“It Is All About His Aspirations To Be Leader, I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It In My life”

at | 109 Replies

Fine Gael TD and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar

This morning.

On Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Further to the Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar’s Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All campaign…

Cllr Gavin Mendel-Gleason, of the Workers’ Party, in Dublin North West, and Paddy Smyth, Dublin City Fine Gael councillor for Rathgar-Rathmines, spoke to Mr O’Rourke about Mr Varadkar’s campaign.

Former inspector with the Department of Social Protection Bernadette Gorman later joined the conversation by phone.

Ms Gorman accused Mr Varadkar of launching the welfare cheat campaign as a means to improve his chances of becoming the next leader of Fine Gael and, by extension, Taoiseach.

She also called it a “hate campaign”.

From the interview:

Sean O’Rourke: “First of all, to you, Paddy Smyth, Fine Gael councillor for Rathgar-Rathmines. Is Leo Varadkar taking, is he taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut here?”

Paddy Smyth: “Not necessarily. The amount of welfare fraud that goes on, estimated by the department, is a sizeable sum. Hundreds of millions of euros, of taxpayers’ money, that is claimed fraudulently. Now, the most interesting thing, I think, about this campaign is the reaction from certain parties. The fact that certain parties can find a politically profitable to condone, if not rightly encourage, social welfare fraud, I think is a very worrying development for our society. As I said, hundreds of millions of euros.”

O’Rourke: “Hold on now, where is this hundreds of millions coming from now?”

Smyth: “Well, the department estimates, based on the amount of fraud that they detect, they can then extrapolate out, if they hadn’t detected that fraud, that, essentially, their estimates would put the figure between €200m and €500m. That is fraud and obviously some of that would be error and…”

O’Rourke:They’re saying this is what we’re not detecting?

Smyth: “This, they, let’s say 41million was detected in fraud, let’s say 2015, then, but if you say, right, well, if that went on, if that was left undetected for several years, then you could extrapolate out…”

O’Rourke: “Oh, this is a bit like Garret FitzGerald back in the day, saying if we hadn’t taken the mini budget measures, in the middle of the year, the current budget deficit in the second half of the year would have been far worse. Is that the kind of mathematics you’re talking about now?”

Smyth: “Well, this is department estimates. They can’t project is likely to be going on based on how much they detect. And if they can extrapolate that much…”

O’Rourke: “So, it’s not, it’s fraud that might happen as opposed to fraud that did happen? Is that what we’re talking about now?”

Smyth: “This is fraud that they, that they estimate that they have prevented. These are estimates, these aren’t an exact science and that’s why there are confidence intervals…”

O’Rourke: “Gavin Mendel-Gleason, very important to prevent fraud, surely?”

Mendel-Gleason: “Yeah, of course, it’s important, but this is definitely, a sledgehammer to crack a nut-type situation. And those numbers are, quite frankly, just ridiculous. I mean the reality is most of this, two-thirds, like, back in 2011, when they had some surveys of how much was being paid out, two-thirds of the amounts, that they’re reporting as fraud, were actually overpayments. And these overpayments are often times administrative error and often times they’re an administrative error by the Department of Social Protection, not the people who are involved in it.”

“So, in 2011, it was about €26million, it was actual, verifiable fraud. The rest of it wasn’t fraud at all. And that €26million of fraud, I mean, often times, you’re talking about people who are really on the very edge. You know, it’s people who are just barely making it by, like your man getting a few extra quid a week. If you’re making €10,000 a year on the dole, you’re finding it very difficult to live in Dublin, very, very difficult. And, you know, when people try to do things over the edge…”

Later

O’Rourke: “Let’s bring in someone who’s got a lot of experience dealing with people on social protection payments. Bernadette Gorman, good morning to you.”

Bernadette Gorman: “Good morning, Sean.”

O’Rourke: “You are a former inspector with the Department of Social Protection, what did that work entail?”

Gorman: “Well, that work entailed, you know, back in the day, I supposed I joined in 1981 and I was around the country for the first three years, filling in for people and assisting people and then I settled in Dublin. There was a lot of means-testing then, of OAP actually. Because most people didn’t have, a lot of people didn’t have the full contributions, PRSI contributions. But, yes, I mean fraud would come up from time to time. But I have to say it was always very, very miniscule and we were always…well, first and foremost, I want to speak about how I was trained in the department because I do not like the way the department is going. And I do think Leo Varadkar was clearly on a solo run but I don’t know what his senior officials were doing allowing it.”

