Irish Speaker Resigns in Expenses Scandal

irish-speakerJohn O’Donoghue, the Ceann Comhairle (speaker) of Dáil Éireann the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament), was forced out of office last week in an expenses scandal arising from Freedom of Information requests exposing his troughing to the tune of €200,000.  He became the first Ceann Comhairle to be forced out of office in Irish history.  The picture of his robe of office draped over the chair is set to become iconic.

With the usual sense of exaggerated self-entitlement that is characteristic of politicians the world over, he tried in his resignation speech to justify his nights in Cannes hotels and trips to international horse race meetings as in the Irish national interest.  FoI revelations that he had taken a private Lear jet from Dublin to Cardiff for the Heineken Cup rugby match, before heading on to Cannes for the film festival and then to London for a Ryder Cup promotional event before returning home to Kerry in a trip that is estimated to have cost the taxpayer in the region of €32,450, did for him.

The Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen shares his fate with his British counterpart, Gordon Brown. Like the Prime Mentalist he is the former finance minister, like Gordon he is unelected and without a personal mandate, having succeeded his more politically skilled predecessor, Bertie Ahern.  Like the former Chancellor he can’t escape political responsibility for the state of the economy. The parallels across the Irish Sea are remarkable.

Irish Need a Tie-Break Referendum

lisbon_yes_noWell it is looking like a bad day for Irish sovereignty. Guido feels a bit guilty about not going home to vote. The entire Irish political establishment including the formerly anti-EU Greens backed the Brussels gravy train, the state media and the press likewise. With Declan Ganley neutered the anti-Treaty forces were lacking in leadership. The likely result according to exit polls is a ‘yes’.

That makes it No 1, Yes 1, so surely we need a tie-break referendum?

Euro Results

Euro Vote 09Everyman and his blog is doing an election results service based on, well, mostly watching TV, so Guido won’t bother with that. Very disappointed that Guido’s Libertas vote looks like it went to waste. At the New Ross polling station in Wexford on Friday a neighbour said “it is our job to choose between the liars”. Wise words.

Hoping UKIP beat Labour, very worried that Dan Hannan may have won his bet that Labour will come fifth in his region. Due to Pimms-related intoxication Guido offered him 10/1 odds. Ouch, think it is bedtime for Guido…

Nick Griffin Gordon Brown

UPDATE : Nick Griffin will be thanking Gordon Brown tonight.  He could not have done it without him. Brown has achieved one policy goal, he got a British job for one British worker, the British National Party candidate who is going to Brussels.  Labour MPs should reflect on that, do they fear losing their jobs in an election more than they loathe the BNP.  As long as they keep a Scot who can’t connect with English working class voters as leader, the stronger the BNP becomes.

Libertas Demands Exposure of MEPs Expenses

Yesterday Guido did momentarily consider voting for Fine Gael, Libertas however have guaranteed one more vote in Wexford today.  This is obviously not some cheap photo-opportunity publicity stunt putting words in the mouth of page three girl Amy Diamond :“I am delighted to bare all for Libertas. What have MEPs got to hide?  I want them to get everything off their chest like me. Stop covering up if they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”

Robin Matthews, who leads Libertas in the UK, makes the point that: ‘The expenses scandal is rife in Europe, it is not just our MPs here at Westminster with their noses in the trough. Greater abuse is taking place at the European Parliament. The only way to sort this out and make change is by MEPs baring all and letting us see what they have spent our money on’.  Quite.

Totty Watch : Fine Gael’s Fine Girl

 

emma-kiernanThis is Emma Kiernan, who is standing for Fine Gael on Newbridge Town Council, Kildare, Ireland.  Guido was until now thinking of voting for Libertas in Ireland.  This could change things.  She certainly looks a lot different from her official photo which, unlike this Facebook picture, is not splashed all over the Irish media and political blogs.

Emma says “Admittedly it’s not a great photograph”, Guido begs to differ.  She now has a Facebook fan club…

EU Dirty Ratifiers

Reports from Brussels coming in suggest that Ireland’s political elite are allowing their arms to be twisted by the EU into ignoring the “No!” vote in the referendum and having another one. This comes as absolutely no surprise – the undemocratic nature of the EU project has always been manifest. It has a semblance of voting but the outcome is as pre-determined as a Soviet-era party congress. On the rare occasions when the project comes off the rails, nothing, not even the will of the people will stop it.

Irish citizens were the only people in Europe allowed to express their democratic will. They said “NO!” The EU’s dirty ratifiers won’t accept that answer.

Credit Crunch : Irish Politicians Lead with Pay Cuts

Hopefully this is another Irish example that will be followed here. The Irish President Mary McAleese has announced that she will be taking a 10% pay cut in light of the current budgetary troubles. The finance Minister Brian Lenihan says he and his ministerial colleagues will also take a 10% wage cut. The opposition leader has instructed his party’s parliamentarians to take a 5% cut. The governor of the Irish Central Bank and Financial Services Authority has volunteered to also surrender 10% of pay. RTÉ’s top six executives are taking a “significant reduction” in pay. This follows the government’s announcement of a round of spending cuts as recession bites.

The Irish ruling elite realise that they need to show leadership by example in tough times.

Will British politicians follow suit? After all their pension’s profited from short selling. Will they get their snouts out of the hard-pressed taxpayer provided gold-plated troughs? Perhaps some of the senior executives at the BBC could follow the example of their counterparts at the Irish state broadcaster? They all want the bankers to sacrifice their bonuses, but don’t the Chairman of the FSA and the Governor of the Bank of England need to make sacrifices? It is not as if they have been brilliant at bank regulation. If they were all paid on a performance-related basis they should be losing 30% or more – the same as the stock market has cost pensioners…

Top o’ the Credit Ratings To You

Despite Gordon’s whining to the EU it is now the case that Irish banks now represent the safest place to deposit money in Europe, with a AAA guarantee from a country with the lowest national debt to GDP ratio of any AAA country. Thanks to Gordon’s prolificacy Irish commercial banks are safer than even the Bank of England.

UPDATE : Lots of whining in the comments about this, so may as well mention that WPP is joining the taxodus and leaving Brown’s Britain and re-domiciling in low tax Ireland.

UPDATE October 2010 : This is quoted at Guido on a regular as some kind of evidence of terrible analysis. It is the case that Irish bank paper became safer in 2008 than any other European bank paper once the state guarantee was in place. The question that should be asked: Was a state guarantee a good idea? The impairment this has now brought to Ireland’s sovereign credit rating suggests not.

EU to Ireland : Tough Luck

Back in the last century Guido was very much in a minority in Ireland opposing swapping the punt for the euro – “it is the future”, “it will make things easier when we go on holiday”. Not the strongest

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Secret of Irish Profits

Two interesting bits of Irish news yesterday. Research released Wednesday shows that in Britain the average company makes a profit of some €22,500 per employee. This compares to Irish companies who on average make a profit per employee of €45,800.

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Irish “No” Hero Declan Resolute in Westminster

Victorious “No” campaigner Declan Ganley is in London tonight doing a bit of a victory lap and setting out his plans should the EU decide to press ahead regardless of the democratic will. He spoke from the heart, not as

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BBC Reporting Insults Irish Democracy

When the result came in yesterday Mark Mardell looked shocked and sounded exasperated. The BBC has continually been running this line in its reporting of Ireland’s historic vote on the Lisbon Treaty:

Just over three million Irish voters are

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