Nepotism

April 6, 2017

Property prices in Ireland are rising substantially faster than wages and salaries. This is unsustainable. Prices today are beyond the reach of ordinary people.

The market today is sustained by shortages and vulture funds and wealthy relatives able to put up the €60000 their sons and daughters require to put up front to get onto the property ladder.

Compare to the 50’s in Ireland where housing estates around are major cities were built in poorer times. Those on an average industrial wage could afford a house.

Today the market is controlled by broken banks sabotaging the efforts of those trying to reduce prices through large building programmes.

If house prices come down, banks could crash as their unsustainable lending into the commercial, residential and buy to let market goes into negative equity.

Nevin Institute for Economic Research recently came to the sobering conclusion:

“Lack of access to affordable quality homes constitutes a significant crisis for workers, families and communities in the Republic of Ireland. Current Government plans appear to be insufficient to make a significant impact. Pressure and strain on individuals and families is a direct consequence of under-investment over many years as well as a failure on the part of a market-led and property developer-led model of housing to deliver enough houses to meet the demands of a growing population.  We propose a carefully planned programme to construct 70,000 new homes in addition to the existing stock of normally occupied housing in the Republic of Ireland. A key part of this plan is the putting in place of a European Cost Rental Model (ECRM) on lines already outlined by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and referred to in a recent report of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness.   The optimum solution, we propose, is the establishment of The Housing Company of Ireland which will draw on long-term borrowing combined with an equity injection from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and undertake or commission, on a commercial basis, a programme of planning, building, acquiring and renting of new homes.  This investment will supplement and further strengthen that of the Local Authorities as well as the voluntary housing associations in the area of social housing. The figure, below, summarises some of the key features of the ECRM.”

Have you seen the cranes going up recently in Dublin and Cork to build residential housing estates/apartment blocks…neither have I. Government inaction hopes to persuade private developers to get involved in delivering thousands of homes. This won’t happen as the banks to protect themselves will not loan into this market for 2 reasons, a) already mentioned above it will undermine current valuations of its lending stock b) people can’t afford the pricing. No matter how much the European investment bank get involved promising billions to Irish developers,the above 2 facts will not change. Unfortunately this makes Simon Coveney’s plans a ball of smoking  nonsense.

But remember the housing estates built around Dublin in the ’50s…..

http://www.nerinstitute.net/research/irelands-housing-emergency-time-for-a-game-changer/

The Water Framework Directive from Europe appears could be the political undoing of FF/FG coalition. The 20-member Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services met today and will meet again next week to agree its final recommendations for the future funding of domestic water services.

The Water Framework Directive from Europe is a thinly disguised frame-up of the Irish people. Reckoned in excess of €8bn the cost of upgrading the Irish water infrastructure Europe has reckoned cannot be born by excessive exchequer borrowing and spending.

Unable to tax and spend through devaluation of our currency we are reined in by constrictive European Central Bank policies causing homelessness and the various crises we put up with.

The Irish Water super quango semi-state body received a subvention of €439 million in 2014 and is expected to receive €399 million and €479 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively. it’s not under the watchdog remit of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

IW leaks money everywhere duplicating work that could easily have continued under the aegis of local County Councils coordinated under the work of a single national committee.

Propaganda is hosed on the Irish public brainwashed to believe water charges, water meters, will curb excessive use.

95% of the excessive use is poor infrastructure with public water mains leaking into the ground, nothing to do with consumers. Are the older generation some challenged with the need to use more than the average amount of water consumption, to be levied with huge bills? Is it not simpler to ban hoses in gardens for cars and pavement washing?

This is but another reason for us to Irexit out of Europe about which there is growing support in the media, academic life, and politically.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/eirexit-could-ireland-follow-britain-out-of-the-eu-1.2864539

However little consideration so far has been given to the notion of Irexit. But Brexit is forcing Irish politics to come to grips with the implications of this move for Ireland socially, politically and economically.

http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2016102600024?opendocument

We don#t seem to realise Ireland is a parked car on a railway crossing with trains coming at us from both directions!

“Deputy Martin is quite right that while the challenges ahead are unknown, at least if we knew at this stage what Britain’s ask will be, we could focus on that. It seems as if the Prime Minister has made it clear that the UK does not seek any kind of Norwegian system or a Swiss system, but a bespoke British requirement. In the update she gave to the other leaders at the European Council meeting, she said she would like to see the exit process be professional and well-managed and said that would be of benefit to both Europe and to Britain. Obviously, there will be discussions and negotiation about that. I will arrange for a briefing for Deputies Martin and Adams and anybody else by the senior officials here, who will give the Deputies the details of what they have been discussing with permanent secretaries across the water. They cannot get into too much detail because the Government has not made its decision. As the weeks go on, arising from the civic dialogue and the North-South Ministerial Council, we will have a wealth of information on which we can begin to focus. However, really and truly, until the Prime Minister moves and triggers Article 50, we will not be in a position to say what the definitive position is of the British Government. President Juncker, President Tusk and everybody else have made it clear that there will not be any formal negotiation until that happens. Michel Barnier will be around to everybody in the meantime. The Minister of State, Deputy Dara Murphy, has been meeting all his counterparts. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Flanagan, has the same requirement as all Ministers at a European level to make direct contact so that people understand in the first instance from a European perspective the importance of the peace process, the connections between Ireland and Britain and so on. I will see that Deputies Martin and Adams are briefed at the..”

Its hoped that the gradual implications of Brexit for Ireland, the threat against the €5bn agri exports, the threats against SME’s in Ireland selling into the UK perhaps considering moving there permanently to escape tariffs, the threat posed by the hard border, will gradually focus Irish minds onto an opportunity for national unity.

If Ireland were to leave Europe a new deal could unify northern and southern Ireland outside the EU. Through partnership with the UK a new commonwealth of nations Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England could defend Ireland’s interests more effectively than Ireland’s membership of the EU can do for the southern republic.

But Today propaganda from Europe assures us that we are part of a team of 27 nations in the EU and we are assured that Ireland’s interests in negotiations will be supported. Who believes that nonsense?

Where was everyone on the team when Noonan went looking for support to carry the European banks’ potential losses of €40bn.

We were asked to take one for the team.

Our obedient, compliant and subservient negotiators will also be asked to take one for the team on UK’s Brexit. To test my proposition, ask Europe who will pay (money) for setting up the Irish border controls required to police the EU?

Part11

An Garda Siochana

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/senior-garda%C3%AD-welcome-inquiry-into-whistleblower-controversy-1.2987127

“Under the terms of reference,  which set out what the Commission can look into, Supreme Court Justice Peter Charleton will investigate two specific allegations, and exactly what former Commissioner Martin Callinan and Noirín O’Sullivan knew about them:

  • Firstly, the protected disclosure made by Superintendent David Taylor on 30 September 2016 in which he alleged he was instructed or directed by Callinan and/or Nóirín O’Sullivan (who was Deputy Commissioner at the time) to maliciously brief the media about Sergeant Maurice McCabe and encourage them to write negative stories about him
  • Secondly, Superintendent Taylor’s allegation that he was directed to draw journalists’ attention to an allegation of criminal misconduct made against McCabe.

The Commission will investigate any contact that took place between members of the gardaí and the media about these allegations.

The Commission will examine all mobile phone records from David Taylor, Martin Callinan and Noirín O’Sullivan between 1 July 2012 and 31 May 2014 to look for any records relating to the allegations. It will also examine all electronic and paper files relating to Maurice McCabe held by An Garda Síochána.

The inquiry will also examine whether Noirín O’Sullivan leaked a specific negative story about Maurice McCabe to RTE. The terms of reference state that the Commission will:

…investigate whether Commissioner O’Sullivan using briefing material prepared in Garda Headquarters, planned and orchestrated broadcasts on RTE on 9 May 2016, purporting to be a leaked account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission Report, in which Sergeant McCabe was branded a liar and irresponsible.

