New Events

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Rolling Coal? 12:16 Wed Aug 15, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link They sure love the working class? until they don?t? 10:44 Wed Aug 15, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link The world of work? 07:46 Wed Aug 15, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link What you want to say ? 15th August 2018 04:31 Wed Aug 15, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link A People?s Vote: A BLP no-brainer? 17:01 Tue Aug 14, 2018 | Citizen of Nowhere

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Some Thoughts on the Brexit Joint Report 11:50 Sat Dec 09, 2017

offsite link IRISH COMMONWEALTH: TRADE UNIONS AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE 21ST CENTURY 14:06 Sat Nov 18, 2017

offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

    By Anthony Sheridan The people of Ireland should know that Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Labour Party have removed the status of citizenship from them and replaced it with the inferior status of ?customer?. The process was initiated in 1997 and has been refined and expanded upon ever since. Ministers and civil … Continue reading "Citizenship status has been removed from the Irish people"

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The people of Ireland should know that Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Labour Party have removed the status of citizenship from them and replaced it with the inferior status of ?customer?.

The process was initiated in 1997 and has been refined and expanded upon ever since. Ministers and civil servants no longer address citizens as citizens but as customers.

For example, during a recent interview on RTEs Today with Sean O?Rourke  [July 2 – 2nd report] the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty referred to old age pensioners as ?customers?.

Thinking that this may have been a ministerial slip of the tongue I had a look at Ms. Doherty?s department website and found that the status of citizenship had indeed been removed and substituted with the lesser title of ?customer? [See below for example].

A quick search across other departments confirmed that this is official policy. Here for example is an extract from the Department of the Taoiseach:

Our Commitment to our Customers

The Department of the Taoiseach is committed to providing a professional, efficient and courteous service to all our customers?We will treat all our customers equally and make every effort to ensure that the services we provide reflect your needs and expectations.

This is a deeply disturbing development as it strikes at the very core of the democratic relationship between citizen and state. It strongly implies that ministers and state officials have taken ownership of the power, wealth and resources of the state. That they, and not the citizenry are – The State.

It implies that [now former] citizens are mere ?customers? that must comply with laid down conditions if they wish to ?do business? with the new owners of the state.

This quote, taken from the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform, makes it crystal clear that it is the department that is the provider of goods and services and the citizen is the customer:

Deliver quality services with courtesy, sensitivity and the minimum delay, fostering a climate of mutual respect between provider and customer.

The development further implies that ministers and civil servants no longer see themselves as (civil/public) servants, elected and employed to serve people and country but rather as wielders of state power over and superior to the power of the people.

I spoke about the issue with a senior official in the Dept. of the Taoiseach who was genuinely surprised that I thought the matter was of any importance.

Here?s why I believe the issue is of crucial importance:

Democracy literally means ?rule by the people?. Not by politicians or civil servants but by the citizenry. In representative democracies certain elected citizens are temporarily appointed to govern on behalf of the people. They are granted state power by the people to govern on behalf of the people but the possession of that power does not raise their status above that of any other citizen. It does not create a relationship whereby the politician is master and the citizen is a customer.

Similarly, many citizens are employed to serve the State on behalf of the people across a wide range of government departments but no individual civil servant possesses a status or a power above that of any other citizen, they remain servants to the democracy of the people.

This policy of downgrading the sacrosanct status of citizenship by replacing it with the inferior and cheap status of ?customer? is obnoxious to the very meaning of democracy.

Customer means:

A person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.

In the world of trade this is a perfectly legitimate definition. An individual becomes a customer when they decide to purchase goods or services from the owner of a business.

In a functional democracy citizens do not purchase goods or services from politicians or state officials operating under the illusion that they own these goods and services. Citizens avail of goods and services that they (the citizens) have provided for the greater good of all the people. It is the function of politicians and officials to serve the people by organising and dispensing these goods and services according to need. They do so as fellow and equal citizens, not as overseers doing business with customers.

Citizenship means:

The status of a person recognised under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.

It?s unlikely that this removal of the status of citizenship is a deliberate conspiracy to weaken democracy but that is exactly what it will do.  Once a concept is accepted by an authority it quickly becomes the norm.

