" 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 14, 2006

30-cent-a-text Newstalk Radio , almost Nationwide .


This blog recently published a piece concerning what we consider to be the 30-cent-a-text rip-off charge by Newstalk Radio , and have now been contacted by a person called 'Clancy' who , rightly, used our piece on a Forum (Boards Ireland.com) in connection with the cost of a text to that station . A campaign is presently under way on Boards Ireland.com to encourage the station owners to drop the 30 cent charge - we wish that campaign all the best and would ask our readers to sign the petition .

Incidentally - our records show that ,on Monday 9 February 2004 , Newstalk 106FM (as it was then known) ran a recruitment 'advertisement' for the 'Queens Own Hibernians' , a British Army 'Regiment' : John , from this blog , contacted the station to complain about the fact that any Irish radio station should stoop so low as to assist a foreign army which continued to maintain an unwanted armed presence on Irish soil . On Tuesday morning , 10 February 2004 , the same advertisement was broadcast again on Newstalk Radio - before John could pick up a telephone to ring in a complaint again , his own mobile phone rang : it was Dan Healy , Newstalk Chief Executive at the time , on the line , and he apologised for the fact that John had taken offence at the advertisement. According to Mr Healy , the station had received "...hundreds of complaints.." in connection with that advertisement , which had now "...being pulled.." .
Dan Healy explained that that particular British Army 'regiment' was one which station management had made-up ,and ran an 'advertisement' for , simply as a way to gauge the attention paid to its ads by Newstalk listeners ! The whole thing was a 'joke' , in other words - an internal Newstalk campaign by way of which the station could 'prove' to potential advertisers that its listeners do pay attention to advertisements run on the station .


We can only hope that the 30-cent text charge is another 'internal campaign' by Newstalk , and one which they will 'pull' soon . Because we don't find it at all 'funny' .

Best of luck to all at Boards Ireland.com in their campaign against Newstalk's rip-off text charges . Sign their petition if you can .

Sharon .






Friday, October 13, 2006

PILLARS OF SOCIETY : MICHAEL O' LEARY .......
From 'Phoenix' magazine , April 1986 .

Having fallen in love with ministerial office , Michaeel O' Leary entered a new age , developing a passion for the Labour Leader's job : alas , his ardour was to remain unrequited . It was his arch rival , Frank Cluskey , bearded like the bard , who won the horny hand of the Parliamentary Labour Party .

An alternative career now began to develop with our hero appearing , if not as a Justice , certainly before quite a few of them , in his advocate's role - " Full of wise saws and modern instances?" Well , hardly . However , after four years of sulking in the shadows , Micko finally received the call to arms following Frank Cluskey's election defeat in June 1981 . Jealous of honour , quick in quarrel , the new Labour 'General' eagerly sought the bubble reputation in the cannon's mouth . But the bubble was soon to burst .

Fifteen months later he discovered far too many hostile cannons trained upon him at the 1982 Labour Conference : his reputation in shreds , his policy shot to pieces , the embittered lost Labour Leader abandoned his troops , if not entitrely his 'cause' - and so to his sixth and latest age as ' a lean and slippered pantaloon...' , dwelling uneasily on the Fine Gael backbenches . A strange history indeed.......
(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 .

When it was put to Brian O' Carroll that the political connections of C&D Foods could have helped in that company's application , he said that he could understand how such a " ...conclusion.." was drawn . According to the Dublin consultant previously quoted , some "...political contact was a requirement . The deal would need a sponsor (effectively a serving government Minister) to make representations on the company's behalf and explain why it would provide employment or protect jobs etc .. "

After the Masri affair broke , the rules for the issuing of passports seemed to tighten considerably . One London firm , which provides service in offshore company formation and foreign citizenship , describes what it terms '...the Rolls Royce..' of Irish citizenship in its promotional literature.

However, further enquiries by this reporter into the feasibility of receiving an Irish passport for investment were not received enthusiastically - we were told that "... Ireland is now very hard.." , but that Brazilian citizenship was still very much a runner ....... !
(MORE LATER).


EMPIRES OF DUST .......
Britain's leaders talk about remodelling the world and its historians draw attention to the 'good side of the old empire' . But what about the reality ?
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 2003 .
By Edel Brosnan .

Britain is learning to love its multicultural present but , like a Marxist turned management consultant , the nation that once ruled half the world is embarrassed about its past . Pride in the empire gave way to a vague sense of guilt - the " sorry we shot your grandad , stole your land and enslaved your people' syndrome .

To the delight of 'Daily Telegraph' readers everywhere , that might be about to change : historian Niall Ferguson - flag-waver-in-chief for the good old days- recently unleashed a hefty tome entitled ' Empire : How Britain Made The Modern World ' ('1169.....' Comment - we presume the word 'Suffer' is missing from the end of that title....) . It is being marketed as a shock-the-liberals special , and even had its own TV series on Channel 4 . Guess what ? Subject nations prospered under the kind rule of British masters ; the imperial adventure was a 'Force for Good' !