“…. The fraud I came across was so minuscule, it never required, you know, a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It was always very small. I’ll give one example of a lady whose husband had been gambling their social welfare payments and she eventually got a deserted wive’s allowance and she had gone into hoc because of what her husband was doing, she got into hoc with an unscrupulous moneylender. You see don’t forget, social welfare people don’t have any credit rating and this is before, you know, credit unions, or MABS [Money and Budgeting Service] or any of that. So, the poor woman was working in a  hotel, a few hours a day, standing, ironing sheets. And getting a small amount of money, to pay off the moneylender. The woman was distraught. I got it from a tip-off so I had to deal with it.

“How could you possibly, you know, come the hound on somebody like that? I did say, it was fraudulent, it was wrong, and I had set up a small overpayment, on her deserted wive’s, until it was paid back. But, I mean these are all terribly complex human stories and the fraud I came across was always like that. but don’t forget that almost 70% of these payments are going to OAPs and disabled people. Now, many Leo Varadkar thinks that these people don’t have a vote but I can tell you, that OAPs do have a vote and this is a hate campaign and the statistics out there are incorrect.”

O’Rourke: “A hate campaign?”

Gorman: “It is a hate campaign. Because never in my life, and I’m 30 years associated with that department, never was there a campaign like it. Coming after savage austerity and after,r you know, what was now very visible wronging anyway, in other sectors of society, going unchecked. And here we have this sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

Leo Varadkar spent just shy of a quarter of a million on that. And it’s all about his own bid to become a leader. And you had one of your people there saying that it was, to quote him, politically profitable. Well, you know, this is why he [Varadkar] did. He’s the one who’s making political profit…”

O’Rourke: “Ok, let’s hear Paddy Smyth on that.”

Smyth: “I think, it is ironic that Dr Varadkar is being accused of this being politically motivated….he’s doing his job. This is a budget that he is responsible for. It is his job to make sure that that is protected. It is his job to make sure that the allegations that he makes…”

Gorman: “That’s what I mean, you can’t social welfare fraud in isolation of other sectors in society..”

Smyth: “Nobody is suggesting he did.”

Talk over each other

Gorman: “…Government policy. Overall Government policy in this country has not observed what we would call the social contract. And back in the day, I can tell you when there was a chief inspector’s office in that department, the imprudence of that extraordinary campaign because he’s accusing people, that majority of people who are highly compliant of wrongdoing. One lady, I did take him on on social media, and one woman sent me a private message which, upon the back of which, I wrote to Leo Varadkar. She had worked all her life, had brought up her child on her own, who’s now aged 23, who’s now suffering from terminal cancer, in her 50s, and said it made her feel like scum. And she was glad that somebody in the system called him out.

Would he accuse other people so lightly and put up wrong statistics all over buses, all over the city? Which is against the advertising standards. There is not half million fraud. In fact, three-quarters of it, as somebody pointed out, is through administrative error and  I’m not, in one minute, I’m not condoning it. But don’t forget that, you know, all social welfare is spent on the economy. A quarter of our people are living at one point, four million of our society’s citizens, and I call them citizens, and there was supposed to be a customer charter…”

O’Rourke: “Ok, just…”

Gorman: “I would call it a citizens’ charter in that department…”

O’Rourke: “Just…”

Gorman: “Which assumes, which assumes honesty. Where is the assumption of honesty for the majority of people who are compliant?”

O’Rourke: “Let’s just hear Cllr Paddy Smyth just in respect of that point.”

Gorman: “Yeah.”

Smyth: “Just first of all, you’ve accused the minister of accusing the majority of recipients of committing fraud, he’s never done such a thing so…”

Gorman: “Yeah, well, that’s how it comes across on the buses. That’s the way it comes across on the billboards. That’s how it comes across.”

Smyth: “That’s your interpretation.”

Gorman: “He put up a quarter of a million, sorry, a quarter of a billion. There’s not a quarter of a billion fraud. That is not correct….”

Talk over each other

Smyth: “We can get bogged down…”

Gorman: “He spent shy of a quarter of a million on that…”

Smyth: “Ok, we can get bogged down on the figures here, let’s just…”

Talk over each other

O’Rourke: “Bernadette, Bernadette, Bernadette, hang on, you’re just going to have to let the others contribute please. And I will come back to you, ok?”

Smyth:Let’s just suspend disbelief for a moment and accept the figure of €25million or so, it’s still €25million that the workers of Ireland have to work damn hard to earn so that they can pay taxes so that the Government can then give that money to the most needy in society. But, you talked about a social contract. There needs to be good will on both sides. And the taxpayers of Ireland need to know that the people who are receiving social welfare, that their needs are bona fides.”

Later

Mendel-Gleason: “This is not about prudent financial arrangements at all. If you look at it, you know, we were talking about, you know, maybe €25million, maybe it’s €50million, that’s between 0.1 and 0.2% of the entire social welfare budget. A tiny amount. It’s not a real problem. Now if we look at the amount in jobseekers’ allowance payment, we went from €1.5billion in 2007 to over €3.5billion, after the crash. And that is just, it vastly swamps it. If you really wanted to tackle costs and financial problems, in the budget, and where taxpayers’ money is going, you’d be looking at putting people back to work and that is not what you’re doing…”

Smyth: “Which is exactly what we’re doing…That is why we have a Minister for Enterprise, why we have a Minister for Jobs…why are we attacking the minister…”

Mendel-Gleason: “Now, this is interesting, I’ll tell you why…so I just recently… I was recently talking to Enterprise Ireland. Now if you want to talk about the taxpayers’ money being utilised in a prudent way. I was talking to somebody from Enterprise Ireland, they said they want to create jobs and they don’t want equity in the company. Now, if you can imagine, you were a capitalist and you went and you decided to make an arrangement, where you were giving money to some company and getting nothing in return, does that seem prudent?

Smyth: “Ok.”

Mendel-Gleason: “Does that seem like a sensible solution? This is a social welfare programme for corporations and not about just using taxpayers’ money efficiently…”

Gorman: “Exactly.”

Mendel-Gleeson: “…and in a sensible way.”

Smyth: “Ok. I think. What we’re doing here is we’re criticising a minister for defending his budget. I mean if we’re to listen to the contributors here, we would expect the minister, and to read Gavin’s article, we would expect Minister Varadkar to hide under a blanket…”

Gorman: “But can I ask..”

O’Rourke: “Hold on a minute, Bernadette…”

Smyth:To hide under a blanket, basically, until the leadership of Fine Gael has, has been contested, lest he offends the sensibilities of the left.”

Talk over each other

 

Smyth: “This whataboutery is the most bizarre thing about this argument. Would we give out about the Department of Social Welfare changing their toilet paper vendor to save money because, oh, Apple owes us money.”

Mendel-Gleason: “This is a very good point. I agree. So, I’m in computer science, I’m a doctor of computer science and we have something called premature optimisation and that’s where you focus in on 0.1 or 0.2% of a problem and you try to solve that 0.1 or 0.2% when you can deal with the 50%. What you’re supposed to do is go after the 50%. And it is actually a poor use of resources…”

Gorman: “You cannot take welfare fraud in isolation…”

Talk over each other and later

O’Rourke: “Bernadette, I want to come back to you and I want to come back to something, you said an interesting thing in your first contribution, where you talked about the minister going on a solo run and I’m quoting you here, because I took a note of it, ‘I don’t know what his senior officials were doing allowing it’.”

Gorman: “Yes I don’t. Quite candidly because…”

O’Rourke: “Are they, are they supposed to tell him what to do?”

Gorman: “Well, I mean, the job of the civil service has always been, especially the senior ones, to give impartial and prudent advice to the ministers. And may I quote the most authoritative…”

O’Rourke: “But I mean when you say they, what were they doing allowing it, that implies that they were in a position to disallow him, in other words, say, ‘minister, you are not doing this’. Is that the way they’re supposed to operate?”

Gorman: “Well I think they should have flagged that it was highly imprudent. Because at the end of the day, you know, you cannot look at it in isolation. There is a perception of massive corporate fraud out there and banking collapses and all the rest of it and wrongdoing and here you have this going on.”

Smyth: “We’re back to the whataboutery.”

Gorman: Can you imagine what it’s like for an inspector on the beat going out…”

Later

Gomran: “Nowadays, it’s very difficult for anybody doing that job, to put up with the level of abuse you can get about how the Government is operating. And I do believe he’s on a solo run and I do believe it’s all about his own ego. It’s a very, very distasteful campaign and never, never in the history of the State, while I was in there, has there been a campaign like it. And never when there was so much compliance, compliance at a time of austerity measures which were, you know, quite savage, on social welfare people…”

O’Rourke: “And what do you think, Bernadette, of the idea of naming people who have been convicted of welfare fraud?”

Gorman:I think it’s absolutely scandalous. I really do. And, again, it’s how we’re drifting in this country. I mean drifting towards naming and shaming people, many of whom were kind of driven into fraud for a lot of complex reasons that I spoke about….It’s the way we are drifting. It’s a war on the poor. It’s class warfare actually. It’s a very Tory-ite idea and it’s a very American thing and, again, I think we should be looking at other models, like the Scandinavian model. Don’t forget, you know, we are a developed economy. And all developed economies have a highly robust welfare system there for people who need it, or whatever, who fall into that category for whatever reason. But it’s implicit in the campaign that everybody on welfare is some sort of cheat, is some sort of scum really.”

Smyth: “That is your interpretation.”

