slim nymph and wicked free

Did the banks bail out the State?

The following is a slightly expanded version of a letter I sent to the Editor of the Irish Independent today:

17 December 2020

Re: Taoiseach’s remarks about the Bank Bailout

The Taoiseach could be more correct than many think in saying, or letting it slip (?), that  the State did not bail out the banks. In fact, the State was  a great beneficiary in the whole process. Take AIB, the largest bank, as an example

AIB never wanted or needed a State guarantee. It was imposed on them.  At no point were they ever “insolvent”, or unable to replace  lost capital. It’s capital (paper)loss primarily arose  because of NAMA, which took c.€ 25 Billion of long term commercial assets off its hands- the majority of which was performing ok when the crisis began- in return for a payment of c. €15 billion.  To make up this paper loss, the bank had to find €10 billion, by selling off subsidiaries, raising some capital and other measures. Also, part of the deal was that the State was to get c. 50% of the equity capital of the bank, for no logical reason- it was just to “grab” control.  The bank  was given 6 months to perform what was assumed to be an impossible task of raising this new capital but when, in the last month, it became clear that the bank had succeeded in the task, NAMA decided to back out of the deal, demanding a last minute extra reduction of €3 billion in the payment it had agreed to make for the AIB assets it was taking over, against the possibility of its future losses in selling the assets (on which, beyond  doubt, it actually made a profit of billions, and for which it had a legal agreement with the banks to be reimbursed if it actually incurred a loss.!)  This increased  the banks nominal paper loss on the deal by a last minute €3 billion which the State, via the Central Bank pronounced should be provided as extra new capital, just as their capital raising operating was effectively negotiated  and done.

That action by the Irish Government collapsed the banks share price even further, to c. 50 cents/share, and also greatly diminished the Irish State’s standing in international capital markets.  There was panic.  AIB top directors resigned and said nothing, to this day !. .  The Minister of Finance then made a solemn promise to the markets that he would arrange the provision of “all the capital the bank needed” in whatever way necessary including underwriting a special rights issue at 50 cents per share.  That sort of worked for a while to stabilise the dropping share price, by encouraging many existing shareholders to stop selling the share and encouraging new investors, especially in Ireland  and Britain, to buy them.. That turned out to be a Fraud on the Market by the Irish State, because, a few months later a new Minister, Mr Noonan, totally ignored the State commitment while rejigging the shares and effectively reducing shareholders wealth from 50 cents to 1 cent per share,  and taking over c. 99% of the company for the government.  (Was there even a bigger theft of citizens’ property by the State in Irish history?)

This was following by years of denigration of bank management by political and media commentators- with no effort made to objectively examine the short embarrassing history of the affaire-  and lies about the  States need to inject €21 billion, etc. Did no journalist ever ask where the almost bankrupt  State ever got €21 bilion??  or why the extra capital requirement which was allegedly €3 billion in September 09 rise to €21 billion a few months later, after the State took full control? It simply wasn’t true and didn’t happen. What did happen, however, is that the State made a fortune on the asset grab, by ordering the bank to borrow up to the limit from the European Central Bank- whose mandate was to support banks in Europe and specifically not governments  – and then lend this onto the Irish State, and  at an artificially low interest rate to the government (official low rate to the bank and then less the banks profit from the onward lending margin). One might wonder whether the State ever repaid these ECB loans to the bank and whether the bank’s capacity for borrowing for house building and other investments in the private economy was not effectively closed off by the State’s greed.

The shareholders were dumped without compensation – another illegality.  The fine men- including public representatives- on the Board, stayed on, most of them, and let their shareholders swing  – 90,000 small investors, typically retired public sector workers or other middle income pensioners.

In summary, the State did nothing for AIB except grab it, take all its assets, and all the wealth of its 90,000 small shareholders and then use it as a vehicle for borrowing perhaps tens of billions of ECB money never intended to be directed towards supporting governments.. for that’s what it was… The Bank bailed out the State.  When will some investigative journalist get on top of this?



