Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Irish Economy

Irish Economy

The Budget deficit last year was 4.1pc of the value of the economy, missing the Government's forecast in the Budget, according to official data from the Central Statistics Office.

The figure was broadly in line with expectations in recent months, in part because of extra spending in Health and Justice.

The deficit data comes a week before Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin are due to unveil the so-called spring statement in the Dáil, which will include revised economic forecasts that are thought to reflect the better than expected tax revenues.

In October, the Department of Finance had estimated the deficit would narrow to 3.7pc of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014.

However, the deficit figure still remains significantly within the 5.1pc target the Government needed to meet under European rules.

Earlier this year the Department of Finance said the Budget deficit would be slightly worse for 2014 than forecast last October because of overruns in Health and extra pay approved for gardaí and prison officers.

In addition, money was set aside to deal with storm repairs caused by extreme weather early last year and a pension package for the workers of Waterford Wedgwood.

Both ministers Noonan and Howlin will make separate statements back-to-back in the Dáil next Tuesday from 2pm, similar to the routine on Budget day. However, neither minister will outline specific tax or spending measures.

Instead, it is expected they will focus broadly on policy direction, while outlining the constraints within which they must still operate.

"Anybody that is expecting to get budgetary measures announced will be disappointed," a spokesman for the Department of Finance said.

The CSO said yesterday that the deficit was €7.63bn last year, an improvement on the 2013 position of €10.15bn.

Government revenue increased by over 6pc to €64.7bn in 2014, while expenditure increased by 1.7pc to €72.3bn over the same period.

Government debt stood at 109.7pc of GDP last year, or €203.3bn. A spokesman for the Department said the deficit figure was in line with what was expected. Goodbody stockbrokers predicted the budget deficit will fall to below 2pc this year as tax revenues come in more than €2bn ahead of target for the year.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

St Peters, Castlepollard, Disability, Westmeath care home, abuse

St Peters, Castlepollard, Disability, Westmeath care home, abuse

Care-worker Convicted

In February 2014, a HSE 'Care-worker' was convicted before the Circuit Criminal Court in Meath of sexually abusing a child in HSE care, that abuser was supported before, during and after his conviction for paedophile activity by his HSE work colleagues, some of whom had helped conceal the abuse of the child for 20 years,  today we have more horror stories from Westmeath.

St Peters, Castlepollard

A HSE-run care unit for people with disabilities was told to cease admissions and transfer residents that it was unable to care for following a highly critical inspection report.

Inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) conducted an unannounced inspection of St Peter’s Services in Castlepollard, Co Westmeath last December following concerns over the safety and welfare of residents.

Its report highlights a range of concerns including unexplained bruising on some residents, a lack of trained staff and poor access to meaningful activities.

Residents were also forced to use commodes on a daily basis because the toilets were unsuitable.

State of disrepair

One of the two community houses which inspectors visited was found to be in a state of disrepair and was unsuitable to meet the needs of residents.

In all there were 36 breaches of care regulations identified during the inspection.

Among the other concerns highlighted were:

* Governance and management systems in the designated centre were “weak and ineffective”.

* There was no formal induction plan in place for staff and they did not have relevant knowledge to support the residents.

* Some residents had unexplained bruising; while the injuries were documented, there was no evidence that procedures for protecting vulnerable adults from abuse were followed.

* Staff members had not received training to administer medication required for some residents.

* There was an absence of appropriate supports for residents with challenging behaviour.

* There was poor access to the local community as a result of understaffing at the centre.

* There was also no staff supervision in place or assessment of competency of staff. * Toilet facilities were too narrow and staff used en-suite toilets for themselves; this impacted negatively on the dignity of residents.

In a statement, the HSE said a working group was tackling all the actions that needed to be addressed following the inspection.

Governance structures

It said the governance structures had been strengthened and an investigation has also been carried out into the reported incidents of unexplained bruising.

The executive said Hiqa’s findings were unacceptable, and it would continue to work with the authority to improve safety and quality of services.

