" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Charles Haughey and Dermot Desmond - solving world problems.....


As we in this corrupt wee Statelet lurch from one potential/possible/probable political scandal to another , it is only fitting that we take a look back at previous potential/possible/probable political scandals :

When he was State Minister for Energy, Fianna Fail's Michael Smith agreed to hire NCB Stockbrokers to sell off the 25% of Tara Mines which the State owned : NCB's fee of £530,000 was also agreed on .
A Senior Executive at Morgan Grenfell , one of the top two British merchant banks , said at the time - " The fee was definitely very high . NCB got 1.5% for what was a straight-forward deal ." An executive at Kleinworths , another of London's top merchant banks , said at the time - " It is hard , looking at the deal , to see how NCB could get the fee - £250,000 would have been more like it ."

It should be noted that the sale of Tara Mines was not put out to tender , and that NCB's founder and then Chairperson was Dermot Desmond who , at the time , also acted as an 'Adviser' on economic and financial matters to Charles Haughey .
Coincidence , of course : as such , we would like to apologise for our misleading 'potential/possible/probable...' comment of earlier on . This blog will , hopefully, publish as usual on Monday October 9 - we are heading off now on our flying pigs for a little break.......




Friday, October 06, 2006

LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS .......
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

" Charity? " said Aunt Molly , " is that what you call it ? You're so naive . It's big , big business . Selling Sweep tickets is easier than robbin' banks , and you can't be arrested for it . Except in England ! Less than thirty per cent of what the Hospital Trust makes goes to the hospitals and less than half of what's left is paid to the prizewinners . As for the ordinary staff ? God help them , but a tinker would make more selling lucky white heather in Merrion Square ! And ya say 'Well , I always thought that they were doing all that for charity' ? Aye , that'll be the day ! And Joe McGrath is getting his racehorses on credit ! "

By the time I was a nipper the three biggest men in finance were Joe McGrath , Jack O' Sheehan and Eamonn Duggan . Archie Doyle , even worse at ' the business of business ' than Uncle Jack , was still robbing banks for the IRA well into the 1940's .

I don't go in for anniversaries , but I thought that with the winding up of the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes it would be as well to remember it affectionately , for it meant a great deal to some folk.......
(MORE LATER).



PASSPORTS , PLEASE....... !
The latest passports for investment revelations involve a controversial £10,000 donation to Fianna Fail by US investor Gerry Lindzon .
There are grounds for suspicion that much of the money that changed hands in other deals was never intended for investment in the business but rather a 'facility fee' which accrued to the company for allowing its name to be used .
By Daire O' Brien .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .

The 'consultant' claims that his job was to find the 'right' businesses to liaise with the US investors ; he claims that he had no direct dealings with politicians as this was done by the middleman , who is from North County Dublin . According to the 'consultant' , the 'discounted' sum was never "...represented as an investment.." to those looking for a passport .

Although the source successfully completed a number of deals which saw US investors receive Irish passports in return for injecting cash into small Irish manufacturing firms , he claims that the investments in these cases were real . The problem is that we don't know how many of the investments made in the 1990's were fictional - there is a strong circumstantial case building up that at least some of the passports were issued on the basis of false financial information .

While any political administration can hide behind the need to protect 'investor confidentiality' , surely a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme should be available ? How do we know that the money that was lodged in Ireland was ever actually invested in the business stated.......?
(MORE LATER).



THE YOUNGER BREED : TONY GREGORY .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

By the time the Nicky Kelly campaign was drawing to a close , the Concerned Parents Against Drugs (CPAD) were mounting their battle against pushers : although it began on the southside of Dublin , the CPAD soon spread to the northside and Tony Gregory began backing it when other politicians were more cautious .

The drugs campaign posed a number of problems for Tony Gregory and his supporters - some of his activists had doubts about Sinn Fein involvement , but the drugs epidemic is a major issue for Dublin's inner-city and if Sinn Fein members play a dominant role in the campaign , Gregory does not seem to mind .

But Sinn Fein's emergence in Dublin at a political level may yet pose difficulties for the 37-year-old Gregory : when Fianna Fail's George Colley died , Tony Gregory and his strategists considered running Mick Rafferty in the by-election , but eventually reckoned such a move would not pay off . This left the field open for Sinn Fein.......
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, October 04, 2006



Bertie Ahern , Peter Hain and Tony Blair - three failures , as expected.......

