Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2011 year. Revised 2020. 5 headings 3,000 words Tranche (A)

No. 1
2nd January 2011
Comment on Ron Paul’s economic advisor Peter Schiff speaking at several events in Kilkenny (3rd November 2010)

‘What If?

What happens if the banks collapse? What happens if a country defaults? What happens if you change your currency? What happens if you don’t repay bondholders? What would the IMF actually do here? What if nothing happens? What if nothing changes? In looking down the barrel, ‘What If?’ looks at the precedent of what actually happens when armageddon strikes’ – Let it not be more despair!!!

Where are they maybe’s, the possibilities, the hope? Let our learned Economists make assessments and predictions but let them use a broad spectrum interconnected with mystery and hope ingenuity and scope.

What if the IMF intervene? Why not if this creates a trajectory of people who can restore marketability, credibility, and a sound banking system that can once again compete at a global level. Take an extreme and add to this: What if? A true and proper evaluation and valuation of our natural resources is negotiated by say the IMF and by this I mean a re-assessment of that fatal offer made to Shell and its involvement in the Corrib when Ireland, while on the ‘backfoot’ and recession bound in the 1980′s opted for a dud deal when we could have followed the example of Norway? (The Norwegians secured a deal for their oil that provided income and pension cover for years going forward …. while we played the part of Cinderella who never gets to the Ball at all).

So the IMF is a possibility but what if we have a change of Govt as has happened in the UK. Will this restore a sense of confidence in the Irish people and effect a positive change ….

Right now, in the political arena Ireland is in a very weak position. We have a lame duck government that is trying to promote a 4 year plan and the people are not taking it on board because the scent of a General Election is in the air and this in itself weakens the credibility of not just the Government but the Irish people as a whole in trying to get ourselves into a position to borrow again at the same level as Germany and this will and cannot happen without a new alternative government with a proper mandate and a nation with some sense of confidence. We need to ask why we are assessed for such risk that merits the charge to Ireland at 5% more than Germany pays for the same loans. Is this Eurozone Equality for the PIGS and Ireland?

Today, as he departed from the Dail, after 21 years as a TD and Minister, Jim McDaid, former FF fired another volley of shots into the lame duck government of FF and the Greens and even McDaid had the common sense, maybe even at this late stage, to shout WE NEED A GENERAL ELECTION. Now I am not saying that Kenny and Gilmore would make much of a difference and I put more focus on Gilmore, in a critical sense, a Labour politician who earns along with his profile wife Mrs. Hanney a total annual income of 350,000 plus euros p.a. so I would like someone to define the word in context the words socialist labour to the people of Ireland. Yes, as an Irish Citizen I do believe there is money i.e. billions still concealed in this country and even in Swiss Bank accounts etc. as well as hard core assets, commodities, reserves, artistic works and even devaluated properties with unknown potentialities. We are in at present a grave situation and the forthcoming budget has to in a moral sense start cutting from the top i.e. public servants and from those earning of say 80,000 euros with some focus on the 1% wealth source.

Our markets lack the confidence of the people due possibly to the weak Government in power and this is why our people are not spending. We need to inject money (even utilising the credit union system that has worked so well in the past), 2016 approaches, we still have Film Incentives and tax concessions so let us persevere constructively. For those who live in the City for example, shop local, take the bus rather than the car, even the train and use the taxi services. Keep money flowing in the economy increasing the supply so that people will have the confidence to generate economic growth once again. It has been done before. To the legal friends of Economists I would say refer to the case 1950 AG v. Comyn.

Shell on Trial
‘I and my colleagues here are not the one ones on Trial. She is here on trial…the company has indeed ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come.
Ken Saro Wiwa (1941-95) Nigerian writer and activist, leader of the Ogoni people who were protesting against Shell’s exploration on their land, environmental destruction and human-rights abuses. Saro Wiwa was executed with eight others by the Nigerian Govt.

Michelle Clarke


No. 2

11th January, 2011

‘Mr Drumm (Anglo Irish Bank) claimed Mr FitzPatrick began “interfering” in his management of the bank from late 2007 after problems developed over the secret investment, amounting to 28 per cent of the bank, by businessman Seán Quinn’

He says pressure imposed on him to be Chief Executive from 2004….’

Chairman/Chief Executive or Chief Executive/Chairman. Two roles and two grown up business men who benefited from fine salaries, pensions and benefits. They were supposed to be the risk takers, the bankers who get paid high bonuses for taking risks that ultimately yield major paybacks for the bank and its subsidiaries, for the employees, the investors, the shareholders and ultimately via taxation for the State.

Mr. Drumm may deny what Mr. FitzPatrick claims in the book the FitzPatrick Tapes but the fact is each role has specifities and these men had duties – they were members of the ‘professions’. Corporate governance ought to have been their code of conduct but they stepped outside it because the risks yielded even greater profit potential, more offices on the global map including the tax havens and even countries like Austria. No Mr. Drumm. You exceeded the boundaries of your role and you even had the opportunism to apply for residence in the USA so that ultimately you could apply for their more lenient Bankruptcy laws. Time will tell if you succeed. As the saying goes ‘Let the fools run’ and who knows you may prove to be not so smart after all.

An Taoiseach Brian Cowen. They say there are no details in the diary. What about a little ‘What if’ scenario. What if then Taoiseach Mr. Ahern knew of the problems and asked his Finance Minister to engage on his behalf? This is not an unrealistic request when one considers the power of collective responsibility within the auspices of democratic government.

Yesterday Independent states in 2007 that Anglo profits were 1.24 BILLION euros (no small amount) when you consider the 6 billion due re. Bail out. The bank held assets of 96.7 BILLION. By 2008, Anglo profits were down to 784 m and total assets at 101 bn euros. What a quandary for the Government?

Michelle Clarke

No. 3

Jaunary 21st, 2011


No Responses to “Senior Ministers Resign From Cabinet”

The Exodus, not Tunisian style but Irish Republic style.We thought we had stalworths but instead we have cowards. Having emigrated in the 1980′s recession and returned, I am astounded to read today’s Independent and note the severance pay packages available to people who are just above half way through their working life. Packages for Noel Dempsey at 313,000 (e) euros, to Mary Harney 285,000 (e) euros, 310,000 (e) euros for Dermot Ahern, Michael Martin 95,000 (e) euros, to name but only a few. Add to this the tax breaks they are open to if they decide to write their ‘narratives’.The headline of another article on infowars highlights that ‘Tunisia’s state coffers are missing 1.5 tonnes of gold, according to an industry group, amid reports that the ousted president and his wife had collected the ingots before fleeing the country’. To put the Irish situation in context….our politicians have no need to flee because we the plain people of Ireland seem to endorse their blatant self motivated actions. The 1980′s language was often about redundancy packages from work and yes there was a wide two tier gap about inequality but nothing to what we have endorsed in Ireland of today. Then redundancy amounted to a half weeks pay for every year of service, provided you were working with the company for two years and if you were over the age of 40 it was one years pay. You were allowed to receive an amount of £6,000 and after that you were subject to tax i.e. at your top rate.Based on the above, surely the people ought to be seeking explanations. These politicians are no different to employees of a company who in volatile economic times are made redundant or who choose to leave. If so, then should we not be questioning the amounts paid to them for termination of employment and applying tax rules? If the above equation applied then it would mean that there would be a tax amount payable by each of these members leaving government. Do we really know how their payments have reached such high levels over the period of 30 years?

The universal charge is in this month so for those who have abdicated their positions of power, how much will be their take home pay? This is a good start towards being part of the knowledge economy, encouraged by the EU. Surely, they ought to be the first to merit this deduction and then let statutory redundancy rules apply and let them pay the tax on the balance at their top rate. This may not be possible but at least let people contextualise what privilege is for those in the ‘established classes’.

If the US are reviewing pensions and the idea of double dipping then we too in Ireland ought to be reviewing same and where best to start but especially now with so many ‘relatively young’ politicians who are choosing to step aside. Again pension funds and tax breaks have provided for some adequately while others who may have worked to the statutory retirement age have been the fall guys. Yes, the elderly who have already been out marching in protest.

Crisis….emergency powers….the absence of the IMF-EU group. I find it hard to grasp why the IMF-EU group appear to be vacant. Perhaps it is because the people of Ireland have become so passive resistant.

How much sovereignty have we in fact forfeited?

‘The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution’
Hannah Arendt (1906-75) German-born political philosopher. A refugee from the Nazis, she is best known for her analyses of fascism and totalitarianism.

Michelle Clarke


No. 4

January 24th, 2011

Reply to Infowars Ireland article:  Asia’s richest many eyeing up Irish State assets….the Finance Bill is the focus of attention to the exclusion of other matters.  We await the election date.  Let us use the time to focus on our hopes for our beleaguered nation.