This latest inspection report followed another inspection of St Peter’s a month previously, which also highlighted concerns over the care and welfare of residents.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Supreme Court Judgements 2015, McLaughlins, Bank of Scotland, ACC Bank, Delay Litigation, Mr Justice Frank Clarke

Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court brings down the curtain on ‘delay litigation’, over the past number of years The High Court, Commercial Court, Appeals Court and indeed The Supreme Court have been used as ‘tools’ of ‘delay litigation’. Almost identical to the Modus Operandi of Jail-House-Lawyers, many Cowboy Builders and Property Speculators have learned a few tricks of the legal trade and have abused them in abundance, these abuses have seen fraudsters and in many instances criminals, continuing to profiteer from business operations that should long since have been called in, due to their attachment to Toxic Loans.

Delay litigation has been tolerated due to the desire of the Superior Courts to ensure that ‘justice’ is seen to be done, however, as Ireland begins the recovery process, it is essential that the cancerous growth of ‘delay litigation’ is cut clean off our Judicial system, so that a new generation may breath live back into a badly beaten economy.

Bank of Scotland

A couple have lost their Supreme Court appeal against a decision that Bank of Scotland Plc was entitled to recover some €4 million from them arising from unpaid loans made for property development purposes and to appoint a receiver over certain properties.

Patrick and Roseann McLaughlin, of Foxrock, Dublin, had, in their appeal, argued the 2010 cross-border merger between Bank of Scotland (BOS) and Bank of Scotland (Ireland) (BOSI) did not involve the transfer of any securities held by BOSI to BOS.

Their appeal was given a priority hearing by the Supreme Court because, if that argument was upheld, it would have what Mr Justice Frank Clarke described as a “profound” effect on the position of BOS and would also potentially impact other cross-border mergers.

In unanimous judgments yesterday, the three-judge Supreme Court dismissed the McLaughlins’ argument. It ruled that the security held by BOSI over the McLaughlins’ properties was an “asset” of BOSI within the meaning of the relevant 2005 EC Directive on cross-border mergers, which had passed to BOS on the coming into effect of the relevant merger.

The court also refused as unnecessary the couple’s application to have issues, including the meaning of the word “assets” in the 2005 EC Directive, referred to the European Court of Justice for determination.

Decision upheld

Based on that and other findings, the court upheld a High Court decision BOS was entitled to recover some €4.06 million from the couple arising from the loans dating from 2008 and had validly appointed Tom Kavanagh receiver over certain properties on which various loan facilities were secured.

In their appeal, the couple also claimed they had had an arrangement with BOSI that it would not call in the relevant loans until their residence, “Latona”, Torquay Road, Foxrock, had been sold. They said that they intended to move to smaller accommodation and took out a bridging loan to buy another property at Kerrymount Rise, Foxrock.

Dismissing that point, Mr Justice Clarke said if the evidence was that there may have been “some sort of vague understanding or acceptance” by the parties some latitude might be given to the couple if there was difficulty selling Latona.

However, the judge said there was no evidence to establish a legal obligation on the part of the bank to refrain from calling in the loan until Latona was sold.

The judge also said there was also no evidence to suggest BOSI/BOS ever agreed, as the couple claimed, to forego any entitlement to recover any shortfall if the property was sold for a sum insufficient to clear the loans.

The judge said that the issue was not whether it might or might not have made business sense for the lender to wait, as “it probably did”. The issue was rather whether the lender was “legally obliged” to wait, and it was not.

The court said another issue, also of potentially wider significance, was whether the failure to specifically register BOS as the new registered owner of charges originally executed in favour of BOSI meant, at least where registered lands were affected, neither BOS nor the receiver could enforce the charge.

In her judgment specifically addressing that point, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy said she was satisfied, as a matter of contract, BOS had power independent of the provisions of the 1964 Registration of Title Act to appoint the receiver under the terms of a 2006 charge between the couple and BOSI.

Ms Justice Laffoy held that although BOS was not registered as owner of the 2006 charge, the receiver was validly appointed.

Supreme Court Judgements 2015, McLaughlins, Bank of Scotland, ACC Bank, Delay Litigation, Mr Justice Frank Clarke

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Love Ulster Parade Dublin 2015, northern ireland, parade, villiars

Love Ulster Parade Dublin 2015

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said those taking part in the planned "Love Ulster" parade in Dublin next month, should respect the feelings and sensitivities of the people who live in the areas in which they are parading.

Speaking in Dublin ahead of a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Theresa Villiers said any such march needed to be peaceful and lawful.

Ms Villiers is in Dublin to discuss the Stormont House Agreement, which she described as a big step forward.

