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Secrets of Croynism in semi-state sector

category dublin | rights and freedoms | opinion/analysis author Wednesday June 20, 2012 13:33author by Brian Flannery - Justice and Equality Report this post to the editors

What is going on inner circles Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

In the last number of weeks I have been digging in relation to the newly appointed head of SFI Professor Mark Ferguson.

What I have found - seems to be slightly hidden from the Irish taxpayers. It is very subtle but yet constructive.

What I have found is completely fact and can be checked on Google and on various newspapers Ireland and UK. The one in particular I found most helpful was the Manchester Evening News.

Some months ago a friend of mine, a journalist in Manchester asked me if I had any idea what was going in the SFI (Science Foundation Ireland). I replied 'not a clue'. Jim came to visit the weekend just gone and gave me an insight as to how people in Manchester view, with anger, the appointment of Mark Ferguson as Director General of SFI. My facts state and these can be checked out by going on Google and looking up Renovo that this company had Stg1 million wiped of its value last year and that shareholders sustained a 75% loss in share price which I have no sympathy for because they took a gamble. However 200 people lost their jobs in Renovo and I have the deepest sympathy for them.

My friend informed me that Mr. Ferguson was told by the Minister Sean Sherlock and a Mr. Travers, a member of the Board of SFI that he had the job on the 23/12/2011 yet he was still Chairman of the fast ailing Renovo plc. Ferguson and his wife (and this is in the public arena) took £9.8 m stg from the company before moving to Dublin in January 2012. Ferguson took up the post of Director General 16/01/12. I see a conflict of interest here. Again I am not good at doing attachments but I would like to ask Opus, wageslave, serf and the other people on this site to try and help me get to the bottom of this rot. In the middle of all this, Ferguson has literally pushed out anyone who seems to be a threat to his total take over of SFI. My journalist friend went on to state that before he left Manchester he was jostled and tempers flared at the way he ran the company (which he & another founded in 1998) yet Minister Sherlock on Ferguson's own personal website states we have found the Jewel in the Crown - the man who will lead SFI to bigger and greater things globally. I find this hard to digest. I am still going through some headlines on this topic from the Manchester Evening news.

One more point I would like to make - the position according to my friend was advertised at 150,000 euros pa yet when I tried to contact Sherlock's office the phone was banged down. I know people in the last 2 weeks have been in touch with Deputy Clare Dally and I hope she can ask some serious quesions in the Dail before the summer recess.

Brian Flannery

Comments (539 of 539)

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author by Whistleblower - Charter for Whistleblowerspublication date Thu Jun 21, 2012 13:46Report this post to the editors

Brian

I work within Enterprise Ireland which connects to SFI. I never thought that in the year 2012 under a government that promised an end to cronyism and such blatant corruption from within, that such ineptitude still applies.

I have had the experience first hand in the last 3 months of 2 eminent people being pushed out of SFI under the instructions of Mark Ferguson. I will give their names as D and S. These people were Irish home grown academics with a sense of passion to try and change a whole framework on how schools address science and mathematics. My 2 friends stood up to Ferguson and would not in any way go on their knees. D ended up literally in his final days just short of 'cleaning the toilets'. He was bullied, literally spat at in his own office and given a document not even signed off by Ferguson who was too wise to stick his neck out. No, Ferguson will let his chosen 5 people who are known as the lackies do his dirty work. I have sent emails to Minister Sean Sherlock and Richard Bruton on behalf of my 2 friends. Alas I am still waiting for a reply.

It is hard to be believe how a certain woman in SFI at the moment can walk into an office and inform highly acclaimed academic people that their services are no longer required and ahead of contract completion. The same woman then produces the document, a document that shows contract to be completed months ahead of time and signs the same documents with her name only. I have sought legal advice on this and she has not got the authority yet it is going on as we speak. Presently, Ferguson is on vacation in America yet people can tell me he instructs the lackies by phone. The fear at present in SFI is alarming. It is almost on par with the industrial schools of the past.

I am not in anyway being dramatic about this and only yesterday when I saw the topic on this site I realised it was the only method for me to get some refuge. I am hopeful now that something will come from the Brian Flannery posting and I hope others will have the morals and the balls to stand up and speak up. I can't believe that Minister Sherlock is unaware of what is really going on in SFI. Also other people have been told within SFI that it is a private ship and no-one talks outside the realm. Sadly this brings me back to the dark old days of the GUBU years and Haughey.

I am a woman in my 40's and I today feel so embarrassed at myself that I cannot give my real name in fear of losing my job. If ever we needed a charter for whistleblowers it is now otherwise the bullies will continue and Ireland will suffer - we will lose talent. I will close by saying Labour are in coalition with FG. Sean Sherlock has a role in SFI but it is well known from my colleagues in the organisation that Ferguson classes Sherlock as completely irrelevant and that has been said not once but on numerous occasions at inner circle meetings. Something is definitely rotten within this semi-state sector.

Whistleblower

author by Greham Lovett - Former Semi-Statepublication date Fri Jun 22, 2012 13:15Report this post to the editors

I was so glad to receive a phone call last night relating to Indymedia and the above postings. I first got wind of the topics above on twitter a couple of days ago. I worked under Gannon who is now in Sydney. Ferguson replaced Gannon last January and I have been in touch with some of my old friends over the last few months. Senior staff in SFI don't have the balls sadly to stand up, come out and tell the Irish taxpayer what really is going on in this particular semi-state sector. As the woman above said, we don't have a Charter of Protection for Whistleblowers and until we finally achieve one the cronyism and the bullying will continue.

I want to put a question to three people today. Minister of State, Sean Sherlock, Mr Travers one of Haughey's lieutenants in the dark days of corruption and a Mr Fottrell (this man Fottrell is a male version of Mary Davis, he is on at least a dozen state boards). These are the people that appointed Ferguson as Director General and they must clearly with total clarity state that Ferguson has broken all ties with the ailing company he founded in 1998 ie Renovo plc Manchester. I personally believe he is still involved as a non executive director and significant shareholder. I stand to be corrected but it appears to me there is a serious conflict of interest here. Una Clifford who works part-time at SFI has taken on a new role since Ferguson's arrival. She is called the hatchet woman. She terminates contracts, some with five and 6 months to run in a 5 year contract. Why? Who gave her the authority to sign her name and note only her name to legal documents re same. Fine Gael said pre-Election they would stamp out any misconduct in semi-state after the FAS scandal. Well now we have a breaking major scandal in SFI and in the next few weeks I believe there is one high profiled academic who is heading for the High Court.

To be continued.... Greham Lovett

author by Researcherpublication date Fri Jun 22, 2012 14:12Report this post to the editors

I am a researcher and I was supported by SFI . Commercialisation of research is a major aim of SFI. That's okay - or is it?? The head of SFI is into redundancies and from what you say financial rip-off as well. Is that what SFI wants? That is certainly not what I want.

Just look at the web link below - the jobs myth of SFI and the debacle of the head of it.

Researcher

Related Link: http://educationalstandards.wordpress.com
author by Concerned taxpayerpublication date Sun Jun 24, 2012 14:07Report this post to the editors

Achievements of Professor Mark Ferguson:

- 200 redundancies
- shareholders left penniless
- trail of destruction

And now he is head of Ireland's leading research funding organisation.

- Why was he appointed?
- Who appointed him?
- What due diligence was done on him?

author by Researcherpublication date Sun Jun 24, 2012 14:25Report this post to the editors

SFI should fund basic science and mathematics and engineering in schools and universities.

It should not be pouring huge sums of money into already inflated egos.

When the current debacle of its head is sorted out SFI needs to address why we don't have enough engineers in Ireland, why sufficient students are not pursuing careers in science, and why student interest in mathematics is woeful in Ireland. This is urgent business. It's crucial for our nation and society. Yet SFI shovels out massive amounts of money to a small coterie of hyper-inflated egos.

Researcher

author by Oisin Clifford - Economist and finding Truthpublication date Mon Jun 25, 2012 13:36Report this post to the editors

I was reading the above postings with deep interest and also viewing the tweets that were very active in relation to Mark Ferguson, new head ie Director General of SFI and former chairman of Renovo - Manchester.

The anger of people who lost their jobs in Manchester is still raw. Families were forced to join the English welfare system not of their own choosing. Speaking on the phone to one couple this morning who are now fighting to keep their family home, in Manchester, they said they had no idea that Ferguson and his wife had moved on to greener pastures ie SFI, in Ireland. To say the least they were furious and they believe he has not broken all his ties with Renovo. I also heard within the markets that certain people are buying shares taking them from the low .11p now up to .22 p (100% increase in 6 months).

Minister of State Sean Sherlock has a lot of questions that he must answer regarding Ferguson's appointment. This is a major scandal only starting to gain momentum now.

Oisin

author by Ann Keane - Academicpublication date Tue Jun 26, 2012 14:08Report this post to the editors



I found this topic on the university science blogs last night. It seems to be gaining momentum in all the college campuses and beyond. Ferguson was not known to many people until now and questions now need to be answered. Sean Sherlock is believed to be ignoring phone calls over the weekend and Travers and Fottrell who are directors on the Board of SFI are lying low.

Campuses over Ireland have to go to Ferguson for funding to do research in science and maths. Ferguson favours his chosen elite. How can a man who lost 200 jobs in Manchester and 100 m Stg wiped off in share values be in charge of the future of SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS in this country. Moreover his pay packet must be in the region of £250,000 plus euros?

Ann

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jun 26, 2012 15:10Report this post to the editors

been out of range a bit...sounds like more of the same. Another possible corporate 'science' institute to serve vested ends.

...have any of you listened to the latest BBC Reith lecture series?Economic analysis..pure and unadulterated neoliberal slash'n'burn asset-strip rationalisation dressed as hyper intelligent analysis. This reminded me of it, and then i noticed the coincidence..the lad above is Mark Ferguson; the lecturer is Niall Ferguson.

Coincidence??Can anyone check a connection?

Me I go suspicious of anyone shameless enough to accept more than 100k pa while posing as anyway 'scientific'. I'm no scientist, but I reckon intelligence of any sort dictates gluttony as a bad idea. Especially while famines rage. But thems my prejudices.

The whole thing reminds me of hitting TCD mid-seventies(just arts, nuttin smart)as the thin edge of the corporate wedge was driving for more commercial 'relevance' all round. It fits general pattern.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Jun 26, 2012 20:01Report this post to the editors

Cronyism and nepotism are the acceptable forms of bullying. Those often highly educated or experienced are excluded in favour of those connected. Worse still is the active removal of those in the SFI case through bullying and force. What has been described in these posts is disturbing but not surprising. The effects of this is wide ranging, from the personal and damaging effect on those subjected directly to the bullying, those excluded in favour of those less qualified to as noted the reputation of this country due to the falling levels of education and training. It is unlikely that all, if any of those relatives or friends have the suitable high standards required to promote improvement in our systems. It has been reported in popular media that many of our best educated and inclined to improvement are leaving for greener lands. By this it is implied that the best qualified academics are leaving Ireland in search of challenges, the challenges being thrown out of our systems here as a direct result of cronyism and nepotism.

The increasing absense of those prepared to be challenged in our society is a spiral bound for ever lower standards.

In Ireland we need now as much as ever to be seeking the best and most able. This can only be achieved through a willfull absense of of those we know in favour of those whose reputation, experience and education make them most suitable. Or, in the reported SFI case, about which I am aware, the best can be achieved by maintaining in place those who are most suitable. But this is not what's happening, the best are being expelled due it would appear to the self interest of a few. Questions need to be asked of those in power, those who appoint, ministers and boards of directors of semi-state bodies. More importantly, these questions need to be answered. They need to be answered as openly and honestly as possible. Blindly accepting the recommendations of any CEO in any state body by the board or minister without question is itself not acceptable, this is our money, our taxes. This revenue needs to be used to the best effect.

Gale Vogel.

author by Kathleen O'Kane - Curious Observer of SFIpublication date Wed Jun 27, 2012 14:21Report this post to the editors

SFI under the bizarre stewardship of failed businessman and Professor Mark Ferguson gets an annual budget of taxpayers money in excess of £150 m annually. As a retired public servant I would like to ask some questions today:- One of my family members was literally bullied out of SFI recently and when she went to her Union she was told we will do our best but Ferguson has plans for a total re-organisation. People in SFI approached her and literally told her if she didn't sign the termination contracts life would become unbearable and she would end up just short of cleaning the toilets. Ferguson cannot hide the legacy of Renovo plc Manchester. Again I know it is stated above, there have been 200 job losses and millions lost to shareholders.

The people on the board of SFI are Travers, Fottrell and not forgetting Eoin O'Driscoll and there is one more amazing turn to this story is that Ferguson has just appointed an up and coming young woman as his personal assistant and her name ironically is O'Driscoll - what a coincidence. I believe from strong sources that former members of SFI had a meeting with socialist TD's in Dail Eireann today. It is a funny world when shit hits the fan even academics must ask for help from people they would normally not choose to vote for. This is reality but also they were not turned away and positive feedback is definitely the order of the day.

I would ask now Minister Bruton, Rory Quinn, Pat Rabbitte and baby face Sherlock which Ferguson often calls him - Who appointed Professor Ferguson Director General to SFI in December 2011. I am very aware he was officially registered as Director General on the 16th of January. The serious question is the link between Ferguson, his wife in relation to participation in Renovo - what I mean is there a conflict of interest. Shares in Renovo have risen nearly 100% since January from 11p to 22p. Serious questions ahead for this government.

Kathleen

author by Researcherpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:30Report this post to the editors

In the US the Senate has to approve Presidential appointments. Now that's a role for our Seanad! If the Seanad ratified or even appointed someone like Mark Ferguson then cronyism and insider dealings might have been brought to the light of day. It might have brought to light some of the web of ownership and investments, and influence and conflict of interest, that he has and that he's pursuing vigorously now in his SFI role.

When I look around in my university various good people have left in recent times, taking jobs outside of Ireland. Every one of them when I've talked to them have said clearly that the whole system that's based around SFI is bad, bad, bad...

On the conflict of interest aspect of all of this, and how Ferguson and his wife, Sharon O'Kane, will be able to milk the Irish system, how about the following. The REMEDI group, www.remedi.ie, working on regenerative medicine is close in terms of its research and commercialisation work to Ferguson's and O'Kane's Renovo company where they still hold a lot of stock. Is there not conflict of interest there? Can Ferguson and O'Kane get insider research and commercial information and use this to their advantage? Could somebody from REMEDI comment on this potential massaive conflict of interest by Ferguson and O'Kane?

Researcher

author by Weary bewildered - Impoverished Taxpayerpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2012 15:55Report this post to the editors

If what I am reading about the SFI debacle, its new Director General Ferguson and inside governance is even remotely true then I truly despair. How on earth can an organisation so newly created (early 2000) be apparently so corrupt? What is going on? How and by whom are these people appointed? How can an organisation/individual have so much control/power over, in the present climate, such vast amounts of money? Have we all gone mad?

I call on our ministers, the people we elected and pay handsomely to govern, to sort out this debacle immediately. Could I, one of life's lesser mortals dare suggest that we cleanse this organisation root and branch or simply get rid of it? Could we also have a detailed and transparent spreadsheet of how our money is spent by these super brains? What we need is an exact account of who they fund? How much they fund and what we the taxpayer get for that funding? - apart from those over inflated egos that seem to have grown prodigiously over the last few years and of course SFI's ability via its communications PR machine to link itself to the successes of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Can we also be told how much it costs the taxpayer for this organisation to administer these funds and what exactly it costs SFI's highflyers to showcase themselves around the world when in fact our business acument/potential, and our scientific research is already being adequately showcased by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, our Universities, our small hard working entrepreneurs and indeed by our own President Michael D. Higgins. Truly we have gone mad.

Finally can this less than superbrain make one more suggestion: Send all that money wasted by quangos such as SFI back to the State coffers to be controlled and distributed by the Department of Finance and the Department of Education. Stop all this nonsense about attracting super brains to our shores. Spend the money instead on building up this country's basic mathematical/engineering/scientific and artistic prowess which by all accounts we so desparately need to do. Let us have some degree of common sense in this benighted country of ours, and let those with the necessary talent/giftedness which at the moment are being sidelined, get down to the real business of re-constructing this country on the road to recovery.

Weary

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Jun 28, 2012 16:43Report this post to the editors

...welcome to the neo-liberal asset-strip show...nothing new under the Sun, as they say in Fleet Street.

Simply capital making capital for capital, so much handier and more efficient than that sloppy old-fashioned government of the people, by the people for the people, with all its expensive equality and foolhardy fraternity cluttering up our Liberty to acquire and accumulate.

What you are witnessing is simply a microcosmic fractal of the mandelbrot beauty of Capitalism writ large...it brought you the wonder of your blow-up Tiger, and blow-up Baghdad, Kabul, Tripoli, and now Syria bound for Teheran...with diversions for shopping and looting in Venezuela and Latin America revisited on the evening menu. If you dont like it we wil show you how we blew up Nagasaki, up close.

Yes folks, people have been shouting from the rooftops for centuries to warn of these dangers...see the bigger picture, or watch the vanishing dot at the centre of your imploding screen.

All in all its just...another brick in their WALL. Of pseudo-scientific PR-op agendas.

No rest for the weary.

author by exPatpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2012 17:07Report this post to the editors

Weary and Opus, I think you should be posting in some other blogg, you dont seem to be following the thread. Weary; a case for the existence for SFI is not the question, and you clearly dont appear to understand the value that it brings. I do think you should educate yourself a little better on how it supports the existence of IDA and EI. If you think that SME's and MNC's would prosper without a highly skilled research community then you just dont understand the game. I do agree with you that engineering and Math could do with more investment. Perhaps we should be manufacturing more for export.

However, this particular thread is regarding the leadership and management within SFI. Something that appears to have deteriorated completely since the departure of Frank Gannon. It is extremely disappointing that such excellent staff are treated like crap.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Jun 28, 2012 17:55Report this post to the editors

is corruption...and strokes at the taxpayers expense...and a scientific attempt to generate economic health through innovation in science an technology...

What part of the thread did I not grasp?

Perhaps you can't see the bigger picture because, like the cobbler, your stuck too closely to your last.

Or maybe its a digitised lathe and micrometer.

author by Unemployed - Manchesterpublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 13:25Report this post to the editors


I worked in middle management in Renovo for 5 years. I am over on a week's break. A friend of mine in Enterprise Ireland enlightened me about this site and my old boss or should I say tyrant boss Mark Ferguson. I am absolutely gutted that this crazed control freak could land a top job in SFI and sources tell me he is running SFI the same way as he did while at Renovo. Ferguson and the wife as I am reading in the Phoenix magazine is exactly as it states - a double duo not unlike Pee Flynn and class act Beverley. This duo of Ferguson and Sharon O'Kane took almost a 11m stg from Renovo and left people like me literally penniless. At the moment my family are helping me in maintaining an agreed payment with Lloyds bank in relation to my mortgage. I then read that in 6 months with SFI he travels the world over along with another ego Ruth Freeman who claims she was promised a job by John Travers. O Yes, I have my sources and I will not rest as an ordinary worker until justice is done in relation to Ferguson and wife.

I also received some documentation from within solid sources that Ferguson wrote a letter to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny some months ago enlightening him about the progress he is making already in SFI and the jobs that he is creating. On the contrary Ferguson has dismissed 3 academics and a secretary in the last 3 months. Because - they would not play ball. 1 academic in particular refused to falsify documents on a memo that was signed by Ruth Freeman. These are serious statements and rest assured they can and will be backed up. I only got the name today of the Labour minister of state Sean Sherlock. I say to him today - you should be ashamed of yourself Sean. You and Travers selected Ferguson who left a legacy in Manchester of destruction and despair. While at Renovo Ferguson ran up expenses of multiple thousands for himself and his wife Sharon O'Kane. Yet when the ordinary worker had small expenses he would question every single entry. I would like to know how much Ferguson has cost the Irish taxpayer since January to date. I believe Ferguson's position is totally unobtainable now and the Irish government should sever his contract immediately. The future of a young generation in relation to science and maths is more important than an arrogant egoist individual who is capable of anything for his own personal gain.

Unemployed

author by weary anonymous public sector workerpublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 20:26Report this post to the editors

The SFI debacle on the controversial appointment may ruffle feathers but it will not remove Ferguson. I have worked in both private and public sector and I know who wins. Both sectors suffer from the HR effect, people who are there to help you but we all know HR are there to help management. Cynical readers also think that the unions are there to help management even before the croke park deal in the Public sector. Lets face it and I have grappled with it, the Croke Park deal does not deal with issues of accountability, responsibility and the obnoxious automatic right of promotion depending on the years of service and the unions involved bow down to it due to social partnership. I know people in the public sector who challenged the big money accountants back in the 80s who came to order them about but then the private sector could afford better education and bull shitters than those who took jobs in the public sector and those public sector workers who then challenged the system learned wuld never be promoted and they were also ostracized. The character i.e. slimbagss in the semi-state bodies who have fashioned themselves on the private sector have gained easy promotions and bonuses. People likes Shane Ross who think working in enterprise ireland and other semi-state bodies are deluded. No one cared about working in the public sector in the good times because it was a joke to work there. Well recession or no recession, it's still a farce but it certainly isn't when you're the one apologising for all the failures when your manager is out playing golf with the private sector accountants. Private sector v public sector - give me a break. It's all cosy at the top.

author by Researcherpublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 21:18Report this post to the editors

I don't see substance in the accusations. Renovo did not work out. Tough luck. Many pharma startups do not. There is always a risk. He gave 200 people a job for a while. He paid himself well - so do many other CEOs. He reorganies SFI - by itself not a bad thing, but maybe he is too harsh. He may say some things he should not to non trustworthy people - hardly worth mentioning. The conflict of interest statement is constructed and nonsense. Every pension fund invests in stocks these days

SFI does many good things and is in need of reorganisation in difficult times.
That is exactly what Mark Fergusson does - make SFI more effective.

Nothing substantial - lets hope it calms down and people recognise what it is - a lot of emotions written by people in anonymous postings like this one.

Another researcher.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 21:36Report this post to the editors

you take your research acuity as far as the current Phoenix.

If the story holds water, its less rose tinted than your oil on troubled waters allows.

author by weary anonymous public sector worker & did i add semi-statepublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 21:53Report this post to the editors

Appears to me that '"other researcher" works in public sector but on whose side, who knows? (Well I can guess but whatever). It does not matter, information has already gone out to the public sphere beyond cyberspace and see who is brave enough to catch it. Ferguson is under fire due to, not just the poor handling of the staff but the corruption i.e. the deliberate firing of excellent staff to supplant with yes sergeants or more naive people. I will be proved right and you will proved wrong -whatever your intentions are - watch the reports in the next 3 months - howeve as stated r I am cynical that heads will actually roll though....

author by anonpublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 23:01Report this post to the editors

Renovo share price history. Taken from link below

Renovo share price history
Renovo share price history

Related Link: http://educationalstandards.wordpress.com/
author by weary anonymous public sector workerpublication date Fri Jun 29, 2012 23:06Report this post to the editors

Whats going on here? Who is juvista? Just to confirm, I have commented in the thread already.

author by Other researcher...publication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 00:17Report this post to the editors


Opus diablos, what story? What is the story? I can only see emotions and ruffled feathers - but no wrong doing.
Concrete proof please for something substantial - not just repeated sentiment.

Weary anonymous - whose side? LOL, I don't even know what that could mean.
I am on no side, just observing the story and finding nothing in it but sentiment and people stirring up the sentiment until it is just repeated as being factual.
A common strategy to disseminate fear, uncertainty and doubt.

What if actually contracts could not be renewed because there was no funding available for them, as it happens in the public sector?
What if people who were let go were actually not effective in their jobs?
Your alleged story would quickly disappear and turn into a embarrassment for anybody who is "brave" enough to catch the story but not smart enough to check the facts.

But of course damage would be done. Which makes me wonder - so what exactly is your gain here? Why stirring the sentiment?
Looks like you have an axe to grind with Mark Ferguson?

Effective people are often disliked because they are not afraid to make tough decisions.
The worst person in a job is somebody who is everybody's darling.
And in a tough situation you don't want to have a everybody's darling in a job that requires tough decisions.

Another researcher

author by Get a grip on realitypublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 01:50Report this post to the editors

To "other researcher" aka trojan horse, technically I don't need to let the cat out of the bag regards Ferguson tactics towards workers as demonstrated by other commentators in this thread below.
You mentioned that people who have failed in the private sector should be allowed have public sector CEO positions (more or less). So in that case you have validated my argument, i.e. no one wants competent people in the public arena cos we have to report to the private sector and their govt lackeys and well to dictate to all of us at the bottom cos we're easier to kick around.

Contracts can be renewed
I worked with the village idiot on the Employment Subsidy Scheme in EI and she decided to annihilate and I mean annihilate the 2nd term of DCU students who stood up to her on tax certs. They could have had another 6 months but oh no not these guys, they were annoyed on behalf of the client because she wouldn't return their original tax certs. And guess what happened, that's rights, she refused 2give them another 6 mths work experience because of their stance.

I love this quote from you btw:
"I am of no side..." - that's like yer wan Norah Casey of Dragons den, "I am of no politics but I'll be bleeding well vote for austerity politics!" Please review frontline episodes for similar crap arguments on the austerity treaty

"Effective people are often disliked because they are not afraid to make tough decisions"
Ah no, effective people are creative who feck off into other industries or travel abroad cos we dont want 2 deal with yer mammies & daddies who can just about count to 10 in ansector of nepotism!". And what the hell is effective about a failure like ferguson and his missus. See Bill O'Gorman for example

When E=mc2 I will give you some serious scientific credit love!
And welcome to the real world where some of us give a shit about what we do in the public sector and not on some bloody blog where lackeys like you can bend over to your master and smell the same shit as you write to their defence. Pathetic

author by Other researcherpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 07:20Report this post to the editors

In your post I still don't see anything concrete regarding Ferguson.
I am asking for something substantial and a proof and all I get in response is sentiment and unsubstantiated accusations.
And even attacks against me - and all I do is askIng for something concrete :-)

What does the Employment Subsidy Scheme in EI have to do with Ferguson?

I regard your opinion about people who's startup failed as very unfortunate.
Every startup is a risk with a high probability of failure.
To regard someone who's startup failed as a failure discourages people to setup companies.
Then we also don't get companies that will bring a country economic growth.

author by Private sector still dictates the public sector worker, silpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 09:08Report this post to the editors

Jeez, Researcher if you can't handle the so-called 'attacks against you' and your crawling comments up the arse of Ferguson is making you all sensitive then don't comment. Would you like a manhug and a cup of Barrys? There, there look out the window there for the unicorns and rainbows coming over the hill. You mean, you don't feel better -GOOD!

My 'unforunate' comments regarding starts-ups? Ehm? Are you putting Ferguson in the same category as a start up, seriously with all the money he and missus took when they knew that the product was a failure and people as above who are on the dole because of their failure? Seriously! If they spent less time paying themselves and giving it to decent researchers we wouldn't be having this conversation.

The EI report released this week and the ESS example has a lot to do with the likes of Ferguson as once you get into management or director positions in the public sector or as they say 'you are promoted beyond your own level of incompetence' and are made less accountable. Its probably something you can identify with yourself. Would you like to share what real rank you are? It could explain an awful lot :-)

I think the phoenix article says enough and more is going to come out so why don't you go crawl back to the waterhole you came from and await further instruction from your cronies.

author by Other researcherpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:23Report this post to the editors

You use strong language and provocation, but you continue to fail to produce anything factual.
Facts please.

1. A pharma startup operates at a high level of funding with a high level of risk. Drug development costs range in the billions.
2. According to the graph above Ferguson sold the shares about 9 month before the clinical trials failed. Do you accuse him of insider trading? So you claim he knew the trial would fail 9 month in advance? Unlikly I think. Where is your proof?

As for your interest in me - I am flattered, but I am just a humble researcher :)

Other researcher.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:34Report this post to the editors

..do you come on to defend Ferguson?

Everybody got stung except himself and the missus..who wheeled away a nice wee barrow.....then a half dozen 'winners' fell at the next fence...

No need for further investigation?Your name isn't Bertie by any chance?

author by Other researcher...publication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:50Report this post to the editors

I am not defending anybody.
I am trained to look below the surface and when I dig deeper here I can't find anything.
What is strange is that looking for facts comes across as defending.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:11Report this post to the editors

dispute the Phoenix version of the facts?

I'm simply expressing the opinion that you seem to.

I take them with a grain of Na Cl...but I'm prepared to think they indicate further explication is required.

'..never delivered a single marketable product or generated any product revenue..'. Other than that generated by their mirage cures. For themselves, while stinging investors.

Renowned scientist and innovator?

author by Other researcherspublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:59Report this post to the editors

I assume the Phoenix article is a repetition of this blog: http://educationalstandards.wordpress.com/

To put things in perspective I link to the Forbes article:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/02/10/th...rugs/

"AstraZeneca has spent $12 billion in research money for every new drug approved, as much as the top-selling medicine ever generated in annual sales; Amgen spent just $3.7 billion. "

"Right now, fewer than 1 in 10 medicines that start being tested in human clinical trials succeed. Some biotechnology companies do manage to make it to market without having to spend money on failed medicines – but only because other startups went bust trying to test other ideas."

1 in 10! And Renovo failed cheap compared to AstraZeneca numbers.

As for Fergusons scientific reputation:
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=MWJ+Ferguson&btnG=&...0%2C5

He has quite a number of Nature and other publications under his belt with a lot of citations - meaning people have looked at this work and it hold water.
The clinical trial failed, but his results are reputable.

Only one in 1 in 10 clinical trials succeed.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:44Report this post to the editors

you 'assume'..

that how you usually do 'research'?

The prosecution rests.

author by Other researcherpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:48Report this post to the editors

So what are the relevant facts from the Phoenix article that we miss which are not on the blog post?

author by Other researcherpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:50Report this post to the editors

Or is this just a marketing ploy to stir up sales in some obscure magazine?
Now, that would explain a lot!

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 13:04Report this post to the editors

research.

Or else stop pretending you have it done. For me, you've already disqualified yourself.

Shooting in the dark about marketing seems closer to YOUR agenda.

author by Other researcherpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 13:17Report this post to the editors

I declared my assumptions, perfectly valid in research.
Now, specifically tell me what you think is in the Phoenix article that I missed.
Or did I not miss anything?

author by Sean Crudden - imperopublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 13:28author email sean at impero dot iol dot ieauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louthauthor phone 0879739945Report this post to the editors

Well I was away playing golf this week in Tullamore but this thing about Mark Ferguson and Sharon O'Toole is very interesting. Golf may seem to have more to do with Ireland than science does. But then there is a scientific aspect to golf just as there is to almost every facet of daily life. It's not all about industrial production, mass production, commercial exploitation. It seems to me that whoever set up the Science Foundation in Ireland in the first place saw clearly that there was some kind of work to be done or some kind of job to do. Maybe a way of straightening out our thinking perhaps? I know nothing about Mark Ferguson or his wife Sharon O'Toole but if they have come over here from Manchester to promote science in our country I definitely bid them welcome and good fortune here. Everyone would prefer a cosy and predictable life with milk and honey in the pantry. But in this country we have become mentally and physically lazy due to the unearned excess of the Celtic Tiger and we all know that the way things were being done is unsustainable. Maybe we need to think things out properly, start from scratch, begin all over again. Refine our aims and objectives and our general methodology. To toe the party line is definitely not the first principle. But in general terms I think SFI should be in the vanguard.

Related Link: http://seancrudden.wordpress.com
author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 13:32Report this post to the editors

you did actually.

You've missed at least five excellent opportunities to desist from continuing with the determined excavation of your own hole.

We'll fill you in shortly.

author by Manchester Casualty - Looking for Workpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2012 13:40Report this post to the editors


Opus and anon and all others. Thank you and well said. It is not at all surprising that Ferguson would send out his clones to try and dampen peoples' spirit of getting the full facts of what happened in Manchester at the start of 1998 and even before when he worked in Manchester University and go back again to when he worked in Queens for a time. I am a casualty of Ferguson. I swallowed everything he said at a shareholders meeting way back circa 2000. He promised Renovo would become one of the world's leaders in the research of scar healing tissue and he even used the bullshit that he studied crocadiles in the swamps in Florida. I know one old woman now in her mid 80's who lives in an English nursing home who lost her entire savings. I was lucky in one way. I am in my early 40's - I took a risk on this egotist Ferguson and lost £85 k plus my job. At the time working under him and I can bring people on this site that will totally back up what I say - it was like working for the Gestapo in Berlin in the mid 30's. Suggest if interested take a look at management style of Ferguson on you-tube.

New researcher is a plant. He probably works according to my sources in SFI - that's fine. We all have our sources and there are good people still hanging on as we speak in SFI at the moment. They are afraid to speak in public for the moment but this will all change shortly. The atmosphere in Wilton Place is one of fear, intimidation and bullying. The idiot who calls himself New Researcher wants facts. Let us begin:

1. 220 job losses
2. 110 m Stg wiped off shares
3. Some vulnerable people lost their entire life savings because they believed in this idiot bluffer Ferguson
4. Researcher claims you take risks. Agree. Ferguson and wife no. 2 Ms O'Kane walk away with a cool £11.5 m
5. Last accounts: Salary Ferguson (prob not expenses) = £326,000 stg+. What did SFI agree as finance package then?
6. Ferguson's view on his boss Richard Bruton is quite extraordinary: he calls him 'the weak little man' from Meath
7. Ferguson got appointed to SFI by two old cronies who were tied to hip with the late CJ Haughey (Fottrell and Travers), directors SFI board.
8. Some weeks ago a loyal woman in SFI was told step aside and all of a sudden in walks Emer O'Driscoll as new PA to Ferguson. Ironically Eoin O'Driscoll is a director on the board of SFI also - Fact. Is she related?
9. When the woman asked for an explanation she was shouted at by Ferguson to get out and never question him.
10. New Researcher wouldn't have a clue how to research the sexual habits of a jack rabbit in Co. Clare but he has no choice. Ferguson did the same on blogs when Renovo collapsed in UK.

Recently one very acclaimed academic who Ferguson despised. The simply reason being, this man was more qualified and has a core of decency and humanity about him. Last we heard he is somewhere on the American continent. He was trying to slow down his contract termination but Ferguson made life so difficult with the backings of his lackies he left ahead of time because the reality was he was forced out. Recently at an internal meeting Ferguson was slagging off with his loud voice and then he joked 'Irish hurling is like Irish weddings - a brawl for all'. They all laughed nervously. As one insider told me he has instilled fear at Wilton Place. I think New Researcher will probably give us a reply shortly about Ferguson's CBE from Queen Lizzie II. Sure it looks as if Martin McGuinness is next in line for one.

I want to put a direct question to the Ministers of SFI urgently. Check out Ferguson's travel expenses since he arrived on our shores (16/01/12 start date). I also want to mention Ruth Freeman who he promoted some months ago to a position where she is way out of her depth yet in these times of austerity she travels globally on Irish taxpayers money. I find this disgusting. I want Ferguson Travers Fottrell Freeman Keane and others before a special sitting of an Oireachtas Committee. This man will destroy the future of science, mathematics, engineering in this country. Ferguson has one plan only. Along with O'Kane he will milk the Irish taxpayers for his own gain. The Phoenix was alway a popular magazine here way before Ferguson ever sadly arrived.

Manchester Casualty

author by Stakeholderpublication date Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:05Report this post to the editors

Fact: Mark Ferguson, D-G of SFI, and his wife Sharon O'Kane still hold a considerable part of Renovo. See http://www.renovo.com/en/node/828 where as of 30 March 2012 their holdings amounted to 12.5 percent of the shareholder voting rights.

By reputation now in SFI Ferguson is helping Renovo's share price to rise. His meetings with investors, companies, government, science bodies, in the UK, Ireland, the US, and globally, constitute conflict of interest. Added to that his proxies in the inner circle in SFI are willfully or carelessly furthering this reputational support for his and his wife's financial gain, now and in the future.

There is direct conflict of interest in Ferguson's oversight of Irish reseach and commercialisation of research. In Ireland he is well placed to take what he can or block what he needs to. He can work through his proxies in SFI to get this done.

Stakeholder

author by Wearypublication date Sun Jul 01, 2012 19:45Report this post to the editors

How much worse can it get? Mr Superbrain/Other researcher, where is the LOL now? Fool and arrogant that you are, you couldn't see that you are on safer ground with sentiment. You wanted facts - now you have them. Methinks there are enough facts out there to damn your great leader, Ferguson, the emperor with no clothes.

Now how about a few facts from the inner circle at SFI, whose mission, it seems, is to protect its leader and the organisation from the prying eyes of the Irish public. God forbid that we have the wit to prevent another Manchester rip-off; or even another FAS debacle where a state agency was run as a personal fiefdom, where only the chief and his lackeys stood to gain.

How about a few answers/facts from you now?

1. How much is Ferguson paid and how much has he cost the Irish taxpayer in travel and expenses since he took office?
2. How much has been spent on his lackeys travelling the world to showcase themselves?
3. How much annually is spent on SFI's PR machine whose job it is to promote SFI's vacuous hype?
4: In relation to SFI's funding what percentage of that is spent on maths and engineering?
5. Is there by any stretch of the imagination double salaries and top-up salaries given by SFI to researchers, and if so who receives them, and how much do they receive? After all, the Irish taxpayer is their paymaster. We need to know.
6. Since the restraining hand of the management of pre-Ferguson times has been conveniently removed and replaced clearly by a couple of dodos, will there be new positions created to be filled by more of Ferguson's lackeys, who will unquestioningly do his bidding?

Remember you have 6 serious questions to answer and since your superbrain has been trained to deal only in facts perhaps you will do the Irish taxpayer the honour of doing just that.

Weary and beleaguered taxpayer

author by Brian Flannery - Justice and Equalitypublication date Mon Jul 02, 2012 13:36Report this post to the editors



I am deeply encouraged by the response this topic is gathering on Indymedia. I want to thank all those for their postings. Well, Ferguson is now standing alone and must answer some very serious questions. If you check up the blogs written by stakeholder you will see clearly with total clarity that Ferguson and his wife Sharon O'Kane own 18.5% of Renova up to last March 2012. We know Ferguson began his profile job as D-G of SFI last January. This raises serious questions and I personally believe along with numerous Dail TD's in the opposition benches that these questions must be addressed urgently.

I also believe there is an elite circle operating in SFI who have established themselves beyond reproach of the Irish taxpayers. I would like to ask again as many above have about expenses. We have had the FAS scenario ie Roddy Doyle and Greg Craig. We have had the Ivor Callely scenario plus Ned O'Keeffe, the Bull Donoghue and many more. I now want to ask Minister Sean Sherlock why is Ferguson, Ruth Freeman, Graham Love and others flying globally on taxpayers expenses in the worst recession in this State's history. In the real world people are finding it hard to support their families yet these elites can give themselves internal pay rises and clock up expenses by a flick of a finger. I again ask Sherlock and Bruton especially Richard Bruton who is the so called Economist to bring Ferguson and this inner circle before an Oireachtas Committee. They are milking the Irish taxpayer and I believe it is time they are stopped.

Brian Flannery

author by Caitlinpublication date Mon Jul 02, 2012 17:51Report this post to the editors

I have been following with interest and, to say the least with disbelief, the course of the debacle at SFI as outlined in Educational Standards (http://educationalstandards.wordpress.com) and Indymedia. Surely this cannot be another case of corruption and misuse of taxpayers money by a state agency?

I am also aware of the huge interest around the Dublin City of Science event this week. A browse through its programme indicates 3 representatives from SFI on the stage - Mark Ferguson, Ruth Freeman and Graham Love. Ferguson can be dismissed immediately but a check on the scientific reputation of the other 2 leaves me cold. What jackass appointed these 2 people to positions way above their ability and expertise? To imagine for one second that these are the people that SFI fronts as representatives of science in Ireland beggars belief. Is this the drivel we get for investment of 1.5 billion of the taxpayers money?

Irish researchers, academics, heads of universities - is all of this done in your name? In the dash for cash has SFI so emasculated you, or cowered all of you? It undoubtedly is a case of the servants becoming the masters - wake up, at least with a whimper!

Caitlin

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Jul 02, 2012 18:24Report this post to the editors

..those academics et al are as well embedded in the unrolling political program as our well-tamed media..

Science must not be allowed to break its corporate channels and pollute our religiously programmed work-units with evil habits of rational thought..hence the damage-limitation facilitation of all social forces in the rehabilitation of churches and royalty..That democracy shit is sooo inefficient...and holds back economic growth with foolish ideas about equality and justice...most naive.

Otherwise would not our history and politics departments be screaming about the precedents to our current replays of previously disastrous policies?

Science will do as a tool..it must not become a common habit.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Jul 02, 2012 19:55Report this post to the editors

Every time I see an image of Mark Ferguson in the press he is smiling. In this post I will make few comments, one is to read this weeks Phoenix magazine article on the SFI appointment and related Renovo. The bulk of this post is comprised of questions. If the focus is commercial why praise a failure? Does the praise on Mr. Fergusons fiscal success relate to his personal fortune? Does the scientific success relate to a placebo? Do the managers of our education know what they are doing? Do they care? Does the heightened renumeration relate to the assumption that Mr. Ferguson is working at the capacity of 160%? For whom is this 160%? What amount of shares, if any, does Mr. Ferguson hold in Renovo or similar organisations? Do these constitute a conflict of interest? Other questions have been asked in this blog, and no answers have been posted. No explanations have been put forward, this blog is open forum and therefore Mr. Ferguson could himself table a defence. Would this take commendable or foolish bravery?

Meanwhile, smiling happy faces have fun. Are they, by which I mean anyone who can effect so many while taking so much, oblivious or perhaps uncaring of the effects of their actions? An answer to the inflated wage issue may be reasonably forthcoming, if so let it be. Answers to all of the above questions may be acceptable and reasonable, if so they should be put forward in an open forum.

What is our tax being used for?

author by leftypublication date Mon Jul 02, 2012 21:50Report this post to the editors

Remember the McSweeney debacle?

The ex GM company shill who was science advisor to Irish government and whose PhD was a fake one from one of those "buy your degree" websites. Ludicrous!

" The Chief Scientific Officer of Ireland, "Dr" Barry McSweeney, who was appointed to the job by Mary Harney in 2004. He is a former Director of BioResearch Ireland, Biocon Biochemicals, and of the EC's principal scientific body, the Joint Research Centre (JCR). In 2002 Greenpeace published an email from Mc.Sweeney to the Commission, requesting it to suppress the publication of the JCR's 135-page Scenarios for Co-existence report which found that GM crops inevitably contaminate conventional and organic crops and may cause 40% higher production costs for farmers. McSweeney was made to resign his position of Chief Scientific Officer of Ireland after it turned out he had fake PhD. "

http://quackfiles.blogspot.ie/2005/10/degree-of-doubt-f....html

http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/7785...12005

author by Pa t Holmes - Semi sector retiredpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:08Report this post to the editors

Yes i remember the Mc Sweeney scandal very well. At the time Mc Sweeney would not budge one inch he knew too much when Harney
tried to remove him from the post of Chief Scientific Goverment advisor. What happened next he was switched to another Dept and stayed until he was paid off in full. Now looking back it defies logic pay a man who bought PHD on the Web and rumour at the time was he even received bonuses. I read with deep interest the above postings and this is a major Conflict of Interest the question is does Sean Sherlock have the balls to dismiss Ferguson .

author by Stakeholderpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:54Report this post to the editors

1) "As a consequence of ... increasing application of science to beauty, the line between cosmetic and medical research is becoming blurred". Renovo is referred to in this context, where their tissue healing product could be used by L'Oreal, as discussed in this 2008 article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2581859

2) Sharon O'Kane, co-founder with her husband Mark Ferguson of Renovo, plays a role in the L'Oreal Women in Science Awards. (See the information from 20 Dec. 2011 at http://news.ulster.ac.uk/releases/2011/6154.html)

3) So also, SFI plays a support role in the L'Oreal Women in Science Awards. (See this information from DIT! http://tinyurl.com/d54k8ue)

4) Here is a 2010 event in NUIG, where Ferguson was a speaker representing Renovo, and L'Oreal was a sponsor (information from SFI): http://tinyurl.com/cj9ducv

5) As pointed out in my previous posting, Ferguson and O'Kane own 12.5 percent of Renovo.

This demonstrates serious conflict of interest by Ferguson as Director-General of SFI.

Stakeholder

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:26Report this post to the editors

..the overnight story about GlaxoSmithKline getting hit with a $3bn fine stateside for nefarious marketing practises?

Mere chickenfeed(they already had it put aside as expenses), they made £40bn last year.

These are the big Pharmers who control what IS and is NOT science...and who hunt down traditional medicines to privatise their active constituent ingredients. They want no unpredictable glitches..so they ensure the bastions are manned by their minnions, in advance.

They control such a large slice of our economy(hello Cork) that they only have to raise an eyebrow to mobilise a set of government advisors to fathom their wishes for interpretation. They dont even have to lift a phone...Paddy polices himself with forelock thuggery(as in Shellmullet, dont forget Big Pharma lies downstream of Big Oil, in the moolah-chain).

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:51Report this post to the editors

..of these biocidal gamblers

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31699

their authority must not be challengable..so the necessary 'scientific authories' must all be in place for unforeseen ripples.

PR is bigger than damage limitation..its pre-emptive preparation. Thats why its called deep structure.

author by Concerned taxpayerpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2012 19:22Report this post to the editors

Another example of corruption in 3rd level institutions:

http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Funding-Supports/R....html

Companies buying their ways into Universities, and extracting what they can, with our money!

author by Another concerned taxpayerpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2012 21:07Report this post to the editors

the thread
by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite party Thu Jun 28, 2012 17:55
is corruption...and strokes at the taxpayers expense

Did anyone notice lefty Saint Joe Higgins and Blessed Clare Daly helping themselves to taxpayers money. All animals are equal but these pigs with their snouts to the trough are a little bit more equal once idiots elect them!

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:01Report this post to the editors

How so many are jumping on the use of expenses for legitimate political purposes with a vehemence not excercised against the main drivers of the attack...our tax-exile Denis O'Brien/Dermot Desmond Independent Newspapers(honourable inheritors of the William Martin Murphy mantle who's centennial 1913 lock-out looms).

It seems Irish capital is not happy with its FF/FG/Labour totalitarian clamp and its lockstep MSM Ibec chanters...it must eliminate all dissent.

From what I've heard on the media this is smear for muck-throwing sake...distraction from the likes of Barclays 'misdemeanours' and 'wrongdoings'...while if a dole reliant prole does a day's work he's a fully-fledged 'fraud' and swindler.

'Steal a nickel and they throw you in jail, steal a million and they make you the king.' Bit like Obambi's and Hillarious's moral outrage at Assad..while they leave a trail of devastation across the middle east and north Africa...and feed the very violence they decry through their local proxies.

Meantime, while you hold your magnifying glass over your self-sainted targets the same cartel of fly-boys refit their scam for another rake-off by rolling over the debt and cranking and compounding the interest.

keep playing Aunt Sally.

author by leftypublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:25Report this post to the editors

"Did anyone notice lefty Saint Joe Higgins and Blessed Clare Daly helping themselves to taxpayers money."

Thats totally wrong. They used "travel expenses" to travel. They used that travel to highlight and campaign against government policies that targetted the most vulnerable while not increasing taxes on the most wealthy and paying off billions to unsecured bondholders. They were doing what we elected them for (unlike FG and Labour!!)

Claire Daly and Joe Higgins only take a standard industrial wage for themselves. Most greedy politicians could take example from them here.

This is all just a political hatchet job by FG/Labour

author by Turingpublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:25Report this post to the editors

Click on 'show comments per story' it brings it back to one comment per story. Its on the right hand side above the comments.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:39Report this post to the editors

clears the clutter a bit.

author by Sally Keaveney - ex civil service & semi statepublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 13:17Report this post to the editors

I applaud the above postings but I take offence to Pigs in the Trough comment. I presume it is from some idiot worried within SFI or maybe a director who now is worried that he will not be able to get away with the abuse of expenses that we as taxpayers pay out of our hard earned money each week. Going through Google last night I found a site htt://www.inpharm.com. Search Renovo / Mark Ferguson and here is some interesting reading. Title: 2008 Renovo wounded by cosmetic drugs set back. I won't bore you will all the details but one line is so relevant then and now on the papers today: Breast enlargement operations that at the time stated serious doubts on Ferguson's and Renovo's drug Juvista future. At that time Ferguson believed that the big pay-off if the drug worked in relation to cosmetics and super boobs. It failed totally. This in itself casts serious doubts on this man's role in SFI. Let us be honest you cannot call Ferguson a role model with or without the CBE.

I like many others have heard the exhorbitant travel expenses of Ruth Freeman, Ferguson's newly appointed Lady of the Skies and I want to know how much of taxpayers money is Ms. Freeman squandering on global travel promoting egos like Roddy Molloy of day's past in the FAS office. I believe now that SFI need an independent internal audit urgently to regain some credibility. This coalition needs to stand up now to its pre-election promises that cronyism conflicts of interest and abuse of taxpayers money is gone like Fianna Fail. Sadly, maybe this is just a dream.

