Citizen Journalism Ireland: Selection of emails to Government and related. April to July 2013 by Michelle Clarke

Trade Unions: Transparency, Accountability and Ethics?

From:Michelle Clarke

To:Undisclosed list

Tuesday 2nd April 2013

Impact; Siptu; Teachers’ Unions; INMO; IMO; CPSU; PSEU; AHPCS; Unite

Eddie Hobbes stood head to head with a Union Official. The message was about luxurious pension funds that some Union employees/executives have secured for themselves through negotiations and in particular via the bench marking procedures of Croke Park I which now creates the platform and criteria for Croke Park II

George McNeice, a trade union official and former Chief Executive of the IMO who secured for himself an elaborate pension contract in excess of £20 million which was negotiated down to £9.7 m. has received much media attention.  The latest news is that he claims the IMO (Irish Medical Organisation) is to pay £10,000 for his voluntary health insurance and to forward him ‘the painting’ valued at several thousand pounds which is supposed to still hang in the IMO office, which he says belongs to him. If this is an indication of what a man can do in a small union like the IMO, surely we need to know how transparent the workings of the above unions and any others left un-named? The IMO is nothing other than a hot bed of pure intrigue about what quiet negotiation is all about and suggests that as long as McNeice was feathering the nests of the elite medical profession – consultants in particular, nobody was going to ask questions. This no doubt explains why Irish consultants are near the highest paid in the EU.

An oversight and someone uploads the 2011 accounts of the IMO onto the website and surprise surprise the accounts stated the pension scheme was under funded….warning signs which people need to be ever watchful of. It went on to say that an actuarial review was being carried out. The interesting point here is that the information was very quickly removed from the website and a new set of accounts appeared. It stated that the IMO operated a defined contribution scheme for its employees and this raised the question as to how it could be under-funded. The overlap was that Mr McNeice resigned and he was prepared to re-negotiate his package down from £20+ m to £9.7 m. Dr Paul McKeown relayed to the members of the Union that this £9.7 million had to be paid to avoid legal action. Again here we should ask why not go to the Courts? It will be interesting now that the IMO have said they will carry out an retrospective investigation into the runnings of the IMO. Media thankfully – The Sunday Business Post, have provided us with details about McNeice’s perks including courses in Harvard University in the US, conferences in the USA, Australia, South Africa and South America. Needless to say he travelled first/business class and had even used private jets on IMO business – they have no details about the frequency. In the far away distance, it makes one think of the perks paid to the elites in FAS. We need to examine the culture of ‘then’ to appraise the true austerity of the now and workers who are now being penalised with property taxes, potential water charges, income taxes, household charges etc. We talk about cutting expenditures of the ordinary working people, let the pay packages and pension deals of the Unions, IBEC, and other representative bodies be transparent so that a sense of equity prevails.

The IMO culture was the selected few loyal people but a high turnover in staff and as the Sunday Business Post quotes the “working environment was very difficult” which basically means that if there was a whistleblower within, it is probable a culture of bullying prevailed. The selected few were guaranteed a upwardly mobile payment package especial during the Celtic Tiger years. As stated in earlier postings, McNeice is not a doctor but has a partner who is a doctor and there is one teenage child. He started off as executive officer in 1979, moving up to senior executive officer position in 1984. Later that year he took up the post in the IMO. He worked as an industrial relations officer for a number of years before taking over the role of Chief Executive in 1993.

Why did the IMO agree to pay the £9.7 m to a man aged 51, with payments starting when he is 52? How could he have acquired a fund of £20+ m which was the original figure he sought. Could it be related to the fact the IMO just could not afford to pay him what he had negotiated for himself in December 2012? Could it be that when the members discovered the amount, they sought an EGM? The £10 million became a bad investment only this time it was not the markets that caused it to evaporate.

McNeice as reported before departed with £1.5 million lump sum, a pension pot worth £4.5 m and a further £3.75 million to be paid over the next 16 years. This £3.75 million gives him £200,000 per year 2016-21 and £250,000 per year from 2021-2032. The man was 51 years old when he retired early. The IMO is a small trade union and if this is indicative of the packages secured by others in McNeice’s parallel universe, there is a need to ask questions, there is a need for people with a moral conscience to come forward as whistleblowers.

Pension funds and defined contributions or otherwise need to be understood. The people in Waterford Glass had contributed for years and what happened? Staff at Clery’s worked there for years and what happened? All the people who worked in the building industry – what happened their pension funds?

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: Local Property Tax:  Pay or else
Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013 18:37:20 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Ariana Ball <ariana@thirdagefoundation.ie>, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie, Mary Cleary <mary.cleary@olderandbolder.ie> et al

Wednesday 17th April 2013

Crisis is upon us and for some the commitment to being law abiding citizens of the Island of Ireland has placed the all powerful Revenue Commissioners into the role of Masters of the Realm so the decision is either pay or be fined or charged with evasion of tax.

130,000+ are reported to have already paid but who really asks the question about those pressured by debt and left in abeyance still. How are they expected to find the money to pay between £300-£400 this year, which will be double next year? Socialists in Europe may agree with the property tax but their circumstances are different. Ireland received too much credit from the banking policies associated with the European Central Bank, we did not have the regulation in place at the Central Bank, and the people were enticed into a property market that constantly re-assured them buy now and you will double your money. Social housing saw their opportunity to back out of building houses because they knew people would follow the winner market. Ireland is not the only country who have these ‘Mortgage Delinquents’ as called by Elderfield in the Central Bank – other countries like America and the UK have experienced same.

LPT (Local Property Tax_ now is about hardship for many and is inequitable. The options we have are none. The Revenue encompasses fear in the ordinary God Faring person so imagine the strain on people at present. Those who really ought to be targeted are often those who hold character traits that are consistent with success be it ordinary crime or white collar crime – they don’t have fear and can be often narcissistic, and not necessarily guided by conscience. They make money and they believe they determine how to spend it best and that is not by making tax returns to their country of birth. They choose the more exotic life of being economic exiles, with their hands firmly in their home territories pockets through sportsmanship contributions, charities, investments that yield their names on designated buildings in our university campuses. Even Bono et al headed for Holland for his tax, having availed of so many tax benefits granted by Ireland to their artists.

The pension funds of the public sector have been targeted. What happens when all the data is collated in the Revenue with self-assessed values made by the owners of property in Ireland submitted most notably before the banks enforce the evictions. The Troika are telling the teachers to get their students to be diligent and make written reports based on honesty. Will we have an asset base of properties with an expected yield ready and available for the Troika to apply fiscal rectitude measures, with minimal effort?

Cyprus is an example of ‘expect the unexpected’. The swoop was eagle eyed….they knew the Russians invested in the banks and businesses…the swipe in the eye was freeze deposit accounts and take %….at first it was all accounts but pressure brought to bear by the ordinary people of Cyprus in protest ensured that those under £100,000 did not have such forfeiture (ie yet).

by Michelle Clarke



Subject: People have said No to Croke Park II but is No justified?
Date: Thursday 18th April 2013 21:34:31 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: inmo@inmo.ie and undisclosed address list

Thursday 18th April 2013


Disillusionment for the public service workers and no easy cash collection of £300 m plus, needed this year, more next year and for years going forward, to pay our debts forever compounding the interest daily, weekly, monthly annually.  Let’s keep a reality check on the National Debt Clock http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland
There is what is known as ‘compassion fatigue’. It appears that we are neatly within the category i.e. those in the public service who see themselves as ‘privileged’ and ‘entitled’ and who have no empathy for those battered and beaten in the private sector, for over 6 years now. Will there be a Croke Park III? Maybe not. Why? The option is mooted for a 7% across the board deduction in public sector pay. What if this occurs? Then, the indications are ultimately strikes. However, the reality is we must meet the debts and take responsibility as a country because we have pledged to do so. Compassion fatigue must be challenged and it is time for people to look at a broader picture, to study alternatives, the vision is tunnel focus by leaders in the Irish Trade Unions that have their own vested interests, which we need to know a lot more about.
Is there another way? Prime Time heralded the approaches of the Fire Brigade union man who rightly targeted a new approach – that of looking for savings within. This was supported by Sir Gerry Robinson http://www.sovereigncapital.co.uk/people-we-partner/sir-gerry-robinson/ formerly involved in tackling the NHS crisis, who again suggested the importance of seeking savings and equally important of seeking ideas from every person within the business entity as to how to rectify the deficits with common sense solutions. Savings in public sector (and particularly in the HSE) has to be core to resolving the budget deficit. It is not possible to deal with a deficit from insufficient income without cutting expenditures and that is done by cutting wages or making savings. The tragic case of “Savita Halappanavar” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Savita_Halappanavar is highlighting just how much inefficiency and mis-management occurs in the HSE and it is a statement to workers to be more creative in how best to provide proper health services with ethics and common sense to the core. The IMO, as highlighted in earlier postings, had deviated far from the best interests of their lower tier members and it is time that the new man at the helm changes the culture, and let him start with amending remuneration with immediate effect.


Intrinsic to the Trade Union mindset and its interconnectivity with employers, there is a “two tierism” that creates bias, it is the union management and what is acceptable in pay, expenses, pensions, trips abroad, even Harvard courses for them versus those who pay their union dues and what the leaders deem suffice for them. Citizen Journalism is about the kernel of freedom of expression and it is quite unbelievable that the privileges of McNeice as highlighted in the previous postings is not creating impetus to inquire into what is really happening with Trade Union management in Ireland. What we do know is that if you work in the hotel industry, in retail, in lower echelons of the Civil service, redundancy means no more subscriptions with immediate effect to the Trade Union coffers but most importantly no further support from the Trade Unions to help you back on the road to employment. What does this really say? Dead in the water is what comes to mind. Trade Unions are saying, keep us secure in our positions but forget about the concept of workers going forward – how stupid and self seeking they really are, there is no vision and this is disturbing.

Nearly 500,000 people are out of work, many of these are in mortgage arrears, studies now reveal that where people encounter long periods of being unemployed in their twenties/early thirties that this has negative mental health outcomes when they get older. We have a significantly higher level of youth unemployment and we are doing nothing about it. What is worse is that our Trade Unions don’t seem to care about the unemployed and in particular our young people. We need to voice this. Enterprise can be fostered and ideas can be created to nurture enterprise (just look to Silicon Valley or Singapore for that matter) but in the absence of encouragement we are talking about dissent, apathy and anomie.

The Village – Constantin Gurdgiev is worth reading. The challenge is there for the people who are excluded by the Trade Union elites to establish their case. His challenge:

‘Liberty Hall must shake off the ethos of its corrupting proximity to state power and re-discover its grass roots’.

It is not fair to the young people of our Island of Ireland that ‘non-meritocratic employment in the public sector will also mean continued emigration of younger workers with internationally marketable skills’

He goes on to say: ‘Marking the centenary of the 1913 lockout, the Irish Trade Union movement needs a serious and deep rethink of both its raison d’etre and its modus operandi. Otherwise the movement risks being locked out of society itself as the irrelevant and atavistic remnant of the Celtic Tiger and Social Partnership’.


Time for the public sector who fail to acknowledge the plight of the private sector over the last 6 years to wake up and smell the coffee. We need to make savings, we need to cut expenditure and the time is now. 
By Michelle Clarke


Date: Sunday 21st April 2013 12:33:29 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Published Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list
Sunday 21st April 2013
Fear is Driver with Revenue powers the enforcer

Nearly 500,000 people are out of work; yet the local property tax implementation May 8th & 28th (online submissions) are receiving scant attention in the media. Talking to people in the local urban village, the word Revenue is the effective enforcer as distinct from the exercise of what is morally just and fair in what will determine who pays and who does not? It is time for people to start listening to ‘what is not said’ to hear and to identify just how intrusive this tax proves to be, particularly now when Ireland Inc is still in such economic turmoil.

The lack of community is causing us to be disparate and there is no alignment of people to make representation to Government to postpone for several years this property tax which is penal on house/apartment owners. Behind closed doors, is another kind of story in the Ireland of today. You have the family who are in mortgage arrears and other debts knowing that PIP (the Personal Insolvency Practitioner – let’s call him/her “The Fixer”) is their only option but yet it is not a definitive guarantee of relief/release, because the banks still have the power of veto. What if both people are out of work? Do people realise that if these overly indebted people subject to the ‘PIP process’ are to have any opportunities of getting work in the private sector, they must pay this LPT otherwise they are hampered from getting work, the reason being, they will need a tax clearance certificate to obtain work and will not qualify for same if the don’t submit their self assessed valuation of their, most probably, heavily mortgaged, negative equity property. Is this common sense? Is it equitable? This involves ordinary people for example a taxi driver, an architect, people working on contract.

The Irish Independent today reports that there is a need to stimulate rental supply. The demand for rental property is rising, the trend in ownership is changing. The census 2011 showed that the figure renting property rose 47% from 323,000 to 475,000. The census also reports that ‘32% of Dublin residents are now in rental accommodation’. What this says in effect: is that social housing supply was provided in a different way than previously. ‘The private sector, with a combination of the construction industry and private investors, over the last 30 years modernised our national stock of rental accommodation and provided a steady supply of good quality accommodation in key employment areas at relatively modest rents’. We need to take stock because many of the people who created this market are the people who are in negative equity and who are liable to pay the LPT, surely they have given enough and need to be encouraged rather than be forced to pay this LPT on their homes or for that matter their investment choices.

Does anyone ask the question why Ireland differs from other countries eg the UK where it is the users/beneficiaries pay for their local services? If we want people to be accountable at a local level, and work within communities, surely once you live in a property, it makes sense you pay the bills not some owner/speculator/indebted person. Residential property owners have been targeted unjustly it seems, and there is no debate about the matter.

Rents are rising. Social housing/Public Private Partnerships are adrift without policy direction. Yet more debt is to be heaped upon an already over-burdened group of people known as the residential sector. What will happen is that as the bank drive home their obligation to meeting targets set by the Troika/Central bank, the property market will be enmeshed in uncertainty with valuations possibly reducing making the LPT valuations much lower than the self-assessed commitment submitted by people as at due day for 6 months 2014; 2015; 2016. If this happens, there appears to be no provision.

Again it is worth considering this comment from David Cantwell in todays Irish Independent: “The latest official onslaught on the residential sector, combined with the downturn in new construction and the mortgage debt problems of numerous private investors, is leading to a stifling of supply and consequent rise in residential rents’.

REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) is the new game in town. Who owns the block of apartments? Investors are looking out for ‘blocked’ apartment complexes. Will they pay the assessed LPT (which will be below the average market value because it is a partly blocked booking) for each apartment or will time dictate a switch to tenants taking responsibility for paying local charges?

The new charge for ‘tech’ in the home is reported to be £180. Nobody is deemed to be able to escape because all the databases will reveal names. The question is about equity at this present time when a quotient of people are particularly vulnerable to rash lending policies by our ECB, Banks and lending sources and of course their own share of responsibility.

 
By Michelle Clarke


ate: Monday 22nd April 2013 17:07:19 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Published Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Monday 22nd April 2013

NoMoreAusterity but let’s tackle WASTE too

This posting is about the Homeless but it is also about the wider picture and the needs, from the ground up, for citizen journalism to speak the views of people who are not those corrupt white collar crime brigade but those who continue to live in Ireland, those who emigrate because they can find no work here, those who will be forced to pay the local property tax, those who are underemployed, those who have been exploited by the likes of FAS http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/fas-board-for-chop-over-cronyism-26541214.html and its near £1 billion annual budget and is now replaced by Solas and all who want to see a just society emerge. It is time to take the rough with the smooth, to create our own grassroots adversarial based discourse to highlight how we can step by step, in a combined way, ensure that when those white collar ‘criminals to be’ are making their way through the Courts of Justice that we know exactly the wrongs perpetrated and by whom, and in an informed manner. Knowledge is no load and as Ireland embraces it worst economic crisis in its history, we need to engage with the common sense that rests in the consensus of the people of Ireland. As an aside and maybe someone else would care to comment I mention the 1930’s. Fianna Fail when De Valera was in power for the first time. Self-sufficiency determined the policies of this new Government in a fledgling state. Socialist was the theory but the practicalities are up for debate. It was at this time that a decision was made. Ireland owed millions in Annuities to the British Government and on legal advice it was decided that the new Republic called Ireland and that the Republic was not going to pay their dues and the Republic did not. Was this a right decision or a wrong one? Who knows but it is a damn good argument for our Government to make now in the light of the write-down of debts to the ECB. It is for this reason, that George Soros as a hedge fund investor who made billions, makes interesting reading. Perhaps Ireland is seeking too much adulation from the main Creditor Germany who faces elections in September 2013. We need to take courage from those who refused to pay the Annuities in the 1930’s and stand firm and negotiate the debt down. The annuities, equated in value perhaps to the amounts we now owe!

Gale (a Citizen Journalism contributor): Let us not forget what you wrote and let us add that a country is judged by how it treats its vulnerable and “Boots in my Pillow” are all about this pledge but alas we need to tackle corruption, fraud, deceit at every level so that we can stamp out that word “Corruption and Cronyism” and make our way back up the scale on the Transparency International list. 2016 approaches and yet Ireland is but a young Nation, a country that paves the way for others who detached themselves from their colonial masters.

No More Austerity

Totally agree with what you say but before the big decision is made for write-down of debt we need to clean up Ireland Inc’s balance sheet. So you review (Gale) corporates and let me be the devil’s advocate, based on what is reported in the media. Citizen journalism can inform; its core value is its morality which is about ‘Value’ as distinct from ‘Cost’. Data and information are the digital revolution but the key will be the technology that creates the analytics and it is this that will change healthcare, education, revenue to name but a few making enormous cost reductions to services which are so costly now. Boots on the ground are given their chance now to voice their opinions – it is different times, different values, a young population.

Sir Gerry Robinson says ‘Fear is a lousy mechanism for running a business’. I would add for running a country too. He is the man who was set the task of tackling the NHS in the UK and comments on the Irish situation, presumably because he now lives here. He cuts through the nonsense and recognises the need for whistleblowers and in particular those who get things right because then there is the means to an end to correct the problems. He promotes the centralised system of reporting into an executive committee, and recognises the need for feeding of information into a data system. He also recognised you pay the market rate for the Chief Executive (eg £1m). This is the way towards solutions. However, key to systems management is effectiveness, efficiency and removing those who cannot do their jobs and removing waste. He promotes taking views from all, from the doorman to the surgeon. It is about a combined effort to make something work for all concerned.

A humble example about the HSE from a ‘patient’ goes as follows: You take medications that require bloods 5 times pa. The system used to be visit hospital on certain day at certain time and queue. Efficiently bloods taken. Then the powers that be say – no longer is the local hospital eligible. Now you go to say St Vincents University hospital. Now you pay premium rate to phone and make an appointment; the reality is now you need the travel pass yet the news says it will be removed. Is this common sense? Ask the people who are the life’s blood of medicine for their suggestions, don’t make long-term sickness a job of work based on non-informed systems analysis ie bloated bureaucracy mentality. It is this system that leaves so many of our people homeless on the streets, their needs not catered for. Too many are the people released from mental hospitals without the capacity to negotiate a system so hostile because supporting the public sector credo prevails.

Fraud is the strong word so seldom used. We hear Welfare Fraud but we seldom here Health Service fraud – they talk lots about this in America and Canada but we for some unknown reason just cannot verbalise it. Welfare fraud is the buzz word today. Just check today’s Irish Independent. We can say no to Austerity and now but is it not basic common sense to first say tackle WASTE in our public sector first.

Approaching 500,000 people are out of work in Ireland now, with the young population being hardly hit, their reality is that they are not even getting the experience of real job experience which is a basic human right. FAS is an organisation that recklessly operated with no sense of corporate governance to its customers who were people wanting to find work particularly during the Celtic Tiger years (this was not so in the early days when ANCO was established). 2 years this government are in and yet only now is the new model of FAS gaining a status. The new legislation is about to be enacted. Why has it taken so long? Shane Ross, has long flagged down the chaos that reined therein so the system should be well up and running a year ago?

Solas http://www.solas.ie/ promises, so let’s ensure that it does WORK, a new further education and training authority. Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairi Quinn, has personally written to the board of education and training authority FAS thanking them for their work to date – is this hypocrisy? He states that as FAS is dissolved so will the Board be disbanded. Let us wait and see what follows on in sweeping out its over indulged culture to one of initiative, potential, growth going forward. Public appointments will post jobs shortly and the aim is to establish the Solas board. Let us hope cronyism is not the main determinant. We need drivers and non wasters, this time round. Not all FAS staff failed on the governance stakes. About 50% of the staff have been transferred to the Department of Social Protection, while others move to 16 education and training boards that are due to be established by the legislation referred to above. What is a need to know for people is that the new appointments to Solas (who can commission private provision for services) are both invigorated and motivated to ensure that the many people presently out of work are provided with education, training and employment, in as efficient, timely, way possible.

Gale, I end with a quote from you. From top to bottom and bottom to top we need to make changes; we need to take responsibility and most importantly we must always ensure those who are vulnerable are not exploited. Hostels, B&B’s become easy options but let them not be cash cows at the cost of taxpayers.

‘As if the pain were not enough, each hostel place is subsidised by the state, that is in addition to the €4.50 sought. I’m informed that the state pays €35 per bed space per night. There are hotels in Dublin that charge less than the €39.50 for bed spaces, with en-suite showers and full hot breakfasts included. Holiday hostels are cheaper again. How can the dire level of accommodation offered to these vulnerable people be so expensive?

by Michelle Clarke


Subject: Ripe Pickings! Whad do we want?
Date: Tuesday 23rd April 2013

From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, fmorton@gordonbrothers.com, Cahill Gavin <Gavin.Cahill@centralbank.ie> et al
Tuesday 23rd April 2013
Ripe Pickings! What do we want?

by Michelle Clarke (Chestnut)

Could it be so; the Gurus of finance ie George Soros and Krugman’s message that austerity is not the pathway to economic growth. This may explain why the Hawks are sizing up the property portfolios with potential. Sunday papers tell us that Gordon Brothers, Private Equity group, who bought Clerys Department store at a substantial discount, are presently evaluating Arnotts. Strategists are employed by Nama, the Banks and they are constantly scouting for changes in world markets. We need to ask the question is the timing now and why? Not unlike what happened to Patrick Gallagher (Developer) in the 1980’s when he had that great vision for St Stephen’s Green; the Phoenix Park racecourse and so many other developments, the repayment scheduling and timing did not suit the banks, so those powers that be, did their dawn raid and put his business into receivership with penal consequences for the property market at that time and in particular the creditors and the sub-contractors. As one entity business fails then there are the professions, the bankers, the new risk-takers who snatch up the benefits. This is what business is all about but we must be aware of any potential abuse of power and we must take account of the discussion concerning the lack of transparency, the Chinese walls that apply to NAMA because at all times Ireland Inc is the priority and the people of Ireland also.

This is why the news about Nama ready to seize  Harry Crosbie’s http://www.independent.ie/…/harry-crosbie-loses-appeal-over-namas-efforts-to-recover-77… stake in 02 conjures up markets that do have memories. ‘NAMA have only now appointed the receivers to companies and assets controlled by Harry Crosbie – The Point Village, Grand Canal theatre (which has bookings until 2016 and quite clearly enhances Ireland in this year of the Gathering). Crosbie, not unlike Patrick Gallagher had the vision, and over the decades created what is now snatched, at a time when property is most likely to have arrived at the stage that it is part of the crest of a wave, of success, and NAMA, in its non transparent configuration, sees the opportunity and takes control. It is reported in the media that they have their eagle eyes on his holding in O2 and aim to take his shares in this also. Crosbie or so estimates say owes approximately £450 million to banks based on both commercial and personal loans. Like the sound business man he has proved to be for decades, he projected a few years ago that he would in time (approximately 4 years) pay-off his debts. Rumours at the time of the Patrick Gallagher collapse said it was opportunistic reasons and bankers, that saw his demise prematurely. Should we ask about NAMA’s decision to appoint, last Friday, receivers Grant Thornton to oversee Mr Crosbie’s assets. Is this a fair decision by NAMA to put Crosbie’s business interests into receivership? Maybe a few more months would see him out the other side!

Great reports this week in the Sunday Business Post. Ireland is an active market for world investors in real estate (hence the legislation recently introduced for REITS) and bank assets. Add to this NAMA. Stability in Ireland and in Europe, they say is creating a ‘frontier market, and the prospectors are out in force, looking to strike gold’. The Californian property company – Kennedy Wilson http://www.kennedywilson.com/ have taken over more than £2.5 billion in choice Irish assets (part of their £9 billion global buying spree). Bill McMorrow, Chairman and Chief Executive, reports that Ireland is still ‘on his map of territory to explore’. The focus is not Europe but Britain and Ireland.

Is there hope for us in Ireland? Can we say goodbye to Urban Abandonments and dereliction or will our prize possessions be the targets at knockdown prices? What is important is that awareness prevails?

McMorrow seems confident “If you think about what has happened in the US, we went into a depression, great recession, whatever you want to call it, in late 2007 and from a real estate perspective we really didn’t come out of it for five years”. He acknowledges that in Ireland we hit depression/recession a little later so maybe now is the time, as the correction according to estimates started in 2009. So this could be a promising time for investors according to Kennedy Wilson. We can dovetail on their experience and be wise about what we are prepared to sell. It is interesting to note given earlier postings; apartment ownership in Ireland and the local property tax question, that Kennedy Wilson aim to acquire as many as 5,000 apartment units in Ireland alone.

To conclude therefore is the quote from McMorrow, Kennedy Wilson, ‘

“We have plans for a long period of consolidation where the hard assets pay for themselves over time. This comes after the liquidation phase, where loan books are disposed of. It’s a mode he developed in Japan in the 1990’s, when the world’s second largest economy (at the time) had an almighty property crash following a massive asset-price bubble in the 1980’s…..It is the same business plan here in (Ireland). We plan to be here for as lon as you’ll have us as a gueset. We plan to be here for the next 20, 30, 40 years”.

Ireland Is the time is here to look at our positives.



Subject: Spain: Did you know home ownership is near highest in Europe but chaos reins….
Date: Friday 26th April 2013 11:59:53 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, SupremeAndHighCourtOperations@courts.ie
Friday 26th April 2013
1960’s slums: Housing Associations formed

by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) Urban Abandonments and Dereliction

Regulation and legislation is the easy part, action is not so easy.

Two nights this week on TV we had access to the appalling living conditions some people are expected to live in our country. The areas were not highlighted last night but they exist in Dublin and they are occupied by many groups of Romany people and the conditions are a scandal and are a reflection of what we in Ireland fought so hard to remove in the 1960’s particularly. It is not even a century and we are prepared to tolerate this sub-human, standard of housing as a source of rental income for a landlord class of people, who have no qualms about exploiting the vulnerable. We know that recent legislation aims at putting an end to this exploitation of the property market and that each bedsit/flat now must have sanitary provisions provided within. The problem is who will enforce this legislation; what are the provisions for people paying below par £800 approx for one room apartment, when they are asked to find alternative accommodation to enable the Landlord to be complaint? The Local Property Tax is aimed at rounding up these Landlord owners and it will be most interesting to see how they value the properties they are presently letting out? Will they breach the conditions? Will they pay the £5,000 fine if they choose to ignore the legislation introduced in February of this year? Many of these slum properties are owned by people with no intention of developing them and improving them.  We need to know Who actually owns them?  (2016: Recommend Mr Edward Honohan concerning the possibility of CPO’s http://www.thepropertypin.com/viewtopic_iphone.php?f=10&t=44532&p=863764

Not unlike Spain we have not had adequate social housing provision for three decades now and the creation of a new coterie of landlords who were encouraged with Section 23 type tax breaks and who provide yet another basis for chaos in our provision of housing. There is a new generation created; those who cannot afford to take the cut back in the rental allowance and the amount paid to the landlord for what is often a new house/apartment and who are forced to move home to live with their parents/parent. Many of these are the people who have children and who are already on the housing list for over 5 years. In 2008, the housing list was 56,000 but by 2011 the number on the waiting list has virtually doubled to 98,000. They say, the biggest landlord of all, with a rent roll now in its billions; Nama is in a position to allocate 4,000 houses but this becomes incidental to the potential demand, in absence of social housing provision. The fluidity that this has caused means that tenants are in a constant state of flux with properties being let and contracts not fulfilled because the people can’t make the rental payments ie the difference between what they owe (often only on a single parent allowance/dole/disabilities payments).

Add to this the fact that many of the new landlord cache are the ‘buy-to-lets’ and 23,000 of this sector are now facing eviction through non payment of their loans, we are looking at greater uncertainty in this housing market. This scenario is yet to happen and vulnerable groups particularly those who will become homeless, those who will end up in hostels, those who will end up in B&B’s – the people who have no access to a ‘home’ to return to. All the time our housing stock is deteriorating yet the unemployed are rising. Personal Insolvency Practitioners – ‘the Fixers’ are yet to be allocated. The Hawks are flying in and as reported earlier Kennedy Wilson is looking at buying 5,000 apartments and we can assume that these will be in the fashionable locations in Dublin. This will remove more housing stock for the ever increasing social housing sector in Ireland. Is Ireland alone in Europe with its many people destined to be removed from the dream of what was once known as ‘home ownership’.

Ireland: thankfully are behind other European countries in terms of evictions. The news is that this is to change as the Troika push our Central Bank to get their books in order and realistically to start writing down debt. The Internationalist is an interesting publication and this month discusses how the Spanish are reacting to the Troika impositions on their government. It is interesting to note that their social housing model was driven in a similar way to our own with tax incentives and to shift landlord provision from the State to private landlords. Homelessness is Spain’s property Bubble, outcome. There is public despair, anger and consolidation into movements seeking housing justice. Ireland must learn now from what is happening in Spain, before our Banks start making decisions to evict those they deem insolvent. We do not want people to be evicted if there are no suitable alternative housing provisions for them and most importantly their families.

In Spain, there are 500 eviction orders each day and these are delivered to households. Since 2007 and there have been 420,000 foreclosures and 220,000 evictions. These are vicious and inhuman impositions especially when you consider that the level of unemployment is now greater than 25% and the country is consumed with massive political scandals. The situation is now worsening because after two years out of work, the unemployment insurance payouts stop and in turn the evictions will rise far higher. In Ireland we focus on our own narrative and drive for housing. We at least up until the 1980’s had a solid provision for social housing where in Spain it differed: There ‘the institutional drive to increase home ownership dates back to the first minister of housing under the Franco dictatorship, Jose Luis, Arrese, who stated in 1957 ‘We want a country of homeowners, not proletarians’. It was the State’s way of avoiding social housing and forcing citizens to comply with a Government imposed sense of being both moral and disciplined citizens.

Ireland you are not alone in the drive for home ownership but you are now a casualty of a crisis about to happen with the banks demanding their loans repaid. Spain too managed to persuade its people with a swipe of the hand to be owners, buying a home became the social norm and as many as 80% of homes in Spain are owner occupied. Near the highest in Europe. These are the people who now refer to themselves as follows ‘We used to be the Middle Class’ and who have established the PAH the Platform for Mortgage Affected People http://roarmag.org/essays/pah-human-right-housing-spain/. Ireland we need to learn from the experience of others and we need to be informed before the decisions to evict are imposed unjustly on our people.

Austerity is not working; yet we know economic growth is essential. There must be a way to create employment; to avoid eviction, to add to the social housing pool of property and to make NAMA more transparent



Subject: X case needs more perspective concerning abuse. Girl only 14 years old forced to become pregnant with donor sperm bought by her mother | UK news | The Guardian. This is the sexual abuse of now perpetrated by a mother. Abortion & abuse of power. This child if suicidal surely would not be deprived her right of choice or any woman http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/apr/28/girl-forced-pregnant-donor-semen?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2
Date: Monday 29th April 12:07:18 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <michelleclarke@upcmail.ie>
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, privateoffice@taoiseach.gov.ie, Clare Daly <Clare.Daly@Oireachtas.ie>, ruairi@labour.ie, alex.white@oireachtas.ie, Clinical Governance <clinicalgovernance@stpatsmail.com>, Dearbhail McDonald <dmcdonald@independent.ie>, Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>

Monday 29th April 2013

Personal view 
Nobody talks about the recklessness which can so often be a feature of a 
bipolar high, prior to voluntary containment in hospital, the loss of 
the sense of reality and the risks taken which can mean pregnancy.  Most 
women who experience bipolar know that they are about the highs, 
the depressions and suicidal thoughts.  
Why impose Fear?  Savita: the doctors needed clarification and it was 
'justice delayed' that invoked the denial that a choice had to be made; 
the fall back was the excuse that Ireland has no legislation, only a 
Supreme Court decision and the medical team unable to take the 'risk' 
because the legislation made such a risk illegal.  Clarification is 
essential. 

We need to recognise that many Irish women for decades now 
go to the UK and prior to this, we need to contextualise back to the 
court case of Mamie Cadden http://www.mercierpress.ie/irish-books/mamie_cadden/  
and the realities of what certain private nursing homes involved.  We also 
need to note the cases of infanticide in the early 19th and 20th century, 
the plight of those confined to the laundries.  Choice within legal 
parameters is essential and a human right for the women often 
children involved.

