Frank Fahey - Lost at Sea

Malbekh

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What's it all about? Well, in the year 2000, Frank Fahey, TD, landlord and property magnet, brought about a very short term compensation vehicle known as 'The Lost at Sea Scheme'. It functioned from June 2001 to 31st December 2001. The purpose of the scheme was to offer compensation in respect to any vessels lost at sea from 1980 to 1990 before the fishing boat registry came into being.

Specifically, this compensation was to be given to fishing families unable, for financial or related reasons, to continue with their tradition.

Seems reasonable? Hmm. There were 67 applicants for compensation, and only 6 were deemed to qualify for compensation. 2 of these happened to be constituents of Mr Fahey. It then transpires that of the €2.8m compensation paid, 75% of this 'value' went to these same two constituents. Not only that, but Mr Fahey consulted with these two individuals 4 months before the launch of the scheme, and, wrote a letter two months before the scheme ended congratulating these same two constituents about the success of their application.

All of which was unlikely to have gone noticed except that 6 parties then complained to the Ombudsman regarding their lack of success in receiving compensation. 5 of these the Ombudsman were not upheld, but in the case of the sixth, the Byrne family, who lost a father, a brother and two other crew with the loss of the Skifjord in 1981, she agreed that €250,000 worth of compensation because the scheme was fatally flawed.

The design of the scheme and the manner in which it was advertised were contrary to fair and sound administration and that these shortcomings were factors in the Byrne family not qualifying for assistance under the scheme.

Weaknesses in the design process included a lack of adequate research of files held within the department regarding vessels lost at sea during the relevant period, lack of documented analysis of the pros and cons of the Scheme’s qualifying criteria and a failure to include provision for the exercise of discretion in the vetting of applications

(Advertising of the scheme) should have been more thorough, comprehensive and targeted ...some prospective applicants were put in a more advantageous position than others as they were written to directly by the department and the minister to inform then about the Scheme when it was launched.
Lost at sea scheme flawed - report - The Irish Times - Mon, Dec 14, 2009

An interesting transcript of Dáil questions here:

Fishing Vessels.: 15 Oct 2009: Dil debates (KildareStreet.com)

Has Tom Sheahan (FG, Kerry South) saying:

It was the way it was worked. Four months before the scheme was launched the then Minister met with the two applicants and told them to apply. The closing date for the scheme was December 2001 yet the Minister wrote to the two applicants in October 2001 and congratulated them. Thereafter, the Attorney General’s advice was that they had to receive this settlement because of the Minister’s letter. This was a con job and a set-up. I ask the Minister of State, Deputy Sargent, while he is present, if he still believes this con job is worthy of a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission.
As the Ombudsman has been unable to reach agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, she has decided to refer to the Oireachtas, for only the second time since the office was founded in the 1980's.

Oireachtas should rule in 'Lost at Sea' row - O'Reilly - The Irish Times - Thu, Feb 04, 2010

It can be argued that the Ombudsman's findings are incorrect as the Byrne's processed their claim outside of the terms of conditions of the scheme, but what can't be refuted, is that the scheme itself was fundamentally flawed and designed in part to favour and benefit the then minister's constituents.
 
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The Field Marshal

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Send for Admiral Enda Kenny.

He will rescue Frank and send the naval hospital ship "The Mary Harney" to dry him out.


Admiral Kenny reviews the Irish fleet.
 

Congalltee

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Great post, though the title got my hopes up.
The biggest failing in Irish politics is that politicians can spend taxpayers money with no accountability.
What can be done to Fahy now?


(Same with Willie O'Dea misleading the High court, nama, the ahern era, bev flynn's independent allowance and liam Twomey doing the same, and the case of enright and mchugh)
 

MsAnneThrope

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In 2006 the Ireland on Sunday newspaper attempted to get the facts behind the Lost at Sea compensation scheme, of which 75% of the funds went to two of Fahey's constituents. They applied for the info under the Freedom of Information act.

