Categories
Favourites Religion Scandal

Government Announces Inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes

How symbolic it is that the  inquiry into the oppressive practices of the religious orders in Ireland should be announced by a son  of Oliver J Flanagan.

Who’s that? somebody asked me earlier today.

oliver j flanaganOliver J Flanagan, TD, was an extremely conservative Catholic bigot, an anti-Semite, a short-lived Fine Gael minister and a proud Knight of Columbanus.  The Mountmellick Monolith,  as John Healy once called him in the Irish Times, represented the worst of parish-pump Irish political stroke-pulling, a ward-heeling kisser of every episcopal ring that came within 100 miles of his ambit and a symbol of everything that was wrong with this backward little country since independence.

How refreshing, therefore, that his son, Charlie Flanagan, minister for children and youth affairs, should be the one to announce a commission of inquiry into the activities of the mother and baby homes that wrought such misery on some Irish people, with the active support of many others.

Charlie is a man of integrity.  In 2011, he called for the expulsion of the papal Legate from Ireland, something that would probably have led to the early demise of Oliver J, but it took another three years before Charlie and his leader finally confronted the horror that lies at  the heart of clerical domination in Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant.

Nevertheless, well and good.  They’ve done it.  There will be a commission of inquiry with full judicial powers, and what’s more, the chair won’t necessarily be a judge or indeed a lawyer of any kind.  It seems that the government has decided to leave no loose ends this time.  The inquiry will look into the high mortality rates in the homes, forced adoptions, clinical trials, anatomical dissections, falsification of consent papers, criminally-negligent obstetric treatment of mothers, and a desire by some to punish young women who had become pregnant either through  their own actions or as a result of rape.

This is the story of 35,000 young mothers, disposed of by a society steeped in shame, and 35,000 babies dismissed as little more than rubbish, to be  sold, abused or buried at the whim of some emotionally-disordered religious petty tyrant.

We’ve reached a very significant moment in assessing what precisely Irish Independence really meant.  Did those most conservative revolutionaries really fight for Rome Rule?  Whose freedom did they have in mind, with all their fine words?

It certainly doesn’t seem to have been the freedom of the weak, the poor or the vulnerable.

Ireland was not Afghanistan, but in the way it treated its daughters, it wasn’t all that different and it’s time for us to look very hard indeed at what we are and where we came from.

Categories
Favourites Health Scandal

John Crown’s Exposure of St. Vincent’s Hospital Fraud Exposes Deeper Malaise in Irish Healthcare

Professor John CrownProfessor John Crown is a walking, talking example of how the Senate can be used to expose the things that are wrong with Irish society.  Yesterday, using parliamentary privilege, Crown informed the House of his belief that the management of St Vincent’s hospital defrauded the government in 2002, subsequently spent a fortune on a cover-up and intimidated staff members who might be likely to expose what went on.

The fraud was simple: some cancer patients who were insured with VHI agreed to take part in clinical trials of new drugs.  Such trials are subject to strict EU rules: doctors conducting the tests are not paid for the work, and the drugs are provided to the hospital free of charge, clearly marked as experimental.  Nevertheless, St Vincents charged the VHI and other insurers €1 million for the drugs and the clinical treatment.  (The State owns VHI in its entirety).

According to John Crown, consultant oncologist at the hospital and also a senator, he has come into possession of certain documents which he believes prove that a cover-up occurred.  Crown first notified the Irish Medicines Board of his suspicions in 2002 and says that, although an investigation began, it was almost immediately stopped and “reformatted”, by which he presumably means given new terms of reference.  In addition, he claims that substantial intimidation was brought to bear, again, presumably against himself as the whistle-blower, and against whatever other staff provided him with information.

Two questions arise from this.  Firstly, who applied pressure to the statutory body responsible for regulation of medicines in Ireland?  And secondly, who within the Irish Medicines Board acceded to that pressure and called off the investigation?

Where have we seen this sort of thing before?

Just replace St Vincent’s with Anglo-Irish Bank and replace IMB with Financial Regulator.

Light-touch regulation as practised at the 19th hole.

Of course, the dust from the CRC scandal hasn’t settled, and we’re still paying the costs of the Residential Institutions Redress Board, so let me ask you this: what do all these things have in common?

