Citizen Journalism Ireland: Social Justice – 29 emails to Government and related. January to December 2012 by Michelle Clarke

Public Health v integrated private health care service. How do we really get to grips with facilitating the patient to take responsibility and operate with diagnosis Mentally Ill?
Date: Monday 27th February 2012
From: Michelle Clarke
To: <>,, Constantin Gurdgiev <>,, John Gloster <>,, <>,,,, Vincent Browne <>

Monday 27th February 2012

The answer to the question in Ireland is:

Private medicine is the only efficient method

Private means you attend your psychiatrist say at Charlemont Clinic.  You set up appointment. You visit, you exchange details, you agree ‘game plan’ and if appropriate you get bloods in situ and the report is sent to your psychiatrist.  The Psychiatrist writes to GP.  It works.

You pay:  You claim your bloods from VHI.  For some stupid reason a consultant psychiatrist is not covered by VHI while other similar appointments in different areas, are.

Go Public to Baggot Street Upper Village Community Hospital (Royal City of Dublin hospital in decay) and it makes a full-time job out of being ill and leading to confusion is central to the whole process of public health psychiatric, addiction, acquired brain injury.

The easy part for me is to outline personal experience but I ask Minister Reilly to find out the logic herein:

No in situ bloods is what I am driving at:  Integrated medical attention for the public service user is but a dream.  The reality is you can get poisoned by drugs amidst the confusion of being on heavy medications and really if examined nobody cares.  Public health to the like of me says no different to what I witnessed as a child in the dispensary practice of my parents….being sick is a full time occupation, the only difference today is that this need not be the case,  poverty is not the same as in the 1960’s-70’s.  Private healthcare at say the Blackrock clinic ensures that bloods are taken at the location and not via a circumvented way that fails to protect the vulnerable patient.

Sleepy hollow community health care Dublin 4.  This is a farce.  Just look around you: HRB, NDA, MHC, Doctors, Chemists, Dentists, Nurses, …..  a game plan for the patient should be easy enough and add to this FAS and the new Pathway as a way out in the long run by fostering ‘take responsibility’ by facilitating the patient to achieve same.

Michelle Clarke

Email No 1


Subject: Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Profiles. FAS Head office is open to such opportunities now with social networking etc
Date: Thursday 22nd March 2012 21:29:36 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: <>,,, Joy Bradley <>, Clare Finglas <>,,, Dermot Lacey <>,,,,,, <>, UK INFO – Customer Care Inbox <>

Thursday 22nd March 2012

Baggot Street Upper Village requires the spirit of Community.  Two identities are part of the landscape and both represent ‘Sick Buildings’.  Add to this the once famous Searsons now owned by Diageo and closed.  (Some say the reason being that rates are so high).  The two most significant buildings which hold vast potential are:

  • The FAS office tells its own narrative, much of which has been highlighted by Senator Shane Ross.
  • Then there is the Baggot Street Community Hospital which possibly is beyond redemption as a hospital but surely the architecture could lend to a public-private partnership with a new emphasis.

Jeff Smurfit senior said ‘Opportunity comes to pass not to pause’.  Ashoka/ supplement (Irish Times Wednesday 21/3/12) introduces some interesting ideas from Social Media.  The FAS office needs to be a hub of creativity.  Transport 21 now dictates outlying areas of Dublin City convene at Burlington Road, the Canal.  Surely FAS can become such a centre

Bernard McNamara’s company was involved in the building of Plaza 1 & 2 in Burlington Road.  Plaza II opened up to Bank of Ireland staff this week and hopefully this will bring the much needed businesses to all those who are patiently waiting for opportunities and re-growth again in Upper Baggot Street.

Michelle Clarke

Email No 2

Subject: Brain Injury Services Praxis Care. Before it is too late, keep communities alive….start local is a good start…Dublin 4 could be exemplary
Date: Wednesday 28th March 2012 18:51:53 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Ariana Ball <>, <>,,,, Contact <>,,, Dermot Lacey <>,,,,,,

Wednesday 28th March 2012

Baggot Street Community Health (Royal City of Dublin Hospital could benefit from this expertise to fruition scenario for neuro diversity. Let us tap into what the North of Ireland can give us from their experience.

Praxis Mental Healthcare et al is quite an impressive site. Growth could be through a public/private partnership but to achieve this – a team with vision is essential. Tesco or Boots could be approached perhaps. Boots presently provide the medications and a friendly service including blood pressure checks, flu jabs etc. Likewise Meaghers are equally efficient and competent. Where there is a will there is a way.

I read yesterday that a professor in the US has come up with a patch that will be able to detect vital signs in patients. This could transform medicine as we know it but not brain related neuro-psychiatric and addiction people who need hands on personal care.

Baggot Street Upper Village: comprises two vital buildings which could be condemned as being ‘Sick’ because of lack of funding and a feeling of self worth. Yes, the Community Hospital and the FAS office. It is a shame in such a potentially vibrant area which houses the Mental Health Commission, Health Research Board, NDA, Forfas, IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Bank of Ireland (new to Plaza 1) Burlington Road, et al that this air of futility can be tolerated. Add to this the Universities – there must be potential to grow the hubris into a centre of excellence.

Michelle Clarke

Quotation Jonathan Swift – St. Patricks hospital founder
‘Give Vision to the Visionless’

Email No 3

Subject: 1940 Census Causes Of Death Then And Now – International Business Times: The lack of initiative in Ireland to become Centre of Excellence for Neuro-diversity
Date: Wednesday 4th April 2012 14:33:47 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <>
To: <>,, Brian Lucey <>, Grace Smyth <>,,, <>, Provost <>,,,,,

Wednesday 4th April 2012

Alzheimers, vascular, frontal lobe, contrecoup and other forms of dementia indicate that through longer and healthier lives, people will be more prone to certain high cost/carer related illnesses and now surely is the time to tackle it.
We all must remember mental health. Ireland can become a Centre of Excellence through research education and inclusiveness of patients who currently have mental health and neurological conditions. (Since my ABI in 1993 in Zimbabwe I have kept my health history outcomes which is pages including details of lithium poisoning and  ECT.  I am sure if I lived in America or the UK, the attitude to an input from a patient with certain capacities related to neuro-diverse illness would be far more creative than our profit driven Irish mentality).  To endorse this I cite the example of Charlie Rose & 5 academics including Nobel Laureate (Austrian & Jewish) Eric Kandel who had the wisdom to include Danny Hurley, a young and brilliant man but who was cut off in his prime by Schizophrenia. I really would suggest that the academics/politicians in this country start tapping into the expertise at all levels. Charlie Rose & the Brain Series is on Bloomberg station 207 on my TV. Check twitter Charlie Rose and you will get the links that will enlighten a Nation away from fear and ignorance.
Michelle Clarke
Email No 4

Subject: The Irish Times – Monday August 4th, 2008 Legal museum plan for Kilmainham Courthouse
Date: Sunday 8th April 2012 22:50:21 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed list

Sunday 8th April 2012

Legal museum plan for Kilmainham courthouse

Irish Times 8th August 2008

THE COURTS Service has confirmed its intention to renovate and convert the recently closed Kilmainham courthouse in Dublin into an Irish legal history museum and educational centre.  A spokesman for the body said it had talked with the Office of Public Works regarding the proposal and had requested that a feasibility study be carried out to ascertain the suitability of the building for such a purpose and the extent of the works that would be required to complete it.  As published Irish Times.

Is this yet another false promise?

We have neither a Medical Museum, nor a Legal Museum and there is so much history in both fields and the potential exists to house both a legal and medical museums within the auspices of our Georgian City, where we have too many unoccupied buildings.  It would be a testament to the achievements of this fledgling State history.  Just beside Government Buildings at Hume Street is a hospital founded by a woman Dr Kathleen Lynn…/drkathleenlynn/ who merits a place in history for the work she relentlessly carried out trying to provide health care for women and children particularly and for fighting for the independence of this Nation Republic.  This woman, a medical doctor, served time in prison in her beliefs.

Radio this afternoon included certain academics and their view for the Centenary.  We approach 1916 commemoration.  What about re-focusing on the importance of the legal and medical contribution to the history of the State.

My grandfather featured colourfully in this re-birth of the State but for some unknown reason it is the legal profession in the UK that have brought to light salient pieces of history that are forgotten here.

Two books I refer to are:

Revolutionary Lawyers
Sinn Fein and Crown Courts in Ireland and Britain by David Foxton 1916-1923

Mr Justice Sean Enright (UK Judge) whose book The trial of Civilians by the Military Courts 1921 Ireland…/the-trial-of-civilians-by-military-courts-ireland-1921/ is now published and on sale in Hodges and Figgis.

The family narratives goes that my grandfather was legal adviser to De Valera et al, (he in fact defended Erskine Childers who was executed while his case was on appeal) and had been promised the position of Attorney General which De Valera (with the influence of Archbishop McQuaid) reneged on.  He was appointed the first FF senator in opposition in 1928 and later a Judge.  Judge Michael Comyn

Twitter yielded another most interesting dimension.  Dr Elaine Byrne has written a book just recently published Political Corruption in Ireland 1923…/corruption-in-ireland-1922-2010-a-crooke…   Her tweet yielded another connection.  For me it is fascinating because of the connection between Mr. Briscoe, TD, Mr. Comyn Senator and Sean Lemass….an Inquiry, if not the first then, one of them.  Briscoe and Comyn were the ‘O’Brien’s/Moriarty’s’ of their day.  Sadly as far as corruption and tribunals go we have learned nothing from the historic origins of same in our fledgling Republic.  Now the period of denial should yield to art of learning and learning from facts accepted and experience.

