Since 2011 when Fine Gael overseen by Enda Kenny and 2016 where Leo Varadkar took over as man in change, there has been a very quiet undermining of human rights within Ireland, besides questionable choices made beyond it (LINK). Fine Gael, while distracting people in many ways including passing a referendum in regards to LGBTQ outlook and using that to say they are full behind everyone’s rights, has been in fact working in the opposite direction.
Let me say from the start, that I 100% support the LGBTQ referendum that was passed. I am an anti-discrimination, anti-racist advocate. That said, one much welcomed by me dramatic change, should not be used to drown out other non-positive changes and attempted changes Fine Gael are connected to, going in an opposite negative direction. Fine Gael have used this one issue to window-dress that they are fully supportive of rights – but reality and their earlier or later actions speaks louder than their regular tried on PR.
One example of this, was when the Enda Kenny government finished up before heading into a general election. The week before the government (Fine Gael and Labour coalition) of the day finished up, the government quietly – without public announcement – rushed through legislation to limit information people (civilians and reporters) could access through pre-existing Freedom Of Information legislation. Nearly over night, suddenly what might have been a 100 page report asked for, became six to ten pages – if you were lucky. A hell of a lot of information became government censored completely or major sections redacted. It should be noted that RTE at the time once again, major failed to report government antics.
This had been and still is, a major issue many have with RTE. The state antics continues in this direction right up to 2021. Good luck trying to find out just how massive are your already well paid TD’s and senators getting in further enormous, tax-payer supplied, additional office pensions. That too, now has been classified. Yes, this is in part down to data laws but further still, you are not allowed to know even by anonymous name, what individuals are getting. Now, if lucky, a total sum at best!
NOTE: Even RTE, under the eyes of the law, are supposed to state where public money goes but when it comes to saying how much the national TV network is huge paying it’s top ‘stars‘, the best it will do each time, is give years old information when asked. Deliberately too little, too late!
Another example of human rights issues is in regard to the now infamous JobPath (LINK) state racket that is funnelling €300 Million+ of taxpayer money to two main private companies operating under different names and fronts – for an overall failure rate of 93+% rate. Besides the potential massive fraud (Much detailed by myself in huge report supplied to a Oireachtas PAC. Result: nothing done and it too, RTE news buried), besides the assaults, the attempted suicides, contract law broken thousands of times, the illegal Social Welfare department financial stealing, the thousands of bullying and threats issued from JobPath staff, the illegal data sharing, the stealing and export of personal information, there’s a number of human rights being openly violated (LINK) as defined under the “Human Declaration of Human Rights” Ireland is obligated to abide by!
In short, yet another state press-ganging operation (even further brutal enforced by hired companies to do it) that is lead by a social welfare department. One shocking example of their methods was the appearance of multiple Garda turning up at a man’s family home, to have a word with him just as Sunday dinner was about to be eaten. The issue: he previously upheld his – court confirmed (RE: Damien Fagan case versus Dept’ of SW & others) – legal right not to be forced into a private contract with a private company. Something Irish social welfare department officials still objected to – so they made sure Garda were sent to his home in order to apply pressure in order to try get him to sign a contract. Again, non-RTE news reported.
The trend of minimising human rights in Ireland bit by bit, chipping away at them, has become a common Fine Gael trait. Another example is how Fine Gael chase proposals to limit access to justice rights for citizens and environmental groups. For example, if they wish to challenge poor planning decisions. Here too, the Fine Gael efforts have been also internationally challenged as they are “out of line” with European and international human rights law (LINK). The General Scheme for the Housing and Planning and Development Bill 2019 ” has been also help up to inspection at an international level – and here too, RTE news has completely kept the public in the dark (a) as to how Fine Gael are up to their usual schemes more quietly as possible and (b) how international organisations have criticised the political party. All national media redacted.
Such international condemnations is nothing new for Fine Gael – not that the Irish public would know care of the national broadcaster! In truth, Fine Gael has been condemned along with Fianna Fail, another Irish political party that is now considered just the flip-side of Fine Gael if it was a single coin. Certainly, their activates have been often found to be ‘joined at the hip‘. How the Irish public was treated and is continued to be treated – exploited – for the mistakes for political others and connected business mates, has been questioned and condemned (LINK) by the likes of The Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), a human rights think-tank and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Again, little or none of this has been RTE reported… Starting to notice a trend yet?
For those that are made to cough-up serious money, in other words, the Ireland taxpayer, their financial exploitation, their denial to their democratic right to chose and un-allowed ability to stop either major treaties or military setups being forced on a nation, once again comes care of Fine Gael. They leading the charge on such activities backed up in Ireland by others such as Fianna Fail, the Irish Green Party and occasionally the (now decimated) Irish Labour Party.
When the international TTIP tried on setup failed to further successful pass into legislation at international and Irish level, quietly behind the scenes another version of it was being created – named CETA. Much of CETA is reworded from the previous TTIP and re-PR spun to others in the same light as the previous. The agenda to undermine or even by-pass an already established Ireland court system, so that a private court system could instead be used by huge companies (who would also get to staff the same private court system) has set off alarm bells within Ireland and internationally once again. Starting to notice a further trend here?
Besides CETA, a very controversial, wide aspect effecting trade agreement that will have dramatic ramifications – in other words, at cost to the average taxpayer as they are made potentially cough-up more money and have their elected rights to even further legislate, under mined, there comes the PESCO setup that has been also rammed down the throats of a nation too.
The PESCO setup, is specifically, an EU military setup. Ireland, supposedly still “Neutral” has been signed up to a European military institution. All without a referendum being allowed to happen in Ireland. Like CETA, the rights ability of Ireland citizens, to have a direct democratic (through referendum) say on even joining up to such huge agreements and setups, has been once again denied by the very people they had previously hired to look after them. In other words, Fine Gael (and others) after being hired by the Irish public, has again turned around and stabbed them in the back.
To make matters worse, insult turns to injury, the likes of PESCO will further cost the Irish taxpayer somewhere between two to three billion Euro a year as a Fine Gael government further exports taxpayer money. Of course, little or none of this financial side or indeed democratic choice ability being stripped away yet again, has been major reported by RTE and other possible biased news outlets in Ireland. Things have got so bad in censorship, people more aware now use the hashtag #RTEcensored on Facebook and Twitter.
When not violating everyone’s rights or attempting to still undermine them as you will see shortly, the government of the decade has also been found in breach, in practice and in legislation of Traveller’s housing, accommodation and eviction rights (LINK). Another European organisation, The European Committee of Social Rights, has found the Irish government guilty of violating human rights too. Yes, again, much or all of this has not been reported by some of the usual redacting culprits.
Also going under-reported is how the creation of government “rules“, which has lead to court fines being dished out to the general public as Covid-19 methods to control people, are in fact judged to be illegal and in conflict with the Irish constitution. A constitution that says such “rules” must be legally made into legislation that is then voted on and passed by Dail elected. However, Fine Gael elected have decided to by-pass this process and exploit (possibly illegally) the creation use of “Statutory Instruments“. A current ongoing legal case is under way by an Irish Law firm, questioning the Fine Gael antics in this direction. Not that you would know care of RTE and others…
For years in Ireland there has existed the SCC – the Special Criminal Court. This was and still is, a court system of judgement that was setup in order to nobly try combat possible witness intimidation of victims and other evidence givers to a court. While the aim of it could little argued against by the vast majority of Ireland citizen’s, a number of its ways of operating have been questioned by home and international human rights groups. Just recently, on this particular issue, things became more farcical.
Sinn Fein, an Irish political party that came to an understanding with Fine Gael, abstained on a vote regarding the SCC. They did so at the understanding of Fine Gael – who’s then later members stupidly condemned for doing only what other’s in their party higher up, had requested they do – and which they subsequently did do! The agreement to abstain was centred around the continuation of a review of the SCC. A review Fine Gael didn’t want but had to bring about to occur, such was the political pressure from other parties and human rights groups.
When it comes to crime, it’s regularly this reason that is used by Fine Gael to bring in what many consider to be further draconian legislation. The word “draconian” has been used more than once by people at home in Ireland and by international rights organisations. What has been certainly draconian, has been Fine Gael previous attempts to tarnish many wrongly just because of actions of a lot far fewer!
This ‘trying to gain votes’ tactic has been used by Fine Gael representatives repeatedly, be it to win a inner parry leadership contest, try wrongly win public support though misrepresentation or even a by-election erroneous stunt (trying to espouse that thousands of civilians were screwing the taxpayer, not returning to work in favour of PUP payments – when in fact, less than 90 employers had officially complained). Stuff the rights of people to try maintain their good name? Fine Gael attempted to tarnish too many, for the own political ends. Nothing new there from them.
When it comes to the unemployed in Ireland, be it pre-Covid or post infection Covid period, this sector of the nation has been used and kicked around as a political football for Fine Gael (and mates) ends. Stuff unemployed, and as you will now read, others rights too! Take for example. the now infamous PSC card that has cost €60+ million Euro.
Rammed in by Fine Gael care of Regina Doherty (a person who allowed a department she was in charge of, to continue breaking laws) was the PSC at Social Welfare level. Now, let us be clear here. The legislation that is actually in law, states that the card is ONLY required for trying to access Social Welfare services. If it was to be universally demanded by all departments, it would be for all intensive purposes, a national I.D. card. Something that is still illegal to bring in under current law. However, this is what many state departments have demanded – even if it is (a) illegal to demand it be produced and (b) it is subsequent illegal to deny access to services/functions beyond Social Welfare services (this causing loss of earnings and delays as a domino effect).