The answer is simple enough — they all arose from privately-owned institutions that were somehow afforded a status equivalent to State bodies.  The exchequer pays all the costs of St Vincent’s which is owned by an order of nuns, it pays all the salaries of the CRC and most of their running costs, it’s paying €1.4 billion in compensation to the victims of the religious orders in the residential institutions while the orders themselves have not yet paid a cent.

Why are essential services in the control of private charities and of religious bodies when we, the taxpayers, fund them in their entirety?  Some will tell you that it came about because the State was unwilling to fund the services and so the religious orders had to step in.  This is nonsense.  What it was really about it this: the churches wanted control of healthcare for ideological reasons, and the State, in the person of its ministers, was too obsequious and grovelling to face them down.  That’s why religious orders and other private companies own our healthcare facilities even though we pay for the whole lot.  And that’s why they can give us two fingers when we ask them for information about how our money is spent.

I might just remind you that the management of St Vincent’s hospital in the last few days refused to disclose to the Public Accounts Committee what top-ups its senior executives receive and from what sources those top-ups come.

Let’s be grateful we have people like John Crown to ask the hard questions.

st-patricks-ward_st-vincents-hospital-dublin 2

 

Categories
Favourites Health Scandal

Central Remedial Clinic Salary Top-Up Scandal

Anyone who has ever worked to raise funds for a charity must be feeling sick to the pit of their stomach on hearing the latest news about the Central Remedial Clinic.

paul kiely bertie ahernFirst we heard that the CRC’s former chief executive, Paul Kiely, couldn’t get by on a State salary of €106,900 but luckily, help was at hand in the form of a top-up from The Friends and Supporters of the CRC, a charity.   In other words, the chief executive was more than doubling his salary from charitable donations given to help with the treatment of patients.

Not only that, but we now learn that five other senior staff are receiving similar top-ups from the charity fund.

And we discover that, while the clinic is cutting back services to disabled children, the Friends and Supporters account contains €14 million.

Kiely, by the way, is a close associate of Bertie Ahern and prominent member of the Fianna Fáil Drumcondra Mafia, and remains on the board of the CRC.

I almost want to throw up, as anyone would who ever worked to raise money for a charity.  Many people will now be asking if all the time and effort they put into fundraising really went to help anyone apart from the senior staff of a charity by fattening their already well-upholstered salaries.

The sheer effrontery of it is staggering.  The unmitigated brass neck of such people leaves the rest of us gaping in astonishment.

Unfortunately, volunteer fundraisers are now going to ask themselves very hard questions and the consequence is that charities will suffer, thanks to the barefaced greed of the people at the top of the Central Remedial Clinic.

Oh, and by the way, guess who sits on the board of the Friends and Supporters of the Remedial Clinic.  That’s right.   None other than Paul Kiely himself.  How about that?

Much wants more, as people used to say in the old days.

I don’t know if any of this is illegal, but it seems fair to ask the following: would a reasonable person have expected his donations to end up in the pocket of the CEO?

____________________

Directors

Central Remedial Clinic Friends of the Central Remedial Clinic
Hassia Jameson Hassia Jameson
Vincent Brady
James Nugent James Nugent
Martin Walsh
Pat Ryan
Ailbhe Rice Jones Ailbhe Rice Jones
Hamilton Goulding Hamilton Goulding
David Martin
Mary Day
Paul Kiely Paul Kiely (retired 1st July 2013)
Brian Conlan Brian Conlan
Frances Sheppard

 

__________________

Elsewhere: this excellent article by Brendan O’Connor in the Independent accurately details the difference between the case of Paul Kiely and that of Rhona Mahony.

Categories
Banking Favourites Scandal

100 things Ireland could have got for the price of one Anglo Irish Bank

With the #anglotapes this week it seemed to me a good time to recall those heady days of August 2010 when we had spent only €25 billion on Anglo.  At that time Ronan Lyons and I penned this little piece in the Sunday Business Post.  — BL

__________________________________

This week, it was announced that the EU had approved a further injection of our taxpayer money into additional capital for Anglo-Irish Bank . This brings the total as of now to  almost €25 billion.  This is money going into a bank that is essentially in wind-down over the coming decade, money that the Irish citizens and taxpayers will not see again, as it is shoring up the balance sheet of a bank that had too much imaginary wealth.  And that is not the end of the money, many fear.