Sally Keaveney

author by Weary - justicepublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 16:25Report this post to the editors

The shame of it and the shamelessness of the crew at SFI. It appears Mr SuperBrain/another Researcher and ex-pat - clear defenders of Ferguson and the Holy Grail have temporarily retreated. When they come back let's have the FACTS and answers to the many questions posted on this site.

Riddle me this, - how come people on this site could so easily establish links between Ferguson and his inner circle with huge conflicts of interest (Renovo/L'Oreal) while Big Brains at SFI's board failed to do so? Perhaps Big Brains and Inner Circle knew all along about the conflicts of interest but decided to trade Ireland's scientific reputation, more alarmingly the interests of many of Ireland's young future scientists and taxpayers money for personal gain, career advancement (more digging needed here), or even for favour from the great man Ferguson himself. O the shame of it - to stoop so low to pick up so little, the metaphorical thirty pieces of silver!

Ferguson and his inner circle appear to be so corrupt that I feel (oops 'sentiment' an ugly word for Mr. SuperBrain) that I feel the extent of the rotteness at the heart of SFI has yet to be uncovered. In the meantime could I suggest for a start - that Ferguson and his inner circle (we know who you are) consider their positions? Of course that requires some modicum of decency and honour and that appears so far, to have been scarce on the ground at SFI. Those who have it have been pushed out or pushed aside and the vultures have taken their place. The Shame of it.

Weary

author by Centerypublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 17:41Report this post to the editors

What happens to the salary that Higgins, Daly, Me Fein etc etc (yawn) don't take - does it go towards maybe another nurses pay? No, I thought not. It goes to their parties to fund the activities they then claim more money from us taxpayers for i.e trying to convince people to break a law.

Gobshites every one of them, no different from any other TD's - Wake up the idiotic left, you are pre-occupied with worms on beaches, meat eaters and some gas rig in Mayo - FFS get into the real world.

author by leftypublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 18:37Report this post to the editors

"Wake up the idiotic left, you are pre-occupied with worms on beaches, meat eaters and some gas rig in Mayo - FFS get into the real world."

ok, what is it you suggest I occupy myself with? What exactly do you occupy yourself with?
What exactly are YOUR values mr anonymous internet troll??
How do YOU think one should spend ones time in order to try to increase awareness and bring about a better fairer world?

Examining worms on beaches tells you what chemical may have killed them, hence what shite a large corporation, shell, may be putting into our environment.

Animals do have rights and someone needs to stand up for them.

Our corrupt government made a deal with Shell which cost the taxpayer billions in lost income thanks to corrupt politicians ray burke and bertie ahern. Money that would make a real difference to hospital waiting lists, social programmes etc etc.

These and quite a few others I post on besides are all important causes/issues to highlight in my opinion. I also do plenty of stuff (for free) in the real world to help make my local community a better place to live.

What exactly do you do mr internet troll, that gives you the right to pour such scorn on my efforts??

(apart from propagating political hatchet jobs cooked up by fat corrupt FG/Labour ministers that is!!)

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 19:51Report this post to the editors

..you've hit the button.

The Labour panic-button at the growth of anything resembling a leftist tendency(by my definition an inclusive, lateral, egalitarian, democratic and ecologically conservationist social system)to replace the velvet-gloved but hard-rightist money-churn that pays their hammock-and-pension exit plans.

Every statement from Labour these days is a panic-attack reaction to the growth of SF/ULA credibility as the only real alternative to FF/FG/Scabour consensus on their economic handlers.

I'd say this troll is on a payroll.

He's not too smart, but only a profesional could act that dumb. Class act, centery(119th class), but no Oscars. Hope your bosses are too busy playing golf to read this. I do hate redundancies.

author by Concerned Taxpayerpublication date Wed Jul 04, 2012 21:53Report this post to the editors

The link given above to show a relation between SFI and L'Oreal is from 2010 - so at a time that Frank Gannon was leading SFI. So Frank Gannon was also corrupt and in bed with L'Oreal?

http://researchfunding.dit.ie/resfundingdb/PsearchResul...p=531

author by Even Wearier - Justicepublication date Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:30Report this post to the editors

Concerned taxpayer (SFI spokesperson?)

It's the conflict of interest that centres around Renovo L'Oreal and SFI's director Ferguson and his wife Sharon O'Kane ie 12.5% ownership of Renovo. Frank Gannon may have been idiotic enough to promote lick asses and ego masseurs like Freeman and Love but I have no evidence of the Ferguson style and scale of corruption. But if you think that Frank Gannon is corrupt please put the FACTS on this site and the truth will come out.

We have just confirmed the long link between SFI and L'Oreal. So IS IT conceivable that Big Brains on the SFI board and the inner circle DID KNOW of the links between Renovo and Ferguson and L'Oreal before the great man himself was planted at the helm of SFI? Is it even conceivable that the way was prepared by insuring that he had the 'right' people around him to support him. This story is not over yet - no, not by a long shot.

Even Wearier

author by John Hegarty - Unemployed Academicpublication date Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:06Report this post to the editors

It is well known since 2001 when SFI was created as a separate identity a rot at that time was already there and established. If you look close enough at the board of directors they can't wash away the taint of Haughey and co., one director in particular Mr Travers was a well-known friend of the late CJ Haughey and even to this day at social events he proclaims without any shame his pride in knowing CJ and what Haughey did for this country - I find this not alone distasteful I find it difficult to understand that these old cronies are still sitting as directors on State Boards. Then we have the clone of Mary Davis, Mr. Footrail. Every board meeting is rumoured to have a trail of his foot and his expenses to boot. Footrail is alleged to be on at least 7 state boards and is a close associate of failed businessman Crocodile Ferguson.

This morning Joe Higgins on Radio 1 spoke with total clarity in relation to his expenses down to the last cent. Joe went on to state the cost of the two B&B's at £35 euros a night. I know this would deeply insult the likes of Ruth Freeman. £35 would not cover her breakfast in bed. I now would like to ask on behalf of my own family, and the Irish taxpayer who at present are experiencing the worst austerity crisis in this state's history how is that Ruth Freeman at free will globally and yet it appears that she is accountable to nobody. These questions lie at the desk of Ferguson who promoted her as his second in command lacky. Taxpayers have a constitutional right to know where their monies are being spent and why?

As we speak another inner circle individual is on holidays in his Spanish mansion - Donal Keane and I today would like Mr. Keane to answer some hard questions. Bullying is now a weekly occurrence in FSI. Since the arrival of Renovo expert Ferguson anybody who doesn't fit his academy role have been put through torrids of abuse. In one case, one academic recorded a full 20 minutes of verbal abuse by Donal Keane and Ms Clifford. The question has to be asked: On whose authority were they acting on? It is in Government legislation that bullying, intimidation and threats will never again be tolerated in any governent agency. Somewhere along the line and the inner circle did not get the memo.

Taxpayers needs answers urgently.

John Hegarty

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Jul 05, 2012 15:43Report this post to the editors

There is a lot of opinion in these posts. The apparent link with L´Oreal is interesting, if only due to the recent investigation in France and an ex president. Without seeing the evidence that has allowed the authorities in France to take this commercial cronyism seriously it is not possible for me to comment fully. This might upset those with posts seeking fully disclosed evidence but is it only circumstantial? The French police apparently think not, with searches of high or ex high ranking officials houses in the last week.

Obviously any link of a government or semi-state organisation with a multinational cosmetic company would raise questions.
The same type of question that has been raised with the relation to Renovo. The highlighting of these questions without evidence is very valid, the defenders of SFI as it currently stands can protect this organisation completely with disclosure, the questioning rants have been highlighted as being lacking in evidence. The refending rants appear only to attack the questioning rants.

Questions answered and the answers questioned will as with so many lengthy and costly tribunals yield some form of solution that will serve to slowly improve our society. By our society I do of course mean the international world to which we all belong. Need ireland take shame in these stories? I think not for those within and without Ireland who are focussing on this issue will save face, as the truth will prevail. With this prevailing, controls will be enacted both nationally and internationally and with these enforced the world will improve. A huge emphasis should be placed on the word 'enforced', for with all the additional legislation within Ireland dealing with issues for which legislation existed, without enforcement there is no real control.

author by Mise Le Meas - Justicepublication date Thu Jul 05, 2012 22:11Report this post to the editors

Thank you Mr. Hegarty.

Now that the blatant conflict of interest and self interest at SFI has been explored (but far from being exhausted) you raise the interesting spectre of gross misuse of taxpayers money - the gravy train of expenses. Is there a State Agency in the country (apart from the now defunct FAS) that has cost you me and everybody else so much on expenses? Now it's all relative isn't it? - so when we look at the figures let 's consider the size of SFI and how the gravy train of expenses is apportioned ?

We are reasonable people and SFI people are of course very busy looking after our interests so we understand travel expenses around the city/country in the course of their day's work. Sure doesn't every public servant incur travel expenses unlike us poor idiots who pay for our own transport. But as I have said we are reasonable people so let us just concentrate on those exceptional expenses clocked up by SFI director and inner circle since he took up office on January 16th 2012. Now we would like to know:

1. Flight costs from and to these shores clocked up by director and cronies
2. Accommodation costs and per diems paid to these people; time table of trips made and a spreadsheet of hotels they stayed in and cost per night would help us.
3. Entertaining and corporate affairs costs - sure only the very best will do for these Super Stars but still we want to know the costs - we pay for them.
4. Who at SFI actually gets the perks? You can be sure it is not the hard working staff who do all the work for these puffed up Buffoons!

Oh yes SFI : these and all the questions posted on this site have to be answered sooner or later. Let no stone be left unturned.

Mise Le Meas

author by inside bug - Semi-State bugpublication date Fri Jul 06, 2012 13:52Report this post to the editors

Sources from within SFI have leaked out that Ferguson at a recent meeting looked worried and subdued. All of a sudden in the corridor he ranted who the f..k are Indymedia? Well the writers on Indy want answers to issues relating to bullying, vested interests and recent news that states Ferguson has major business interests in America (could this be so)? This would explain why he has spent considerable time in the US recently. Who paid for the flights and hotels? - Yes, the Irish TAXpayers. Smell of FAS all over this.

inside bug

author by Taxpayer - Justicepublication date Fri Jul 06, 2012 21:07Report this post to the editors

I have heard from reliable sources that this man Ferguson and Ruth Freeman are travelling a lot around the globe. I have even heard that recently they were together again in the US.

Just what are they doing there and at what cost to the taxpayer?

This has nothing whatsoever to do with research in Ireland.

What has been achieved by these expensive trips? Irish diplomatic staff - IDA - Enterprise Ireland are all there so why the heck are senior staff like Ferguson and Freeman travelling the world together?

Just what is this pair doing?

This is gross mis-use of taxpayers money.

We have heard of mission creep by SFI but this is jetting around the world creep!!

We have gone mad.

Taxpayer.

author by a concerned researcherpublication date Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:10Report this post to the editors

Questions for the SFI Board:

1. Was the Board aware that Mark Ferguson (MF) had a 12% stake in Renovo at the time of his offer of appointment and if so what did the Board do to mitigate the risk of conflict of interest, real or perceived? Is the Board aware of any other holdings, or interests of any kind, MF may have currently in Biotech or ICT companies in Ireland or other jurisdictions?
2. Is the Board aware that MF proposed two of Renovo’s current Directors (Max Royde and Jamie Brooke) to sit on SFI’s Impact Panels?
3. Is the Board aware of MF’s disparaging language towards politicians, university Presidents and researchers at internal meetings of SFI?
4. Is the Board aware of the damage being inflicted on Ireland’s reputation as a result of the ongoing revelations and has a Board meeting being convened urgently to consider the issues?
5. Are there provisions in MF’s contract to deal with the above issues?

author by Reginald Molloy - Former civil servantpublication date Sat Jul 07, 2012 13:09Report this post to the editors

Doing some research since Indymedia and the Phoenix exposed this extraordinary scandal of taxpayers money. I have the names of the board of directors of SFI. Here we have a staff of 42 people. Can someone explain to me the number mentioned now of directors: Mr Travers, Mr Fottrell, both in their late 70's and old cronies of FF and Haughey, Dr Jim Mountjoy, Mark Ferguson, Tom Boland, Rita Colwell who is based in America and travels on Irish taxpayers money to board meetings here and that also pays for her holidays which also includes another director, Martina Newell, who is also based in America and follows the same holiday as Colwell - yes all paid for by the Irish taxpayer. Next is Bernie Cullinan CEO of Clarigen, Pat Duane, Peter McDonagh UCD, and Martin Shanagher EI. Can someone please explain to me why there are so many directors to such a small outfit like SFI which each are paid £15,000 + expenses for 4 meetings annually. This is a national disgrace.

Now to a more serious point which has untold consequences for the future of science and maths in this country. Inside information has informed me that Ferguson is getting a free run from Sherlock to appoint a complete new board in the next 6 months, all of his own choosing which to me is a complete farce. It is well known that Ferguson calls Sherlock - the little schoolboy who is lost which means he has totally no respect for this Minister for State. Yet Sherlock is completely blinded by the internal chaos and Cronyism that is going on in SFI at present. Ferguson as the Phoenix stated quite clearly is here with Sharon O'Kane to milk the Irish taxpayer for his own personal gain and the Labour party, it seems, are giving him their full backing.

Reginald

author by Bugged - Consciencepublication date Sat Jul 07, 2012 18:56Report this post to the editors

Yes, It's true. Ferguson and Freeman on world travel at taxpayers expense.

Some hard - working staff subtly bullied and harried by Ferguson's lackies to produce fodder for SFI's media/communications hype.

All talent and decency has left or being pushed out. We would go too if we had jobs to go to.

Ferguson sits back, roars with laughter - we have these f***ing morons (ie. government ministers et al) by the balls.

Lackies think it's a great laugh.

We hold our noses - we have to hold our jobs.

Sorry taxpayers.

Bugged.

author by German Visitor - Science Munichpublication date Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:07Report this post to the editors

I am in Ireland with my daughter for the Science seminars this week.
A friend of mine in Dublin made me aware of this issue of events. I followed THE Renovo research in England since 2000 and then it failed under Professor Ferguson many people lost jobs and money.
I dont understand how importent questions are left unansered and Why/// This is a crucial time for Ireland to help students study maths and science. Professor Ferguson should make a statement on all these questions.
Directors of SFI SHOULD CALL A MEETING AND CLARIFY peoples concerns.
Visitor.

author by Eleanor Tripppublication date Mon Jul 09, 2012 20:33Report this post to the editors

Welcome to the new Ireland where failure is the new success and where failure is glorified!! What a world we live in. The real successful people are unappreciated, the big mouths are hailed as the people who get things done. Well we will see.

We are a country governed by Jackasses. How can the mess made by Ferguson at SFI go unchallanged? I am not a betting woman but my guess is that we will pay dearly for this. As Prof. Garven said the best brains in the country are being bossed around by fools. Never more relevant than Now.

Eleanor Tripp.

author by John Hegarty - Retiredpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:47Report this post to the editors

This Ferguson debacle is not going away - not by a long shot. Today's Irish Times is sufficient proof for anybody with a sense of intrigue to see Sean Sherlock writing his letter in defence of SFI and a strange thing there was not a mention of the find of the century Ferguson, Mark. We still are awaiting for the SFI board of directors to come out and make a statement in total clarity that Mark Ferguson and his wife Sharon O'Kane have no connections in relation to shares, in relation to any format involving Renovo in Manchester.

In the last few days another name has cropped up : Max Royde who represents Kestrel's boutique asset management which has taken up a shareholding in Renovo - the mystery here is that Royde and Ferguson are old friends and it gets better, Ferguson wants Max Royde to join him and Travers on the board of directors of SFI. Now if you ever had a blatant, most arrogant form of self interests, I have just given you them on a plate. I will got further. Today the media are asking Minister Reilly what he is doing on the Stubbs Gazette and it is a very valid question when there is almost £2m debt involved. No doubt the Blue Shirts will further circle the wagon on this one. I want to ask Sean Sherlock what is the point of defending now a lame duck like Ferguson. Sooner or later Ferguson will have to step down and for Sherlock's own sake he should do it immediately but then again this is Irish Politics.

Numerous visitors that are here this week from Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Holland, are all writing on the Ferguson issue on their own blogs going back to their own individual campuses. Oh this story, thanks to Indymedia Ireland and the Phoenix has a long way to go yet and the answers are as scarce as Enda Kenny's TV appearances of late. As the old saying goes 'Roll it again Colette'!

John

author by Pertinent Fleshpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2012 14:33Report this post to the editors

The stated level of cronyism may be broader than what is being said here and needs to be dealt with independently if Ireland is to be taken seriously in a global stage

Based on the following assumptions

Forfas is the statutory body which devolves powers that allow SFI, IDA and Enterprise Ireland to run and be independent

Eoin O'Driscoll is Chairman of Forfas

Forfas Board have allowed Forfas to be subsumed back into the Department of Enterprise

If following Freedom of Information questions are answered, it may shed a light on the bigger picture that will emerge of the true extent of cronyism

Was a relative of Eoin O'Driscoll recently appointed to a post in SFI that was not advertised in the proper guidelines?

Do SFI have a history of hiring staff that are known to the inner circle of SFI?

Who in Forfas headhunted and the appointment of Dr. Bill Harris?

Was Harris' PA Fiona Renalds on 100k per year?

Was Harris living a plush apartment in Herbert Park paid for by taxpayers?

Was Harris taxed correctly while working for Forfas and SFI?

Was a special "friend" of Dr. Bills given a position in Enterprise Ireland?

How were all staff that came from US to help poor old Bill hired?

Did even the cleaners in Wilton Park refer to SFI as the American Company on the 5th floor?

Who is Siobhan O'Shea?

What was her relationship with Dr. Bill?

How did she get appointed to look after his hiring and firing regime?

Who is Mattie McCabe?

How did he get appointed as a Director?

Was he still working for SFI after he completed his contract and retired?

How much money have SFI spent on their awards management system?

Was there an alternative system proposed that could have saved a substantial amount of money for taxpayer?

Was there a bullying culture at the beginning in Forfas by SFI senior management while SFI was a part of Forfas?

Why did Donal Keane's brother, Mark not get the position of DG?

How long did Mark Keane work for SFI and how much did he get paid?

Why did Mark leave?

What are the negative impacts of Una Clifford having returned to work on staff morale?

How many contracts has Una Clifford re-written in the last year and told the staff member after the event?

How do the previous Interim CEO of SFI Graham Love and Una Clifford deal with reported incidents of bullying in SFI?

What is the staff turnover ratio on SFI compared to other agencies that are not permitted to hire staff?

What are the qualifications of ALL management in IDA, Forfas, Enterprise Ireland and Chief Science Adviser from CEO down who make decisions?

Are they adequately qualified to carry out their duties or if you were to look at their roles, would that highlight the state of cronyism in State bodies?

Are the current management in IDA, Forfas, Enterprise Ireland and Chief Science Adviser just puppets for the Government?

Was ex CEO of Forfas, John Travers appointed by the Government to investigate the Minister for Health?

Who appointed him for this piece of work?

Did this piece of work have anything to do with him being appointed as Interim CEO of SFI?

In SFI, Chief Science Adviser and Forfas, how many members of staff and management are over the age of retirement and have received their pensions, yet are still

on being paid?

In the Department of Finance Employment Control Framework, how many employees are sanctioned to work in all the agencies in Wilton Park compared to how many are

actually there?

How many contractors are working in Wilton Park House and are they being used as a way to get around the Employment Control Framework?

If you got the correct "official" answer, would you believe the truth?

Is Andrew McDowell, the nephew of ex Minister for Justice and the current adviser to Richard Bruton, and ex senior mgt in Forfas behind the splitting up of Forfas

and other State Agencies and their independent advice?

Can we see the tender process and procedures for all contracts awarded for Staff and more importantly the award management system in SFI?

Have SFI hired a PI to investigate the leaks from within and if so did they use the proper procedures for hiring contractors or is it just another spin to bully staff and whistle blowers to stop telling the truth?

The above are not my views just seeking the answers that need to be answered

author by Weary - Justicepublication date Tue Jul 10, 2012 14:46Report this post to the editors

Never before has a government needed to come out and plead a defense of SFI. Never before has one been done so in SFI speak. Now thereby hangs a tale!

Let us be clear about one issue. Nobody is calling for the abolition of SFI. We may well question its direction but that is another issue. W£hat is required is that this organisation be managed by decent honourable people who have the interest of Irish Science and the interest of Ireland's Scientific Reputation at heart. We strongly object to SFI being run as a personal fiefdom servicing only the Chief and his lackies. We do not want another FAS.

So perhaps Minister Sherlock you should be seeking answers to the many questions put to SFI and its board on this site and on others. So far not one question has been adequately answered and instead your (?) letter just gives us more of SFI's spin on the hidden truth and agenda.

So Minister stop defending your patch. We want answers not spin. Take up the concerns of the Irish taxpayer who elected you with that remit and who you will need to elect you in the future. Seek the answers on our behalf.

Weary taxpayer.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jul 10, 2012 16:00Report this post to the editors

..reads like a senior civil servants 'yes minister' reply, filtered through the Communications Clinic's buzzword generator. Riddled with oxymoronic contradictions.

for '..oriented basic research..' read Ibec-agenda product-development for capital generation.

My understanding(and correct me if I'm wrong)is that the way to make science economically productive is to fund the blue-sky research and get your fundamental non-directed skills into place..a long-term, ends-directed process from which industry may spin off.
By narrowing the science base to market-led ends seems to me a distortion of the basic scientific idea, primarily for explanatory data to create intelligent understanding of nature. By starting with the market('oriented') end it seems science itself is fundamentally distorted, polluted and corrupted. Ye olde Midas kiss of death.

Cart before horse country again, as per usual, numerological 'economy' trumps population's needs. I doubt Sherlock is scientifically literate enough to understand this. Has he a science background?

It is for Ibec to do the 'oriented' applications. The state's role should be the funding of disinterested and unbiased top-end speculative research and the building of the skills base for same pre-orientated basic knowledge.

This is the commodification of science..and given current market trends that route is to feed market-peaking 'defense' research. But then our whole 'higher' education system has been swinging this way since at least the seventies.

Which means, among other things, the scientific watchdog on the ecological predations of our economic emphasis will be discounted and muzzled as antipathetic to its increasingly carcinogenic growth. The results of such economic filtering of science are evident in the collapse of marine ecosystems due to biocidal extraction for blinkered short-term uni-generational gain.

Smart economy?Smart like Bertie.

author by Surplus Workerpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2012 16:43Report this post to the editors

The President of America can be booted out in the next year.
Thanks to the Croke Park Agreement no Irish Public Sector worker can be sacked.
The German paymasters of the Irish Public Sector are watching.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jul 10, 2012 18:51Report this post to the editors

..at the board that dish the mass P45s

http://bit.ly/OtzKWc

and decide the expert agenda

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:13Report this post to the editors

Best for the job.

Cronyism and nepotism are seen as bad words. The abuse of any connection is wrong, in fact the abuse of anything is wrong. The best person for the job may well be known to the employer, and often is. This is especially true in the confines of Ireland's higher scientific academia, for only due to there being so few in this realm. The mosquito bite is not the appointing of those known but the removal of those great in favour of those known. This serious and diseased abuse apparently threatens the very destruction of the SFI from within like the spreading of malaria. 'The wonderful thing about malaria is getting better'. A small and less insidious disease might linger for years, perhaps we can thank those parasites for making this deadly disease apparent, by which of course I refer to the protists that infect animals livers causing malaria.

Without diagnosis there can often be no cure. But with diagnosis we must take care in prescribing a cure. The see-saw principal often sees the cause being reversed so extremely that the remedy often results in equal if not greater problems. In order to avoid the demise of the SFI, draconian measures to prevent cronyism should be avoided. The active replacement of the great with the known is a reduction in the standard of any organisation. The active replacement of the great with the unknown, due only to the great being known is of equal detriment. This is one aspect of the lasting damage caused by the wholesale abuse of power through cronyism and only one reason why it must be prevented and stopped before the disease takes hold.

The damage is lasting and weakens the organisation, is criminal if deliberately caused through greed or self interest. The posts on this site are disturbing in the extreme, with some post dissenters arguing and seeking more answers. These questions need to be answered in order to effect a vaccine. But the absence of answers should not allow this to fade and be swept out of mind like a leper colony for these are doomed to lonely destruction. The innovation possible through the work of the great academics should not be removed in any manner, but more especially should not be removed in the despicable manner reported. The innovation possible shall then become innovation lost with the consequent loss of respect and standards. This would then permeate through society thereby reducing standards throughout. The concentration on the detail of this plight is merely though an important detail of a big picture that needs resolution.

The posts being viewed as 'overblown' is a dangerous underestimate of the comments. Search for the fire if you see the smoke and if the answers show there to be no fire, great! How often is this the case? Ignore the forest cinders while they can easily be extinguished and you have widespread disaster. Lets quell this storm while we still can. The person often unfortunately best placed to quell the forest fire is the one holding the cinders, the next best are the innocent witnesses who too often remain uninvolved.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” Winston Churchill.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Thomas Jefferson.

author by Crocodile Tears - Researchpublication date Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:25Report this post to the editors

I take great hope in relation to the last number of postings. I refer Pertinent Flesh and Opus. It has given me a much deeper insight which I did not have at my disposal. I want to state that in the last number of months, certain people in SFI have assumed new roles of authority without actually having the authority to do so. I will explain this: Una Clifford is Human Resources in SFI. As we speak Una Clifford is moving around the corridors instructing people telling them how to behave in relation to the new format that Ferguson has obviously outlined within the inner circle. Ms Clifford portrays herself as one of Ireland's leading expert - the problem is that nobody has heard of her in the Law Library but I will get her an invitation to attend the Library in due course after the 4 days of Chit Chat of Science Ireland (today the onset ESOF2012). I also believe Una Clifford as Pertinent described is writing up new contracts on behalf of Ferguson and shredding others on behalf of herself. Leaving Renovo aside for a second and only a second Ms Clifford is creating another serious Conflict of Interest.

Una: Wake up. This is Ireland in the fall-out of the biggest corruption between FAS, the Bankers, the Developers, The Berties, The Fianna Failers, including Travers and Fottrell on the present board of SFI. This is what we are trying to get away from. Corruption - Cronyism - and the so called 'Established/Entitled' Classes who have as much power right now as a beetle on a Rhinos arse. I am not calling Ms. Clifford a beetle, I am just trying to tell her with her Civil law legal degree that she is way out of her depth. Anyway in the middle of all this it is well known in the circle of Academics that Ruth Freeman is in line for a Nobel prize! It will be the first of its kind. It is called. 'Free will travel' and it is conferred to her by the Irish taxpayers. Let us get serious here. Taxpayers want answers urgently. How much is it costing to run the Empire Wilton State building on the canal with 40 employees. Inside right now Graham Love, Una, Donal Keane and the rest of the lick arses are getting worried. The question for them is: Have they served Ferguson to their total ability because their jobs will be on the line. Then again when we get the full truth in relation to costs - maybe it is high time SFI was turned inside out and Ferguson given his P45.

Crocodile Tears

author by Researcherpublication date Wed Jul 11, 2012 15:37Report this post to the editors

I was reading with great interest the entry "Worked at SFI for approx 4 years". Could you clarify a few points for me please?

1. Was Frank Gannon involved in this?

2. Do you know of any links between John Travers and C.J. Haughey?

3. Do you have the travel expenses relating to both Ferguson and Freeman since the former started at SFI in January 2012 up to now?

4. Are you aware of the serious connflict of interest involving Ferguson and his wife Sharon'Kane with Renovo?

Thanks. This site is being discussed everywhere at the City of Science congress.

Researcher.

author by Tommypublication date Wed Jul 11, 2012 21:05Report this post to the editors

All drama queens! Country needs to be run like any company! You have to do whatever you have to in order to get job done simple

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:22Report this post to the editors

..your patronymic aint Cooper by any chance?

No, he knew he was joking...and is less brain-dead.

'..simple...'=simplistic=simpleton...a long way from science you were dropped.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:16Report this post to the editors

Opus

Simpleton is the correct word. I will go one further. Tommy gun is senior management SFI, one of his cronies got raw courage after a bottle of vino last night and put up the one line SFI muppet comment. In the last 2 weeks a major enquiry has been going on into the leaks in relation to what is going on at Wilton Place. Last night of course the 1% of the elite had a wine reception. Michael D. Higgins and co. attended. The sad thing is the 99% as usual paid for the buffet muppet show. Ferguson last night was not his usual arrogant self, he was telling some junior staff that he was feeling very stressed and may go on sick leave shortly but he has to get permission from Una Clifford as to what kind of illness he must go out on. I suggest it should be called the Renovo locust. It is a deadly form of beetle that you can pick up while you are studying crocodiles in the Everglades with his personal PA, Ruth Freetravel.

This morning I met a young teacher from Galway who teaches primary school children in Ballymun. She is very clued in relating to SFI and she made a very valid point. She tried to go to one of the seminars on Friday and was politely told on the phone that it was £100 registration fee. This shocked her as it does me, to the core, in the present economic climate of austerity imposed on us. Our students are falling behind in Maths and Science and yet our students are not allowed to attend certain speeches by so called Professors unless they pay exhorbitant fees. I find this disgusting. Enterprise Ireland organised this event. The taxpayers of Ireland paid for it and yet our Irish citizens who are not in the 1% cannot attend. It should be called Science Elite Research seminar. Back in Manchester numerous people are forming a group to try to find out where all the money went from the Renovo fall-out. Rumour has it that numerous millions went astray. Maybe we can ask James Reilly to look into this given that he appears to be a speculator himself. I would think when Renovo Ferguson and Nursing Home Reilly meet at one of the seminars it should make a most interesting conversation about conflicts of interest. In the meantime the circus continues and today's clown is Minister of State Sean Sherlock.

Brian

author by Weary - Justicepublication date Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:41Report this post to the editors

God Almighty - the Debacle of SFI is now beyond beyond belief - Alleged Conflict of Interest, naked self-interest, cronyism, nepotism, alteration of legal documents, bullying, mis-use of taxpayers money and mis-representation and all of this from an organisation that was only established in 2001.

Is there anybody out there who can address these allegations? If untrue, refute them. That can be done easily enough. If true well then take immediate action and redress these problems. These scandals has caused untold damage to Science Foundation Ireland and the management there who leave a lot to be desired.

Clearly there has been a course of huge mismanagement of this organisation over the past few years and apparently even now. Otherwise this dreadful cancer that appears to be endemic there would not have rooted so quickly and so pervasively. We have another FAS on our hands.

Unfortunately in periods of down-turn and recession the dross and mediocre rise to the top. The best are forced out - professional sabotage takes place, envy and spite reigns, old scores real or imagined are settled and absolute chaos takes over. This behaviour is as old as the world itself.

What is absolutely astonishing is that this culture appears to have taken root in SFI so rapidly - such destruction in such a short time!

Weary

author by Knowledge Workerpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:42Report this post to the editors

@Tommy: If "getting the job" done means squandering taxpayers money, bilking investors and making off with lots of cash, I suppose you're right:

http://educationalstandards.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/sc...acle/

author by Deep Insider - One foot in the gravepublication date Fri Jul 13, 2012 13:23Report this post to the editors

It all happened last night. Sadly I was there and for a while I wondered what really was I doing at the event. I had my special pass. Other people had to pay the £100+ fee to hear the Professors speak on DNA - the overall blaa blaa of the night was on the scientist who gave the same speech at the same venue in 1943. I won't bore you with the details.

I have been reading this topic for some weeks now. Also it was mentioned on the various blogs that are attached to the various universities. Last night Professor Luke O'Neill who is the Governments Chief Scientific adviser gave the opening speech. The rest is now like everything else - history. The point I want to make and maybe I want to clear my conscience also. This was a gathering of the inner circle of the elite last night, paid for by ordinary taxpayers money. Yet we have fallen way behind in mathematics and science. I looked around the room last night and I could count the number in attendance on one hand those under the age of 21. They were non existent. This deeply saddens me. Enda Kenny was there and I could see by his face he had as much interest in DNA origin as would the puck goat in Killorgin. We need to get all our teachers together, the national schools, the secondary schools and get a fear out of the mindsets of our young students towards maths and science. In the last decade we have had a 70% drop in students taking honours maths at leaving cert level. This alone is a crime of neglect within our research teams and our educational structure. Last night was the example again of the cronyism, the elitism of the gathering. I praise you in return for you praise me. Many years ago I always thought Professor Anthony Coughlan was too radical, now sadly I am beginning to open my eyes and see the truth and the bullshit all around me. This morning on Radio 1 7.50 a.m. Dr Graham Love, SFI got his 20 seconds of National air-time. This will give him an increase in his alter ego and sadly this is the problem in SFI today. It is a private company of cronies paid for by the common people of Ireland.

Commercialisation is blinding our present day researchers. When money is offered to you there begins the vested interest and the purpose is lost forever.

Deep Insider

author by Ex-researcherpublication date Fri Jul 13, 2012 23:55Report this post to the editors

I'm out of research for over 4 years now and in the private sector.
I remember that a job in the SFI was seen as a meal ticket back then - highly paid, prestigious.

Even back then research grants were funded based on commercialisation potential - I got a 1 year grant of 100K from SFI. The idea did come from basic research during my PhD and included a patent. An initial meeting with several big-wigs (clinicians, surgeons, senior post-docs) made me think that the support would be there to really try to make a success of the project - but I was pretty much on my own. I actually felt guilty spending money on a project when no one seemed to care about the outcome. Yes you could say it was sink or swim as a new post-doc but ultimately it was simply another grant to list in big wigs CVs and another 100K to add to their cumulative grant totals - the more money you've been given (even if totally wasted) they more they are likely to give you in future. This applies to all grant agencies.

Mark Ferguson and his ilk just seem like a natural progression for a certain sector intent on self promotion, ego and cronyism.

author by Eleanor Tripppublication date Sat Jul 14, 2012 14:17Report this post to the editors

It is absolutely preposterous that these scandals surrounding SFI have not yet been independently investigated. Goodness me what does this take?

If any of these allegations are true of any State Agency, then the Director General, the Board and the whole Management team should summarily consider their positions.

This country has tolerated for far too long massive abuse of power and resources by individuals who seek their own advantage at the taxpayer's expense. They are servants of the State NOT its masters.

It must be awful for those hard working individuals at SFI, who have to endure this type of alleged corruption and mis-management and worse still have to keep silent of it for fear of losing their jobs. We thought we were leaving that behind with the Haughey/Bertie era but it seems that the old fingers are still in the pie!!!

Considerations that need to be investigated:

1) Independent examination of conflict of interest issue. (This should certainly NOT be done by the exisiting board at SFI or any other board member of other State Agencies - old boys/girls club!)

2) An independent forensic audit of the "quango".

3) An independent enquiry into the alleged mis-management - (e.g. expenses, nepotism, careful and honest and transparent handling of legal documents, manner of promotions - was due process adhered to?)

These any MANY other issues at SFI need to be carefully and promptly considered.

Eleanor Tripp

author by Observerpublication date Sun Jul 15, 2012 09:24Report this post to the editors

SFI’s main aim is to commercialise research. But from its latest Annual Report, as Finfacts reported on 12 July: “Science Foundation Ireland reports dismal results”.

Once it was hoped that SFI would support basic and fundamental science, mathematics and engineering in Ireland. See lots of letters to the Irish Times in recent days. Absolutely nothing is being done by SFI for fundamental science and engineering.

This is a disaster for Irish science, mathematics and engineering. Ferguson and his circle of cronies take full responsibility for this.

Observer

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:13Report this post to the editors

I received a call this morning to read the Sfi artickle in the Sunday Times business section. Report by Mark Paul Mark Ferguson and Una Clifford have got a High Court order against UPC TO GIVE sfi access to who is writing about them, This to me is bully boy tactics and shows how Ferguson operates.
Free speech is vital in any Democracy and should never be given up at any cost, Ferguson goes on to say what plans and changes he will make at SFI AND HE SAYS HE DOES NOT CARE HOW UNPOPULAR they are. This is starting to heat up and the Labour// Fine Gael coalition want to shut certain people up
Why people have a right to ask questions, I hope we still live in a Free speech country,
Brian Flannery.

author by Economist - Universitiespublication date Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:46Report this post to the editors

Reading the Business section of the Sunday Times yesterday I was not shocked by Mr. Ferguson's outline and arrogance in relation to how he is running SFI right now. Ferguson went on to state without any hesitation that he closed down many divisions of research, that he has made redundant numerous people and he also made reference to any contracts going forward will only last 5 years. Ferguson's problem is the legacy left behind with Renovo. I am not a scientist but I am a deep economist and by this I mean Ferguson and Renovo and the figures don't add up. Professor Ferguson came over here as if it would be an easy ride before Professor O'Neill stands down as Government Chief Science adviser and this is Ferguson's main goal. He wants to run SFI as his and his alone beyond the questions of anybody but he also wants the cream on top i.e. Luke O'Neill's job. Sorry Ferguson. You have numerous questions to answer.

You threaten academics along with Una Clifford who also has many questions to answer particularly in the way she handles communications. People are entitled to be treated with respect, dignity and most importantly humanity. Ireland has witnessed the arrogance of bankers, developers, speculators, and the FF gobshites who destroyed an entire nation. Now we have a failed businessman from Manchester who lost 200+ jobs and over 100m of shareholders/investors money and yesterday he screams at the Irish citizens - How dare you question me in the way I run SFI? I believe this man is a narcissist and I also believe that he is so blinkered through his CBE and the horse shit attached to it that he forgets he works for the Irish taxpayer. Mr. Ferguson you need to first of all - apologise to the Irish people to whom you have shown no respect to in SFI, since your arrival. Then you need to make a clarified statement in relation to you and your wife Sharon O'Kane regarding any connections you have, in any format, which you have with Renovo. You work for the Irish taxpayer which means you are in the circle of accountability to the citizens of this island and more importantly to the students of our universities and schools. This is not about your ego or the ego or should I say the shocking way Ms. Clifford makes contacts with people. Ms. Clifford should be very careful about any High Court and she will also be put on the stand in relation to internal data. Irish people have a constitutional right to ask questions and as an economist Ferguson's figures yesterday is like watching the movie Dumb and Dumber. They don't add up. Mr. Ferguson, bullying will not be tolerated in these recession times. We have had bullies before and we dealt with them. It took time, it took tolerance but it also took balls and we have all the requirements.

Economist

author by Outraged Taxpayerpublication date Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:48Report this post to the editors

How dare this man Ferguson and his lackey dare attempt to use the taxpayer's money to defend his already tarnished reputation? This tarnishing was not done by the Irish people but was done by others before he took over the directorship of SFI His appointment could be viewed as an unmitigated disaster for Irish Science and its reputation at home and abroad.

Questions that need to be answered have been posted on this site. Clearly they are of great concern to the irish taxpayers. Clearly they are of greater concern to Ferguson and his cronies within SFI who will go to any length to prevent the truth being revealed.

We the Irish Taxpayers will not be silenced by threats and bullying. Remember that there are still people around who have some integrity, honesty and responsibility. If there is any sensitive material in all of this issue it is the issue of how the taxpayers money is being spent by SFI. We have the right to be given this information without any fudge and with complete openess.

Outraged Taxpayer.

author by ExPatpublication date Mon Jul 16, 2012 14:15Report this post to the editors

Who is Mattie McCabe?

This just gets better :-)

author by Phoenix Rising - Justicepublication date Mon Jul 16, 2012 14:28Report this post to the editors

Some days ago in Dail Eireann Clare Daly asked Minister John Sherlock several questions in relation to Mark Ferguson, head of SFI. Deputy Daly was ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle but the only question Minister Sherlock answered was in relation to Ferguson's salary. He responded that Ferguson received £189,315 pa plus pension scheme provision. Taxpayers need to know how much more is on offer.

I wonder if Mark Ferguson is trying to shut up Clare Daly and Dail Eireann in his question for secrecy, in his lust for power and unbridled control of SFI. I don't think Clare will be silenced by him.

Note the annual accounts where his salary @ Renovo = >Stg350,000

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Jul 16, 2012 17:36Report this post to the editors

sooo...more massive and elusive than the God particle itself...

l'Oriel syndrome...seems to be pandemic in the ascendancy echelons...that and the spin factor.

A turn in the colloider might cure it.

author by Post Doc.publication date Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:00Report this post to the editors

Excellent Research is based on sustainability and consistent effort. See CERN and NASA examples. SUSTAINABILITY not short term goals required. Tell this man Ferguson to get real.

author by Pat Mc Cabe - Retired semi statepublication date Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:10Report this post to the editors

I am disgusted as a retired Teacher how one man can do so much damage to the future of Science and Maths in this country, Some months ago CBE Ferguson gave a small speech to a group of Researchers at Trinity, My niece informed me later to my disgust his behavour was appalling and bad language throughout the talk. Why did people take the rants and not say enough/ have some respect. It is now time for the Board of SFI to come out and make a full statement in relation how Ferguson got this post as DG in January we all know good people got shafted. I note Sherlocks reply to Clare Daly in the Dail was vague and drops the scandal in SFI at the door of the board of Directors. Would Fottrell come out now as ADirector and make a full statement or is he afraid of Ferguson,
Questions need urgent answers we have had Fas scandals now Renovo and SFI. tHIS IS NOT GOING AWAY.
Pat Mc Cabe

author by W. Finnertypublication date Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:07Report this post to the editors

"The former chief executive of France Telecom (semi-state I suspect?) has been placed under formal judicial investigation over workplace bullying after a spate of suicides at the phone company and its subsidiary Orange, in what could become a landmark criminal trial."

"Didier Lombard stepped down as head of the company in 2010 amid criticism of his handling of the suicide crisis; about 35 staff killed themselves in 2008 and 2009."

The two excerpts above are from the following location:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/05/france-tele...lying

Related Link:
http://tinyurl.com/cvq3vvr

author by Michael Neutral - Curiousitypublication date Tue Jul 17, 2012 15:18Report this post to the editors

The race is on. In one stable we have numerous home grown scientists from UCD, Trinity, DCU, NUIG, Limerick and the rest. Of course, let us not forget UCC. But the question is: Do they have the balls to fight the front runner - hand picked by Travers?

In the front runners camp we have the bull Ferguson from SFI "I am here to put manners on all the gombeen professors from the various campuses". What will happen? Well: the referees are Bruton, Rabbitte and of course our invisible Taoiseach Mr. Kenny.

Odds 5 / 1 the bull Ferguson: Odds 90 / 1 Freeman: Odds 85 / 1 Keane: & 100 / 1 Jed & Jed

Wouldn't be great to have a special Kenny tonight on it and maybe even a tweet about a browne envelope?

author by W. Finnertypublication date Tue Jul 17, 2012 15:53Report this post to the editors

"Renovo attempted to commercialise the scientific research that Ferguson had carried out at the University of Manchester. It grew rapidly from a small private company in 2000 to a publicly traded company with over 200 staff, claiming possession of 'the most advanced regenerative medicine in the world'. It received large sums of money, including £63 million of investors’ money, £58 million of investment from the pharmaceutical company Shire, along with £16.5 million of British tax-payers money in the form of grants and research tax credits."

"However, all of the drug products ultimately failed their clinical tests and none were commercialised. In 2011, the scientific research was terminated and all of the employees were laid off. The investors were wiped and the company was delisted from the main stock market."

The above excerpts are from:
http://educationalstandards.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/sc...acle/

Related Link:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/

author by Outraged Taxpayerpublication date Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:19Report this post to the editors

Look at Renovo , the article above written by Mr. Finnerty. Consider the funds of £160 million that SFI, under the directorship of Mark Ferguson, is entrusted with. Are we seriously being asked by our Government to trust this man with our hard earned taxes?

Is htis country gone completely mad?

Outraged Taxpayer.

author by New Yorker - Imigrated by SFIpublication date Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:27Report this post to the editors

I want to thank Mr Finnerty for bringing to the fore more information of the Renovo scandal and the legacy of Ferguson and O Kane in Manchester,
Fottrell Chief Director of the SFI Board had to know the full disaster of what Ferguson left behind in Manchester and yet Fottrell and Graham Love hid the full facts from the Goverment and the Irish Taxpayers. The English Taxpayers lost 17 million pounds and yet Fottrell hid the facts along with Travers/ Newell and the rest of the Board of Directors// Why we need the full facts on Ferguson/ and in the last 72 hours shares are being bough up by unknown sources in relation to Renovo. Irish Taxpayers are waiting on the Directors of SFI NOW TO EXPLAIN THIS SCANDAL.
New Yorker.

author by Interested - Policy Institutepublication date Thu Jul 19, 2012 15:52Report this post to the editors

The following is an excerpt from SFI's policy on Conflict of Interest.....

" The objective of the policy are:-

1. To protect the Foundation against conflicts of interest that may be detrimental to its activities, by ensuring that individuals covered by the policy make decisions free from any external influences, either personal or fiduciary.

2. To protect the Foundation and those individuals covered by the policy against impropriety or the appearance of impropriety, including reputational risk.

3. To earn and maintain the confidence of the research community, the government and the general public in the integrity, effectiveness and impartiality of its decision-making processes. It will not do so if these processes are seen to be compromised by conflicts of interest......"

In the light of what is happening in SFI (and for that matter relating to our Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly), is this verbiage just pure rhetoric?

I do not know how to upload the link.

author by Legal Eagle - JUSTICE AGAINST CORRUPTIONpublication date Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:23Report this post to the editors

Changes have been made to THE PROFILE of failed ex Renovo Chief Fegusons CV in the last 3 weeks. Una Clifford and Donkey Keane are desperate to cover their own pathetic backs in relation to Fergus. Sources from within SFI have said that Clifford tapes all meetings now with staff and especially with Donkey Keane who she totally mistrusts after hearing on the Phoenix that Keanes brother Mark was shafted by Fottrell for the DG post last December. Gossip and secret meetings are now part of a normal day at Wilton Place.
Other internal sources are asking the friendship between Clifford and Liam Fitzgerald of Shire Holdings is a major concern and a possible conflict of interest. Sources say Clifford and Fitzgerald are close friends the problem for the Irish Taxpayer is Shire has direct interests in Renovo. What is going on it may only be out of office hours drinking but serious questions remain unanswered.
Donal Keane is unhappy with all the bad press at present and close associates are advising him to let Ferguson cover up his own shit.
It is becoming more evident now urgent changes are needed to protect the taxpayers of this country.
Legal Eagle.

author by Taxpayer - The Greater Goodpublication date Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:27Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson the Director General - Why I believe it was a bad decision.

I believe Mr Ferguson was a very bad choice for the following reasons;

1. It appears to me that he is a massive failure and an incorrigible self seeker because the" Renovo" he created, his big claim to success, failed on all scores and was built on financial sand and while he enriched himself thousands of others were impoverished. Think now of Bankers and Property Speculators.

2. He appears to be focused on selfish gain Financially/reputationally(?) which blinds him to the consequences of his actions for the common good. (i.e. Researchers, Basic Science etc, employees and the taxpayer.

3. He appears to have cultivated an inner circle to support his skewed judgement and his volatile behaviour. Think of Enron et al.

4. He appears to have willingly sacrificed SFI's long term viability for short-term financial gain.

5. I am extremely uneasy about the part RENOVO - of which he and his wife Sharon O'Kane hold at least 12.5% voting rights and perhaps even more than 12.5% shareholding - plays in his position. I would have imagined this represents a huge conflict of interest.

6. The question is, is he fattening the calf "RENOVO" in order to sell it on and or seek other types of mergers and is this being done or even partially done AT THE EXPENSE OF THE IRISH TAXPAYER, IRISH SCIENCE AND REPUTATION.

7. Is SFI his holding seat while he sits and waits a possible huge windfall - How really interest is this man in the future of Science in Ireland and or in its reputation?

NO NO NO - replace this man immediately Too many questions hang over his appointment. This is not good for Ireland's future in science or for its reputation.

TAXPAYER.

7. IS SFI is holding seat while he cenceivably

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sat Jul 21, 2012 19:49Report this post to the editors

Symptomatic.

Symptoms in the running of the SFI would appear based on the posts to be similar to those pervasive throughout authorities in Ireland. Enda Kenny has recently been quoted as requiring that any venture or innovation should generate both jobs and profit in the short term. Innovation by its nature rarely yields results in the short term. The required result would appear based on appearance to be primarily fiscal, as is the case throughout the government and bank institutions, with creating jobs a reasonable vote generating by product. Perhaps these comments are cynical, however there are questions that require answers.

The appointment to lead the SFI of someone who has in business apparently failed is however at odds with the above perception. The reported active removal of high ranking scientists from the SFI would also be at odds with the above perception, though also with appointment of someone having the intention of making the SFI profitable. There is no speedy way of making profit through science. The active removal of the best brains from a science organisation can only delay any possible profit. References in the posts to 'snake oil' and audacious claims are related to the failings of Renovo and their presence in the posts indicative that these terms may with time relate also to future failings of the SFI. The removal of the best scientists would of course remove also any dissenters to 'snake oil' claims. Perhaps these possible results could be erroneous and the references herein are inaccurate, comments from those with authority in the SFI could clarify the questions arising.

The silencing of awkward questions by those unwilling to answer is a dangerous task that only qualifies the questions. Only an answer can qualify the actions that provoke the questions. Let those in authority within the SFI and those responsible for appointments answer the questions raised.

author by Phoenix Rising - Justice v Cronyism publication date Mon Jul 23, 2012 13:34Report this post to the editors

Today Irish Independent - article by Edel O'Connell, Ferguson insists he is here at SFI to make profit! In his arrogant tone, he declared words to effect he could make a lot more in the private sector but I wanted this job for one reason only to change science in Ireland and the research programmes attached to it. Ferguson also stated his wife Sharon O'Kane and himself have no problem whatsoever relating to drawing down Stg£12.7 m + other payments which include Stg£2 m to Sharon O'Kane and when you add in the bonuses - the total gets close to Stg£18 m (from a company that produced nothing other than trial failures). He also went on to say that he had sympathy for the 240 people who lost their jobs at Renovo in Manchester. His own words state 'Life goes on'.

During the interview you could interpret that he would not go into any depth. However the article states that company was floated i n 2006 on the London Stock Exchange and raised Stg78 million. It also raised Stg£100 million from the pharmaceutical company Shire. Other peoples' money backed the risks taken by Ferguson and Renovo. The ordinary people lost their jobs, the shareholders lost their total investment while he and his wife walked off with a sizeable amount together with having the benefit of salaries and perks for the years employed by this company.

Where is the Justice? Ireland now has the problem of what is the real story in relation to Renovo and Ferguson. Renovo still exists on lesser Stock Exchange with shares trading about 17p. Realistically these are now 'Penny Share' market potential and for those willing to take risks going forward, you can double your money eg 11p to 22p. Ferguson and his wife still own 14% of Renovo and there lies the conflict of interest. Sources inside SFI at the moment are telling outsiders that Donal Keane, the chief financial controller, is very uneasy with the negative headlines which Ferguson is attracting to SFI. Then again, Donal Keane has his own ghosts. He was the chief accountant on the administration board of Our Lady's Hospital, Drogheda, from 1993 to 1997 and we all know the scandals attached to that hospital without mentioning any names and the cover-ups. This will have to be addressed at Government level at some stage because this is extremely serious eg major conflicts of interest and the Irish taxpayers have a right to know the full story.

Phoenix Rising

author by Is mise le measpublication date Mon Jul 23, 2012 16:33Report this post to the editors


Is Mr Ferguson attempting only now to come clean about Renovo and the staggering losses it generated in terms of funds (investors, taxes etc) and personnel? What a pity the board of SFI did not seek this information before they appointed him. His personal take is even greater than hitherto imagined!

However he still has not come clean on his present involvement in Renovo. He has not come clean about his and/or his family's exact shareholding in the company and/or about his/their voting rights. He has not come clean about Renovo's relationship, if any, with L'Oreal. He is not clear about any connections L'Oreal may have with research in Ireland which he oversees and funds courtesy of the Irish taxpayer. These are all very worrying and legitimate questions which need to be answered.

This man openly admits (albeit only after this site first outed him) that his private company failed massively. He speaks of his great difficulty in making staff redundant yet he has deliberately denuded and pushed aside SFI's smartest and best people. In effect, those with the expertise and knowledge that would be most helpful in making the rights decisions for Irish science and research. From what we have learned on this site, he and his management team have done so in a most appalling and unacceptable manner. Yet our Government has appointed this man to decide and oversee the spending of £100m+ of taxpayers money.

Mr. Ferguson - Do the honourable thing and resign. It could be said that you are in breach of many of the tenets of SFI's Conflict of Interest charter. This is a catastrophe for Irish science, research and its reputation, nationally and internationally

Is mise le meas

author by Inside Knowledge - Semi - Statepublication date Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:03Report this post to the editors

After reading Dick Alstrom's article yesterday in the Irish Times it is clear now that SFI has lost all credibility in the area of science and research in Ireland. Renovo is the monkey on Ferguson's back now and this monkey will not be bribed by a banana. Dick Alstrom is a highly respected in the world of science as a very level- headed journalist. His message yesterday was crystal clear SFI has completely lost its way and is embedded with cronyism and jobs for the boys and girls.

In the middle of all of this chief hatchet man Donal Keane who is the main instigitator of who gets terminated or promoted must be worried now because the legacy he left at Our Lady's Hospital Drogheda is catching up. Well done to Indymedia in bringing this cronyism to the fore and as we speak young graduates are expressing their disgust at what is going on internally at Wilton Place. 170 million is a lot of taxpayers money in the hands of a failed businessman like Ferguson, especially with a half million people unemployed.

Inside Knowledge.

author by Economist - Watching share holdingspublication date Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:43Report this post to the editors

Reading the FT on the 14 july last I came across a topic written by Jonathan Moules how failing Companies reinvent themselves on the Stock market . They look for private funding and people to invest if the opportunity is there to make money, Ferguson is blatantly using his position to attract investors back to Renovo in a very well constructed way. The trips to America paid for by the Irish Taxpayers is to create alternative funding for Renovo which ferguson and the wife Sharon o Kane still hold 15.per in stake holdings, This is illegal and one can say or ask the question internal trading at worst scenario,
Irish Taxpayers should take a deeper look at what is not happening in SFI and ask Why because this man walked away with 18 million in Manchester and what will he gain here on the backs of taxpayers who pays his trips for self gain,
This is a serious conflict of interest here,
Economist,

author by Dr Impactpublication date Wed Jul 25, 2012 14:14Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson and Sharon O'Kane still own a considerable part of the company they made and broke, Renovo. Now they are not directors, but they do own. After its collapse in terms of scar healing and everything else, it is now a different game: "Renovo eyes market with £30m war chest" as reported in lots of news media in May. There is lots of hanky panky going on now. Just look at all the "Transaction in own shares" notices that Renovo is logging. And Mark Ferguson can be found travelling to the US and elsewhere, sometimes with more SFI personnel in tow. He's there to tout the wares of Renovo, enjoying this profile that "working for the Irish govrenment" gives him, as the press releases put it. This is at SFI's expense and the Irish State's expense.

Forget about SFI's role in science and technology. See the recent Irish Times article on "Foundation has lost the confidence of research community". It is interesting to see just how much SFI's role and work have changed! SFI's Renovo work is gathering pace all the time now. If or when Renovo is sold off, Mr and Mrs Ferguson and O'Kane will make yet another financial killing. They will leave behind them this terrible misfortune for Irish research, and science, and engineering in the process.

author by Overseaspublication date Wed Jul 25, 2012 18:05Report this post to the editors

I have been reading the various comments on SFI from the internet,The Irish Times, Irish Independent Phoenix, Belfast Telegraph etc. etc and it makes an astonishing read. Do the powers that be in Ireland not see what a terrible fiasco this is , right down from the Director General to the management team which by all accounts seem to have been hand - picked by him?

Are there not enough economists or mathematicans in Ireland to examine the share trading activity of this company ". Renovo", to consider Ferguson's and or his family's direct interests in this company, read the hype that he is putting out about himself and his activities in Ireland and see that this man is useing his position and power to rebuild the reputation of his failed company and possibly make another kill at shareholders and taxpayers cost? Maybe this is fine in a private company (if you have this kind of moral compass) but it is certainly not acceptable from one working in a semi state body. It beggars belief.

The part that his management team have to play in this is also hugely significant.. The spin that they are putting on his "good work" at SFI is very questionable. Have they too sold out the interst of Ireland's future ? These people should never again be allowed to hold a management position or a position of trust in the public service sector again. The whole situation is quite unbelievable.

Overseas

author by Mark Tighepublication date Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:56Report this post to the editors

Hi,

Mark Tighe, a news journalist with the Sunday Times newspaper, here. Very interesting thread.

If there is anyone there who has information regarding issues at SFI which they think should be investigated then please contact me on mark.tighe@sunday-times.ie

Regards,

Mark

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Jul 26, 2012 13:15Report this post to the editors

..in today's Phoenix.

seems '..SFI is pushing ahead with its expensive legal action aimed at identifying those who have been posting comments about Ferguson and SFI on the Indymedia website...'.

Nice to be noticed. We must be doing something right.

author by Enquiring - Irish citizenspublication date Thu Jul 26, 2012 14:05Report this post to the editors

Opus

Well said. We must be doing something right. The Phoenix today stated:

Ferguson made a complete jackass of himself in the Irish Indo

This guy is one arrogant ignorant individual who seems to think he has no legacy in Manchester (Renovo)

I say to Mark Tighe - go do your own work and dig, check out the people in Manchester some 245 or so.

Check all the old cronies on the Board of Directors of SFI, their pay packages.

This is not rocket science! Mark, it is SFI - Science Fiction in Ireland and it is costing all of us over £250 m a year

Well, get to it boys. Looking fwd to that article on Sunday Mr. Tighe

Enquiring

author by Renovo Observer - Enquirespublication date Fri Jul 27, 2012 14:11Report this post to the editors

It is time now for the Board of Directors to come out now and make a full statement in relation to Renovo and Ferguson.
The Directors are keeping a stone silence one would have to ask does Ferguson have the support of the entire Board of Directors at present,
Donal Keane worked in the School of Art and Design in Dunlaoghre before landing the post of accounts manager at SFI. keane was well known for his rants
one was his deep contempt for Academics so what the fuck is he doing at SFI Apart from being Fergusons mouth piece and bully boy.
Una Clifford has many questions to address also, Graham Love known as pointed shoes is waiting to grab power he feels he got shafted by Travers last January.
A lot more to come out yet, in the meantime Clifford is talking to outside sources maybe she will spill the beans.
Renovo Observer.

author by The Bull McCabepublication date Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:13Report this post to the editors

The very first comment on this site is the word "cronyism". Enda Kenny has said he will break Quangos and cronyism! Could Eoin O'Driscoll and the Board of SFI clarify one question? Is Emer O'Driscoll, newly appointed PA to Mark Ferguson, the daughter or family member to Eoin? Did she get the post of PA under Mark Ferguson with open, legal and ethical standards? Was the position advertised publicly?

Another question. Does any member of the Board of SFI (and or family members) have shares in Renovo?

We need answers. It looks all too like that SFI is like a private company lead by Mark Ferguson and his cronies for vested interests.

The Bull McCabe

author by Public Servantpublication date Sun Jul 29, 2012 13:20Report this post to the editors

From a reliable source I have it that Mark Ferguson discussed recently with Max Royde and Jamie Brooke of Renovo to get one or other, or both, onto the SFI Board.

Are the SFI responsible Ministers going to go along with this?

This could be done by taking the Fianna Fail appointees off the SFI Board.

That is interesting news!

Public Servant

author by Jersey Island Reporter - Mediapublication date Sun Jul 29, 2012 14:06Report this post to the editors

The news coming from the people who lost their jobs in Renovo, Manchester is quite serious.

Ferguson and some of the present shareholders meet up regularly to discuss a new way forward for the company. Share
prices are moving quietly in the last number of months and one needs to ask what exactly is going on? Ferguson and his
wife Sharon O'Kane no doubt have their millions in an offshore account, well out of reach of the Irish and English Revenue.

This man, Ferguson, should explain his position to the SFI Board and to Minister Sherlock. Travers and Fottrell who employed Ferguson
are looking for an exit out of this mountain of corruption. Again let us re-iterate the theme in these postings: Corruption, Cronyism, Conflicts of interest and not necessarily in this order.

Jersey Island Reporter

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sun Jul 29, 2012 15:21Report this post to the editors

Reply to Jersey Island Reporter-Media at Sun Jul 29, 2012 14:06 ...

I think cover-ups ("aiding and abetting" that is) can also be added to your list.

"Dr O’Kane was the Chief Scientific Officer of Renovo Group PLC – one of the UK’s best known biotech companies – which she co-founded whilst Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester in 1998. She played a leading role in developing the biopharmaceutical product company to a publicly-listed company with a peak market capital of £400 million and 200 employees."

The above excerpt is from the University of Ulster address at: http://news.ulster.ac.uk/releases/2011/6154.html

Notice how there's no mention at all of the huge financial losses Dr O’Kane is associated with in the University of Ulster write up about her at the address just above.

Related Link:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/DrMiriamOCallaghan/29...l.htm

author by Bird's eyepublication date Mon Jul 30, 2012 14:43Report this post to the editors

Land of saints and scholars, - more like land of thieves and conmen! It could be argued that conmen and idiots are running the show at SFI. Are our public servants all too eager to please the boss even to the detriment of science and Ireland's scientific reputation? What sort of people are the management team at SFI who continue to support this charade of an organisation?

This Director General and his team continue to do untold damage to Ireland's reputation. They continue to ignore the very valid questions that have been posted on this site They continue to pour out spin and nonsense about the great achievements of this man and SFI's effort to support mathematics engineering and basic science in this country. We all know this is just a spin on the truth.

So while they waste our money on world travel in the name of Research and Science, we struggle on paying dearly for the hubris of some people in this state agency. Nice if you can get away with it!!

Keep going SFI - You do Ireland proud!

Bird's Eye.

author by Investorpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2012 21:43Report this post to the editors

There are some interesting comments on the track record of Mark Ferguson on the Interactive Investor site

http://tinyurl.com/cypwqa7

Author "MUFC the best" writes on 9th Jan 2012 that Ferguson is off on another scam now at SFI.

Another "The Trader 2" writes on 26th May 2011 about the Renovo rip off by Ferguson and O'Kane.

Author "DR Slowly" writes on 25th March 2011 about pyschopathic behaviour of Ferguson.

Investor.

author by The Jackalpublication date Mon Jul 30, 2012 21:52Report this post to the editors

Interesting above! Looking over sites over the week-end. Ferguson's name crops up on various blogs in relation to the millions he plundered from Renovo while 240 people were left on english welfare. It is hard to believe that this ape is allowed run an Irish Science Agency. The most serious question unanswered by Minister Sherlock is the exact salary that Ferguson draws down. It is now according ti inside sources i.e. Keane and Clifford approx. £300 annually. Where is the cap on his salary? Cronyism at large!!

The Jackal.

author by Researcherpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:35Report this post to the editors

Recent lecture of Craig Venter on the genetic code at the Euroscience Open Forum 2012

See http://tinyurl.com/bwenqlz

Ferguson: "...youngest son of an excommunicated Mormon who drank too much, smoked too much and died at the age of 59,....lived in a home close to the train tracks....Venter enjoyed playing chicken with the trains."

Venter: "Thank you for a most novel introduction... I'll correct some of the errors along the way. My father was definitely not an alcoholic. It was coffee and cigarettes, not alcohol and cigarettes."

http://www.livestream.com/esof2012/video?clipld=pla~fid...f4917

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2012 13:41Report this post to the editors

Questions and answers!

For public clarity, questions need to be answered.

Were SFI to appoint new directors who have vested interest in commercial organisations, perhaps even as directors of these organisations, what effect might this have?. For instance, the unlikely appointment of Renovo directors to the board of SFI. With such hypothetical circumstances it would perhaps be reasonable for some to assume a conflict of interest. Were those appointed to SFI stakeholders in Renovo what conflict might arise? The question has been raised as to what stake-holding Mark Ferguson has in Renovo. It has also been tabled that this may pose a conflict of interest. Were there appointed further Renovo stakeholders or directors to the board of SFI the weight of influence would rest with this unprofitable company. Furthermore, what is influencing the share value of Renovo?

Weighted influence of this kind would impact throughout the scientific community, particularly in Ireland. Decisions are being made on applications made to SFI for research funding by colleges and institutions in Ireland. On brief investigation it appears that funding through universities is invariably in part only with matching funding being sought through private investment. Decisions one would assume are based on merit, the viability of a proposed project weighted for both long and short term results with perhaps some reference to financial viability. One would assume there to be little reference to competition, the focus being apparently related to scientific research. What if those making these decisions were business and competitively orientated? This would be the case with anyone having a vested interest being appointed to make these decisions. Advanced information of both the projects and people involved in research would be available to these appointees. They would also have the power to influence decisions regarding the awarding of funding. Awarding funds to those who are being in part subsidised by those same directors could render the SFI awards as being of valuable commercial interest to the vested interest. It could also be possible to withdraw or refuse to award funding to potential competitors. Were the board members also to be directors of a scientifically orientated company, would any competing company be prepared to invest giving the apparent conflict of interest? Would their potential investment be futile in the absence of matching SFI funds? Would the awarding of SFI funds to competing projects be contrary to the intentions of appointed board members and their responsibility to their commercial companies shareholders? Would it be possible to reasonably avoid any conflict of interest? Directors are responsible to their company and shareholders. Board members of the SFI are responsible to the Irish people. Is it possible to exercise complete and conscientious impartiality to both? Is it impossible to be independent in such circumstances?

Is it reasonable to expect an answer to these questions? Such answers of course would only be needed in the 'unlikely' event that such appointment is being considered. Aside from the appointment of Mark Ferguson any future appointment to SFI of directors or stakeholders in Renovo may only be reasonable after these questions have been answered. The scientific ethics and fiscal impartiality of the SFI require re-enforcing through either being highlighted or corrected as and if required. Being a public funded authority, the SFI should make transparent any appointments being considered. The shareholders of the SFI are the Irish people.

“History shows that where ethics and economics come into conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them”. B.R. Ambedkar.

Gale Vogel.

author by Observerpublication date Tue Jul 31, 2012 16:06Report this post to the editors

Reply to Reseacher:

And this is the man who, at taxpayers expense took out (or is taking out?) a court order to prevent people on this site making comments about his involvement in Renovo and SFI????

Not forgetting of course his side kick Una Clifford who also took (or is taking) a court action to prevent SFI,s so called "sensitive" material being leaked to the unsuspecting taxpayer. It's astonishing!

Reply to Gale Vogel:

It is a pity that the members of the Board at SFI. the D.G. Ferguson and his inner circle of so called directors do not have the ability to follow the logic you so coherently laid out. But then again is SFI representing vested interests or the Irish taxpayer?

Observer

author by The Rugby Blowerpublication date Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:56Report this post to the editors

SFI was established for the betterment of the Science and Maths students of this country what happened since 2001. Greed and a elite group took over with no legal authurity from the Irish taxpayers. Now we have Renovo Ferguson and the lick arses Keane being the most devious and a past from the hospital in Drogheda that is going public shortly. Donal Keanes friend was brought before the criminal courts yesterday and he must be worried of the Group in Drogheda who remember him with deep disgust in the 1990s,
How Keane is allowed terminate contracts in SFI is starting to raise questions with Clare Daly and others in the Dail. This idiot is toxic and has his own agenda now to oust Ferguson with the help of Graham Love another crocodile lusting for ,
This is making headlines on English papers next week thanks to Indymedia and others, Sherlock where are you please make a full statement and clear this scandal up or make some fucking statement. As Bruton said this is your shit along with ODriscoll, Travers and Fottrell, Lets not forger Bernie Cullina also who appointed Ferguson.
Rugby Player.

author by Charlie Chaplin - Accountant retiredpublication date Thu Aug 02, 2012 14:17Report this post to the editors

Last night I looked up John Travers inter alia directorships and of SFI. This man is unique because I thought Mary Davis, the Quango Queen, held the record but Travers definitely holds the title. Travers is highlighted throughout many semi-state boards and when you link in his connections which are bordering on a serious monopoly of power. He also borders on or sorry I should say he breaks every code that semi-state pretend to adhere to in relation to who gets on or should I say gets the nod for government advisory contracts. He had a serious connection with Mary Harney and her husband Geoghegan in the 80's, 90's and up to Harney's departure in 2011. Ferguson had the door opened for him by Travers and other cronies way before any interview was given for the post of SFI Director General. It is now well known within inner circles of SFI that Una Clifford is seeking legal advice if she becomes the main whistleblower and starts to tell the Irish taxpayer the full facts of the extent of what we can only call corruption.

The English papers have been tracking this, it is now known, from other blogs and as we speak, an investigative journal is in Dublin, trying to establish how Renovo Ferguson landed this plum job after leaving English taxpayers with the loss of Stg£16 m+. It has also come to the attention through Graham Love contacts in SFI that Donal Keane is planning with others to try and call an EGM to ask Ferguson to step down in the next few weeks. Maybe Keane is regaining some type of moral conscience also because he didn't become the accomplished tennis player that he is without the help of Dr. Drogheda (now facing the criminal courts). Keane privately has apologised to various people and victims of his horrendous behaviour as the accountant at the hospital in the mid-1990's. I ask Donal Keane today to apologise to the Irish taxpayer in relation to the waste of money within the public sector. This money should be going towards science and maths but sadly it is going to other interests which now is becoming the attention of various TD's at Leinster House.

If one googles in Mary Lou MacDonald's questions for June in the Dail relating to semi-state boards you will see the extent of cronyism and for that matter google in Travers. Graham Love is also very worried according to internal sources and may join Keane for the removal of Ferguson.

Charlie Chaplin

author by Dandelionpublication date Thu Aug 02, 2012 14:49Report this post to the editors

Science Foundation Ireland has lost the trust and confidence of a large proportion of the academic community and of the Public in general. Has the Board of SFI done a single thing to mitigate this absolute and complete loss of trust and confidence? Has it even attempted a damage limitation exercise? Has it such contempt for both communities?

It is bad enough that they sanctioned, what could be described as a totally unsuitable person for the position as Director General but they have compounded their folly by repeatedly ignoring calls from the public for an explanation of this debacle. Moreover they have steadfastly refused to answer many of the discerning and legitimate questions put to them by people on this site. This is an appalling and unacceptable situation. It show huge contempt for the academic community, the public and more importantly, in these terrible times, a huge contempt for the public purse. Shame shame shame.

Have the members of these Boards on State Agencies ever considered what they are paid from the public purse ? Maybe it is about time that they did so.

See: http://Debates.Oireachtas.ie/Dail/2012/06/13/00096.asp

Dandelion.

author by Eleanor Tripppublication date Fri Aug 03, 2012 15:02Report this post to the editors

Science Foundation Ireland was set up in the Ahern era by the old Haughey-ites. What a mix? It could be said that SFI was governed then largely by self - serving and greedy cronies and unfortunately it appears that it still is. The same old cronies, the same old fingers in the pie!

With a new political dawn we hoped for better things but alas we got only more of the same, cronyism and more cronyism. Some things never change in Ireland. All the while we have lost a whole generation whose skill and expertise will be used for the benefit of other nations. Those people in SFI who could have made a difference were pushed or are being pushed out. What are we left with? Conmen and idiots (of absolutely no standing,nationally or internationally) and the old "Codgers and Dodgers" who continue to do things with a nod and a wink. Nero fiddles while Rome burns. I despair.

Eleanor Tripp.

author by Pigeon courier - Uphold Rule of Lawpublication date Fri Aug 03, 2012 15:10Report this post to the editors

Former Provost of Trinity College, John Hegarty, and Bill Harris, ex Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) boss, are gone into consultancy business together via Moscow, which of course is where Conor Lenihan is now based. They are involved in Energy deals in an advisory capacity. These people take the secrets of research with them and one can only assume they use them to their advantage. Double dipping has become the order of the day. It is not one pension, but two, even three or more. Tax breaks ensured this.

Ferguson SFI is a wounded worried and egotistic man and he should be. He has few friends at Wilton Place. All he needs to do is ask Freeman, Keane, Clifford. Also another director based in the USA, is on a company board of Innovation with Bill (William Harris). This is most serious - a sitting director Newell of SFI and former Head, Harris?? There's the question of who used the research with a personal gain. Could we be so bold to suggest that there is a conflict of interest for SFI now?

Could you imagine what Ferguson will do when he appoints his new cronies like Max Royde to the SFI Board which given Max Royde's increasing shareholdings in Renovo is a most probable possibility.

We are being sold down the Swaaaaaaaney.

Pigeon Courier

author by Concernedpublication date Sat Aug 04, 2012 17:31Report this post to the editors

Pigeon Courier

What a network you have outlined! Is SFI a private company serving the interests of a few? What about Science in Ireland, it's reputation, it's Research and more importantly the future of our young scientists? All of this in the hands of a few!!!

People have for too long piggy-backed on SFI and even now it is alleged, not without justification, that Ferguson and his crew are still doing it. And we are paying for it!! Not only that but our very best and brightest people who have served this country well are being forced out by this unscrupulous lot.

Minister Bruton you must intervene now. This country is being denuded by the very people, who are being paid above the odds, to serve it. Even the Board of SFI, it could be said, are not without taint. We must no longer endure this, nor can we afford the drain of our best people and of our resources. As sure as the taxpayers and investors of Manchester were bled dry so also will we. We must never forget that hubris is followed by nemesis. Do you Mr. Bruton also promise us that soft landing?

Concerned

author by Citizenpublication date Sat Aug 04, 2012 21:37Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson, D-G of SFI stated in the recent Irish Independent article that he is going to have SFI make a profit. Look at

http://innovationadvisorypartners.com

His SFI company is comprised of Bill Harris who was the first D-G of SFI, and former Board members of SFI like Erich Bloch, Tyndall National Institute through its head, Alastair Glass, SFI Board member, Martina Newell-McGloughlin, and TCD through ex-Provost John Hegarty.

Martina Newell - McGloughlin was front runner to be D-G of SFI but she gallantly stepped aside to allow Mark Ferguson to front SFI.

From the ESOF session recently the SFI work is directed towards Russia, and in particular the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, where the Vice-President is ex-Minister Conor Lenihan.

http://www.sk.ru/Model/Team/Leadership/Lenihan.aspx

Good for you Minister Sherlocl, to have nominated Conor Lenihan to this important post.

I look forward to the big SFI profits for all the taxpayers in Ireland! Its a great pity that the SFI jobs will all be in Russia.

Citizen.

author by Retired Lecturerpublication date Sun Aug 05, 2012 09:59Report this post to the editors

Todays Sundats times Ferguson claims he is not just running SFI but he also is running a country, Who gave this loony the mandate to run the country,
Would some one with morals come out now in SFI and tell the truth ie bullying , the threats of Una Clifford towards staff with no legal right and the hidden agena of Ferguson and the Renovo company starting to take on a new form of life since he arrived at Wilton place.It has to be stopped or Taxpayers here will be fleeced as they are now by Ruth Freeman who has cost the Irish taxpayers at least 40.000 in travelling the world on behalf of Ferguson, For what and who is Freeman another lick arse promoted by Frank Gannon and Travers for their own agenda, Gannon was SFI chief and left last year after he promoted Graham Love AND Freeman two devious loyals to their own careers only. Freeman said once Clare Daly is a social nuisance well Ruth the road is getting rocky and even Keane said you are a little two faced social climber,
Fergusons plans must be stopped in destroying SFI for personal greed and power urgently. Where is Richard Bruton in all of this scandal.
Retired.

author by Researcher - Factspublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:17Report this post to the editors

Reading the Sunday Times yesrerday the threat seems to be stil Active that Ferguson will silence this site,
i got news for you Ferguson and especially Clifford it wont happen. we still have free speech in this country.
Renovo wont wash away and the scandal that goes with it is far from over and Ferguson boasts he and his wife made millions along with others. What about the 245 people who lost their jobs you gobshite ego idiot .
Profit is your goal well lets see what the Minister says of your outburst yesterday that you run the country.
This scandal of Renovo is just beginibng.
Researcher.

author by Interestedpublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:25Report this post to the editors

Ferguson D- G of Sfi, failed businessman, who robbed the British Taxpayer and who with his wife Sharon O' Kane ran off with 18million now tells us he is running our country.

He was put at the helm of SFI by self serving cronies (possibly in pursuit of their own and others interests) who forgot to tell him that this country is a democracy that elects its own Leader. In another democracy these cronies would be called TRAITORS.

One of the most brilliant minds of this country, who is uncorrupt and uncorruptible and of huge ability and acclaim nationally and internationally, has been sidelined at SFI - (possibly with the help of these cronies) - on the pretext that "The Irish taxpayer deserves no less" ! Its official, according to this report, absolute idiots are in charge of the show at SFI.

Most academics, Heads of Universities, Heads of Institutes, even some of those with their snouts in the trough of SFI (what would you expect?) stay silent.

Government Ministers who cannot or will not take charge of this madness. Their very silence breathes consent.

Would Enda Kenny please come off his bike and tell Ferguson WHO leads the country.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:49Report this post to the editors

..Monday morning shit...

'..WHO leads the country..??

You mean Eirebase Shannon??

Well, if the Examiner is anyway reliable(Saturday) we are answerable(sans vote or veto) to the US Congress.
Peter King, Congressman responsible for Homeland Security, has warned there will be 'consequences'(send in the democratic drones..?) if Galway erects a memorial to one Che Guevara, late rebel against gringo dictation in the Monroe Doctrine designated US backyard of Latin America.
Its fine, of course, to erect one to Christy Columbus, racist dynasty-building conquistador responsible for opening the civilisations of the 'new world' to European imperial rapine...

Minor point of information...well, you did ask...but enough about historical management and housekeeping... back to the lucrative pseudification of science.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:51Report this post to the editors

"Mark (Ferguson) has a deep interest in translating scientific research findings into successful commercial entities. He founded and funded (including a £13.5M state of the art building) the Manchester Biosciences Incubator, which has successfully mentored and housed a number of start up companies. Based on inventions and patents from his University research, Mark co –founded (with Dr Sharon O’Kane) Renovo, a biotechnology company developing novel pharmaceutical therapies to prevent scarring and accelerate wound healing. As CEO, since foundation, Mark built and led Renovo from 2 people to a peak staff of approx 200, and from being a small private start up to a listed public company. He was personally involved at every step of this evolution: hiring key staff and Directors, raising £32M of private International Venture Capital, pursuing commercial research and development including clinical trials of potential products , interacting with International Regulatory Authorities, licensing ( including negotiating a US $830M plus royalties deal for the lead drug ), liaising with major banks , analysts and investment funds including an IPO on the London Stock Exchange raising £67.5M, and restructuring Renovo in response to advanced clinical trial data and commercial opportunities."

The above excerpt is from: http://www.sfi.ie/about/organisation/sfi-directors/prof...uson/ ... and there is still no mention "at all, at all" (at the present time at least) on the www.sfi.ie page the above text has been copied from, which I'm inclined to assume is a Republic of Ireland Government web page of some kind, of any of the serious problems being mentioned during recent weeks in this Indymedia Article.

Is this kind of thing happening throughout the whole of the Republic of Ireland's main branches of Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial), and all (or almost all) of our Government's several support bodies and agencies, I wonder?

It seems we might now have plenty of very nice "window dressing" on our Government's "shop-fronts": hiding numerous cesspits of extremely serious corruption and treasonous crime, which the general public cannot see?

Somehow, I have a very strong feeling -- which grows stronger by the day -- that this might well be the case?

Yesterday, using an e-mail, I put the following question to Prime Minister Enda Kenny TD, and to several other senior politicians and lawyers in the Republic of Ireland Government (which the e-mail in question was copied to):

"Why the 14 year delay connected with ratification of the international United Nations Aarhus Convention Agreement, which the Republic of Ireland signed in 1998? There were no such delays relating to the unconstitutional and unlawful ratification of the multi-billion Euro bank bailouts which completely ignored the legal right of the people of the Republic of Ireland to have the 'final' say on the matter, under the terms of Article 6.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland (more on this can be viewed via http://tinyurl.com/9y2jvh2)."

The full text of yesterday's e-mail to Prime Minister Kenny TD (and a selection of his Government colleagues) can be viewed at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/PrimeMinisterEndaKenn...l.htm

Related Link:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com

author by Harp - Transparency publication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 16:31Report this post to the editors

I applaud William Finnerty for his constancy in exposing corruption in Ireland and particularly in his brilliant exposition of the goings on at Renovo.

We must now address the CV of Mark Ferguson which was organised by Minister Sherlock in relation to what the Irish taxpayer was not told. It is incredible that Ferguson was appointed as SFI chief and was/is proclaimed by Minister Sherlock as the find of the century.

Now we know that what was not writtten about is this man's disastrous legacy in relation to Renovo, Manchester, and the losses incurred by taxpayers, shareholders (private, institutional and others).

The minister and the SFI board of directors need to provide the full facts.

author by Observerpublication date Tue Aug 07, 2012 14:50Report this post to the editors

Ferguson D-G, SFI must be given great credit for the way he has portrayed and packaged himself. Given his boastful and narcisstic behaviour "Now I am running a country. That might make me sound like a megalomanic, but it is a logical progression" it would not be beyond doubt that small nougats of truth about this man's achievements have been blown out of reasonable preportions.

We have had this type of celebrity hype in Ireland many times before. A Taoiseach suggesting that he was an accountant, A government scientific advisor who bought a doctorate, doctors in our hospitals who faked their credentials, bankers speculators, the list goes on. And now we have Ferguson with his claims that we already know are suspect.

The point is what do we Irish do about it? Nothinh untill the whole thing blows up in our collective face.

Watch this space!

author by Amusedpublication date Tue Aug 07, 2012 14:55Report this post to the editors

Why is it that the culture in Ireland is to laud the failed businessman as if is he /she who holds the secret of success.

Should we not instead look at those who have succeeded in their respective business/professions?

Maybe they have something to teach us!

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Aug 07, 2012 15:59Report this post to the editors

Because the mythologisers of the corporate financial indoctrination that perpetuates the disinformation bizzards are paid off all down the line...from their editorial and university faculty chairs to the career guiding teachers focusing on egoistic selfhood; rewarded to manage the culture of competition uber alles, and the program has been learned well from the jesuitical parsers and analysts of nuance of just how to confuse and obfuscate their collective audiences from childhood into a streamed inability to 'rock the boat' or upset the authoritarian applecarts that already have them over economic barrels if they wish to retain any grip on survival in the their own countrieS of birth. Our way or the oceanic highway.

The plural 'countries' is the factor you omit. Its a global network, with skyscrapers of 'intellectual' experts selected and groomed to close off every avenue of critical thought and obscure all clarity with verbal and numerological camouflage.

Its NOT an Irish phenomenon...though we have been the laboratory for many of the techniques..thanks to our centuries of exposure to Roman and British pyramidic social control.

So long exposed we no longer feel our chains. The media are the mediators of this psychological incarceration, and its administrators themselves are so indoctrinated they think they think.

Aristocracies are 'natural'. But having evolved to the apex of the food chain of nature we are now consuming the ladder that sustains us and enabled our rise. We have created a computerised casino to manage our global household(economics is from the Greek for house management)and it has taken over and automated a system of rapacious resource extraction by means that are not only sub-human, but sub anything any natural animal would incline towards.

Business itself, and the self-serving blinkerdom incorporated in its paradigm, is the anti-rational problem.

But I recommend you get a second opinion. I may have left out a few factors.
The important point is the centrality of our media pulpeteers(no typo) in our disfunctional culture.

author by Hauntedpublication date Tue Aug 07, 2012 16:17Report this post to the editors

Denis O'Brien who pays no taxes in Ireland and still has a big influence in various vested interests in this country. Why? Because he is allowed to do it and the reason is simple, Kenny stood beside O'Brien at Wall Street when the Stock Exchange bells donged. This in itself was giving O'Brien total permission by this Government to fly over and buy into what he wants with his massive amount of millions made from a shadowy past.

Now we have Mark Ferguson, Renovo-SFI chief, who is here to collect data/information on behalf of the shareholders in Manchester, Ireland and afar, and is trying to rejuvenate the near failed Renovo company, in which he and his wife, Sharon O'Kane, hold a 15% stake at present.

I ask Bruton, Sherlock and the entire Cabinet now to stand down the Board of Directors at SFI and politely tell Ferguson to fuck off back to Renovo and to resume his study of crocodiles and genetics.

SFI should be run independently free of cronyism, corruption, nepotism, or for that matter any potential conflict of interest. At this stage, Ferguson is covered in the entire shit I have just mentioned.

I want to thank Indymedia for giving us all the right of free expression and Ferguson, Keane, Clifford, Travers, Fottrell, Love, Freeman - you will never silence the right of any Irish citizen to speak and express their views openly.

Don't forget we the taxpayers pay for the salaries, the pensions, the expenses and the other dubious perks of the people at Wilton Place.

Pertinent Flesh....you posed many questions and we are still seeking the answers. We need your help.

Haunted

author by Amusedpublication date Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:34Report this post to the editors

Thanks Opus - you summed it in one phase "our disfunctional culture". Too true, all other points are sound also.

It manifests itself superbly in SFI - the megalomaniacs who now say they run the country.

Cheked out the guy they sidelined (Sunday Times 05/08/12). Yeah, misfit alright - far too bright for the morons in there.

Cheers to failure is what I say. That way the Powers that Be Might Think, We Think, They Think.

author by Observerpublication date Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:41Report this post to the editors

Barry McSweeney was forced to stand down as Irish Government Chief Science Advisor in October 2005, having taken up the position in September 2004. This was due to the fraud of his PhD.

How long will it be before Mark Ferguson - Barry McSweeney mark II resigns?

Observer

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:33Report this post to the editors

Anyone claiming to run a country should also practice a level of diligence that has not been demonstrated with the recent SFI introduction of Dr. Craig Venter http://www.livestream.com/esof2012/video?clipId=pla_f1d...f4917 by Mark Ferguson. It appears from Dr. Venters response that he was indeed offended with that implicit in the introduction. One wonders what further implications of this were presented, if any behind the scenes at the conference and indeed even politically. It proves very difficult to find any quotes from leaders making similar claims to running countries. True leaders lead and in so doing realise that the running of any large organisation is a collective effort. No one person has ever run a country. The efforts required of leaders would also require a great level of care demonstrated to be lacking by comments made in the posts.

Leadership of the highest order requires that those being led are suitably qualified and expert in their respective fields. This is all the more important in any scientific organisation. The removal of those more qualified or more expert gives only an impression of power. To practice running a country in this manner is frightening.

“The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics.....”. Bertrand Russell.

author by Taxpayerpublication date Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:34Report this post to the editors

Ferguson the SFI Chief and psychopath now runs the Country or so he says.

Is he trying now to publicly tell the Government that they are morons? He has told others this in private often enough. Those who we elected to run the Country are silent or simply cannot be bothered to disabuse him or us of the fact. We have been sold out to the Troika, and now what we have left, is being sold out to Ferguson and his crew on some vague pretext that they will create jobs.

Where will it all end?

Taxpayer

author by Seriously Concernedpublication date Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:40Report this post to the editors

Well said Gale. This is indeed a serious matter requiring urgent response from the Government. How have we got into such a mess?

Taxpayer - perhaps there are too many powerful vested interests surrounding this man! Could this be the reason the Government is so silent?

Seriously Concerned.

author by Immigrantpublication date Fri Aug 10, 2012 13:55Report this post to the editors

World acclaimed scientist, Craig Venter, was deeply insulted by Professor Mark Ferguson during the ESOF seminars which were hosted in Dublin last month.

Ferguson, when he introduced Professor Venter to the stage said, Venter's father drank himself to death and smoked heavy - it was a dysfunctional family. Venter corrected Ferguson but was badly shaken. Later that night, an advisor, allegedly from Sherlock's office made contact and sincerely apologised to Professor Venter. This is on site and can be proven beyond doubt.

This really embarrassed many people from the Colleges here and others from overseas.

Ferguson is becoming a major liability now. Time to go.

Irish immigrant.

author by Amusedpublication date Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:31Report this post to the editors

Now that we have Mark Ferguson and his Cabinet running the Country what need have we of Taoiseasch and his Cabinet ? Think of how much money that would save? Indeed we can dispense with the whole Dail. Now wouldn't that go a long way in cutting public expenses?

Well said Ferguson, - good of you to let us know this, while the Government run for cover.

author by Shareholder Watch - Renovo loserspublication date Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:39Report this post to the editors

Last June Ferguson spent 3 weeks in America meeting up with potential investors to raise capital to relaunch Renovo Why, The other people who were there were Sharon O Kane and Ruth Freeman of SFI WHAT REALLY IS GOING ON. Ruth Freeman travelled on Irish Taxpayers money and now the question has to be asked is Freeman a shareholder in SFI if not Why was she in the company of Ferguson and wife in Boston, This is getting very disturbing and Free travel on taxpayers money in a Conflict of interest is bordering on a very thin line og professional misconduct by Freeman and her boss SFI and Renovo Boss Ferguson.
Shareholder Loser.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sat Aug 11, 2012 23:02Report this post to the editors

“We learn resignation not by our own suffering, but by the suffering of others”. William Somerset Maugham.

While this quote may be intended to relate to lessons we gain from people watching, it is too often in contemporary life that those who learn to actually resign do so due to the pressure bearing from those others who suffer. Those suffering do so too often because of the actions of those required to resign.
The unanswered question remains as to whether the cause of loss in these posts is the result of those causing the suffering.

“Time to go” Irish immigrant.

author by Belfast - Teacherpublication date Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:40Report this post to the editors

I went to school with Ferguson and then to Queens he will not be dictated to by anyone believe me. I have been reading this site for weeks now and I FULLY BACK MOST COMMENTS,but your problem is Ferguson will never back down it did not happen in Manchester and it wont happen here he has the full backing of Sherlock. Ferguson will try and tear this site to shreds and going to the High Court to silence his critics and believe me this man means business. Ferguson left Manchester in tatters for other people but he and the wife pocketed 18 million plus
Una Clifford said Ferguson is not in SFI FOR MONEY so why is he here.
Belfast and worried for Irish Taxpayers.

author by Concerned Citizenpublication date Mon Aug 13, 2012 15:55Report this post to the editors

Ferguson Chief of SFI/RENOVO and now self acclaimed Leader of the Country squandered millions of British Taxpayers money, robbed most of Renovo's Investors of their livelihood, made a few hundred unemployed and with his missus Sharon O' Kane hopped over here with a cool 18million. That's what some here call success!!

When he came here, with the help of a few well placed FF cronies, did he declare his huge conflict of interests with Irish Research? Most probably not. Was it demanded of him by those who appointed him? Most probably not. Did he break his link with Renovo? Most definitely Not. RESULT : Irish Research is ripe for the picking. The question is : In whose interest?

He arrives here at the helm of SFI, cuts of the head of our very owm competant people and proclaims that HE runs the country. Now he is in the position, with taxpayers money and his very influential position to rebuild Renovo, attract a lot more investors, raise the shares of Renovo on the back of the results of Irish Researchers (Whose relevant projects he decides to fund) and makes another killing and possibly skips off again with more millions. This time leaving SFI bereft! We will loose not only our very best competant people, our hard built reputation but also our integrity and the future of our young scientists. When out low tax rate goes (as we know it will) what else will we have to attract foreign investment to our shores?

A familiar pattern to Manchester? Not quite. He never proclaimed to be running the Country there. Would he get away with it there? No way Jose. Will he get away with it here? LETS US WAIT AND SEE.

Concerned Citizen.

Concerned Citizen.

author by bad researcherpublication date Mon Aug 13, 2012 23:01Report this post to the editors

I have recently heard of a plan to boycott SFI programmes between October 2012 and March 2013 in order to substantiate Irish academia's reservations against SFI director Mark Ferguson. Has anybody got more information about this? Are there any details available as to which disciplines will be involved? Will it only affect new grant applications? Or will also existing grants be covered?

Any information on this will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Bad Researcher.

author by Patrickpublication date Tue Aug 14, 2012 19:36Report this post to the editors

I have heard of sweating the assets but there is a very big difference between sweating the assets and stripping the assets. Now that Ireland has been stripped of its most valuable asset, the thousands of young people who have left this Island, lets hope that Ferguson knows the difference between the two By the looks of things he doesn't but we might get luck. However I wont be holding my breadth!!!!

Patrick

author by Manchesterpublication date Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:47Report this post to the editors

Hi guys, been recommended to your site. Have known this guy Ferguson for years. Could hardly believe it is the same guy. Also hard to believe that anyone would employ a conman like him. Wow how the mighty have fallen! Conned this country for years with his so called research! The only worthwhile research this man ever did was on how to get rich while fleecing others. Gets lots of help with this from his investments company too.

Surrounds himself with like minded amoebas whose main job is to protect his ass. No doubt he promises them great innings too. Put a white coat on, mess around with a few test tubes and it is amazing what people will believe. I'm almost tempted to try it myself!

Manchester, Ex - Employee

author by Mediocre Researcherpublication date Thu Aug 16, 2012 13:30Report this post to the editors

You must have some information. The months October and March are quite relevant. Are you part of the boycott and how can we help?

Mediocre Researcher.

author by Observerpublication date Thu Aug 16, 2012 13:56Report this post to the editors

This man Ferguson is fattening his Golden Goose so that Renovo can plunder it again. There is nothing to Renovo, never was, there is no great research, never was. This time however he is doing it on the back of the Irish taxpayer and on the position of Trust they foolishly placed in him.

Those who are responsible for his appointment and those who continue to support him in this potential great rip - off should be severely censured.

Forget the spin and the manipulation of statistics that he gets his lackeys to spin for him. We saw a huge amount of that here. This man is all about spin and grab. It is quite remarkable that he can get so called officialdom to do it for him. But then again that makes it look authentic - doesn't it?

Observer.

author by Citizenpublication date Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:04Report this post to the editors

We have had the failed Bankers, Developers and Politicians who have plundered this country and brought it to its knees. Not content with that we now have to endure the humiliation of some idiots , acting on our behalf, who looked across the Irish pond to see if they could find another plunderer to further add to our woes. You could not make it up!!

Come to think of it, it was Ferguson who probably sought them out.. That seems to be the style of the Chief of SFI/Renovo . Find the fools he can hoodwink, make sure to get rid of those who could and would challenge him and keep close the morons who are too dim to see what he is up to. Mission so far accomplished, now for the plundering. Plunder he surely will, - even better I am told, than the plundering of the monasteries by his fellow countryman Henry V111. Now what better way to do this successfully than to declare himself running the country.

Has our Government lost their wits and or bottle?

Have our University/Institute Heads lost their obligation of responsibility and loyalty to the taxpayer who pays their salaries?

Do those Researchers who lead the very lucrative Research Programmes have any interest (outside their own inflated egos) in Science or Ireland's reputation or the future of our young scientists who are at present leaving this country in droves.?

Is there anybody left at SFI who has any sense of responsibility to the community? Do they not think that we have had enough of their spin and fantastic play on statistics?

Have any of the above mentioned done anything to remedy this dreadful situation? The whole mess is laughable if it did not bode such dreadful consequences.

author by Stungpublication date Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:28Report this post to the editors

Has anybody been watching the activity of Renovo shares lately.? This guy is on to a big scam again. Seems he is getting a lot of help from you lot there!

Stung

author by bad researcherpublication date Fri Aug 17, 2012 20:38Report this post to the editors

What I have heard is that quite a number of high-profile researchers in the Irish academia are very angry about how the new SFI programmes and criteria have been defined. According to these, it appears almost impossible for sound research in, say, non-applicable sciences to enjoy any funding under this directorship.

So, on top of all the valid points made in the above contributions, we seem to have a serious issue here with freedom of research.

Regarding the boycott, I have heard in the mean time that there is the plan to refrain from any new grant application with SFI from October 2012 till March 2013, inclusively. Research and administration on existing funding will not be touched as far as I am informed. The boycott is designed to form a pure networking action that avoids to expose any prominent figures to the public. To me, the best example to compare seems ANONYMOUS.

How to help:

1) Spread the few details of this plan as widely as possible.
2) Refrain from enriching the action by any further measure. Keep it slim.

We will see where we go. The more members of Irish academia follow, the higher will be the chances to see Ferguson recalled.

author by Academic concerned - Retiredpublication date Sat Aug 18, 2012 08:17Report this post to the editors

The meeting in America last June has being confirmed between Ferguson and other shareholders of Renovo. This is deeply worrying for the Irish Taxpayers and more importent where is Sean Sherlock now. Who would give Ferguson a failed idiot 270 million of taxpayers money in a fucking Recession, Keep watching the shares in Renovo very well planned some sources hidden is buying////
Academic concerned,

author by Manchester Researcher - mediapublication date Sun Aug 19, 2012 15:56Report this post to the editors

Ferguson and wife own 21 million shares in Renovo! There are at least 3 more in SFI who own shares in Renovo. Ruth Freeman has Asian contacts i.e markets. Major conflict of interest scenario. Gannon promoted lick arse Freeman and Donal Keane wants her out.

Labour are slowly starting to make enquiries re. Ferguson and Renovo. Sherlock is trying to find a scapegoat i.e Una Clifford, the woman who is famous for sending interesting emails with no legal authority. More to come..............

Manchester Researcher

author by Concernedpublication date Sun Aug 19, 2012 16:23Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson's and Sharon O'Kane's ownership of a large number of shares in Renovo is a cause of major concern.

It is a direct conflict of interest with his position as DG of SFI. In the past few months there has been a lot of share buy- back by Ferguson's people in Renovo. This needs urgent investigation.

