Friday, February 03, 2023

Populist agitator Paddy Cosgrave hates Ireland

Ireland and 12 other European countries are Full Democracies: only 21 in World

Paddy Cosgrave, chief executive of the Web Summit and the most prominent business backer of the Sinn Féin political party, seems to spend a lot of time seeking material to support his claim that the Irish Government "is the largest organised crime cartel in Ireland, maybe Europe" and "the corruption & criminality of the old economy is seeping into the new economy of Irish tech."

This delusional partisan says most Irish journalists are "sycophantic, bootlicking, propagandist[s] for the crony class." In his dystopia, the Irish Government operates like Mexican drug cartels and the Italian Mafia.

The Web Summit mainly holds events in countries - Portugal, Brazil and Qatar - where bribery is endemic. Cosgrave has no problem with corruption in these countries and the Portuguese government provides half of the annual revenue of the Web Summit. However, Ireland is a cesspit of corruption according to Cosgrave!

The 3 founders of the Web Summit had a bitter public bust-up and they have amassed 14mn documents in advance of a hearing at the Irish High Court.

Cosgrave has become Ireland's Donald Trump.

Founded in 2010 the Web Summit company got funding and public agency support from the Irish Government. 

Eaten bread was soon forgotten by Cosgrave and he has copied the tactics of both the far-right and Trump.

The demonisation of groups is the tactic of the authoritarian and if one person behaves badly, they are all tarred with the same brush. If the pattern in the US follows, public officials will be exposed to violence. Dr Anthony Fauci, America's recent top medical expert on the coronavirus pandemic, had to get police protection.

George Orwell in 'As I Please: 1943-1945' wrote “Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end, you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.”

Mainstream journalism is not perfect in a free society but Cosgrave's abuse is from the Trump playbook.

India used to be proud of its democracy but the Hindu nationalist government "Through its control of the media, monopolization of campaign finance and harassment of opponents, India seems set on a path to becoming an illiberal pseudo-democracy similar to Turkey or Russia." The present prime minister ordered a raid of the BBC bureau as he was upset with a TV documentary.

Reporters Without Borders ranked India 150th worldwide for press freedoms in 2022, down from 142 the year before. China is at 177.

Ireland has a ranking of 6 among 180 countries

The Irish and Finnish states despite their achievements or faults were the only two new states after the First World War to survive as democracies in the period 1918-1945.

In November 2021 Cosgrave opened the web summit in Lisbon with "evidence" of Irish corruption. 

Last November the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD: a club of mainly advanced countries) said that since "the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention entered into force over 20 years ago, Portugal has not had a single foreign bribery conviction. Detection remains low and Portuguese authorities prematurely closed foreign bribery cases without investigating relevant allegations thoroughly and proactively, with the number of cases terminated having increased significantly compared to Phase 3. Notwithstanding recent reforms, Portugal has not addressed longstanding Working Group concerns regarding its legal framework, and sanctions for foreign bribery against natural and legal persons do not appear to be effective, proportionate or dissuasive."

It's ironic that to Cosgarve, the Irish Government "is the largest organised crime cartel in Ireland, maybe Europe" when Sinn Féin was the political front for Provisional IRA, and together with other Republican paramilitaries, they were responsible for 60% of the deaths in what were called the Troubles in 1966-1999.

Both the Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Féin were led by the same people.

2022: Web Summit chief calls Irish government a crime cartel

Today Sinn Féin is the richest political party in Ireland and Northern Ireland and it plays the system well. Britain's regulations of payments to politicians are lax compared with the Republic of Ireland. SF received Irish State funding of €1.5mn last year and over €1mn in US donations in the year to November 2022 through Friends of Sinn Féin USA — the latter were routed to Northern Ireland.

In recent years a deceased 82-year-old English mechanic left Sinn Féin a record-breaking £1.5mn (€1.7mn) in his will and again the proceeds were routed through Northern Ireland. The donation in the Republic of Ireland would have had a legal limit of €2,500.

Irish Americans provided financial support for the campaign of violence and these foreign citizens continue to bankroll SF today.

The party on the island of Ireland has 200 staff and a network of more than 50 properties.

Cosgrave has adopted the right-wing tactic of co-optation of corruption rhetoric against traditional parties while the effect of populist leaders on key institutions is evident in Europe, Brazil, the Philippines, and the United States.