Finally, the Commission will look at whether a meeting took place between Martin Callinan when he was Garda Commissioner and TD John Mc Guinness in the carpark of Bewley’s Hotel in Newlands Cross in Dublin on 24 January 2014, and if so why that meeting took place and what was discussed at it.

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said this afternoon that the government will move to implement O’Neill’s recommendations in full.”

I listened recently to some Garda speaking out on RTE on nepotism in the Gardai. Many of these excellent Garda spoke of political appointments and nepotism, the practice of giving jobs to relatives and friends, within the ranks. It’s not what you know but who you know. Experience, training, further qualifications at postgraduate level, expertise unrewarded because you knew the local political apparatchik does not favour you.

Often the corrupt will weed out excellence as its seen as challenging incompetence.

Noirín O’Sullivan, herself a political appointment has done little to compensate whistleblowers for their bad treatment by management, which continues to this day.

https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0214/852663-garda-whistleblower/

“In a statement earlier this evening, Garda Harrison, who is based in Donegal, said: “Having read the heartfelt statement of the McCabe family, we share their heartache.Keith Harrison, whistleblower “I was ambitious for my career as a member of An Garda Síochána but given what has happened to me these ambitions have long passed.
“I continue to have respect and admiration for so many of my colleagues, the rank and file members of An Garda Síochána who are some of the best people I have ever met and who work in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.  However, I have no confidence in senior management of An Garda Síochána because of their treatment of whistleblowers.
I am coming forward publicly in order to ensure that the age of a culture of management failure within An Garda Síochána with regards to their attitude to whistleblowers comes to an end.I did not become a whistleblower lightly, given the devastating effect it has had on our family. “Garda Harrison continues to be the victim of actions by senior management against him that continues to this day under the watch of O’Sullivan.”
“GARDA WHISTLEBLOWER Superintendent David Taylor was sent a letter this morning informing him an internal disciplinary investigation into his case is still underway… TheJournal.ie can reveal.”http://www.thejournal.ie/david-taylor-discipline-3282433-Mar2017/”
O Sullivan should step aside at least until she is cleared of any wrong doing in relation to whistleblowers. To date she has done little to support and reinstate their good name apart from a few self serving words to distance herself from any allegation of wrong doing.
The recommendations of the Patten Report should also be implemented in southern Ireland following an investigation in the light of recent revelations of serious performance shortcomings and potentially criminal alteration of statistical reporting along with other management issues within An Garda Siochana.This investigation should be independently conducted from outside An Garda Siochana preferably lead by an individual skilled in best standards in international policing.http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/police/patten/recommend.htm

I’m sure any external investigation into An Garda Siochana would recommend awarding each of the whistleblowers the Scott medal for bravery.

till again……

 

 

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Ireland’s Dead Parrot!

February 27, 2017

Previously Ireland took one for the team in Ireland’s bailout the extortionate nature of which almost made the IMF pull out of the deal. We shouldered 40% of the exposure losses of European banks in Germany and France. Perhaps the IMF couldn’t believe we would go along with the deal but if we were dumb enough to ask for it, why should they object? Ireland’s leaders parroted the role set out for them by Jean-Claude Trichet and the ECB.

Spain and Portugal and later Greece forced a renegotiation of their bailouts and in spite of our lack of negotiating power, we had to be given a similar deal.

The Irish promissory notes  over €30bn our so-called government could have legally mounted a court challenge against refusing the payment of this gift to the ECB, instead the money was laundered into legally binding terms set in international law against a minor backdrop of shallow concessions government here touted as success.

Government once again parroted the role set out for it by the ECB and  European Commission.

Support for the financial sector in Ireland includes support for vulture funds looting our property sector with Minister Noonan’s approval in spite of a pathetic and failed attempt to close loop holes. http://www.thejournal.ie/vulture-funds-loophole-3009381-Oct2016/

Are you beginning to get the picture of gross incompetence?

How about Ireland suing the EU for its ruling that Apple owes Ireland €13bn?

Do you want white elephants?

Currently the HSE supported by government plans building the most expensive hospital ever built in the world costing in excess of €1bn.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/t%C3%A1naiste-defends-spiralling-cost-of-new-children-s-hospital-1.2986631

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald “Ms Fitzgerald emphasised the trebling of construction inflation from 3 per cent to 9 per cent as a main factor in the rise and said a new education research centre was being developed and the provision of IT for the hospital had to be taken into account.”

Wow, provision of IT not taken into account in the original estimate?

Location of the hospital is stuffed into a high density traffic area hazardous in regard to spiralling building costs. It includes the demolition of buildings still in use.

Another cheaper alternative exists cost €600ml.

http://thenewchildrenshospital.ie/

ESTIMATE OF COST (2016) of the NPH if built at Connolly

Construction cost = €400M

Hospital 118,000 metres square @ €3000 per metre = €354M

Family accommodation 4,000 metres square @ €2,000 per metre = €8M

Research Department 3,000 metres @ €2,500 per metre= €7.5M

Two satellite units – 10,000 square metres @ €3,000 per metre = €30M

ADD Vat, Fees, fit-out and equipment @ app. 50% of construction Cost = €200M

TOTAL  =  €600 M”

Whether in housing, health education or elsewhere such as infrastructure for Irish Water, Ministers busy themselves in peripatetic visitations around various interest groups across the country promising the views of lobbyists are being urgently taken into consideration.

Like a random bureaucrat picking up the phone and answering yes to every question in Franz Kafka’s “The Castle” meeting journalists becomes an opportunity to list your schedule. It’s a busy much ado about nothing that hides the bigger picture burying one’s head in the sand.

Nothing gets done, no hospitals are built to relieve the trolley A&E crisis or long waiting lists that extend into years.

No local authority housing estates are built because of vague public private partnership incentive schemes that become a patchwork of nonsensical bureaucratic folly.

Larger issues controlling the bigger picture are at work undermining the work of ministers who are no more than trolls for the banks and the financial sector undermining democracy even more.

Consider this, property has become too expensive to build and has gone beyond the reach of even the middle class.

But property prices maintained at high levels ensure the banks their previous lending into the sector will find a return for property developers who otherwise may lead the banks to go bust.

The irony is that providing development funding for large schemes of affordable housing could lead to falling prices in the property sector threatening  developers and mortgage holders and banks already in the market.

They are threatened with non return of their loans if property prices fall.

Unfortunately, journalism in Ireland is often a parrot for the status quo and those in power. Cheer leading absurd nonsense and ridiculing intelligent questioning is often crowned by arrogance and hubris that beggars belief. More examples here:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/enda-kenny-calls-for-brexit-deal-to-include-united-ireland-provision-1.2986650

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/brexit-theresa-may-responds-to-letter-from-arlene-foster-and-martin-mcguinness-35139845.html

Enda Kenny has always been a cheer leader  for remaining in the EU and has been exploited  effectively  from the European perspective facilitating the ECB demand that Ireland take one for the team.

But his position now can be likened to the man sold the dead parrot in Monty Python. Some might consider him to be the dead parrot of Irish politics with the saga of his leaving the leadership of Fine Gael an unending distraction to real politics.

Some real issues loom.  Brexit will have profoundly negative impact for Ireland in terms of its trade with the UK ( see earlier blogs ). Ireland’s banks are still at risk exposed to large bad loan losses:

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/bank-of-ireland-dividend-in-doubt-as-risk-profile-is-revised-1.2916390

Corporation Tax windfalls in the financial sector will not last forever as UK and US and EU restructure their own financial sectors to compete against Ireland.

We are in the middle of a housing crisis and an A&E and health crisis. Education is under funded and the target of further austerity cuts. These will be severely impacted in a negative way by Brexit.

Kenny’s response to the crisis is to propose an All Ireland provision in Brexit negotiations to facilitate Northern Ireland to rejoin the EU in some future All Ireland context if Northern Ireland wishes to rejoin the EU.

The hubris and arrogance of the notion beggars belief against the context of The Democratic Unionist Party being in favour of Brexit.