That?s why the official I spoke to at the Dept. of the Taoiseach was so puzzled by my concerns. She has already accepted those who deal with her department are not citizens but customers and therefore should be dealt with as such.

Similarly with Minister Doherty. She obviously feels totally at ease in referring to citizens as customers. But by so doing she is over-turning the centuries long democratic principle that politicians and state officials are servants to the people and not, as the term ?customer? suggests, masters over the citizenry.

But even more crucially the Minister has lost sight of the most important democratic principle of all ? that citizens ARE the state and therefore can never be customers to it.

Copy to:

Minister Doherty

Official at Dept. of Taoiseach

All political parties

Media

 

 

From the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection website:

The Department of Social Protection delivers an extensive range of services nationwide, to a wide and diverse group of customers including families, jobseekers, people in employment, people with illnesses and disabilities, carers, older people and employers. These schemes and services are delivered locally through a national network?of Intreo Centres and Branch Offices and from centralised offices countrywide.

 

 

From the Dept. of Public Expenditure and Reform

Foreword by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Mr. Brendan Howlin, T.D.

On 17th November, I launched the Government?s Public Service Reform Plan.

This Plan sets out our strategy to radically reform how we deliver public services in the years ahead. One of the key themes of the Plan is placing Customer Service at the core of everything we do. An important commitment in this regard is to continue to drive the Customer Charter initiative in the Public Service, particularly with regard to consultation with customers, identification of service targets and channels, and reporting annually on progress.

The Customer Charter Initiative gives customers a clear and unambiguous statement of the level of service they can expect. It also provides a framework that allows us, as public servants, to measure and improve the quality of services provided and to report on this publicly.

Our interactions with customers, whether this is with the general public or businesses, set the basis for how we are perceived. We all know that Ireland is currently in a challenging position economically, but we must also bear in mind that we have an increasingly complex and diverse customer base with growing customer expectations.

The Customer Charter process allows organisations to engage with their customers to design their services better and to become more flexible and responsive to the needs of services users. While the Charter process has been successful, we must continue to aim higher and to further strengthen and deepen the customer service improvement process. The Customer Charters and Action Plans being prepared for 2012-2014 should build on past successes and learn from previous challenges.

These practical guidelines for Public Service organisations for the preparation of Customer Charters were first published in 2003, and revised in 2008. I am now pleased to introduce the third iteration of these Guidelines, which have been revised and updated in light of the Programme for Government, the Public Service Reform Plan and the evolving nature of service delivery generally. These Guidelines also cover Customer Action Plans, which should be used as the vehicle for achieving the objectives set out in Charters.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Quality Customer Service Officers? Network, who have been central to the Charter process over the past decade, for their work in the preparation of these Guidelines and for their continuing commitment to the implementation of Quality Customer Service in the Irish Public Service.

Brendan Howlin, T.D.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

January, 2012

 

Anthony
    By Anthony Sheridan Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford is probably correct in his suggestion that the two politicians who objected to the gender imbalance at this year?s MacGill Summer School were jumping on a bandwagon. But, as an old school establishment journalist, Clifford just couldn?t resist jumping on his own bandwagon ? to … Continue reading "Michael Clifford and the dark evils of Social Media"

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford is probably correct in his suggestion that the two politicians who objected to the gender imbalance at this year?s MacGill Summer School were jumping on a bandwagon.

But, as an old school establishment journalist, Clifford just couldn?t resist jumping on his own bandwagon ? to rant about the dark evils of Social Media.

Much of Clifford?s article is tongue in cheek lightness but his core message is the same at that of all establishment journalists:

Social media bad – establishment media good.

His own words make the point:

But the row over gender balance at the Glenties gabfest this week is unsettling for different reasons. The unfolding of the row is a salutary example of how narratives are formed in public discourse today.

Twitter began to tremble with rage.

Once outrage travels across cyberspace these days, there?s no calling it back. One of Twitter?s functions is to feast on righteous indignation.

Once social media gets in on the act, reason is completely dwarfed by inflated ? and often manufactured ? emotion.

And there are prevailing orthodoxies, which must be adhered to rigidly in every facet of public life or the trolls will descend like vultures.

Establishment journalists such as Clifford just cannot accept the reality that social media provides ordinary people, for the first time in history, with the means to directly challenge state and media power without having to first go through a filter of censorship and approval.

