“Deaths of Despair and the End of Capitalism” but what was not envisaged was a Pandemic coronavirus known as COVID-19. Since March 17th 2020 we are a world frozen in time but now it is the present and future. How do we go forward? Panorama BBC 1 Cancer Crisis; 35,000 estimated to die.

What can we do to cope?  We can start each day and end each day with a Gratitude List, as suggested by Ariana Huffington, Huffington Post.  It is grounding and never more than now, we need to engage with  life in a positive way realising that COVID-19 has no cure, and it will take probably a year or more to have a vaccine or sera.

A wise old Judge (Michael Comyn KC) once said and this was back in the 1950’s when there was no internet available to most people “Knowledge is no Load”.  What we need to achieve now is to ensure that the digital divide is eradicated and people are encouraged into lifelong learning as the opportunities are available.  If you have no computer at home; there always is the library.  The idea of a Universal Basic Income becomes essential as artificial intelligence, robots, technology, eHealth and so much more, are the future and there may be a reduction in work as we know it.  What is important is creativity and this can be fostered by people who may work but in a different way to others; they are imbibed with a gift or a talent and this is often rooted in the will to improve the lives of others through being creative in thinking and engaged with society through the internet and social media

This week Ireland finally has managed to achieve a new Government after months of negotiations between varying parties.  Fine Gael (Leo Varadkar); Finana Fail (Micheal Martin); the Greens (Eamon Ryan) are in power now.  The Cabinet selection resulted in disappointments for certain truly committed politicians and below is a copy of an email sent to some of them, politicians who I would regard as able and now become the untapped resources of intelligencce and political endeavour with a power to finally dispel corruption which has hindered Ireland which remains a young State, now in its centenary year.

Subject: The Doctor Is In: Scott Atlas and the Efficacy of Lockdowns, Social Distancing, and Closings – YouTube. Halt LockDowns in line with common sense argument.
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2020 17:07:31 +0100
From: Michelle Clarke <michelleclarke@upcmail.ie>
To: John McGuinness <john.mcguinness@oireachtas.ie>, Eamon Ó Cuiv <eamon.ocuiv@oireachtas.ie>, Jim OCallaghan <jim.ocallaghan@oireachtas.ie>, Thomas Byrne <thomas.byrne@oireachtas.ie>

To those who should have been chosen for Cabinet positions.

Highly recommend this:  Too much negativity surrounds the world and Ireland, being a small open economy is particularly vulnerable to recession.  A little vision as Whitaker and Lemass had at another time after the near 30 years of recession/depression in Ireland when we exported our people in droves (no longer an option).

It will take about 45 minutes to listen to Dr Scott Atlas, Hoover Institution being interviewed by Peter Robinson above but what he says is profound and is about common sense with the reasoning of true cost benefit analysis.

I can’t stress the importance of listening to this interview from the Hoover Institution.  Deaths of Despair* (Sir Angus Deaton, Anne Case) needs to be considered.  Unemployment and I know about this from an earlier life, because it set me on a path of multimorbidities, have profound costs that empirical data will corroborate.  Dr Scott Atlas, you may have heard of him or you may not but if not, what he says makes common sense and especially now as we exit LockDown we must be able to take a view of the glass half full otherwise we will ensure a recession/depression most likely worse than the 1930’s.  Just one example: because retention is not a strong point for my brain … 35% and above of children taken to A&E in America (with severe injuries) are noticed and referred to A&E, in the school system.  Unemployment happens at the lower end of the salary scale and therefore to have no school puts children in serious jeopardy and this is a cost in its own right as distinct from having COVID-19.

*  “Deaths of Despair”:  This is a short interview talking about suicide, addiction, unemployment and how people reach that level of being disconnected from society.  COVID-19 has not even considered this crisis in the making but the time has come to value the lives of people who suffer from Despair.  There will be many casualties over time.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXf-xcR8bdA

Recommend this link too:  COVID-19 and Lesson from Pandemics (Professor Niall Ferguson) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmmOiG8Odm8

Panorama BBC  1:  No screening for cancer because of COVID-19 priority; so many dying or having worse experiences with cancer as a result of hospitals being closed off and the cancellation of screening, or worse chemotherapy, drugs trials, radiology, being interrupted, is worth watching.  The figure could be as high as 35,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19 priority.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8493967/BBC-podcaster-Deborah-James-reveals-friend-31-died-cancer-soon-COVID.html

Private treatment under Professor John Crown, Oncology, St Vincent’s Private hospital. My mother paid throughout her life for my VHI cover.  Imagine if it had been through this COVID-19 ominous Pandemic period.  Professor Angus Deaton and Anne Case – Deaths of Despair and the End of Capitalism is recommended.  Poverty, unemployment, illness, violence in the home, hardship are bad cards to be dealt in life.  My treatment went smoothly and I wrote a book logging my experiences which may be interested to those looking at how COVID-19 had impeded their treatment.  Timing is so important.  Too many are not being screened now and nobody is talking about it.  Thank you Panorama because as always you aim to shock people with truth and facts, into a reality they wish to avoid.

My book:

Fortune Favours the Brave by Michelle Marcella Clarke

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fortune-Favours-Michelle-Marcella-Clarke/dp/1912639610

 

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Nostalgia: Posted Irishhealth.com 13th May 2003. 29th July 2020. End LockDown COVID-19. What do we learn from life?

From: <editor@irishhealth.com>

To: <michelle33@eircom.net>

Subject: Message posted

Date: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 11:10 AM

Michelle,

Thank you for your comment, which has now been reviewed by the Editor and has been posted on the relevant site discussion area.

— Original Message —

Reply to question on irishhealth.com page regarding Bullying  which does not just apply among children, in fact it is very much part of the human condition.

 

This I believe to be true.  I have known of people in the health service who have been bullied.  Also some of these have been in the medical professions.

People who bully ironically are the ones with low self-esteem.  They project onto others those characteristics they share, but don’t like in themselves.  Alas they seek the vulnerable targets.  What is more interesting is that they may not even be aware that they are bullies, the reaction may be from their subconscious. 

Ask some person like Tony Humphry’s to lecture people for an hour and make them aware as why they engage in bullying.

As a young secretary, I was facing the problem. It was a set up situation to establish the power element of I am ‘the boss’ and you are ‘the secretary’.  This is nearly 20 years ago now.

I was saved by a wise Chartered Accountant in his 60’s who told me ‘Young lady’, if you don’t make a stand now, this will continue’.  I took his advice and it worked very well in that company and I was most sad to leave.

I became re-acquainted with Bullying and others seeking to be in control when I became humbled through ill-health.  The only difference this time is that I had neither the health or ENERGY TO engage……and the only coping mechanism was to be a passive recipient.

As I recover, I know that bullying exists.  My way of dealing with it was and continues to be reading about it.  A small book that I found excellent is John Powell’s (Jesuit Priest) ‘Why am I afraid to tell you who I am……written 1950’s but sets down parameters…….

Now I will give an example (in extreme).  When I lived in Zimbabwe, I either heard or read about this.  The New Government in the 1980’s was left with the remnants of the British civil service.  Naturally, there was a change over in staff and of course the new staff had an acquired status position in line with their promotion and based on what they identified from the past administration.

However, the system did not quite work the same way.  Sometimes to get say one’s tax sorted out – you had to employ a few relatives from the rural areas to get tax due back.  Power / control – we are talking about being human and susceptible.

I read/heard of one case of a white woman probably for the first time having to deal with the new system attending a civil service office.  She like the rest had to queue.  The black Zimbabweans had spent their lives queueing.  However, this woman each time she reached the desk – the African woman dismissed her and kept telling her to go to the back…..

Eventually – the answer came.  You are white, you have done this to us all our lives.  Now you see what it is like.

This I would call redressing the power balance and is understandable.  However, the key point is that people learn.  The learning is key.

Bullying is more a characteristic and it is acknowledged that if you confront bullies – they retreat.  The characteristic is born out of their own insecurity.

What is important is that this characteristic can change IF PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO INVEST THE TIME IN SELF DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH.

To confront:  May be as simple as say to them – That is your projection.  This disempowers the bully.

A Gandhi quote:

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,

deserve your love and affection.

Michelle quotes Nietzche

‘He who has the reason why can deal with any how’

You can view the article, along with all comments, by clicking the following link:

http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=3729

Diagnosed with breast cancer (BreastScreening) 2017 so I wrote book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fortune-Favours-Michelle-Marcella-Clarke/dp/1912639610

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Quotes: old file dated September 05

Morris West – The Shoes of the Fisherman

‘It costs so much to be a full human being and there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage, to pay the price… 

One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. 

One has to embrace the world like a lover. 

One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. 

One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. 

One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.

  

RAINER Rilke:

 

‘Love is… a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world to himself for another’s sake.  It is a great, an exorbitant demand upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.  Love consists in this, that two solitude’s protect and touch and greet each other’

 ‘Those who are willing to love, will eventually find love”  “Love will demand much courage, perseverance and self-discipline.

 

  Michelle Clarke – Reviewed:  September 05

2017 diagnosed with breast cancer.  Thanks to BreastCheck screening I am a survivor July 2020:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fortune-Favours-Michelle-Marcella-Clarke/dp/1912639610

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Another victim of the coronavirus pandemic: Cancer research – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Like so many other things in 2020, the pandemic is screwing up cancer research. Clinical trials—indispensable to discovering new treatments—have been shut down, postponed, and disrupted by the lack of periodic, in-person, check-ins.

Source: Another victim of the coronavirus pandemic: Cancer research – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Panorama BBC 1 last night: Tragedies of COVID-19.  Women going through chemotherapy, radiation, drug trials – all stopped.  Screening stopped.  As cancer survivor, breast screening, created the treatment as above that has made that survivor, is stopped causing many deaths.  The models of projections are done for COVID-19 but not for people with cancer.  This is part of the Deaths of Destruction.