Michelle Clarke


Subject: May Day is valuation day for property owners in Ireland Inc. – Urban abandonments and dereliction 
Date: Tuesday 30th April 2013 17:20:31 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, Shane.Ross@oireachtas.ie <Shane.Ross@oireachtas.ie>; undisclosed address list

Tuesday 30th April 2013


First and foremost we need to be aware that the Revenue are linked at the hip with this Local Property Tax, so it is advisable to adhere rigidly to the demand, otherwise your file with Revenue will be marked for review and you may be subject to the scrutiny of same.
To those concerned about what to do and who have not received notice from the Revenue, the Sunday Business Post answers most questions and is worth buying. There are a few points worth noting in the context of urging people to make a LPT return within the context of the importance of Ireland Inc (Troika ruled) taking stock of its urban spaces and the desire to stop dereliction in this harsh economic down-turn in our economy.Letters or ROS emails in respect of 1.66 million properties have issued from the Revenue and as many as 300,000 people have already made their LPT returns (as written in the Sunday Business Post April 28th 2013).”Key steps to comply are: YOU assess the valuation band, YOU pick your payment option and YOU file the LPT return”. Clear instructions with the emphasis plainly on “YOU”.Points to understand. The LPT is a self assessment of the valuation of your property which will be accepted by the Revenue provided it is “reasonable”. It is important to note that the valuation you make on May 1st 2013 will be the value that applies up until and including 2016. “This value will hold regardless of improvements, extensions or repairs to your property, or any general increase in property prices during this period”. Exemptions and deferrals are explained on www.revenue.ie.Some will have received “the Letter/Email” but for those who have not, you continue to be liable for the tax and the onus is on you to file your return. Again go to www.revenue.ie and go to the “I have not received a Property pin” tab; or go direct to file online by phoning 1890 200 255. The procedure is really simplified and the message is go digital now especially to those in the greying population because this is your future too.Something that is easy to overlook concerns those who are already on ROS (Revenue Online Serivce) to file your annual tax returns. If this is the case, then your LPT notification has been sent to your “IN” box and you will not receive a letter. Check it out because this is no excuse.What does “self-assessment” really mean? YOU must decide the value of your property, it is not the Revenue who make this valuation. The revenue is not expected to know the details of your house but they do make recommendations as to who you can contact to help you assess the value.
These include:-
(revenue.ie; local Citizens Information centres; property websites; actual sale prices of properties on the priceregister.ie, local newspapers, and estate agents). If you know an apartment, for example near you has sold for say £200,000 in the last 2 years, check it out on priceregister.ie, the sale price should be recorded. These sources help the owner of the property(s) to make a valid self assessment of the value. But, if your property has distinct features eg a balcony; an extension; attic conversion; OR is in ‘a significantly poor state of repair, then you must factor these in when arriving at the self assessed valuation.
The crucible is ‘that once you assess the value of your property, your valuation will be accepted. That’s the way self-assessment works for other taxes and LPT is no different’. Please note: You are not to attach any documents to your self assessment form. The Revenue will make contact with you if there is need to do so. You don’t include correspondence when you claim medical expenses so the same applies for LPT. It is like the times when the motto of the Stockbroker was ‘My word is my bond’. Those who have property must adopt the motto, make the valuation with honour and submit. You pay the assessment amount. The ‘estimate’ amount will only arise when you fail to make the assessment and the Revenue intervene.Two options to pay: Paper (May 7th) or electronically (May 28th). You select your own payment option. It is important to note that if you have more than one property, then you have no alternative but to go digital and now so May 28th is the day to register the valuations on all your properties and it is electronically. Payment methods (presumably) by now you will have access to.Compliance: There are no real options apart from limited criteria that apply to deferral. The Revenue “Estimate” will be pursued ‘using the usual range of Revenue powers and mandatory deduction at source from salaries. A surcharge will apply. For those in mortgage arrears and who are considering not making the LPT payment, think hard, because you may not receive the tax clearance certificate you need to continue in employment eg a person with a taxi for instance. ‘The impact of our compliance programme will be begin to be felt in JULY when deduction at source begins. Also at this time a risk-based compliance programme relating to valuations will be in place.And one more point, for those who have not paid the household charge arrears SNAP. They have you.For all property owners and so many categories as mentioned on this Urban Abandonments and derelictions site, tomorrow is the day for valuation. We have apartment owners who question whether they should pay because they are effectively leaseholders and pay excessive management fees, we have people displaced from Priory Hall because of non compliance by the builders, we have many owners of pre-63 units in Georgian/Victorian houses who may be completely outside the tax net but who are now forced to be compliant with regulations; we have those in Buy-to-lets and facing the Banks termination clauses; we have those in negative equity and in mortgage arrears who are self-employed but need the tax cert; then we have the new landlords like Kennedy Wilson and others who are buying up blocks of apartments; presumably these then become commercial enterprises so a tax of a different nature applies. The undertaking by Government and Revenue is of mammoth proportions to make people in Ireland tax compliant via digital going forward.If as suggested in earlier postings that this is in effect a data mining process, it could be that payment date of July provides an option for people in genuine financial hardship to be allowed more reasonable grounds for deferred payment eg on sale of property.Spare a thought for all who own property tomorrow and give recognition to those who are in the lucky position that they can and are willing to pay this property tax but also spare a thought for those who are that new generation suffocated by negative equity and mortgage arrears outcome of the post Celtic Tiger.For those still in limbo, these exemptions may apply!Residential properties owned by charities and public bodies
Nursing homes
Mobile homes or vessels
Properties fully subject to commercial rates
Diplomatic propertiesA deferral is not a waiver, tax is payable eventually.



Subject: Most Irish people wish the Germans would stop funding overpaid Irish Public Sector by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Trade Unions and Integrity: Waste in public sector needs attention rather than STRIKES
Date: Saturday 11th May 2013 17:48:55 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie, Eoghan Murphy <Eoghan.Murphy@Oireachtas.ie>, Frances.Fitzgerald@oireachtas.ie, gary.culliton@imt.ie, growingup@esri.ie, hmfitzpa@tcd.ie <hmfitzpa@tcd.ie> et al

Saturday 11th May 2013


‘Most Irish people wish the Germans would stop funding overpaid Irish Public Sector. Parasites’ by Unemployed, (Citizen Journalism site contributor) raises many questions. What really initially comes to mind is Bus Eireann and the strike tomorrow Sunday and the fact that the powers that be have facilitated the main executive of the company to move between Ireland and Dubai? How? Why? When? It is supposed to be one year ago? Why have the trade unions not tackled management about this absolute farce? How could a company be expected to cover the huge deficits, let alone be on a potential path to profitability? Unemployed, you are right about the public sector but the trade unions are their allies and are busy playing the game of running with hounds and hunting with the elites. We cannot expect the Troika to facilitate us further until they become satisfied that our public sector is streamlined and effective in accordance with Germany, the lead player.
Over £1 billion excess a month is the debt to Ireland Inc and rising fast ie in real terms when interest is basically compounding on existing debt http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland. The balance sheet on the income side is drawing from all initiatives especially the 2013 Gathering and yet the “short-termism” prevails and the trade unions are to the fore with their sabotage tactics of ‘hit the tourists’ and that will make the Government respond! So simple yet so complex. The fact is the waste factor in public sector must be identified and expunged because if this does not happen, income, earnings, investments contributed by potential ‘Robin Hoods’ will only be paid into a big black hole with little or no value to Ireland. Tax evasion or the milder form of tax avoidance will be up for mention at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh. Well done Minister for Social Protection (a Chartered Accountant, by profession) for being the first Cabinet Minister in Ireland to have the courage, the ethics, the morality and integrity to highlight U2’s decision to move its ‘publishing arm to the Netherlands – as part of an attack on the “scandal” of tax avoidance’. This took place in 2006 and yet the plain people of Ireland fail to ask if there is not an element of hipocrisy that U2 and so many others could reduce their level of loyalty to Ireland for a few ‘lousy bucks’? What arguments can they put forward? These ‘Artists’ are not the like of Starbucks or Google who are attracted to Ireland specifically related to tax breaks but who create jobs, because mainly we speak English, we are members of the EU and our population are educated (at least to date anyway). U2 like so many other artists were cushioned to their Fame Status by the infrastructure of Ireland Inc and the tax breaks introduced by Charles J Haughey RIP – former Fianna Fail Taoiseach and minister to several portfolios. The later decision to cap the exemption at £250,000 saw the decision by U2 to move to the Netherlands and since this deep economic crisis in Ireland, they have not sought to return to our Exchequer! Shame on all who flew the coup. Redeem yourselves and pay tax in Ireland. Ireland is in dire need of some ‘Robin Hood’ characters who will willingly contribute but we cannot expect this to happen unless our ‘cloth is cut to measure’ and our home grown artists, entrepreneurs, Forbes Wealth list people, have the integrity to contribute to the Irish exchequer and not some foreign tax haven which ensures that they have effective tax rates ranging from nil to 4%. This is where our overly indulged trade unions need to interact. These tax exiles, like the Troika, want to see value for money in the public sector and particularly the HSE and this is about making the parasites pro-active in the recovery of Ireland Inc. It is time for transparency and a moral compass. Well said Minister Burton. It is time that the agenda of the G8 summit to be held in Co. Fermanagh next month will be focusing on ‘considering the issue of “exceptionally aggressive” tax avoidance and tax planning’. Michelle Clarke (Comyn)


Subject: Game of Chess
Date: Monday 13th May 2013 18:00:23 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, roisin.shorthall@oireachtas.ie, Provost <provost@tcd.ie>, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie, Charles Normand <normandc@tcd.ie>, neilmru@tcd.ie, Micheline Egan <micheline.egan@headstrong.ie>, kathleen.lynch@oireachtas.ie <kathleen.lynch@oireachtas.ie>, James Reilly <james.reilly@oireachtas.ie>, jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, brian.hayes@oir.ie et al

Monday 13th May 2013


It is the Government that is the main player. They now determine what the urban community is about, that office space that is now delinquent and lying idle while the businesses which established themselves based on the customers, are now thrown to the wind and are going to the wall financially. People need to become cogniscent of their towns, villages, cities and sub-divide them into the communities that make people interested from within. Take the example of Upper Baggot Street Village.
The Royal City of Dublin https://canisgallicus.wordpress.com/…/royal-city-of-dublin-hospital-for-sale-war-mem… hospital established in the 19th century was a major employer at one time but now stands basically stripped and uncared for. The potential is massive. What it really needs is a person in private enterprise to see its potential and then for them to enter into a public private partnership with the State and make it a hub again. I would suggest the like of Boots (Pharmaceutical) or for that matter, a local called Mr Denis O’Brien, and ask them to team up with those assigned to the proposed project to make the portion of the hospital on Haddington Road a primary care centre. There is an urgent need to enter a more creative realm of medicine to help people with mental health problems, drug addiction, ageing, even ABI’s and early dementias and restore this hospital into a museum attributed to medicine in a way that provides an alternative healthcare facility for the more vulnerable members of society, especially those affected by ill-health. We need to look at the history here and the centenary of the Rising now just over two years away. Upper Baggot Street Village has recently lost the offices of IBM, many of the staff at FAS have moved on, staff at Baggot Street Community hospital as well as many residents especially those who have lived for decades in the pre-1963 Georgian bedsits which must comply with the new legislation – our businesses in this historic location, are suffering and change must be fostered now. Who is prepared to intervene? This is a proto-type that can be nurtured and inspire similar communities throughout Ireland. We need to look at what we have, the history, the advantages, and remove a lot of the pessimism and fear. Brian Hayes, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works in his article in the Independent on 9th May 2013 about the OPW undertaking major rationalisation of its ‘large and diverse portfolio of properties across the country in order to reduce Government spending on office accommodation, could perhaps intervene. This is indeed much needed in the battle against waste and surplus to requirement. However, while optimising space to help staff deliver services, there is a need to be creative to make available the vacant space that will in time become an eyesore. These buildings left vacant are not a source of rates to the local community, they are a cost that increases over time. The time is now to be pro-active and not allow urban decay to embed itself. Create urban villages. Get people focused and neighbourly. Let the day workers interact with the residents (it is time to return to the culture of the pubs) and lets tackle this ever deepening recession from the grassroots up. If we do this, we can put pressure on the Troika to ‘write down’ a portion of the debt. The truth is that It is denial and dissociation that has set in and people aren’t grasping that ‘write down of debt’ becomes a necessity at times.
By Michelle Clarke


Subject: 200 ghost estates to be knocked to the ground
Date: Wednesday 15th May 2013 18:17:17 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, Clare Finglas <cfinglas@riai.ie>, Dymphna Moore <D.Moore@ria.ie>, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie, envirocentre@enterprise-ireland.com, jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, joan.burton@oireachtas.ie <joan.burton@oireachtas.ie>, Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, philip.hogan@oireachtas.ie

Wednesday 15th May 2013

6 years on and at last Jan O’Sullivan (Minister related to Housing) and her department recognise that certain estates are a hazard to society and they are to be bull-dozed. Let this be an opportunity to remove people from the unemployment register and create a learning curve for them about construction to destruction. This is the pathway for them to enter into the much needed renovation market that recent legislation has created aimed at eradicating the bed-sit flat without bathroom and other housing projects like Priory Hall that will have to comply with legislation also. It’s time for the FAS renamed Solus to get into scrub up mode and prepare people for the economic cycles that housing demand creates. They need to research how ANCO http://www.rte.ie/archives/2014/0528/620190-learning-for-life-with-anco/ used to work, forget the £1 bn it takes to run their Office, stop the junkets and get to creating work for people. Unemployment among the young people has lasting effects on their mental health; so we really need to get focused and now on how to create markets that create work for people.

At last the separation of powers kicks into play and the rental sector becomes disentangled from harsh realities of upward only rent reviews. Towns, villages, urban villages, like Upper Baggot Street Village have witnessed casualty after casualty being pushed out of business leaving vacant spaces with to let and for sale signs with little or no hope for occupation for possibly years. This destroys the character of the urban space and ultimately smothers the soul of the people who occupy such spaces which are in real terms communities.

Dunnes Stores like Campbell catering, such long-timer contributors and employers in our country, have challenged the landlords through the court system and well done. Now it is time for the small businesses, the hairdressers, the shops, the pubs, in our urban villages to grasp the nettle and put pressure on landlords, particularly those who are decades in ownership, to cut the rents and in line with the decision of Civil Court Judge Jacqueline Linnane. It is time for the business owners to take heart and make a stand against unfair, inequitable, unjust rent agreements that are stifling their profitability and forcing them towards bankruptcy. Austerity can be assuaged by a reduction in rents and this will create spending locally and all that it is needed is spending and more humane interaction. Each of us has a duty to the community we live in to ensure that employment is a key component and facilitated by all.

No doubt the banks will be disappointed by the Court award precedent to cut certain rents by 50% because this is their business. But frankly the Banks have been adopting bullying tactics in relation to customers. They pay insufficient interest to the people who keep deposits, they charge for accounts, for transactions and they have removed the friendly face from the local banks. They are playing the roll over staff policy to stop the interconnectivity that our communities need, especially now.

The time is now as the Courts tackle the Justice issue and for people to alert themselves and to start asking landlords to cut rents to a sufficient level that businesses can continue to operate, create spending and in turn at grassroots create the much needed economic growth that Ireland needs. Many of the properties are “Namatised” and NAMA is one of the biggest landlords in this country now and they are earning enough at the cost of those at grassroots trying to create economic activity.

Take heed of what B&Q (DIY) giant, Pamela Scott in Grafton Street, Campbells and Bewley’s have successfully achieved through the courts system. Judge Jacqueline Linnane ‘yesterday ordered a 35% reduction in the rent paid to Layden Properties in George’s Street Limited for 10,500 sq ft of retail space in the company’s store and head office in George’s Street in Central Dublin’. For the small business person this is the beginning and it is now time to let the dice roll and start asking for fair rents. It is also worth noting that ancillary office space and storage areas…was also reduced by 50% ie £15 to £7.50 per square foot and £10 to £5 respectively.

Judge Linnane went on to say and this is worth grasping that:-

“The economy is in recession, there is a high rate of unemployment and there has been a fall in retail sales and a decline in consumer spending”

…..Now listen to what the Judge says …. it is the Judge in this case that knows the basic economics!

It is worth taking a visual appraisal of what the experts for Dunnes Stores valued at £225,600 as the rent per year BUT the Landlord’s experts claimed it should be £717,000 per annum. It is time to say NO …. it is time for FAIR RENTS.

Urban abandonments and dereliction need to be challenged. 

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: No Fixity of Tenure because commercial rents are unfair
Date: Saturday 18th May 2013 22:25:52 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed address list

Saturday 18th May 2013

‘It is worth taking a visual appraisal of what the experts for Dunnes Stores valued at £225,600 as the rent per year BUT the Landlord’s experts claimed it should be £717,000 per annum. It is time to say NO …. it is time for FAIR RENTS’

….but what we really need to recall here is that this is about the people who can afford to resort to the courts (for civil related matters); what about the small business person to be found throughout this country who are stand alone’s and struggling day to day with a question whether their business will survive another week of this damning economic depression. People remain apathetic in Ireland – Why? Segregation used to apply to religion in this country – you were either Catholic or Protestant but now we have a new kind of segregation and that is individualism and this is the rock on which small businesses will perish.

We have to return to community/neighbourhood involvement. Hard times can only be overcome by people forming into collectives and communities.   Upper Baggot Street Village is often referred to in these postings so just let’s take its character and add to it the individiuals who must be struggling to remain in business. We need to take account that a variety of rents apply to such businesses but by standing alone there is no real impetus that can be placed on Government or by the courts as in the Dunnes Stores successful case for the ordinary punter trying to make a living. Who cares about them? We know at gut level that the rents that apply to these small businesses are grossly unfair and we know that they pay penal rates also. We are facilitating an Exchequer to attempt to get blood from a stone. We need urgent common sense.

Next time you visit your local village; engage with a little curiosity. If as has happened in Upper Baggot Street Village, buildings have been vacated like the FAS Office, Baggot Street Community Hospital, the Golden Pages, and then reduced staff in say the banks, and other businesses, it is time to ask if these people are being punished by the rent they have to pay, the rates they have to pay, the water rates, the insurance. The fixed costs of each business compares to what income is to the home. These people need to make cut-backs but they can’t because power in entities, be they landlords or Government via commercial rates are fixed until they can no longer make ends meet.

FAIR RENTS – FAIR RATES ensures Fixity of Tenure and creation of local market spaces which in turn leads to community and it is collectivism not individualism that will help Ireland return to economic growth.

Today Lansdowne invites the French and there is a taste of what it business used to be like. Let’s take the reminder and work to sustain our communities.


Subject: Another media source ‘cup runs dry’, Freedom of speech/expression
Date: Tuesday 21st May 2013 17:07:06 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed address list
Tuesday 21st May 2013

But there is another citizen journalism that continues in Ireland and it is time for acknowledgement of open publishing as a component structure that involves the Rule of Law, democracy, and the importance of connectivity among people at grassroots level who can access this form of media but in a collective way. People are free to use a variety of sources from internet cafes to libraries to their homes systems. It just takes a little bit of giving of time, and an interest in the society we live in.

Today’s Independent reports that the ‘NAMAwinelake cup runs dry’. Like another citizen journalism site (but a far shorter time in existence) this anonymous but highly ‘influential’ site bites the dust. All of those who called themselves ‘NAMA watchers’ now need to look elsewhere and where better but to check out other Irish citizen journalism sites; search and start from now on how to create a new dialogue on Ireland’s greatest monopoly of property divestiture from the bankrupted Celtic Tiger developer delinquents and the inherent power that goes with the privilege that monopoly and state funds can create. They say the ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ and we need to keep watching and reporting.

NAMAwinelake http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/ quite rightly is described as a ‘labour of love’. It concerned the web documenting of everything concerned with NAMA. Three and half years it has existed with as many as 2,700 separate articles posted on their website. What a shame that we must say good bye to this form of citizen journalism in a country whose press media is shriveling and becoming more and more focused under the control of new elites who want to excel in their control of the print media. Ireland must open up the avenues to citizen journalism and dissuade the paid journalists from feeling challenged by it. We need that diversity especially now.