See WWW. Renovo.com

Comncerned

author by Patrickpublication date Mon Aug 20, 2012 21:39Report this post to the editors

Ferguson must be very busy trying to pump share prices at Renovo. He is virtually locked in his hole at SFI with his coterie of hand picked aides trying to find a way out of the hole they have dug for themselves. With all the business of running the country, pumping up the share prices at Renovo, looking after career prospects for themselves and looking after the vested interests of the cronies who helped him there, they are far too busy to bother about public perception of SFI or what it is meant to be doing. They just leave that to the million dollar PR company that continues to pour out spin, lies and questionable statistics to keep the unsuspecting public fooled. In the meantime Ferguson and his team concentrates on how to pull off his second big scam.

Sources within the markets now have information of Ferguson and some Investors who went to America last June to further the interests of Renovo. Was this done through SF and at taxpayers expense??? Check out sites detailing information on Renovo on the sites at Reuters and Bloomberg. They will reveal the shady going on at Renovo. How can Directors of SFI be in America on a mission solely for the personal gain of Mark Ferguson and his coterie of fraudsters??

There are many more questions to be asked about this man and his activities. What is he doing representing this country? Indeed what is he doing running this country? We have it straight from the horse's mouth ".....now I run the country......"

Patrick.

author by Paddy Brett - Teacherpublication date Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:18Report this post to the editors

Professor Patrick Cunningham is the Chief Goverment Scientific Advisor and he based at Wilton Place
Ferguson wants his post on Semptember 1 this wont happen and we hope the post is entwined into Enterprise . Ferguson during the ESOF Science seminar last month shouts in his loud tone with laughter Professor Cunningham is in the early stages of DEMENTIA . This was heard by Clifford. Freeman , Graham Love and others they all laughed. These bastards are devious and need to be faced down . As a Teacher and knowing Professor Cunningham a decent man who does not deserve this abuse by Ferguson who is still trading in Renovo shares
The Cabinet should seek a urgent meeting with the Board of SFI and ask for a total clear out of these corrupt bastards for the sake of our future in Science and above all integrity which is lost in these present .
P Brett

author by Patrickpublication date Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:26Report this post to the editors

Mr. Brett

I have heard of this comment too. The man Mark Ferguson has no brake between his brain (if he has one) and his mouth. Neither does he have a brake between his brain and his actions! A very dangerous man to have in charge.

Patrick.

author by Confusedpublication date Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:33Report this post to the editors

From the comments posted on the this site I an truly confused about what is going on at SFI. Has someone played a sick joke on this beleagured country by appointing a man like him? What are the relevant authorities doing about this terrible situation? The ugly comments that he has made about Professor Cunningham are dreadful expressions of contempt. This must not be tolerated.

Confused

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Aug 21, 2012 16:53Report this post to the editors

Stories abound about corruption and ineptitude throughout Ireland recently. The complexity of this particular thread is a symptom of a society in decline. What link to the SFI has Kestrel Investment Partners? There appears an ever divisible trail of interest surrounding SFI's DG. Being uninitiated to the world of high level investment I wonder why investors would purchase shares immediately after a company like Renovo has voted to buy back shares. It's obvious, the apparent increase in value due to the demand generated by this vote in a company that is reported in this post as failing. Who makes money? Why would anyone writing about corruption and ineptitude in Ireland be concerned about foreign investors investing in foreign shares? The mere mention of Mark Ferguson in certain circles raises eyebrows and concerns, it would appear both in Britain and Ireland.

Is the blindness of our authorities deliberate? Where are our leaders? Are those truly ..”running a country” comprised of those apparently corrupt?

A question that now must be answered with particular reference to this post, what are our leaders doing?

author by Liam Delaney - Observer Galwaypublication date Wed Aug 22, 2012 14:02Report this post to the editors

A letter in the Irish Times today signed by many of the so called academic elites of College Research referred to the funding or the lack in relation to their own self-gain and motive. Only for this site and Brian Flannery who began this very serious argument which has opened up a can of worms across the entire research spectrum. These people today would not have come out. The only reason that this bunch of clowns have written today is that Indymedia and the people at grassroots shamed them out of their elite castles in the sky and their overpaid salaries which are as always financed by the Irish taxpayers.

The letter lacked one vital component. Not one critical comment in relation to Ferguson and the corruption at present within SFI at Wilton Place. It is a pity that this bunch of clowns today had not the balls to stand up and be counted and directly take on Ferguson.

Liam Delaney Galway

author by Bugpublication date Wed Aug 22, 2012 20:21Report this post to the editors

A propos posting by T Brett

Overheard in canteen at Wilton House:

Two senior SFI people from inner circle speaking about Ferguson's comment on a new secretary " We'll soon see if she is all fur coat and no knickers".... Other such degrading comments about female staff have emanated from the same quarters. What has been done about it?

One wonders if Ms. S O'Kane (who incidentally rides high on a C.V. remarkably similar to the great Mr. Ferguson) was of the " fur coat no knickers variety?????

Bug in the rug.

author by Liam Delaney - Teacherpublication date Thu Aug 23, 2012 22:00Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson is damaged goods and the legacy of Failure in Manchester will not go away,
Where is the Board of SFI CAN THEY NOT COME OUT AND MAKE A cLARIFIED STATEMENT that Ferguson has their full backing,
Questions are mounting on Ferguson now and his credibility according to Graham Love and Una Clifford is in tatters
Clifford is talking to outside sources and will eventually tell all and name the inner elite of this scandal. Shares are still moving at Renovo and Ferguson is still holding secret meeting with potential investors, This needs to be adressed urgently,
Liam Delaney,

author by Curiouspublication date Thu Aug 23, 2012 22:00Report this post to the editors

Where is the Board of SFI with all of these revealations?

Could we have a clear and full statement on the affairs of Ferguson and his wife, O'Kane and their company "Renovo" ?

How is blatant conflict of interest being handled?

How is taxpayer's money - £276 million per year being protected at SFI?

What have you to say to the Irish Taxpayer on whom this dreadful state of affairs has been inflicted?

We want answers and as impoverished citizens footing the extraordinary spend of this agency we need to be assured that the best interests of our people and especially of our young scientists are being served. At present we do not have that confidence.

Curious.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Aug 24, 2012 18:07Report this post to the editors

With all the risk of repetition it is my belief that we need answers to the questions tabled in these posts. All the reports would indicate that Renovo has failed in the real world, however the share value has increased over the past year, http://www.lse.co.uk/shareprice.asp?shareprice=rnv. While we have indications of the extent of funding available through SFI, it is the taxpayers right to also have access to the means and protocol governing the awarding of these funds. For instance, do SFI have the power to allocate amounts directly without government controls? If so what is the amount that can be awarded without scrutiny? Who decides the recipients and what controls are in place to prevent errors? The future of Ireland's scientific reputation depends to a high degree on the SFI.

To the SFI. Please answer the questions and clarify the viability and legality of the means being adopted.
Please explain how the methods employed are to improve the service being provided by the SFI on behalf of the Irish people. On talking with researchers and previous recipients of SFI funds it would appear there to be unease with the current status and absence of funding for longer term projects.

There may be an opportunity for the SFI to answer some of these questions tomorrow evening at 18:00 on Newstalk. http://www.newstalk.ie/programmes/all/futureproof/ This program may also provide the chance for those seeking answers.

Related Link: http://www.lse.co.uk/shareprice.asp?shareprice=rnv
author by Young Researcherpublication date Fri Aug 24, 2012 21:09Report this post to the editors

It is interesting that Mr. Ferguson of SFI will be on Newstalk radio, 18.00 - 19.00, tomorrow, Saturday. He will be telling about how SFI now excludes basic science, engineering and mathematics from its funding.

It figures... Mr. Ferguson made a disastrous mess of what he has done in business, while raking in the money for himself and his wife Ms. O'Kane. Ferguson and O'Kane have done rip - offs before and they are now running, with others of the same mindset, the SFI scam.

I sure hope the spotlight is put on Mr. Ferguson on the Newstalk airing. We need fundamental science, engineering and mathematics in Ireland. We do not need financial scams of the Ferguson/O'Kane sort.

Young Researcher.

author by Post Grad Maths - Studentpublication date Sat Aug 25, 2012 13:19Report this post to the editors



Sources across Dublin today have been in touch with Newstalk (Futureproof) trying to change the format of tonight's programme at 6 pm which is in fact pre-recorded. It is not impossible to make contact with Mark Ferguson and have him answer serious questions in relation to the legacy (Renovo) he left behind (or has he) in Manchester. It is reported that Ferguson stated he paid for tonight's programme. This is one arrogant bulldog representing Science in Ireland and more importantly the Irish taxpayer is paying for tonight's programme. Again Ferguson is allowed make speeches and avoid the questions - the posse is not far behind now. It is also stated within SFI that senior staff want Ferguson out. Donal Keane/Love/Freeman are leading this group and are meeting next week with Minister Sherlock relating to their serious concerns about this man's biases in Research Science compatible with what we need in Ireland. It is also stated that Una Clifford has shredded all the evidence that links her to dodgy emails and contracts terminated during the month of June with her sole name on said documents. The shredder is alive and well at Wilton Place.

Peadar Postgrad maths

author by Pat Mc Cabe - Ex Semi Statepublication date Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:09Report this post to the editors

Last evening Mark Ferguson spoke for 10 mins on Newstalk and never a mention of any career failures, What really is going on in SFI AND WHO is doing the cover ups. Graham Love is tweeting like a duck on heroin yet Love wants Ferguson out The SFI Board of Directors have not answered one single question yet staff at SFI are threarened by Freeman and Donal Keane to keep their mouths shut. The strange thing is Keane, Love, and Freeman want Ferguson to step down
so what will it take now to force the Directors of SFI to tell Ferguson the game of bluff is over, Next month there is numerous questions being prepared in relation to Ferguson Renovo and SFI lets wait and see the fallout from this major Scandal and corruption. Una Clifford claims it is all legal Una I hope you can stand over your Bullshit because Keane wont back you up nor will any of the rest of the cowards,
Pat Mc Cabe

author by Young Researcherpublication date Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:10Report this post to the editors

In regard to basic science and mathematics, and the need for immediate commercial impact, Mark Ferguson's message was well articulated.

Well well!

This is not what Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council, said in Dublin in July. It is not what Comissioner Maire Geoghegan has been saying either.

SFI no longer funds basic science or mathematics. Admit it Mr. Ferguson. SFI is just jobs for the boys and girls, and personal rip-off by the Mr.Ferguson set, and high-order cronyism by its Board.

Young Researcher.

author by Listenerpublication date Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:18Report this post to the editors

Times of Recession make room for complete Madness and we had a prime example of it on Newstalk on Saturday evening at 18.00. SFI are completely out of touch with the Irish mindset. I can think of many more relevant topics to be discussed rather than what was put out by SFI for young listeners.

That man Ferguson (who claims that he runs the country!) should be simply silenced. He has nothing to offer Irish Science except destruction and mark my words this he will do if somebody does not intervene and fast!

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sun Aug 26, 2012 18:19Report this post to the editors

I can't help wondering if any of the descriptions below fit one or more of the "complained of people" in this article?

"The serial bully:

is a convincing, practised liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment

has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target of the serial bully's aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as "charming" and convincing enough to deceive personnel, management and a tribunal, the Hyde side is frequently described as "evil"; Hyde is the real person, Jekyll is an act

excels at deception and should never be underestimated in their capacity to deceive

uses excessive charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present (charm can be used to deceive as well as to cover for lack of empathy)

is glib, shallow and superficial with plenty of fine words and lots of form - but there's no substance

is possessed of an exceptional verbal facility and will outmanoeuvre most people in verbal interaction, especially at times of conflict

is often described as smooth, slippery, slimy, ingratiating, fawning, toadying, obsequious, sycophantic

relies on mimicry, repetition and regurgitation to convince others that he or she is both a "normal" human being and a tough dynamic manager, as in extolling the virtues of the latest management fads and pouring forth the accompanying jargon

is unusually skilled in being able to anticipate what people want to hear and then saying it plausibly

cannot be trusted or relied upon ... "

The above excerpts, which are just some selected from a longer list, have been copied come from: http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/serial.htm

Related Link:
http://tinyurl.com/d7qpmnl

author by Observerpublication date Mon Aug 27, 2012 19:50Report this post to the editors

Reply to W Finner

Well said W. I would say you are spot on there. Uncomfortable reading for some at SFI.

author by Young Researcherpublication date Mon Aug 27, 2012 20:01Report this post to the editors

What is impact of mathematics - "Articulate it ! " he said.

Shift from basic science - "People won't like it"

SFI's policies - "Decided before I came"

While he was very outspoken about the shift towards impact and away from fundamental science and mathematics, he was very vague about his plans. He was quite dogmatic though! It is interesting that people like him always lay the blame on others for the consequences of their bad management, and very blinkered vision.

Young Researcher.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2012 21:40Report this post to the editors

Frustration turns to anger as the questions remain unanswered and the piling of apparent ridicule continues. Last Saturday's Newstalk had an interesting feature on science in which the DG of SFI spoke perhaps openly. The man who “runs a country” on Saturday feigns helplessness in the face of government policy controlling SFI finance. Is the feigning false and does he really have more control as previously claimed? There appears to be blame levied on government policy for failings on promises made.

Is the policy to provide employment? Has anyone made promises to our esteemed though perhaps absent leaders to provide these jobs? Is there an absence of control within and of SFI in the absence of our apparent holidaying leaders?

Answers are increasingly needed.

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:26Report this post to the editors

I've been reading the posts on this for a while now and am surprised that no-one has written to answer any points, or to support the SFI in their actions. Gale and more has asked for answers, these can only be given by the sfi or those in the sfi. An invite has been given and should be answered. Why is no one answering.

Sfi uses our money and should suppoort our people and not Renovo or any other interests.

Pam

author by Deep Insider - Semi-Statepublication date Wed Aug 29, 2012 13:48Report this post to the editors

It is now becoming more apparent by the day that Ferguson's days are numbered in SFI. The conflict of interest is no longer debateable, it is actually a fact. This is now way above the Board's head and Sherlock is simply clueless to the fact that the Irish taxpayers have been fooled yet again by this chancer - Ferguson. Also include: his wife, Sharon O'Kane.

Let us put this simply: Fergie and Kane are own 21 million shares in Renovo (AIM) Fact. All you have to do is check out Renovo's shareholders and the facts are there.

This is now a national scandal and at this stage this inept government are trying to put their heads down so that the problem will just go away. Ferguson however has caused a major headache for the Government next month. It is alleged he has sought High Court proceedings to muzzle Indymedia website and also to try and track down personal IP addresses. I say to you Fergie, we have free speech in this country and people will stand up and face you down. One last question: Who will be paying the legal costs or is at present paying the legal cost for this High Court application?

Let the battle against cronyism and corruption begin.

Deep Insider

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:44Report this post to the editors

There is an article in today's Times Higher Education titled 'Research Intelligence - Cold shoulder for Ireland's pure science?

http:/www.timeshighereducation.co.uk./story.asp?sectioncode=26.storycode=420973

Fottrell, SFI director, came out in the article in a very weak vague way relating to the funding from SFI to research in Ireland. Fottrell along with Travers and the other Board members need to re evaluate their position urgently. Ferguson is a dead duck just like Bottler Reilly - they just have to go! It is ironic, one a doctor and one a dentist. How could a Government give 270 million to a failed idiot like dentist Ferguson. It would only happen in Ireland in the worst recession of our history. Sherlock should be the fall-guy but I believe Clifford, Keane, and Love, not forgetting Ruth Free-travel should worry. Taxpayers like me don't forget the multiple thousands these gobshites have wasted on their own egos and junket trips to America.

I say to Donal Keane today, you ran out of the hospital in Drogheda - you made it clear in Dun Laoghaire that you hate Academics and I am making it clear to you today Donal, your bullying days are over. Even your brother Mark in UCD is aware of this. This scandal will either be addressed under a special Oireachtas committee or Ferguson will be allowed go away quietly into the mist.

Brian Flannery

author by Apologistpublication date Thu Aug 30, 2012 13:28Report this post to the editors

When the Board of SFI had an opportunity to introduce constructive reform at SFI, by the appointment of one of many eminently home grown Irish scientists/academics last January, they failed, and failed spectacularly. They did so because it is conceivable that some members of the selection panel and the Board of SFI doggedly pursued their own vested interests at the expense of SFI and the whole community of Irish taxpayers. It is to the eternal shame of the SFI Board that not one voice was raised against this.

The appointment of the interim CEO was also manipulated by the same vested interests. Instead of appointing one of the very obvious"best people" it was decided that the seat be kept "warm" by a nonentity in order that the way be made clear and indisputable for the appointment of an opportunist in the likeness of Ferguson. It is a matter of huge regret but an example of how cronyism and vested interests still hold sway in the public sector.

Apologist.

author by British Taxpayerpublication date Thu Aug 30, 2012 21:07Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson swindled the British taxpayer out of millions, swindled his investors out of millions, skipped off to Ireland with a cool 18million, held on to his considerable interest in Renovc and landed a plumb job in a State Agency in Ireland. It couldn't happen anywhere else!!!

Well done Ireland. You seem to think very highly of this conman. In this weeks issue of the Times Higher Education we are told that he has the full backing of that State Agency Board in spite of the fact that they are in full knowledge of Ferguson's shady past!! This is very disturbing. I certainly shall be lobbying my MP to have this man's CBE revoked as has been done before with other fraudsters.

British Taxpayer.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Aug 31, 2012 09:32Report this post to the editors

'..anywhere else.'??

Stow your racist drivel, BT.
You've just informed us it happened in Britain.

Go deal with St Anthony of BAe-Bi Face Blair's antics in the Middle East and North Africa, and his government's £1bn bribe to Saudi royalty for weapons deals before you fall off your moral high-horse.

Your wicket is sticky as your butcher's-apron flag. We are no longer your stepping stone to empire, get used to it. Nor have you added a micro-quantum to the information already posted.

author by British Taxpayerpublication date Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:00Report this post to the editors

To Opus:

Point taken Opus. You are correct. I guess I should say the fact that it happens elsewhere is no excuse for it happening in Ireland.

I stand corrected!!!

British Taxpayer.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:18Report this post to the editors

hatchet buried.

author by Exasperatedpublication date Fri Aug 31, 2012 15:01Report this post to the editors

All the concerns with respect to Mark Ferguson have been raised many times on this site but sometimes it takes constant repetition for a message to be driven home. Maybe if it is repeated often enough those responsible for creating this mess might be finally persuaded to do something about it before we have a complete brain drain out of this country. The idiot who maintains "the Irish Taxpayer deserves no less" is dead right. It is the no more of his sort that we deserve. Have we not already learned that it was the country's obsession with the commercialisation with just about everything that has brought us to our knees and these idiots at SFI are advocating more of it.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Aug 31, 2012 19:43Report this post to the editors

Citizens of any country dream of equitable approaches to challenges. Many see this as a right and are more likely to be critical of their own country more than others. Illness at home is always harder to bear. The increasingly rampant incidents of crony-ism and self interest of the SFI kind results in the ills noted in these many posts. These are the symptoms of an absence of any clear focus by our leaders. In fact the SFI débâcle has at its core a now removed corrupt government and a now absent government. The absence of leadership in Ireland may yet confirm SFIs DG claims of “running a country”. This may prove more potent a claim with the resignation of Professor Patrick Cunningham as chief scientific advisor to the apparent absent. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0831/1....html .
Exasperated claims repetition is needed.

“It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” Muhammad Ali.

We need now in Ireland to establish a belief system that affords the dignity lost back to the people. Without repetition this will not happen.

author by Crazy Crocodile - Observerpublication date Sat Sep 01, 2012 13:38Report this post to the editors

The Renovo shares are being bought back by an inner circle of present shareholders ie Ferguson, wife O'Kane and others at an option rate of 7-10p while shares in the open market are hovering at around .17p. They are held in 'Treasury' whatever this means? This is becoming a blatant attempt to cash in again for the kill when the timing is right!

In the meantime Ferguson spoke alongside Pat Rabbitte Friday 30th August about offshore oil rigging. What is really going on here? Ferguson took another Professors' notes and bluffed it.

Next Tuesday SFI hold a meeting fronted by Graham Love on new SFI Strategy (which is nothing for students). It is purely commercial and suits Ferguson's agenda.

Conflict of many interests. Posse is closing in fast.

Time to go back to Manchester Mr. Chancer Ferguson

Crazy Crocodile

Shareholders Henderson Kestrel (Brooke, Royde) hold their hand of cards very close to their chests! Buybacks is about bringing funding back to shareholders - Is this correct?

author by iNTERESTEDpublication date Sat Sep 01, 2012 20:51Report this post to the editors

Can't pretend to know a lot about share buying and share buy back and Director's share options but I do understand enough to know that it looks like Mark Ferguson is on to another Manchester like scam.

You are right crazy croc. nobody seems to care about conflicts of interest anymore, especially the Board of Directors at SFI. Sure didn't Mr. Ferguson himself tell us that the board knew all about his interest in Renovo when they appointed him? It is a pity that they didn't inform the general public, whose taxes pay for the lot of them, that they knew all about his big rip-off at Manchester when they appointed him. Whose interest were they looking after??

I presume they also knew that he would concentrate on funding, with our money, only those areas he had a vested interest in, namely bio. and pharma. I presume they also knew that he would starve mathematics, engineering and basic science of necessary funding, given that it is these areas that our best interests lie in.

And yes they continue to support a man who puts his own interests first, who publicly insults our Government, our former Chief Scientific Advisor (no doubt they wii want to give him that job too) and eminent visiting scientist to this country. They have a lot to answer for!

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sun Sep 02, 2012 14:31Report this post to the editors

It would appear to have been established that SFIs DG holds shares in Renovo. The Crazy Crocodile post notes a stake-holding in off shore oil drilling, by the SFI. Who has vested interest in any company interested in this drilling? Transparency is now needed in order to establish the true beneficiaries of our tax investment. These should of course be the tax payers and people of Ireland. Licences are being sold wholesale to various interests for oil research and exploration off the coast of Ireland. The resources noted have been likened to the North Sea and anyone with a vested interest in these licensed companies would stand to make vast profits, either through the early sale of increasing share values or with the discovery of vast areas of oil reserves.

If those with these interests hold positions of power in state or semi-state organisations, then they could orchestrate dealings to personal benefit. In order to avoid unnecessary resource waste related to vested interest, the highlighting and avoidance of any possible influence of vested interest needs to be controlled. This can only happen with honest disclosure. The questions repeatedly tabled in these posts need to be answered in order for this disclosure to be effective.

author by Insider Science - Cronyism semi-state publication date Sun Sep 02, 2012 14:43Report this post to the editors



This meeting interrupted by Corrib supporters, upsetting Minister Pat Rabbitte's speech was a classic coup.

Sitting at that top table was Professor Mark Ferguson, Director-General SFI, who also through sources over the weekend, holds 30,000 shares in Shell through a company set up by Sharon O'Kane. Then he (Ferguson) goes on to give a speech on offshore oil. Donal Keane has stated he owns in excess of 50,000 shares, by way of a trust or vehicle set up by other former/current Renovo heads who made a cash killing before. Don't forget Ferguson made £18 million sterling out of Renovo along with O'Kane.

Meanwhile don't forget 250 people lost their jobs and some their family homes. Now this man has a deep interest in Ireland's natural resources and he heads up Science Foundation Ireland. This is a near indictable crime of pure Conflict of Interest at work.

Just received copy of Sunday Mail. Indymedia is doing a lot right these days. There is a two page spread with photos of Professor Mark Ferguson. Cronyism, power-play, breaking rules, conflicts of interest....all is included in the article. Shame on us in Ireland for being so gullible.

author by Citizenpublication date Sun Sep 02, 2012 16:07Report this post to the editors

It was with absolute shock and outrage that I read the article on Mark Ferguson in today's "Mail on Sunday". How absolute STUPID can our leaders be. It could be argued that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, has by his covert actions, has attempted to reward handsomely what could be termed a fraudster and conman, and in so doing, has brought shame on this country. How dare he critise Governments who have gone before him. He is even worse, with his Saint Enda like protestations to right the wrongs that have been inflicted on this nation.

Mark Ferguson espouses all the values and bad practice that has brought this country to ruin. Now he is being handsomely rewarded, it could be said, at the taxpayers expense, by an incompetant, mislead,deceitful and easily manipulated Enda Kenny. A Taoiseach, I might add , who Mark Ferguson treats with utter contempt. It's official then Mark Ferguson "runs the country". At first I thought Ferguson's claim was an insult , now I know better. Welcome to the Ireland of FOOLS, ROGUES and SELF SERVING MANDARINS. The country has gone to pot.

Citizen

author by Citizen 11publication date Sun Sep 02, 2012 17:01Report this post to the editors

Reply to Citizen.

You are right to be shocked and outraged but do something about it....!!

Yes Kenny is manipulated by advisors and mandarins who have no knowledge or understanding of what is best for this country. A classic case of the blind leading the blind. However IT IS cronyism at its absolute worse.

You are also correct in asking how dare Kenny reward a complete failure and conman, at taxpayers expense, while he is at the same time preparing to deliver a savage budget on an already beleagured country. He is in effect asking the poor and vulnerable, along with the not so poor but equally beleagured, to pay for the greed and excesses of this conman with his over-inflated ego. A "star" - don't me me laugh. Prof. Tom Garvan was absolutely right - "The best brains in this country are being governed by fools". The question is what do we do with the fools who appoint or sanction their appointment?

WE URGENTLY NEED A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT. To use their phrase we should not be a penny wise and a pound foolish. We are on the fast route to utter destruction.

Citizen 11.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sun Sep 02, 2012 19:49Report this post to the editors

Opportunism is the conscious taking of advantage of a situation or circumstances for personal gain. Something that we are all possibly guilty of to some degree. When faced with an opportunity we weigh the advantages and disadvantages and act accordingly. Many will include non-personal criteria in this weighted decision. With third party concerns absent from this decision, it is totally selfish opportunism. Personal gain if shared can be of benefit to many. Mark Ferguson was faced with a decision to accept an offer as DG of SFI last year. As implied by the attached article, the opportunity arose due to links with influential politicians. What links does Mark Ferguson have with Sean Sherlock? What influence does Sean Sherlock have with Enda Kenny? This also poses the question as to what control Enda Kenny has over his own actions. Is one who blindly accepts vested advice a leader or a fool? An opportunist who is not checked becomes naturally a “megalomaniac” who can in his own mind be “running a country”. The encouragement given is the fault of adversely poor leadership.

Anger only begins to express the emotion developing and confirmed by the attached article. The tax payers of Ireland should perhaps be furious at the implications inherent in this exposure. This fiasco goes to the top of government. Government however is not an apt term in this regard, nor might it be considered apt due to the general disregard afforded to the people of Ireland in recent times. The apparently illegal appointment of the current DG of SFI is a symptom of the crass and selfish 'governing' of this land by the deliberately inadequate. The bullying and blind siding evident in the letters attached to the article should be the subject of an investigation. More infuriating is that the evidence highlighted ignores much of what is posted on indymedia, infuriating not of the article but of the extent of the problem. The crony-ism and corruption, the disregard for people, apparent fabrication extend beyond the topics of the article and that posted here.

I am angry beyond healthy.

author by anonpublication date Mon Sep 03, 2012 09:52Report this post to the editors

Here's the link to the Mail on Sunday article referred to above Didn't realize he is earning €190,000-a-year

Related Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2197016/Reveale....html
author by Science Enthusiastpublication date Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:58Report this post to the editors

The arrogance of Ferguson and the SFI clique around him is unbelievably detrimental to Irish Research and Irish Enterprise. First, he is imposed willy nilly by the Taoiseach and given an inflated salary and perks. Secondly, this arrogant ignoramous is put in charge of Irish Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. Thirdly, this is done in order to milk the assets of Irish Research - so Ferguson who is involved in a major financial and business scam with Renovo is put in charge.

We desperately need innovation and enterprise in all areas of life in Ireland. Instead we have the stifling, smoothering dead weight of this Government Agency that is corrupt through and through.

Science Enthusiast

author by Simplicitypublication date Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:30Report this post to the editors

What I have read on Indymedia and in yesterdays "Mail on Sunday" (2/9/2012) , The "Sunday Times" of two weeks ago and in other blogs reinforces my belief of the terrible injustices and corruption of our present Government. How dare they impose such stringent cuts on our poorest and most vulnerable in our society while at the same time surreptiously giving a huge salary and perks to an absolute power money hungry individual, Mark Ferguson, who is useing his position as DG of SFI to further his own agenda? This man has absolutely no interest in Science and Research in Ireland. His aim is simply to be in a position to milk this country for his own personal gain. Shame on the stupid and greedy people who put him there, no doubt there was something in it for them. Shame on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny (who never tires of telling us of the corruption and errors of the last Government!) who colluded with these public servants and mandarins to give him these huge perks at the expense of the Irish taxpayer.

Ferguson must be sent on his way immediately. He will do and has done untold damage to Irish Science and its reputation. He has been practically run out of Manchester only to be welcomed to the Land of Nods and Winks by Irish government -backed self interested cronies. In the interest of future generations (if there is a future for them) of Irish young people we must no longer tolerate this. The people must no fail where Governments have.

Simplicity

author by Pat Hughes - Immigrantpublication date Mon Sep 03, 2012 14:21Report this post to the editors


The documents that are out now in the name of Bruton, Sherlock and Brendan Howlin who opposed Ferguson and his package £190,000 salary, expenses (God alone knows how much since he started January this year), car, bonus, pension, free house, terms of contract if he leaves ahead of time.

Ferguson lied about his CV with the help of Bruton and Sherlock. Ferguson clearly is a failure. No mention of Renovo (publicly quoted company now AIM), 250 jobs losses, who still has significant patents, those who made a cash killing of £18 million sterling, yes Ferguson and his wife O'Kane.

Now Ferguson has just hosted the Energy conference beside Minister Pat Rabbitte and many international guest speakers relating to offshore oil. This man is toxic to what Ireland needs at this time and he should be told to get out.

Pat Hughes

author by Concerned Scientistpublication date Mon Sep 03, 2012 15:13Report this post to the editors

This is with reference to the posting on "SFI Director General in the News again - The Energy Conference held 31st Aug.2012"

Just look at the messages on Indymedia under the heading of " Pat Rabbitte disrupted at energy conference".

The news that Mark Ferguson and Sharon O'Kane are involved as investors in Shell and therefore the Corrib Field Work is revealing, and not just for pocketing millions and leaving a trail of destruction!

SFI funding is being wasted. " SFI reports dismal 2012 results" as Finfacts reported in July.

But also SFI is not supporting what should be supported. What has SFI ever done in research in energy and natural resources? Why is it so pathetically little? My sources tell me that SFI was always very much against these areas of research.

We need an independent review right now of why SFI is failing basic science and research and failing the country so terribly.

This man Ferguson is not fit for the job.

Concerned Scientist.

author by Uni.publication date Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:27Report this post to the editors

Impact in SFI means pure cronyism. Funding and perks for the insider track boys and girls. Lots of researchers have left Ireland - driven out. Even a Nobel prize winner! Take the case of Richard Tol, Nobel prize winner for climate change who left back in January. Then there is UCD Nobel prize winner in Economics, James Heckman. He has prestigious European Research Council funding. What has SFI ever done for him though?

SFI's track record in company creation is pathetic. Even of those created how many survive and for how long? So much for impact. .It is all a very wasteful expensive mess.

Uni.

author by Interestedpublication date Tue Sep 04, 2012 17:16Report this post to the editors

Of today's SFI's Webinar:

No new thinking - The same old shibboleths trotted out.

SFI-speak with no substance.

Promises of favour to the same old cronies.

Far too much for far too little.

Interested ( but in no way encouraged ).

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:17Report this post to the editors

Bruton is responsible for the appointment of the Board of SFI. It is within his power also to make changes to this board. What connections does Sherlock have with the DG of SFI? Does Sherlock have any connection with Renovo? What conections does Bruton have? The current round of funds being sought of SFI is underway, with a powerpoint type presentation required to make the task of deciding quicker and simpler, but perhaps less informed. Those being funded include research institutions, colleges, universities and private enterprise. Additional funding can be found through matched funding investment by industry. Is it required of an applicant college to cite the source of their matched funding? Who decides and to what extent of funding might require additional controls?

Is it possible within the existing framework to establish vested interest in the application process? How?

The funds are the property of the Irish people and therefore the responsibility of our government to ensure these are used to the benefit of the Irish people. The protection of the Constitution and the Irish people is a promise made of those in Government and has failed in recent times through crony-ism and vested interest being ignored. This has cost this country, the social structure and health of this nation is in the hands of our leaders. Example needs to be provided to demonstrate without doubt that those making decisions and effecting appointments are doing so honourably. The questions posted here need to ba answered by those in authority. Bruton and Sherlock need to answer the questions, and preferably before the funding allocation of the SFI has been wasted to vested interest.

author by Concernedpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:30Report this post to the editors

The Board of SFI have done this country some dis-service and they know it. It could be said that they have purposefully and deliberately mislead the Irish Taxpayer and (albeit, carelessly) the Irish Government. They have milked the system, getting renumerated handsomely for a few hours work which they have done carelessly or not at all. The consequences of the appointment of this conman Ferguson rests squarely on their shoulders.

They should now reseign "en masse" taking with them Ferguson and his inner circle of cronies who now form the management team at SFI. They have quite deliberately and artfully gotten rid of those who could do the job. The intonation of one of their own idiots "The Irish people deserve no less" should be taken to heart by them.

Do the Country one decent service of your stewardship - RESEIGN.

Concerned.

author by Oil man - Natural Resourcespublication date Wed Sep 05, 2012 13:20Report this post to the editors

This is the month when all the little men come with bowl in hand from the campuses and stand humbled before a failed businessman and the words come out. Please Mr. Ferguson can I have some money for a project for some of my Phd students. I find this both alarming and disgusting. I put a question today to Hugh Brady, Provost, UCD and Mr. Prendergast Trinity College, who Ferguson claims are both personal friends to stand up now and either back this failure up or stand him down.

I also put a question today to all the academics also known as the elite of the social circle: come out now from your safe havens of high salaries, perks, pensions and speak on behalf of your students with some moral conviction and conscience otherwise, Science in Ireland is dead and gone .... it is with O'Leary in the grave.

I close by saying - Ferguson on top of his overpaid salary £195,000 has also received a free car, and house and £25,000 upfront for relocation. All this from the Irish people who are now on their knees due to the recession. Would real men now come forward please. We have already lost James Heckman and Richard Tol and too many more.

Oil Man

author by Concerned Citizenpublication date Wed Sep 05, 2012 13:30Report this post to the editors

Is SFI stripping the assets of the Irish State?

We need to know:

1 Why has Mark Ferguson been on Renovo - related business in the U.S. while D-G of SFI?

2 We need to know all dealings between Mark Ferguson and other SFI personnel with Renovo and in particular with Max Royde,
. Jamie Brooke and David Blain.

3 What is the nature of Mark Ferguson's and John Travers relationship which goes back a long way.

4 There is a need for the public to see what are the business interests of all of the SFI Board members. These must be published
openly.

5 Some SFI Board Members are running companies out of SFI. See for example International Advisory Partners. Is private business
using SFI not a major conflict of interest?

SFI under D-G Mark Ferguson and the SFI Board under Pat Fottrell certainly seem to be milking the assets of the Irish State here.

Concerned Citizen.

author by Observerpublication date Thu Sep 06, 2012 16:07Report this post to the editors

Brian Flannery did well to highlight cronyism in the semi-state sector and he has deservedly received enormous support for it, judging from the response to it on this site.

Apart from all the other ills that has beset this country cronyism at State level is by far the most corrosive. Why? Because it ensures that this country will never be governed for the benefit of the people but to serve only the vested interests of a few.

Cronyism has helped in no small measure to bring this country to its knees. As long as it exists it is a major barrier to recovery and prosperity. This Government came to office on the promise to root out corruption and cronyism. So far it has not delivered on this promise. We are still waiting.

Observer.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Sep 06, 2012 16:27Report this post to the editors

Are there any investigations being undertaken on corruption in Ireland currently? The posts would indicate that the next step is to reorganize the board of SFI thereby ensuring crony-ism is reduced. It has been suggested that the DG of SFI resign, who will replace him and would this result in a better service? Would this result in fairer decisions? The current reported requirements of the SFI from applicants has the appearance of being of low intensity and therefore could yield unfair results.

Is there any hidden criteria inherent in any of the current applications?

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:57Report this post to the editors

The Honorary degrees were given out yesterday. I was glad Denis Irwin, former Manchester footballer, received one.

I noticed in the audience, Mr. Cronyism Fottrell, Chairman of the Board of SFI, and alongside him the disgraced Renovo boss Crocodile Ferguson, now Mr Ego Head of SFI.

Bruton should disband the board: Newell-McGloughlin-USA, Pat McDonagh, Fottrell, Travers, Ferguson and the rest of the cronies on the board of corruption. Take them down Mr. Bruton. Have an Inquiry into this scandal.

Brian Flannery for Justice

author by Caitlinpublication date Sat Sep 08, 2012 15:27Report this post to the editors

Ireland, a country with little to declare, not even its genius, because that too is being wasted by those entrusted with its nurturing.. This country has lost just about everything in its obsession with commercialization. While acknowledging the place and importance of business and commerce in any State, nonetheless it is the business of Government to nurture, not strip, the assets of this country.

The reading of the SFI debacle on this site and elsewhere is depressing. A greedy power hungry ignoramus it seems, has been given the authority to decide on the direction and future and indeed on the survival of science, mathematics and engineering - indeed the very basis of this country's economic survival. What does he do and say? He decided that this not worth doing and instead concentrates SFI's funding (our money) into projects that fit his own personal agenda and business interests. He supported in this by a greedy and incompetent board of directors who care not one iota for the future prosperity and survival of this country - "as long as I'm alright Jack".

Minister Bruton, the buck stops with you. Stop this madness. Action, not the wearisome vacuous high sounding mantras from Government and SFI, - is what is needed. Mark Ferguson maybe "running the country" for now but will the elected Government stand idly by?

Caitlin.

author by Watchful - Transparencypublication date Sun Sep 09, 2012 14:04Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson in today's Irish Mail on Sunday (9th Sept. 2012) blames yet again Enda Kenny for the debacle over his salary. As stated before he is the genius who blames everybody else when things go wrong. It will be interesting to find out who his next victim will be in the blame game. No doubt he will be well supported by some of his cronies on the Board of Directors. But then again they are all in it together it seems!

Watchful

author by Senecapublication date Sun Sep 09, 2012 14:10Report this post to the editors

More on Mark Ferguson in today's ( 9th September) Irish Mail on Sunday: "Science Chief thought Enda Kenny had cleared cap-busting pay."

Minister Howlin was told by Taoiseach Kenny to pay Ferguson what he wanted. Minister Howlin agreed. The deal was being done while Ferguson and O'Kane arranged everything nicely with their pals Max Royde, Jamie Brooke and David Blain to run their company, Renovo.

All a nice deal for Ferguson to proceed to have O'Kane, Royde and others on the Board of SFI. Given what Ferguson says about the current SFI Board, he just can't wait to have all of his cronies fully take over SFI.

Seneca.

author by Academicpublication date Mon Sep 10, 2012 06:48Report this post to the editors

The dates are bizzare it seems now Ferguson got the post in early June organised by Travers and Fottrell, Yet other people had interviews in JULY and August. Something is rotten here.
More to come on this scandal yet
Academic.

author by Fiachra O Toole - Chemistrypublication date Mon Sep 10, 2012 09:19Report this post to the editors

Reading the Mail yesterday Ferguson has put the entire Goverment Cabinet on the backfoot, He claims Enda Kenny knew what Travers and Fottrell had arranged before he took the Package on his terms, Ferguson has now made a laughing clown of Kenny Bruton and Sherlock who Ferguson dispises the most.
This scandal will have to be adressed at a Dail Committee at some time urgently I hope otherwise Bruton has left his balls on the mantlepiece, Taxpayers are the losers here.
Fiachra.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Sep 11, 2012 09:02Report this post to the editors

We each are responsible for our own decisions and actions. The DG of SFI appears to be laying the blame for his massive income on our leaders despite there being evidence to the effect that he actively sought his income package. To what extent is he correct? The ministers were responsible for acting and responding to the request for breaking the wage ceiling, Ferguson was responsible for asking. The blame game as always diverts attention from the real problem and that is related to honour and performance. The posts here lay testament to the DG travelling in the interest of companies not officially connected with SFI, companies in which he holds shares. Who holds shares or has any interest in Renovo, Shell, etc? It also remains the responsibility of all of us to stand up and highlight the ills of society such that these can be corrected.

The brave decision to act of those highlighting the facts in this case should be lauded. Furthermore, action by our Government is urgently required if there is to be any improvement in our international standards. The international status of Irish colleges and universities last year were reduced significantly due to falling standards. This has resulted in there being added leaving certificate points for those siting higher level maths. This is a small and relatively meaningless measure. We need the highest level of our educational, research and scientific institutions to be restored. The current SFI focus is contrary to this need. Regardless of blame this needs to be corrected.

author by Liam Kenny - Concerned Gratuatepublication date Tue Sep 11, 2012 09:03Report this post to the editors

Graham Love SFI came a long way from his first job at the Mart in Ballymote Co Sligo and then MS iRELAND. Yesterday Love known as the Pointer wrote a piece on the Irish Times which literally attacked all Scientists and Researchers on this Island, Graham get a fucking grip and stop trying to please the boss Ferguson. You are clueless a laughing stock this morning even Donal Keane broke his balls laughing last night You want Fergusons Job sorry you cannot have Graham all in life. You went to Gonzales hated all contact sport yet tell all in the Terenure Inn you could have played scrum half for England.
Science needs real people it needs investment not your rants and personal attacks on Teachers across this country
Graham you held the post of DG for 6 weeks Travers shafted you get the fuck over it and grow up. Come out now and tell the truth of what really is going on at SFI, Please stop the rants on the Times you look silly and your words yesterday was bitter and nasty to the teaching fraternity.
Liam Kenny.

author by Manchester Observer. - Ex Renovo.publication date Wed Sep 12, 2012 09:51Report this post to the editors

I worked for Ferguson for 7 years and got buttons after his wet dream fell apart. Ferguson and wife received 18 million stg Justice for the workers No, Ferguson is totally against trade unoins and sources tell us in Manchester he bullies staff in SFI who are members of a Trade union. How did this arrogant bastard land the job as Chief of Science in Ireland it is bizzare, I notice Graham Love on Twitter talking horseshit using spin to enhance the ego of Ferguson,
English papers are following the story on Ferguson and Renovo now so there is lots to come yet, The Irish Goverment have a problem and his name is Ferguson the Bluffer.
Manchester Observer.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Sep 12, 2012 17:06Report this post to the editors

OECD has established that as little as 4% of secondary school time is devoted to science in Ireland. The standards of both science and maths in Ireland is below the international levels for the average 15 year old. In a country that prides itself and even relies on the sciences in restoring the economy this is appalling. Funding into research in science in Ireland is vital in the current climate, more so perhaps than at any time in the past. Research funding in Ireland promotes an interest in science through the development of new and ground breaking technology. This in turn generates interest in the subject by our young, the very future of this country. Implied in this is the possibility that reduced or diverted funding will reduce further this already poor interest. The diversion of funding to commercial interest in favour of colleges will further generate an apathy that will have more leaving this land for greener pastures. The brain drain so maligned in the past is being encouraged. Comments from Michael Noonan stating this exodus to be a “free choice of lifestyle” is a demonstration of the blindness and practised ignorance of the reality by our leaders that has itself led to the SFI débâcle.

Our leaders and those who make decisions on our behalf need to wake up and smell the grass. It is becoming dank and damp, rotting under our very feet and those supported are rightly making a “free choice” to live. This forces them to seek life elsewhere. The "free choice" to feed ones family, to have reasonable education and health is expressed with an exodus. While the SFI issue is a symptom of the authorities ignorance or self interest, it could well be the straw on the camels back. Killing the credibility that this country has generated over many years through an excellent education system is the apparent current practice.

Demands for answers have not been met, demands however for reform need to be met if our future is to be anything other than a national indentured slavery.

author by The Graduatepublication date Wed Sep 12, 2012 21:12Report this post to the editors

Graham Love - action needed urgently!

What is SFI under Mark Ferguson doing for engineering in Ireland? - Nothing!

What is SFI doing for Mathematics? - Killing it.

What is SFI doing for fundamental science of any sort? - According to Ferguson and Love this has no longer anything to do with SFI's remit.

Draw your own conclusions!

author by Transparentpublication date Wed Sep 12, 2012 21:22Report this post to the editors

A message for Government with special reference to SFI.

Words of Charles Koch CEO of Koch Industries Inc.

"Co-operation between business and Government is a destructive force because it weakens business and the economy while undermining our political system"

He also states " Rampant cronyism threatens the economic foundations of prosperity"

Examine the link between these two quotes with reference to SFI and we have a lot to worry about!

Transparent.

author by Concerned parent & taxpayerpublication date Thu Sep 13, 2012 14:34Report this post to the editors

Can you explain to me Mr. Ferguson who phoned you in relation to Eimear O'Driscoll (appointed 3 months ago) as your new PA?

Did this post go through the proper procedures of semi-state recruitment ethics?

No. It did not.

My daughter and son are in Australia - they don't have Daddy Eoin - Forfas crony friend of yours, Mr. Ferguson......and Travers and Fottrell.

Una Clifford arranged all the papers. Are they legal Una? Answer: No

This is corruption

Concerned parent

author by Fly on the wallpublication date Thu Sep 13, 2012 17:40Report this post to the editors

With the demise of the Celtic Tiger the masks of civility and respectability dropped at SFI. The treatment of some of our colleagues by those in charge was unethical, savage and disgraceful, nothing short of white collar thuggery. Thanks to these people the brain drain at SFI is now almost complete. These very same people are now trying to convince the community that they are acting in the community's best interest, "The Irish taxpayer deserves no less". The disgrace of such blatant lies.

What these people are doing to the academic community is no less disgraceful. Behind the mask of offering to help in obtaining funding from SFI is the hidden threat support us or else...... What makes the academic community think that they are regarded with any more respect than those that SFI has already driven out? It is Ferguson's agenda or nothing. Forget Love's tweeting, he is simply Ferguson's tool.

It is still the same old story for the same old cronies. Forget SFI or even Science FICTION Ireland, welcome to ANIMAL FARM.

Fly on the wall (filled with utter disgust)

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:11Report this post to the editors

I've recently been informed that the C.V. presented by Mark Ferguson is highly creative. This 'jewel' that is of such high value to the Irish people is a charlatan. The effect this is having on our country is terrible, I know people who are leaving this country becouse the options are not there, highly educated people. Teh brain drain.

Ferguson needs ot be confronted, we need him to answer the questions, Sherlock needs to be confronted and he needs to answer the questions. Who do they think they are! Their income is the tax that we pay, their reponsibility is to us, the tax payers. Are they so conceited that they actually believe themselves above us to teh extent that they steel. Embezlement is theft, getting flights paid to attend to their own business is wrong. Giving grants to their friends or colleagues for the benefit of themselves is wrong. The lack of accountability is the wrong of our government.

I have been quietly reading the posts here and find it more frustrating each time I visit. I also find it annoying to read the papers, where is Enda Kenny. How can he support the high wage that Ferguson asked for. Every day I see prople suffering, trying to find money for food and trying to give hope

author by Liam Kenny - Collegespublication date Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:12Report this post to the editors

Donal Keane master bully in SFI recently told a female member of staff dont complain to Siptu you are wasting your fucking time. Keane is known to have a deep hatred of Trade unions but his past at Drogheda Hospital is catching up fast, Bully Keane knows who to harass like his fellow Cronie Una Clifford but the papers are coming and the truth always comes out from within. Ferguson is giving a bullshit lecture at Royal Irish Academy next week people will be watching,
The talk is on organisms and crocodiles what a waste of Taxpayers money,
In the meantime they are trying to cover up the appointment of Eimer O Driscoll and the disgraceful treatment of other good staff by Keane, Love and Clifford.
More to co me
Liam Kenny,

author by Senecapublication date Fri Sep 14, 2012 14:10Report this post to the editors

Over-emphasis on comercially oriented research (check out Helga Nowotny's morning interview on 13th Sept.2012) is getting nowhere. How could it?

I say - If SFI will not fund fundamental science, engineering and mathematics, then take the 150 million euro per year off SFI and give it to where it can really do benefit. Give it to our primary schools. Give this badly needed funding to where it will really benefit this country. And give that man Ferguson his marching orders. And let Love and the rest of Ferguson's cronies go and work for Renovo.

Seneca

author by W. Finnertypublication date Fri Sep 14, 2012 23:26Report this post to the editors

Reply to "Transparent" at Wed Sep 12, 2012 21:22 ...

We do indeed "have a lot to worry about!" in my opinion.

And, it is not just the citizens of the Republic of Ireland who have genuine cause to be seriously concerned (as I see things).

Bad though this whole situation is, relating to extremely serious socially destructive "cronyism" in the Republic of Ireland (described in this article), my lengthy research into such matters suggests that, in the fuller reality of the overall global situation, it is just one more symptom of a much more serious, deeper, and very much larger GLOBAL CORRUPTION problem, which I have earlier today attempted to outline in the following excerpt from an e-mail sent (earlier today) to the British Monarchy:

"All of my much more recent and lengthy research into global 'government crime' very strongly suggests that, by every kind of devious and surreptitious means imaginable, it is 'top-drawer', highly arrogant, and grossly corrupt members of the legal professions who are providing the essential legal 'keystones' for supporting 'government corruption, crime, and cover-ups' all around the world; and, that in such endeavours, they are working very closely with the 'bangsters' (or 'Money Power Psychopaths' as some see them): especially in connection with the treasonous and highly criminal matter of producing and sustaining unconstitutional 'law' (bogus and invalid 'law' that is), which supports the gigantic fraud-ridden 'bangster/legal-profession scams' such as 'fractional-reserve lending', 'derivatives gambling', and the like; and, not forgetting of course all the 'bank bailouts' associated with such global multi-quadrillion Euros swindles, plus the financing of unlawful 'regime change' wars in places such as Libya, and so on."

My research leaves me in very little doubt that, since the creation of the Bank of England in 1694 (by King William of Orange), the City of London has very likely played the lead role ever since in creating and sustaining the almighty war-ridden GLOBAL "money-supply" mess we have all now ended up in, as very briefly outlined in the paragraph just above; and, that Wall Street has long been playing 'second-fiddle' to the City of London's lead."

The full text of today's e-mail to the British Monarchy, which contains four (4) Internet hyperlink "information expansions" not available in the "plain text" version of the excerpt provided above, can be viewed at the following Internet location:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/BritishMonarchy/14Sep...l.htm

Related Link:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/

author by Taxpayerpublication date Sat Sep 15, 2012 16:12Report this post to the editors

However unsuitable Mark Ferguson is as D-G of SFI (and I believe he is most unsuitable) nevertheless it appears that the rot at SFI goes much deeper.

How is it that a selection panel and the Board of SFI got it all so terribly wrong? There is clearly one individual or a vested interest group there pulling the strings. This constitutes a very serious betrayal of, and a grave injustice to, the Irish taxpayer who literally pours millions of their money into SFI in the mistaken belief that it is being used for the benefit of the Irish people. It is a serious mis-use of taxpayer's money and it could be argued that it is theft, pure and simple.

This outrage must not go unchallenged. It is the duty of the Government (indeed a duty that has been sorely neglected by Governments of the past) to address grave exploitation of it's people so this injustice must be redressed immediately and the perpetrators punished accordingly. Yesterday's Ireland is another country.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sat Sep 15, 2012 17:32Report this post to the editors

Reply to Taxpayer at Sat Sep 15, 2012 16:12 ...

I would agree with you 100% regarding your statement "This outrage must not go unchallenged", as would a great many others I suspect.

However, all of my research -- since mid 1998 -- strongly suggests that government outrages of this kind CANNOT be challenged in practice: at least not by any peaceful and lawful means that I know of, which are the only means that are of interest to me.

The very sad and extremely worrying fact of the matter is that our legal profession, and the legal professions of several other nations, will not allow government crime to be challenged through lawful means, as my own particular case has proved, over and over again: even though there is plenty of legislation already in place for such purposes.

This means the government can commit crime with impunity against the people it is meant to be serving, and that is exactly what our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) is doing.

"Impunity means the impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of violations to account - whether in criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings - since they are not subject to any inquiry that might lead to their being accused, arrested, tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to making reparations to their victims."

The United Nations excerpt just above is from the following Internet location:
http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/impu/principles.html

Related Link:
http://tinyurl.com/8bfhz3h

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sun Sep 16, 2012 14:12Report this post to the editors

A recent meeting at the National Toy Creche at Wilton Place - Graham Love:Love me proposed to track down the people who are posting on Indymedia. This man Love is a reject in the private sector and is known to boast he slept and conquered the Warren Beattie record of 470 notches. I say No to Love - the only notch you have is on your pink boxers!

This month Love the bio chemist reject is in charge of funding and is going all out through SFI spin and fake PR.

The Truth is: Science needs a positive road to get our students to be both creative and innovative.

Love is a chancer and power mad. He claims Ruthie is making eyes at him daily - maybe Graham you need to relax more ie according to the Bulldog minus the Balls Keane.

Bill Harris is no fan of Love and the bitterness goes back years. Frank Gannon has recently said in a pub in Beggars Bush that his biggest mistake was promoting that tweeting manic Love:Love me.

SFI needs to be brought in from the cold and made accountable to this State and its taxpayers and its citizens.

Freeman, Love, Keane, Vodka....!, Clifford and don't forget that failed, failed Alligator/Crocodile researcher Ferguson former Renovo (AIM) shares rising?

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sun Sep 16, 2012 16:21Report this post to the editors

Reply to Brian Flannery - Justice at Sun Sep 16, 2012 14:12

Allowing for the general contents of this particular article, it certainly appears to me that your "SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) needs to be brought in from the cold and made accountable to this State and its taxpayers and its citizens" statement is fully justified.

However, from the viewpoint of the wellbeing of a potentially independent nation state, such as the Republic of Ireland for example, I believe that there are two branches of science which are even more important than chemistry and mathematics: and those are 1) political science, and 2) legal science.

Without a healthy pool of good quality politicians and lawyers, who appreciate the very rapidly growing and pressing need for constitutional law, and constitutional government, it's always going to be "government of the ruling elites, by the ruling elites, for the ruling elites": accompanied by all the inseparable cronyism, and all of the many associated social problems of cronyism (of one kind or another).

I would say the downfall of the Republic of Ireland -- which is (as I see things) an independent nation-state with enormous potential to do good for humanity as a whole, especially when, for example, account is taken of its estimated 5.4 trillion Euros worth of untapped oil and gas and resources (see at http://tinyurl.com/8vjutgw) -- as opposed to the vassal-state it now is (in reality), being run by the "local Republic of Ireland puppets of the bangsters" who pull their strings from well outside the Republic of Ireland jurisdiction, from places such as the City of London and Wall Street especially, is primarily connected with the way the three main branches of our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) are allowing treasonous violations of Bunreacht na hEireann (the supreme law of the Republic of Ireland): as required of them according to the demands of their "Bangster Masters".

I would suggest it is better for us all to think, first and foremost, along the following -- slightly modified -- version of your statement:

"The Government of the Republic of Ireland (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) needs to be brought in from the cold and made accountable to this State and its taxpayers and its citizens"; and, this requires the active presence of a "healthy pool of good quality politicians and lawyers" of the kind referred to above, who are well educated and competent in the fields of advanced political and legal science: to replace those we now have, and who only know about the crude, burnt-out and worn-out "corruption and cover-ups" kinds of law and politics which now has cronyism "feeding off itself" in ways which will undoubtedly -- if it is not halted and reversed pretty smartly -- bring the "roof down on top of us", as far as being a sovereign and independent nation state is concerned.

Yesterday, I sent another reminder to Republic of Ireland Chief Justice Susan Denham, which was copied to several of her legal profession colleagues, and which attempts to outline the crucially important, and socially destructive role, that "top drawer" -- but certainly not top-quality -- lawyers are playing in our national demise. A copy of the e-mail used can be viewed at:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/ChiefJusticeSusanDenh...l.htm

Related Link:
http://tinyurl.com/9yvghk7

author by William Harris - Retired scientistpublication date Mon Sep 17, 2012 13:42Report this post to the editors

I want to add to this SFI scandal that is ongoing on Indymedia.

First audits are rare in SFI and I know from internal sources that Ruth Freeman has cost the Irish taxpayers at least 25,000 euros in flights and hotels in the last 6 months. Why? Good Question. It could be that she used to leave Frank Gannon home when the boss got pissed in the 2008/09/10. Result: Ruth gets promoted. Again, no proper procedures. Just that good old fashioned semi-state Cronyism so particular to Ireland.

When does SFI become transparent, accountable and answerable to the taxpayer?

William Harris

author by Taxpayerpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2012 15:25Report this post to the editors

Graham Love is now offering an olive branch to the community he not so very long ago, it could be argued, spurned and belittled. He was and still is the Director of Strategy and Communications. He hunts with the fox and runs with the hounds. He is the guy who the string ruller(s) made D-G of Sfi for 6 weeks(!) in order to keep the seat hot for Ferguson. Have a look at some of the remarks on the early part of this site which were made by Ferguson's supporters. They seem to be similar to those a Director of Communications would make!!

Now he is trying to beguile the Academic community with his suggestion that if "WE" pull together they might even get more money (our, the taxpayer's money) from Government! The stupidity and arrogance of the man. He learned well from his masters.

What people on this site are seeking is the future economic recovery of this country for the generations of young people who are departing these shores in droves. We care very little for the grand design of SFI to fund disproportianately the so called "STARS" of research. Absolute Rubbish. If they are so great let them find funding from Europe . In this country we need the funding for Maths, Engineering and Basic Science, areas of expertise that will help this country's economic recovery. The Academic Community must fight for their survival and for their part in rebuilding this country's economy, which was decimitated by the very same thought processes that currently reigns at SFI. They must not be beguiled by those who speak with a forked tongue.

author by Mr Bean - Pissed off Society Irelandpublication date Wed Sep 19, 2012 13:06Report this post to the editors

When Crocodile Ferguson signed his contract to be Commander in Chief of Toyland, Section 16, clearly states, on the contract: any employee who has any other business interest especially shareholdings in another company must put it on his record before he even applies for the semi-state position. This is clearly a most serious matter now for non Minister Surecock and let us not forget the wimp, as Ferguson calls him, Bruton who lost a pile of sterling notes in property in the UK last week (wiped out). Ferguson at the moment is under pressure from his third wife - Shari O'Share Kane. She feels Indymedia has stripped them naked and her once well hung crocodile is now like a poodle suffering from piles.

This story and all the postings has caught the attention of every office in Dublin as we speak and rightly so. RTE at the moment are being silenced by the Rabbitte because he is trying to figure out how Fergie was allowed to talk about oil rigs and oceans last week at the Energy Conference. Rabbitte, it is believed from good sources, is furious at pointed dick grab me love and he wants answers as to how Ferguson managed to gate crash the event. As one senior staff member in Enterprise Ireland said at a meeting last week, having Ferguson in charge of science in Ireland is like asking Herod to babysit the nation.

Mr Bean

author by Scientistpublication date Wed Sep 19, 2012 13:40Report this post to the editors

After Mark Ferguson's insulting comments about Engineering to anyone who will listen, now Mathematics is being treated with utter distain by Renovo-Ferguson and his cronies.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Sep 19, 2012 19:45Report this post to the editors

In response to the questions raised in these posts, it is possible for one to seek under the 'Freedom of information act' documents relating to the appointments made within state or semi-state organisations. In effect, this is information relating to that funded by the Irish tax payer. The following are legal based formats for controlling any potential conflict of interest state related appointments. These are needed for anyone considering taking up a position with SFI or similar organisations.

Extract from the SFI Code of Conduct. Policy, updated 01/03/2006.

2. Code of Business Conduct for SFI Employees
2.2 Integrity
• Do not use information obtained by your position within SFI for the purposes of dealing (either directly or indirectly) in shares, property or other commercial transactions;
• Do not use the Agency’s resources or reputation for personal gain;
• Avoid outside activities which conflict with or negatively impact on your role within SFI;
Each member of SFI staff should sign the following:

“I hereby confirm that having received this Code of Business Conduct, I have read and understood its contents and will comply fully with the provisions contained in this document including appendices. I understand that any breach of this Code of Business Conduct may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal”.

Signed:

Date:

Please insert your name in block capitals below.

Name:

NB: It is important that this Declaration of Understanding is signed and returned as early as possible to Human Resources.

A. Ethics in Public Office Acts, 1995 and 2001

The Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 and 2001 (“the Acts”) introduced a set of statutory measures which underpin the principle that those who are participating in government and public service should not seek to gain personal advantage through their official positions. It requires disclosure, whenever necessary, of any matter which could give rise to a conflict of interest.
In SFI the Acts apply to all appointed Directors and all appointed positions (i.e. positions described by regulations made by the Minister). This includes SFI’s Board of Directors and all staff at Level E and above.
To comply with the provisions of the Acts, certain members of staff are required to complete a statement of interests each year. There are two types of forms to be completed which are explained below:
1. The statutory long form, which you should complete if you have interests to declare as specified in the Act
OR
2. The short version which can be used for the purpose of a “nil” statement.
Please note that disclosure is required only if the interests could materially influence a Director or employee in the performance of their functions by reason of the fact that such performance could easily affect those interests and be of substantial benefit to them. If there are no such interests, a statement is not legally required. However, the Public Office Commission recommends that a “nil” statement should be provided in those circumstances.
Following legal advice received from the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Finance has requested that all appointed Directors and staff at level E and above acknowledge that they have read and understood their obligations under the Acts. An acknowledgement slip is circulated with the statutory forms.
Guidelines on compliance with the provisions of the Acts are available, on request, from the Secretariat and External Relations Office.

B. Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act 2003

Section 16 of this Act requires the Director General, members of the Board and Board sub-committees, members of staff and any consultants, advisers or other persons engaged by the Foundation to disclose any pecuniary or other “beneficial” interest in, or material to, any matter that falls to be considered by the Board, or a sub-committee of the Board.
A “beneficial” interest includes membership in a company or other body, or in a business partnership, by the person, as well as his or her parent, spouse, sibling, partner or child.
Where a potential conflict is disclosed, that person must take no part in consideration of the matter and refrain from influencing, or seeking to influence, a decision in relation to the matter. Where the matter is being considered by the Board or a Board sub-committee, that individual must withdraw from the meeting for so long as the matter is being discussed or considered, and refrain from voting on the matter.
To comply with this provision of the legislation, a staff member must complete the ‘Conflicts of Interests Statement’ in the appendices of the Conflicts of Interests policy as soon as they become aware that they have a potential conflict of interest. This statement should be returned to the Director, Secretariat and External Relations, to be held on file.

C. Confidentiality

Part 2, Section 17(1), subsection 17(1)(c) of the Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act 2003 applies to all employees of SFI and states that a person shall not disclose any information obtained while performing duties as a member of any Board, Committee, or as a member of staff of, or adviser/consultant to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), without the consent of the Board, committee or other body established under this Act. In addition to the penalties listed in the Act for contravention of this provision, any such disclosure may be deemed misconduct under the terms of the Early Termination and Notice Clause of this contract.
Staff members must strictly preserve the confidentiality of any information related to the affairs of any company dealing with Forfas, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland or Science Foundation Ireland and may not make use of any such information for the purpose of any dealing (direct or indirect) in shares, property or otherwise”.
To comply with this provision of the legislation staff members must ensure that a signed confidentiality statement is held on their HR file.

For specific guidelines on situations in which a conflict of interest may arise, please refer to the Conflicts of Interest Policy.

Science Foundation Ireland
Conflicts of Interests Policy for Staff Members

The Foundation relies on voluntary disclosure of potential conflicts of interests by its staff members to ensure the integrity of its decision-making processes.

Individuals covered by this policy, therefore, have a duty to disclose all potential conflicts of interests that arise in the course of performance of their duties for the Foundation, as well as to comply with the specific requirements of the policy.

II. OBJECTIVES AND COVERAGE OF THE POLICY
A. OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY
The objectives of the policy are:
1. To protect the Foundation against conflicts of interests that may be detrimental to its activities, by ensuring that individuals covered by the policy make decisions free from any external influences, either personal or fiduciary.

Prior to the establishment of SFI, the following clause was included in Forfás appointments.

Clause 16. Confidentiality. … Staff members must strictly preserve the confidentiality of any information coming to their knowledge relating to the affairs of any company dealing with Forfás, IDA Ireland or Enterprise Ireland and may not make use of any such information for the purpose of any dealings (direct or indirect) in shares, property or otherwise.
~This agreement is governed by Irish Law.

This forms the basis for clear and transparent answers. There is no need for vested spin and avoidance of issues, nor is there need to claim complications and offer long and serial explanations.

Gale Vogel.

http://www.sfi.ie/about/organisation/conflict-of-intere...licy/

http://www.sfi.ie/about/organisation/sfi-board/code-of-...duct/

Editor: Uploaded the pdfs to here in case they disappear off SFI

PDF Document code_of_conduct_for_boardmembers_v2.1_approved_at_board_6.09_dec2009.pdf 0.08 Mb
PDF Document coi_policy_sfi_staff_members.pdf 0.08 Mb

Related Link: http://www.sfi.ie/about/organisation/conflict-of-intere...licy/
author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:16Report this post to the editors

If these documents are available they should list the interests of all directors and employees, where these pose a conflict of interest. What if they have not kept to protocol and are not available. This would question those appointing the DG. Is there an alterior motive in this appointments. It could serve the government well is SFI was disbanded and funds were then available to disperse elsewhere. This is not unusual in corporate politics, appointing a dud, scapegoat in order to cause the collapse of a department. Shareholders are then informed of the closure on the basis of it not being viable. The scapegoat, dud, is fired, they are very often victims of their own blind ambition.
A full investigation is needed on all aspects of this, without a tribunal. Simply answering the questions asked of SFI couild take less than a week to do completely. The answers checked and examined would then point fingers and disiplinary action could result. This should NOT include disbanding SFI. Of course, disbanding or changing names, appointing new duds controllable and expendible etc. More to come.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:23Report this post to the editors

First I want to thank the Editors of Indymedia for downloading the relevant SFI code of conduct and Contract laws. Good move just in case SFI or Sherlock got memory loss/ Cllare Daly has compiled a series of questions for Brendan Howlin along with other TDs who are unhappy to say the least with the appointment
of Crocodile Ferguson Keane, Clifford, Freeman, and others now want Ferguson to go but their problem is they were all his loyal foot solders for so long, who would believe any of them now All of them have lost total credibity among the general Colleges and Businesses across the country.
Ferguson has questions to answer to the Taxpayers of Ireland relating to Renovo. Mr Fottrell he is a failed business chancer and you and others hired Ferguson
on the backs of others,
Brian Flannery.

author by Perri Fowlerpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:24Report this post to the editors

Surfing through the net, looking for conspiracies and stumbled on this. Too much information, well no, not enough!!! I look for conspiracies in order to suffer from insomnia, to allow me to stay awake and aware through the long nights of minding other peoples empty offices. It makes me so annoyed that while reading I ignore the sound of breaking glass downstairs and continue. The local kids like throwing stones at derelict offices, I hope.
But, this is a waste of the highest order. Too much salary for too little work. Well he is working, for himself. Jewel in the crown.. I'm small, meek and tried once to enter a weight lifting competition, I twisted my already bad back and failed. DG of SFI is a lightweight.

author by Insomniapublication date Fri Sep 21, 2012 15:47Report this post to the editors

Indymedia and the creator of this site on" Cronyism...." have done this State a great service. They have done their research on the appointment of Mark Ferguson and on " the goings on" at SFI. This should have been done by the well paid selection panel and directors of SFI but clearly they only saw their role as rubber stamping the agenda of the "String Pullers". Sfi is everything a state agency should not be, thanks largely to hugely incompetent management and a greedy indifferent board of directors.

Its failings, - cronyism,bullying, suspect internal appointments, alleged careless distribution of taxpayer's money, insulting comments about Government and some of our respected academics, extreme arrogance by its management - have all been outlined satirically, sardonically, humoursly and conservatively serious on this site. We seriously need to learn some lessons.

"Yesterday's Ireland is another country" Maybe?? "Hope springs eternal..."

author by Helpfulpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2012 16:12Report this post to the editors

Reply to Insomnia et al.

SFI certainly seems to be some cesspot! Yes we need to learn some lessons. Here are some suggestions with which to start!

1. The CV's of all candidates and their self acclaimed achievements should be rigorously investigated, especially in the case of high level positions in the public sector.
2. Selection Panels should be comprised of independent qualified people who should not be selected by the Board of the organisation.
3. The Board should have no more than two representatives on a panel of five..
4. The power of so called Government mandarins (self styled King makers) should be crushed immediately.
5. Boards and the CEO of SFI should be made more accountable to an independent appointed Chief Scientific Advisor.
6. Internal appointments should be much more transparent. (not always the case in SFI it seems!).
7. Code of conduct and protocols for all employees (and especially the Board) should be unflinchingly demanded and adhered to.

Only then might we avoid the crass and outrageous behaviour that seems to be in vogue at SFI.

author by Pink Panther - Justice Seekerpublication date Sat Sep 22, 2012 15:27Report this post to the editors

Eoin O'Driscoll never explained how his daughter Eimer landed in Ferguson office. Could anyone answer the simple question as raised so many times before on this site?

Donal Keane & peanut balls are not the bullies as once they were! Donal is one cute whore and he is lining up Una, the barrister Clifford, to be plucked. Una may have a problem with the late night parties and sending the i-Phone love letters but she will not go down easy.

This scandal of crocodile Fergie just will not evaporate or go away!

Pink Panther

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sun Sep 23, 2012 13:51Report this post to the editors

Former Chairman of Intel, Frank McCabe, came out strongly today in relation to SFI and funding. McCabe stated that SFI has lost its way regarding funding the proper projects. He went on to state that mathematics and science are being totally neglected by Ferguson D-G SFI and his monkeys! It is now inevitable that SFI will amalgamate into the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. This will not suit Crocodile Ferguson and it will also put the shits up Donal Keane, Una Clifford (who has many questions to answer) and not forgetting free knicks Freeman.

SFI is a very expensive quango and the Irish taxpayers are entitled to know the full facts. I also want to add: Dail questions shortly will be focusing on the travel of Freeman, Keane and of course Ferguson since last January using taxpayers money to travel across the atlantic to America and beyond. Sources also inform me that within SFI that Brendan Howlin wants Ferguson to get out but the problem is this may cost the Irish taxpayer in the region of £1.8 million. Who wins again. Let us not forget Renovo.

Brian Flannery

author by Chestnut - Hubs of Creativitypublication date Sun Sep 23, 2012 16:37Report this post to the editors

Yes Brian. Your posting caught my attention and I decided to treat myself to the Sunday Business Post and a coffee in Starbucks like others who are not following the Mayo Donegal match.

Excellent consise yet most informative piece of writing from Siobhan Brett especially concerning Science Foundation Ireland. The truth for Indymedia is that not all of 'value' must cost money, there are people out there who believe in giving based on the Common Good. Well done for keeping this post going on and upwards - nearly 250.

Who is this Frank McCabe who speaks such common sense? We are told that he has worked for GE, Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Citibank. This man goes on to say the following:

"I think that, in 2000 or so, a frustrating change occurred. Prior to that I was certain that Ireland was competitive without the tax advantages".

Ireland faltered badly the day it started to be non cost competitive and became dependent on tax incentives to attract foreign investment. IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland should prick up their ears when a man of this calibre speaks. If the postings on this site are even 50% accurate, then we know his advise, expertise and experience dictates what he puts so well in his own words:-

Mr Frank McCabe
"Ireland needs to create a culture of uncompromising integrity" in business and industry whereby people when they see problems, would elevate them promptly"

Does anyone agree that Indymedia has tried to achieve this and with a modicum of success?

Does anyone think Government are hovering on the back foot here and saying nothing and if so why?

Chestnut

author by Concernedpublication date Sun Sep 23, 2012 20:44Report this post to the editors

Reply to Chestnut:

Yes indeed Indymedia has tried, and it could be said with some success, to highlight some of the many wrongs currently going on at SFI.

What is amazing is that the likes of Ferguson and Una Clifford tried, by taking out or threatening to take out court orders, to silence or it could even be implied,threaten the contributors on this site. People did indeed try to elevate the complaints but such was the response from SFI and even worse was the silence of the SFI board and that of the Minister in charge.

Governments might change but the culture of "ME ME ME", cronyism and what could be called unadulterated corruption still continues.

author by Member of the communitypublication date Sun Sep 23, 2012 20:51Report this post to the editors

Frank McCabe's article in The Sunday Business Post (23.09.2012) was very damning of SFI, - an organisation lacking in integrity led by "me too" incompetents like Love, onetime acting D-G and Renovo Ferguson.

SFI has become an organisation that keeps attempting to destroy engineering and mathematics in Ireland.

Why won't the SFI Board act?. They too have displayed huge incompetence and indifference.

Where is Minister Sherlock, whose responsibility this is?

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2012 09:06Report this post to the editors

Is there intended a sinister disbanding of SFI?. The diluting of IDA and Enterprise Ireland funds with those of the SFI could cause a reduction in overall funding while giving the appearance of increased support for development. Assume each has half a billion to invest. IDA could have this increased to one full billion by adding both the others. These could be combined to form one new organisation. The IDA “is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland”, as such it need not even consider science other than in the context of direct corporate interest. “Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprise in world markets”. While both are compatible, they are clear follow on concepts to that of SFI. “Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies and competitive enterprises in the fields of science and engineering...” The amalgamation of these three organisation would therefore impact to a great extent on the funding of the department in the new organisation replacing SFI. As Enda Kenny has stated, we need to create jobs and viable business in the short term. Is it the policy of Enterprise Ireland to provide funding on the basis of short term viability? For instance generating within three years a turnover of one million Euro while employing ten full time staff as being a requirement for funding. This would automatically preclude any innovative research by the then SFI department. Funds would be provided for the quick reaction and not the serious research in long term development. As has been posted, this would have serious consequences for the long term viability of Ireland as a corporate destinations. Are we then destined as a location for cheap labour? Our 'brain drain' continues, those remaining may only have options of low earning, with a revision of minimum wages and perhaps short term tax incentives used in order to attract investment. As with many companies, these incentives are short lived and can only truly offer a temporary solution that would provide employment of a seasonal or migrate kind. This does not provide long term security.

If indeed the conspiracy to disband SFI is an accurate assumption, then our future bodes poorly. There is a balance between short term gain and long term stability. Any imbalance towards the short term will proportionately weaken our long term future. The more complete this bias, the closer to suicide our nation can be. Suicide has been likened to an extreme carelessness, accidents and error being a formative part. Is our current disregard for SFI and long term solutions carelessness, error or worse, the influence of foreign interest on our very government?

We all agree that we must act today for those in need today, but we must act too for our future and that of our children. This balance must be maintained and any corrupt or sinister organisation of collapse for vested interest must surely be avoided.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Sep 24, 2012 13:47Report this post to the editors

I take Vogels comments as constructive insight on what we must preserve in relation to Maths and Science. The vested interests are a different matter. Ferguson is not here to improve our science going forward, he is here for profit.

The question on a wider scale is profit for WHO?

Morals, accountability are not on Ferguson's CV, so who puts him as SFI head and the deeper question is WHY?

Well Minister Sherlock - Ferguson can never take Renovo off his back. The monkey has to be corruption, would you say?

Brian Flannery

author by Graduatepublication date Mon Sep 24, 2012 21:27Report this post to the editors

I understand the view of Gale Vogel. But he has failed to recognise that SFI's remit has changed. It was once fundamental, underpinning science and engineering. Now it is into fast return and profit, all delusional of course. But even giving them the benefit of the doubt, there still is "Maybe".

However there is Renovo - Ferguson at the helm, trying to milk the organisation for his own purposes. Then there are the other incompetence who figure here, Keane, Love, Clifford, etc. Not forgetting the SFI Board who also milk the system - Martina Newell-McGhloughlin,etc. We really need to have this mess cleaned up before there is any hope for SFI to deliver.

author by Parentpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2012 21:38Report this post to the editors

I agree with Flannery. I think Vogel may have missed a fundamental issue. SFI no longer caters for the fundamental sciences, Engineering and Mathematics, the core that gave credence for its existance. Failure to do this is a good enough reason for its demise. Catering for self interest in the case of Feguson or for private gain of a few selected individuals is no justification for its survival. Get rid of Ferguson and his cronies, clean up the SFI Board of self interested greedy incompetent individuals., back to its basic fundamental remit and maybe, just maybe, there is enough reason to keep it going, even at huge expense to the taxpayer.

author by Mr Bean - Academicpublication date Tue Sep 25, 2012 14:06Report this post to the editors


Sources within SFI are letting people know that Ruth Freetravel Freeman has written a major amount of emails in relation to the vacancy left by Professor Patrick Cunningham, Chief Scientific Advisor, now retired. Freeman has as much brains as a middle aged chimp. But yet her ego is beyond that of her mentor, Frank Gannon, now exiled to Australia. Gannon recently said this woman is destined for the top! He went further, he said she would make Joan Collins (actress) look like a wandering nun with no knickers on Achill Island. However, it is a serious matter how Freeman has pumped herself up as one of Ireland's leading scientists. Other sources tell us her doctorate is as useful as an out-of-date Tesco voucher.

We need a serious approach to science particularly engineering and mathematics. At the moment our young people are leaving our shores and the brain drain is on again. Yet, Freeman can travel the world on taxpayers money - first class and maybe even her husband in toe. This is a disgrace in the current climate.

In the middle of all this, Keane is trying to distance himself from the legal eagle Una Pilgrimage Clifford who has recently returned from the House of Prayer in Achill. The ghosts of cronyism and elitism is alive and well in Toyland. Taxpayers should be entitled to a complete audit of accounts, pensions and perks which are pumped up by these Caviar Clowns.

Mr Bean

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Sep 25, 2012 19:35Report this post to the editors

“Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies and competitive enterprises in the fields of science and engineering...”

Parent states that “SFI no longer caters for the fundamental sciences, Engineering and Mathematics.” This is clearly contrary to the assertion made by SFI on line as quoted above, where 'leading technologies' are expressed as being supported. Failure to adhere to this could be construed as reason for demise, the question still remains whether this has been an intention supported by the appointment of the current DG with all the self interest implied. Implied in the posts is that SFI's DG neither wishes for nor hopes against the demise of SFI, unless this may impact on his own extensive fortune. Disinterest is expressed in SFI by long self serving trips to far distant lands with scant regard for the Irish tax payers (SFI shareholders) interests. Were SFI a company, this scant regard would perhaps reflect that of the experience with Renovo. In the absence of answers it remains impossible to judge, for silence does not prove guilt. SFI appear to be exercising a right to remain silent. While an individual right perhaps this may be, it is not the right of SFI as a state foundation. Using the freedom of information act, these documents could determine if protocol has been followed. If it has not it only reflects the apparent policy of failure in this organisation. The removal of senior scientists, the extraction of brains from SFI are all indicative of failure, is this deliberate or is it plain incompetence. If protocol has been followed, is incompetence the reason for failure?

SFI should be maintained, in it's old and former role as providing support to science and maths as claimed.

author by Bemusedpublication date Tue Sep 25, 2012 21:21Report this post to the editors

Haven't we had enough of alleged cronyism, lack of integrity, covert dealings and dirty tricks by SFI? And now we are being treated (at least according to this site) to the laughable spectacle of Ruth Freeman (aptly named Freetravel on this site) of SFI allegedly seeking the position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government!! The arrogance of the people at SFI. Are we being reduced to the scraping of the barrell?

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Wed Sep 26, 2012 09:20Report this post to the editors

I've been awake sine 6 this morning looking forward to sitting down and getting my daily fix of indymedia. My 3 year old son talks all the time and asks questions. Today he was watching a cartoon about a king, I want to run a country and do sweet f**k ill. I asked him what he had said, I thought is strange. He had said he wanted to run country, like a king doing Sweet F**k Ill (SFI). I normally wait until his morning nap before thinking about SFI and indymedia but this morning there were too many reminders. His constant questions, each answer only leading to another question reminded me of Gale Vogels posts. but why? How? Who? and so on. Could Gale be a young child only asking again and again. With each time she assumes an answer more questions.

Gale, ask through the freedom of information act for those documents and then make assumptions. Mark ferguson is not a victim.

author by Perri Fowlerpublication date Wed Sep 26, 2012 09:28Report this post to the editors

Pamela, is your son a young DG. Running a country while doing SFI (Sweet f**k Ill)
The future is bright. Where did he learn that language, a young learner, perhaps he will be a lecturer before finished primary school and maybe DG of SFI before he leaves school. This could of course be an improvement, doing Sweet F**k All (SFA) while doing Sweet F**k Ill (SFI) with little of no experience could be better than the self profiting bull shit described in these posts.

author by Crocodile Dundee - Justicepublication date Wed Sep 26, 2012 14:14Report this post to the editors


Ferguson makes his maiden speech tomorrow evening in the Royal Irish Academy. He really is pumping up his profile while back in Manchester his other cronies of Renovo are trying to attract new investors which is backed up by Max Royde. I believe the Irish Government should stand Ferguson down immediately. There is a serious conflict of interest and this is happening since last January 16th. Ferguson travelled to America last June on Irish taxpayers/citizens money not to enhance science on the Island of Ireland. Believe me this is not his priority. Ferguson and Sharon O'Kane are here to milk the easy system because our Ministers stand on looking idly by and do nothing. This is a major scandal in the current climate.

Crocodile Dundee

author by Gale Force Windspublication date Thu Sep 27, 2012 13:59Report this post to the editors

WHAT DOES CRONYISM MEAN?

So often mentioned in the foregoing posts that it makes the word really interesting. The meaning in one dictionary says:
Hussy or Slut or a group of cronies ie people.

One could add to this meaning with the update modern version:- A Gathering of Gombeens focused on self gain and then there is the vested interest contingent.

Self Gain or Poltical is the Question?

Gale Vogel states in his vague writing that Ferguson is not the issue, it is INCOMPETENCE. Perhaps Vogel could clarify for us who is incompetent here? Is it the academics who have left the circus (retired or non renewed contracts), or do you mean the cronie clowns left behind? I really don't follow your postings. Just a simple clarification without the philosophy would be appreciated.

SFI come out from behind the cloak and mask of PR, it is a scandal ..... that's a fact sadly

Gale Force Winds

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Sep 27, 2012 20:18Report this post to the editors

Incompetence has in the SFI case two possible meanings; simply being unable or the absence of power to act legally or professionally. It appears strongly probable that it is professional or legal incompetence by higher management arising out of the lack of honourable intention. The ability of those being removed is the brain drain being imposed by the management (DG and appointing politicians) and in no way reflects negatively on the professionalism of “the academics who have left the circus”. It is hoped that their ability will be suitably employed to provide Ireland with the continued reputation of excellence in the scientific field.

The question asked is whether this incompetence is deliberate. A scandal is evident, an answer to the question could highlight the level of corruption.

author by Brian Flannerypublication date Sat Sep 29, 2012 15:03Report this post to the editors



The tide is turning now and Minister Sherlock has not made a full statement in relation to the Director-General Renovo Ferguson.

The problem still stands and it is not complicated and it reads like this.

Ferguson/O'Kane hold 21 million shares? in Renovo.

The company failed yet the duo, Fergie and O'Kane, pocketed 18 million sterling, they crossed the Irish sea and landed the cronyism of the year post, he with a salary of 190,000 euros +, relocation, perks, pension perhaps and a contract for 5 years, car and who alone knows what other payments are allocated?

Who pays? Yes, the Irish taxpayers. Ferguson is a failed businessman who started off in dentistry and is now a motor mouth bully. Yet, SFI directors remain silent? Why?

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:17Report this post to the editors


Disclosure of e-mail correspondence it is claimed to be of no benefit to the Irish public when sought through the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) was refused, it has been reported in the Sunday Times. Max Royde and Jamie Brooke, both with connections to Renovo were listed for inclusion in a panel by Mark Ferguson in an internal e-mail in SFI. Any claim that the release of information through the FOI could be against public interest appears only based on the information being suspect. This is an admission that the information at least appears suspect. Is the refusal to issue this information contrary to the intention of the FOI? Any appointment of advisers to SFI of people who through detailed information could provide gain for corporations or themselves is the basis for a conflict of interest. Advanced information on developments that could for instance benefit Renovo being accessible to advisers could have an impact on competitiveness. This could result in an increase in the share value of Renovo and therefore benefit any shareholders. Does the DG of SFI hold shares?

As previously posted, when appointed Mark Ferguson is required to have disclosed any possible conflicting interest. This information should be available through the FOI. Whose interest weighs in favour of keeping this secret?

Related Link: http://www.thesundaytimes.ie
author by Concerned Citizenpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2012 13:17Report this post to the editors

Major progress is being reported on Renovo - Ferguson, Director -General of SFI, taking over the country, like he said he would. He starts by positioning his Renovo buddies in influential roles at SFI. See Sunday Times of 30th Sept.2012. "Science Boss backs drug firm directors". He travels the world, in first class at Irish tax payers expense, on Renovo business. At SFI he pushed out any serious challenge to himself and or to his dubious and questionable management style. He presides with the help of his hand-picked team over a system of bully-boy tactics and the worse type of patronage. He talks openly of "useless academics" that need to be told a thing or two. He is trying to stop funding to mathematics and engineering on the grounds of their un-productiveness. He sneers at Government Ministers and shouts about putting them into their worm hole. Is Renovo - Ferguson unstoppable? It certainly seems so.

Concerned Citizen.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Oct 01, 2012 14:17Report this post to the editors

The Sunday Times, 30th September 2012, has put this scandal at the gates of who will tell the TRUTH now.

Mark Tighe who first came on Indymedia looking for help wrote the piece yesterday about failed dentist Mark Ferguson, Director-General Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). He accused Ferguson of withholding information in relation to his continual meetings held in secret with his Renovo business partners, Max Royde (Kestrel) and James Brookes.

Ferguson sent an email to Sherlock to put Brookes and Royde on the advisor panel of SFI. What the fuck is going on here?

Ferguson has refused Mark Tighe the information he asked for. Ferguson's reply states that it's in the Irish taxpayers best interest not to reveal the content/details.

In the meantime, one of Ferguson's business partners in Manchester, is under serious investigation for fraud by the Met police.

Taxpayers need to know now the TRUTH behind this gangster Ferguson's appointment.

More leaked documents are on the way and Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Sherlock should fuck Ferguson out before he destroys any chance for young students to get the scientific based learning and opportunities they deserve in this country.

Ferguson and o'Kane and their cronies are here to milk the Irish Cow dry.

Renovo had/has links to international pharmaceutical company Shire. Is it true that this company or others linked to Renovo have re-located offices to Ireland to do with tax breaks particularly related to patents.

Brian Flannery

author by southern comfortpublication date Mon Oct 01, 2012 21:05Report this post to the editors

Most people would think that German professors would be clever with numbers and have plenty of cop-on.

That would be delusional and illogical thinking; their salary levels are waaay lower than the SFI's 150k - see link below. About 6,500 per month / 78k pa gross, tax of 37%, result about €50,000 after tax.

Professors in Ireland average 120k gross. Can anyone at SFI work out the maths why we are bankrupt and Germany isn't?? QED?

Related Link: http://www.myscience.de/en/jobs/salary
author by Beleaguredpublication date Tue Oct 02, 2012 13:22Report this post to the editors

Mark Tighe's report in the Sunday Times 30/09/2012 is extremely disturbing. The fact that Mark Ferguson was appointed by a selection panel and ratified by the board at SFI and Government Ministers speaks volumes of the unsuitability, lack of knowledge and understanding,and most worryingly the lack of morality and principles by those who settled him at the helm of SFI. How could a man, with a reputation like his, have got through the filter system, set up I hope, for those appointed to such positions in our state agencies?

Aside from that it now appears that he has aroused much distrust and suspicion among the community at large. Given that he was/is far from honest and straight forward in his dealings with the relevant authorities how can this man be trusted with the spend of approx. 150million of our taxes? How can he be trusted to act in the best interest of science , engineering and mathematics of this country? How can we trust him to distribute the funds fairly without favour to those areas of science which are in his own interest and which will benefit his own private company RENOVO and the other I.T. companies he has huge stakes in with Max Royde and Jamie Brooks? How can we trust a man who tried to hoodwink the board at SFI and its management team (although one suspects with a fair amount of inside collaboration) about the involvement of Royde and Brooks in his own companies, in his efforts to place them on SFI's judging panels and even on to the SFI board, where they would glean the best information of Irish Research to use for their own private gain.

This man clearly cannot be trusted. The academic community and the Minister in charge must not allow this to continue. Is there anybody in Government who cares enough about the future of Science in Ireland and the future of our young people to do something about the debacle that still rages and will not go away at SFI? If not, what hope is there for a recovery in Ireland?

author by Truthpublication date Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:54Report this post to the editors

Can we trust the Management team at SFI? Probably not - Robotics "Doctors" - Tools of Ferguson D-G of SFI "Their's not to reason why..."

Can we trust the Board at SFI? Most definitely not. Yesterday's men and women - Incompetent, lazy, self serving lot. Main interest? Personal Gain.

Can we trust D-G Ferguson? Certainly and most definitely not.

-Got the job on a most fantastically created C.V.
-Concealed the truth about Royde and Brooke's involvement in Renovo in order to place them on the Impact Panels and Board at SFI.
-Blames the failure of SFI to meet the needs of Irish Academics on those who have worked relentlessly in pursuit of "best practice" and in the interest of the community.
-Refuses to give out information on the foot of FOI's on the grounds that the public (us, the taxpayers) have no need to know. (i.e Have no need to know how SFI spends our money!)
-Travels to America on Renovo business at taxpayer's expense.
-Accuses Helga Nowotny, President of European Research Council, of mouthing what she is told to say in respect of Irish Funding.
-Commissions his side kick Love to "shut the dissenters up" by a promise of "some" funding to be put in their way.
-Talks (via Love again) about plans to change SFI's policy on funding "a little" so they they can be seen as the "Saviours" of Engineering and Mathematics and will appear to be reversing the policy put in place by others. The blame game!!
-Commissions Love to call on the Academic community to stand together with SFI in order to "stone wall" Government and force more funding (our money) from them. No doubt to distribute to vested interest groups and most importantly his own.

Would you trust this man with 150 million of your money?

author by Blake - Observerpublication date Wed Oct 03, 2012 14:31Report this post to the editors

Sitting on the bus on Stephen's Green, some people standing outside aiming to make someone else's negative equity, their gain, as the Allsop Space Fire Sale takes place.

This is another form of cronyism, bankers gained airs and graces and too readily agreed to skip protocols and gave loans. The Govt kicked in with their tax incentives, and then they charged over the odds stamp duty, some people on their home paid as much as £80,000+ stamp duty ie TAX. You say, why do I mention this on something to do with the semi-state SFI, well this is another form of cronyism and the outcome leads to straight forward corrupt practices that impacts harshly on the lives of people.

Two questions about SFI/Renovo/Conflicts of Interest

The Innovation section of the Irish Times written by Olive Keogh on Monday 1st October 2012 wrote a most interesting piece about a new product Top Gel? Professor John Kelly, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and Beaumont are involved in a wound healing product which they say is part of a multi-billion industry. Here we need to ask if there is any connection to SFI Professor Mark Ferguson/Renovo?

2nd Question: Mr. Cunningham Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, formerly Wilton Place/UCD, retired last August. Do we know if this position is deemed worth enough to advertise or perhaps it has been subsumed into Director-General role, Professor Mark Ferguson, Science Foundation Ireland?

What we are trying to achieve in this abysmal recession which is now in its 5th year is Transparency, Ethics, Accountability aimed at minimising the human suffering that abuse of power creates. We need commitment to purge inappropriate practices and corruption especially now.

author by Ruth Newell - Justicepublication date Wed Oct 03, 2012 14:40Report this post to the editors

Graham Love the man who believe he knows all but reality tells us this means Fuck all.

Love has accused Professor B. Lucey, Trinity College Dublin, of being a fool in relation to SFI funding. Love tweets a lot promoting his own ego. Currently this man is out of the country on taxpayers money and lecturing us all as how to pull in behind his knowledge and expertise. Behind What - Mr. Dove Love? You or Ferguson's personal business interests or perhaps BOTH?

You once described yourself as one of the best endowed males on the Island - what an Ego? What do you really stand for? Funding in case you don't realize comes from taxpayers hard earned money. You seem to think the money is yours. This is called Privilege.

Please get a fucking life or as Frank Gannon said - go back to the mart in Ballymote, a decent job. You sure won't bully Lucey.

Ruth

author by Seán Crudden - imperopublication date Wed Oct 03, 2012 15:07author email sean at impero dot iol dot ieauthor address Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louthauthor phone 0879739945Report this post to the editors

It seems to me that the pages of indymedia are being exploited in a quasi-conspiratorial fashion to mount a rotten smear campaign against Mark Ferguson who, like any citizen of Ireland, is entitled to his good name and safety from personal attack. The hackneyed rhetoric and constant repetition seems to me to be totally appalling broken record technique. I do not know how any rational discussion about science or science policy or the ramifications of science policy in Ireland could be carried on on this thread which is populated by a gaggle of low-class bullies.

Related Link: http://imperodotorg.wordpress.com
author by low-browpublication date Wed Oct 03, 2012 17:35Report this post to the editors

Mr. Crudden , you certainly seem to be very tetchy in your defence of the character of Mark Ferguson by the "gaggle of low-class bullies" on this site. I am surprised such a self elevated high-brow like your good self would deign to read Indymedia.

Having said that, enough of your sanctimonious clap-trap. Spare a thought from that lofty height of yours, for the hundreds of people Ferguson's research scams have brought to financial ruin. Spare a thought for the numerous people he has publicly insulted and derided, - Government Ministers, visiting scientists, Prof. Cunningham, ex Scientific Adviser to Govt., Helga Nowotny, President of the E.R.C., many Irish researchers and academics and even the taxpayers who pay his over-inflated salary. When you have done that Mr. Crudden and come down from your pulpit, perhaps you might kneel and pray for the "low-class bullies" for their ignorant crassness, - isn't that what you people do Mr. Crudden?

Then , before you start levitating again, you might even find some evidence to back up your criticisms of the" low-class bullies". After all they were decent enough to provide you with plenty of evidence of their accusations.

low-brow.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Oct 03, 2012 17:49Report this post to the editors

A discussion requires two sides, the refusal to release information under the freedom of information act, the refusal to answer questions, the failure even to partake of this 'discussion' is self flagellation. Perhaps from the exalted heights of the heavenly correct this floating rock is”populated by a gaggle of low-class bullies”, however, those of us who are merely human and beleaguered with the effects of rampant corruption in Ireland are entitled to know the purpose of our tax bill. These are simple questions that can easily be answered, if it is considered in the interest of the Irish public, or perhaps not if it is considered in some vested interest. This “hackneyed rhetoric” is reflected in mainstream media with a number of articles published as noted in these posts. To my view these are not for the most part a personal attack on any individual, other than perhaps the odd occasion where stress and frustration results in some being labelled as “low-class bullies” or other inappropriate or offensive language. These are an indictment of a system in freefall.

author by Seán Crudden - imperopublication date Thu Oct 04, 2012 20:22Report this post to the editors

Well Miss Windy Bird. Where do you fit into all this? What is your particular interest? Have you exhausted all the channels open to you? What exactly do you want done if it is any different? Or are you just another floating flying Jeremiah?

Related Link: http://www.cooleyehg.com
author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Oct 04, 2012 23:19Report this post to the editors

The exhaustion of options is being employed, not only by those posting, but in the seeking through the freedom of information act, correspondence by hard media. SFI apparently refused to release the requested information on the basis that to so do would not be in the interest of the 'Irish Public'. This assumes the 'Irish Public' to be idiots and is highly insulting. Those exalted should afford to their employers (the Irish Public) the privilege of knowing their very hard earned tax to be well appointed. In Ireland, there is an apparent image of democracy, an autocracy in disguise it may well be where the silencing of questioners may well be successful. We are all citizens of Europe, where rot is the result of a new hierarchy of wealth that dictates the payment to unsecured bond holders of the assets of the Irish nation. This system permeates to institutions run by self appointed 'kings' who can apparently refuse to adhere to rules established to protect the people while harvesting their very life blood.

“Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit” Jeremiah 7:8.

author by Legal Eaglepublication date Sat Oct 06, 2012 17:34Report this post to the editors

According to the Sunday Times (30th. Sept.2012) and this site, SFI is refusing to disclose emails and declarations of interests by Mark Ferguson and the SFI Board members. Why is this the case when members of the Oireachtas have to do so?

SFI must disclose the truth about the many vested interests of Ferguson and Board members.

We need also to know the truth about the positions at SFI that were privately selected and appointed.

SFI is being run like a private company. Why does the Government of this country allow this?

Legal Eagle.

author by Gale Vogel - Bpublication date Sat Oct 06, 2012 23:38Report this post to the editors

Looking through the list of directors of SFI there appears a balance, with some having extensive academic and research experience while others hold or have held posts in high profile companies. Professor Patrick Fotrell has or has had links with Westgate Biological Ltd who have developed LactiSAL, an antibacterial topically applied technology. This company could perhaps be in direct competition with Renovo. Others have or had links with Creganna Tactx Medical or Clarigen. Some of the links are noted on SFI's website while others are not. Is this perhaps due to the contacts having lapsed? While it is perhaps important for SFI to have corporate experience in adviser, it is also important for these links to be divulged. As has been noted in previous posts, any connections that could pose a conflict of interest must be divulged. Any SFI decisions where there could be conflict must not include the connected director or adviser. It could therefore be assumed that any possible grant application made by Renovo or an Irish subsidiary should not include anyone with links to either Westgate or Renovo. The intention is that any decision to withhold funding based on a vested interest must be avoided.

