Ronan's Rant

Ronan McSherry

To hell with corrupt politicians and fat cats

Pat Hickey

Pat Hickey

 
I was chased up the High Street in Omagh last week by a half-crazed colleague after I bought him a cup of coffee in a local eatery. Eventually he pushed me to the ground and shoved a £1 coin in my pocket before sprinting off, the relief flying from his brow.
 
What is it with Irish people being unable to take a gift? It’s as if we are not worthy. “Ah go on, go on, go on ” said Mrs Doyle, “you will, you will, you will.”
 
Whether it is paying for a friend’s meal or 13 billion euros, we just can’t seem to gratefully accept it and say “thank you – go raibh agat”.
 
That corrupt shower down south are now preparing to pay a fortunde to barristers to fight a landmark ruling that tech giant Apple hand over the money they rightfully owe after being in a “sweetheart” tax arrangement with the Republic.
 
I’ve received some dodgy gifts in my time but had the good grace to welcome them with open arms. They include a Donny Osmond LP, a purple tank-top from a woman I worked with in Bristol who couldn’t stop talking and a religious picture that had more blood on it than a Carrie movie. Nor was I impressed with the piece of coal under my pillow for daring to suggest there was no such thing as the tooth fairy although a grovelling note of apology sorted that out… I digress totally…
 
So Apple was paying 50 euros in tax on every one million euros profit made in Ireland. You heard that right, dear reader… 50 euros out of a million profit! Your local chip van man was getting hit harder.
 
The Republic’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan has vowed to hold the line with Apple in opposing the verdict. You can be sure no-one belonging to Noonan is being shoved before the courts for stealing food to feed their children, being dragged from their homes by bailiffs or being put to the pin of their collar by morally corrupt water charges. In the immortal words of Rambo’s mentor Colonel Samuel Trautman, “It’s enough to make a billy goat puke.”
 
Protesters from People Before Profit poured a box of apples on the steps of Fine Gael’s headquarters with more Granny Smiths impaled on the railings. Big tickle. In response a Fine Gael spokesman said, “Apart from it being a waste of time, it’s a waste of food as well.” He was right. The politicians and fat cats are laughing at the people.
 
The song Banana Republic was banned way back as that other millionaire tax dodger Bob Geldof sang, “The purple and the pinstripe they mutely shake their heads, a silence shrieking volumes violence worse than they condemn, stab you in the back yeah laughing in your face glad to see the place again, it’s a pity nothing’s changed.”
 
Meanwhile in a foul-mouthed tirade Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary suggested that the Irish government should tell the EU to “f*** off” with their billions of euros and not interfere in the country’s tax laws. That is the same Michael O’Leary who in 2004 purchased a taxi plate for use on his personal car so he could avail of Dublin’s bus lanes and not be caught in traffic with the peasants.
 
His taxi ‘company’ owns one Mercedes, has a driver as an employee and earns its sole income through O’Leary’s custom. He reportedly paid 96,000 euros to buy his own taxi business which does business with… himself! “The world is ill-divided,” my late father used to say.
 
The corruption in this country is staggering. But that is how us Irish roll, kow-towing to the big man and sticking the boot in the little fellow. People are under incredible pressure while wide boys swill champagne and fats cats purr.
 
Pat Hickey is currently under house arrest in Brazil. For almost 20 years he has been President of the Olympic Council of Ireland and like many of his ilk there will be scratch marks on the door handle when he is finally dragged away. Like a microcosm of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter these guys hold onto power forever and build a little army around them to keep them there.
 
Olympic middle distance runner Eamonn Coghlan received the worst type of abuse from the hugely
unpopular Hickey when he dared suggest the position should circulate.
 
FAI boss John Delaney on his 430,000 euros a year is another tasty operator who has come under the spotlight during the Brazilian investigation into the alleged ticket scam. To paraphrase the late Mrs Merton in an interview with Debbie McGee when she asked, “What first attracted you to millionaire Paul Daniels?”…why do Delaney’s men arrange friendly games with filthy rich oil state Oman?
 
There are folk in the Republic who must despair when they see their government fight tooth and nail to stop much needed revenue coming into the country. The elite bosses don’t care. Hell will not be full until they’re all in it.

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