Citizen Journalism Ireland: selection of emails to Government and related. (August to December 2013) by Michelle Clarke

Piggy Back time for Ireland Inc:  Try Billionaire’s Row, San Francisco

Thursday 1st August 2013 19:24:53 +0100
From:  Michelle Clarke

To:Alan Shatter ,, Averil Power ,, ,,, Kieran Loughran ,, Bill Martin et al

Thursday 1st August 2013
What can be done to make it thrive again?
Background: quoted from previous posting.

‘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 the landlords/owners are demanding exorbitant rents. Rumour has it that the Bagel is gone and so is the person who operated the Baggot Street Upper premises. (Over the weekend re-opened, repainted and new management). 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?’ How do we generate small business entrepreneurship?:

Jonathan Swift in the 16th century spoke of ‘giving vision to the visionless’.

Baggotonia is stifled because the foreboding Royal City of Dublin Hospital, a place of eminent medical renown, stands bedraggled, unpainted, windows dirty, with the minimal services that primary health care manages to provide. A cost benefit analysis should be done immediately because this is a blatant waste of public resources and potential to drive this economy forward in the area of Baggotonia. Why? This area may no longer be known as home to as many billionaires as during the Celtic Tiger days but a lot of the old wealth survives and the houses for sale are still in the millions and are selling.

Vision:- We need some. Eaton Manufacturing have bought into the IBM offices on Pembroke Road, Dublin 4, so we await them eagerly to once again have people spending on the ‘street’, in the restaurants, the coffee houses, the pubs, the shops. Yesterday, another new business enters where Xtra-vision (it is said their rent was 140,000 euros per year) was forced to exit. Nobody could possibly have guessed the service to be marketed: the banks at one time used to provide the services holding property deeds, jewellery, files but now Sentinel Vaults have spotted the opportunity and are tapping the market in the key area of Dublin 4. Now people store digital data in these boxes. Welcome to St Martin’s House – which is reported to have been bought by German company.

Royal City of Dublin hospital. The news is that one of the eight primary care centres is to be placed at the Haddington Road side of the hospital. What are the plans for the hospital? A medical museum was suggested; but nobody has the necessary commitment to make things happen and without impetus Baggotonia is submerged by economic doom and gloom. Now they say there are 440,000+ unemployed so there is a reduction. Can we sustain this? We need to bolster locations with potential resources and create markets. We have Google in Dublin 2 with its head office for Europe in Ireland. We have the financial services in the IFSC; we have the universities – why can we not create something like what happened on Billionaires Row in San Francisco in Baggotonia.

Bloomberg Businessweek Technology sector – we in Ireland can learn so much by “piggy-backing”/”leap-frogging” on the capacity and experience of others. The private equity firms like Blackstone, Kennedy Wilson are already honed in but we need to regain our self-belief and dignity and we need to enter back into the markets. There are people who hold considerable wealth in Ireland and we need to inspire them with ideas that they forget hoarding their money in Switzerland and such tax havens or in cash in our near State owned banks for near no return and engage them with the potential of our young people and risk-takers.

Let’s engage with the narrative around the start-ups on San Francisco’s Billionaire’s Row. Three years ago, something extraordinary happened on Billionaires Row. Somebody decided to put a Mansion up for rent. The property was worth $8 million and the potential client was probably a financier or executive. Change happened. The house was leased to 8 entrepreneurs aged in their 30’s. The mansion ‘was morphed into a hive of start-up activity’. Imagine the potential for the Royal City of Dublin hospital, especially if there was an impetus for corporate social responsibility linked to people mental health and neurological conditions who if provided with the necessary resources could be rehabilitated back into the community.

These “incubator houses” have become a Silicon Valley trend. Take the example of the Rainbow Mansion in Cupertino, ‘which has its own website and 5,000 square feet of space to house employees from Apple and Google, as well as start-up junkies’. The outcome from this is that graduates from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘have set up rival start-up communes’ in San Francisco. Do we have anything similar to the “Dead Houses” network ie owned by the Dead, in Ireland? If interested, check out: “It would be a plus to find someone into the start-up scene and who likes to hack on side projects”. Job creation should be a thriving industry yet “FAS in transition to Solus” is no longer in Baggotonia and failed dismally to engage in vision and creation of space utilisation so it is mind boggling to imagine that in D’Olier Street they will become a haven of job creation and inspiration. Check out the postings on JobBridge FAS and the grassroots experiences of the people who will grow this economy.

The power of the people must be recognised. Look at Georgian Dublin and the empty offices. Properties are being sold now (4 storey over basement) for a little as £500,000. IBEC have their offices, the Trade Unions like Siptu have Liberty Hall, Google property is owned by NAMA (Ronan & Barrett). What we now need urgently is for people who are potential entrepreneurs to have access to locations that will support their start-ups. We have these locations, we just need to tap the talent of those multi-nationals who avail of our favourable tax rates. All these locations have Tescos stores. The North of Ireland have shamed Tesco into an element of corporate social responsibility known as the TESCO TAX. We need this paid in our local communities too. They are struggling and the adornment of flower baskets just hides the pain.

These Georgian houses create such a potential in Ireland. The renovation in line with the environment, the generation of employment in the construction industry and then the potential to be an entrepreneurial centre for start-ups ….. Take the example of Buckley aged 31 who co-founded DODOcase in 2010. ‘He used one part of the house to assemble the case, which looks like a bound book, and another for shipping. The company sold about $4 million worth in its first year, President Obama owns one – and now employs more than 20 people at a factory in San Francisco’

The idea is worth consideration. These mansions ensure the location and the entrepreneurs pay less per month to live in the Mansion than in a one bed apartment. They are in Billionaires Row in San Francisco immersed in the resources of wealth without the costs.

Apparently vacancies are unheard of! There are plenty of ‘entrepreneurs, robotics enthusiasts, and venture capitalists, who want to move in. Baggotonia has access to the resources, let the people share the vision and utilise the vacant spaces with vigour and drive. 

By Michelle Clarke

Date: Friday 2nd August 2013 11:08:27 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Reply to contributor to Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Rape is wrong; it is a violation of bodily integrity, it is about abuse of power
by  Michelle Clarke (Comyn – Justice)

Ciara.  It is most disturbing that a student of legal studies is resigned to the fact that when people are placed in cells and are from different backgrounds that rape canlhappen just by consequence. For a start, the idea was to give each prisoner a cell with a bible for thought and reflection. Time changed this and shortfall in investment into a prison service that overcrowds cells and abuses the human rights of people.

Rape is always wrong but I thought it necessary to refer to an article in today’s Irish Times about the Rape Crisis Centre and their annual report. The recession bites deep and crime moves upwards and this includes rape. According to the article by Ruadhan MacCormaic in today’s Times, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre received more than 9,000 calls last year – a 23% increase in first-time callers. The Chairperson, Frances Gardiner stated more than 50% of these calls related specifically to adult sexual violence ie rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and trafficking. It begs the question what happens to people who are raped in prison as discussed in earlier most disturbing posting. Phone calls in prison are based on privilege and counselling services are non existent for people raped within prison territory.

260 victims of rape and sexual assault (accompanied by RCC volunteers) go to the sexual assault treatment unit at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. These are the people who are fit enough, able and ready to engage with the legal process that Rape demands. It is about making charges against he rapist. It is about contacting the Rape Crisis Centre and the local Gardai. It is about vulnerability and invasion of the bodily integrity that has already been invaded by the rapist/s. The law is brutal in that it is adversarial.

The stereotypical entrenched attitudes still stand. The questions are simple but damning? Were you drinking? Was your dress provocative? Did you lead the Rapist on?

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop from the Rape Crisis Centre stated that even though significant progress has been made particularly over the last 35 years, ‘there was a need to continue investing in the centre and in education so as “to ensure these changes are given the opportunity to be bedded down in our collective Irish psyche”. Rape is wrong inside or outside prison walls but those on the inside have no voice and we must listen in the midst of silence for their voices also.

Change lies ahead. Legislation is creating a DNA database and it is planned to be in operation by 2014. Minister Shatter said that the database will “revolutionise” the detection and prevention of rape and sexual assault, would hold DNA profiles of every person convicted of any offence that attracted a sentence of five years or more – a bracket that covers rape and almost all sexual offences. Mr Shatter then says “Rape and sexual assault are abhorrence(s)”. If so Minister Shatter, perhaps you can enlighten us about the heavy handed techniques of certain Gardai when presented with a woman who has been raped. It is quite astonishing that the Rape Crisis Centre report has made no reference to how the Gardai deal with Rape and victims – if I am wrong, please correct me. 

By Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Subject: Bullied by trade union member to accept……
Date: Friday 9th Aug 2013 18:19:20 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Contact , United Left Alliance ,, James Reilly , , Mike Allen ,, CentralBankPressOffice , Vincent Browne et al
Friday 9th August 2013

Reply to citizen journalism/open publishing posting:

Well written posting. A sad reflection of our present day Trade Union officials especially this year the centenary of 1913. Transparency must prevail. If the Charity heads can be reported in the newspapers naming them and their 100,000+ pay packages, their perks, their pensions, then we need a similar shake down on what the elites in our trade unions are paid and what pensions the retirees have secured, all on the back of Croke Park cronyism.

Nobody seems to care about Merrigan – the HSE slush fund of 4 million euros and the questions raised; add to this the scandalous provision for IMO Chief executive McNeice aged 51 with his retirement sugar coated deal which had to be reduced from 24 million euros to under 10 million euros. These are the people identified but what about all the others in their gilded offices shielded from the realities of what the recession in Ireland is really about and the plight of those particularly in the service and retail sector who are the new down trodden neatly referred to as the “Zero-Hours” workers who have no rights apart from the wage rate that the employer pays them.

Trade unions have faltered. You lose your job and their contract with the employee is over. Tough for you but they are embedded in their equivalent to the public service bureaucracy that is rightly being pitted against the private sector who have been severely affected by this recession. If you want to find out details about the rise of the Zero Hours, the Sunday Times 4th August is worth reading.

We have almost 500,000 people unemployed if you add those who are on the dole, disability and massaged FAS courses, to reduce the numbers unemployed. We don’t know the figures of how many have emigrated or for that matter how many have immigrated to Ireland. But according to last weeks Sunday Times, we now have ‘Up to 500,000 people who are now “employed” with no guaranteed hours. The Unions are up in arms, but is it really a problem?’.

The above title states boldly and no doubt taking account of the Centenary year of the Lockout that the trade unions continue to side with the workers and their rights, both when in work and when made redundant, but we know the truth. The unions crossed over the line and their preference is linked hand and glove with the employers. As said before, the media have an obligation to identify the packages these trade union public sector doss house representatives receive and let them have the opportunity to get back to grass roots and do their job and protect workers’ rights.

Britain is presently waking up to the idea of “Zero-Hours” – most likely we have it entrenched in Ireland without as yet naming it. Zero-hours means: You have no guarantee of regular work or pay; lives are lived at the whims of an employer. This is alarming for a small open economy like Ireland with a population of 4.5 million. The insecurity within the realms of being employed is totally removed from over 500,000 people and the trade unions do nothing.

What about the US trend towards social benefit ie corporate social responsibility? The profit motive is being slightly side stepped, not unlike what happened in another century when Guinness, Bewley’s crossed the line from profitability to social engagement. In the UK there is a shame attached to this abrogation of workers rights with retailers such as ‘Arcadia (parent company of Top Shop and BHS), Next, B&Q, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer who like others insist they don’t use Zero-Hours contracts’. The question to be asked is if they have the same view to employing people in Ireland.

by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Subject: Mr Tax Exiles have some honour; pay your taxes in Ireland, create employment in Ireland. Response to article on citizen journalism site: source on request. Mr Gay Byrne some say yes & some say No but at least Gay Byrne like O’Leary Ryanair pay their taxes in Ireland
Date: Thursday 15th August 2013 17:13:10 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:  Alan Shatter , ; undisclosed address list
Thursday 15th August 2013
Mr Tax Exiles have some honour; pay your taxes in Ireland, create employment in Ireland

by Michelle Clarke(Justice) 

Ireland’s infrastructure, the education of our people, the youth who buy their ‘products’; the tax haven that gave writers tax incentives, we are numbed and on our knees to debt and we really need you to return to Ireland, to pay your taxes and contribute to our economy.

500 million euros, reported by the OECD, is the amount of money that Nigerians remitted to Nigeria in 2012. To anyone who has lived in Africa, it will be all too clear that poverty exists but what one also knows is that despotism, nepotism, totalitarianism prevail and cause the social inequalities. Bono, Bob Geldof, Denis O’Brien are the heroes of ‘let’s feed the poor’ but now its the time to stand down blatant corruption through exemplary behaviour and that mean’s come home, pay your taxes in Ireland and be messengers that State Inequality is the source of poverty which ultimately creates tribal civil wars. Transparency International, the United Nations, Unesco these are the vehicles who aim to make changes but certain demi-Gods now have their faces intrinsically linked to the word saviour and giver but the truth is they are tax cute manipulators of tax havens with an air of supremacy that isn’t underwritten by their own donations and lifestyle choices. These are the elites who pop in and out to Ireland to meet other political elites like Mrs President Obama and her daughters in quaint Dalkey.

Well done to the poster of this article (reply to Citizen Journalism contributor). These Mr “Bilderbergers” who nuzzle in when the gong rings in Wall Street on St. Patrick’s day need to be asked to re-think their positions. If their criteria are purely monetary, we need to say to them to read about Mr Warren Buffet and his honour and principles about drawing down a reduced salary and being prepared to pay more taxes on his wealth sourced income. Honour is the old fashioned word but now is the time to put it to our Mr Tax Exiles to display same.

There are people who could but have not abused our tax laws. Today, it is humbling to read that Mr Gay Byrne who is now in his 80’s and who worked in RTE broadcasting for most of his working life and how this loyal individual addressed the harsh realities that the CelticTiger financial markets collapse dictated for him and many more who lost their entire pensions in the crisis of 2007. Too many people with private pension funds were advised to invest in the Banks including Anglo Irish and they lost all. Well done to Mr Byrne. He wallowed not in the misery of the financial losses he had to face, he ‘took up his shovel and he went to work’ and nobody should begrudge him and the £444,000 gain he made over the last number of years. We need people like him who not alone create work and financial gain for themselves but for others too at ever level of the value chain.

Next time I see someone who is a Mr Tax Exile in Dublin 4 or Dalkey I am going to address them as Hello Mr Tax Exile; would you ever consider being a Robin Hood? Shame is the only way to get people to think and act with honour.

By Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Subject: Follow this:

Test case to take-over underwater mortgages. Check out: “Eminent Domain”

Date: Friday 16th August 2013 18:58:41 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne ,; undisclosed address list
Friday 16th August 2013
Urban Abandonments and dereliction 

Ok, it is in the US but let’s regard the financial crisis as a global, that private equity groups are lurking in the markets, and that piggy-backing can often work and if it does work in the US courts, then maybe some genuine mortgage defaulters can emerge from being underwater.

It’s the Pink Paper‎: The article is written by April Dembosky and Stephen Foley.

The man buys a house for $280,500 now worth $137,000 in sunny California. The horrors don’t end here, you must then factor in the loan, the added interest to the principle, and then add the deferred property tax bills that he incurred when he got sick with colon cancer (which if the truth is acknowledged, is due to the stress caused by going into debt to become a home-owner). We know every day that there is someone in our own country going through a similar hell hole and is a victim of an under regulated banking bonanza. The Troika govern. The Central Bank complies. They now finally 5 years on are telling the State owned banks to engage with the ‘mortgage delinquents’ and where possible do a deal or with near immediate effect – Eviction.

To anyone in the mire, check out this court case:

“The city government is fighting to finance Mr Wilson and his neighbours. His address is included on a list of more than 600 properties it wants to take over with the help of Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP), an investor group advised by Evercore Partners plans to arrange funding for cities that want to compulsorily purchase loans, and WestwoodCapital”

It is a controversial scheme but worth looking at: The aim is to wrest the housing loans away from the big banks like JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and some 30 other banks by relying on a “novel” ‘ interpretation of ‘Eminent Domain’ law http// —– an idea spearheaded by Mortgage Resolution Partners. This case started last year and is being watched eagerly….. it is a test case.

The history of ‘Eminent Domain’ is where Municipalities seize private properties when the land is needed for a public project and by paying a fair price to the owners. What it means for Richmond and in several other US cities (and potentially in Ireland) is that where mass evictions and foreclosures are imminent, that ‘officials plan to use the law to seize the underwater mortgages from banks and replace them with new, cheaper loans based on the current home values to relieve the debt burden on citizens’.

The writing in Ireland is now on the wall. The banks are kicked into gear by the Troika and the Central bank so it is imperative we know the options and if this sort of deal could be organised then the moral hazard option would be replaced by people having their loans reduced to reflect the negative equity present value of their property with a write down of debt organised by those who orchestrated the crisis.