So just how much is €25bn that we are having to borrow for Anglo? In one way, it’s small change, compared to what will possibly be €200bn in borrowings by the State to fund the non-banking deficit between the onset of the crisis and 2020. But to any rational mind €25bn is still a mind-bogglingly large amount of money.  The State has limited borrowing capacity, limited by a combination of what the taxpayer can repay. In putting €25 billion into Anglo, the government, on our behalf, has spent money that can not be used for other projects.  Here is a list, then, of 100 things – grouped into various categories – that the government could have spent €25 billion but chose not to.

Ireland could make a major contribution to fighting global poverty world-poverty

€25 billion would go a long way in the fight against global poverty. Here are a few suggestions:

100. Buy enough malaria nets to protect the entire malaria-affected population of the world (half a billion people) for 80 years (based on NothingButNets figures of $10 a net)

99. Completely fund the World Food Programme for five years

98. Repair twice over the damage done to Haiti in the recent earthquake

97. Fund enough clean water and infrastructure projects to meet the Millennium Development Goals in those areas

96. Buy up and extinguish the national debt of Bangladesh

95. Fund the UNESCO “Information for All” Project for 1200 years

94. Provide food aid to Niger for 1000 years

93. Asphalt every trunk and regional road (110,000km) of substandard road in sub-Saharan Africa

Ireland could become a World Science and Technology Hub leneye

Major scientific and technological projects cost a lot of money. But rarely €25 billion.  Here are a few ways Ireland could have used the money to become a global hub for major breakthroughs in science and technology.

92. Start our own space programme, with twenty €1.2 billion space shuttles

91. Foot the bill for a century of global research into nuclear fusion (the current 30-year global ITER project is expected to cost €5-10 billion)

90. Research & develop 5000 new drugs. One of  ’em’s bound to be useful

89. Construct 6 Large Hadron Colliders – one for each Green Party TD

88. Build 5 James Webb Space Telescope (the successor to Hubble), and revolutionise astronomy

87. Build two magnetoplasma space vehicles which in theory could get to mars in 40 days

86. Build a space elevator

85. Build two ITER nuclear fusion reactors and provide the world with cheap, abundant energy.

We could decide to give ourselves a break holidays

What about using the €25bn to give ourselves a break? Here are a number of things that €25 billion could pay for, while we take a break.

84. Pay the interest on everyone’s mortgage for 4 years (€147 billion of mortgages at 4% is €5.88 billion a year)

83. Abolish income tax for two years (based on 2009 gov income tax receipts of €11.8 billion)

82. Offer everyone on the live register €100,000 to emigrate (we could afford a 50% take-up by the 466,000 on the dole)

81. Abolish VAT for two and a half years (based on 2009 receipts of €10.8 billion)

80. Remove excise duty from fuel, tobacco and alcohol until 2015 (based on exise receipts of €4.7 billion a year)

79. Pay the grocery bills of everybody in the country for 2.5 years

78. Scrap all fares on all forms of public transport, intercity and commuter trains and buses for 33 years

We could just treat ourselves scrooge-mcduck-1

We could just treat ourselves with the €25 billion windfall. Here are some suggestions as to how.

77. Run the world’s best ever lottery – every Irish citizens is entered into a draw where 25,000 people become millionaires!

76. Give every OAP a pension of 55,000 for a year….

75. Fly the adult population of Ireland to Las Vegas, give everyone €10k to gamble with

74. Give every person in the country €5,555.56

73. Buy half a million ecofriendly Nissan Leaf cars and have enough for a 5GW nuclear power station with the cash left over

72. Provide a new laptop every year to every second level student for 147 years

71. Buy a 32GB iPhone, a 64GB iPad, a 13? 2.13GHz MacBook Air and a 27-inch iMac for every man, woman and child living in Ireland

We could treat the world icecream

Treating ourselves is probably a bit selfish. Here are some ways to make the rest of the world like us more!

70. Buy 6.7 billion copies (one for everybody in the world) of Joyce’s “portrait of the artist as a young man”

69. Buy a pint of guinness for everyone in the world to celebrate Arthur’s Day (and it would count as exports)

68. Buy every child in the world a 99 ice-cream cone every day for a week

67. Send every adult in the world on an MSc in Social Media in NCI

66. Send 225,000 people to do the Harvard MBA

We could truly become the world’s biggest sports fan 10bestclubs_2012

Sport is big business. But not that big. With €25 billion, we could…

65. Buy the world’s 20 most valuable soccer clubs, worth €9.6 billion, wipe their debt (€2.3 billion) and move them to Ireland, building each a 75,000-seater stadium (€600m each, based off cost of Aviva stadium)

64. Host two Olympics games, based on the London 2012 cost of €11.2 billion

63. Buy Tonga and Fiji, which would have obvious rugby advantages

62. Construct 25 Bertie-bowls (one for each county except Dublin!)

61. Buy 83,300 McLaren supercars

60. Buy the entire stock of tickets and merchandise for all premier league clubs for the next 12 years

We could decide to really become a major player on world markets 2374

Banking and finance got us into this mess. Surely they can get us out?