Why would the DUP wish to give away whatever sovereignty it already has to an Irish government-run by the EU whose own sovereignty is questionable?

They do not want our homeless, our hospital waiting lists, the destruction of trade between UK and Ireland and our falling standards in education.

An All Ireland Brexit with a new economic union between Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales outside the EU is a more balanced solution to Ireland’s problems. But our media ignore the issues involved in Brexit preferring the distraction of when is he going to leave?

We should be talking about a new trade agreement with the UK!

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ceta/

CETA is a new trade agreement between the EU and Canada.

It’ll make it easier to export goods and services, benefiting people and businesses in both the EU and Canada.

The European Parliament voted in favour of CETA on 15 February 2017.

The EU national parliaments must approve CETA before it can take full effect.”

CETA has been touted as a possible template for a new trade agreement between The UK and the EU.

Kenny should instead leave the building of Ireland’s future to those who can deliver  a future for Ireland outside the EU. Don Quixote tilting at windmills is not enough with foolish United Ireland part of the EU nonsense.

Ireland needs a future not embedded in the debt shackles and austerity driven quagmire of the EU that is ruining Ireland for future generations.

Vote for IRexit and a United Ireland outside the EU negotiated under a new CETA type agreement that will consolidate Ireland’s relationships with its closest neighbours, not break them.

 

Postscript

The Irish Water controversy rumbles on. 90% of water leakage is not the responsibility of consumers but rather leaks under the watch of local authorities piped into districts along large mains. Propaganda from Fine Gael would like to blame consumers for this and have them foot the bill.

The bill for improving our water infrastructure should come out of general taxation. Large savings tackling loss of water would come through improving infrastructure lessening the overall expense of improvements. 

Technology exists without water metering each house to locate and identify large leaks by simply metering large areas and making mathematically based statistical deductions that would give accurate probability measures  whether extensive, unexplained consumption and leakage exists.

It should be easy to identify suspect areas and replace infrastructure that is beyond its sell by date. It should be possible with a small number of meters to install these in high suspect areas to get detailed profiles right down to single houses. They can be taken away and reused elsewhere when necessary.

Armed with this information it should be possible to fix such leaks primed with incentive grants to householders  unwitting victims of leaks on their premises. 

We’ll leave aside the possibility of European subsidisation of any schemes enabling the above.

Suffice it to say parroting the Attorney Generals advice based on his interpretation of dictats from the European Commission with Orwellian Big Brother, anti democratic demands, is a political failure mirroring Simon Coveney’s failure to deal with our homeless and housing crisis…..

The Fine Gael demonisation in this debate of the word ‘populism’ to denigrate the democratic will of Irish people is one that takes us closer to fascism where the will of the Irish people is set aside in favour of those who govern from the shadows.

For them democracy is the enemy. Unless we want more of the same we should seriously consider IRexit as an alternative to mindless, blind obedience fed by absurd notions such as the quango of Irish Water.

Irish Water saga is led by politicians for whom the above political failures have sadly become a way of life. 

 

 

till again…

 

 

Ireland’s Berlin Wall

February 12, 2017

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has met with Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo. He got no support from Beata Szydlo in his quest for Ireland to be given special status in coming Brexit negotiations.

In his belief that Ireland must be imaginative re its response to Brexit, it might have been useful to visit Poland’s border with the Ukraine. Delays of up to 4 hours for border control for those travelling by train between both countries.

Depending on the purpose of visit,  the vehicle you are travelling in,  papers carried, security checks, crossing the border might take an hour or so; or you might need to join the lengthy kilometers long grid lock of vehicles that appears not to move at all and is worse than Calais.

Construction and manning of these border control check points perhaps Kenny might have an imaginative word …”former head of the European Commission’s customs procedures has told MPs. Michael Lux told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that customs controls on the Border will be unavoidable if the United Kingdom leaves the EU customs union after Brexit”(1)

Crossing the Polish border into Ukraine you have to pass through the Polish border then the Ukraine border. Smuggling of goods particularly cigarettes are big issues. Perhaps Poland’s refusal to accept refugees is also an issue.

If Kenny is soft on the border between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland could Ireland become a mecca for refugees fleeing Calais. Border patrols on our coastline would have to be stepped up to combat people smuggling and a growing refugee crisis in Southern Ireland may require special European funding arrangements.

People smugglers may resort to parachuting in their delivery of human cargo by night.

By day boats ill-suited to Mediterranean waters may navigate dangerous waters hoping to reach Southern Ireland before crossing over to Northern Ireland.

It would appear inevitable that a wall will need to be built.border-fence-cartoon

The cost of this wall could be astronomical. Much resentment would be felt by many pointing to our…. housing and homelessness crisis.

Walls have a habit of keeping people in as well as keeping people out. At current rates and if further devaluations occur brought about to make the UK economy even more competitive, the thousands travelling north on an hourly basis to stock up on lower price goods, could be delayed at the border, then further delayed on way back to process import duties and other checks….

2. Currently about one out of every 4 litres of milk consumed in the south comes from Northern Ireland amounting to over 600 million litres per year.

That’s a lot of trucks requiring paperwork sensitive to any delay or waiting game.

“IFA chief economist Rowena Dwyer broke down Ireland’s relationship with the UK in numbers at the IFA’s briefing on Brexit recently. 50% of Ireland’s total beef exports goes to the UK, followed by one-third of our total dairy exports. With the UK leaving the EU, a drop in Irish exports of between €150m to €800m can be expected.”(3)

With the collateral damage of border controls I believe the figures above are vastly understated. But it’s not only border controls at Norther Ireland its border controls at points of embarkation/demarcation between Ireland and the UK in general border crossing points both at land and sea.

Currently within the Irish media or at a political level in spite of the abjuration of Enda Kenny there is no imaginative or otherwise setting down of the precise implications of Brexit. A small group led by Kenny himself is handling Brexit.

We’ve had a cabinet setting up of an all-Ireland dialogue on Brexit but nothing concrete has emerged. Its imagined that Kenny is visiting fellow EU leaders to drum up support for Ireland’s special position in regard to Brexit.

But perhaps no one apart from Kenny knows what Ireland’s special position on Brexit amounts to? Is Kenny asking that a standing army of customs officials, construction companies, be provided by the EMU to police Ireland’s new borders with the UK, for free?

 

On the face of there are no plans other than to bury the head in the sand and hope for the best. Kenny is about to bow out of politics so the fall out wont effect him much, but it will affect the rest of us.

So let’s answer Kenny’s call for us to be imaginative. Let’s demand answers that put down on the table what exactly will happen with Brexit and what the fallout will be for each Mary and Joe citizen living on this island.

The only way to effectively do this is to call a referendum on IRexit to give each citizen in the Republic a vote on whether to stay in the EU or leave. There are profound implications which should force the facts to the surface and allow each citizen to make their choice.

One imaginative solution if Irexit was chosen would be to consider the Cyrpus situation. Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus has been an issue since 1974. In recent years the following proposed solution is emerging:

“The UN plan for settlement (Annan Plan)

'Sorry! I've changed my mind.'

‘Sorry! I’ve changed my mind.’

Under the final proposals, the Republic of Cyprus would become the United Cyprus Republic. It would be a loose federation composed of two component states. The northern Turkish Cypriot constituent state would encompass about 28.5% of the island, the southern Greek Cypriot constituent state would be made up of the remaining 71.5%. Each part would have had its own parliament. There would also be a bicameral parliament on the federal level. In the Chamber of Deputies, the Turkish Cypriots would have 25% of the seats. (While no accurate figures are currently available, the split between the two communities at independence in 1960 was approximately 80:20 in favour of the Greek Cypriots.) The Senate would consist of equal parts of members of each ethnic group. Executive power would be vested in a presidential council. The chairmanship of this council would rotate between the communities. Each community would also have the right to veto all legislation”

The US, the UN, UK and IR have all had deep involvement in finding solution for the conflict in Northern Ireland.

