Posts categorized “Announcements”

Back to the Future


The light is fading on New Year’s Day as this is written, but it is not intended as a song at twilight but as a promise on the dawning of a New Year- I’ll keep the Blog up to date in 2014! After what we’ve been through it would be permissible to open the New Year simply with a salvo directed at the decision takers who have brought such misery on our people. But I feel that there is room for a modest optimism at the impending arrival of economic crocuses to join the floral ones on their way.

There are damn few reasons for optimism, floral or otherwise emanating from Northern Ireland of course. I didn’t expect the recent talks to produce anything.  One of the sharp images I have in my mind from the time of the Good Friday Agreement is of Geoffrey Donaldson driving angrily from Stormont as the Good Friday Agreement neared completion because of his opposition to its contents. I couldn’t see him driving towards a New Year’s Eve agreement with a smile on his face and he’s not the worst of them.  The reality is that in Dublin a Fine Gael led government preoccupied with economic problems and in London a conservative one not too bothered about the north anyway both took their feet off the accelerator of Northern Ireland progress.

London and Dublin should have been at the talks despite Richard Hass’ presence, and that of the attractive Megan O’Sullivan one did not have the feeling that here was the full monty.  We’re in a season of orange commemoration reaching from the signing of the covenant to the Larne gun running and a symbolism of the Loyalist camp at Holy Cross monastery in north Belfast should not be over looked.

The camp is of course an extraordinary provocation to the nationalists of that area whose children had to be escorted to school each day through cordons of chanting loyalists, but if any attempt were made to remove the camp by force what would be the chances of the survival of the monastery itself. They haven’t gone away you know even if Fine Gael and Labour chose to conduct themselves as though they had.

Back to our own economic and psychological state in the republic while I said at the outset and say again that a little guarded optimism is justified I consider it utterly opprobrious that those responsible for the economic treason are still walking about scot free while suicide rates soar, our young people shoal out of the country and able bodied valuable men and women gaze dull eyed a the dole queue and the emptiness of their future. The administrators, the bankers, the politicians and the senior figures in Ireland’s small but terribly influential financial community should be in jail by now not free to make golfing jaunts to the sun or to transfer some of their ill-gotten wealth to their wives.

It’s an open secret that the financial people are in league with the legal profession – important sections of which also invested in bank shares and property busts. Each side props up the other in an outrageous, but hitherto successful, attempt to defeat justice. To paraphrase Padraig Pearse ‘until prison holds these men Ireland will never be at peace’.  

However not to end on a sour note may I wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and one in which the flowers of economic revival really do bloom.

How would Michael Collins have treated the Bankers?

Recently as the anniversary of Michael Collins’s death approached, a man from my neighbourhood tied the end of a rope to a tree, fed the other end through his car window, tied it around his neck and drove off- decapitating himself. The action was shocking but the outcome has become a common place in modern Ireland, suicide is now running at over 50% pre-crash levels.

This terrible statistic is part of the aftershock from the blow delivered to Ireland by a variety of corrupt lazy politicians, senior civil servants, bankers, businessmen, lawyers, accountants and stockbrokers.

We have lost our economic sovereignty. Our young people are shoaling out of the country. There is an army of unemployed and we are told that we have given some 65 billion to “Our” banks. They have reciprocated, not by lending to industry but by allowing jumped up bank clerks to tell decent people that they can’t afford Sky television and that ten euro a day is too much  money to spend on food.

On this the anniversary of Michael Collin’s death, in a newspaper with origins as Corkonian as his own, I think it would be instructive, and beneficial, for society as a whole to ask what would Collins have done about the banks and the situation they were allowed to create?

Firstly, it should be said that he would not have allowed the crisis to occur, he was skilled in financial matters having worked in the London financial industry and he hated waste. Before going on this point should be emphasized because recently efforts have been made to denigrate his abilities.  Inside Dermot Ferriter there is a fine historian trying to get out but is currently restrained by the self-imposed straight jacket following the publication of his hagiographical work on De Velara which a Fiana Fáil minister installed in every secondary school in the country. As part of the De Valera build up, Ferriter attempts to pull down Collins.