We have moved from the ego centric narcissists to the negative attitudinal blame merchants and what is the cost?  We are sinking in an abyss while the media stir the ‘dirt’. We need hope surely.

The Irish Financial Services Centre provided the vision for the Celtic Tiger and now visionless we have four Cabinet members fighting internally to become leader of FF. For me it is too much like ‘Et tu Brute…’

We need hope but we also need a sense of worth otherwise Ireland Inc could become the ideal location for take-over merchants be they corporates or in the case of this article countries like China. Recently it was reported that former FG Leader Mr. John Bruton now in the IFSC was on a trade mission to the Middle East with a focus on selling our ‘banks’. People behind the scenes are working within the global spectrum that they have experienced and there is nothing like a bargain for people like the Chinese, those from the Middle East and those from Russia, even from Irish tax exiles deciding to return. We the plain people of Ireland must embrace the knowledge economy which EU membership dictated our destiny to be. Education and creativity need to be fostered along side the promotion of an ethical life long learning ethos.

We need to stand tall, realise that we have a small population that are deemed to be educated; demographics that are more about youth than old age, we have an open economy; we are an Island surrounded by seas with wealth potential yet not discovered. Yes, this is not the time of the famine….we have potential; we just need to divest ourselves of corruption. We need to conclude the Tribunals e.g. the Mahon Tribunals and set a code of standards to encourage people to adhere to.

We need a leader with constancy, vision, ability, a team leader. It is interesting to read in the above article about Mr. Cowen and Department of Finance and Department of Enterprise meeting this Cantonese delegation expressing interest in our state sector businesses. We must not forget that Mr. Cowen, albeit shunned presently, did try to ‘keep his head while around him in his party, all seemed to be losing theirs’. Too much blame is bad for our nation.

I have written a considerable amount about inclusion and vulnerable members in society. There is some misapprehension in the body of scientific research that people are subjects to be studied but not listened to.

Michelle Clarke


No. 5

January 26th, 2011
Common sense medicine and the view of the patient/user as distinct from bureaucratic attempts to make life difficult for people who have illnesses and who need health services.

The services provided by pharmacies for people with queries about health prove to be excellent provided you live near a chemist as I do. Now, they have on their premises a private room where they can check your blood pressure, give you a flu jab or answer the little worries that often fly around in your head when you have certain medical diagnosis.  Some people who are part of the public medical service HSE seem to think that the community system of medicine deserves little attention and investment and care can be pawned off with non productive or strategic use of their time to people who are paid small amounts and patients who are deemed difficult because of multimorbidities and no true potential for recovery.

An example: There was a time you could go to your doctor and you would either have your bloods taken by the doctor or referred to phlebotomy in the local community hospital. Okay, this is about two destinations and effort. Baggot Street Community Hospital was my centre of non excellence. First you made an appointment, then they changed the rules and you could wait one morning a week. Then there were more changes and all those in need of bloods have to go to St. Vincents Hospital. Yes, this was about a queue but there was a great advantage in that the service was available 5 days a week 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Yes, you might have to wait up to 2 hours but there was a flow and the fact that three nurses took blood it was efficient.

As of December this has changed: It is back to making appointments. This is a nonsense. There are times when the hospital is on alert for viruses, flus etc. and you just have to put off getting bloods for a period of time. The people who get bloods include people with mental health problems and it is important for lithium levels to be maintained otherwise you can have admissions to A&E, and this applies to others who have different illnesses that require bloods.

Back to Vincents Hospital: Each time I have gone for bloods I have written in my diary the following:

‘Missed appointments are a staggering cost : 3,940,314.80 euros for the year 2008

i.e. 26,878 failed to cancel appointments

and yet they propose an appointment system for people needing bloods on a regular basis.

What is systemic about the health system. You need nearly a 35 hour week to be ‘sick’ in this country i.e. if your are a public patient.

And again as a person with disabilities the cut backs in tax and the universal tax discriminate.

Add to this people who each month of the year get prescriptions of a variety of medicines and the charges involved – yes 10 euro.

But can someone explain about why a prescription for Vitamin B12 injection is also subject to a charge for a patient with medical card? This is further discrimination or is it marketing because there are rumours that Vitamin B12 has resulted in positive findings re. dementia.

Michelle Clarke




About michelleclarke2015

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