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53300784

Private treatment under Professor John Crown, Oncology, St Vincent’s Private hospital. My mother paid throughout her life for my VHI cover.  Imagine if it has been through this COVID-19 ominous Pandemic period.  Professor Angus Deaton and Anne Case – Deaths of Despair and the End of Capitalism is recommended.  Poverty, unemployment, illness, violence in the home, hardship are bad cards to be dealt in life.  My treatment went smoothly and I wrote a book logging my experiences which may be interested to those looking at how COVID-19 had impeded their treatment.  Timing is so important.  Too many are not being screened now and nobody is talking about it.  Thank you Panorama because as always you aim to shock people with truth and facts, into a reality they wish to avoid.

My book:

Fortune Favours the Brave by Michelle Marcella Clarke

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fortune-Favours-Michelle-Marcella-Clarke/dp/1912639610

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Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2013 year. Revised 2020. 10 headings 1,000 words Tranche (B)

No. 1

25th February 2013

‘Mortgage Delinquents’ by Michelle Clarke (Chestnut)

Mathew Elderfield makes reference in a recent article to ‘Mortgage Delinquents’. Is this too harsh or is there a sense of realism here and if so, why? If people in debt from the heady days of the Celtic Tiger have fallen into unemployment, they are most likely to form the category of 90 days in arrears and possibly face eviction from their homes. There are targets to be set which will no doubt revolve around potential to get employment and the ability to reactivate the loan (where it has been converted to interesting being capitalised) and go forward with a new deal restructured by the bank. The problem for the people seriously in arrears is that the period of 5 years has advanced them further and further into debt . It is suggested for every one mortgage in arrears, there are as many as 4 other loans attached. How will the Personal Insolvency Act cater for these people? Will they offer to pay say the credit car loan/the car loan or credit union loan based on the fact that the mortgage repayment could work without the other outstanding loans. This means the more powerful banks could negotiate a write down with say a car loan debt which we know is subject to very high interest and is most likely paid off within say 4 months of a 2 year loan? We need forensic accountants but then perhaps this is what the Personal Insolvency Act is about.

Drogheda, Balbriggan and so many more towns are bereft. The motorways we sought are now in place and people gladly pay the tolls but the outer suburbs and rural locations are now the potential rural abandonments of the future. Every second shop appears to be closed and if this is the case on the east coast of Ireland what must it be like in the midlands or for that matter the west of Ireland? Allsop are having a firesale on the 1st March 2013, and it will be interesting to see if the bottom level of the house price decline is yet reached. Recently, there was a 3 bed semi-detached house Granard advertised in the newspapers for £30,000 with a rent roll of £4,700. This throws up in the face of people living in Dublin where the same house is £250,000 or more, the injustice of the property tax based on value. Could there be a motive here for people to sell their Dublin property even in negative equity from say £400,000 and move to the rural areas and live with less debt and the banks rewarding them with some form of debt forgiveness deal?

Debt forgiveness is prickly to say the least. Take that Celtic Tiger span of 5 years where people are now caught in the negative equity trap. For those who are, there are many more who are not. There are people who bought their homes in other decades who have paid interest rates in excess of 10%, there are others who bought out their homes without any debt and for them there is an injustice in the potential of the banks to write-down the debt, it removes what the power of the marketplace is all about. There are people who have faced negative equity by being actively participative. They have recognised they cannot manage their debts, they have emigrated for work, no doubt let out their property, with the intention to return when the employment improves, or if ever. What they are doing is acknowledging that unemployment, negative equity created the motivation to move and pay off their debts based on the contract they made when they decided to enter the housing market.

Elderfield may be right about ‘Mortage Delinquents’. Mathew Elderfield worked for a UK bank in Bermuda or one of the tax haven Islands. These banks are in the market to make money and protect the deposits of those who save, to pay them interest that rewards them for saving, and lending out money that will be repaid. The capitalist would no doubt say: You enter into the property market at your peril. You should be aware that like all investments there is an upside and a downside. Sometimes you buy in and the property value rises speedily and at other times it declines to negative equity. However the term of a loan is 20 years to 25 years and the hint is therein. Property values are fluid. In 1983, a three-bed semi-detached in Castleknock was £34,000; within 2 years it had increased to £38,000 but then for nearly a decade it hovered around £34,000 (yes, there was negative equity in Ireland before). Now the same house would be valued at £250,000. Banks employ forensic accountants, they employ actuaries. We are 5 years into down values on properties, be watchful of the deals that banks will engage in.

Why? Imagine: Lender with sub-prime book of debt re mortgages who sells it to private equity company at discount e.g like Clery’s to Gordon Brothers or for that matter the Burlington hotel to Blackstone private equity companies. If this can happen, then the private equity firm that buys has done the maths. If they give a write-down, then they are assessing the future value of houses over a longer period of time.

Mr. Elderfield is warning the mortgage delinquents who have possibly sat back waiting for write-downs, you should have done more to honour your commitments and if he could not secure a job in Ireland surely then you could travel abroad and work….contracts are legal and binding so maybe concessions will only apply in genuine cases. But if the private equity companies are hovering over mortgage books and buying up houses at discounted rates then the equation of assessing house values over time, might be the more beneficial assessment to value properties. It is worth noting that most people paid deposits of 20-25% on the properties which are now in negative equity. If a private equity firm seeks to take possession of the home, they secure the deposit!

Michelle Clarke (Chestnut)

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Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2013 year. Revised 2020. 10 headings 7,000 words Tranche (A)

No. 1

3rd January, 2013

Toxicity & Eye of the little Green Monster.

  by Chestnut (Michelle Clarke) – Citizen JournalismReply to Joe Mac


This makes the Citizen Jouranlism position and lack of profile so clear. There quite evidently has been considerable dissent and your comments about P G’s view of a certain citizen journalism site and yet her continued interference suggests to me that we need the collective to develop policy, to put to bed that little Green Monster called jealousy and get the citizen journalism site back in shape.

Bullying is the topic of social media these days. It concerns children in schools and ministers in Government. The citizen journalism site referred to cannot plead innocence on this. People given control over what get’s published inherently have a power over others and what is essential is an awareness from within the collective to stamp out unfair practice. Many talented writers left the site because their postings were judged not on merit but with hostility and bullying commentary in the Hidden List.

Jesse Jackson once said ‘Never look down on anyone, unless you are helping them up’. It is 2013, a new day dawns and this citizen journalism site dating back to 2003 ‘the beast’ has the makings of a Rolls Royce engine in citizen journalism if only the organisers, the writers, the contributors can work together.

Ireland is deep in recession. Media is on the floor be it RTE or TV3 fighting the competition from the US to the UK from Bloomberg to Time magazine.

What can we do to preserve this open channel. This month the Oireachtas are to put in place a special committee to oversee social media. This will no doubt jeopardise freedom of expression and the right to free speech which are core to democracy and the Rule of Law and we need the diversity that the citizen journalism site (not named) provides to add to the flow of information in our society.

The contributors, the writers after all, are giving time and not asking for money but then this creates its own jealousy from ‘paid’ journalists who feel that their ability to earn money is being undermined.

Jonathan Swift could not write in his own name as Dean of St Patrick and Provost in Trinity College in the 1600’s. However he knew enough to know that his ability to write and the poverty and injustice that surrounded him gave him the moral and ethical impetus to write using pseudonyms.

Again it is 2013 and there is a job to be done.

Is there a way forward? Blogs are fine but interaction and diversity is limited. The personal discipline often falters and you find peoples annual blogs incomplete stopping in say April of the 2012 year. The citizen journalism site referred to in this article – if you go to search Tara Corruption CAB Peace and the North of Ireland Syria Iraq Shannon Corrib and the embers are always there to light up the fire again because human rights, civil rights morals are core components of what non paid citizen journalism is all about.

An old Chestnut

====================

No. 2

15th January, 2013

Trade Unions and the loss of Integrity Ethics Transparency

category Tuesday January 15, 2013 15:55author by  Michelle Clarke (Comyn – Social Justice)

Underclass

Dublin 1913 to Dublin 2013

What have we learned? What changes can be made?

Dublin 1913: It was before World War I, Ireland had negotiated a form of Home Rule/self government but there was inequality with extremes in wealth and poverty, nationalism and British Rule created the environment for dissent and rebellion. James Larkin “Big Jim” represented the low skilled workers and William Martin Murphy, a Catholic businessman represented the newly forming middle class. William Martin Murphy owned the Irish Independent newspaper, and the Dublin United Tramway Company and was making inroads against the power of the former elites.

The power of the Unions and Croke Park I and 2 is an urgent matter for discussion by the plain people of Ireland. There is a discrepancy in the integrity, transparency and ethics we expect from our trade unions.

Health is a good place to start.

Can someone please explain how Ireland can pay their consultants 12 times higher than their equivalents in Hungary and double that of their counterparts in Germany or the UK?

How many more people in other trade unions share the characteristics and self interest that are now evidenced in the IMO deal with their former ‘trade union official’ (as he described himself in 1997). Mr. George McNeice was the public face of the union through his tenure at the IMO. This man worked for the Department of Health as a civil servant for a brief time before joining the IMO based in Fitzwilliam Place Dublin 2. Each year we know he was lauded by the doctors and consultants attending the IMO’s annual conference usually held in the Europe hotel in Killarney.

This supposedly unassuming low profile man, trade union official, was one smooth operator when it came down to negotiating his financial package as Chief Executive of the IMO. The facts as revealed in the Irish Mail on Sunday state that the former IMO President, Dr Cormac Macnamara RIP, headed up the committee which approved George McNeices’s over generous contract in 1993. George McNeice, CE, IMO, aged 51, recently claimed that he was entitled to a ‘package’ of £24 million. This package is said to have provided him with an annual bonus of up to 30% of his salary. This bonus was compounded each year. The cruel irony here is the claim of not knowing the details by the Remuneration Committee. Could this be so? In 2013 could it be possible that someone in the IMO could sanction such a spectacular financial package and yet nobody knew about it. No must be the answer because there are too many vested interests in the medical profession and their bureaucracy and hence the pyramid scheme scenario that sees Ireland’s medical profession grossly overpaid for inadequate service.

Mr McNeice, his package, has been negotiated down to £9.7 million. But even this deal is shameful. This is a different financial scandal to those of the developers and bankers but it is linked to abuse of power, a form of narcissim and self interest and is equal to the financial scandals that must be dealt with. The HSE is a monolith of bureaucracy, an entity created by a few, which was no doubt better run under the auspices of the Department of Health.

Surely, others are aware and in turn are in receipt of substantial packages. Do we know? Do we care? Apparently doctors have resigned from the IMO and are seeking an inquiry into the governance of the IMO. This is a warning surely to the Unions to examine their practices.

Moving away from medical unions. What about the people who worked for years for say Clerys. What do the unions really do to protect these people? They tend to change their contracts at will from permanent to part-time and then say no jobs exist and bye bye.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

——————————————–

Trade Unions and greed

 by O’Malley – ObserverWed Jan 16, 2013 13:17

 

I agree to a point with the above posting. Our trade unions especially SIPTU have created themselves into a cosy corporate organisation. O’Connor has a salary of £140 plus expenses, package and no doubt a good pension annually. Beggs is similar and Frank Connolly has become almost invisible in SIPTU.

Back to McNeices pay-out (£20 million+ negotiated down to £9.7 million). Of course this is another scandal – the sad thing is – the total silence from all quarters on this. Reilly, Minister for Ill-health was a committee member in the 1990’s and one of the elite who sanctioned this payout. Where is the transparency – the ethics – the morals?

O’Malley (the alley cat)

——————————————-

Trade Unions & self-seeking pay packages and pensions

 by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – ObserverFri Jan 18, 2013 15:31

O’Malley

Glad you agree but where is the reaction of the people to this scandalous data released Christmas week by the IMO which represents 5,000 unionised doctors. All claim to know nothing but this cannot be so. As always the doctors seem to be reacting once the horse! has bolted and on this occasion the horse age 51 named McNeice had to have his pay package negotiated down from £24 million to £9.7. This man, I believe is neither a doctor, a banker or for that matter a shamed developer, just a man who subtly negotiated his own financial deal, in a silenced way, as he moved from a civil service position to Chief Executive of the IMO – the Union for the medical profession.

Media proves exceptionally quiet about this travesty. Vincent Browne discussed the unions on Monday night in his TV3 programme, and nobody deemed it necessary to mention this scandal in the making. Thankfully today’s Independent is taking a position and is worth reading. There sure are questions that Minister Reilly needs to answer like was he on the remuneration committee which approved the pay and pension deal for the IMO Chief Executives George McNeice (this ponzi plague that needs to be investigated to know just how much our Union officials are paid and the bias it thereby creates). Dr Reilly after all was President of the IMO in 2004-2005 hopefully making him and others privy to all financial information. The Independent heading reveals that the doctors have been ‘aroused to anger’ and aim to ‘oust the union head and probe finances’. An extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) has been called. They seek to remove the interim Chief Executive Niall Saul. The plan is an investigation dating back 12 years into the financial and management of the IMO. Let us take the initiative now as suggested by O’Malley and question exactly what is the unions are at in this country?

Who received what packages in the IMO is the question? Quite a few appear to have their hands in the pie. According to the Independent:-

George McNeice: who negotiated his deal down from £20 million+ to £10 million pension with £1.5 m lump sum. (Imagine the return each year on this amount of capital and pension!)
Paul McKeown IMO President: a meagre £105,000 for a part-time role. (Imagine this after tax amount, and what the balance creates as income or wealth generative)
Niall Saul, IMO Interim Chief Executive: who receives a £60,000 retainer + top up
Joe Barry, Chairman of the IMO now dissolved remuneration committee who receives £105,000 for a part time role.

What is going on?

Cronyism and the semi-state has received a lot of attention on a citizen journalism site but there is little outcome as we witness the gravy train of what could possibly be described as insider dealing and overall corrupt and fraudulent pratices. Is one position core to a union like the IMO and others not sufficient? Why do some people like Mr Saul, Mr McNeice gain income from other sources related to their position on the IMO – are there no volunteers left in this country which faces nearly 500,000 people unemployed).

They say 4 in 5 in the public service are in unions while only 1 in 5 in the private sector are in trade unions. This alone speaks dividends as we see the underclass formation before are very eyes.

We need to be alert. Years ago people read the newspapers, they visited their local, they had the chat and were informed. The time is here to be informed again.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

===================

No. 3

January 24th, 2013

Olivia O’Leary Drive time

 by Chestnut (Michelle Clarke) – Urban abandonments & dereliction

At last some real common sense is spoken on the airwaves. We can only agree with Olivia’s words to those who make decisions in Leinster House and urge them to drop the spin doctors and take a walk outside to meet the people, to listen to their stories, to see the shops that have been closed. Olivia O’Leary graphically described the walk out down Molesworth Street (past that Namatised Buswells hotel), into Dawson Street and to what once was the Bond Street of Dublin, Grafton Street, now in tatters with closures of businesses and the air of fear of more to close and no hope. This is the year of the Gathering and yet Dublin, our Capital city, is not meeting market expectations of the people who will visit this Island. Why? Short-sightedness and the crazy upward only reviews that finally forced Korky’s to withdraw from their 900 sq ft business in Grafton Street.

Donal O’Donovan comments in today’s Independent about ‘Upward Only’ leases. This clarifies the up-to-date status and enables people to understand and seek redress. Before the election, it was both sides of the coalition who spoke out against these leases and promised a ban on same. The election promises were to scrap such ‘upward only’ clauses in leases but the all-out ban was scrapped on the advise of the Attorney General who said such a move would be unconstitutional. So what can people do about this now!

The question we now ask is what about a sense of morality amongst landlords? There is the human factor and the ability to concede and compromise for the public good. Apparently, already the State does cut rents for some of its tenants. The businesses that have sought cheaper rents from NAMA have negotiated cuts. This exemplary behaviour should inspire all landlords where possible to re negotiate more favourable rents. What is disappointing is that Minister Coveney’s department are still using ‘upward only’ leases – and it is reported that in those election days the same Mr Coveney was an ‘outspoken critic of upward only rents’. According to the O’Donovan article: “All leases issued in respect of properties in the six Fishery Harbour Centres…contain what are refererred to as ‘upward only’ rent review clauses” (a statement by the Agriculture and Fisheries government department).

Too many businesses are being driven out of the marketplace these days. It takes only a short period of time for dereliction, wastage, loss of soul to enter communities and Ireland is an Island of communities where each needs to maintain a status quo that inspires people to create markets, to persevere and generate employment that drives the economic growth. Too often short-sightedness leads a struggling company to falter where an additional period in business would be to its benefit. Rents are crippling. Communities need to interact and discuss how penal some landlords are in their drive for earnings and as in the case of Korky’s, the landlord is the like of Canada Life who probably have held their assets for decades and achieved both asset growth and income growth. They should be willing to show a sense of moral justice in the absence of an amendment to leases which is deemed unconstitutional by our Attorney General.

Michelle Clarke (Chestnut)

PS:  Why are NAMA not using twitter to market their properties?  Twitter is effective and global

====================
No. 4
5th February, 2013
Concerned to know if the Grants have been paid to students

by Michelle Clarke (Observer) – Former mature student with disabilities at Trinity College Dublin


Prompted by Mr David Norris speaking in the Senate about certain school children whose parents could not pay the fees for bus rides to school who were earmarked and left standing on the road. Shame on us.

This is bias. This is damaging. This is bullying.

Negotiate the debt down is what I say to Government. Ireland is an Island – stop the nonsense that the powers that be don’t want to make a precedent. Iceland is now considering saying no to the EU. We can learn from this. Our waters are about potential reserves which could be real wealth to Ireland like happened in Norway.

Students need to be heard. You are the now but also the future. Do you want debt in your name before you earn a day’s pay!

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No. 5

5th February, 2013

International School, Pembroke Crescent, Dublin 4
 by Michelle Clarke Chestnut) – Urban abandonments & dereliction

 

This used to be Miss Meredith’s school going back decades. Then a young woman with drive, vision and a love of children opened the International school and it seemed to attract young students in neat uniforms from different countries including Ireland. It gave heart to the Upper Baggot Street village, a heart and soul that once existed or so the lore goes but sadly it is now bereft and struggling.

One day we met the owner of the International School and she said they were closing down, no reasons stated but that they had re-located to Blackrock. Failing to question further, we assumed the preference for location was Blackrock but then if one thought a little deeper, it would be apparent that it was the landlord/owner getting greedy and looking for excessive rent….the same story that wrecks our towns, our villages and the communities in our cities. This upward only rent is destroying potential prosperity in markets that are already in existence ie International School gave heart to Baggot Street, provided business and gave people choice in the environs of D4, the embassy belt.

We stopped to admire this lovely puppy in the grounds of the former international school today. The person told us the story and how the parents and school had tried to negotiate with the landlord …. Greed, no vision won and the International School, the teachers, the students, the parents left and settled with the location of Blackrock. This building is now sold. Let us hope, someone else will run it as a school and Baggot Street can move forward again as a community.

Dereliction is a reality. 57,000 holiday homes lie vacant and so many more houses. Ineffectual communication stops solutions. We have the technology, let us communicate and create potential.

The Germans, quite contrary to what one would expect, have similar problems to our country with people leaving towns and villages. Unlike us they are adapting in a sensible way. They have re-introduced barter. The word TIME is the currency instead of MONEY. To make our communities work, is there anyone willing to say take the time of a person on dole/disability/short of money and make it something positive through exchange. NALA has a great scheme teaching people how to read, so this model has the potential to create a subset. Baggot Street Hospital needs a public private partnership to drive it forward as the proper Centre of Excellence Primary Health Care centre – some “time” from IBM, TESCO, BOOTS, GOOGLE, STARBUCKS would create the business plan, the expertise, the dedication to community. These companies excel in the Global Stock Market, so it is time for them to add a value chain and help out locally.

Michelle Clarke (Chestnut)

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No. 6
February 6th, 2013
You don’t have to be rich to care for people and to own our country

 by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Urban Abandonments and dereliction

Upward only rents now have the answer. Prime buildings in strategic locations are being sold at knock-down prices, ousting Irish ownership in many cases to that of the newly created Creditor country named Germany, the Germany that merged with their World War II cessation of East Germany to create the entity, Germany, yes so flush with funds. Meanwhile, we one of the debtor countries are the victim of what could be termed an economic war of the 21st century. It would suggest that some of our landlords failed to be moral (and rested on Attorney General decision) and left rents so high that people were forced out of the premises.

