Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2010 year. Revised 2020. 8 headings 4,100 words Tranche (A)

No. 1
22nd January, 2010
Glass half Empty or Half Full: Time to see the Half Full
Corporatism; wildlife, Corrib, Hope v. Greed

There is quiet these days about the Corrib and Shell. I wonder why? Maybe Shell are approaching closure for this endeavour.

What are the future plans for oil and gas in Ireland? Who has the real vested interest? I note Tullow Oil (origin Ireland) but now heavily involved in prospecting in the African continent appear to be doing well. Tullow have embraced the resources industry in Africa inspite of the risk factor. They are successful Operators in the business and mirror the likes of Exxon, Shell, and other corporate leaders. Well done to an Irish company who made it good in oil prospecting. I note their share prices are moving upwards.

The Lisbon Treaty made it through the second time. Do people realise how significant Ireland is to the EU (and this was recognised by the EEC back in 1973) when we joined? Well, we are the Island of Ireland and we are rich in our ‘seas’ but we forfeited our fishing rights up to our shores as an ‘price’ for membership. It is time for the Government to review ‘the deal’ we give to prospectors of our natural resources. We need to value of natural assets and more importantly to be aware of them and their value. What has happened to the Gold prospecting in Ireland? If you watch the global markets, gold is the recommendation for ‘Buy’.

Equities are out of fashion at the moment. Obama, one year as President is peddling ahead with his social conscience intact but alas causing democrats to weaken their allegiance and support to this man of vision and change.

Times of Recession are an interesting time to start looking at stocks and shares. It is good if you have a social and ethical perspective because you see companies who have been riding high on the ‘greed motive’ being brought to their knees and ultimately humbled, if not imprisoning negligent risk taking executives for illegal pratices. Watch this space re. bankers, developers, politicians etc.

European Mega companies have been humbled also. Unions became too strong in countries like Germany (e.g. Volkswagon, Siemens and others) and union leaders lost sight of their vision in favour of high salaries, perks, luxuries at the expense of the workers they are supposed to represent.

Ireland must ask questions here. How much are the Union Leaders receiving as salaries, perks etc? Strikes are being called willy nilly these days and I wonder ‘who is doing the thinking?’

With Independence came depression for almost three decades. There was survival as an independent state which has to account for something. Why?

We believed our wealth was in our soil and that includes the sea and of course, our people and the contributions of our diaspora.

If the Corrib is concluded in the not too distant future, we need to be aware of the other oil companies we have presently prospecting for oil and take control of the concession taxation we have given them and seek a greater proportion of Royalties. Providence is one of these companies and it is interesting to follow its history i.e. back to the 1980’s Atlantic Resources headed up by Sir Tony O’Reilly then just Tony O’Reilly.

Add to this our wealth in literature; our acquaculture; the potential in our universities; in our research potential, our heritage and of late the Peace Process and the Unity of Ireland.

Michelle Clarke (Forster)

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Original article: September 30th, 2008

Corporatism: Corrib; Wildlife; Environment….v. Greed

 by Michelle Clarke – Social Justice and Ethics

 

Initially, this article was written in 2004. It was the second copy written via a citizen journalism site to then Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern, cc to his Secretary, concerning Shell Corporate and its plans to ‘squander our Irish Crown Jewels, our natural assets’ with the aiding and abetting of our ill briefed Government in the 1980’s.

The Rule of Law stands breached as we recklessly observe an abundance of Irish Garda Siochana take up position on the Shell site, at payment to our Irish State. Meantime, Irish people protest (in a similar way in which the protect about the Skryne Tara Valley).

Now, we face a financial crisis. What implications will this have to Corporate companies like Shell and their undertakings in the West Coast of Ireland. What if Government were to say No to providing the Gardai as security? Surely, this would be a correct approach by Government after the major disgrace regarding our 5 main leading Irish Banks. When do we stop public services money being abused because of pure laziness and ignorance.

Well, we in Ireland have saved the banks – one fell swoop. Yet the 700 billion due to save the US markets failed at the last hurdle, the House of Representatives. Where is the briliant acumen now? Who knows? Are the financiers wasted from their allegiances with a FF (developer led) government, who soaked up image to the degree that personal make up charges became an acceptable norm to conceal those faces of Greed personified. Is it correct to say that they are no longer talking about allegiances because, our banks are now nationalised (bye to capitalism)? Will this take us back to nepotism and non competitiveness in global markets.