Last year The Economist published its latest Democracy Index of 167 countries: 13 Western European made the ranking of Full Democracies including Ireland in 7th place. The Americas had 3 entries (Canada; Uruguay and Costa Rica). Asia-Pacific had 5 entries (Japan; South Korea; Taiwan; Australia; New Zealand).

Questions are grouped into five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; functioning of government; political participation and political culture.

Full democracies account for 6.4% of the world's population.

The Economist noted that "Democratisation suffered more reversals in 2021, with the percentage of people living in a democracy falling to well below 50% and authoritarian regimes gaining ground. This year’s report finds that democracy experienced its biggest annual decline since 2010 when the global financial crash led to major setbacks. The index score fell for all but one region, with pandemic-related restrictions continuing to constrain individual freedoms."

Ireland is in rank of 10th from 180 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions 2022 Index (CPI)

Perceptions and reality can differ.

A 2022 Eurobarometer poll of 26,509 people in the EU found that 68% of people within the EU reckoned that corruption is still widespread in their country. Only a third thought their governments were doing anything about it. In Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Croatia and Portugal, more than 90% of respondents said it was widespread. Perceptions were only below the 50% mark in Estonia, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

1,011 Irish residents were polled with 59% saying corruption was widespread and 34% saying it was rare (up 12% since 2019): 38% said it had increased and 39% said corruption had stayed the same; in Portugal, 90% said it was a problem and 5% said corruption was rare: 51% said it was increasing and 34% stayed the same.

In Denmark 16% said corruption was a problem, down 19% since 2019; 26% of Danes said corruption increased but the number was down 16% since 2019; 63% said it remained the same, up 17% since 2019.

Ireland has had its scandals over the years and Denmark's biggest bank, Danske Bank, was engaged in money laundering in the period 2007-2015. In 2018 it acknowledged that around €200bn was laundered through its Estonian subsidiary.

Germany's Deutsche Bank has also been involved in money laundering while Siemens, Volkswagen and other firms have been involved in cheating.

Bundestag members have sold consultancy services to dictators.

Ireland among 7 big tax havens as US seeks global minimum corporate tax of 21%

Finland and Irish Free State only new democracies to survive in 1918-1945

Finland and the Irish Free State were the only new states that survived as democracies in the aftermath of the First World War to 1945.

Twelve new states emerged from the First World War. Four empires: the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the Russian Empire; the Ottoman Empire and Germany's Second Reich of 1871-1918, collapsed (On 9 November 1918, the "German Republic" was proclaimed).

The British Empire had been weakened by the war and that was a factor in the birth of the Irish Free State (named Éire or Ireland in 1938).

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 provided for Russia's exit from the war, and the independence of Armenia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Georgia, and Poland. By 1941 Finland was the only state in this group to retain its independence.

Czechoslovakia (Germany occupied part of the country from 1938) and Hungary were formed from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The latter became a client state of Nazi Germany after 1938. In the Balkans, Yugoslavia was established (initially the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs). In April 1941, the country was occupied and partitioned by the Axis powers.

The Ottoman Empire had been crumbling for decades. For example, Romania with the help of Russia got its independence in 1877; Bulgaria in 1908 and Albania in 1912.

Austria, Turkey and the Soviet Union replaced empires.

Both Finland and the Irish Free State began with civil wars.

Finland was an integral part of the Kingdom of Sweden for almost 700 years, from around 1150 until the Finnish War of 1809 when Finland became an autonomous part of the Russian Empire as the Grand Duchy of Finland.

The Grand Duchy of Finland's Diet of the Four Estates — nobles, clergy, burghers and peasants — began meeting regularly from 1863 and it passed some 400 pieces of legislation. Following the defeat of the Russian Empire by Japan in 1905 Finland proposed parliamentary reform. The Diet of the Four Estates supported a proposal calling for the establishment of a unicameral Parliament and the introduction of universal suffrage. The Emperor approved the proposal and the Finnish Parliament was established in 1906.

The population was 2.655mn in 1900 and 5.536mn in 2020.

A general election was held in 1907 with a minimum age of 24. In a first in the world, 19 women were elected to the Parliament.

The Finnish name for the Parliament is eduskunta (uncapitalised). According to the history "Parliament's first years during the period of autonomy were politically unstable, and this caused many problems for decision-making. Parliament was dissolved several times and new elections were held practically every year."

Following the seizure of power in Russia by the Bolsheviks in November 1917, Finland declared independence on December 6, 1917, which was recognized by Lenin and his government on the last day of the year.