The internet and more importantly its potential to give feedback yielded the following:   I used to write a lot on a Citizen Journalism site going back to 2003.  By chance I received an email from man with the name of “Clifford” to tell me that it was my grandfather who saved the life of his Grandfather.  The famous case is detailed in David Foxton’s book.  The case was taken to the House of Lords and the lives of 38 men were saved.  It was my grandfather whose photo as a KC (King’s Counsel) is included in the above mentioned books, took this case to the House of Lords and with the intervention of George V, their sentences were commuted to life.  After Independence, they were released from prison.

‘Peace comes dropping still’….too still at present.  We need continue to shape our destiny and we need to remove bitterness and embrace learning to combat what good from evil.

I will sign off with a quotation:

M K Gandhi 1869-1948
‘Live as if you were going to die tomorrow
Learn as if you were going to live forever’

Email No 5


Subject: What changes? Inverse Debt rises while social conditions reach near rock bottom
Date: Saturday 14th April 2012 21:31:15 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>,,, Brian Lucey <>, Clare Finglas <>, Contact <>,, Dymphna Moore <>, Dermot Lacey <>,,, Grace Smyth <> et al

Saturday 14th April 2012

Dublin 4 bandied across the media to imply elitism.

Truth is lots of people are in debt, more are fighting to keep their substandard flats in Pre 63 Victorian/Georgian houses, “Elites” on the Wealth list keep their houses vacant or for occasional use. Why is the human race so stupid? We knew in 2008 that breakers were ahead but instead we have continued to let the debt compound to non payable reality and lost out on community building using the positives that already have been achieved.

We are not Greece, We are not Spain, We are unique, We are the Island of Ireland and we could do with taking some spunk and courage from Iceland, a country with a geo-political enticement to an over bureaucratic EU, (with its in built gravy train) but Iceland is well able to continue to hold out the carrot until they decide whether the EC route is their best option.

Cinderella refers to the Sick state of Baggot Street Community Hospital and the FAS Head Office – both are capable of creating centres of excellence that could employ people, be creative, and to have a vision and drive economic growth. The infrastructure exists. Philanthropists exist.

A positive: At least Bank of Ireland have moved a lot of their staff to a NAMA building on Burlington Road ie Plaza 1, news has it that Sky have taken the other building.  People power can form an urban identity. Baggotrath goes back to 17th century.

Reduce the rates so that Searsons can be re-opened by Diageo and so businesses are given the chance to survive. The people in this village are trying hard but need support from Government.

I note Bewley’s now a haven for all again especially tourists is packed to the gills daily and they are going to look for a 50% cut in rent from some UK insurance company that owns the building. Vote with Feet time.

1980’s recession did not have the infrastructure that now exists – it was a dismal time. Some men and maybe women had a dream. It was the IFSC, the dream worked until some got greedy but we need to sort the good from the bad and move on now.

by Michelle Clarke


Email No 6


Subject: Discretion, Perception, Understanding – Dogs as companions
Date: Monday 30th April 2012 21:30:01 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>,, Ariana Ball <>, <>, denise cox <>,,,, Grace Smyth <>,, Katherine Fitzpatrick <>, <>

Monday 30th April 2012

Economic growth is what they tell us they want. They say shops are paying inordinate rents and as for rates they are prohibitive and legislation change is needed to stop the upward only clause.

But what about the simple things in life.

What about a little understanding and tolerance?

Last week’s Sunday Times featured the story about one homeless drug addict man and a @bobcat (twitter) who became his friend, guardian, mentor. This ginger cat is now featured in a book and both are to be found signing books (paw prints) at bookshops such as Waterstones.

What is so lovely is that the Cat and his friend can go to cafes and are welcome. You see, the English and the Europeans have a healthy reaction and love for their animals.

Alas Ireland falls behind on this. There is no creativity. A little discretion should allow people who enjoy gathering at coffee shops bring their dogs along too. Stop hiding behind rules and regulations that are so often cited and God alone knows if they even exist. A person who is blind, the dog illustrates the fact but what about the person with mental illness – this is the silent condition but the dog is most probably equally essential to their participation in society.

Be friendly, Be kind. Be creative.

Mexico have paved the way of invention for those who bark so much about Poop. They collect it and in return you get wifi energy!

Michelle Clarke (Beagle)  Upper Baggot Street Village in support of his canine friend!

2nd October 2016:  Hodges & Figgis.  I thought I had no change but luckily I had. Mindy was there watching out as always.  His best friend, he told me.  I asked if he had a bed and to my surprise he said Yes at a hostel and Mindy too.  He then said on October 22nd ‘I get my own flat’ and then he said apartment.  1000 people this weekend were without accommodation; it is a scandal.  I wonder about a family who owned a large house in affluent D4 who were evicted just recently; what happens to them?  To see foreign heavyweights take over the house sends shudders up my back especially when I know the person, his children.  42,000 are now 3 months in arrears.  We need to be awake to what happens to people within our communities.  Michelle
Email No 7

Subject: eHealth: Too many people smoking these days: Reality is stress, anxiety, patternicity, fears – nothing has really changed!
Date: Wednesday 30th May  2012 12:05:56 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,, SMHInfo <smhinfo@MENTALHEALTHSCREENING.ORG>,,,,, Sean Crudden <>,,,,

Wednesday 30th May 2012

Young people are choosing to smoke. Just look outside shops, restaurants, pubs.

We are not saying we want a Nanny State but can we use whatever opportunities available to us to highlight the plight and links to cancer that this craving addiction is about.

Worth looking towards the UK newspapers today. There is a strong possibility that people with addictions will be docked % of their unemployment/disability benefit in the UK. If this happens in the UK, it will follow in Europe and without doubt in Ireland.

Time is here to address addiction head on. The plan in the UK is to put pressure on Job Centres to encourage avenues like Drug/Alcohol services to help beat the ‘curse’ and if you don’t comply you lose out financially….

eHealth is about personal responsibility. Collections for cancer are so popular; it is seen as one of the more deserving causes. What if people really took account of contribution of smoking/alcohol to the condition …. would we then move towards stigma related to cancer support? The Irony is that mental health is highly stigmatised and yet the overall problem caused by fear, anxiety, stress emanates in this illness diagnosis so this should mean that Public Health has an obligation to make this a Centre of Excellence based on an assumption that there could be strong links between mental health factors and cancer links.

Education is essential. Minister Reilly may be over stepping the mark about smoking in cars and parks. If only people could take some personal responsibility towards their own health without needing Nanny state laws.

By Michelle Clarke
Email No 8

Subject: Urban Destruction
Date: Tuesday 28th August 2012 17:15:23 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <>

Tuesday August 28th 2012

Urban Destruction

First written about in 2009 and thanks to the efforts of a poster who included photos of Dublin in despair at that time – the dereliction, the abandonment; these photos exist no longer and what a pity? However we can build on the theme!  2016 recommend twitter account @ReusingDublin

Now all we hear about is a property tax and the rates charged to businesses. We are destroying what has been achieved albeit at too high a financial and economic cost. However, if there was a system of joined up thinking, a recruitment of ideation/creation from the citizen base of this country (not only those pay income tax/household charge) and a sense of morality restored, maybe we the people of Ireland could halt what is now very possible and that is the degeneration of our cities, our country. Houses boarded up are beginning to appear in Rathmines, Ranelagh, Raglan Road, Elgin Road, Pembroke Road, Mespil Road, Haddington Road, Thomas Street, Ardee Street and all over the City. Do we want this? We need to ask how long does it take for a house that is on the NAMA schedule to devalue to such a degree that one of their executives can buy it at a knock down price and then move to the UK.

Georgian Dublin is heading for decay if property tax becomes penal. Remember slum dwelling (1960’s/70’s) during economic hardship times is still in the mindset of people aged 45+. In the UK, all it took was a man called Rachman to move North of High Street Kensington to create the ‘flat market’ that soon became unrealistic as a source of income/investment for the ordinary punter. What is happening down around Gardiner Street now? Many families are occupying rooms. Do we really care?

Phones these days take photos. It would be great if somebody could take photos of vacant buildings, boarded up houses, offices, development sites, North, South, East and West so that when the so called property tax is introduced in January 2013 the people can express their anger and evidence that the Government is wasteful with its time and resources.

The fact is the system of rental supplement is a farce. It should be paid direct to the Landlord, making housing services organise proper accommodation for tenants. 100,000 people are in need of housing yet NAMA has blocks of apartments sitting empty which could be used, sold and then sold on to tenants via the RAS scheme (ie if it is still in operation).

Peter Mathews on the Vincent Browne TV3 programme last night seems to have a more common sense view than most of his party members about site value, development land values. I personally would like to hear more of what he thinks and recommends.

FG plan to re-invent their head office in Mount Street. At the same time Merrion Square is destined to become the new cultural centre in Dublin 2. What I would like to know is: Will they comply with the rules of the Georgian Society or will they be more dynamic and follow the example set by Ove Arup and the extensive re-development of three properties they own on Wellington Road, Dublin 4.

Cinderella who represents all buildings/sites/localities/houses presently being stripped of their dignity by bureaucratic monsters who really don’t care

by Michelle Clarke
Email No 9


Subject: Get to grips with the burdens of all people exposed to debt now (published Citizen Journalism site).
Date: Sunday 16th September 2012 19:22:55 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,,, Alan Shatter <>, et al
Sunday 16th September 2012
Get to grips with the burdens of all people exposed to debt now
by Michelle Clarke – Property and Urban abandonments/dereliction

Property in Dublin 4: Who will take the hit? Imagine houses in the area of Wellington Road and Waterloo Road as recent as 2006 were bought for £6 million and £3.5 million respectively. The question we ask is, like the Thornton Hall site, who received the money and did they anticipate what lay ahead in financial markets and invest abroad or even in the Isle of Man?

The next question is who bought? Did they have the jobs, the capital, the deposit, the property portfolio or did they get swept in the tide of those bankers, lawyers, business people who saw only and upward moving trend?

What we do know now is that some of these people were badly hit and the banks are hounding them to try and retrieve some paltry amount of money and they will leave them life bound and their families with negative equity strapped to their backs. This is the reason both that the ECB and our own banks ought to be pushing ahead for write-downs on debt to make it possible for people to achieve a new balance sheet position. Do not destroy lives, make it possible for people with families to start again using their professions, their experience, their entrepreneurship abilities. James Joyce rightly said that mistakes are but portals of discovery.

Take this house on Waterloo Road. One with a storey less sold for £3.5 m in 2006. Now there is one for sale fully refurbished to such a degree that it would make a handsome property for someone in an embassy. The basement has a library, a large playroom, a hall that is an office and its own wine cellar. Then you move up through the floors, each more luxurious and tastefully designed than the last.

To make an assumption so that we can really assess where the banks/lawyers faltered and lent money indiscriminately let us say that the house was bought by say a legal person for £3.5m, add expenses for solicitors/inspections and tax. Then assume it was a pre-63 and in say 10 flats so the new owners decided to revert it to a family residence. These people saw potential in a Georgian House on Waterloo Road, they applied for planning permission. They got the loans and the employed the design team and builders. Let us assume a cost of £1.5 m (estimate), now we are at £5 m.

This house is up for sale now. £5 million and the question is who is looking for their money? Is it right that if say the original owner got the £3.5 million and transferred the proceeds to Switzerland or the Isle of Man tax free and this purchaser was bamboozled by the financiers to take the risk, (alongside their own passion for a house of this renown) and they are now faced with a value of say £1.5 (if sale or fire sale yields this) while the capital foregone and the amount of the loans relate to a hot air sum £3.5 m.

It can’t work. We must write down debt. We need to take living examples in to our remit and think it through.

Just had a chat with a man who has been in the property game for years. His common sense is that Peter Mathews is the only man in Fine Gael who knows about markets and he should be representing us as part of the Finance Team. I totally agree. He has the feel as well as the experience of markets and we need him, and people like Constantin Gurdgiev, Brian Lucey and others to represent us – the people of Ireland. Too many in government are from cosy backgrounds with pensions, homes for decades at low cost, investments.

Earlier recessions tell the tale. Look to the Gallagher Group and Stephen’s Green. Write down is the only way forward.

By Michelle Clarke


Email No 10

Date: Monday 17th September 2012 22:26:19 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Gerry Adams et al

Do not forget us!

I recall reading about Grange Gorman and the remains scattered and left for waste. There were letters. I wonder were they destroyed. I hope not. We need to know that we contribute to society, to the evolution of our people.

Again I ask about Baggot Street Hospital the Cinderella of the southside. We need services similar to those provided by St Patrick’s University Hospital. The community needs to provide the impetus and the Department of Health must show commitment and not denial to those of us who fall within the neuro-psychiatric addiction spectrum. Don’t shun us based on ‘no funds in the kitty’.

Horizon 2020 and Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, our EU representative, may be able to assist us with funds to create the our reality to cope with the needs of our vulnerable people.

Michelle Clarke Former patient public psychiatric

Jonathan Swift
‘Give vision to the visionless’

Email No 11


Subject: Citizen Journalism: James Holmes Sent Notebook To Psychiatrist Before Colorado ‘Dark Knight’ Massacre, Report Says
Date: Thursday 26th July 2012 18:45:13 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>, <>,, Constantin Gurdgiev <>,,, Brian Lucey <>,,,,, <>,, Catherine Ghent <>,, Conor R. Savage <>,,, Grace Smyth <>,, <>,, <>,,, <>, rights now <>, Vincent Browne <>

26th July 2012

Why the ‘cinderella’ profession called Psychiatry needs impetus.  We move towards neuro-diversity but community healthcare and the services are essential.  Consider neuro-criminal as part of the ‘diversity’.  We need centres of excellence leading to hope for people assigned to categories – Bipolar, Schizophrenic et al.  Risperdal (injection/drugs) and Johnson & Johnson are challenged and forced to pay billions in fines in the US yet we prescribe at will in our cinderella hospitals this drug without adequate supports to ‘service users’ or preferably people who are diagnosed.  Cinderella is what I call our services and I have written on this topic from Dublin 4 for 11 years now.  I suggest at all times now that people watch the approach of Charlie Rose, Bloomberg tv station and Eric Kandel Nobel prize winner – Brain series.  There is no excuse for our level of ignorance when we a small Island can piggy back on the experience of the like of the US and UK.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82)

‘What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within’

Email 12


Subject: Stand down they said, Minister for Health, Dr Reilly.  Primary Care provision but not enough
Date: Friday 21st September 2012 18:18:33 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,,, James Reilly <>,, <>, Vincent Browne <>

Friday 21st September 2012 18:18:33

The Promises:

Don’t touch Psychiatric allocation to be used to effect the ‘Vision for Change’ for those shifted from mental hospital care out to community care, was the promise we thought we had from Minister Reilly and Minister Kathleen Lynch BUT NOW….it is forget the vulnerable; leave them to their own resources; it doesn’t matter if they find refuge in hostels or even prisons; … No it doesn’t matter, let’s just throw more money into the bloated HSE which can only be called a bureaucracy which consumes funds to create tiers of management and clerical workers shuffling through offices creating bluff.

There must be another way. Senator John Crown walks the walk, he also talks the talk and to me he seems to have that level of common sense that is not apparent from 18 months in office by the present contingent. Roisin Shortall, Labour, gave a most rousing speech without managing to mention that She had confidence in Minister Reilly. What she did outline is the ruinous state of our health system.


What can you do to help us with our £13.5 bn pa inadequate health care system which is backed up by charities who are unregulated but within their charge contribute half that amount (could this be so?) to the faltering health care system. You say we need to cut public expenditure but that is the easy part. Surely, you can step up to the mark and help us. For a start the problem with medication differential prices should not apply. By now the power of the EU in markets ought to dictate prices and make them common throughout EU countries. This would substantially reduce the cost in our health systems while at the same time keep manners on the Pharma MNC’s who use our country for tax advantages and gently persuade us behind closed doors to maintain the monopoly over prices.

Common sense is telling those of us who are wise enough and with capabilities to buy our medications abroad even in the other jurisdiction on our Island. Fine for those who have a sufficient degree of health to do this, but certainly not for those of us have levels of ill-health and who are subject to uncertainties at whims which say more limited hours for carers/PA’s.

Could I have understood this: I was told that it is within the powers of Enda Kenny Taoiseach to invite someone e.g. Mr. Crown from the Senate to be a Minister at Cabinet level?

Does anyone know if this is so:

by Michelle Clarke

by Contrarian Friday Sep 21st, 2012 16:44

Yes, that is true. Up to two ministers can be appointed from the Seanad rather than the Dail. However they cannot serve as Taoiseach, Tanaiste or Minister for Finance. Happens rarely enough. Last was Jim Dooge in the 1980s FG/LAB government.

Email No 13

Subject: Vista Primary Care
Date: Wednesday 3rd October 2012 21:13:10 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: James Reilly <>,, Vincent Browne <>, Brian Lucey <>, Constantin Gurdgiev <>,

Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Reading website in US about Alzheimers being diabetes III and up pops advert cheap MRI scans in Ireland. I wonder is this “Primary Care Service” map and details the same as the primary care services for public health patients or are we talking duplicity private/public primary care teams, causing confusion.
Progression and general practices was from the dispensary doctor rural, towns,  cities, often provided with the appropriate residence, to the primary care centres eg Dunshaughlin Health centre in the 1990’s. The aim was to entice the doctors in the dispensaries to work in the primary care centres. It is worth doing some research as to what happened in Dunshaughlin, one of the first modern primary care centres. Some dispensary doctors retired, others built their own practices, got the list of the retired doctor and continued working from their privately established centres, with the medical card list, or from their homes.
Primary Care in Dublin 4 resembles this chaos.
If you have ill-health as I have, being sick is made a full-time job.  The doctor is in Sandymount, by appointment only Monday-Friday, Boots Pharmacy (who  in my opinion should be asked to enter a public private partnership with Baggot Street Community hospital); the bloods again you must make an appointment in  St Vincents University Hospital, then because psychiatric is so archaic in Baggot Street Community hospital, my only option is to go privately to a psychiatrist in the Charlemont Clinic. In crisis then it is either St Vincents A&E or Tallaght.
e-Health with the potential of the knowledgeable patient is but a dream if this is the case.  Vista website surely is not the same as the Primary Health care services in such controversy now. Is this private health care ultimately going bankrupt.

by Michelle Clarke

Email No 14


Subject: Portage Program for Mentally Ill; Chemical Abusers; – Mental illness and substance abuse
Date: Friday  12th October 2012 00:45:13 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: <>

Annual lecture St Patrick’s Foundation Hospital

Guest Speakers:

Portage – Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centres

Portage operates drug addiction rehabilitation centres in Québec, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, helping youth, adults, mothers, and people with mental illness.

Montréal Region · ‎Portage Atlantic · ‎About Portage · ‎Portage Québec

Kathleen Lynch- You spoke with passion and elegance at the Founder’s Day at St. Patrick’s Hospital. I write constantly over the last 10 years mainly on Citizen Journalism site (name on request) about the need for a centre of excellence for Baggot Street Community Hospital.