Gorman: “Well, it’s not my interpretation because I have…listen I have, I can speak on this with authority, over and above the rest of you, if I may say so, because I was on the beat. And, you know, it is, and I want to quote TK Whitaker. When he said, about, when he wrote his book about how the civil service became politicised. And one of the things he said was that they seemed to exist now to massage the egos of their political masters instead of giving prudent advice and it would not be prudent at this time to have such a sledgehammer to crack a nut, an expensive campaign. And, in my view, it is all about his aspirations to be the leader. And it is quite disgusting. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. And all my old colleagues, whom I’ve spoken to, the old guard, as I would call them, they thought…”

O’Rourke: “A lot of people listening are actually agreeing with Bernadette Gorman there…”

Later

Mendel-Gleason: “We have €2.5billion in fraud from white-collar workers and…”

Smyth: “Let’s crack down on that.”

Mendel-Gleason: “Well, how many people have been allocated to cracking down on this, do you know? Cause the gardaí were being trained, they were training 40 people to deal with this. Do you know how many people are on this control of welfare?

Smyth: “I’ve a feeling you’re going to tell me.”

Mendel-Gleason:Over 300. So, like, what’s going on? We have €7.2billion that the State was defrauded by, by McAteer, Casey and Bowe, Anglo Irish Bank executives and Irish Life…”

Smyth:We’re back to whataboutery...the minister has no remit over this..”

 

Listen back here

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

109 thoughts on ““It Is All About His Aspirations To Be Leader, I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It In My life”

  1. Owen C

    “We have €7.2billion that the State was defrauded by, by McAteer, Casey and Bowe, Anglo Irish Bank executives and Irish Life…”

    Fantastical comprehension of reality. This did not happen.

    Reply
  2. Owen C

    O’Rourke: “And what do you think, Bernadette, of the idea of naming people who have been convicted of welfare fraud?”

    Gorman: “I think it’s absolutely scandalous.

    We’ve done it with tax defaulters for a long time. Don’t see why this should be different in principle. Don’t recall Bernadette complaining about that practice in the past.

    Reply
    1. Tony Groves

      Yes, but the stigma is completely different.
      Leo’s campaign and reporting around it made false claims and referred to Welfare Cheats as Fraudsters.
      The most recent tax settlement by tax cheats was reported as “a Windfall for Revenue”.

      Reply
      1. Owen C

        how is the stigma different? Did we suddenly become ok with tax defaulters overnight? You must’ve missed the regular updating of this list in the national newspapers for all to see and hear about.

        Reply
        1. Tony Groves

          Welfare Cheats = Cheat us all
          Tax Cheats = Create a windfall
          The language of socioeconomic snobbery and the comfort of punching down, rather than up.

          Reply
          1. Lord Snowflakee

            Fraud is fraud is fraud

            Underpaying tax is not always necessarily fraud in that it may not be intentional deceit but wilful ignorance or administrative incompetence. For this reason Revenue allow folks to make a voluntary disclosure and in this context, a ‘windfall’ could be just that, extra revenue to fund important public services including those accessed by the needy.

            Welfare cheats however are just that because of all the form filling, declarations and documentation, it’s hard to defraud the welfare unless it’s entirely intentional.

          2. Owen C

            Correct. Not one of these people is guilty of any crime. I assume Dept of Social Protection will offer a similar option for voluntary disclosure of overreceipt of welfare payments or administration errors in its provision etc.

            But even beyond that Tony, if your only evidence is a singular tweet, where the ‘windfall’ comment doesn’t even make it into the story, then I think you’re somewhat clutching at straws here.

            http://www.newstalk.com/Over-2300-declare-offshore-income

          3. Owen C

            Tony, what on earth are you talking about? You’re making a spurious claim that we don’t criticize tax defaulters. We categorically do. Grow up and accept there is no basis in fact to your claim.

          4. Tony Groves

            Grow up? Facts seem lost on you, so I tried to speak in a language you might understand. It’s hard to penetrate that echo chamber you hide in.

          5. egghead

            Tony,
            You’re wasting your time. Apologists like Owen believe in class warfare and, like Leo, think the poor are to blame for their own problems.
            It’s sad, these are lonely lads, living with their parents and lashing out at the world.

          6. Sheik Yahbouti

            Ah, but someday they might secure a sinecure for being a mudflap for these ‘big boys’ – sweeeeet – what’ll you say THEN Tony? It will all have been worthwhile :-D

          7. Owen C

            So, because i believe that we do in fact, rightly, criticize tax defaulters, this implies that I am the one who believes in class warfare? Does no one see the stupidity that is readily on show here this afternoon? Good grief.

          8. Tony Groves

            Owen, I never said it was wrong to criticise fraud. I said there’s a stigma attached to one that isn’t to the other. Making stuff up to make yourself the victim is a little pathetic. You usually troll much better than that.

          9. rotide

            No you’re not.