......."failures" because all three shared the sentiments as expressed by one or other of them in relation to the 12th report of the British and Free State established (and financed) 'Independent Monitoring Commission' which , once again , cheered-on and congratulated the Provisional's for selling out in such an upfront manner . Between them , the three stooges spoke about the report as a "...unique opportunity (which)....opens the door for a final resolution of the conflict.." , and other such nonsense in a similar vein . However , a lazy media will continue to propagate bullshit like that because it will be seen as 'trouble-making' to do otherwise : not only do the media ask the wrong people (career politicians) the wrong questions , but they then push those wrong answers as gospel .
Instead of asking suited 'statesmen' and other well dressed thugs if the latest 'developments' will 'bring peace...' or '....end the conflict..' , the media , and others , should be looking for those answers by asking the more relevant question - 'When , and why , did it all start ?' . The conflict on this isle has being on-going , in one form or another , for more than eight centuries and will not be resolved by any puppet 'Commission' announcing that some of those who once opposed Westminster's 'writ' in Ireland are now prepared to work that 'writ' on behalf of Westminster . An end to this conflict will come when the British Administration remove their political and military presence from this isle , and denounce their jurisdictional 'claim' , and not before then . Our history teaches us that that is the only solution which will end this conflict , regardless of how many Irish turn-coats they purchase . Irish Republicans are in this for the long haul , even if it takes another 830-odd years . And to hell with your 'compromises' .......






LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS .......
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

" Yeh'll never believe what they're doing in there ! Honest to God ! " said the taxi driver , " The customers are lying on the floor , Archie Doyle has a gun on them . The staff are lying on the floor laughing ! Jack O' Sheehan is counting the money and Jack Corr is making out a receipt ! Sure the way they're going they won't have that bank robbed for weeks ! "

But that was Uncle Jack for ya ! One of the old sort who confused politics with principles and principles with ethics . Aunt Molly never let up . When the Hospitals' Trust started and the first directors were Joe McGrath and Jack O' Sheehan , Aunt Molly told my mother - " There they are , his ex-comrades , and them being paid more in a week than my fella gets in a year . Joe McGrath and Jack O' Sheehan ! Livin' like princes ! Riding out every morning so as to show the English that anything the old gentry could do , the new gentry can do better ! Sweet God , instead of backing horses , had my poor eejit only learned to ride wan ! "

Ma made excuses . It seemed that she always had to make excuses because Uncle Jack didn't think that Irish aspirations were there to be auctioned - bought and sold , as if every principle had a market value , and every prize a price . " Besides , " said my mother , " charity was never in his line ! " But Aunt Molly had another word for it - and 'charity' wasn't part of it .......
(MORE LATER).



PASSPORTS , PLEASE....... !
The latest passports for investment revelations involve a controversial £10,000 donation to Fianna Fail by US investor Gerry Lindzon .
There are grounds for suspicion that much of the money that changed hands in other deals was never intended for investment in the business but rather a 'facility fee' which accrued to the company for allowing its name to be used .
By Daire O' Brien .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .

'Magill' magazine contacted the 'consultant' involved in the above 'passport deal' , who agreed to speak on the basis of anonymity : he detailed his relationship with a middleman who claimed to be on the political inside track - " At the time (1991) I was involved in organising commercial finance for small business . I was approached by a man who claimed that he had strong political contacts and could organise finance for small companies through the ('Passports For Investment') Scheme . "

The same source says that one of Ireland's largest accountancy and consultancy firms was instrumental in the introduction - " This man claimed he had a 'partner' with access to a panel of wealthy US clients who wished to secure Irish citizenship for tax reasons . He would provide the necessary political 'stance' for the deal to be approved . The proposal was sold to me on the basis that it involved 'discounting' - a nominal £1million investment would be 'discounted' to £250,000 ." The term 'discounting' was a euphemism for facilty fee .

Needless to say , officials in the State Department of Justice would not be told of this creative accounting and the offical documentation would show that £1 million had changed hands . As well as the 'discounted' sum which the investor would pay , the standard fee payable to the middleman was 3.5 % "...on both sides of the Atlantic....... "
(MORE LATER).



THE YOUNGER BREED : TONY GREGORY .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

The people around Tony Gregory were all local activists , and while most shared common ground on local issues , some , especially Mike Rafferty , had fundamental differences with Gregory on the 'National Question' and related issues : Rafferty subscribes to the pro-loyalist 'two nations' theory which Gregory , as a republican , rejects . With the inner-city as their main plank , it is an issue which has never really threatened to split them .