NOTE: I do NOT argue here that a national I.D. card is bad or good. The point is, what is legal and what is actually not! (LINK)
Further more, in violation of human rights – in this case, specifically, data rights (something consecutive Fine Gael governments already break), the PSC has gone on to further illegal gather and store people’s personal information (LINK) – which in turn is open to abuse and illegal transfer to others – something many of us know is already wrongfully happening through other state department setups! LINK – LINK
Indeed, things have got to bad under consecutive Fine Gael government and human right abuses in regard’s to how they are treating people’s data or allowing it to still be treated, standing by doing nothing in assistance, even the national Post Office setup is saying that the public is not allowed to know just how they are doing it. It’s not in the publics interest to know how others got a likely illegal hold of their information and further possible illegal storage.
Imagine being told “You don’t have the right to know how we have broken the law regarding your now legal property (personal info’) and what’s more it’s not in your interest to know how or why we did it!” That’s how things are crazy now!
You couldn’t make this stuff up but Fine Gael with others in top ranks repeatedly have! The citizens of Ireland are vastly not being told this is going on. #RTEcensored.
NOTE: It should be pointed out that the illegal Social Welfare PSC activity and the illegal JobPath activity were both overseen by ex-TD Regina Doherty. A person who was well informed of such things going on. I personally emailed her three times, supplying annual reports regarding JobPath. She carried on regardless. I reported in massive detail to an Oireachtas PAC. She carried on regardless. When the general election voter public decided that they had enough of her and sacked her, Fine Gael didn’t give a damn.
The person that openly campaigned for the closure of the Seanad, was rewarded by Fine Gael, in part for her department illegal activities, to actually over see the very thing she wanted gone! She was given a further high paid public role even though the public openly, democratically, stated that they did not want her. So much for the rights of voters. Fine Gael here too, has given them two fingers! Incredible stuff!
On the off chance that she might now get Dail in again with the voters of the area that sacked her, Fine Gael have tactically, deliberately decided to move her elsewhere in hope they can get her back in. In the meantime, they know the ‘tide me over’ Seanad position will (a) keep her in good funds and (b) help give her the occasional PR media advantage.
Things have got so bad just in regard to Ireland human rights and the PSC that the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights had to direct write to the Fine Gael government in concern (LINK). However, yes… Much of this has also gone unreported by the usual culprits…
And on… And on it goes…
Again, for various groups too.. Lost fishing rights, lost peat producer rights, farmers rights, tenant rights, on and on…
I could keep writing of abuses of human rights under Fine Gael. It’s all too easy but I have to conclude this article sometime today. So in attempt to do that, I will just jump ahead and get to the latest attempt to overlook rights in Ireland… The latest attempt by Fine Gael (aided by equally questionable others) to use any situation to their own advantage, to go beyond what might actually be required and stretch it to the advantage of themselves and those that might stand alongside them in questionable actions.
NOTE: There is NO doubt that Ireland needs far better while collar criminal prosecutions to take place. Such prosecutions need to incorporate local and national elected. Few would argue this – well, except some elected for obvious reason – so they all total avoid that part of the topic. Too close to home and those in their own party. We have noticed them and their silence. I certainly support far greater white collar accountability. Long overdue. Long sought by myself – but done right!
That said, how we go about catching them has to be fair, justifiable, proportionate and through proper fair, oversighted procedures. Fine Gael appears (again) not to wish to do this. They will, of course, say different for turned on cameras and microphones in PR. However, when we actually examine what they are actually up to and their proposals, the fine details appears to expose something different. White collar today? What also comes as an add-on, next month or next year?
Fine Gael wishes to dramatically expand state capabilities on how it can spy, tap and even digital dig into people’s lives. What they don’t want, is to have alongside their efforts, is proper oversight! The Fine Gael government has drafted legislation to allow others (CCPC) to bypass Garda Siochana to gather evidence.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
These others will be allowed under poor oversight, further be allowed to not only (presently) look at people’s meta data (shows that people have been just communicating – not what’s been said) but also ability to further see all content if they say they are justified. They could judge themselves if they are qualified to be able look deeper.
Fine Gael PR say that surveillance would be done by warrant but the methods Fine Gael want, are again out of step what is considered more fair and justified in Europe. The Irish Council For Civil Liberties, for a start, has sounded alarm bells already. Given the 10 year historical record of Fine Gael and human rights being questionable to say the least, the latest attempts by Fine Gael to by pass Garda procedures and oversight, is worrying to many to say the least.
The concern regarding this piece of new legislation continues to grow. It too, will be something closely watched to see what Fine Gael might try to do with one hand, while trying to possibly distract a public with another! Given their history on human rights overall, in total examination balance, are we right to find them guilty in trying to quietly weaken human rights bit by bit?
20 year barman. Re-educated as an I.T. professional, website creator, I.T teacher, digital media management & marketing professional. Studied accountancy, taxation, business management & law. Founder of UnitedPeople political party – click here. Previously the first National Chairman of Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) & founder of the Louth branch of DDI. Author. Regular contributor to social media. TV & radio guest experiences. Appeared in the Oireachtas & Dublin Highcourts to defend the rights of citizens along with exposing many wrongs. Consistently seeks greater democracy & accountability from all elected levels of Ireland. Currently writing two books, non-fiction “Life Behind Bars” & “Better Tomorrows“.