Hello thanks so much for the invite to the page. I am living in the bog lands my whole life and these EU makey uppy laws are a crock. Thought you guys might like this event. Might be good time to get your messages seen on some placards. Its very frustrating how little people know about the bog. It could really help people realise what is happening.
Keep up the good work!
400 people marched on Sat 29th June through Dublin and decided to call a follow up protest at the Dail while it sits on Weds night at 6pm.
The Dail is open until 9pm on Weds.
So tell everyone to get to the protest this Weds!
we have 72 hours build up to this even if you are not free invite all your friends they might end up inviting someone who is free . its us or them what will you spend your time posting about ???
SUPPORT THE PROTEST COPY & PASTE THIS MESSAGE
This week has seen large numbers of people continually walking down to Shell’s tunneling compound, disrupting work and blocking Shell traffic, and many people from the camp have taken advantage of the sunny weather to spend the days helping locals with turf collecting- many hands make light work! Meanwhile the guards have spent their time patrolling around harassing people on the roads.
Cops blocking the gate to the camp
A Brief blow by blow
Thursday morning as a convoy passed the camp, 20 Gardaí tried to block the gate to the camp and threw people into ditches, pushing one person’s head into the water in the ditch and generally being a bit violent. Two people were arrested. One was let out with a caution and the other was held in custody, brought to court in Castlebar Friday morning and denied bail, so he is now in Castlerea Prison awaiting a court appearance 5th July.
Later on Thursday morning a small group went to Belmullet Garda station to collect their friends and one person was dragged outside the copshop, pushed to the ground and arrested for alleged criminal damage on Sunday 23rd June. He was held overnight and brought to court in Castlebar on Friday morning. He has been granted bail and released on the condition he not enter or interfere with Shell property or traffic, and signs on once a week at Belmullet Garda Station. He will be up in court on 10th July.
Thursday afternoon a large group of 30 or so people walked down to the Shell compound in Aughoose, stopping work inside the compound and stopping any Shell traffic from entering or exiting the compound for over 3 hours. Once again IRMS (Shell private security) was policing the public road, pushing people and holding people until the guards arrived. Two people were arrested on the road. One person was released and will appear in Belmullet Court on 10th July, the other was arrested for outstanding fines and brought to Mountjoy women’s prison in Dublin. She was held overnight and released Friday morning.
Thursday finished off at 6pm when the guards finally attempted to clear the road, everyone left and no one else was arrested. A long queue of 20 vehicles and lorries which had been stuck inside finally were able to leave the compound.
Friday 28th June at 7am one person climbed a tripod erected in the road between Bellanaboy refinery and the Aughoose tunneling compound, stopping all traffic going into the compound until 11.30am when the road was cleared and the person was arrested. That person is being charged with Sections 8 and 9 of the public order act and will be up in Belmullet court on 10th July.
Three people walking back to camp from the tripod on Friday were followed by guards, and an attempt was made to arrest one of them but they jumped into a field and got away. This isn’t the first time that people have been harassed on the roads this week by Gardaí. Tuesday night as people were walking back from the pub the guards were stopping people who were walking in twos or alone, asking for names addresses and even emails. One person refused to give his details, saying he hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary and was only walking home, and he was arrested and brought to Belmullet garda station. He was released in the early hours of the morning with no charges.
Other things that have happened this week: Windows of a Shell house were broken, graffiti appeared on the main gates of the tunneling compound, and a Shell truck ran into problems with spuds up the exhaust and someone doing in its tyres. Who knows what else the pixies have gotten up to….
This is the pipe being laid between the refinery and the tunneling compound
SENATOR DAVID NORRIS is undergoing medical treatment for a serious cancer, he revealed today.
The Dublin-based politician issued a statement in response to a number of media inquiries concerning his health and well-being.
He thanked the team of consultants at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital for the “superb treatment” he has received and confirmed that the illness appears to be related to an initial incidence of viral hepatitis contracted in eastern Europe in the mid-1990s.
The 68-year-old said he will return to work in the coming days.
The statement in full:
My office has been contacted in recent days by sections of the press making inquiries concerning my state of health and general medical condition. The following statement will I hope provide an adequate response.