Brian O’Doherty, Greencastle, Co. Donegal

(Former small shareholder)

New cathedral near Moscow, 2020

This was consecrated just a few days ago. It honours the Soviet military and commemorates the USSRs 27 million people killed during the defeat of nazi Germany in WWII

Robert F Kennedy d. June 5 ,1968



I shook hands with Robert F, Kennedy 50 years ago today, June 4, 1968, on Market St., San Francisco, where he was canvassing for the Presidency. He was murdered the following day, June 5, in the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, almost directly opposite our (CTT-Irish Export Board) office.

The shock, the horror, the mourning was as deep and widespread as that which followed his brother JFK’s murder in 1963.  It was not only the loss of a fine, brave campaigner for human rights and justice, but it felt like the sudden end of all dreams of a more civilised  world order.

A little over 300 years earlier, in Ireland, the tragic death of Owen Roe O’Neill opened the way for Cromwellian genocide against our people, and changed the course of Irish history, from being a nation with, in all likelihood, our own overseas territories, like all other European nations at the time, to one of wretched emigration, cannon fodder in others’ armies and even slavery. The exploitation of and discrimination against the Irish (Catholics) continued in parts of the anglophone world, including the US, right up to the mid twentieth century, to the uplifting by the Kennedys, one might say. The loss of Jack and Bobby was a real loss of leadership by Irish and Irish-Americans.

The Kennedys were well versed in Irish history and seemed to regard Owen Roe as the greatest leader of the past. They usually mentioned Owen Roe when making Irish historical references. In particular they could recite or quote from the poem, the “Lament for Owen Roe” by Thomas Davis which describes the loss to the Irish people, occasioned by his death. Bobby recited the whole poem in a speech to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Scranton Pa, in his first public engagement after Jacks death, in March 1964. It finishes:

We’re sheep without a shepherd,

when the snow shuts out the sky;

Oh! why did you leave us, Owen?’

Why did you die?

(The full speech is at )

We Irish have not produced leaders of the calibre of the Kennedys or Owen Roe O’Neill, in the last 100 years or so of our “independence”. With the possible exception of Garrett Fitzgerald. Owen Roe is not even commemorated by the current lot, which seem to think Irish history commenced at the GPO (although we still commemorate in squares and buildings some of the most genocidal chaps from the other side) (Owen Roe led his Ulster Catholic Army to rescue the  Cromwellian Protestants of Derry from  a damaging siege mounted by English Loyalists in 1649, his last action before becoming ill and dying…The proposed roadway from Monaghan to Derry should be named after him!)…

In the late 1970s, I was introduced to Bobby’s widow in an elevator high up in the Chicago Merchandise Mart, where I was scouting for a new Mid-West office for CTT. We chatted for c. Five minutes. She was absolutely lovely. She mentioned that she had come from Washington where, the previous evening, she attended a reception in the Irish embassy to introduce the Opposition Leader, Garrett Fitzgerald. She was delighted to report, and quite astonished, that over two thirds of the US Senate turned out to meet him.

Sirhan, the Palestinian patsy, didn’t kill RFK. He was in front of Bobby, who was shot from behind. Bobby’s son, Robert Kennedy Jnr, a activist lawyer in the Kennedy tradition- especially against vaccination abuse-  spent quite a lot of time interviewing Sirhan in jail and doing other research and has called for a reopening of the investigation into his father’s murder (

The Great O’Neill, 1550-1616, we salute you!

Last night, in his sleep, in his small palace in Rome, 400 years ago, one of the greatest figures in Irish history passed away, Hugh O’Neill. . With him in his final moments may have been his teenage son, John, whom he had nominated to succeed him as Earl of Tyrone and as The O’Neil. Also there may have been his nephew, who was to become increasingly the de facto leader of the exiled Irish Gaelic Lords in Europe, Owen Roe O’Neill. Undoubtedly senior figures in the Spanish administration and in the Vatican would have attended him in his final days or paid their respects at his funeral, as well as senior Irish clergy living in Rome. The scene at his bedside on his last evening may have been similar to that captured in a painting by an unknown Italian or East European artist, painted a century later, “Farewell at the deathbed”
Farewellat the deathbed
(Click to enlarge)(If it opens in same window use Back arrow)(Play some sidebar music>> while trying to figure it out)

O’Neill, O’Donnell and other Gaelic nobility left ireland in the Irish history-transforming event known as the Flight of the Earls, from Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, September 1607. Following the Nine Years War against English rule in Ireland, the last battle of which was the Battle of Kinsale, O’Neill marched his army back to Ulster, in the middle of winter, to continue the fight, before his eventual surrender two years later, in 1603. He had lost 1500-2000 men at Kinsale, but the English had lost over 7000 men, half their exhausted army, which had been the largest army ever assembled by Elizabeth !. O’Donnell had gone to Spain to collect more Spanish support and O’Neill must have felt confident that he could fight on successfully. But, after their Kinsale disaster, the English changed their tactics. They resolved “never to meet this man on the battlefield again”. Instead, they deployed the tactic which Lord Chichester said was “being used with success in the New World”, that is, an attack on the civilian population.

The genocide which ensued in Ulster for about a year, led by Lords Mountjoy and Chichester, which I do not remember ever reading in Irish school history books, is described by English historians as the darkest, most atrocious event in English history. Soldiers would raid small villages, when O’Neills army was elsewhere, and slaughter every man, woman, child. By sword, and later by starvations, by destruction of crops. The landscape was littered with human bones, or starving children, their mouths green from eating grass. Some were even taught by fathers and mothers to cannibalise their parents bodies when they died. A very high percentage of the population of Ulster died, especially East Ulster, and most others fled, to Donegal, to the south, even some lucky ones making it as emigrants to London, France, Netherlands and further, in what became the first years of seemingly unending Irish emigration.

These events are probably what (good !) Queen Elizabeth II was referring to when, on her visit to Ireland a few years ago, she “apologised”, saying (I paraphrase) that “there were certain things we did during our rule in Ireland that we would do differently now or even not at all” (Actually it was not only Ulster…There was a similar attack on the civilian population of Munster about twenty years earlier, followed by an attempt to populate the vacated land with English planters.)

This of course brought down O’Neill. He was unable to defend his people or support the junior clan leaders of Ulster. He surrendered, and was later intimidated out of his Earldom by legal, economic and political means, salted with a continuing threat of arrest and execution, so that he decided to move to Catholic Europe and try to rebuild support from there in 1607. But English diplomatic tactics preceded him and he found himself somewhat unwelcomed by the Spanish and their administration in Brussels He was basically shunted on to Rome, where the Pope felt obliged to show him some honours, give him an elevated position in the community in Rome, and awarded him and his family a small (but frugally furnished) palace in which to live out his life. Rome was a place of elegant architecture in those days, though “stinking hot” in summer
Vanvitelli, Rome late 17th

I don’t know if the men of 1916 and their successors in “Free Ireland” of the last 100 years are bothered to read and show respect for the heroics of the Gaelic Order in early modern history of our land. We honour the other side, in Mountjoy Square, and elsewhere. Where is Great O’Neill Avenue? Is there a large monument to him in the Phoenix Park? I think there’s an O’Donnell Avenue in Buenos Aires, or is it Madrid..and a famous O’Reilly Calle in Havana, and O’Higgins pops up in many South American countries. And others. What wrong with us, that we are afraid to give due honour and proper commemoration to real heroes of the past? I suppose history only began in 1916.

Great Hugh O’Neill, we remember you on your 400 th anniversary, July 20, 1616, and we Salute You !

Great ONeill

An Irish 400th year anniversary of note

We Irish have many 400th anniversaries, but few that can celebrate a happy event, given the state of our nation back in 1613. Leading Gaelic nobles had been exiled, their lands, especially in Ulster, planted with foreigners, their people destitute, dispersed to the forests and hills of Donegal, or emigrants, camped beside the Tower of London waiting for their lords to be freed, or tramping the roads of France as beggars, the womenfolk filling the brothels of Paris, Madrid and other cities.

With O’Donnell dead, and the Great Rebel Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone effectively imprisoned and isolated in Rome, the de factor leadership of the Gaelic “government in exile” fell to his nephew, Owen Roe O’Neill, commander of the Irish regiment in the Spanish army in the Netherlands, and later Field Marshall, and Governor of the strategic town of Arras. For thirty years, Owen Roe secured the survival of his army, through peace and war on behalf of Spain, and nurtured its cadre of highly skilled military officers, mostly sons of the Gaelic families. Eventually he succeeded in his life long ambition, to bring his military staff back to Ireland (1642), and build a disciplined army from the, by then, almost savage remnants of his people, His great victory as General of the Ulster Catholic Army at Benburb (1646) is probably the last victory by a Gaelic commander in Irish history.