The 1918 Finnish Civil War only lasted for less than five months, from 27 January to 15 May, but the scars that remained from the brutal ideological conflict are still visible in Finnish society today.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle noted "That the ‘Reds,’ led primarily by the Social Democratic Party, fought the ‘Whites,’ led by the socialist-averse conservative Senate. Roaming paramilitary groups took to patrolling the country: Red Guards made up of industrial and agrarian workers against the opposing White Guards, largely composed of peasants and middle and upper-class citizens.

The division in effect split the country from coast to coast, running just north of the Pori-Tampere-Kouvola-Vyborg line at the start of the conflict. The Reds assumed control of the towns and industrial centres of southern Finland, while the Whites ruled central and northern rural areas.

The Finnish Civil War was a bloody one. It is estimated that around 36,000 people were killed and another 15,000 children were orphaned out of a population of around 3mn."

About 10,000 of the Reds were executed in the aftermath of the war and almost 100,000 Reds were sent to prison camps, where more than 13,000 of them died of hunger and disease.

As part of the Hitler-Stalin (the so-called Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact) agreement of 1939, after the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, the latter invaded Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II. The War with the Soviet Union ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. The Soviet Union won this war and compelled Finland to cede several territories – about 10% of Finland’s area.

Finland turned to Germany for protection but in 1944 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Stalin imposed severe sanctions on the small country "Finland is a relatively young country, having only established its independence from the Soviet Union in 1917. Finland had to fight long and hard to preserve that independence through the Second World War. For a nation with a population of less than 4mn, the cost of the war was devastating: 90,000 dead; 60,000 permanently injured and 50,000 children orphaned. Additionally, as part of the 1944 peace treaty with the Soviet Union, Finland was forced to cede 12% of its land, requiring the relocation of 450,000 Finnish citizens. A Soviet military base was established on a peninsula near Helsinki, and the Communist party was granted legal status."

In Finland with the exception of a brief period in 1926 when a minority government ruled, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was the leading party in 1936 and it entered a coalition government.

The 1921 Treaty with the British Empire was the greatest advance for Gaelic Ireland since the English triumphed over Irish and Spanish soldiers at the Battle of Kinsale, on the southern coast of Ireland, on 3 January 1602 (the Irish and Spanish were using Pope Gregory XIII's 1582 calendar). The English were using Julius Caesar's 45 BC calendar and their date was Christmas Eve (24 December) 1601.

In the autumn of 1921 when the British government decided to open peace talks with the Irish, Éamon de Valera who had been the leader of a putative Irish government in 1919 - 1922, refused to head the Irish delegation. He then rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty when the talks were concluded.

It would not be easy to shake off dependence on Britain; in 1925 Winston Churchill, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote off the national debt that was allocated from the British national debt to the Irish Free State in the 1921 Treaty. The Irish portion was about 80% of the then-Irish Gross National Product (GNP).

Most exports went to Great Britain and in the period 1926 - 1946 net emigration was 354,000, which was mainly to Britain.

One of the issues that were raised by opponents of the Treaty was that members of Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament) would have to swear an oath of allegiance to the British monarch. However, the oath of allegiance was to the Constitution of the Irish Free State while acknowledging that the monarch was the head of the British Commonwealth.

‘I do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established and that I will be faithful to H.M. King George V, his heirs and successors by law, in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.’

An Irish civil war lasted 11 months, from June 28, 1922 – May 24, 1923.

About 1,600 people died: the National Army lost less than 800; 428 insurgents including state executions; and 300 to 400 civilians died.

The shameful stain of an Irish Civil War 100 years ago

A general election was held in August 1923 and the Republicans (former insurgents) got 27% of the vote.

In 1932 with the western world in an economic depression, the former insurgents won the general election and there was a peaceful transfer of power.

When Ireland joined the European Economic Community in January 1973, along with the UK and Denmark to make nine member countries (founding members: West Germany; France; Italy; Netherlands; Belgium; Luxembourg) military juntas ruled Spain; Portugal and Greece while beyond the so-called Iron Curtain, the Soviet / Russia Empire was a vast prison that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn described in his 'The Gulag Archipelago.'

This was Karl Marx's mythical road to the workers' paradise.

Denmark was the wealthiest EEC member at $22,228 and Ireland was the poorest at $10,946 based on Maddison Project Database (MPD) 2020 at Real GDP per capita in 2011$.