‘NWL – as it became known to the aficionados – was notoriously dismissive of what they called the “old media” and happy to have frequent pops at named journalists……’. NWL became a great source of interest for all kinds of people, from the investor, to reporters, to ordinary punters, and even politicians (if the truth is known) – in fact anyone interested in NAMA ‘ since the toxic debt agency, shiny-faced asset manager was set up’.

The good news is that the Archive remains and includes the posts and the comments. Therefore it becomes a feature in time that is a valuable resource thanks to the anonymous people go gave of their time, their resources, their education, their social commitment and so much more to keep the plain people of Ireland and beyond informed. This is a sad loss to citizen journalism.

However, they suggest there is a Book on the way.

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: Confusion and too much discussion Abortion & legislation of X case
Date: Wednesday 22nd May 2013 17:13:31 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen journalism site; undisclosed address list

Wednesday 22nd May 2013

Take a position – you hold with the decision of the X case or you do not but at all times please exercise humanity for the mother who carries the child and if mental health issues apply, please acknowledge  Mother’s right to decide.

Consider today’s Irish Times article. ‘Suicidal woman allowed to get abortion’

In the UK, the Judge says that ‘a woman cannot be barred from abortion even “if mentally unwell”‘ As the Irish bill on mental capacity is yet to be introduced, it greatly surprises me that in the constant debate about suicide in Ireland presently, that not much attention is given to the issue of ‘mental capacity’ and the person’s right to have or not have a child.

Mark Hennessy, the London Editor of the Irish Times reports:-

A woman who is mentally ill and who states ‘she will commit suicide if forced to continue with a pregnancy, CANNOT BE BARRED FROM HAVING AN ABORTION…..’ A judge in London has ruled.

Let us take perspective urgently here in Ireland based on this…..’the woman, who is mentally ill, cannot be prevented from making the choice to have an abortion….’ Surely, this is a basic human right that people in Ireland need to grasp before this legislation is passed. The X case has existed for 20 years now and should be enacted in legislation. The Church ought to stand ashamed for their threats to excommunicate members of our Government who fail to adhere to their CREDO. Times thankfully have changed.

The Judgment (9 pm last night) was granted quickly taking account of the 24 week bar to abortion limits on pregnancy. Mr. Justice Holman said ‘It had to be established that the woman, who suffers from bipolar disorder, lacks the mental capacity before she could be stopped by the courts, even though he accepted that she is “mentally unwell”. In Ireland we need to note this Judgment on behalf of the many women with neuro-psychiatric implications who may become pregnant and need to make choices based on their life circumstances. Judge Holman went on to say that “Under the law, the woman is entitled to make a decision “WHICH MAY BE UNWISE” OR WITH WHICH OTHERS DISAGREE “INCLUDING MYSELF” if she is shown to have enough capacity to know her own mind……’

The psychiatrists in this case tried to state that the woman did not have the mental capacity because of her mental health problems eg bipolar, with paranoia and other problems. The psychiatrists put forward that in time the woman could regret the choice of abortion and would prefer to have sent the child forward for adoption but the Judge listened to the woman and acknowledged her capacity and right to choose in the circumstances.

The woman spoke and she said “I want it (the abortion as many with mental health problems can and will say) more than ever. In the situation that I am in, (8 years with bipolar and complications informs you of your circumstances), the idea of me having a baby is crazy’, she said, before insisting she wanted to part from her husband and her mother and “start a new life”. The woman acknowledged that choosing an abortion was not taken lightly but also said that she had no regrets relating to an abortion she had chosen to have 18 months earlier. Her regrets were that she became pregnant. The other point to note is that the father was not her husband.

This case is worth reading.

Mental health and anxiety are stigmatised and it is an elite group of people who make judgments in Ireland to intervene and bully vulnerable people. We need to first deal with the stigma and mental health before we start threatening to imprison our medical profession to 14 years for making a decision to facilitate an abortion in Ireland in line with the X Case

Hippocrates says: ‘Do No Harm’. Remember this is a paradox. For a woman making a decision to have an abortion because she lives with neuro-psychiatric complications…the doctor who understands her situation making a decision to carry out an abortion is alleviating harm to the woman who basically feels she would not be able to cope. Mental health is a life long sentence and choice is essential – it does not take those self-made God-like psychiatrists and the likes of the Iona Institute or Opus Dei for that matter to make the decision that the woman has no right to choose. 

By Michelle Clarke


Subject: Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case, by Excerpt: citizen journalism source on request
Date: Friday 24th May 2013 17:38:33 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, ASenkara@amnesty.ie <ASenkara@amnesty.ie>, Clinical Governance <clinicalgovernance@stpatsmail.com>, dan.neville@oireachtas.ie, James Reilly <james.reilly@oireachtas.ie>, John.Crown@oireachtas.ie, jsaunders@shineonline.ie, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie, Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>

“Lobby your TDs on the immediate need for legislation to give effect to the X case”

Where are the people? What have they to say to Elric who wrote in November 2012 and those who wrote the recent posting on a citizen journalism site? The hot potato called Abortion is causing dissent and anger but the realities of those who should have a right to make a decision, especially when it concerns mental health and a potential suicide is blatantly ignored. Certain politicians are being sent hate mail by diehards and yet too many people lack the moral compass to participate in the debate especially in the light of the “Savita” travesty of justice. Legislate the X case into law is the nub. Google the recent article by Dearbhail McDonald, legal editor, the Independent. Retired Judge Catherine McGuinness, said on the final days of the Oireachtas committee hearing ‘that most women will travel abroad for a termination rather than apply to secure a termination under the Protection of Life Pregnancy bill’. Shame on us. Why the silence in the Irish Media about the recent decision in the UK, as stated in my earlier posting?

Mrs Justice McGuinness also said that it was “disappointing” that the proposed definition of the unborn does not cover the foetus incapable of independent life. Add to this that Dr Ruth Fletcher, Director of the Research Centre for Law Ethics and Society at the Keele university in the UK who said that ‘the legislature needed to exclude from the proposed definition of the unborn, foetuses with lethal abnormalities that would not have an independent life’. She further emphasised this point by saying “Foetuses are the bearers of biological life and future persons, but this is not the same kind of life as that of a breathing, feeling, thinking women”.

Are people aware that the Pro Life campaign have significant media clout and people like Barrister William Binchy hold the view that ‘there was no obligation on the Oireachtas to legislate for the X case, when he described it as a “wrong decision”. This is a barrister saying that the Supreme Court decision is basically wrong! It is necessary for us to consider the suicides which have happened in Ireland where a mother can cope no longer and not only takes her life but is often so depressed that she sees no option worthwhile in leaving her children alive, so makes the decision to end all lives.

Raped or incest. Check out Cardinal Meisner for his view.  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-catholic-rape-idUSBRE9130MP20130204



Subject: Hatch Street, D2, once an exclusive private nursing home now for Asylum seekers
Date: Saturday 25th May 2013 18:51:58 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed list and citizen journalism site
Saturday 25th May 2013

But what about buildings that are both architecturally splendid, in prime locations, close by to the National concert hall that are now home to asylum seekers, men, women, children who have become teenagers and older. They are positioned like an oasis but in a desert because these people are housed here and forgotten about. The Irish Times article written by Patrick Freyne titled ‘Refugees endure mind-numbing tedium, insecurity and over-crowding’ needs to be read and merits the attention of the contributors to the citizen journalism site writing about Urban abandonments and dereliction to record how a ‘forgotten people’ can be housed on our shores with many questions unanswered.

Hatch Street private nursing home 1958 was often accompanied by a notice in the Irish Times to say a child was born to a family. Shamefully now it is another kind of home to young asylum children and from the article many of them live in an environment of fear – fear to go to the bathroom at night thereby necessitating a ‘pot’ for their needs. For the people of Ireland, we need to be asking questions now about these ‘behind the walls’ architectural significant buildings, in prime locations?. Who owns them? What rent do our Government agencies pay to the owners/landlords each year? Is it upward only rental that applies? Does the Government authority pay way above the odds for the provision of this accommodation for asylum seeker families with the attitude of who cares about refurbishment, just keep them quiet and hidden? The Irish Times article shows pictures of near squalid conditions behind the walls. Is this acceptable at a time that our religious orders are being made stand accountable and transparent for the shameful practices of the Magdalen Laundries and other such horror stories relating to poor peoples’ lives?

Hatch Street is neither abandoned or derelict but the lives of the asylum seekers housed here is both about abandonment and dereliction but in this case it is the dereliction of duty by the State. Destitution and forgotten about at a time that our unemployment rate soars and people are faced with eviction from their homes due to the economic crisis, does not mean that we should forget the people who seek asylum in Ireland. Africa Day is near. These people are asked to live in one of the most elitist areas in Dublin in a property that from the outside is outstanding on £19.10 per week (£9.60 for children) – they are not allowed either to work or study. They are subject to be moved or even be deported at short notice. These people come from the Congo (war at its worst prevails eg Kony), Cameroon, Afghanistan. People share rooms. Many are educated.

The structure on the outside far from what resembles within. Money is the strong determinant of keeping vulnerable people like asylum seekers hidden away. The money is the rent paid most probably at the height of the Celtic Tiger to often absentee landlords, moving upwards only, with no obligations to improve the conditions in which people live.

If this applies to asylum seekers, it also applies to the homeless. Beware of the creation of industries that pay landlords at the expense of those made vulnerable by a society without a moral compass.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)



 

Subject: Eviction (source on request)
Date: Sunday 26th May 2013 18:23:18 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed list; citizen journalism response


Sunday 26th May 2013

We need more postings like this one from Joe. Apathy perplexes our population and the haze needs clarity if people are to understand their basic legal rights in relation to their family home, in the wake of more changes in the law going forward.

The law of the land today so easily states remedies supposedly for the common good. If you fail to pay your property tax on a self assessment value basis, a fine of £5,000 applies or prison. If you fail to comply with law brought in February relating to mainly pre-1963 bedsit type houses, the landlord will be fined, or sent to prison. Clarity in the law exists as the data mining http://watson.analytics.ibmcloud.com/‎ exercise is enriched by the registration of all people connected in anyway to owning a property in Ireland. This is modern day cartography http://www.britannica.com/science/cartography and for those who aim to remain outside the net, it looks as if you are on the losing side because the Revenue is the enforcer and we all know the power that exists there. Meantime instead of selling off apartments as independent units, we have a new marketing mantra – Multi-family investment opportunities. http://www.kennedywilson.com › Investments. International buyers are attracted to these developments, so much discounted from Celtic Tiger prices, that they are being bought up swiftly. However, what about the cross over. First do these new owners pay a once off property tax charge (significantly discounted) in respect of the people who will take leases out and occupy these buildings?

More importantly, what about the people who live throughout the city of Dublin and Ireland in the antiquated houses which since February this year are no longer compliant with the law and will need to be vacated for the landlords/owners to carry out the necessary renovations to comply with the law. Many of these people have lived in these homes for decades, are often in receipt of rent allowance and are now shivering in their shoes as the landlords tell them – Goodbye – you own nothing and we don’t have to make any provisions for you. Who cares for these people? Where will they be on the housing list? These are a needy group of people very close indeed to the bottom rung of the ladder. Will the Government speak up for them and ask these new landlords of apartment complexes to give them first call. I hope so – there are stories of heartbreak all over Dublin in particular where people do not know if they will have a home by next week. We hear nothing about compensation being made to these people or services provided to ensure their transition to their new apartments!

Then as detailed above we have over 100,000 people in mortgage arrears with properties discounted by near 70% in some cases. In Spain, Greece, Portugal, there is a change in family structure as the banks exercise their rights and evict people and those who do not commit suicide or become homeless, return to the homes of their parents with all the distress that goes with making such a move.

Quite rightly, the originator of this topic states that the ‘Land League founder Michael Davitt wrote about how in the 19th century “eviction was the law of the land”. Today the parasitic landlord class has been replaced by the equally parasitic banking class, whose members act according to actual rather than “moral law” . They consider properties occupied by defaulting mortgage holders to belong to lenders by right of law . From a legal standpoint they are correct. Under such circumstances successful resistance to evictions must inevitably mean defiance of the law.

Ireland is on the brink of being totally morally bankrupt in relation to people and their property entitlements – all because in a snapshot of time when the elites await a little ‘controlled inflation’ to devalue property or that ‘write-down in the value of debt’ we surely deserve by now so that they can once more swoop in and create their wealth portfolios. Markets are markets but morality is a choice and the time for introspection and correction is now.

Eviction has always occurred but now the loophole is closed to many more people, particularly those 2 years and over 90 days in arrears are daily awaiting phone calls, the post, or even the judgment and its fear at its worst that will cripple this economy.

A warning ….. many people face the Spanish Inquisition of the Personal Insolvency Practitioner (‘PIP’) with the guidelines as documented by the Department of Justice team. Again the law states £10,000 fine or prison but be warned about what happens if you opt to become a bankrupt in the UK and your breach the law:

Shane Hickey reports from London….
‘UK punishes Irish bankruptcy cheats’. Check up the cases of Patrick Gerard Byrne and Martin Doran ‘who have been told they must spend nine and seven years in bankruptcy – instead of the usual 12 months – after they were found to have been trying to “put the money beyond the reach of the creditors”.
1 year financial purgatory is swapped for their choice of being just too smart and trying to outwit the law and more important the moral compass that should guide people in this world. For those particularly stressed by what lies ahead now with eviction, tread softly when you make a statement of your needs and assets. The same goes when you are getting divorced. 
By Michelle Clarke


Subject: Metro Herald. You might be interested in this connection. The article by Lainey Quinn was excellent. Regards Michelle Clarke
Date: Monday 27th May 2013 21:18:21 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Metro Herald http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Herald
Monday 27th May 2013

We need a little cross fertilisation on this site. Well done Lainey Quinn, a 23 year old Dubliner who has written a gem about our City’s derelict landmarks in news@metroherald.ie.

Apathy creeps up slowly and suddenly a building fades into the landscape and becomes derelict. How do we stop the process, in particular, where the buildings represent the soul of our society and deserve saving? This can include the boarding up of houses in Moyross in Limerick to the neglect of the former landmark Baggot Street Community hospital once known as the (Royal City of Dublin) hospital. Too easy it is to blame the recession and allow this potential dereliction take over.

Lainey Quinn started off just taking photos, as so many tourists do when they visit Ireland, and she began to value the historical nuances and as often is the case, their historical architectural attributes of the City’s many historical but derelict landmarks.

Shame on us this year of the Gathering 2013. How many emigrants took the boats from Dun Laoghaire decades ago, who now will once more visit. Well done to Lainey’s photo in Monday’s Metro Herald (May 27th 2013) because we now know what they will see and shame on us, (especially at a time when endeavour should create markets), is a shameful grafitti covered Dun Laoghaire baths …. these baths were built over 170 years ago. They offered then what people would want now if it was properly marketed to them, the sea, with fresh water, a choice of hot or cold water, sulphur and seaweed baths. They say Dun Laoghaire and Rathdown Co Council are trying to re-develop this remnants of historical times but excuses prevail and opportunities of retaining infra-structure with potential to create employment, tourism promotion, facilities for Dublin in its entirety, are snarled up in the red tape of pure bureaucracy and non decision. Where is the momentum? The opportunity exists because the labour is cheap and abundant so time to upskill in a positive way by using state funds overpaid to entities like the Office of Public works and the other relevant semi-state over pampered bodies.

2016 and the anniversary of the Rising is imminent. The photo of the wheels to Bolands Mill which was built in the 1830’s and which operated as a commercial mill for over 100 years, forms a significant part of the history that changed Ireland into a Republic. It is now that these near derelict locations written into our history can be preserved and used to promote peace instead of war, as they stand as monuments to the origins of our Republic. Lainey’s photo of the Been and Gun: the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park http://www.phoenixpark.ie › Visitor Information, was built in 1735 and it combines the history of colonial Ireland and potential Republic Ireland. Why, because it was used as a store of the Irish Army’s guns during the 1916 Rising. What an opportunity to upskill young people who are on the dole queues or in St. Patrick’s Institution for young offenders.

Richmond Mental Asylum or Grangegorman http://www.grangegorman.ie/Archive.html which was opened in 1814 is the source of another kind of history that we need a reminder of. It is about the lunacy act, mental health and vulnerable people then and now. We need to be reminded because we need to remain learned about mental health and why the stigma applies. The photo taken by Lainey of the grate impinges sharply about hardship and abandonment of people who were different. The unkempt pile of blankets in the rooms is a record of what happened to people, all over Europe, as well as Ireland in these asylums. The teddy bear covered in moss from Grangegorman is poignant and should find its way to a museum. Baggot Street Hospital is in need of a make-over, maybe we could have a proper medical museum which would aim to de-stigmatise mental health. Soon Grangegorman will be subsumed into a new identity and creation with third level education being the major provider.

Lainey’s article is worth reading. The photos should be added to this posting but how is up to someone else!. Awareness will create motivation and the time is now to be creative.



Subject: Vacant “NAMATISED” properties & Waste Citizen journalism source on request
Date: Friday 31st May 2013 18:37:17 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke (Blake)
To: Undisclosed address list; citizen journalism site

Friday 31st May 2013

Remittances from America and UK in the 1930’s time of near economic devastation in the newly formed Republic of Ireland gave Ireland the opportunity to be a competitor in world markets and ultimately enabled it to join the EEC in 1973. The remittances, previously referred to, of £500 million by Nigerians in 2012 to Nigeria, is a similar process. In most cases, we can presume that the “Bilderbergers” and Shell oil company magnets are the wealth owners, and the remittances that emanate from Ireland create enterprise for those who live in absolute poverty in Nigeria and in so many African countries. Sadly, the timing for the sending of such remittances and those we are not informed about is disturbing because we are experiencing poverty of different parameters, but poverty all the same. NAMA is our State toxic assets agency and we have plenty of property for sale. Recently NAMA has been successful with its holding of distressed property stock in the UK and gains have been made. They are less successful in Ireland. We know that more people than ever exist on the social housing list, we know that the banks will be foreclosing soon on delinquent borrowers, we know that the sanitary standards of most pre-63 Georgian/Victorian houses in bedsits no longer comply with legislation, so it is not unreal to assume that the housing stock in NAMA is needed not in the future but yesterday. What has happened? Its those awful words again ‘managerial and bureaucracy’ that President Michael D. Higgins used in his recent speech in Kilkenny.

Apparently as many as 2,000 properties offered by the State’s toxic assets agency are not suitable and have been turned down! They say NAMA ‘is dragging its feet’ to hand over houses for social housing. However, Brendan McDonagh, Chief Executive in NAMA refutes this and claims that as many as 4,200 homes were offered to local authorities and homeless charities and half of these were rejected. 2008 was the time of the financial crisis; by 2010 NAMA was in place and the blatant need of property for people without access to homes is rising rapidly so why is it that NAMA and the local authorities/charities are prancing around, basically leaving properties vacant while there are people in real need.

Surely the local authorities and charities need the stock, full stop. The excuse is they are looking mainly for one bedroom apartments but Focus Ireland and other co-operatives are ahead of the posse and have taken up this stock and well done to them. Mr McDonagh, Chief Executive, at the launch of NAMA’s annual report recently said that ‘properties they had offered had been frequently turned down because authorities said they were unsuitable and in the wrong areas – “We can bring a horse to water, we can make the units available and say this is what we have, but the local authorities and the approved housing bodies have to decide what they want’. McDonagh added that NAMA were not in the position to commit money to finish off certain developments and there is an urgent need for local authorities or housing bodies to sign the necessary agreements to lease them. This delay is unforgiveable. Finishing off estates, apartment complexes should be well completed by now and people living in homes provided by the State. Waste not should be want not and bureaucracy is not acceptable. NAMA will be the winner here and you may ask why because the private equity bidders are circling and they are purchasing blocks of apartments and it will be their decision who to let apartments to.

Don’t forget the lost generation of people who worked in the civil service or worked in the large department stores who came to Dublin and lived in flats in Rathmines, Ranelagh, Phibsboro, Ballybough. Take a look at these shabby houses that have been homes for many for decades now and ask who is going to help them live out their retirement? These people are not yet on the social housing list and probably know little about same but they exist often getting housing allowance for sub-standard unregulated shameful accommodation and live a meagre existence on disability or pensions. These people following the legislation in February 2013 to upgrade sanitary provisions for bedsits/rooms will be without homes and it is these people who become one step away from homelessness.

We need housing stock assessed and occupied because ghost estates, empty apartment blocks will ultimately have to be destroyed or will be bought at knock down prices by private equity companies from abroad with an eye for investment returns ie asset value and income.

For people interested in the history of Ireland over the decade 1913 to 2013 should look at http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland Slums, infanticide, poverty…. let us not lose what we have gathered.

By Michelle Clarke



Date: Thursday 6th June 2013 18:50:01 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed address list; Citizen Journalism site
Thursday 6th June 2013
Spread of topics; Citizen Journalism site carving out its niche

Great debate these days at grassroots journalism and the fears of November 2012 fade deep into the distance.

The National Union of Journalists are hosting the 28th International Federation of Journalists world conference in Dublin this week. President Michael D. Higgins opened the conference with the strong words that it is “a time for reminding ourselves of the obligation to ensure and support press freedom around the world”. Press freedom is about reform, making changes, abiding by the Rule of Law, tackling corruption, ending cronyism and creating democracies, reminding governments about the separation of powers; the checks and balances that should apply.

Freedom of the press also is about the public good, about the personal safety of those journalists who report without fear working and reporting from high risk war zones even to the extent of losing their lives and for over a decade now a grassroots citizen journalism site in Ireland has made a significant contribution, even one could say, ahead of its time. Citizen journalism is contested because of fear of those in commercial media but it is necessary to create the competitive advantages associated with discourse from grassroots. The internet, the twitter, social media have made possible interactions between people beyond national borders and creates new possibilities to foster better human rights practices world wide.

President Michael D. Higgins subtlety but rightly so draws our attention to ownership of the media and the power vested therein. He said that “concentration of power of owners, cross-ownership, advertisers’ pressure or even from the reticence of journalists to challenge perceived wisdom” is also a threat to press freedom and plurality.   The grassroots citizen journalism site in Ireland  is the outlier and for that reason alone deserves its place in Irish media. .

Today’s Independent has a neat cartoon that sums up President Higgin’s comment about the power of the internet search engines. It is an imperative for people who engage through writing etc to consider the power vested in these companies who have CONTENT and the fact that this is the “exclusive preserve” of large MNC’s. Its about the paradox. You give content, you get paid or you give content for free.

The cartoon is simple.

A photograph

To the left is the Apple and domain

To the right is Ireland

Could it be that we talk Apple power entity in the future instead of Ireland? Apple is so financially endowed, it could possibly own Ireland and wipe the debt?

To date these companies have got access to the data but they are in search of the analytics to use the data, and this is what must retain a value or even a form of copyright.

by Michelle Clarke


ubject: Slum landlord David McCabe, who left tenants in ‘Dickensian squalor’, faces letting ban under Britain’s first property rental ASBO | Mail Online. We sincerely hope the LPT & legislation in February re our bedsits ensures that this is not the Ireland we are creating.
Date: Monday 10th June 2013 12:45:52 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: philip.hogan@oireachtas.ie, enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie <enda.kenny@oireachtas.ie>, kathleen.lynch@oireachtas.ie <kathleen.lynch@oireachtas.ie>, Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, cathal.morgan@dublinccity.ie, Cathal Morgan <cathal.morgan@dublincity.ie>

Look at the homeless, look at Hatch Hall and Asylum seekers, talk to the children and people begging on our streets, read the poor standard of English and spelling. We are creating an underclass and we don’t have to. The MNC’s only need to be asked and encouraged to be involved in public private partnerships for the social good. It worked with Guinness in the 1800’s and others, so why not now?

Hostels have become an industry. B&B’s are an industry. Just look at what happened in the UK. Beware of vested interests. This article tells us where we don’t want to be. Unfortunately, we still have people struggling in O’Devaney Gardens. When next in Dublin take a look at Harrington Street, Dublin 8, South Circular Road and North Circular Road, for that matter.  These houses are a disgrace and are slums in the making.  Georgian Dublin is in decay. Government legislation has provided tax breaks to Waterford and Limerick, why not Dublin? Suggest article in Sunday Business Post about Renewable energy system (O’Dwyer heating) fuels £750 k housing deal. If it works, use it in refurbishment of the old housing stock, worth saving.  http://www.businesspost.ie › Legacy

By Michelle Clarke

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2246973/Slum-landlord-David-McCabe-left-tenants-Dickensian-squalor-faces-letting-ban-Britains-property-rental-ASBO.html


Subject: e55 m City Quarter Parnell Square, Dublin 1, formerly Colaiste Mhuire school
Date: Monday 10th June 2013 17:48:18 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <michelleclarke@upcmail.ie>
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, Joy Bradley <bradleyj@ihf.ie>, director@architecturefoundation.ie, dublin@arup.com, heritage@antaisce.org, Leo.Varadkar@Oireachtas.ie <Leo.Varadkar@Oireachtas.ie>


Monday 10th June 2013

Philanthropists, social engineers, private equity groups, groups like Cluid, Habitat, SVP, Peter McVerry foundation; Trust and Alice Leahy, are todays business and charity entities who in times of economic recession are there to chase opportunities and make investments.

The name this time is Kennedy Wilson, the location is Parnell Square, the objective is a new e55 million cultural quarter. The development will operate through a charitable trust or foundation which is to be put in place by Kennedy Wilson. The details can be found in Dublin City Council report.

Readers of Urban abandonments – here is your chance to interact with Dublin City Council; it has advertised for ‘expressions of interest from companies capable of devising plans for a new city library and civic plaza at the location’. We need this urban regeneration especially in the tardy environs of a once quite historic Sackville Street, later named O’Connell Street. The opportunity is now for the people of this part of Dublin to become involved in the potential to make us proud of the main thoroughfare of our capital City, Dublin. Gordon Brothers have bought Clery’s that renowned Department store with its own narrative of events and we await their plans albeit being a private equity firm, they could sell it on to another ie ‘Flip it’. The GPO awaits a decision, likewise the Abbey Theatre is seeking an alternative setting. We seem to still be awaiting a decision on the house in Moore Street so intimately connected with the 1916 Rising. We need to ask what is the theme that underlies the re-generation of this area of our City. The Spire is modernity but what can we do to regenerate and revive this exceptionally wide street, it is time now to plan, raise funds, create and most importantly imbibe a cultural sense of awareness.

The Duke of Leinster in the 1800’s said words to the affect “wherever I go fashion will follow” so there is a challenge for Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square, Dartmouth Square, Ranelagh, the Canal and so on. All are about creating a nucleus for people to gather so let’s hope investors will be provided with tax incentives to revive those Georgian homes, so often in outmoded offices, or worse bedsits that create our City. The City is a living breathing space and a far better alternative for the social and cultural needs of people to that ribbon development that has destroyed a lot of our countryside.

Amazing to read a sign over a shop in Dublin 8 – Dolphin’s barn advertising facilities for sending money to Nigeria. An earlier posting reported that £500 m was sent by remittances to Nigeria in 2012. We don’t need this money leaving our shores especially now. We need people investing in our economy and creating work. The area is marked by houses that are inhabitable or should be and we need to stop this before the dereliction starts. This is cultural and historical.

Kennedy Wilson involvement and the need for a design team is a positive move forward. Facilitation of the consultancy programme is quite a novel idea. They are called ‘conversation cafe events’. Two have already taken place but only 35 people attended. Two more are to be carried out on June 12 at the Dublin City Library and archive, Pearse Street, and on June 14 at the Teachers’ Club in Parnell Square. They also plan a mini-street festival on June 14th in the north city centre to highlight the project.

The IFSC started out as an idea in the minds of two people; they created a market; it worked for a period; people got greedy but the key point is Dublin as a City and Ireland as a country made a significant leap of faith and progress to the next stage.

By Michelle Clarke (Blake)


Subject: ‘MOOC’ Massive Open Online Learning Courses and Trinity College Dublin. Excerpt & follow up Citizen Journalism. Source on request
Date: Wednesday 19th June 2013 17:29:57 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Ariana Ball <ariana@thirdagefoundation.ie>, Catherine M. Joyce <catherine.mjoyce@barnardos.ie>, conatyd@headway.ie, crcentre@tcd.ie, Prison Library Office <dublinprisonlibraries@gmail.com>, jobsclub@eircom.net, literacy@nala.ie, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie

Wednesday 19th June 2013

‘MOOC’ Massive Open Online Learning Courses.  Report dated May 2013

This is about education in the new dimension – online. The audience is global. The pioneers are those well known elite colleges in the US (Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and others). Now Trinity College Dublin has joined the elites. TCD will ‘partner’ with Future.Learn.com (founded by the Open University now in existence for 40 years) which is the first UK led multi-institutional provider to offer MOOC courses.

Future.Learn.com to date has 26 ‘partnerships’ mainly in the UK but what is interesting is that TCD along with Monash, Australia’s largest university, are the first two ‘international collaborations’. Hopefully this will re-establish Trinity College Dublin in the top 100 leading universities especially since Ireland’s universities have slipped out of the top 100 list. It is time to reverse the trend and this is the way forward.

About content: This online method of education will also include the British library, the British museum and other museums to share ‘content’ and ‘expertise’ which will enrich the development of courses. MOOC is about accessible and free learning. People will have access to leading world academics and life-long learning becomes the real option for all people and is about access to education for all people including people with disabilities. Carnegie, the self-made philanthropist, established the libraries, now this is their opportunity to become centres of free online education and access to all people.

Trinity College Dublin, Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast stated in today’s Irish Independent newspaper that “It will widen participation and provide educational opportunities for prospective students and new audiences”. It is the way forward to create diversity in unity of education and life-learning impacting on how we live and benefit ourselves and the world.

As Ireland becomes submerged with mass unemployment particularly affecting our young people, it is essential now to promote education as a source of opportunity and to encourage people to pursue every alternative to prevent unemployment resulting in life-long poor health and survival consequences.

Literacy is essential particularly the 3 R’s. If you want to access online education you need the basics. There are excellent opportunities to learn and if you feel you are not yet ready for the opportunities that MOOC’s will offer, check out NALA and other projects that teach the basics.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)



Subject: Protection on Life in Pregnancy Bill. The Bill is a move forward, but not far enough. Excerpt citizen journalism. Source on request
Date: Thursday 20th Jun e2013 19:21:45 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, dan.neville@oireachtas.ie, Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, vokeane@tcd.ie, mary@pieta.ie

Thursday June 20th 2013

Conscience. Let people vote according to their conscience in the DailC

 by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Justice

Abortion is about a woman’s personal choice. Mental health provision is the cinderella of our society. It is about being vulnerable and unwanted. It is about being stigmatised. Yesterday yet again a mother of twins who sought help was neglected. This woman is now dead. These children are without a mother. It is suicide. Why do the Pro-Life people and the Catholic Church act in such a self righteous way by harassing those who promote the bill in a most ignorant way. Debate is about each side putting forward their views. The conclusion surely must be in the best interests of the people who it applies to. The X case legislates to make provision for suicide. The learned Judges made their decision, we have had 20 years to debate it and remove the provision, but we have not. Our mental health provision has deteriorated significantly since then and the lack of community provision at primary health care is inadequate to meet demand. This leaves it (community mental health provision) intrinsically linked to the Bill and the right to suicide. Ireland is sheltered or we can choose to be because we export those who choose to have an abortion to England or elsewhere. We have heard no discussion about the legislation that applies in the UK, Israel, the US and other countries where children who are born with certain abnormalities and who actually sue their parents for making the choice to carry the pregnancy to full term? We need to be diverse in our attitudes to making decisions about the choice women make when they decide to have an abortion. For instance, a psychiatric case history may often be the outcome of a ‘precipitating event’. Nobody seems to consider that for some women, the precipitating event could be caused by the anxiety of being pregnant. The woman may choose to have the abortion but also the precipitating event may mean a psychiatric health history going forward also. 
By Michelle Clarke
The Dialectics of Wrongful Life and Wrongful Birth


Date: Friday 21st June 2013 16:41:05 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed list
Friday 21st June 2013
Trade Unions: Their Slush funds; their privileges;  who so often forget the unemployed

 by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)- Trade Unions and Integrity

The Troika are reported to have honed in on the Department of Social Protection and lack of performance. We approach a figure of 500,000 people out of work, not to mention the part-timers whose hours are slashed, pay reduced, and rights obliterated. FAS, once a successful model named ANCO, became so smug in their own narcissism that they lost the ability, the morals, the principles and integrity to create opportunities for people in the workplace. The community employment initiative worked well at the beginning but as we know when elitist privileged cultures emerge, over time it affects all and always to the detriment of those most vulnerable. We await, 5 years on from the crisis and from the hands-on investigative initiative of Senator Shane Ross into the totally unacceptable behaviour of the ruling elites in FAS, the new lean machine called Solus. We are waiting and meantime the list of unemployed is rising.

The unemployment problem doesn’t just rest with the inadequacies of Social Protection under the auspices of Minister Joan Burton. What are the trade unions doing for those who were once employed; those who monthly paid their union dues and who are the contributors of the 30 million euros plus that SIPTU have rolling over in the bank. Did their rights die the day they were forced by the economic crisis into unemployment? The construction sector is decimated, many have emigrated, as they have generation after generation in times unemployment. What about those in the retail sector who have been ‘fired’ in order to create positions based on the part-time model and no employer obligations model? The unions and their elites are shy to refer to these people as they negotiate with Government to feather their own existing working members and in particular those in the public sector.

Trade Unions: the construction sector was your bread and butter for decades. Before the Celtic Tiger, the unions benefited because Ireland had to cater for social housing provision, which now is replaced by people on the social housing list with basically no or little access to homes. What have you done to recompense these people who are your creditors? Where are the job programmes to upskill, re-skill. Their contributions are the same kind of investments as the union dues paid by present day members. It is your duty to represent these people now. Experience shows me that you dismiss these people the day they lose their jobs. Shame on you.

This year of 2013, the anniversary of the Trade Union movement, it would be beneficial for you to consider what the ITGWU did for their workers in 1913 and going forward.

Slush Funds: Wow. What are these? Could they be ‘savings for a rainy day’. Slush funds used to conjure up images of greedy private sector executives making provision, for privileges they deemed necessary for their own luxuries, but would allude the keen eye of the young auditors whose job was to audit the books of these private companies. We know now based on the tribunals, the media, programmes like TV3 Vincent Browne and many other sources that the auditors too became immersed in the fraudulent culture that consumed Celtic Tiger Ireland and they failed dismally to put the breaks on massive amounts of now alleged and actual corruption. The issue now, is what have we learned? It appears not a lot because Slush funds are in the news again, only this time, it is SIPTU and the HSE.
Do we have a Fraud office in Ireland? We definitely have the CAB. Are they so over worked that their services are not required and cases that could be routed to the DPP for assessment are waived?

The IMO and George McNeice surely merits more attention. Based on the foregoing postings, the pension pot for this man, aged 50, is beyond reason for a man who is basically a union official. The inequalities created by such an enormous pay-out has to reflect on the inequalities that create two tier payment for consultants resulting in the many young people educated for medicine in Ireland, (costing at least £90,000 a year) emigrating while the waiting lists for certain posts remain vacant, particularly for that cinderella profession of psychiatry. Morality and ethics would suggest the IMO funding would be better used towards ensuring our students worked in our hospitals and are given a fair opportunity to progress. Since when is the sole function of the union to focus on ‘pay’ without the creation of a core value part of the equation.

Today’s Independent headline states ‘SIPTU says it could not sack ‘Slush Fund’ official’. Siptu pledges to have known nothing about the ‘slush fund’. Is this credulous? They say that the fomer national industrial secretary, Matt Merrigan, set up a bank account and collected 4 million euros from the taxpayer over a 7 year period. ‘Study trips’ – the USA, Canada and even Australia for Mr Merrigan, trade union representatives and public sector members was the priority. What is most surprising is the fact that instead of notifying the fraud squad, the inquiry is internal and the only advice sought is from a Senior Counsel and his advice was that they could not dismiss Mr Merrigan. The reprimand was that he was demoted and his salary and pension reduced accordingly.

Wining and dining, studying abroad, wives on junkets. A trifle of £4 m squirreled away in a “Slush Fund” and nobody cares. Trade unions are about their members. The Slush Fund here tells another story. Minister Shatter for Justice – are we naive? Is there one law for the person who steals a bottle of wine from TESCO and is caught on the cameras and another for these elites because evidence is massaged?



Subject: Breakers ahead as Banks Code of Practice enables them to pursue Evictions, by Michelle Clarke – Urban abandonments and dereliction Excerpt: citizen journalism. Source on request
Date: Saturday 22nd June 2013 18:14:16 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: bgavin@cllr.castlebartc.ie, jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, June <masonwfj@gmail.com>
Saturday 22nd June 2013

A homeless man sits patiently outside Tesco with a tattered old paper cup. He is one of the lucky people who has secured his bed for the night at a hostel in Camden Hall, which is soon to be closed, no doubt for obvious reasons. He was away for a couple of months; he is one of the casualties of the construction collapse. He had visited his son who has just completed his leaving.

Turn on the European news. Across Europe and particularly the periphery countries which include Ireland and they say as many as one in two people under the age 25 have no work or potential to get a job, in the immediate future. In another generation, these people would already be working, have started their own families and would have mortgages on their homes. Now we have crisis, a self created economic war that is the result of recklessness. We have the parents in their sixties who have gone guarantor for their children, we have those in second relationships who got mortgages because of naivety and over supply of cheap money and now we have a young generation awaiting inheritance or simply living at home.

The Greeks have already suffered the full onslaught of the Banks and foreclosures, as have the Spanish and the Italians. Ireland: it is now we will experience the onslaught. People who for the passed five years have been living out the horrors of indebtedness and fear, can hide no longer. The Banks have secured the right to change the Central Bank code of conduct on ‘mortgage arrears’. This code or rule book is now to be radically changed, and people need to alert themselves to the horrors that lie ahead for their fellow human beings. Next Thursday, 27th June 2013 is the day for change. The lobbying by the banks has paid off for them, and let us add yet again! According to Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor, the Irish Independent – ‘the most controversial change is the dropping of the 12 month moratorium on repossessions of homes if borrowers are in arrears but are co-operating with their lender’. Instead of 12 months, it will be two months before the banks can act:

Action: cognizance is essential now for those in mortgage debt. Homeowners in arrears and who have received an offer by the bank but who decide to turn it down…. will now only be given two months protection before the Banks can act and issue legal proceedings. The end date now becomes far closer and the outcome of eviction for more, real. Lobbying is a powerful mechanism and the view of Brendan Burgess http://www.askaboutmoney.com/ is worth evaluation. He may be right when he says “Some people will use the 12 month moratorium to bury their head in the sand and not face up to their responsibilities”…. these responsibilities form part of that ‘moral hazard’ argument.

The time now is for banks to assess their clients ‘statement of means’; to eek out those ‘delinquent borrowers’ who have no chance of making their repayments and evict them; to search for those emigrants who may now fall within the group highlighted by Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan who said ‘that an examination of arrears cases has indicated that large numbers could make payments – if they get a deal from their bank or shift payments payments away from other, less essential bills”.

Yes, it is the Personal Insolvency Legislation time now and not unlike a divorce, the statement of means will determine so much. Watch out for those strategic defaulters is the new motto of the bankers. The courts will back them up, if like a good divorce and a statement of means reveals deceit. 

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: Consider: Young woman with disabilities “raped” Source citizen journalism. Details on request
Date: Sunday 23rd June 2013 18:55:04 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, alex.white@oireachtas.ie, dan.neville@oireachtas.ie, emb.dublin.inf@mae.es, gary.culliton@imt.ie, James Reilly <james.reilly@oireachtas.ie>, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie, Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>
 Sunday 23rd June 2013]

Today Minister Lucinda Creighton is seeking advice on the ‘right to life of the unborn’ aspect from the Attorney General.

But what about the realities of the times we live in?

Last week it was reported that a young woman was raped by a man in the Dublin 8 area. She was reported to be deeply shocked and distressed.

If we go one stage further: what if this woman is pregnant?

The legislation as it is does not provide for her to have an abortion?

Is this fair? Does the Mental Capacity Bill have provision here?

Michelle Clarke



Subject: Sunday Business Post: IMO (Irish Medical Organisation) http://www.imo.ie/ under scrutiny from Revenue, by Michelle Clarke – Trade Unions and Integrity.  Excerpt: ex citizen journalism site. Source on request
Date: Tuesday 25th June 2013 08:58:00 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>; undisclosed address list
Tuesday 25th June 2013

The LPT http://lpt.revenue.ie/lpt-web//SUSI http://susi.ie/and Abtran http://abtran.com/ appears to be a great success, so perhaps now we will gain the insight to our trade unions and the question is how will they fair up, under such scrutiny.

To name but a few unions –

Impact
Siptu
Teachers’ Unions
INMO
IMO
CPSU
PSEU
AHPCS
Unite

The elite of the elite must be the IMO and today’s SBP is a must read.

Quote: IMO placed in turmoil when GP Dr Paul Armstrong from Donegal, quite blatantly made the point in a letter to the medical press. He stated:

“Fred Goodwin lost his knighthood and ended his career in disgrace over a retirement package of £8 million from Royal Bank of Scotland…..That IMO leaders (re George McNeice aged 50 pension deal £24 m reduced to £9.7) would appear to have accepted this deal, without any serious questions over many years, is a disgrace”.

Integrity: Now we have the opportunity to make changes, to stop the rot, the gluttony of the elites who emerged during that cosy cartel of unions, public servants and employers who have secured unacceptable deals requiring pension pots of millions to be funded by our young people when they eventually secure employment.

The medical profession is supposed to abide by the motto ‘Do no harm’


Today’s Business Post would suggest their mind is money focused as distinct from being the caring profession as motivator. 

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: Recall Ansbacher. What did they learn?  So many hoarded while others were forced to emigrated for work – 1980’s. Citizen journalism site dated 2002 lists all people with Ansbacher a/cs.
Date: Wednesday 26th Jun 2013 12:51:11 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: seand.barrett@oireachtas.ie, Liam-IPRT <LHerrick@iprt.ie>, john.fitzgerald@esri.ie, John.Crown@oireachtas.ie, John Corrigan <JCorrigan@ntma.ie>; et al
Wednesday 26th June 2013

Take a figure from the sky – or from the “arse” as allegedly inferred by Drumm as detailed on the tapes released into the public domain this week. The Anglo staff arrived at £7 billion which they glibly foisted on the sterile central bank regulatory watchdog and the hapless Pat Neary; essential fire fighting tactics for a bank heading, if not already, insolvent, with the savvy to ensure that those who had deposits and the bondholders were not scorched further. That surely could not be allowed to happen because these people already probably were shareholders who were to lose their full investments in the shares with the banks and in particular when we know that pension fund sellers told people the banks were safe – they were Blue Chip investments.

Maple 10, contracts for difference pale into insignificance when we listen to the conversation between two people who represented their employer Anglo Irish Bank. Men like Drumm were allowed to escape the sinking shop and allowed to sully the word emigrant. Reports today state that the emigration of people from Ireland is at the highest level since the famine and yet five years on we fail to counter that reckless behaviour of bankers who are responsible for the droves of emigrants leaving our shores due to the reckless abandon particularly of certain elite narcissistic and pathological bankers who drove our country into the mire of debt burden that generations going forward will have to repay.   http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland
The call is for a tribunal or an inquiry but if we take the time to look at the foregoing posting albeit from 2003 and the tribunals of inquiry that arose and which feathered the accounts of the legal profession in particular, surely it is time to learn from experience and to appoint the appropriate staff to the Criminal Assets Bureau and ensure that like the US these “Neuro Criminals” are brought before our courts and if proven guilty, send them to prison.
by Michelle Clarke


Subject: Fr McVerry/Alice Leahy – Trust ‘Nobody should ever be homeless’ in Ireland, by Michelle Clarke Evictions loom
Date: Wednesday 26th June 2013 19:28:19 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Stephen.Donnelly@oireachtas.ie, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie, maeve.regan@flac.ie, john.fitzgerald@esri.ie, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie, admin@nabco.ie et al

Wednesday 26th June 2013

Fr McVerry spoke on the radio this morning about the homeless and his 30 years of dedication to their cause without the support of a board of directors. He went on to endorse the now necessary new approach with the appointment of dedicated people to ensure provision for the homeless.

What caught my attention: He clearly conveyed that his motivation is for Homelessness not to exist. I wholly endorse this. For me today, a young woman sitting outside the Spar shop looked tired and why wouldn’t she? Camden Hall for women is closed down and last night she had to sleep out. This woman is off hard drugs and making the effort to stick to methadone. No woman, in a country, so replenished with vacant, under utilised property, should have to sleep on the streets.

To the Politicians: Bedsit land was Dublin 4, 6, 8, Phibsboro and so forth. We endorse completely that landlords must adhere to the legislation introduced in February 2013 (after all, they had 4 years to comply) but who enabled them to be so neglectful not to include provision to ensure that those living in such accommodation would not be serviced with notices of eviction dates and instructions to find alternative accommodation without some form of statutory protection. Imagine receiving a letter from a solicitor telling you that after 12 or 27 years in a house, you have say 112 days to find a new home, without supports from Dublin City Council or elsewhere for that matter, and if you have not found a place, the EVICTION will occur in this case in October 2013.

Speak out. Too many people often with disabilities, single men back from working in construction abroad in the 1980’s, and people who have worked and remained as tenants for decades are struggling with no supports to achieve the basic right of having a home, without the threat of being made homeless.

Rents are rising and although the PRTB web page is comprehensive, many of these people are not computer literate and are excluded. The goose chase to find a home is enabled and facilitated by the most elaborate of web pages but the fact is we have people excluded and facing the homeless rung of the ladder and imminently while the former landlords of these houses use the legislation to sell on and make serious capital gains on these properties. Surely, a contribution of money should be sought from the landlord to pay the local authority to prioritise the tenant on the housing list.

by Michelle Clarke


Subject: One man’s loss is another man’s opportunity
Date: Sunday 30th June 2013 17:14:59 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, director@architecturefoundation.ie, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie et al

Sunday 30th June 2013


Eviction is the word. The Code of Conduct has been altered. The banks are forced to act now. The Personal Insolvency bill is about to be released and things are changing in Ireland. The Banks are tasked now to seek out the difference between the ‘Mortgage Delinquents and the Strategic Defaulters’ and the implication here is surveillance and private investigators. On the Vincent Browne TV3 show the other night a man from Maynooth University referred to the US and the forensic studies that reveal that as many as 35-40% are strategic defaulters. Others on the panel said No. What we do know is that there is an endgame in sight and there will ultimately be those hopeless cases who got trapped into mortgages when in another decade they would have been on the social housing list. The banks will have to take responsibility here. These people must receive write-downs in debt and it should be sooner rather than later, because these people have suffered enough.
Social housing is in chaos. The truth is that public private partnerships, affordable housing provision ousted the traditional modus operandi of the State which built houses annually to provide for people in need. Now we know that this list for social housing is in excess of 100,000 and people are struggling either living in the rental sector on rent allowance in a rising rent market limited by adequate property supply or living with their parents which if we follow the patterns in Greece, Italy and Spain, will become the norm here in Ireland.The ‘Mortgage Delinquents’ need to escape the chains that bind them. The Banks need to give them debt forgiveness and if possible some compensation that will make the housing authorities do a deal that transfers the ownership of the house to them without the family having to transfer into the rental sector.  We need to identify these people to ensure they have proper representation and equitable outcomes.  We can call them “Namatised”.Vision and Dublin: 5 years on from the Celtic Tiger and NAMA has wisely sold its near profitable properties particularly those in the UK first and foremost. Now it is time to take a look at the home front. Take a look at those apartments on Merrion Road, part of the McNamara dream and ask what happens now.?Then take a look at Dublin 8 and ask what are the plans here? Then there is the Gasworks – change is already in place here. It is worth taking a look at the rental costs in excess of £2,000 per month. Apartment blocks will no longer be individual units owned by people but the block owned by a company ie Ireland’s new breed of Landlord with motives similar to Famine times.26th June 2013, Bill Nowlan www.wkn.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/governments_role_property_market.pdf wrote a most informative article in the Irish Times. He writes about the changes that are happening in Ireland and now. The properties are built, vacant, and marketable. The private equity groups are circling and they are buying and they are changing how property ownership will be determined in the future. These people are looking for the asset valuation appreciation and the rent roll that moves upwards.According to Nowlan “The new way of property has arrived which is short leases, multi-tenanting, active management, uneven valuations and ongoing refurbishment’.We need to sell our stock but we also need to be aware that some of this stock should be part of provision for the social housing need and that we don’t necessarily want the private equity moguls taking over our social housing provision.
By Michelle Clarke


Subject: Benchmarking & cosy cartels. Who cares about rampant abuse of power.  Source of citizen journalism on request:
Date: Sunday 30th June 2013 19:10:46 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Undisclosed list
Sunday 30th June 2013

The media and hush hush – we have the tapes that can be played and replayed, printed and re-printed and these are the capitalists who brought Ireland to its knees and providing we don’t prejudice these people and their right to a fair trial, there is no need to examine root and branch of other entities in particular our trade unions, our semi-state sector in search of the same ‘rot’ borne out of lack of integrity, morality and ethics.
So certain people are called before the Public Accounts Committee http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees…/public-accounts/, when the matter most likely should have been dealt with years ago by the Gardai and the fraud squad. In Ireland it is simple, be a vulnerable person and steal some food from the like of Tesco and the process is clear. The security guard tackles you, the surveillance camera is the evidence, the Gardai are called and you are express delivery file for the DPP, onward moving towards the courts and inevitably prison.
The media is shy in reporting on the likes of IMO (trade union) and McNeice. Does it not augur as suspicious that the man had a £24 million deal secured that enabled him to retire with a pension multiples of the salaries paid to average workers from age 52. Why do people not ask why it was so easy for him to reduce the amount to £9.7 as HIS concession? Does anyone ask where the money came from given the IMO is a trade union? It must ultimately be from the contributions of the members and perhaps McNeice, the benevolent, was willing to accept the reduction to £9.7 because there was no more money in the IMO account. Questions must be asked and the media must report on the findings. The fact that Minister O’Reilly was involved in the IMO and that there are questions to be answered is not justification for the media not to interact and inform the people.
‘Just Farcical’…..is the heading in the Irish Mirror. Why because quite evidently people have abused power and are in a position to conceal data and information that belongs not to them but to the general public. It is no small amount of money. Apparently Merrigan created ‘a HSE-funded pot concerned with the training and upskilling of low-paid workers, to pay for trips to New York, Hong Kong and Australia’. Mimicry of the elites is the accusation here and let’s see how the Public Accounts committee will question Merrigan and the answers he will give.We are back to the trade unions again only this time the person named is Matt Merrigan. Again, it is the spending of vast sums of money on travel abroad, junkets, entertainment, all in the name of training for the undisclosed. This time, a fearful Mr Merrigan when fielded with accusations, including an initial inquiry by the fraud squad, sought a report from Grant Thornton, Accountants so that he could ‘clear his name’. What is astounding about this, is that Mr Merrigan refuses to release the report. The Union SIPTU paid £76,000 for this report that they are not privy to!  http://www.irishmirror.ie › News › Irish News › Politics › Siptu  Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has said that the “whole thing was farcicial”….”I cannot for the life of me understand how Siptu paid for the report. Siptu own that report, not Grant Thornton.”
Meanwhile we are forced to accept the mutterings of the general secretary of the trade union that they are basically entitled not to release the report (somewhat like the Anglo tapes now only being released when we all know they should have been in the custody of the Central Bank, ECB and others, the day we knew Anglo Irish was caught out).
Individualists have gained too much power and the time is now to break down the walls of abuse of power and restore integrity. The words nothing can be done because we are seeking legal advice are not enough. We have the fraud squad, the DPP, the Criminal Assets Bureau, let them have the opportunity for them to do their job and lets get these people who have abused power and their position before the courts to carry the strong words that Ireland no longer tolerates corrupt practices at any level.  40 junkets and no details, a number of which related to St Patrick’s day trips. No officials to sign off. How crazy this is when you look to those in the private sector particularly those in retail and construction whose union dues fund these junkets. These are the people who are now years out of work with no support from the unions they contributed to. Unions have millions invested – it is time to create modules to get people who funded you back to work. You could co-operate with the Department of Social Protection and the defunct FAS and act now before we become deskilled and of no value. The MNCs have derived much from Ireland, it is time to encourage them to give some corporate social responsibility to us in the form of creating work potential and training for the unemployed. We are now 5 years into recession and we need action on all fronts.


Subject: Not too late to petition: Committee Stage now.
Date: Thursday 4th July 2013 18:51:48 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, Andrea Ryder <AMcCann@irishpsychiatry.onmicrosoft.com>, Andrea Ryder <andrea@irishpsychiatry.ie>, Clare Daly <Clare.Daly@Oireachtas.ie>, Clinical Governance <clinicalgovernance@stpatsmail.com>, foundation@stpatsmail.com, gary.culliton@imt.ie, gsmyth@irishpsychiatry.ie, James Reilly <james.reilly@oireachtas.ie>, jlucey@stpatsmail.com, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie, sfarrell@irishpsychiatry.ie, Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>
Thursday 4th July 2013

Stand ashamed those psychiatrists who lack the humanity, conscience, compassion and understanding and who are opposing the inclusion of suicide as grounds for abortion in the new legislation.
A group of psychiatrists, including the Mater Hospital’s Professor Patricia Casey are calling for an EGM of the College of Psychiatrists relating to the submission to the Oireachtas committee hearings on abortion that supported the proposed legislation. These elites of our society claim that the views of all its members were not taken account of by the College of Psychiatrists. What are they saying – unanimity is what they want? If the majority decided, why is this not enough? Perhaps there is too much peer pressure from the Church via the Iona Institute and for that matter Opus Dei. The arrogance is astounding. These privileged cohorts in our society have written a letter to the other members of the College of Psychiatrists and stated that:
‘The submission presented at the oral hearings made no mention of the concerns of 34 members who responded to the call for views. Instead, it supported the legislation, saying abortion may be necessary in rare cases’…..

What do they not grasp about a majority decision? The College of Psychiatrists emailed all 684 members of the Oireachtas committee hearings…they received only 34 responses. The decision following the council meeting was a “unanimous submission”.

A feud among psychiatrists makes the plight of the women who are seeking the protection of the State and the medical profession who administer to these women a further contrivance between the Church and State, for the Church to superimpose their excommunication doctrine as a threat to those who according to our proposed legislation should have the option to make a choice particularly if suicidal to have an abortion without having the trauma of travelling to the UK.

In my view, the legislation should go a stage further and allow for foetal abnormality where the baby is deceased, having known a woman in this situation, it is inhumane, if not quite barbaric. Also in the case of rape or incest, the legislation should provide for these women on the basis of human rights. No-one has tackled the question where the woman with down’s syndrome who was raped recently and if it were the case that she became pregnant. If it was her choice, surely it would only be humane to allow her to have an abortion in this country.

Theocracy is rigid and the fact that it has undue influence on the medical profession still for a country that has become secular is most disturbing. What have we learned from the Savita tragedy and the report? 

By Michelle Clarke


ubject: Pre-63 bedsits & New Laws
Date: Thursday 4th July 2013 22:56:56 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, antoinette.fennell@ncbi.ie, Clare Finglas <cfinglas@riai.ie>, director@architecturefoundation.ie, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie, heritage@antaisce.org, jan.osullivan@oireachtas.ie, Mike Allen <mallen@focusireland.ie>

Thursday 4th July 2013

We all know that people have had to live in sub-standard conditions but can anyone explain to me how legislation was introduced in February 2013 – the aim being to rid the city of sub-standard accommodation without any provision for the thousands of vulnerable people who would be evicted in the name of progress. The most basic requirement is to provide alternative accommodation for these people and no provision is made.

The objectives of ridding Ireland of sub-human accommodation cannot be faulted but the lack of provision for people who lived, some for decades in these bedsits, is scandalous. The arm of the law puts pressures on the landlords and invariably they are taking the opportunity to sell on rather than temporarily re-homing their tenants in B&B’s and upgrading their properties to comply with the standards required by the new legislation.

Who do these people turn to? For a start they are supposed to be computer literate. Each government body directs them to another body eg Threshold, PRTB, or to NABCO, Cluid, Hail, Vincent De Paul or the present mire of Section 23 buy-to-let inexperienced landlords. The first port of call is the politician and then off you go on the rounds in the hope that some other private sector landlord will accept the rent allowance. These people need a dedicated cohort within the public sector who can ensure that they are not made homeless or left in the Bed & Breakfast, hostel industry.

Urban abandonments and dereliction should bring to mind the plight of these people especially now. Today Allsop http://www.irishhouses.ie/nama/allsop-space-1st-march-2013-reserve-price-guide.php have been stopped dead in their tracks from auctioning off properties of people who are in financial distress. Many of the properties for sale have sitting tenants and their circumstances are pitiful and shameful.

Ireland is now at the stage of tackling problems relating to property but in its wake is massive hardship. The Banks are now empowered to evict; the social housing sector is sold out to many tenants who bought out their homes, depleting the stock for people in need; many who would have been eligible for social housing were caught out by the Celtic Tiger dream of owning their own property and are now the ‘mortgage delinquents’ who if they qualify for social housing now should have debt forgiveness granted to them; and then add those who have lived as tenants of that shadow economy property market ie pre 63 who are now being flushed out by legislation that says landlords must refurbish “flats” into modern apartments and family homes. From now on, ‘the aim  for the rental property sector of ‘shadow’ origins is to include a register of all houses in multi-occupancy use, with each one being regularly inspected to protect against “unauthorized conversions”.

Minister Shatter. Pre 63 properties. Many are receiving eviction notices. Please allocate a dedicated service to ensure they are not made homeless or placed in the Industry of hostels like those provided by Victory Evangelical Church. 

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: Empathy; not judgment and control
Date: Wednesday 10th July 2013 18:21:13 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, richard.boydbarrett@oireachtas.ie, privateoffice@taoiseach.gov.ie, patricia.gilheaney@mhcirl.ie, michelle.mulherin@oireachtas.ie, lucinda.creighton@oireachtas.ie, James Reilly <james.reilly@oireachtas.ie>, Clare Daly <Clare.Daly@Oireachtas.ie>, john.omahony@oireachtas.ie, Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>

10th July 2013

10 pm tonight.

The bullying stops.

A midwife writes in today’s independent her views on our archaic approach to women who have to travel to England to exercise their ‘right to choose’. She invokes that all encompassing bullying power of those in clicks entangled with the Catholic Church who use their power and influence, and have done so, not for the benefit of those who make the decision to have an abortion. Take the Mother and Child scheme and Dr Noel Browne. The fears that drove the Church against this was that women would become empowered to discuss issues relating to family planning, sex, abortion with their husband or other professionals ie doctors thereby weakening the control of the Church.

Letters written to the newspapers can often be most enlightening. Take for example a letter by Virginia Lopez Calvo, Co-ordinator, Central America Women’s Network, London N1. The title is: ‘Women denied abortion rights’. Immediately, we think of Ireland and the Catholic Church. What do we share with those in South America? Well in El Salvador the cry is “Let me end my pregnancy, one woman’s plight grips El Salvador”, this surely is what women in Ireland who are suicidal, victims of rape, victims of incest, are crying out for in our country. The letter goes on to say that women face ‘similar repression in the neighbouring countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala (the latter two ‘allow therapeutic abortion to save the mother’s life’). Anti-Abortion goes further in these countries and they ban the use of morning-after pill and restrict the content of sex education.

Ireland exports the problem. Some say as many as 5,000 people a year travel to England, North of Ireland, Spain or Holland. This is the safety valve that South American countries (ruled mainly by the Catholic Church) don’t have. If we in Ireland did not have this ‘exit strategy’, we would be on par with the ignorance that prevails and causes such hardship for women. Consider the following as a quote from the letter:-

“In the Central American region, 95% of all abortions are unsafe and a leading cause of maternal death. As religious extremists abuse their power to deny basic freedoms, campaigners will step up our battle for women to have control over their own bodies”.

As pointed out in earlier postings about Mamie Cadden and the many private nursing homes of the 1950’s and abortions, we have progressed in Ireland but do we want elites in the Catholic Church like Opus Dei usurping the rights for women that people have fought hard to achieve. 

By Michelle Clarke


Subject: Compassion and Communication: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Date: Thursday 11th July 2013 10:38:14 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Dermot Lacey <dermot.lacey@labour.ie>, Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie> et al

Thursday 11th July 2013

Dermot

Thanks for the assistance with B.  He is placed under unfair pressure as is the other woman in the house who has lived there for 27 years.  This is the plight of the legislation and you will see from this article that I personally believe that the landlords of these houses who must re-construct them or sell them with vacant possession must be bound to make a financial contribution either to the housing authority and to a contribution to a new home in the private sector if rent allowance applies.  12 years and 100+ days of notice and no financial compensation is not acceptable surely.

Michelle

DCC provided a home for this man, thankfully.
Compassion and Communication:  Article for Citizen Journalism site; emailed to relevant people on address list.  Year July 2013.

A person living in a bedsit for 12 years or 27 years can be served with eviction notices and thrown into a totally stressed, distressed situation. They say a problem shared is a problem halved and in these turbulent times people need to be aware that hardship is thrown upon the most vulnerable in our society. We need to keep informed and we need to communicate to ensure these people are not added to the homeless list and left to live in B&B’s and hostels for the remainder of their lives. Their only crime being that they received rent allowance and passed it on with an additional payment to a landlord of a pre-63 non compliant property of bedsits to current legislation dated February 2013. We only need to look to the chaos in London where the homeless are now being removed and sent to other counties, basically against their will and without regard to their rights. It is the industry of bed and breakfast and hostels that has created a dependent culture and the excessive costs of same have resulted in this drastic action of displacement of people. Ireland needs to be alert now to the number of people who will be looking to rent properties/homes and to note that rents are rising in Ireland and most likely will continue to do so, based on the increased demand. Look out for the most vulnerable people because these are the silent potentially dispossessed.

Again we need to ask the question why no provision was made for these people when the legislation was drafted over 4 years ago? Surely it is common sense that if a landlord/owner of a Pre-63 house or other non compliant rental properties has failed to comply with improving the standard of the property as required by law in the last four years, they by moral and legal right should be asked to make a significant contribution based on the years the person has lived in these houses to ensure they get a replacement home be it on the social housing list or in the private sector?

Urban abandonment and dereliction is within the control of the ordinary people of Ireland.
The Troika steps up the threats to the Central Bank who in turn tells the banks …. evict. The strategic defaulters may be okay but the others face the social housing list or the increasing rental market or straight forward trading down. The banks need to watch their brief because Blackstone, Cerberus and other private equity hawks are the new moguls of institutional investment in property who are coming to town and buying up properties and recreating what was once home ownership dedication to rental property and the new landlord species or REITS.  http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/reit.asp



Subject: The Troika are in town. FAS; Trade Unions.  Beware of the Vested Interests
Date: Friday 12th July 2013 17:03:43 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen journalism site; undisclosed email address list

Friday 12th July 2013

The Troika are in town again and youth unemployment is rising here and in other peripheral countries.

Mick (Citizen Journalism contributor) is quite right and we need answers now from the Government. Check out the link on internships and hone in on say the position of architectural technician and examine the value placed on a technician who most likely will replace another, who has been made redundant and is now on the Live Register. The maths does not work. Examine what Mick says and if you are unemployed, under employed or in line to lose your job, do a little investigation of the services provided by FAS soon to become Solas (ie when they have expugned the rot, deceit and embedded corruption) so that Solas has the clean sheet. What you will find is they closed the unit at Upper Baggot Street and now people are asked to go to D’Olier Street – what a hell hole for demotivation when the market is crying out for creativity and motivation. To quote from Mick….

‘Job bridge like FAS is just another money eating quango that suckers jobs out of the community.
I believe this welfare for business racket is about replacing real jobs with unpaid jobs and will stagnate the jobs market, nullifying what could be paid work. With less tax back to the government by way of taxable paid jobs, is this really a good idea? Have the government really thought this through?’

No the Government have not thought it through. 5 years and we have 5,000+ interns yet unemployment is approaching 500,000 in a small island country, a member of the EU, the Eurozone, an open economy reliant on tourism, with a population of 4.5 million approx. The Island of Saints and Scholars should have a mantra so well in place by now that when people are looking for jobs at these FAS in transition offices that inspiration abounds. Instead you are directed to the FAS page and an office in D’Olier Street which is most un-inviting from the outside and surrounded by vacant premises. This could be a great grounding for inspiration like setting up pop-up shops but instead the public sector disease of apathy surrounding anything to do with those who are unemployed or people with disabilities coast in their ambivalence until they receive their fat cat pensions at age 55+.

Cronyism is smothering opportunities for young people, unemployed people, people with disabilities and this need not be the case. Angela Merkel is facing an election in September 2013; it has been said that she favours the German language as the priority language in the EU. For a country like Ireland, the applications of Mooc to Muddle should be provided by FAS to upskill those who are presently unemployed. We moving ahead now with life-long learning and distance learning. Instead FAS enlists you to learn the computer, within weeks people fail to turn up and then of course there is the period of 4 weeks off for summer holidays. No favours here for people who don’t want to be out of work, who want to learn, to upskill, to move on with their lives so that they can pay their mortgages again.

The unemployed need opportunities. They need people to inspire them and challenge them. Take a recent article in the ‘Pink Paper’ (The Financial Times) and all should go to the library and check it out, it beats our dead pan media coverage. Apparently, Germany is expressing alarm because they face a “Skills Shortage”. Germany the country of major industrialists (just think cars Volkswagon/Audi/Volvo/Siemens) are distinctly worried that the demographics, the lack of engineers, the skills shortage, is actually ‘threatening their competitiveness and has left manufacturing companies scrambling to find engineers’. Try looking at the FAS courses offered and work out how they are making NO real time provision for people to be able to work in Germany. Who knows people who had to emigrate in the past often returned to Ireland and established their own businesses. These German chief executives warn that the problems in youth unemployment, and education systems, will create serious problems for the leading manufacturers. People are not choosing engineering and these companies will be forced to move more of the research and development to countries who supply their needs for engineers….the countries they are talking about is not Ireland, but China and India. They project that by 2025 they may need as many as “500,000 engineers”.

Raglan Road, Dublin 4 used to have the Siemens HQ; Pembroke Road, it was IBM, Kraft. We need to be up-to-date with changes. Peter Loscher, the chief executive of Siemens (the largest engineering group in Europe) refers to the pending crisis of too few engineers, and in particular in Germany. He goes on to say “We have to ensure that our education system is providing the right engineering skills, that we have qualified immigration coming to Europe… And perhaps the biggest issue that European industry has to grapple with is that we have almost 24% youth unemployment”.

Opportunities can be created out of ‘Think Tanks’ and mini gatherings in peoples’ homes, in libraries of ‘Sheds’. It is hard to believe that in Australia, as I was told today, there is massive shortage of truck drivers and that it is possible to earn upwards on $200,000 aussie pa. We don’t hear the FAS de-motivators talking emigration as part of the life plan. It is about giving people the option to have the training and frankly the internships are not suffice input from the Department of Social Welfare because the reality is many interns are exploited. It is worth reading the article in Forbes about Internships in the US….Supreme Court talks the talk and thankfully walks the walk.

Germany is losing many of its small companies, people – their education, is the only way forward and the scandalous mismanagement of the whole FAS Internship to Solas transition has failed dramatically by not taking the spectrum of thinking creatively and lateral. Shame on them and shame also on the trade unions who greedily take the dues of workers particularly in the now ailing construction and retail sector while they feather their own nests. Trade Unions are operating large bank accounts of monies gathered by many of those now unemployed. The money sits in accounts in our state owned banks yielding virtually no return when this money should be up-skilling those who have lost their jobs. The trade union officials are as well provided for as a lot of our public sector with scant knowledge of what it is like to lose a job. Much blame is placed at the door of FAS. The trade unions also need investigation. Benchmarking created the cosy mindsets that trade union representatives failed dismally in providing programmes to up-skill people who become unemployed.

Citizen journalism is needed now more than ever. Bureaucracy strangles growth; people can stop it. 

By Michelle Clarke



Subject: Grassroots need to say  No to this Culture that fosters waste of human resources Jhakas: a must read for people in Social Protection and FAS in transition to Solus. If interested – source re JobBridge on request
Date: Sunday, 14th July 2013 17:32:56 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter <Alan.Shatter@oireachtas.ie>, Averil Power <Averil.Power@Oireachtas.ie>, Clare Daly <Clare.Daly@Oireachtas.ie>, colm.mccarthy@ucd.ie, eamon.timmins@ageaction.ie et al

Sunday 14th July 2013

Jhakas (contributor to Citizen Journalism site)

We need people like you and Mary to report on what is exactly happening to people who become unemployed. Without people talking the talk and writing via citizen journalism this rot continues to destroy the potential of people who are able and willing to work but are not facilitated. Take a simple rose bush, if you don’t prune it, you won’t get the further bloom of roses. 5 years now we are into the recession and the scandal of FAS courses, Internships, JobBridge are but thorns to ensure that the unemployed are sufficiently occupied with unprofessional, non motivated, non creative, fetac courses that they either choose to suffer on in silence or emigrate. It is time for people to tackle the culture of waste and this can be done.

***Imagine asking a question and the tutor says I’ll check it up ‘on google’.


***Then as reported two weeks into the course and half the people decide they don’t want to go, so they vote with their feet with no obligation to their fellow potential colleagues and they just don’t attend.


***Take the 20+ yr old with mental health history enrolled on FAS course Fetac horticulture, first he doesn’t attend, then he drops out. There is no sense of commitment like that of Jhakas in that he is trying to improve his situation for himself, and for others. The horticultural course place is wasted and somebody with a similar disability has lost out on an opportunity while this person instead walks the streets, bored, unwanted with enough social security to keep in this entangled web of being controlled by society.

***Take this culture of waste a stage further and then ask about the recent murders, most particularly the one in Castlebar.

The culture of waste is part of the Celtic Tiger over-drive but five years on it should be well tackled and replaced with productivity and creation. The grassroots need now to say enough, it is time to tackle the culture of waste and ensure that FAS in transition to Solas is the product of root and branch investigation and the courses they provide are up to speed and reflect the demands of the global marketplace.


People need jobs. They need skills, they need to learn languages for example German. ECDL by all reports now is so dated that it is totally out of synch with the qualifications demanded by those who take on the Interns ie they employers who pay nothing for them and because that is the case they give these interns no value added component to ensure that they gain paid employment with near immediate effect.

The game plan is up-skill to get jobs. FAS has failed but then so have the trade unions in particular SIPTU who is reported to be sitting on 30 million euros plus. Cash in subsidised banks generates nothing these days and if the Unions can’t use the cash to generate enterprise in a time of such need – shame on them. They are too cosy in bed with the politicians, the civil servants and the EU gravy train that they have lost the drive to feel the pain of stress, pressure and hopelessness. Work is the challenge. If there is work people will gain the confidence to express their views to the politicians and tell them to stand down the Troika and seek the write-downs in debt that Ireland needs because it is a noose around our neck.  http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland

Culture of waste, as stated before, is the product of the Tiger but it is up to the grassroots people and the unemployed to become engaged and tackle the problem …. asking for cost benefit analysis assessments and performance related outcomes. If an intern is accepted by a semi-state, ensure the employers are committed to find the person a place in the employment market or if the person is willing and capable, encourage them back to education. It works – look to the people who from 1997 onwards who went back to education in our universities, people with disabilities, people from under privileged backgrounds and note education is the way forward. These are the people who should provide the inspiration for so many now unemployed. The time is here and the road is long and its called distance learning and life-long learning.

Jhakas. An extraordinary piece of what one can only call culture of waste in education. It should be copied to the Department of Social Protection with a warning note: We are not stupid people, we are not worth nothing, we deserve more, so please when you introduce Solus, please obliterate ‘Culture of Waste and no honour bound’ and ensure that the proposed education courses are properly prepared. The people wants jobs, they want education. We know the theory that you never get full employment but near 500,000 is a crisis level that commits this theory to the dust bin.

By Michelle Clarke (Comyn)



Subject: New word to cover enforcement without outcome: “Compelability mode”
Date: Thursday 18th July 2013 19:00:41 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne <vincent.browne@tv3.ie>, tim.callan@esri.ie, Shane.Ross@oireachtas.ie <Shane.Ross@oireachtas.ie>, secretariat@cori.ie, john.fitzgerald@esri.ie, des@attackthetax.com, gary.culliton@imt.ie
Thursday 18th July 2013


Stephen O’Brien, Political Editor – Sunday Times has the courage to fill in the media gaps. The news is that the ‘Dail plans to grill Siptu officials over the 4 million euros fund’. Surprise Surprise we are entitled to see justice applied without delay and therefore justice will not be denied.

The Public Accounts Committee have decided to use their power to compel trade unionists Matt Merrigan and Jack Kelly and former HSE official Alan Smith ‘to discuss the operation of a 4 million euros national health and local authority fund’. Even more shocking is that a Grant Thornton report was commissioned to by Mr Merrigan to evaluate the activity of this fund and part of the “compelability” order is to obtain this report, which Mr Merrigan retains control over. TD’s are awaiting the report while Merrigan has told the PAC in June that he is unable to give evidence because the matter was being investigated by the Garda Siochana. The matrix continues to frustrate the process of the law and the DPP.

Bureaucracy creeps on as we are told that the PAC have this matter in hand and have written to the Oireachtas Committee on procedures and privileges seeking the necessary permission to enter “Compelability Mode”.

Where is the Truth? What do we know?

Let’s start with the Comptroller and Auditor General: They have found that over 4 million euros, ex a number of state bodies, was paid into an account called ‘the Siptu National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund’ during the years 2002 – 2009. The Department of Health is involved.

They know that 600,000 euros was ‘spent on foreign travel by trade union officials, public servants and others’ but in the absence of the Grant Thornton report, the necessary details are awaited. The PAC have this matter in hand and have written to the Oireachtas Committee on procedures and privileges seeking the necessary permission to enter “Compelability Mode”. This means it can compel witnesses …. they must attend hearings and produce documents. Time now to recall the investigative skills of Senator Shane Ross relating to FAS and ask the question about the culture of entitlement of certain self appointed elites and what the investigations unfurled in FAS and at what cost to the Irish taxpayers.

There is a culture of waste that pervades our society at every level; it needs to be expunged. People who abuse their power and position and who are responsible for creating slush funds for the purpose of endorsing cronyism and narcissism must be identified and the due process of the Law must apply.

Trade unions have become part of a process; we approach nearly 500,000 people unemployed and many are emigrating, in particular our educated young population. Trade Unions need to step out of the mist where like the employers they hold deposit accounts (Siptu reported to have in excess of £35 million) in banks that shield them from the realities of the workers who lose their jobs. They like the new FAS in transition to Solas must tackle unemployment hands on; we need to know that they are working for the unemployed. It is not acceptable that all energies are placed on the Haddington Road Agreement….we need to ensure that the unemployed, the under employed, in particular all those former employees who monthly paid their union dues, are receiving the attention they are due. Underclass in formation needs to be tackled now.

Too many have pension pots that we cannot sustain. Nobody responds to the George McNeice settlement yet the young doctors are struggling working in excess of 100 hours. In the US, people talk about double dipping. This is where people have two pensions. Ireland public sector and Government merit a comment. Take a person in government who receives a teachers pension; TD’s pension, Ministers pension, EU related pension and who knows what else based on the tax concessions relating to pensions. Is this fair? These up the ante for the others in the public sector and the trade unions. The private sector is decimated. Just look around you. Take Grafton Street Dublin – lots of tourists but nothing that reflects Ireland in our shops and nothing but vacant properties. Trade Unions should be active and inspirational in times of such economic hardship. 

By Michelle Clarke (Comyn)


Subject: Landlords especially NAMA must charge fair rents that reflect embattled local communties
Date: Sunday 21st July 2013 18:42:14 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed email address list

Sunday 21st July 2013

Fear abounds and silence destroys. Upper Baggot Street Village should be observed and sponsored as a proto-type for people to grasp just how tough it is on the margins of trying to make small to medium businesses tick over enough to survive. The landlords ie the owners of the properties that are leased to small businesses are being too greedy. The upward only clause is their credo and irrespective of the realities of the downturn in business, they just continue to charge too much.

Xtra-Vision had been a hub for over a decade in Baggot Street. All kinds of people had their own little ecosystem with the shop; for lots of us it was the 8 computers that engaged us with the internet and what it offers. The rumours are the rent was too high; some say the space cost as much as 140,000 euros and negotiation was not forth coming to reduce the rent when Xtra-vision went into examinership. Now it is vacant and advertised and the new tenant no doubt will be able to negotiate down the rent substantially, while the property stands vacant for months, if not years going forward. Meanwhile people have lost jobs, a neighbourhood has lost a business that contributed, and now there is the vacant premises to remind us all of that dreaded fear that goes with vulnerability and deep recession.

Then there is the FAS office, up to recently a venue for people to convene to seek employment. One would have thought that as the head office that Solus would retain the location and embed a culture of cross-fertilisation to expose people to employment opportunities and make a hub for employment initiative and job creation. Instead, the nucleus is but a payer to NAMA of rent and the question is does it pay rates to the local authority? Baggot Street Upper Village demands high rates and water rates from the small businesses yet it is suggested that semi-state buildings and HSE don’t have to pay rates. If this is so, where is the initiative to re-invigorate the bedraggled once Royal City of Dublin hospital, an architectural gem from another century, into a thriving centre of motivation and employment. Instead, like the FAS office, not even the windows are cleaned these days.

If Baggot Street Upper village embedded with the environs of businesses like Sky, Bank of Ireland head office ( now in Burlington Road) the Mespil hotel, IBEC just over the bridge, HRB, the government offices, cannot create a ‘silicon valley’ hub of initiative, then what hope has the rest of Ireland?

Diageo are said to be the landlords of Searsons – what have these corporates to say about neighbourhood incentives? What about Tescos? Tescos have non disclosure of accounts benefits being resident in Ireland; yet in the North of Ireland they contribute a voluntary local tax to their community. Why not in Baggot Street? It’s called the ‘Tesco Tax’. With honour they should make payments to their local communities.

If it is Diageo who own Searsons – what are you doing for Baggot Street Upper Village – the Baggotonia of our great poets and artists. Take a look at the advantages we have and embrace the necessary corporate social responsibility that ensures the survival the community so that when Ireland embraces the 2013 Gathering tourism drive, the visitors will embrace the culture and their objective will be to return to Ireland. 2016 (entenary of the 1916 Rising) is mighty significant in geo politics and it is less than three years away.

More news from the street is that Eaton Manufacturing have taken over the offices of IBM on Pembroke Road. It already is advertising jobs so this is good news. However, we hope they have a good sense for community as Google have in Dublin 2. Do you know that for over the age of 55’s Google provide one hour per week classes. This is what we need. We need communication. We need to know that landlords and especially not NAMA are charing fair rents for the fixity of tenure they expect.

The coffee shops in our little Village space are on their knees. Cutbacks of those little luxuries once served are now stripped to the bare bones yet these landlords are demanding exhorbitant rents. Rumour has it that the Bagel is gone and so is Roddy. Here every day for years, his staff loyal, his customers too but his franchise failed to negotiate on his behalf to get the rent down. It is said that the rent for the small space he had was 50,000 euros pa. It can’t work as a business plan. Who owns these properties? Why can’t the Department of Justice intervene and create equity in these harrowing times for small businesses. What if the Landlord is ultimately NAMA and they are imposing these unjust, inequitable rents on businesses.

Baggot Street Upper Village should, if the advantages were taken seriously’ should embrace the words smart and sustainable urban areas as is the focus in the US and other countries.



Subject: Corporate Social Responsibility and Trade Unions
Date: Wednesday 24th July 2013 17:24:40 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism and undisclosed email list
Wednesday 24th July 2013

‘Summer time and the living is easy

fish are jumping and the cotton is high…………….’ But in Ireland too many are now unemployed; too many are under employed; too many young people will become driftwood, as a small open economy on the Atlantic, off the UK and Europe, becomes the Detroit, USA (now bankrupt); the main difference being that the population of Detroit diminished from 1951 at 1.5 million to its present population of 700,000+. What can Ireland learn and learn now?

Interesting post about Eddie Hobbs and his recommendation to our millionaires to take the risk and go to Detroit. Sad really because we need those very same people to innovate and invest in the Island of Ireland where people from foreign countries have chosen to emigrate to and where the population is increasing. Thankfully, the MNC’s still are keen to locate in Ireland based on factors like we speak the English language, we are in the Eurozone, the EU, we have a high standard of education, we have a young population and so much more. We need to take hope from the fact that Google plan to invest further with a conference centre (which will compete with the one we already have) but theirs will host 15,000 people. This is a commitment on their part. The Celtic Tiger moved us up several notches and then dropped us down but maybe now we are near a platform and we need to learn and start climbing again upwards. We can start by asking the MNC’s to use their financial power to negotiate with the Troika to write down a significant proportion of the debt that can never be repaid and soon.  http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/ireland

Who has heard of the Robin Hood campaign http://robinhoodtax.ie/about-campaign? We all have. Robin Hood is needed in Ireland so try google and catch up with the plans of the modern day Robin Hood drive in the US and the UK. The EU are mooting for Financial Transaction Tax but the UK lose out so there must be a give and take. Ireland needs to be a beneficiary of this Robin Hood initiative, if only he could influence the powers that be to write down the debt.

Today the OECD has said Ireland is not a tax haven. However we do provide sweet deals for the MNC’s and it is time for us to ask for a greater return from these engines of economic growth potential to provide opportunities through a Robin Hood type programme to create employment for those who are now unemployed in our country. Trade Unionists have failed utterly to be innovative to create work initiatives; their concern is feathering their own nests and sitting on the sidelines. Shame on the reckless management of the IMO, Siptu and others – similar to the banks and developers there is a culture of gross misconduct that if properly investigated by the Gardai would suggest corrupt practices.

The trade unions have faltered, they have lost sight of the people who kept them in their present standing, they are too lazy to invest their money in projects alongside the multi-nationals to get the people away from the dole queues and create jobs. It is possible. Ireland is a small country and education is the only way forward.

Google undertake to help the over 55’s with 1 hr hand’s on training in Barrow Street, Dublin 2. We need more of these initiatives. The time has come again in another century this time for proper corporate social responsibility. Guinness did it with the Bayno and the Iveagh Hostels so today’s MNC’s can create opportunities for the unemployed.  http://www.frg.ie/local-news/the-liberties-celebrates-100-years-of-the-bayno/

450,000+ unemployed this summer. We are not Detroit, we don’t want to be the Detroit of Europe. We have the education, we have the MNC’s but we must tackle the public sector and we must address the bureaucracy and create a fairer society and to side step the rot of corruption that will fuel the black economy to our detriment. There must be hope. We are not in the awful Civil War that destroys Syria.



Subject: 14 people living in ex Garda’s house. Fire destroys – who counts the human costs?
Date: Friday 26th July 2013 18:31:05 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism; undisclosed email address list

 

A moral bankruptcy festered and the time for change is now.

Over four years ago, those rogue landlords were warned that the housing conditions that they expected their tenants to live in, had to be made compliant with the current legislation which came into effect in February 2013. 5 years now deep in recession, the construction industry decimated and there are a certain cache of owner/landlords who invested in properties with the objective of earning rental income and who let out these properties in as many units as possible to maximise their earnings. This breed of landlord (if the research and property tax payments for the LPT/Revenue Commissioners yields the data) will, in many cases, have avoided making tax returns for these dwellings. Add to this the probability of a lack of common decency or respect for the standards in which their tenants live. Many of these landlords were attracted to the old Georgian/Victorian properties to be found in Phibsboro, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Mountjoy Square often referred to as bedsit land.

How swiftly the rogue landlords chose to forget the slum dwellings of the 1960’s and 1970’s that created the social housing drive by Dublin Corporation and Dublin Co Council and the harsh living conditions ordinary Irish people were subjected too. Now we have new slums. We can’t blame the recent legislation because it is now 4 years ago that the warnings issued but the problem is the failure to enforce and now is the opportunity to ensure our rental property market is fit for purpose for the people who need accommodation. We can create jobs in the construction industry now based on the assumption that architects have ideas as to how best to convert our housing stock to suitable accommodation, compliant with the new legislation.

An earlier posting highlights the plight of a person who lived in one of these bedsits and the eviction notice because the owners decided to sell the property – the landlord died. This ‘threatened’ tenant represents many more who face eviction and in the absence of suitable homes and landlords who will not accept rent allowance, these people are threatened with becoming part of the homeless industry ie bedsits and hostels; especially with the social housing list now in excess of 100,000.

A house, a flat, a bedsit, shared floor space – we are talking about peoples’ homes. The owner of the property has obligations but too many times exploitation and greed determines the difference between the owner and the tenant. The new legislation if enforced has the capacity to generate employment in Ireland if only the Government can see the opportunity.

Sam Griffin in the Irish Independent quite rightly brings to our attention today about the conditions a house owned by an ex-Garda who had been ‘convicted of flouting fire safety rules’. The intense fire destroyed the house and homes of the people who lived there. Residents had to jump from windows to safety. The house which would once been a family home is now a home to an estimated 14 people – the property divided into flats. This could have been a massive tragedy with the loss of 14 lives, if not more.

“undermine public confidence” in the Gardai – ‘In December 2011, the High Court rejected the former Gardai’s challenge aimed at overturning his government sanctioned dismissal from the force’

Moral ethics and integrity is determined by the Courts of Justice in this former Garda’s case and we need more of same.



Subject: Bullying is the entrenched culture; Bullyboys; teachers; politicians versus psychotherapists
Date: Monday 29th July 2013 17:03:56 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list

Monday 29th July 2013

If Enterprise Ireland is a state company; yes it definitely employs interns. It is about massaging of numbers of unemployed while tapping best quality talent from our universities and Smurfit Business and other MBA programmes. Surely, the education and the cost of same to the Irish taxpayers of this coterie of academic elites makes it worth more than Social Protection asking them to work for their ‘dole’ and adding in 50 euros bonus money. This country is crying out for entrepreneurs. It would be preferable for these graduates to travel abroad rather than doing intern jobs in our state sponsored bodies in the public sector culture that is flawed.

If people had access to computers in a job oriented equivalent to a FAS office that worked and with inspirational directors, Activelink http://www.activelink.ie/, as recommended in previous posting, is the source to find work. Thanks for the link. We need to create work and create entrepreneurs. Citizen Journalism is a grassroots source of connectivity that allows people to write and share news based on a volunteer basis. BBC Click is worth googling. The idea is an extension of the Men’s Sheds here in Ireland. Camden Community London computer geeks have designated a location. It’s called Repair Projects. Instead of constantly upgrading technology, cameras, computers, mobiles, you can learn how to repair your broken equipment in a hands on environment. It’s time to tackle waste and instead of consigning to landfill, the aim is repair, recycle. This provides common sense training. This is the way to create entrepreneurs at grassroots. The French, the Italian are recognising that they have lost their home grown manufacturing/textile industry to the Far East; the skill sets are gone, their young people are unemployed. People are better off engaged so there are policy changes back to a more self-sufficient approach.

Ciara (a Citizen Journalism contributor): Bullying is unacceptable; it is linked to the culture of cronyism that is presently destroying Ireland’s competitiveness. Nessa Childers trained as a psychotherapist (think) so she is best qualified to identify what culture pervades with her colleagues and if she chooses to step down from the Labour Party, then the people of Ireland need to start asking some questions.

Robin Hood is back in America, Europe and the UK. The polarisation that exists between those who have and those who have not, is out of synch. In Ireland, they say close the senate and save so much. Is this a Troika way of telling Ireland Inc to clean the high cost of governance and the multi-dipping in pensions that is costing the ordinary taxpayer and citizens in Ireland unprecedented costs going forward. Take the last government and add up all their pensions and take their average age in their fifties. Actuarial calculations 30 years ago did not allow for people living as long receiving from their pension funds as they contributed into them. We need to start clipping public expenditure now. The trade unions are not doing their job, they fail to represent the interests of those who are unemployed ie those in excess of 500,000 in a population of 4 million+

People at grassroots need to get involved; the apathy will destroy the potential and the potential exists. Sunday Times article by Constantin Gurdgiev will help focus you if you are really interested in tackling the reasons behind the unemployment crisis.

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 Irishhealth.com 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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