One solution would be for this island instead of building walls to adopt a solution along similar lines to the Annan Plan above. Ireland would form itself into a loose confederacy of states with Scotland, Wales and England operating under a similar umbrella of trade, legal, constitutional and social. Instead of this island being the Irish Republic, it would change to The United Ireland Republic.

Surely the above road is better than a road that promises imminent collapse of our banks, destruction of our social services, ruination of our agri industry, all to make this a smugglers paradise or Pirate Island for foolish politicians…..

Postscript

There needs to be a criminal investigation led by an external police authority outside this country to pursue those who engineered and executed the dirty tricks campaign mounted against whistle blowers including Garda McCable that has lasted for many years corrosively in An Garda Siochana covered up with inaction from the Department of Justice and now spread to other state organisations.

The handling of the above by this Fine Gael led governent rivals the incoherent way it has approached and currently prepares for Brexit. There is no reason to assume the incoherent opposition led by FF will in any way improve on matters.

 

Till again…………….

 

  1.  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/may-s-border-promises-are-nice-words-says-ex-eu-customs-head-1.2959694
  2. http://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/ireland-set-to-import-record-levels-of-milk-in-2015/
  3. http://www.farmersjournal.ie/implications-for-irish-agriculture-if-british-cast-a-brexit-ballot-212787
  4. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/cabinet-sets-up-all-ireland-group-to-prepare-for-brexit-1.2816034

The Rental Strategy Circus

December 15, 2016

three-little-pigs6http://www.thejournal.ie/talks-breakdown-rents-3140799-Dec2016/

“…These were the proposed 4% yearly cap yearly rental raises, more tax incentives to be introduced for landlords, and designating more areas as ’rent pressure zones’ where the caps will apply.

I realise, dear reader, the above may seem absurd in the following context:

There has been a massive rise in rental costs of accommodation leading to the current housing crisis including homelessness. In addition to the massive costs of house prices, young people wishing to start a family in recent years have been burdened with excessive rental accommodation costs further eroding their ability to save for a mortgage.

Flying in the face of arguments from government favouring an approach to incentivising a massive nationwide building programme from the private sector led by developers and private investors the above measures appear feeble in the extreme. The only argument between FF and FG would appear to rest on the question of extending these feeble measure further across the country.

Few will be able to afford the absurd purchase costs of new builds without the cost of new builds dramatically coming down.

The above measures ironically amount to protecting the interests of landlords at the expense of tenants.

Measures such as passing legislation even interim 5yr emergency legislation requiring owners of all vacant houses to offer their properties for rent with government incentives to do this,  NOT on the table.

Large scale emergency apartment builds on government land in urban areas, NOT on the table.

Scaled taxation weighted against area based rental cost calculating excessive loading by landlords exploiting tenants, NOT on the table.

A European system eg Germany with local property development committees determining and fixing the cost of building, the quality of building, the cost of leasing and renting, NOT on the table.

In the past few years since 2014 profits for the private rental sector have risen to between 2 and 3 billion euros per annum.

Profits have mostly been pocketed by the banks.

They propose the sector continue to eat cake albeit with a little less jam confined to 4% increases way in excess of rises in the cost of living index. The profits include profit after maintenance and capital appreciation costs are taken into account.

http://www.thejournal.ie/houses-empty-around-the-country-2783895-May2016/

But is there any sense to the Coveney/Cowen Rental Strategy Circus?

Consider the following:

files.nesc.ie/nesc_reports/en/141_Irelands_Rental_Sector_Background.pdf

Mortgage Finance
For a new  investor who uses  a mortgage  to buy a rental property
the  larger share of rental income will be absorbed by debt repayments.
An  example  is  presented  in  Table  3  of  an  investor  in  North  Dublin  City  using  a  70 percent mortgage (the maximum permitted by the new Central Bank guidelines) to buy a two bed rental property; the mortgage term is 25 years. This yields a modest after tax profit before  capital repayments.  When capital repayments are included the annual cash flow is negative; i.e., the
initial rental income would not cover all of the  mortgage  repayments.    This  may  still  be  a  worthwhile  long term  investment since the  investor  is  accumulating  equity  over  time and  rental  income  can  be expected  to  increase.    The  larger  part  of  the  mortgage  repayments is
covered  by rental  income  while  there  is  also  the  prospect  of  some  capital  appreciation.   After 25 years, the mortgage would be repaid.  If asset prices were to rise by an average of  3  per  cent  annually,  at  that  stage  the  investor  would  have  an  asset  with  a nominal value of almost €450,000.
Interest  rates  have  a  significant  influence  on  the  returns  achieved  by  an  investor using a mortgage.  The average interest rate for first time buyers in Ireland is higher than  the  average  interest  rate  on  new  mortgages  in  the  euro  area.    If  BTL  interest rates  were  two  percentage  points  lower
,  then the  cash flow  on  new  investments would  be  positive.    On  the  other  hand, lower  interest  rates  would  also  increase house prices and thus reduce rental yields.”

The key point to grasp in the above, dear reader, is the cost of the mortgage and crucially the cost of property.

In a fragile recovery with our banks still teetering on the brink, many of its customers with huge loans invested in Buy To Let properties, getting  return on those investments is critical for banks to expect to have their loans repaid.

A dysfunctional property market occurs in a situation where banks themselves depend on a property price bubble to give then a return on their investment into lending into the property sector. Allowing the banks and private sector to set the agenda in this scenario is akin to placing the fox in charge of the chickens.

Instead of bursting the housing bubble it is in the short term interest of the banking sector to create this bubble.

Not only is our property market broken but our economy itself is being sucked dry of economic activity that would otherwise inject volatility into local business interests.

Not only is our economy  sucked dry of jobs in the construction sector but the distribution of wealth into the economy as a consequence is instead appropriated by landlords deep in debt to our banks.

Keeping that bubble going instead of taking some of the steps  outlined earlier appears to be the business of Messers Coveney and Cowen representatives of a dysfunctional politics with no longer the public good at its heart.

Instead they blindly oblige their so-called independent advisors controlled by banks and the profiteering private sector who lead them by the nose into an absurd Circus dealing with rental strategy nothing less than an embarrassment.

Cowen and Coveney in the present politically dysfunctional environment of New Politics would not even qualify in the middle of Winter to be put in charge of a vegetable shop situated in a field of turnips charged with the management of a shortage of turnips.

Nothing short of a public housing programme led by local authorities and capitalised by government is required.

But that might lower house prices and lower rental income and the banks might not get their money back!

In the face of a list of such growing absurdities a 32 county Ireland IRExit in an economic union with Scotland, Wales, UK and possibly Norway does appear to be more attractive.

But Mr Noonan wont even enter into bilateral talks with the UK over Brexit. He leaves this to his puppet masters in Brussels who will dictate the terms of Brexit, end Ireland’s corporation tax independence, impose inter trade tariffs and conditions between Ireland and its largest trading partner, restrict movement on Irish people travelling to the UK!

While Enda Kenny and his compliant and obedient sailors navigate Ireland’s economy over the waterfall.

Postscript:

Legislation to provide for 4% rental increase so poorly drafted members of the opposition pointed out it provided for 8% increase. Its being redacted and redrafted today 16.11.16.

Would it be possible to have an audit of all Dail deputies with a role in the above legislation to assess how much they may be compromised by the fact that they are landlords many holding substantial holdings of property in Ireland? I don’t think so.

They’ve just given themselves their Xmas bonus and are ready to head home on holidays again after making sure their cake has cream on it and at least 4% of jam.

 

 

 

till again

Eating Their Young

November 27, 2016

During the week we heard rejoicing on the airwaves http://www.thejournal.ie/central-bank-mortgage-rules-2-3095784-Nov2016/

“It was announced this afternoon that a first-time buyer will now only need a deposit worth 10% of a property, regardless of its price. However, the 20% deposit rule will continue to apply to second-time and subsequent buyers.housing-crisis-cartoon2-598x480

The 3.5 times ceiling on the loan to income (LTI) ratio remains. Requirements for buy to let borrowers and the exemptions for negative equity mortgage borrowers from the measures also remain unchanged.”