            You correctly refuted the argument being presented, rightly questioned Tony’s attempt at humour which had nothing to do with the actual conversation.

            Tony is the one not dealing with facts here.

          10. Owen C

            Well done Tony. If you are trying to suggest that we are soft on prosecution of crime generally in Ireland, whether white collar crime, tax fraud, or social welfare fraud, then you are doing trojan work.

            http://www.thejournal.ie/welfare-payments-review-ireland-checking-2584650-Feb2016/

            But no, please keep going with the “class war”, socioeconomic snobbery etc schtick, its a marvel to behold.

            Fact: we report people who are guilty of tax cheating
            Fact: they suffer a social stigma from this (which is why one of the main reasons for voluntary disclosures, ie to avoid public disclosure)

            It seems bizarre, to the point of stupidity, to somehow claim that reporting people who are guilty of social welfare fraud would somehow be a different and presumably worse or more unfair stigma. Cheating the state and the taxpayer out of funds is the same issue regardless of what end of the social scale you perceive it to be on.

          11. Moderate THIS!

            Tony’s article reveals the view of vested interests in the sector that “not enough is being done to combat white collar crime”. Fair enough. Let’s take that at face value. Now Tony, a chara, why does that mean we should not ALSO be pursuing welfare fraud?

          12. Tony Groves

            Troll,
            Show me where I said we shouldn’t ?
            Anyway. Thanks for the laughs, lads. I think I’ve smeared enough lipstick on the pig :)

          13. Cian

            I think that for the ‘Tax cheats’ the “windfall” mentioned was because the people involved eventually paid their tax (plus penalties). So the State has recovered the monies, hence the windfall.
            If someone doesn’t pay their taxes, even when discovered, they aren’t treated well – remember the fella sent to prison for importing garlic and not paying the proper tax?

            The ‘Welfare Cheats’, by and large, don’t repay in bulk (i.e. they repay €10 a week) or never repay at all.

        2. MKG985

          As someone who has been audited and who is living with a long term illness, I can tell you I was made feel like I was committing fraud. There is very definitely a stigma attached to those who need the safety net the DSP.

          Reply
          1. Moderate THIS!

            Very whiney. It’s widely reported that there’s widespread abuse of disability payments in particular. You should be lauding the efforts of officials to ensure that the funds for your no doubt deserving cases of need are ring fenced for your requirements and that you are not missing out because bogus claimants are dipping into your pot. Also why decry the officials human failings when they are merely doing their jobs in a stressful environment? Did you send them a thank you note or email when they eventually processed your claim? A little more humility and gratitude soundly wouldn’t go amiss.

  3. Moderate THIS!

    What a load of self serving nonsense

    Fraud is fraud is fraud and this money could be better spent on genuinely needy people rather than slowing the same rogues siphon off the cream every time

    Reply
      1. Lord Snowflakee

        “Oooh look at that fraud over there? Never mind this one here. ”

        That’s your argument, is it? Well it’s bunkum.

        All forms of fraud or cheating of public money, enslave the taxpayer even further and rob the poor to whom frontline services are inevitably the worst cut.

        Reply
    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Yes and crime is crime is crime. That’s why jaywalkers are just as bad as murderers. You. Utter. Child.

      Reply
      1. Moderate THIS!

        You’re a bit creepy. No one conflates white collar crimes with murders except obscure internet dudes with nothing better to do than troll hard working folks.

        Reply
        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Buddy. This is probably your 50th plus name here. I know you think you’re having a laugh but that’s *really* sad.

          Reply
  4. Boj

    All I can say is….Extrapolate this….*pulls pin and throws grenade at Leinster House*
    Coolest ending EVER!!!

    Reply
  5. sOCK pUPPET

    Ah the excellent economic argument of whatabootery….

    IF we had found £41m in fraud in 2015, then we MIGHT have another £41m in fraud undetected for the same year WHICH MAY mean there COULD have been a total of £246m in fraud committed since that time.

    I really hope the little voices in their heads are thinking “I hope we get away with this BS” rather than “Me so clever, me gets d’maths”

    Reply
  6. Sheik Yahbouti

    Having read this lengthy article I can only conclude that Leo (if you see a bare arse, kick it) Varadkar, will benefit hugely from his mean minded campaign. This says a whole lot more about us, as a people, than it does about Leo. He is a mere ape, seeking high office – what is OUR excuse?

    Reply
    1. LW

      I think you’ve to look at who he’s canvassing with this, it’s not the general public, it’s fine Gael, they’re gonna choose Kenny’s successor. And this goes over very well with their base, as evidenced by plenty of commenters on here every time this comes up

      Reply
    2. Kolmo

      “This says a whole lot about us” – nope, it says a whole lot about the demographic his core voters would be – monied boorish semi-peasants who pulled the ladder up behind them, large insulated landowners (see Mr. Bruton) and the reactionary loud goshites, shouting loudly in bars about how much more they earn than you.