Tony Gregory's unwillingness to row in behind the Anti-Amendment campaign was greeted by genuine dismay ; when he said he would first have to consult his constituents before deciding his stand , it seemed he was kicking to touch . Despite the criticisms and attacks , he maintained his position , or the lack of one.

On the other had , he threw his weight behind the Nicky Kelly campaign , which soon gathered momentum . Kelly was a member of the IRSP and Tony Gregory well remembered the days of the Sallins mail train round-ups . Indeed , civil liberties are a major issue for him , hence his entering the recent fray over the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act against Dr. Maire O' Shea.......
(MORE LATER).







Monday, October 02, 2006

LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS .......
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

Anyway , while Uncle Jack and Jack O' Sheehan and Archie Doyle went to free the bank of its bread , Joe McGrath sat holding a forty-five on the taxi-driver . The others were in the place for what seemed like an age : Joe , despairing of ever seeing them again , was getting a bit edgy . The cabman was even more so , as he had a wedding to attend - " Christ !" says he , " it didn't take as long as that to get rid of the money changers! "

The taxi driver argued with McGrath that one of them should go to the bank and find out what the hell was delaying the robbers : Joe said that if he went the cabby would drive off and leave them where Jesus left those same money-changers , but the cabby asked Joe was he daft - when did he ever hear of a taxi-driver going without his fare ? " Funerals , ok " , said the driver , " nobody ever minded a delay , but folk are touchy about being late for their own weddings . It's all very well for ye people , who do this sort of thing for a cause , but I drive for a living . And I've a reputation to think of , do ya understand .... "

Eventually it was agreed that the driver should find out what was keeping Uncle Jack and the others , while Joe minded the store , so to speak . After a minute the driver returns and his eyes streaming with tears of laughter - " Yeh'll never believe what they're doing in there ! Honest to God ....... ! "
(MORE LATER).



PASSPORTS , PLEASE !
The latest passports for investment revelations involve a controversial £10,000 donation to Fianna Fail by US investor Gerry Lindzon .
There are grounds for suspicion that much of the money that changed hands in other deals was never intended for investment in the business but rather a 'facility fee' which accrued to the company for allowing its name to be used .
By Daire O' Brien .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .

In the early 1990's the owner of a small but successful Irish business was approached by somebody with a proposal . His visitor , a financial consultant with expertise in providing capital for small businesses , claimed that he had the power to deliver to the businessman a cash injection of approximately £250,000 . In return , the businessman would have to issue a share certificate for over £1 million in his business . On the surface , a poor deal - why give £4 worth of equity for every £1 ?

However , as with much pertaining to the Passports For Investment scheme , what you see is nothing like what you get : what actually would happen is that the investor , a US businessman , would be satisfied with a meaningless class of share which would have nothing but a 'peppercorn' value: the Irish business would , to official eyes , appear to be receiving over £1 million and a passport would be issued to the US citizen in return for his apparent munificence and faith in the then slumbering State economy !

The businessman was intrigued : he recalls - " The scheme was sold to me on the basis that the consultant would be able to deliver politically . The application would not be questioned . Obviously I didn't ask the consultant if money was going to be paid to a politician .... " The consultant worked for a well-known Dublin insurance broker which is still in existence as part of a larger group . As things transpired the deal never took place - it was sidelined by political changes and a new media interest in the Passports For Investments scheme provoked by the revelation that former (26 County) Taoiseach Albert Reynolds' family business , C&D Petfoods , had benefited from it.......
(MORE LATER).



THE YOUNGER BREED : TONY GREGORY .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

When the counting was done , Tony Gregory found himself holding the cards of the next Government (ie State Administration) , and it wasn't long until those seeking a hand were calling to the Gregory HQ at Summerhill Parade : 'Sir' Garret Fitzgerald , Fine Gael , and Charlie Haughey , Fianna Fail , put their cards on the table but , as usual , Haughey took the gamble . Tony Gregory , his brother Noel , Fergus McCabe and Mike Rafferty played for high stakes : the multi-million pound 'Gregory Deal' : funds for the inner-city and a full house for Haughey ! This deal put Tony Gregory into the centre-stage of State politics and left him in a position to topple the State government if the need arose .

But that need didn't arise - for those blissful eight months , Tony Gregory only had to lift the telephone , say the word and pronto ! The job was done ! He had the power . When luck finally ran Garret Fitzgerald's way , Tony Gregory's chips were called in . But still some aspects of the Gregory Deal survived ; the much-needed new housing for the inner-city was already underway .

Gregory came home comfortably in the last election and settled down as an independent Leinster House member . Hardened by his years in Official Sinn Fein and later the IRSP , he knew his influence would be limited . He left Official Sinn Fein when Seamus Costello formed the IRSP , as he admired Costello , but soon became disillusioned with politics within the IRSP . In the mid 1970's he began to build a community base in inner-city Dublin , which led to his election as a councillor in 1979.......
(MORE LATER).







Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bertie 'The Borrower' Ahern : the man who co-signed most of the 1,615 cheques drawn on the Fianna Fail 'Leaders Allowance' account from 1984 to 1992 - 'The Haughey Years' !
Our Bertie said he had no recollection of a cheque for £25,000 made out to cash and signed by him and Charlie Haughey on 16 June 1989 , the day after the State-wide election : that cheque was discovered in an account linked to Charles Haughey !
Only another 1,614 to go ....

...........meanwhile , as Bertie sifts through the cheque-books , the rest of us can dwell over his fine words in response to the publication of the McCracken Tribunal findings - " We owe it to the least fortunate of our citizens to ensure that public decisions affecting everyone's welfare are taken only on the grounds of equity and the public good , and to ensure that possession of wealth can never purchase private political favours . "
But what's a man to do - the rest of us are not allowed to "purchase political favours" (even if we had a mind to and could afford to do so in the first place!) and asking for them is , apparently , shag-all use as well : following one of his 'conferences' with that other global Statesman , Tony Blair , hapless Bertie was asked if he had raised the issue of British intelligence activities in the Six Counties with Tony Blair ; Blustering Bertie replied - " I have raised with members of the British government , including the British prime minister , many times , MI5 and MI6 . I say , with the greatest of respect , I am usually less wise after I have asked the questions than before ." (Source- 'The Sunday Business Post' newspaper , May 18 , 2003)
Indeed , Bertie . And it suits you to stay like that .

In her book 'Politicians And Other Animals' , Olivia O'Leary recalled how Bertie Ahern explained his Code of Ethics' in a Leinster House reply to Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny -
" Deputy Kenny , you and I are around a long time . The code of ethics here is that people get in here , and try to stay in here!"
A 'Code Of Ethics' to please any bank manager . We best leave Bertie alone for now ; he has a shit-load of cheques to sort through.......






Fianna Fail : pictured as they are now , and have been for most of their existence - a political mafia .....
..... but , at one stage , some of their confused members still considered themselves somewhat 'republican' :
On the 16th of February in 1954 (a Tuesday , if memory serves...) , British Lieutenant-General 'Sir' John Woodall was 'entertained' in the Curragh Free State Army Barracks by the Free State Administration - 'Sir' Woodall was given a grand tour of various Free State Army barracks , and was dressed in full British Army regalia as he was followed around by State lackys . He was driven on his 'tour' in a British Army staff car .
Fianna Fail were in power at the time , and the 'Roger Casement Cumann' of that party , based in Kimmage , in Dublin , resigned because of Woodall's visit : in a statement , that Fianna Fail Cumann stated - " The invitation to and entertainment of General Woodall , Chief of the British military forces occupying portion of our national territory , by the Fianna Fail leadership , left us no option but to resign from the Fianna Fail organisation . "
'Sir' Woodall was the then General Officer Commanding the British Army of Occupation at its HQ at Thiepval Barracks , Lisburn , County Antrim .
The issue of "...British military forces occupying portion of our national territory.. " is a taboo issue as far as the political careerists in Leinster House are concerned - it may very well be revived from the back-burner and dusted off now and again but overall it is an embarrassing issue for them , as it reminds them of a time when those that went before them at least put some type of a weak-hearted effort into occasionally reminding those listening that this isle is not completely free of British interference .
That message still goes out today , but not from those in Leinster House . Those sleezebags are soley concerned with enriching themselves financially and will happily , and just as quickly , fleece each other as well as the taxpayer . Their moral compass is buried in their bankbook . They will , no doubt , die rich and comfortable . And , we hope , roaring.......