line with the social housing initiatives that started in the 1920’s, 1930’s at a time when Governments realised that slum conditions had to be stopped in Ireland. This is a mistake of greedy entrepreneurs but mistakes create opportunities too.

Unesco: Georgian Dublin is renowned in Europe and worldwide and there is an indication that it could gain a UNESCO award. However, the number of vacant houses, the amount of nil utilised space, the for sale signs and the to let signs bode badly if we are to seriously seek such an award. We may need a tax break of sorts to encourage people to revitalise this part of the city again. Also we need to know how easily and at the least expensive these houses can be retrofitted. As it stands people fail to grapple with the rules and regulations of the Irish Georgian Society, in fact they provide a dis incentive.

People who need housing need to join together and create a balance sheet and work  to persuade Government to provide the money for the social housing shortfall that is a direct cost of the Celtic Tiger years….social housing was not the priority. It was about when private development is complete and the profit gained, then we will think about social housing.

Austerity can be the grim reaper or who knows!

Subject: Queen Elizabeth II Dublin Castle; David Cameron awaiting President Obama
Date: Thursday 19th May 2011 20:56:46 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <>
To:; undisclosed address list

Thursday 19th May 2011

Queen Elizabeth II Dublin Castle; David Cameron awaiting President Obama
by Michelle Clarke


The Monarchy in all its glory has arrived in Ireland and accompanied by the British Prime Minister.

Let Tourism milk this for every cent it is worth. We need to earn billions urgently and we need all the PR to promote our blended unity with our nearest neighbour to the right and for that matter our other neighbour via the Atlantic on our left. We in Ireland need to keep all routes open. We are a small open economy as they keep telling us and most of our trade and vice versa still moves between England and Ireland. Regarding the US we need to use the infrastructure that is above par, our educated work force and the English language, to ensure no EU member tries to trick us out of our 12.5% corporation tax incentive to multi-nationals.  The benchmark for Ireland before the Euro was the German mark. They determined that interest rates were low while they bordered recession and we paid the penalty. This is morally unacceptable.

Let them repay by encouraging their people to holiday in this country of ours. Good to hear about the young blogger named Mueller who is reporting daily on his blog while he travels through the Emerald Isle – so far his reports are that breakfasts are good and he feels Germans would enjoy holidays here.

Any figures yet to indicate tourists who have targeted Ireland for the 8 day event. Good to see the Portuguese coming to Ireland. After all we are all part of the PIIGS and it looks as if we can spend some money also.

Michelle Clarke

Subject: Have we lost our sense of outrage?
Date: Friday 20th May 2011 19:51:18 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke

To Undisclosed email list.

Have we lost our sense of outrage?  Contrast 2006 to May 2011 

Transparency & anti Corruption
by Michelle Clarke

We need to revert sometimes to the past but we need not be shackled by it. We need to know suffice to grasp the culture of then and now and how changes can be effected.

The names of Michael McDowell, Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, Mary Harney are now those of pensioners aged 50+ (or let us be more correct in receipt of several pensions, payments for speeches/events, and potential to get prime employment positions yet again, or write their autobiographies). These are the privileged. These are the people who rose up the ranks of elitism to become the Established Classes within today’s society and all bar one emerged from humble origins. The west of Ireland is good for sayings and one that might apply here goes ‘Castles falling, dung hills rising’ or better still if the money is spent let it be deluged in the Irish economy; ‘after a gatherer comes a scatterer’ could bode well for Ireland Inc.  The new rich abound in politics and moral bankruptcy saturates our country.

We need a united front with the strong theme of social justice. We need the outcome of the Mahon Tribunal urgently to clear up the outstanding issues relating to corruption in political circles involving politicians. We have in fact lost our sense of outrage and we should demand closure of all tribunals. It is not acceptable that we read in the news that because lawyers earn hundreds of thousands and into millions they are now eligible for pension payments. It is my humble belief that their excessive payments is for the volatile nature of the work they engage in and because a lawyers work does not equate to the benefits of a permanent pensionable job.

The Fair Deal: What is fair about the deal? You work your life through, you take a risk and you buy a house which becomes your home. You pay the mortgage for 25 years so that means you approx. pay three times the cost you paid for the house in interest, take from this the so called tax relief and the fact is you pay a lot for your home. Mary Harney ought to stand in shame for the legislation she is responsible for putting in place. Now if you are old and can no longer live at home – social services can request the detai into your asset base and offer you a deal that the State will keep you in return for your home and assets being signed over to the State. What is fair here?

Now this deal is in trouble: Dr. O’Reilly is unsure and needs to research it further. I am sure he does. I think it breaches a persons individual human rights. Now you have to wait for someone to pass on before you become eligible for a place! HIQA – how are you? What kind of health service puts in place legislation that people pay for out of their life savings and yet the insecurity is that they can remain in a bed blocking scenario in our hospitals without options. We need to work towards keeping our elderly in the community and realising that because people are older, they are not non productive. If ever this week we should note that elderly can contribute:

The Queen at 85; Prince Philip at 91 and the stalwart who contributed fully until he became ill a month ago the Late Garret FitzGerald…We need to look to the contributions the older people can continue to make and welcome studies like TILDA so that people can be guaranteed a better quality of life in their elder years.