She said it has resolved some very important budget questions, while making real progress in relation to flags, parades and the past.

She acknowledged that there is a lot to do to fully implement it but said the British government were working faithfully to do that.

Ms Villiers also said that she would be engaging with any new owners of Aer Lingus about the importance of the Heathrow slots.

She said she would make the case for retention of flights from Belfast to Heathrow, Dublin to Heathrow and other regional connections because of they are strategically very important.

Asked about the consequences for Northern Ireland if her party is re-elected and proceeds with plans to hold a referendum on EU membership, Ms Villiers said she would not speculate on the outcome of that ballot.

But she said she was confident that British Prime Minister David Cameron would get a revised deal that would bring reform.

Keywords: Love Ulster Parade Dublin 2015, northern ireland, parade, villiars

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Garda Adrian Donohoe, Murder, Appeal 2015

Garda Adrian Donohoe, Murder, Appeal 2015

Gardaí have issued a fresh appeal for information into the death of Garda Adrian Donohoe who was shot dead during an armed robbery in Co Louth two years ago today.

The 41-year-old was shot dead during an armed robbery at the Lordship Credit Union in 2013.

His killers remain at large.

But gardaí say they are determined to bring those behind the murder of their colleague to justice.

This morning his widow Caroline, his two children, colleagues and the community of Bellurgan were joined by Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to mark his anniversary at St Joseph's Church in Dundalk.

The Garda Commissioner said very significant progress had been made in the investigation into the murder of Garda Donohoe.

She said the force needed to get things 100% right before those responsible could be brought to justice.

She said gardaí had full co-operation from the PSNI and forces in other jurisdictions.

However, she said there are people in the community who have significant information that could help the investigation and she called on them to have the courage to come forward.

Gardaí say they are determined to bring those behind the murder of their colleague to justice.

Keywords: Garda Adrian Donohoe, Murder, Appeal 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

David Drumm, Anglo Irish Bank, Bankrupt, USA Court

David Drumm Anglo Irish Bank

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has been denied a write-off of more than €10 million in debts after a US judge found him “not remotely credible” and his conduct “both knowing and fraudulent” in statements he made to an American bankruptcy court.

“not remotely credible”

“replete with knowingly false statements, failures to disclose, efforts to misdirect, and outright lies.”

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm has been denied a write-off of more than €10 million in debts after a US judge found him “not remotely credible” and his conduct “both knowing and fraudulent” in statements he made to an American bankruptcy court.

In a damning judgment of the former banker that strips him of a chance for a clean financial start, US Bankruptcy Judge Frank Bailey found that statements made by Mr Drumm (48) were “replete with knowingly false statements, failures to disclose, efforts to misdirect, and outright lies.”

“Such conduct disqualifies a debtor from the privilege of a discharge in our system of bankruptcy,” said the judge in a ruling issued in Boston.

Judge Bailey issued his 122-page judgment seven months after the end of a six-day trial of a legal action taken by Mr Drumm’s former bank, now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Outstanding debts

Mr Drumm moved to the Boston area in June 2009, six months after his resignation from Anglo, and filed for bankruptcy in October 2010 after failing to reach a settlement with the bank over outstanding debts.

The nationalised bank, which is owed €9 million by Mr Drumm arising mostly from loans to buy shares in the now defunct lender, sought to prevent Mr Drumm from writing off his debts through US bankruptcy.

IBRC alleged that Mr Drumm under oath knowingly and fraudulently failed to disclose and otherwise concealed cash and property transfers totalling more than €1 million, which amounted to most assets he owned solely or jointly with his wifeLorraine, to his wife’s sole ownership.

The bulk of the cash transfers took place in the final four months of 2008 at a time when he was chief executive of Anglo and the bank’s share price was plummeting and the financial institution was facing collapse.

In a major win for the bank, the judge ruled that IBRC and the other plaintiff in the case, the court official overseeing Mr Drumm’s bankruptcy, had “established cause to deny him a discharge many times over.”

In all, the judge ruled that there were 30 counts out of 52 objections on which the bank and trustee had established cause to deny him a discharge.

The ruling exposes Mr Drumm to further legal actions by the bank, which can pursue him for any past income he has earned or future income.

