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Killiney Eviction

Wait a minute now.  Let me just process this Killiney eviction story that RTÉ is getting in such a lather about.

On the face of it, the facts are truly shocking.  Here’s a man of 71, and his 63-year-old wife being ejected from their home by bailiffs.  Out on the side of the street with nowhere to go, in such destitution that they have to set up a leaky tent outside their former home, the couple huddle together for warmth while their neighbours look on in outrage.  Meanwhile, the brutal thugs hired by the banks have control of the family home where all the old couple’s treasured possessions lie unprotected from curious, grubby fingers.

An appalling scenario, reminiscent of the worst excesses of nineteenth-century landlordism in Ireland, as the man himself, Brendan Kelly, so tellingly pointed out.  Innocent poor people thrown out on the side of the road.

Well, maybe not.

Earlier reports failed to mention, for instance, that Brendan Kelly is himself a landlord who owns many rental properties around Dublin.  They failed to mention that the bank secured a repossession order against the couple two years ago.   And they failed to mention that Kelly wouldn’t sell any of his properties to pay off the money he owed to Irish Nationwide.  Of course, when I speak of the money he owes to Irish Nationwide, I really mean the money he owes to us, the Irish people, who now own that bank.  And when that putrid bank, now part of IBRC, writes off a two-million-euro debt, that’s €2 million more that we — you and I — must pump into the bank to compensate for the loss.

Did I mention that the poor old codgers, who have no children, were living in a €3-million five-bedroomed mansion in one of the most exclusive areas of Dublin?    They needed a house with five bedrooms so that they could move to a new bedroom when they got bored sleeping in the last one.  This is a basic human right.

Another thing RTÉ overlooked in its zeal to protect those who share the DNA of its executives is this: the bailiffs were not working for IBRC.  They were working for the Sheriff who was executing an order issued by a court, and therefore all the talk by Brendan Kelly about phoning the bank was just so much tosh.  He knew the order had been issued.  He had two years’ advance notice, and yet, somehow, the couple found themselves out on the street without so much as a jacket to shelter them from the rain.  Two years’ notice, and yet he didn’t take the elementary precaution of moving his computer or his files, even though these form the basis for his business.

One other thing RTÉ didn’t press too much was Brendan Kelly’s arrangement with Fingers Fingleton.   You see, ten years ago, in 2002, Fingers was prepared to lend a 61-year-old guy €2 million towards the cost of a €3.75 million house.  That’s what I said.  €3.75 million.

Now, of course, it’s true that the money might have been lent to his wife, Asta, who was 53 at the time, and maybe the loan was over 17 years, bringing it up to 2019.  This is not yet clear.  What is clear is that the couple weren’t able to meet the repayments on their house  and it just so happens that those loan repayments were owed to a bank owned by you and me.  Since it’s been covered extensively in previous items on this site, we won’t go into the reasons why we own this bank.  But we do.

Oddly for an accountant, Brendan wasn’t quite able to recall when he first fell into arrears.  He thinks it might be about three years ago.   His memory also lets him down when asked about the date of the repossession order, but he thinks it might have been about two years ago.  And so, for two years, Brendan did precisely what you’d expect an accountant to do: nothing.  He didn’t even move his office out of the house.

Now, as I said, Brendan and Asta own a sizeable portfolio of property around the more salubrious parts of Dublin including apartments in Simmonscourt Castle and Ballintyre Hall.  This is not the lower end of the market.  Brendan and Asta are doing pretty well compared to most.  How many Ballsbridge apartments do you own?

Let’s get our heads clear now.  They knew the bailiffs were coming.  They’d known about it for two years.  There was a court order.  They didn’t have the money to settle the debt, and yet they stayed in their €3.75 million luxury mansion, instead of doing what the rest of the country  would have to do: get out.

It never occurred to them that maybe it would be a good idea to move into one of the many other properties they own all over Dublin.  Why?  Presumably because they might have to mix with the lower orders.  How could one possibly survive in an ordinary luxury apartment without even a gated community around one for comfort and security?  Ridiculous!

And so they clung on, buoyed up by the moral support of their neighbours in their own €3.75 million mansions who were utterly shocked and outraged at such inhuman treatment of an elderly millionaire.  Surely he should be allowed to live out his remaining years in the opulence he’d grown accustomed to.

Now, of course, if the story happened to be about Anto and Sharon from Killinarden, I’m not so sure it would have been front-page and prime-time news, but this action by the Sheriff was a strike at the very heart of South Dublin affluence, the place from which our national broadcaster derives its reason for existence.  The place that defined not only the attitudes and ethos of RTÉ but also provided its management and even defined the very accent in which the station speaks.

In the RTÉ world, Ireland is divided in two: Dublin and TheCountry.

Dublin does not include Tallaght, Ballyfermot, Neilstown or any of those appendages that exist solely to provide stock stereotypes for bad drama.  Dublin is anything south of Donnybrook, but excluding embarrassing local authority housing estates in the likes of Dun Laoghaire.

TheCountry is the rest of us muck-savages, or the majority of the population, as we like to describe ourselves.

Why is this story so big on the airwaves?  Simple: it’s the first time anything like this happened in Dublin, the only place that matters.  Meanwhile, in a development so laden with irony, the Occupy movement has moved in to support the Kellys, even though their transaction with Fingleton was the sort of thing that bankrupted Irish Nationwide in the first place.

A peculiar, and sympathetic, form of ageism permeates the reportage, with the couple described as “elderly”.  Brendan Kelly is a sprightly and razor-sharp 71, while his wife, Asta, is a woman of working age.  Neither of them are people in their dotage, and yet the implication seems to be that they were a bit confused when they got drawn into this mortgage, or else that they can’t understand what’s happening to them now.  Brendan wasn’t so confused that he couldn’t consult his computer to keep track of the various tenancies he makes money from.

The poor old devil isn’t that confused, God bless him, and neither is his incredibly ancient 63-year-old wife, who just happens to be a year older than Enda Kenny, the man who heads our government, and who is never described by anyone as elderly.  She’s five years younger than Vincent Browne — try calling him elderly and see what he tells you.

It’s time to call this story for what it is.  Bullshit.

Here’s a couple who owe a State-owned bank €2 million but want to hold onto their high-value mansion while at the same time renting out luxurious apartments all over Dublin, a couple who pull a ridiculous stunt by setting up a tent in the street instead of doing what the rest of us would have to do — move into a smaller place and get used to it.

So this childless couple can’t have the pleasure of occupying five bedrooms?  So what?  Get over it, and stop bombarding us with a non-story when real people are being evicted all over the country without a choice of alternative properties to live in.

I find it nauseating that this well-off man should insult the memory of those evicted in the hard times by comparing himself to the oppressed Irish of the nineteenth century.  No en-suite bathroom?  This is truly a First World Problem.



It turns out that the Kellys also own 13 apartments in London.



More Bock the Robber posts on the economy







I was listening to an item on the news about a new report from the Comptroller and Auditor General. This report is about hospital [tag]consultants[/tag], or more particularly about whether we’re getting value for money from them. A very topical matter indeed in this country.

I googled it and and found the report, entitled Medical Consultants Contract.

Here’s an extract:

General Finding

The failure to evolve and implement a model that integrates responsibility for resources, activities and outcomes was a factor that contributed to the failure to activate the key terms of the 1997 contract in regard to monitoring commitments and clinical audit.

Overall, any new contractual arrangements need to specify the administrative and governance changes that are required to achieve effective implementation and be underpinned by a change management drive. Moreover, it would be desirable that the arrangements provide for a verification process to ensure that the agreed change envisaged is delivered in accordance with action plans tailored to the circumstances of individual hospitals.



The really depressing thing is that the report probably contains a lot of valuable information, and I’ll have to wade through this kind of lazy shit writing to find out what it says.


Crime Stories

Friends of the Earth

I was sitting out the back with my neighbour Jimbo the other night, relaxing by the light from a pile of old tyres we were burning.

Jesus, said Jimbo, this is the life.

Indeed it is, I agreed. Slosh another gallon of diesel on that fire there.

