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Posts tagged ‘Bertie Ahern’

Dail Eireann and Moral Leadership

By Christopher M. Quigley B.Sc., M.M.I.I., M.A.

17th. April 2012

Morals matter. Moral leadership is fundamental. It is sad that a humble lowly citizen must make this point explicit to his government.

Following very expensive public tribunals certain people of Irish birth were found to have acted corruptly.In summary lest we forget:

Bertie Ahern was found corrupt.

Padge Flynn was found corrupt.

Dennis O’Brien was found corrupt.

Michael Lowry was found corrupt.

These individuals should beshunned by elected politicians if not privately then definitely publically.This is normal operating procedure in a modern parliamentary democracy. In particular with the case of Michael Lowrey, the latter individual mentioned above, the following point mustbe stressed. The fact that a “crook” has been elected to a parliament does not mean they should be given access to power. In Austria a group of rightwing radicals were elected. The European Commission refused to meet orrecognize this group even when they went into a power coalition. This action bythe commission forced a change of leadership of this radical group. Similar moral action must be brought to bear in the Irish house of government lest that hallowed body lose all respect from the struggling people of Ireland.

One final point. Alan Shatter, a man I have great respect for, has completely lost his moral focus.Mr Shatter is Minister for Justice and Minister of Defence. The courts look tohim for representation. The army looks to him for representation. The Garda Siochana look to him for representation yet he cannot say whether or not he gave representation to a “crook”.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Dail, please reflect on this issue. It is fundamental. If the Dail continues to be brought into disrepute by Dail members openly associating with crooks of the Lowry and the O’Brien type folks in Ireland will start to vote with passive resistance rather that with active voting. A tipping point is quickly beingreached.

Gombeen politicians still in charge???

Bertie Ahern

Bertie Ahern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern is to resign his membership of Fianna Fáil just days before the party’s National Executive meets to consider a motion to expel him.

In an article in the Sunday Independent  newspaper, Mr Ahern said he was “deeply saddened” by the tabling of a motion to expel him from the party which he led for 14 years.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin yesterday confirmed his intention to seek the expulsion of Mr Ahern, former EU commissioner Pádraig Flynn and three others after they were criticised in the Mahon report.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has instructed the head of the Criminal Assets Bureau to take charge of investigations arising out of the planning tribunal’s report which identified widespread dishonesty and corruption in public life.

full article at source:http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0324/breaking68.html?via=mr


This  Gombeen politician should be in Jail, there are people in Jail because they have not paid their TV licence and this creep is raking in 157,000 euro from the people of Ireland every year .Where is justice in Ireland today .Corruption ,,Fraud ,bullyboy tactics and outright gansterisem is rewarded in  the political system we are allowing to continue .We must now get up off our knees and take back our country from the likes of this creep and his buddies who continue to protect outright criminals on fat pensions and state perks .For God sake Ireland Get a set of Balls and get up and fight back!

Why Ireland should join dollar or sterling currency now



“On Thursday 18th  November 2010 The IMF arrived in the Emerald Isle. What  a sad sad day that was  for the proud people of Ireland. Following 300  years of armed struggle the then resident Fianna Fail government replaced  English masters with the Continental variety. However the method of usurpation  this time was not guns and bullets and starvation but economic and financial  prowess. To the victor will go the spoils.”

Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Why-Ireland-should-join-dollar-or-sterling-currency-now–119999509.html#ixzz1bPASclK1

Student protest at Fine Gael ‘think-in’ in Galway

But then we also get this !


Top civil servant received a pension package worth over €700,000.

HARRY McGEE, Political Correspondent

THE COUNTRY’S former top civil servant Dermot McCarthy received a combined retirement and pension package worth over €700,000 after stepping down this summer.

Mr McCarthy, secretary general to the Government, retired in July after 11 years in the position. He was also secretary general to the Department of An Taoiseach. As the taoiseach’s chief adviser, he was entitled to attend all Cabinet meetings.

During his tenure of more than a decade, Mr McCarthy was most associated with the social partnership process. He was secretary general to three taoisigh: Bertie Ahern; Brian Cowen and, in recent months, Enda Kenny. He was the taoiseach’s main adviser during the Northern peace process. He was also in position when the banking sector collapsed; when the economy was thrown into recession and when the previous government was forced to rely on intervention from the EU and IMF.

In addition to his annual pension of €142,670, Mr McCarthy was also paid a once-off lump sum of €428,011. He was also entitled to another special severance payment of €142,670. The overall package was worth €713,000. Details of Mr McCarthy’s package were released to RTÉ under the Freedom of Information Act.

On retirement, all public servants are entitled to a lump sum, worth 1.5 times the final salary. The sum is untaxed for all but the highest earners and has become increasingly contentious in recent years. While Mr McCarthy’s annual salary had fallen from €285,000 to €208,000 as a result of a series of pay cuts affecting high-earning public servants and ministers, his final salary for pension purposes remained the original figure of €285,000, leaving him with the lump sum of €428,000.

He will pay no tax on the first €200,000 of the €428,000 but following changes in this year’s Finance Act will pay tax of 20 per cent (or €45,600) on the remaining €228,000. The net worth of the lump sum is €382,400.

A Government spokeswoman said it was committed to ending the “exceptionally generous pension regime” for those at the top of the public and private sectors.

article source :



What can one say this is just sickening? A servant of the people someone who was supposed to be working for the citizens of Ireland, a civil servant ending up with this kind of pay off , a pension 15 times more than the average citizens pension  this
is shear madness and outright immoral .When we cant go one day without hearing
about ordinary people struggling to meet their mortgage payments ,hospitals
been closed down because of lack of public funds .For God sake we cannot allow
this kind of outright blatant abuse of public moneys be plundered  and given to the chosen few who are not accountable  to anybody ,who seem to be entitled to such vast sums of our money.

The government of the day are not going to stop this plunder of the public purse because they are themselves in line to collect their own entitlements when they are eventually kicked out of “Public Office”.We the people are the gobshites as we are just sitting back and whinging about this state of affairs and we consistently vote the same conmen and woman into public office. Take a look at the coke park agreement; the government decide to protect the civil servants from the new reality,(this country cannot afford to
keep 300,000 people in the pay from the public purse at the rate of pay they
are getting ) The private sector has had to cut their cloth but the politicians chose to ignore this reality and instead choose to take from the already poor, unemployed and cut hospital services instead ,but this action will not save the country it has only extended the pain as we continue to create more and more debt trying to ignore this elephant in the room .

Obviously I am not talking about civil servants who are on the
average national wage. I’m talking about the likes of this Mr McCarthy who will
never have to worry about health services or mortgage payments thanks to the downtrodden citizens of Ireland who will keep him in the laps of luxury for the rest of his
life .He is not alone I suspect we the people are keeping about 120,000 x-politicians,
top civil servants, in this state .These same people are from time to time
rolled out and they tell the rest of us that we need to tighten our belts .When
will we wake up in this country and rid ourselves of these leaches ????

Berti Ahern is still sucking the taxpayers of this country dry

I see Berti Ahern is still sucking  the taxpayers of this country dry  having
destroyed our national financial independence and made debt slaves out of all
of us this leach is still enjoying the good life . He has been paid just over
€264,000 in expenses since he stepped down in May 2008, including €7,500 on
mobile phone bills. The money is separate from his pension, which stands at
€150,000 a year. His secretarial expenses amounted to €106,838 last year and
€114,369 in 2009.He claimed €42,890 for secretarial expenses in the first six
months of this year. This compared to €24,731 for Albert Reynolds and €13,562
for John Bruton. it is now time for the new government to make an example of
this conman .strip him of all benefits he is still receiving. Let him survive
on the dole payment for the rest of his life!

Bertie at Galway races, Cowen pissed, Yank in Dublin!

