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Haughey and Dingle

Uncle Anthony with another letter in the Irish Times from last Friday:

Madam, – It is grotesque in the extreme that the organisers of Dingle Regatta continue to honour Mr Haughey for his so-called services to the town (The Irish Times, August 26th). During his self-serving career Haughey was a tax cheat; he felt that the heavy burden of funding essential services and development was for the little people.

The monies allocated by Haughey for the development of Dingle came from the pockets of hard-pressed, compliant taxpayers. It is those citizens, who did such great service to the State, who should be honoured in Dingle. – Yours etc.,


How good are Ireland's schools?

Dick O’Brien and William Sjostrom have been duking it out on the free vs fee debate in regard to Ireland’s schools.

Is William not relying on an entirely anecdotal example? I am not sure that one story such as that would put me off public schools, well in fact it wouldn’t. I went through the public system and I turned out fine. Whoops. That’s my anecdote.

Surely the stats Dick quotes are a more reliable source than anecdotes?

Or why not just do the two, go through a public school, and send ’em off to a Leaving Cert crash course for the last year?

Are most of the new students starting in UCC this September really that badly educated?

NIB scandal

Anthony Sheridan with another letter in the Irish Times today, oh and it appeared in the Irish Examiner today too.

Madam, – The powerful American billionaire Martha Stewart was recently sentenced to five months’ imprisonment for lying to government investigators about alleged insider trading in late 2001. From crime to jail sentence took less than three years.

Compare this with our latest banking scandal. The National Irish Bank investigation took more than six years. Bank personnel lied to and obstructed government investigators for at least a year. The bank was found to have stolen from its customers and the State. If prosecutions are taken – and judging from past experience this is highly unlikely – it will be many more years before justice is seen to be done.

It is also depressing to note that our so-called financial regulatory authorities have never, in their entire history, exposed wrongdoing in the Irish financial sector. Even the much lauded Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA) did not go public with the recent AIB scandal until a whistle-blower also informed RTÉ’s Charlie Bird.

Nor is there any reason to feel confident that the culture of corruption in the banking sector is being taken seriously by politicians. Legislators have allowed only a maximum fine of €5 million to be imposed for any future breaches of regulations. A typical Irish bank would consider such a fine as a minor blip in its petty cash account. The future is indeed bleak. – Yours etc.,

Ahern's staff knew of NIB 11 years ago

So Ahern might have known about the whole thing 11 years ago but did nothing about it. Why does that not surprise me. Wholescale theft of customers, outright robbery, and what’s done about it? Or what will be done about it….nothing I would predict.

And as for the ‘class act’ Flynn:

The Inspectors’ Report includes a “checklist” document signed by Beverley Cooper Flynn for an offshore investment of £160,000 in which the question is asked: Is the money declared?

The answer in her hand on the document is “yes and no” – leaving the clear message that both she and the bank were aware that it was “hot”.

But she is on holidays right now and is unavailable for comment. How convenient. Is anyone bothered that no executives are likely to be seen to be taken out of premises with handcuffs on? If this were any other country would the law not have to be seen to be enforced, with suspected thieves being arrested and charged?

UK study assigns Leaving Cert high A-level ratings

Whenever I have had interviews for jobs in the UK, the question has always arisen: What is the Leaving Certificate? To which the reply is: Well, it’s kind of like A-Levels, but not quite, its kind of…umm…emm.

Now finally I have the answer, its two-thirds of an A-Level. According to a study done by Oxford University it is anyway.

The difference is that we don’t do two or three subjects, as is done in the UK for A-Levels, we normally do at least 7 subjects, of which the best 6 are taken into account for points.

Does this reflect well on the Irish education system? I guess it does?

Royston Brady and Today FM

Dick wonders if Matt Cooper has been playing the chicken song on the Last Word. Indeed he has, every week, more or less, for the last number of weeks. The latest time I believe the chicken noises lasted a good 30 seconds. Which is a long time to listen to it on live radio…

Matt tried to interview Brady down in Ringsend, Brady was having none of it, and refused to answer any questions, and even went as far as to take the piss out of Matt and the Last Word, for lacklustre listenership figures since Dunphy left.

It was all quite entertaining really, and shows Brady to be nothing other than a coward, to me at least.

New AIB charging allegation is being examined

Yet another AIB scandal, I can’t say im surprised. Though I am surprised by the reaction of some bloggers…

This time:

This allegation again concerns rates charged to foreign exchange customers and the possibility that AIB branches that were not meeting their targets altered their exchange rates to increase profits.

Does this actually surprise anyone now? Does it cast the other overcharging issues in a different light? Were they even mistakes?

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