Come again...? Niall Ferguson is an entertaining figure , enthusiastic as a puppy-dog and just as photogenic , but this is just silly.......
(MORE LATER).







Thursday, October 12, 2006

Abraham Lincoln .


Listening to various radio stations today , I could not help but to get angry over the amount of time which programme presenters and news bulletins dedicated to the so-called "historic" talks in Scotland between those who wish to further surrender and humiliate themselves and those they wish to surrender to (though the latter are in no hurry , having already drawn the military teeth from the former) .

Following a comment from a co-worker , I was reminded of the words of U. S. President Abraham Lincoln , who stated that the American Civil War (1861-1865) was fought to ensure "...that self-determination belonged only to the whole people of the nation.." Mr. Lincoln went on to say - " On what rightful principle may a State , being not more than one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population , break up the nation and then coerce a proportionally larger sub-division of itself in the most arbitrary way ."

Those that are "making history" in Scotland would do well to remember that the Six-County area , which was politically cut-off from the rest of this isle in the 1920's , had never existed before as an entity in history , or politics , or economically . Nor should it be allowed or , indeed , encouraged , to exist , regardless of whether its present 'owners' (Westminster) hand over the 'reins of power' to their 'newest' pets , the Provisionals , or not .
The only proper solution is for Westminster to withdraw politically and militarily from this isle - and that is the one issue which is not on the agenda at that particular meeting . Nothing "historic" there , so .






Wednesday, October 11, 2006

PILLARS OF SOCIETY : MICHAEL O' LEARY .
From 'Phoenix' magazine , April 1986 .

All of Leinster House is a stage and all the deputies (members) and senators merely players . They have their exits and their elections , and one man in his time plays many parts - that man is Michael O' Leary , former (State) 'Tanaiste' (ie 'second-in-command') , (State) Minister for Labour , Industry and Energy , and Leader of The Labour Party . The question is , when will Michael O' Leary change parties again ?

The career of O' Leary to date has certainly been , in the words of the Bard , ' a strange and eventful history' ! First there was the enfant terrible of the 1960's , mewling and puking on the otherwise staid and conservative Labour Front Bench . His infantile 'oats' having been sown , Micko began to develop rapidly .

The next stage was the whining schoolboy of the 1970's , creeping not at all unwillingly to his State Ministerial desk : on the whole, Micko didn't have a bad coalition , with various pieces of reforming Labour legislation to his credit , albeit with the assistance of an EEC gun to the Dublin Administration's head.......
(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 .

Of course , there is no suggestion that the deal was anything other that a bona-fide investment in a successful Irish manufacturing company . And Albert Reynolds , who was a serving State Minister at the time , has stated that he had no knowledge or part in the transaction . However , as one of the few companies which have been confirmed beneficiaries of the scheme it would be interesting to know exactly what shape the "...ongoing.." relationship took and how it contributed to the growth of C&D Foods .

The Roscommon accountant , Brian O' Carroll was recently associated with an investment in a Cork pottery company - a deal in which it was revealed that one of the investors had also made a political donation from an account set up for the initial purpose of housing the investors' money ! The sum , £10,000 , ended up in an account where the signatories were prominent Fianna Fail members , including Bertie Ahern : this was in 1993 , when the scheme was run on an ad-hoc basis through the (State) Department of Justice .

Brian O' Carroll brought investors to four Irish companies and a number of passports were issued to the family of each investor - in all he delivered approximately fifteen passports : he stressed that each investor came up with a minimum of £1 million in each case and that no 'discounting' ever took place in any of his deals , although he was aware of such a process.......
(MORE LATER).


EMPIRES OF DUST .
Britain's leaders talk about remodelling the world and its historians draw attention to the 'good side of the old empire' . But what about the reality ?
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 2003 .
By Edel Brosnan .

The Tower of London dates back to AD 1070 but that does not stopit looking , on the outside , like a stone-clad knock-off monument - a 'Made-in-China' fake . You could buy a decent bottle of Chablis for the price of an entrance ticket . However , to understand the British Empire , and what it really meant , the Jewel House at the Tower is the place to start .

The gems , the gold - the sheer vulgar magnificence of it all - could bring out the forelock-tugging royalist in anyone . Anyone , that is , except my father . He took one look at the Star Of India , the Star of Africa and the Cullinan Diamond (317 carats - you don't find that in Argos!) , then he muttered "...stolen goods , the lot of it.." .

Stolen is probably the wrong word : let's go with extorted or commandeered instead . You cannot walk through central London without tripping over an imperial souvenir - a 'heroic' statue , a triumphal arch , the Tate galleries at Pimlico and Bankside (the Tate fortune has its roots in the Caribbean sugar-and-slave trade) . Until recently, though , the locals didn't like to talk about it.......
(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Homelessness .

