Courts and Sentencing in Ireland

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Yesterday was the legal triangle after 21 years at the court of Judge Martin Nolan. Standing before him was the man that many said years ago would be the next Fine Gael Taoiseach; he was the Bruton’s golden boy of the nineties but then greed and dark clouds came raining down. Now, yesterday in the court the Jury found Deputy Michael Lowry, of Holy Cross, Tipperary guilty on two counts of tax evasion. When you read the actual script do not be fooled, this was no mistake, this was contrived, calculated and planned and Lowry was fined £25,000 and walked out of the court. I wish him well but I would think another family were watching this case very closely – the Begley family, also known as the Garlic case. It was the same Judge Nolan who presided over this case. Mr Begley did not block the case for 21 years; he did not go to the High Court and try every loop hole in the law book to obstruct natural due process. Like Lowry he had no previous convictions and as Judge Nolan described Lowry, as a man of honour, and a man who put his hand into his own pocket and paid Revenue some years ago £1.2 million, Nolan went on to say how gracious he was and it would be inappropriate for me and society to give him a custodial sentence.

Mr Begley was an honourable man too; he employed 142 people; he had an arrangement with Revenue and was paying them back, just like the Indian doctor last week, who was sent to prison also, but Judge Nolan showed no mercy, he gave Mr Begley 6 years in prison; it shocked the entire country including Alan Shatter and to this day it is still talked about in pubs the length and breadth of this country. Yes, many years ago I wrote on the topic Selective Justice and i don’t see any changes since then in our courts. The pattern of sentencing at the moment is not just worrying it is to put it mildly alarming. If you come from the inner city of Dublin, parts of Galway, Limerick, Cork and your address is a major factor for any youngster in relation to getting a custodial sentence or a suspended one. Now people today may want me to give you some back up on this and I will. Let’s not forget young Murphy who was punched to the ground and kicked to death outside Annabel’s nightclub, Burlington hotel, Dublin 4, some years ago. The families including Fr Troy and other eminent barristers circled the wagons and those 4 thugs got sentences ranging from 6 months to 6 years. This is what young Murphy’s life is worth and I am sure his family feel the pain to this day. We had the murder of the young Nolan boy from Santry, out celebrating his leaving cert some years ago, he got lost, walked down Waterloo Road, Dublin 4, a minor row broke out and a knife was produced by a 16 year old local youth and the Nolan boy lay dead. I think the sentence was 8 years; he is out of prison now. Yes, Selective Justice, rings bells. If you have the right address and Daddy with the right contacts, it is amazing how the court system will work in your favour. I could go on all day with other examples but I am sure there is room for thought on the above mentioned.

Before I conclude this morning, I want to make a comment about the new incoming Garda Commissioner, Mr Drew Harris, and I want to wish him well when he takes up his new post in September. Let’s have a look at his career so far:- He joined the RUC in 1983; the days during the Conflict. Of course some will say “RUC by day, UVF/UDA by night”. The Finucane family still await Justice and an unreserved apology for the murder of Pat Finucane, in his own home. As I speak this case is in the Supreme Court in the UK today. Let us not forget there were murders against innocent protestant people also. The father of Mr Harris was blown up by the IRA and his mother wounded, over 30 years ago so some will say he is bringing some heavy baggage across the border with him but I say it will be interesting how he fits into his new role and to see how he cleans up the corruption and bullying in our police force here. Harris gave evidence concerning M15 connections at the Smithwick tribunal. Harris is going to have enemies without an Garda Siochana because they will feel he is an outsider so time will tell and as Ray Burke once said, seven days is a long time in politics. Ironically, Burke was the first ever Minister for Justice to climb into a prison van in handcuffs so 7 days is a long time in politics.

In the last 3 years we have seen two Garda Commissioners resign and Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice and the secretary of the Department of Justice so nobody would envy the task that lies ahead for Drew Harris and I hope Sinn Fein wish him well in his new role and Mary-Lou McDonald invites him for dinner in the Dail. This could be a great beginning for Transparency and a new dawn for Irish policing.



  1. After Michael Lowry left the courts of criminal justice two days ago, he repeated with a big grin on his face, the words that Judge Martin Nolan said “I am an Honourable man with integrity and I have shown this by abiding by the laws of Ireland”. Let us all sit back and digest this for a moment. Lowry was found Guilty on two counts of Revenue tax evasion and this is a conviction. Now, why would a Judge of the circuit court literally congratulate Michael Lowry for his misdeeds and for blocking a trial for 21 years. Lowry has finally been convicted but there seems to be a massive relief within the Fine Gael party and some backbenchers who have spoken to me privately have stated the Ministers within the party are planning to have Lowry come back in when the time is right. Again, in Ireland I have to ask the question is Corruption Legal?