In a recent article in The Irish Times he claimed that Collins was responsible for the unimaginative British treasury policies of our Department of Finance and said his celebrated collection of speeches Path to Freedom, showed little merit.

In fact, had he checked, he would have found that the man who set the Irish Department of Finance on the British path, was an English senior civil servant C.J. Gregg, a friend of W. T. Cosgrave’s.  A man with at least as great a claim to economic expertise as Dermot Ferriter, Sean Lemass is on record as saying that it was Collins’s Path to Freedom that fired his interest in economics. 

One can also turn to a memorandum Collins sent Desmond Fitzgerald shortly before he was killed for examples of far-seeing internationalist thinking. He sighted the examples of countries such as Germany, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland for guidance in agricultural matters, economic development and hydro power. He saw the then new medium of the cinema as a tool of education and argued for a see-change  in our attitude to rural planning. Specifically where banks and banking were concerned, we know that he organized a superbly efficient Dáil loan and had a banking inspector Alan Bell who attempted to interfere with it, shot dead. He did not hesitate to threaten force when banks policies threatened the newly formed Irish Free State.

When the Bank of Ireland refused the government a loan, he announced that he was withdrawing the army guard from the bank’s headquarters, in fact there was no guard but he got the loan. 

When the British proposed to transfer the Registry of British Government Stock from Dublin to Belfast and London his reaction was ruthless and unequivocal: “… there are several retaliatory measures we could take and in fact must take if things of this kind go on.”

“Things” did not go on, the Register stayed in Dublin and a number of other moves initiated by the Unionists were countered.

It is glaringly obvious that our society has been hit by a tsunami of reckless trading and a blatant disregard for the fiduciary responsibility of directors but where are the prosecutions? Nobody has been held accountable for this and as a mood of anger and despair grips the country – nobody goes to jail. The buck stops nowhere.

We are currently suffering from two legal impediments to justice. One is the lack of Fraud Squad backup. The government and opposition are hiding behind the public service embargo to prevent the appointment of the forensic accountants, barristers and solicitors required in white collar crime cases.

The second  was the failure of the government to carry the referendum which would have allowed Dáil committees investigative powers and the ability to make findings of fact. That campaign should be revisited and carried through to fruition.

One of the mortal wounds which the referendum campaign suffered was a round-robin letter from ex-attorney generals objecting to the committees on the grounds that they would interfere with a man’s right to his good name and the independence of the judiciary.

One of the signatories to that letter had been chairman of Allied Irish Banks, Dermot Gleeson, another of Goldman Sachs International, Peter Sutherland. A third, Michael McDowell did not allow his concern for a man’s good name to prevent him handing a document from his office whilst he was Minister for Justice and Táiniste, to the Irish Independent. The document helped to fuel the controversy over whether Frank Connolly had visited his brother in jail in Columbia on a false passport. In the ensuing uproar, the Public Inquiry Institute funded by Chuck Feeney, the philanthropist who gave billions to this country, dissolved and with it Frank Connolly’s role as chief investigative journalist. Bertie Ahern defended the government’s role on the grounds that no other country would allow an outside agency to supply information about its affairs. In the welter of controversy the public failed to learn that the story Connolly and his staff had been working on had been – Bertie Ahern’s financial affairs.

A plethora of political assistants have been employed but because, we are told, of the public service embargo The State has not given its major anti-white collar crime units the CAB and the Fraud Squad the tools it need to do its job, in fact during the relevant period Fraud Squad resources have been cut.

I believe unquestionably Collins would have initiated strong action against the unholy collection of professionals who have done so much to validate George Bernard Shaw’s dictum that all professions are a conspiracy against the public.