Rejoicing continued with claims that the above rule would stimulate the construction sector to build more new builds thus rapidly dealing with the homelessness crisis.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is housing has become unaffordable for the average industrial wage and is quickly getting beyond the reach of young people in high paying jobs.

Provision for a large municipal building programme that will end the crisis has been avoided at all costs.

Instead media is filled with images of smiling Enda proclaiming a dynamic, progressive and wealthy economy with a solution to the housing crisis brought about by Simon Coveney. No solution and Kenny will disappear from the stage some say the sooner the better.

Teachers went on strike to protect young workers in their profession forced to take a large cut in their wages in spite of rising rents and property costs. Hospitals are at their wit’s end with numbers on hospital trolleys about to reach all time records if winter flu hits see statistics here http://health.gov.ie/statistics/ Our rivers are polluted with drinking water requiring massive investment http://www.epa.ie/water/wm/rivers/results/

There is massive propaganda in the media with attempts to manage public sector pay increases expected by the unions in the wake of Ireland  seeing  its return to prosperity. Most do not see this. Widespread efforts to smother increases in public sector pay follow along the lines of warnings that our continued prosperity is on a knife-edge and such demands could lead our economy to collapse again.

The implied accusation is that public sector pay increases led to our economic collapse in the first place not wanton speculation in the property market promoted by the 1% of speculators and banks abetted by government who stoked the property market to line their pockets at the expense of workers.

The ridiculous black is white mantra that increasing house prices would encourage builders to build more houses will soon be seen to be the deception it is. Developers and bankers will not build and lend into projects priced beyond what the market can afford to pay.

It’s possible our politicians are so deceived they themselves are the greatest victims of their own delusions. There is no fungible relationship between Simon Coveney’s basket of intents and policies to bring about the construction of the numbers of houses and the real world.

The real world is very simple though to have any insight into its true nature will bring a response that such views are facile, fatuous, facetious and fail to grasp the complexity and scale of the problems of the real world. Bernie Madoff used such arguments to scoff at his critics before he was sent to prison.

Construction of public housing needs to be done on a vast scale on a Municipal basis. The price of housing needs to be severely brought lower not higher vis-a-vis Simon Coveney’s policies.

This is not happening because a small dictatorial elite of FG/FF headed by the smiling wannabe dictator Enda Kenny continue to fan the flames of prosperity for the 1% against the 99%.

They do not want house prices to fall.

Present relaxation of rules will fan property crises in the attempt to continue the bubble they fear will pop because not enough young first time buyers can afford to raise the finance for Madoff property pyramid schemes.

They want rich investors in Irish property many of whom are TD’s with large rental property portfolio investments or vulture funds pricing out Irish buyers continue to make large profits from artificially induced shortages.

For them the agenda is to manipulate the media and public opinion to the view what is best for the banks and the 1% is best for all.

It isn’t.

 

till again…..

 

 

 

The housing report finally came out. Its added to my disillusionment with politics in Ireland that appears to be in a state of paralysis in dealing with economic and social problems.

There are 2 problems that more than any other describe the housing shortage supply in Ireland. One is lack of supply which feeds into the other problem: the other is the prohibitive cost of new homes that prevents young people having any hope of getting onto the housing ladder.

The report only refers to the vague suggestion of ‘speaking with agencies’ eg NTMA above. This means the report is holed below the water line. It does not provide a concrete solution to the prohibitive cost of housing for young people beginning families.

In a previous generation housing was affordable and a first house could be got with 1 and a half times the combined salaries of the couple asking for a mortgage. The cost of an average home far exceeds the abilities of the average industrial wage to get equity against it.

So the major part of any housing report should address this problem instead the report glosses over the problem. Furthermore we are told that the EU fiscal straight jacket imposed on Ireland means we cannot invest in housing on balance sheet and stay within EU imposed fiscal rules.

It gets worse. instead of embarking on a large-scale public housing programme procuring land, services and planning permission for large-scale development as we did in the past, the EU straight jacket requires Coveney to come up with inventive ways to bypass these rules.

So Coveney has come up with the idea that private sector development will be the way to go to reach his target numbers of new house builds. Now, wait, think of this for a moment.

Suppose you are a local builder with a plan to build a small estate of say 50 homes somewhere in one of Dublin’s suburbs.

You have the planning permission, services already in place, land purchased, ready to go, the only thing stopping you, according to Coveney, is finance; so perhaps Coveney from his €5bn will lend you the money as the banks won’t give it to you.

The Construction Federation of Ireland:

“Speaking at a CIF event in Dublin yesterday, Micheal Mahon of the Society of Chartered Surveyors said that his research showed a three-bedroom family home cost about €318,000 to build including a 15pc profit margin. That places those homes well above the estimated limit for most first-time buyers of €280,000 to €300,000.”

Amazingly there are no plans to reduce vat on new homes! Coveney will build these homes for €250,000 but cannot tell us how this will be done?

<div class=”ctx_content”>
CIF director Hubert Fitzpatrick said the shortage of new homes had long passed crisis point.

“Due to the cost of construction, many Irish homebuilders are finding residential development unviable.

“In many parts of the country, the cost of construction is so high relative to asking prices of existing houses they would be building at a loss. As a result, housebuilding activity outside the greater Dublin Area is stalled,” he said.”

http://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/cost-of-building-houses-worsening-crisis-cif-34624889.html

So back to our local builder. Unless he is a fool he will not be lured by Coveney’s cheap money to build homes that no one can afford due to their high cost.

Coveney’s report is silent on reducing the high cost of home building so let’s call his report a dud!

Its a DUD report! Nothing but a shambolic aspirational mess.

Lets add to our disillusionment!

http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/nie/nationalincomeandexpenditureannualresults2015/

CSO have just released a report stating that our GDP growth levels are at 26% incredible levels! On the face of it we should be sending in the gardai to investigate the Central Statistics Office as based on their statistics using formulae supplied to them by Eurostat it turns out because of the increase in GDP we have to contribute an extra €280,000,000 euro as contribution to EU funding.

I kid you not, beset with homelessness for up to 6000 of our citizens, hospitals bulging at the seams with trollies for A&amp;E patients and waiting lists for years, the EU wants another €280ml from us.

If you are part of the group think “Think Tank” describing Ireland’s GDP growth levels as incredible 26% everything is hunky dory  you should not be reading this as I’m one of that vast group that belong to those disillusioned with politics.

“So we seem to have had two big distortions in our GDP growth figures. The first was the deprecation of assets moved to Ireland. And the second was the jump in exports from contract manufacturing and tax inversions.”

There is a dearth of precise detail in the CSO figures but for sure they evidence scamming of tax payers across the world through smoke and mirrors accountancy tricks and tax avoidance loopholes that move massive corporate pockets through mail box companies set up in the IFSC for this purpose alone.

For example, through tax loopholes in the US profits can re relayed through an offshore mailbox company setup in Ireland by an American company and suddenly all its profits are tax free.

I would suggest the sudden rise in this activity is accelerated through the alarm caused by the declared intent of US politicians in congress and in the senate and including those going for election to stamp out these loopholes. These scams are being exploited before the guillotine falls and the US legislates against corporate inversions and similar scams.

lameDuck

Political Irony Inversions

The irony is the longer Taoiseach Enda Kenny stays the closer to the end he gets and the more unstable his government becomes. Inevitably the more damage Kenny does to Fine Gael’s credibility with the opposition and the public.

FF can sit back and enjoy the growing chaos. Meanwhile we can enjoy the spectacle of this charade as lame ducks fail to oust the chief lame duck.

But there appears to be method to the madness.

Frances Fitzgerald becoming de facto heiress apparent to the incumbent house of cards.

This seen in the appointment of James Reilly as deputy head of Fine Gael. He rides the crest of a wave losing his seat with Don Quixote like precision tilting at windmills  winding us up with fantasies of universal health care.