Copy to:

Michael Clifford

 

Anthony
    By Anthony Sheridan     David Aminu committed a crime by defrauding the Department of Social Welfare of ?136,000 in welfare payments. The crime came to light in 2015 when Mr. Aminu wrote to the Dept. admitting his crime and offered to repay the stolen funds. An immediate Garda investigation was launched as … Continue reading "No law for the powerful, strict enforcement for decent citizens"

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

 

David Aminu committed a crime by defrauding the Department of Social Welfare of ?136,000 in welfare payments. The crime came to light in 2015 when Mr. Aminu wrote to the Dept. admitting his crime and offered to repay the stolen funds. An immediate Garda investigation was launched as a result of the confession. Mr. Aminu was charged, found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison.

Mr. Aminu?s defence pleaded that he had confessed, was repaying the stolen funds and was unlikely to reoffend. It was also pointed out to the judge that if Mr. Aminu were sent to jail he would face automatic deportation on his release with serious consequences for his wife and family.

None of this cut any mustard with the judge. Accepting that Aminu was a good man, that there would be long-term consequences for him and his family if a jail term was imposed and that the only aggravating factor was the actual crime the judge nevertheless took a stern and very narrow view.

Aminu must suffer a term of imprisonment to punish him and deter others.

Although this is an extremely harsh judgement it is, nevertheless, the law and in all functional democracies the law must be upheld and equally applied.

Unfortunately, Ireland is not a functional democracy and, as a consequence, justice like that meted out to Mr. Aminu is strictly reserved for ordinary citizens.

Those with power and influence are seldom subject to the law and can do pretty much as they please.

Here are just some recent examples of how those with power and influence get away with serious criminality.

On the same day that Mr. Aminu?s case was reported the Central Bank revealed that banks were admitting to thousands of additional cases of criminally defrauding those on tracker mortgages. The number of victims of this criminality has now reached over 30,000. People have lost their homes, their savings and some, it is thought, their lives. The Central Bank knew what was going on and did nothing; it?s still, effectively, protecting the criminal bankers. There have been no arrests, no charges, no justice.

Senior civil servants are also protected by the state when they commit crimes, even when they openly admit guilt. Senior staff at the Office of Corporate Enforcement (the grandiose title always makes me laugh) responsible for the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial perverted the course of justice by deliberately destroying evidence and coaching witnesses. In functional democracies such crimes are taken very seriously. In Ireland there were no charges, no trial, the guilty were protected by the state.

For 20 years now there has been an avalanche of criminality spewing from the ranks of our police force, we have yet to see a police officer on trial. Just recently, the most senior police officer in the state decided that no charges would be brought against any member of his force who were found to have falsified up to a million breath tests. The police chief said he was not prepared to spend huge amounts of taxpayers? money on the scandal, that the money would be better spent on ?protecting the community? ? from ordinary criminals like Mr. Aminu presumably.

Predictably, there was no objection to this banana republic abuse of law enforcement from politicians or, indeed, judges.

And then, of course, there?s the criminal politicians who, over the decades, have been defrauding the state through false expenses claims and robbing citizens money by stealing food and drink in the Dail bar and restaurant. Irish citizens won?t even be allowed to pass election judgement on these criminal politicians because, incredibly, data laws protect their identities.

Just think about that, we live in a country where public representatives can openly rob citizen?s money and property with complete impunity and we?re not even allowed to know their names never mind throw them in jail.

For so long as our country is misgoverned and exploited by a corrupt ruling elite we will rarely witness a judge say that a banker, police officer, government official or politician should be jailed

I suspect that when Mr. Aminu sat down to write his letter of confession he was not aware that in Ireland there is no law for the rich and powerful and strict enforcement for ordinary decent citizens.

I also suspect that if he knew the truth he would have burned that letter.

Copy to:

Senator Craughwell (Independent)

I?m copying this article to Senator Craughwell in the hope it might help to inform him of the reality of corruption in Ireland. From a number of twitter conversations it is clear that the senator has little idea of how the disease of corruption is destroying the lives of countless thousands of Irish citizens.

 

Public Inquiry >>

© 2001-2018 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy