“Pathetic & immoral” PTSB

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe (left) and head of Permanent TSB Jeremy Masding (right) met just twice before 11,000 homes were sold to vulture funds

My interest in this development is very real-is my home included in the sell-off?? 

The Finance Minister and the head of toxic bank Permanent TSB only had two official meetings before 11,000 homes were sold to vultures, it has emerged.

The Project Glas portfolio sale was confirmed in July but until that point, Paschal Donohoe and Jeremy Masding had sat down just twice.

During this period of time the bank was embroiled in two fiascos terrorising home owners – the tracker mortgage scandal and home loan sales to vultures.

The pair, along with their officials, met at Government Buildings in Merrion Square on February 26.

The agenda – also obtained under Freedom of Information shows the NPL Strategy and Disposal Plans was due to be discussed, as well as an update on the tracker mortgage crisis. Mr Donohoe and Mr Masding reviewed the same topics again in April. But in the three months leading up to the sale, there were no more meetings.

All you need to know about the pathetic developments in this Bank in which the Irish Government is a major stake holder

By Irish Mirror reporter: Saoirse McGarrigle


Its a nightmare…threat of losing my roof

‘This is like a nightmare’ – Tom (69) on the fear of losing his home

‘I can’t believe at this age of my life I am looking at the possibility of losing my roof’


Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

He was one of the thousands who attended the Raise the Roof rally in Dublin yesterday to show his support for people affected by the current housing crisis.

A carpenter and cabinet maker by trade, he ran the Just Forests organisation for 30 years, but funding for the organisation dropped significantly when the banking crisis hit, and he lost his salary, and fell into arrears.

“I can’t believe at this age of my life I am looking at the possibility of losing my roof. I can’t believe that is happening in the country that I loved, the country that I worked so hard in all my life. I can’t believe it is happening to me. It is like a nightmare.”

He had borrowed €150,000 at the age of 59 and was given a 10-year mortgage by his mortgage provider, and at that time the €1,400 a month repayments were within his means. He said that he was very confident at that stage in relation to the repayments.

“I paid back almost €70,000,” he said. But when he lost his salary, he was unable to continue to pay his mortgage.Mr Roche, who lives in the village of Rhode, said that he took a proactive approach and told his mortgage provider. He has been engaged in a process to try to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of all sides, but there has been no resolution to date.

He said the mortgage provider is now seeking €165,000, which includes penalties.

He is keen to remain in his house because he has a carpenter and furniture restoration workshop behind his house, which provides his source of income. He lives on his own.

“I have worked all my life. I have been working since the age of 13, since I left school, always self-reliant, never had my hand out for anything.”

He is hopeful that what he believes to be a fair and equitable solution can be found to the problem. “I want to be treated fairly,” Mr Roche added.

Source:  Irish Independent 


Raise the roof

I support ‘Raise the Roof’


The Jesuits are urging people to support the ‘Raise the Roof’ housing rally outside Leinster House on Wednesday, saying that it is “an important opportunity to highlight the depth of the housing crisis and the need for a radical change in the Government’s housing policies.”

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice has urged “Christians” in particular to support the rally.

Fr Peter McVerry of the Jesuit Centre said: “As Christians, we must be profoundly disturbed by the fact that in Ireland, one of the richest countries in the world, hundreds of thousands of people are enduring insecure, overcrowded and unsuitable living conditions, financial hardship, stress and anxiety, as a result of housing problems of one kind or another.

“This situation represents a grave social injustice, with deeply damaging consequences for individuals, families, and society as a whole.”

Margaret Burns of the Jesuit Centre pointed out that “officially recorded homelessness has increased by 46 per cent over the past two years.”

Meanwhile, Ms Burns said, “current figures on homelessness reflect ‘adjustments’ that have excluded people who would have been previously included, suggesting that the upward trend is even greater than the official figures show.

“Moreover, the Minister for Housing has recently said is that homelessness may not yet have peaked.” Tomorrow’s rally is an opportunity to say to the Government that its policies are not working and must be radically changed,” she said. Source: Irish Times 

The Chinese multi-million dollar timber smuggling is driving rare trees to extinction.

This eight-month investigation recorded tonnes of rare timber being trucked out of Cambodia’s national parks and shipped to Hong Kong. Logging of luxury-grade timber is outlawed in Cambodia, and the global trade in Siamese Rosewood has been restricted since 2013, but Chinese demand for antique-style Hongmu furniture is increasing and the illegal trade has ballooned since the ban was announced.

During months of interviews with loggers, state officials, police and activists, our investigators kept coming back to one man, who we’ve dubbed the ‘King of Rosewood’.

Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap has connections at the highest levels of government and sits at the helm of an illegal logging network that relies on collusion with state officials and enforcement agencies to fell rare trees, traffic logs across the country and load them onto boats bound for Hong Kong. This black market trade is destroying the livelihoods of indigenous and forest-dependent communities.

Follow our investigators as they track illegal luxury timber from Cambodia’s Virachey National Park to Sihanoukville port, where it is loaded onto boats bound for Hong Kong.

Those who oppose the illegal loggers put their lives on the line. Cambodia’s well-known environmental defender and forest crime investigator Chut Wutty was shot dead in 2012.  Six months later journalist Hang Sorei Oudom, who wrote extensively about the elite’s links to illegal forestry, was found dead in the boot of his car.

Global Witness is campaigning for a stop to illegal logging in Cambodia and the immediate suspension of all imports of rare Cambodian Hongmu timber by the Peoples Republic of China and Hong Kong officials.

Source: Global Witness

Tom receives volunteer award in Killarney

Image: All-Ireland winning Kerry minor football manager Peter Keane, guest of honour, Councillor Brendan Cronin, Cathaoirleach, Killarney Municipal District Area, and Eve Kelliher, Editor, Killarney Advertiser, with Tom Roche, volunteer,  at the Killarney Looking Good Awards in The Killarney Plaza Hotel.

Photo: Eamonn Keogh

Monday 21st November, 2016

Killarney looking Good/Tidy Towns presented the Volunteer Award 2016, to Environmental and and Human-rights Advocate, Tom Roche for his voluntary work in organising the Killarney Celebration of Trees events which took place from Thursday 19th to Friday 27th May 2016. Tom who is a native of Tullamore founded Just Forests in 1989 to create awareness of Ireland’s reliance on developing countries for our tropical timber and the impacts of that international trade. He now resides in Killarney.

One of the main events of the week saw the people of the greater Killarney area create a new World Record Tree Hug, when 1977 adults and children hugged 1977 trees in Killarney House & Gardens. Other events of the week which Tom organised included talks on the priceless contribution trees make to society by RTE broadcaster and environmentalist Duncan Stewart.  Internationally-renowned arborist and writer/publisher,Thomas Pakenham of Tullynally Castle, gave a fascinating account of his global travels and ‘meetings with remarkable trees’. Both talks took place in a packed room in the historic Muckross House in Killarney National Park.

He also brought Fr. Sean McDonagh, well-known Columban Missionary and outspoken critic of the Catholic Church’s response to climate change to Killarney to mark UN International Day of Biological Diversity on Sunday 22nd May, with a talk on biodiversity and God’s Creation. During Fr Sean’s presentation well-known singing priest Fr Ray Kelly sang “Halleluiah” by the late Leonard Coen, as well as a number of other ‘Creation-centered’ songs of praise to God, to a very appreciative audience. The event took place in the newly re-furbished Killarney House.

Another major event organised for the Killarney Celebration of Trees week included a ’Sound of Wood’ concert which links our love of music to the trees that provide the ’tone woods’ for the making of our beautiful musical instruments-many of which are on the brink of extinction. A packed St. Mary’s Church of Ireland heard well-known local Killarney School of Music members under the baton of Padraig Buckley and local harpist/vocalist Marina Cassidy play music with a tree/nature focus which was very warmly appreciated by both the local and the visiting audience members. Local Killarney poet Liz Ryan, gave a beautiful rendition (in English for the foreign attendance) of the 18th century lament Cill Chais – Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad? Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár…  – while Marina Cassidy played the haunting lyrics on her classical Irish harp.

Other events organised and run by Just Forests founder Tom Roche for the Killarney Celebration of Trees week included the hands-on Wood of Life exhibition in Killarney Public Library. The Wood of Life is a primary and post-primary school development education (DE) resource that helps pupils to understand Ireland’s role in global deforestation and associated Climate Change and human-rights issues. The Timbers of the World collection of over 800 of the world’s most commercial timbers was seen for the first time in public in over 40 years when a number of information/education panels developed by Tom went on display in Killarney Outlet Shopping Centre and received great comments from the attendance.

Chelsea Flower Show winner and ecological landscape gardner, Mary Reynolds, enthralled a packed Killarney House when she spoke of her passion for bringing ‘nature’ back into our gardens. The recently released film ‘Dare To Be Wild’ is based on Mary’s life as a wildlife gardner.

The great success of Killarney Celebration of Trees 2016,  would not have been possible without the enormous support and goodwill of Killarney Tidy Towns, Killarney Mountain Meitheal and the 100 PLUS volunteers that facilitated the health and safety requirements of ‘people-management’ during the World Record Tree Hug,” stated Tom. For more information on Killarney Celebration of Trees please see http://www.killarneycelebrationoftrees.com