I am currently undergoing medical management for a serious cancer condition. I am extremely grateful for the superb treatment I have received from the team of consultants at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital as well as the nursing and general hospital staff.
The cancer appears to be related to the initial incidence of viral hepatitis which I contracted from tainted drinking water while I was on unpaid Government business in Eastern Europe in 1994.
I have no difficulty in making this information public in response to press queries because I believe that there should be no stigma attaching to cancer as a disease. I continue to enjoy life and am looking forward to returning to my duties in Seanad Eireann over the next few days.
Senator David Norris.
The Man who nearly became Ireland’s first Gay President
The move to make homosexual acts no longer illegal followed a 16-year-old legal battle which began in 1977, when Senator David Norris began a case against Ireland’s draconian laws. Norris’s case came before the High Court in 1980, where it was rejected, and before the Supreme Court in 1983, where it was also rejected by five judges who found that the laws which made homosexual acts a crime did not contravene the Constitution.
Norris then took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, with the help of Mary Robinson, where judges finally ruled that Irish laws contravened the Convention on Human Rights. Five years later, the laws were changed.
“The passage of the Bill was one of the most important steps in the liberation of gay people in Ireland,” said Rose. “It led to new generations of lesbian and gay people able to live their lives more openly.”
Irish public to vote on same sex marriage in 2014
The Daily Shift
The topic of gay marriage has become increasingly prevalent worldwide, and with several US states and the UK having passed laws to allow gay marriage, the Irish public will now have a chance to vote on the subject. The Constitutional Convention – a …
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Leaflets assert that lives of both mother and unborn baby are sacred read full article
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Did you hear the one about the pimp, the prostitute and the war criminal? It’s a national joke, according to left-wing TD Clare Daly.
Unlike the US in Guantanamo Bay, Ms Daly took no prisoners as she declared war on the G8 “fawn-fest” and everyone involved.
Fresh from being branded a “urinating clown” relieving himself on the Seanad by an irate Fianna Fáiler, Enda Kenny was down-graded to brothel-keeper-in-chief by Ms Daly as she laid into the “slobbering” over Michelle Obama and her husband — aka Mr “War Criminal”.
“It is difficult to decide which is worse, the outpourings of President Obama and his wife or the sycophantic fawning over them by the political establishment and sections of the media,” the United Left Alliance TD lamented.
In a lengthy leader’s questions broadside which the pimp — sorry, Taoiseach — branded a “rant”, Ms Daly let rip. Not even self-styled national saint Bono escaped her wrath.
Getting slightly confused about whether Enda was actually pimp or prostitute, Ms Daly declared: “Is it not the case that he has showcased us a nation of pimps prostituting ourselves in return for a pat on the head?
“We were speculating this morning about whether the Taoiseach would deck out the Cabinet in leprechaun hats decorated with stars and stripes to mark our abject humiliation.”
Though she didn’t mentioned the U2 star by name, he was clearly in her sights: “While we had separate and special news bulletins by the state broadcaster to tell us what Michelle Obama and her daughters had for lunch in Dublin, there was very little questioning of the fact that they were having lunch with Mr Tax Exile himself.”
A strange statement from someone who stood solidly by the Dáil’s very own tax cheat, Mick Wallace, to such an extent they could have their own mangled moniker — Click (Clare and Mick) — but Ms Daly was on a roll by this stage.
Turning céad mile fáilte into a hundred thousand digs, the Dublin TD, who describes herself as an internationalist, sounded oddly nationalistic as she took umbridge at Michelle daring to feel Irish: “The statement that Mrs Obama was glad to be home was barely challenged even though ‘home’ is a country she has been in for less than one week and to which her husband has only tenuous links.”
Go home Michelle, Clare does not want you or your husband here.
“Is the US president seeking the hypocrite of the century award?” Ms Daly asked in a question we suspect was rhetorical.
“The reality is that, by any serious examination, this man is a war criminal. This is the man who facilitated a 200% increase in the use of drones which have killed thousands, including hundreds of children,” the TD added in reference to Barack Obama’s call on youngsters in the North to seize the prize of peace.
Buried underneath all the name-calling, Ms Daly was actually trying to make a serious point about the use of Shannon by the US to arm Syrian rebels.