When a request for information under the Freedom of Information act is sought and that information is sensitive one might assume it to be a decision of the board of directors to withhold. The act however is provided in order to have released information of any kind vested in the Irish public, this it would appear includes information on institutions paid for through tax or any funding that may subsequently be repayable through tax. The shareholders of SFI are the people of Ireland.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 14:56Report this post to the editors

The questions have been asked on this site to the SFI Board and Minister Sherlock.

Mark Tighe - Sunday Times has had a wall of silence in his quest for information on the exact details of the appointment of
Ferguson. Sources emerging now reveal Ferguson never sat for a formal interview - the deal was done in Manchester by Travers and Fottrell. The rest was only routine.

Questions remain. Did he, Ferguson, declare his vested interests in Renovo or for that matter did Fottrell, Travers or any other board members have any insider information to lead them to their choice of Ferguson. The connections from Shire, to Henderson, to Kestrel provide a web of intrigue surely. The preferential tax treatment of patents in Ireland merits examination.

Howlin is also futrious at being shafted by Bruton concerning the lifting of the pay cap.

Three members of the SFI board are overseas and get £14,000 each annually plus free travel three times a year.

Not Fit for Purpose rings out loud and clear. Taxpayers pay for this scandal. The facts and the Truth need to come out urgently.

Irish citizens deserve better than this.

Brian Flannery

author by Truthpublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 16:43Report this post to the editors

There appears to be so much cover up and with-holding of information at SFI that the suspicion is huge that D-G Ferguson and SFI Board members are up to all sorts of tricks. Maybe some misdemeanours too!

An Impact Panel: for Ferguson's friends and business acquaintances. Also a covert way to end any funding for Mathematics in Ireland.

John Kelly, Emeritus Dean of Engineering, UCD, called for more support for engineering. Yes, but SFI is doing nothing to support engineering.

SFI Board: Well paid, free travel from across the globe, nothing to be done workwise! Useful though for getting you a job with SFI Mark II.
See http// InnovationAdvisoryPartners.com
It is a pity that SFI Mark II has nothing to do with Irish Research.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 21:43Report this post to the editors

Innovation Advisory Partners, a private limited company set up in Ireland in 2011, has historic links with SFI. What warrants such a company to be established at such a fragile economic period in Irish history? It appears to be a company of international or global proportions or a clear mark of modern globalization. Modern globalization has at times the appearance of a cooperative between the peoples of disparate regions when in fact it is more often an amalgam of corporations and institutions under the control of corporate enterprise. The system of shared cost in investment in research and innovation means essentially that contractual control of the commercial viability is often vested in the corporation providing the matched funding. It has been required that the recipients of SFI funding seek higher proportion of private matched funding. Therefore the real value of that supported rests with the private investors and not the tax payers who may be footing a large bill or the lions share of the expense. Innovation Advisory Partners claims to “cultivate innovation through partnership” and “serve a select portfolio of clients from business, government and academia.” The trend towards corporate controlled academia has taken hold, due in part to the lack of sufficient public funding arising out of the Irish states persistence in bailing out unsecured bond holders.

Who are the select in that claim? What if any funding is provided to those same select by SFI? It is perhaps inevitable that contacts or links within the Irish scientific community are limited due to the relatively small population. Both SFI and Innovation Advisory Partners have international members and are therefore international in character. A reference to SFI being the 'American company' though clearly mistaken reflects the international character of the institute, based too on the locations of some directors.

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Tue Oct 09, 2012 08:57Report this post to the editors

Do Innovation Advisory Partners, like any consulting company advise? This type of company take a commission for introducing applicants to the source of funds. Where directors of these consultancies have a direct connection with the grant body there arrises an opportunity for exploitation. Where funds can be directed through these companies, and the directors of the grant body (SFI for instance) have a direct connection with the consulting company there arrises a conflict of interest. Is this why the query has risen? The widening web of intrigue is likely over time to include anyone in any authoriy in the country, especially related to science and education.

Before this gets ridiculous, lets stops this trend. The trend being the widening links in corruption throughout this country. There are so many examples being reported, it appears despite there being nearly 300 posts on this topic alone that this is only the beginning.

author by Eleanor Tripppublication date Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:37Report this post to the editors

From my reading of the contributions above and others, it appears to me that SFI has been hijacked in the interests of Mark Ferguson and a few others. This is absolutely outrageous.

The postings on this site and elsewhere outline the valiant efforts of Brian Flannery and others to shed some light on the "goings-on" at SFI. The efforts of Mark Tighe of the Sunday Times to get some clarification on the truth of these postings is praiseworthy and the refusal of SFI (even on foot of FOA's) to release information of public interest is indeed extraordinary.

A conspiracy of silence surrounds SFI. One wonders why? Transparency is the best guarantee of efficient, effective public service. SFI must not be allowed to hide behind confidentiality, in the guise of so doing in the public interest, to stop the public knowing how their money is spent.

The Board have been singularly remiss in their duty and responsibility to the public. By all accounts they have tolerated, and it could be argued even complicit in the exercise of cronyism, internal patronage and questionable governance. Contrary to what some at SFI believe, the organisation is not a private company run at taxpayers expense for the benefit of the CEO and his buddies..

The reputation of SFI has been severely damaged.

author by Manchester News - Mediapublication date Wed Oct 10, 2012 14:18Report this post to the editors


This website caught my attention.
See http// InnovationAdvisoryPartners.com

Graham Love prepared the way for Ferguson's letter on the 22nd December 2011. Love announced that Ferguson was joining the existing SFI staff as D-G by internal memo.

Ferguson demanded by letter to Love that he wanted the Big Press Release and to mention and that he Ferguson was granted a CBE by Queen Elizabet II. Ferguson demanded that the Taoiseach be attached to his name in the Press Release, not Sherlock. He also insisted Renovo failings should not be mentioned.

Ferguson was Chairman of Renoval on January 15th 2012 but note he was installed as D-G SFI on 16th January 2012.

Something rotten here.

Manchester News.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 00:05Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson was appointed DG of SFI, taking up the post on 16th January 2012 after presumably signing a declaration of any possible conflicts of interest.

http://www.bionow.co.uk/news/sciencefoundationirelandap....aspx

Mark Ferguson's appointment as director of Renovo was terminated three full weeks later.

file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/User/My%20Documents/Downloads/RENOVO%20GROUP%20PLC%20%20Creditgate.htm

Is this declared?
The refusal under the Freedom of Information Act to release documents should without delay be reversed in order to clarify this issue.

author by Watchdogpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 20:12Report this post to the editors

Gale, in your posting, this is the address noting that Mark Ferguson was still the Director of Renovo up to February 2012.

http://www.creditgate.com/companysearch/renovo+group+pl....aspx

In other words, well after he took up his SFI D-G position. A few weeks later there is his push to have Renovo Executives, Max Royde and Jamie Brooke core to SFI's evaluation procedures.

This is the tip of the iceberg of what's going on at SFI.

Watchdog.

author by Tpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 23:16Report this post to the editors

Someone who has time and interest should take the information presented so far here and draw up some kind of sheet with the names of the various people and their position and relations to Renovo and SFI and I am quite sure just doing that will clarify and solidify some of the relationships and facts. It could be quite instructive and make open up other questions no-one has thought of yet.

There are even various free software tools out there that go some way towards creating such diagrams. See the list here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_concept_mapping_an...tware

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Oct 13, 2012 14:26Report this post to the editors

T. Your suggestion makes good common sense, a graph would put together information that could create new questions.

February 6th 2012 is stated on the link before last posting. This brings urgent questions for Minister Bruton, Sherlock and not forgetting McDowell, Enda Kenny's adviser who lifted the cap on Ferguson's pay ie salary, plus free car, expenses, free house and no doubt a handsome pension, not to exclude expenses in carrying out the role of D-G, SFI. Questions remain and many of them?

How can a man, (Ferguson and wife Sharon O'Kane, own 21 million Stg shares in Renovo on the AIM stock exchange -less stringent regulations) be allowed to run SFI. It raises many eyebrows and smacks of that word corruption which is teinting the above ongoing scandal now.

Ferguson was installed as D-G SFI on 16th January 2012 yet it is now reported that he had only left as Director of Renovo on 6th February 2012.

Brian Flannery

author by Scholarpublication date Sun Oct 14, 2012 22:26Report this post to the editors

There has been discussion here of the SFI Board. Look at the SFI Annual Reports, available for download at:

http://www.sfi.ie/news-events/publications/annual-reports/

The 2011 Annual Report has this gem from Mark Ferguson:
"Science started in Europe about four hundred years ago, but it is now a global phenonmenon."

Pythagoras? China? Of course not, we all know that science started with Renovo. This was rip-off Ferguson's contribution to society and the reason why he was made D-G of SFI by John Travers, in his time a monkey doing service to Charlie Haughey.

SFI Annual Report 2011:

P. 26, refers to the ethics in Public Office Act, absolutely lacking with the SFI Board and Ferguson and their cronies.

P. 28, Board travel expenditure, over euro 25k, a tidy little sum.

P. 38, each Board member got in 2011 over euro 11k. Except Chairman Pat Fottrell, who got euro 19k. What on earth did they get that for?

If there was any justice in this world, those people should be made to pay every cent they have received.

SFI is a massive rip-off of the Irish tax payer.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Oct 15, 2012 14:29Report this post to the editors


"Science started in Europe about four hundred years ago, but it is now a global phenomenon."

I wonder what the US, the Japanese, India, Korea may have to say about this. Is there a touch of arrogance in this Mr. Ferguson?

18th October - Thursday this week, in the elite Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, there is a series of talks by different speakers (highly distinguished academics). Sean Sherlock is to attend for a period along with his SFI representative. Ferguson will speak for a 10 minute period on how he will bring new ideas to Science in Ireland.

The question now is - will Sherlock give a full clarified speech that Ferguson has his full backing or will a member of the SFI crony board make that overdue speech? Graham Love (the Ferguson muppet) is to attend but at this stage Love is actually irrelevant.

We will wait and see the outcome on Thursday?

Brian Flannery

author by Employee semi-state sector - Semi-State publication date Tue Oct 16, 2012 14:57Report this post to the editors

I have been following this thread for months now with deep interest. It is not boring to say the least. Ferguson has many questions to answer I agree but my question is simple:-

Where are the academics who should be standing up to him and fighting the cause especially in the realm of maths, computer science and engineering, on behalf of our young people and in particular for Irish students and taxpayers of this country.

Is the perception true that many of these academics are all waffle and consort in their own social clicks/circles but have no balls when it comes to the showdown?

On saying this - Brian Flannery has surely opened up a major debate here about Cronyism within the semi-state sector. People know that there is excess within certain ranks but omerta is code that keeps them safe from scrutiny.

Freedom of information requests prove costly but when people pay the price the information can be really challenging. For instance today, revelations are that former HSE employees are receiving £2,100 per WEEK (nb). The HSE is paying out more than £100,000 pa to 114 retired consultants since the start of this year. Lump sums paid to these retiring consultants have been approx £400,000. These people retire say 60 years of age, invariably work in private practice too, and double/treble dip on pensions. How much are these pension pots costing the present day workforce in a beleaguered Ireland and the citizens including the unemployed who pay other newly introduced government charges.

Would real men and women and citizens of Ireland stand up now and clean out the CORRUPTION now?

What have the economists to say or perhaps they are also too sheltered in the public service?

author by Retired Academic - Educationpublication date Wed Oct 17, 2012 14:12Report this post to the editors

When do we join together and say stop to semi-state, public service, HSE.

News is that certain academics some of whom we list below have written to Professor Mark Ferguson outlining their concerns at his dismissive behaviour towards maths/mathematicians in this country. Ferguson has ignored the letter in its full entirety. Sources from within SFI have informed some of the signatories below that he will not be lectured to by anyone especially nutty Maths professors as he calls them.

The State remains silent on this vital topic. The time is here to have an interconnectedness whereby those who have written on Indymedia, in the broad media, journals eg THE publication to look to Minister Richard Bruton and Mr. Sean Sherlock for action.

Some of the academics who have expressed their concern are listed below:-

Prof Stephen Buckley, Dept of Maths and Statistics, NUI, Maynooth
Dr. Mark Burke, Dept of Maths and Statistics, University of Limerick
Professor John Carroll, School of Mathematics, DCU
Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUI, Galway
Professor Sean Dineen, School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD
Dr. Brian Dolan, Department of Mathematical Physics, NUI, Maynooth
Professor Graham Ellis, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUI, Galway
Professor Stephen Gardiner, School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD
Professor James Gleeson, Department of Maths and Statistics, University of Limerick
Dr. Brendan Guilfoyle, Department of Maths, IT, Tralee
Profesor Bernard Hanson, Head, Department of Mathematics, UCC
Dr Kevin Hutchinson, Head of Mathematics, UCD
Dr Bernd Kreussler, Dept of Mathematics and Computer Studies, Mary Immaculate College
Professor Peter Lynch, School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD
Professor Gary McGuire, School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD
Dr. Patrick Murphy, Head, School of Mathematical Sciences, UCD
Dr Donal O'Donovan, Head, School of Mathematics, Trinity College Dublin
Professor Anthony G. O'Farrell, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, NUI, Maynooth
Dr Maurice O'Reilly, Head, Department of Mathematics, St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra
Professor Eugene O'Riordan, School of Mathematical Sciences, DCU
Dr Rachel Quinlan, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Maths, NUI, Galway

and many more no doubt. Ferguson, let us face the facts is a failed businessman and yet he bullies the entire academic community. Why? Who is protecting him?

Retired Academic

author by Retired Academic - Educationpublication date Thu Oct 18, 2012 15:05Report this post to the editors

RIA - today is the day. Will our academics as listed both today and yesterday have a voice about the negativity of SFI DG Professor Mark Ferguson to mathematics and our young people, their education, their future contribution to our country.

These are the names not included yesterday:-

Dr Raymond Ryan, Head, Mathematics Statistics and Applied Maths, NUI, Galway
Professor Richard Timoney, School of Mathematics, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Michael Tuite, School of Mathematics Statistics and Applied Maths, NUI Galway
Dr Stephen Wills, President of Irish Mathematical Society, Depart of Mathematics, UCC

How many more would add their names to the list if they only had the courage to do so?

Why in relation to this posting are so many of our non media shy Economists saying nothing. Is it too close to the bone ie being public sector and just how much they are paid?

Let's ask the question and see if any will respond?

Brian Lucey
Constantin Gurdgiev
Sean Barrett
Kieran Allen
Joe Durkan (I believe this man has two appointment but chose to take only one salary)???
David McWilliams
Morgan Kelly
Jim Power
Eoin O'Brion

There are senators like Ming Flanagan who accept suffice to live on and pay the balance to charity. We need more moral fibre in our highly over paid public sector and semi-state entities.

Ireland and our diaspora over the last few decades can boast of a high standard of education granted by our Universities, why lose the ratings on the global stakes for cronyism?

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Thu Oct 18, 2012 16:58Report this post to the editors

Did Sherlock stand on front of many academics today at the RAI to endorse the actions of SFI and in particular Mark Ferguson?
Does Mark Ferguson have two million in Shell shares and if so did he chair the shell conference recently with Pat Rabitte? In what capacity?
The increasing unease demonstrated by the letter by academics shows that there is something wrong.
Is it not now obvious?
Non- disclosure of information to SFI or non-disclosure of information to the Irish Public?
Angry!!!!!

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:55Report this post to the editors

Science is the both the practical and theoretical application of knowledge about the physical and natural world. In this definition is evidence that science in fact pre-dates much of early civilisation. The cultivation of domestic crops, the breeding of domestic animals, art and observation of the heavens have all been demonstrated and accepted as having occurred well over five thousand years ago, even in Ireland. It is shocking for anyone to state that it “started in Europe about four hundred years ago”. There is ancient evidence throughout the world of 'science' so long before this that it beggars belief to have a pivotal member of the Irish scientific community state this publicly. This together with the 'carefully prepared' introduction of Craig Venter recently is demonstrative of someone who fails to prepare.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Benjamin Franklin.

Is this absence of preparation the future of SFI?
It would appear that there was no effort by Sean Sherlock to endorse either the SFI or Mark Ferguson during his brief public address at the RIA before he made a hasty retreat. This is despite the representations made to his department from academics throughout the country.
Varadkar spoke yesterday of the impending doom of our public transport system and taking from Peter to pay Paul. Will there be anything left to protect the future of Ireland and the children. SFI may appear to be immediately non-essential but without it the essentials of a very unsure future may well be completely unavailable. With a future of increasing world population and resource demand together with global warming and unsure production capabilities, it is science that will make a difference between starvation and health. It is therefore vital that we with all our power protect this future and it is through organisations controlled by government who strive to protect their people that this will be possible. It is possibly only through this and the like of SFI that this will be possible.

The lack of preparation, the rot, the corruption, the lies, the refusal to divulge information (that is the right of the Irish people), the arrogance and conceit of all who block the efforts of a few to correct the ill must stop. Society must act together for the benefit of all with urgency. We are all feeling the effects of corruption, stress deaths as distinct from stress debts are widening. It would appear that our futures are being eaten by a corrupt virus.

The enforcing of correction must be demanded for not only the greater good, but the greater survival.

author by Sean Gannonpublication date Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:53Report this post to the editors

Many postings have been put up here in the past number of months. Serious questions remain. It now exceeds Renovo now it goes onto Shell Oil. Ferguson needs to come out now and stop obstructing people from getting the information that the Irish taxpayer is entitled to. Sources within SFI are deeply concerned of the number of people who have been bullied and harassed out of their jobs. Una Clifford is illegally acting as the lawyer for SFI and shortly down the road Una will have serious questions to answer. She signed contracts solo in her name and now the facts state she did not have the authority to do so. Una is only part-time in HR SFI, yet she acts as if she is the Attorney General. Ferguson will not back her up when things begin to get complicated. Let's be honest not one question has been answered so far on this site or in the main stream media.
Sean Gannon.

author by Private sector worker - Justicepublication date Sat Oct 20, 2012 15:27Report this post to the editors

Quangos used to be the battle cry of Fine Gael and what they were going to do. Instead they are focused on bleeding every drop of blood from the private sector and middle income Ireland by way of taxes on income versus wealth.

£150m is an enormous amount of money to give to an entity ie a Quango called SFI that fails to reap any rewards. A decade in existence, a privileged coterie of academics and PR staff (44, I believe) I ask - what is this costing the Irish taxpayer, and what returns can be identified to justify its present existence and the pay structure to the staff and board of directors? It is worth noting that a five year contract costs the taxpayer/citizen of Ireland approximately £1 m. Is this acceptable if nothing tangible is produced or on stream for commercial gains?

SFI only funds our universities. What about the small businesses? Surely they relate to science research outcomes or at least some of them?

Science is elitism and SFI is the Queen Bee of Research in Ireland. Just look to pay structures, bonuses, boards of directors, pensions and then add to this performance.

We know maths is essential going forward for our young people. Yet, nobody appears to be concerned when our leading career academics in our universities call on SFI to retreat from their stance to basically ignore maths, engineering. Ivory Tower quangos are luxuries we the Celtic Tiger can no longer afford.

Private sector worker who wants to establish an SME

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sun Oct 21, 2012 23:04Report this post to the editors

What effect has SFI had in terms of strategy for Ireland? There should be statistics available for the amount of investment has been provided for those seeking to establish in Ireland and thereby information on the amount of jobs generated. Information should also be available as to the efficacy on the technological trade improvements arising out of SFI funding. Impacts on employment and any other improvement to the Irish economy from investment made by the tax payers of Ireland needs to be highlighted in order to lift the spirit of an injured community. More pointedly this is needed in order to demonstrate that decisions made have been informed and intended for the greater good.

In addition to any documents sought through the Freedom of Information Act, the above information needs to be provided. Ideally, the return should exceed the investment. It is reasonable however to assume in a scientific and research arena that the time taken to recoup would be long. However, SFI is now ten years in existence and it should also be accepted that there have been returns to the Irish people made in that period. Would it be reasonable to assume that now, after ten years SFI funded projects should be making significant returns for the Irish economy?

author by Retired semi-state - Science Spinpublication date Mon Oct 22, 2012 15:32Report this post to the editors

I have been reading this topic on Cronyism and inadvertently articles in the press for some months now. I have learned a lot from the comments. As a retired academic myself I have the advantage of age and hindsight to say a few words.

Some weeks ago an article in the Sunday Times by Mark Tighe caught my attention. It had the names and photos of three people who have left SFI after Professor Mark Ferguson's arrival to assume the role of Director General. Reports are that SFI is not taken too seriously in the semi-state sector and that the gown of snobbery should be removed and it should be re-integrated/amalgamated into Enterprise Ireland. This would save the Irish taxpayer 200 million euros annually at minimum. Simpson, Dodds and Murtagh no doubt had their own reasons for leaving SFI.

Cronyism was there at the inception of SFI back in 2001 and no doubt a decade later still flourishes. My point is that some who had to depart and lose their salaries/contract fees of £5,000 per week may be annoyed that the decision to renew their contracts was not forthcoming. Realistically, it is fair to assume that if academics are good enough they will be head-hunted and have no problem in gaining employment unlike the half million of people presently unemployed in Ireland, and particularly the young people and those who are emigrating with no chance of getting employment in this country or education for that matter. The truth is I have little sympathy for the pampered elite.

Let's be honest. Why do the elite Professors of Mathematics believe that a letter in the Irish Times is suffice to say they have a view about SFI policy and failure to provide for maths in the funding? They are too cosy they just SIT ON THE FENCE. Where are the Economists who share the same Fence. Maths week is over for another year but alas the plebs and our youth know little about that valuable eco-system called maths and related.

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Mon Oct 22, 2012 20:56Report this post to the editors

The Irish Times last weekend, the posts here, the falling standards over the past decades in our schools and the excuses. The question that needs to be asked is whether the SFI is viable. How many jobs have been created through the efforts of SFI over the years since its establishment? Could the funds be issued proportionately to each college, based on the calibre of professors and post grad students. Maths standards as noted in the Irish Times article are effected right from the stratosphere to the deep mantle, from the highly qualified to the child in pre-school. Where funding is withdrawn from anywhere it effects everywhere. Where funding is diverted through a mechanism it is diluted and lacks efficiency. There has been a focus in SFI on creating jobs, what success? This focus takes the emphasis away from education. It also copies other organisations, EI, IDA, enterprise boards, so why more? The support structure for education is full of the qualified. The same support structure for assisting corporations and enterprise through science and maths is full of the same qualified. The qualified focus on their field, the more qualified are often more focussed, this means that they perhaps lack the experience or ability to make important decisions on who gets what. They are needed perhaps to advise, but not decide. The IDA, EI et all are already there. SFI needs to support education and research. SFI could be a department in any of the others. As said this could save the Irish taxpayer money, that is correct. But to say that it could save the full budget is misleading, that money is still needed for the support of education and research.

Has the destruction of the SFI been planned?

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Tue Oct 23, 2012 14:01Report this post to the editors

It now appears that Ferguson is a very vital component in the Shell operation (could it be biofuels!!!) in the Corrib. Last month he hosted a meeting beside Pat Rabbitte in relation to oil exploration off the west coast of Ireland. Ferguson now is blatantly abusing his position as SFI chief and also sources inform us that he is technically a director of the failed Renovo ... and substantial shareholder. I now ask the question why this coalition is allowing this man to abuse his power or may I say his blatant arrogance in abuse of his portfolio as SFI chief. This portfolio and the areas to be covered shamefully excludes mathematics and science. Yet Ferguson is only interested in commercialisation and profit. He now is evidently pissing on all academics from our leading Universities particularly those in the fields of Mathematics and Economics. I again ask about the alarming number of shares he holds in Shell and how some months ago he said openly in the Sunday Times 'that he runs this country'. Sadly nobody to date has dismissed his comments.

Would somebody somewhere please Stand Up and tell this man to go? Now we see that he wants Shell to succeed at the Corrib. What next is on his agenda.

Brian Flannery

author by Erin's Eye - Watchdogpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2012 14:16Report this post to the editors

4 different newspapers have applied for the Freedom of Information Act to try and get the full facts in relation to failed dentist from Manchester now D-G of Science Fiction Ireland. Fergusons blatant refusal backed up by the board of SFI is making journalists more focused on finding out the truth. He recently was refused Government Financial backing too try and silence his critics on this site and in the national media. Questions keep mounting but sources coming from Enterprise Ireland allegedly a leaked document states that Ferguson and his other partner Max Royde both also Renovo connections are involved in the exploration of oil in many countries. These sources believe not just has Ferguson major interests in Shell but he is now turning his focus towards Tullow Oil. This is most disturbing and also he has sent out some engineers to Kampala on a scouting expedition. This man is unfit for purpose and as this site and the Phoenix repeatedly state - he is money mad.

In the middle of all this Una Clifford is doing a course on how to ride an elephant because she is just back from Kampala - vacation. The vacancy is still left open for the Post of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government and at this stage it is rumoured (since nobody seems to be interested in making an application) that it may be given to Ferguson for helping Pat Rabbitte explore the potential of the Corrib and other foreign lands. Oil is the new game in Town and as Ferguson remarked recently - the protesters at the Corrib should be held at the Curragh for treason.

Erin's Eye

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2012 19:32Report this post to the editors

Pat Rabbitte celebrates the change to digital T.V. Today. Digitising information has been practised throughout Ireland with planning applications being freely available easily and quickly. The internet has proven to be of high value in both seeking and dissipating information as can easily be attested to in these pages on indymedia. It is therefore incomprehensible that information which should be freely available is so effectively blocked. The apparent and repeated seeking of information through the Freedom of Information Act has been corrupted in the interest of a very small number of people. Were this information provided, to reiterate would, where protocol and ethics have been followed, demonstrate the many comments here noted to be unfounded. It is perhaps becoming too late for this to be effective due to the refusal to issue apparently harmless information. However, a refusal to show the colour red can never demonstrate it to be green. Turning the lights off to say that we are all smiling is insulting to the intelligence of those seeking answers. Freedom of access to information that concerns the Irish people, especially from state controlled organisations should be easily available without delay. Scans of information should be available on line, similar to that of seeking planning application information.

Is it SFI who have refused the information? Is it a bureaucratic quango? Who has instructed that the information sought should be withheld? The refusal only increases costs, uses more energy and generates frustration.

Were this information digitised and easily available, this post and comments would more quickly have provided a just conclusion. All future information of this kind be digitised with provision for on line access.

The Freedom of Information Act, 1997 is cited as an
“an act to enable members of the public to obtain access, to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy, to information in the possession of public bodies........”.

The Irish Constitution does not specifically afford a 'right to privacy', however it is recognised by the courts that the personal rights therein imply a right to privacy. SFI in this context, not being a person does not have any such right. The DG of SFI is not free from the obligation to provide this same information due to his status as an agent of the Irish Public. In fact the information as previously noted is required to be divulged.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Oct 25, 2012 14:46Report this post to the editors

Frank Ryan head of Enterprise Ireland (semi-state) spoke on radio this morning in relation to science or the lack of research in Science. Mr Ryan went on to say we need to focus urgently on science and maths. This is totally inept communication given EI and SFI share the same building at Wilton Place, Dublin 2. Again we can re-iterate that the decision to appoint Ferguson was driven by a motive of fast track commercial gain to £1.3 billion portfolio built up since inceptionof SFI in 2003. Quite clearly our politicians have an eye to making quick commercial gains, which is what the Government needs given the economic crisis in Ireland. The problem is: Conflicts of interest. Profit driven access to potential investments via our University hub networks. Senior staff at SFI should hold their heads in shame. They have failed to stand up to the bully Ferguson. Meantime - mathematics, science and our young people.

SFI have been asked all the questions since last June 2012 and the Board of SFI have remained silent on all issues. Ferguson now has expanded his powers to use his profile as DG of SFI towards what profit of personal he can grab in Shell. Max Royde and Brooks, it is rumoured, have joined the Advisory Board to SFI. Who sanctioned these appointments of Renovo chiefs and did they consider the possible conflicts of interest if Royde and Brooks gain access to sensitive information in our research here in Ireland. Royde and Brooks are financiers, not academics. Corruption is planted deep in SFI presently and the Government should stop the rot on behalf of the Irish taxpayer and citizen.

Frank Ryan of Enterprise Ireland. It is such a pity that your battle cry about the need for focus on science and maths is so late in the day. Again like the academics who write the odd Irish Times letter and sign off and the Economists who sit on the fence, there is a massive loss of vision concerning the future of our young people and the need to educate them towards the life-long learning experience. Tools are essential and in Ireland's case presently, as host to Google, IBM and other such companies, maths and science are essential learning blocks to put in place.

Brian Flannery

author by Gale Vogel - Bpublication date Thu Oct 25, 2012 21:05Report this post to the editors

Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore today said, “we will not tolerate any disapprobation or any misuse of Irish taxpayers' money” in relation to the unauthorised diversion of aid funds to Uganda that came to light today. It is very gratifying to know the care and attention that our leaders practice regarding the use of our valuable taxpayers' money. How much is it that the DG of SFI can apparently spend without proper sanction? It has been cited as being up to €3 million, just one million less than that apparently lodged into an unauthorised account in Kampala. Can we all rest assured that the allocation of funds through SFI will not be similarly misused? Are senior members of SFI to travel to Kampala in the very near future? What is the purpose of such a visit? It was the auditor general in Uganda who brought this €4 million to the attention of the Irish Government. Perhaps it might also be warranted to watch the actions of other state sponsored organisations visiting the region, and other regions where any unauthorised diversion of funds may be possible.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:20Report this post to the editors

Sfi now has entered the Offshore oil exploration agenda with Ferguson leading the pack of sheep Academics. Who in Goverment sanctioned this change in SFI policy. SFI was founded to enhance Science and Maths/ Why the sudded change of direction.
I am waiting with deep interest on the internal papers Ferguson is blocking from the Irish Taxpayers saying it is in teir best interest not to know. After the Renovo scandal who believes this Chancer.At the moment all roads lead to Kampala and Oil
Brian Flannery.

author by Autumn - Cronyismpublication date Fri Oct 26, 2012 14:33Report this post to the editors

'Worked in SFI for approximately 4 years'!

Questions remain unanswered and the question is why?

The writer was Pertinent Flesh 10th July 2012.

Over 309 comments and yet these questions are core to the cronyism leading to corruption on which this site invokes a motivation to seek out bad practice.

Another question:

Professor Mark Ferguson started in the position of Director General in SFI on 16th January 2012. It is indicated in an earlier posting that he stood down from his position in Renovo on 15th January 2012.

George Lee is now 'released from political quarantee' ie 3 years. Surely there must be similar conditions of qurantine that would apply to anyone joining a semi-state like SFI?

author by hideandseekpublication date Fri Oct 26, 2012 18:16Report this post to the editors

Frank Ryan of enterprise Ireland is retiring before the end of the year and on a extravagant pension too so he can say whatever he wants now about the lack of research in science and maths in the months before he retires.
Meanwhile ground staff in Enterprise Ireland are bracing themselves for the next disastrous CEO to be with the incompetent and inept julie sinnamon making noises for the position and is notorious for hiring all her female friends to cushy positions in the organisation. Watch this space - its going to get worse.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sat Oct 27, 2012 00:52Report this post to the editors

Professor Mark Ferguson is appointed as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government on Friday 26th October. Richard Bruton describes this latest move as a consolidation of resources. It has been suggested that this of itself poses a conflict of interest as evaluation and assessment are now to be by the same party. Sean Sherlock, Pat Rabbitte, and now Richard Bruton and by extension and leadership Enda Kenny are all party to an affirmation of the role that Mark Ferguson holds. Perhaps they know more than the answers to the questions raised in these posts. If so, it is vital that this information is divulged. Who is pulling the strings? The man who claimed to be “running a country” appears to be more correct than any of us imagined. The influence that he holds has now been increased dramatically, he can advise our guardians to sell the oil fields, our energy, he is well positioned to share information with other stakeholders. Stakeholders in what?

Had SFI granted the request through the Freedom of Information Act and issued the sought information, would this latest development have taken place? It has been stated that the amalgamation of these roles will save money, but only if the available funds are properly apportioned, and the information required to make these decisions is correctly evaluated in the interest of the people of Ireland. The information is often of high value, to provide any of this information to such an influential person who may have vested interest that would make it of enormous personal value is at best careless. Perhaps there is no vested or conflicting interest, we would hope. But we have been shown no hope.

When a country on its' knees gives power away or territory, or resources without regard to the people it is called surrender. To whom do we surrender? It is apparent that a non national and failed business scientist has been given the authority to advise and decide on the manner in which Irish taxes are dispersed. Furthermore, this authority has been extended in response to the questions raised both on indymedia and the national press. Are these the clarifying answers that we sought. Sanction without information!

By design we are loosing all that we hold important. Who are the architects of our failing fate? Are Ferguson and Merkel aware of a higher order that dictates the loss we daily feel? Is their awareness influencing the appointments and decisions daily being made by our leaders? We appear like lemmings following to drown for without people there can be no debt. We are doing so well, getting praise while perhaps this new order is a symptom of a greater ill, of which together with our sold science is a heightening suicide rate. Without answers we must shout for the maintenance of our constitutional sovereign, independent and democratic state.

author by Seneca.publication date Sun Oct 28, 2012 16:48Report this post to the editors

At a time when the rest of Europe is re-discovering the importance of maths and engineering to their economic recovery one of Ireland's major funding agencies, Science Foundation Ireland, decides these areas of expertise are not worth funding! - Most extraordinary.

The D-G of this organisation, Mark Ferguson, a failed businessman and "scientist "(?) declares in the national media that he now "runs the country". - Most Bizzare. But what is even more extraordinary is that the Irish Government then appoint him chief scientific adviser to the Government, and it's department releases a glorified statement of this man's dubious achievements!!!

On top of all of this a well respected investigative journalist Mark Tighe seeks, in the public interest, information about what is going on at SFI through the FOI act and has been blocked by SFI's refusal to co-operate. One hopes that he will relentlessly pursue this request and expose all those who seek to protect their own endeavours from scrutiny.

Strange times we live in!

author by Tpublication date Sun Oct 28, 2012 20:58Report this post to the editors

That press release announcing the appointment can be found here:

Related Link: http://www.djei.ie/press/2012/20121026a.htm
author by Robert Richardspublication date Sun Oct 28, 2012 23:28Report this post to the editors

Thewe awe two types of knowing, those you know and those you don't. When placed in the context of cwonyism this is of vital impowtance. Do people get jobs because they awe known, I knew Mawk when I was a child, I knew him to be slightly conceited, he thought that the wouwld wevolved awound him. He would laugh at the misfowtune of Lauwel. He would take cake hoping not to be seen. You don't know him! I wouldn't give him a job, because I knew him when he was fouw yeaws old. I have seen his faults the same way I have seen the faults of my own bwothews and sistews. I wouldn't give my own child a job, he's too unweliable, he's thwee. Maybe I'd never give him a job, for I know him now to be unweliable. He's also undew qualified for any job, apawt from pewhaps DG of SFI. If I know somebody well, I know theiw faults and if they'we good enough for the job I might ovewlook theiw childhood foibles and go ahead and appoint them. This is a BIG maybe! Cwonyism! It is faw easiew to believe the hype that a stwangew pwovides and appoint them wegawdless of my own childhood fwiend Mawk being pewhaps mowe suitable. Ow you might pewhaps appoint Mawk, believing his hype simply due to him being a stwangew. Eithew way, it seems impossible to know what is wight ow wwong. My own qualification awe gweat and vawied, but I can't get a job in Iweland because I have a speech impediment, I can't pwonounce my aww's. They know my education and define me by my faults. They don't know his faults, and believe his education and define him by what they see. They believe what they see! I could choose to explain myself without highlighting any fault, by simply discounting the speech impediment. I could focus on my qualifications and ability without highlighting any fault. But if questioned it would be difficult to avoid, the hues of lights at junctions cannot be stated without my faults being displayed.

Youws, Wobewt Wichawds.

author by Perri Fowlerpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2012 09:30Report this post to the editors

Following this thread, I am disturbed with the latest appointment of Mark Ferguson. The Irish Government are sanctioning the actions of Mark Ferguson by this appointment (disappointment). While we are not in possession of the full facts, the rumours or questions that have been raised should have our ministers asking questions or both SFI and themselves. Who has initiated this latest post? The last comments are curious. Is this a referrence to Mawk being a four year old child or someone with the social character of a four year old child? How many times should the questions be asked, or how many times should the information be sought before someone in authority wakes up. They could quell the fears or concerns of the Irish people and respond to the articles in the national press, the questions here and respond lawfully to the request under the freedom of information act.

Perri.

author by Scientific - Science & Mathematicspublication date Wed Oct 31, 2012 14:00Report this post to the editors


Quoted from an earlier post, yet no answer or perhaps part answer:-
Dick Ahlstrom, Science Editor, Irish Times, Wednesday October 31st 2012. Title 'Merging of science roles could mean conflict of interest'

''Another question: as per earlier posting

Professor Mark Ferguson started in the position of Director General in SFI on 16th January 2012. It is indicated in an earlier posting that he stood down from his position in Renovo on 15th January 2012. George Lee is now 'released from political quarantee' ie 3 years. Surely there must be similar conditions of qurantine that would apply to anyone joining a semi-state like SFI?''

Yes Political Quarantine or the other term I believe in law is called 'a non compete clause' in a contract for a period of time.

The world of science is becoming a cold place for a disgraced Renovo Professor Mark Ferguson (former FTSE publicly quoted company but now part of smaller AIM with less regulations). Graham Love defends without proper legal definition the conflict of interest denials but what can we say but Love is the real sycophant like so many others bolstering up too many of Ireland's quangos....yes those quangos that FG promised to do a root and branch cleansing.

Minister Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation only last Friday announced the decision to "ABOLISH" the Chief Scientific Adviser's post to Government held by Professor Cunningham until he resigned in August, having successfully completed the world renowned ESOF conference. According to Mr Bruton the objective is that of 'wider drive for reform and greater efficiency" within the department - in other words a merger of two possibly conflicting posts ie scientific adviser to government and D-G of Scientific Foundation Ireland manger of 150 m fund.

Professor Cunningham an estemed scientist said "I would have preferred to see it continue as an independent office". He spoke of the loss of independence and the issue of finding adequate time to advise the government, in other words, this could be also a further conflict of interest and add to this the issue of Renovo as raised above.

NUI Galway, Mr. Nicholas Canny, a member of the scientific council of the European Research Council also re-iterates the importance of the Adviser's post being "independent".

What about mathematics in Ireland? Saturday's daily telegraph has an interesting article about the absence of maths and students who want to work in Formula 1 motor racing. To those academics who have put pen to paper it is worth reading and for parents of children and the future of Ireland, it is also worth consideration.

Time for more academics from a broad variety of faculties related to Mathematics and even economics to get off the fence.

author by Mick Butlerpublication date Wed Oct 31, 2012 21:36Report this post to the editors

Proposal : Load in this info and turn it into PQs to the relevant Ministers, they must reply and it is then on the record.

author by Scientificpublication date Thu Nov 01, 2012 14:50Report this post to the editors

Mick

"Proposal : Load in this info and turn it into PQs to the relevant Ministers, they must reply and it is then on the record"

I am somewhat unclear about this. Can you clarify?

author by Reasonpublication date Thu Nov 01, 2012 15:30Report this post to the editors

The appointment of Mark Ferguson is indeed bizzare. It is esentially a "finger up" to the contributers on this site who have striven, in the national interest, to expose what could be interpreted as the very questionable dealings of Mark Ferguson in his previous and possibly present positions. It is also a contemptuous response to a large swathe of the academic community who likewise have expressed concerns about the suitability of this man for the post of Director General of Science Foundation Ireland.

He maintained not so long ago that he now "runs the country". He apparently does. It could be argued that a culture of pure self interest and the greed of vested interest groups have infiltrated Science Foundation Ireland, one of our main scientific funding bodies, and controlled by this man Ferguson. Government has completely endorsed this and Ferguson himself, by appointing him as chief scientific advisor to Government. He is now, it could be argued, directing the scientific policy of the nation. Given already the enormous evidence of "conflicts of interest" of this man it is inconceivable that a Government would behave with such absolute irresponsibility. This is an outrageous abuse of power by a few, with the backing of the Irish Government.. Added to this is the indignity and disbelief that the Irish people must endure, as Government hand over to this man another tranche of their hard earned money. (money that was previously set aside for the wise use (we hope) of the previous scientific advisor. Of course Minister Bruton's reasoning is that which has already brought us to our knees the quick buck and to hell with the long term consequences. (What care we? we will retire on fat handsome pensions thank you very much !)

Alas the Irish taxpayer will once again have to bear the consequences of the foolishness (a begnign judgement !) of those in Government and pick up the tab for hopeless and inadequate governance.Is there any light at the end of this dark tunnel?

Cronyism is alive and well in this benighted Land.

author by Sinead Newell - Civil servicepublication date Fri Nov 02, 2012 14:24Report this post to the editors

Reading the Times on Wednesday gave me a sense of the GUBU years again.

Conflict of Interest: Yes
Cronyism: Yes
Corruption: Yes

This is most serious. Mark Ferguson yes he brought commercialism to science but he failed an entire workforce of over 250 people who lost their jobs while he and his wife Sharon O'Kane pocketed £16million.

The circle in SFI and Govt who defend him Love, Freeman, Keane and in Govt Sherlock and Bruton will face a hearing in the future.
Questions should be raised in the Dail urgently. Renovo (and it is highly probable he and his wife still hold significantly shareholdings & patents) is alive and well. It is an investment vehicle seeking opportunities. Conflict of interests are inherent in this fiasco as it directly applies to SFI.

Three more scientists have expressed their concerns about the conflicsts of interest. Professor McInerney NUI Maynooth said "we are now in a situation where a person holding the purse strings to science is giving the Government advice on how it is funded"....source the Journal. Professor McInerney was speaking from the Harvard School of Public Health where he is visiting professor. He went on to say that it makes more sense to keep both roles separate.

Add to this Dr. Stephen Sullivan, chief scientific officer with the Irish Stem Foundation who said "You can't have a public servant responsible for implementing science policy and assessing the same policy in terms of value for money for the taxpayers". He went on to say that taxpayers and scientists should be concerned with the new science management structure.

And also Professor Stefano Sanvito of Trinity College who said that he believes the most likely outcome following Mr Bruton's appointment of Ferguson already D-G of SFI to the CSO role is that Ireland will no longer have a Chief Scientific Adviser. He went on to say that if the Government are so intent in saving money, then they should give the responsibility to another body like the Royal Irish Academy. This is the procedure in the US.

Professor Luke Drury said the RIA would be "delighted" to fulfil the advisory role but would need more resources.

Chinese walls, non compete clauses, stock exchange rules and regulations exist for a reason. Why - the heads in the sand approach by SFI and Government. We need eminent scientists in the fields of mathematics to create the vision for the implementation of the practicalities of science and maths to educate our young people.

Again as re-iterated many times in the postings on this site: Will the mathematicians please stand up and be counted? It is not acceptable for them to hide behind their cosy Croke Park enhanced deals for salary, expenses, allowances and pensions. There is calling for the 'greater good' to be promoted by our academics.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Nov 03, 2012 14:38Report this post to the editors


Where do WE the plain people of Ireland go from here?

The question about the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) Business Breakfast is who can attend and who will attend? Will it be subject to debate or has science sold out to business interests? Will Professor Ferguson provide the audience with the much awaited news that the £150m provided by the Government will be matched by funds from other sources eg universities, charities, Industry, entrepreneurs but then this may not be part of his brief?

In the last week I have had calls from 5 members of the Dail in relation to Mark Ferguson. Three informed me that they would not have known about the Renovo scandal only for Indymedia and my input and I say this with humility. One long serving Blue Shirt stated we need to get SFI and Ferguson before a special sitting of the Oireachtas Committee. I informed all that it appears improbable that Ferguson will declare his business interests and his association with Royde and Brooks currently involved with Renovo, or for that matter Henderson, Kestrel, Shire (some who have links with Ireland concerning tax benefits relating to patents etc). One Independent TD suggested this scandal should be reported to the Enda Kenny, An Taoiseach office. The sad thing is that Kenny's advisor McDowell increased this chancer Ferguson's salary, allowances, expenses and possibly even his contribution to his pension fund.

Science funding according to the pink paper Financial Times reports that companies are 'queueing' up to fund research centres. There are seven research collaborations between universities, charities and industry and their budget is £437m. The go ahead is now granted from the Government's overly subscribed Research Partnership Investment Fund. £32m is granted to experimental medicine in Belfast while £34m is given for sustainable chemistry in Nottingham and £38 m energy saftety research institute in Swansea.

The question here is how does SFI compare: Have the mathematicians and economists any input now? Matching funding goes like this:-

'Altogether £105m of public money pulled in £332m from companies, universities and research charities'

Chief Scientific Adviser is the latest add-on to the role of D-G SFI Professor Mark Ferguson, this raises yet again the potential of conflict of interest? In the UK David Willetts is the Minister for Universities and Science. Why do we in Ireland believe in merging two very specific roles (that of Director-General and Chief Scientific adviser to the Government into one? Surely the role of D-G SFI is sufficient to create growth in Science.

The November Breakfast meeting at the RDS about the Convergence of Business and Science merits a place on the agenda of those concerned about the future of science and particular mathematics in Ireland. The parallel is with what Mr Willetts says:- "Top businesses and top charities are queueing up to collaborate with our World-class universities". This was further endorsed by Wendy Platt head of the Russell Group of universities who said 'It is important investment in research facilities and infrastructure is sustained in the medium and long-term"

Long-term is out of fashion with SFI or so they say?

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sat Nov 03, 2012 17:44Report this post to the editors

Our constitution makes the government responsible to An Dáil. It is required that government ministers must report on the management of their departments. Any member of An Dáil can table Parliamentary Questions (PQs) to the relevant minister. Oral PQs are answered twice weekly in the case of An Taoiseach and once every six weeks in all other cases. Written PQs are answered in writing.

Mick Butler makes a good point. In these posts, there are quite a number of questions. If each of these was to be cut and pasted onto a document and sent to local TDs they could table them as PGs to the relevant department ministers. Were sufficient numbers of TDs representing these queries, relating to the Freedom of Information Act, the latest highly questionable appointment and many more, it would be impossible for the national press, An Dáil or any other stakeholder to ignore.

author by Pamela Quirkpublication date Sun Nov 04, 2012 18:08Report this post to the editors

Do we go to the RDS and ask question where they may not be answered? Do we go to our local TDs who may choose to ask the questions that we ask? Will these be ignored also? The reality that I see since the almost complete collapse of our country is that people have remained largely quiet. The questions have been asked openly but answers have not been demanded, other than within the corrupt confines of our increasingly inept legal system. Information requests are being ignored under the freedom of information act. The abolition of posts and their inclusion in conflicting posts in order to save money, excused as streamlining.

Where do we go? We could follow our part time TDs to ask our part time ministers to answer questions if they actually appear in the Dail at the appointed times, only every six weeks. We could follow them on their mid term holidays. The only consensus ever is the proposal that they take more holidays. Of course, the stress of trying to compress their extensive workload into very short working terms must be terrible.

Where can we go?

author by Concerned Citizenpublication date Mon Nov 05, 2012 15:32Report this post to the editors

Sfi ought to be told that the commericalisation of science and job creation in science happened long before Mark Ferguson or SFI for that matter, came into being..

Sfi ought to be told that research in science didn't just start 400 hundred years ago as stated by the D-G Mark Ferguson in his latest annual report! Maybe research in science in Ireland happened only since last year for the benefit of Renovo but that's another story!!!

And this is the organisation that houses the chief scientific adviser to the Government!! We in Ireland are really in a bad way if we have come to this.

Such a lack of knowledge and understanding, such a lack of responsibility, such acts of pure madness by those in power is really very worrying!

author by Economic Wizard - Mathematics Economicspublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 15:28Report this post to the editors

Where is the Vision? Why the lack of vision?

Some of our important scientists have been shafted by Ferguson D-G/Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government and Una Clifford Human Resources (SFI) part time. Clifford is a legal minefield at present - yes it is said that Una was sending emails late after business hours and making threats/comments advising certain people not to attend at certain seminars, and in particular a conference, on behalf of SFI. This is going on for at least 2 years now. Since Ferguson arrived earlier this year, Una has been busy covering up her bizarre emails and iphone messages.

This semi-state sector SFI cronyism scandal needs a full enquiry urgently. Heads in the sand is just not good enough. How often do we need to ask for answers relating to Ferguson, SFI, Renovo. Recently Max Royde stated by phone that he severed all ties with Ferguson yet Royde (Renovo) and Ferguson are business partners.

Royal Irish Academy/Royal Dublin Society: surely you have a voice to add to this communication about science and mathematics and the rubbishing of the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government. Conflicts of interest need to be addressed or perhaps the Stock Exchange needs to be informed.

author by Passenger, ex teacher.publication date Wed Nov 07, 2012 16:46Report this post to the editors

Gale Vogel explains the PQ process. If you troll through the posts on this topic, (no pun intended) there are a lot of questions. It is possible to cut and paste a list, print it our and bring some copies with you while voting on Saturday. There may be come TDs there and they can ask these questions. Choose the questions that resonate. For your convenience, I've spent some time trolling, and below are the questions. I've not included all questions, as not all have question marks. Nor have I included all 'comments' with question marks. These are all quoted questions from the posts. Good luck! (Note: not "Good luck?")