At the same time hospital trollies answer hospital waiting lists as Irish doctors and nurses flee the HSE while many refuse to join the wasteful and absurd call to the under 6’s to clog up GP waiting rooms .

I guess O Reilly’s job will be to drum up some support for Fitzgerald.

Its a clear case of Kenny’s Shakespearean hubris manifested in a poor amateur drama parade  of Bruton, Varadkar and O Reilly divertingly defending Kenny’s over reaching stay in office.

According to them the emperor is clothed in expertise, leadership qualities, the success of the Irish economy, lowering unemployment, white knight of Dublin’s north inner city: Not!

Those disillusioned with politics see beneath sham falsified unemployment figures based on zero hour part time contracts, growing taxes and charges driven by austerity with plans for more debt extraction to burden the young with the cost of so-called free education!

Europe is dragging this country down itself in severe decline with banks across the EU on the threshold of failure  long term Japanese deflation  best that can be hoped for.

Enda should go immediately. The longer he stays the more lasting damage he will do to Fine Gael. Some argue the longer he stays the better!

Curiously Kenny’s relationships with fellow European leaders built on accepting on Ireland’s shoulders 42% of what otherwise would be banking losses for French Santander and German Deutchbank and other European and US banks is touted as a plus.

Folks, he would have a bad relationship with them if he had succeeded in gaining anything but a refusal from even daring to ask for a burden sharing debt write down. But he’s loved for his obediently, jovial compliance and foolish smiles and incurious obedience.

That is what is being offered to us voters with Enda Kenny whose political demise appears to be as difficult to wrestle from his drowning grip as is democracy from Mugabi in Uganda.

Actually,  you can  plot it for a poor amateur drama production, its pretty simple to ‘make it up’.

Consider the following scenario with ‘lost his seat’ James Reilly, the party still reeling from election results no doubt due in part to his misjudged anachronistic and ironic call for universal health care for all with the irony of hospital waiting lists at an all time high.

Perhaps an audit of O Reilly’s property portfolio and that of all members of FG/LB in the last coalition may have thrown some light on the absence of regulation to prevent rents rising to an all time high,  lets not digress.

Reappointment of Reilly to the role of Tanaiste with a  role to talk to FG politicians around the country to reinvigorate the party is his mandate.

His close connection to Enda Kenny and his political proximity to Frances Fitzgerald would appear to make sense if he is meant by Enda Kenny to back Frances Fitzgerald as Enda’s heir apparent.

Frances Fitzgerald hasn’t been that highly visible in defense of Kenny, has she? So the plot thickens. The more time passes the more unstable Fine Gael becomes. This must be both tragic and comic.

This injects Bruton’s and Varadkar’s support for lame duck government by Enda Kenny with all the more ennui and mirth, but we’ll have to wait and see if such a plan pans out.

Just as we’ll have to wait and see if Simon Coveney rises to the task of reducing the cost of new house builds and actually builds a house that isn’t built on pyrite, mica and sand.

Meanwhile those disillusioned with such political manoeuverings look around at alternatives? Sinn Fein with its all Ireland machiavellian associations now wedded to remaining in Europe? What ludicrousness? Waffle Fianna Fail masters of the political uturn? No? Brechtian silence from Shane Ross bought off to unify and give stability to Fine Gael? What an unbroken horizon of despair?

Now supposedly independent but de facto state agencies like the Central Statistics Office in Orwellian Up is Down fashion cheer on government propaganda with leprechaun economics telling us:

““I’m not going to stand up and say the economy grew by 26 percent,” Power, an independent economist, said after the release. “It’s meaningless — we would be laughing” if these numbers came out of China, he said.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-12/ireland-s-economy-grows-26-as-u-s-companies-chase-lower-taxes

But wait there is hope on the horizon:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/angry-fine-gael-tds-question-enda-kennys-leadership-408942.html

There are those out there willing to say the emperor has no clothes on. So called recovery is a sham.

Homelessness, water charges, property charges, rent serfdom, calls to make students through loans pay for their education; young teachers and guards forced to take lower pay scales than their older colleagues, charity regulations in a mess, NAMA in an even bigger mess, our main trading partner rightly leaving the EU with enlightened Brexit, hospital waiting lists.

Yes there are those disillusioned with politics with their ears to the ground who don’t buy into the mantra pretence of success but who see through the shambolic and self serving politics of delusion led by those who would spread their delusions among us.

Brexit brings with it opportunity to join with those on these islands looking to bring reality back into politics, to discover a new and fairer world.

Irexit needs to be put before the Irish public as an option to escape the straight jacket of Europe and to reform relationships with NI and UK in new political and trade agreements.

A new alliance with greater independence for Scotland, an all Ireland 32 county political and trade based unified government, Wales and UK with greater ties than before and greater respect for independent voices could release these islands from the disaster that the EU has become.

The alternative is a glove puppet government wedded to its decline and the decline of Europe.

http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/nie/nationalincomeandexpenditureannualresults2015/

http://www.thejournal.ie/housing-plan-coveney-2885156-Jul2016/

 

till again

 

 

Ireland was the only member state to hold referendums on The Treaty eventually passed as Treaty of Lisbon in October 2009. Already post Brexit there are calls for greater political union in Europe I’m guessing aimed at removal of Article 50 removing the means for member states to withdraw:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/28/the-brexit-and-article-50-cnbc-explains.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-eighth_Amendment_of_the_Constitution_of_Ireland

Given the appalling way Ireland was saddled with no debt write down or debt sharing of Ireland’s bill for financial collapse carrying 42% of European financial losses that otherwise would have been carried by German and French banks the case for putting a referendum on membership of the EU has become compelling.

Added to the losses Ireland will incur through Brexit and added to the negative stance within Europe to Ireland’s corporation tax and arguments below, the Irish deserve a referendum to vote on their future within the future imposed on them by membership of the EU.

Ireland should also have a democratic say in any negotiations between the EU and the UK on Ireland’s future relationship re trade and borders. This is another compelling reason for providing a referendum on IREXIT.

Sinister intervention in Ireland by the European Commission on Water Charges forcing them upon the Irish electorate in spite of their declared wishes is an example of an erosion of democratic control of Irish affairs by unelected bureaucrats in the EU.

It’s not precisely the directive to have a certain water policy that galls but the audacious intervention in Irish sovereign taxation affairs that directs us to have separate water charges with a private, commercial monopoly running it.

How we raise the money through taxation should be a matter for Ireland alone. Water charges per se should not be part of the remit of the EU.

There is also the fear of undue influence by private commercial interests in the affairs of the EU wishing to dismantle public services to allow private commercial interests to loot public services for commercial gain.

This is not what membership of the EU was meant to be.

That the Irish derogation for water charges no longer applies is a result of Minister for the Environment  Alan Kelly’s refusal to ask for a derogation:

“In accordance with Article 9.4 of the Water Framework Directive our exemption is embedded in the 2008 River Basin Management Plan. Any renewal or cancellation of the exemption is done in the next 7 year RBMP. And it is the Minister for the Environment who assembles and submits this plan.

This 2015 River Basin Management Plan is due on be handed into Brussels by New Years Day. Both the Irish government and the European Commission are expecting that Minister Kelly will not renew the exemption and will instead include domestic water charging as part of Ireland’s strategy.”

Kelly built no houses for the homeless and gave away our water to private, commercial interests. Enough said of compliance, obedience and incompetence as certain politicians hand over national assets without thought for our national interests or the good of the people.

Meanwhile Enda Kenny is back from his trip to the UK where he successfully alienated the full Brexit movement’s future government by his interference in UK sovereign affairs.

How come Kenny was not asked to walk the plank after his election results is another question. A weak, Irish zombie government of those rejected at the ballot box is not helping in these turbulent times.

He was quoted by one remain politician in the Johnathan Dimbleby “Great Debate” that Kenny said border controls would have to be introduced if Brexit won as if the Irish government would insist on them. Fearful images of Armageddon, barbed wire and Berlin Walls were part of his politics of fear.

Only the most limited if any border controls should be introduced.