Revenue have consistently targetted those who failed to pay the correct amount in Irish tax for nearly a decade now. It started with Ansbacher, and now the amounts tend to relate to those further down the social scale i.e. those with second homes in Turkey or wherever. I ask where are the Big Boys? If the market has been so volatile and demanded such a massive reaction a.m., where are those with the shrewd brains and the means and power to make things happen? They say Switzerland and places like Lichtenstein have become more malleable to talking with Governments in France and Germany about the hidden accounts? Will this change now?

Let us take stock now of the major assets of this Island of Ireland. The time has come to look to the prospecting deals of the 1970’s and 1980’s and assess whether fair, just and equitable compensation has been made by the Corporates and companies involved.

As we talk about our Carbon Footprint. Let us get real, let us identify with the Print……Yes, go to Change.ie and get frugal but also lets ensure our environment is held sacrosanct. Let’s treat the water, let’s penalise the companies and people who morally and for financial gain foul our water supplies. Let us call in the Environment experts to assess the impact of the Shell Terminal in the Corrib – let us recall industry like Asahi in Killala in Co. Mayo and the damage done for decades going forward and for what. It produced synthetic fibre, chemicals enormously dangerous – it destroyed trees for a 3 mile radius and experts still don’t know the emissions into Killala Bay. It destroyed wildlife. What a price we paid for a factory that was refused entry, in one of the darkest spots of Scotland, of high unemployment at the time – early 70’s. What has changed? Do not forget the history of Killala, the year of the French, General Humbert 1798 (statue now stands in Ballina Town

What has happened to the Chromium off Cork. Investigations and promises abouded and then just when dead. Has anyone examined the horrors involved for people and the environment if this matter is not resolved. The financial costs for this oversight will be considerable. They are at least quantifiable and ought to be prioritised accordingly.

I must ask about the Code of Honour. What happened to people and their code of Behaviour, their values, their spirituality? Maybe these values go hand in hand with the Victorian era but now more than ever is a time, when we need to introduce such a code and even go so far as to re-introduce common manners. Manners and etiquette provide subtle cues that enable social relations to run smoothly.

in this regard, the first professions I look to is the Legal Profession and the Medical Profession. What has teinted their expertise that the greed of money and its attributes to dip their dirty fingers in the honey jar of the vulnerable and then launder this money through equally immoral bankers who send it abroad, knowing what they are doing. They say there are 30 solicitors struck off this year. I say to the government – Find the money, through negotiation with banks abroad, etc. and return it to the rightful people. Such solicitors and their practices have contributed to the virus that has created the position we face today with our banks nationalised. Negotiate and get liquidity back into our market through equity and fairness.

Michelle Clarke

Quotation
Bertrand Russell, Philosopher, Mathematician – Skeptical Essays
‘Into every tidy scheme for arranging the pattern of human life, it is necessary to inject a certain amount of anarchism – enough to prevent immobility to decay, but not enough to bring about disruption.

‘There used to exist a code amongst thieves’ EVEN !!!! Time for Change

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No. 2

23rd January, 2010

Dublin Castle: Woman with Scales of Justice in one hand and Sword in the other…..Equilibrium?  Absolutely Not.

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

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

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

Are we denied Justice? Do we really need a Tribunal regarding the Banks? Is it not suffice to say we became part of the global de-regulation of financial markets and we benefitted handsomely thanks to the outside the box plans in the Haughey era for the Financial Services centre especially the plans to accommodate backroom work for world banks who were attracted to our tax breaks?

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

Michelle Clarke (Spirit Level)

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No. 3

4th February, 2010

Landlords Reduce Rents by 25% urgently to kickstart our economy

Utilitarians and some seasoned advice.

10 years anniversary – well done to all at Cooley Environmental Group

Sean you have made a real effort with your contributions to a citizens journalism site over the years to keep us ‘connected’ if not integrated virtually.

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

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

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

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

The name of the Italian eatery is Carluccis. It has a marvellous clientele and widens the Irish taste buds to what excels in Italy.  The notice on the door is clear. The landlord states that they have informed their staff that business cannot continue because the LANDLORD WILL NOT RE-NEGOTIATE THE RENT DOWNWARDS.

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

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

Michelle Clarke
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No. 4

5th February, 2010

Abuse of Power
The Wrongs of the Catholic Church

Well done Kevin F. Good photography also.

Hope you are feeling well after that dedicated week with no food outside the GPO before Christmas.

Absolute power corrupts and power corrupts absolutely or something to this affect.

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

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

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

Kevin I am coming back to the word you used that has really made me think – you spoke about the sanitisation process. You are right, religious orders have become cameleons and have reappeared in places like All Hallows focus on say a different type of education and also places like Maynooth.

