Castlerea, County Roscommon.
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan MEP (with daughter Saoirse) writes:
18% turnout in Castlerea at 12:30pm. Please come out and support me with your No.1 Vote…
Earlier: First Votes
Ed Honohan, Master of the high court, visited me today in the European Parliament to talk about vulture funds and building a case with DG competition on how these funds have an unfair competitive advantage on others. pic.twitter.com/FkehgeUk3S
— Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (@lukeming) March 19, 2019
Previously: Ed Honohan on Broadsheet
From top; Mario Blokken, head of Finabel, has said he has met representatives of the Irish Defence Forces
Via the office Luke Ming Flanagan MEP:
‘Meetings have taken placed between a member of the Defence Forces and Finabel, the European Interoperability Centre, according to documents releasedu nder Freedom of Information.
Emails outline preparations for a meeting on Monday 17th September 2018 at the office of the Irish Permanent Representative in Brussels, between Mr Mario Blokken, Finabel Permanent Secretariat, and the MILREP (Military Representative) of the Defence Forces.
More documents show that on the 22nd November 2018, the Irish Military Representative attended the Finabel “Annual Address to the European Military Representatives”, where representatives from the 22 countries were also in attendance.
Speaking to Mr. Flanagan’s office by phone, Mr Mario Blokken confirmed that meetings had taken place with a member of the Irish Defence Forces.
He went on to say the meeting went “well” and that he expected Defence Forces Ireland to apply first for observer status, and later for full membership of Finabel.
A separate Freedom of Information request revealed that Ireland is participating in ten PESCO projects and that the Department of Defence considers that Irish participation in EU military projects such as EU Battlegroups “contributes to our overall credibility in the Union”.
Founded in 1953, Finabel describes itself as “an informal international de facto association” initially focussing on cooperation between armament programmes, but now involved in “the harmonisation of army doctrines”. 22 member states of the EU are currently members of Finabel.
Previously Ireland had only stated its involvement in two PESCO projects, and no further update had been given.’
Previously: EU Army on Broadsheet
Luke Ming Flanagan said:
“The Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Leo Varadkar needs to tell us why it is in Ireland’s interest to turn away from our traditional position of military neutrality and voluntarily involve ourselves in this growing imperial project. Even our newly elected President, Michael D Higgins has said that the government has not done enough to explain this decision.”
A public meeting entitled ‘Are We Heading Towards an EU Army?’ will be held in the ILAS Theatre in Galway on at 7pm.
Next week, 23 EU member states, including Ireland, will put forward a notification to launch the military project Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
During the Presidential campaign, Michael D Higgins said he was worried about Irish neutrality and that the government had a duty to explain why it made the decision to sign up to PESCO.
Hosted by Luke Ming Flanagan, MEP for Midlands Northwest, Thursday’s meeting will explore the issues of Irish neutrality, Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) & EU militarisation.
Speakers confirmed for the meeting include Clare Daly TD; Mick Wallace TD; Catherine Connolly TD; Thomas Pringle TD; Dr Karen Devine, Lecturer in International Relations & EU politics, Dublin City University; Roger Cole, Chairman of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance; and Claudia Hyadt, Campaigner on military policy and member of German Die Linke party.
Previously: EU Army on Broadsheet
— Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (@lukeming) September 19, 2018
MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, along with his parliamentary assistant Diarmuid O’Flynn – who appeared before the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach in June – reminds people of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note deal.
In June, Mr O’Flynn, of the newly titled Ballyhea Says Know group, told the committee that Ireland’s Central Bank took out of circulation €500million in 2014; €2billion in 2015, €3billion in 2016; €4billion in 2017; and, as of June this year, €1billion.
Mr Flanagan, in the clip above, calls on members of the public to ask their local TDs, regardless of party, to stop this practice.
Previously: There’s A Touch Of That About It
— Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan (@lukeming) June 18, 2018
A video from Luke Ming Flanagan MEP neatly outlining the threats posed by the EU toward sites like Broadsheet and the internet as we know it.
Our future is at stake.
Call your MEP NOW!
Thanks Dermot Bohan
The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, County Donegal
Luke Ming Flanagan came to see musical Robin B’Stard & The Water Thieves, featuring a character ‘Turfcutter Ming’ (Nigel Hegarty in pic 2 with Ming)…and squeezed in a convincing bong-hitting cameo in the final song (above).