Hope things pick up for you soon every politician should
take a good look at this video and see how an ordinary man earns a living .By
the way If that was Cowen, he is lucky I wasn’t around because I would have a
few words to say him the Ba*****. I think Taxi drivers are a great source and indicator
of how the economy is going and judging from this man’s rant things are not
getting better anytime soon

The Crash, The Bailout And The Theft Of Ireland’s Resources

Behind Door32

This article was sent in to us this morning  Machholz 14.05.2011


The Crash, The Bailout And The Theft Of Ireland’s Resources

By Door32

As Ireland’s government steers the country into an economic black hole there are many of us left scratching our heads as to why they are not using the massive wealth of this nation to fund the recovery and our future, and to tell the bankers where to go with their imaginary gambling debts.

As I’ve watched this country self-destruct over the last two years since the derivatives bubble was burst, I ask myself why is it happening? Why in a country rich with investment, talent, and resources and with a reasonably healthy economy with good exports, is the whole thing spiraling into a never ending cycle of un-payable debt? Believe me it is un-payable, just like all the third world debt issued by the IMF and World Bank before this.

We all know by now that the bankrupt international banks, who issue credit out of thin air, crippled the industries that support our jobs and thus our economy and sent the whole world crashing into what many believe from understanding history, is a deliberate recession from which, as history shows, the main banks will once again come out the other side more wealthy and larger than before. One need only look at the 1907 and 1929 crashes to see this consolidation process in action in the years that followed.

None of us Joe Public were in particularly problematic debt. Just the normal loans for a home and a car, nothing special. Nothing we couldn’t manage on our salaries. Yet still here we are now indebted, by the actions of a government with no mandate, to the tune of around €18,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. The interest alone will cost around €3,000 per year in extra taxes for every working person in the country before any of the principle loan is paid off.

So how are we expected to pay back this loan for a debt that we never incurred in the first place? A debt that only exists in the ups and downs of market values and shares in a fictional world of computerised credit, and not a single solid asset in sight. Yes, you guessed it. We are to pay the fictional debt with our real assets. Those being our labour, our children’s labour and our grandchildren’s labour, as well as the selling off of our public services to private corporations owned by the banks to be run for profit by them. These will include our roads for tolling, our health services, our utilities like the ESB and Bord Gais, and our water suppliers, even our ports and airports.

It doesn’t stop there though because as well as these institutions and all their associated assets, which will undoubtedly be asset stripped, the bankers are looking to take our €20+ billion of national pension fund which has been accumulated to pay the pensions of the people of Ireland in just such a difficult period. Finally, and the nub of this article, the international bankers will be given by our government the country’s tangible wealth in the form of land, minerals, our forestry, and most importantly our fuel resources in gas and oil.

Unbeknown to most people in Ireland, this country is one of the wealthiest countries in the world for natural mineral wealth. An inspection of the applications for mining licenses will reveal among other precious minerals like zinc and lead, a wealth of silver and gold buried under the ground. In fact the volumes of minerals found in Ireland per square mile make it the richest country in the world for mineral deposits. This is very valuable and why this has not been exploited is unexplained. Yet there is another kind of gold that Ireland possesses in spades that is being exploited now. The black gold !

Off the west coast of Ireland there is an enormous volume of oil and gas. The government (Dept. of Communications, Energy Natural Resources) themselves valued west coast deposits in 2008 at €540 billion although the price of oil and gas then was a fraction of what it is now. This is a resource that could give everyone in Ireland free energy in the same way that Norway funnel their oil wealth to their people, and still make huge profits selling energy to the UK and Europe.

The Corrib oil field currently being exploited by Shell, that we hear about for all the wrong reasons, is the only oil and gas field the public are aware of, but there are huge basins of oil and gas known to exist off Limerick and Kerry. One in particular called Dunquin gas field which is a proven field and is described by the operator (Exxon/Mobil) as “one of the biggest fields in the world” containing an estimated 25 trillion cubic feet of gas and over 4 billion barrels of oil. This alone could keep Ireland running for over 60 years.

The reserves off the west and north west coasts in total have been estimated at around 130 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of gas. A virtual underwater Saudi Arabia. Yet it doesn’t end there. The Lough Allen Basin is a huge inland gas field in the northwest which has been known for some 40 years now and contains 9.4 trillion cubic feet of gas. Enough to power Ireland for the next 25 years but it has has yet to be tapped. There are known fields off the south coast that have yet to be announced.

