The article opened with the following:
“As financial investigations go, it literally can’t get any bigger than this: The world’s biggest banks are now being investigated for rigging the world’s biggest market.
In a widening inquiry, as many as 15 banks — among them, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and UBS — are under scrutiny by international officials for alleged manipulation of the $5.3-trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.
Also in harm’s way would be those clients’ customers, including investors and consumers, who would face lower returns or higher prices as inflated transaction costs are passed on to them. The evidence of wrongdoing is from online chats among traders who referred to themselves as “the cartel,” “the bandits club” and “the mafia.””
Just read that; the bankers have organized themselves into cartels and then charged extra for their work. Talk about corruption.
So why do I think I should go into the Real Estate business?
Well, if I bought a house or two in Dublin 4 sure the banks could use the address as the listing for their new headquarters and come under Irish Law for banks.
Irish Law for banks is basically, drink in the right pub, slap the back of the odd politician and everything shall be alright. Six years after the banks broke the country Ireland has not even got a meaningful investigation under way.
At least Dick Turpin wore a mask!
But never fear, they shall look after themselves, the nice people and the bankers. From the Republic of Greed and Lies we read this:
“The wife of discharged bankrupt developer Larry O’Mahony – former business partner of Priory Hall builder Tom McFeely – has managed to procure a spending allowance of €9,000 a month.
Justice George Birmingham, who saw pictures of the properties rented by Mrs Connolly said;
“Both properties — at Upper Leeson Street and Serpentine Avenue, Ballsbridge, looked attractive and desirable”.
He accepted there would have to be some topping up of the €6,500 figure to meet rental costs, there should be some regard to the family’s previous lifestyle, they were not required “to live in penury” and their children should continue in their local schools, he said.”
The bit that gets to me is the remark by the judge that the family’s previous lifestyle should be taken into consideration. Compare this with the draconian laws which have been put into place in the Free State for the ordinary people who go bankrupt.
They are not entitled to a lifestyle at all.
Now that we are talking about courts and financiers and bankers I want to mention a recent study done in Greece. This was a serious article and was published in the British Medical Journal which is not just your ordinary old newspaper. To be published there you need to have proper research and proper investigation.
According to statistics there has been a serious increase in the number of deaths by suicide as the recession in Greece has taken hold. Although the article does not definitively say that one causes the other, there appears to be a link between the recession and the rate of suicide. And there has also been a marked rise in the number of ‘homicides’ or murders to you and me.
Does that remind you of anywhere?
Here are a few clues: An island off the coast of Europe, there should be 32 but there are only 26, and if you go to the pub on Saturday night you’ll hear a soldier’s song.
Since there is obviously going to be no serious attempt by the Free State to hold anyone to account for the debacle of the banks down there, I think that someone, a wife or son or daughter or whoever, should take one of the banks up for failure of due diligence when some poor soul takes his own life after the bank forecloses on a business or a mortgage.
It obviously won’t succeed as the Free State ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, but surely someone needs to highlight for posterity the contempt with which the lives of ordinary people are being treated in the EU.
This is what Esther says on the website for the charity;
“After I wrote a newspaper article describing my feelings, as a widow living alone for the first time at the age of 71, Ellen wrote to me (anonymously, because she said she did not want to burden her daughter) to describe her own feelings of loneliness:
‘I can’t get out on my own due to health problems, so it can be as much as 3 days I go without talking to anyone… I dread the winter nights when everything seems to close in around me and I feel so isolated. I am an optimist by nature and sometimes I need that to get through another pointless day where I feel as if I am a waste of space.’”
I don’t know about the rest of Northern Ireland but we in the Mid Ulster area already have a similar service, the Good Morning scheme, which is run by Agewell. The difference with Esther’s charity is that it is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service.
How sad that we need it!
However, we need to be careful before we start to reminisce about the good old days when these things would never have happened. I wonder were the good old days really that good. There were always people left alone to fend for themselves and people left in terrible circumstances. The loneliness of old age is not a new phenomemun; it was always there.
Modern living and modern technology is not all negative. It depends how you use it. I read news articles from all around the world every day. I can instantly contact my daughter in Hong Kong and can see her face when we talk on the computer phone. That is wonderful.
Good groups are starting up all over the country, people prepared to help and put themselves out for others. Society always finds ways of sorting these things out. We all know that we can’t depend on government and that they have other issues to be concerned about. I would like to say that politicians do nothing and that they are all corrupt but that would be unfair.
There is plenty of work going on. Where the politicians are wrong, and where we as a society have failed, is that we have pawned the future of our children to maintain a high living standard for ourselves.
It is obvious to all and sundry that Britain cannot go on with the standard of living we have but no one is willing to stand up and say it. Who would vote for them if they did? But the great hope of the world is always the goodness of people.
Then in the middle of last week we all got a bit of good news; life is on the up in the New North.
The figures were revealed in the latest University of Ulster quarterly house price index.
The UU survey recorded 1,706 transactions in July, August and September.
This represents the highest since the peak of the market in the second quarter of 2007.”
The barometer of happiness, the price of your bricks and mortar, seems to be going the right way. It doesn’t take much to make us happy!
While I take delight in a snippet about the value of Casa Turlough a report reveals that “nearly nine million people across the UK are living with serious debt problems.
The Money Advice Service (MAS) also said very few people were making any attempt to get professional help. The problem is particularly acute in five English cities, where more than 40% of the population is struggling to repay debt.”
The survey has particular criteria before a person can be included: “The study lists the top five cities where people are "over-indebted".
To qualify as such, people had to feel that their debt amounted to a "heavy burden", or else they had to have missed out on repayments in three of the last six months.”
The top five cities with huge personal debt were listed as Hull, 43.1%, Nottingham, 41.2%, Manchester, 41.1%, Knowsley, 40.7%, Liverpool, 40.6%.
What a way to live. God love the people under burdens such as these. They should move to the Free State and ask Justice Birmingham to take their previous lifestyle into consideration!
Well, at least we can always depend upon the Germans to show us how to do things honestly. Fraulein Merkel strides the globe telling all and sundry how to run their affairs and how everything should be honest and open.
But enter Former German President Christian Wulff who has gone on trial accused of receiving and granting favours in office. He is alleged to have accepted the payment of hotel bills by a film producer in return for lobbying while he was premier of Lower Saxony in 2008.
Arriving for his trial, Mr Wulff told reporters: "This is not an easy day for me." But he said he was certain he would dispel the allegations against him "because I always behaved correctly in office".
Then in a touch of irony the BBC story ended with these words:
“The last German head of state to face charges in court was Adolf Hitler's successor Admiral Karl Doenitz, who was convicted at the Nuremburg trials of war crimes.”
Talk about rubbing it in!
Thankfully, we in Northern Ireland are beginning to use the courts to good effect. Another BBC story runs:
“The families of 20 people killed by soldiers during the Troubles are suing Northern Ireland's chief constable.
It follows a report which said the team set up to re-examine deaths during the Troubles had failed to investigate killings by soldiers properly.
We had bombing and blowing up on an industrial scale from 1970 to 1994: you may say roughly 25 years of unrest and did it get us anywhere? We could argue about that til the cows come home and we won’t all agree, but I believe that three groups of people did more to further the cause of the Catholic people in Northern Ireland than Sinn Fein or the IRA ever did.
The first group, though not in any particular order, is the GAA. The GAA held our Irish identity together over the years and continue to do so. Their work with young people and in promoting all things Irish has no equal. I believe the same of the other groups who promote Irish music and dancing.
The second group is the Catholic Church which has pushed for education all down the years, from the time of hedge schools to the present day. What you must understand is that an educated person can’t be kept down. From the arrival of free education in the 1947 Education Act the days of Unionist ascendency were numbered.
The first generation of these educated people, men like John Hume and Seamus Mallon along with women like Bernadette Devlin were not going to be tramped over. Their ability to stand their ground and hold their own in debates and arguments should have alerted unionism to what was happening.
Perhaps Terence O’Neill was the only unionist with the foresight to see the writing on the wall.
The third group, and no less important, were the solicitors who fought the British on human rights issues at every turn along the way. Some of them even died for their efforts; Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson come to mind.
I don’t believe for one moment that these families shall ever get justice from the British but the constant needling and exposing to the world the injustices of the British gradually force them to change their behaviour.
We have come a long way in this wee country when a group of working class Catholics have the confidence to sue the chief constable.
If you don’t believe me ask yourself, “What would have happened to them in 1980?”
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