Denmark at $22,228 per capita, was the second wealthiest country in Western Europe after Switzerland at $26,004.

Ireland was also the poorest country in Western Europe.

Original Six of the EEC: Germany ($19,074 per capita); France ($20,441); Italy ($16,950); Belgium ($19,399); Netherlands ($20,851); Luxembourg ($23,820 – part of the workforce live in other countries).

Finland was at $17,669

Ireland had a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 of $106,400. After adjustments for multinational distortions plus a rise of $48bn in the fantasy that Ireland exports Apple's iPhones to China, the number was $47,600 compared with Denmark's $64,900; Switzerland's $75,950 and the UK at $49,600.

King George III reigned for 60 years and was often afflicted with mental illness

Durable democracy does not develop in a short time

The long democratic process in Finland and Ireland began in the 19th century.

Nathan Glazer and Daniel P. Moynihan (later a US senator for New York) in their book, 'Beyond the Melting Pot, Second Edition: The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Irish of New York City' 1963, quoted from George W. Potter's 'To The Golden Door; The Story of The Irish In Ireland and America' 1960, that the Irish leader Daniel O'Connell led the creation of the Catholic Association in 1823 for the purpose of achieving Catholic Emancipation, was the "first fully-fledged democratic political party known to the world." Daniel O'Connell, Potter wrote, "was the first modern man to use the mass of a people as a democratic instrument for revolutionary changes by peaceful constitutional methods. He anticipated the coming into power of the people as the decisive political element in a modern democratic society."

In the 18th century the Penal Laws that were passed at Westminister, made Catholics in Britain and Ireland outcasts in their own countries. The Catholic Relief Act 1778 (also called the Papists Act 1778) did not grant freedom of worship, but it allowed Catholics to join the army and purchase land if they took an oath of allegiance to the Crown.

In June 1780 Lord George Gordon led a mob of about 40,00 to 50,000 people to petition Parliament to rescind the 1778 Act. The British Library says "the mob raged against the Catholics, attacking chapels, houses, public buildings, and even Catholic people in the streets. 12,000 troops were deployed to quell the uprising, and 700 people were killed." The disturbances that gripped London in June 1780 were the most tumultuous and destructive of the century.

The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791 brought some relaxation of measures in political, educational, and economic restrictions.

When the Protestant Parliament in Dublin was abolished in 1801 and a political union between Ireland and Great Britain was launched, King George III opposed Catholic Emancipation. The son, King George IV also opposed it.

When Daniel O'Connell won a byelection in Clare in Western Ireland in 1828 to the House of Commons, Catholic Emancipation was still a fractious issue for the ruling Tory Party.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and the victor at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was the British prime minister in 1828. He had apparently been born in Dublin in Mornington House, which is now part of the Merrion Hotel.

Sir Robert Peel was the Home Secretary and he had been chief secretary for Ireland (1812–18). He was called Orange Peel because of his resistance to emancipation.

The duke got Peel to introduce the Emancipation Bill of 1829 and he said he would resign if the king publicly opposed the bill. The act admitted Irish and English Catholics to Parliament and to all but a handful of public offices. With the Universities Tests Act of 1871, which opened the universities to Roman Catholics, Catholic Emancipation in the United Kingdom was virtually complete.

The next significant reforms from the Westminister Parliament were the Land Acts in Ireland, 1870–1909.

Ireland had a literacy rate of 88% in 1911 and in 1917 52% of the population of Finland could read and write while 43% could read.


Cosgrave wants to break up a "century-old golden circle" but this is a delusion. It's also nonsense and the language used is extreme.

There was never a century-long Golden Circle. In Iceland, it is a geographical feature and in Ireland, the term "Golden Circle" was used in 2008 by Anglo-Irish Bank for ten clients that were given loans of €451mn to boost the share price.

What Cosgrave can only achieve with his abuse and lies is further alienation among the people who think all politicians and many business people, are crooks.

In 2020 the Irish voting age population (registered and others entitled to vote but not registered) was 56.6% and in 2011 after the economic collapse, it was 64%.

The VAP (voting age population) in Sweden was 80% (2022); Denmark 76% (2022) and Finland 69% (2019).

Elites can be found in most countries and in the Soviet Union the 'Nomenklatura' were a select list or class of people from which appointees for top-level government positions were drawn. Today China uses this system.

The maestro, Karl Marx, relied on his colleague Friedrich Engels to keep the wolf from the door. Engels' father was a capitalist (a mill owner) and he provided the money. 

When Engels's Irish girlfriend died, he was pissed about Marx's lack of interest. Marx at the time was begging for more funds. 

Elite Quality Report 2021: Country Scores and Global Rankings

Cosgrave's history is a bit flaky "WT Cosgrave handed over the reins of this country a century ago to mostly colonial Irish scions and a couple of heinous murderers & torturers who’d followed his gruesome orders. Then DeV expanded the golden circle a little. Cronies were enthroned. Not much has changed since." (2020)

William T. Cosgarve was the leader of a fledging government amidst a civil war. Some of the insurgent leaders wanted a military dictatorship. There were casualties on both sides including hundreds of soldiers in the National Army.

The claim of "mostly colonial Irish scions" is bullshit: the first cabinet comprised local Catholics and Ernest Blythe who was a Protestant from Northern Ireland. The rest of them had Gaelic Irish names but Desmond FitzGerald's antecedents may have arrived in the Norman Invasion of 1169!

A few of the members had been to university just like James Joyce. I doubt if anyone had linked Joyce to colonial activity just because he always carried a British passport.

James Joyce on Irish diversity, migration and Europe

When Blythe was minister of finance he got ministers to pay for food that had been supplied to Government Buildings when they were under military guard during the civil war.  Blythe also became famous for cutting the old age pension (however in non-monetary terms there was no reduction!). 

Two years after the end of the civil war, the government approved a national electrification project. It was led by Siemens-Schuckert of Germany and the initial budget was £5,200,000, which was 20% of annual public funds. There was no evidence of corruption and the hydroelectric project on the Shannon River was opened in 1929.

As for de Valera, he was the one who set up a Delaware company and used funds that had been collected in the United States during the War of Independence (1919-1921), to give his family control of the Irish Press newspaper.

Last September Cosgrave called "the 1% Golden Circle" while the rest of the population is 99%.

For the adult population over 24, 1% is almost 35,000 people!!

Economists at Tasc and the Maynooth University tracked a network of 39 individuals, including Anglo-Irish Bank's Golden Circle "that held powerful positions in 33 of 40 top public organisations and private Irish businesses in three of the critical Celtic Tiger years (2005-2007), and held more than 93 directorships between them in these companies during this period; as well as an average of ten directorships each in other companies."

The main problem with Ireland is that there are so few indigenous companies that have an international footprint. Ireland exports about €6bn annually to the other 19 countries of the Eurozone. The total population of the Eurozone is 347mn.

By calling the Government of Ireland a "crime cartel" Cosgrave is also implicating civil servants (e.g. public procurement) together with individuals and business services that supply government departments.

The fact that he is able to promulgate his lies about the Government shows that he lives in a free country.

Cosgrave 2022: "At its core FFG (@FineGael + @fiannafailparty ) is a white collar crime cartel FFG operates, like the Italian mafia, a patronage system. And it has done so for a century. It’s time for change 🗳"

Cosgrave is suggesting that since the Irish State's birth in 1922, it has been operating like "a crime cartel," engaged in murder and massive looting of state funds.

This is the ranting of a person that hates his own country.

These allegations cannot be dismissed as pub stool boasting. He of course keeps his trap shut on significant corruption in Portugal.

In the four years before Cosgrave announced in 2015 that the Web Summit would be moving to Lisbon, the Irish Government had provided monetary support of €725,000 for the startup. In addition, the two public enterprise agencies, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, provided free services. According to the Irish Independent newspaper, the ingrate said "What we received over a four-year period, in my eyes, amounts to nothing more than hush money." In 2020 when the firm made a loss, Enterprise Ireland gave €531,794 support for "Industrial Research." Other firms also got secret handouts. It was stupid of the agency and the data were first published by the European Commission under state aid requirements (grants of public money should not be secret). In addition the Manders Terrace Ltd subsidiary, Web Summit Services Ltd, availed of the Irish Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme payments in 2020 and 2021. Michael O’Leary is the main architect of Ryanair, the biggest airline in Europe. Ryanair is the outstanding indigenous success since 1985. O’Leary in the early decades used humour to boost his airline's footprint across Europe. Paddy Cosgrave’s main badge of honour seems to be spite.

Where is Cosgrave's evidence that Irish government ministers have engaged in criminal activity comparable with drug cartels?

If you think you have evidence, have the cojones to test it in court?