Mr Drumm’s “so stupid” defence in the case - that he mistakenly failed to disclose transfers to his wife in financial statements to the court when he filed for bankruptcy in October 2010 - was rubbished by the judge.

The judge said Mr Drumm’s co-operation with his trustee, disclosing information about his finances in a piecemeal fashion from October 2010 to May 2011, was “limited, delayed and shaped to his purposes”.

Analysing Mr Drumm’s character, the judge described him as “a quick thinker, adept in testimony intended to deflect, misdirect, avoid, fabricate.”

“His accounting and knowledge of financial affairs is detailed, precise, almost obsessive. He is confident in his strategising, and by the time he filed his bankruptcy petition, he had been planning and strategising for this eventuality for over two years,” said the judge.

‘Controlling type’

Mr Drumm was “no bumbler,” he said in the opinion, “and clearly a controlling type, he knew what he was doing.”

Judge Bailey rejected Lorraine Drumm’s testimony that she would “like a million euro” of her own in the autumn of 2008 because she feared the worsening banking crisis might spell the end of her marriage or the death of her husband from a stress-induced heart attack.

“Each of them was motivated first and foremost by desire to shelter their assets from seizure by Drumm’s creditors, especially [Anglo Irish Bank],” said the judge.

“Their salutary concern to protect Mrs Drumm and their children gave rise to action because creditors would soon be seizing family assets.”

The judge said that Mr Drumm was “highly motivated” to protect a home in Wellesley near Boston that the couple bought in 2009 for $2 million, accusing him of withholding information about the property and controlling its release “for some perceived strategic advantage.”

The former banker elected not to disclose certain information to the court showing that his withholding of information was “not accidental.”

“He doled out the truth only when he sensed he could gain an advantage in doing so,” said the judge.

Mr Drumm’s release of information about a €250,000 mortgage drawn on a house he owned in Skerries, Co Dublin was intended to hinder and delay his trustee and “even more, IBRC and the interested public.”

The judge found it “difficult to believe” that Mr Drumm had failed to disclose to the court and “forgotten” about the sale of two cars, a Range Rover and a BMW, and the transfer of a total of €56,000 in proceeds from the sale of the vehicles to a bank account held solely by his wife.

“Drumm had no trouble remembering many other transfers he had effected even further back in time, yet he omitted virtually every direct transfer to Mrs Drumm and several that were liquidations whose proceeds he transferred to Mrs Drumm,” said Judge Bailey.

keywords: David Drumm, Anglo Irish Bank, Bankrupt, USA Court

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pearse McAuley Charged

Pearse McAuley Charged

PROMINENT Republican Pearse McAuley appeared in court yesterday evening charged with assault causing harm to his wife and three charges of threatening to kill.

Pearse 'Mad-Dog' McAuley at Cavan Court

McAuley was escorted to Cavan District Court just before 5pm.

He sat silently during the brief hearing before Judge Cormac Dunne.

Inspector Seamus Boyle told the court that Mr McAuley made no reply when charged with the first offence of causing harm.

That charge was under Section 3 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Mr McAuley was also charged under the same act with making threats to kill or commit serious harm to Mr Seamus Leddy, who is understood to be a neighbour of Mrs McAuley’s at Kilnaleck, Co Cavan, on Christmas Eve.

Insp Boyle told the court that in reply to this charge Mr McAuley replied: “I don’t remember.”

McAuley was further charged under the same Section 5 of threatening to kill or commit harm to Mr Thomas Tully, brother of the injured party.

In reply to this charge, Insp Boyle told the court that McAuley replied: “I don’t know how I could have done that.”

The fourth charge, also under Section 5 of the act, was that Mr McAuley threatened to kill or commit serious harm to his wife, former Sinn Fein councillor Pauline Tully McAuley.

Insp Boyle said in reply to this charge, McAuley replied: “I don’t say I was going to do it.”
He added: “I didn’t set out to kill or harm Pauline McAuley.”

Solicitor for Mr McAuley, Erinn McKernan, said her client was unemployed and applied for legal aid.

Judge Dunne granted the application and remanded Mr McAuley in custody to appear before Harristown District Court on January 2.

McAuley’s court appearance came after he was released from hospital, where he had been treated for “underlying medical issues”, into Garda custody on Friday night.

His wife suffered serious injuries on Christmas Eve, but she is now said to be “doing well” and is expected to recover.