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

One more question. By comparison to child sexual abuse, it may be secondary but does anyone share with me the power of the church to grant an annulment to a 15 year marriage; after the state has granted one a divorce in court and in favour of a husband who left the marriage for an affair with another woman (children as proof of relationship) inspite of the critical ill health of his wife of 15 years.

The Church usurped the woman’s status and the question is was Opus Dei the driver in preference to the new adulterous relationship rather than the commitment the marriage vows are supposed to represent?

Kevin. I have written to Archbishop Martin etc. etc. They choose not to hear. I applaud your persistance.

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

Where did the proceeds of the sale of Irish Catholic Church property end up (Follow the Money)? Is it in Switzeland or Lichtenstein or even the Virgin Islands? Or maybe just maybe, you get a good financial interest rate return for hidden funds at the Vatican bank…….

I wholly endorse this.

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No. 5
10th February, 2010
Has Deal opened roads for Orange parades – RNU?
Parades: Why not look to the Possibilities as distinct from the past problems

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

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

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

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

The Exchange:  Who gave the Musket? When two legends met at a Boyne site? Who are the legends and what is the meaning?

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No. 6

11th February, 2010

Solicitor John Devane suing Gardai in the High Court

Brehon Law to Human Rights


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This case and arrest date back to 1999….surely this is justice delayed being justice denied to all concerned.

 

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No. 7
23rd February, 2010
Waste lands and George Orwell.
How can we effect change and stop the property abandonment and dereliction?

Today’s Irish Times: Elgin Road, Dublin 4, a three storey over basement property adjacent to the American Embassy is featured in all its abandonment and linked in ownership to the brother of a former Taoiseach of Ireland. The link is interesting because of the recent Mossad (or supposed to be) assassination and the link to forged passports.

When does all the bad news stop, when can we start to progress yet again? Last night thankfully there was a programme about the history of the Docklands and the fact that in 1796 it was the largest canal programme by the British in the World. It was reported on by a man named Turtle Bunbury (who was doing a cycle tour of the docks) who has written book on both its history and more importantly on its recent advancement. This gives hope and do we need hope?

It made me think of this site and wonder if there could be a new vision and some inspiration !!!!

We sure need it. We each can make contributions. The Frontline had an interesting panel last night. A man by the name of Collins involved in the internet market spoke of the importance of the young acting on ideation via the web. I agree with him about the potential for Ireland (refer Pat Kenny website The Frontline.ie). The scope is here to develop markets. Our environment has the potential and social networking sites have massive scope in a small island community like Ireland.

Looking at the houses on Elgin Road….it made me think of this site and someone’s comment that how can we have houses of such value e.g. in the good times 8 m euros beside dereliction houses that have remained in situ without investment for periods of decades. Today, we witness the houses and again we must ask the same question. Why can such houses remain abandoned during the boom times and yet others are the homes of the ‘elite’?

Surely this would suggest a wealth tax on property or if not a wealth tax, a utility tax? How much space is not properly utilised because people choose to be wasteful in order to gain wealth via appreciation in property over decades. Why is there so much vacant space around Dublin 2, 4, and 6…).

Motivation is vital to our people and this is a about creating an environment that inspires the ordinary people to be creative.  Surely this was what created the ideation of a Celtic Tiger and the regeneration of areas e.g. Temple Bar and all the inspiration one can find therein.

Be it in Moyross or elitist Dublin 4 properties in this state of decay and dereliction cannot create an environment for inspiration and vision so the answer must be for people to react and start seeking change.

NAMA is real and it will behave like a real mercenary docking the value of properties by 85%, 95% and more. Likewise the Docklands will be held out to slaughter and the DDDA. What we need is a market and some equity? We do not need to crucify those developers who took a chance.

Michelle Clarke

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No. 8

27th February, 2010

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

Is Nama defunct before it ever starts?


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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean for the Island of Ireland?

We seriously need to stop the blame game.

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

We need to think our way out of situations where houses can be left vacant by owner landlords.

Prime Time last night showed our young men who have completed part traineeship in trades related to building out of work. Where is an Taisce, Anco, FAS in the harnessing of these talents in our Georgian Houses vacant in the affluent parts of our city?

It was interesting to see a young man leave his home in an estate somewhere in the country and as he walked down his route, there was a house boarded up. He has a trade. Boarded up houses like this are bad for the social wellbeing of our people. Let us have a meeting of minds to generate potential and alternatives for these young men. They have the skills to refurbish the house which could be used as a place for young people to gather and say learn computer training skills, etc.

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

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

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

 

Michelle Clarke
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No. 9

About michelleclarke2015

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