If you look at this pdf file you'll see scans of their original letter and the reply they received. Almost all the info requested on Fahey and his dealings with the Ombudsman was refused, met with:

"Record is exempt as it forms part of a deliberative process of a public body under Section 20. The record is excluded under Section 46(c)(iii)" :rolleyes:

Oireachtas Debates

The fishing vessels lost at sea scheme was introduced by the then Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Fahey. The scheme was launched in June 2001. The closing date for receipt of applications was 31 December 2001. The purpose of the scheme was to compensate families or individuals who had lost fishing vessels at sea by restoring to them the equivalent tonnage of the lost vessel. While it seemed a great idea and an excellent scheme, it turned out to be more a scam than a scheme.

First, the scheme was only advertised in the three marine publications, The Marine Times, The Skipper and The Fishing News. There was no publication of the scheme on national or local radio, on television or in the national or local print press. As a result, individuals or families who had lost fishing vessels and were no longer involved in fishing were unaware of the scheme and, therefore, could not apply.

One such family was the Byrne family from Bruckless, County Donegal. Francis Byrne was the owner and skipper of the Skifjord which sank off the Donegal coast in October 1981. Mr. Byrne, his son, Jimmy, and three crewmen were lost. Two of the bodies were never recovered. Francis’s widow was left to rear her surviving eight children.

The Byrnes were out of fishing and were totally unaware of the scheme. They applied late via the Minister and local Deputy, Deputy Coughlan. Their application was rejected because it was too late. Danny Byrne, son of the deceased owner and skipper, contacted me. I took up the matter with the Ombudsman. Nothing I can say here can adequately express my admiration for the diligence with which the Ombudsman delved into the issue and arrived at the conclusion that the scheme was “seriously deficient and flawed”.

When the Ombudsman went digging for information on the Skifjord — five people had been drowned — the Department of the Communications, Marine and Natural Resources replied that it had no record of the Skifjord case. When the Ombudsman persisted, the Department eventually recovered two extensive files on the Skifjord “in deep storage”. What a Department. What a mess. What a scam.
Four months before the scheme was launched, the then Minister, Deputy Fahey, sat down with two of his Galway West constituent applicants from the Aran Islands and unveiled the proposed terms of the scheme to them. One of them was so patently ineligible that a senior civil servant advised the Minister that the applicant’s application should be rejected. However, it was not rejected. The official was overruled — enough said. The applicant in question, and another of the Minister’s crony constituents got 75% of the available [compensation].
 

Verhofstadt

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Very interesting stuff Malbekh.

Fahy should have proceeding brought against him for misappropriation of the public purse, the man is legend in his own swamp, one of the worst cases of parish pump politics i've ever come across.
 

teapot

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Very interesting stuff Malbekh.

Fahy should have proceeding brought against him for misappropriation of the public purse, the man is legend in his own swamp, one of the worst cases of parish pump politics i've ever come across.
IS THERE NO END TO THE DEPTHS TO WHICH THIS CORRUPT AND INCOMPETENT SO-CALLED GOVERNMENT WILL NOT GO///
:mad:
 

The Field Marshal

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Thanks for the lowdown Malbekh.

You're off topic trolling, field marshall.

Post reported as troll post.
Used to think you had a sense of humour.

Maybe you are just a died in the wool Fine Gaeler with no sense of humour.

Get a life ffs.
 

orbit

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Seems reasonable? Hmm. There were 67 applicants for compensation, and only 6 were deemed to qualify for compensation. 2 of these happened to be constituents of Mr Fahy. It then transpires that of the €2.8m compensation paid, 75% of this money went to these same two constituents. Not only that, but Mr Fahy consulted with these two individuals 4 months before the launch of the scheme, and, wrote a letter two months before the scheme ended congratulating these same two constituents about the success of their application.
It sounds totally wrong. Anyone could dream up a compensation scheme that sounds fair, but is designed to benefit a small number of specific individuals.

€2.1 million is a lot of tax payers money for a minister to be spending on a couple of his constituents.
 