Watch this space. Those in mortgage arrears and negotiating with the banks, bear this in mind. Negotiation is underway. The get out clause is the Personal Insolvency but as yet it is not firmly in place. So prepare your case wisely.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

October 22nd 2016:

This is relevant still.  Maybe it is worth checking  out Mr Edmund Honohan and his views about CPO’s

Subject: Moral bankrupts: Consider the practices of John Lewis Partnership
Date: Friday 23rd August 2013 19:11:59 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne ,, , James Reilly : Citizen Journalism site and address list
Friday 23rd August 2013

The Lock-Out 1913 by the National Library of Ireland exhibition conjures up a meek and mild approach for fear people would embrace the realities of the “Underclass” that is being created in Ireland and take to the streets to protest. It is worth a visit, it runs into 2014 and why not visit Buswells hotel where politicians and civil servants so often frequent.

But let’s not complain, at least there is some acknowledgement of what happened in 1913, the Lock-Out, William Martin Murphy, Jim Larkin and James Connolly and how the trade unions intervened to improve the status of the lowly Irish worker, both male and female.

The Trade Unions in Ireland today resemble the capitalist whose capital and wealth pays more than an income from mere laborious work. Take the case cited so often on this site of Mr McNeice (former Chief Executive of the Irish Medical Organisation “IMO” (ie their trade union) and his reduction from £24 million pension pot to £9.7 million. Nobody cries out, not even the doctors or the consultants. Do people not ask why? It is simple because the IMO – the medical doctors trade unions secured some of the best negotiated deals in Europe for consultants and doctors and for the last 5 years it is the trade unions who have been seriously engaged in preserving their status quo. If this applies to the doctors and consultants, it is not unrealistic to apply the equation to other professions, to government pensions, to public sector. These unions are the goose that laid the golden egg but for how long? The unions are soft, their leaders have lost contact with the people at grassroots. Zero-hour work to them is a wasteland going forward and they avoid these drifters and casualties of the corporates, the construction industry, the retailers, because they need to be the advisers to the overlords with their pensions, their perks, their education junkets to Harvard. You see for them it has become the preservation of what they have attained. People need to start asking questions about the semi-state sectors and link-ups that exist with their union officials. Pensions are there to be protected for the new elites and these include the like of Siptu, Unite, IMO, INMO etc etc but we need to ask at what cost?

The Troika, the Government, the Central Bank, the EU gravy train must stop the bureaucracy that is spewing out the message that deceit is better than social justice. It is time to draw a line in the sand. Moral bankruptcy will sink this country. The Tribunals highlight where the corruption was entrenched. We know about the black economy but now is the time tackle it and at every level. We know about the Mr Tax Exiles and we know how shame and exclusion from powerful elite meetings can influence change. However, if the people with power in government lack the courage to exclude these Mr Tax Exiles then the deceit continues and the example that people need to thread a more equitable route is absent. In 1913, the Quakers promoted equity and Peace. Today, we are floundering without examples to influence us towards what is acceptable for all in our society.

Ireland is going underwater. 100,000 people in 90 days arrears in their mortgages, nearly 500,000 are unemployed and say 300,000 have already emigrated, is what we hear about in the media but what we don’t hear is the social damage that has been caused by the ‘wallowing in the mire’ policy directives of those who are supposed to govern. Legislation abounds – guillotine is the new buzz word in the Dail. The Troika tell the Central Bank who tells the banks, the lenders, to act. What happens? We drift on and the more we drift on, the lack of clarity creates an even bigger underclass underpinned by a black economy that becomes the only way for people to survive. We have the rich and the poor and the divide is getting wider and wider.

The trade unions have sold the people out. They have collected funds and hold them in accounts. There are no programmes to re-engage people in the work-force. This has been left to FAS and signs on it has taken them 5 years to date, with minimal impact ie apart from the Internships JobBridge schemes.

The “Pink Paper” holds out some hope today for a sense of moral integrity can pass through the decades and become an example for people to follow: John Lewis Partnership is worth googling up. The motto goes ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’. If you buy something from them and it is cheaper in another shop, they honour the lower price. This is a grassroots principle that applies but today’s headline in the Pink Paper ie Financial Times puts it to us all to re-engage with Integrity but at an individual level and a corporate one too.

The article is by Duncan Robinson – front page – The Pink Paper

‘The John Lewis Partnership has been widely acclaimed by the political establishment as a model employer’.

There is good reason for this: John Lewis Partnership recently discovered it underpaid approx 69,000 out of its 85,000 workforce from its department stores and Waitrose supermarkets. The staff who regularly work on Sundays and bank holidays receive a higher hourly wage. However, the employee-owned partnership failed to take this into account when calculating their holiday pay (this practice is contrary to Working Time Regulations).

Their way of dealing with this oversight:

‘John Lewis said it had gone beyond its legal obligations by offering to award back pay to employees who were shortchanged, rather than staff having to make claims’. “The Board have tried to take the fairest response and pay back as far as possible”….. it goes back to 2006 and it amounts to £40 million.

O please let us learn from this.

by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Subject: Central Bank welcomes Mr Roux, his expertise is regulation, so what lies ahead for strategic defaulters. Karl Deeter (Irish Mortgage Brokers & Advisors) recently wrote an article concerning a white-collar “professional” and a “company director”.
Date: Monday 26th August 2013 22:58:23 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne , ,, Constantin Gurdgiev , Brian Lucey , Cahill Gavin , , Karen Greville ; Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list

Monday 26th August 2013

This person had acquired 6 investment properties, a family home and “She” ‘has chosen not to pay the bank’. She states that she chose to default because the banks insisted she pay interest and capital repayments on the 6 investment properties. Her action irrespective of her legal duty was to choose to default. Asked about ‘Guilt’, and the answer was “none”; why because the blame game applies and the banks are at fault for their lack of “morality”. We all know that if you buy an investment property it differs significantly from a mortgage deal but yet this person buys six properties and forfeits the responsibility that goes with buying investment properties for the purpose of being a ‘landlord’. This raises the issue of “Moral Hazard” › Definitions › Economy and highlights where the expertise will be needed to restructure debts with equity being core to the equation.

This woman goes further and when asked if she will go for a personal insolvency option, she elaborates that she is seeking an arrangement but is not interested in the personal insolvency using words like

‘its a pain…not wanting to kick the can down the road’. She blatantly comments that ‘we make a deal, or they go for me or I go bang on my own. I’ll still be be less than 50 when I am back out, so I can make some kind of come back, I’m hoping….they also know I have time on my side, it isn’t like I’m 50, so the process of dragging it out is their solution, not mine. The loans were priced for risk, that risk is at least part of theirs, not all mine’.

How will the banks sort out the wood from the chaff.

For those over 65, there is no regard for their commitment to paying mortgage interests rates of 14 to 20% over the decades. This woman is a product of the reckless mentality that has created the crisis and she has learned nothing. What makes it so much worse is that we are talking about a white collar professional who is a company director.

How do we deal with the crisis?

It is stated that at least 20,000 of our debtors have left Irish shores to get the microwave bankruptcy way-out. I ask who are these people and who really should take the blame.?  How to we rein in the ‘mortgage delinquents’ and those who ‘buy-to-let delinquents’ who blame the banks for all their woes due in part to their reckless abandonment. The Banks are accountable for their Los Vegas Casino practices but borrowers also must take some responsibility, especially people who act as company directors or who in the professions.

There is real moral hazard to be taken into account. Who picks up the tab? We need to understand that it is the Irish taxpayers and what exists now is an institutional enslavement which will be handed down to future generations and some economists estimate an 80 year plus debt sentence.

Beware of how the banks will react. One bank has already hired disgraced sacked rogue ex Garda John White to spy on the defaulters. This shows how low the banks have stooped to regain their losses. Read Greg Harkin’s article in the Independent about White and his investigation operation.

Mr Roux joins the Central Bank next month. Mr Matthew Elderfield steps down. Change is underway.

Personal Insolvency becomes an option in September 2013. Moral Hazard – does this have an argument? Surely people who bought their houses and paid off their mortgages have a voice too. 

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Trade Unions stand idling; create work opportunities for the unemployed is your task now
Date: Thursday 29th August 2013 17:23:59 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Thursday 29th August 2013 

Trade unions: what have you in mind?

The workers in Clery’s were persuaded to accept the equivalent to zero hours contracts and then one day they were out of work and forgotten by SIPTU. There were those who stayed and those who left but then comes a big storm and the water flows in Clerys and the doors are closed for weeks now. It was easy for the private equity group to put in place the re-run of redundancy zero-hour contracts and let’s see what SIPTU do for these now employees pending the re-opening of Clerys., that is of course, if it does ever re-open.

Another wrap of the knuckles for SIPTU. What about that security company in Donegal that provided work in security for Tesco Ireland. Tesco decided to go global and now have in place a French company. Result all the workers in the Donegal business lost their jobs and there seems to be no negotiation option. Tesco Corporate rules in Ireland or maybe it’s their UK office; it has favourable tax rules in Ireland, and doesn’t have to declare profits. However, this doesn’t mean that they can be so brutal in their exercise of power. This business faces extinction at the whim of Tesco. They will not even negotiate with the workers or their trade unions according to newspapers.

Subject: McNeice privileges versus young doctors and EU legislation
Date: Wednesday 4th September 2013 19:17:18 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter , Alex White ,, Vincent Browne ; Citiern Journalism and undisclosed address list

Wednesday 4th September 2013

Can anyone ask how it is that some of our junior doctors have been so neglected that the IMO has not ensured that the hours of work are what the EU guidelines state?  It appears that they are too busy working out deals for their own coterie of managers, consultants, GP’s. The lowly are the ones they use to do the hours and the patients – well they remain vulnerable to a bloated HSE any especially if they are public patients.  We need to be aware of young doctors who commit suicide and who have no voice.

George McNeice as reported in the media is a scandal. How can a Chief Executive of the IMO a trade union at the age of 51 sideline a package of £24 million for himself? OK it was reduced to £9.7 but what does this say about all the other rank and file. We must note that the young doctors are the fodder here that don’t even merit (without going on strike), what the EU regulations say is law.

Today’s newspapers report that people working for McDonalds, Burger King and other outlets are considering strike action in the US. They realise now that the minimum wage is not enough; it cannot sustain the basic lifestyle of workers. Apparently, executives in McDonalds did a research study on the incomes of their workers and found many held second jobs. They expressed their amazement on how their workers could possibly live on the wages paid. The circle revolves and the people rise up and say, enough: we work, we need fair pay, we need pensions, we need work-hours and holidays, we need health cover. It is the service sector, the retail sector, the construction sector, the food sector, the public transport system who provide the services that give the infrastructure that the citizens need and use.

So zero-hours contracts beware.

Cloaked invitations yield from SIPTU, National Library, media and other bodies linked to trade unions to celebrate the anniversary of the 1913 lockout in Ireland but veiled they are in case any comparisons are made. People like Jim Larkin, Connolly, those dedicated people in the ITGWU who fought for basic human rights for people, and especially Mrs Hackett who is suggested as a name for the new bridge, would tell the people of today to heed the old saying ‘if you make yourself a door mat, a door mat you will be’.

Clerys staff are supposed to be inside those once distinguished doors sorting, clearing out, cleaning with hard hats on their heads as the builders work. Where are the trade unions like Siptu? What are the rights of these workers?

Mrs Hackett: Name the bridge after an exceptional woman

At last a woman:

Rosie Hackett is the name for the new bridge. Well done and rightly so for decades of work for people in dire financial poverty and need. 

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Did you ever ask question about the utility of our Churches?
Date: Wednesday 11th September 2013 16:57:31 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Wednesday 11th September 2013

Urban abandonments and dereliction

Homelessness is getting worse than ever according to Fr McVerry and truthfully it is the case because the urban villages of our cities, as winter approaches, are sought after locations for people to beg in the hope of having the money for a hostel, at worst for the night, or at best the e50 needed for the week.

Francis of Assisi is worth a thought these days. He lived life, he loved animals and he worked with the poor (mind, body and spirit). News from Rome today according to the Irish Times and excerpt from Reuters, is a message that we need to hear especially in Ireland which has so many under-occupied churches, seminaries, convents. Pope Francis said that ’empty church buildings should house refugees’ and we can be bold enough to assume that this includes all people who are vulnerable to eviction and to homelessness. I recall many years ago hearing that in Japan this policy was carried out by the Catholic Church so why not in Ireland and now? The quays of Dublin City Centre and for that matter in Thomas Street, Dublin 8, have too many closed up churches and the only message this gives is abuse of power and waste of opportunities for people in need. We need greater awareness and if we consider what was recently said by Pope Francis about food and the waste of food – it is about “stealing from the poor’. These churches could provide accommodation but more importantly industry, art, teaching, support, education, inter-generational interaction. It should be about a new beginning.

Pope Francis further states (and this should apply to other religions like the Pentecostal Church and the Hade family under investigation reference the DPP) that “Empty convents and monasteries should not be turned into hotels by the church to earn money….{the buildings} are not ours, they are the flesh of Christ, which is what the refugees are”. Pope Francis spoke to a private audience in the Jesuit Astalli Centre for refugees”. Pope Francis went on to say that ‘looking after the poor should not be only the work of “specialists” but engaged in by all members of the Church. He then identified that a large source of the problems encountered by people today is in the fear they have for the word “Solidarity” especially those in the developed world. Its not about being a member of the Catholic Church; it is about the code of conduct that enables society to work an optimum that tries to foster a system of equality.

Waste not want not is basic to the code. Brother Kevin feeds daily the ever increasing numbers of people who are in need of food but there is more that can be done. Enterprise is about creation and resources exist in people that need to be tapped. With so many people now unemployed and vast amounts of vacant buildings like Churches, convents, seminaries which need to be re-invigorated with that spirit of creativity, there is a blatant need for revival. Silicon Valley is a location where geeks gathered and created the digital revolution with vast sums of money. Who is to say that spaces that are vacant and bereft of a sense of life and living cannot be revitalised.

Ireland needs a little honesty about the housing lists for those who need social housing. Since the Independence of this Republic when one third of people in the city of Dublin lived in tenements- multi-family tenanted units that were once houses to the gentry, great progress and lots of building of homes was carried out. This building virtually stopped during the Celtic Tiger period and people who would normally have received housing from the State were primed by the banks and the State into the rush to be a home owner. Ultimately it is not too extreme to blame them partially for the negative equity crisis we are now immersed in. There must be an equation that states that from 2000-2012 x houses would have been built for social housing needs and they were not constructed so now we will do a deal with NAMA thrrough agencies like NABCO and other housing associations to provide people with accommodation.

Now there is a thought to stop urban abandonment and dereliction in its tracks. Time to cut out the bureaucratic nonsense with Priory Hall in particular. To watch a mother of two children talk about the suicide of her husband and for what. Banks sending out letters warning them to re-structure a debt and telling them they owed e17,000 to service the debt for a home they were basically evicted from two years prior. This is a nonsense. 

By Michelle Clarke (Forster)

Reply to angry FAS worker writing on Citizen Journalism site

17th September 2013
Anger – the emotion. Zero-hour contracts & pure exploitation

Maybe you are right! Paddling a canoe is onerous, arduous, laborious, and even boring but the promise of the public sector job to maintain your employment until retirement age and then pay you a pension is the gamble you chose to take, because you got your leaving certificate, the grades that the civil service requested and spoke the Native tongue – Irish. You were one of the fortunate ones and gained entry to the public sector bureaucratic monster and its promise of a life-time fixity of tenure, the trade unions at your back, the benefits, yes, you were then the shrewd person and it reflects on your attitude of self pity. Where were you when you saw the FAS/HSE etc jump on board the gravy train of privilege, did you look on or perhaps you were smug within the elites reported on by Shane Ross and other media sources.  You, if this in this group, are no different to our many double-treble-quadruple dipping pension pot politicians that need now to surrender some of their privileges. The fact that you appear not to be one of civil service/FAS/HSE/public sector/governmental offices elite rising stars who flagrantly spend other peoples’ monies providing no outcomes for ordinary people other than the egos of the new elites that Celtic Tiger Ireland created is for you to prove otherwise.

On the other hand take the Corporates who use this country as a ‘tax haven’ for their double sandwiches or whatever language you wish to apply. These Corporates have chosen another path. They blatantly say no to trade unions because these new breed of corporate employers pay above the odds in salaries, perks and benefits knowing that at a whim they can say to a loyal employee Go and Go now and never return. It is irrelevant that the employee may have been employed under the auspices of the Rehab concept of finding suitable work for people with intellectual disabilities. Their vulnerabilities are suitable when choosing to pay below the average wage but not when a petty misdemeanor becomes a sackable offence.

