RTE on Declan Ganley

Am I the only person in Ireland who doesn’t think Declan Ganley is the devil incarnate? I am perplexed by the recent Aine Lawlor interview and the Primetime hit job on him tonight. And I use the phrase hit job because that’s all it seemed to be. It looked like something Fox News would be proud of.

I have no particular love or hate for Libertas, or for Ganley himself. I’m actually pretty neutral on the whole thing. Yes he campaigned in favour of a No vote at Lisbon, a position with which I agreed. But that’s sort of besides the point.

The question that RTE seem to be posing is that Ganley is somehow a different political animal than what we’re used to. That his funding is somehow mysterious. That he has connections – horror of horrors – to making money from the US military industrial complex.

Maybe I’m the only one. But I don’t see the big deal about this. Maybe someone can enlighten me as to why Ganley’s finances should be put under the spotlight, and not those of Fianna Fail, the party that has been in power for the last 11 years and has presided over a cataclysmic property bubble? Or that we have no idea from where Fianna Fail, or Fine Gael for that matter, got most of their funding?

FAS shenanigans

Rumours abound. Serious stuff.

I heard one over the summer about FÁS. It was around the time that Enda Kenny told the Dail that gardaí were investigating the alleged misappropriate use of funds by a senior executive within FÁS.

The rumour was unverified obviously, so it is was basically gossip – and therefore has all of the qualifications that should be attached to any gossip.

The scenario laid out to me was that certain Sunday newspapers were involved in accepting advertising from FÁS. So what you might say. I was told that staff within those newspapers would agree a price with an individual, or individuals, within FÁS. The price might only be known to a small group of people and, critically, the price would be inflated.

A percentage of this overall advertising spend would then be shared, personally, between respective staff in certain Sunday newspapers and staff in FÁS. I guess it would be called kickbacks. Or fraud. That is certain parties within FAS may have been engaged in fraud.

We have already heard of certain allegations around advertising spending – even that an advertising company was set up by staff in FÁS.

Another rumour I heard, widely circulated, was that Mary Hanafin went on trips to Florida.

Senator Shane Ross will have further revelations for us on Sunday, no doubt.

How deep does the FAS rabbit hole go?

Maman points out a curiosity about Brian Cowen’s relationship to Rody Molloy. It could be true. Cowen is married to Mary Molloy.

In June, Cowen had this to say about Mr Molloy:

“the chief executive of that organisation is a person whom I personally hold in the highest regard, and whose integrity I would defend at all times, Mr Rody Molloy.” IT June 26, 2008.

Pretty straightforward. Mr Molloy was appointed director general by Mary Harney, then Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, to the position in October 2000. He is married to Noreen. He has been a civil servant since the days of Jack Lynch. He is from Crinkill, Co Offaly. He replaced Dr John Lynch, who went to CIE.

At the same time as Molloy’s appointment, Mary Harney appointed future husband Brian Geoghagen to be chairman of FAS.

(An aside: In October 1994, Brian Cowen was forced to sell shares in Arcon Resources, after it emerged they were seeking a mining licence while he was minister with responsibility in that area. Reynolds did not seek his resignation. In April 1996, in the first publication of politicians’ interests he said he held no shares, land, property, travel, renumeration or contracts.)

Curiously, Mary Molloy is herself related to the mother of Minister for Integration Conor Lenihan, Ann Lenihan (wife of the late Brian Lenihan).

Given the nature of these things in Irish politics, I can’t begin to imagine how deep the rabbit hole goes on this one. With the sums of money involved, this is probably the tip of the iceberg.

Update: Mr Molloy has resigned in disgrace. I can confirm Mary Molloy is not related to Rody.