Dear reader, provided as a postscript to my previous blog ‘The Praying Mantis Vs The Venus Fly Trap’, I thought given the propaganda around Irish Water and state of the negotiations on future government, this small voice on Irish Water should have a blog of its own.

Postscript

Negotiations on the formation of an Irish government continue and today once again I heard on the RTE morning news an economist, a lecturer from Cork no less, speaking the above mentioned nonsense on Irish water.irishwater

He was talking of the merits of the commercialisation of Irish Water if left in private hands.

Sometimes one has not only to question the naivety and gullibility of spokespeople put forward to defend Irish Water, but their total lack of understanding of democracy itself or why we have elected politicians or government.

Perhaps there is a lack there in not having civics as part of the 2nd level curriculum. Or perhaps I’m being naive myself in not acknowledging that there are special interests involved who see rich commercial pickings in the entity known as Irish Water.

Our civics lesson is quite simple really. The reason we have elected politicians and government is the objective reasoning that collectively we as a people living in the Republic of Ireland recognise that certain utilities required by the people eg education, health, transport and Irish Water need development and protection from exploitation to serve the needs of the people as a whole.

They need to be protected from the limited and narrow requirements defined by commercial interest and instead developed and maximised in the most efficient and professional manner to serve the needs not of commercial interest, but that to which we refer as ‘the common good’.

Some economists may have the naive view that handing over Irish Water to private commercial interests will allow IW to borrow billions, to invest hugely in Irish water infrastructure with swimming pools on each street corner, reservoirs on every hill and jacuzzi in every house.

The reality is there is huge risk that vulture capital will purchase Irish Water, introduce asset stripping with huge job losses, scale back development, refuse to invest in new infrastructure and quickly sell off the looted and pillaged company for maximum profit at the earliest opportunity.

IW will also for commercial gain try to back door the Irish taxpayer to put money in with little or no accountability in place.

The above is why IW failed its market test set by Eurostat in April shutting the door on efforts by IW to have billions poured into it by the eu. It was plain nonsense to support the arguments for IW for this funding.

FG leading the charge in its Battle of Waterloo needs to get its act in order to drop the nonsense of IW, replace its leader who led them to such a disastrous outcome largely because of the Kenny IW hubris and nonsense: the plain people of Ireland need an election to sort out the mess current politicians appear unable to sort.

The sad tale of failed efforts by government to have Irish water both on and off-balance sheet see here (1)

It’s a tribute to our democracy we have not ended up with IW siphoning billions from the eu we would be on tap for through our water charges; IW siphoning more money to pay for more propaganda advertising and high salaries through our taxes; IW borrowing on the commercial markets we would also have to pay for; IW making efforts to seize control and sell on to another entity even less accountable; all the above without one penny spent of providing a drop of water.

Some economists would do well to study democracy alongside commercial law. It teaches there are some things that should not be trusted to the exploitative vagaries of the profit and sometimes morally corrupt motives that are often exploited by commercial law.

till again

 

1. http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/water/irish-water-crisis/revealed-the-chaos-behind-irish-waters-eurostat-failure-31598095.html

 

 

till again

sittingonfenceFianna Fáil have escaped the embrace of the Fine Gael Preying Mantis. Bearing the prospect of shared gifts for everyone including Independents everything descended into an embarrassing shambles with Fine Gael aimlessly refusing to believe its offer of shared power had been shunned.

Likewise the Independents had their opportunity to play ball with Fianna Fáil vindicating their independence and opposition to Fine Gael policies prior to the election, they decided instead to sit on the fence hoping perhaps FG and FF would join hands and walk to the altar.

The prospect of FG and FF joined at the hip renouncing their election promises in favour of unconscionable compromise would have brought mirth and celebration into the ranks of the hurlers on the ditch, Sinn Féin.  It could have led to the destruction of both FG and FF and was a foolishly naive gambit by Enda Kenny: another failed strategy and failure of FG’s judgment grasping at straws.

Perhaps drunk on power FG refuse to let go.

They will speak to anyone and anybody in their quest to return to power. They will break any election promise they ever made in order to remain in power.

Independent (?) Katherine Zappone has sought to seize this opportunity by supporting Enda Kenny and turning her back on fellow independents. Perhaps hoping to be offered a ministerial portfolio?

Fianna Fáil now find themselves in the position of king-maker. They must be feeling good going into the latest round of negotiations. It may be wise of them to set a high price for their support or facilitation of Kenny. Perhaps insist Irish Water be buried as the nonsense it is. Then a list of Dail reforms including more gardai and more in the budget to save the A&E’s. This list could go on and on.

FF would be stronger going into the new election the prospect of which must entice many in FF who feel they are surfing a good wave with little to lose and much to gain in a new election.

Many independents may rue the day they didn’t put up a greater opposition to the prospect of a return to power of Fine Gael.

Both FG and Independents perhaps unwittingly have fallen into Fianna Fáil’s Venusian Fly Trap.

Meanwhile (1) an AIB whistleblower has complained to the ECB re AIB that its bad bank has been pumping bank loans to its good bank pretending they are good allowing the set aside of AIB provision for bad loans and at the same time claiming the saving of this money as profit.

Problems at AIB pale into insignificance to those at Germany’s  Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank’s 75 trillion-dollar exposure to derivatives makes it the world’s riskiest bank as the derivative roller coaster inflated by QE finally begins its downward ride. This will be accelerated by its exposure to Greece and especially to China compounded by recent billion dollar losses and chaotic management changes.

With alarm bells going off at the FED re the strength of the dollar; the failure of QE to stoke the US global economy with no result other than make QE addictive; the further division of the rich and the poor: the prognosis on Central Bank control of the runaway global economy is not good.

Next on the cards may be the devaluation of the dollar.

Did I mention the refugee crisis and Brexit looming shortly?

Global financial storm clouds are gathering and Ireland will need a strong stable government if it hopes to weather the storms ahead.

 

Postscript

Negotiations on the formation of an Irish government continue and today once again I heard on the RTE morning news an economist, a lecturer from Cork no less, speaking the above mentioned nonsense on Irish water.irishwater

He was talking of the merits of the commercialisation of Irish Water if left in private hands.

Sometimes one has not only to question the naivety and gullibility of spokespeople put forward to defend Irish Water, but their total lack of understanding of democracy itself or why we have elected politicians or government.

Perhaps there is a lack there in not having civics as part of the 2nd level curriculum. Or perhaps I’m being naive myself in not acknowledging that there are special interests involved who see rich commercial pickings in the entity known as Irish Water.

Our civics lesson is quite simple really. The reason we have elected politicians and government is the objective reasoning that collectively we as a people living in the Republic of Ireland recognise that certain utilities required by the people eg education, health, transport and Irish Water need development and protection from exploitation to serve the needs of the people as a whole.

They need to be protected from the limited and narrow requirements defined by commercial interest and instead developed and maximised in the most efficient and professional manner to serve the needs not of commercial interest, but that to which we refer as ‘the common good’.

Some economists may have the naive view that handing over Irish Water to private commercial interests will allow IW to borrow billions, to invest hugely in Irish water infrastructure with swimming pools on each street corner, reservoirs on every hill and jacuzzi in every house.

The reality is there is huge risk that vulture capital will purchase Irish Water, introduce asset stripping with huge job losses, scale back development, refuse to invest in new infrastructure and quickly sell off the looted and pillaged company for maximum profit at the earliest opportunity.

IW will also for commercial gain try to back door the Irish taxpayer to put money in with little or no accountability in place.

The above is why IW failed its market test set by Eurostat in April shutting the door on efforts by IW to have billions poured into it by the eu. It was plain nonsense to support the arguments for IW for this funding.

FG leading the charge in its Battle of Waterloo needs to get its act in order to drop the nonsense of IW, replace its leader who led them to such a disastrous outcome largely because of the Kenny IW hubris and nonsense: the plain people of Ireland need an election to sort out the mess current politicians appear unable to sort.

The sad tale of failed efforts by government to have Irish water both on and off-balance sheet see here (1)

It’s a tribute to our democracy we have not ended up with IW siphoning billions from the eu we would be on tap for through our water charges; IW siphoning more money to pay for more propaganda advertising and high salaries through our taxes; IW borrowing on the commercial markets we would also have to pay for; IW making efforts to seize control and sell on to another entity even less accountable; all the above without one penny spent of providing a drop of water.