Furthermore, new oil and gas basins have been announced this year off the coast of Dublin by Tony O’Reilly’s company Providence Resources and it’s UK partners. O’Reilly is also partnering Exxon in Dunquin. The east coast fields have been estimated in the hundreds of billions in value to Ireland and yet along with the riches of the west and south, the inland gas and the wealth of minerals that we are literally tripping over here, we are still bankrupt ! Does this make any sense to you?

Unfortunately over the last 35 years successive governments have eliminated all of Ireland’s rights to capitalise on it’s own resources. They have legislated away their percentage share of the gas and oil down from 50% to 0%. Yes zero. So the oil and gas is wholly owned by the oil companies royalty free. Successive ministers like Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern have been instrumental in this process which even saw the reduction in tax on oil profits to only 25% where other countries charge almost 70%. This also is only payable after all exploration and development costs are deducted as well as future decommissioning costs which effectively negates the corporation tax too.

Ireland should be the richest country in Europe with the majority of Europe’s oil and gas and fishing waters, as well as the richest mineral deposits. Yet our government has given the fisheries away to the EU, many of the mining operations are owned by foreign companies and now all the energy reserves have been given away to large multinational companies who are under no obligation to even sell the gas or oil to Ireland and we will be forced to buy our own gas and oil back at market prices from the oil giants.

This situation cannot possibly be accidental. The legislating away of our resources was a deliberate act and in this writers opinion it would seem to be a criminal act of some description. This kind of intergenerational legislative deceit could only be done with cooperation and foreknowledge and looks on the surface to be the biggest fraud ever perpetrated in the history of the state.

It even far exceeds the apparent fraud of the bank bailout wherein we the people are paying off UK and German banks, who held high risk bonds in bad banks, by using loans from the very same UK and German banks to pay their bonds, and we are charged interest for the privilege of bailing out their gambling debts to boot. Does this seem right to anyone except our politicians? Nobody of sound mind could fail to see the deliberate fraud of this and the role being played by our government in assisting this.

When the government accept this IMF bailout they will be relinquishing control of the nation and handing over the financial management of the country to the IMF, which in effect is only a front for the UK and German banks that funded the bailout. It is therefore they who will decide that Irelands assets are sold off and to who. Watch this space and we will find with very little investigation that subsidiary companies of the banks may well benefit greatly from this fire sale.

Already Bertie Ahern in his cushy new job as head of the International Forestry Fund, a corporation set up by a Swiss financial services provider Helvetia Wealth AG, is bidding to buy and privatise Coalite, which controls all Irelands forestry. This would mean 7% of Ireland’s land mass would be in the hands of one of these international banks. It was a recommendation of the An Bord Snip Nua report in 2009 and the appointment of Ahern in 2010 tells me that this was probably already a done deal before the bailout ever reared it’s head.

The level of collusion to pull off this takeover of assets has to go to the highest levels of government in order to orchestrate this over such a long period of time, because not only was the oil and gas legislation nullified but so was the banking control legislation in the same period.

Indeed if we look to those people who have been in positions of power and also regularly attended secret meetings like the annual Bilderberg meeting or the Tri-lateral Commission meeting along with all of these bankers, oil companies, other multinationals and politicians in Europe and worldwide, then we may be seeing the root of the conflict of interests of our own politicians and should ask who are they really working for?

If these meetings aren’t shady enough it is made more suspicious by the fact that the Tri-lateral Commission meeting this year was held over three days in Dublin this Spring, without ever getting a mention on the national news despite 300 of the world’s richest and most powerful people being in Dublin and being dined by the President.

If we want to know why we are being asset stripped, then this is a good place to start to find your culprits, and perhaps these are he questions that people should be asking the election canvassers this week instead of who is going to fill the potholes?



