Daily Archives: August 3, 2015

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday  3rd August 2015

Sean FitzPatrick escapes punishment as 3 bankers are jailed

Anglo a ‘very, very sick bank’ which took a ‘very dishonest approach to Revenue’ – judge.


Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick had escaped punishment while employees of the bank were facing jail for altering accounts being sought by Revenue, a judge was told yesterday

Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick had escaped punishment while employees of the bank were facing jail for altering accounts being sought by Revenue, a judge was told yesterday.

Former chief operations officer Tiarnan O’Mahoney, former company secretary Bernard Daly and former assistant manager Aoife Maguire are all beginning custodial sentences.

They were found guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday on all charges, after nearly seven hours deliberations and a two month trial.

But counsel for Daly, Sean Guerin SC, asked the judge in sentencing yesterday to bear in mind that the case against Mr FitzPatrick, who has never been charged in relation to the fraud, was stronger than the one against his client.

He asked Judge McCartan to consider “the impunity that Mr FitzPatrick has been fortunate enough to meet in these matters.”

O’Mahoney, who was second in command at the bank, received a three-year sentence while Daly, who held the more junior position, was sentenced to two years. Maguire was the lowest ranking of the three and received 18 months.

The three accused appeared tearful throughout the sentencing hearing, and as they were lead away by prison guards.

The court heard that there is no statutory maximum prison term for the charge of conspiracy as it is a common law offence.

However Judge Patrick McCartan indicated he would treat the maximum term for all offences as five years, as they all related to the same scheme.

Judge McCartan said it was clear the accused engaged in a deliberate and ongoing fraud to stop the accounts of their employer, Mr FitzPatrick, from being disclosed to Revenue.

The judge called Anglo a “very sick bank” which “took a very, very dishonest approach to Revenue.”

He said the accused’s actions were “done out of misplaced loyalty, but were still dishonest and were against all good banking principles and practices”.

The judge said it was a very difficult case to sentence because the accused had impeccably good characters.

Judge McCartan said the balance was between the personal positions of the accused and the public interest. “Banking must be based on trust and honesty; It cannot work otherwise. And the Revenue plays a crucial and central role in the society in which we live.”

Referring to the motives for concealing the accounts, Judge McCartan asked: “Why should Mr FitzPatrick or anyone on his behalf want to hide accounts unless there was potential embarrassment to him?”

The culture.

Brendan Grehan SC, for O’Mahoney, said that his client was in line to succeed Mr FitzPatrick as CEO of the bank but lost out to David Drumm who came from the lending side.

Counsel said O’Mahoney came from the “more prudential” treasury side of Anglo and was “deemed not to fit in with the culture of the bank”.

The judge praised the integrity of the IT staff in Anglo who refused to delete the accounts, and decided to archive them instead, leading to their production in evidence during the trial.

He also praised bank employee Zita Vance who refused when asked by O’Mahoney if she would delete an account.

Daly (67) of Collins Avenue West, Whitehall, Dublin, O’Mahoney (56) of Glen Pines, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow and Maguire (62) of Rothe Abbey, South Circular Road, Kilmainham, Dublin had pleaded not guilty to seven charges.

The charges alleged that in 2003 and 2004 they conspired to hide or omit accounts, connected to Mr FitzPatrick from Anglo’s Core Banking System or from documentation provided to Revenue, who were conducting an investigation into bogus non-resident accounts which may have been liable for Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT).

There was a delay in taking the verdict on Thursday because of an anonymous phone call to the office of the DPP saying that the jury foreman’s wife was “very friendly” with Maguire.

Denis O’Brien has launched legal action against a Dáil committee


Every member of the CPP has been named in letters from the businessman’s lawyers.

BUSINESSMAN DENIS O’BRIEN has launched legal proceedings against members of the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

It’s understood the action is over the panel’s decision that independent TD Catherine Murphy did not abuse her parliamentary privilege when making claims about his business dealings.

O’Brien – who is already taking legal action against the State and the Oireachtas – sent letters to each member of the committee, via law firm William Fry.

The existing legal proceedings concern comments made by Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty.

The clerk of the committee contacted members of the CPP on Friday to tell them they had received the legal letters.

The reaction?

TD John Halligan, who is a member of the committee called the move “a gross interference in the running of the CPP”.

The ten-person panel – which is chaired by Dáíl Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett – is expected to convene to discuss the development, the independent TD for Waterford toldTheJournal.ie.

He called it an attempt to “censor the Dáil” and the privileges committee.

The businessman’s action against the Oireachtas and the State was put back until 7 October at the start of last month.

The action relates to his banking dealings with IBRC.

O’Brien is seeking various declarations from the state in connection to statements made in the Dáil by Murphy and Doherty.

He contends that those statements decided in whole or in part the separate proceedings he and IBRC took against RTE concerning their banking relationship and a broadcast that RTE had planned concerning those affairs.

It’s understood that he will also argue that permitting such statements amounts to a breach of his rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

A murder inquiry launched after man found dead with stab wounds in his Sligo home


The victim, named locally as Martin, or Matt, Kivlehan, was discovered after the alarm was raised at 1pm.

A murder inquiry has been launched after a man was found dead with stab wounds in his home.

The victim, named locally as Martin, or Matt, Kivlehan, was discovered after the alarm was raised at 1pm.

The former carpenter, in his late-50s, lived alone at the property on Holborn Street near Sligo town centre.

Mr Kivlehan, who hasn’t worked for several years, was a well-known banjo player who regularly performed in local bars.