Some economists would do well to study democracy alongside commercial law. It teaches there are some things that should not be trusted to the exploitative vagaries of the profit and sometimes morally corrupt motives that are often exploited by commercial law.

till again

1. http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/water/irish-water-crisis/revealed-the-chaos-behind-irish-waters-eurostat-failure-31598095.html

  1. https://whistleblowersireland.com/2010/10/19/aib-bank-whistleblower-complaint-being-investigated-by-financial-regulator/
  2. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-02-03/it-time-panic-about-deutsche-bank

This blog has argued that the Irish Central Bank with its policies underwritten by the ECB has been the single most cause of our housing and homelessness crisis. Shortages have been engineered by the Central Bank to prop up property prices and to ensure repayments of mortgages without the added burden of negative equity.
vulture_funds__fiestoforo

To prop up this bubble in housing and property, loan to value relationships that includes extortionate rent rates, rich property developer stakeholders with large investment portfolios are assured of a good return, their repayments on their own outstanding loans, made ‘safer’. 

The consequence of this policy is that the young cannot afford housing as they are forced to pay Sheriff of Nottingham rents. 

In an interesting contribution to this debate, Master of the High Court Edmund Honahan, has entered the fray. Tackling Alan Kelly’s misinformed and ill-judged view that the constitutional protection provided for property ownership is the leading cause of our crisis of homelessness.

Kelly’s views on this matter lay bare the lack of intellectual probity and competence available to Irish citizens at the political level in dealing with our crisis.

Our constitution on this matter does not require change. It is clear and well worded and provides adequate safety measures to ensure the public good should not be compromised in favour of private interests.

 

“2 1° The State recognises, however, that the exercise of the rights mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this Article ought, in civil society, to be regulated by the principles of social justice.

 

2° The State, accordingly, may as occasion requires delimit by law the exercise of the said rights with a view to reconciling their exercise with the exigencies of the common good.”

 

Honahan suggests the state act to acquire large property portfolios now in private hands:
“If the owners of these refuse to sell, acquisition can be by compulsory purchase with full compensation assessed by an arbitrator”.

Honahan does not visit  the scandal of NAMA selling Irish housing stock at knock down prices to vulture funds at a vast cost to the Irish taxpayer; the further cost being the hidden tax/high rents these vulture funds can impose on the market place.

Part 11

Also argued on this blog is the view Ireland should strongly entertain leaving the EU along with Brexit on a journey to create a fairer national and global economy, ending homelessness and the usury of financialisation that is becoming increasingly toxic as it brings us closer to global market collapse.

Without reform of the global financial system, war and the current refugee crisis in Europe and further turmoil in Africa are all inevitable. The euro is contributing to this crisis as it follows the path of support for austerity rather than reining in the profligate markets that favour the 1%.

In Europe a Scandinavian and UK commitment to a trade agreement, with its own members acting with the EU as partner, alongside reform of the financial system, at its best is a better trade-off than the imminent possibility and consequence of global financial collapse. Brexit should lead to such new trade agreements and partnerships.

Meanwhile in Ireland repercussions of our own bailout and its repayment burden with Ireland the second most indebted country in the world are felt everywhere. It is leading to farcical economics.

Credit unions have offered up to €8bn to invest in social housing. Captured by financial interests and increasingly stripped of its power to act, the Oireachtas currently unable to form a government, has become at odds with the needs of Irish people sold out to financial interests.

Investment in social housing is seen to be at odds with the for profit vulture funds and the banking requirements of our creditors.

The credit unions have been ignored. Nothing is being built.

No action on above, no action on investment of our pension funds, other than to pillage to spend on the propping up of a failed Irish bailout. There is a frozen lack of ideas and even less action from politicians only concerned with their pension rights and salaries protected against the cuts in salaries faced by young teachers and young gardai.

There is no cross party support for a large investment programme as provided by other Irish governments in the earlier part of this century.

Perhaps too many members of the Oireachtas wealthy on the result of their property investments, do not wish to compromise same.

Part 111

Today young people earn less than their parents with prospect of inferior standard of living going forward while living expenses have skyrocketed. Young teachers, gardai and a huge range of public servants have little to no chance of owning a home in their lifetime.

Property has been acquired by the financial sector as a new speculative arm with ever more complicated arrangements ballooning debt and selling it as lure to trap the unwary.

Risky mortgages based on rising property prices were the keystone of a new speculative gamblers economy offering risky assets with prospect of fantastic returns to investors large and small including home owners.

It was an Enron scam. Those in early spread the word, those in last paid the piper of financial collapse, negative equity.

A fairer system of global taxation ending the casino manipulation and corruption inside the global financial system, is a long due reform of 1% interests outweighing those of the 99%.

In Ireland recent years have led to the current political stalemate consequent on support of the 1%.

The policy that ensure the 1% exploit the 99% is a policy fed by central bank manipulation globally; both in Europe and in Ireland it is a policy that is bound to fail.

Not only are the 1% fuelled by bailout but according to Sunday Business, March 27 “Elite syndicate in Revenue deal for ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance’. Revenue will not publish their names as part of a deal to make them pay up. Ireland’s 1% get special tax avoidance favours too.

This is the tip of the iceberg.

“Mossack Fonseca is not a household name, but the Panamanian law firm has long been well-known to the global financial and political elite, and thanks to a massive 2.6 terabyte leak of its confidential papers to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists it’s about to become much better known. A huge team of hundreds of journalists is poring over the documents they are calling the Panama Papers.

The firm’s operations are diverse and international in scope, but they originate in a single speciality — helping foreigners set up Panamanian shell companies to hold financial assets while obscuring the identities of their real owners. Since its founding in 1977, it’s expanded its interests outside of Panama to include over 40 offices worldwide, helping a global client base to work with shell companies not just in Panama but also the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, and other notorious tax havens around the world.”(2)

Hopefully names will be published and unlike our Revenue Commissioners, journalists will reveal all.

Lastly, on a wider note, Greece has not gone away. On a wikileaks analysis Paul Mason has speculated the IMF is contemplating a credit event for Greece this coming July around the time of Brexit when the IMF may walk away from a restructuring of the circa €300bn of debt held by the ECB on Greece. See 4.

 

till again

 

 

 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deregulation
  2. http://www.vox.com/2016/4/3/11356326/panama-papers
  3. https://www.constitution.ie/Documents/Bhunreacht_na_hEireann_web.pdf (Article 43)
  4. https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/imf-plots-new-credit-event-for-greece-534b4b300318#.f7gyaaw58

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland’s Big Lie

March 20, 2016

Many in Ireland are calling for government intervention in the housing and homelessness crisis. More social and private housing needs to be built to end waiting lists. Some argue the crisis will get a lot worse with upwards of 70000 in danger of losing their homes as vulture funds up their rents further while they continue their profiteering rampage.

Tunnel of Love/Lover's Leap.

Tunnel of Love/Lover’s Leap.

The Construction Federation of Ireland have said(1):

“The market price of many homes throughout the country is still well below the all-in construction cost. In a report commissioned by the IHBA from Walsh Associates, Construction Cost Consultants in 2014, the construction cost of a 3 bedroomed semi-detached house of 110 sqm is calculated at €225,961, in addition to site costs plus VAT at 13.5%.  According to the Daft House Price Report 2015 published today, the average asking price for houses in Carlow is €140,536, in Offaly it’s €138,247, while in Westmeath the average asking price is €145,804. Clearly, as long as sales prices for these houses are below replacement cost, the market will not support significant increases in the construction of new homes. As long as this situation prevails, little to no new housing will be built in these areas.

“The IHBA agrees that more housing is needed to meet the national demand.  However it is up to all stakeholders including government, banking, regulatory and development sectors to ensure that a viable construction environment is supported to ensure that this critical objective can be achieved.”

(2)”The Irish League of Credit Unions has offered the Government a €5 billion fund, which could be kept off the State’s official borrowing figures, to build thousands of homes over the next six years.

The league, which represents 437 credit unions and has savings in excess of €11 billion and total assets of more than €13 billion, has told the Government it currently has “surplus” funds of up to €8 billion.”

Stakeholders are asking that government take the reins and join the dots to lead and to create a much-needed housing programme to end the current crisis.

Yet the offer from the credit unions has been with government since last October with little or no response. Neither have Fine Gael Labour in their election manifestos warmed to the advance of the credit unions with election commitments to invest.

Each RTE programme, each media item on homelessness dwells on the thorny subject of last of investment, lack of planning, too great a government tax take while blame is handed from one agency to the other with no one seeing the wood from the trees.

Thus a large cover up has grown covering up the real cause of  our homelessness and housing crisis.

The real cause of our housing and homelessness crisis lies at the door of government compliance and obedience to the dictates of the Irish Central Bank. In fact, so great is the coverup that it has morphed into the biggest LIE perpetuated against the Irish people since the emergence of our state in 1916.

This LIE feeds upon and perpetuates complexity where none exists, it apportions blame elsewhere, it lies in the background concealed behind economic home truths that shame both Irish politicians and the people they represent. When Ireland was poor, vast housing estates on the periphery of Dublin city were built. Even in poverty, people had a place to live and affordable accommodation. Shamefully thousands of families are about to experience emergency accommodation unsuitable for families especially children.

Clearly credit unions have the money to invest over and above their reserve requirements see page 80 (3) However, the billions in assets of credit unions exist on deposit in major Irish banks and as deposits they are part of the reserve requirements or Irish banks under the umbrella of the Irish Central Bank.

Deposits of Irish Credit unions are being used to shore up a system of lack of investment in Irish property. There is no appetite in government to use these deposits to threaten an Irish banking loan book dependent on high prices and anathema to the ideals of affordable housing/social housing.

Furthermore, investment in the building of affordable housing in Ireland will compromise the investment liquidity of vulture funds in Ireland perhaps encouraging a quicker turnover of these assets and a fire sale.

The fragile nature of the mortgage sector in Ireland with billions in outstanding loans in negative equity means banks cannot afford a drop in prices causing further negative equity and a large threat to their outstanding loan book.

Many are against a large scale building programme as this may eat into their potential profits. Deposits of the credit unions are there to shore up the banks and will not be allowed freedom to invest in aspects of the Irish economy requiring sovereign investment.

Guarding against this will be the task of a puppet government tasked with defending the 1% against the 99%.

In this scenario of ‘fragile recovery’ its easier for the Irish Central Bank to lie and point to other reasons for the Irish homelessness crisis, to sing as Rome burns.

On the above count alone, there is reason to renegotiate our loan book with the ECB and look to an Irish exit from the EU along with Brexit.

At least this would give our children and next generation a home to live in. Or not be saddled with 40% of the euro cost of the financial crisis to European banks.

Clearly the Irish Central Bank ICB has neither the will nor the way to stand up for this country in its dealings with the ECB. While Irish politicians and most of the media seem happy enough to paddle homelessness and our housing crisis over the waterfall.

till again.

(1) http://cif.ie/news-feed/news/628-response-to-minister-kelly-commentary-on-social-housing-development.html

(2) http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/credit-unions-offer-government-5bn-housing-fund-1.2577604

(3) https://www.centralbank.ie/about-us/Documents/ICURNCreditUnionPeerReviewReport_July2015.pdf

'Apart from reform things, what do you do?'

‘Apart from reform things, what do you do?’

Democracy is good. We are lucky to have it.

Thinking how those without democracy could fend off of a regime like the one we’ve had, gives me the shudders.

We should be careful who we elect, have a look at this on Trump:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnpO_RTSNmQ

Worst thing that can happen following the collapse of Fine Gael and Labour is that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael would form a coalition.

This would betray all those voters who voted for independents and Fianna Fail including this blogger.

It would most likely lead to a split in both the Fianna Fail and  Fine Gael party.

It might help Kenny and Noonan escape their just rewards from  bad judgement  failure to come up to the mark on matters relating to the management of our debt.  The burden for which was  taken from the shoulders of the rich during their reign. The burden was heaped on the poor creating homelessness, crises in A&E and a false and broken property market.

What needs to happen is that a stable government be formed by a coalition of Fianna Fail and independents with independents coming together in a structure to allow them  formulate consensus on policy issues.

Such a structure with majority consensus and free debate could revitalise decision-making in Dáil Éireann.

It would also fit in with the declared aim of Fianna Fail to reform the Dáil. Free from the party whip this would allow Independents make a huge contribution to stable governance.

We would no longer have a FG/LB economic management committee that could bypass the Dáil and sign off on another bailout costing tax payers tens of billions, €67 billion being the start of the last bailout.

Trying to cobble a coalition together with enough votes to get him over the line as Taoiseach is probably Kenny’s last chance saloon before he’s ousted by the party.

He won’t succeed.unclean-waterhigh

Meanwhile  Fine Gael needs  to get its act together.

Kenny should go immediately having led his party into the Battle of Waterloo (no pun intended ) with such poor judgement reaping its devastating consequences for so many Fine Gael deputies who’ve lost their seats.

Likewise Burton should immediately go having brought the party close to annihilation.

Its ironic this so-called left of right party will likely support Fine Gael if Kenny is proposed as Taoiseach!

Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance, should step down and spend his time answering some of the following questions before the Dáil Public Accounts committee.

Its long been contended in this blog that Ireland has performed abysmally in vindicating its right to debt write down and debt forgiveness at European level.

Alongside its capitulation to European demands that Ireland alone should shoulder over 40% of the total exposure of European banks to the financial collapse of 2008, is this reason enough we should join Brexit and leave Europe to develop  fairer free trade agreements with European Scandinavian and UK partners?

But let’s leave that argument aside for the moment and examine another part of the fallout of bailout in Ireland, NAMA.

Mandy McAuley uncovers a scandal at the heart of the billion-pound sale of Northern Ireland property loans.

Critical of NAMA from its inception we need answers to the following brought to us through the recent Spotlight investigation for the BBC:

http://www.thejournal.ie/nama-controversy-breakthrough-northern-ireland-2634492-Feb2016/

First shown: 8:30pm 29 Feb 2016 Spotlight NI

It’s an incredible story.

NAMA took over circa 900 properties in NI representing loans gone bad from developers 55 of them but the biggest loans managed by a handful, worth approx £4.5billion.

NAMA set up an advisory committee on which sat leading NI businessman and friend of Patrick Robinson,  Frank Cushnahan.

Ian Coulter, managing partner in one of NI’s biggest law firms, Tughan’s is now being investigated regarding accounts resting in an Isle of Mann account allegedly as a fixer fee for the following.

The matter is also subject to criminal and police investigation.

According to Mick Wallace TD a kick back to a politician. £7 million sterling ended up in an Isle of MAN bank account under suspicious circumstances.

The matter has been reported to US Securities and Exchange Commission reported by a whistle-blower.

Cushnahan previously was successful in persuading the NI Housing Executive to forgive most of Red Skies debts allegedly negotiating debts of quarter million sterling down  to £20000.

A director  of Red Skies he was also previously a member of NI Housing executive with allegations of conflict of interest.

He was later to be involved in a deal with NAMA.

NAMA has held a world-beating £60 billion property portfolio.

With £4.5 billion of Nama debt related to NI, NI was terrified of a firesale.

NAMA set up an advisory committee, hand-picked to sit on this was none other than Frank Cushnahan that gave Frank influence and insider track with NAMA and NI politicians.

Nama is precluded by law from selling back an asset to a defaulting debtor.

When NAMA called in  administrators for the Kennedy chain of hotels in NI,  Finance minister Sammy Wilson phoned Frank Daly chairman of Nama re concerns.

A few weeks later seemingly out of the blue PIMCO with access to trillions of investors money appeared on the scene.

PIMCO behind NAMA’s back met officials Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson, Ian Coulter and Frank Cushnahan were at the meeting. Daly was not invited.

Nama’s NI portfolio was on the auction block but Nama did not even know. Frank Cushnahan hadn’t  told Nama he was setting up the biggest property deal in NI’s history.

Subsequently the deal went through selling the NI portfolio at massive £3 billion discount. Selling for £1bn representing a loss of £3 bn for Irish taxpayers.

Michael Noonan is silent on the issue.

NAMA has refused to appear before NI committee investigating aspects of the above.

The matter should be further investigated by the police investigating pay off’s and double dealing and conflict of interest.

NAMA’s at best incompetent handling of the above under Minister Michael Noonan should be a matter for the Dail Dublin Accounts Committee.

There is plenty of prima facie evidence something very rotten is in the state of Denmark. NAMA does operate under its own radar safeguarded from public investigation and inquiry.

Minister Noonan has direct responsibility and should bring these NAMA matters to account.

Much needs to be uncovered.

till again

Austerity Wolves

February 5, 2016

Part 1

Austerity wolves want your vote!

The plan is to cut public services to the bone, lower taxes for the rich, implement further austerity cuts masked under the cover of making services more efficient and stream lined.

5 day forecast.

5 day forecast.

Lets look at the plan?

(1)”Mr Noonan says there is up to €10bn available for extra spending in the next five years, including abolishing the USC and 10,000 extra public sector workers.

But Prof McHale warned that the resources available between 2017 and 2021 may be less than previously estimated. Due to demographic pressure and existing benefits commitments, it could be as low as €3.2bn, he said.”

Fine Gael are also going to set aside a ‘rainy day fund’ of €2.5bn.

Wow, can we rely on the Fine Gael Department of Finance figures that differ by €7bn with the Fiscal Advisory Council. FAC at least employ some economists who will stand over those figures.

The same Department of Finance who walked us into the financial meltdown?

The Fine Gael/Labour so-called recovery and stabilisation of the Irish economy has come in spite of their best efforts to thwart it. But most people attest to not experiencing this paper based recovery seeing no difference in their pay packets other than the experience of further cuts. Falling value of the euro, increased profits for multinationals and exporters, euro’s collapse has been Ireland’s gain.