59. Buy €600 billion in Credit Default Swaps on Ireland (could pay off nicely in the next few years!)

58. Buy two of Asia’s largest banks – Bank Central Asia and Malayan Banking

57. Recapitalise ALL the banks in Europe that failed the stress tests

56. Purchase Monsanto, as a present for the green party, or (buy Nokia as a present for Ivor Callely)

55. Give each one of the 10,000 most senior bankers a round of golf on old head Kinsale, the most expensive course in Europe, every day for 20 years, and hope that they come up with some ideas!

54. Subsidise the US postal service for ten years.

53. Allow the Italian Government to not put in place its 3-year austerity plan.

52. Pay the salaries of TCD and UCD academics for 100 years.

We could just do it  because we can burjkhalifadubai-828m

While the Government says it’s not a waste of €25 billion, many people believe it is. Here are ten ways to really spend €25bn.

51. Buy Steve Jobs (€25 billion is actuarial value on his life) and get him to work for Ireland Inc.

50. Buy gold plating 1.75mm thick for O’Connell Street

49. 25,00 carats of red diamond, enough to encrust a Mercedes.

48. Build a shed 10k long by 4k wide and put it around Tullamore.

47. Buy every one of the 5.8m cattle in the country, and to keep their little feet cosy two pairs of jimmy choos each

46. Detach the People’s Republic of Cork from the Republic of Ireland, by constructing a 10-metre wide moat – the per-kilometre cost of the new Gothard Tunnel in Switzerland suggests this may cost €30bn but I’m sure we could haggle them down in a recession.

45. Cover the entire county of Dublin a foot deep in corn

44. Hire Bertie to speak for 95 years

43. Purchase carbon credits to allow us to burn 3,000 sq miles of hardwood forest

42. Build 20 copies of the Burj Khalifa Dubai, the worlds tallest building

We could just splash the cash item0-size-queen-mary-2-100488-1

When people win the lottery, there’s naturally a tendency to splash the cash. Winning a €25 billion lottery would certainly allow us to splash the cash.  Here are some ideas.

41. Buy 1,000 luxury yachts to kickstart the Upper Shannon Rural Renewal Scheme (78-footers, 2nd-tier Russian oligarch standard)

40. Buy over one third of Denmark, 10% of France or three Luxembourgs, based on 2008 land costs

39. Send 833 people into space (or perhaps just 1,666 one way trips…)

38. Stay in the most expensive hotel room in the world for 3,400 years (it’s the Atlantis resort, Bahamas in case you were wondering)

37. Build 50 ginormous cruise liners akin to Carnival Splendour or Queen Mary 2

36. Make 100 Avatar-type films, which lets remember made back its money x4 at the box office!

35. Buy every TD a Boeing Dreamliner, ideal for those trips to Glenties

34. Purchase 35 of the world’s most expensive mobile phone (goldstriker iPhone 3GS supreme) for every member of the Oireachtas!

33. Build four Libraries of Alexandia in each county.

32. Endow one university to the level of Harvard.

31. Tile Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown totally in nice porcelain.

30. Buy five Nimitz Class Nuclear supercarriers to scare the bejaysus out of the Spanish trawlers.

29. Or buy 17 Virginia Class nuclear attack submarines, if we wanted to sneak up on the Spanish trawlers instead.

28. Supply the water needs of Galway City, for a year, with Perrier water

27. Purchase four Birkin Hermes bags for every adult female in the country, one for each season’s wardrobe.

26. Buy and install 100 sq yards of parquet flooring for every single dwelling in the country.

25. Fill the Jack Lynch Tunnel with Midleton Single Cask whiskey

24. Purchase 225,000 kg of the most expensive truffles in the world

23. Buy every house and apartment listed on DAFT.ie and still have 12 billion left to refurbish them

We could transport ourselves  out of this mess 98962638-crop-rectangle3-large

With €25 billion in our back pockets, all those pie-in-the-sky superprojects would no longer be pie in the sky! Here are ten ways Ireland could put itself on the global superproject map.