Questions posted:
“Una Clifford who works part-time at SFI has taken on a new role since Ferguson's arrival. She is called the hatchet woman. She terminates contracts, some with five and 6 months to run in a 5 year contract. Why? Who gave her the authority to sign her name and note only her name to legal documents re same.” Greham Lovett.

“Commercialisation of research is a major aim of SFI. That's okay - or is it?? The head of SFI is into redundancies and from what you say financial rip-off as well. Is that what SFI wants? “ Researcher.

“Achievements of Professor Mark Ferguson:
- 200 redundancies 
- shareholders left penniless
- trail of destruction
And now he is head of Ireland's leading research funding organisation.
- Why was he appointed?
- Who appointed him?
- What due diligence was done on him? “ Concerned taxpayer.

“Is there not conflict of interest there? Can Ferguson and O'Kane get insider research and commercial information and use this to their advantage? Could somebody from REMEDI comment on this potential massive conflict of interest by Ferguson and O'Kane?” Researcher.

“How on earth can an organisation so newly created (early 2000) be apparently so corrupt? What is going on? How and by whom are these people appointed? How can an organisation/individual have so much control/power over, in the present climate, such vast amounts of money? Have we all gone mad? Could I, one of life's lesser mortals dare suggest that we cleanse this organisation root and branch or simply get rid of it? Could we also have a detailed and transparent spreadsheet of how our money is spent by these super brains? What we need is an exact account of who they fund? How much they fund and what we the taxpayer get for that funding?” Weary bewildered.

“Some weeks ago a loyal woman in SFI was told step aside and all of a sudden in walks Emer O'Driscoll as new PA to Ferguson. Ironically Eoin O'Driscoll is a director on the board of SFI also - Fact. Is she related?” Manchester Casualty.

“1. How much is Ferguson paid and how much has he cost the Irish taxpayer in travel and expenses since he took office?
2. How much has been spent on his lackeys travelling the world to showcase themselves?
3. How much annually is spent on SFI's PR machine whose job it is to promote SFI's vacuous hype?
4: In relation to SFI's funding what percentage of that is spent on maths and engineering?
5. Is there by any stretch of the imagination double salaries and top-up salaries given by SFI to researchers, and if so who receives them, and how much do they receive? After all, the Irish taxpayer is their paymaster. We need to know.
6. Since the restraining hand of the management of pre-Ferguson times has been conveniently removed and replaced clearly by a couple of dodos, will there be new positions created to be filled by more of Ferguson's lackeys, who will unquestioningly do his bidding?” Weary.

“Surely this cannot be another case of corruption and misuse of taxpayers money by a state agency? A browse through its programme indicates 3 representatives from SFI on the stage - Mark Ferguson, Ruth Freeman and Graham Love. Ferguson can be dismissed immediately but a check on the scientific reputation of the other 2 leaves me cold. What jackass appointed these 2 people to positions way above their ability and expertise?  Is this the drivel we get for investment of 1.5 billion of the taxpayers money? Irish researchers, academics, heads of universities - is all of this done in your name? In the dash for cash has SFI so emasculated you, or cowered all of you?” Caitlin.

“What amount of shares, if any, does Mr. Ferguson hold in Renovo or similar organisations? Do these constitute a conflict of interest? What is our tax being used for?” Gale Vogel.

“Just what are they doing there and at what cost to the taxpayer? What has been achieved by these expensive trips? Irish diplomatic staff - IDA - Enterprise Ireland are all there so why the heck are senior staff like Ferguson and Freeman travelling the world together?” Taxpayer.

“1. Was the Board aware that Mark Ferguson (MF) had a 12% stake in Renovo at the time of his offer of appointment and if so what did the Board do to mitigate the risk of conflict of interest, real or perceived? Is the Board aware of any other holdings, or interests of any kind, MF may have currently in Biotech or ICT companies in Ireland or other jurisdictions?
2. Is the Board aware that MF proposed two of Renovo’s current Directors (Max Royde and Jamie Brooke) to sit on SFI’s Impact Panels?
3. Is the Board aware of MF’s disparaging language towards politicians, university Presidents and researchers at internal meetings of SFI?
4. Is the Board aware of the damage being inflicted on Ireland’s reputation as a result of the ongoing revelations and has a Board meeting being convened urgently to consider the issues?
5. Are there provisions in MF’s contract to deal with the above issues?” a concerned taxpayer.

“I have the names of the board of directors of SFI. Here we have a staff of 42 people. Can someone explain to me the number mentioned now of directors: Mr Travers, Mr Fottrell, both in their late 70's and old cronies of FF and Haughey, Dr Jim Mountjoy, Mark Ferguson, Tom Boland, Rita Colwell who is based in America and travels on Irish taxpayers money to board meetings here and that also pays for her holidays which also includes another director, Martina Newell, who is also based in America and follows the same holiday as Colwell - yes all paid for by the Irish taxpayer. Next is Bernie Cullinan CEO of Clarigen, Pat Duane, Peter McDonagh UCD, and Martin Shanagher EI. Can someone please explain to me why there are so many directors to such a small outfit like SFI which each are paid £15,000 + expenses for 4 meetings annually.” Reginald Molloy.

“Was a relative of Eoin O'Driscoll recently appointed to a post in SFI that was not advertised in the proper guidelines?
Do SFI have a history of hiring staff that are known to the inner circle of SFI?
Who in Forfas headhunted and the appointment of Dr. Bill Harris?
Was Harris' PA Fiona Renalds on 100k per year?
Was Harris living a plush apartment in Herbert Park paid for by taxpayers?
Was Harris taxed correctly while working for Forfas and SFI?
Was a special "friend" of Dr. Bills given a position in Enterprise Ireland?
How were all staff that came from US to help poor old Bill hired?
Did even the cleaners in Wilton Park refer to SFI as the American Company on the 5th floor?
Who is Siobhan O'Shea?
What was her relationship with Dr. Bill?
How did she get appointed to look after his hiring and firing regime?
Who is Mattie McCabe?
How did he get appointed as a Director?
Was he still working for SFI after he completed his contract and retired?
How much money have SFI spent on their awards management system?
Was there an alternative system proposed that could have saved a substantial amount of money for taxpayer?
Was there a bullying culture at the beginning in Forfas by SFI senior management while SFI was a part of Forfas?
Why did Donal Keane's brother, Mark not get the position of DG?
How long did Mark Keane work for SFI and how much did he get paid?
Why did Mark leave?
What are the negative impacts of Una Clifford having returned to work on staff morale?
How many contracts has Una Clifford re-written in the last year and told the staff member after the event?
How do the previous Interim CEO of SFI Graham Love and Una Clifford deal with reported incidents of bullying in SFI?
What is the staff turnover ratio on SFI compared to other agencies that are not permitted to hire staff?
What are the qualifications of ALL management in IDA, Forfas, Enterprise Ireland and Chief Science Adviser from CEO down who make decisions?
Are they adequately qualified to carry out their duties or if you were to look at their roles, would that highlight the state of cronyism in State bodies?
Are the current management in IDA, Forfas, Enterprise Ireland and Chief Science Adviser just puppets for the Government?
Was ex CEO of Forfas, John Travers appointed by the Government to investigate the Minister for Health?
Who appointed him for this piece of work?
Did this piece of work have anything to do with him being appointed as Interim CEO of SFI?
In SFI, Chief Science Adviser and Forfas, how many members of staff and management are over the age of retirement and have received their pensions, yet are still
on being paid?
In the Department of Finance Employment Control Framework, how many employees are sanctioned to work in all the agencies in Wilton Park compared to how many are
actually there?
How many contractors are working in Wilton Park House and are they being used as a way to get around the Employment Control Framework?
If you got the correct "official" answer, would you believe the truth?
Is Andrew McDowell, the nephew of ex Minister for Justice and the current adviser to Richard Bruton, and ex senior mgt in Forfas behind the splitting up of Forfas
and other State Agencies and their independent advice?
Can we see the tender process and procedures for all contracts awarded for Staff and more importantly the award management system in SFI?
Have SFI hired a PI to investigate the leaks from within and if so did they use the proper procedures for hiring contractors or is it just another spin to bully staff and whistle blowers to stop telling the truth?” Pertinent Flesh.

“1. Was Frank Gannon involved in this? 
2. Do you know of any links between John Travers and C.J. Haughey?
3. Do you have the travel expenses relating to both Ferguson and Freeman since the former started at SFI in January 2012 up to now?
4. Are you aware of the serious connflict of interest involving Ferguson and his wife Sharon'Kane with Renovo?” Researcher.

“Considerations that need to be investigated:
1) Independent examination of conflict of interest issue. (This should certainly NOT be done by the exisiting board at SFI or any other board member of other State Agencies - old boys/girls club!)
2) An independent forensic audit of the "quango".
3) An independent enquiry into the alleged mis-management - (e.g. expenses, nepotism, careful and honest and transparent handling of legal documents, manner of promotions - was due process adhered to?)” Eleanor Tripp.

“Who is Mattie McCabe?” ExPat.

“Enda Kenny has said he will break Quangos and cronyism! Could Eoin O'Driscoll and the Board of SFI clarify one question? Is Emer O'Driscoll, newly appointed PA to Mark Ferguson, the daughter or family member to Eoin? Did she get the post of PA under Mark Ferguson with open, legal and ethical standards? Was the position advertised publicly?
Another question. Does any member of the Board of SFI (and or family members) have shares in Renovo?” The Bull McCabe.

“From a reliable source I have it that Mark Ferguson discussed recently with Max Royde and Jamie Brooke of Renovo to get one or other, or both, onto the SFI Board.
Are the SFI responsible Ministers going to go along with this?” Public Servant.

“Were the board members also to be directors of a scientifically orientated company, would any competing company be prepared to invest giving the apparent conflict of interest? Would their potential investment be futile in the absence of matching SFI funds? Would the awarding of SFI funds to competing projects be contrary to the intentions of appointed board members and their responsibility to their commercial companies shareholders? Would it be possible to reasonably avoid any conflict of interest? Directors are responsible to their company and shareholders. Board members of the SFI are responsible to the Irish people. Is it possible to exercise complete and conscientious impartiality to both? Is it impossible to be independent in such circumstances?” Gale Vogel.

“But then again is SFI representing vested interests or the Irish taxpayer?” Observer.

“Have the members of these Boards on State Agencies ever considered what they are paid from the public purse?” Dandelion.

“What link to the SFI has Kestrel Investment Partners? Is the blindness of our authorities deliberate? Where are our leaders? Are those truly ..”running a country” comprised of those apparently corrupt?
A question that now must be answered with particular reference to this post, what are our leaders doing? Gale Vogel.

“Is the policy to provide employment? Has anyone made promises to our esteemed though perhaps absent leaders to provide these jobs? Is there an absence of control within and of SFI in the absence of our apparent holidaying leaders?” Gale Vogel.

“The Crazy Crocodile post notes a stake-holding in off shore oil drilling, by the SFI. Who has vested interest in any company interested in this drilling?” Gale Vogel.

“"The best brains in this country are being governed by fools". The question is what do we do with the fools who appoint or sanction their appointment?” Citizen 11.

“How dare they impose such stringent cuts on our poorest and most vulnerable in our society while at the same time surreptiously giving a huge salary and perks to an absolute power money hungry individual, Mark Ferguson, who is useing his position as DG of SFI to further his own agenda?” Simplicity.

“Impact in SFI means pure cronyism. Funding and perks for the insider track boys and girls. Lots of researchers have left Ireland - driven out. Even a Nobel prize winner! Take the case of Richard Tol, Nobel prize winner for climate change who left back in January. Then there is UCD Nobel prize winner in Economics, James Heckman. He has prestigious European Research Council funding. What has SFI ever done for him though?” Uni.

“Those being funded include research institutions, colleges, universities and private enterprise. Additional funding can be found through matched funding investment by industry. Is it required of an applicant college to cite the source of their matched funding? Who decides and to what extent of funding might require additional controls?
Is it possible within the existing framework to establish vested interest in the application process? How?” Gale Vogel.

“Is SFI stripping the assets of the Irish State?
We need to know:
1 Why has Mark Ferguson been on Renovo - related business in the U.S. while D-G of SFI?
2 We need to know all dealings between Mark Ferguson and other SFI personnel with Renovo and in particular with Max Royde, Jamie Brooke and David Blain.
3 What is the nature of Mark Ferguson's and John Travers relationship which goes back a long way.
4 There is a need for the public to see what are the business interests of all of the SFI Board members. These must be published openly.
5 Some SFI Board Members are running companies out of SFI. See for example International Advisory Partners. Is private business using SFI not a major conflict of interest?” Concerned Citizen.

“Are there any investigations being undertaken on corruption in Ireland currently? It has been suggested that the DG of SFI resign, who will replace him and would this result in a better service? Would this result in fairer decisions?
Is there any hidden criteria inherent in any of the current applications?” Gale Vogel.

“Mark Ferguson maybe "running the country" for now but will the elected Government stand idly by?” Caitlin.

“Can you explain to me Mr. Ferguson who phoned you in relation to Eimear O'Driscoll (appointed 3 months ago) as your new PA?
Did this post go through the proper procedures of semi-state recruitment ethics?
Una Clifford arranged all the papers. Are they legal Una?” Concerned parent and taxpayer.

“How is it that a selection panel and the Board of SFI got it all so terribly wrong?” Taxpayer.

“First audits are rare in SFI and I know from internal sources that Ruth Freeman has cost the Irish taxpayers at least 25,000 euros in flights and hotels in the last 6 months. Why? When does SFI become transparent, accountable and answerable to the taxpayer?” William Harris.

“1. The CV's of all candidates and their self acclaimed achievements should be rigorously investigated, especially in the case of high level positions in the public sector.
2. Selection Panels should be comprised of independent qualified people who should not be selected by the Board of the organisation.
3. The Board should have no more than two representatives on a panel of five..
4. The power of so called Government mandarins (self styled King makers) should be crushed immediately.
5. Boards and the CEO of SFI should be made more accountable to an independent appointed Chief Scientific Advisor.
6. Internal appointments should be much more transparent. (not always the case in SFI it seems!).
7. Code of conduct and protocols for all employees (and especially the Board) should be unflinchingly demanded and adhered to.” Helpful.

“Eoin O'Driscoll never explained how his daughter Eimer landed in Ferguson office. Could anyone answer the simple question as raised so many times before on this site?” Pink Panther.

“Mr Frank McCabe
"Ireland needs to create a culture of uncompromising integrity" in business and industry whereby people when they see problems, would elevate them promptly"
Does anyone agree that Indymedia has tried to achieve this and with a modicum of success?
Does anyone think Government are hovering on the back foot here and saying nothing and if so why?” Chestnut.

“Why won't the SFI Board act?. They too have displayed huge incompetence and indifference.
Where is Minister Sherlock, whose responsibility this is?” Member of the community.

“Is our current disregard for SFI and long term solutions carelessness, error or worse, the influence of foreign interest on our very government?” Gale Vogel.

“The question on a wider scale is profit for WHO?
Morals, accountability are not on Ferguson's CV, so who puts him as SFI head and the deeper question is WHY?
Well Minister Sherlock - Ferguson can never take Renovo off his back. The monkey has to be corruption, would you say?” Brian Flannery.

“If protocol has been followed, is incompetence the reason for failure? Gale Vogel.

“SFI is being run like a private company. Why does the Government of this country allow this?” Legal Eagle.

“SFI Annual Report 2011:
P. 38, each Board member got in 2011 over euro 11k. Except Chairman Pat Fottrell, who got euro 19k. What on earth did they get that for?” Scholar.

“Did Sherlock stand on front of many academics today at the RAI to endorse the actions of SFI and in particular Mark Ferguson?
Does Mark Ferguson have two million in Shell shares and if so did he chair the shell conference recently with Pat Rabitte? In what capacity?
The increasing unease demonstrated by the letter by academics shows that there is something wrong.
Is it not now obvious?
Non- disclosure of information to SFI or non-disclosure of information to the Irish Public?” Pamela Quirk.

“What effect has SFI had in terms of strategy for Ireland? Would it be reasonable to assume that now, after ten years SFI funded projects should be making significant returns for the Irish economy?” Gale Vogel.

“How many jobs have been created through the efforts of SFI over the years since its establishment? There has been a focus in SFI on creating jobs, what success? This focus takes the emphasis away from education. It also copies other organisations, EI, IDA, enterprise boards, so why more? Has the destruction of the SFI been planned?” Pamela Quirk.

“Is it SFI who have refused the information? Is it a bureaucratic quango? Who has instructed that the information sought should be withheld?” Gale Vogel.

“Can we all rest assured that the allocation of funds through SFI will not be similarly misused? Are senior members of SFI to travel to Kampala in the very near future? What is the purpose of such a visit?” Gale Vogel.

“George Lee is now 'released from political quarantee' ie 3 years. Surely there must be similar conditions of qurantine that would apply to anyone joining a semi-state like SFI?” Autumn – Cronyism.

“Who are the architects of our failing fate? Are Ferguson and Merkel aware of a higher order that dictates the loss we daily feel? Is their awareness influencing the appointments and decisions daily being made by our leaders?” Gale Vogel.

author by Citizen 1publication date Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:13Report this post to the editors

Vested interest person or groups do not have the skills to make good decisions in matters of national importance or in the interest of the common weal.

SFI has miserably failed the community it is meant to serve because of the inherent conflict of interest in the Director General's case and in the invested interest groups who presently manage and oversee this organisation.

As reported in the Irish Independent of last week a number of academics/researchers are in receipt of huge inflated salaries. Most of these same individuals are coincidentally in receipt of massive funding for their research projects from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Who pays these inflated salaries? The University or SFI? Who sanctioned these huge salaries? The audits from SFI should clearly show if SFI itself is involved in this massive scam. Why does SFI not seek to exonerate itself?

Why does Government continue to support a failed organisation, managed by cronies for cronies at huge expense to the taxpayer?

The old convention of ministerial accountability has become a charade that facilitates incompetence, waste, and manipulation of the system for self gain. Ministers and public servants must be held to account so that we can pin down those responsible for the debacle at SFI.

SFI cannot be allowed to exist in its present form.

author by The Glimmer man - STEMpublication date Thu Nov 08, 2012 14:48Report this post to the editors

A number of TD's and senators are waiting for answers concerning Professor Mark Ferguson appointed Director-General SFI in January of this year and who recently without question was appointed by Government to the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to Government with no extra remuneration just a duplication of Ferguson's workload. Conflicts of interest abound but no one seems to care. This man cannot hide much longer from the powers of the Oireachtas Committee. Taxpayers demand answers about Renovo and Fergusons dubious vested interests which quite clearly appear to be undeclared. Why has this much circulated in the media scandal received such Government protection and silence. Clearly there are questions to be answered. Scientists of world renown and eminence have been scoffed at, demeaned and shafted and this is of relevance to the future of our young people.

As the article in Nature states:
"Closing the office entirely sends negative signals to our international colleagues, who will ask the question 'Just how serious is Ireland about Science'

http://www.nature.com/news/irish-science-adviser-office...11755

Some quotes and personal comments from the article to activate academia, teachers. students, economists and others like the RDS the RIA to speak up.

'Dual-role for funding-agency head Mark Ferguson' (Clearly a conflict of interest)

CSA Patrick Cunningham, an internationally renowned animal geneticist at Trinity College Dublin:
'There is "self-evidently" a potential for conflicts of interest......not least because SFI is one of many competing interests in the Irish research and funding space. "I have great respect for Mark's credentials, capacity and personality, and I'm sure he will act with the greatest integrity". It is more a problem of outside perception. That's a real challenge to somebody who has to be seen as an independent adviser'

Traits 'credentials, capacity and personality, and I am sure he will act with the greatest integrity' are not strong words of re-assurance in the light of all the media coverage since Professor Mark Ferguson took up the role of DG in January 2012 having resigned from Renovo the previous day.

Gallagher:-
'This is a death knell for many of us in frontier or basic research, such as pure mathematics, evolutionary biology, astrophysics or particle physics'

Pensions for politicians and bankers is the rebel rouser for days now but this matter deserves equal attention, it is about this generation and its impact on future generations. Transparecy versus opaque and investigative journalism is at the core trying to make the revelations to keep our citizenry enlightened and empowered to be involved now and with a view to the future.

Note the related stories and links Nature 491 173 (08 November 2012)

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Nov 10, 2012 15:04Report this post to the editors

From Indymedia to Forbes (article by John Farrell) see link http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfarrell/2012/11/09/the-...s-ire...

Opening comments goes as follows:... 'In a move that has aroused exasperation and dismay among the country's researchers, the Irish Government has abolished its chief science adviser office.................'

Ireland and its taxpayers are waiting almost a full year now for Ferguson to declare his vested business interests. Reports from the Dail state he is soon to be called before an Oireachtas Committee. In the meantime Irish science and Ferguson have circulated through layers of media to the pages of Forbes today. People across the whole semi-state sector are concerned about major conflicts of interest, all detailed in prior postings on Indymedia.

Then add word 'quarantine' which seems not to have applied to Professor Ferguson who resigned from Renovo on 15th January 2012 and started on 16th January 2012 as Director-General of SFI. Again ask the question about the merger of two roles ie Chief Science Adviser to Government and Director-General of SFI (for no additional remuneration) and there are serious questions which merit answers. We must also ask why eminent scientists forfeited their positions in the semi-state at a time when their levels of expertise, excellence, qualifications would benefit Ireland. Why ask scientists to become the latest addition to our diaspora at a time when we are trying to encourage our diaspora to support us.

Brian Flannery

author by Passenger, ex-teacher.publication date Sun Nov 11, 2012 16:03Report this post to the editors

First, let me apologise for correcting punctuation with the comparison of question marks and exclamation marks. My apology is more warranted due to my own errors.
However, the matter at hand would appear to include a refusal of SFI to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act. From reading carefully the posts on this topic, (please correct me if I'm wrong?) it would appear to me that many of the questions are rhetorical and that there are people who are fully aware of documents which would provide the answers required. In the interest of fairness, let's demand an explanation from SFI as to why the required information would not be in the best interest of the Irish People. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, perhaps then those who are in possession of said information could post evidence on this site, or provide evidence to those in authority in order to effect action.

It is only recently that the SFI issue has been raised in both the national and international media. Is this due to the actions of indymedia?

Dear Mark Ferguson, Sean Sherlock, etc.

If indeed you are reading these posts, which I sincerely hope you are, then please provide as DG of SFI an explanation as to the reasons the information release was refused? By simply stating it not being in the interest of the Irish Public is neither acceptable nor complimentary. In my sincerity might I also put this same question to Sean Sherlock and any minister with any responsibility in the decisions that have been made regarding both SFI and Mark Ferguson, the new Science Advisor to the Government.
This site is an open forum in which the answers to the plethora of questions can also be published, there should be no shame in being forthcoming.

Yours, in expectation.

Passenger and ex-teacher.

author by Chestnut - Anti Corruptionpublication date Mon Nov 12, 2012 14:55Report this post to the editors

Ferguson will have to face an Oireachtas Dail Committee after being slated in an article in Forbes magazine. It also shows the failures of Sherlock and Bruton in this ongoing scandal.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Tue Nov 13, 2012 13:10Report this post to the editors

Yesterday in Dublin Richard Bruton addressed a gathering on how Ireland should move forward in relation to science (Science week) and the objections that lay ahead. Ferguson made his speech which was relayed on Radio 1 Drive Time yesterday at 17.45. He mentioned medical devices and the importance of commercialisation in relation to science. Sources today who contacted me - people who attended the launch yesterday, were totally in shock at the inadequate discussion about mathematics (STEM) especially how we tackle the problem in the schools and university campuses. Ferguson stated on 5 occasions to the amazement of people that he was not an arrogant man. It came to a stage where people were actually laughing in the audience. One source informed me that Bruton never looked at Ferguson while he was speaking. Sherlock apparently looked like the mouse at a Cat's Convention.

Marie Wilson on radio put a direct question to Ferguson about the conflict of interest issue. Ferguson sounded nervous and rattled and you could see his whole demeanour was humbled. I hope this is true because this man is causing a major divide and contempt across this Island in relation to how science should be addressed. Not once was Renovo mentioned and the conflict of interest mentioned on the 10 minute interview on Drive Time and you would wonder who pulls the strings at Montrose these days. Ferguson stated that he would not be the sole advisor to the government he would be surrounded by a panel of experts. I ask the question: Will this include people like Max Royde and Brooks or people from Kestrel or Shire or others from Renovo.

The bluff continues. The questions are piling up and yet there are no answers. Something eventually will have to crack. £150,000 in this recession belongs to Irish taxpayers - not the ego of failed Renovo boss Ferguson.

Brian Flannery

author by Academia - Opportunity to talkpublication date Wed Nov 14, 2012 15:49Report this post to the editors

It is science week.

Science Foundation Ireland will play a prominent role. They have £30 m to disburse and have nominated those successful.

What about the 14 priority areas. Now is the opportunity for people to tackle head on people supposedly in the know about issues raised in this posting........STEM need to calculate if they have lost out based on their focus on 'exploration' versus 'commercial outcomes'.

Academia

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Nov 14, 2012 21:16Report this post to the editors

First, let's not assume that the DG of SFI is alone in “causing a major divide and contempt across this island,” even in relation to science. He has been appointed to posts and those appointing him, if the comment is accurate, share in the blame. The people of this country, and more particularly those in science academia are also responsible, through silence. From the many posts, it appears that this country is being willingly walked to slaughter. The people, like children are not having sweets taken from them on this fatal walk, but are by their own volition smiling as they freely give the sweets away.

International credit and awards are being accepted by our esteemed Taoiseach for his success in carrying this country from the brink, while science rots and our future is being flushed to the sewers.

It has being claimed the Mark Ferguson in his role as Chief Scientific Advisor will rely on a panel of advisers. In so doing, what safeguards will be in place to ensure that the
panel are comprised of independent and impartial consultants? What, if any, onus will be placed on Mark Ferguson in this role to accept the advice of the panel? It appears that there are no effective safeguards relating to possible conflicts of interest. Who is running the country? The accolades afforded to our Taoiseach together with an apparently blatant disregard for the welfare of education and science in this country are indicative of puppet strings.

“If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear.” Ivo Andric.

author by Damien M - PharmaWatchpublication date Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:42Report this post to the editors

"Who runs the country?"

Big Chemical and their pals in Teagasc!
Big Pharma and their ex-colleagues in the IMB!
Big Oil and their hired goons in the Guards and IRMS!

We will definitely need more medicine from all the contaminated water (Carrowmore Lake), GM spuds (coming soon to your local field), and the after effects of all these dodgy 'me-too' medications!

Or maybe we could just not drink polluted water, eat real food and get real treatment for illnesses.

author by Julie Simeone - Mathspublication date Fri Nov 16, 2012 13:40Report this post to the editors

Now we know the aim of the game of science is profit and as quick as possible.

The mathematicians have spoken of their deep concerns in relation to Ferguson of Renovo and his Manchester history. Many top Irish academics are beginning to wake up and write to Richard Bruton relating to STEM as a matter of most urgency. Ferguson is treating Irish mathematicians with a deep contempt.

I again ask some questions. Ferguson was investigated by the Stock Exchange in London in relation to the failed Renovo now AIM listed company where 250 people lost their jobs. Is this enquiry ongoing? Bruton or Sherlock have never once mentioned Ferguson's past. Why? Instead, the Nation is informed that Ferguson now holds the dual role of Director-General SFI and (what can only be described as a conflict of interest) the position formerly held by Professor Cunningham - Chief Science Adviser to the Government. This can only be a conflict of interest as said in so many earlier postings and to suggest a panel be used at times where a conflict might present, is unacceptable. Bruton has denied this blatant fact both on radio and in the Irish news media last Monday.

Ferguson's past is catching up. Max Royde claims to not having been in contact with Ferguson since last January. Yet Royde is proposed by Ferguson to join his advisory panel at SFI. This is most serious. A Banker, a hustler, even an asset stripper on an Irish science board. What the fuck is really going on?

Julie

author by STEM - Science Technology Engineering and Mathematicspublication date Sat Nov 17, 2012 15:53Report this post to the editors

Another cry from the wilderness in defence of STEM!

Conflicts of interest abound and yet another silent epidemic inveigles our existing government to the land of denial and more denial.

SFI is the government funding body. Its new agenda is 'State-supported research must deliver an economic or social return'. Yes, we all grasp the need for economic and social return but at what cost and surely without being short sighted to the degree that we lose expertise and more importantly hinder the education of those now in 3rd and 4th level university education. If we e fail to provide for these people the necessary education and motivation to develop further in STEM and further science interests in Ireland, there will be a very high societal cost for the Island of Ireland. Emigration is the order of the day but realistically we are a teint hippocritical as we call upon our diaspora of old to re-visit us and give us that helping hand. Nothing much has changed over the centuries.

Agenda 2020 is about the next 8 years. Anger prevails among those who are involved in 'exploratory or so called "Blue-Skies" research'. These are the disciplines who are to suffer and the harsh reason is that commercial pay-back can often be time consuming and long-term. We only need to reference Higgs Bosom and Cern and the fact that Ireland is one of three countries in Europe not participating in this key research for mankind and evolution. Why? Short-sightedness and worse even though we were offered a reduced contribution fee, we still say NO.

Do we still have any say? Possibly No....but let's hear what is being said in certain circles.

Professor Lorraine Hanlon, Astrophyicist at UCD "I am disappointed, it is very short-sighted. In some way it is quite cynical".

Professor Tom Ray of Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (note De Valera connection and Physics). "The Govewrnment used the appeal of astronomy and particle physics to raise student interest in sciences - and then the Foundation refuses to fund these subjects".... we must alert ourselves to the reality that this research by its very nature is unpredictable, we have duty to protect our contribution to the Sciences.

Again the issue of conflict of interest must be considered. There are several relevant conflicts. There is the commercial conflict concerning Mark Ferguson and his links to AIM listed Renovo and the conflict between the merger of two roles ie Governments Chief Scientific Adviser to that of D-G SFI. Mark Ferguson is central to each.

author by Gale Vogel - Bpublication date Sun Nov 18, 2012 17:00Report this post to the editors

Quango.

http://www.sfi.ie/about/organisation/board-members/

Maryland, California, Prague and many more locations, people and companies could benefit from the grants and opportunities provided by SFI. The list of board members and potential advisers appear to include members of past or in some cases immediately past connections (possibly current?) with the powers now held in SFI and with other vested interests. Is this a Quango? There are links with corporate enterprises that are not directly involved in science, though provide services for business. Innovation Advisory Partners is one such company with connections with SFI. A board member of SFI is an associate of Innovation Advisory Partners.

Under the freedom of information act, as often mentioned in these posts, the AGM minutes should be available and sufficiently detailed to demonstrate the value added to SFI and the original intention of SFI towards the people of Ireland. The people involved, directors, associates and other interested parties should be able to provide proof of value where the Irish tax payers are paying them for this privilege. A privilege that should demand accountability, performance and valuable contribution. To restrict any such contribution to business or fiscal success is both limiting and damaging. However, to incur the expense, travel, accommodation, fees and income for those purportedly providing this valued service would be of unequal damage without reciprocation.

The information needed to demonstrate this value should be at least provided, without question, to those instrumental in the appointments made. These the very guardians of our country, Sherlock, Bruton, Rabbitte and Kenny. They should be well positioned to answer some of the questions without pause in An Dáil. They should at least be able to procure the required information without delay and satisfy themselves as to the voracity of claims made either in these posts or by SFI.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Tue Nov 20, 2012 14:13Report this post to the editors

This morning at the elite RDS breakfast, the failed Renovo Professor Ferguson sat down and ate porridge with idiots who were foolish enough to pay £200 per head for the nightmare or some might call it privilege. As the breakfast meeting was going on sources within Labour party have contacted me in relation to Ferguson and their deep concerns about how this man could manufacture a CV witholding the main facts of his business of one year ago (Renovo). In the middle of all this 5 experienced journalists have now applied for FOI papers in relation to internal emails which Ferguson has blocked from the Irish taxpayers.

This scandal is far from over and on top of the list is the ongoing enquiry of the Inland Revenue in relation to other vested interests he has along with Royde and Brooks who are still linked at the hip with this ego maniac.

Irish taxpayers need to get the full facts from Minister Sean Sherlock. Let us not forget Sherlock's position is weakening by the day. Just look at the latest polls in relation to labour.

Brian Flannery

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Fri Nov 23, 2012 14:47Report this post to the editors

Two tiers : those who have entitlements and those who have not.

Lest we forget work can be classified as an entitlement just as social security can be so classified. Moral and Ethics lie at the core.

America face the Fiscal Cliff, the question is will they tackle those with entitlements and cut public expenditure. In the process they target out important areas for investment and unlike Ireland, their decision is the need for Maths and Science while the Irish look on to speeding up the process of scientific endeavours with good old nouveau riche commercialism mentality.

Science Foundation Ireland continue down their path towards commercialisation of the creations of scientific endeavour and they send forth a contingent of executives on an expedition to India while their policy in Ireland has been to humble acclaimed scientists and banish them from our shores because we do not see gain from Maths or for that matter STEM. The RIA, the RDS bear little importance to this new breed of delegation hunters.

The news: 60 academics from 16 higher education institutions have set forth for India this week to attract students to study. Common sense states that this is a sensible approach for our country. There are 200,000 students in India who travel overseas to study and we do need to encourage as many as possible to come to our Universities. However this means we must sell what it is the world wants and that is, if you look to America, the focus is Maths and Science. However Ireland has opted for the other path.

So we call it Trade Strategy. Consistent with 14 priority areas decided by SFI, the Delegation of Education in Ireland is managed by Enterprise Ireland and includes SFI, IDA and multinational online payment company PayPal whose European HQ is in Dublin. The focus is engineering, pharma, business, accounting, computer sciences and hospitality management. Physics, science don't rate a mention. Why?

Is there not another way to attract the best and brightest to our Nation to study? How many senior academics do we really need to send to India? What costs are involved? Will these people travel business class or even first class? What hotels will they stay in - it can only be the best? What are their expenses allowances? FAS engaged in similar fact finding exercises and we stood in horror when the costs were revealed. The Public Accounts Commitee surely should from now on ensure that these trade delegations are costed and the key component ought to be frugality and creative thought for cheaper means to encourage the right coterie of students to our universities.

People who are in employment now are also part of the so called entitlement classes. They have work but it is not to high a price to ask the public sector and the semi-state sector to exercise cost benefit analysis on the costs of these delegations and then to exercise fair and modest expenditure given the state of our economy at present. Between delegations, conferences, think tanks all costing the citizens of the country large amounts of money without the necessary returns, we need to encourage good corporate governance mirrored with the sense of corporate social responsibility to help tackle the jobs crisis.

We are all 'entitled'. It should be common to all that we are never pushing someone down but rather giving them a helping hand upwards.

author by Traveller.publication date Fri Nov 23, 2012 21:27Report this post to the editors

It is required that many of those educated travel first class to India simply to maintain their sense of reason in this country of ridiculous contradiction. Professionals wait in line for food while we seek new professionals from across the world. We seek from the rescuers their very means of rescue and throw them back in the whirlpool, laughing all the while as we sit in our spacious aircraft sipping and getting drunk on a reality most can only imagine. They dream of the next meal while we dream of conquest and riches, investing their tax in our luxury.

The rumours that there is to be introduced a pay cap for government appointed people of a mere 100K has me terrified. The DG of SFI is equally so, the hotelier in India is worried. The airline drinks supplier fears a great loss. Those from whom we eat are oblivious for theirs is a struggle to only stay alive and feed their hungry children. Let science rule, for without science there is nothing, without people there is still science.

author by Traveller 2.publication date Mon Nov 26, 2012 20:29Report this post to the editors

SFI is struggling against a tide of turmoil, fighting to climb a mountain through a jungle of attack and criticism in order to secure the lives of the children not only of this country but of those throughout the world. As needs must, it is important, if not vital, that that future will provide jobs and a purpose even beyond mere employment. Any promise given in this political and scientific climate is an expression of hope. All attempts are worthy of praise and credit should be given where due.

The allegations made in these posts are extensive, but evidence is needed. Without the evidence what worth the accusations. The energy expended in defence of these allegations is taking worthy energy from other more important quests. These quests are those that forward the vital science required in order to provide jobs in the short term and more then in the long term. Negativity is tiring and unless absolutely warranted should only be expressed if for the best of the people of this world. Is it absolutely warranted?

The covert pretence of care and disgust at the ills apparent in SFI if warranted would also warrant the exposure of those pretending. The many requests for those accused of pretending through their claims officially made should only be asked if the response would improve the service.

So, 007 et all, 'Live and let live.'

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Nov 29, 2012 13:26Report this post to the editors

60 academics along with a coterie of public servants arrive back from India today. At what cost to the Irish taxpayer just before ordinary Irish people face another painful penal budget to please the Troika and the other headless chickens in Germany and France. We thought it was all over when FAS got a major shake up but sadly I was wrong. Some members within SFI have informed me in the last few days that Ruth Freeman travelled first class and her total bill alone to the Irish taxpayer was in the region of £12,000. This woman has been pumped up by the previous SFI head Frank Gannon and now sources tell me she has been pumped up again by failed Renovo now SFI boss Ferguson. Freeman this year along has cost the Irish taxpayer for travel stamped by SFI approval in the region of £48,000. This is a scandal in itself and needs urgent attention by members of a Dail Oireachtas committee.

I would like to ask Ciaron Cannon TD today - what was the total cost of this juncket to India? and What did the Irish taxpayers who paid for it receive back in return? It's a tragic situation at present in Ireland that certain elite classes can travel globally at free will while other people have to beg steal or borrow to put food on the table. It really makes no sense. Why have we lost our sense of anger?

Brian Flannery

author by Response to Travellerpublication date Thu Nov 29, 2012 21:03Report this post to the editors

The response from traveller

"SFI is struggling against a tide of turmoil, fighting to climb a mountain through a jungle of attack and criticism in order to secure the lives of the children not only of this country but of those throughout the world."

Yes because Mark Fergusson and Una Clifford are truly finding the cure for cancer with the expenses they're racking up. Ooops with the disaster of his former product, they won't be climbing any mountains just rapidly sinking the ship that is SFI. Have you not been reading the Renova disaster story and the jobs that went?

Traveller has a writing style that connects him as an employee of Enterprise Ireland and is fishing for a job in IDA which he missed out on recently and is looking to keep his nose in the trough with IDA and the SFI.
Keep up the positivity and with enough brown-nosing you might get a job checking some dodgy expenses.

author by dingle paddy - taxpayerpublication date Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:32Report this post to the editors

I have been reading this topic for the past number of months and as my sister informed me some people don't like change especially when a new Head arrives in the Semi-State sector. Mark Ferguson arrived last January and he has made sweeping changes in a way nobody else before him has even thought about. People are may I say certain academics who thought they would have their contracts extended were sadly mistaken and also sometimes their wives get so used to the cosy lifestyle that they expect no less. Ferguson has many faults, I agree, and he may also have many questions to answer but right now he is in charge and he has a vision for this country and science in Ireland. He didn't really have to come to Ireland, Ferguson is a self-made multi-millionaire, and this job in SFI, as a lot of people say is just a hobby to him. He is more interested in his new role as the Governments Chief Scientific Adviser.

Paddy.

author by Seamus O'Leary - retired semi-statepublication date Sun Dec 02, 2012 13:49Report this post to the editors

As the previous post stated I also have been reading the multiple comments on this particular SFI topic. Ferguson has many questions to answer - I fully agree especially in connection with Renovo Manchester. But I also have to state that SFI, which was founded in 2001, was a complete farce under Bill Harris and Frank Gannon. With the arrival of Ferguson last January and all his reported faults, he did delete all those who were surplus to requirements. What I mean by this is simply the cost of the contracts that some people were on was a scandal in itself. Some staff were on £3,000-£4,500 weekly plus expenses and they did not create a single job in this country. In fact as a semi-state retired employee myself some ex SFI staff were an obstacle in the way of progress and creating employment. I agree with Brian Flannery that Ferguson Keane Una Clifford and Ruth Freeman need to face an Oireachtas Committee but as we all know this may never happen.

The coming Budget may cut SFI's allocation and this will be welcome in my opinion. Any decent scientists will stay in one job, others prefer to roam from contract to contract because they are chasing the large salaries and have no interest in the taxpayers they are supposed to be representing. Ferguson has seen through this and again in my opinion I believe that some decisions he made were for the betterment of this country and it has saved Irish taxpayers a lot of money. Don't get me wrong I am not defending this man in any way - I do believe he should not have a dual role but this needs to be addressed by the so-called elite on the Irish University campuses. These people appear to have gone to ground like the suppressed sheep they are and Ferguson is quite aware that he is totally in charge now.

Seamus O'Leary

author by Traveller 2publication date Sun Dec 02, 2012 17:24Report this post to the editors

Brown nose that I may appear to be, I may not condone the actions of SFI recently, however there is in later posts some defence of policies. There is a balance appearing in these posts that I believe to be welcome. I would dearly love to inspect the finances of the SFI in detail and to establish the return based on investment, I am perhaps of the impression that this is being done and as noted, there has been removed excess from the organisation in the interest of economy. Economy has been noted in this regard as being a bad thing, while simultaneously the absence of economy has too been criticised. Only with some balance in these posts will the truth be established. An emphasis on creating jobs is in the short term in science, misguided. I cite the example of Lord Rayleigh's drag equation and the subsequent development of aerodynamics as a science. The practicality that provided the means for generating employment in this example followed its initiation by a mere 50 or so years. Science is a slow means of generating jobs. Nobody can change that.

Removing the excess costs may well provide SFI with viability into an unknown future. Who holds the helm into this future we do not know but I am glad to see the balance while still seeking the answers. Answers are needed, that we have a future is guaranteed. How we live in that future depends greatly on the corrections that are made today.

author by Liam Fogarty - semi-state retiredpublication date Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:55Report this post to the editors

The scandal continues in semi-state elite sections. The week this junket stayed in India and the cost to the Irish taxpayers is in the region I have been told by reliable sources within Enterprise Ireland is approximately £248,000. This is in my opinion a criminal act to a point in the present climate in this recession and just before Slash Wednesday, our Budget yet again against the working man/woman in this sad State. How can any minister Bruton, Sherlock, Noonan, and the rest condone such a waste of taxpayers money. I believe some members of SFI also known as Toyland Ireland travelled to India also. This is a trip that has all the hallmarks of Roddy Molloy and the FAS contingent of not so very long ago.

Brian Flannery is right. Cronyism is alive and well. The Blue Shirts under the poodle Kenny promised to get rid of all the surplus ie the quangos and the first class trips abroad. Yet, it appears now that these junkets are peaking again. Irish taxpayers deserve a lot better than this. I have worked 30 years in semi-state in middle management and I can safely say I never travelled first class in my life.

Liam

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:40Report this post to the editors

It appears that the elite of Ireland have an intention to colonise distant lands in an attempt to rid this lonely country of the resources remaining. In this I refer to the recent excursion to India, the sale of off shore rights, the removal of those academics who now seek employment abroad and the payment of funds to foreign lands in the apparent interest of the people and taxpayers of Ireland.

As has been painfully and repeatedly iterated in these posts there are answers required in order to justify the actions of SFI. Having been informed that there are a high proportion of successful companies in Ireland who had been refused support from SFI in the past, the concerns over the efficacy of SFI remains a very large question. In order to secure the future of this island it is required that the brave ventures of those associated with science and who intend to provide employment be supported. The apparent absence of this support is of grave concern and one wonders what ventures have been refused that could have generated jobs in the past eleven years since the foundation of SFI.

author by Brian Flannery - Semi-State publication date Sun Dec 09, 2012 14:23Report this post to the editors

ESOF earlier on this year. By now SFI should know the benefits generated to Ireland from being host to such an esteemed conference.

While the Irish people took another savage attack against their standard of living which at this stage is about living at survival level for most people. Survival remains easy for the elite of may I say those established/entitled classes such as those who recently went to Dubai led by Phil Hogan and that other contingent who went from Enterprise Ireland (SFI) under Ciaran Cannon (60 academics et al) to India to encourage Indian people to choose Ireland for further education ie at our leading Universities. It is estimated that each potential student will create 15 jobs in our economy!!!! What are the costs of these junkets? Some say in excess of £300,000. Is this wise spending? Is it realistic in terms of the brutal approach to the vulnerable group of people called carers in our society?

The Irish people need to take stock not only of their own personal expenditures but of these governmental expenditures and seek justifiable returns. It appears SFI had minimal cuts to expenditure in this budget, yet our people, children, our homes suffer. The Labour party this year, an anniversary of the social, economic and political changes of 1912, should be ashamed.

Brian Flannery

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye View publication date Tue Dec 11, 2012 22:56Report this post to the editors

Maths and science performance in education is again in the news.
Ireland fares relatively well internationally but there is room for improvement.
http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/education/latest-ne....html
This should be highlighted due to the danger in the combination of reductions in education spending and recent changes of emphasis in SFI. SFI can and should make a valuable contribution to Irish education relating to both science and maths. This is vital if we are to maintain any reasonable international reputation, on which our future economy relies. Debated at length in the past week is an absence of mathematical balance in our budget, is this a symptom of a failing in the standards of maths or a failing in the intentions of our leaders? Is it this that has effected the recent changes of emphasis in SFI?

It appears too that the effects of questions tabled on indymedia are garnering some deserved respect in official circles. There are no plans to curb freedom on websites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (could be construed as including indymedia), it is reported as being stated by Sean Sherlock, the very minister responsible for SFI.
Will this in time extend to including affording sufficient respect to answer questions and release the sought information through the 'Freedom of Information Act'?

author by Burlington - Cronyism and Semi-Statepublication date Fri Dec 14, 2012 15:03Report this post to the editors

Manchester Evening News.

Renovo

Product sold to US company.

Is there a Conflict of Interest (s)?

One year=2 roles into one for no additional income. How generous?

Director-General and Chief Scientific adviser to the Government

Yet nobody likes answering direct questions raised in the foregoing postings.

author by Brian Flannery - Semi-states and cronyismpublication date Sat Dec 22, 2012 14:43Report this post to the editors

Renovo is maximizing potential for its shareholders again. This time its direction is away from the specifics of pharmaceutical, scar tissue, to the interests of being a provider of financial solutions to small and medium size enterprise in the UK (Ireland too, I would think). Renovo have invested £1.7 m in the placings ("investment") for which it will initially receive 8,659,080 ordinary shares in the capital of ULTIMATE FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS. It is due to be admitted to trading on AIM on 27th December 2012. It will receive more shares at a later time.

Renovo as is well known from the foregoing postings is linked to Professor Mark Ferguson who on 16th January 2012 was appointed to the role of Director-General of Science Foundation Ireland. Later in the year, he agreed to assume the role of Chief Scientific adviser for no remuneration (?) to the Irish Government. He undertook to take two jobs and make it one.

Again the point raised is about conflicts of interest. Surely there are vested interests that people need to know about.

Brian Flannery

author by Watchdog - Scouting citizen journalismpublication date Thu Dec 27, 2012 14:34Report this post to the editors

Ultimate Financial Solutions is the new linkage to Renovo. Deal done 21/12/12 just after the sale of Prevascar on 13/12/12.

So many media outlets highlighted this company Renovo and the strategic move of its founder Professor Mark Ferguson (and his wife Sharon O'Toole) to Science Foundation Ireland last January 16th 2012. The concerns raised were about conflicts of interest as Professor Ferguson and his wife were the originators of the company and one is unable to conclude if they are still the main shareholders. Certain journalists sought to gain information but were blocked via controls to Freedom of Information.

Renovo has engaged in business and what is significant is its coincidence with the Christmas when many are too busy partying and living life to keep track of share movements. This may be the proverbial red herring but worth checking out.

Ultimate Financial Solutions shares have been purchased 21/12/12 with a further cache due to be taken over in early January. This provides the financial provisional entre to small to medium term investments and again this would suggest a form of insider knowledge to incubator initiatives and the necessary funding provision which it is so hard to find when establishing a small business.

Renovo (RNVO) is part of AIM £20 billion market. There are 151m shares in issue @ market cap 26p and there are shares which were bought back in year 2012 by the Treasury. There is no dividend yield or no dividend per share value. The earnings per share is 0.01.

Up to 16th April 2012 Renovo was a biopharmaceutical product company that was developing a portfolio of products which exploit different mechanisms of action to reduce scarring and stiumulate tissue. On 13/12/12 Renovo sold Prevascar assets for £400,000.

Science Foundation Ireland is part of our semi-state. Its performance for year 1 of Professor Mark Ferguson's rule is awaited. Media, newspapers need to watch this space, there is plenty of interesting information out there. Cronyism maybe okay but it is when you dig deeper that really counts.