Conor Malone writes:
Robin B’Stard & The Water Thieves is a musical comedy lampooning the water charges. Ming was one of several politicians portrayed on stage with King Enda, his henchmen Leo and Simon and secret cabinet colleague Michael Martin pitted against an alliance containing Scarecrow Mick, Turfcutter Ming and the ancient wizard Michael D among others in the battle for the village water supply…. Ming, who dashed to Ballybofey from a Referendum count in Roscommon, evidently enjoyed the show immensely.
Luke Ming Flanagan (left) and Gino Kenny flank Vera Twomey at Dublin Airport in April, 2017 after Vera obtained medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava in Barcelona, Spain.
Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP writes:
Vera Twomey has fought a well documented battle to gain access to a life changing cannabinoid based medicine for her daughter Ava Barry.
She now faces another battle in order for her daughter to continue using this same medicine.
The reason. The HSE are refusing to fund it under the Long Term illness Scheme.
Not because of medical reasons but purely for bureaucratic reasons.
Furthermore the HSE are now trying to force Ava Barry’s family to use another product sourced in the Czech Republic which does not have the support of either of the two consultants working with the child.
Worse still is the fact that the family would not get the equivalent medical support in the Czech Republic that they are currently receiving in The Hague.
The HSE are telling us that ‘Market Authorisation’ is the reason for this issue now arising. They say that due to this they cannot fund the medicine under the Long Term Illness scheme.
However it is clear to anyone that if the state wished to fund the medicine under another mechanism then they could. We are talking about €1600 per month. A drop in the ocean of HSE funds.
Vera Twomey and her family have climbed a mountain in order to get access to a medicine which has improved their daughters life above and beyond all expectations.
Having climbed this mountain it would be farcical and potentially tragic if all this progress was halted because a government bean counter couldn’t work out how to get few extra beans out of the jar.
Previously: Vera Twomey on Broadsheet
From top: The Commissioning Ceremony of new Army Officers in the Defence Forces Church, Curragh Camp, Co Kildare lin January; Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan MEP writes:
In the last week, EU Defence Ministers, along with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, met in “PESCO format” [Permanent Structured Cooperation] for the first time.
They pushed plans to strengthen European Union security and defence and cooperation between the European Union and NATO, and discussed the European Defence Fund and new laws to establish a European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
None of these PESCO initiatives are in Ireland’s interests.
The Treaty on European Union’s description of PESCO is vague, and deliberately so.
It mentions “more binding commitments”, “with a view to the most demanding missions”, to fulfil “the Union level of ambition”, but what exactly is the ambition of the European Union in the use of military force sphere?
We DO know that no matter what the propaganda coming from Fine Gael or what Taoiseach Varadkar says, ‘the most demanding missions’ have nothing to do with UN peacekeeping.
The law establishing PESCO doesn’t contain a single mention of the United Nations, nor does it refer to peacekeeping, nor even “peace”.
We know that in the Lisbon Treaty debates the European Union and the Irish Government actively suppressed discussion of the implications of the Common Security and Defence Policy, including the mutual defence clause which is an integral part of PESCO.
According to Eurobarometer surveys, carried out twice a year among EU citizens, only 12% of European citizens claim to be aware of the mutual defence clause and to know what it is.
This level of ignorance among EU citizens about the EU’s CSDP and PESCO is no accident.
Let’s look at a few facts:
1) This legally binding EU decision mandates PESCO member states to increase defence budgets, to provide troops (on stand-by) for use in EU Battle-Groups , to join “structures partaking in European external action in the military field”, and for “common funding of military CSDP operations and missions”.
2) It states quite bluntly that “Increasing joint and collaborative defence capability development projects, is among the binding commitments under PESCO”.
3) PESCO aims to establish an EU-wide arms industry, and the EU’s European Defence Agency will tell PESCO members, including Ireland, what weapons to buy.
4) International humanitarian law, also known as the laws of war, requires that all attacks be directed at military targets. Attacks cannot cause disproportionate civilian loss.
Yet, we know that in modern warfare, missiles can miss the intended targets up 90% of the time. We also know that for every one soldier killed in modern conflicts, on average, ten civilians die.
The European Union’s own European Security Strategy, adopted by the European Council in Brussels in December 2003, stated as fact that ‘since 1990, almost 4 million people have died in wars, 90% of them civilians’.
A few questions then for our Taoiseach:
1) Will the EU procure weapons including BVR or “beyond visual range” missiles?
