At Long Last on the Late Late

Ever been asked for a bribe? How about being in government buildings,  outside the Taoiseach’s office,  being asked for a five million pound bribe into an off-shore account? Given all the legal threats around #pantigate,  we can be sure these days that things said on RTE are likely to be true.

Tom Gilmartin,  RIP Nov 2013,  was born in Sligo and had become a successful businessman in the UK.  He had a knack for putting together large investments for building projects.  Returning to Ireland in the late 80s,  he planned to build a modern mixed use development on the site now occupied by the hideous Liffey Valley.  He was soon mugged by our corrupt officials and their cronies.

Hear part of the story from his son Thomas Gilmartin Jr and author Frank Connolly,  as part of their Late Late Show appearance to promote Frank’s book. Hear about the Gardaí ignoring the complaints of extortion,  the effect of the ordeal on the Gilmartin family and the revelations from the tribunal.

(I was a little late to hit record when I was watching it, but it should be clear enough.  Anyone in Ireland can watch the Late Late on the RTE Player for a week or so)

Poetically enough,  Padraig Flynn (who asked for the €50k blank cheque),  had disparaged Tom Gilmartin and dismissed his allegations on the same TV show 15 years earlier.  At the time,  Tom Gilmartin was watching the show from his home in Luton,  and his anger was one of the things that propelled him to give evidence at the tribunal.

You might like to hear Pee Flynn’s side of the story.  Stay tuned for the end of the video when he explains what a financial struggle it is for him to maintain his 3 homes on his salary of £140,000. (his known salary was approx 6-7 times the average salary at the time,  not counting ‘donations’)

So –  what was happening while these corrupt idiots were in charge?  How were the decisions they were making affecting our lives?

Just to pick one example; I think that the price of property,  and it’s relationship to the average wage,  makes the biggest impact on how much spare money you might have at the end of the month.  During the time that CJ Haughey,  Pee Flynn,  Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern were in charge – this is what happened to property prices compared to average wages.

House Prices vs. Wages; Ireland 1977-2005
House Prices vs. Wages; Ireland 1977-2005 (source)

And that’s why I care what politicians are doing,  that’s why I pay attention to those that call ‘wolf’  and why I salute Tom Gilmartin,  Thomas Gilmartin  and Frank Connolly for having the tenacity and bravery to drag this corruption into the light.