‘If God has given all people skills and brains to use, we cannot be happy

if people at work are simply asked to be less efficient robots’
Bishop David Sheppard

Subject: Citizen Journalism New frontiers – Business at Oxford. A woman from Zimbabwe – the connection to Russia Renaissance financial services…a CV worth considering
Date: Sunday 22nd May 2011 21:57:10 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, DE BRÚN Bairbre <>,, Contact <>, Constantin Gurdgiev <>, Dearbhail McDonald <>, Dearbhail McDonald <>, <>, Eamon Gilmore <>,, KT Hawklett <>,,, <>, <>,, <>, Kathleen Lynch <>,, <>, Michelle et al

Sunday 22nd May 2011

Worth watching out for Zimbabwean women.

Zimbabwe was at one time the bread basket of the African Economy but as with most African countries in transition from colonization there are conflicts, bribery and corruption facilitated by western countries who trade with the leaders of these near despotic state (boundaries determined by the Congress of Berlin in 1880’s who invest overseas instead in of their own country.

Germany recognises the potential of the African Continent as is the case with China. Russia has past experience from Soviet days in Zimbabwe. The Catholic Church is entrenched in Zimbabwe, in fact President Mugabe was educated by the Jesuits – a Fr. O’Hea at Rusape. We are all aware that the Pope invited President Mugabe to Rome recently. 2nd generation English who left Rhodesia as it became Zimbabwe in the 1980’s sought Irish passports as they were not entitled to English ones. They needed an Irish grand-parent/parent.

The Mashonaland Irish Association…/mashonaland-irish-association-harare-zimbabw.. is one of the oldest associations in Zimbabwe dating back to the 1800’s and the arrival of many Irish people. Linkages still exist. Ireland needs to revive the connections for trade. Could it be possible that there are 44 million Irish passports in issue? If only half, it would be worth a 5 euro charge. In passing someone told me this.

Women worked so very hard … they could walk for three hours to fetch water returning with same placed on their head for  their husbands  to wash; they worked as servants in households starting at 6 am in the morning; finishing at 5 pm and then they could spend hours walking home.  Washing machines were a luxury.  The maid removed the sheets from the bed; if the drought was severe, your bath water was utilised to wash the sheets; clothes et al by the hard labour of the maid.  The floors were wood and so much time each day they spent on their knees polishing the floors.  This is not so very long ago.  It was the 1990’s.  Their initiative to engage was incredible.  There were no social services, just nuns and priests representing the various orders.  This was the awful time with the onset of HIV Aids.  They worked until they died.  Admiration for their courage is all I can say.

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Selective Justice article published: The Garda Foley case….extraordinary grounds for mitigation
Date: Monday, 30th May 2011 18:10:17 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,, PPDiffley@IRISHPRISONS.IE <PPDiffley@IRISHPRISONS.IE>,, Kieran Loughran <>

Monday 30th May 2011

Twitter and Tweet: Citizen Journalism

 by Michelle Clarke


This crime of assault by a Garda and the decision of a member of the Judiciary to allow him to walk free due to so called mitigating circumstances relating to how safe he would be in prison merits more open discussion.

Beatings in Garda stations are supposed to be something from the past i.e. decades ago. Now, it appears to be quite common place where a Garda, whether on duty or off duty, in certain circumstances (without or with alcohol), is not able to control their physical senses and engage in assault with vigour to another human being and often cause brain damage, and this is excused.  Some people held in custody, like the man, earlier last week are found dead.

Brain injury, bleed to the brain, stroke, aneurysm, MS, all have one major thing in common, they impact on the neurological side of the person and the consequences are long term impact, illness and inability to hold down a responsible or full time job. Invariably it means saying goodbye to the person you were and hello to the unknown. Then add to this the impact to your family members who have to cope with a different person basically. So a blow to the head means everybody ought to understand just what the implications are. There are no excuses. Gardai can have no defence let alone a Judge who says mitigation … they will be subject to prejudice in prison.

Anger is an emotion which we all experience but if our Gardai do not leave Templemore with sufficient psychology to understand anger and its consequences, then the system is failing us and we need our Minister for Justice to address the issue at Grassroots i.e. in comprehensive training at Templemore. A good start is a film called “Anger Management” – it is an art form and part of creativity that allows us to learn ways about how to control anger. In times gone by people used Boxing to harness a persons control over anger. The famous Lugs Brannigan in the 1950’s and 1960’s was a Garda who had his own view on how to deal with petty criminals.

Selective Justice, articles about prison reform, morality, ethics, Corrib, etc. etc: it interests me that these are never posted on Twitter. It seems to be that Ireland is eaten up with apathy presently so if this is the case some digging in archives might be necessary to show that even during the so called Celtic Tiger breaches of civil liberties took place: now is the time to wake up and address the situation so that we can move forward as a Country, one that faces Default, per the news today.


