Aug 302011
 

In the same week that a man in Kerry wrote to the media revealing that his children are hungry because all his money goes on the mortgage, we have the unseemly spectacle of Tribunal lawyers demanding a special payment to get them over the pain of their contracts ending.  And we also learn that our esteemed former Prime Minister, on top of his huge salary and his huge ministerial pension, has sucked a further €270,000 in expenses from the State since he stepped down.

During the course of the Moriarty Tribunal, one barrister, Jerry Healy, earned €9 million in fees at a rate of €2,250 per day — or at least, that’s what it should have been but for a typographical error by a civil servant, who accidentally confirmed in a letter that the daily rate would be €2,500.

Did this barrister immediately contact the Department to point out the mistake?
No.  Healy, and one other colleague, John Coughlan, gratefully trousered the inadevertent 11% increase in fees.  Furthermore, on legal advice, the Department continued paying the higher rate even after the mistake was discovered.

These people, it seems, having earned six, seven, eight, nine million in fees from the State, have been insisting on payments of about €30,000.  For what?  For stopping work, now that the Tribunal is finished.

Now, to my mind, we should not only be be asking why this mistake was allowed to stand, but also, why anyone — anyone — deserves to be paid €2,000 per day.  I think we should be looking very hard at the sense of entitlement among certain professions.  Was the contribution of Jerry Healy and John Coughlan so great that one week of their services was worth €25,000?

A Tribunal is not a court of law.  Even if we accept that lawyers can charge such rates to private clients, I see no reason for the State to carry such a burden.  Who said that a Tribunal has to be run by lawyers?  Many people in many professions are trained to think logically, analytically and forensically.  Why not appoint, let’s say, a professor of physics to head a tribunal?  Why not employ people who routinely ask hard questions to staff it?  Scientists, engineers, doctors, architects.  Such a team would have an additional benefit over lawyers: they’d actually know something.

When you look at the staggering fees paid to the likes of Jerry Healy and John Coughlan, you’d have to conclude that there is something seriously wrong with the way we set up these things.  The chairman of the tribunal has sole authority to appoint his staff and to agree his fees.  Nobody else may interfere.

Can this be right?

After pocketing €9 million in fees, the highest-earning lawyer working for the Tribunal is demanding a consolation prize of €30,000 to ease his pain now that the money-tap has finally been turned off.

I suppose it could be worse.  They could have hired Wayne Rooney.

As the old folks used to say when I was a child growing up: Much wants more.
Meanwhile, there’s Bertie Ahern, three years out of office and still bleeding us dry.  Having destroyed our economy through his ineptitude and stupidity, the worst prime minister in Irish history has claimed  €264,000 in expenses since May 2008, including €7,500 on phone calls.  This is on top of his €150,000 pension and the TD’s salary he drew down until his party was ejected from office.

Almost none of Ahern’s expenses are connected to official duties on behalf of the State.  Most of it has to do with facilitating his lucrative sideline with the Washington Speakers Bureau, netting €27,000 per speech.

Ahern has taken ten times as much as John Bruton, who claimed nothing at all for 2009.

But look.  Let’s not talk about Fingers Fingleton and his watch, or his multi-million euro pension fund.  Let’s not talk about the countless billions poured into the banks to save them from the incompetence, greed and in some cases criminality of their management. Let’s not talk about millionaire lawyers looking to squeeze the last drop out of their handsomely-paying gigs.  Let’s not talk about corrupt political parties looking after their cronies and sinking the country they claim to serve.  Let’s not talk about medical consultants demanding, and getting, twice as much as their European colleagues.  Let’s not talk about those with power committing economic treason.

Instead, let’s look at people fiddling fifty or a hundred euros from the welfare.  Let’s shine the searchlight at some guy on the dole who paints a house to earn an extra few shillings for a child’s birthday.

Let’s blame the dole scroungers.   It worked for Margaret Thatcher and it will work for us.

Right?

What was it my poor old mother used to say?  Much wants more.

  16 Responses to “Much Wants More — Bertie and the Millionaire Tribunal Lwyers”

Comments (16)
  1.  

    Terrific post. Spot on. But if all those things are not to be talked about then talk of the real Ireland is safely kept quiet. Just like it is in our newspapers and on TV and radio.
    The powers that be suck the plebs for every little bit, isn’t that the nature of things.
    And when the brits (them that bequethed us their legal profession) did likewise to our ancestors, they had an uprising.
    How stupid are we after that?

  2.  

    I read about the Ahern expenses the other day and am still shocked. Somehow this seems worse than all the bankers and developers put together

    The more one looks at behaviour like his(forget about the lawyers – they are the same the world over) the more I think that the governance of this country has never really emerged from the immediate post-colonial phase. We really are the same as those failed African states, where one tribe gets on top for a while, rewards its own while milking the country dry, to be replaced by the next tribe who does exactly the same thing.

    The only example of good governance that I can think of in the last 40 years was the policy instated in the late 70s and early 80s (if I’m not mistaken)to invest in education related to the sciences, which resulted in a highly-skilled young workforce who drove the first – healthy – part of the Celtic Tiger economy.

    Long since pissed away by the likes of Ahern and his ilk … he’s still laughing at us, you know …

    And you’re bang on about your last point also ….

  3.  

    Tis slightly infuriating.
    You’d have to wonder, if like Nama, the tribunals were set up to benefit the few ‘elites’ – I mean thieving, shameless, parasites.

    9 million and looking for a consolation prize – how about a boot up the backside.

    Do we not have access to that gobshite Ahern’s expense claims?
    Who the fuck is he ringing, party hot lines?
    “Ah he-he-low, this is Bertie, just say ‘loaaads a mo-ne-ney to me darlin'”.
    Gobshite.

  4.  

    We are the gobshite’s…..

  5.  

    US Airforce C-130’s delivering staggering amounts of cash to Iraq of which 6.6 billion cannot be accounted for.

    Government bank bail out cash being used as bonus money paid to people that had brought their companies to near collapse…..

    …..and yet according to fox news those on benefits and entitlements are bleeding the US dry……the world can seem very surreal at times.

    Not sure I get the Wayne Rooney reference though.

  6.  

    Thank you Bock, at least there’s someone out there highlighting the injustices of this little country we live in!
    As old James Gogarty said at one of the tribunals when a Barrister said to him when he didn’t understand a question
    “OK MR GOGARTY, I’LL REPEAT IT AGAIN FOR YOU VERY SLOWLY”
    GOGARTY REPLIED..”AND IF I WAS ON THE MONEY YOU’RE ON, I’D BE INCLINED TO REPEAT IT SLOWLY AS WELL”

  7.  

    us mere peasants go to court!
    the elite get a tribunal, and for gods sake, don’t find anyone guilty,you’ll ruin the little cosy system!

  8.  

    These high-profile gangsters are certainly good at robbing the peasants.However,we have a second tier of less obvious but just as successful ones.Us peasants are burdened with among the highest-paid civil servants in the world.Just why these people get paid so much,do so little work and get such huge pensions is a mystery to us ordinary folk trying to survive in the real world.

  9.  

    Excellent post.Hear! Hear!

    But why do we put up with it? Who will save us from ourselves?

  10.  

    The worst thing about these trubunals is tha tmuch if not all of what is found out is inadmissable in court. Should we ever move criminal proceedings there is little chance of any convictions.

    As a poster above said
    “us mere peasants go to court!
    the elite get a tribunal”

    no doubt when, in years to come, we become wise to this legal scam, we will initiate another tribunal. The Tribunals Tribunal, because some people never learn.

  11.  

    Tribunals in principle are a good idea – they work well in other countries, but then these other countries also have proper systems of parliamentary investigation – witness the recent treatment of the Murdochs in the UK.

    As Bock quite rightly states in his people it’s the people who populate these tribunals are the problem – experts (parliamentary or otherwise) could do the job just as well

    Let’s not forget the main point here – the behaviour of Ahern and his ilk (think Callely not too long ago) – that’s the root of the problem. These people do these things because they know they can get away with them, plus they lack something – empathy, self-awareness – call it what you like. The fact that Ahern is still taking great pleasure in pissing on us from a height tells you everything you need to know about the malaise at this level of Irish governance.

  12.  

    Well it just goes to show that the politicos, the lawyers, bankers, the ‘not so civil servants in their 2011 cars and other gobshites (although we’re the idiots), are mean minded individuals who collectively led us to the economic turmoil we’re in but ……………they know enough to keep bleeding us until perhaps the IMF might step and put a stop to it in but …..no that’s wishful thinking. Who’s protecting the guy who was sent to jail for not having a dog license, the person who collected an extra tenner on the dole, the patient on a trolley for three days and of course us idiot taxpayers. I would much prefer to turn into some sort of raging pyschopath and get that sniper rifle from Santa….then we’ll have some payback……………but unfortunately (??), I’m a pacifist (albeit an angry one). Well I’m off for me tea ………grump

  13.  

    I don’t believe a word the snake says, but wouldn’t it be great if this were true ….

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0901/1224303294200.html

  14.  

    Tony, I’m convinced that the man is a compulsive liar. However, even if that story turns out to be true, I can’t feel any sympathy for him.

  15.  

    Apparently the most cunning one is having a 60th birthday party in Croke Park. The invitations to same are said to be in the style of the tickets which the GAA issues for hurling and football matches. As self absorbed as ever,bert must suffer from a dreadful sense of insecurity. Is it too much to hope that the soon to be published Moriarty report will confirm what we already know?

  16.  

    Bertie declared he was a socialist just like Ceaucescu who also suffered from an overdose of self delusion and notions of grandeur.Differences are Bertie is still alive and making money!

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