Angry – I am, when I hear of an abuse of power within the corporate entity of a big supermarket chain who do not have to provide balance sheet details in Ireland and who gain handsomely on a global scale from the tax benefits we provide that is Ireland, the Republic. Zero-hours is the new game in town for the retail sector and people who have had years of service working for companies like Clerys, Tesco, and others are finding themselves basically fired and forced into work in the new zero-hour mold with no basic human rights particularly for the older worker. Internships are facilitating these cut throat practices against committed workers who are now often drawing the dole.

Today we read in our newspapers that Tesco have a new plan for stores. It is not the retail outlets away from town centres anymore but now it is let’s get local. If this is their plan, let us hope that they will learn one important point and that is when you are focused local be it in towns or urban villages, people count and petty grievances between members of staff especially those in functional roles like security must be monitored to avoid ‘abuse of power’ to the degree that people who are full-time in employment cannot be fired without the proper representation for their rights as a human being.

To those who care about people, try asking about a member of staff who just disappears. You will find the staff are briefed on what they are allowed to say. Don’t be afraid to be human and ask more is all I can say.

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Mental Health bereft; Where to? Prison or mental health hospital or the streets?
Date: Wednesday, 18th September 2013 17:06:28 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list
Wednesday 18th September 2013
The Irish Times 17th September 2013: a letter in response to Joe Humphry’s piece on:
(“High level of psychosis among remand prisoners”) The revolving door is about fate these days as people find themselves provided with the either/or in response to a mental health ‘episode’. The fortunate who have private health cover have the guaranteed route to private mental health care or addiction provision in our elite private hospitals. Others, their plight is far more uncertain and the HSE and the prison services stand co-accused for the shameful treatment of those who are the most vulnerable in society. There was a time when dispensary doctors provided a service to the public that most often included weekend working hours and late nights. Not now. Worse again, even the hospitals fail the vulnerable because the much promised community health care teams work minimal hours providing basically cinderella services to those who are casualties of society.
Frank Browne – a letter that is worth reading.
Adult Mental Health Interest Group, Irish Association of Social Workers, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, quite rightly states in his letter to the Irish Times that :-
“While cost and time can always be an excuse for us healthcare workers, the reality is that we need to make tough decisions as to WHO we prioritise? Patients who have schizophrenia or psychosis and engage in substance abuse can cause chaos on a psychiatric inpatient unit and often the response is to discharge to homeless services with limited outpatient care’.

Minister O’Reilly, Minister Shatter, Minister Lynch, Minister Burton, Inspector of Prisons – Judge Michael Reilly, Liam Herrick, Irish Penal Reform Trust, Colm O’Gorman, Amnesty International, to name but a few.

Your performance or commitment is just not good enough. It is time for you to do a little research and learn that those especially over the last decade who have created journals of experiences about mental health services, the HSE, the criminal justice system, is clear proof that what we now have is a scandal beyond credibility. It is now decades since Sean McBride (founder of Amnesty International) wrote on prisons and Noel Browne (Mother and Child scheme) wrote concerning the health system; if anything the services are worse than ever. The mental health and addiction problems are to be witnessed daily on our streets with ‘beggars’ so addicted to illegal drugs that they are but skeletal shadows of human beings crying out for help that does not exist. Weaning off is the objective of methadone but the question is: Is this just another way of sidelining those addicted based on the economics rather than the practicalities of providing options for these people to return to education and then to work. Where are the recovery programmes because the evidence is if you look to community health care teams – they just don’t appear to be working.

Two examples: a woman found dead in her bed for over one year in Swords. No family; no back-up by her GP; the community health care supposedly providing for her mental health and addiction problems. How could this happen? Is this not Minister O’Reilly’s patch? This man is a doctor, his family were involved in medicine. What does he really think now about services of near non existence? The woman was in her early 50’s and the fact is nobody cared enough to notice that her social welfare cheques were not being collected. So very sad.

Dublin 4, Donnybrook, Dermot Rooney aged 52 left prison….days later and he was dead. 24th January (winter, maybe a safe space from the cold harsh streets of being homeless), he was taken into custody. His brother Gerry recalls:

“he was hugely depressed and intimidated in prison. A weak lad like Dermot is easily picked out. I was frightened visiting him and I had a prison officer next to me. The other prisoners see someone like Dermot and it’s just fun for them to mess around with him”.

Does a man with addiction problems find resolve, resolution, rehabilitation in prison? Dermot was first placed on the D wing in Cloverhill for vulnerable prisoners but then he was transferred to Wheatfield….surprise surprise – his mental health history bore no relevance. Awareness should be the mantra of all people who give to charities of the industries emerging for catering for the homeless and their level of effectiveness and commitment to rehabilitation. Focus Ireland visited Dermot on three occasions ‘to prepare accommodation for him on his release…but the day before a fourth meeting, the Charity was informed that Dermot had been given temporary release’. Dermot had no-one. His brother (and he should bear some shame also) said ‘(How can you not hand him over to somebody? And they just said, ‘Oh lucky him’….Dermot was just put out on the street’.

Pass the buck. Forget all about that cinderella profession called psychiatry. Earmarked funds for mental health are the easy target for government when they need to feed the excessive debts to the ECB which now is racking up charges close to £7 billion and rising each year – their priorities are so skewed. Common sense would say it is time for write-downs to be negotiated.

To conclude: The Irish Prison Service attended the inquest concerning Dermot, released from prison, homeless and dead by suicide. They said:- “It was a failure on our part not to have consulted with Focus Ireland who had been engaging with Mr Rooney”. It also admitted no formal case review was conducted prior to his release, ‘and nor were any efforts made to ensure he had someone to meet him when released’.

Who cares now. Mental health; addiction, neurological deficits can be the source of hidden talents. We can never learn if we don’t become a more focused and caring society with emphasis on providing the health care systems that support our most vulnerable. There are nearly now as many suicide charities as there are suicides each year. There must be a message here. 

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Response to contributor Citizen Journalism site:  Thinking of you. Keep spirits up. Negative equity cost me the most valuable thing of all and that is your health. We need to shake heads together and give people options. ISI is the way for slow coach and five years into recession it is not the answer. You know what I am saying. Beat the banks.
Date: Saturday 21st September 2013 19:20:14 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Saturday 21st September 2013
In debt: 90 days in arrears + and now smothered with denial

Yes, given the omerta about “ISI” the “Golden Rule” is worth heeding.

Either way how many people now five years strangled by interest especially the reported 10%+ people with mortgages that are greater than 90 days+ in arrears and who have lapsed into denial to the degree that any mention of money, interest, debt, property values, is a pure haze driven by the fear the markets have imposed on people whose only vice was to aim to be home owners or to opt out of employment pension schemes and choose the business buy-to-let landlord option of properties receiving an acceptable market return and capital appreciation that would eventually buy the pension annuity for old age. How were these people expected to realise that the objective of the governmental policy was to entice them with tax breaks so as to curb the social obligation of the State to provide housing for those in need. There was shift in the vision of FF but we must also realise that there was a major shortfall of houses built for the social housing requirements that now tells us that there are 98,000 families in need of social housing. Add to this those to be forced and evicted from their homes as the Banks foreclose.

What do you really think about NAMA, the largest owner of property that has to date provided only 200-400 houses for social housing requirements while figures indicate it has 10,000, if not many more, and add to this the ghost estates, that they are strategically holding.  The harsh truth is their auspices is not social distribution of homes for those in need; it is the making of profits and their continuity of an entity mass holder of properties going forward. Strategy and markets which have no memories are about property bubbles and people honing in on good value properties and buying them at knockdown prices. One man’s plight being another’s advantage.

For those wondering what to do about debt and what it really is about. There is an excellent article by Cathal Spelman who runs ‘Fair Money Ireland Campaign; published in the August September Issue 24 Village.

Now is the time to wake up out of the denial and to start tackling the realities about debt. Listen to the stories of those who experienced negative equity in the 1990’s in the UK and the costs social, psychological and economic.   These were harsh times; the banks were the winners and the costs placed firmly on the shoulders of people who had mortgages and who saw interest rates move over a 6 month period from 7% to 14% culminating in negative equity and left paying off interest.

The article – the title needs to rivet the people who are the casualties of this post Celtic Tiger crisis. ‘Interest not debt is the problem’ and this is the truth and this is what is lost when you are dug deep into the hole of facing that option of “ISI” or “Golden Rule” or even plain bankrupt.

Read the article and learn. Two points worth deep consideration:

‘If you take out a mortgage of say e200,000 over thirty years at 5%, you will pay back e500,000 over the lifetime of the loan. That means you will pay e300,000 of interest on the 200,000e loan’

‘The payment of interest to banks constitutes the greatest transfer of wealth and power in the history of mankind. The poorer you are, the more interest you are paying. The poor are borrowers; the super wealthy are lenders. That is the nub of all the talk of the 1%. In fact the bottom 80% are paying the top 10% a phenomenal rate, through interest payments.’

Add to this that the banks are paying virtually nothing to people who have money on deposit at present and out there lurks the possibility of a Troika led swoop on deposits taking a cut of possibly 35% on those who have deposits in excess of 100,000.

Boggling numbers can cause people to opt out; but it is the privileged who step in so I really suggest reading this article and providing better and more informed solutions than the banks presently offer or for that matter “ISI”

By Michelle Clarke

Subect: “You forfeit it all and become an economic Zombie” Irish Independent 19th September 2013, by Forster – Bankruptcy Ireland or UK or Swansea?
Date: Monday 23rd September 2013 17:05:35 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed email address list
Monday 23rd September 2013

The Phoenix rising from the ashes is the message endorsed by the recent appointment of Mr Ivan Yates to the position of ‘a regular columnist’ with the Irish Independent. What does this say about “ISI”? The message is clear within certain media circles and that is get up off your knees as effectively and efficiently as you possibly can and keep on cycling.

Media has become Mr Yates latest module and his gambit will be that his personal experience gives him the expertise to promote Bankruptcy Swansea style. This is the opportunity now for the people who are besieged with letters from the banks, the credit card companies, the credit unions, to take stock of what options will work in their best interest. Already these people have taken the five year hit of the recession and are seriously in negative equity and in need of ‘salvation’. Moral hazard considerations by now have no bearing because desperation has set in and there needs to be an end to the horrors of being indebted.

What can we learn from Mr Yates? His career is ongoing. He has been a TD, a Cabinet Minister, a bookmaker, a bankrupt, a broadcaster and an author’. The resonance is a bit like Lord Jeffrey Archer but the difference is Mr Yates has no experience of being imprisoned albeit he had to read aloud the “Perjury Act 1926” in the presence of the Bankruptcy Officials.

Donal O’Donovan’s interview with Ivan Yates is an essential for all those who receive letters from the Banks in the coming months. It is decision time now and Insolvency is an option that merits serious consideration. Ivan Yates returns to Newstalk, to the Independent and no doubt to Vincent Browne’s TV3 programme and he will be telling people how he survived and what it is like to be earning money minus debts once more without having the death knell of debt for too many years going forward.

They are called the ‘bankruptcy tourists’.

Mr Yates became a member of this category when his bookmaking company went out of business in 2013. Like so many more, he had provided the bank with personal guarantees for the loans used in the business. The banks loans were secured loans and therefore the assets are forfeited. Mr Yates put the company into liquidation in March last year.

Is this way forward? America, the UK, say yes. The question for the people in Ireland is what is the best option now? Is it “ISI” or is it to take the same route as Mr Yates who now is back in gainful employment and a voice to say ‘failure is but a postponed success’.  By Michelle Clarke (Forster)

Subject: St Arthur’s Day: Addiction most likely relates to a specific area of the brain
Date: Saturday 28th September 2013 18:25:11 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne ; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address lsit
Saturday 28th September 2013
Addiction most likely relates to a specific area of the brain.

The idea of Arthur’s day as an occasion to lay all blame at the mantle of Diageo International for the many people who are endangered because there is an area in their brain that does not apply to other people that makes them susceptible to addiction, is surely a little excessive especially this year of ‘the Gathering 2013’ which is so much about history, nostalgia, diaspora returning ‘home’.
The role about alcohol addiction and abuse surely rests with education, The information from Harvard, John Hopkins, to Trinity College, Research, in Dublin, is available to all who seek it out. If you have no internet, just go to the library or for that matter if you are over the age of 55, ask Google to give you what they make available for free and that is one hour’s tuition each week and then you can learn about addiction.  Ireland now ranks top with health problems related to the over-consumption of alcohol particularly affecting the liver and it appears to be the statistics cited blatantly in 2012 still resound now, if not worse.  It is beyond comprehension that the wallowing monolith of the HSE has failed to act by facilitating people who are both negligent and reckless enough to become so inebriated that they end up on the alcohol/illegal drug revolving door of A&E. A&E and private insurance companies should be tackled with the costs incurred due to abhorrent inebriation. If this is done then people could be asked for payment. Shame might work better than bleating about Arthur’s Day as an event aimed at invoking a sense of community again with the local pub. We are talking about healthcare fraud by basic amorality by people often teenagers and it’s time to use these strong words.It is fascinating to hear about alcohol addiction without the latest addiction and its many tentacles that excludes one to one communication between people i.e the use of the computer and the inability to converse without technology, smart phones, etc. Already society has begun the pull-back. Christy Moore makes valid points in his Arthur’s Day song about Diageo but can we really blame them, and their advertising as being targeted at hunting down those potentially homeless, drifters, addiction prone people, so that it can subject them to a mercenary ethos of let’s catch them, ultimately destroy them, while leaving them subjected to the failing health system in Ireland. I don’t really think the blame lies with the people who sell the drink; it rests more with the education system, the health system, government policy that fails to help people recognise the ways of self assessment that says like a person with mental health problems or heart disease – check out your vulnerabilities based on family genetics and if there are likely to be precipitating events that will cause onset, then the choice rests with you, the person, educated by the State, to make the choice. There will always be casualties but now we have access to education, to information, to scientific findings; it is necessary for people to take responsibility in regard to the choices they make and this applies especially to our young generation.  Digital will soon create data stream of personalised information; meantime I have completed my own; because of medications I cannot take alcohol.  My responsibility ?…/take-responsibility-maintain-your-own-health-r…The Taoiseach refers to the 2,000 beds being wasted nightly in Ireland’s hospitals especially now at a time when our health service is on its knees. This surely tells us to revert the matter to the government who have been aware of the impact of alcohol and re-iterate to them that they have basically facilitated the HSE in its denial to re-act and act pro-actively to the crisis in hand. This is not the result of Diageo and its Arthur’s Day anniversary; this is hard core reality of neglect, negligence and failure to act by penalising the people who block up our A&E departments and those who consistently persist in drinking until their overall health becomes such an excessive cost to the State that it is a burden on all citizens. Did FG not suggest a Drink Tank?Professor Frank Murray › Alcohol Action Ireland › Videos highlights that Ireland is reaching crisis health deprivation conditions because people are drinking too much alcohol. He does not blame the pubs. He clearly states that it is the cheap drink, the drink that Tesco and others supply, that is causing a lot of the difficulties and the fact that people drink in the home – often drip-feed throughout the day.Take a look at today’s English Independent and realise how dissociated Tesco and ASDA are from the real lives of people and ask the question do they care about selling drink at such knock-down prices that it inveigles the young, the addicted, those on the revolving door of our inadequate mental health system, people who end up being violent and often wounding and killing others. The answer is No and we favouring them with tax breaks, are facilitating them to cause harm to more vulnerable members in our society.   Some of these Corporates are now so profit orientated that they are totally dis-connected from people: How could it happen that a corporate company could target those with mental illness and create a costume for Halloween making fun of those who are most vulnerable in society. Today we are told that Tesco is the second retailer to apologise for selling costumes for adults called “Psycho Ward” with the word “Committed” printed on the back. “Mental patient fancy dress” was how ASDA went about their online marketing. Is this what virtual is re-creating in a digital form?Corporate Social Responsibility is the only way forward. Arthur Guinness in his day came to realize what alcohol could do to families where addiction prevailed but Arthur Guinness then developed a corporate social conscience and he sought to tackle poverty. The Guinness Trust established the first creche in the Liberties around the time of the 1913 Lock-Out, it provided housing for workers, workers had an allocation of stout for health reasons.Education must highlight what addiction is and be used to warn children of the harm unrelenting consumption can do. The shift in culture away from the pub may after all have created a different cohort of societal problems for people for example the lack of communication at the basic human level that involves empathy and concern for society. By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Mistakes are Portals of Discovery said Joyce but Banks are still sinking fast
Date: Sunday 29th September 2013 18:30:23 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne , Cahill Gavin ; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Sunday 29th September 2013

5 years on and our Banks, mostly stated owned, are befuddled, muddled and a source of havoc for people who are in negative equity and worse again massively in debt.

As the years, months, weeks go by, the territory is becoming harrowing for those who have serious debts. It is looking increasingly so that people to name a few: McFeely, McNamara and Yates, have taken the correct route. They had the vision and they now have the benefit of knowing they can start again, free of all their debts. But what about the minions. Consider your mortgage. How much interest has accrued over the last five years based on the loan that is most likely in negative equity discount? Add another 5 years and you most probably will find out that 10 years+ into a mortgage sees the bank repaid the capital cost. Okay we all know that mortgages are subject to lower rates of interest than personal loans and it is linked to security but the problem for people in property in Ireland is that value of the property plunged and people basically found themselves with interest being paid on say e200,000 but if they were to sell their house now they would only receive e100,000 plus all the costs. More than likely they will have forfeited expenses, interest to date, costs, and the equity they invested in the first instance.

People who are facing eviction need to start looking at options urgently. The banks have dragged their heals and ultimately it is the people who will pay the costs.

Again as posted previously check out all sources of advice and information. Sunday’s newspapers provide a source of opinion and this man is worth connecting with:-

James Fitzsimons ‘The main solution being offered to distressed borrowers involves repossession’. This is an independent financial adviser specialising in tax and financial planning

We know the order of business: The Troika tells the Central Bank who tells the Banks but the message got lost in translation over the last five years. The sad fact is that it appears that ‘Repossession’ is their best solution to the crisis. The Central Bank wants a what’s known as a Standard Financial Statement detailing the lenders best solution for customers. According to the figures up to the end of June, more than 60% of solutions involved giving up the property. More significantly is the fact that 57% of these relate to private dwelling homes and 74% buy-to-lets.

“If the banks want the nuclear option, let them take the fallout. That means sharing the negative equity and loss in the value that owners have sustained. If that’s unfair on customers who kept their payments up to date, go back to the drawing board and find sustainable solutions for those who can’t. Had they not been so slow to arrest growth in arrears, the majority would be back on track by now. Not only have lenders not made every effort to find the alternatives, in most cases they made none at all”.

To remind people negative equity has occurred in the past, here in Ireland and over in the UK and elsewhere. They say markets have no memories but if one considers the lethargy of Central bank and the ordinary banks to make equitable decisions about the present mortgage book, this is a major denial of the truth. The fact is negative equity in the UK in the 1990’s impacted harshly on many emigrant Irish who moved away from recessionary Ireland of the 1980’s, The Banks can bully but the people have options and if some of those who rack rented our markets through development can escape the rigours of what is proposed now by the Troika Central Bank Banks Trinity, now is the time to engage.

To those in debt, read James Fitzsimons article and think about what is the best way to deal with your negative equity debt; ask is the timing right? We are five years into the recession; how many years will it take for the market supply or non supply of housing to increase the value of properties. Private equity are hovering – listen out for Blackstone, Kennedy Wilson and others. 10,000 to 14,000 properties were ring-fenced by NAMA and rented out in social housing and private rental. 2020 is D-Day for NAMA when all properties should be sold. These properties are to be released for sale in the coming months so watch this space and watch markets change to landlord led private equity ownership.

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Trade Unions: Stash of Cash should be used to create jobs
Date: Monday 30th September 2013 19:45:04 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Clare Daly ,; Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list
Monday 30th September 2013

Teachers’ Unions

and all those trade unions out there who have not yet ‘put their shoulder to the wheel’.

ASTI (teachers) or so it seems may be the ones to go out on strike. The punishment from the Department of Education is that they could lose their jobs. The question is why not? So many others have already lost their jobs and many have emigrated.

What about all the people who have lost jobs, particularly in the retail sector, and the construction sector that is now 5 years hammered. Nobody seems to be asking the trade unions what they do with the union dues of these abandoned people who are either now on the live register (probably forced into the black economy) or those who have just moved their families abroad as emigrants.

Does anyone ask the trade unions how much money ie cash they hold in the banks? It is said that SIPTU holds e30 million +. We know from basic maths that the IMO must have had £10 m on deposit when they could reduce and pay McNeice aged 50 + his £9.7 settlement. The bankers too have trade unions who shelter them from the realities. Inequality prevails but trade unions have stepped over the line and cosy themselves ultimately with the Corporates and employers.

“FAS in transition to Solas” is sure going through a very long period in labour. When is this baby due? We need to get people back to work, we need to train people, we need to create entrepreneurs, we need to assist people to emigrate if only for a few years, we need people to be learning German language as the demographics and skills requirement for work is presently there and will be increasing in the years to come.

The Trade Unions throughout the Celtic Tiger raked in vast sums of money from their members. Where is the money? They have forgotten their source of funds and they continue in their cosy cartel with employers and government ensuring their pension deals, their full-time employment. The trade unions should have created their equivalent to FAS to help people to get back to work.

There comes a point when you must forget all those who have jobs and think of those who are forced into unemployment or demoted to zero-contract hours and make them the priority. Otherwise public sectors costs just continue to rise and the deficit gets wider. People need jobs. Trade Unions need to be creative, spend their cash reserves, lower their salaries, pensions, expenses and compete with FAS to the degree that people have a chance to get proper training education and skills so that we can as a country start engaging meaningfully with the word called Enterprise.

We need to be like emigrants landing on Ellis Island when the only way was to develop the mentality ‘Survivor’ by creation of work. 

By Michelle Clarke

Yesterday People.

  by Ex-Union. Fri Sep 27, 2013 17:18

Unions are about Union bosses .

That is why capitalism walks all over them.
(Almost All trade union bosses are in the 1% rich pay bracket.)

Subject: Is Bankruptcy the best option?  Negative Equity & unemployed
Date: Tuesday 1st October 2013 23:28:10 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: William Binchy ,, Valerie Walsh ,,, Stephen Booth ,,, Sorcha Donohoe , Sophie Lumsden , ,, Samantha Brennan , Shane Clarke ,,,,, Paul Cassidy ,,, Pádraig MacLochlainn , O’Shea’s Hotel ,
Tuesday, 1st October 2016

Is it a “Bubble” that certain prices of houses are rising or is it shortage of supply? Then perhaps it is the obvious, the banks have not been interactive with those in arrears. If this is so, the supply parameters are about to change.

The Irish Mail on Sunday reports that ‘Receivers sell 10 homes for as little as £30,000 amid protest’. Would you buy one of these houses that were reduced from £235,000 and £240,000 to £30,000 and £64,950? Would you ask the question about who took the negative equity hit and what hardship goes with it? What about the “moral hazard” factor and the other people who can repay the mortages at £230,000+? These houses were sold. They were semi-detached at Knock Carrick estate in Annyalla, Co. Monaghan, and were sold by Gunne auctioneers on behalf of the receivers Farrell Grant Sparks, we know that latter two, will have financially gained from the transactions.

This is the beginning and maybe the bottom of the market in the way that debt is crystallised but it is a stark reminder to people that we may only now be witnessing the hardship of those who were caught in the negative trap of the housing collapse. How does a person release themselves, their families from the debt that they will never be able to repay? Do they follow the example of some of the developers who gambled in billions and then moved their “centre of main interest (COMI)” and alleviated themselves of such pressures?

Yates, McNamara and others are nearly home and free. What can we learn from their choices?

What we do know is that in a written judgment published only last week Stephen Baister, the chief bankruptcy registrar in the High Court in London ‘said the newspaper’s application for McNamara’s file could not be dismissed as “simply a fishing expedition” or on the grounds that it was “prurient”. He went on to say that “I think there is a genuine and legitimate interest on the part of the press in this significant bankruptcy and its surrounding circumstances”.

Hailed as a victory for “open justice” by the UK’s Press Gazette, it enables people to further investigate through freedom of information and access to the bankruptcy papers. McNamara’s legal team argued that the banker/client confidentiality meant that paperwork relating to his bankruptcy would not be available to people seeking information.

This is an important case. “Bankruptcy tourists” need to be aware of it. Baister further pointed out “that the “Bankruptcy Tourism question “remains very much alive and is a legitimate matter of public interest in this country, Ireland, in Germany and in Europe generally. The number of cases this court hears attests that”.

“ISI” and our banks need to start dealing with the live issue of mortgages and writing down debts.

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: William Butler Yeats ‘Once you attempt legislation on religious grounds you open the way for every kind of intolerance & for every kind of religious persecution”
Date: Wednesday 2nd Oct 2013 16:56:50 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Wednesday 2nd October 2013

‘Save a bit of money’ by deleting the Senate. ‘save £5 million or could it be in the long-term £20 m’.

We seriously need to start asking questions and to start with the question is our Senate being sold out to the Troika requests for a more streamlined cost efficient system of Government?

There are other more serious questions that despite a multitude of emails and queries, raised by ordinary citizens who are interested in Ireland, but who consistently receive no feedback. Take the £500 m euros remitted to Nigeria (one of the wealthiest countries in the world but corruption dictates an unequal distribution of resources and money to its population well in excess of 100 mn people). Ireland once had capital controls but relinquished these when the ECB became the game keeper and our Central Bank stepped off the stage. Western Union and other sources allow vast sums of money to leave Ireland and nobody asks about it; nobody seems to care. If you doubt the remittances to Nigeria in 2012 just google details and the Irish Independent article with the revelations as published by the OECD can be read and verified.

Waste prevails in Ireland Inc and it is not the Senate as established as our Upper House, in the Constitution, with the Rule of Law, the Constitution, the President as the bedrock that is responsible. Waste is in the bureaucracy that has evolved and the dis-connectivity between the politicians and the ordinary plain people of Ireland. Ask the question the next time you take a taxi or talk to a retired person about how they feel about £500 million being remitted to Nigeria in 2012? Ask them about the theft of mobile phones equating to £430,000 for January and February 2013 allegedly mainly by immigrants who send messages that Ireland is a virgin country to be plucked back to people in Nigeria. These are recent reports in our newspapers and if remittances are sent to Nigeria, then we need to ask how much money is actually remitted out of Ireland, especially at this time when economists tells us that we are indebted to such an extent that it will take 80 years to cancel out our debt Waste needs to be tackled in education, in health, in transport, in social welfare, we need to reform our system of Government; we need to examine the double/treble pension dipping of our political elites in retirement and the EU Gravytrain that avoids audits but also at the nitty gritty level we must not ignore remittances being sent out of Ireland for one reason alone and that is we are nearly bankrupt and can’t afford remittances to other countries, presently.

To me, it is not the time to abolish the Senate; it is time to reform our whole system of government and the article in the Sunday papers by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, indicates that much work has been done and reform is in the pipeline. However, Prime Time last night introduced a most well-informed interesting cache of ‘No to abolition of Senate’, from Professor John Crown, to Glenna Lynch, to Patricia McKenna. Theo Dorgan’s article in the Opinion piece is essential reading if you believe it is a rash decision to hold a referendum to abolish the Senate. Ireland is a weakling PIG (Portugal Italy Spain) except add in the extra ‘I&S’. We are Troika led. We are supposed to have a coalition, yet the Labour party, that party who is supposed to represent the proletariat, the ordinary people of Ireland, is losing members and projections are they may not even gain a seat in the next election. This is real vulnerability for a small open economy that is a member of the EU but realistically is only hanging on.

Why the Senate abolition proposal and now? The Senate is mainly about legislation. The members research, debate, amend, both before and after being presented at the Dail. Surely, it is a cost benefit analysis of the function of the Senate that is required, instead of its abolition. The first senate was abolished but then it was do with De Valera making the FF mark on what to him was an elitist Upper House. He placed members in opposition to the Senate in 1928 and he paved the way for the new Senate when FF came to power. Reform the Senate most definitely, pay no salaries and pensions to senators is an option. Abolish No.

Senate speeches make interesting reading and many books have been written. The Senate may not be about the ‘Action’, that lies in the hands of those who are elected to power. However, there is what belies the ‘Action’ that must be considered now.

From a book about the Senate Speeches of W.B. Yeats, edited by Donald R Pearce.
William Butler Yeats 1st Senate
‘It is perhaps the deepest political passion with this Nation that North and South be united into one Nation…If you show that this country, Southern Ireland, is going to be governed by Catholic ideas and by Catholic ideas alone, you will never get the North … I think it is tragic that within three years of this country gaining its independence we should be discussing such a measure which a minority of this nation considers to be grossly oppressive. I am proud to consider myself a typical man of that minority’

All I can say is parameters may alter but consider the contribution of the Senate recently to the debate about Abortion….discussion, opinion, and consideration for the minority in a country still bound by the rulings of the Catholic Church.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Subject: Shock in D4. Houses should have utility. Georgian houses left to decay is morally wrong
Date: Thursday 3rd Oct 2013 19:25:41 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne , Alan Shatter , ; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Thursday 3rd October 2013

Pembroke Road, Dublin 4, the crescent of Georgian houses and someone decides to paint the basement shocking pink. This house appeared vacant for years and now has become an eyesore to humanity or lack of it, because no house should realistically be left vacant for years. A house in the crescent has sold for £1 m+ recently so what a paradox that needs an answer. There are many of these houses in Dublin and who knows who really owns them? The LPT (local property tax) surely has the data of who is the owner and if so surely these owners of what can only be called ‘waste of resources’ should be held accountable.?

The ‘pink’ sure is making lots of people aware of the house, so now is the time to ask about ownership and obligation. Apparently in France there is a one year limit on leaving houses of certain architectural merit vacant and then the State representatives step in; renovate the property, assign it to their name; and then occupy it with people who can then buy it from the State. Germany too has a similar approach. House sitting has to be an option rather than vacant. The country needs to generate economic growth, lets work with people from the Irish Architectural Foundation or Habitat for Humanity‎ and get people engage in craftmanship again. We can’t build cars, so let’s focus on architecture which we can do.

Another person passing by reminisced of an earlier time when one of the houses in this crescent of Georgian houses, was called Ball Hall, the owner’s were named Ball and they rented it out to Trinity students who had free rein to decorate it including artwork on the walls.

Let Pink be a wake up call to those who have properties left vacant and include the ghost estates throughout Ireland to get focused on making these properties utilitarian and not eyesores in the hope of one day creating capital gain. 

By Michelle Clarke

Date: Sunday 6th October 2013 16:51:28 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list
The Hare, the ship that brought food to the hungry Irish in 1913, the time of the Lock-Out

by Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Siptu yet again get the media coverage to show their exemplary behaviour towards their union members; the history, the fight for the plight of the under-privileged; forgetting the whole self-seeking farce that they embraced during the rein of Fianna Fail and the Celtic Tiger economy in overdrive. Benchmarking for the elites is more appropriate because the reality is that the public sector still cling on to their jobs while most of the private sector have visited the dole queues, or for some only regained work but based on zero contracts and no job security. Then there are those who just left our shores with empty hands to embrace the other world. These are the new diaspora; the diaspora of the 2000’s which replaces the diaspora of the 1990’s, the diaspora of the 1950’s and before. The untold story is yet to be written.

The diaspora who leave, most probably leave behind their union dues, their pensions in limbo, for those who remain in the Trade Union management tier to exploit for their benefit on the pretence that they are conscerned with workers. Clerys Department Store is an absolute scandal. Every Irish person knows Clery’s – those who met under the clock, those who danced in the ball-room, those who travelled from the country once each year to shop. Bad management decisions and investment in over inflated priced properties put this old established Department store into liquidation. The news is that the new investors is one of those ‘vultures’ called private equity firms ie Gordon Brothers from the US. These privileged private equity groups can afford to be vultures because that is their job. They are bargain hunters on a global scale. They see value, they use their clout and they derive deals. They manage to get staff fired albeit the neat word redundant is used, and they put pressure on the banks to basically write-down vast amounts of debt. Clerys write-down like the INM is the priortised type of debt write-down that banks engage with.

Trade Unions are busy representing the ’employed’ public sector but what about their function in relation to those now unemployed and those forced to emigrate. We need to realise now just how ineffective and inefficient trade unions are in relation to the plight of the ordinary workers, those who are fired by these companies without any sense of morality or humanity for that matter. It is common knowledge that some people worked at Clery’s for over thirty years and nobody cares to listen to their stories which are horrific. Nobody cares that these people lost their pensions. How much would a Clerys worker have paid into Siptu over their working life with Clerys. Shame on Siptu for the lack of respect, the lack of provision of opportunities to find alternative work for the Clerys staff or for that matter for not negotiating the deal with Gordon Brothers to retain the staff, and to put forward their plans for Clery’s Department Store.

Siptu are not afraid to court the media for their own hero worship. By now all must have heard about the “Hare” (and it is not that sculpture outside the AIB bank in Ballsbridge). The Hare arrived in Dublin yesterday to commemorate the 1913 Lock Out when food was sent to the starving Irish people and their children caused, by the Lock Out. This was about solidarity between two Islands.