Now these are the properties that are for sale at huge discount and the purchasers are those private equity groups, the Germans and no doubt there will be Russians, Chinese and people from India too. We are not complaining about the diversity but we are asking landlords to reconsider their rents and be fair and help businesses to survive this crisis and create employment, fair employment, for the people of Ireland. John Lewis is an interesting company with a policy of Corporate Social Responsibility and a motto ‘Never knowingly undersold’ are supposed to be considering purchasing a shop in Dublin and these, like Boots and M&S, we would welcome. Maybe they would consider a public private partnership with Baggot Street Community Hospital, if only it was for sale.

We don’t have to be rich, in fact we know the morals of those who were the Celtic Tiger rich and we can now with the benefit of hindsight create the new model of Ireland Inc with the views of the plain people of Ireland contributing to Ireland’s rebirth, and in particular now that we approach 2016 the anniversary of the Rising that led to Independence of the 26 counties and then in 1998 to the Good Friday Agreement. We are on a bridge and we are possibly mid-way, we can retreat, or we can create and move forward again, as we have done so many times over the centuries.

Grafton Street has become so shoddy recently. Shops are closed down and others are struggling to stay open. Grafton Street is Dublin’s equivalent to Bond Street – not anymore. It is worth listening to Olivia O’Leary’s podcast of the drivetime programme a week ago. Grafton Street has become our cinderella. The Times today informs us that 2 of the architecturally splendid Grafton Street shops have sold for 65% below the 2007 price. It is a German fund manager called GLL Real Estate who has bought these jewels for a fraction of what they are worth. The fund is to pay £40 million for River Island and the adjoining Wallis outlet (just beside Weirs). David Daly bought this for £115 million in 2007.

Quote: Jack Fagan
Irish Times
‘The latest off market sale means the German fund is now one of the largest property owners on the city’s premier shopping street’.
It bought the AIB branch for near £28 million (sale and lease-back deal) with a return of 6%. It is estimated that the River Island/Wallis deal will yield 6.85%. What a pity all our entrepreneurs are being priced out of our own country.

Anonymous: Enforcement and fines of £5,000 will dictate hardship for 9,000 people (and more than likely many more) living in potential tenements in areas like Rathmines, Ranelagh, Mountjoy Square, when this new law comes into effect this week. We need provision of proper accommodation and we need a plan to maintain our Georgian and Victorian housing but in a way and without the red tape that provides homes for people and especially for our vulnerable people.

The time is now for people to share and care. We must say no to Germany’s economic invasion and most definitely no to this promissory note of £3.1 billion. Germany has lots of bank assets and the EU has it is said as much as £33.9 trillion while America has £8 trillion. The time is now for the EU to be generous with its funds and to treat Ireland in an equitable way.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

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No. 7
7th February, 2013
The level of disabilities where people merit disregard and cuts
 by Comyn – Excellent Cartoon: Silent epidemics excluded

Minister Reilly is portrayed in this cartoon in such a way that prompts to mind the potential of him going forward falling into a number of the categories highlighted for people who have the visible disabilities. Obesity is supposed to be the curse and plight of the Western world with its links to diabetes, to heart disease and other other costly health conditions. Luckily for Minister Reilly being a doctor that his private health care should cover him, add to this his investments, his Dail salary, expenses and pensions (include the lucrative IMO negotiated pensions for doctors in public practice) and then his property investments.

What the cartoon forgets is those of us with the bottom of the tier disabilities – the silenced conditions where people can appear normal to look at but the wiring to the brain is off kilter. I am talking about people with brain injury, victims of stroke, people with mental illhess and worst of all those with alzheimers and pre frontal lobe brain damage. Vision of Change (Mental Health Plan) is a decade being promoted, only to be basically binned….The promises from Minister Kathleen Lynch are hollow and the reality is those people with no voice will be labelled, stigmatised and worse again called Moochers as happens in the USA.

They say nothing about suicide and provision. Again this is hollow. We have scattered organisations set up with the HSE having used the opportunity to divest responsibility into some 630 support groups all vying for potential clientele. I sound harsh. Try searching Indymedia on Mental Health, Suicide, Health, Public Private health provision, Alcoholism. Don’t be fooled about the requests of the silenced that have gone unheard for a decade.

Minister Reilly – Shame on you, whose parents were doctors and you too are in medicine. Portrane was your local asylum, how grossly unfair you are to people who are vulnerable to mental Health.

Horizon research in the 1990’s was funded by Europe, Trinity College Dublin, Centre for Women Studies, St Patrick’s Hospital and FAS. The project was a success but FAS said it was too expensive to roll out in early 2000. Shame on them. Look at the homeless, talk to them and you will find a lot have been released into the community with no provision for their needs. The latest scandal will be these people in bedsits facing eviction.

Again consider our prisons and people who in another decade might have been in mental hospitals. It is an ageing population and if we note what is happening with the Germans – yes the old people are siphoned out of the country to care homes in mainly lower tier countries where care is cheap, We surely need to be thinking and acting sensibly now.

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No. 8

February 12th, 2013

 

Integrity to Integration (Response to Architect: Contribution to Monopoly NAMA (that is not yet on twitter)
  by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Urban abandonments

David.
Architect: no doubt feeling the pain of the recession when there are virtually no houses being built, renovated, plans required and otherwise. This may be a presumption on my part but inherent in your writing is that derived from your personal experience of being part, in the profession of architecture, of that transition from boom to bust. Sub-Urban – what a neat way of creating the visual in one’s mind. Urban abandonments in earlier postings and the initial posting uploaded photos of what is happening to our country, and you have given us a history of how it came about with that non factor of production called Profit driving people to take risks with no interest.

Fingleton and Irish Nationwide was reported on the TV last night. The Ernst and Young report which was commissioned is damning with loose management structures, lacking in computer skills and virtually no paperwork. It also highlighted the warning signs stated by the KPMG report published almost 10 years ago. We know the outcome Fingleton got the bonus of £1m and the gold watch. He promised to return same but now states that a Government Official in high office made promises. This man is one of the few elites that were created and who tried to destroy our country. The question now is neatly summed up in the George Santayana quotation ‘those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’ and we have the knowledge, we have the experience, we know what tenement Dublin and other cities created, we know about Moyross, the gang wars, and what we need to do is prevent this social deprivation descending further to the degree it is in many European cities where they are know congregating groups of people in what are known as “Scum” estates. Those who fail to observe the rules of society are evicted and sent to these locations. Do we want this to happen? Can we prevent it? Do we want vigilantes?

NAMA is “It” now. The Troika are putting the boot into our Central Bank Governor and the message is loud and clear. Your banks are shrirking their responsibilities. They gained from financial flows and the intention was to create employment ultimately but they have failed dismally. They have taken the money, invested no doubt at favourable rates in the ECB and meantime back in Ireland the crisis looms. The buy-to-lets, the sites without planning permission, the vacant Georgian and period houses in bedsits now subject to fine of £5,000, the ghost estates, the over subscribed apartment market (with the whole of issue of management fees a problem yet to destroy morale further), the myriad of country estates restored and now Namatised as hotel/golf courses, the mansions of the developers so lurid with excess are like a volcano ready to erupt causing massive social injustice in our society and the irony is that the same people who created the boom are the cause of the massive hardship now entrenched and coming down the track.

What can we do? Well Mr Architect if you were part of the construction of the boom, what can you contribute to Nama? You seem to have identified the problem at the time. You no doubt have experience and abilities that NAMA should be able to use and maybe you would be willing to work for them at a considerably lower rate than the people who worked for the now to be liquidated Ex Anglo Irish Bank / Irish Nationwide building society which morphed to IRBC. The early days of NAMA and IBRC according to the figures in the papers paid excessive amounts to people who were evidently the boys in the know. We need to stop this rot. We need to look at cost benefit analysis of ‘PEOPLE’. We want to know whether ‘Chinese Walls’ really apply within these newly constructed entities, now consolidated to Monopoly status ie IBRC liquidated. NAMA in many ways resembles the Land Commission, yes another time when landowners with their encumbered estates in return for small amounts handed over the land for re-distribution to the Irish post the Treaty 1921.

Now NAMA is the revolving door only this time it is not the Anglo-Irish who are bankrupted, it is that new breed who are to be stripped bare and it is the Troika that are calling the tune and the melody is Banks look to your books, look at the numbers in arrears, start procedure to repossess with near immediate effect otherwise the targets which will be set by the Central Bank will be applied. NAMA is moving to first gear, it has gained its experience on the commercial side, so beware to those unable to pay mortgages, buy-to-lets, holiday homes, or houses you bought instead of pension funds.

Mr Architect: 450,000 people are unemployed and yet there are people paid massive salaries and there is no real transparency. They say developers were retained by NAMA to enhance prospects of selling commercial undertakings. Now, Nama assumes a new role but this time it is the non transparent monopoly and we need people who understand and who have vision to create the alternatives we need. The IFSC was vision and we need a vision now. The foregoing postings show the direction downwards. We need people to address the problems.

NAMA must become more transparent. They are going to force people into eviction. We the ordinary people want to know that provision is made for families/home owners, that there are alternatives for example as suggested by David McWilliams a form of debt swap. Like minds need to come together and need to work with NAMA. They need to have a social entrepreneurship drive that merges the new insolvency legislation option with the best alternative for people taking account of their capacity to earn a fair wage. It is time now, especially in this housing dynamic, that ‘water will find its own level’ with equality and integrity at the core.

Michelle Clarke (Comyn)

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No. 9

February 13th, 2013

‘Not All’. What about those who eloped to become near immediate bankrupts?

by Michelle Clarke (Comyn) – Urban abandonments and dereliction

 

Today, Mr Architect, I am going to heed what you have said and I am going to target Mr Central Bank Governor, Patrick Honohan. Why because I have read his “Speech” in the weekly edition of the Sunday Business Post. The title alone states Change is ahead. There are no examples to follow. “The Unprecedented financial distress’ speech by Mr Honohan will send shivers up the spines of those who are blighted by the property deluge created by the Celtic Tiger and added to by the global financial crisis. What we need to grasp is that there are in existence extraordinary rates of arrears where people are failing to service their mortgages/debts and in particular where homes are owner occupied.