 

EU Say Ireland’s Domestic Water Charge Exemption Is Safe, Unless Alan Kelly Gives It Away On January 1st

Update: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/eu-to-ireland-you-cannot-go-back-on-water-charges-1.2701502

Can you figure out how Scotland reconciles its wishes for independence with membership of the EU. They already have more independence and will have more independence in their relationship with the UK than they would ever get disappearing down the rabbit hole of the EU.

This blog celebrates the restoration of the democratic wishes of the British people that have arguably saved democracy itself from extinction. Congratulations to all Brexit campaigners who fought so well against so overwhelming odds.

Congrats to the UK on managing to drop the value of sterling. This will have a very positive effect on exports and reduce imports and should yield a healthy balance of payments result for the UK.

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

“The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:

  1. The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.
  2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities).
  3. The psychological biases that blind people, both individually and collectively, to uncertainty and to a rare event’s massive role in historical affairs.”

While this blog campaigned virtually alone in Ireland for Brexit, pollsters and pundits and politicians got it wrong.

Not foreseeing the consequence of Brexit many in the Brexit camp have experienced a state of Black Swan paralysis and currently flounder in limbo unable to navigate a future path to address the issues Brexit has posed. At least that’s what Minister Noonan would have you believe disdainfully scorning Brexit campaigners for lack of future planning.

Not so. The description however does appear to describe well the remains of Noonan’s position on these matters.

Welcoming the positive affirmation of democracy that is in Brexit this blog will address these issues and point a way forward at least on 2 fronts.

Firstly, the UK will go through a process of disengagement with the EU while at the same time arrogating to itself responsibilities in areas previously controlled by the EU. This will require institutional changes and the inception and setting up within UK of parallel lines of responsibility within its own institutions of government and this may take some time to set in place.

It will have to renegotiate its fishery policy with the EU insisting that its borders be respected.

Independent self-government managing its own affairs responding to its own needs and mindful of the needs of the world at large is well within the remit and capabilities of the British people and its representative parliamentary democracy.

The UK needs time to apply its creative energies to this task.

Secondly, given the sad outcome of 2 great performances by both the northern and southern Irish soccer teams at European level our thoughts should wonder at what could be achieved by one single Irish team.

With Brexit our thoughts should be with joining northern Ireland as a single commonwealth entity with equal if not more independent stance than currently enjoyed by both Wales and Scotland. For this we need IRexit.

The sad state of political leadership in southern Ireland is missing the brilliant contribution that could be made by outstanding politicians such as Sammy Wilson or Teresa Villiers in the north.

Southern Ireland cannot afford to be a member of a failing EU with its largest trading partner and neighbour outside the EU; this combined with the fact our island of common interest is split in two. This could be an opportunity of ending “never the twain can meet”.

The second front upon which changes need to be made should be focused on the EU rather than the UK or Ireland.

Consider the following on the EU commission:

“The Commission remains politically answerable to Parliament, which has the power to dismiss it by adopting a motion of censure. The Commission attends all the sessions of Parliament, where it must clarify and justify its policies. It also replies regularly to written and oral questions posed by Members of Parliament.”(1)

It is noted here that a session of the European parliament is due to be convened to discuss all issues relating to Brexit.

This is much overdue following the emergence from the shadows of Angela Merkel announcing a summit of leaders including only France and Italy following Brexit. Leadership by proxy of Europe by Angela Merkel has emerged more and more into visible light since the financial collapse of southern, peripheral European states such as Greece, Portugal and also Ireland.

To observers such as yours truly this only adds to the belief that the EU is government by proxy of Europe by Germany. The implication for dodgy banks in Germany, France and especially Italy with debt to GDP hovering at 120% must have been high on the list of concerns.

Members of the European parliament apart from ex member Nigel Farage are generally a disenfrancised lot with no powers other than to rubber stamp what unelected and mysteriously lobbied and influenced members of the EU Commission allow them to rubber stamp.

But here is an opportunity for the members of the European parliament to censure the mishandling of Brexit by the commission and dismiss the EU commission.

Not a likely scenario but one I advocate. A more likely scenario is the highly paid MEP’s will churlishly say little if nothing and do less.

The European Commission has been woefully remiss in its treatment of David Cameron in its refusal to allow independent derogation for  UK comply with  massively deficient policies on emigration.

The EU commission has woefully mishandled the refugee crisis. It has been compromised by Germany’s go-it-alone policy.

It has allowed geopolitical concerns particularly in the alliance of inner core members such as Germany, France and Italy to exert undemocratic control over the now compromised independence of the European parliament.

It has sat by and allowed the banks of Germany and France to dictate undemocratic terms to the people of Greece.

It has allowed itself to be the pawn of external forces that have lobbied and compromised its independence challenging its role as a policy maker in Europe.

It has failed to shape policies to rebalance Europe and instead has sharpened the divide between northern and southern Europe.

It has had no effect on independent European monetary policy that instead through the European Central Bank followed a go-it-alone policy arguably in favour of monetary policies promoted by Germany looting peripheral members of the EMU.

“New EU rules on economic and financial governance help to Union resources clean up and strengthen the banking sector.”(1)

These rules show how compromised the European Commission is with lobby groups and so-called experts from the banking sector, Goldman Sach’s, Morgan Stanley, influencing and setting policy: those meant to be the subject of regulation choosing their own regulations.

The EU commission has become a toxic brake on European progress and become the pawn of shadowy lobby groups.

The EU commission is not an elected and democratic body but is instead leading member states along the path of totalitarian policies reminiscent of the previous USSR.

Dismissal of the EU commission pending its reform should be high on the agenda of next meeting of the European parliament. This is not likely to happen with even less likelihood of reform that will challenge special interest groups.

A little word on how the European Commission and the ECB have failed to help us in solving our housing crisis. Instead the following scenario is being played out across Europe in countries such as Ireland.

“The financial raiding of the American middle class is moving full steam ahead.  The ridiculous structure of the banking bailouts and artificially low-interest rates caused hot money from banks and big investors to crowd out regular families in the housing market.  Now here we are 7 years after the official conclusion of the Great Recession and regular American families are financially struggling while banks and big investors thrive.  Today 11 million Americans spend half of their income on rent.  Another 21.3 million spent over 30 percent of their income on rent.  With millions of properties being bought by investors since the Great Recession hit, all that has happened is a mega transfer of wealth.  You don’t build equity by renting but many people are simply priced out from buying a home.”(3)

In Ireland the European Commission has done nothing to support Ireland’s growing housing crisis.

It silently supports massive Quantitative Easing QE by the European Central Bank which has led to depreciation of the euro against other currencies.

With negative interest rates this has contributed to a global currency crisis increasingly pillaging the assets of savers and public services though austerity.

It has turned a blind eye to the odious terms imposed on Greece for its bailout while silently supporting the Highest EU debts as a proportion of GDP (2014 Q4)(4) debt levels of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and Belgium. Italy at 120% debt to GDP of particular interest.European-Debt-to-GDP-Ratios-Oct-2013

 

EU commission needs to be dismissed.

Its management of monetary matters left to the ECB is a failure and its consequences grow more toxic by the day.

 

 

A monetary backdrop to the work of the EU commission is a global fiat currency inflated to kingdom come by the Central Banks through Quantitative Easing.

A return to a gold standard or a similar bitcoin related inter currency standard to stabilise markets and give rise to fair savings and investment in R&D is required.

This is outside the remit of the European Commission and beyond the means of the ECB but its policies favour the maintenance and continuance of this failing currency system.

In a casino driven financial economy that is a bar to further human progress with the European Commission fronting a European banking system that has become the bad bank of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve;  austerity imposed on the people of Europe ;  funding the rich 1% with further giveaways through Draghi’s Quantitative Easing, its time the EU itself considered its future with debt levels described by above graph.

But it would appear through lobby groups and shadowy interests pulling the strings of the EU commission both in the case of banking regulations and the above Irish Water debacle, that the EU itself is fixed upon the path of maintaining the current system of looting and pillaging the middle classes.

The concept of private ownership ownership itself as it was in the USSR may become a distant memory for those who remain in the EU…

Congrats to Brexit saving democracy itself from extinction under the above.

 

    1. How EU Works:  https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/singapore/documents/more_info/eu_publications/how_the_european_union_works_en.pdf
    2. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-06-27/alan-greenspan-u-k-brexit-a-terrible-mistake
    3. http://www.mybudget360.com/share-of-income-spent-on-rent-at-record-high-11-million-spend-half-income-on-rent/
    4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/greece/11705720/European-debt-crisis-Its-not-just-Greece-thats-drowning-in-debt.html

 

 

till again…

'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

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

Merkel’s Mess

September 17, 2015

“More than 4 million refugees have fled Syria since the war there began in 2011. According to the UN’s refugee agency, almost 1.8 million have gone to Turkey, more than 600,000 to Jordan and 1 million to Lebanon – a country whose population is just 4 million. “refugee

By signalling Germany is willing to accept up to 1 million refugees the tide of migration has headed towards Germany; the dangerous journey this involves, Germany’s Angela Merkel must take responsibility for.

The solidarity and partnership model of european cooperation has been torn to shreds by this crisis. Once again unilateral decisions by Germany translates cooperation and partnership into the newer model of forceful compulsion of member states to cooperate and partner with Germany on its unilateral decision-making process.

In contrast to Germany’s policy for mayhem, the UK has adopted a more cautious and enlightened approach:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/07/david-cameron-refugee-crisis-response-parliament

“…. the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell called for a “massive diplomatic effort” to allow for the creation of two safe havens in Syria to shelter the refugees. Military forces from Britain and other countries from the EU and the Middle East, acting under a UN chapter seven mandate, would protect the safe havens that could be based near the Turkish border in Idlib and Daraa province in the south-west of Syria by the border with Jordan. This would involve enforcing a no-fly zone.

In contrast to Merkel’s policy of ‘fools rush in’ pouring toxic fuel on the crisis that encourages families to undertake perilous and dangerous journeys to arrive at German borders that now have an open and closed policy erratically closing in consequence of overwhelming numbers, the UK has adopted a more measured approach.

Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We need a serious effort now to protect the millions of people who are on the move in this second world country where up to half the people of the 20 million population are now either over the border, heading for Europe, dead or displaced.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/refugees-welcome-uk-germany-compare-migration

There are 2 aspects to this crisis. The first is the reality of perhaps millions deciding to become refugees with intent to flee from oppression and violence to pursue a better life for themselves and their families. The second is the actual movement and perilous forced march nature of escape from oppression.

The best way to deal with the crisis is through cooperation among nations including Russia, EU, US and the UN to stabilise the politics of Syria and bring agreement and immediate ceasefire to warring parties.

Inducements such as aid to redevelop the economy, health and education systems should arm negotiations. A disarmament Treaty that would not be welcomed by arms sellers. Emergency crisis talks should be convened at the UN which appears to do little to nothing. Obama has already signaled the solution to the refugee crisis should focus on solving conflict in Syria.

The other aspect to this tragedy is the movement of people. Up to 4 million Syrians amongst other nationalities represent this growing and moving tide of humanity.

refugee-map-2

“They tried the shores of Libya, the islands of Greece, and the plains of the Balkans. Now it has emerged that Syrians fleeing civil war have found another route to the safety of Europe: the Arctic Circle.

Dozens of Syrians have trekked to the far north of Russia this year in an unlikely bid to reach a little-known Arctic border crossing with Norway. Up to 20 Syrians a month are then crossing into the tiny Norwegian town of Kirkenes,”

Perhaps the sight of thousands of army trucks/ships and other means of transport sent by Angela Merkel to the borders of the Balkans and across to Turkey to transport refugees safely to Germany might give observers food for thought, but this would be one way to address the health and safety needs of refugees.

Instead it would appear Angela Merkel is hiding behind the Schengen Agreement assuming refugees will get safe passage across Europe at their own expense in the form of an extended holiday journey road trip. Germany has now closed its borders thus breaking Schengen and its promise to receive refugees.

Merkel has shown no concern at the plight of such refugees as they endure incredible danger on the way to hoped for safe havens in Germany or elsewhere.

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

Insufficiently worked out and still unclear Germany’s invitation ignores the reality of upwards of possibly 4 million people on the move from these refugee camps (see map).

refugee-map-4

UK POLICY

In contrast UK policy has been to take a measured approach. Britain has grasped the nettle of the dangers posed by the movement of vast numbers of refugees doing a perilous journey without any safety net in place. Ireland’s response has been chaotic and mindless in comparison.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/07/david-cameron-refugee-crisis-response-parliament

“As the prime minister prepared to make his statement, the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell called for a “massive diplomatic effort” to allow for the creation of two safe havens in Syria to shelter the refugees. Military forces from Britain and other countries from the EU and the Middle East, acting under a UN chapter seven mandate, would protect the safe havens that could be based near the Turkish border in Idlib and Daraa province in the south-west of Syria by the border with Jordan. This would involve enforcing a no-fly zone.

Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We need a serious effort now to protect the millions of people who are on the move in this second world country where up to half the people of the 20 million population are now either over the border, heading for Europe, dead or displaced.”

“The former cabinet minister said Britain would not deploy troops on the ground though he said this should be given serious consideration. “This is not the offensive action by troops that people in Britain sometimes recoil from.” he said. “It is a defensive action. It would need to be done under the UN charter, probably with a chapter seven mandate that allows them to defend themselves … It would need massive capacity to defend themselves.”

A safe haven policy negotiated in Syria and surrounding countries eg Turkey given a ceiling of 6 months to process refugees and direct them to countries wiling to receive them would allow countries to prepare for their reception and provide for their welfare. This would also give time for diplomatic efforts to push to resolve the crisis in Syria perhaps inducing under safety nets those who wish to return. Its clear following a war in Syria now heading for decade long duration, many refugees have given up waiting for end to conflict.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-09/11/europe-syria-refugee-crisis-maps

Merkel’s mess is compounded by the growing crisis on its borders. UNHCR since April 2012 has expressed concern at the behaviour and attitude of Hungarian authorities to asylum seekers.

Concern has been raised at UNHCL level since 2012 on Hungary’s attitude to refugees. Indeed Germany’s ignoring of the contents of this UNHCL document on refugee asylum seekers in Hungary amounts to German provocation of Hungary that could lead to the breakup of the European Union.

Member states of the EU are now in open conflict on how to deal with the crisis. Germany has by comparison shown irresponsibility at best, incompetence at worst with questions arising as to its policy motives that inform the mess.

http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/4f9167db2.pdf

Compounding the mess created by Merkel we have the nonsense ‘partnership and solidarity’ response of Ireland.

Uncritically swallowing the chaos wholeheartedly from Angela Merkel instead of working with the UK on a common and caring structured response based on both the UK’s and Ireland’s opt out of the Schengen agreement, we have contributed to the mess.

According to Joan Burton, we are to accept up to 5000 refugees. Naturally there is no budget allocated for this.

Somewhat like our bailout it appears the policy is the begging bowl where we accept bailout or in this instance accept 5000 refugees and ask for compensation to pay for this later?

Some have proposed using ghost estates to house refugees perhaps creating a District 9 class of untouchables in the manner of an internment camp? No one knows! Our history of direct provision for refugees does not augur well for the welfare of incoming refugees.

What we do know is that government following nearly 5 years in office have failed to solve the homeless crisis, the housing crisis, the renting crisis, hospital waiting lists and a hospital trolley service. Emigration remains at high levels and our unemployment levels are also high. We are in the middle of a homelessness crisis.

Asylum seekers in Ireland have been interned in a direct provision service criticised locally and internationally. Our reputation in this area is not good and the above does not augur well for asylum seekers.

The refugee crisis needs to be addressed in a caring and informed manner by competent policy makers.

Meanwhile war in Syria exacts an even more deadlier price.

till again