I believe Collins would have ended the farce of a de facto collusion between government and opposition to avoid prosecuting the guilty and given the Fraud Squad the tools it would have needed to do the job. Without the requisite forensic accountants, solicitors and barristers, the Garda units attempting court proceedings are like rugby teams crossing the line without the ball.





Tim Pat at the American Irish Historical Society in New York on 27th Nov [Postponed]

To celebrate the publication of Tim Pat’s new book, The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy, a passion project that has been in the pipeline for a number of years, he will be hosted by the American Irish Historical Society in New York for a reading and discussion on 27th November 2012.

» Read details [Event postponed]

Tim Pat interviewed on The Famine Plot by RTÉ Radio 1 and Newstalk FM

There have been two radio slots today, available as podcasts, with Tim Pat interviewed about his new book The Famine Plot

Today with Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio 1

Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk FM (2 mins 35 into segment)

Tim Pat to speak in Cork on The Famine Plot – Tuesday 20 Nov

Tim Pat Coogan will give a public lecture at UCC on Tuesday 20 November, introduced by UCC historian Dr Larry Geary.

» More information

“Michael Collins & the Bankers” Lecture at Glasnevin Museum

Tim Pat will give a lecture entitled ‘Michael Collins and the Bankers’ on 19 August in the Glasnevin Museum as part of the Glasnevin Trust lecture series. Tickets for the event cost €10. All monies raised will benefit the upkeep of the cemetery.

The lecture, which starts at 2.30pm, will consider what Ireland’s first Minister for Finance might have made of the present day banking crisis.

Within days of being appointed Minister for Finance in 1919, Michael Collins set about raising the funds necessary for Dail Eireann. Writer Frank O’Connnor said of him: “He was a born improvisator, and from the moment he was appointed … the Department of Finance began to function, within a few weeks his mighty Loan was under way and even today when we have forgotten or can no longer imagine the preposterous conditions under which the department worked – censorship, imprisonment, confiscation, murder – one is filled with respect for the variety and thoroughness of the work performed.”

Tim Pat to deliver Mac Lua Memorial Lecture – “Why Is No One In Jail?”

Tim Pat will kick off a series of debates on Ireland’s economic woes when he delivers the annual Mac Lua Memorial Lecture for Irish Writers’ Month in Hammersmith, London.

The event, with a Q&A to follow, will take place on Wednesday 6th June, 7pm.

» For full details go to

‘Griffith Would Have Jailed Them’ – lecture Wed 28 March

Tim Pat  will be making an address entitled ‘Griffith Would Have Jailed Them’ in Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff, on Wednesday 28 March at 8pm.

This will be the third annual Arthur Griffith Lecture.

» Read More

Lecture – Michael Collins: The Man Outside

Tim Pat will be giving a lecture on Michael Collins on 25th of August in the Glasnevin Museum at 7.30pm. The lecture is free and part of Heritage Week.

Booking is essential to ensure a seat. For more information and bookings, please contact Glasnevin Museum on 01-8826550 or email

Glasnevin Museum is located inside the main gates of Glasnevin Cemetery.

Tim Pat to deliver lecture at Derry’s Féile 2011

This year sees Féile come of age, celebrating it’s eighteenth birthday with the theme Past, Present, Future. In 1993 residents of the Bogside and Brandywell came together with community organisations to organize a community festival that has become the biggest community celebration in the North West. Now 18 years since it’s inception, Féile is taking the opportunity to look at its history, celebrate its achievements and look confidently to a better future.

As always, Féile features an extensive Political Talks and Debates section. Highlights include lectures from two of Ireland’s most respected political/historical writers, Fintan O’Toole and Tim Pat Coogan.

Féile 2011 takes place at various venues in Derry from Friday August 5th – Monday August 15th. Tim Pat will deliver a lecture ‘Ireland. Yes We Can?’ at An Cultúrlann on Wednesday, August 10.

For more information or to request a programme, contact the Féile office on 02871262812.