In an age of atrocious brutality, Owen Roe was regarded by friend and foe alike as a humane and decent military commander. He was also non-sectarian in the conduct of warfare. Read the rest

We don’t want our Senate? – Give it to the diaspora !

The Irish government proposes that the Senate should be abolished, our second chamber, our Upper House. So, before doing so, and in the context of options to “reform” it, why not consider turning it, gradually and carefully, into a National Representative Forum where the views of the Irish Nation on matters which pertain to the nation’s cultural, economic, social and political welfare can be discussed and some policies and programmes agreed?

Of course our “nation” should be understood to include all people of Irish descent- perhaps up to some genetic content threshold- and no matter where they may be temporarily living on this planet. We who live in the Emerald Isle homeland should be sensible enough to accept that the majority of our brothers, sisters and cousins have been forced to- or have chosen to- occupy the planet but they have just as much right to define themselves as Irish as the minority who remained in the homeland. We have much history in common and a common cultural heritage as well as moral and social values, all of which define important aspects of what it is to be Irish.

In olden days emigration from the homeland almost certainly meant “never see you again” and the best one could do to stay in touch was write the occasional letter. Nowadays, anyone of Irish nationhood anywhere on the planet can have high quality video conferences with their cousins and friends for almost no cost, in real time, via computers. You can travel to the Senate in Dublin from any part of the globe in a day.

It is now the time to use technology to “reunite” the nation and give expression to our common Irishness via some institutions, and the Senate, about to be thrown away by Dublin, is surely the place to start.


Is this the newbie Irish currency?

The Irish Government has a new currency ready to print, if Ireland has to leave the euro…and it won’t be the old punt. The man gave me a preview…It’s the Geallt (pronounced gee-alt), like the Gaelic word for promise.

” The beautiful thing about it”, he says, “is that we can print as many as we
like and don’t have to put up with any nonsense from the ECB…and we can bail out all the banks with it, exchange the promissory notes and the NAMA bonds and all that stuff…Its just brilliant…a simple but great solution ! ..We might even buy back Eircom with it”

Yeah….quite nice……I like the rainbow..


Netsso gets praise as an internet “time saver”

I am delighted to see this opinion expressed..We knew they used Netsso, but did not know that they considered it their Number One time saver (from logins, remembering passwords, etc) on the internet.
“My Number One time saving tool…” (InisCommunications)

Digital sand art from Ukraine

This was the winning entry in “Ukraine’s got Talent” a few years ago. I think she tells a story of love and war. Thanks to Baumgardt.

Twitter: @ODohertyBrian;

St. Patricks Day notes: When the Irish ruled the world.

I’m not an historian, but I’ve read a few books and I’m very impressed by the achievements of Irish emigrants down the centuries and their descendents in the Irish diaspora and I’d like to bring you a few facts about that now and again in this column. The diaspora has achieved great things- and please write and tell me about them- and its very hard to pick out the most spectacular or important achievements.We know (though not enough) about the achievements in the military and empire-building arenas – Wellington in Waterloo, India won by Gaelic-speaking troops, the conquest and later the independence of South America and North America, etc…the navies of the world founded by Irish guys, the 750,000 Irish soldiers who died for France during the 18th and 19th centuries, and more.

But there was one period, of about 30 years, when the Irish diaspora really took political leadership of some of the most important nations, and all around the same time, say 1860 – 1890. It was a time, too, when the Irish were the majority ethnic group among the white population of the US. (You can read wonderful tales of the Irish fighting contributions on both sides of the US Civil War in some fine websites such as

But did you know..during the period I refer to, that Count Taaffe, from the Roscommon family, was Imperial Chancellor of the Austrian Hungarian Empire, for sixteen years (1868-70 and 1879-93)?;  and, from 1860-68, the Prime Minister of Spain was Marshall Leopold O’Donnell, also Duke of Tetuan; and then there was Marshall Patrice MacMahon (photo above), who was President of France, from 1873 to 1879.

There are guys out there who undoubtedly know a lot more about this than I do…so please send in the comments and the links.

Twitter: @Netsso ; @ODohertyBrian ;; ;

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Video: About NAMA(2009)