22. Construct our own “Channel Tunnel” from Rosslare to Pembroke (based on the cost of the Jack Lynch tunnel)

21. Build 1,000 km of high-speed rail, serving all major coastal cities on the island (based on recent costs in Spain)

20. Build 11,150 miles of dual carriageway

19. Put in place a 400 station metro (if we could build it for the cost of Porto’s metro)

18. Put in place a Maglev train from Belfast to Cork via Dublin

17. Build our own Three Gorges Dam, complete with turbines

16. Put in place 12 new Luas lines

15. Build just short of two Hong Kong International Airport (€15 bn each)

14. Build 12 New York-style “Freedom Towers” at €2bn each

13. If we didnt want a tunnel we could have five Oresund-style 20km long bridges (Denmark – Sweden, €5b)

We could pay for improved public services childrenshospital

And lastly, some slightly more practical ways to spend €25bn

12. Build 75 brand new 50-teacher schools and run them for 75 years

11. Build 35 new Children’s Hospitals (based on €700m cost of new Children’s Hospital in Dublin)

10. Pay for an extra 5,000 hospital consultants for 62.5 years, based on Finnish wage (or for 29 years based on Irish wages)

9. Pay for cervical cancer vaccines for every girl going into 1st year for the next 8,333 years

8. Reduce the pupil teacher ratio in primary schools to 1 in 10 for the next 20 years

7. Given an ultra highspeed fibre-optic broadband connection to every single house (including ghost estates…)

6. Buy 8,500 years of private speech and language counselling and really help autistic and speech problematic children

5. Introduce free pre-schooling for 32 years, based on an average cost of €700 a month for two years of 10 months, for all 110,000 children in the country

4. Make education properly free – the current cost from primary school to degree graduation is €70,000 per child. €25bn would bring nearly 400,000 students through their entire education

3. Give medical cards to everyone, for 25 years based on €500m cost in 2009 to cover 1.5m people

2. We  could use the money to renew and replace the drainage and water system of all mains

1. Or we could buy one broken bank…oh, hang on…..

So, a mixture of the bizarre, the stupid, the deeply practical, the useful, all tinged with a sense of lost opportunity. A bit like the government’s solution to the banking crisis really! What this list shows us is that choices matter. Its unlikely that any government would have #50, paving O’Connell street in gold, as a priority (well, not perhaps unless its leader was from Dublin Central), But wouldn’t it be nice if we had a government with the courage and vision to do #18, a maglev on the east coast, which would catapult Ireland into a world leading technological position and cement the all-Ireland economy? or decide  #96 to lift Bangladesh out of poverty? Or … the list goes on, a list of lost opportunities.  And when one considers the additional €100 billion that represents the structural element of the government debt, well…

While Colm McCarthy is correct, that anger is not a policy, its hard to be anything but enraged when one considers the sheer scale of wasted opportunities.

_________________________

Prof. Brian Lucey

 

Categories
Crime Religion Scandal Sexual abuse

Raphoe Diocese Audit Report

This is the full text of the Raphoe Report

 

Download (PDF, 276KB)

Categories
Scandal

Moriarty Tribunal Report Accuses Michael Lowry and Ben Dunne of Corruption

Isn’t it amazing what a bag of cocaine and a bath-full of hookers can lead to?  If Ben Dunne hadn’t been standing bollock-naked on the ledge of a Florida hotel preparing to fly, we’d probably never have heard about the money Haughey and Lowry accepted from him.

If Ben Dunne has been in Orlando to visit Disneyworld instead of holing up in a Grand Cypress Hotel suite with a pound of marching powder and Number One Prostitute in all Kazakhstan, his sister Margaret Heffernan would probably never have found out that he was giving company money to CJH, the filthy little weasel.

Then we’d never have heard about all the offshore accounts operated by Haughey and his pals, or the illegal bank operated by Des Traynor from the head office of Cement Roadstone Holdings.  We wouldn’t have solid confirmation that Haughey accepted bribes throughout his political career, or that he stole money from the fund for Brian Lenihan’s medical treatment.

We wouldn’t have have heard about Haughey and Lowry evading tax, nor would we know about Haughey intimidating civil servants to sell 140 acres of public land to his good buddies in CRH for a pittance, without going through the usual procedure of holding a public sale.