Right, says Jimbo. I’ll just throw on some of the plastic guttering we took off that old lady’s house.

Good idea, said I. And while you’re at it, make a start on that big pile of electric cable. Fling it on the fire there. Good man.

We sat back again, relaxing in the quiet of the evening as the flames roared above our heads. The huge plume of oily smoke spread out across the town like a beautiful black communion dress and I was suddenly struck by the sheer wonder of Nature.

Jimbo!, I ejaculated.


Jimbo, isn’t it a shame we can’t do this in the daytime any more? The people should see that lovely cloud.

Ah no, said Jimbo. All the old ways are gone now. Well do I remember our traditions from my father’s time, and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his father before him and his fa –

All right!!, I screamed wistfully.

Ah, they were great days, Jimbo went on. When we needed to get rid of a big pile of stuff, all the men of the village would get together, and they’d load it all up on the back of a wagon. Or ten wagons. Or thirteen. Or seventeen. Or thirty-four. Or a hundred and eighty-two or –

Well, by God, I muttered.

It’s true, he went on.

I remember it well, I said.

And do you remember, Jimbo said, his face brightening, becoming younger before my eyes as he delved fondly back in time, do you remember the way we’d go down to the canal?

Indeed I do.

And we’d fuck the whole lot in!

Ah, great days, I agreed.

Jimbo went quiet for a long time. He seemed to have something in his eye. Without speaking , he reached for an old television and threw it on the fire, sending a golden plume of beautiful sparks singing into the night sky.


Yes Jimbo?

Bock, do you remember my old Dad?

Old Billy the Aardvark? Of course I do.

Yeah. Billy the Aardvark. Of course we never called him that. To us he was always Dad.

Jimbo, why did they call him the Aardvark?

Because he used to eat ant-hills, but that’s a different story. Oh, how well I remember Dad as he stood on the banks of the canal, and by Jesus could that man work! He could do the work of five men. It was wonderful to watch him as he threw cookers, washing machines, old couches, mattresses into the canal. As fast as we threw them off the wagons, he’d catch them and toss them into the water.

He was a craftsman, I said.

An artist, agreed Jimbo. And all the time talking to us kids. There was thirty seven of us in the family.

Really? Talking as he worked?

Jimbo nodded. Yeah. He’d be down there among the reeds, knee-deep in canal water. Dad! we’d shout down to him. Are you all right there? And Dad’s voice would answer from the darkness, It’s like a jungle. Sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under. Huh?, we’d say. U-Huh! he’d answer. U-Huh? U-Huh!

By Jesus, I said. And all the time, heaving furniture into the canal?

Non-fucking-stop, said Jimbo. But he was careful, my old man. He didn’t want to fall in cos he couldn’t swim, so when we all crowded around him, he’d he’d make us stand back. Don’t push me, he’d shout, cos I’m close to the edge. I’m tryin’ not to lose my head! Uh-Huh!

Uh-Huh, we’d reply.

Ah, I said. The old ways. All lost now.

True, said Jimbo. We took care of the environment by cleaning up after ourselves. These days? Like my old man used to say, these days, broken glass everywhere. People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care.



kick it on


New Cork maternity hospital

Irish readers will know about the dispute in Cork about opening the new maternity hospital. The nurses’ organisation says the proposed staff levels are too low for safety and they won’t operate the hospital unless numbers are increased. Well and good. I don’t know. (Not being a nurse, or a doctor – or even a hospital manager, which in this country means a pen-pusher with a middling Leaving Cert and a fancy new job description, who knows fuck-all about patient care.)

Professor Brendan Drumm, on the other hand, knows quite a lot about medicine. He’s a professor which means he’s really incredibly smart and probably knows five languages as well as being a doctor, and he can also probably play the saxophone and ride a unicycle.

Brendan made a statement today about the Cork thing. He said this whole action by the nurses isn’t about patient care at all. According to Brendan, it’s all about money.

Now. Wasn’t this the same Professor Brendan Drumm who rejected the government’s job offer because they wouldn’t give him enough money?

Hmm. Not that it has anything to do with it. I was just wondering, y’know?

Irish medical consultants

Nurses’ Pay Claim