Siptu site details as follows:

The commemoration of the anniversary of the first food ship arrival to Dublin acknowledges the critical importance of the solidarity and practical support of the British Trade Union Movement towards supporting struggling families to survive one hundred years ago. The value of the food aid donated equates to over €20,000,000 in today’s terms.

Trade Unions are urged to encourage members and their families to come along for the re-enactment and event which will run from 11.30am-1.30pm, and promises to be a really enjoyable occasion. Those attending are encouraged to ‘dress’ for the occasion!

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support received for the ‘SS Hare’ re-enactment from Congress, Dublin Port Company, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Ramsey Steam Ship Company,the RMT, SIPTU and Unite the Union, and for the contribution of the North Inner City Folklore Project, Dublin Council of Trade Union, Ken Fleming ITF and Brian Treacy.

The silence about the gross inefficiencies of the trade unions to act on behalf of workers but also on behalf of workers who have lost their jobs, those who have emigrated are silenced shamefully in Ireland’s media. The trade unions are elitist now. They are trade unionist type captains of their own ship but with no time for those who paid their union dues. It behoves members of the trade unions to examine their fellow union members who worked in the construction industry in the retail sector and ask is the treatment given to them different than the abuse thrown at their fellow union members but in different sectors. Where is the solidarity?

Another farce is the IMO (the trade union for the medical profession). The young doctors are working hours that are contrary to EU regulations. We are one of only two countries in Europe exploiting young doctors in this way. Some junior doctors are expected to work in excess of 24 hours …. this is morally wrong and should not be accepted.

The question here rests with the IMO farce and abuse of power at Chief Executive and elite management level. Martin Wall’s article in the Irish Times on October 5th 2013 is short but effective and tells us that ‘IMO defers internal inquiry due to cost and legal concerns’.

When does the nonsense stop; add to this Merrigan and Kelly ie SIPTU/HSE and the £4 m slush fund, and what we learn is that those who have power abuse the rights of the people they are supposed to represent and protect.

George McNeice, Chief Executive, in his 50’s leaves with package of £9.7 million reduced from £24 million. Research him – the story-line is a narrative that tells us about what has happened in the so called Trade Union cartel over the last 20 years.

They punish the junior doctors because basically the leaders feather their own nests and those of the consultants, GP’s etc so well, that when it comes to investigation and the legalities they can say NO. The cost is too high and there are legal concerns’. What about the minions, those they are supposed to represent.

A Chinese saying

‘Right is right, but wrong is no man’s right’

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)


Subject: Play “One Big Onion”. The writer has something real to say. Why not listen?
Date: Sunday 6th Oct 2013 17:59:27 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne ,,, James Reilly ; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Sunday  October 6th 2013 

One Big Onion Play (Ireland)

Conjure up the thought of peeling the onions – layer after layer – the tears forming in your eyes.

Just because an event, a wrong decision happens to be 5 decades ago, doesn’t mean to say it is not relevant.

Suicide was a criminal offence up until the 1990’s. It took writers like Marina Carr to write the narrative that tackled the issue that some families faced ie the death, the loss, the fact of stigma, the silence and worst of all the fact it was a criminal offense and the body of the loved one was not for the Catholic graveyard so hence Shame too. She wrote the play and the Abbey took the chance to produce it.


Do we understand or do we care or worse is it capitalism and commerce that want the details hidden?

In Manchester recently, Granada TV had to pay £1 million to deal with asbestos contained in the building which like all buildings constructed in that period (1960’s) had asbestos. The only way to do this is to identify it; and then isolate it because to disturb it results in the fine dust polluting the air which in turn can settle in the lungs of the people exposed to it. For some it can be latent so fear is the reminder but for others it manifests as cancer and they die, but not before they have suffered and their families and friends have experienced what asbestosis can do to a human being. Why is it that the medical profession remain so quiet about what asbestosis can do to people?

The question about the play is do we really care anymore about those who were exposed to asbestos and died painful deaths. Think of Christy Hennessy who worked in the building game in the UK and he got it. 

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: ‘Scales of Justice’ & Dublin Castle. Global Irish Economic Forum elites. Hope they recognised Justice
Date: Monday 7th Oct 2013 17:10:58 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter , Ethics ; Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list
Monday  7th October 2013 16:41

“Citizen Journalism site” topics are beginning to create the matrix that links together the ‘wrongs’ that are being perpetrated in our society. Wrongs that happen at the very core of our entity. The time has arrived to begin to hear the voices who for over a decade now have sought clarity. Dublin Castle, this weekend hosted the Global Irish Economic Forum, the third, and not to be held next year. Can we ask those who attended if they noticed the Scales of Justice as they entered through the Gates of Dublin Castle and if they did, what do the Scales of Justice mean to them? What we ask now is for an end to corruption at every level; we ask for the outcomes of the Tribunals to be advanced and people who clearly broke the law, those white collar criminals in particular, be brought to justice so that the Scales are brought back to where equality exists and that is level. That is the challenge.

The matrix becomes interesting now because what we begin to realise is that the trade unions who supposedly represent the rights of workers are being openly questioned at grassroots about their core values. We need to ask now why our media sources in general tend to be in collusion with a self appointed status quo, which provides for privileged but at the expense of the vulnerable? 
The patchwork quilt states that people are working diligently to represent their interpretation of Irish Society and how it is has progressed since the day of the decision for the Bail-Out now five years on.

Take this from one posting and then enter it into more recent posting and therein are answers to the Omerta that is destroying our sense of what democracy should be and the morality we need to restore at every level and this means each individual must stand accountable.

“Enterprise Ireland human resources staff appoint union shop stewards by using the tax payers benevolence and their purse. Indeed this has been the agreement for at least two decades with at least 3 paid reps. The recent appointment of an Enterprise Ireland HR executive to siptu steward shows that job creation does exist but needless to say, only when it suits the Dept of Enterprise, Trade & employment.
But, such appointments are also contrary to siptu rules –
Please refer to page 6 and 7 here –

Indeed, a strange relationship exists between the unions, SIPTU and Unite and the Human resources personnel throughout Forfas, IDA and EI so strange that these closed shop agreements should warrant a thorough investigation. What is the point of having a trade union for workers if they are paid out of the pockets of your employer? What has Niall Donnellan, head of HR and investments and Mark Christal, Human Resources Manager of EI got to say for themselves?”

To the students unions: ask those who vote about integrity, about honour, about code, morality, ethics. To cheat at exams in third level especially for Law is not something to be dealt with lightly. For a Provost to hold a disciplinary hearing and decide that it was acceptable for the person not to pass the summer exam but to be so arrogant to allow them do their repeats in September, can only re-iterate what is representative of our so called intellectual elites. If you work in Tesco as a person with intellectual disabilities and you make a minor “mis-take” like eating a sweet from a box and the cameras spot you. You are called before an in-house Tesco kangaroo court and you are told empty your locker, your 13 years service is of no significance and you are given the option: You are fired or accept and leave now.

Unions for students. Ask your members to think now about Justice. You are the future of this country. The Provost to my mind represents an ethos that must change. Cheating is about deceit. Trinity has an excellent service for people who suffer from depression and it does not do it justice to make it possible with a non punitive punishment. For the students to follow on with an endorsement and making that student who cheated in Law their President, you are making a mockery of the Scales of Justice at Dublin Castle.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

Subject: Do you know the story of the Judas Goat! Time to find out perhaps,
Date: Wednesday, 16th October 2013 22:15:05 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke (Blake))
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Wednesday, 16th October, 2013 14:57

Christy Moore is the man we need to read this poem. To most of us asbestos is just another word without much meaning. Every so often, we may hear that a person like Christy Hennessy (song writer, singer) dies from the disease but the truth is it falls under the category cancer and the reality is we don’t often seek the cause of the specific cancer.

W/slave: you prompted me to check it out.

Ireland trails behind the US and the UK. We need to ask Why? Our no foal no fee lawyers apparently are not eager enough to fight these cases but in the absence of knowledge and the continuity of businesses through the decades, the people afflicted with this awful disease fall literally between the cracks. They get sick in their later years, they get diagnosed, they don’t have the energy to fight for justice and then they die. It is a ruthless take but the questions need to be raised and why not start with the medical profession who have the evidence. We can then piggy-back on the expertise of the worldwide law firms who seek justice. We need to know about Asbestos because it applies to buildings (which if we take the new tax breaks from yesterdays 2014 Budget for properties built prior to 1915) it most definitely merits consideration.

For some facts:

Kazan Law Asbestos Attorneys are there to advise.

Asbestos is a group of minerals which occur naturally that can be separated into thin fibres. It was a popular building material and used in many different industries because the fibres are resistant to ‘heat, fire and chemicals and do not conduct electricity’ as detailed by the National Cancer Institute.

“Miracle mineral” is how the Greeks and Romans referred to asbestos and its ability to resist fire. Since the 1800’s in the US, asbestos has been mined and used. It was widely used during the Industrial Revolution. Stanford University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety have outlined ‘that some of the major industries that typically used asbestos included construction, roofing, shipbuilding and the automotive industry’. What’s left…. there is the ‘need to know’ detail of how to deal with asbestos presently associated with these industries so that they can be identified and not disturbed.

Why? It is direct contact between the person and exposure to the asbestos by inhaling the dangerous fibers when they breathe. Think of situations like the inhalation that can occur during building demolitions, asbestos mining or renovation work. These fibers can be swallowed hence exposure from drinking or consuming contaminated liquids or foods. Ireland is a young country but we need to be aware that people have taken class legal actions in other countries, including Northern Ireland and have been awarded compensation.

In 2005 – World Health Organisation estimated that 125 million people worldwide were exposed to asbestos in the workplace. This was despite the known danger for several decades at that time.

Further the WHO estimates ‘that diseases stemming from asbestos exposure kill approximately 107,000 people worldwide each year’. We need to consider the imports we receive especially from China and what the components are. It is time now to enforce a system globally of a sense of corporate social responsibility

What can we do immediately:

We need to ensure that workers us ‘protective equipment and follow proper safety procedures whenever handling asbestos’.

For those who have been diagnosed with asbestosis, they need due recompense – The Judas Goat

Subject: What is the position of the Court? As Patrick Honohan states, is the court to be the “regulator of last resort”
Date: Tuesday 22nd October 2013 17:38:42 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Tuesday October 22nd, 2013 16:34

What is the position of the Court?

As Patrick Honohan, Central Bank Governor, states, is the court to be the “regulator of last resort?”

Approaching year six after the Celtic Tiger collapse, the real hardship is beginning to bite deep as the banks are pressured to meet targets. Strategic Defaulters, Mortgage Delinquents, the Tourist Bankrupts form one category on the spectrum of debt to the banks but we must not lose sight of the human factor. We hear about “Moral Hazard” but let this apply to the former but not to the genuine casualties of the housing fiasco.

Conor Feehan writes in today’s Independent about a woman’s body being found in a flat due to be repossessed. Longboat Quay off Sir John Rogerson’s Quay reveals yet another tragedy and loss of life that is part of the quagmire of distress imposed on people who had but one objective, and that was to own their own home, by way of a mortgage, funded by the Banks. These are the people who do not deserve the sentence imposed upon them of a negative equity apartment/house/home that is now worth half it’s value but is mortgaged for double.

The wound of negative equity is festering with no semblance of honest concern. Anomie is about suicide and there is a slow creeping anomie taking hold of our society. We need to embrace the wound and tackle the problem with practicalities. The truth is that sometimes it is not possible to repay the debt. The only way is to write-down a proportion of same. The banks must be forced to do so; but firstly it must be emphasized to the Troika that the ECB must act by making concessions of write-downs in bank debt to their ‘star pupil’ whose deficit positions them third place in Europe.

Wounded and in pain but it is time to say enough. Spare a thought for this woman who had a dream.

‘The sheriff’s team, backed up by gardai, arrived at the Longboat Quay apartment off Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin at noon yesterday. They made the grim discovery inside the apartment they had been sent to reclaim. It is understood the owner of the apartment had made an agreement with the sheriff’s office to vacate the fourth floor property, and that there had been communications between both parties last Friday.

What the Sheriff found was a body, a human being who said goodbye. When does the pain stop? One must ask the question if the life insurance pays back the bank and at which value? We are all focused on cost but human value has become an irrelevance. There must be an equitable and fairer way for the banks to negotiate with people to remain in their homes. They can restructure debt over time. They can take a write-down. Short sightedness is not acceptable.

by Michelle Clarke (O’Malley)

Subject: ‘Wealthy gone on Investment Strike’ by Michelle Clarke (Devil’s Advocate) – Justice Citizen Journalism comment ref book launch details “Failure of Irish Capitalism’. Source on request
Date: Sunday 27th, October 2013 18:10:11 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne ,,; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Sunday 27th, October 2013

“Kieran Allen, a sociologist who works in UCD, said, ‘Figures show that the “wealthy have effectively gone on an investment strike”. A mere €16 billion is being invested in Ireland compared to €46 billion in 2007. This is unsustainable and means that unemployment and emigration will continue for some time”.

£46 billion invested in Ireland in 2007 but a meager £16 billion now. I am not surprised. Holding money in Ireland is a hazard to health and anxiety levels, with the paper trail that is haunting our pensioners, our baby boomers now retired and people with disabilities who have received financial settlements from the courts or other sources. Why? Try opening a bank account in one of our State owned banks or for that matter in Bank of Ireland which still has the dregs of once worthwhile shares. Evidence is the order of the day now. They need a utility bill address, they need passport copies but witnessed by solicitors (beware the many defunct solicitors now advisers to Debt Options and others), or for that matter bankers with their stamp). Try adding a name to your account at the Post Office and again it is a data mining exercise with the bureaucracy to go with it.

Then for those who may have held shares in publicly quoted companies ie Stock Exchange, through their lives, the surprise post these days is a letter from the stockbrokers with the intimidating inference that their funds invested in stocks and shares have links with money laundering and they must by a certain date provide evidence of who they are basically and in line with what the banks are requesting to open new accounts. For those people who want to hold a sterling account in Ireland yielding no interest, just a preference in currency – this is the real hurdle. The advice received from an AIB staff member was to get on a bus and go North and choose an English bank. Try to proceed with the argument that you don’t want to desert that sinking ship called Ireland Inc and you will find that it may take up to 2 months and lots of bureaucratic nonsense to open a Sterling account, which in the days of Central Bank control, was a whole lot easier.

Are we getting the message why people are no longer choosing to hold funds in Ireland? We are creating a bureaucracy equivalent to what you find if you are working as an ex-pat in Zimbabwe receiving local currency and bound by their Reserve Bank rules. A pure hell hole for those who have the money to invest. What can we learn from this: we learn that people will seek out simplicity – hence the black economy appears to be thriving in Ireland as it still governs Zimbabwe.

Kieran I hope in your book you have looked at the Ireland Inc that has welcomed so many migrants to its shores. Ireland Inc was many times before a nation of emigrants but the difference this time is that our people are unlikely to be remitting money home (because why would they send back money when they left properties in negative equity). The real he scary part is that there are others (un-checked by Government or Central Banks) busy remitting vast sums of money ‘home’. Check out the OECD figures which revealed that Nigerian migrants to Ireland remitted 500€ million (this is half a billion) back to Nigeria in 2012. Where is the common sense? Western Union and others facilitating the flow outwards, it must be considerable if the OECD report that 500 € million was sent to Nigeria alone in 2012.

Austerity is killing Ireland Inc.

Ireland is a small open economy that must sell her wares and the truth is the message has not got through yet. We are not watching the pennies…….Remittances are leakages from our boat and we are sinking fast.

by Michelle Clarke Devil’s Advocate

Subject: ‘Can’t get me I’m part of the Union?’ No more, be warned!,
Date: Wednesday 30th October, 2013 19:00:22 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To:; undisclosed address list; Citizen Journalism site.