2) Will the European Defence Agency publish the “operational pK” (probability of Kill) for the weapons it demands the PESCO member-states buy?
3) Will the Irish government support the purchase of these weapons and against whom will they be used?
4) Mindful that the US military and government pays no attention to civilian deaths in America’s wars, will the EU publish the body count of the civilians inevitably killed through the so-called “alliance of individual PESCO armies” actions in EU CSDP military missions?
The Irish political establishment tells us that PESCO is OK for Ireland to be a member of because ‘non-NATO’ Sweden is a member.
What the Irish establishment won’t say is that Swedish foreign policy is entwined with commercial arms export interests, and that the Swedish Government no longer regards itself as neutral, or even non-allied, and were active participants in the establishment of the NATO ‘no fly zone’ in Libya in 2011 because it wanted to promote sales of its fighter jets.
As Gunnar Hult of Sweden’s National Defence College said:
“(Libya) was quite beneficial to the Gripen. This is something no politician would ever admit, but it’s true. People saw it participating in air campaigns. It’s good for business.“
Ireland should have followed the path of Denmark in relation to PESCO, and secured an opt-out to PESCO and CSDP. As the PESCO law says:
“Denmark does not participate in the elaboration and the implementation of decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications.Denmark is therefore not bound by this Decision”.
Ireland can have the same legally binding opt out.
The Taoiseach must reverse the decision he took in December 2017 to join PESCO and should instead re-orientate Irish foreign policy to neutrality and to what Ireland and her Defence Forces can do best to tackle conflicts and save civilian lives today, UN peacekeeping.
Luke Ming Flanagan is a member of the European Parliament for Midlands North West
Previously: PESCO on Broadsheet
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
Further to yesterday’s post about US Commerce Secretary and former Bank of Ireland board member Wilbur Ross…
A report commissioned by MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan claims Wilbur Ross sold off his holding in Bank of Ireland for a massive profit in 2014 while in possession of inside information that the bank was using accounting practices to mask its losses and make its financial position look better than it was…
This morning at 11am at Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, Mr Flanagan will launch the report, by Cormac Butler and Ed Heaphy, entitled ‘Did the ECB and the banks collude to hide losses, thus distorting their own balance sheets?’
Meanwhile, an article by Hannah Levintova was published in Mother Jones on Tuesday. Ms Levintova contacted Mr Ross for a comment and sent him the report.
After the article was published, Mr Ross sent the following response to Mother Jones.
The Mother Jones article about Bank of Ireland is a factually incorrect effort to smear me. The report they reference was commissioned by a single member of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left, whose original member parties included the French, Italian, Portuguese and Greek communist parties. Here are the facts:
The shares purchased by WL Ross Funds, and also by Fidelity Funds, Capital Research, Fairfax, and Kennedy Wilson, were the unsubscribed portion of a rights offering made available to the Irish Government and public shareholders on the preferential terms.
We bought them at the same price they were offered to those other public shareholders. The government at the time had designated a majority of the Board of Directors and was the largest shareholder. The investment bankers appointed by the government were world class firms and it was their obligation to assure proper dissemination of all material information.
The report’s author implausibly says that I learned of what he calls improper accounting during the due diligence and used that information to get a cheap price. This is an obvious non-sequitur, given the process described above.
The Bank’s basic accounting used IAS39, as required by the regulators, and was reviewed by PwC, the Bank’s outside auditors. The Bank’s financial statements were reviewed in excruciating detail by the Irish regulators, the ECB, the SSM, and the IMF.
The Bank also issued a variety of securities at different points during WL Ross Funds’ ownership. Due diligence was performed in each case by the investment bankers and the purchasing institutions. They clearly found nothing wrong.
When we sold the last block of WL Ross Funds’ holdings, other investors such as Fairfax, which had representation on the Board, decided not to join in the sale. The stock subsequently traded at a much higher price.
The report incorrectly says that there were official confessions of improper accounting in May 2015 after the final sale. In fact, the Bank reported earnings for 2015 of 947 million euros, 161 million euros more than in 2014, when WL Ross Funds sold the shares. Earnings in 2016 also were higher than in 2014.
If there actually had been a confession of accounting wrongdoing in 2015, it would have had to be reflected in the financials.
The report also brings in the Ocwen litigation, an irrelevance at best. That case was settled at no cost to me and I never even was called to appear in court. It clearly was mentioned as a smear to imply that I had done something wrong — this is simply not the case.
Yesterday: He Sold Us Short