Malbekh

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There's a very nice pastiche of the dialogue between all the officials and the various FOI requests here:

http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/NR/rdonlyres/5448818E-7A1B-4389-B51C-D553FBAFDCE3/0/FOI722006Part5.pdf

On the 13th of June 2001, Frank Fahey wrote to Paddy Mullen and Tony Faherty telling them about the scheme and inviting them to participate. The letter was signed 'Frank'. 4 months later he wrote to them again congratulating them on the success of their applications, even though the scheme had still two months to run.

However, it turned out that Mr Faherty had a part interest in another vessel in the interim period, meaning he was ineligible for compensation. After a flurry of letters and meeting between Mr Faherty, his solicitors, the AG and the department, an unsigned letter dated October 7th, 2002, said Mr Faherty had only made 'a technical breach of criteria' . It referred to an 'expectation' created by Mr Fahey's letters and said that there was 'room to accommodate Tony' and 'scope to facilitate Tony'.

Which of course he was....
 
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Nipper

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It sounds totally wrong. Anyone could dream up a compensation scheme that sounds fair, but is designed to benefit a small number of specific individuals.
Bank guarantee and NAMA could fit that definition.
 

Aristodemus

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He's still a teacher isnt he? Protecting his pension despite never having seen the inside of a classroom in 25years
 

The Field Marshal

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How come this idiot was never "lost at sea" ?!

better watch out Katy.
aggressivesecularist regards this as trolling and will report you!
 

katy brock

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He's still a teacher isnt he? Protecting his pension despite never having seen the inside of a classroom in 25years
I've heard he's an artist now.

How come all these Castlebarmen seem to be obsessed with sailing and boats.

Do they all fancy sailors?
 

markeys

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In any country with some standards Fahy would resign in disgrace and the Taoiseach would demand his resignation for abusing taxpayers funds.

Here, Clowen will be both clueless and incompetent. He might even mumble something under his breath before hiding back under whatever barren rock he came forth from. The Green's will just roll over and ask where they are expected to take it next.
:mad:
 

SideysGhost

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In any country with some standards Fahy would resign in disgrace and the Taoiseach would demand his resignation for abusing taxpayers funds.

Here, Clowen will be both clueless and incompetent. He might even mumble something under his breath before hiding back under whatever barren rock he came forth from. The Green's will just roll over and ask where they are expected to take it next.
:mad:
Well you don't expect anything else from FF, and FG won't make too big a noise because half their rural backwoodsmen are just dying to get into power so they can have their turn at doling out the goodies to their own cronies....

So we can't expect an end to this circus from within the political class. But surely there has to be some legal remedy for this kind of blatant corruption and misuse of taxpayers money? I know half the lawyers are in FF's pocket too (see the latest Anglo/NAMA thread) but there must be one honest lawyer and one honest judge out there that can do something to hold these mafioso to account.

Because if not, it truly is emigration or revolution as the only choice any sane person faces. Staying in this cesspit just is not an option any more.
 

markeys

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Well you don't expect anything else from FF, and FG won't make too big a noise because half their rural backwoodsmen are just dying to get into power so they can have their turn at doling out the goodies to their own cronies....

So we can't expect an end to this circus from within the political class. But surely there has to be some legal remedy for this kind of blatant corruption and misuse of taxpayers money? I know half the lawyers are in FF's pocket too (see the latest Anglo/NAMA thread) but there must be one honest lawyer and one honest judge out there that can do something to hold these mafioso to account.

Because if not, it truly is emigration or revolution as the only choice any sane person faces. Staying in this cesspit just is not an option any more.
At this stage I'd love to emigrate but can't because of trying to keep a business going and family here I don't want to leave.

I don't think there can be a legal remedy unless someone makes a complaint to the Gardai - only then will they investigate.

FG is doing it's own damage by not being vigorous in it's opposition to this type of bastardised politics. The whole rotten edifice will crumple, and FG will be lumped in with FF because of their inaction and politeness. They need to start kicking the edifice themselves or risk going down with the whole shebang.
 


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