Mr Honohan states that while most borrowers continue to service their loans that the general proposition is summed up in a quote from a recent authority on the need for debtor-friendly insolvency arrangements: “debtors should fulfill their obligations if at all possible, and freedom from legitimately incurred obligations is a privilege, potentially subject to abuse, that therefore should be a carefully guarded last resort”. What this is saying is that debt forgiveness has a strong moral component. If there is to be long-term debt modification that involves permanent debt relief related to the arrears, it will only apply for cases of over indebtedness involving or bordering on insolvency. The train is now on the tracks – Insolvency legislation is due to be in place by April and the Troika via our Central Bank is stoking the fires for action by our banks with time-tables, targets and action driven.

Mr Honohan goes on to say that to date the banks have dealt with the loans crisis using two devices: a) capitalisation of arrears b) a temporary interest only payment schedule. This buys cash flow for some people only but for others if they vere off schedule and the spiral of debt returns, then something else needs to be done.

Mr Architect: I think you could interact now because it seems apparent that debt-wise related to property, Ireland Inc is now in unchartered territory. Embracing change and moving people who once worked in the private sector into the like of NAMA is part of the new remedy which is only presently being drafted. To quote Mr. Honohan “What is the best way of operationalising better decision rules for banks enabling and impelling them to triage the loans that are unsustainable from those that can come back on track?” Your vast experience as an architect and your ideas re Sub-Urban imply the loss of the social element of the property transactions that must now form part of what is known as social entrepreneurship and the revival of a sense of hope going forward.

Connecticut, America. This week there is a court case. NAMA sues Sean Dunne but this clever property magician has played a hand of cards that puts his property Irish speculative brain into that of his columnist wife and re-plays the game but in America. He now lives in an elitist enclosure with rent in excess of US£20,000 per month, having ventured into speculative property transactions which it appears have created profits. The US courts have to decide either in favour of NAMA or Dunne’s wife, Gayle. These are the larger stakes that NAMA must play out and invariably in foreign courts and at phenomenal costs. This means we need to ask the question as to what happens now post the liquidation of IBRC. What will happen for instance re the Quinn group? NAMA now becomes the monolith, the monopoly driver to resolution but people have a responsibility to be informed, to keep informed and ensure that there is transparency, no insider dealing, court resolution if there is, and keep making demands that developers who breached our laws pay the full cost or at least are disciplined via bankruptcy under the new Personal Insolvency Act. We need a clear picture.

Stormy seas ahead and we will all know people who are indebted. Earlier postings suggested that those who had bought properties since 2006 and paid excessively high stamp duty should petition the Government for repayment of stamp duty appear to have had no support. The banks should have supported their mortgage holders in this request. A repayment of say £60,000 stamp duty off capital would delete some people at least from the crisis status of the Personal Insolvency Act. After all some banks have begun to think creatively and they will re-structure the loan, taking responsibility for waving credit card debts, credit union loans, car loans etc.

Michelle Clarke

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No. 10

February 21st, 2013

His Master’s Voice no more. Jobs lost yet again
 by Comyn – Urban abandonments and dereliction

The Duke of Leinster is reputed to have said about his move from Northside Dublin to Southside Dublin – Where “I” go fashion will follow and yes it did. It was the like of the splendid designs of Mountjoy Square, Belvedere Place, Summerhill, North Frederick Street that were vacated by the wealthy and became the slums of Dublin as families lived in single rooms. The pre-63 bedsits are remnants of those days of sheer poverty and non provision by the State that are now to be phased out ie if the Government persist and fine landlords (£5,000) for not providing adequate sanitary amenities for each bedsit in these old Georgian/Victorian homes. Already, landlords have these Pre-63 properties for sale, those who don’t wish to engage with the legislation. However, we are told that the housing list is now approaching 100,000, and it seems incredibly unlikely that provision is made for people living in these properties for many years, probably in receipt of rent allowance, often with disabilities. We need to look around us, be it Rathmines-D6, Elgin Road-Dublin 4, North Circular Road. There are many people living in fear and vulnerable. We all need to be aware of this.

His Master’s Voice: The record and the marketing. The old gramaphone and the Jack Russell listening with intent. HMV failed to keep ahead of the markets and it is now financially challenged and Grafton Street has lost one of its anchor retail outlets. Not alone is the HMV shop gone but there are now seven vacant retail outlets closed between it and the St. Stephen’s Green shopping centre. We hear Government talking about “the Gathering 2013” and one can only ask them to listen to the Drivetime programme and Olivia O’Leary’s rendition of what has happened to our once charming city and her request for some of the minister’s to walk out of Government buildings up Molesworth Street, into Dawson Street, Sth Anne Street and to Grafton Street. I would add to this for them to look at O’Connell Street, one of the widest streets of the capitals in Europe. It is great to invite people to our country but we do need to impress them when they visit and more so if we ask our diaspora to return, we need to be able to show them improvement, culture, warmth when they return. O’Connell Street needs to invoke the necessity for us to look upwards and witness the architecture that once existed while to look at ground level, there are just tacky often fast food outlet doorways destroying the potential of our city.

Enthusiasm and adventure is needed. We need some visionaries to inspire us. Temple Bar and the IFSC challenged the 1980’s recession but now we need to develop some alternatives. Who can lead us in this direction: Why not look to our war-torn world and promote Ireland as a country which has step by step over the decades created a Republic with recognition of the Good Friday Agreement to the Peace Process. There is an impressive transition that resounds Peace, not war.

The news about NAMA is not all bad. There is some progress or so it seems from todays Irish Independent. Those developers in NAMA who thought they could avoid paying their debts by switching assets into the names of their wives’ and children have been scuttled. ‘NAMA is now confident that it will secure legal rights or security over £750m of additional property assets controlled by its debtors that were not not secured when loans were transferred to the agency (NAMA) from the banks’. To
secure legal charges over assets makes it easier to seize and sell off property if debts owed to NAMA are not repaid. As much as two thirds of the increase is expected as NAMA identifies previously debt-free/”unencumbered” owned by some 80 developers with debts to the agency. Once these assets are identified, it is up to NAMA to establish a legal claim or charge thereby giving them rights over the properties. The remaining one third is concerned with reversing “asset transfers” most notably in the period post 2008 and before the transfer of the bank loans to NAMA in 2010.

NAMA is a creation that must be about transparency. We need to know what it is doing at all times. There needs to be a cost benefit analysis because this belies an important function to cut the deficit Ireland Inc. owes, in as progressive a way possible. This is just a question: Is their (NAMA’s) performance good enough? Last year, 50 NAMA linked developers out of 188 (those with the biggest debts) made transfers (37 of which were made at the request of NAMA). Does anyone know the position re Sean Dunne and his wife in Connecticut? What about Michael Lynn who escaped by having a child in Brazil so no extradition? Those who escaped Irish bankruptcy who fled to the UK for better terms? The Irish Nationwide Chief Executive who chooses not even to return the £1 m bonus he promised and for that matter the watch? Simply: Ireland needs to work both sides of the balance sheet. We need to tackle expenditure but more importantly we need to collect as much money that is due also. To the Law Society: what is your level of transparency about errant solicitors? To the auditors – what have you to say?

 

Michelle Clarke

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Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2012 year. Revised 2020. 10 headings 1,200 words Tranche (A)

No. 1

14th April 2012

What changes? Inverse Debt rises while social conditions deteriorate rapidly for our most vulnerable.

Dublin 4 bandied across the media to imply elitism.

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

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

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

A positive for Dublin 4. At least Bank of Ireland (making it an anchor tenant to attract other companies to this location) have moved a lot of their staff to a “NAMA” building on Burlington Road ie Plaza 1, news has it that Sky have taken the other building.  It is now time for this area to take possession of its true urban identity. Baggotrath goes back to 17th century.

The Department of Finance need to review their policy of rates on businesses.  Reduce the rates so that Searsons (a pub of historic relevance) can be re-opened by Diageo or sub-let to a third party.  It is essential that businesses are given the chance to survive. The people in this village are trying hard but need support from Government.

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

For those of us who recall the 1980’s recession and especially those forced to emigrate, it is important to realise that we left and the infrastructure was in chaos; thankfully it is much improved but must now be sustained until the economy improves again.  The 1980’s recession was such a dismal time. Some men and maybe women had a dream. It was the IFSC, the dream worked until some got greedy but we need to sort the good from the bad and move on now.

Michelle Clarke

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No. 2

December 20th, 2012

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

by Michelle Clarke (Forster) – Education

 

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

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

Students deserve support – they are the future of this country

Response:

I love poetry.

 by True PoetThu Dec 20, 2012 16:09

The Germans prefer Science.
The Irish prefer Art.
You cannot lift a rocket off the ground by writing poems

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No. 3

December 23rd, 2012

Ghost estates or displaced by motorways

  Visit to Co. Meath.


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

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

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

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

Okay we hear the message entitlements must be cut. We know that those on rental supplements over the past 5 years have had to ask their landlords to make reductions to bring them in line with the amounts social housing is prepared to pay but shortly this market will change and rents will start to rise and it is people in social housing or in receipt of rent supplement who will be the first to suffer. ‘Pricing’ (a previous comment on citizen journalism site) – you know what this is going to be about. We need to think ahead and why not now for 2013 before Bank of Ireland & other banks dictate foreclosures with near to immediate effect to those over leveraged and those in buy-to-lets that who bought into the idea of being a private landlord gaining rental income at a profit (which now is not possible).  Now they have to cope with a vacancy or a reduced rent but worst of all with negative equity.

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

A new wealth awaits.

 

 by Ex Commie. Sun Dec 23, 2012 18:49

Capitalism always recovers.
Communism is dead.

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Collection of quotations: 2012. Reviewed June 2020: Could there be a ghost dog? Love me Love My Dog Peter Shelley: the song

June 19th 2020:  COVID-19 and all dog pounds are closed down.  Our dear dog Freddie passed away after nearly four years with us.  We loved him dearly but we had Jack Russell for nearly 14 years and today I found this.  Having phoned all pounds and shelters to be told that the demand for dogs has resulted in closures of shelters and a shortage of dogs.  Then entered Ghost Dog as mentioned above Jack Russell.  The woman who brought Jack Russell to us in 2004 somehow got our number and she phoned to say, she remembered us and has a Jack Russell, aged 2 years, who will be arriving on Monday.  I had tried to find her through the Irish Times but could not get through to the dog section.  We are so delighted to have made contact with Barbara and to know we will be homing one of her treasured dogs who is left without a home.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v044SCWA4LA

 

2012 – Some quotations to add to the complexities of life; to empower thinking  and creativity

Meditation XVII, John Donne

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – Meditation XVII, John Donne

E.F. Schumacher
‘Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, more violent.
It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction’
Tacitus 56-115 AD Roman Empire
‘The more corrupt the State the more numerous the laws’
Chinese Sage Lao-tzu
‘Nothing is more powerful than the emptiness from which men shrink’
Lao-Tao 16th century
‘Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking causes profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
Hindu Proverb
‘Water is purified by flowing, the human being by going forward’

Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet
‘You give little when you give of your possessions – it is when you give of yourself that you truly give.  For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?  and what is fear of need but need itself’
Jesse Jackson – US Civil Rights
‘Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up’
Thomas Merton – Cistercian Monk
‘To perfect the memory, delete the incidentals’

Eduardo Frei – President Chile 1964
‘If we always look outside ourselves for blame that in itself is a form of dependence.
We must look for own blame to find our personality’

Jonathan Swift 1667-1745
‘Satire is sort of glass window wherein beholders do
generally discover everybody’s face but their own

George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950
‘An Irishman’s heart is nothing but his imagination’

Kate Millett: The Politics of Cruelty – teimonage
‘the one who has been there; seen it, knows.  It crosses genres, can be autobiography, reportage, even narrative fiction.  But its basis is factual, fact passionately lived and put into writing by a moral imperative rooted like a flower and carnage with an imperishable optimism, a hope that those who will hear, will care, WILL EVEN TAKE ACTION.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu – South Africa
‘Be nice to the whites, they need you to discover their humanity

Steve Biko 1946-77 South Africa murdered activist
The most potent weapon in the hands of the possessor is the mind of the oppressed’
George Orwell 1903-59 – Telling the Truth
‘During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act’
Jean Paul Sartre, French writer and philosopher
‘When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die’
Anthony de Mello Jesuit priest
‘The sun that gives sight to the eagle blinds the owl.  Stop searching little fish. There isn’t anything to look for.  All you have to do is look’

Jon Sobrino, Salvedorian theologian
The prophet is a person on the street, the person who judges history from the viewpoint of God’
Michael Harrington – Economist
‘If there is a technological advance without a social advance, there is, almost automatically an increase in human misery’

Groucho Marx
‘Look at me – I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty’
Eisenhower
‘Never waste time thinking about people you don’t like


Mercy nun Zambia

‘Charity is about empowering people ie to make them self reliant’

Helen Keller
‘Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full overcoming suffering’.
Susan Jeffers
‘Oriental man is very light in the head and heavy down in the belly and feels very secure
Western man is light in the belly but very heavy up in the head, so he topples over’

Mother Teresa
‘Lonely and being unwanted is the greatest poverty’
Dale Carnegie
‘Co-operate with the inevitable’

Kabir – Mystical Poet India
I laughed when they told me a fish in water can be thirsty’
Einstein
‘Its easier to split an atom than prejudice’

 

Seneca

‘It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare: it is because we do not dare that they are difficult’


Robert Kennedy Former US President
‘Each time a man stands for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others,
or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a ripple of hope and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring,
those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest of walls of oppression’

 

 

 

 

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Citizen Journalism Ireland: Published articles on different topics 2011 year. Revised 2020. 10 headings 4,800 words Tranche (D)

No. 1

22nd March, 2011

The Moriarty Report is published; one report in excess of 1900 pages by Michelle Clarke (Corruption) – Dublin Castle : The Scales of Justice

 

From 1997 to 2011, March 23rd and finally the cupboard of corruption is laid bare and like rats off the sinking ship, too many are now running for cover.

The names have been reported and are now documented with the Judge Moriarty’s (Moriarty Tribunal) findings. What happens next? Are there grounds for the Criminal Assets Bureau to proffer charges to the DPP and seek redress and if so can there be a confiscation of monies gained by illegal methods.

This is the new area of crime called Corporate Crime and what we need now is an approach similar to that in the US where people who engage in such deception, breach of trust, and corruption (e.g. Madoff, executives from Enron, the US) being brought before the criminal courts in Ireland and let there be some plea bargaining to facilitate confiscation of funds gained from illegal transactions to help alleviate our Bail Out status which if the Moriarty report is comprehensive enough will indicate that there are inroads to that theory of ‘follow the money’. We need to get serious about finding out where investments in deposit accounts have flown to.

Now it is time for the people to follow the money. There is a distinct loss in confidence by the ordinary decent person (as distinct from the ODC) who has funds about investing in our banks. Today, the Bank of Ireland is again losing ground because of lack of confidence. The time has come to draw a line and place a stake in the heart of corruption and that time is now. We need to ask how we can restore the confidence in our banking system and get money back from the more secure foreign banks who pay higher interest and give greater security.

Now all we need is the outcome of the Mahon Tribunal. Then the approach to serious government can begin with a new balance sheet albeit it will contain a mighty high value of debt for the diminished Celtic Tiger contingent of gangsters.

The Joe Duffy show today throws light on a report that to many may seem to be pure waffle but its translation to ordinary speak is essential.

To those exiles who form part of a group who call themselves a platform for reform – amazing that you waited until after the election to put out your stall. I hope you have a clean bill of conscience now.

Urgently we need funds in our banks on the Island of Ireland. We need economic growth. We need to support Google Ideas and other start up initiatives. Now is the time to get focused.

Michelle Clarke

==========================

No. 2

18th May 2011

Affordable Housing. Making hay while the gloom descends

 

Austerity is now the Irish agenda. These ‘8 days of Dublin shut down’ are over after President Obama’s fleeting visit and Ireland no matter what links exist is on the road to an IMF agenda of austerity.

The depression is hitting home. Home loan lending is at the lowest ever level i.e. ever recorded. The graph in todays Independent is grim and scary. The first quarter 2011 issued 3,259 mortgages i.e. half the same period last year  and 44,000 less than at the peak of the boom in 2006.

We have ghost estates going nowhere and the sensible approach is to demolish the partially built houses. There are blocks of apartments empty as can be seen if you take a train from Heuston station. We need to know what is vacant? Then we need to know who is living in appalling circumstances in the older estates. People may not wish to leave their existing communities but that doesn’t mean that they should not be encouraged to move to vacant apartment blocks under the auspices of Dublin City Council who in turn can pay off NAMA. This is about housekeeping at government level and humanity.

The fall-off in mortgages, the people in negative equity, the cases before the courts where people cannot pay the debts must be matched to the surplus and the alternatives that are available. The affordable housing scheme has all but fallen apart. Now is the opportunity for people with poor housing conditions and in need of housing to get together and pressurise the Government to provide in line with the social housing initiatives that started in the 1920’s, 1930’s at a time when Governments realised that slum conditions had to be stopped in Ireland. This is a mistake of greedy entrepreneurs but mistakes create opportunities too.

Unesco: Georgian Dublin is renowned in Europe and worldwide and there is an indication that it could gain a UNESCO award. However, the number of vacant houses, the amount of nil/under utilised space, the for sale signs and the to let signs bode badly if we are to seriously seek such an award. We may need a tax break of sorts to encourage people to revitalise this part of the city/cities again. Also we need to know how easily and least expensively these houses can be retrofitted? As it stands people fail to grapple with the rules and regulations of the Irish Georgian Society, in fact they provide a disincentive.

People who need housing need to join together and create a balance sheet and work  to persuade Government to provide the money for the social housing shortfall that is a direct cost of the Celtic Tiger years and the truth here is that there was no consensue to provide the much needed social housing; it was not the priority. It was about when private development is complete and the profit gained, then we will think about social housing.

Austerity can be the grim reaper or who knows!

Michelle Clarke

=====================================

No 3

20th May 2011

Have we lost our sense of outrage? Contrast 2006 to May 2011: 

We need to revert sometimes to the past but we need not be shackled by it. We need to know suffice to grasp the culture of then and now and how changes can be effected.

The names of Michael McDowell, Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, Mary Harney are now those of pensioners aged 50+ (or let us be more correct in receipt of several pensions, payments for speeches/events, and potential to get prime employment positions yet again, or write their autobiographies). These are the privileged. These are the people who rose up the ranks of elitism to become the “Established Classes” within today’s society and all bar one emerged from humble origins. The west of Ireland is good for sayings and one that might apply here goes ‘Castles falling, dung hills rising’ or better still if the money is spent let it be deluged in the Irish economy ‘after a gatherer comes a scatterer’ could bode well.  The new rich abound in politics and moral bankruptcy saturates our country.

We need a united front with the strong theme of social justice. We need the outcome of the Mahon Tribunal urgently to clear up the outstanding issues relating to corruption in political circles involving politicians. We have in fact lost our sense of outrage and we should demand closure of all tribunals. It is not acceptable that we read in the news that because lawyers earn hundreds of thousands of euros and into millions that they are now eligible for pension payments. It is my humble belief that their excessive payments is for the volatile nature of the work they engage in and because a lawyers work does not equate to the benefits of a permanent pensionable job.

The Fair Deal: What is fair about the deal? You work your life through, you take a risk and you buy a house which becomes your home. You pay the mortgage for 25 years so that means you approximately pay three times the cost you paid for the house in interest, take from this the so called tax relief and the fact is you pay a lot for your home. Mary Harney ought to stand in shame for the legislation she is responsible for putting in place. Now if you are old and can no longer live at home – social services can enquire into your asset base and offer you a deal that the State will keep you in return for your home and assets being signed over to the State. What is fair here?

Now this deal is in trouble: Dr. O’Reilly is unsure and needs to research it further. I am sure he does. I think it breaches a persons individual human rights. Now you have to wait for someone to pass on before you become eligible for a place! HIQA – how are you? What kind of health service puts in place legislation that people pay for out of their life savings and yet the insecurity is that they can remain in a bed blocking scenario in our hospitals without options. We need to work towards keeping our elderly in the community and realising that because people are older, they are not non productive. If ever this week we should note that elderly can contribute:

The Queen at 85; Prince Philip at 91 and the stalworth who contributed fully until he became ill a month ago the Late Garret FitzGerald…We need to look to the contributions the older people can continue to make and welcome studies like TILDA so that people can be guaranteed a better quality of life in their elder years.

Quotation

‘If God has given all people skills and brains to use, we cannot be happy if people at work are simply asked to be less efficient robots’
Bishop David Sheppard

 

Michelle Clarke

==============================
No. 4
Challenge to Journalists in the Broadsheets
Show us the money and where it has gone to?

 

Ordinary Citizen – a piece well written on Citizen journalsim site.

What we need is more open disclosure similar to the Nordic countries and if that means paying higher taxes that is the route to follow.

Equality in society is an essential source of motivation and research now shows that the greater the bipolarity in society, the greater the inequality. We have two tiers presently in Ireland with the middle class being lambasted as the drive globally is those that have versus those who have not. The belief system seems to be to keep the worker bees so busy doing the mundane chores that they have no time to think about using their income/no wealth to create their tax incentive benefit income and derive (income)/wealth from wealth). Sadly we see the excesses of this with Sean Quinn when a man through years of occupation and wealth gathering can make a mis-TAKE which in effect is nothing other than a gamble and lose all. Yes, we can all watch Bloomberg (if we pay for it) but the contracts for difference need caution and some of our 1st generation entrepreneurs got a little too greedy and were caught. Yes it was CFD’s on Anglo Irish shares predicted as an upward option that ignited the fire. Let us wait and see the outcome now. What will be the next gamble for the Quinn Empire i.e. if they retained their personal wealth as distinct from their companies and assets? Will they use the legal route to regain acclaim, power and position?

The momentum is slow to deal with the so called Golden Circle and Anglo Irish Bank. My humble belief is that ‘insider trading’ must apply to what underlies this major collapse of a Bank that set the competitive advantage for our homegrown AIB and Bank of Ireland.  It comes down to the old equation about abuse of power and anyone is susceptible to that. What is essential though is that the Law of the Land, the media, the journalists are hungry to establish the sense of what is Justice and how it is applied.

Clyde (another contributor) – you lay it right at the feet of the media and journalists in particular and the power of Article 19 and Freedom of expression. Our broad sheets are not making money and yet a certain citizen journalism site hasn’t the profile that is indicative of its archives and open newswire. Journalists in the broad sheets by now should be crediting those of us in citizen journalism and moving forward with their new forensic investigative capabilities. As Clyde states – ‘The shift towards citizen reporting also brings with it new opportunities. But with the now public crowded space given to citizen reporters and social media users, traditional journalists also play an ESSENTIAL ROLE INVESTIGATING WRONGDOING, MAINTAINING CREDIBILITY AND PROVIDING REPORTS THAT SERVE THE PUBLIC GOOD’

Show me the money. The money is somewhere – it just doesn’t disappear. It didn’t in Nazi Germany because lots of it made its way into Swiss bank accounts and some of the other 20 tax havens around the world. The search is still on for this.

Daily the ordinary punter on the street needs to look around, think a little outside the box, listen to what another person might be saying. People who have small businesses are really suffering. They are putting in long hours and cutting back on prices of the stock they are selling, they are cutting down on staff or cutting back on wages and bonuses are no more. People are waiting for the Minister for Justice to bring in legislation to retract on the Upward Only reviews on leases. This is what is killing small businesses.

Xtravision is one of the latest companies to fall into financial problems. They are seeking examinership which will give them 100 days to re-structure. This means the shops are open for 100 days. If you ask them what is the major problem you will find out that if they have 180 shops, as many as 150 landlords have refused to make any concessions on rent. Rent – they may have the excuse that it is legislation that excuses them from reducing the rent but where is their morality? If they fail to be human in their approach to being a landlord with a conscience then surely they ought to suffer from a taxation system that impedes on their ability to generate wealth.Journalists need to investigate more and also take chances to report on wrongdoing.

 

 

Michelle Clarke (Herbert)

==========================

No. 5

19th May, 2011
Queen Elizabeth II visits Dublin Castle accompanied by Prime Minister David Cameron.  President Obama visit also.

 

The Monarchy in all its glory has arrived in Ireland and accompanied by the British Prime Minister.

Let Tourism milk this for every cent it is worth. We need to earn billions urgently and we need all the PR to promote our syncronicity with our nearest neighbour to the right and for that matter our other neighbour via the Atlantic on our left. We in Ireland need to keep all routes open. We are a small open economy as they keep telling us and most of our trade and vice versa still moves between England and Ireland. Regarding the US we need to use the infrastructure that is above par, our educated work force and the English language, to ensure no EU member tries to trick us out of our 12.5% corporation tax incentive to multi-nationals.

The benchmark for Ireland pre. Euro was the German mark.  At that time, they determined that interest rates were low while they bordered on to recession and we paid the penalty. This is morally unacceptable.

Let them repay by encouraging their people to holiday in this country of ours. Good to hear about the young blogger named Mueller who is reporting daily on his blog while he travels through the Emerald Isle – so far his reports are that breakfasts are good and he feels Germans would enjoy holidays here.

The website above is excellent but possibly a little ahead of us in the concept of Branding.

Any figures yet to indicate tourists who have targeted Ireland for the 8 day event. Good to see the Portuguese coming to Ireland. After all we are all part of the PIGS and it looks as if we can spend some money also.

Michelle Clarke

Example of how Germany markets its brand of Tourism

The Berlin International Economics Congress:
“An International Conference on the Future of Nation Branding, Tourism, and International Investments in a Globalized World”
(March 9th – 12th 2011, Berlin, Held Parallel to the ITB Berlin and in conjunction with the ICD conferences “Nuestra America” and “The Rise of Africa”)
www.biec.de

“The Berlin International Economics Congress 2011” is an international conference taking place over 4 days that will explore the future of Nation Branding, Tourism, and International Investment in a Globalized World. The program will consist of lectures, seminars, workshops, interactive sessions and panel discussions that will feature leading figures from international economics & politics, academia, marketing, advertising, and civil society. Participants of the program will also have the opportunity to experience Berlin through a series of cultural and social activities.

Speakers for the conference include:
• Dr. Alfredo Palacio – Former President of Ecuador; ICD Advisory Board Member
• Baki Irmak – Director of Communications, DWS Investments, (Deutsche Bank Group)
• Amb. Dan Mulhall – Ambassador of Ireland to Germany
• Bendt Bendtsen – Former Danish Deputy Prime Minister, Former Danish Minister of Economic and Business Affairs; ICD Advisory Board Member (tbc)
• Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim – Former Foreign Minister of Brazil
• Dr. Erhard Busek – Former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, Former Minister for Education & Cultural Affairs; (tbc)
• Filippe Savagado- Minister of Culture, Tourism and Communication of Burkina Faso
• Dr. Gerassimos D. Arsenis- Former Minister of Economics of Greece, Former Minister of Education and Former Minister of Defense; (tbc)
• Dr. Gerhard Prätorius – Head of Coordination CSR and Sustainability, Volkswagen AG (tbc)
• Dr. Jacques F. Poos – Former Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Minister of Foreign Affairs (tbc)
• Sir James R. Mancham – Former President of the Republic of Seychelles; ICD Advisory Board Member
• Janez Jansa – Former Prime Minister of Slovenia; president of the Slovenian Democratic Party
• Joy Wheeler- Ambassador of Jamaica to Germany
• Kalonzo Musyoka – Vice President of Kenya
• Kazenambo Kazenambo – Minister of Youth and Sports of Namibia (tbc)
• Kintto Lucas Lopez – Deputy Foreign Minister of Ecuador
• MONIE R. Captan – Former Foreign Minister of Liberia; President of Liberian Chamber of Commerce
• Dr. Miomir Žužul – Former Foreign Minister of Croatia; President of Dubrovnik International University; ICD Advisory Board Member
• Dr. Rick van der Ploeg – Professor of Economics, Oxford University; Former State Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands; ICD Advisory Board Member (tbc)
• Dr. Solomon Isaac Passy – Former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria; ICD Advisory Board Member
• Dr. Vasile Puşcaş – Former Romanian Minister for European Affairs;
• Zeine Ould Zeidane – Former Prime Minister of Mauritania (tbc)

Contact:
www.culturaldiplomacy.org
info@culturaldiplomacy.org

==========================

No. 6

21st July, 2011

A martyr to the Cause.
When do we face up to those who abuse the vulnerable?

 


When do we stand up and say ‘We Take Responsibility’. Crimes are still being committed against children, vulnerable people and there is an endorsement of Abuse of Power at every level in society. Moral bankruptcy is the true crisis faced by the people of Ireland today. Markets comprise the news but markets will survive and as they say markets have no memories but our children have. Just look at the desolation that has been caused to people in the Magdalen Laundries, the abuse by members of the Church, and worst of all the recidivism that led to more young men within the last number of years, being prey to the hands of an abuser within the auspices of a local school in Gweedore, Co. Donegal.

They say people knew? Of course people knew but did they care or the question is Do we Really Care?

Do we look to our Gardai? Do we look to Parents? Do we look to Children or more importantly do we listen to them? Do we pay heed to those who are vulnerable and crying out for help and possibly engaging in behaviours that make them even more vulnerable? Who is really listening? Who wants Change?

Mr. Donal McAteer from Poland. Thank you for your letter in today’s Irish Times.

Mr. Pearse Doherty, Sinn Fein. Thank you for your honesty today about Mr. Ferry and your lucky escape along with your friends on that camping trip.

Mr. McAteer – I quote as follows:

‘Growing up in Gweedore in the 1980’s, I came in contact with Michael Ferry, as many young people did. He was involved in youth clubs, he went on official school tours, he ran a school tuck shop and became a school caretaker.….
It was widely known among children that he was “Dodgy” and plying children with drink.  There must have been doubts about him in the minds of adults to’

This was the 1980’s. He went on to be charged for abuse and then released back into the community and back to the school where he could use his grooming skills to smoother emotionally/psychologically/socially more young vulnerable children.