      Again – another stomach-churningly cynical FG mindset being highlighted, but this is politics. Contemptable, low- down politics.

      Reply
      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Kolmo, how could I disagree. I’m a generous, forgiving old sort – ‘fool to meself ‘ sometimes ;-)

        Reply
  7. JIMMYJAMES

    Lol… sometimes broadsheet really is a ”see whch way the wind blows with this” type a place.

    Look theres 2.2 trillion worth of shaow banking funds in international ‘special puprose vehicle’ schemes down the ISFC

    Whatever your thoughts on welfare fraud..leo could’t give a sh!te about it….pretty much a daily mail reader bait campaign aimed at the dummed down middle class, & a cynical PR stunt.

    Enjoy your luch time lattes, you’ve earned them.

    Reply
    1. martco

      +1 in a nutshell

      there’s a few finegaelers in my family world…we’d regularly have a disagreement or two but there’s one subject we’re always in agreement on its this self serving cock.

      I often wonder if he is in fact really gay at all or if that wasn’t yet another self back slapping PR stunt.

      Reply
          1. mildred st. meadowlark

            There is a chance that ‘moderate THIS’ is acting the maggot…

          1. Brother Barnabas

            I try, Mildred, but every so often giddiness gets the better of me and I do a proverbial squirty poop all over the place. And I think they’ve realised that; don’t even trust myself.

  8. RuilleBuille

    Bernadette Gorman was terrific. Exposed the lie that there is widespread fraud in the system.

    Well there is but Leo is looking in the wrong place.

    EU: “Apple owe you €13 billion.” Gov: “We don’t want it!”
    NAMA: “What should we do with all these properties?” Gov: “Bundle them together and sell them off cheaply to foreign hedge funds and see what backhanders we can get.”

    Reply
    1. Rob_G

      People keep talking about Apple’s €13bn as if it was ‘our’ money – Apple did not earn €13bn in the Irish market. If Ireland’s deal with Apple was somehow in breach of EU rules, why would we be getting the money? Surely the money would be owed to the tax man in the other 27 Member States?

      Reply
      1. Boj

        Both sides have been speaking of this for a while…does anybody know where the money will go? A source would be helpful too.

        Reply
      2. rotide

        This was all explained perfectly at the time. we wouldn’t get anywhere closer to the full amount. The money was earned on sales all over Europe, The estimates vary on how much we’d receive but it would certainly be under 5.

        There would be a potential fall out from today payment which could have an effect on the 3 or 4 or so billion a year we earn from multi Nationals here, hence the pushback.

        Reply
        1. Boj

          I appreciate the response but do not see any FACT. Surely this is not set in stone as IREGOV are continuing the fight not to get it back. Would you have a link to the perfect explanation? Thanks.

          Reply
          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Thanks for the regurgitation of the party line, editor. “We may be owed it, but the big boys won’t like us any more if we ask for it”. :-(

          2. Boj

            I have been googling it but the results are if’s and buts with no definite. You are speaking in definite terms so I’m wondering could you supply a link to your material.

    2. Owen C

      Sell them off cheaply? And yet NAMA still makes a profit? I assume you were one of the many (and growing, it seems) people at the time insisting that property prices would rebound by +50% in the next 5 years and that NAMA was criminally underpaying the banks for the assets it took on?

      Reply
  9. kid jensen

    Very hard to listen to that Mendel Gleason guy with the yank accent. Does he live in Ballymun? I do.

    Reply
    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Which means she’ll be discredited before long. That’s what happens to people shine a light on the dark underbelly.

      Reply
  10. Jake38

    “Talk over each other………talk over each other…..”. So the usual incompetent learn-nothing RTE political interview then.

    Reply
  11. Listrade

    I’m going to do my own bit of whataboutery (with apologies to Paddy Smyth) because the problem is that the figures and accusations of fraud don’t stack up.
    We know the figures because the Department has been running surveys since 2012. They’re all on the dept website if anyone wants to go through them separately to me.

    http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Department-of-Social-Protection—Fraud-_-Error-Surveys.aspx