Fate determined when I responded to Pat Kenny’s questions that there is an urgent need for ‘hope’ and the attached website on Portage is what is required. Transport 21 services this community (linking Dunboyne to UCD) and the potential to create growth within a community is there if only a public private partnership could be established. My belief is to tap the likes of Google, Tesco, Twitter even Boots. They benefit greatly from using our infra-structure and paying minimal tax.

I explained that I am the service user who wants HOPE. 20 years have determined acquired brain injury, bipolar, anxiety, ECT, chronic fatigue et all, a health joyrider most adequately describes me but at 53 I need to know there is hope for me and people like me. My saving grace was meeting a man at a bus-stop who acts as my advocate and has made living in the community a possibility.

10 years on, I know the model of excellence established in St. Patrick’s could be used to create something similar in the community of Upper Baggot Street Village. I sat at a table with psychiatrists and a woman evidently from St. Patricks University Hospital but I do not know her name and she asked what I would like and I answered the St. Patrick’s Hospital model but in Baggot Street Community hospital.

Dermot Lacey, Labour, former Lord Mayor of Dublin and current councillor of Pembroke Rathdown is a complete gentlemen and I am sure he will confirm my ongoing interest in the revival of this hospital established in 1832.

Regards Michelle Clarke

Email No 14


Subject: Citizen journalism Ireland: something for you to consider for Christmas perhaps Regards Michelle Clarke
Date: Saturday 3rd November 2012 12:27:34 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
Saturday 3rd November 2012
O’Connell Street: The death of Clery’s Department Store – what will emerge?

Do we know what lies ahead?

Do we care?

We learn today that Mr Timmins, Chief Executive, Clery’s Department Store has been asked to stand down as Chief Executive. It is possible now to say (according to today’s Irish Times) that he stood over the poor decisions for opening retail units in Blanchardstown, Naas and other unsuccessful options. The staff of these stores had hours cut and in turn without any notice were notified their jobs were gone. Cold harsh treatment and quite inhumane.

Gordon Brothers Europe, a Mr. Morton, are the new boys in town. A US investment vehicle who buys £26m debt owed by Clery’s for £11m. Their job is make profit for investors in their fund. They are risk-takers with experience, some might he even go so far as to refer to those who are the backbone of vulture funds.

Just imagine if they decided to maintain the building until markets improved by dismissing all staff and just leaving it vacant?  What would this mean for the already jaded O’Connell Street? This is just a what if? No doubt soon we will hear what plans Mr. Morton has for that once splendid shop. I wonder have the Government given them favourable rates or for that matter what deal was negotiated with Gordon Brothers?

50% sale on at present and the aim is to de-stock and re-plan? It would be nice if their plans could be put into effect before Christmas.

There was a time when people travelled far and wide to see the windows of Clery’s for their Christmas Display for children. Austerity is the order of the day in Ireland for 5 years now. Would Gordon Brothers and Mr Morton, while renovating the store, create a theme for children in those store windows like times of yore? Just a thought but we need HOPE.

Also would the Gordon Brothers and Mr. Morton re-employ as many as possible of the staff who have worked as loyal workers of Clerys but who are now unemployed and willing to work?

By Michelle Clarke (Forster)

Email No 16


Subject: O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 – throngs of people but little business,
Date: Tuesday 20th November 2012 20:24:57
From: Michelle Clarke (Forster)
To: Alan Shatter <>, <>, Corporate Coleraine <>, Clare Finglas <>,,, Dermot Lacey <>,, Gerry Adams <>, Jimmy Deenihan <>, <>,,, Nigel Dodds <>, Bill Martin <>, Vincent Browne <>

Tuesday 20th November 2012

We await the budget and the talk is target the middle class who can pay, avoid the tax exiles who pay the best accountants and have the best advise as how to tax avoid or evade, and let’s really hammer those who are in the property market. They are easy to identify, so charge them low first and then when you have them on the radar, then just hammer them. What about all that falls beneath the cracks. The ensuing derelictions, the boarded windows and doors, the empty space especially the upper levels in prominent locations.

What an imposing street – O’Connell Street, Dublin, once known as Sackville Street. Clery’s Department store, the GPO dominate but if you take the time to look upwards you see that many of the buildings were designed to a high standard but have been down trodden by the takeaway gaudy type of ground floor facades. McBirney’s (Aston Quay) is still over the door which is now Supervalu – the history resounds and it is good to read in the daily’s that Mr Varadkar is tuning up and in for 2016 and the anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Foreign travel is yielding benefits and some of our Ministers are being creative with ideas.

In a visit to Boston, Mr. Varadkar was greatly impressed by the ‘Freedom Trail’ where Paul Revere began his journey to warn that the redcoats were coming. The minister has asked Failte Ireland and the National Tourism Development Authority to put on their thinking hats and create something similar in Ireland called the ‘Independence Trail’. The Citizen Journalism site which started in 2001 has covered the whole area of the properties facing demolition in Moore Street which played a significant role at the time of the Rising for those on the run. They plan an ‘App’ which I think means you can use your phone to follow the ‘Trail’. I hope the property in Moore Street, its history, and the links to certain war heroes becomes a part of the ‘Independence Trail’.

What potential lies in this, especially when the Gathering starts 2013 – the time of brinkmanship from prosperity and William Murphy, his businesses, his newspapers, the trams to pure hardship through strikes unemployment, Jim Larkin and James Connolly. World War II started in 1914 and brought such change in the world.

‘The Independence Trail’ similar to the ‘Freedom Trail’ in Boston has massive potential to inform people about dissent, 700 years occupation, revolution, civil war, independence for 26 counties, the north, the Good Friday Agreement…/the-good-friday-agreement-and-today/, the Peace Process, the intervention of former President Bill Clinton, former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, George Mitchell, Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, Bertie Ahern. It is taking what is bad and seeking good. It is saying you can ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and it can work.

The 1980’s saw people with vision who have made a significant impact to the city of Dublin and we have been reaping the benefits – the parks, the monuments, Kilmainham prison and so much more. I think however 2013 is the time for more ‘vision for the present incumbents who appear visionless’. Mr. Varadkar – your idea about the ‘Independence Trail’ is a vision and may it be inspirational. However, I would suggest that you encourage Minister Michael Noonan…/the-good-friday-agreement-and-today/ to seriously address Georgian Dublin and O’Connell Street, College Green, Grafton Street – there must be a way to stop the upward only rent reviews and reduce rents and stop closing down businesses.

Parnell Square makes a significant contribution to this history. Again Georgian Houses need adaptation to provide utility either as apartments or offices but definitely as locations for people to use. Tax people who own these houses for decades and who are responsible for leaving them empty yes but encourage people to take the risk to invest and encourage them to ‘Green Climate Change’ comply.

Washington the statue of 3 men from the Vietnam War is a photo I keep by my bed. War destroys people and we need to know our history to prevent ever returning to war in our little Island so an Independence Trail sounds to me a really good idea.

Michelle Clarke (Forster)

 Email No 17

Subject: What chaos associated with owning properties?
Date: Tuesday 27th November 2012 17:15:36
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>,, Brian Lucey <>,,,,
Tuesday 27th November 2012
What chaos associated with owning properties?

Dereliction surrounds us. There are vacant retail premises in central locations; but also out of town; there are shopping centres, in town centres bedraggled by vacant units. Upward only rent is the determinant of the contract and the Government drags its heels about changing the legislation. The lack of moral conscience of the landlord who has financially gained from his property over a period of decades goes unchecked as he relies on legislation to change, knowing that it will not, basically penalising the tenants and ultimately pushing them out of business. They say as many as 6 small businesses are closing down each day in Ireland. These landlords are ultimately concerned with asset appreciation. Hence we see so many Georgian houses non utilised, under utilised in Dublin 2, 4, 6 and then there is the North side, Mountjoy Square, Philsboro etc.

Dublin City Council can’t even manage to get people to be diligent in paying their rents and they end up serving notices on people to quit (who possibly in many cases should be in sheltered housing) i.e. eviction. Where do these people go? Do we know and what’s more do we really care? Our city has become a haunting ground for men in particular to beg. They walk up to you and say we have no money, we have had no food for days, have you anything to give? These are the people who fall through the cracks possibly due to mental problems, addiction to drugs and alcohol. Is this the correct way for our social services to treat people who basically have needs. The options are beg to be in hostels.

George Lee’s programme last night brought up a valid point. People don’t communicate enough about the basic government of our country. There are reasons why? Years ago before our homes improved, people used to frequent the pubs – a handy way of keeping warm for a couple of hours and having the chat with people from all walks of life, playing darts, reading the newspapers. Now you just need to look at the property sections of the newspapers and all you see are pubs for sale at a fraction of the price. This is another step down to eliminate community at local level. There are distinct disadvantages here. The culture of the pub has changed to that of loud noise, young only or alcoholic, followed by excessive obliteration; no memory tomorrow is okay. What a pity and what a loss?

February 2013 and the Joe Duffy show. Another belt by Government to the landlord but the crazy part is this is about enforcement and as we know from the property charge, the PRTB › Home › Housing › Renting a home, the second home tax, the tax return and USC, how will the Government put this willy nilly legislation into effect? It is a bloated bureaucracy in the making and those who are used to going under the radar and who often have paid no taxes and own many of these properties with their bedsits, will escape yet again. If we add property tax it is in effect penalising the middle income group who are younger, rearing children, who have more than likely bought during the Celtic Tiger and are in negative equity. A young woman spoke last night on the George Lee programme RTE 1 and stated she would not pay the £100 property charge because it is unjust. She had paid £35,000 in stamp duty for her family home in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath and will continue to pay back on this amount until her mortgage is completed in 25 years time. Her understanding was and is that this was her contribution for services. Personally, it has been said many times before on this site that people in negative equity and who bought their houses at the peak of the market ought to have money returned by the Government – if not the full amount, then that proportion that relates to the negative equity and it should be used to repay the capital amount and lessen their mortgage in the now and over the 25 years.