Wednesday 30th October, 2013

The Sunday Observer. The cartoon by David Simonds, is a must but I don’t know if it can be uploaded.
Industrial Britain and the smoking chimneys in the background, the trodden down union leaders with their banner being flittered to pieces by a big huge gigantic alley cat gone corporate in his  pin stripe suit, the tie and that smile that says – my claws are telling you your days are numbered as he flitters what was once the Trade Union banner with the message defending the workers. Ireland differs from the UK because Fianna Fail cleverly promoted a relationship of join our club, enjoy our salaries, our perks, our trips abroad, our pensions and what they created was a coterie of trade union officials in their ‘Celtic Tiger’ image. Just look at the corruption, the cronyism, the McNeice farce, the Merrigan credit card slip up, the SIPTU/HSE £4m question mark, who knows the misadventure that is hidden in the quangos, the semi-state. We all know the story about FAS thanks to the grassroots investigation carried out by Shane Ross and others. The reality is there is a tier of people in the trade unions with a bias towards public sector because the more they secure for these workers, the greater the deal they secure for themselves which is so closely aligned to what our politicians receive, yes even to include double dipping of pensions. These trade unions are sitting on vast amounts of union dues paid in by workers a lot of whom are now unemployed or have emigrated or for that matter are retired (figures in excess of 600,000). Do the trade unions have any sense of obligation to these former workers.?.Do they care? No it seems not. Ask a worker from Clery’s or from the Doyle Group of Hotels about the treatment they received and you will be shocked to learn how quickly Siptu wash their hands of a service sector worker with not much potential for work in the future, they become worthless because they are no longer paying their dues. We know their mission statement is only for those in work albeit a reducing number, but surely the history of the trade union suggests their obligations go beyond. The retail sector is now governed by the like of Starburcks and their franchises, Tesco; the great multi-nationals who get tax advantages and pay minimum tax and who are slowly but surely pushing out people who may have had contracts and union affiliation in favour of zero contract hours which basically is about obliterating all the rights the trade unions have fought for workers at a whim. What can we learn from our nearest neighbour, which has now experienced over two decades of union decline in Britain’s private sector?  In 1995 nearly one third of all UK employees were union members. Now it is only 25%. It is the private sector that has suffered the highest decline, similar to Ireland. Take 1979 and the figures are a stark reality: union ranks have been halved – 13 million trade unionists to now only 6.5 million. The message is that trade unions need to be focusing on getting more people to join from the private sector but as ‘Austerity’ mantra of the Troika influences and government policies bite deep, this is a challenge that requires impetus, motivation and drive to secure a more equitable working environment for potential members of the union. To read the writing on the wall, just take the example in Scotland – Firth of Forth: the 2013 Grangemouth dispute. Why? Unite represented 8 out of 10 workers is forced to capitulate to Ineos (co-owner of Scotland’s largest oil refinery) and witness first hand how effective the imposition of union decline is on Britain’s private sector. ‘If a mighty union that represents eight out of ten employees on a classic industrial site cannot defend its members’ interests, workplaces without union representation staff will openly doubt what affiliation will ever do for them.

For what it is worth, the benefits are manifold, from protection against employers who – like Ineos – want to scrap pension arrangements, to support in areas including legal advice and retraining’

Collective bargaining has become biased in Ireland and forgetful of those dispossessed from employment. Pensions are often forfeited. Rights become irrelevant especially where zero contracts become the order of the day. The whole issue of retraining is but a smokescreen as can be witnessed by the 300,000 on the dole queues and as for those who have emigrated, their ongoing rights are just obliterated.

Trade unions, their integrity, their motivation for the protection of workers, the provision of training for the unemployed, their history especially this centenary of the Lock-Out, must be open to investigation and all forms of cronyism, bias, corruption, must be weeded out. The trade unions have to represent workers in employment yes but let them not forget those who worked in industries such as the retail sector, the construction sector, and who paid their dues and who no doubt forfeited their pensions by using their treasury funds which yield basically no interest return by creating an infra-structure for employment. Take Liberty Hall within a mile of Google, surely they could use the space and have a hub of learning activity for so many of those people unemployed and willing to learn. Instead you have a grotty building minus the sense of enterprise.

Jonathan Swift’s words are: ‘Give vision to the visionless’. Well the time is now for the trade unions to step up to the plate and create opportunities for those out of work as well as secure bench marking deals with those in the public sector who at least have jobs, pensions, holidays, perks etc etc.

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Autumn day, wind blows, rain and damp invade the bodies of people who sit and are forced to beg; Homelessness
Date: Saturday 2nd November 2013 17:49:44 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Saturday 2nd November 2013 16:34

The man outside Tesco has taken the spot from another man who has a problem with his leg, their story is ‘stereo-typically’ the same and that is they are begging for money for their hostel preferably so that they can book a week in advance. To be sitting on a pavement as the weather changes for the realities of a hard winter makes their situation all the more unacceptable because you know their plight is that they fall between the cracks of the social model and because they have no utility bill, no fixed address, they have no social welfare. For some reason these people are displaced from their original homes, it might be divorce, drug addiction, alcoholism, disability, ill-health and in particular people with mental health problems but what it does tell you is that there are people in our society who need special involvement from Services and who do not receive them.

I walk up to next shop and B reminds me that I went in one door of Tesco the last day and came out the other and forgot about him. What probably happened is that I was on the mobile phone and just forgot about B. Earlier in the day another character came up to me and as usual asked for his Euro; when B noticed he admonished me and said why did I give to him because he had State benefits, a home and spent his day gambling in the bookies. This is the life of the Street. It’s harsh, it’s uncertain, it’s cold. It is about asking for money because you have nowhere to sleep for the night and ad infinitum. The poem (on Citizen Journalism site by contributor n/a) reflects the narrative so well and the truth is this hardship causes too many to die, too young, without an opportunity to know the difference. Ozzie was our local. When he died, we all realized that each member of her urban village community had a little of his character to remember him by. He looked so much older than his years. He had attributes but society sidelined him to homelessness, begging and who knows what else.

Stereotypes, monologues of the elites who have no empathy, the homeless industry and charities, (those without the objective to eradicate homelessness because it becomes their bread and butter), those chief executives and their flock who earn well in excess of £150,000, the beneficial owners of the hostels who receive payment for the beds in the dormitories from the overly bureaucratic sectors of government and in particular the HSE. Pruning is essential and a fresh look is urgently needed to tackle the homelessness crisis and underclass emergence in the streets of our city Dublin and other cities on this Island.

The internet is like access to literacy which empowers the people. With ease, the majority of us can access what happens in other countries with the homeless crisis. We are told that the EU has the Invisible Hand and social is a strong contributor. We know social plays a considerably less significant part of the American belief system. Let’s use the internet to take a look at San Francisco – Think Progress publication.

There is new survey about homelessness in the US (begging there refers to panhandlers) – downtown San Franciso. What is interesting is that it challenges the myths and the interesting part is that the myths there, resemble the same myths that apply here on the Island of Ireland. You might ask how or why? Well there seems to be a conventional wisdom ‘that those on the sidewalk asking for a dollar are lazy freeloaders who will use the money for alcohol or drugs’. The danger is when the media are biased towards this view and use the airwaves to promote the myths. In the US, Fox media and a Mr John Stossel have become the mouthpiece for the perpetrators of the myths and he has broadcast certain messages which are heavily biased and harmful to “beggars”. Stossel reports (we know only too well that so many of us use these very same stereotypes) messages such as “I had heard some people beg for a living and make big bucks – $80,000 a year in some cases….You shouldn’t really give to these street people…..You are really supporting alcoholism and drug problems”.

Thankfully this spurred on The Unions Square Business Improvement District (a collection of 500 property owners downtown San Francisco), to fund a research team. They took a two day period, in March. They spoke to 400 people who gave money to panhandlers/beggars over the past year. Thankfully, they can refute the Mythology. They found which I doubt is anyway different to what one would find in Dublin that ‘the typical ‘panhandler’ or ‘beggar’ is a ‘disabled middle-aged single male who is a racial minority (maybe not yet in Ireland) and makes less than $25 per day despite panhandling seven days a week for more than five years… fact 94% of these meager earnings are spent on food….furthermore they found that contrary to the myth people hold that ‘they prefer to live on the streets’ is wrong and that only 3% of panhandlers don’t want housing’.

Words like underclass, victims, mentally ill without out access to proper medical services, lack of education, sparse provision of social workers, drug addicts maintained on methadone for decades without a source of education to help them become working contributors to society by access to education must define Ireland as different, because we are small enough to make changes. Ignorance is no defence. We need to avoid victimology and create opportunities by seeking out alternatives other than a life on the streets begging.

Fr McVerry’s name is the man that is accredited for helping the homeless.

His website provides the facts:

…………….“This page provides statistical information on homelessness and Peter McVerry Trust Services.


7 – Average number of new presentations of homelessness in Dublin per day. (2012)

30% – Women now account for just over 30% of Ireland’s homeless population.

94 – Minimum number of rough sleepers in Dublin, based on rough sleeper count for April 2013.

307 – Girls aged 19 or under recorded as homeless in the 2011 census.

3,808 – The number of homeless in Ireland recorded in census 2011.

Stark figures for such a small population.

The US survey states that 60% make $25 a day or less, if this is so in Ireland and the hostels cost in excess of e60 per week plus the addition of the what HSE, the DCC, the NGO’s , Charities pay to the private owners of the hostels; it makes it quite a pitiful existence with no hope of ever leaving this culture of dependency propagated by commerce.

Why do people give to beggars! The finding is simple. Empathy and a fear that you or a family member may one day be a beggar……if this is so

Come back to the words of wise man ‘The world is made up of the Takers and the Taken’

Remember when you see a beggar on the street, chances are through the food they eat, the alcohol they drink, the accommodation they use, they too and possibly are paying more tax and are re-investing in Ireland Inc……these are paying real indirect taxes daily and recycling money in the economy. 

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Education: ‘Give Vision to the Visionless’ – Jonathan Swift
Date: Monday November 4th,  2013 17:12:53 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Monday November 4th, 2013 16:40Report this post to the editors

Reply to citizen journalism site: Seoirse Thank you for the informative response. Many people have gained both socially and through employment in particular in community employment schemes and it is essential to highlight the point especially now as FAS is being closed down. It is also very important to recognise that FAS faltered through an elite group in management particularly who became side-tracked by a culture of waste of resources and personal aggrandisement. As should always happen, this needs to be identified and we must congratulate Shane Ross (Independent – Dail) and a team of enlightened media people who targeted the head office and whose research has resulted in the closure but also the outing of those who abused their position of ‘power’ through cronyism and corruption.

The new challenge is Solas. 200 people are tasked with policy and empowerment to seek educational opportunities. I agree absolutely with you about the other side of education and that is the ‘action, doing, creating’ in the local community. ANCO was the origin of FAS and it tasked people who had achieved solid apprenticeships in certain trades like carpentry, plumbing, plastering, gardening into the teaching and imparting mentors to unemployed people during the last unemployment crisis in the 1980’s. This in turn resulted in a healthy competition in towns, villages and in urban villages to move from the individualism to the shared community endeavours. Our tourist trail has benefited from the workmanship and input of many people especially those who worked in community employment schemes who were part of this FAS initiative.

Nearly 400,000 people are unemployed; the estimates are that 300,000 have emigrated, and others are in courses once operated by FAS and others.

The time is now to recognise that people are human but the human species is highly flawed; however ‘flawed’ must be recognised, punished, and replaced and now is the time for this to happen. Solas and the ETB’s must embrace a new culture and it is essential that opportunities are provided to as many people as possible, people who are unemployed, to single mothers or fathers, people with disabilities, to young people, to older people to ensure that they have the opportunities to access education either of an academic nature or more importantly of craftsmanship and technology. There is new horizon in restart/repair and Ireland needs to tap into it via the education route.

To be positive we must look at the plans for our city which can be repeated in the smart sustainable urban villages and local country communities. Solas is nominated now to educate the people who will be the actors for the plans. The time is now for people to engage. The opportunities are highlighted in that public submissions are welcomed on proposal, which includes two new civic space. 

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: Austerity is the mantra but for some it is ‘privileges before principles’
Date: Thursday 7th November 2013 12:13:51 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To:, Vincent Browne , , Roisin Shortall et al

Thursday 7th November, 2013

Interesting times as Ireland forges ahead to extract itself from the Troika and engage with the open markets to raise funds. The message is that we must continue with austere practices because the budget deficit must be tackled and the fact is our debts exceed our capacity to pay in the now and going forward for many decades. The debt rises with compound interest and without a right down it is hard to imagine how Ireland will ever pay it off.

2013 is the centenary of the 1913 Lockout. Socialism challenged capitalism and people like Jim Larkin, James Connolly and many others tried ardently to engage the people through a form of solidarity against the employers who exploited the labour force for their own gain. The Sunday Independent and Shane Ross aims to engage readers with the reasons why these early trade unionists are far removed from those who presently supposedly represent their employees. It is time for the ordinary people to remove the rose tinted glasses and start coming to terms with the fact that our present day trade union leadership and members who continue to pay their union dues, have diverged so far down the opposite path of that proposed by trade unions of 1913.

Ross, based on some of the foregoing postings is quite correct when he writes that ‘This year’s commemoration of the centenary of the Lockout has tanked into farce’. It is beyond belief that ‘TG4 opted for a more modern type of socialist, so modern that his socialism is almost invisible’. They chose to select a current director of the Central Bank to commemorate both Larkin and Connolly in their progamme on the Lockout. The person selected was a member of the Central Bank but he also served as a director of FAS; worse still he served at the time when the elites of the FAS staff endorsed and contributed to that culture of waste that is a product of cronyism pending corruption. The ‘privileges’ became the guiding light and ‘principles’ were demoted to near extinction. Work for these privileged people became devoid of the principles, obligations, and ethics that should prevail. These were the people to be found highly remunerated on the many quangos so indulged and well paid for by the State (but remember it is the tax payers and citizens of the State who really pay). TG4 selected none other than Dr Des Geraghty.

To quote Shane Ross from his article in last Sunday’s Independent newspaper:-

“Comrade Des became Dr Des. He collected gigs galore, adding the powerful, well paid RTE Authority and the chair of the obscure Affordable Homes Partnership to his portfolio. The AHP was a particularly nice little earner, one of the multiple social partnership quangos that broke out like a plague ….

In the AHP’s first year Dr Des earned e13,000 as chairman, but his part-time reward rocketed to e30,000 in 2006 and 2007 before reverting to e25,000 in 2008. The quango was eventually disbanded in ignominy, a casualty of the Celtic collapse”.

Culture of waste, cronyism, corruption needs a root and branch cost benefit analysis applied and urgently. Surely these people must be paid fairly but excessively should not be acceptable.

Liberty Hall today stands tall but what are they really doing for all the people who have become unemployed, those who are under-employed, those in the services who are being forced by companies like Starbucks, Tesco and so many other companies that avail of the favourable tax breaks and who are basically tricking staff into zero-hour contracts. The unemployed figures are reducing but it is from a high in excess of 400,000 with more than 300,000 who have emigrated. FAS (dissolved) only now is being dealt with, as Solas is rolled out. We know it will have 200 people; the function being education/enhanced skill provision with the objective of providing trained personnel for work opportunities through an independent sources. However trade unions must take some responsibility towards the plight of their members now. They owe those who have paid their dues over a centenary and their duty is to function with integrity for all workers and this includes their responsibility for up-skilling the members they have who are casualties of the Celtic Tiger. That Siptu e32 mn treasury amount that is supposed to be in their bank accounts earning virtually no interest, should be used for the people who need work. Crowdfunding says that they could provide some of this money and create opportunities for small to medium sized enterprises and entrepreneurhship.

Again to quote Shane Ross

“Dr Des, most of his colleagues in ICTU and some of his successors in Siptu are among the most conservative, reactionary forces in Ireland. They are no more the successors of Larkin and Connolly than Michael McDowell or Constantin Gurdgiev. The are the arch insiders, some sitting on boards to beat the band, collecting fees by the bucketful, others influencing policy at the highest level”,
Seriously, we need to wake up now.
by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Dire economic times say opportunities must be taken: its about value content:  JobBridge FAS Solas Tuesday November 12th, 2013 16:38 Seoirse contributor to citizen journalism site.
Date: Tuesday 12th November, 2013 19:12:48 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Vincent Browne ,, Roisin Shortall ; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Tuesday 12th November 2013  (Reply to Seoirse)

Fair comment. Community employment schemes organised by FAS greatly enhanced the lives of people; FAS CE schemes enabled people to work in their local communities, to contribute and receive additional payments to social welfare payments. Community employment schemes paved the way for single mothers, people with disabilities, empty nest women, to re-enter the work-force on a part-time basis. In many cases, these CE schemes facilitated people to move into further education. Unfortunately, the problem, as you state, relates to those who exploit the vulnerabilities of those they perceive to be weak and who climb up on their backs through cronyism, corruption and that attitude that says we will ape our masters of decadence and financial abundance, and we will do it better because we can do so. Shame on these people and now is the time for them to be reprimanded and where possible to be indicted for any criminal practices relating to corruption that they engaged in. The time is here for change. Privileges reined throughout the Tiger for the elites and their sycophants but it is now time for Principles to lead the way.

Hedonistic is about the decadence of people who exploit the vulnerable and CelticTiger Ireland was the period of hedonism for the developers, the bankers, the cash economy, academia, the farmers who sold their land having tangled with the local authorities to change the rating from agriculture to housing; exploiters of all kinds are easily identified now. Fianna Fail endorsed the credence of the new Ireland. Could it last, probably not!

What have we now:- a quagmire of shifting sands smothered by the remnants of those who brought this country to its knees, through their cronyism, which if the evidence that we witness now tells us that corruption was the blight. Tribunals were established to establish if corruption existed but the truth is we were all conned to believe that corruption was being identified, linked to business people, developers, even to a former Taoiseach, and politicians but it was apathy that said ‘let them go’, the evidence from the tribunals would not be eligible for courts.

