Monday, October 02, 2006

From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

Anyway , while Uncle Jack and Jack O' Sheehan and Archie Doyle went to free the bank of its bread , Joe McGrath sat holding a forty-five on the taxi-driver . The others were in the place for what seemed like an age : Joe , despairing of ever seeing them again , was getting a bit edgy . The cabman was even more so , as he had a wedding to attend - " Christ !" says he , " it didn't take as long as that to get rid of the money changers! "

The taxi driver argued with McGrath that one of them should go to the bank and find out what the hell was delaying the robbers : Joe said that if he went the cabby would drive off and leave them where Jesus left those same money-changers , but the cabby asked Joe was he daft - when did he ever hear of a taxi-driver going without his fare ? " Funerals , ok " , said the driver , " nobody ever minded a delay , but folk are touchy about being late for their own weddings . It's all very well for ye people , who do this sort of thing for a cause , but I drive for a living . And I've a reputation to think of , do ya understand .... "

Eventually it was agreed that the driver should find out what was keeping Uncle Jack and the others , while Joe minded the store , so to speak . After a minute the driver returns and his eyes streaming with tears of laughter - " Yeh'll never believe what they're doing in there ! Honest to God ....... ! "

The latest passports for investment revelations involve a controversial £10,000 donation to Fianna Fail by US investor Gerry Lindzon .
There are grounds for suspicion that much of the money that changed hands in other deals was never intended for investment in the business but rather a 'facility fee' which accrued to the company for allowing its name to be used .
By Daire O' Brien .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .

In the early 1990's the owner of a small but successful Irish business was approached by somebody with a proposal . His visitor , a financial consultant with expertise in providing capital for small businesses , claimed that he had the power to deliver to the businessman a cash injection of approximately £250,000 . In return , the businessman would have to issue a share certificate for over £1 million in his business . On the surface , a poor deal - why give £4 worth of equity for every £1 ?

However , as with much pertaining to the Passports For Investment scheme , what you see is nothing like what you get : what actually would happen is that the investor , a US businessman , would be satisfied with a meaningless class of share which would have nothing but a 'peppercorn' value: the Irish business would , to official eyes , appear to be receiving over £1 million and a passport would be issued to the US citizen in return for his apparent munificence and faith in the then slumbering State economy !

The businessman was intrigued : he recalls - " The scheme was sold to me on the basis that the consultant would be able to deliver politically . The application would not be questioned . Obviously I didn't ask the consultant if money was going to be paid to a politician .... " The consultant worked for a well-known Dublin insurance broker which is still in existence as part of a larger group . As things transpired the deal never took place - it was sidelined by political changes and a new media interest in the Passports For Investments scheme provoked by the revelation that former (26 County) Taoiseach Albert Reynolds' family business , C&D Petfoods , had benefited from it.......

From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

When the counting was done , Tony Gregory found himself holding the cards of the next Government (ie State Administration) , and it wasn't long until those seeking a hand were calling to the Gregory HQ at Summerhill Parade : 'Sir' Garret Fitzgerald , Fine Gael , and Charlie Haughey , Fianna Fail , put their cards on the table but , as usual , Haughey took the gamble . Tony Gregory , his brother Noel , Fergus McCabe and Mike Rafferty played for high stakes : the multi-million pound 'Gregory Deal' : funds for the inner-city and a full house for Haughey ! This deal put Tony Gregory into the centre-stage of State politics and left him in a position to topple the State government if the need arose .

But that need didn't arise - for those blissful eight months , Tony Gregory only had to lift the telephone , say the word and pronto ! The job was done ! He had the power . When luck finally ran Garret Fitzgerald's way , Tony Gregory's chips were called in . But still some aspects of the Gregory Deal survived ; the much-needed new housing for the inner-city was already underway .

Gregory came home comfortably in the last election and settled down as an independent Leinster House member . Hardened by his years in Official Sinn Fein and later the IRSP , he knew his influence would be limited . He left Official Sinn Fein when Seamus Costello formed the IRSP , as he admired Costello , but soon became disillusioned with politics within the IRSP . In the mid 1970's he began to build a community base in inner-city Dublin , which led to his election as a councillor in 1979.......