Michael Noonan (left), the Fine Gael spokesperson on Finance and former (State) Minister for Health, spoke on the export credit insurance issue. His remarks were based largely on John Bruton’s speech (in Leinster House) in September 1994. From ‘Magill’ magazine, October 1997.

“No additional jobs would result from the gift of £2.74 million to the Goodman organisation, because the Goodman group had the deal which was going to create the jobs in the bag for the previous two months. The Minister’s actions were a clear and deliberate breach of a Cabinet decision and this has never been fully explained. The way in which Deputy Reynolds dealt with granting export credit to other companies was arbitrary and unfair. At the meeting on 8th September between Deputy Reynolds and Mr Paschal Phelan, the owner of ‘Master Meats’. Mr Oliver Murphy, the owner of Hibernia Meats, was also present. Mr Murphy had been making representations, directly and indirectly, to Deputy Reynolds to no avail.

He was trying to get a piece of the action on export credit insurance cover which, until then, had been made exclusively available to the Goodman organisation. The difficulty was that Hibernia Meats was owed money by Iraq and the Minister had made it clear up to then that any company owed money by that country would not receive cover. However, at this remarkable meeting, to which no officials from the Minister’s Department were invited to attend, out of the blue and without explanation, Deputy Reynolds did an about-face on the question of issuing export credit insurance cover to Hibernia Meats. Suddenly the Cabinet decision did not matter and Deputy Reynolds, at a meeting attended by himself and two others, but not by officials from the Department of Industry and Commerce or a representative of the insurance company ICI, decided to issue export credit insurance to Hibernia Meats.

At that meeting, Deputy Reynolds also agreed to give £10 million export credit insurance cover to Master Meats, the company of his friend, Paschal Phelan, who was also present. This was an amazing decision because there was no record of Master Meats having applied to the Minister or to the Department of Industry and Commerce or to ICI for export credit insurance cover in respect of Iraq. Master Meats had no contract to export beef to Iraq when it was offered the £10 million cover, and subsequently made little attempt to negotiate a contract. It must be remembered that, shortly after , a host of beef exporting companies which had negotiated contracts with Iraq were refused insurance cover. Master Meats did not use the cover provided by Deputy Reynolds , but transferred it to Hibernia Meats , and we do not know whether this was done at no cost or for a commercial consideration. However, the worth of what was transferred to Hibernia Meats in terms of cover in the marketplace amounted to £1.7 million. Master Meats never applied for cover however due to the attendance of its principal officer at the meeting in question it received such cover.”


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

For a month, coroner Felix Pizzarello had demonstrated that patience was not just his virtue but his trademark. There was tortuous examination and re-examination of witnesses to make sure that even the smallest of details was clarified before a witness was allowed leave the box. At times it was tedious, but Felix Pizzarello, in the minds of everybody attending the inquest, showed a determination to be thorough and the time it took to do this was – quite correctly – irrelevant. Some of the witnesses had been in the box longer than the jury were out considering their verdict. The jury had to evaluate the evidence of over ninty witnesses and now Pizzarello, after five-and-a-half-hours (which included an hour’s break for lunch) was telling them to hurry up. From this point on it was a stopwatch verdict.

Some inkling of what was going through Pizzarello’s mind might well be gleaned from a conversation a senior official from the coroner’s office had with a couple of journalists earlier that afternnon , during which the official seemed to favour a quick result. He quoted Cardinal Hume who once said that in matters of judgement it is well to have second thoughts but in matters of conscience there must be none.

The court resumed at 7pm – the pressure exerted on them had worked. They sent a message down to say they hoped to bring in a verdict in fifteen minutes. The stopwatch had run its course and it was now into extra time. The pressure which had been imposed on them favoured a lawful killing verdict. Two hours previously, the jury had been in favour of a lawful verdict by seven to four but, with the clock running, it was a lot easier to change the minds of two people in order to get a verdict of lawful killing than to change the minds of five others to get a verdict of unlawful killing. The packed court waited as the tension rose…. (MORE LATER).


Martina Anderson : ‘Northern Ireland’ description for the partitioned six-county area of Ireland is now acceptable to these ‘republicans’,apparently.

For any so-called ‘republican’ to allow the term ‘Northern Ireland’ to go unchallenged, in reference to the occupied six counties of Ireland, is just as unforgivable as referring to that same area as a “country” , which is what Martina’s nemesis, Mike Nesbitt done in the same comment in which he highlighted her acceptance of the term ‘Northern Ireland’ in relation to the six north-eastern Irish counties under discussion.

If perchance one of her own attempts to reprimand her over her ‘Northern Ireland’ blunder she should ask why it’s ok to describe Leinster House as “the Dáil” but not ok to describe the occupied six counties as ‘Northern Ireland’. In for a cent, in for a pound, eh, Martina?


“…they persecute the most poor people and benefit the richest institutions…”

He has his demons, as have we all and, although I wouldn’t be a fan of his (to the extent that I don’t even know anyone that thinks he’s ‘cool’) but, to be honest, he makes more sense re the proposed/enforced double-water tax in this State in these ten minutes than the political clowns in Leinster House that are trying to introduce the double tax. Also, his views on voting (“I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites..”) would be close enough to my own ‘NOTA’ viewpoint and, as such, I would be inclined to at least listen to the man when he speaks about issues like that. But there’s no way I’d vote for him!