“The Taoiseach said no arms ever came through Shannon Airport. In 2012, some 548 US planes landed in Shannon Airport. How does he know what was on them if they were never examined?” she asked.
Mr Kenny branded the remarks “disgraceful”, but the image lingered of Enda slumped in a seedy Oirish doorway touting for trade with his little leprechaun hat on.
IMF: Over 25pc of Irish bank loans bad, modest economic growth
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Irish Independent These days, girls outperform boys in state and university exams and professional entry competitions. Women compete energetically with men in the modern Irish workforce. Equality legislation helps protect women from gender discrimination. In theory … See all stories on this topic »
Irish Independent Search Go. Independent.ie› Irish News›. Two US presidents on Irish soil at the same time. Comments. Email; Print; Font Size. 18 June 2013. For probably the first time in history, there were two US presidents on Irish soil at the same time on the same day. See all stories on this topic »
Wind farm proposed for Irish Sea will be visible from Rush to Wicklow Town
Wind farm proposed for Irish Sea will be visible from Rush to Wicklow Town. 145 wind turbines are included in the plan. A wind farm on the Arklow Bank in the Irish Sea. The latest €2 billion wind farm project would create 600 jobs at construction phase …
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The sixth biannual EuroNanoForum – which takes place in Dublin this week – is set to “showcase Ireland as a hotbed of nanotechnology research, innovation and investment”, according to Enterprise Ireland’s Dr Liam Brown.
The largest event of the Irish EU presidency, Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, executive director of Ireland’s leading nano-science institute Crann, says the event will be a “major chance for Irish researchers”.
They will seek to attract investment through the European Commission-backed €70 billion Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework which is being launched in January.
“It’s an opportunity for Irish industry and academia to put themselves in the shop window,” adds O’Brien, who notes that over the past decade, the global market for nano-enabled materials has grown from “from $420 million to almost $300 billion”.
Dr Brown is national delegate for the commission-sponsored Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies programme.
He says the EuroNanoForum 2013 – which begins tomorrow and sees more than 1,400 delegates from across the continent gathering at the Convention Centre for three days of seminars and talks – is important to attract further attention to the opportunities nano-science presents in terms of “computing, health, energy, the environment and many other areas”.
“A lot of that work in those areas is done here. In Ireland we’re ranked sixth in the world per capita in terms of performance in nanotechnology,” Dr Brown tells The Irish Times.
Among the highlights of the event will be a speech from Tapani Ryhänen, who is head of Nokia’s sensor and material technologies laboratory.
He is set to talk about how graphene – a substance which is said to be harder than a diamond yet also incredibly flexible – can help revolutionise the design of mobile communications.
The event coincides with national Nanoweek, which runs until June 21st, celebrating the contribution of nano-science to the economy.
As part of the event, a gala dinner on Wednesday will feature two Irish-based projects vying for the EuroNanoForum Best Project Award.
Dr Syed A M Tofail, from the Materials and Surface Science Institute in the University of Limerick is being recognised for his BioElectricSurface project.
The NanoInteract project from UCD’s Kenneth Dawson and Iseult Lynch is also among the 11 nominations in total which were gathered from dozens of entries throughout Europe.
The BioElectricSurface project successfully demonstrated how “nanotechnology could enable new knowledge critically needed for breakthrough medical device technology”, with Dr Syed already developing durable, washable, photosterilisable MRSA resistant textiles which are currently being licensed.
Meanwhile, the aim of Dawson and Lynch’s NanoInteract research is to ensure that nanotechnologies do not cause inadvertent harm to human or environmental health at any stage of their lifecycle.
On Thursday, the Convention Centre will open its doors to the public for the Nanotech Europe 2013 Magical Materials exhibition, from 9am to 2.30pm.
On Saturday 11th May, Labour Intercultural held an event on the Impact of Ethnic Minorities in Irish politics. This event came about when Remba Osengo, a member of the Labour Party in DunLaoghaire approached the group to organise a conference where ethnic minority community leaders could engage with the party and it’s public representatives.
Speaking at the event Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton noted the changes in her own constituency, Dublin West, over the past twenty years. She emphasised how Ireland has only a small fraction of time to adapt to a multi-ethnic population compared to countries such as Britain giving the examples of the UK and Germany where the process happened ‘over a 50-60 year period’.
The minister said there was room for improvement, but Ireland had done relatively well in absorbing the many new arrivals from different countries since the Celtic Tiger period. â€œTwenty years ago Ireland was very homogeneous,â€ she told the audience largely composed of ethnic community representatives.
Professor Bryan Fanning from UCD addressing the event said that members of ethnic minorities who wanted to stand for public office should root themselves in their local community. He added that people did not have to be full citizens to stand in local elections, and there have been some successes in that arena, such as Nigerian-born Rotimi Adebari, who became mayor of Portlaoise in 2007.
“Maybe they [members of minorities] need to be more vociferous in what they are asking for,â€ Professor Fanning said. He said Ireland was an interesting contrast in that it had â€œa society that is very diverse, and polity that is very monocultural.”
Dublin MEP Emer Costello, noted the number of new citizens since the the government had come into office and encouraged them to register to vote and to use their vote in referendums and elections. She said that
Dr Jaroslaw Plachecki, lecturer in social sciences at Dublin City University and editor of the Irish Polish Society Review, told the gathering that his experience of young Polish people in Ireland was that they knew practically nothing about the political process.
Also Speaking at the event was Solicitor Michelle Lee, who informed the audience of the employment law situation for immigrants.
Labour Intercultural will be holding similar events in the future and working with the elected representatives in the Labour Party to ensure that the issues of ethnic minorities are highlighted.
By Karen McCormack (Co-Chair 087 293 2828)
Think you know your Irish history and geography? Think again! here are some fascinating facts and figures.
1. Irish patriot Michael Collins’ father was 74 when his son was born. Michael Collins senior married a woman 37 years younger than him.
2. The Shannon is the longest river in both Britain or Ireland.
3. Ireland’s longest serving leader Eamon De Valera was born out of wedlock in New York to a Cuban immigrant and an Irish woman, Kate Coll. On De Valera’s original birth certificate, his name is given as George De Valero.
4. The entire size of Ireland would fit neatly into Indiana. Both populations are similar at 6 million.
5. There was a pogrom against Jews in 1904 in Limerick. It was instigated by a Redemptorist priest, Father John Creagh. Eighty Jews were driven from their homes. Later, Dublin elected one of Europe’s first Jewish Lord Mayors.
6. Ireland’s first president Douglas Hyde was a Protestant, as was President Erskine Childers.
7. Edward Carson, who did more to keep Northern Ireland separate from the Republic than anyone, he was born in Dublin.
8. Ireland once had Europe’s biggest brothel. It was called Monto located in north inner city Dublin and 1,600 hookers plied their trade there in the first part of the century. British troops were a large part of the clientele.
9. Phoenix Park is one of the biggest urban parks in Europe.
10. The Duke of Wellington, Napoleons conqueror at Waterloo, was born in Ireland at the site of the current Merrion Hotel. He is the only Irish-born Prime Minister of Britain.
We have learned in recent years what was not known before, the systematic abuses of tens of thousands of children, mainly poor children, in the religious institutions of Ireland. However, through our independent media we learn that this is not true, as the headline in the Workers Voice (1935) illustrates, abuse was known, was ignored and was wiped from accepted history. Independent media gives a voice to the voiceless.
The following are some short excerpts from the Child Abuse Commission report on Artane. All these events and reports happened subsequent to the headline above (in which a young boy had been kicked to death in Artane boys’ school and the murder covered up). If Ireland had listened to independent media these children would have been saved:
Brother Cyrano – a broken arm
In the mid-1950s, the mother of a boy in Artane wrote to the Department of Education to ask if she could be allowed to see her son, who had sustained a broken arm and head injuries during the previous week. She also asked if the incident could be investigated. She wrote:
I heard during the week that my boy Thomas Artane School had an arm broken as a result of a blow with a brush by one of the brothers I call to the school yesterday and the superior admitted that one of the brothers had given him a blow and that his arm was broken I did not see the boy but I believe he was attending another hospital for treatment the superior said he had it xrayed and seen the result the arm is in Plaster of Paris I also heard that his head was bandaged during the week Im very worried over it and I called on Sunday to see him and was not allowed If it could be arranged for me to see him to ease my mind. In any case please have the matter investigated and let me no the result.
A former resident explained:
Another Brother, if you are talking or doing other things in the dormitory that you weren’t supposed to be doing, he would make you go in to the washroom and put your hand into very cold water, because there was no hot water in Artane, and he would make you put your hand in the cold water for about ten [minutes] to quarter of an hour. Then he would call you out and while your hands were still wet, he used to make you put your hand, palm upwards, on the iron bedstead and he had a foot ruler and he used to slice the top of your fingers. It was only afterwards when the blood returned to your hand that you actually got the pain that was involved. Speaking here, it doesn’t seem to imply that being hit at the top of your fingers was a great punishment but it certainly was. The pain afterwards was more than the actual striking of the fingers.
There was no hot water in Artane, nor plumbed toilets
We had only buckets behind the handball alley … I would say there was about 20 to 30 buckets … it was newspaper we used instead of toilet rolls, there was no such thing … They had to be emptied … There was two men, [he thought they were siblings], … at the time it was a horse and cart … They were lay men … I was one of the ones that had to help on that occasion because I was a hefty lump of a lad … You had to put a bit of paper, them buckets could be over full … You have a dirty job there … we were just emptying the buckets … into this barrel. We called it a barrel. It was a horse and cart … it had to be done every day. Imagine there is 800 people were going through toilets … the handball alley was your wee wee, the back of the handball alley. You put them back. They were lovely looking going back … They went back with a kind of coat on them.
A decent man in every other way:
He used have his cloth over him and he kind of took my hand and placed it on top with the cloth covering it in case anybody came in. I touched him like that … He carried on … and then sent me back to my place. That’s all [he] ever done, he was a fondler more than anything. He didn’t ask you to undress or anything like that. He confirmed the statement that he had made to the Commission: All boys liked [him] because he was a gentle kind of man. He said that the teacher looked after the boys and that they put up with him for that reason. He said: We weren’t idiots. Boys at that age were aware, I was anyway, that some of the teachers and some people were like that. He continued: he was good to us … He wasn’t cruel like some of the Brothers. I personally found him very nice and also he always brought a newspaper in every morning. When he was finished the lads would get it. Some of us were avid readers. In that way he was a man’s man, if you like. I know he was a groper but he was a decent man in every other way
Br Ricard, who taught in Artane in the mid-1950s, sexually abused boys in a Christian Brothers’
school in Waterford in the late 1950s.:
A letter sent the following day to the Brother Procurator General, regarding the dispensation from perpetual vows of Br Ricard, reveals the anxiety felt by the Brothers about this case:
This is one of the worst cases we have had in my experience. It is so bad that we have voted unanimously in both Provincial and General Councils that he be granted a dispensation …
The letter discloses how the abuse was detected:
For a whole year he had been “interfering” in a homosexual way with two or three very respectable pupils at [a private secondary college]. One of these came to [a college run by another Order] last August and it was through a letter censored by the [Superiors at that college] that the whole matter came to light. The Brother admitted everything the boy … had stated.
The letter goes on to say:
We fear that the evil ways into which he had fallen may be of some years duration. He leaves immediately for England (on leave of absence). Were he to remain in Ireland and were the parents of the boys to get to know of his behaviour at [the Christian Brothers College] there would be a great danger of a public prosecution. The case is, as I have stated, one of the worst we have had. Do everything you can to secure an immediate Dispensation and forward same as expeditiously as you can.
Br Ricard sought a reference, but was not provided with one as it was felt that ‘there is no knowing what use he might make of it’. According to a letter written by the Provincial Assistant to the Superior General, he was informed that he could not continue teaching and would not be given a reference. However, it appears from records furnished by the Department of Education and Science that the ex-Brother came back to Ireland less than a year later and took up a senior position in a school in Co Kildare and remained there for some years. He was then appointed an assistant teacher at a school in Dublin where he worked for a few years, before moving to a Dublin secondary school where he worked until the late 1980s.
Before I get stuck in, I want to make it clear. it is not my intent to paint Depfa as angels and HRE as devils. Depfa did stupid things. Their funding problems were not so dissimilar to Northern Rock’s. But Depfa had far better assets. And therein is part of the story.
So what went wrong? And why did HRE buy Depfa when it was already going wrong?
The fact is HRE bought Depfa and did so after the debt wave had already curled and started to break. But then again why shouldn’t the Germans be as thick as the Brits at RBS who at almost the same time bought ABN Ambro?
The question that always circles however, is did Depfa knowingly lie to HRE about their problems? Did they somehow withhold ugly problems? Well according to one of the very senior bankers, who was there and had full and complete access to the deal, and who agreed to talk to me on condition of anonymity, it would have been very hard for Depfa to hide anything. Inside the bank there was a secure room where ALL the bank’s data, all its books and accounts were available to the two boards of Directors during the months the deal was being negotiated. This room was run and controlled by a senior German employee. According to my source the HRE people looked VERY carefully at EVERYTHING.
This still leaves the possibility that there was a board within the board at Depfa and this inner circle was somehow concealing things even from the rest of the bank and board. The stuff of conspiracy stories which I am not much given to. Could there have been a board within the board? I have evidence there was; first hand testimony from someone who was there.
Interestingly this person does not believe the purpose of an inner group was to hoodwink HRE. If anything it was to keep some of Depfa’s own board slightly out of the loop.
All in all it does not seem as if Depfa lied to HRE or concealed any hidden debts. So if HRE didn’t buy Depfa because they were sold a pup, why did they? And particularly why did they pay 2 billion over its book value!
Depfa’s collapse was due to being unable to find funding. In other words the same idiocy as killed Northern Rock. But it’s the differences from Northern Rock that are important. Let’s look at the time line. Northern Rock collapsed in September of 2007. It did so because it could not get the short term funding it relied upon to keep its loans rolling over. The wholesale funding market locked it out. Why? Because the lenders in the market, other banks, were worried that Northern Rock’s assets were so dodgy that their ability to repay became highly doubtful.
Note that at the time the HRE/Depfa deal was being signed Depfa was NOT locked out of the markets; it was a whole year later that Depfa found itself unable to get funding. This document by the huge law firm Herbert Smith (see p. 8), written just after the bail out in 08, makes it clear Depfa was having problems. They had about 35 billion euros of debt that needed funding in the markets and those markets were seizing up. Both Depfa and HRE knew about this funding need before the merger. But crucially Depfa was NOT locked out. It did not collapse in 2007 but was a going concern for another year. Why was that? What made them different from Norther Rock and others who did collapse in 2007?
The reason is simple, its funding worries were off-set by the fact that Depfa had some of the best, most solid gold assets of any bank. As noted in part one as many as 80% of their assets were rated higher than the bank itself or the banks lending to it. THAT is why HRE were so interested in Depfa and were even willing to buy it for 2 billion over book value.
HRE knew exactly how Depfa funded itself. There is NO WAY those details could have been hidden. We know that both banks were aware of funding problems. Let’s just note in passing that advising Depfa on the merger/sale was Goldman Sachs. So Goldman too would have known all there was to know about Depfa’s funding problems. Hang on to this.
It is worth pausing for a moment to understand how Depfa funded itself. It becomes important later. Depfa’s business was making large loans to cities and states for public works. 100% pure gold assets. Government backed all the way. It funded them by selling Pfandbrief and later ACS (the Irish version of the Pfandbrief called an Asset Covered Security) which the Landesbanks and others bit their hand off to get hold of. The Pfandbrief typically is a bond for 5-7 years. But Depfa, like Northern Rock and ALL the big banks, swapped this long dated debt funding for shorter debt/funding. The idea seems foolish now, and I think it is foolish, but the risk managers I have spoken to still adhere to the holy writ of relying on short term market funding. I’ll explore this piece of banking some other time. But what is important is that Depfa’s reliance on short term wholesale funding was nothing unusual. It was the norm rather than the exception.
Back to the story.
Unlike Depfa, HRE had a legacy of poor quality assets, which I wrote about in Dominoes falling from the East. HRE had also been aggressively expanding its business in Real Estate and we know from the subsequent bails of HRE’s own collapsed debts that, as this article written in 2009 makes clear,
In reality, HRE was a ticking time bomb and this is the reason it had run into liquidity problems (By the way, this is much the way I see Northern Rock – which was also nationalized by the UK government). The company has massive commercial property (CRE) exposure and the CRE market is imploding in financial centers like Frankfurt, London and Dublin and elsewhere. HRE is highly leveraged to these places.
So it’s not just me who is saying that Depfa may have triggered events but the main blast was from within HRE. HRE was a ticking bomb and HRE’s board thought buying Depfa was the way to diffuse it. HRE also relied on wholesale funding, but unlike Depfa, didn’t have great assets. It was therefore more like Northern Rock than Depfa. HRE’s poor assets would have also, and this is my speculation, have meant HRE would have started to have problems on the Repo market. Remember repo is the oxygen of overnight funding. It is also what destroyed Lehmans. Lehman’s assets became distrusted and eventually other banks would not accept them as collateral for repo funding.
I think this is what HRE were worried about and why they were so desperate to buy Depfa. Depfa had what HRE didn’t – assets for the all important repo market. That is what they were trying to buy. Remember, funding problems are a threat to survival like starvation. But being unable to repo is not being able to get just one more breath.
My source tells me that HRE thought that by buying Depfa’s absolutely top quality assets, HRE would be upgraded by the ratings agencies and be able to breath again on the repo market. But instead, as my source said, “The minute HRE bought Depfa, the rating agencies downgraded Depfa.”
The merger ended with the worst of both worlds. Where each bank had exposure to one kind of risk HRE to credit risk, Depfa to funding (though I think HRE actually had both) by coming together they united the nitro with the glycerin. Sheer banking genius. Depfa brought funding worries to the marriage, HRE brought credit rating downgrades. I love you too darling.
So why did the whole thing wait a year until Oct ’08 to collapse? And what finally brought it all down?
So now we come to the nub of it. We have created the bomb with equal parts funding crisis and credit risk but even so nothing exploded for a year. During that year other banks went down. So what was it that jolted the container and set it off?
Well we know that Depfa’s funding was the trigger. So what happened to it? Turns out, while other banks like Northern Rock collapsed Depfa didn’t, because it had a sugar daddy funder. A big funder who was always happy to take Depfa’s Pfandbrief long term debt and fund it with shorter term money. Depfa’s sugar daddy was AIG’s Paris subsidiary, Banque AIG.
That should give you a bad feeling. AIG’s problems started as far back as ’06. Certainly by the 1st quarter of ’07 AIG had had to write down a 20 billion dollar loss. But the Dow was still going up. So there was still plenty of money around. By the time HRE and Depfa had kissed and exchanged vows, AIG had been downgraded and faced the first of what would turn out to be many Collateral calls. This first one was for $14 billion. Oops.
It was at this point that Northern Rock found there was no more funding. But HRE/Depfa survived.
Banque AIG in Paris was still in business, still funding Depfa’s needs. Banque AIG was not a small affair. It was systemically important for many banking clients in Europe for swapping one short of funding for another, for hedging and for derivatives. But it was also getting itself into a bit of a funding pickle. In part this was just its share of the over all implosion AIG was undergoing world wide. In part, I think, it was Paris’s own problem.
Banque AIG in Paris was an essential part of AIG’s funding mechanism. It was part of what was called AIG Financial Products (AIG-FP) whose notorious central office was AIG in London. This is where all the ‘losses were made’ and where the obligatory ‘rogue’ trader-type villain, Mr Joseph “Iron Hand” Cassano was in charge. What is a little less well known is that most of, if not all of London’s deals were routed through Banque AIG in Paris, where the deals were all supposed to be ‘reviewed’. And we know that as far as Depfa was concerned their funding was from Banque AIG.
So why tell you this? Well, on 31st of August 2007 a new branch of AIG-FP was set up in Ireland, AIG-FP Matched Funding (Ireland) Plc. Why? And why then and not before? I can’t know of course. But this is how it smells to me.
Why did any of the banks in our story end up going to Ireland? For access to money that liked the lax and laid back, ‘we have neither teeth nor balls’ regulatory atmosphere. AIG had been getting funds just fine for years. Suddenly, when AIG is in all sorts of trouble and its own funding is starting to get dicey it suddenly opens a brand new branch – in Ireland.
In under a month, on 25th September 2007 to be precise, AIG-FP Ireland issued a funding prospectus for $20 billion. AIG was already beginning to feel the heat by now and wholesale funding had already locked out Northern Rock precipitating a bank run 11 days earlier.
To me, the fact that AIG-FP opened a branch in Ireland is a hint that its normal funding was, at the very least, in need of reinforcing, if not replacing with ‘other’ sources which could be best found in Dublin. So now Depfa’s sugar daddy funder was alongside it in Ireland looking for the SAME money as everyone else, such as HRE, for example. This situation does not fill me with confidence.
But would Depfa or HRE have known of this development at the time it was doing the deal with HRE? I doubt it. AIG would not share any plans with customers. Even ones to whom it was a sugar daddy. So did anyone know? Well it’s just a little footnote but it turns out that none other than Goldman Sachs was arranging and advising AIG-FP Ireland on its funding adventure.
No way would Goldman have told one client (Depfa) what another (AIG) was doing. So Depfa did not know from Goldman about any troubles at Banque AIG. But Goldman knew. Goldman was advising Depfa on merging/selling itself to HRE for 2 billion over its book value while it also knew that Depfa’s main funder was probably in more trouble than the rest of the market suspected.
I would love to know, but never will, if Goldman had any short position on the new HRE/Depfa bank it had helped broker?
In short what I hope to have shown is that Depfa did not ‘bring down’ HRE. HRE was going to collapse anyway. And buying Depfa was an ruinously ill-thought out attempt to solve HRE’s credit crisis. The plan back-fired and made every one’s position worse than it had been.
The entity which actually brought down HRE was AIG. It was their implosion along with the general shock of Lehmans which cut off Depfa from funding which had kept it alive for a year after other banks collapsed. So it was the Americans who brought down HRE not the Irish if you really want a scape goat.
And the only people who perhaps knew the whole HRE/Depfa deal was destined to end in disaster and bankruptcy, were Goldman. Goldman knew both how Depfa was funded an WHO was their lynch pin funder, while also knowing the true state of that funder (AIG-FP).
SO to circle back to where I started. It is NOT as simple case of a dodgy Irish bank bringing down a solid German one. If anything the opposite is just as true. And therefore it is NOT the case that Ireland has some moral debt it owes to ANYONE to bail them out.
The threats are already coming thick and fast. The Irish people MUST defend themselves, their children and their country. Their leaders haven’t and won’t.
This morning in the High Court in Dublin, after Miriam Freeman had spoken for 4 days on her motion against Bank of Scotland (Ireland), she has finally been vindicated in her long running case. She has been ably supported by two of the founder members of DDI Ben Gilroy and John Squires, and by Awaken Longford and others (unnamed) who have all collaborated with the Freeman family to defeat all motions of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) in case of P FREEMAN & ANOR V BANK OF SCOTLAND (IRELAND) LTD & ORS.
Ben and John have been helping fight this case in their role with People For Economic Justice since it started 2 years ago, and in Court 16 this morning Mr Justice Gilligan dismissed the motions put by Bank of Scotland, and finally sent the case forward for full trial on the issue of securitisation. The team has been seeking a full trial without success for some time and have been stymied by counter motions by Bank of Scotland. So critical is this case that the Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Scotland had been required to fly from Scotland to be present in Court.
Now for the first time in Ireland the issue of securitisation of mortgages is going to be heard in court. The ramifications of this will affect almost every mortgage in the state, as the vast majority of mortgages have been combined into financial instruments and sold off as securities to other investors. It was this kind of securitisation that inflated the banking system to a state of bankruptcy and caused the financial bubble that sees us now forced into living under austerity.
In a separate case this week another motion supported by People for Economic Justice against an Irish based bank resulted in the bank settling out of court for a seven figure sum. For legal reasons because of the settlement the case cannot be quoted.
Ben spoke after the case saying that he hoped that those detractors who have been spreading misinformation about how he, and other lay litigants who take on the banks, operate in court, either in the media, printed press and in cyberspace, will be honourable and correct the imbalance they have caused to so many people.
There is now around 12 weeks for full discovery and responses before the case moves on and it may affect any current repossession cases. What we must look at now is what will be the financial fallout. We know the banks are bankrupt and we know the finance ministers have legalised bail-ins, we also know the heads of Ireland’s banks have just met at the Central Bank, a bank who’s legal position was described in court today as a grey area. So now is a time that people must be aware and wary of what the government’s next move may be to protect their system