Mr. McAteer. I agree if this had been a person shoplifting the heavy hand of the Gardai would have fallen with the greatest of ease and the man would have been charged.

But abuse… what makes us so slow to take it by the throat and deal with it. Where is the Shame?

Michelle Clarke
====================
No. 7

14th September, 2011


Suicide:

This article (www.indymedia.ie/newswire?author_name=Michelle%20Clarke) is relevant possibly even more so when one considers Vincent Browne’s article about Suicide in today’s Irish Times.

Yet another suicide convention has been held, and yes the numbers of suicides have reduced slightly this year, but I am gravely shocked and annoyed to hear that the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly (formerly connected with St. Ita’s Portrane i.e. mental hospital/asylum) dedicated only 10 minutes to Suicide out of the half hour slot and then left the conference early. This is shameful and indicates that he too must look upon this as the Cinderella of Professions for the Cinderella’s of society afflicted with neuropsychiatric diagnoses.

I wonder have any readers of Indymedia watched the two part series ‘Behind the Wall’s’. It takes courage to do so but if you have I plead with people to remove the stigma, include people who are vulnerable in our communities, and to be watchful of those who may need additional support every so often to battle through in this life.

Michelle Clarke (Patch (if only) Adams)

 

==============

No. 8

19th September, 2011

Martin McGuinness decides to run for President of Ireland

IRA Statement: Hope and Vision for Peace and a United Ireland

What a wet miserable day. The rain is constantly pouring down and the memories of winter prevail. This is about the weather.

7 years on from the Belfast Agreement, today the IRA have made a statement. Within lies hope and a future. Today, 28th July 2005, is a historic event. Let the people of Ireland now take up the cudgel and enact the will of the people.

Let the people realise and enlighten their children of the significance of Freedom.

Today former IRA prisoner Senan Walsh who spent 18 years in prison made the statement on behalf of Oglaigh na hEireann. This was a unilateral statement with Oglaigh na hEireann itself, without discussion with the British Government, Irish Government, Unionists and others.  Mr. Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein, speaks of a ‘defining point in a search for peace with Justice’. Let us savour these words.

Let us remember the people who died during the Northern Ireland troubles. Also, irrespective of ‘beliefs’, let us recall those people who engaged in Hunger Protest strikes in the 1980’s, their passion for Freedom cannot be denied.

I hear the word ‘photos’ mentioned as the weapons are decomissioned. It would be a sad day that the verification by the Catholic and Protestant clergy men would not be acceptable to the people of Ireland. Do we really want to diminish further the value and significance of the Oath; of Truth. ‘My word is my bond’ is core to contract with stockbrokers.

Let us accept the ‘Bona Fides’ of the IRA over the next few months.

Criminality and the over emphasis by the media is but a ‘bauble’. We can all make criticisms, judgments etc. but the truth is do we really have a meaning we can endorse.  The shame, as far as I can see, is the over emphasis on something that realistically must be regarded as a component part of mercantile life.

Ireland particularly needs to review its own political culture since 1921 and thereby realise the reality in pushing an newly emerging economy onto the world market. People had to take chances and risks; the desire and passion was about a United Ireland.

Let us think of the moral aspect of history and realise that Morality and judgment are subject to ethical ups and downs.

We need to regard our history; we gained money from a variety of obscure sources e.g. Bonds in the US, funding of a National Newspaper, the building of hospitals programmes, houses, infrastructure, tax incentives. to name but a few. We need also recall that the Revenue have been the beneficiaries of over 2 billion euros since the 1980’s…..funds mainly hidden so no tax would be paid!!!!!!

I say Let us give Peace a Chance…….

Michelle Clarke
Quotation Amelia Earhart
‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself’

 

============================

No. 9

14th October, 2011

4 centuries later and thinking of Jonathan Swift and
still we need visionaries, writers

 

 

Technology is the new dimension but people who are interested in social justice are out there; those who consistently wrote on this Indymedia site going back to 2002 and yet were bullied by others and placed in ‘Hidden Articles List’. Some writings though made it through the wall of prejudice and by chance while googling this site this and others appeared. In the light of the Presidential Campaign, it should be interesting to take the view of those who appear to have followed the potential of the Peace Process back in those days of early 2000; those heady days of Developers/Politicians/Professionals/Tribunals who were too self obsessed and money driven to pay heed to a new dimension in the formation of a United Ireland.

We await 2016: This site also mentions the paper Daily Ireland which covered this period but sadly financially could not continue in the business of publication. We should not forget its intervention and impact on the Process also.

Occupy Wall Street is but 3 weeks old. They say it is a metaphor. The people their values are transcending two dimensional politics and creating a network of views but the theme is Anti-Corruption/anti the God like salaries/bonuses paid to bankers who do nothing other than take risks like professional gamblers. It is these gamblers that need to start taking account for the loss of core moral, ethical values that are essential within a society.

Let us start to rebuild Ireland. The President plays a role in this country; maybe it is time yet again to have a President who has fought and fought realistically and literally for Peace on this Island and who has transcended prejudice.  (Reference to Martin McGuinness running in presidential race).

William Blake 1757-1827
To see a world in a grain of a sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and Eternity in an hour

==================================

No. 10

December 2011

Discretion, Perception, Understanding – Dogs as companions

Beagle, a companion canine friend

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

But what about the simple things in life?

What about a little understanding and tolerance?

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

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

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

Be friendly, Be kind. Be creative.

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

Beagle Baggot Street Upper Village in support of his canine friend!

Michelle Clarke
================================
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Freddie, our beloved dog died before “his time”.

14th June 2020

Freddie passed away

Freddie arrived a spirited yet a harshly neglected young dog just over three years ago.  Our dear Jack Russell, Jack, had passed away but it was old age but still the tears fell relentlessly at our loss.  Freddie came from Dogs in Distress so we knew that his life had not been an easy one.  He was a Jack Russell but as it turned out there most definitely was a mixture of Staff, Hound and Russell.  The back feet were out of proportion with the rest of his body but we loved him and in his funny way he learned to trust us and as we now know today he put aside the fact that he was dying to try and remain there for us.  My selfish denial made me look each day for whatever was positive to convince myself that he was on the path to recovery.  But I was so wrong and the tears flow from my eyes tonight at his resilience and will to survive and my pure selfishness and refusal to see what Kevin had been telling me for weeks “The dog is dying”.

Three years is such a short period of time to have a dog but in my long life these three years presented some very serious challenges.  Freddie has seen me through each of these challenges and now yet again I  am alone, without a canine companion.  First it was breast cancer; then it was the sudden death of my mother while I was going through chemotherapy and then these last few horrific months of COVID-19 and it was revolving around the routine of Freddie which was so predictable that I could hold on, like a child on a merry go round – if you don’t hold on, you fall.  They say that people who have experienced mental health problems in their lives, contrary to what you would expect, have in fact a better resilience to cope with this severe pandemic COVID-19 and therefore are better survivors than others.  All I know is Freddie helped me stay on track and I am broken hearted.  Three years and three of the most significant events one could have and now Freddie has passed on too.  I thought I would never cry again, I thought life has made me so hard and bitter that there would be no tears.  I cried so much in my life especially as a child and into my thirties that I found life hard and tended to avoid situations that would cause me sadness and that was hard because in my head there were all those fears of loss – my mum, my dog, KT who thankfully remains with me.

Freddie and routine.  He had his morning walk with KT.  The other day there was a problem.  He was at the top step of the stairs and all of a sudden he fell the 7 steps and when I tried to lift him he whelped but I waited and stoic as always he rose to the occasion and we went for our walk down Wellington Road.  I was upset about the fall and we resolved that he was no longer well enough for walking up the stairs and that the lift was to be used instead.  This morning Kevin had taken Freddie out, as always for the first walk, and then at about 11 a.m. it was my turn, I finished washing the dishes and as he hadn’t left the bed I waited – a wait that was a mistake because he either fell off the bed or jumped and he being such a clean dog wet the carpet.  Then I should have known but that dreadful state called denial made me coax him to the lift which he did not want to get into so I then brought him back towards the stairs in the hope that he would prefer same.  Then it was back to the lift.  He stumbled a lot as I walked him from the carpark to the main gate but I kept on going thinking his legs would get stronger, not really understanding, why they appeared so weak.

He released his bowels and then he lay down on the grass.  A neighbour, Karen, noticed me and came over.  I think she could see there was a genuine problem and offered to call Kevin.  I assured her all was okay but it wasn’t.  Freddie was dying.  I lifted him and I brought him home.  Kevin again told me “he was dying”; he phoned the vet and Sally did the driving.

Freddie had spent much time visiting the vet.  An ill-treated animal and it is my humble belief the same applies to children (and we need to especially be alert to the experiences of the little children and their interpretation of what COVID-19 is), if they have a certain temperament become prone to many illnesses years before they should.  From day 1, Freddies health problems ratcheted up the scale.  First it was his intestines and he could only eat a certain set prescription nuts; then it was his heart so he was on heart tablets, then he developed bronchitis and shortness of breath which meant he was prescribed more drugs which were steroids and codeine.  He really didn’t have a chance but we kept giving him the tablets and especially the codeine which he absolutely hated and at any chance he would just cough it up and spit it out.  No doubt the codeine was keeping him alive.  I only hope that by my selfish choice of giving him the drugs I  did not make him suffer.  I recall a long time ago a friend telling me that dogs have so much empathy that when they know their owner does not want them to die, they do everything to ensure that they live as long as they can, even if they are suffereing.  The moral being that the owner should understand this and let the dog die.

The vet said he would not suffer any more.  I believe in dignity in death for dogs but for humans too.  I hope Freddie knows we did not desert him in those final hours before he passed away, having left him at the vets.

Goodbye Freddie.  You arrived three years ago, a young dog, but with hardships stamped in your heart.  You left as my granddaddy dog – because cruel people damaged your chances.  Please please people stop the puppy farms and raise the standards that animals are not treated with cruelty.

Quotation:

“There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  The speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.   They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and the unspeakable love”.  Washington Irvine.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

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