    Each area of social welfare has been surveyed. Random samples are picked an analysed and analysed. Summary of results below.
    The problems with the results is that the information provided varies, some give a good breakdown of cost and some don’t. Some give an absolute statement on risk (mostly Low risk) and some don’t. But the basic figures are all there, it just needs some time to do a more detailed overview.
    Pop Quiz. We’re all for prosecuting criminals and all that, but what area of benefit has the most cases? Unemployed, illness, disability, rent?
    Lone Parents seems to be the biggest for both numbers of fraud and error, this accounts for 2.7% of benefits paid to lone parents, next is the Farmers coming in with 54% of the claims reviewed being fraudulent or in error (the lone parent error rate was 34%).
    The short version of the reports is that of those I looked at 9,011 cases were surveyed. Overpayment was as a result of:
    6.5% customer error
    4% Departmental error
    3% Suspected fraud.
    Of the overpayments made by the state, 78% are due to legitimate errors (by their definition) and only 22% suspected fraud. But all the resources of Leo’s plan is on the 22%.
    47% are customer errors. Why not see what can be done there. It may be simplifying the forms or applications, language assistance, etc. 31% is departmental error, what about (ery) staff training? Greater supervision of staff? Do we need more staff handling applications rather than playing detective for the 22%?
    The thing is for Leo, if this a move to appeal to the FG heartland and his leadership bid, given the widespread fraud among farmers, could it backfire when the FG faithful farmers are prosecuted, named and shamed.

    Farm Aid 500 samples
    33 cases of Fraud
    57 customer errors
    177 department errors
    Combined Fraud and error 10.4% of expenditure

    Disability 1011 samples
    26 cases of customer fraud
    56 customer error
    16 departmental error
    Combined fraud and error 2.1% of expenditure

    Jobseekers (in2011) 1000 samples
    52 suspect fraud (only 1 case processed as fraud)
    35 customer error
    29 departmental error (though 16 of these are buried in the report as although errors, the rate remained the same upon correction)
    Combined fraud and error 1.6% of expenditure

    Lone Parent 1000 samples
    105 suspected fraud (52 processed as fraud)
    220 customer error
    16 departmental error
    Combined fraud and error 2.7% of expenditure

    Child Benefit 1000 samples
    5 suspected fraud
    No errors
    Combined fraud and error 0.5% of expenditure.

    Jobseekers (in 2014) 1000
    21 fraud
    119 customer error
    9 departmental error
    Percentage of expenditure not listed

    Rent Allowance 1000 samples
    38 Fraud
    55 customer errors
    67 departmental errors
    5.0% of expenditure equivalent (2.9% of expenditure equivalent to 3.5% of claims for fraud and 2.1% of expenditure equivalent to 11.4% of claims)

    Widow Allowance 1000 samples
    4 Fraud
    37 customer error
    36 departmental error
    0.7% of expenditure equivalent (0.2% of expenditure equivalent to 0.3% of claims fraud, 0.5% of expenditure equivalent to 7.7% of claims error)

    Illness 1000 samples
    4 fraud
    1 customer error
    5 departmental error
    0.4% of expenditure

    Housing Benefit 500 samples
    3 Fraud (do not live in the state, not possible to prosecute)
    6 customer errors
    36 departmental errors
    7% of expenditure

    Reply
    1. Rob_G

      Farmers who haven’t been convicted of fraud, but who are in receipt of public money (the CAP scheme) have their names and addresses, and the amount that they received, published publicly.

      So, in this context, keeping a register of people who have been convicted of social welfare fraud (and whose details are already available publicly through records of courts proceedings) does not seem like such a radical development.

      Reply
      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Rob, that is a gallant effort on your part (bring in de farmers), but is puny compared to the published facts which rotide (praise be upon him) brings to our attention. The class /urban /rural divide that you and your buddies thrive on is becoming really threadbare and transparent. People are beginning to discern who their real enemies are. Run. ;-)

        Reply
      1. rotide

        I was going to say that the post was so well researched and presented it was better than most other contributors and you should write a column, seems i should have read up more.

        Reply
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Didn’t the DSP run a similar campaign back when Joan Burton was minister? Haven’t previous ministers fronted similar campaigns in the past? Is this suddenly outraging people just cos it’s a FG minister? As for the notion thata few million or tens of milion in fraud is not so bad cos it’s spent in the local economy, that applies to the campaign itself as it could be seen as means for throwing a few quid at Dublin bus and the like. No one has suggested that everyone in receipt of a social welfare payment is a cheat, anymore than the insurance ads about fraudulent insurance claimants is saying that everyone who makes a claim is a cheat. Some are, and the less there are the better for everyone.

    Reply
  13. Kenny U-Vox Plank

    It’s a mean spirited campaign. And so what if they publish the names of those found to have been defrauding the DSP. That worked well with the Revenue didn’t it? Your name on that list is a badge of honour for sticking to the man. They might as well just file the names under a heading called: “Total Ledges”

    Reply
    1. Lord Snowflakee

      What’s mean-spirited about making sure that your and my money is not being robbed and then unwisely spent on frozen pizza, spliffs, big screen tvs, hard drugs, booze, fags, dogs and horses?

