Jim Higgins, Fine Gael spokesman on Justice and former government Chief Whip, presented the clearest exposition so far of the passports for investment scheme in his speech to the Dáil (sic) on September 11, 1997. From ‘Magill’ magazine, October 1997.

“I would like to know whether the rumour is correct that either Deputy Ray Burke or Mr Charles Haughey personally delivered the passports and/or the certificates of naturalisation to the gentlemen in question at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin? All of this begs a number of questions to which answers must be supplied. Why did Deputy Burke take such an extra special interest in the passport applications of these two wealthy, but suspect, gentlemen? Did he personally oversee the details and the arrangements leading up to the granting of the passports? Who were the three people who provided the character references in the case of each of the eleven applicants?

In view of the manifest wealth of the individuals in question, and of Deputy Burke’s hands-on involvement in the issue of the passports, what level of investment were the individuals to make in return for the passports and certificates of naturalisation , and what was the nature of that investment? Was the investment to be a global figure for all eleven applicants, or was there to be an individual investment by each? Was there ultimately any figure invested in a project here? If so, what was that figure and what was the project concerned? Did the individuals whose names were listed in the ‘Iris Oifigiúil’ as having the passports ever visit this country or live here and, if they did, what was the duration of their stay? Who approached Deputy Ray Burke initially to encourage him to personally steer the passport applications through his Department?

These are legitimate questions which must be answered. The refusal to answer them not only shows a brazen defiance but a contempt for the legitimate right to know if proper procedures were in place. It also leads to a quite justifiable suspicion that something serious was amiss. The questions simply will not go away. At what stage did responsibility for the issue of passports transfer to the then Taoiseach, Mr Haughey’s, Department? Who was the official within that Department with particular responsibility for this issue? “


By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.

Eyewitness evidence that the three IRA members were shot on the ground was not as forthcoming at the inquest as was previously indicated it might be. However, it should be noted that ‘Officer I’ said categorically in court that he did see shots being fired at Mairead Farrell and Daniel McCann after they had fallen. Other witnesses, by the time they gave evidence, were less sure than they had been when they gave previous accounts of what they had seen. It must be remembered that while the official witnesses were mostly trained surveillance people, with presumably eyes and memories for detail, the civilian witnesses did not have any such training or experience.

Official witnesses, too , had the comfort of knowing that their accounts were each part of a big picture, of which each one intimately knew his or her own part. Civilian witnesses stood alone and had to rely entirely on their own private recollections – this factor may have had some bearing on the bizarre case of Kenneth Asquez , the young bank clerk who first told Thames Television in a written statement that he had seen Seán Savage shot on the ground “three or four times at point blank range” , by a man who had his foot on Savage’s throat. At the inquest, Asquez said that he had made this statement up because of pressure from Major Robert Randall, the man who took an amateur video of the aftermath of the shootings. Asquez claimed that Randall had harassed him by constantly phoning him at work and said that he made up the statement to get him off his back. He also alleged that Randall had offered him money.

Major Randall was in America at the time of the inquest , but in a sworn affidavit to the court told a very different story of his dealings with Asquez in that, he said, it was Asquez who had first brought up the subject of the shootings with him, in a conversation at the bank where Asquez worked. He had offered the account of what he had seen , completely voluntarily and without prompting. Some days later Randall says he got in touch with Asquez on behalf of Thames TV who were looking for witnesses to the shootings. Without revealing the name of the witness involved to the television people, Randall had contacted Asquez to ask him if he would be prepared to make a statement, and says he made only one such call and that the outcome was that Asquez arrived at his office some days later and gave him a statement in his own handwriting for Thames TV. Randall said that at no time had there been any suggestion of a payment in return for the statement, as alleged by Kenneth Asquez.(MORE LATER).



The words of James Prior (British ‘Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’ [1981-1984] and now known as ‘Baron Prior of Brampton in the County of Suffolk’) in a recent interview with the BBC.

Apart from the obvious – that is, who would know more about ‘political violence’ than a British cabinet politician – I think ‘Baron’ Prior’s comments should be seized upon by the current Free State ‘Justice and Equality’ Minister , Francis Fitzgerald, and he should be pursued vigorously with the view of taking a case against him under the new legislation which has been championed by her ie “….we stand with our European colleagues in doing everything in our power to ensure that there are no gaps in our law that can be exploited by those who would inflict terror and mayhem on innocent people at home or abroad….there can be no hiding place in a democratic society for those who encourage, recruit or train others to carry out acts of terrorism and we must never relent in our determination to use all resources at our disposal to root them out…” (from here). The comments, above, from the ‘Baron’ would indicate that, while he may not actually be condoning ‘political violence’ he could be said to be “encouraging” same, thereby leaving himself open to being charged with ‘incitement’. Over to you, Francis….


‘Edgar the Peaceable’ becomes ‘King of All England’ on the 1st October 959.

….but it was all downhill for them after that : Britain has fought more wars than any other state since the Roman Empire. Since its defence against the Spanish Armada in the 16th century, it has had no occasion to fight a war of defence. All its wars since then have been wars of choice, the expected outcome when you mix capitalism with imperialism. Just our misfortune to be living next door to them!


Landlord, landlord, My roof has sprung a leak. Don’t you ‘member I told you about it way last week?

Landlord, landlord, These steps is broken down. When you come up yourself It’s a wonder you don’t fall down.

Ten Pounds you say I owe you? Ten Pounds you say is due? Well, that’s Ten Pounds more’n I’ll pay you ’till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction orders? You gonna cut off my heat? You gonna take my furniture and Throw it in the street?

Um-huh! You talking high and mighty. Talk on-till you get through. You ain’t gonna be able to say a word If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police! Come and get this man! He’s trying to ruin the government and overturn the land!

Copper’s whistle! Patrol bell! Arrest. Precinct Station. Iron cell. Headlines in press: MAN THREATENS LANDLORD TENANT HELD NO BAIL JUDGE GIVES IRISHMAN 90 DAYS IN COUNTY JAIL!

(From here – with apologises for the ‘tweaking’ to Langston Hughes!)

So-called ‘Landlords’ have, for the most part, a deserved bad reputation, but at least one of them (!) did attempt to improve the lot of those that paid him rent – a Cornelius Bolton (see family pic, above left) , born in Waterford on the 1st October in 1751, ‘inherited’ an Irish estate from his father in 1779, consisting of about 4,700 acres in Waterford and other lands in Wexford and he was, by all accounts, not the worst of those that lived in a ‘Big House’. He built Faithlegg House in 1783 and then financed the build of a fishing port at the village of Cheekpoint , and established a textile factory and a hotel in the same area. He expanded his operations further by opening a cobalt mine but, in 1819, he was declared bankrupt, a situation believed to have happened because he lost his fortune trying to build a new village, complete with factories and a ferry port, which he wanted to name ‘Bolton’.

When he married Elizabeth McDonnell (he was then 38 years of age) in 1789, he was already in debt, but was managing to keep on top of it – at that time he owed £22,176 13s. 4d but, within a decade, he owed various creditors about £35,000. This ‘gentle Back and Tan landlord’ died in 1829, at 78 years of age, leaving a good character reference in his wake. More about the Bolton family can be accessed here.


A photograph alleged to have been taken in Ireland in the early 1930’s, showing two ‘Whiteboys’.

“To be true to each other and our friends, to attend all meetings when warned, no cause to excuse absence but sickness, of which sufficient proof must be given, to keep all secrets, to suffer until death rather than betray each other or whatsoever may be seen or heard of our cause, and to stand by each other at all fairs and patrons” – an oath taken by the ‘Caravat’ group, which was part of/closely aligned to the ‘Whiteboy’ organisation (aka ‘The Levellers’) , which publicly announced itself on the 1st October, 1761, having being prompted into existence by the Mathew/Maude incident, which had its roots in the elections held that year in Ireland.

One of the candidates, ‘Sir’ Thomas Maude (Tipperary), ‘exposed’ (!) one of his competitors, Thomas Mathew, as a Catholic “in all but name” and objects to him contesting the election. The election agent for the bigot Maude, a man named Dan Gahan, challenges Mathew’s election agent, Thomas Prendergast, to a duel and wins the fight, but Mathew won the election anyway. The defeated candidate, the bigot Maude, a rich ‘gent’ with connections, objects in all the right places and eventually obtains a legal writ declaring that Thomas Mathew was “not duly elected” and fills the now-empty seat himself!

This skullduggery was the last straw for hundreds if not thousands of poorly paid and housed workers and for those that couldn’t get work, and they organised themselves as best they could, most successfully in Waterford, Cork , Limerick and Tipperary, although they had activists in other counties,too. They were not per se campaigning against the political administration (in Westminster) but rather against the unfair treatment they were suffering at the hands of ‘landlords’ and had organised themselves to such a level that their agreed ‘uniform’ consisted of a white shirt worn over whatever other coats they had.

The ‘landlords’ and other middle-class (and wealthier) citizens, in reply, established a (smaller) grouping called the ‘Shanavests’ (who wore old waistcoats as a ‘uniform’!) and clashes between the two groups were vicious, such as an incident that took place in June 1834 on Ballyveigh Strand in Kerry – ‘It had been rumored that a faction fight was going to happen.
On 24th of June, 1834, on the occasion of the Ballyeagh strand horse races on St. Johns Day, the Lawlors/Mulvihills encountered the Cooleens. The battle was fought with special sticks called Blackthorne sticks or cudgels. Some were weighted with lead and were not used free swinging but were held in the middle to protect the elbow. An estimated 1,200 of the Cooleens crossed the Feale in boats from the north and were then in what was considered Mulvihill/Lawlor territory and was in itself considered provacative. They Cooleens attacked the Mulville/Lawlor people who were generally imbibing with poteen and whskey. The invaders came forward in lines with about 20 women on the sides with aprons full of stones. The authorities tried to stop them from coming but were unsucessful. At first the Cooleens got the upper hand since half of their adversarys were still in their tents having a good time with their whiskey. Gradually the Mulville/Lawlor faction got organised and about 1,500 of them counter-attacked. They drove the invaders back into the water and won the day….’

This feud, as with most such instances of political and social unrest in Ireland, can be linked back somewhere in its history to British interference in this country and that scenario will continue for as long as Westminster maintains a jurisdictional claim in any part of this country. This offers the best solution for all parties concerned , regardless of shirt or waistcoat colour!


In a press release entitled ‘The Spirit Of 1913 Lives On’, issued on Sunday last, 28th September 2014, E.de Bothún, the PRO for RSF Comhairle Chúige Laighean (Leinster Executive) stated –

‘The ghost of William Martin Murphy has resided in Clondalkin for the past 14 weeks. The sight of locked out workers at the gates of Greyhound Recycling has drawn sickening parallels to the infamous lock out in the year 1913. 101 years on and Scab labour, cuts in wages and extended working hours remain a reality for the workers.

As is common place in modern Ireland, employers make employees feel they are ‘lucky to have a job’ and under this ideology they then impose disgraceful terms and conditions on the employee. This is the cornerstone of the economic warfare being waged on working individual’s right across the 32 counties. Greyhound Recycling has been an excellent example of this, in recent years workers have been forced to work 10 extra hours a week for no extra pay. Untrained casual labour has also been used in attempts to break workers right to union membership.

Agreement has been reached between the employers and the employees, however all will be in vain if guaranteed rates of pay are not introduced for the waste industry. Unions and the Joint Labour Commission in the Free State have the responsibility to make this a reality. The issue of agency workers simply must be tackled and all workers should have equal rights. The abuse of agency workers is rampant in Ireland and has rightly come to the fore in this dispute.

In its mission statement Greyhound Recycling claims “Greyhound has been built on the back of generations of experience and a simple philosophy that has not changed despite our technological advances…”. A more accurate synopsis would be to say that the Buckley family has made profit off the backs of its employees for forty years in Ireland. The spirit of William Martin Murphy is alive and well in them, and those of their ilk. Workers must stand together and smash such vile treatment, the courage of the Greyhound workers proves this can be done. They should hold the admiration of workers countrywide.

“The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour” – James Connolly.’

A good statement, and not one that any working-class person could disagree with. But, apparently, members of the political leadership in this State and their hirelings in the ‘security services’ do disagree, to the extent that the former have instructed the latter (who have performed the task all too willingly) to , in the Greyhound case, protect and secure the ‘rights’ of scab labour and, in the case of the above-mentioned water tax issue, to protect water meter installers from the protestations of the general public, who never requested that which they seek to impose. Incidentally, this ‘Irish Water’ company, if it lasts, will serve as yet another corporate entity that bent politicians can use to promote their colleagues and to provide them with a salary ‘for doing the State some service’. But, sometimes, that placement alone does not bring financial reward fast enough for the ‘political friend’ and a second ‘job’ has to be invented for that same ‘safe pair of hands’ (or twelve such jobs!).

However – when a political administration believes it has a right to protect scab labour and to assist a company to impose a ‘service’ on citizens – and when the majority of the citizens allow that to happen – then the latter are morally sicker than the former. Finally, for now – in relation to the water tax – not gonna burn my bra, but…..

….am gonna burn an envelope containing an ‘Application Pack’ which the ‘Irish Water’ company sent me , unrequested, in the post last week. I’ll be doing this, in a bathtub, outside the County Council offices in Clondalkin Village, Dublin, next Thursday night at 7pm. Come along and watch and/or, better still, bring your own ‘Pack’ with you and join me!



“…so, some of our friends support our enemies and some of our enemies are our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting our other enemies, whom we don’t want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win…..”(from here).

Talk about being bamboozled! And, now that we’re on the subject, wasn’t it Carl Sagan who hit the nail on the head re that word when he referenced the effect of being ‘bamboozled’ – “….If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back…”

It’s another debate altogether, of course, in relation to the question of whether, ‘having given a charlatan power over you’ , you deserve to get that power back? Especially when , as with this corrupt State, power is repeatedly given to the charlatans….

Thanks for reading , Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
This entry was posted in History/Politics. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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