FAS, the semi-state enterprise, did some good but was consumed by those who had access to power who greedily followed the leaders on the gravy train starting at the top with the EU, to Government, to developers, to private sector; all those who could use that little extra bit of power they had to gain power for their personal egos at the cost of the vulnerable.

Where to now? The crisis now merits different attitudes. JobBridge may be unfair but then do people want to de-skill, lose discipline of work mentality, leave themselves prone to mental health problems, or would they be willing to take the chance over a life-time span to work for the nine month period at 50 euros + their dole allowance? Times we hope are changing and social media is the dimension that can make significant changes in the lives of people and therefore involvement in a work environment proves essential.

Youth unemployment is never to be recommended. The economic crisis is dire. Ireland is repaying 1 billion euros per month in its budget deficit and we are being asked to endorse our perceived shallow excellence in that we are now able to exit the bail-out programme. The reflection therein is something like Narcissus and echo. Ireland is echo and we need every human being in our country contributing to this society through work, through social media, through citizen journalism and in every way possible including intra-generational. Young people are the future and they need to be engaged to act as those who will determine whether Ireland can achieve a write-down on the debt we owe.

Education is the way forward for those who are unemployed. Use the opportunities you get as a treasure that must not be wasted.

FAS is gone but keep tapping on the door of Solas until they hear you and provide the work opportunities.

Did you know that yesterday was Science Day? Do you know that this week is Science Week? Check out your local library and attend some of the science events making it part of your 2014/15 plan to get back into education so that you can ensure Ruairi Quinn will commit funds for back to education programmes going forward. Use these events to enlighten individuals to check out opportunities and engage with them.

By Michelle Clarke

Subject: “Troika exit” but the bitter medicine rests with the banks to administer and it is now, Debt Resolution
Date: Monday 18th November 2013 17:47:25 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Monday 18th November 2013

There are many people now living in fear of the “letter” that states they must leave their home and given the date and time that the sheriff will arrive.

What are the options: Will it be the Insolvency Service of Ireland (“ISI”) option or is the option that taken by some of the developers who led Ireland to this economic crisis but who have the expertise and advise them to take the UK or the US tourist bankruptcy route?

Not all people have the opportunities to shift their Centre of Main Interest (COMI) to the UK or the US. What will ISI do for them? How will the banks deal with its customers who are in arrears and who possibly will never be able to pay their debts?

There may be some hope. Allied Irish Banks (the peoples’ bank in that it is owned now by the State) have adopted or so it appears, a sensible approach and have provided a new service starting today, to assist customers of their bank to find long-term solutions to their financial problems. 300 have already made contact.

The Irish Mortgage Holders’ Organisation (IMHO) and AIB Group hopes to help 1,000 customers find solutions to tackling their arrears in a six month pilot project. Those in difficulty will be provided by the IMHO with a designated contact person, who will help complete a standard financial statement (SFS) which is key to finding a suitable solution. The help will be provided over the phone, online or in person.

Is this pure tokenism? 1,000 people is so few when we all know people who are casualties and who live daily waiting for the banks to tell them get out of their homes! These are not the elites who are being forced out of Shrewsbury Road with provision for £3,500 per month to find them alternative accommodation in Dublin 4. These people have to deal with the real fear of trying to negotiate themselves onto the housing list of the local council or attempting to find accommodating in the rental market. Too few solutions; too much hardship. We know that many people are falling victims especially when we hear arguments being put forward that Gardai, soldiers and prison officers, because of their vulnerability to being bribed may be excluded from having their names put on a public register if they succeed in getting a state-approved debt deal. According to the campaigner David Hall as many as one officer each day is becoming insolvent, and others are actually losing their homes through bankruptcy. AIB and its pilot project with IMHO for 1,000 over six month,s pales into insignificance. The crisis is upon us and tokenism is but a gesture to distract the attention from the realities. AIB, we must not forget, in this pilot scheme of 1,000, is offering free advice to the customers of not alone AIB, but EBS and Haven ‘who are in mortgage arrears but have yet to approach their lender to seek a deal’.

People who can get their bank or other creditors to allow them do a debt settlement arrangement will be listed on a website of the Insolvency Service. There are some 40,000 members of the three services…..and in Mr Hall’s opinion many of these would need to seek debt deals from their banks. 

By Michelle Clarke (Blake)

Subject: The supply chain with the importance to value the human input; Trade Unions & Integrity and Transparency
Date: Tuesday 19th November 2013 17:36:29 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter , Clare Daly ,, ,, Liam-IPRT , Vincent Browne ; Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list.
Tuesday 19th November 2013 

Shane Ross:- what a great reminder and piece of reporting on the importance of access for journalists to Freedom of Information. The cronyism, the corruption, the stand down by so many of the elites that held court in FAS head office in Upper Baggot Street and the culture of connivance and self agrandisement that polluted all to do with creating opportunities for people looking for employment; and in particular those who are unemployed. The “sick” culture is only now being expugned and they tell us the new entity Solas is open. We must not forget that the trade unions through bench-marking gave these elites support and entrenchment. The question now for our citizens is will Solas be the mentor for post Troika Ireland ensuring that those in positions of power lead with Principles instead of Privileges as the motivational factor. Corruption must be stood down. To the Jurors who returned the verdicts yesterday on Byrne. Well done.

Principles were forfeited by the elites who wanted privileges. This includes the MNC’s and the question today is what do Mandate or other trade unions for that matter actually do for people who are abused by the Labour laws, so long fought for in this country?

Zero hours contracts is the mantra of the retail/service sector these days. It’s great to play God and appoint a supervisor who keeps employees on their toes in that they never know how many hours they will be working in a given week. Double time is but a memory. Starbucks, Tesco are but two examples. People need to alert themselves to the human input in the chain of supply when you go for a cup of coffee, a meal, to a pub. The coffee is about cost but also there is a value quotient and that is to do with people.

I stand to be corrected by Tesco but it is my impression they pride themselves on the openings they have for workers who are impaired by intellectual disabilities. If this is so, then one would expect them to have the understanding and due diligence to make provision that people in a position of ‘surveillance’ are not allowed to bully, intimidate, and maliciously target people on the shop floor. For those who do not know about Sheltered Employment, I attach the following

Protect Sheltered Workshops |
People with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), which includes mental retardation, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, have the right to…

Shame on the trade unions who are turning a blind eye to the practices of large retail and service worker businesses.

Mandate: Do you understand exactly the injustice that is done to a person who has worked for 13 years at Tescos, and who falls into the category named above ie ‘sheltered employment’. You don’t.

You are in the employers’ pocket. For that matter you are even in the pocket of the man who monitors the cameras in store and corporatism. If someone has worked for 13 years; surely cognizance of their intellectual disabilities means that certain circumstances may be beyond their grasp. Does a kangaroo court of the manager, the trade union representative, the surveillance man and one other honestly and truthfully have the power to summon the person, show him the evidence, tell him to go and remove his belongings from his locker and then fire him. The crime is petty. In a trial at court, it is improbable that the case would ever leave the Garda station, let alone be approved by the DPP.   This case I will write about – it ended up in the criminal court.

Trade Unions do your job and protect the vulnerable.

Imagine a man who dedicated to his function on the shop floor; to the people who are the customers at the location, who is given an identity where in another time he may have been institutionalised.

Mandate: Its easy to trample on the rights of the vulnerable and side with the ‘team’ but it is wrong, very wrong because in these times of economic hardship, this man will never get work and because he lives in the family home he is not entitled to the dole so he is made a total dependent, and is made feel like a burden. Wrong is no man’s right. This is a moral wrong but also cannot be legally substantiated. 

By Michelle Clarke (Beagle)

Date: Wednesday 20th November 2013 16:39:07 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list
Junior doctors relinquished to the wolves but at what cost?

Trade Unions Integrity and Transparency

Matt Merrigan (HSE/SIPTU – the slush fund; McNeice settling for e9.7 million instead of the e24 million he neatly arranged for himself and his ‘package’ at the early age of 50. Then we have the scandal now unfurling showing that proceeds from shops in hospital locations, or for that for car-parks, have been grabbed by greedy managers in the HSE or worse groups supposedly representing the vulnerable in society.

When does the greed stop? Fear and Greed are the destroyers of our society. To see a beautiful young woman, aged only 26, a junior doctor, working excessively up to 95 hours a week having committed suicide, we must ask questions about the society we live in. It is blatantly obvious now that those last in at the time of Celtic Tiger bench-marking and when the trade unions were in their hay day, pulled the carpet up and those coming on stream were left unaided and totally disregarded. The IMO still have chosen not to hold an EGM to investigate the McNeice scenario.

This young junior doctor attached to neurology, did suffer from depression. Depression is the silent killer but it is remarkable that in Neurology in Tallaght that no one member in the medical profession identified the quite obvious warning signs in particular the level of exhaustion from insomnia and the over intensity to be present at work assisting her patients. It is not about judgement; it is about awareness. What is the IMO really doing for the younger doctors; they are the trade union and we know they overly indulged the ‘privileged’ members and no doubt themselves.

To the Parents of “Dr Jessica Murphy aged only 26”, thank you for raising the issue at Dublin Coroner’s Court, it is most unselfish and her memory deserves this. Her parents told the coroner Dr Brian Farrell that she worked 95 hours a week. Following the inquest, Marian Murphy said that her daughter had been “put under too much pressure”.

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Join the Truth Team.
Date: Thursday 21st November 2013 16:54:44 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Wales: Legislation that recognises Asbestosis. Employers will now have to pay

by Michelle Clarke

Persistence in the pursuit of what is morally right eventually acknowledged in Wales.

Hugh Murphy’s connectedness with the plight of the Belfast dockers, their exposure to asbestos, the collusion between the employers and the Trade Union ITGWU now Siptu to not provide adequate safety gear and who negligently and recklessly left the workers exposed to asbestos fibres. Scans now tell us that the fibres lodged in their bodies, often the lungs, sometimes for decades, without due consideration from those trade unions who represented the workers. Sea change may be about to happen. Denial will no longer be the excuse for trade unions as representatives of workers and employers who selectively chose to ignore the link between exposure to asbestos, the decades while it remains latent, the eventual onslaught of cancer. Justice may now prevail as these conspirators against employees are being stood down by the legal and political process. Now political agendas are fighting the cause and in Wales this month the NHS recognises that the costs must be borne by the employers via their insurance.

Let this be a warning now that employers must be stringent to ensure that their employees are protected. In Ireland, the fact that companies especially in construction rarely survive from one generation to another, means that the State will now be faced with having to introduce legislation similar to Wales. The medical profession in Ireland appear so reticent that one can only assume that the political agenda encourages silence. Asbestos exposure causes cancer. Cancer merits research funding and surely there must be funds made available from the EU for research especially related to asbestos origins and the ordinary citizens need to feel assured that the medical profession are focused on accessing available funding from sources like the EU. For this to happen the people of Ireland need to recognise the links between work environments, exposure to asbestos and cancer.

One Big Onion, the play by Hugh Murphy and the poem the Judas Goat (links in earlier postings) are a wake up call for the medical profession particularly, but most importantly, it’s a wake up call to the immorality and greed of the trade unions who literally jumped ship and sided neatly with the employers against the workers in the case of the Belfast Docks. The reality is that the role of the ITGWU/Siptu and other trade unions should have been to stand by the workers, not to align with the employers who also compromised the integrity of the medical profession, and fought for the outcome of the legislation that is passing through Parliament in Wales, this month.

Asbestos NHS treatment cost recovery bill is voted into law

Insurers have claimed legislation would not benefit asbestos sufferers or the NHS

A bill to recover the costs of treating Welsh asbestos patients from businesses or insurers has been passed by assembly members.

It is estimated the new law could raise up to £1m a year for the Welsh NHS.

The bill’s sponsor, Labour AM Mick Antoniw, said it would help people whose lives had been blighted by “this terrible disease”.

The insurance industry has raised concerns, questioning whether the move is within the assembly’s powers.

The NHS seek payment from the Insurers but ultimately recognition means the best medical provision possible for people diagnosed with cancer related to asbestos.

Ireland:  we need a similar law in place.
By Michelle Clarke

Date: Tuesday 26th November 2013 17:02:40 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Think of the bank manager who only offers you the umbrella when the sun is shining?
Timing is essential
Write-down Debt Resolution

For the fat cats, those developers who not alone bankrupted our country, their workers, their companies whose basic safety net of contacts remained intact and who eagerly moved themselves to an address in London/England/Scotland, paying rent two years in advance, attending an odd soccer match, making sure to get their hair done locally – these are the people who have already or are just about past the post and are free of all their debts. The debt is but a blip and they are back in business…all we can hope is that they have gained some wisdom from the experience of being a Tourist Bankrupt.

But what happens to the ordinary family here in Ireland or for that matter those who decided to opt out of marriage one because marriage two meant a younger wife, more children and a bigger and better life-style. These are part of the people who have for over five years now struggled with debt like a noose around their neck. How many of these people are beyond work now because of ill-health from undue pressures?

Today we are told that the legislation is now being put in place and acted upon.
Protective certificates will issue from the courts to allow deals to be ‘formalised between the banks, the PIP’s (personal insolvency practitioners) at Grant Thornton and the new Insolvency Service’.

What a relief? or maybe not? How many people will opt for these ‘Debt Deals’?.
Estimates say 15,000 but so many more exist in the mire of negative equity and debt; so let’s not forget about them? 5 out of the 20 are said to have given up their homes, their buy-to-lets so this begs the question what happens to these properties? Will the banks hold them as stock in trade until the bubbles in the property market create new markets for the banks to sell them at a profit or substantially reduce the debt write-off granted?. Is this the banks way, 5 years into the recession to manipulate their balance sheets?

The Irish Independent reports the good news for some today; but we also must recognise that good news for some is moral hazard for others.

£233,000 is to be written off the debt mountain accrued by a Dublin Civil Servant and his wife, a nurse. We must note that both of these are representative of the public sector; have permanent jobs; have pensions and protection by employment rights. Therefore they are in the privilege category. They bought a house and took out a loan for e400,000 during the Celtic Tiger days. Then came negative equity, pressure and regrets. This couple have struck a deal with their banks.

……..their banks will see them voluntarily surrendering their family home and their two buy-to-let properties. But their creditors have agreed to the huge e233,000 debt write-off if they stick to a six year Personal Insolvency Agreement. 6 years represents what exactly we do not really know. What if either party inherits a sum of money; or a promotion and a “top-up”, life insurance if a party dies…. or for that matter the lotto. If any of these factors apply, the incentive is greater for the ‘debt-deal’ to be put in place. The gamble is good for the banks, the PIPS….

However, we need to note that not only did these two public sector workers incur losses through negative equity in their home and in their two buy-to-let properties….they also owed thousands of euros in bank loans, credit cards bills and credit union borrowings. We need to note again that this couple both have employment in the public sector and in no way represent a family dogged by consistent unemployment and massively in debt. What about the people who are both out of work with no realistic opportunities? Who will pledge their case with the banks?

Warnings attached to this personal insolvency stated that the Insolvency Service would be applying rigorous restrictions on lifestyle termed “reasonable living expenses”. However, this public sector employed couple are allowed as much as e4,809 per month. This surely is a departure from the guidelines. Initially, it was said that the “reasonable living expenses” guidelines issued by the Insolvency Service regarded health insurance as a luxury, and stressed that a case would to be made for a second car.

However, whoever represents your case, as in the situation of divorce, is the determinant of the best negotiated deal. You need the car; you need the health insurance; you need whatever – it can be negotiated into your package.

T’s article on newswire (Citizen Journalism site) crosses over into this. The Banks are in the business of making money; AIB today reports it will be returning to profit next year. What can we learn is the question?

Max Keiser on the “financial terrorism” of Royal Bank of Scotland

The headlines have recently reported that the Royal Bank of Scotland owners of Ulster Bank in Ireland carried out widespread fraud and engaged in forcing customers who were repaying their debt and otherwise healthy, into going out of business and this allowed the bank to pick up their assets namely their properties at a fraction of the true costs. They carried out this financial terrorism mostly against small firms who were too small to defend themselves.

Hasten slowly.

by Michelle Clarke (Blake)

Subject: JobBridge; FAS & Cronyism
Date: Thursday 5th December 2013 16:46:49 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism; undisclosed address list

Thursday 5th December 2013

Shocking to think that this could be so at a time when we are told that at last there is a reduction in the number of people unemployed. It is unclear how significant the drop in the number of employed to just under 400,000 is affected by those who emigrate which is estimated at nearly 7,000 each month.

Dan O’Brien reports today in the Irish Independent under the title heading as above. He provides a little history of the job activation schemes for people who were out of work in the last recession in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. By 1993, unemployment in Ireland was up at 16%. What is key here is that the Celtic Tiger intervened and people gained employment but the cruel irony is that the Government did not think it necessary to cut back spending in employment activation, and the main beneficiary was FAS, the now defrocked state agency. Like the way we tackle the homeless situation, the drugs crisis, charities, the asylum seekers, the bureaucracy and the “Privilege versus Principle” brigade peddle their wares and create industries.

“Inevitably, with lots of cash and little to use it for,taxpayers’ money ended up where it should not have ended up. An industry grew up that helped not the jobless, but trainers who made a good living from providing training courses, many of dubious quality and little relevance to the labour market’.

The 2010 report highlights that almost 1 billion euros a year was being spent and that “too often training programmes were not only useless, but worse than useless – people on some schemes were actually less likely to find work than those who got no help whatsoever’.

So yes, we need to examine JobBridge, FAS remorphed as Solas, the courses that Solas will schedule for the many unemployed at present. It is essential to grasp just how non effective policy to date is in relation to re-training, up-skilling, providing adequate education courses and providing for positive employment as distinct from underemployment.

Before the crash – in 2007 – the number of people on “activation” schemes averaged just over 50,000. As the economy went into free-fall, an additional 300,000 people had joined the dole queues by 2010, but the number of additional places rose by a pitiful 10,000 or so. However, in the mean time albeit some improvement, it is hardly adequate….

Three years on again, the response remains woefully inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem. In the first 10 months of 2013, 77,000 people on average were on schemes, or an additional 17,000 compared to three years ago…… [[/bold

by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Pensions
Date: Saturday 7th December 2013 18:25:34 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list

Saturday 7th December 2013 16:37

Today is the day: Marks and Spencers in Ireland and their employees are on strike. This is the beginning. People are on their knees now for 5 years with Austerity as a mantra constantly beating them into submission while persuading them to accept and not protest. The onslaught has been relentless. Austerity has achieved cuts at every level from pay, to salaries, to pensions, it has introduced property taxes, a Universal Social Charge, PRSI on rental receipts, any open source of income that can be recorded on a data stream is now identified and subject to tax – there is however one exception and that is those tax exiles who use Ireland’s advanced infrastructure yet deem its tax system as archaic and therefore not of merit for their taxes.
When the banks collapsed, the first mutterings were heard by the silent take it on the chin brigade. The professionals who worked for their private pension funds, had been advised to invest their money in blue chip stocks like Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks even Anglo Irish Bank. We know what happened to these pension schemes – its but a paltry sum i.e if it is not totally consumed by the charges that these pension brokers and insurance companies exact from these funds. These are the silent minority who struggle to exist with a much reduced pension and for those who have a deposit account, they await news shortly from the State banks that they will have to pay for the luxury of holding same!Then there were those who thought about buying tax advantage properties ie buy-to-lets instead of investing in pensions. We all know what happened to these people as the Banks now seek to seize their properties, the deposits and interest already paid, and add them to the banks’ stock in trade. Then with some luck, a little expertise, and the markets who hold no memories, these dawn raider private equity vultures will buy up the housing stock and then they can ‘rent’ them back to Dublin City Council, who needs to provide housing for over 100,000 people in need of homes or to similar types of ventures funded by housing associations. Capitalism must survive at all costs. Vulture prey and the vulnerable become the losers.Pensions and Ireland. Waterford Glass and Wedgewood. A public company but with a large shareholder named as part of the O’Reilly dynasty. Shareholders invested and then all of sudden Ireland’s crown jewel of Waterford Crystal was bankrupt. Skilled trades people found themselves without their jobs but worse again without their pensions. Independent newspapers tells a similar story about pensions and no doubt many others. Dividends are repaid to investors and suddenly the balance sheet has failed to make the pension contributions and the workers, the bread and butter workers, are the people who lose. Well done to Waterford Crystal, hardship through loss of pensions spurred the workers to use their skill-set and trade and re-invent the wheel and produce Waterford Crystal once more. Furthermore, these workers fought their case to the European Court of Justice and they are entitled to the pensions they were deprived of. The moral here is ‘right is right but wrong is no man’s right’ and this particularly applies to the elites on boards of directors who can withdraw massive dividends or those who blatantly fail to act in the best interests of the employees, their former employees through their pension funds, their investors etc.Aer Lingus, ESB, DAA and all the pension funds that are in difficulties. The advice is don’t wait until it is near your time to retire, engage with the workings of your pension now and speak out for the protections to be put in place now. There is a two tier system in play and for people who are part of the public sector we are told that their pensions are guaranteed. The strikes due now provide an ideal opportunity to understand the importance of providing for a pension in old age. We need to understand that people are living decades longer and will need to work until over 70 or more. For those people with disabilities, we need to introduce the concept that may be looking to return to the workforce in their 50’s or 60’s. The ESB are in debate about a fund greater than 1,000 million ie 1 billion. It is important to think of this amount as part of a fund made up a variety of investments that move with the markets ie losses and gains, it is fluid. The pension trustees are equipped to read the markets to obtain the best deals. The ESB differs in that their employees do not receive the State pension at age 66/65.A point worth consideration is about the whole idea of having more than one pension. There are members of Government who have pensions from their profession, to their position in Government, to a pension for being MEP and even private pension schemes based on the tax allowances provided for higher income tax payers. In America, they refer to double dipping. This can apply to people who marry several times. The option is you get the choice of one pension, the one that pays the largest amount.Opportunity comes to pass not to pause. Pensions are essential and it is now we need to examine how they work and what provisions they will make.
by Michelle Clarke

Subject: The Public Accounts Committee:  The Rule of Law
Date: Wednesday 11th December 2013 17:13:36 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
 Wednesday 11th December 2013

Shane Ross raises the questions…and what do we learn? “A phantom account”. Mesmerised beyond recognition is all that can be said as we learn of what the people who have abused their power explain it away as “culture”.

Culture of waste, culture of abuse of power, culture of cronyism, culture of exploit the vulnerable, culture of greed and self-seeking, culture that says politicians, mandarins and certain elites can have multiple pensions for some and none for others.

The Public Accounts Committee will no doubt continue on its path to hunt down those who have been abusing power, engaging in fraud and corruption, identifying cronyism, which has created multiple conflicts of interest that have been ignored for the core of elites of our society, whose narcissism, ego, often motivated by their greed, while imposing fear on lesser beings. It is these people that we can identify as the “entitled classes” who deserve the rewards while others just work as minions, ever fearful of the uncertainty that leaves them one step away from poverty. When it comes to exploiting our vulnerable people as in the case of the CRC (Central Remedial Clinic), we know we are near rock bottom in the morality stakes and the time has come to stop the blatant exploitation by those who are dedicated to self-seeking pursuits where they are driven by the greed that makes them exploit those they consider to be weaklings. Panorama, BBC 1: the programme on charities focusing on Save the Children, Amnesty and others is essential viewing for those who are concerned about the level of corruption, the impact of cronyism, the links with Corporatism and self-seeking that persists in today’s society.

SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) – what can we say? Conflicts of interest are so often raised as being in existence in multiples but the narrative rolls on and the PR machine in the semi-state sector ensures that the press releases tell SFI’s story rather than examine the queries raised through media sources. All we know is that science is following the commercialisation track and the scientists who spoke out are now evidently sold on ‘commercialisation’ as distinct from positions of aiming to include Ireland as a member of Cern.

Another semi-state features in the Sunday Independent on 8th December 20/12/13 – an article by Nick Webb. 

STATE quango Enterprise Ireland has spent 111,000 euros on posh school fees for the children of six of its overseas executives already this year.

Enterprise Ireland has 57 expatriate staff working in 30 overseas offices… appears that the amount is for 11 children attending primary and secondary schools’

What does Enterprise Ireland do?

State funding in 2012 amounted to 293 million euros with over 23 million euros sourced from third parties. The purpose of this funding is to support grant aid to businesses. What does become apparent is that a total unrealistic amount is paid ie 86 million euro for the administration and running costs of EI.

What is the justification of the 86 million euro administration costs?

Subject: Ireland for Sale:  NAMA portfolio equates to 70 bn euros+
Date: Thursday 19th December 2013 20:56:30 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Alan Shatter , Alex White , Jimmy Deenihan ,; Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed address list
Thursday 19th December 2013 16:35

The crest of a wave has arrived and the vultures known as private equity groups are circling and selecting the best we have to offer. Why not? Its called business and we all know by now that markets really don’t have memories and when opportunities arise there always will be the risk-takers who are driven by the rewards. This time we have Blackstone (largest landlord of properties in America; Kennedy Wilson, and for more names just check out Ian Kehoe’s article in the Sunday Times last week).

What do we need to do about this in Ireland? Truthfully, there is nothing we really can do but be aware of what we are selling and about ensuring fair values are achieved. To do this we need to know that NAMA and its employees (who are bound by the Official Secret’s Act) adhere to the law and abide by the rules. We need no insider dealing. We need to know that at every level of this powerful entity called NAMA that is both buyer and seller of vast quantities of substantially written down in value properties, ensures that each of its employees at every level understands that they have access to information about property that puts them in a privileged position of financial gain if they make the decision to abuse their power. The Rule of Law must be the deterrent and as Madoff was found accused in the US and sentenced to decades in prison, the same will apply to those charged and found guilty in Ireland.

Ireland Inc and the for sale sign globally should now insist that if we must sell our assets, that at least we have given them an endorsement in the markets that the opportunity is here in Ireland now and going forward so that we can have as many bidders as possible to ensure the best value. Transparency is essential, insider dealing and abuse of power is shunned.

What about Georgian Dublin? The Budget has created tax breaks for the family home and this is good news to halt the ever increasing grey to black economy that side-tracks revenue from the Exchequer. Georgian Dublin has many houses some converted to offices but many abandoned. Is it not time to encourage developers to renovate these houses creating apartments for people to live in and revive inner city living to the new smart economy urban spaces found elsewhere.

For consideration: Jimmy Dennihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht replied to a recent email about property in Dublin 4.

Part IV of the Planning and Development Acts 2000, as amended, provides for the protection of architectural heritage. The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect architectural heritage by including them on the Record of Protected Structures. Inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future. Dublin City Council is the relevant planning authority in this case.

Georgian Dublin are part of Ireland’s jewels. The dereliction and abandonment must not be an option.
by Michelle Clarke

Subject: Prisons (Pups Behind Bars et al)
Date: Monday 23rd December 2013 18:02:24 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: KT Hawklett
Prisoners, at home in Ireland but in prisons abroad too

Acquaint is the word that comes to mind with those who are deprived of their freedom this Christmas.

Use the opportunity to Google and find out about programmes that enlighten peoples’ attitudes to more rehabilitative/restorative based justice programmes.

To ground the senses my suggestion is to check out Pups behind Bars; it links to Oprah Winfrey, to you-tube but the message resounds. Take the human being, the circumstances, the paradox, the bipolarity, and the vision of a woman who sees that through dogs she can connect prisoners on death row with soldiers depleted by post traumatic stress disorder, depression, loss of limbs, and form a connection, a bond that says compassion is a teacher and the link between man and dog can traverse that great divide between those called criminals and those who are the wounded soldiers of the wars engaged in under the credo of quelling rebels in far off lands….as someone recently said, Africa, the continent, is undergoing its own world-war as Europe did in WW1 and WW2.

To Irish prisoners in the Irish prisons the question for us to ask if there is any news out there that will inspire the Inspector of Prisons, the Department of Justice, and other bodies to engage with Restorative Justice and pledge themselves to a fairer system in 2014. To piggy back based on the trials and outcomes of other Nations is a good start for a small Island country like Ireland.

Today’s English Times has a little snippet! The title: ‘Youngsters to sentence their fellow teenagers’

Youngsters, some as young as 14, in a community court setting, are to be selected to hear cases against people in the 10-25 age group. This is a watch this space initiative for Ireland.

PC Mark Walsh, of Hampshire constabulary said:-
This initiative is going to bring together the victim of the crime and the perpetrator of the crime. Volunteers will be to trained to give punishments for the “low level” crimes now dealt with by the police. More serious cases will continue to be heard by magistrates and Judges.

PC Walsh states further that there is no compulsion on the victim to attend or for the perpetrator to take part.

Today’s media reports about two young women who face 6 years imprisonment in a South America hell-hole of a prison. They received food covered in cock-roaches. Yes, smuggling drugs is wrong but these women are only in their early twenties and they pay a high price for their greed and foolishness.Can we use social media to have them returned to Ireland and the UK to serve their sentences. Having lived in Zimbabwe, these prisons in third world countries, are beyond what is reasonable for citizens of both England and Ireland.
Michelle Clarke  (Comyn)

Subject: The bigger the financial deal secured in negotiation, the greater the contributions for the trade unions
Date: Monday 30th December 2013 16:40:53 +0000
From: Michelle Clarke
To: Citizen Journalism site; undisclosed email list

Monday 30th December 2013

It is beyond credibility that the issue of the IMO, George McNeice, former Chief Executive, Merrigan and the HSE slush fund with SIPTU, receive so little media attention.

It is evident that a powder keg exists with a significant number of self appointed elite managers, politicians and mandarins who have nurtured cocoons both for their present salaries and their pension deals going forward that divide them, through their organisation and planning based on their self needs, from other mere mortals and in particular the poor and the vulnerable.

2014 is the year for self realisation and let that be for people on both sides of that invisible fence. Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand is in the shadows and the Scales of Justice are so heavilty weighted by white collar criminal practice; social welfare fraud; and the silent one that must now be outed ie healthcare fraud.

The trail starts as follows and let’s start asking questions now?

McNeice negotiated his deal down from £24 million to £9.7 million. The man was Chief Executive at the Irish Medical Organisation – a trade union for doctors and consultants. Why did so few doctors fail to place checks and balances on his level of power; or should we say abuse of power, an abuse of power quite evidently shared by those who had secured their privileged deals within their privileged profession. The young doctors were not considered. The EU law was ignored because it provided the fodder for the higher elites who needed cover in their public/private professions using private beds in public hospitals and no doubt using young doctors on the basis of Grace and Favour. We need equality; we need to urgently realise that a society treat their vulnerable.

Zero contract hours have become the order of the day in the retail sector. If the IMO could exploit their young newly trained medical doctors by failing to comply with the EU laws, what does it say for other vulnerable people in Ireland?

To the parents of the young doctor just qualified – a beautiful young woman harassed by long hours, stress, anxiety and no support in Tallaght hospital. What do we really want to say? Suicide is a life sentence for a family who remain behind. We often think that doctors are above suicide but the truth is the profession stigmatise, deny and hide away from the fact that many of their fold are lost to suicide. To study medicine in Ireland requires much study and huge expense both to families, to students and to the taxpayers. For the IMO to shelter the elites at the expense of the younger and more vulnerable is an absolute disgrace.

Professor Crown – I commend you using Senate Privilege and verbalising the truth about the “healthcare fraud” that is eating away at the heart of our medical system. We need more whistleblowers; we need to hone in on the quangos, the charities, the people who pretend to care for the vulnerable but who are the worst exploiters of same.

The HSE has fostered out its functions to too many charities/NGO’s/Church groups etc, each of whom has to have its own corporate type board of directors and nominees. Bureaucracy is smothering the potential of the HSE to operate without the scandals of abuse of power that can be identified regarding those with mental health issues, those with addiction, those who are homeless. The Pentecostal Church and their regime of recruiting down and outs and re-modelling them….needs urgent attention. The Hade family and their Church and the courses they run for people with drug addiction; the fact that Dublin City Councils provides houses without proper regulation through their organisation needs attention.

2014 must be the year that we tackle the endemic cronyism, corruption, abuse of power, in managerialism in particular.

To conclude:

Mental health is sidelined because we have no real voice.

A diagnosis at one time said to St Lomans or other places you must go and never return. 20,000 people found themselves incarcerated up to the 1980’s. However, there were promises that Community Care would cater for these people as they were encouraged to leave the hospitals.

This Christmas, ask yourself about these people. Look at the homeless on our streets and sidelined to the hostels. Look at those in the HSE care homes. How can it be that their hair has not been washed for weeks, their clothers are dirty, they are unkept. Their teeth are rotten from the medications. Yet we have a Government that target mental health because it is easy to say less funds for them. What about the Horizon programme that researched the re-integration of people with mental health problems back into society completed in the 1990’s? What happens in Germany? Ireland must stand ashamed. Rotten teeth through medications stigmatises and guarantees that there will be no return to the workforce for these people.

by Michelle Clarke

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About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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1 Response to Citizen Journalism Ireland: selection of emails to Government and related. (August to December 2013) by Michelle Clarke

  1. Pingback: Citizen Journalism: Selection of emails to Government and related. August to December 2013 | canisgallicus

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