Shocked neighbours and pals were last night coming to terms with the death of a man they knew well.

Publican Jackie Brennan, who owns the nearby Rendezvous Bar, was friends with Mr Kivlehan although he said he hadn’t been in his pub for some time.

He added: “He was a wonderful musician and played a number of instruments, especially the guitar.

“He was the nicest fellow you could meet – a bit placid and timid.”

Local People Before Profit councillor Seamus O’Boyle said he knew Mr Kivlehan for more than 30 years.

He added he was well known in the area and was “a character who was very well respected within the community”.Another pal, who did not want to be named, said he was “stunned” by the tragedy.

He added: “You could not ask to meet a more gentle person and “I have never heard Matt raise his voice to anybody in his life.

“He was a lovely warm man who used to do some work for me.”

He said Mr Kivlehan was “one of the finest carpenters in the Sligo area” and that he specialised in cabinet-making.”

Gardai, who confirmed they are investigating the death, sealed off the scene for technical examination yesterday.

Gardai received reports that the stabbing happened during a dispute. Nobody was arrested at the scene.

The Office of the State Pathologist has been informed.

An Garda officer said they are awaiting the results of a postmortem.

A source said that among the people Gardai are seeking to interview is a woman seen with Mr Kivlehan a short time before he was attacked. It is understood he had a partner but this is not the person officers wish to speak to.

Mr Kivlehan was from a well-known family in the area had three brothers and three sisters.

Ibrahim Halawa meets sister and solicitor in Egypt


Ibrahim Halawa from Firhouse Dublin has been allowed to meet with his sister and solicitor in Cairo.

The hour long meeting took place in a private room of the Egyptian prison earlier today..

Ibrahim’s trial had been rescheduled for the 10th time and will now take place in October.

Ibrahim Halawa has appealed to the Irish public to continue to rally for his release.

The 19-year-old from Firhouse in south Dublin has been detained in a prison in Cairo for the past two years for taking part in a political protest.

Today was the first time in several months Ibrahim has been allowed to sit with members of his family for more than a couple of minutes.

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan is in Egypt and was present for their meeting today

“His mood certainly improved over the course of the hour, from just having that much time with his close relatives,” said Ms Boylan.

“But he was very honest about it, he gets very down, very depressed, and the lack of information coming into him is also very frustrating,” said the MEP.

Eating fresh fruit and veg ‘makes your skin more attractive’


New research found that women who consume more fresh produce reportedly have a healthier and more attractive glow

The best way for women to improve the quality and attractiveness of their skin is to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

That’s according to new research, which found that women who consume more fresh produce reportedly have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who don’t.

A significant number of Britons fail to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and young women are believed to be among the worst offenders.

But the researchers – Scottish and Australian – behind these findings believe that vanity may prove the most persuasive argument yet to eat a healthy diet.

They noted: “Higher daily fruit, vegetable and combined fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with increased overall, unexposed and exposed skin redness and yellowness values.

“Studies indicate that women are ambivalent about the importance of nutrition or their health. Thus, finding novel strategies to motivate increased fruit and vegetables in this group is necessary to protect against chronic diseases.

“Recent evidence has shown that young women are motivated to change their health behaviours based on improving their appearance or looking good rather than health concerns, which are more important amongst older females, 36 to 50 years old.

“Interventions that focus on appearance could be a novel way of motivating young women to improve dietary intake, including fruit and vegetable intakes.”

In the experiment, the researchers monitored the diet of almost 200 Caucasian women aged between 18 and 29 for nine months.

The scientists also measured their skin colour at nine points on the body, from head to foot.

Humble cabbage white butterflies heat up the field of solar research


The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown.

A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy – or ways in which to convert light into power.

They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50%.

Crucially, by replicating this ‘wing-like’ structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.

The research by the team from both the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, is published in the leading scientific journal, Scientific Reports.

Professor Tapas Mallick, lead author of the research said: “Biomimicry in engineering is not new. However, this truly multidisciplinary research shows pathways to develop low cost solar power that have not been done before.”

The Cabbage White butterflies are known to take flight before other butterflies on cloudy days – which limit how quickly the insects can use the energy from the sun to heat their flight muscles.

This ability is thought to be due to the v-shaped posturing, known as reflectance basking, they adopt on such days to maximise the concentration of solar energy onto their thorax, which allows for flight.

Furthermore, specific sub-structures of the butterflies’ wings allow the light from the sun to be reflected most efficiently, ensuring that the flight muscles are warmed to an optimal temperature as quickly as possible.

The team of scientists therefore investigated how to replicate the wings to develop a new, lightweight reflective material that could be used in solar energy production.

The team found that the optimal angle by which the butterfly should hold its wings to increase temperature to its body was around 17 degrees, which increased the temperature by 7.3 degrees Centigrade compared to when held flat.

They also showed that by replicating the simple mono-layer of scale cells found in the butterfly wings in solar energy producers, the could vastly improve the power-to-weight rations of future solar concentrators, making them significantly lighter and so more efficient.

Professor Richard ffrench-Constant, who conducts world-leading research into butterfly mimicry at the University of Exeter, said: “This proves that the lowly Cabbage White is not just a pest of your cabbages but actually an insect that is an expert at harvesting solar energy.”

The paper, White butterflies as solar photovoltaic concentrators, by Katie Shanks, Dr Senthilarasu Sundaram, Professor Richard ffrench-Constant  and Professor Tapas Mallick from the University of Exeter, is available online.