Lets map some of the road of austerity and while doing so examine the record of this outgoing government.

There has been a deep erosion of standards in education during the course of this government. PhD’s, Lectures and professors have been on strike this week drawing attention to the casualisation of Labour in Regional Colleges of education, falling standards due to excessive workloads, increasing numbers of students, temporary employment with lack of full-time work, lack or no investment in R&D.

At 2nd level, this government tried to abolish the Junior Cert and reduce the role of the National Council for Curriculum Assessment by having teachers assess their students, by designing and setting their exams and correcting the exams.

New courses dismantling the classical and traditional approaches reliant on proven methods of rote learning and deep understanding of science subjects, are replaced by teacher assessment and dumbing down so-called ‘practical investigations’ in science subjects.

Get teachers to design the course and set the exams is the new mantra of this austerity driven money-saving device. Increasing workloads for staff in education and health is the new norm.

(2) With the roll out of a new project maths course failure rate in higher maths continues to decline.  “Latest figures show there are only 5,443 qualified maths teachers on the Teaching Council register, compared with 8,015 qualified English teachers and 6,628 qualified History teachers.” Having Maths in your degree is no guarantee of a job teaching maths with schools appointing who they wish to this subject qualified or not. Some like yours truly learned this the hard way having spent years adding Maths to their degree only to find on qualification no jobs advertised in maths.

Casualisation and temporary employment at 2nd and 3rd level has become the norm. There is reduction in salary levels forced on new teachers who may have luckily landed a full-time job.

To many at both 2nd and third level our educational system is crumbling at the seams.

Need I mention the Irish Water travesty of waste supported by both Fine Gael and Labour countless millions poured into a quango that grows day by day into a bigger mess with little prospect of improving our water resources.

The Fine Gael/Labour coalition have nothing to sing about.

Homelessness is growing with extortionate rent increases a severe imposition on property-owning prospects for the young hoping to start families or enter the property ladder.

Recent inquiry into the banks  went ahead though the people voted against giving politicians the powers they requested believing the inquiry should be legally mandated with legally binding powers of inquiry compelling witnesses and led by a judge. They never even looked at who got the massive bonuses on a bank by bank basis in that feeding frenzy.

They quickly broke the promise of universal healthcare rowing back to limit this to free medical care for the under sixes putting further strains on the health care system stressed through too many demands.

The crisis in the A&E’s is one of horrific proportions the only concerted and failed effort of Fine Gael/Labour being to try to force doctors and nurses to move trolleys into the wards.

Stories of elderly people left for days on trolleys in any A&E should seal the fate of any government however dictatorial it has become.

No progress on the reduction of Ireland’s level of banking debt have been achieved other than the normalizing of interest coupons down to those already achieved by Portugal and Greece embarrassingly granted to us as well.

Pinocchio Government

Minister Noonan refused to burn bondholders to the tune of alleged €9bn under threat from Trichet. Compliance, subservience and obedience can often mask incompetence and the evidence for incompetence is compelling. Anglo €30bn + was rolled into long-term external debt obligations legally binding that the Fine Gael/Labour coalition could have refused to pay.190px-AdvPinocchio

But you are likely to hear the economically illiterate preach Fine Gael and Labour have had great success in managing our debt. No doubt everyday Jean-Claude Trichet and currently Mario Draghi ring Enda and Joan telling them what a wonderful example they are to the rest of Europe.

Minister Noonan’s record as minister for Finance has been one of singular obedience and compliance to the dictats of the ECB that shafted Irish people with the debt of German banks and bondholders.

Instead an Economic Management committee was established to ensure Ireland’s bailout of €67bn would be paid in full costing the toll of massive education emigration for the young, a broken property market, dodgy banks, suffocation of education, health care,  austerity for the poor with the rich protected from its ill effects.

Irish society has widened the gap between rich and poor and is already  on the road to Latin American style banana republic.

Stealth taxes such as USC/property charges and the much loathed Irish Water fiasco have further eroded their credibility.

FG/Labour have benefitted through the falling euro dollar ratio leading to profit for exporters and multinationals but this cannot last forever.

Evidence for a perfect storm masked by false projections on the available fiscal space show clouds gathering in the global economy.

It’s hard to know who to vote for.

Many politicians seem to be economically illiterate. Sinn Fein’s economic policy including the promise of universal health care seems shambolic,  unrealistic and unachievable. A better economic policy and they would get my vote.

I’m verging towards Fianna Fail and the independents at the moment hoping FF have learned lessons from the past and that independents will hold them to account.

I’ll vote for Anti Austerity Alliance and Independents first with maybe a vote for FF hoping they’ve learned the lesson on how to stand up to the banks and financial sector and represent the people democracy has put them there to vindicate the rights of.

But I’m not hopeful that the future has anything but gradual decline for the Irish economy until wider, global economic ramifications and problems  above get addressed (see last blog)

Part 11

https://www.google.ie/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=gresham%27s%20law

Gresham’s law is an economic principle that states: “When a government overvalues one type of money and undervalues another, the undervalued money will leave the country or disappear from circulation into hoards, while the overvalued money will flood into circulation.”

So trillions have been magically created out of nothing and dropped as QE onto the banks. The banks looked at investing that money in manufacturing/engineering local business figured out immediately that a better return could be had by investing in the stock market pyramid.

The paper money required to develop local economies around the world instead is siphoned away onto the casino of stocks, shares and paper derivatives.

The more QE money poured in, the higher the share values went. With early investors paid off now returns are dropping off. Share values have reached a pinnacle and it will take little to collapse them. Bad news on the Chinese or American economy, threatened raising of interest rates, geopolitical conflict levels rising in the middle east.

Now the world economy is global we could be in store for an earthquake driven tsunami at any time. Meanwhile Ireland is facing an election and those incumbents for the past 5 years fill the air with populist growth forecasts for the economy with tax reductions for everyone.

Brexit referendum should focus the minds of the incoming government on economic and trade alternatives to the dissolving european monetary union which ahead seems only to promise further decline, deflation if not economic collapse riven apart by the refugee crisis or other monetary forces in the global economy.

Noonan is on News at One talking about fiscal space Department of Finance figures based on projections of inflation and growth over the next 5 years.

John McHale of the Fiscal Advisory Council says Dept of Finance is under estimating increases in social welfare payments and the cost of public health services. According to Noonan, he’s not saying fiscal advisory council are wrong only that they have a different set of assumptions.

So figures out by €7bn are not wrong is the new MATH!

I will not be buying a used car from Enda Kenny if he goes into that business when at last he gives up politics.

I won’t have to as they may offer him chair of Irish Water in the unlikely event it will still exist at that point.

Goodbye and good riddance Labour and Fine Gael.

Postscript

The ‘rainy day’ fund is a wise countercyclical measure to save when the going is good, spend when the going is bad. However, if the value of your euros is falling and the hospital you are building will cost twice as much next year, spend your money now!

This is just one other reason we need to return to a stable gold standard and bring this global financial paper derivative casino regressive currency system to its inevitable close.

 

 

till again

 

(1) 

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/noonans-rainy-day-fund-plan-is-under-attack-from-labour-34408869.html

(2)

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/failure-rate-in-leaving-cert-honours-maths-up-for-third-year-1.2313919.

 

http://gold-standard.procon.org/sourcefiles/goldstandard_austrian_shcool.pdf

Dear Reader, it may be worth your while to dwell for a moment on the following quotation perhaps rereading:

” However, if the credit expansion is continued and, particularly, continued at an increasing rate, an upward price-spiraling competitive race is set in motion between those who period after period receive the additional sums initially and attempt to maintain or draw additional factors of production into the more roundabout processes and those who later in the repeated sequential process experience increases in the 
demand for prices of their products and attempt to retain or redirect resources
back to less roundabout production activities. The process could only
come to an end in one of two ways, Mises argued, either through a
conscious decision on the part of the monetary authorities to halt the
credit expansion or through a complete collapse of the monetary unit in a
hyperinflation. But once the monetary expansion came to an end, an
economic downturn was inevitable. The distortions in the structure of
relative prices, the misdirections of resources among the higher orders of
production and the relative income shares created by “forced savings”
would all be found to be unsustainable with the removal of the monetary
prop that had established and maintained them during the upturn. An
adjustment of relative prices, a reallocation of the factors of production
among alternative uses and a shift in relative income shares would all be
part of the prerequisites for a return to an economic situation consistent
with the underlying pattern of consumer demands and time preference
for present and future goods as they would now show themselves in an
environment free from monetary influences.

Today we live in an era of upward spiralling credit expansion addicted with ever-increasing injections of QE as the rest of the world tries to emulate Japan in its efforts to stave off deflation.

Arguments in favour of QE that it will benefit trickle down stimulus of economic activity have proved to be spurious.