We have a right to know how efficient our Government is in prescribing law. We can at least expect it not to be bureaucratic, wasteful and invariably non efficient because it is provided by the public service sector who are part of a vested interest ie government bureaucracy. There is a need for transparency.

Buildings like the hospital in Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4 and many more are slipping away towards ultimate dis-use. Is there another way? Surely, there is a need in the area to preserve this architecturally of merit building and can we make it work to provide a public service for a community. Why do we not promote public private partnerships? We have enough multi-national companies in this area benefiting from tax breaks who could work with others to provide a service. To name but a few: Tesco, Google, Sky, IBM, Boots and so many more.

Hotels at least in Dublin 4 are on the route to survival. The Burlington is reportedly purchased for a fraction of what Bernard McNamara company paid. Blackstone is the purchaser and is connected to Waldorf Astoria, Hilton chain of hotels. Reports are they paid £85 m but let us not forget that McNamara is reported to have paid £255m; what a steal it is for them? However for the community it is good news because the new owners will invest further in this hotel and create a market and a business environment.

Transparency would be good way to start in formulating the budget taking account of the most likely way to enforce the commands. Surely the Troika can advise ….. but then EU accounts are not audited for years now which in turn suggests a Gravy Train……

by Michelle Clarke (Chestnut)
Email No 18

Subject: The coming budget …. we hope Chancellor Merkel’s pet parrots Kenny and Gilmore are chirping in their Dail cage
Date: Thursday 29th November 2012 21:27:26 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <>, Trust Ireland <>,,,,

Thursday 29th November 2012

The budget is on next Wednesday.  Labour pre-election 2011 stated “No more Pain for the Irish taxpayers”.  Have a little read below and could someone explain to me where Gilmore and the rest have lost their way in the dirty game called Irish politics?

Communication by Plain People of Ireland urgently needed

Budget 2012 No to Austerity

Gale (reply to a person who wrote on Citizen Journalism site)

You speak of the cocktail of emotions but the over-riding image I get is that of Fear of what lies ahead and what is actually being suffered by people in the now as a consequence of this economic depression and onslaught from those greedy lenders of the ECB and Troika brigade. Their austerity is causing much dissent in our EU aspiration leaving many of our once successful entrepreneurs, our young people, our investors who are badly burnt from investing in the stock market or property, our elderly people mesmerised and in fear of what is to happen to them. Mr O’Regan is the latest example of what taking risk engenders – you appear to succeed but then if the monster of recession takes over – the outcome can be suicide of a father, a husband and in reality a loss that society does not want. Let’s get real. We are all so focused on the cost, the arithmetic, the maths, we have lost out on the importance of quality of lives and this we urgently need to revive to help us trounce this recession effectively.

I agree with your assessment of the present Government. Too many of them are teachers/professionals and entrenched politicians for decades now with pensions, double and even triple which blinkers them to the focus of a horse. Muppets is probably a complement because their bias is real and they have a majority in the Dail and can lead the way or so it seems at present.

Somewhere in the annals of this Citizen Journalism (name on request) Ireland site the details of earlier budgets are written about. It is interesting to see the change from 2007 to now. The time is here and particularly for those of Middle Ireland who are really suffering. Education, Finance, Social Protection, Justice & the big hippopotamus that is eating all round it Health are defining the balance sheet that says we are bailed out from bankruptcy and we need to contain our spending in public sector and achieve budget guidelines as determined by the Troika and EU. The fact is people are really suffering now and in particular the people who are vulnerable, the new power, the old, people with disabilities, people who work as carers, one time entrepreneurs but now in crisis, children, the emerging class of NEETS throughout Europe. What is the message? There is one thing we know and that is Anomie ie suicide is about making people aware.

Each party are working hard to raise an extra £1.75 Billion for the year. The question is how? The next question is what will be the effect? Will those in the higher income bracket or the wealthy just up and leave the country? What about the multinational companies some of whom have an effective tax rate as small as 1 or 2% or the maximum Irish corporation tax allocated to them of 12.5%? Should we examine this and possibly increase our Corporation Tax. The HSE is mammoth. Can we ask the service users to contribute their advice? Maybe a service user should sit on some of the committees and guide them through effective use of funds and possibly they might create the containment necessary in this sick specimen of bureaucracy and inefficiency. We know that failure to keep appointments at St Vincents Hospital for one year amounted to a cost of £3.5 m.

Property has become the defining ‘identity’ that says punishment for home owners. Governments gave the tax incentives for property purchases with the motive of creating employment and giving stimulus. They gave tax advantages for pensions too but also were clever enough to encourage those who did not want to take out a pension an option to buy a property or two instead and then use the asset appreciation as their pension while having the rent in the intervening years. Now this is crisis and people are suffering. According to the Irish Independent today Buy-to-lets is the next crisis upon us. Patrick Honohan, Central Bank urged the banks to act earlier in the year and start closing in and taking over properties of distressed clients. Bank of Ireland are to lead the charge here and if a person in a buy-to-let fails to comply with repayments, they will lose the tracker mortgage and basically their property / properties will be seized……Landlordism removed from Dublin City Council, i.e social housing is the real victim here yet the country according to media is awash with properties that are vacant.

All I know is that before next Wednesday when Minister Noonan stands up to tell us what they propose, it is necessary for the ordinary plain people of Ireland to communicate their message so that we can preempt and avoid undue hardship through ill-advised policies.

The Glimmer Man
Where is the HOPE

by Michelle Clarke

Email No 19

Subject: Let the people contribute. Let there be a voice for the vulnerable, the marginalised, people with disabilities – Budget 2012
Date: Friday 30th November 2012 17:17:52 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>,,,

Friday 30th November 2012

Let the people contribute. Let there be a voice for the vulnerable, the marginalised

by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Budget 2012 Action Plan

The need to cut the National Debt. What are the facts?

Start with Colm McCarthy, Economist – his article in the Sunday Independent

Year 5 and the deficit remains stubbornly high irrespective of the sustained prescribed austerity measures. We have had both taxation increases and extensive cuts to social welfare in real terms. The pace of the contraction in the Irish economy is unprecedented with as many as 300,000 jobs lost. Our gross national income has fallen 20% since the peak in 2007. The heady days of the Celtic Tiger yielded income to Government coffers through payments by purchasers (on excessively over-valued properties) of stamp duty, add to this the VAT on house sales and then of course the capital gains tax which having been reduced from 40% to 20% still meant the revenue netted huge amounts. This has all fallen away dramatically over the past 5 years. The very least we can expect from this Budget is a provision to create a rebate for those caught with property now in negative equity (from the crisis period in 2007). The amount of stamp duty which in some cases is between the range of £30,000 to £80,000+ morally ought to be repaid to reduce the capital amount of debtors/mortgage holders loans. Do not forget that the stamp duty is part of the loan which is repaid at a variable interest rate for the term of the loan be that 20, 25, 30 yrs?

Back to the balance sheet. What can be done about public expenditure? “Contained” was the word constantly used by George Lee last Monday night TV programme on RTE 1. It’s a strong word and it is a good way of tackling the hornets nest of state bureaucracy. There is the solid argument that if we tax these immobile pension driven sectors in the economy the cost will result in a cut back in consumer spending and this in turn causes job losses and thereby a loss in economic growth. There must be a means of stabilising the pendulum extreme position that causes such hardship to the plain people of Ireland. We have the debt but worse again is the fact that we have the interest burden (based on variable albeit low now tax rates) of servicing the debt. It is that old fashioned compound interest scenario and in our case now it cannot work, the debt we owe as a country must be restructured and like a company that goes into liquidation and where the creditors are seeking what is owed to them, the impossibility of repayment becomes what is relevant. The simple logistics of a failed company (or country) are that the priority creditors ie the Revenue and the Banks are paid first and the creditors are lucky if they get say 20 cents per euro after all expenses are paid to the accountants and wind down costs. We need a dose of clean common sense appraisal fed directly to the Troika, the ECB. It is not sufficient for us to be the model student while Greece can be the real renegade and they get the restructured package.

Ireland is scuppered at present. A Government with borrowing power has the option to use it in a normal cyclical downturn. For Ireland, this all collapsed in Autumn 2010 when we had to be rescued by the EU and IMF. I suppose just like a company, the red column took over and the liquidators moved in. The terms are what they dictate and we must not lose sight of this imposition. Germany took 100 years to pay off the reparations from the World Wars but they are not so generous with terms for errant EU members who overspent. They are not keen on extending time or restructuring yet or for that matter of just writing down a %. If only, they could look to the views or Robert Reich and Joseph Stiglitz in the US and their emphasis on the benefit of stimulus to create the economic growth and thus the employment.

Yes “Containment” We can all well accept that cut backs are necessary for efficiency and effectiveness but there are limits.  The excessive bank rescue costs are one third of the National Debt.

It is income tax (now significantly reduced by outcome of crisis) is the major source of government revenue. The problem is that the public service payroll and social welfare are 70% of all spending. This humbles the contributions from PAYE/PRSI and the latest tax called universal social charge. Hence we stand nearly naked in the context of the EU the ECB the IMF and Troika hence we are vulnerable to their power and we all know about absolute power and its capacity to corrupt and let this include moral corruption too. What we have now in Ireland is a moral corruption from our EU neighbours. There are swings and roundabouts in life. Germany drove policy towards low interest rates to empower it to merge with East Germany. These low interest rate returns inflated house prices as people who had money could buy and where banks were deregulated could engage in over lend created, the bubble that burst into catastrophe. Yes I think Ireland deserves a restructuring of its debt especially if we make significant efforts to contain our bloated bureaucracy where necessary. Common sense:

Our elderly, people with disabilities. Carers are being cut back. They cost a paltry amount and the savings made are insignificant.
To be a long term patient in the St Mary’s in the Phoenix Park costs £1700 per week. Common sense must dictate rationality about the important role of carers.


Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Email No 20


Date: Monday 3rd December 2012 19:12:59 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Address List on request

Monday 3rd December 2012

Budget 2012: Paradox for Govt. Health=Cost but Vices=money ex taxation

by Michelle Clarke (Blake)

Total endorsement of what Gale writes. The people need to be empowered not over burdened by the debt Ireland is chained to by the Troika, (ECB, IMF, EU) – there is another way to compounding debt going foward. Greece has leveraged a deal. Why not Ireland? We are a young country; we did create a boom for over a decade and why not again? Inequity cannot be sanctioned by the Masters of Troika.

Ireland is not totally errant; we can put forward some legitimate cutbacks and lend to the “containment” of government departments which over spend. Take for example health. There is a kind of paradox with health. Marketing determines the culture around alcohol which in turn comes from the globally run companies like Diageo. They make their attempts to educate people about alcohol with their ‘Drink Aware’ campaigns but this is but a gesture, their objectives are profit through sales. However the government is quite hypocritical also. The more they increase the tax element of drink or for that matter cigarettes and the more they curtail smuggling through Customs and Excise and otherwise, the more that is fed into the coffers and onto the positive side of the balance sheet. Therein is the paradox. What or more importantly who suffers? Well for a start the health of the people and the performance and profitability of the health service.

What can the people do about this? Become aware of the costs involved. Have a sense of moral obligation to the society we live in not to be wasteful of the services that our provided by the taxation of all citizens of the State. Take the following example from Don Lavery’s article in the Sunday Independent:

‘Ireland has become a nation of binge drinkers…the average drinker taking equivalent of a bottle of vodka a week’.

Why do the Governments consistently fail to implement a National Policy or for that matter to listen to people like doctors at the hard face of casualty departments, hospitals and general practices. Dr Bedford representing public health has consistently raised the issues of the harm of alcohol to peoples’ health.
Do we really grasp the message from statistics?

…that ‘every seven hours, someone dies from an alcohol related illness’
…Irish people are now the biggest binge drinkers in Europe
….tendency to take >2
…2,000 acute hospital beds are occupied daily by people with alcohol related complaints
…Add to this the young population who now drink in packs buying from the mnc’s like Tesco
…Add suicide and incidence of drink as a precursor to the act.
…Add cost to employers through sick leave, poor performance
…Ultimately all this contributes to health and problems with lungs, kidneys, liver, heart.
…Take Responsibility is a must for people so that we can curb the crazy expenditures in health
This does not take account of smoking and the harm and cost to our society. It would be a wise practice for the Irish Government to take the route of the Australians – all cigarette packages to be of the same bland colour paper with a snapshot of what smoking really does to the body. Ok the tobacco will scream out but let us tackle that age old paradox of excess of drink and alcohol has a high health costs but equally benefits the coffers of the State.
Worth considering this: ‘In pure financial terms, Dr Bedford added, ‘alcohol-related harm in Ireland costs the economy £3.7 bn’. ie BILLION
Stephen Donnelly wrote also in the Independent adding youth and common sense to the Budget debate. He says ‘It’s time to shout stop over this economic lunacy….We can’t keep taking money out of peoples pocket’s and giving it to the bust banks’. He talks about the £3.5 Billion tightening exercise. He then goes on to tell us what we could do with this money if instead of being an outflow and was an inflow to our balance sheet. He explains with great clarity how this money will in effect be used to Irish Resolution Corporation Ltd (Anglo INBS). Google up the article: it is worth reading. The final words go ‘Only by taking a stand against the banks, and against the orthodoxy of the ECB, can we disentangle ourselves from the mistakes of the past and set ourselves on the path to recovery’.
by Michelle Clarke

Email No 21


Subject: When will the Government stop kicking the can down the road?
Date: Tuesday 11th December 2012 23:01:00
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <>, Brian Lucey <>,, Clare Finglas <>, Eoghan Murphy <>,, John Corrigan <>,,, Vincent Browne <>

Tuesday 11th December 2012

When do the Government stop kicking the can down the road…

Shame on us. A man is found in a doorway in Bray, hypothermia determines that a man in his thirties is no longer for the this society, he is dead.

Last week, we had an altercation in Nassau Street, again a young man but deaf, who lives in a hostel results in one innocent man dead with appalling injuries, and the deaf man being charged with manslaughter. Add to this the trauma of the bus driver and all the people who witnessed the accident on a busy street at rush hour. This recession is biting hard and the social cost is leaving people highly vulnerable while the entitled/established classes embrace the denial necessary to detach themselves from the harsh reality that condemns Ireland to years of excessive budgets ie £12 bn pa compound. At least in the US, people are honest, they know they need Revenue to avoid their Fiscal Cliff and they are honing on higher taxes for the wealthy.

T (response to writer on Citizen Journalism site) Your photos tell us a story of neglect by government, by City and County Councils, by Banks who are failing to manage their property portfolios (particularly those due to the inability of people to repay their debts), to housing associations, to private landlords and all property owners who are proving totally ineffective in putting the supply demand theory of economics into practice. Meanwhile, there are people on the housing list, properties left vacant, over 1700 ghost estates, properties left vacant in the hope of property appreciation in the medium to long term. Action is what is needed.

Instead we have the Government/Revenue throwing in their lot of further hardship. Those people who hold a mortgage and who are 6 months in arrears have further debt thrown at them. This time the tax relief that is collected at source which amounts to £4,000 where a couple have signed the mortgage, is to be added to their debt. This is Christmas tidings for 65,700 residential mortgage owners. If they manage to find 3 months consecutive payments from Santa over the Christmas period, their relief will be restored. The truth is if they haven’t managed to sort out their mortgage by now, it is improbable that they will collect the necessary 3 months to alleviate them going forward. Maybe this is why the policy makers say to the courts foreclose now and push people towards the housing list, we believe they are going there anyway. What a way to start 2013 for 65,700 people? I sure hope there is a plan.

Time and time again, it has been suggested that a special exception should be made for these people particularly those in negative equity because they were facilitated to buy properties by the banks up to the peak in 2007/8. What happens? The government reacts with this £4,000 excess charge + the property tax (yes that property tax that people must pay once they own a home irrespective of how they repay for their mortgages or what financial position they are in or for that matter if they have disabilities and are unable to work). Personally I believe that the Government gained significant Stamp Duty amounts from these people and it is only ethical and moral that it be repaid (even if only on the negative equity proportion) to reduce the capital amount of their loan. It may be just enough to move them out of arrears.

Meanwhile we are building an empty/potential empty property mountain – that same idea that used to happen with the EU and butter mountains! We need to wake up and start getting people grounded. We need now for someone to do the maths equation. Social housing which should have been built during the Celtic Tiger needs to be aggregated and then apartment blocks like those in the pictures need to be de-Namatised pronto in 2013 and people who live in the like of Fatima Mansions/O’Devaney Gardens and in other premises which are below standards need to be re-housed and the maths equation made to work.

Who will pay the property tax because I cannot see tax exiles doing so even if it is they who build 44,000 sq ft mansions with a swimming pool, gym and cinema. This man is said to have spent £100m on this house. The key is what will this house be valued at the due day of May 2013. Then of course there was the sale in Ailesbury Road for £10m with the new owner named as Mrs McManus. I wonder will she have to pay the £23,300 property tax. It is correct to assume that she may be a tax exile soon.

Negative equity is like an illness and take heed, if you neglect to treat it, it can easily become the disease that causes you to be a non contributor to life going forward. We know this happened to many people in recession of the 1980’s in the UK. Act now and stop the chaos.

Michael O’Leary please check into Government Ireland. We need some more of initiative urgently.

by Michelle Clarke (Forster)

Email No 22


Subject: Photos that cover a thousand haunted words – Urban abandonment
Date: Friday 14th December 2012 16:51:41 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: KT Hawklett; address list

Friday 14th December 2012

Photos that cover a thousand haunted words

 by Michelle Clarke  (Chestnut) – Urban abandonment 

Boarded up
To let

Fast our city, Dublin,  is in the process of architectural decay. Builders and developers, the 5th Christmas into Austerity are accustomed to media coverage and are either buckling under debt living in their houses compliments of the Banks or Nama or else they are like McNamara, Ivan Yates and many others who have taken the quick route out of bankruptcy by moving over to the UK where the system facilitates them to be declared bankrupt in one year, leaving them ready to start again. Is this good or bad? Really I don’t know but bleeding people like a stone that has nothing to give and is surely destructive to the soul of the people, their families and to the country. This brings to mind the negative equity period that befell the UK in the 1980’s/90’s, the advertisement for a large house then read as follows: Bought for in excess of Stg£1m but will sell for £500,000 now (the period of time 6 months when rates moved from 7% to 14%+). I often wonder what was the final outcome for so many people including many Irish from the negative equity scenario in the 1980’s/90’s. Many people just put their keys through the letter box and virtually disappeared. Feedback would be interesting if anyone was interested enough to do the research back then.

All we know from the economists these days is that markets have no memories so this recession in Ireland most likely is the replay of the Canary Wharf London boom/bust of the 1990’s, the desire for apartment living in the City and the buy-to-let source of investment,a means of getting return on capital invested. The irony now is that the UK has housing shortage. What can we learn now that we have plenty of time on our hands to come up with solutions. Let us not forget that during the Celtic Tiger affordable housing plans replaced social housing and public private partnerships were put on the long finger and never came into play to meet the needs of people in need of social housing. The reality is we need departments to communicate and take surplus unoccupied property and make it available at newly achieved market prices.