We might not have learned that Haughey leaned on a revenue official, saving Ben Dunne £23 million in capital gains tax.  Nor might we have heard that Haughey was selling Irish passports to Middle-Eastern billionaires.

We might not have found out that AIB forgave Haughey’s large overdraft when he became Taoiseach, thus making him a gift of £1 million.

By extension, we wouldn’t have heard about Michael Lowry’s role in the award of the second mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone  — a role described by the Tribunal as disgraceful and insidious.  Nor would we have heard about Lowry’s decision as Minister to double the rent paid by Telecom Éireann for office accommodation owned by Ben Dunne, thus doubling the market valuation of the property at a stroke.

I heard Ben Dunne on the radio fulminating with indignation about the unfair treatment he was receiving from the Tribunal and challenging Moriarty to send the information to the DPP.  Of course, as Ben knows full well, such action is outside the Tribunal’s remit.  Hold me back and let me at him, so to speak.

I thought bluster on that scale was a thing of the past, but Dunne showed that waffle is still alive and well, even if nobody swallowed it.  One listener after another called to tell him they didn’t believe him.  He seemed shocked, even resorting to a sick-note defence that he was using drugs at the time.

The dog ate his homework.

Since the foundation of this state, there have been many who saw the country as nothing more than an asset to be stripped for their own personal enrichment, like carrion birds pecking at the ribs of a dead buffalo.  We saw it with he sale of all the publicly-owned quarries to Roadstone for a song.  We saw it with the donation of our gas to Royal Dutch Shell.  We saw it with the construction of the M50 using public funds so that NTR could collect a toll at the Liffey crossing.  We saw it with the misconceived, incompetent giveaway of our telecommunications network for nothing at all.

As the Tribunal chairman wrote,

in the cynical and venal abuse of office, the brazen refusal to acknowledge the impropriety of his financial arrangements with Mr Denis O’Brien and Mr Ben Dunne, and by his contemptuous disregard for his taxation obligations, Mr Lowry displayed qualities similar in nature, and has cast a further shadow over his country’s public life.

Lowry and Dunne aren’t the only ones feeling the lash of Judge Moriarty’s tongue, but they are two of the more prominent.  I’m sure we can expect judicial reviews from Denis O Brien, who built his vast fortune on the Esat deal, which the Tribunal alleges was facilitated by Lowry when he was Minister.  The report published today is a huge document, and it will take time to digest, but yet again it shows what we have had to contend with in this country.  Gombeenism.  Gobshitery.  Cosy cartels.  Back-room deals.

So here’s to cocaine and Latvian hookers.  Long may they continue to embarrass prominent businessmen so that eventually some of the truth comes out, even if most of the really bad stuff remains buried.

What a corrupt little country we’ve made for ourselves.

___________________

All posts on the Moriarty Tribunal

 

 

Categories
Crime Favourites Scandal

Crimes of Blasphemous Libel

According to the Defamation Bill 2006, a person commits the crime of blasphemous libel if he publishes anything that is

grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

Anyone convicted of such a crime is liable to a fine of up to 100,000.

Now, let’s examine this in more detail, by breaking the definition into its constituent parts.

A person commits an offence if the material he publishes is

grossly abusive to matters held sacred by any religion

or

insulting to matters held sacred by any religion

thereby causing outrage

among a substantial number of

the adherents of that religion;

and

he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned,

to cause such outrage.

Therefore, if for example, a police investigator, looking into a case of abduction, expresses in print the view that Scientology is a money-making scam dreamed up by a crook called L Ron Hubbbard, and if that person intends to insult what he believes to be a criminal conspiracy, he would fulfil the following criteria:

His opinions would be insulting to matters held sacred by Scientology

They would cause outrage among many Scientologists

He would have intended to cause such outrage.

Therefore the case against him is proved. He is guilty of the crime of blasphemous libel, no matter how contemptible the organisation he insults.

Likewise, if a geologist writes an article about the formation of the earth, he would cause outrage among large numbers of people in creationist Christian groups, who would find his scientific findings insulting to matters they hold sacred. If a court decided that he published the article with the intention of causing such outrage, he is a criminal, not a scientist.