    Now people have short memories because we are having more parades now to highlight Pink, Leo, Gay, Straight, Trans etc. We all love a good day out but this Government has lost its motivation and leadership. We have crisis after crisis and yet the FG party literally believe they are walking on water. Back to the courts, yesterday in the Dail, smoke salmon socialist Ruth Karen Carpenter said the Lowry case was an example of two Laws in Ireland, one for the rich and one for the rest. Yet, the left in my opinion, have lost their motivation also and are jumping on the wagon of all the pink and the parades and this suits the main parties perfectly. Back to Judge Nolan and the circuit court: some of his sentences in the last number of years, and I am not the only one to write on this, have been nothing short of Bizarre. 5 months ago a grandmother who worked hard all her life was given a 10 month sentence by Nolan. Her crime = well let me outline this for you. She worked as a cleaner part-time for years in Our Lady’s Hospital for sick children. She went in to the Department of Social and Protection. Now please note the last word Protection. She was given wrong advice by a public servant and then she was investigated internally for not disclosing to her employers she was on the Invalidity pension. It only amounted to a few thousand euros but standing before Judge Martin Nolan, in tears, was this woman with her family and her grandchildren, pleading for mercy and yet the former motor bike Garda now Judge Nolan stated it was a well planned and orchestrated fraud against the State and I have no choice but to give you a custodial sentence. I am surprised Carpenter didn’t bring this up on behalf of the poor in the Dail yesterday.

    Also in the last two years, 15 men were convicted for downloading child pornography; some images, according to Judge Nolan were unfit to be shown in the court. The images include sexual abuse of babies, a shocking travesty. Yet, all of these convicted men received Suspended Sentences from the same Judge. I ask the Irish people today to make up their own minds on this.

    Today I will conclude on Deputy Lowry, the former golden boy of Fine Gael in the 1990’s, a man who made others super rich and let us not forget now his failed plan of the super casino for Tipperary.

    Here is an example of the story from another media outlet last year.

    Jan 7th 2017, 8:15 AM 34,374 Views 31 Comments Share24 Tweet Email
    Image: wuestenigel

    OVER THE LAST fortnight, Fora has been taking a look at some of the more notable big-ticket projects that were floated in the run up to the Celtic Tiger and in the aftermath of its demise.

    In the most recent article, we took a look at a proposed €175 million ‘Chinatown’ trading hub in Athlone.

    Today we’re looking at a slightly less outlandish, but still out-there, proposal – to build a Las Vegas-style ‘super casino’ on the outskirts of Tipperary.

    What is it?

    Businessman Richard Quirke, one of the country’s richest men, took a shine to Two-Mile Borris, a small town in Tipperary near his native Thurles.

    Quirke, well-known for his ownership of Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium in Dublin, was looking to develop a ‘super-casino’ near the town.

    The original plans were nothing if not ambitious. They included provisions for (deep breath now), all-weather racecourse and greyhound tracks, an equestrian centre, a full-size replica of the White House, a casino, a 500-bedroom hotel and a golf course on an 800-acre development.

    That’s not to mention a car park with almost 6,000 spaces and a landing pad for helicopters, with a couple of bars, restaurants and shops thrown in for good measure.

    richard quirke Richard Quirke Source: Youtube

    It was estimated that the project, dubbed the ‘Tipperary Venue’, would cost about €460 million to complete, would employ up to 2,000 people when finished and would help bring in rich tourists.

    When was it first suggested?

    It was first granted planning permission by North Tipperary County Council in October 2010, and it was hoped that construction would start in 2011.

    What happened?

    The project ran into trouble almost immediately when its was opposed by some local residents and conservation body An Taisce, which said that it is “ill-conceived” and added that its location would require the redirection of 750m of river waters.

    After an appeal to An Bord Pleanála, the planning body gave the casino the go-ahead in June 2011. But it ran into trouble again almost immediately after the government announced plans to overhaul Ireland’s gambling laws.

    The new bill was set to introduce a number of new proposals, one of which would have blocked large, resort-style casinos.

    tipp casino A concept video about the project Source: YouTube

    Then-justice minister Alan Shatter later clarified that the number of tables proposed for the Tipperary complex would be deemed beyond the numbers allowed under the new legislation.

    The bill was finally published in 2013, with Shatter clarifying again that it would block the Two-Mile Borris development. This drew the ire of controversial TD Michael Lowry, a champion of the casino, which was set to be built in his political stronghold.

    What’s the latest?

    Quirke had quietly applied for, and in 2013 was granted, planning permission for a redesign of the project that would focus more on the sporting side of the development, expanding on areas such as the equestrian centre.

    There was also a concept video uploaded to YouTube a few months ago. The video said that the facility would be able to hold the World Equestrian Games.
    Source: ALL3Die/YouTube

    The video also mentioned that the development would feature a 6,000 sq m casino, which would likely be too large if the government’s new gambling legislation was passed.

    Quirke appears to still be keen on the project. Dublin Pool and Juke Box Ltd, a company used for the businessman’s arcade activities, said in its most recent accounts, to the end of June 2015, that it is “continuing to purchase land and properties in order to develop a casino and leisure complex in Tipperary”.

    However, it still faces difficulty in the form of the government’s proposed gambling legislation.

    A spokesman for the Department of Justice told Fora that the government intends to proceed with the new gambling legislation “at the earliest feasible opportunity”.

    He added that the Minister of State has asked the department of justice to examine any possible areas of concern in the bill in the new year.

    “This will be augmented by the completion of the more complex work on the main bill for government approval and publication later during 2017,” he said.

    Asked specifically whether there is a possibility that the Tipperary casino could go ahead under the new legislation, he said in a statement: “The General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill makes specific provision for the licensing of modest-sized casinos (emphasis his).”

    We put in queries to Lowry and O’Connell Mahon, the architects on the project, but haven’t heard anything back as of yet. We’ll make sure to keep an eye on the project, and whether there is ever any sign of either the casino or the equestrian centre taking shape.


  2. Today it is reported in the papers that Michael Lowry has stated “I am
    not a criminal, I was targeted by the Irish Revenue who are vindictive
    and who have hounded me for years”. He also went on to say that he was
    also targeted by the media and other shady forces. About his
    conviction, Lowry said yesterday on Tipp FM “I don’t like being labelled
    in relation to my conviction; the media has always described me as a
    disgraceful politician and I am sure now the media will label me as a
    criminal. The people who know me in my own county of Tipperary and
    beyond know I am a decent politician, a decent human being and a hard
    working representative for Holy Cross and anybody I can be of assistance

    Lowry claims that his case was media driven and that he was harassed for
    years. He claims the case against him was a failed exercise and that
    the Revenue gave him selective treatment. He said the Revenue in this
    country are the most powerful institution so he said I took them on, he
    stood his ground and then he said “I won”. Now one would have to ask
    what is Lowry really up to since his conviction? If this a PR political
    exercise it certainly is putting the two fingers up to the Courts, the
    Judge, and the media and there is one thing about Michael – he is one
    Class Act. He got fined. Let us not forget the doctor from
    Sutton/Palestine and Mr Begley who received custodial sentences and who
    did not block their trials for 21 years. The mind boggles at present on
    how Lowry could not walk away, be dignified, keep his head down and just
    get on with his life. What can I say? He still holds the courts with
    contempt. I will conclude by giving people a reminder today of past
    sentencing by his Right Honorable ascending Judge Martin Nolan, former
    motor bike Copper.


  3. David Drumm arrived in court today in a prison van. The trial that was to go ahead in October with charges including illegal loans to 10 developers will not proceed. Drumm today pleaded Guilty to all 10 charges read out before him. Drumm now will be sentenced on July 9th 2018. At the moment Drumm is serving a 6 year sentence and the public await to hear if the sentence will be concurrent with his present prison term. My point is the charges today are of a most serious nature because Sean Quinn’s name popped onto the grid today (who was once Ireland’s wealthiest man) and now owes billions, like others, after the collapse of Anglo Irish bank 11 years ago.

    Is there any consistent pattern of sentencing in Ireland? The reason I am asking this today is quite simple: Thomas Byrne was the first high profile case after the Crash, the former solicitor received 16 years with 4 suspended and if my memory is correct it was given by former Judge Pat McCartan. Byrne, who is serving his sentence in Mountjoy prison has many years more to serve but questions remain as to how selective Judges are in handing down sentences.

    Since Thomas Byrne was convicted the bankers arrive in the courts – McAteer, Whelan and co but they get 3 years and downwards because 1 Judge described their actions at the smaller end of the scale of corruption. I find this mind blowing to say the least. Anglo Irish bank collapsed with debts in excess of £30 billion and these bankers playing a significant role in this disaster for the Irish economy.

    Another man who walked away with a fat pension into the sunset was Pat Neary, Central Bank. I find it difficult to believe that this man, the Watchdog of banking, at the time, failed in his duties but what is extraordinary about this is that he was protected by the Central Bank and never had to appear in court. And let’s not forget Seanie Fitzpatrick who walked out of the court with a smile on his face, nor Fingers Fingleton who brought down his own bank and awarded himself a pension fund of £26 million. Again I repeat, this man never appeared before the court, he was not asked to face any charges.

    I can recall clearly back in 2009, Brian Lucey, Trinity College Dublin, using the words “Wild West Banking where no rules ever applied”. Certain people could do what they wanted and they were deemed above the law. Fingleton is a prime example of this. In 2009, with the country on the verge of collapse, the Government had to bring in stealth measures for the banking bail-out and their tools of industry was the Irish taxpayers. Also remember the story of Charlie McCreevy while making contact with Sean Fitzpatrick for a loan of £700,000 at the time. The loan was approved in 48 hours; no papers just by phone. Now, on hindsight it just shows how crazy these people ran the country and the high price that Irish taxpayers had to pay afterwards and for many decades ahead. Even as I write this article Vulture funds are repossessing family homes and businesses right across Ireland, and this too will continue for many years to come. At the moment, some economists say the property market is overheating again and you would have to wonder, do people ever learn? Time will tell.

    The most crucial point I want to get across is that the Irish have regulations after regulations but sadly lack the ability to enforce. This has been witnessed time again in the past. So Irish at home and abroad await the 9th of July, as mentioned above, to see what Drumm will receive after pleading guilty to 10 counts of serious fraud.


  4. Today, Fred is in a reflection mood and it is not a happy one but a reality that seems to be misplaced on many desks in many corridors of Irish cronyism and protective powers. Let’s give a little list of what I am talking about. Let’s start:-

    Paul Kelly, former Console, stole how much? In excess of £1.5 million. He walks around with not a care in the world. Where is the Fraud Bureau or for that matter the CAB?

    Barbara O’Connell, Acquired Brain Injury, flies to New York, uses the charity card and buys her husband a beautiful painting from Macy’s; she returns home to Ireland, then claims it was an oversight and when we were told she was standing down; this was incorrect. Barbara is still there plus she is on the Board of Major Charities in Ireland. To be more blunt; she was in fact rewarded for her misappropriation of money on the ABI credit card. Could somebody explain this to me?

    John of Gods: Well we all know the names and these people shared between them £1.4 million of rental money that did not belong to them. This is called Grand Larceny, Theft and Fraud – And again nothing has been done in relation to the rogues within the Gods. Again I ask Why?

    Irish Red Cross: Again scandal, monies missing, and again nothing happens. Can anybody see a trend here or for that matter a pattern forming?

    A Castleknock gentleman is in prison right now for stealing over £1 million from children who are deaf and with other disabilities. At least he was caught and sent to prison. However there are so many out there in charities who seem to be untouchable.

    Peter Conlon takes the stage here. He is now hiding in Holland after a Christmas break at home in Dublin 4. Conlon has in his possession, well let’s put it a different way, the charities he was overseeing are missing £6.5 million; he spent 9 months in a Swiss prison, flew back to Dublin on release, he was met by his mob of loyal followers and they partied as if it was some kind of celebration of the return of the Charity Son. Why was Conlon not arrested? Why has nobody in the Charity sector made a statement to An Gardai? It is alarming and yet our journalists are like the Muppet Show; they are everywhere and nowhere. Just reading the Phoenix yesterday: the battle of the Giants. Fionn Sheahan versus Dearbhail McDonald. Our journalists who should be writing are too busy at each other’s throats. Why? We will have to wait and see.

    To conclude: Four cases have been in our courts in the last three weeks. Three gentlemen were up on charges of stealing – no wait for this – the first one: it was a bar of chocolate at a shop in Ballymun, value £1.20; the second gentleman was up for stealing a Bounty bar to the value of whatever and the third was hungry and he stole a packet of wine gums. My God our cops are busy with serious crimes and the last woman in Blanchardstown stole a packet of Pringles. Now, who will argue with me, not alone do we have a two tier health system BUT WE ALSO HAVE A TWO TIER JUSTICE SYSTEM.

    I would love some feedback on this?



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