" Education is an admirable thing . But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught . " - Oscar Wilde .


In the same few days that attention was focussed on Bertie Ahern and the few shillings that this 'plain-man-of-the-people' received in Manchester - and at the expense of highlighting other dodgy deals and the continuing mis-conduct in this corrupt State's 'Health Service' , 'Allied Irish Bank' announced that none of its Officials will be disciplined in regards to its 'internal investigation' into the manner in which AIB customers were defrauded by over-charging . AIB management announced that they had discovered a further £21 million in illicit fees charged to customers during the late 1980's and early 1990's , bringing to £65.8 million the total (so far?) value of the banks rip-off ! However , no-one will be held accountable because , according to AIB bosses , there is a lack of evidence "...due principally to the passage of time.." So , presumably , if you can avoid paying back your loan to this bank for as long as possible , you will be in the clear ... !
Finally ,if , by some misfortune or other , you find yourself homeless , you may find that a bed awaits you courtesy of the Horsey Set - for it has recently been announced here that , from 2001 to date , €317 million of taxpayers money has been handed over to those that oversee the 'Sport of Kings' in this wee Statelet .
Jolly glad to see that our priorities are right.......






Monday, October 09, 2006


"Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest...? "

Another day , another "historic" meeting - this one held in Stormont , one of the two British-imposed 'parliaments' in Ireland .
Fr.Brady spoke about 'creating a more stable and prosperous future (in the Six Counties)... ' :
"I firmly believe that such a future is within our grasp if each one of us can find the courage to take account of the needs of the other, and not just those of our own community .I think that real peace will come only when we focus on the common good of all of our society and not just on sectional interest."

Like others that sat in similar chairs , at similar tables ,at similar meetings before them , both men , and the 'camps' they represent , no doubt fully realise that "...real peace.." in the troubled Six North-Eastern counties of Ireland will only materialise after Westminster withdraws its military and political presence from this isle and drops its jurisdictional claim over those six Irish counties . But it would not only hurt the 'Establishment' should they say so - it would also place both men , and their supporters , outside said 'Establishment' . And political careers are not furthered by being outside the tent pissing in . And becuse of that fact , the conflict continues .






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

Joe McGrath and Jack O' Sheehan are dead : Archie Doyle went , though not before telling us how they had shot Kevin O' Higgins : Eamonn Duggan is no more , nor Uncle Jack and Aunt Molly .

Maybe it's time to think about the living , for I believe that there is still some twelve million pounds in the Irish Hospitals Trust account : why not divide it between the sacked employees who , over forty years , have done as much as anybody else for the good of medicine in this State ?
[END of 'LOTTERIES AND OTHER HOLD-UPS']
(Next - 'Pillars of Society - Michael O' Leary' : from 1986)


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 .

There is an unconfirmed account , related by one source who successfully operated as a go-between for investors and Irish companies , that a bank could give 'letters of comfort' to the investor , effectively guaranteeing the return of his/her money in exchange for a " discounted " facility fee . If this is the case , the 'Passport For Investment Scheme' was abused and no 'investment' , in the sense of risk , was ever made .

In the most 'famous' case , that of the Masri's investment* in C&D Foods (*by Munib R. Masri) , no information has ever been forthcoming on what exactly the Palestinian businessmen got for their investment , or even how much the investment was. The man who is regarded as the facilitator for the Masri deal , Roscommon accountant Brian O' Carroll , spoke to 'Magill' magazine : we asked him three questions regarding the transaction -
A) The size of the Masri's investment ?
b) What class of equity was issued in return for the investment ?
c) If no equity was invested , what did the Masris receive from C&D Foods ?

Brian O' Carroll confirmed to us that the investment was £1.1 million : he stated that he did not negotiate with the Masris on the shape of the investment - that he just effected an introduction - but that the money was a "...loan.." and did not involve equity changing hands . On what the Masris received in return , apart from two passports , he says that there was a promise of "...ongoing.." trade links between the Reynolds and the Masris.......
(MORE LATER).



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

Tony Gregory was proved wrong in not running Mick Rafferty in the by-election caused by the death of Fianna Fail's George Colley - (Provisional) Sinn Fein's Christy Burke , who was also involved in the anti-drugs campaign, outpolled the (State) LabourParty and gave the Workers Party a run for their money .

With Fianna Fail and Fine Gael now set to throw all their resources into winning Dublin seats at the next election , Tony Gregory's position is in danger : unlike the days when he held the aces , he can no longer deliver . Crumbs from 'the deal' still remain , but that may not be enough . He is still popular , but with Charles Haughey and Garret Fitzgerald offering the sun , moon and stars , Gregory may fall down on the vital first preference vote.

He could then find himself battling for transfers , which was how he came to Leinster House in the first place .
[END of 'The Younger Breed : Tony Gregory']
(Next-'Empires Of Dust' : from 'MAGILL' magazine , 2003)