If a biologist thinks the notion of intelligent design is insanity and says so in a learned paper, he would cause similar outrage among large numbers of people particularly in the Bible Belt of America. They would find his opinions insulting to a matter they hold sacred. Since the Bill does not limit the location of the outraged people to Ireland, it would be sufficient to outrage anyone anywhere in the world, and if it could be proven that he wanted to annoy them, he could be convicted of a crime.

If an atheist states publicly that there is no God, he will cause outrage among large numbers of adherents to every religion on the planet. His views will be insulting to matters sacred, in the minds of many believers, and likewise, if his intention is to offend, then he is a criminal, no matter how sincerely he holds the view that God does not exist.

Why stop there? If the Pope declares that Mary is the mother of God (a ludicrous, but sincerely-held Catholic dogma) he blasphemes against Islam. Will the irish government haul him before a court?

If a rabbi declares that Jesus is not the Messiah, he blasphemes against Christianity. He’d better not open his mouth in Ireland.

The government is now framing a law, placing in the area of logic something that is not tangible or amenable to agreement among reasonable people. This half-witted government is now trying to prevent us, through ill-conceived law, from expressing any opinion that might conceivable offend any lunatic, anywhere in the world, from Antarctica to the Hindu Kush.

The crime is defined by the reaction of the other person. If he decides to be offended, or outraged, as the Bill pompously expresses it, then you are guilty of a crime. It doesn’t matter one jot how nutty his beliefs are or how sincerely-held your opinions are. If you take the piss out of any religion, long-established or founded yesterday, then you are a criminal, under the terms of this ridiculous legislation. It doesn’t matter what sort of crime, scam, abuse, kidnap, mass suicide or plain insanity the religion espouses. You’re not allowed to offend its members ever, anywhere in the world under this new Irish law.

Your accuser decides your guilt.

How about that?

Time to start calling your local representative and expressing your outrage.

Isn’t it just as well we have the European Court?

_____________

PS

Define the following:

Abusive

Insulting

Sacred

Religion

Outrage

Substantial number

____________________

Previously on Bock:

Blasphemous Libel

National Blasphemy Day

__________________

Elsewhere: Ian Poulton

Tuppenceworth

Categories
Scandal

Tribunal Lawyers’ Fees Reduced

It looks bad for the Tribunal lawyers.

They’ve had their fees cut by 200 a day, which is more than the average industrial wage.  Imagine that!  The cutbacks are hitting the Tribunal lawyers so hard that they’re losing one-and-a-half times the average industrial wage.  200 a day reduction!  My God, it’s savage.

How will they survive on 2,300 a day?

Categories
Economy Scandal

Anglo-Irish Bank. Name That Hero!

I see the Sunday Times has named four people it thinks are McEvaddy’s Laddies.

The people named are Gerry Gannon, Joe O’Reilly, Seamus Ross and Jerry Conlan.

What about the remaining X-Men, I wonder?  What special powers might they need if they want to stay invisible?

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Elsewhere, with a bit more detail:

Gavin

Gavin again

Categories
Scandal

The Anglo-Irish Ten, Hiding Behind Client Confidentiality

The spin goes on.

Today we’re being told they can’t name the ten secret investors because of client confidentiality.

You see?

Take it slowly, now, so you’ll understand it.

The banks can’t name these people because of their ethical obligations to the clients, and the government is unable to name the ten mystery buyers for the same reasons.

I see.

The banks claim to be bound by obligations to their clients – though clearly they feel no similar obligations to this country, and had little hesitation in dragging us all to the brink of bankruptcy.

Very well.  Let’s play pretend for a minute.  I’m a bank and you’re a rich punter.

Let’s call you Filthy Richie.

Me: Look, Richie, I want you to buy shares in me.

You: Why the fuck should I?  I have no collateral.

Me: No bother.  You’ll be digging me out of a hole, so I’ll lend you the money and you can use the shares in me as security for three-quarters of the loan.

You: But the shares are fucking worthless, and anyway I’d be using part of you to guarantee another part of you.  It makes no sense.

Me: I’ll still take shares in me as security. Richie, you’re in the clear.

You: What about the other quarter of the money I’ll owe you?

Me: You’ll never have to pay it.

You: Why not?

Me: I can’t chase you for it.  There’s a big mistake in the deal my people drew up.  Their fault.  How stupid of them.

Now.  Would some bright spark please explain how that would make you a client in any sense the civilised world understands, and how you would be entitled to client confidentiality.

Thanks.

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Elsewhere:

IrishElection

Irish Times