As world leaders meet in Davos global economic activity is at a standstill with predictions for a steep fall from China, eurozone,  Bric countries. World commodity prices are facing collapse hitting poorer countries hardest  with many of their dollar denominated bonds rising in cost as their local currencies threaten collapse.

Worse, stock markets addicted to QE have inflated prices, under threat of only rising with the promise of further QE.

Least whiff of removal of QE and return to non negative interest rates and the stock market robots threaten an avalanche of selling leading potentially to global collapse of stock markets.

http://deohedgefundlaw.com/01132016/index

“The Biggest Bubble in History Just Began to Burst 

The decision by Central Banks to “inflate” the system’s debts away post-2008 has resulted in the misallocation of trillions of Dollars of capital.

The worst offenders were Chinese corporates. China has created the single largest mountain of bad debt in the world. Indeed, things are so out of control in China that 45% of all proceeds from new bond issuance are being used just to pay off interest on old loans.”

Markets are now addicted to QE. Whiff of an interest rate and they collapse. Promise of more printing of money and markets rise.

It’s a Catch 22 and can’t last forever. The present deregulated monetary system has split the global economy right down the middle.

On the one hand we have a refugee crisis, homelessness, deflation, poverty, contracting markets driven by austerity fuelled by falls in commodity prices and the growing burden of financing bailouts.

On the other hand, for the rich, we have booming share values that bear no correspondence anymore to the real world; we have junk bonds fed by junk bond markets fed by Central bankers fuelling this with more and more QE.

QE and the disappearance of private property ownership for the middle class and the poor

https://mises.org/library/mises-audacious-champion-freedom

“In what would normally be his leisure time, for example, he wrote first his world historic article and then his book on Socialism. Just after the establishment of Bolshevism in Russia, he proved that with no private property in the means of production, socialism would be a chaotic and poverty-producing disaster. No planning board could substitute for property and market. Tragically for the world, it took decades before socialists would admit, after his death, “Mises was right.”

With property turned into casino chips fed by vulture investment funds and fanned by mad max Central Bank policy and government socialism for the banks, people are suffering, social services suffering, fewer and fewer ordinary folk can purchase property instead forced to struggle to rent it.

Democracy is suffering.

Central Banks have become the new planning board politburo wielding global national power on edicts determining the future of economies similar to those USSR satellite states of the soviet era.

Capitalism and with it true price discovery led by the market place is replaced by manipulation of the money supply and the bond markets by Central banks replacing market capitalism with socialism for the banks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_von_Mises

Mises was a defender of freedom and capitalism.

In the 1940s  Mises completed his monumental treatise Human Action, in which he reconstructed all of economic analysis on a sound individualistic foundation.

“Credit expansion cannot increase the supply of real goods. It merely brings about a rearrangement. It diverts capital investment away from the course prescribed by the state of economic wealth and market conditions. It causes production to pursue paths which it would not follow unless the economy were to acquire an increase in material goods. As a result, the upswing lacks a solid base. It is not real prosperity. It is illusory prosperity. It did not develop from an increase in economic wealth. Rather, it arose because the credit expansion created the illusion of such an increase. Sooner or later it must become apparent that this economic situation is built on sand.”

Of course we here in Ireland can testify to the veracity of the above. We had massive credit expansion on joining the euro. It was poured into an unsustainable property boom  not based on an increase in real economic wealth at levels supporting the boom.

Economic activity became addicted to the boom of expanding credit lending and once this supply dried up in 2008, the avalanche of collapse began.

Let me requote Mises above:

” An adjustment of relative prices, a reallocation of the factors of production
among alternative uses and a shift in relative income shares would all be
part of the prerequisites for a return to an economic situation consistent
with the underlying pattern of consumer demands and time preference
for present and future goods as they would now show themselves in an
environment free from monetary influences.”

Global change in our monetary system is required before its defects cause catastrophy to mankind and his future. We require return of a more stable and balanced form of monetary and currency exchange based on the Gold standard.

In Ireland monetary influences choking the economic development of the Irish economy is the perpetuation and maintenance of the property bubble that has collapsed the Irish economy. Commercial and residential property price inflation combined with deflation through austerity are contradictory.

Private property purchase of a mortgage by the lower to middle class is replaced with vulture funds expropriating property funds at knock down prices in turn turning the lower to middle class into serfs paying extortionate Sheriff of Nottingham rents.

This system serves the banks as well as the decreasing number of property owners.

Irish banks are still in spite of bailout dependant on their large lending portfolios and up to €4bn of outstanding loans. Reducing the price of commercial and private property would damage the loan to value ratios of lending on their books.

The construction of affordable housing could bring about negative equity and default and thus Central Bank planning of our economy has replaced a real economy with one that is artificial and false.

It is also in danger of collapse.

NB Fitsch report here:

https://www.fitchratings.com/site/fitch-home/pressrelease?id=998004

“Our assessment of asset weaknesses includes a high proportion of forborne loans in the system, very low yielding loans, defaulted but not impaired loans, and restructured loans, all of which add up to a high proportion of the banks’ balance sheets. It will take many years to work through all these problems, especially because many of them date back a long time. For example, the stock of Irish residential mortgage loans, both owner-occupied and buy-to-let, in arrears for over 720 days is high at EUR15.1bn, equivalent to 12% of outstanding mortgages.

While capital ratios at BOI and AIB strengthened significantly over the past six months, we believe the banks could still be vulnerable to severe shocks. In particular, we are monitoring developments in Ireland’s commercial real estate market (CRE). Irish banks are not expanding aggressively into this type of financing but the market is particularly cyclical and investment levels currently exceed pre-crisis levels. International and domestic investors are driving this expansion but the CRE sector could be vulnerable to changes in investor sentiment and significant expansion in CRE financing at BOI and AIB would therefore increase risks.”

Commercial Real Estate CRE ” International and domestic investors are driving this expansion…”

Yes, its been driven to bubble proportions. The ordinary Joe and Jane Soap cannot afford even a mortgage on a very modest home. And the whole monetary system upon this is based is in imminent danger of collapse.

Price Discovery in a Controlled Economy

Instead of building homes to house the homeless,  providing basic A&E services for the old and sick, Kenny and Burton have acted like bailiffs working for the banks.

They have looted the Irish economy to serve the very banking sector that brought the Irish economy to its knees.

A Celtic Tiger bubble under their watch has been fanned into flames forcing up the numbers of homeless families driven out of their homes by extortionate rent increases.
2012-694--asylum-seekers-punch-and-Judy-show-13rd-November-

Its “showtime” if you are an actor on the stage with a prepared monologue fed to you by your handlers  to focus on the failed efforts of the opposition to manage the economy during the Celtic Tiger years. Instead of acting in the here and now to end the housing and A&E crisis in our hospitals. The failure of FG/LB is by far the greater failure because its one based on the gift of hindsight.

It helps if you cannot think or plan ahead but wish only to maintain the status quo. It also helps if you break election promises. It also helps if you make the same promises to end the calamity of a housing and A&E crisis that you have made before but repeat them for the coming election.

Kenny’s favorite quip of ‘its show time’ is more applicable to a Punch and Judy show with demands for fairness and humane treatment of vulnerable Irish people set aside, in favour of compliant, subservient, capitulation to the demands of failed banker handlers moving the political puppet strings..

We see in the outgoing government evidence of broken promises to reform in Pensions Authority appointment of David Begg; or GSOC using the law to snoop on journalist’s phones and of course the well-known appointment of judges by political affiliation.

Democratic government has been so watered down it hardly exists  replaced with secretive Economic Management Council puppet government control of decision-making by outside financial interests.

In pale contrast to the ideals of 1916, the Oireachtas has become a failed talking shop unable even to produce a watered down Banking Inquiry Report.

There is a generation of young Irish people growing up who are too young to remember the times recalled by older generations when true price discovery existed in the housing market.

There was a time when the purchase of a house could be achieved by getting a mortgage based on a few multiples of a living industrial wage, a steady job.

Price discovery determined that the cost of building a house could yield a profit if reasonably attached to the rubric of what the average Joe and Jane Soap could reasonably be expected to pay off over a 30 year period.

The system was so successful large housing estates were built across the main towns and cities generating jobs in construction with trickle down economic activity that led to thousands of jobs in retail/construction and related industrial growth in a growing economy.

Today following financial collapse and still within an economic downturn with loss of jobs and cuts in wages, the average Joe and Jane Soap see no prospect of owning a home.

Construction has ground to a halt. Shortages mean property prices are out of their reach at astronomical levels.

Banks refuse to lend to developers knowing full well the market is artificial and in a dangerous state of imminent collapse.

Keeping the Property Bubble Going

FG/LB led government has not only failed to address these problems but it has openly capitulated to both a European Central Bank and Irish Central Bank coup d’état of the Irish economy and the Irish construction industry.

