Friday, October 06, 2006

From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987.

" Charity? " said Aunt Molly , " is that what you call it ? You're so naive . It's big , big business . Selling Sweep tickets is easier than robbin' banks , and you can't be arrested for it . Except in England ! Less than thirty per cent of what the Hospital Trust makes goes to the hospitals and less than half of what's left is paid to the prizewinners . As for the ordinary staff ? God help them , but a tinker would make more selling lucky white heather in Merrion Square ! And ya say 'Well , I always thought that they were doing all that for charity' ? Aye , that'll be the day ! And Joe McGrath is getting his racehorses on credit ! "

By the time I was a nipper the three biggest men in finance were Joe McGrath , Jack O' Sheehan and Eamonn Duggan . Archie Doyle , even worse at ' the business of business ' than Uncle Jack , was still robbing banks for the IRA well into the 1940's .

I don't go in for anniversaries , but I thought that with the winding up of the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes it would be as well to remember it affectionately , for it meant a great deal to some folk.......

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 .

The 'consultant' claims that his job was to find the 'right' businesses to liaise with the US investors ; he claims that he had no direct dealings with politicians as this was done by the middleman , who is from North County Dublin . According to the 'consultant' , the 'discounted' sum was never "...represented as an investment.." to those looking for a passport .

Although the source successfully completed a number of deals which saw US investors receive Irish passports in return for injecting cash into small Irish manufacturing firms , he claims that the investments in these cases were real . The problem is that we don't know how many of the investments made in the 1990's were fictional - there is a strong circumstantial case building up that at least some of the passports were issued on the basis of false financial information .

While any political administration can hide behind the need to protect 'investor confidentiality' , surely a cost-benefit analysis of the scheme should be available ? How do we know that the money that was lodged in Ireland was ever actually invested in the business stated.......?

From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

By the time the Nicky Kelly campaign was drawing to a close , the Concerned Parents Against Drugs (CPAD) were mounting their battle against pushers : although it began on the southside of Dublin , the CPAD soon spread to the northside and Tony Gregory began backing it when other politicians were more cautious .

The drugs campaign posed a number of problems for Tony Gregory and his supporters - some of his activists had doubts about Sinn Fein involvement , but the drugs epidemic is a major issue for Dublin's inner-city and if Sinn Fein members play a dominant role in the campaign , Gregory does not seem to mind .

But Sinn Fein's emergence in Dublin at a political level may yet pose difficulties for the 37-year-old Gregory : when Fianna Fail's George Colley died , Tony Gregory and his strategists considered running Mick Rafferty in the by-election , but eventually reckoned such a move would not pay off . This left the field open for Sinn Fein.......