Born in Dublin on the 20th June 1763, he died in that same city 35 years later, on the 19th November 1798.

In September 1798, Wolfe Tone, a fighter for Irish emancipation, a leader of the ‘United Irishmen’ group, and a soldier in the French army, was taken prisoner by the British at Lough Swilly , Donegal and, at his ‘trial’ by court-martial in Dublin, on the 8th November 1798, he was found guilty of treason and was sentenced to be hanged as a traitor.

More so to state his reasons for his activity than in an attempt to place himself at the ‘mercy’ of that British ‘court’ (he was well aware that a death sentence awaited him) he stated – “I entered into the service of the French republic with the sole view of being useful to my country. To contend against British Tyranny, I have braved the fatigues and terrors of the field of battle; I have sacrificed my comfort, have courted poverty, have left my wife unprotected, and my children without a father. After all I have done for a sacred cause, death is no sacrifice. In such enterprises, everything depends on success: Washington succeeded – Kosciusko failed. I know my fate, but I neither ask for pardon nor do I complain. I admit openly all I have said, written, and done, and am prepared to meet the consequences. As, however, I occupy a high grade in the French army, I would request that the court, if they can, grant me the favour that I may die the death of a soldier……I have laboured to abolish the infernal spirit of religious persecution, by uniting the Catholics and Dissenters. To the former I owe more than ever can be repaid. The service I was so fortunate as to render them they rewarded munificently; but they did more: when the public cry was raised against me—when the friends of my youth swarmed off and left me alone—the Catholics did not desert me; they had the virtue even to sacrifice their own interests to a rigid principle of honour; they refused, though strongly urged, to disgrace a man who, whatever his conduct towards the Government might have been, had faithfully and conscientiously discharged his duty towards them; and in so doing, though it was in my own case, I will say they showed an instance of public virtue of which I know not whether there exists another example.”

His speech/request from the dock, although listened to and commented on by the British judges,was not however acted on by them : two days later he was pronounced guilty and told he would be hanged in two days time. At that time in our history, suicide was considered by all the churches in Ireland to be a ‘mortal sin’ and a crime under common law, for which the punishment was that the person who killed themselves would be buried, with a wooden stake through the heart, at a crossroads (to signify that the soul of the person would never arrive at its ‘destination’?) and his/her’s possessions would become the property of the (British) State.It should be noted that the then ‘powers-that-be’ did not impose this punishment on Tone or his family.

What is, in our opinion, a propaganda theory that ‘Tone committed suicide’ is an issue which we wrote about on this blog in the past (see ‘Murder Most Foul’, here,from March 9th to March 18th – each post can be read by clicking on the ‘Newer Post’ button) and we ask that our readers at least point this position out to those who state positively that Tone killed himself.


This is what happens when a political administration reluctantly attempts to ‘honour’ the men and women who took up arms to prevent its birth, thereby allowing a group, consisting of relatives of the 1916 men and women and those who sit in the above-mentioned administration and who are not opposed to the institutions which were spawned from the defeat of the 1916 ideals, to try and organise their own gig. It’s a confusing enough scenario for those who live here and who might not be republican-minded or inclined to find the lie of the land, so to speak, in regards to the finer points of this subject, never mind expecting on-lookers from abroad to be able to figure out what the heck is going on here in relation to the centenary of the 1916 Rising!

But not to worry – in order to ensure you are not inadvertently standing shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the many pretenders who are trying to wrap themselves in the Irish flag for the day, this is all you need to know. The crowd of on-lookers will be smaller than the State-financed event, it will not receive as much publicity as the State-financed event and a British ‘queen’ will not be present (or, indeed, welcome!) but you will be in the company of genuine republican-minded people. And that, rather than the (false) pomp and ceremony, is what it’s all about.


The ‘Black and Tans’ , but not as you know them – by which I mean not only are they mislabeled as “…an old Irish rebel group..” , but there’s something else about them, too – “IN JUNE 1974 a group of men decided to band together and make their mark…. they would leave a footprint that would forever change the way service, leadership and brotherhood would be viewed….(they) didn’t have a uniform. An Englishman walked passed the group and said, “Look who’s here. It’s the Black and Tans!”………they formally changed the name to The Regiment of the Black and Tans….It’s purpose and objectives are to “foster brotherhood and be of service to the community”…….former and active civil servants, firefighters, reservists, and military men make up a large number of it’s membership…..It is a part of the fabric of our local community……” (more here, and here!)

Anyway : Irish republicans wouldn’t be at all surprised at the claim made by Ian Bailey in relation to the shirt that the State cops gave him to wear as it would have come straight out of their uniform store. Just ask any protester, water tax or otherwise, how those State cops treat them when they are being ‘policed’ by them on the street. But don’t ask the cops themselves, as you won’t like or agree with the answer you get…..

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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