Christmas this year and there is sadness in the air for so many. These overpaid bankers with the quick dash of pen or a thought, can wipe away the plans of a person, their family, their business, their workers, to oblivion and we need to ask why? We need to ask, is there a better way? Would these people be better advised to say goodbye to the idea of owning their own house?  After all we are only following the English man’s ambition ‘My home is my Castle’. Is it? The French and Germans think differently. They lean on the side of renting and saving. Could there be a culture change in Ireland? This property tax will not apply to people who rent a house, it will be up to the landlord to pay. Will we shift the divide? Landlords banding together like REITS in the US versus tenants who are protected by the law to certain standards of maintenance for where they live. Is there a better way? A change of attitude perhaps.

Tax incentives to buy property seem to be going out of fashion.  If Bank of Ireland are kicking into play the dogma, if you haven’t met your arrears for three months, well then they will deduct £4,000 that would have equated to the tax relief and are effectively evicting the people from their homes. Why Christmas? If this is the case why as stated before that it is both moral and ethical that the Government ought to repay the stamp duty charged to those people who bought at the high end of negative equity ie around 2007. The repayment to the capital amount would be sufficient to restructure the loan, the repayments, add to this extending the life of the loan to over 30 years based naturally on the potential of people to repay when the economic climate improves. Debt forgiveness is a bitter pill for people to accept but I would think nobody would object to the Government paying back stamp duty as a gesture. For other people who are beyond such a remedy, then take them out of the agony, that dream of home ownership, and create the rental market that gives them an opportunity to find their level.

Today the headline goes that as many as 20,000 are in arrears for 2 years, the size of the City of Kilkenny.

Europe through bad planning and the Euro creation created its own Economic War. Economic is about money in a world that is harbouring countries like Syria, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan to say just a few. Their war is real war death and suffering. Ireland needs to ask the Europeans to put the foot of the accelerator for progress. They have NATO doing their ‘dirty’ work of war. January 2013 Ireland heads into the EU presidency, rumblings say there is a decorum when President of the EU that you don’t give priority to your ‘dirty washing’. All I can say is this is an opportunity and we should not let it pause.

By Michelle Clarke (chestnuts: reminds me of London Hyde Park 1970’s autumn and roasting chestnuts)
Email No 23


Subject: Is there a move on properties in Dublin 4? Michelle Clarke – Urban Abandonment Sun December 16th 2012 15:24
Date: Sunday 16th December 2012
From: Michelle Clarke
To:,; Address list on request

Sunday 16th December 2012

Is there a move on properties in Dublin 4 

by Michelle Clarke – Urban Abandonment

MichaelHasenstab-Franklin (Link is 2016 and what risk-taking and hedge funds are all about…/hasenstab-franklin-templeton-bond-star-wants-to-get-back-o...) Templeton is the optimist for Ireland and the “turn around” circa next year ie 2013, we presume. Let us hope this man who manages a fund of £165 billion is right when he says our bonds “will be one of the best investments of the decade”.

Taking a peek at property in Dublin 4 the For Sale signs are on the down-turn it seems and circa Aylesbury Road, Shrewsbury Road, what had to be sold including the architectural gem which used to be the French Embassy, appear to have been sold, so maybe we see a bottoming out and a new supply demand quotient in place. What is now McManus (wife registered) home appears occupied this Christmas season so who knows what, during the year of EU host Ireland presidency, will unfurl. With some luck we might escape that promissory note in March 2013.

At last there is an element of certainty to the cost financially, economically and socially of the property crisis. The Central Bank have finally come up with a list of properties available based on the length of time people are in arrears. We now know that there are 19,541 people in arrears of over 2 years. The question now is how many of these comprise the family home and that without any other financial assets available, have social housing as their only alternative option. It is this group of people who have built up 2 years arrears and if they choose to give up their property voluntarily, they are expected to apply for a debt deal under the new insolvency process.

Enter into the marketplace another aspect of ‘Namatised’ called ‘new Insolvency Process’. This will ultimately release more properties on the market for sellers like Allsop to fire sale to the hawks waiting in the wings to get bargains on the basis of income and capital appreciation going forward. This Insolvency Process will allow for the formal write-down of debt, over a 5 year period, with the added bonus of not having to go to court to be declared bankrupt. We await this legislation because definitive non profitable forays in property can be defined and debt written down, so properties will come to market. As they say ‘water finds its own level’ and this is what the property market needs right now.

There are supposedly 180,000 residential mortgage holders – some in arrears, others who have restructuring arrangements with their lenders. Central Bank has consistently put pressure on the banks to basically evict where the assessment is that it is impossible to repay. Bank of Ireland are the first to react to Central Bank pressure. Too long now is the period of time for keeping properties in abeyance with no direction. The Banks are not in the game of managing property for the rental market and in particular for what ultimately could be social housing. Closure is needed and now.

The Troika have power but yet their reticence in certain areas, (particularly property, governmental/public service salaries and pensions) at last state that they want “legal clarity to the procedure” for repossession of foreclosures. Justice Elizabeth Dunne has called to fix the lacunae/loop hole as is also cited in the recent Troika updates. 5 years not knowing, unable to pay arrears, unemployed, having emigrated, accruing debt to capital, extending period of debt for some people, makes the dream of owning their home impossible. This definitive line needs to be set and people need to free from debt and provided with social housing if that is what their post Celtic Tiger financial circumstances dictate. This also means the Government must review their social housing obligations particular such small provision has been provided for decades now.

Ireland hosts the EU presidency so let’s market Ireland. The Troika admit we are exemplary. If so let’s take the initiative, come up with the mathematical equation, that sorts out our property mess with some form of assurance to people in the family home that provision of accommodation, and suitable accommodation for families through transfer deals, is an option. Property tax is proving to be unfair. The majority of people live in Dublin. You can buy a house in Offaly for £50,000 (fire sale) and the same house in Dublin is £250,000 and the proposed tax is the same. How is this equitable?

Apartment blocks and estates who pay fees eg some as high as £3,500 a year, surely it is a disincentive for people to downsize to apartments if they are hammered by property tax and maintenance?

Where is the forward thinking? Family homes could become generational based on age/need.

by Michelle Clarke
Email No 24

Subject: Camelot is what we need before the Gathering kicks into place- Urban Abandonment – Ripe for the Picking
Date: Tuesday 18th December 2012 17:29:47
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Ariana Ball <>,,, Clare Finglas <>,, Deirdre Bell <>,,,

Tuesday 18th December 2012 17:29:47

Camelot is what we need, Ireland is ripe for the picking before
The Gathering kicks into place
by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Urban Abandonment

x (response to Citizen Journalism site contributor) you have said it.

Someone said – ‘If the Dutch had invaded Ireland, they would have fed the world’.

Who has heard of Camelot? The story will unfurl. Go to the www to twitter and keep informed.

There is a recent report by Deutsche bank and it claims that Ireland has so many empty houses, including 60,000 vacant holiday homes, representing a vacancy rate of 15%. The report then goes on to state that it will take 43 years to fill them. Demand determines how long the supply will last and add to this population growth! The Deutsche bank report states that based on 2011 figures which showed population growth of 13,000, and the average number of residents per house, the bank estimates that it could take until 2055 to overcome the glut that exists in the market. Mr Haughey, Mr Matt Gallagher, Mr Desmond, Mr O’Brien, Mr O’Leary – we need heads together urgently or else this Island which is presently blighted with the emigration of our young and recently educated will prompt;y re-visit the harsh winter of the 1950’s when we owed the Annuities to our former Colonial master.

We need drivers of Economic Growth, we need people with ideas, we need unemployment offices like FAS as centres of initiative to create opportunities. The time is here for all people who are unemployed to up-skill to digital so that when they take up employment they bring with them initiatives and value added.

Camelot: A Mr Joost Van Gestel (frustrated with corporate life in Kraft in the 1990’s) took a look at potential opportunities that existed to provide him with an alternative to corporate. He founded Camelot in 1993 and it is now the world’s largest manager of vacant properties. The idea is to put temporary tenants at low rents in buildings that otherwise would be vacant. Ireland is already part of his portfolio and that includes Abbeville designed by the famous archictect Gandon which has failed to achieve the £7.5 m asking price. Common sense dictates and Haughey’s ghost that Camelot is about “Protection by Occupation” and waiting for markets to gather steam again.

Van Gestel started with the intention to combat the squatter culture of recession bitten markets. He went contrary to the Netherlands’ anarchist counter-culture. The aim is to prevent urban decay which is caused by vacancy. Dublin can so easily identify with this if you look at what Unesco regards as our culture while we leave it facing dereliction and decay. Van Gestel was not the first in the business but he did establish Camelot with the core value of professionalism.

Tackling bureaucracy is essential. Dearbhail McDonald rightly identifies that the delay by the Banks and the stalling of proceedings leading to families chained to houses that they will never be able to repay, is part of a huge problem in Ireland. The negative equity crisis could be short-term but based on the Deutsche report it could be decades. Add to this the 100,000 people awaiting social housing and the crisis coming down the road in the buy-to let-market and we need some consolidated think tank with an entrepreneurial mindset like Mr VanGestel to put a halt to the blundering City Council ineptitude before it gets into full belt with the bleat we have no funds!.

Camelot tackled the local authorities. It created a model. It tackled the legal structures in each country to establish exemptions to tenancy laws for temporary tenants. They then tackled the Governments and persuaded them that to the advantages of keeping buildings occupied. Certain countries created a tariff system to make owners of buildings liable but this creates its own problems when local authorities begin to count on these tariffs as income for the council, a little like the property tax.  Van Gestel promotes occupation not squatting or non utility.

Camelot now operates in 6 countries. The financial crisis is good for the company in that tenants are less fearful about having to leave quickly. The revenues are increasing by 30% a year, hitting Stg£20m 2011 up from £15 m in 2010 – not bad! Their properties include bankrupt bread factories, former convents, abandoned theme parks. Camelot consists of department for database entry, IT department, with software developers in India. His motivation is about keeping his employees challenged.

It is not all bad in Ireland but we have a long way to go. We need vision but it must be motivated by the common good.

Initiatives exist. ‘Come in from the Cold’ is in place by the Simon Community, Focus Ireland and St. Vincent de Paul. It is a tiny step (21 only homes) but let it be the start of something new. The aim in Cork for this Christmas is that every person will have access to a hostel while others will have their own home. As Focus Ireland’s Ger Spillane said “We are guaranteeing landlords a monthly rent, ongoing maintenance of their properties and an assurance that their property will be returned in its original state at the end of the lease. We will support every tenant as long as its necessary”. Its not a bad deal for the landlords. Too many landlords became victims to bad tenancy arrangements during the Celtic Tiger and the dis-interest of estate agencies and the lack of effectiveness of state agencies like the PRTB especially in the area of rent subsidies.

The public private partnerships for the like of O’Devaney Gardens may have failed but this at least is a start of people using their mental capacity to ensure people have the right to a home.

by Michelle Clarke
Email No 25

Subject: TARA: Unmarried mothers and infanticide in Ireland, 1900-1950. Legislate with a sense of humanity for people who are suicidal; this needs urgent consideration.
Date: Wednesday 19th December 2012 12:13:08
From: Michelle Clarke <>
To: Vincent Browne <>, Alan Shatter <>, AnneMarie Rafferty <>,, Richard Boyd Barrett <>, Neville Cox <>,, Gerry Adams <>,, William Binchy <>, “The Very Revd Dermot Dunne, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin” <>,,, Sarah Roeder <>

Wednesday 19th December 2012

We walk a way from our history, we make excuses.  As a person with 
Bipolar who sustained a fractured skull and pre-frontal lobe damage 
(which is known to account for inappropriate behaviours) at the age of 32, 
I consider suicide, health and pregnancy as a human right of choice 
ruled upon by the Supreme Court 20 years ago and it ought to be 
legislated on sooner rather than later.

It was suggested on Vincent Browne TV3 programme last night that an 
Obstetrician suggested 'committal' as an option to ideation about suicide.  
Having been in that situation ie committal not pregnant, having had lots of 
ECT, I would suggest this is a most inhumane statement by a so called 

I do not like to remind people of the Ann Lovett case but this young 
mother died.  If she had lived and her baby died at that grotto in 
Granard, would she have been charged with infanticide, if not now but in 
another generation.

Vincent, you point was sharp but poignant.  A woman raped or for that 
matter a child or a victim of incest, choice must be an option.

What about the Mental Capacity bill and mental health which is being 
dealt with at present?  Surely, it is relevant to this Abortion/Mental 
Health/Suicide debate?


Michelle Clarke

Email No 26 

Subject: SUSI – there must be a way to pay the grants owed to the students
Date: Thursday 20th December 2012 18:29:55 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Brian Lucey <>,,, Caitriona Curtis <>,,, Geraldine Mahon <>,,,,, Provost <>,, Newstalk Science <>, UK INFO – Customer Care Inbox <>, Vincent Browne <>

Thursday 20th December 2012

Think Creatively and laterally.
Tap Corporate Social Responsibilities in the Corporates

by Michelle Clarke (Forster) – Education

It may sound crazy but if SUSI centralised, is in bureaucratic chaos and can’t pay students, surely some entity like Google, Starbucks, the banks, can provide a loan to SUSI – after all the money has to be paid to the students in the New Year. We need Corporate Social Responsibility in Ireland and let them start with ensuring our students have no worries for the Christmas.

Yesterday, it was said one of these large MNC entities received £1 billion in Ireland but only paid £3m in tax. Something similar happened in the UK with Starbucks and they were humbled to the degree that they gave the Robin Hood account a large payment. Let them do something similar in Ireland and start with SUSI.

Students deserve support – they are the future of this country

by Michelle Clarke

Email No 27


Subject: James Connolly’s Grandson In Fresh Call To Save 16 Moore Street
Date: Saturday 22nd December 2012 19:11:34
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Michelle Clarke <>, KT Hawklett <>,, <>, jimmy Deenihan <>

Friday 12th August 2005

George Santayana ‘Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’

by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

16 Moore Street former home of James Connolly, executed in the Easter Rising 1916

and the Powers that be of this Country are prepared to sanction its demolition and replace it with a shopping mall.

What is this mentality about? Most definitely it is not about History and the eminence of men who worked, wrote, fought and died for its emergence.

What a disappointment to see the emerging capitalist focus and the removal of a sense of Moral History from the Island of Ireland.

The Peace Process bodes a chance and acceptance for people in the North of Ireland as the Island of Ireland embraces diversity and Unity.

Today we hear of an enterprising endeavour that will honour a history of Shipbuilding. The docklands area (tax incentive attractions) will see the reconstruction of a model of the Titanic, scheduled for 2012. What an enterprise and initiative that will lead to tourism?

Moore Street is about culture; changes are happening but let us not lose this house belonging to James Connolly, his spirit and the spirits of all those men who sought for an Island of Ireland. Shame on us.

Living in D4, I have the advantage of meeting many people with different stories.

Today, a woman whom I meet walking my dog, stopped to have a chat. The subject turned to politics. This woman is probably in her eighties so her interest in politics is enlightening to me.

She made a comment…..It made be me think about just how far removed we are from a fascist state regime. (this is just a personal thought/fear).

It is simple. We are presently consumed with problems relating to health that occupy a considerable proportion of Minister Harney’s time, as Health Minister. She is also acting as deputy for Justice Equality and Law Reform.

The question she raised:

How come the leading portfolios are the responsibility of those who have less than 4% of the vote?

Is this democracy?

Please preserve the home of James Connolly who was executed in 1916 and a prodigious writer in the socialist theme.

Michelle Clarke

Quotation: Goethe
‘What we do not understand, we do not possess’

Email No 28

Subject: Ghost estates or displaced by motorways,  Urban abandonment and dereliction
Date: Sunday 23rd December 2012 19:53:13 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Corporate Admin <>, Corporate Coleraine <>, Clare Finglas <>,,, Jimmy Deenihan <>, <>, Shane Clarke <>, gatheringireland <>

Sunday 23rd December 2012

Ghost estates or displaced by motorways


Visit to Co. Meath.

Decades waiting for a motorway and now it exists and what was once an interesting journey is now just concrete and road bypassing all the villages. They call this progress.

Decided to vere off at Dunshaughlin for a coffee and this the Sunday of Christmas Eve there was no place to sit and chat a while.

What we did notice was the sign for Killeen Castle and nostalgia brought us there. This was once the home of Lord Fingal but through the decades it has passed into the ownership of different wealthy people but each time it managed to surpass their capacity to spend on it. We approached it in style but it looked quite vacant of people and cars. We took a chance and the door opened. We asked if we could take in our/my companion dog and while they said no at first, they relented (there is some good common sense left in Ireland) and we went in and had a most pleasant interlude with coffee and gateau with a beautiful hearth fire burning in a central space. The view towards Warrenstown College…/32501-end-of-era-as-warrenstown-college-set-to-close-in-j… ensured us that some of the old landscape of the once Royal County remained intact. We don’t know if this is another of these ‘Namatised’ demesnes but if you are looking for a place to visit or a game of golf visit Killeen Castle, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath and support business where possible. This is supposed to be Ireland’s fastest growing Golf Club with full membership at £2,000 (someone tells me it was £20,000) and under 30’s £1,000. There is no joining fee.

We were surprised by the number of apartments built on what was once the Phoenix Park race course and those near Kilmainham. Such lifelessness exists – one can sense the doom and gloom that these casualties of the Tiger have created. Surely, Dublin City Council, housing associations, or property funds can buy these often vacant properties and create a low priced rental market which will suit social housing which there must be a demand for by now since the public private partnerships failed for O’Devaney Gardens.

Okay we hear the message entitlements must be cut. We know that those on rental supplements over the past 5 years have had to ask their landlords to make reductions to bring them in line with the amounts social housing is prepared to pay.  However,  shortly this market will change and rents will start to rise and it is people in social housing or in receipt of rent supplement will be the first to suffer. ‘Pricing’ (a previous comment on citizen journalism site) – you know what this is going to be about. We need to think ahead and why not now for 2013 before Bank of Ireland & other banks dictate foreclosures with near to immediate effect to those over leveraged and those in buy-to-lets that they are unable to make create a income to a balance sheet.

Happy Christmas : Austerity is too severe. There must be another way. Economic growth is generated through employment and intentional savings in public expenditure ie cutting cloth according to measure


by Michelle Clarke


Email No 29


Reviewed June 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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4 Responses to Citizen Journalism Ireland: Social Justice – 29 emails to Government and related. January to December 2012 by Michelle Clarke

  1. Pingback: Citizen Journalism: Selection of emails to Government and related. January to December 2012 by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

  2. Pingback: Citizen Journalism Ireland: Social Justice – 29 emails to Government and related. January to December 2012 by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

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  4. Pingback: Citizen Journalism Ireland: Social Justice – 29 emails to Government and related. January to December 2012 by Michelle Clarke | canisgallicus

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