      Reply
  14. MoyestWithExcitement

    It’s no different to the GOP voter ID laws which a court said targeted black people with “surgical precision”. This is for emotionally fragile and privileged people who need people to look down on. In the states, it’s black people. Here it is the poor.

    Reply
  15. Andy

    When you don’t have an argument you resort to whataboutery

    This topic was Social Welfare fraud,

    Yet somehow it ended up with Apple, NAMA, the Banks, Enterprise Ireland, White Collar fraud

    Reply
  16. Eoin

    Hate campaign? Yes. Very apt language indeed. And having experienced Intreo personally I can confirm this. They are like the governments Gestapo. Their only job is to hound you off welfare and out of the country, thereby making the unemployment figures look better. That’s right. Unemployed jobseekers get to be treated like subhumans so a few poxy politicians can keep their jobs for a year or two longer.

    Reply
    1. martco

      ah yeah I remember yer man now….he the one that got involved in a 1st world spat with Robbie Fox a couple of years ago….

      Well-known restaurateur Robbie Fox defended his decision to turn Caireann Smyth and her 15-month-old daughter Ava away from Belucci’s restaurant in Ballsbridge. “I had my daughter in the buggy and Robbie, the owner, came up to us and said, ‘I’m sorry but we don’t allow children in at this time, but that we were welcome to come back in the afternoon.”He just said that there is a no children policy and I didn’t press him any further because there were quite a few people around.

      “It was quite embarrassing for me, being told to leave in front of a busy restaurant. We ended up going to the Four Seasons instead.”

      Concerned over what had happened, her husband and local Fine Gael councillor Dr Patrick Smyth called the business to speak with Mr Fox. “He explained that he does not allow children into his Italian restaurant because it might disturb the bankers who eat there,” Cllr Smyth said. “I said that you cannot just discriminate against children. It’s a vile practice to give priority to bankers over children. “I don’t care if it’s legal or not, that is irrelevant. To me this is just morally objectionable,” he added.

      indeedy doo

      Reply
  17. 15p

    “whataboutery” .. how many times did Smyth say that? It’s the word Varadkar used in defending himself on this issue, so it obviously sounded like a good retort to the rest of FG who them sing off the same tuneless hymn sheet. It’s a worrying global trend, leading parties being crammed top to toe with right-wing, clueless, incompetent, self-serving morons who have no genuine interest in politics, or a passion to actually help their population and work for them. Politics is business now. They treat countries like a business, and we’re all the commodities. I’m sick of living in an economy, and not a society.

    Reply
      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Or the Scandinavian one. Isn’t it funny how right mouth breathers keep pointing to Venezuela any time people point out the massive problems with right wing ideology? It’s almost like they have no argument.

        Reply
        1. This monkey's gone to heaven

          If there is a more sociopathic virulent troll on the internet than you I don’t want to meet them

          Reply
        2. 15p

          exact-a-mundo!
          and the irony of them talking about whataboutery, when they say “yea, but Venezuela..”

          Reply
        3. Owen C

          Scandinavian societies are open market economies with strong social supports. I have no major fundamental problems with them, albeit like every economy they are not perfect. Unlike you, I have actually lived on one of them for a while.

          Its almost like everything can’t be put down to your standard simplistic black or white right v left argument. Its almost like you’re an idiot.

          Reply
          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Oh Jesus. It’s like you have a bet on with rob to see who can embarrass themselves the most. :D

          2. 15p

            Owen, the usual FG line .. economy economy economy .. do you, hand on your heart, think FG are doing a good job in charger? in the face of everything they have done/haven’t done, weekly controversaries, failings, lies .. all these things we know for fact.. do you think our country is well run?

          3. Owen C

            Unfortunately I’m well used to a mediocre standard of governance in this country, which FG are continuing a long history of.

            In short, I think they’ve done the big picture stuff (general economy/fiscal position, FDI, Brexit preparations/negotiations) well, and have implemented the small stuff horrifically in many cases (NMH, garda, health/education issues, general stupidity). I would not expect much of a change from FF in either regard, while some of the far left policies scare the nuts off me. I would consider voting for any left or right leaning centrist who could show broad based competence to govern.

          4. Owen C

            Moyest, what would be the point of any such bet given your propensity to outperform all comers in the embarrassment stakes on such a consistent basis?

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            You’re right, I’m much worse for lowering myself and engaging with you but you’re just so entertainingly dimwitted I can’t help myself.

          6. 15p

            they didn’t do the big things or the little things .. any advancements in economy was the result of businesses and how they conducted themselves and showed initiative. the gov. just stepped in to claim the numbers. Those small things you mention are in no way small at all. Particularily not small to the people who’s lives were ruined or ended as a result.

  18. 15p

    but i agree, Owen.. FF are certainly no different and nor would they make any change to how everything is running.

    Reply

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