After a few minutes search over the net, I came up with this information on Irish offshore activity  around Irelands coasts in the first 4 months of this year

. Vermilion gets approval for the construction of the Corrib Onshore Pipeline Date:2011-01-21 09:17:30
Vermilion Energy Inc. says that An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for the construction of the Corrib gas onshore pipeline in Ireland. In its detailed determination issued today, ABP stated that the development “would help safeguard the energy s…

Polarcus expands 3D seismic acquisition backlog, offshore Ireland Date:2011-03-23 07:00:33
Polarcus Limited has signed a second contract with Providence Resources PLC, for a 200 square kilometer 3D seismic acquisition project in the

GL Noble Denton to develop Ireland’s new PSF Date:2011-04-22 11:06:06
GL Noble Denton has been appointed by the Irish Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to assist in developing Ireland’s new Petroleum Safety

Polarcus receives LoI for second 3D seismic acquisition project Date:2011-03-17 03:46:48
Polarcus Limited has received a Letter of Intent from Lansdowne Oil & Gas PLC for a 300 square kilometer 3D seismic acquisition project in the Celtic

InfraStrata awarded exploration licence in Northern Ireland Date:2011-03-08 06:32:08
InfraStrata has been formally awarded a petroleum exploration licence PL1/10 (Central Larne – Lough Neagh Basin) in Northern Ireland

So it would seem that there is quite a lot of oil companies willing to pay for the privilege to do tests all around the Irish coast.

remember this

Sunday May 20 2007

THE property boom might be over, but Irelandcould be on the verge of an oil and gas boom to rival the concrete economy of the last tenyears.According to the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, there is at least 10 billion barrels of oil lying off the west coast Ireland – which has a current value of €450bn (€50 a barrel).Added to gas supplies, energy exports have the potential to transform Ireland into a new Middle East.

“A recent regional assessment estimated resources in the Porcupine and Rockall Basins at ten billion barrels of oil. Estimates are based on comparisons with the geology of other regions with proven success,” explained Helen Chandler, spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

In a recently publishedscientific report by thePetroleum Affairs Division,entitled Atlantic Ireland, it stated: “The potential shows volumes of over 130 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of gas.”

Most of these deposits have been pinpointed along anunderwater ridge known as the Atlantic Margin which runs parallel to the west coast of Ireland in a more or less straight line before arcing off towards Scotland and the North Sea onwards towardsScandinavia.

To date, the Atlantic Ridge hasn’t let anyone down. The Dunquin gas field which is 200km off the coast of Kerry contains an astonishing 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 4,130 million barrels of oil.

Put into context, this alone would meet our gas needs – at present consumption levels – for the next 62 years.

The Dunquin field is being principally developed by Exxon Mobil: “With Dunquin we are planning to drill wells next year and 2009. It is deep water, and as a rule of thumb, it takes about five years to get a field into production, so we are looking at 2013 to 2015.

“The gas will be brought ashore in a pipeline and the oil tankered away,” explained John O’Sullivan, Exploration Manager with ProvidenceResources, who have a stake in Dunquin and fields off the coast of Clare.

Further up the coast is the Spanish Point field, which is 200km off the coast of Clare. The field has known reserves of one and a quarter trillion cubic feet of gas and 206million barrels of oil, and is valued at €19.6bn.

“At Spanish Point we are looking at drilling wells next year and looking at production in that field in 2011,”explained John O’Sullivan.

Further North lies Corrib, County Mayo, which has an estimated value of anywhere between €8bn to €87bn. The field, which has been the scene of much controversy, is being developed by Shell, Marathon and Statoil which is owned by the Norwegian government.

Inland lies the Lough Allen basin – an area which was largely famous as a bog.

But now the area has been notionally valued at €74.4bn and contains 9.4 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.5 billionbarrels of oil.

The vast field lies beneath Lough Allen and straddles Cavan, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo.

“The answer to a large part of our security of supply could be in the North West of Ireland. It has the potential to turn from a gas importer to a gas exporter,” explains Tom Davitt, CEO of Finavera, who are planning to develop the field in the near future (No date yet).

see here PDF Doc Gas Find in Nort West Ireland

At present, nine new Frontier Exploration Licences and five Petroleum Prospecting Licences are outstanding for areas off the Donegal coast.

But what will Ireland make from all this oil and gas? Taxes, is the answer.