Subject: Read Gabrielle Giffords “A Place Far Away from Here” The New Yorker. Ireland: We are far down the scale for Research to Rehab in Neuro-Psychiatric – the Cinderella alas!
Date: Tuesday 14th Jun 2011 18:11:08 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Bernard Hayes <>, Brierley, Craig <>,, Doherty, Colin (Neurology Consultant) <CPDoherty@STJAMES.IE>,,

Tuesday 14th April 2011

A place far away from here by Gabrielle Gifford…/gabrielle-giffords-a-place-far-away-from-here

ABI/head injury/brain damage/neurological diseases.  We know so little yet this woman thanks to neurosurgery is given back her life or that is in the context of  he medical model.  Recently, a Garda was given a suspended sentence by a Judge.  There was a fight, a young man received blows to the head and brain damage yet it was suffice in evidence that the man had received a payment circa 28,000 euros and he emigrated to Australia.  Do we really grasp the long term impact of brain damage?

Today’s health page in the Irish Times, Colm Murray reveals his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.  It is Professor Hardiman/Trinity College Research foundation who is supporting him and others.  The objective is a world class scientific research unit into this whole area of MND.  But we need other funding also for Neuroscience-Psychiatric (and include addictions) spectrum.

Ireland Neuro-Psychiatric is under-funded with no traumatologists in the main hospitals.  Rehabilitation is minimal in |reland but the impact as can been seen from this New Yorker article is about rehabilitation and a take responsibility spirit, within the realms of new dimensions to a person who leaves aside their pre-trauma person and who is forced through traumatic brain injury to engage with the onset of immediate change and the frustration and inhibitions that go with it.

“We do a lot of inferring with her because her communication skills have been impacted the most,” Carusone said.

Daily we hear of people sustaining brain injuries from murder, to car accidents, to sport, to neurological diseases and now Germany’s eColi scare suggests the impact of neurological infection and how to deal with this potential onslaught?

We know so little about the Brain; we need to explore and fund.  We need to make people aware of the consequences of head injury.  We need to examine the impact of alcohol/illegal drugs on behaviours that can lead to fraught tempers and violence.

Recommend book to those interested:
The Master and his Emissary
by Iain McGilchrist

by Michelle Clarke

(I sustained TBI from horse fall.  20 yrs on routine dictates groundhog day repetition.  I read newspapers each day, I use Twitter to augment my memory, I then engage with people in the community and I write, often from the computer in the shop in the Dublin 4 village.  I have written a lot on TBI, Bipolar, Anxiety, Royal City of Dublin hospital because it is deeply personal to my existence.  Check out canisgallicus or twitter canisgallicus eg Take Responsibility….)

Subject: State divests responsibility of being Landlord to private investors via S23 & incentives
Date: Monday 27th June 2011 12:20:11 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>,,,, Clare Finglas <>,, Deirdre Bell <>

Monday 27th June 2011

State divests responsibility of being Landlord to private investors via S23 & incentives

by Michelle Clarke


Fire Sales with some 60 houses, yet only two properties made it to offer stage and possibly closure. This states that the Irish property market is on its knees because risk-takers are hammered, affordable housing is no longer, and people are wondering if owning a house is the best option, or is renting a better option. We have to await some slight bit of confidence to kick start property again as has happened in the South of England and in particular London.

Interesting to hear about the prejudice in the UK. It makes me recall those adverts in the 1960’s which read ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’. It say’s that Discrimination is still alive and kicking in the UK and no doubt in Ireland in a far more subtle way.

Ireland is slightly different to the UK in that the Celtic Tiger was in a way an invitation to potential investors to divest from the State the role of being Landlord i.e. Dublin City Council, in receipt of rents and thereby responsible for maintenance and upkeep of Co. Council/Corporation estates, houses etc. The fools rushed in and now we have the real problem of apartment blocks with management committees and agencies hiking up massive bills for owners/renters/vacant properties with no guidance from the State whatsoever. The next scandal will be this, I reckon. Bullying is taking place in a lot of the complexes that were bought during the Celtic Tiger but it just doesn’t penetrate media coverage.

Delighted to hear about the Regeneration funds for Moyross/Southill. Decades of blatant mismanagement by the Limerick Authorities saw a development of properties with no services and pure neglect of responsibility deteriorate into a den of crime, poverty, and property deterioration. Let us learn from this please.

Social housing is now the preserve of those investors who took the risk and invested in the section 23 and other tax break schemes. The PRTB (Properties Residential Tenancies Board) is toothless and inadequate to act as the umbrella to ensure owners of properties act as responsible landlords. Many estates now have a good social mix but the problem coming down the road is that there is no Overseer.

Many landlords who took risks are now to the pin of their collar to make repayments on negative equity properties; many are in default situations and the writing is on the wall for properties especially those who have accumulated penalties.  Now the latest is the 200 e. Govt levy to be paid by the end of this month? What happens if you have rented out your property; the tenant refuses to pay rent; and you haven’t got the 200 e. All this is now highly possible. The people who win here are who? the solicitors ( you can’t afford); the State who presses charges for non payment….bad mess ahead. Stealth taxes have become the order of the day. Water charges are the next imposition and if we look to the UK, these will amount to approx 380 e. or more. Vision is badly needed. We need to consolidate and act rather than use stealth taxes.

by Michelle Clarke

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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