Getting your Retaliation in First.

In Democracy, Irish Politics,, media, society on August 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Getting your retaliation in first.

After many years of seeking out the truth of just how the licence for the second mobile phone company was handed out by the Minister of the time, Michael Lowry of the Fine Gael coalition, it seems that the Moriarty Tribunal is getting ready to publish its conclusions.

Like all good rugby types, the man who was awarded the most lucrative licence since Ray Burke gave away our oil and gas rights got his retaliation in first. He owns 29.9% of INM, and now has three directors on the board of the group which owns or controls The Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Evening Herald, Herald am, The Star and the Sunday World. It also has a controlling interest in the Sunday Tribune.

So it is hardly surprising that he used his own papers to attack a Tribunal report, a report which we have yet to see, in an effort to damage the credibility of the Tribunal.
What was surprising was his attack on some of his own journalists, such as Matt Cooper, one of the few main presenters with a solid grounding in business.

Getting your retaliation in first is a rugby saying, and comes from a Lions tour. So we see ads placed by Mr O’Brien, full page ads drawing attention to the alleged excessive and seemingly greedy expenses claimed by the barristers in the employ of the Tribunal, already on eye-watering daily rates.
These ads were placed anonymously, and only refused by the Irish Times which insisted on knowing who was running the campaign, to its credit.
Quite why he attempted to hide his identity is not clear. The tactics of diversion are however long familiar to us all:muddy the waters, smear your enemies, set up straw enemies, deliberately misquote and make false claims about opponents, attempt to undermine their credibility and so on.

We are, of course, used to hearing of corruption in the ranks of Fianna Fail, because we have been entertained/appalled by the Dunlop revelations, not to forget the amazing cast in the Planning Tribunal, including the man whose revelations kicked the whole thing off. I do realise that Moriarty is separate investigation but it was because of the revelations of one man that some of the larger flat stones in Irish society began to be overturned. Will we forget Jim Gogarty ever? To quote himself, albeit in a slightly different context: will we fuck.

But let us not forget that Fine Gael mysteriously managed to clear massive debts in only a few short years in power. Not only that, but just as Charvet Haughey had his debts forgiven by a bank hoping to recoup its investment, so did Garret Fitzgerald. Isn’t it odd how seldom we hear about that?
Just like the fiasco in insurance, when AIB bought an insurance company, screwed up, and we all spent 20+ years paying for it. Do see the Wikipedia article on AIB, particularly the section on Controversy, here The management and shareholders were mightily relieved when the ICI (Insurance Corportion of Ireland) millstone, which was entirely caused by their own incompetence, was transferred from their smooth necks, and swiftly attached to the necks of the great unwashed.

How many decision-makers at the bank got sacked? When it happened it cost the Irish taxpayer, in 1985 when the country was deep in the mire and emigration and despair stalked the land once again, some €400 Million, or five times the profit earned by AIB the previous year.
Let us not forget, either, that at the time the bank was engaged in fraudulent schemes to defraud the Revenue, helping ensure that PAYE payers bore the burden of income tax rates higher than the ones which would have obtained, had the wealthier sections of society paid their share. Meantime we got to pay a fortune via the bank levy to fund the debt, and the bank only finally cleared the debt after some prodding in the last few years.
So how many of these local mini-Masters of the Universe running the ban lost their jobs?
Errrr, none, actually, as far as I know but I am open to correction here.
And what did they learn?

That they could be careless with risk. Get it right, and become hugely wealthy. Get it wrong on a massive scale? Shrug your shoulders and get bailed out by the State, then carry on without a worry in the world. And that when they made money they deserved bonuses, but if they lost, then we would pay. Just as a couple of centuries back, the officers of  a defeated and captured garrison would be treated as gentlemen. The enlisted men might expect no such kindness.

We are being told that should the Tribunal find that corruption or other dodgy behaviour caused the licence to be unfairly awarded that then we are looking at the possibility of the State being sued for gazillions. No mention of the beneficiary being sued, and no likelihood of any of the suborned being made personally culpable or liable.

So O’Brien seeks to defuse the latest coming scandal,using expensive but effective PR methods. I look forward to this weekend’s installments.

  1. This explains why we renamed the pound ‘the punt’. It rhymes with ‘bank manager’.

  2. Thank you for commenting Ronan.
    I just love recycling:the Guardian sent me a cheque for this joke some years ago.
    Aad surely the definition would include more than just the banksters?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: