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Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week March 18, 2012

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

The Sindo continues to innovate, with the words ourself used by Brendan O’Connor, and themself used by Niamh Horan in a piece about the jailing of the million-euro tax evader Paul Begley best described as sympathetic. Or maybe sickening. Maybe the sub-editor had the week off.

Speaking of convicted tax evader Paul Begley, James Fitzsimons characterises him thus

A decent man was sentenced to six years in jail to get the message through to tax cheats that you cannot buy your way out of trouble. His family was devastated when they heard the sentence.

I wonder what makes him decent – being a tax cheat, or being a businessman who is a tax cheat?

The Gallagher plot has widened from RTÉ and the provos (or to adopt the Sindo’s language, the hush puppies and the real thing), to RTÉ, the provos and the Labour Party (or to adopt the Sindo’s language, the pinko trot terrorist anti-capitalist tax-raising middle class oppressing, enterprise throttling conspiracy of ressentiment [that one’s just for Eoghan Harris and his quotes-from-big-name-spouting-so-I-can-sound-clever-when-talking-rubbish acolytes]). Jody Corcoran has been watching the debate repeatedly (the new editor is a harsh boss it seems)

In fact, the camera was on Gallagher for 18 minutes longer than it was on the candidate least in the spotlight, the other independent candidate, Mary Davis.

Yet Michael D Higgins, the only candidate with a realistic, although outside, prospect of stopping Gallagher’s momentum towards the Aras, was allowed to sail serenely through the 90 minutes, and to appear quite presidential in doing so.

One might of course argue that the absence of a direct question to Michael D. from the audience was biased against him and not for him, given that it excluded him from an important aspect of the debate. Wasn’t the leader of FF recently complaining that his party were not allowed to talk sufficiently by RTÉ. But why would you consider that when you have a lost president to lament?

Speaking of RTÉ, Emer O’Kelly uses her insight as a former employee to let us know how it really operates.

There are RTE commandments. Unionists shouldn’t have any rights. All American democrats are liberal saints (Leo Varadkar was right about that), particularly Bill Clinton. All American Republicans are devils, despite George
W Bush being publicly on the side of religion, and being against abortion, which the majority of people in Ireland also claim to be fiercely against. You should always appear to be secretly sneering at the British Royal Family. English Conservatives are all posh crooks underneath.

Sneering is not the word that springs to mind when considering coverage of the recent visit of the UK’s head of state.


1. Pidge (@Pidge) - March 18, 2012

I particularly enjoyed O’Kelly’s line, “Roman Catholicism in Ireland has always included a level of anti-clericalism”.



2. Jack Jameson - March 18, 2012

Speaking of RTÉ, Emer O’Kelly uses her insight as a former employee to let us know how it really operates.

I’m impressed about how Emer O’Kelly bravely carried off the appearance of being at ease with – nay, proud of – being part of the RTÉ gravy train while inside her journalistic integrity was being crushed by such a dictatorial Big Brother regime. She had me fooled.

How long did she suffer in (well-paid) silence?


WorldbyStorm - March 18, 2012

And let’s not forget her courageous return to the belly of the beast late last year for the ‘Now it’s personal’ slot where she lambasted a preoccupation of her choice… er, no not RTÉ and all its pomps but… women who work in the home with children.


que - March 18, 2012

What would happen if we put her in a room with the lad who writes for Alive.

Would we find a higgs boson when they blew up


WorldbyStorm - March 18, 2012


Heh heh. I figure thats an experiment worth trying!


3. Tomboktu - March 19, 2012

I wonder what makes him decent – being a tax cheat, or being a businessman who is a tax cheat?

Whatever about what makes the criminal ‘decent’, the press reporting at the time of his sentencing was clear enough on who made him decent: the judge described him as a decent man at sentencing.

The Criminal Court of Appeal recently dealt with the issue of the length of sentences for serious financial offences against the state (tax and welfare fraud). It changed sentencing policy for those kinds of offences. Here’s an extract from an Irish Times article on that change of sentencing policy.

Mr Justice Finnegan agreed and said a sentence of this gravity is generally reserved for serious offences against the person such as manslaughter, rape, serious assault, aggravated burglary or false imprisonment. Such offences against the person involve an affront to human dignity, a violation of the integrity of the person or of the dwelling, and a violation of constitutional rights.

However, offences involving public revenue are not victimless crimes as they strike at the heart of equity, equal treatment and social solidarity. This is especially so at a time of emergency so far as the public finances are concerned, he said.

The current crisis calls for a high level of social solidarity. Widespread tax evasion by the wealthy and well-to-do can threaten social solidarity and thus the very stability of the State itself. Social security fraud impacts heavily on those who are most in need, sapping public confidence in the system and eroding the sums available for those genuinely reliant on such payment.

The appellant’s widespread, persistent and systematic fraud of the social security system was gravely wrong, and the sentence must reflect this.

In cases involving the public purse, deterrence is an important part of the sentencing process. Some element of severity is necessary to ensure that taxpayers will pay the State what has been deemed by law to be properly due and that public support for the needy will not be undermined.

The court therefore suggested for the future guidance of sentencing courts that systematic and significant tax evasion or social welfare fraud should generally meet with an immediate and appreciable custodial sentence.

While the sentence in this case breached the totality principle, the appellant’s culpability was considerable. The fact that he stole the identities of his siblings was an aggravating factor, as were a previous conviction for social welfare fraud in Britain and the falsification of official documents.

The sentence should therefore be of nine years, with one year suspended for his guilty plea and co-operation with gardaí.

(I know the welfare case that changed the sentencing policy involved a number of offences, including the fraud against the welfare system and forgery of passports, but it does seem odd to me that a fraud of a quarter of a million gets a nine-year sentence, but a tax fraud of over a million gets a six year sentence. Class bias, perchance?)


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