The Irish economy no longer serves the people but rather the demands of bondholders and financial paper wielding bailouts of foreign banks and financial institutions.

If the ECB and Irish Central Bank worry that construction levels may impair the current loan to value of billions in lending to developers of buy to let properties and vulture property funds, they will not lend to Irish property developers.

ICB apparently are of more concern that the repayment of foreign bondholders takes precedence over the investment in construction required to serve the needs of the people.

They also know that Irish property prices are vastly inflated with dodgy loan to value ratios and are extremely risky. This puts another dampener on the Irish property sector.

The Irish property sector is in a bubble and all bubbles pop.

The following 2009 discussion on average house property costs figures somewhat dated but if anything matters have severely deteriorated since then.

http://www.thepropertypin.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=22730

We have a housing bubble with prices that are unsustainable and inflated due to banks fear of loan to value relationships collapsing.

But collapse they will. All bubbles pop.

Average industrial wage is now a little over €40k and a small development of houses in an enclave not far from here start at €750k typical of such builds in Dublin at the moment targeting high earners paying extortionate rents.

These houses while of good standard are not mansions in their own grounds but yet approach 20 times the average industrial wage!

Don’t be fooled and misled by propaganda from Davey Stockbrokers and ilk re growth projections for the Irish economy.

Such growth projections are based on expectation of massive stock inflation because of global QE, MNC export earnings increase caused by devaluation of the euro against the dollar, low oil prices that imperil the global economy and loot the third world, deteriorating social services because of austerity, temporary changes to Corporation tax auditing practices mysteriously leading to injection of almost €2bn to the public purse.

Shortages are inflating house prices

http://businessetc.thejournal.ie/average-industrial-wage-828-88-per-week-805225-Feb2013/

Perhaps Davos will usher in a return to a global currency standard based on gold that cannot be manipulated by governments and central banks boom and bust policies. It’s not likely to happen.

The smart money is on things to get worse before they get better.

For prosperity and human development to flourish we need to be free of a global monetary system infected by the mismanagement of TBTF banks and Central Banks and Shadow Banking in junk bond markets.

We need to return to a far more sophisticated and smarter world based on human freedom, enterprise and a currency system linked to the stability and balance given by the Gold Standard.

Notes

Shadow Banking

Japan’s Debt Problem

Debt Crisis 2016 United States of America Explained in a Simplified Way

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jjv-MtGpj2U

“Uncle Sam’s Catch 22

14 trillion-dollar debt equal to total GDP for one entire year for US

He can’t raise taxes or cut spending and making the recession worse

Can’t have Federal reserve print more money without causing inflation making it worse.

If one link in the debt chain defaults, the whole lot falls apart. This will usher in a global debt crisis of epic proportions. Start preparing.”

 

End

till again…

Ireland Vs Liarland

December 22, 2015

I listened to Alan Kelly Minister for the Environment  interviewed on radio RTE this morning Dec 22 speaking on the topic of housing for which he holds political responsibility as major part of his portfolio (1a).

'Yes, I suppose certain narrow-minded people would call it a ‘pack of lies' - I prefer to think of it as creative up-selling.'

‘Yes, I suppose certain narrow-minded people would call it a ‘pack of lies’ – I prefer to think of it as creative up-selling.’

Homelessness has been declared a humanitarian crisis in Dublin with upwards of 2500 in emergency accommodation on a regular basis including families and young children.

Last Summer there were calls for Kelly (1b) to return to Ireland to deal with the case of a young family with 3 children forced to sleep in a park.

Most he can do is organise a rent freeze. Many landlords have used the opportunity to turf out those renting with them under the pretext of refurbishing their premises.

This will allow them to set rents higher and avoid the freeze. Index linking rises in rent to inflation levels has been torpedoed by Noonan, Minister for Finance.

The solution is weak capitulation to the financial forces obstructing reform. Banks are making too much money sucking the blood from the young.

Likewise his efforts to stop developers sitting on landbanks to prevent/reduce rising prices for land with a 3% levy has been an unbridled capitulation to vulture developers. According to Kelly there are ‘constitutional’ restraints on the imposition of such a tax levy at a rate higher than this? I find this argument absurd and ridiculous.

Government never had a problem imposing taxes on cigarettes or children’s footware; it appears there are now constitutional difficulties on imposing such taxes on rich landowners. Could this be due to the numbers of rich landowners, developers and owners or rental property who are also members of government.

Both Noonan and Kenny also cite the constitutional constraints on interfering with land ownership in a constructive way. We have to decide between incompetence or lies as to the reason why they cannot change the constitution if necessary to end such blockages. The constitution is there to serve not the vulturism of a ruling elite, but the people.

To be fair to Kelly, I believe he is not telling us lies; the alternative is he just isn’t up to the demands of his job. He is being duped and his role is to dupe us.

In the same vein Kelly when asked why his proposals to shoe in shoebox legislation. During the Celtic tiger years there was widespread condemnation of building regulations, studio apartments of shoebox size, 40sq metres. New proposals to reduce to 42sq metres similar sized apartments and similar reductions in standards for other apartment sizes represent the triumph of developer greed over common sense.

Perhaps rich farmers will invest in such small-sized apartments to house their young while attending college in Dublin.

According to Kelly, developers are not building apartments because to do so because of the current sizing of apartments, they are uneconomic to build compared to office accommodation!

Spare a thought for Kelly’s argument here. Apartments can be sold for astronomical sums around Central Park in New York City, but in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis in the city of Dublin, planners and developers and other interested stakeholders, cannot make money out of building apartments even though we’re heading for the costliest and most expensive rents in Europe.

NB think carefully about this. He’s not talking about affordable housing, he’s saying money can’t be made on the building of apartments under the current legislation because they prevent the building of shoeboxes!

I’m sorry, folks, I can’t remain objective anymore. His thinking is that of an idiot and a gombeen. The dark side of this is that his strings are being pulled by those who want him to be ineffective.

He is totally ineffective and incompetent however many lies are told to make him appear a success. He isn’t at all unique in this government. Noonan committed up €31 billion of taxpayers money to remortgage his Anglo promissory note into long-term loans we must pay back forever. Then he argued that the token interest rate reductions from sky-high 8% to clipping these odious rates with extend and pretend, was a success!

Meanwhile Kenny with a failed Banking Inquiry and a quango Water boarding of the electorate, failed to persuade ECB we should be returned senior bondholder payments of €8 bn plus. Minister Varadker is trying to persuade nurse trolls to move trollies up into wards to create trolley wards. We are lucky Irish nurses are not trolls.

Its simple, add thousands of additional beds to our hospitals, build the thousands of homes necessary to house our people. Replace those who by lies and incompetence seek to persuade us this we cannot do this.

Our balance of payments deficit and our so-called economic growth has been brought about by the collapsing value of the euro against the dollar funded by dollar dealing multi nationals and exports. The accounts of the MNC’s  so opaque we cannot even account for the windfall €2bn coming to us as extra from corporation tax.

Our economy is Atlantic based not European based with little of our trade into Europe. Over the next Summer it is very possible Brexit will come to pass with Britain leaving Europe causing irreparable damage to our economy.

With the blind leading the blind, surely it is not too much to ask, we should seize the opportunity to hold a similar referendum in Ireland at the same time on our continued membership of the EU.

The European project has become an economic disaster with deflation knocking on Europe’s door, social tensions rising and political instability increasing.

Perhaps a New Free Trade agreement with a fairer resolution of Ireland’s debt profile; a new Ireland with a referendum mandating this?

Unfortunately most of the young people who could bring this about have emigrated, so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Meanwhile lets just recognise stupidity and lies for what they are! A failed Irish Water, failed web summit, failed solution to housing and A&E crisis, failed solution to our debt crisis, we should recognise this government has failed.

Time for change.

Happy Christmas & a Peaceful New Year to you and yours.

 

till again

 

(1 a) http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0922/729477-dublin-simon-report/

(1 b) http://www.thejournal.ie/where-is-alan-kelly-2267120-Aug2015/

(1 c ) http://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2015/1110/740917-housing-kelly/

 

Firstly, kudos and hats off to the RTE Investigation team unearthing shocking evidence of endemic corruption among local councillors in Ireland, links here (4)blindLeadingBlind

One of the councillors involved, Hugh McElvaney – a four-time mayor of Monaghan, McElvaney, since resigned from Fine Gael, his hands and fingers replete with ornamental gold rings and gold watch, pictured sweeping imaginary bribe money into his many pockets, said it all.

Hard to believe we were not watching an episode from Fr Ted’so Craggy Island.

His performance deserved an Oscar for best iconic performance worldwide for representing corruption.

Hopefully the case will be followed up by the Garda fraud squad and his past activities investigated.

This was not some imaginary banana republic in a far off land, but Ireland in the here and now 2015.

Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Queenan, a businessman and councillor, winked at his business like advice for payment to be made to a partner of his to hide the bribes. For Queenan and McElvaney clearly Ireland is a great place to do business.

“The Mahon Tribunal of Inquiry The Final Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments (also known as the Mahon Tribunal) contained a total of 64 recommendations for further consideration in relation to a range of policy areas, as follows: 1. Planning; 2. Conflicts of Interest; 3. Political Finance; 4. Lobbying; 5. Bribery, Corruption in Office, Money Laundering and the Misuse of Confidential Information; 6. Asset Recovery; and 7. Miscellaneous Matters.”(5)

“One of the most significant recommendations being considered is the establishment of an Independent Planning Regulator, who could assume some of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government’s planning oversight functions and who could also be charged with carrying out investigations into systematic problems in the planning system. This recommendation is accepted in principle. ”

Legislation for this has not been enacted nor is it proposed in the term of the present government.

Currently, if a complaint is made, there is no clear route for a complaint to take. It’s likely to do a merry-go-round tour of government departments. Legal obstacles will impinge on any investigation. There is no white-collar anti corruption unit in Ireland staffed with enough stick to get through the swathes of soft laws protecting the right to privacy, commercial sensitivity, possible defamation or libel obstacles. There is no legislation of a quasi-judicial kind to mount proper investigation of white-collar crime protected with vast resources of legal might

Investigates showed that even today following Mahon ignored by 40% of councillors(6) ”

  • provide for the disclosure of interests, including material interests, which could influence Ministers of the Government, Ministers of State, the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann, the Attorney General, members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, directors of public bodies and public servants, including special advisers, in the performance of their official duties;”

http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Planning/FileDownLoad,30749,en.pdf

We should look to best practice worldwide with a view to setting up an anti corruption commission in the immediate future before the coming election.

(7)http://www.transparency.org/files/content/corruptionqas/Best_practices_for_anti-corruption_commissions_2.pdf

Transparency International have produced a paper on best practice worldwide for anti corruption commissions.

“The international legal framework advises that such institutions be independent, protected from undue influence and have adequate training and resources to undertake their duties.”

“Anti-corruption commissions are mandated differently depending on country contexts; in 2008 the OECD developed a typology of the existing models:

 The multi-purpose agency represents the most common model of a single-agency approach, combining the aspects of repression and prevention of corruption. This is the model on which are shaped the Hong Kong Independent Commission against Corruption and the Singapore Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

 The law enforcement agencies model either combines the three functions of detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, or specialises in detection/ investigation or prosecution. This model is the most common in Western Europe.

 The preventive, policy development and coordination institutions focus more on corruption related research, coordination of anti-corruption policies and action plans, monitoring conflict of interest regulations, elaboration of codes of conduct, facilitation of trainings, etc. This is a model that can be found in France, India, Albania and Montenegro, for example.”

Hopefully we will get an agency “combines the three functions of detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, or specialises in detection/ investigation or prosecution.” That would have the powers to investigate along the lines of the RTE investigation team, then follow-up with prosecutions of the likes of Hugh McElvaney and Joe Queenan.where_does_all_the_money_go___pavel_constantin

Banking Inquiry:

Look, all they had to do was examine the loan book and follow the money. The money can be summed up in one word, “bonus”.

As stated in earlier blogs, a quick audit of the 10 largest loans describing in detail the bonuses given to those who managed those loans would have shown the bonus culture feeding frenzy that led to financial meltdown.

Of course behind the bonuses was the even darker world of bribes and corruption.

With modern technology all loans handed out in the Celtic Tiger era could be audited and investigated for patterns and loops and of course, bonuses!

The bonus culture virus infected all levels in all of the banks. It led to turning a blind eye to dodgy loans. It became so endemic that throwing caution to the winds meant you saved your job while prudent risk management meant you risked losing your job.

It was a feeding frenzy bought into by government, banking employees and management, even the Regulator and Central Bank. No q’s asked by Regulator, ECB, government.

The ECB refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

Unfortunately (1)”Irish people decided in a referendum in 2011 not to give parliamentary committees the power to make adverse findings against individuals”. An array of political and legal restraints hobbled the inquiry from the start.

(2)”Conducting this kind of Oireachtas inquiry as opposed to a Levinson-type quasi-judicial examination has brought its fair share of criticism, because of the limitations such a move involves.

Those limitations, now coming to the fore, are significant and descriptions of the inquiry being ‘toothless’ are valid.

The internal documents given by advisers, legal and economic, contain a myriad of restrictions and limitations which will have the cumulative effect of rendering the ability of members to ask the kind of probing detailed questions required as non-existent.”

Absurdly, the daft draft can be legally challenged by interested parties. Its gone out to them to see if they are happy enough with the whitewash. Only then can it be published in its current form. We wont discuss all the heavily redacted docs they got to see.

“However, Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath said that there are huge limitations on what the inquiry can actually say.

(3)”If I believe somebody acted recklessly during the banking crisis, and if that question as put to that person in the course of evidence and they denied acting recklessly, then it’s not open to the committee to actually conclude that person acted recklessly,” he said.”

It might adversely impact on their name and reputation? Absurd, but white-collar crime gets an unprecedented level of protection and its crimes are well hidden.

Don’t ask if it should be given to acting politicians the task to investigate white-collar crime. The Irish public in 2011 in a referendum decided it would be unwise to do so. Ignoring this Irish politicians arrogated to themselves the very method rejected democratically by the electorate.

Having bought into the compromised inquiry in the first place, Pearse Doherty and Joe Higgins wish to occupy the high moral ground and accept political plaudits by refusing to sign off on it. Spare us all from wasting all our time. Reductio Ad absurdum. Their time on the inquiry would have been better spent advocating for a full judicial inquiry given the full powers it required.

More and more democracy is being eroded. Parliamentary democracy in Ireland is becoming more and more toothless eroded and corroded by decisions taken elsewhere in the financial and banking sector. Stamped by puppet so-called parliamentarians confidence in politicians at an all time low.

The result is homelessness, a generation of young people who cannot or will not be able to find or afford a home.

The destruction of free market capitalism in Ireland continues with the shocking proposal the state bad bank NAMA’s proposal to deliver a €7.4bn development programme involving 20000 new homes in Dublin and elsewhere and 3.8 million square feet of office space in Dublin. NAMA is a state bad bank and not a developer acting in the manner of a state housing association under the USSR during the cold war in Russia. Socialism for the banks is becoming the new norm.

NAMA must be one of the most secretive bad banks in the world protected with a raft of legislation from prying eyes to hide from Freedom of Information legislation with transparency a ridiculed joke.

Developers in Ireland “The NAMA scheme favours NAMA and NAMA-supported developers over non-supported developers”. NAMA has sold vast tracts of commercial and residential property to vulture funds allowing them to corner the rent/lease market and support maximizing upward only rents.

A false floor to residential properties lending has been engineered through shortages to maintain high level lending to fill bank coffers. The present government has built nothing.

White collar crime and socialism for the banking sector means as it did in the Soviet era, a crackdown by means of non disclosure, censorship, secrecy. Suddenly government announce an extra couple of billion due from corporation tax blindness.

We have no access to audited accounts detailing the source of this rise in income. Speculation on this blog is that a large amount of the increase comes from the collapse of the euro against the dollar, MNC’s deal in the dollar so any fall in the euro means more CT.

But wonders if MNC’s are declaring more because of imminent investigations at European level into CT. And if under declaration, should not an anti corruption task force investigate if under declaration or other tax avoidance has occurred in the past.

We thrive while the euro dives. Latest economic setback for the EMU is  abolition of the Schengen agreement for the next 2 years.

The cornerstone of European economic unity was Schengen allowing a truck driver from Cork travel unhindered to Poland and beyond within EMU without border stops and border check delays. This will impact severely on trade in the EMU. Clearly design flaws in the euro have come home to roost and it’s not at all clear if the euro project can succeed and overcome its present challenges without dissolution on the table.

Irish water is silent on projects to harness all the flood water, build the lakes, storm drains, reservoirs needed for the future now it has lost its ticket to the billions it otherwise would have sought on the commercial borrowing markets. Its time to abandon that project and restore that enterprise locally under new democratic powers given to the Board of Works.

Hospitals and A&E’s remain underfunded under more risk of closure than development. The austerity programme is in full sail. Irish government pawns of the ECB are clearly at a loss what to do next.

 

till next time

 

(1)   http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/banking-inquiry-hobbled-from-start-by-legal-restrictions-1.2456552

(2)  http://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/banking-inquiry-those-hoping-for-full-disclosure-will-be-let-down-30835708.html

(3) http://www.wexfordecho.ie/2015/11/23/mcgrath-banking-inquiry-will-meet-over-christmas-if-necessary/

(4) http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/1207/751733-investigations-unit/

(5) http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Planning/FileDownLoad,30749,en.pdf

(6) http://hr.per.gov.ie/overview-of-the-ethics-acts/

(7) http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/answer/best_practices_for_anti_corruption_commissions

Privilege and Confidentiality

November 20, 2015

“Na habair faic agus na scriobh faic, mar nuair a cuireann tu an dubh ar an gheal ta tu fuckalta a bhuachaill”

where_does_all_the_money_go___pavel_constantinWhen does a right cease to become a right protecting the public good and instead become a right to cover up and commit crimes against the public good?

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report in the US took 2yrs to produce:

“The Commission’s statutory instructions set out 22 specific topics for inquiry and
called for the examination of the collapse of major financial institutions that failed or
would have failed if not for exceptional assistance from the government. This report
fulfills these mandates. In addition, the Commission was instructed to refer to the attorney
general of the United States and any appropriate state attorney general any
person that the Commission found may have violated the laws of the United States in
relation to the crisis. Where the Commission found such potential violations, it referred
those matters to the appropriate authorities. The Commission used the authority
it was given to issue subpoenas to compel testimony and the production of
documents, but in the vast majority of instances, companies and individuals voluntarily
cooperated with this inquiry.

In the course of its research and investigation, the Commission reviewed millions
of pages of documents, interviewed more than 700 witnesses, and held 19 days of
public hearings in New York, Washington, D.C., and communities across the country
that were hard hit by the crisis. The Commission also drew from a large body of existing
work about the crisis developed by congressional committees, government
agencies, academics, journalists, legal investigators, and many others”

In contrast our banking inquiry into Ireland’s financial meltdown due to the limited powers restricting its terms of reference risks by way of privilege and confidentiality legal restraints, becoming a watered down cover up.

There was hope that a more targeted and precise probe initiated with the appointment of Justice Cregan into deeply questionable transactions involving the sale of assets by NAMA, would bear more fruit.

It has taken Justice Cregan nearly 6 months to produce a judgement that his investigation is botched hampered by the problems he outlines below:

The problem with Siteserv:

187. “That Dáil Eireann: notes that: — in 2012, Siteserv owed €150 million to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC); — in March 2012, IBRC sold Siteserv for €45 million; — external trade buyers were excluded from the sale of Siteserv and there are questions about due diligence; — some bidders were also excluded from the sale and may have saved the State some money; — Siteserv shareholders received €5 million at the time of sale; — there are genuine concerns about the sale of Siteserv for €45 million by IBRC; and — Department of Finance officials have raised concerns about other IBRC sales as well; acknowleges: — the huge public concern about the sale of Siteserv; — the dissatisfaction that information, obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI), highlighted that relations and trust between the IBRC and the Secretary General, as well as officials in the Department of Finance, had broken down; and — there are now concerns about other sell-offs by IBRC; condemns the appointment of KPMG to undertake a review of transactions in IBRC as they advised Siteserv during the sale and there are public concerns about a possible conflict of interest; and calls for an independent commission of inquiry to be set up to examine the circumstances surrounding and leading to the sale of Siteserv in March 2012, and other company sell-offs by IBRC so that the interest of the taxpayer can be fully protected and transparent.” — Michael McGrath, John Browne, Dara Calleary, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen, Timmy Dooley, Seán Fleming, Colm Keaveney, Billy Kelleher, Seamus Kirk, Michael P. Kitt, Micheál Martin, Michael Moynihan, Charlie McConalogue, John McGuinness, Éamon Ó Cuív, Willie O’Dea, P.T.O. (3)

Justice Cregan  has produced an interim report highlighting significant problems that obstruct his investigation. (4)

“The largest six transactions being examined involve write-offs of more than €100m while the next six involve losses greater than €50m, while it has also emerged a separate 156 transactions where losses of €10m or more were recorded are outside the scope of the inquiry’s timeframe.

As a result of the difficulties, Judge Cregan has recommended that individual sales could be isolated and examined by different commission members. However, he has concluded that under the current terms the inquiry could take “several years” and “result in substantial costs”.

The judge has recommended legislative changes to overcome claims of confidentiality by some parties.”(5)

There are questions over the advice given to Government when it set up the inquiry.

The government should appoint a tribunal of investigation of three judges and report on Siteserv before the next general election.

Investigation into the remainder of transactions should be mounted with decision on their terms of reference following initial Siteserv report.

The commission should prioritize an investigation into the Siteserv transaction. Legislation could be enacted overnight giving a tribunal of 3 judges the power to make a majority decision on any claims re privilege and confidentiality in regard to the public good.

This would firm up powers given to the banking inquiry.

Siteserv investigation with work already completed could become the basis for the first of a series of minority reports before a majority report required in specific time frame of 12 months.

The practice of tribunals of investigation a boon to the legal profession taking years instead of months to complete for a small island with a relatively small population compared to UK or US similar inquiries, must be curtailed on the basis of costs and common sense and the risk of corruption of the legal profession itself.

In summary, to avoid legal challenges, judges with impeccable experience, a tribunal of 3, can be given powers to decide whether legal privilege and the right of confidentiality, should favour the public good or the opportunity of individuals and companies and institutions, to commit crimes against the public good and have their actions concealed from the law.

HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS (INQUIRIES, PRIVILEGES AND PROCEDURES) ACT 2013 (2)

(3) A person shall not require the disclosure of a confidential
communication other than—

(a) with the consent in writing of the member who made or
received the communication, or

(b) subject to subsection (4), where it is determined by the
Court, upon application being made to it under this
section, that the disclosure is relevant to the investigation
of any offence alleged against the member, or is essential
by virtue of an overriding public interest arising in the
context of proceedings before a court, tribunal, commission
or Part 2 inquiry.

(4) The Court shall, in determining under paragraph (b) of subsection

(3) whether or not it should make an order providing for the
disclosure of a confidential communication made by or to a member,
have regard to—

(a) the extent to which the communication relates to a matter
of public importance or public interest,

(b) the rights and interests of any member affected,”

If required, immediate legislation reinforcing the above and authorising a number of judges to exercise similar powers in loco parentis to that of the courts  “by virtue of an overriding public interest arising in the context of proceedings before a court, tribunal, commission”, should be enacted.

To give opportunity to those who would evade justice in the concealment of possible crimes in the opinion of a High Court judge, is a scandal and affront to our constitutional democracy.

There are specific circumstances when the constitutional rights of the individual or company or institution, should be set aside in favour of the right of the public good.

It should be satisfactory that such unique decision-making should be entrusted to a tribunal of 3 judges empowered to balance those rights in the specific context of a tribunal of inquiry or special investigation.

Meanwhile Irish businessman Denis O’Brien has scrapped the potential $2 billion flotation of his Caribbean and Pacific islands telecoms company Digicel less than 72 hours before its shares were due to begin trading in New York. There are questions over the awarding of the mobile phone license and concerns over his acquisitions in media and the right to free speech.

Fintan O Toole writing in the Irish Times,(6) echoing concerns re O’Brien’s efforts to curtail free speech and his media acquisitions “I have never, in 37 years in journalism, come across any editor in any country who would not regard the banning of a report of a parliamentary debate as an attack on the most basic function of the media in a democratic society.”

If he has nothing to hide, he should welcome transparency.

I share growing concern that the truth involving corruption and abuse of the public interest as soon as unearthed is being buried by those hiding it. (7)

The scandal of politicians evading tax brought by a whistleblower with supporting documents has not seen the light of day(7). It would appear insiders have a large wagon train of means to hide corruption encircling them. Lancing the boil of corruption should be tackled with renewed energy by those who seek the public good.

Digicel is loaded with dollar debt from companies trading in currencies other than the dollar. That debt is growing as both deflation in Europe and in the US in increasing. The euro has taken a large fall against the dollar exchange rate.

The bubble in bond markets and stocks and shares of recent years fuelled by QE1 and QE2 and QE3 is running out of Q’s to support it.

Japanese recession beckons for the euro area even before the current refugee crisis.

In which case there are many more bubbles other than O Brien’s Digicel that will POP.

But that is another story.

till again

  1. http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-denis-o-brien-s-influence-and-the-meaning-of-press-freedom-1.2242043
  2. https://inquiries.oireachtas.ie/banking/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Act2013.pdf
  3. http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/op/May15/Supple/sp060515.pdf
  4. http://www.thejournal.ie/ibrc-inquiry-problems-2455396-Nov2015/
  5. http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/government-called-to-focus-ibrc-inquiry-on-controversial-siteserv-sale-366059.html
  6. http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-denis-o-brien-s-influence-and-the-meaning-of-press-freedom-1.2242043
  7. http://www.irishtimes.com/business/civil-servant-claims-politicians-evaded-tax-1.1991573

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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