“There is no profit sharing procedures, the State take is obtained through the taxregime. In the case ofpetroleum income, the rate is 25 per cent compared to the general 12.5 per cent tax.

“A review of the licensing terms including the tax rates has recently been completed and will be considered by the Government in the nearfuture,” explained Helen Chandler of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

Currently Ireland imports 85 per cent of its energy needs and is the last port of call in a very long pipeline that extends all the way from Russia across Western Europe , Britain and finally Ireland.

source: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/ireland-on-the-verge-of-an-oil-and-gas-bonanza-679889.html

you might want to look at this as well


Ministerial transport arrangements cuts

Bertie Ahern, the sixth leader of Fianna Fáil ...

Image via Wikipedia

THE NEW GOVERNMENT has decided to cut back on ministerial transport arrangements, with all but three members of the cabinet being forced to supply their own cars from May.

This morning’s cabinet meeting decided that only the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality would still be given a State-supplied car with a full-time Garda driver – with all other members of the government having to stump up for their own cars in future.

Other ministers would still be given drivers, under the new regime that takes effect on May 1, but the car will have to be supplied by the minister themselves – in line with the arrangements already in effect for junior ministers.

Former Taoisigh – including Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen – and former Presidents will also lose their automatic right to an official state-supplied car and a Garda driver, except when they are required in line with important State occasions.

The President, Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions are the only other people who retain a State car with a full-time Garda at the wheel.

In a statement, a government spokesman said that those three, as well as the three exempted ministers – currently Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore, and Alan Shatter – required the use of a Garda driver for security reasons.

The new moves will produce “very substantial savings”, the statement added, explaining that Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett and attorney general Máire Whelan will also lose their full-time drivers and state-supplied cars, and will have to produce their own vehicles in future.

In the case of the former Taoisigh and of former president Mary Robinson, the new transport arrangements come into effect in three months’ time.

The cabinet also decided to cut the maximum permitted number of staff in the private and constituency offices of ministers and junior ministers.

Ministers will now have a maximum of eight staff in their private offices, and four in their constituency offices – reduced from ten and six respectively.

Junior ministers will see the same staffing numbers cut from seven and five respectively, to five and three respectively.


Why stop there what about the enormous salaries of the rest of the TD’s X civil servants and perks like free car parking in the grounds of Leister House. It would be better for the controller and Auditor General to first publish a list of exactly what the perks and wage top up’s public representatives get! .We the public don’t really have a clue as to how well X public representatives are looked after !

Irish general election turns into slanging match with parties divided

Afternoon calm in the well-scrubbed north Dublin suburb of Glasnevin was broken by a slanging match between rival campaigns. It happens in elections everywhere. Yet to no one’s surprise, this pavement squabble in Ireland‘s tense 2011 election was between supporters of the same party.

Fighting for vital second preferences in the country’s single transferable vote (STV) system can pit colleagues against each other when support is collapsing, as it is for Fianna Fáil, the governing party of the great banking crash of 2008.

“Why are you canvassing so close to the polling station when it’s illegal?” a supporter of Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick shouted at two younger men clutching leaflets for the party’s Cyprian Brady in their hands. As the pair half-heartedly protested innocence, he screamed: “Fianna Fáil could be wiped out in Dublin and we have a chance in this seat.”

“Calm down, we all have Fianna Fáil’s best interests at heart,” replied the Brady bunch. “No you don’t, or you wouldn’t be doing this,” countered the Fitzpatrick activist, who then called the police on his mobile. The Garda arrived within minutes and calmed both sides down. Such are the dynamics of STV, which gives voters a more sophisticated range of options than Britain’s proposed AV reform.

As disaffected Fianna Fáil voters in Glasniven were deciding whether to spare either – or neither – local Fianna Fáil candidate, the Fine Gael leader and taoiseach-in-waiting, Enda Kenny, was urging supporters to vote tactically too. After a quietly competent campaign (no disasters) and a late surge to 40% (Fianna Fáil is on 15%; Labour 18%; Sinn Féin 10%), ex-teacher Kenny is within reach of a clear 83-seat majority in the Dáil – though not quite there.

Wise heads are telling him that another coalition with “high tax” Labour, always uneasy bedfellows, would be the best option given Ireland’s economic troubles. The arguments are familiar to Lib-Con coalition Britain and the two parties’ attacks have softened as the vote counting looms.

But in a real sense, incestuous political feuding like the spat in Glasnevin has long been a wider problem with mainstream Irish politics. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are both parties of the right, nursing old historic quarrels but not offering voters sufficient choice, even after the disastrous bank bust of 2008.

Across Ireland yesterday, up to 3.2 million voters in 43 multi-member constituencies were picking 165 TDs (MPs) from among 566 candidates. But if voters emerging from St Columbia’s school polling station, Glasnevin – or down the road in poorer Phibsborough – are any guide, they were doing so without much enthusiasm.

“I voted for leftwing independents,” said Róisín Beirne, 24, a sculptor who lives in working-class-but-gentrifying Phibsborough. In 2007, when Fianna Fáil’s Bertie Ahern unexpectedly beat Kenny just before the Celtic Tiger boom exploded, Beirne included Greens and Fine Gael candidates in the mix. No longer. “Voting for Fine Gael or Labour isn’t change, it’s the same. I’m not sure I have any faith in their ability to run the economy.”

Older people were more likely to stick with old loyalties. “I’ve always voted Fianna Fáil and I did again. I don’t like Enda Kenny, he’s not honest, and they’re all to blame. Someone should have told the banks to stop lending,” said Kathleen Duignan, 82 outside All Saints Presbyterian church polling station.

In Glasniven, 83-year-old Ann Watters says much the same, except she’s a life-long Fine Gael voter. “The banks and the politicians were hand in hand.”

But the old fear for their country and the burden the crisis has bequeathed to Ireland’s young. When the Fianna Fáil government, led by Brian Cowen, rashly underwrote all the debts of tottering Irish banks after Lehman Brothers crashed, it turned a financial crisis into a sovereign debt crisis and Ireland into what its media routinely calls “a colony of Brussels”. Some voters have decided they prefer Europe to the crony government at home.

Though the campaign has shed disappointingly little light on realistic options ahead, the financial numbers are scary. After 2000 the early Celtic Tiger years became a property-led speculative bubble, made worse by weak planning laws and 300,000 too many new homes. The crash saw GDP collapse by 11%, unemployment triple to 13.3% and government debt quadruple to 95%, which will rise to 125% by 2014 on IMF estimates.

Labour’s leader Eamon Gilmore, likely deputy PM next week, has been criticised for saying that the EU/IMF renegotiation, which all parties agree must follow the election, must be on “Ireland’s terms, not Frankfurt’s”. But even the austere Financial Times argues that, if Germany wants to prevent an Irish default on its debts (for fear of wider eurozone contagion), it should share Ireland’s burden; Dublin’s debt disaster is also the fault of European lenders.

In busy Phibsborough Road, in sight of idle cranes and boarded-up shops, unemployed electrician, Michael Maher, 24, and his fiancee, Emma Mullen, can’t wait for the EU summits. They voted for independents and Sinn Féin, protest votes for individual candidates they admire. But the couple are already planning to follow an old Irish tradition by emigrating to Canada or Australia.

As the polls closed , Dublin’s recycling centre publicly crushed a BMW that once belonged to a banker who helped wreck the economy. It may make voters feel better – but for how long?

High turnout

Irish polling stations were expected to record one of the highest turnouts in recent history, with voters intent on punishing the government for its mismanagement of the financial crisis.

By mid-afternoon in Dublin, nearly a third of the electorate had already voted, with most constituencies elsewhere reporting that up to 30% of those eligible to vote had turned up.

Just over 3.2 million people are entitled to vote in the Republic. They make up 43 constituencies voting to elect 165 of the 166 MPs (the chairman, Seamus Kirk, is automatically returned to the chamber without having to stand for election). Fine Gael needs 83 seats to secure an overall majority, but opinion polls suggest it will just fall short.

Henry McDonald


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