Transparency International has locked Ireland in at 25 along with countries whose levels of corruption are highly significant. Let's us pay attention now and create a more equitable and transparent semi-state, public service and health service. The time is here to cut the waste, similar to the yet to be taken on board advice of Simpson and Bowles in the US

Watchdog

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sun Dec 30, 2012 14:34Report this post to the editors

The new year is almost upon us and this site has raised question after question for over 6 months now on the conflicts of interest that may apply to the appointment of Professor Mark Ferguson as Director General on 16/01/12 to the position of Science Foundation Ireland and to the further appointment granted to him as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government later on in 2012.

Renovo and Ferguson are in unison or perhaps he and his wife have divested their shareholdings in the company they established and took to public flotation - what happened thereafter is well reported in the media. Can we assume that Renovo is active in the market place. It appears so from the dealings this December as mentioned by Watchdog in the foregoing comment.

Renovo has an investment fund of circa £30 m sterling. It is divesting a proportion of this investment from the area of pharma bio-diversity to finance positioning. Is this liable to be a further conflict of interest?

Throughout the year Irish Times, Independent, THE, Times and so many other publications raised this news item. The people await some answers. The time is here, one year on, for a progress report from Science Foundation Ireland. We await very good news.

STEM: How is this performing?

author by Brian Flannery - Semi Sector and Cronyismpublication date Thu Jan 03, 2013 15:43Report this post to the editors

Did I hear on the news today that Enterprise Ireland created 16,000+ jobs last year. If so, well done but we need so many more.

SFI must be preparing similar annual reports to its neighbour EI so can one ask the question about the success rate Professor Mark Ferguson since his appointment last January 16th 2012.

How many jobs are created? What success stories can we expect or will we have to to come in line with Science and evidential research and the need for time as the argument for non results i.e. if this is what occurs?

author by zzzzz.....publication date Thu Jan 03, 2013 19:17Report this post to the editors

Enterprise Ireland are not creating as many jobs as you think. In many instances they are using key manager employment grants to make a manager get a higher title, moving the person from one title to another, without actually hiring more people, thus inflating the numbers. You would need to get a good investigator to do some digging around the 16,000 figure. The numbers are as inflated as the egos in Enterprise Ireland.

author by Watchpublication date Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:59Report this post to the editors

ALL Waste or Not?

Whatever about Enterprise Ireland, Brian Flannery has a point. SFI has stopped all support for mathematics, astronomy, engineering, etc.

So what does SFI stand for? Jobs, I guess.

Where are the jobs? How many SFI funded people stay in Ireland when the funding ends? Just what has SFI accomplished that would - demonstrably! - not have been accomplished otherwise?

Ferguson and his cronies need to be made accountable. This is my tax money and yours. What has SFI done that would not have been accomplished in any case?

Whatever about Enterprise Ireland, since SFI has stopped all support for mathematics, just what is this country gaining from the vast sums of money going into SFI? The jobs created by this organisation are pathetically small. And then of course they all leave Ireland! Really smart people running the show!!!!!!!!

author by Ego-lesspublication date Fri Jan 04, 2013 13:12Report this post to the editors

To zzzz and Watch

You seem to be missing the point. All Government Quangos are simply outlets for the overpaid and the over-inflated egos of pathetically small-minded morons. Does not the media attention focused on SFI during recent times prove the point?

That a democratically elected Government continues to,nay actively, supports such organizations is a national outrage. Does Government really believe that we are stupid enough to believe their own press releases?

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Jan 05, 2013 14:24Report this post to the editors

The previous 3 postings suggest we are all coming from the same hymn sheet and 'quangoitis'.

Ferguson last May is supposed to have written to Enda Kenny, Taoiseach, in relation to the Round Table discussion with members of the Wild Geese Netowrk of Irish Scientists (WGNIS) in Washington as part of the St. Patrick's Day programme and Ferguson is said to have promised Kenny job creation, and funding for Ireland. It looks as if nothing ever happened. The presumption is that Ferguson wanted a meeting with Kenny without Minister Sherlock present. What is going on here?

Enterprise Ireland featured well on Late Late last night but there appears to be a cross-over. Who determines whether it is SFI or EI that get to choose and fund/match fund the projects.

Ageing population is a market to be captured and Osteoanchor, NUI engineers are the entrepreneurs bringing this to market with the aid of investors and EI. It has been developed over 4 years by Dr Pat McDonnell and Dr Noel Harrison, biomedical engineers, who work in the commercialisation offices at BMEC, NUI Galway and funded by Enterprise Ireland. It is a solution for the 'loosening of artificial hip and knee joints, which requires costly revision surgery'. The market potential is global and the market size for hip replacements alone is circa £6 billion per annum. Osteoanchor have foraged and found, now they need funding so let's promote and encourage venture capitalists to invest what's needed and soon.

But let us not forget Maths is suffering. Time is of the essence but the delay factor on outcome has caused a narrow view. In the long run, it is our students, our economy that will lose from the short-sightedness in the cut backs towards STEM.

author by Wilton - Knowledge economypublication date Mon Jan 07, 2013 14:34Report this post to the editors

SFI is in the news again, thanks to Indymedia and the committed postings by various concerned people, especially those who seek to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics ("STEM").

2013 is upon us but for those of us who may have not been reading the papers over the Christmas, the Examiner on the 27th December 2012 published an article written by Catherine Shanahan which explores the extent of the conflict of interest that applies as above. Also there is an article on 26th November 2012 Irish Examiner in which Michael Clifford has stated that Ferguson's role is highly toxic, it concerns the fact that on the one hand Professor Ferguson 's role is to advise the Government on scientific policy while the other role is that of contradiction.

Quote ex Michael Clifford article 26th November 2012 (The Examiner):- concerning Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO) role...
"The position was part-time, designed to occupy 60% whole time equivalent for the incumbent, Cunningham, who is a professor of animal genetics in Trinity College. Two staffers in the office have been deployed elsewhere. A quango has been confined to the bonfire"

"The function of the chief scientific adviser is transferred to the director general (DG) of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) the body that funds scientific research in this state. Professor Mark Ferguson is an eminent scientist, but on top of his busy job, he will now have to find time to dedicate up to perhaps half his working hours to his role as independent scientific adviser to the Government.

"He wil also have to hurdle a potential conflict of interest. On the one hand, he will offer independent advice, on the other he is an employee of the State charged with enacting government policy"

In the middle of all this saga, Graham Love has quit his role in SFI and inside sources say he questioned Ferguson's plans and a row erupted and Love resigned..

What a start to 2013?

author by Waterloo - Resiliencepublication date Mon Jan 07, 2013 15:00Report this post to the editors

What a shame.

Our short-sightedness in policy and science says bye bye to our gifted scientists while at the same time trying to attract our diaspora home! Science is the now and it is the future. To be too greedy for economic outcome only is too high a price for a small country like Ireland to pay. We are wasting by shedding our intellectual resources who have contributed to our economy and pushed them away to other countries. Sad is all I can say.

Agree with the earlier posting.

Michael Clifford's title says so much 'Weilding the axe on easy targets'. Article published 26th November 2012 in Examiner.

Michael Clifford speaks about a fast developing area and the need for a voice, a representative of Science. The policy in the EU resulted in the appointment of the first such adviser. In the UK there is a whole team of independent advisers. Yet, here we are in Ireland (as he writes the "Poster Child of the knowledge Economy") getting rid of the chief scientific adviser office and worse still waving goodbye to eminent scientists away from our shores yet again. Shame on us. Professor Cunning former CSO gave his advice. He said he would prefer to see the office continue as an independent entity. NUI Galway scientist Nicholas Canny (member European Research Council) said the new arrangement could lead to a conflict of interest. Add to this Stephen Sullivan of the Irish Stem Cell Foundation who 'suggested a three pronged mistake had been made by Richard Bruton's office'.

The science community and Indymedia have been writing for months now about these issues so we now ought to be alert as to what has happened.

Like Wilton I include a quote from Michael Clifford's article

"Report compiled by Jim Power Economist describes the proposed merger as "ill-conceived", noting it would send out a "very negative and ambiguous" message aboiuot the attitudes towards an important aspect of the economy"

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Wed Jan 16, 2013 13:29Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson is a full year as head of SFI Ireland today 16th January 2013. Dick Ahlstrom interviewed Mr Ferguson in the Irish Times article dated 14th January 2013 with the theme that Science Foundation Ireland director's plans are now 'better understood by the research community'. Reference is made to the dissent of certain academics to his appointment.

It seems to me that Ferguson protests he is misunderstood in relation to the future of science in Ireland.

1. Was he misunderstood (and his wife Sharon O'Kane) at Renovo when 300 people lost their jobs and he walked away with a £15 million premium?

2. He now is Chief Scientific Adviser to the government: What is his view today on eating Horse in meat products sold by many Irish outlets?

Yes we all know we need "excellence with impact" and most importantly we are aware of the urgent need to 'squeeze fiscal return out of the state investment in research' which left so many scientists exposed to short-term and commercial but the question is at what cost?

Brian Flannery

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Jan 16, 2013 23:37Report this post to the editors

Having recently had the absolute pleasure of witnessing the enthusiasm, hope and joy of science in Ireland's Young Scientist Exhibition, I would like to offer praise to all involved. This includes Science Foundation Ireland as an apparently minor sponsor of this event and in particular to Mark Ferguson for prevailing in his tenure for an entire year today in spite of there being some criticism.

This wonderful exhibition where the foundations of our future are being laid had at least one recently past employee of SFI judging our future hope. It was also highlighted by media in news reports covering the event a clear and obvious absence of follow through for this talent, with many seeking opportunities abroad. Those seeking opportunities abroad include the past employee of SFI, a highly gifted and qualified scientist.

It is indeed a wonder that this exhibition and competition was held with the primary sponsorship coming from BT. This, the very and true foundation of science in Ireland lacks any real support following second level education. It has been highlighted many times in these posts and by SFI that commercial projects take precedence. Commercially viable projects by their very nature must be based on already proven science and technology and where this takes the dramatic precedence apparent it is at the cost of future science and the future scientists taking part in the Young Scientist Exhibition.

Turing tables are required, that the focus should be on the future and not that past. The past in this instance relates to the already proven science and technology. The tables turning require too a forward thinking leadership which is demonstrably absent not only in the science support offered by our government but by our focus on economic survival. This overtly inhuman focus is to the cost of our present and our future.

Congratulations to all for surviving the past year and best wishes for the future.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sun Jan 20, 2013 14:27Report this post to the editors

The supply chain to create STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) pool needs attention to ensure economic growth in the Ireland going forward.

The recent BT Young Scientist of the year exhibition was held again this year at the RDS. BT it appears are again the main sponsor of this excellent event. It begs the question if Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) are involved in this funding or does it fall outside the realm? It would be interesting to hear from Professor Mark Ferguson as to how he views this pre-university/secondary school 4,500 students of potential incubator units of scientific exploration especially when one takes account of his years of experience with the Incubator faculty he created with his wife in the University of Manchester before floating Renovo as a public company.

SFI and Professor Mark Ferguson have been the subject of much debate among the academics in Ireland and in the media. Now is the time to start assessing his progress in the creation of jobs as under his auspices it was decided to enhance the commercialisation input to scientific projects. Now there must be definite assumptions as to potential of employment in a year by year basis. We need hope urgently.

Professor Mark Ferguson was invited to become Chief Scientific Adviser to the government last year without added remuneration. He may have a view in this new capacity too.

Brian Flannery

author by Researcherpublication date Mon Jan 21, 2013 15:58Report this post to the editors

In the article in The Irish Times on 14th Jan. 2013 where Mark Ferguson is interviewed by Dick Ahlstrom, Mr. Ferguson clearly nails his and SFI's problems: "He puts the difficulties down to poor communication". "Early on it was about communications, he says.........."

Given that Graham Love, SFI Director of Communications, is now bailing out (leaving SFI this month) this is Ferguson's farewell to Love.

However there is gross injustice here. SFI pays thousands of Euro each year to its spin doctors Fleishman-Hillard. Graham Love is blameless. Quangos like SFI should quit paying exhorbitant amounts of taxpayers money to their spin doctors.

author by Eagle Legal - Observerpublication date Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:53Report this post to the editors

First I want to congratulate Brian Flannery and Indymedia for bringing this ongoing scandal to the fore in relation to the massive waste of taxpayers money - just to enhance personal egos. I totally agree with Researcher in the above posting. SFI has hired a most expensive PR agency to promote their propaganda across to mainstream science in Ireland. But serious questions are arising again out of the murky waters of what really goes on behind the doors in SFI.

Inside sources have informed me that the amount of money spent by the taxpayers in 2012 was in the region of £400,000 on PR. This PR was solely to enhance Ferguson's CV yet SFI have consistently not disclosed the expenses and also are very consistent in not disclosing how many jobs were created by Ferguson who is now a full year at the helm. Also inside sources have informed me that serious bullying continues in SFI and the young people who are there doing Phd's are afraid to speak out. I would like to ask Una Clifford today to come out as HR manager at SFI and give us some clarity on the 360 + postings on this site. Presently, the race is on at SFI as to who get's the plane ticket and invite to the White House on St. Patrick's day. Ruth Freeman is to the fore again as she was last year. Where and when does the Gravy Train end? We are in a country where Frankfurt pays the costs and yet SFI seem to be immune from the austerity which the public experience.

Numerous lecturers on various campuses have deep concerns in relation to Ms Freeman who can travel globally at free will on taxpayers money. This coalition government made a solemn promise pre election 2011 that cronyism and free junkets would cease immediately. I would like to ask Dumb and Dumber today (Kenny and Gilmore) when will the Irish people get the opportunity to bring Ferguson and his cronies before an Oireachtas committee.

Eagle Legal

author by Evidential - Justicepublication date Thu Jan 24, 2013 13:44Report this post to the editors

As a retired semi-state worker with over 35 years experience I am bewildered at what I hear about the recent events within SFI and the cost to the Irish taxpayers. I never passed middle management and the only reason I can give is that I never joined any internal click.

In the last year reading Indymedia in general I want to state that we need this site and others to tell the Irish taxpayers what really is going on because lately I find the newspapers are being silenced by certain vested interests. Mark Ferguson is a failed businessman ie Renovo Manchester. I know this has been said again and again. He lands over in Ireland, takes over SFI as his new toy and also lands the job of Chief Scientific Adviser (conflict of interest?). Why the silence on this travesty and where is the opposition in asking the schoolboy Sherlock some hard questions? Una Clifford has bullied people for a number of years now and yet this woman has extended her behaviour outside the realms of her portfolio in HR. SFI in my opinion should be amalgamated into Enterprise Ireland and this would save the taxpayers millions.

Evidential

author by Finin McCool - Panic attack observerpublication date Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:41Report this post to the editors

In the year 2012 Ferguson did spend in excess of £400,000 on his own PR. Mark Tighe, Sunday Times, who came on Indymedia asking questions is still waiting for answers through the FOI papers he lodged 6 months ago. Also the Irish Daily Mail has lodged similar papers on behalf of the taxpayers of Ireland. My research in the last 6 months through sources in Enterprise Ireland have confirmed to me that only 32 jobs were created by SFI last year and of these 8 withdrew and left the country and others had their contracts terminated. As I write this I believe the Manchester Evening News is investigating historic data on Renovo. It is also alleged that Graham Love who left SFI last month is writing a book on his experiences on working in SFI and there is a possibility this will blow the story wide open and there may be some truth if good men stand up.

Well done to Brian Flannery and Indymedia for bringing this into the media. We need good citizen journalists too.

Finin McCool

author by Cavan man - Observer (accountant)publication date Sat Jan 26, 2013 15:09Report this post to the editors

SFI appears to be the Quango of all Quangos (see article Sunday Business post via web £60 million to R&D). The reality is it cannot operate without input from Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.

Ferguson seems to be on a one man crusade to take over the commercialisation of technology in the three key sectors - ICT, Pharma and medical devices for the purpose of his own C.V. Therein lies the conflict of interest so often referred to in the postings on this site. Add to this his appointment as Chief Scientific adviser to the government and his links to the failed Renovo, Manchester, in which he is supposed to hold 20 million shares.

SFI can be described as a Brand Name to enhance Ferguson's ego while failing to serve the needs of the Industrial base and more importantly education. There surely is a danger with Ferguson as head of SFI and as Chief Scientific adviser to the government that the Governments plans for innovation and job creation will not be met. It is not too extreme to say that Ferguson is a lame expensive duck and that SFI is a vanity organisation.

Cavan Man

Observer

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Jan 28, 2013 14:57Report this post to the editors

The race is on for St Paddy's Day. A list of SFI members are lobbying for places on the plane to the White House. Not a bad turn around for a failed Renovo boss to be able to pick and choose his cronies to travel by his side and Sherlocks on March 17th. The question is at what cost to the Irish taxpayers? Ruth Freeman and Una Clifford must be leading the pack at present. Sources within SFI suggest that there may be a case pending against HR in relation to alleged bullying in 2012.

More to come on this and Indymedia to the fore again.

Brian Flannery

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Fri Feb 01, 2013 14:11Report this post to the editors

Private companies now are making inroads into Irish science research. I noticed a good article written by Professor McInerney, Maynooth Univerisity recently when he endorsed many of the points made on this site. McInerney went onto say Ireland is going in the wrong direction and it will be to our detriment.

Ferguson is for profit, ego and long term research annoys him. Renovo failed from incompetence and quick greed decisions. I say it again why was he appointed to SFI and who pushed him over the line.

Questions need to be answered.

B Flannery

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Feb 04, 2013 14:51Report this post to the editors

The normal working hours in semi-state bodies and quangos is 9 to 5pm weekdays.

A case that is coming before Sean Sherlock in the coming weeks is the level of bullying in SFI during the month of June 2012. Una Clifford sent emails through her iphone at 9.50 pm at night instructing certain people who cannot be named for legal reasons at present, telling them not to attend certain science events during the ESOF held in Dublin in 2012. I have seen the papers and emails. This was a blatant intrusion to a person's home and privacy. Una Clifford also signed off on contracts without legal authority and Donal Keane is not supporting her on this issue. Donal is too wise and cute to get himself embroiled in a bullying issue.

This is another episode of what goes on internally at SFI and is soon to be printed in the national media.
Indymedia broke it first and also not one posting has been questioned by Sherlock or his cronies in relation to the hundreds of postings above.

Brian Flannery

author by Cuckoo Watch - Retired semi-statepublication date Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:27Report this post to the editors

Frank Ryan, CEO or Enterprise Ireland appeared before an Oireachtas Committee some days ago. When asked by Richard Boyd Barret how many jobs Enterprise Ireland had created in 2011, the answer was astonishing. Ryan replied that it was not a good year due to the current climate and we only produced 11 new businesses. This is coming from a man with a tax payers budget of more than one billion annually. Yet this made no mainstream media headlines and this to me is a shocking indictment of the lack of real news, this is lacking in the media at present.

Mark Ferguson is yet to appear before a committee in the Dail. Sources from within claim that he's biding for more time to find answers to a range of questions that are being prepared by a number of TDs in relation to the running, the cost and overall what is being done by SFI in relation to the benefit to the tax payers of Ireland.

Ferguson spent in excess of 400 thousand last year in relation to his own personal PR spin. How does this benefit Ireland in the current climate?

Cuckoo.

author by Mary Flanagan - Retired semi-statepublication date Thu Feb 07, 2013 13:17Report this post to the editors

In the last few months I have been reading Indymedia with deep interest. SFI - Science Foundation Ireland is the talk of the semi-state sector in general. I worked for over 30 years in various semi-state quangos and I have seen first hand the bullying the established so called classes and the elite who regularly travel as if they were using their own monies. All of the time I realised the waste that went on in semi-state bodies but reading the above postings in the last number of months it has brought home to me old memories I thought had gone out with various new codes of conduct. Sadly I see this is not true. It actually has got a lot worse. I now run my own small business and I struggle like the rest. First, I want to applaud Indymeia for bringing the crisis to the attention of thousands of people relating to SFI during 2012 and especially when Ferguson arrived in January of that year.

This man, has completely changed the future of science in this country from research for the better good of society to sadly the commercial vested interests of people who dwell in the shadows but who are there to make money on their private investments, I have my contacts still in Enterprise Ireland and in the last few days I now am informed that Ferguson will fight tooth and nail against some senior ministers, not to have SFI amalgamated into Enterprise Ireland. Ferguson, to be fair made some decisions that required urgency. There were certain staff at a very high level who had to be terminated. They were on salaries of almost £200,00 pa and they gave nothing in return to the Irish taxpayers. One individual who I won't name was completely eccentric and lacked basic people skills to the point where it became a well-known joke ie £3,500 per week for being non inclusive was the laugh of the hour 2 years ago. Ferguson in my opinion when he arrived did the right thing and terminated the contract.

Now on the negative side, Ferguson in my opinion was landed into SFI by pure cronyism from certain people on the board of directors who have since stood down. Ferguson also will never shake the Renovo monkey off his back because 350 job losses in Manchester will not go away so easy and when you draw down Stg£18 m with your wife Sharon O'Kane and still hold 20 million shares, it is well known throughout Irish semi-state that there is a bad taste in many peoples mouths. In the last number of weeks, other matters have come to the fore. Ferguson has aligned himself with Minister Pat Rabitte concerning the oil industry of the west coast and it is alleged that there is an English contingent of business men, some ex Renovo, who are part of his panel in this pursuit.

I will close by saying I am utterly shocked at like many other people who still work in semi-state who have shared their views with me that not one of the questions in the above postings have been addressed by Sherlock or the current Board of Directors. This in itself is a scandal. I again want to thank Brian Flannery and Indymedia for hosting this topic.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Feb 11, 2013 14:56Report this post to the editors

Speaking to inside sources in Enterprise Ireland some days ago - the story is that the strife continues in SFI. Since Graham Love's sudden departure allegations have been on the increase in relation to how Ferguson is running the show. The bullying continues and others it is believed are soon to leave in a matter of months.

It is reported that Labour and Sinn Fein members asked in the Dail last week about the costs involved in SFI and why it is not amalgamated into Enterprise Ireland. The cost of SFI is now £200 million approx annually and where are the benefits to the Irish tax payers. Cronyism continues yet cut-backs on the poor, people with disabilities, students at Third Level education, and the elderly sadly continue.

Where is the cost benefit analysis that tell us how many jobs these quangos create?

author by Mr Finn Bean - Academic scientistpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2013 13:43Report this post to the editors

FOI papers. Ferguson and those wagons are circled!

Last week after the long night and the Proms, some journalist addressed an Oireachtas Committee which included Kevin Humphry's Labour, and O'Snodaigh, Sinn Fein in relation to the break-down of freedom of information and the abuse of non interaction in giving out the appropriate information to taxpayers and citizens. At the moment 3 main Irish newspapers, thanks to Indymedia and the postings above, are awaiting information regarding Ferguson and certain emails he has blatantly refused to enter into the public domain. These emails are vital to the postings above because they relate his application to Sean Sherlock that he wanted old friends ie Renovo, Brooks and Max Royde, to be on the board of directors of SFI. Ferguson when asked by Mark Tighe in the Sunday Times refused to comment about his proposal to have Brooks and Royde on the board but emails within SFI prove the contrary. Taxpayers are still waiting for the FOI papers to be released and now we believe that Sean Sherlock is helping Ferguson block this information.

Clare Daly again last month has repeated her request for an independent audit in relation to travel expenses incurred by Ruth Freeman, Ferguson, Donal Keane and also the alleged illegal practices of Una Clifford in terminating contracts sometimes out of office hours. Again I ask the question - how many jobs has Ferguson, who stated on 2 Sunday newspapers that he runs the country, actually created since his arrival at Wilton Place. The silence in Sherlock's office is becoming an embarrassment and this scandal is not going to go away.

Graham Love who has left last month, it is alleged, is supposed to have approached publishers about a possible book based on cronyism in the semi-state and public sector. I applaud him for this. Better late than never to get a conscience.

Mr Finn Bean

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:15Report this post to the editors


I totally agree with Mr Bean above and as the old saying goes water hens can't survive without a transparent habitat. Freedom of information should mean exactly what it says. I watched a replay that a friend had taped for me and the committee had no answers except we will refer it on and note the absence of non transparency in relation to the multiple thousands of applicants who have sought FOI papers. An inside source has informed me, within SFI, that Ferguson is back to his old self. He is totally in charge and focused on science being commercialised in every area. In my time, years ago, at College studying, science and maths were taught with a focus on a sense of morality and ethics, the main concern was more long term and for the public good.

Mark Tighe is still waiting on FOI papers from SFI. Irish Independent and the Daily Mail and two English newspapers are now following this saga. Ferguson may hide behind Minister Sherlock but two independent TD's informed me, while in Buswells last week, that they are well aware of the ongoing criticism of SFI and they get their information directly from Indymedia. I also would like to know why Ferguson bluffed last year in seeking High Court documents of peoples' IP numbers from UPC and Eircom. The reason I say the word bluff - there is no record of the application in the High Court either this year or last year.

Two of the SFI directors, it is believed, are standing down from the board this year. One is based in a University in California, Dr Martina Newell-McLoughlin. This comes as a surprise because she had her sights set on Ferguson's role when he finally will step down. Again, the question we need to know on behalf of the Irish taxpayers is: What connections and influence has Max Royde and Mr Brooks of Renovo, Manchester, Ferguson's friends in relation to science in this country?

This problem lies at the desk of Sherlock and if one reads through each posting of the above and the hundreds of questions that could implicate students in years to come, it is bizarre that not one single question has been answered by Sherlock's office.

Brian Flannery

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Feb 22, 2013 15:03Report this post to the editors

Having read again some of the comments to this post I find myself baffled. The delay in any of the sought information being released is clearly the opposite of that intended with the act. Is it that the true purpose of the act is to baffle? Or perhaps being simply labelled an act is sufficient to warrant pretence.

This together with yesterdays news has a distinct odour of corruption. As SFI, NAMA is a state organisation with apparent immunity from control. NAMA is populated by ex-developers who if the news yesterday is to be believed, has a wish to return to the times of excessive pretence. An image comes to mind of a shouting full haired tennis player shouting, 'you cannot be serious!' By which I refer of course to the active absence of transparency, concealed beyond a façade of what appears to be stupidity. Stupid silence generates more active questioning, unless the aim of our authorities is to engender complete apathy. It is disturbing to note their possible success in this regard.

One issue raised some months was whether it is intended to abolish SFI completely. IBRC has suffered with little notice a fate that could easily (and incorrectly used) to merge SFI with EI.

However, as with IBRC, the questions would remain. The release of information after the abolition of an organisation creates no opportunity to make valuable corrections. The fear, as with the proposed new property boom, is that with each new organisation there are more of the familiar abuses.

author by Robert Richardspublication date Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:39Report this post to the editors

Further power is being thrust on SFI with the channelling of funds to the proposed centres. What autonomy will each of these centres have? Will the funds be allocated on the basis of projects or on the reputation of the institution? The focus on jobs will according to many academics result in a detrimental diluting of science resources in Ireland.

It is reported that UCC is to host a disproportionately high number of these centres. Is there a correlation between this and the fact that Sean Sherlock is from Cork?

Who has the power?

author by Blake - Science: Where to now?publication date Tue Feb 26, 2013 15:24Report this post to the editors

The powers that be did embrace change at SFI as can be seen from the foregoing postings which detail Professor Mark Ferguson's arrival at Wilton Terrace and his management style which ousted the entrenched public service mindsets in favour of the private sector philosophy. He appears to be, based on the Dick Ahlstrom article in today's Irish Times, the man who is capable of usurping the skeptical academics who sought pure research, and is the person in favour of much needed research that aims to prioritise job creation. The outcome is that the Government is kick-starting the radical reform of how it actually invests in scientific research.

Rumour has it that Professor Mark Ferguson, formerly Renovo AIM listed public company and possibly still a prominent shareholder, arrived in Ireland as a man with a vision and it most definitely appears that he has shared that vision especially with those who had been visionless to date. There is a massive shift and the academics especially related to STEM are side stepped. Yesterday, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Burton and Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock made the dramatic announcement of yet another new pillar for Professor Mark Ferguson concerning the creation of seven new research centres, funded by SFI. What we are witnessing is an academic entrepreneur with the courage to make significant changes with the private sector impetus of profit counts and so does employment.

One year later, we witness the operation of mergers to create more defined clusters relating to more specific areas for research. Nine centres for science, engineering and technology (CSETs) together with 18 other strategic research clusters will be replaced over time by seven new research centres. The work of CSET's and third-level institutions are granted merit for moving Ireland gradually up the league tables for science from 36th a decade ago to 20th today. The decision to employ Professor Mark Ferguson marks the new direction going forward and to date his strategy, his mindset as an entrepreneur, his vision leaves us under no illusion but difference is enbraced and change lies ahead with profit as the driver.

The question is how powerful has Professor Ferguson become: Are the Academics still shell shocked or is this a man who can move Ireland further up the league tables in science? After all, Renovo failed dismally, shareholders lost millions and many jobs were lost in Manchester. We need to remind ourselves that it is discovery science that will lose out. Yet, times are changing, new professions are being created and often in the health related areas eg augmentation memory surgeons is a good example. There appears to be no provision for neuroscience and mental health related.

Yes, we need vision but we also need to ensure that profit as the key driver in science does not stifle creativity and discovery. Mr Ferguson is 13 months in Ireland. This man has a powerful fund of hundreds of millions of taxpayers money at his disposal, he has access through his connection in Renovo to highlight potential investments in his role as DG of SFI, as Chief Scientific adviser to cherry pick and now we have handed over another £200 million to SFI under his auspices. Contrary to the title about cronyism, this man is about the opposite surely.

A final word: Have the academics who wrote prolifically about their fears anything to say now?

It is worth considering the key points of Dick Ahlstrom's article today: & think all in 13 months since appointment.

7 research centres to be established with six year budget worth £300 million

£100 million in cash and kind from 156 private sector partner companies;

800 research jobs to be created as a result of the investment;

27 existing research centres to be closed down or amalgamated into new centres at the end of their budgeted life-time up to 2017;

UCC has four of the seven centres, with TCD hosting one and UL another;

Research areas covered include big data, advanced food research, marine energy, disease diagnosis in perinatal infants, nanotechnology; the use of light to run faster computers and drug development and syntheis.

The big question still stands from the onset of these postings:

Are there any conflicts of interest?

and for that matter - what have the trade unions to say when we consider workers who will possibly lose jobs in vital areas such as health, Gardai and education?

author by marie Winterpublication date Wed Feb 27, 2013 13:11Report this post to the editors

Blake, your contribution above mirrors the spin and doctoring of the Dept. of Enterprise and Innovation as reported in the national media. They would do Dr. Goering proud! Yours however has the distinction of healthy skeptism and disbelief.

The preported creation of 800 high end jobs is fanciful. Does SFI means perhaps that they will reshuffle the cards and recreate the jobs already held by leaders of these research teams and their post doc. students? To be sure keeping post docs. of the dole register is indeed a worthy cause but don't try to pawn that off as job creation. How many of these will be part-time, short term contracts?What about their favourite catch phrase "sustainability"?

The new research centres are laughable, another reshuffling game, but this time 4 of the 7 are going to Cork, the minister's vote base, how very convenient!!!

All this to be spear headed by a man who not long ago claimed (among other preposterous claims) that research started in Europe 400 years ago. He even suggested that he is showing us how to commercialise research. Will someone tell him this has been done since the beginning of commerce. This government and the leaders of universities and 3rd level Institutes (by their cow towing to SFI in the hope of large funds coming their way) have done Irish Science a hughe dis-service. From a slow but sure beginning in world calss research they have set us back years, all in the name of the euro. They will be remembered for their spirit of self-service.

author by Manchester Voice. - Ex Renovo worker.publication date Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:40Report this post to the editors

Reading the above comments my old Boss came a long way from losing 250 jobs at Renovo in Manchester to running Irelands science
future his way and let no one be a critic. Ferguson promised us jobs for life and that Renovo would be a Global leader in the market of scar
tissue and wound healing how fooled we were. English taxpayers lost 120 million investors lost millions and now we read he is a shining light
in Ireland. Ferguson still keeps Renovo afloat and holds 21 million shares. Where are the Irish taxpayers in all of this some have to stand up
and ask Ferguson the questions he wont answer. Beware///
Ex Renovo.

author by Sinead O'Callaghan - Retired semi-statepublication date Mon Mar 04, 2013 13:14Report this post to the editors

Mark Ferguson came to these shores 14 months ago. Behind him he left the legacy of failure, job losses and a bill for the English taxpayer of £100 million sterling. Now Sherlock and Bruton have appointed him as SFI DG and also to the post of Chief Scientific adviser to this Coalition government. Last week he was given a further £300 million of taxpayers money on top of the £200 million allocated to SFI each year. I do know that this has sent alarm bells through the corridors of the universities and various semi-state bodies. It is also alleged that Frank Ryan CEO of Enterprise Ireland is due to resign in the autumn and rumours are surfacing from semi-state heads that Ferguson has put his name forward to replace Frank Ryan. I dread to think that this man can run three or possibly more portfolios as I would hope, if these rumours are true, he would leave SFI to somebody independent and capable. Many people behind the scenes in the science arena are deeply concerned and I ask them now to stand up and stop the cronyism and I put the question to Minister Sherlock how come four academics have left SFI in the last 14 months while Ferguson is now free to place his own team around him. Don't forget this man played the same game in Renovo in Manchester and don't forget the legacy left there.

I worked for 32 years in semi-state and I have never seen the level of cronyism and corruption that is around Ireland at present under the Labour-Fine Gael Government.

Sinead O'Callaghan

author by fly on the wallpublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 18:23Report this post to the editors

If Mark Ferguson is as big a blatherer as Enterprise Ireland's CEO Frank Ryan, he should be well able for the job. Besides the enormous salary and pension that Ryan is undeservedly paid, think of the perks,the chauffeur-driven car, his car and horse box being insured by the tax payer ( that is if Ferguson races the nag and doesn't it have instead of a big mac), paid lunches and wine bills (why does the taxpayer pay for Ryan's meals considering the €400K salary?), etc, etc, it's a cushy wine-and-dine number to have.
With his amazing leadership, Frank Ryan managed to create 6 jobs net, I'm sure Ferguson doesn't have to worry about the targets in that case, just laugh all the way to the bank.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:45Report this post to the editors

As we are all aware next week the jumbo jets fly all the elites from the semi-states in Ireland to the White House. I wonder is Horse on the menu this year. Sources tell me the bitching has already begun in SFI and also in Enterprise Ireland and we can also include Tourism Ireland this year. SFI's Ruth Freeman has stated in internal emails that mistakes of last year will not be repeated. With Graham Love, Dodds, Murtagh, and others who have been deleted by Ferguson in the twelves months since his arrival, Freeman states clearly she has the right this year, as director of communications, she has now the right to go to the White House. However Ruth may not get her wish because Julie Sinneman and Mark Christal of Enterprise Ireland have their names on the same ticket. Next week the Irish taxpayers fork out over £1 million euros for these ego trippers.

Let us all not forget Minister Phil Hogan's trip to Dubai recently. Big Phil brought home no jobs but sources tell me he brought home one hell of a hangover from the champagne and the best of food (cuisine).

Have we not learned from the FAS junkets of five years ago - the scandal. When does the cronyism stop? Kenny and Gilmore pre-Election promises to end the quangos and the free junkets - my arse.

Brian Flannery

author by Comyn - Justicepublication date Fri Mar 08, 2013 15:55Report this post to the editors

St Patrick's day at the White House Mr Flannery sounds a competitive advantage mentality at loggerheads between DG of SFI and the DG of Enterprise Ireland accentuated by the desire to be part of the chosen elite.

If memory serves me correctly, M Ferguson must already have lost the battle here because his salary is supposed to fall under the £200,000 mark, and yet without an increase in salary, he welcomed the gesture by the present Government to make him Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government without any addition of pay. Recently, he has received a further tranche of millions to divest also.

This surely sums up our public service. Those last in face adjusted salary/expenses/pension provisions while the entrenched public sector careerists have become grossly over remunerated and as for their pensions like our retired coterie of Government officials mainly aged in their 50's these people, they retire on hefty pension pots sustained by the people who continue to work and have money deducted from their pension schemes. It is no wonder the Judiciary now have to contribute for 20 years and the amount has move from 4% to 13%.

Cost benefit analysis is urgently needed. Also horses for courses too. The dichotomy above merits attention and whose performance renders the best results for a fairer distribution of cost to the taxpayer!

The creation of jobs is urgent. 450,000 is too many. Add to this the number of people emigrating.

author by Angus Russell - Semi State observerpublication date Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:13Report this post to the editors

Angus Russell CEO, Shire (Dow Jones stock exchange) stated in 2007 his company lost US$75 million it paid to Renovo now (AIM listed). The collapse of the Shire-Renovo deal was ranked at No 2 of the top ten bio-tech deal failures of 2011. It signaled the end of Renovo and Ferguson.

Angus Russell, it is mooted, is shocked to the core at the Ferguson arrival of Ireland and his rise to fame under Sherlock and Minister Bruton. In an interview recently Russell went on to state that he finds Ferguson's appointment to SFI and also to the position as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government totally bizarre and cautions members of the Irish science world given Ferguson's past record of losing hundreds of millions in business deals.

Also since Renovo's failure arrival the rise of Ruth Freeman in the last 12 months is also baffling given the exodus of top scientists who were forced out to make way for such promotions. Cronyism it seems to me from reading Indymedia over the last 6 months is worse now than ever it was under the last Government.

Angus Russell

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Tue Mar 12, 2013 13:01Report this post to the editors

The above posting is totally correct. The CEO of Shire Mr Russell is not a happy man in the year 2013. Reading recently on an English scientific magazine, Russell stated that one of his biggest disappointments as CEO of Shire was believing in the bluff and huf that Ferguson spun out on a monthly basis in Manchester regarding Renovo. We now know the facts. Renovo never produced a single drug or scar healing/wound medication - not even a single tablet yet it left a legacy of debts and losses between investors workers and loans exceeding £250 million. As Shire's CEO stated how could Ferguson be appointed Ireland's Chief Scientific Adviser to the government of Ireland as well as the role of DG of Science Foundation Ireland.

Several journalists and politicians are still waiting on documents that Irish taxpayers should see on how Ferguson treats people and how he deletes people in the last 12 months in Wilton Place. His new interest also expands to the west of Ireland and offshore oil. This again is causing alarm bells among the Irish science fraternity and rightly so. This week he will fly out to Washington as the God of Irish science and believes in his own mind that Renovo-Manchester and the millions lost was a 100 years ago.

Anybody reading the above postings can see clearly the major conflict of interests here. I believe it is only a short time away before this matter becomes an issue for a High Court case on behalf of the Irish taxpayers or some form of a tribunal of inquiry.

B Flannery

author by Celtic Mist - Observerpublication date Thu Mar 14, 2013 14:43Report this post to the editors

Ferguson, it is alleged has threatened to walk if his salary is not upgraded to that of CEO of Enterprise Ireland's Frank Ryan which is £420,000 plus expenses, car and driver, pension etc. Sources within semi-state have informed their outside contacts that a rift is getting bitter between Ferguson (failed Renovo boss) and Ryan, Enterprise Ireland. Sherlock is trying in vain to play down the rift and has asked advisers to uncap Ferguson's pay. Morale is at an all time low at SFI, Wilton Place and most of the senior staff including some eminent scientists have already left.

Ryan will not be bullied by Renovo or Ferguson and as one source stated Ryan remarked that one should just look to Ferguson's past record which gives a clear view of this man's failures to achieve objectives and the subsequent loss of 250 jobs in Manchester and the millions lost to the pharmaceutical giant Shire and to the English taxpayers. This is only starting to heat up now.

The Manchester Evening news reports that Manchester aims to re-position itself and is hoping to become a Science centre. What we can we infer from this? Renovo is still quoted on AIM. Consistently, the idea of conflicts of interest have been raised on this site. Do we know who are the shareholders of Renovo now and is there a conflict of interest now?

Celtic Mist

author by Robert Richardspublication date Fri Mar 15, 2013 16:59Report this post to the editors

It has been said that is we fail to learn from history we will be doomed to repeat it. I would be very surprised if Mark Ferguson has forgotten about Renovo. If he has we are doomed, it appears that if It the posts are true we are still doomed. The opportunities that present through SFI and as Chief Government Advisor are huge. It would be a fool who would forget Renovo in this light, Mark Ferguson is not a fool. It would take high ethics and strong character to avoid such a resurrection when presented with conflicting interests of the kinds noted.
Perhaps the esteemed intellect that is our Government could make an offer to SFI that additional salary as sought could be offered in the form of commission for every job created. I imagine that many unemployed scientists would be satisfied to offer 5% of their salary if it made the difference between having a job and lining up for social welfare. With Mark Ferguson as the new science god and a man who can run a country, I'm sure he could provide jobs for the 15% unemployed in these lean lands.

author by Brian Flannery - Semi-State and cronyismpublication date Tue Mar 19, 2013 15:53Report this post to the editors

Yes, I most definitely agree with the previous poster. Mr Ferguson appears to be so capable and eminent he should be encouraged to negotiate a deal based on creating suitable employment for the many people in desperate need of an opportunity to work ('in our lean lands').

Our begging bowl is out. Our junkets have gone far and wide to talk of Ireland's debtor status plight (that one where the creditors say no write-down possible but plunder perhaps). Now is the time for us to make an assessment as to what gains are to be made from this approximate £2.5 million cost for junkets. Rumours state that Mark Ferguson and Ruth Freeman from SFI got as far as Washington but did not get to the White House. It appears they didn't get to the closing of the New York Stock Exchange either like O'Reilly junior and Denis O'Brien.

We need pay-back. We need jobs created. We need vision. The US say they need more entre-preneurs and Ireland does too. SFI DG and Chief Science Adviser - what have you to say. According to Maire Geoghegan-Quinn 2020 Horizon is not getting the attention it should receive from Ireland regarding research funds.

author by Misty Clouds ahead - Semi-States and Cronyismpublication date Mon Mar 25, 2013 14:06Report this post to the editors

The junkets are all back from the global exodus of the Paddy Day charade on taxpayers money.

Members of SFI headed by Ferguson were in Washington and sources from certain links tell us that it was not a happy gathering. Apparently, members of the Irish scientific diaspora put hard questions to Ferguson in relation to Renovo and the dismissal of five prominent people in SFI in the past 12 months. One Enterprise Ireland source informed us that Indymedia was again mentioned to Ferguson concerning why not one question was answered.

Keep it going lads - the bubble is about to bust. I also see Sean Sherlock's seat is on an exit door come the next election.

Misty Clouds ahead

author by Mary Ormsby - Semi-state retiredpublication date Fri Mar 29, 2013 13:54Report this post to the editors

Labour yesterday got the answer and Gilmore now needs to get out but who will take over - could it be Sean Sherlock? Sherlock was given a free reign in relation to science and maths and the future of our students in this country. What has happened since is listed in the over 400+ postings. Semi-state sources have informed me in the last number of weeks that Sherlock is trying to cover his back relating to the appointment of Mark Ferguson, Renovo and now chief of SFI plus Chief Adviser to this ailing coalition government. It is ironic that Sherlock is trying to distance himself in relation to Ferguson because he has backed him up in relation to the top five academics who were pushed out of Wilton Place in the last 12 months. Richard Bruton, it appears now is trying to play catch-up and is asking some serious questions as to the direction of SFI and where Ferguson and his private investors (Kestril) are taking science in Ireland. In all my years working in semi-state I have never witnessed the rumours, the back-biting, but above all the cover-ups relating to certain appointments and dismissals in SFI which is only created in 2001.

Also former Minister Batt O'Keefe who ran Enterprise Ireland pre 2011 has written personally to Enda Kenny in relation to the appointment of Ferguson. The question I want to ask today is: The Board of Directors in SFI has changed in the last few months; some have left, and it appears they have not been replaced at present. The Sunday Times in 2012 revealed that Ferguson had asked internally that Max Royde and Jamie Brooks (Kestril) and two former associates of the failed Renovo should be admitted to the SFI board. There is a mist of uncertainty at the moment in this decision making process. Also, my final question - where are the jobs that Ferguson promised Enda Kenny directly in an internal email which at the moment is in the hands of certain journalists and will be appearing in the newspapers shortly. Only for this site, Indymedia, and Brian Flannery, the Irish taxpayers would never have known the background and the scandal that yet has to be fully investigated relating to the appointment of Ferguson and his 20 million shares in Renovo and the sacking of our home grown academics who challenged him in 2012. This topic in my opinion will open up shortly and hopefully the Irish taxpayers will get the full truth Sherlock should make a statement in total clarity in the Dail.

The conflicts of interest are now so obvious it is becoming an embarrassment. The questions are above but why is Sherlock afraid to give the answers. Who really is protecting Ferguson and what people are involved in the vested interest of profit. Science is for our young people and it is not to be abused by cronyism with profit motive as the driver.

Mary Ormsby

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Tue Apr 02, 2013 15:27Report this post to the editors

In reply to Mary, I agree in total. The Sunday Times are waiting for the Freedom of Information papers to give the Irish taxpayers the full disclosure of Ferguson and SFI, Wilton Place. We now live in penal times of austerity yet this small semi-state SFI is a law onto itself. Ferguson seems to be unaccountable. Una Clifford is still operating as a legal advisor in relation to employees contracts yet her position is in human resources. The Board of Directors at present has vacancies and Ferguson is alleged to have free reign as to who gets the nod. Sherlock is a lame duck and seems to have lost control. Clare Daly seems to have been side-tracked alas by Ferguson. It baffles how a failed ego-driven dentist can hold so much power? People are suffering while they wine and dine and it appears there is not a single job created. What's going on? Would someone stand up and talk?

Brian Flannery

author by Bavaria - Resources & Job Creationpublication date Sun Apr 07, 2013 15:26Report this post to the editors

SFI shifted gear when Ferguson became Chief Executive in 2012. Eminent scientists did not have their contracts renewed, if they were not commercial return orientated within a much shorter time scale than previously fostered. STEM suffered in this sea change.

What has been lost is a question to be asked? There is an interesting letter in the Irish Times about Wavebob and other firms like it .... yes, they are finding it difficult to get funding. Wavebob - an Ocean energy developer is about to become a non commercial enterprise ie go out of business.

What has SFI to say about this? Surely the Ocean is about resources in Ireland yet the Government appears to see no potential in ventures like this. The vision is lost to commercialisation of science with immediate pay-back. However, this area is where jobs would be created and at a local level. It seems that a potential science project spanning decades merits no support when those who make the critical decisions are biased. A potential of 20-30 years industry is too farsighted to ensure votes in the next election or for that matter to ensure financial packages for Chief Executives who gain funding on results.

Bavaria

author by fredpublication date Sun Apr 07, 2013 21:43Report this post to the editors

we have abundant wave and wind resources off the coast of Ireland. It's the ideal location for wave power. It's totally short sighted to let that go in favour of tax dodging US corporations.

Either that or they want to let indigenous enterprises starve so that when they collapse, their big corporate pals will be able to take over a future profitable and sustainable enterprise, with all the hard work done, and then slip them a fat envelope.

Can't have the natives exploiting their own natural resources for their own gain can we?

author by Darby O'Gillpublication date Mon Apr 08, 2013 18:28Report this post to the editors

SFI are in existence for 12 years now. There's been four people at the helm as director general, the current being Mark Ferguson, the failed entrepreneur of Renovo in Manchester. I agree with Fred that something is rotting in our semi-state across the board, but SFI and its new policies under Ferguson are not working. With now over one year in control and his letter written to Enda Kenny two months into his tenure claiming that he would provide hundreds of jobs, where are the jobs? No questions have been answered. Few jobs appear to have been created, if any! Where is the tax payers money going? Is this a gamble too far? At the moment, Sean Sherlock is debating with himself, would he joining Nessa Childers and leave the labour sinking ship. If this happens it will definitely weaken Fergusons position as being untouchable in SFI, because Sherlock was the main instigator of Fergusons appointment from Renovo in Manchester., to SFI in January 2012.

7 of Renovos investors who combined lost about £35 million in their investment wrote to minister Sherlock in November of 2011 advising him not to appoint Ferguson as Director General of SFI. Not alone did Sherlock ignore these people but he put Ferguson up for Chief Science Advisor to the Government, this was fulfilled. At the moment Sherlock is trying to distance himself from this debacle.

Please Mr. Sherlock, Please! Clear this mess up before you abandon the Labour Party.

Darby

author by Brian Flannery - Secrets of Cronyism publication date Fri Apr 12, 2013 15:32Report this post to the editors

I again go back to the letter Mark Ferguson sent to Enda Kenny, Taoiseach, in April 2012. It is said to have detailed the promise of 100 jobs+ to be created by his team in SFI in the science sector. Ferguson has huffed and puffed and we must now ask the question how many jobs have actually been created by SFI. The absence of rhetoric and spin suggests the answer is none. If this is so, it is like Ferguson's Renovo endeavours when not one trial drug passed approval Could SFI performance be about another failure?

Ireland under Sherlock rewards failure in SFI. Ferguson's salary is not £185,000 yearly, it is £245,000 plus expenses. We are still waiting for the FOI papers!

To end this piece: Ferguson and wife Sharon O'Kane have been made honorary members of the Royal Irish Academy, and the RDS. This man has plans for Ireland and his associates (those related to Renovo) are currently tendering for oil exploration off the west coast of Ireland. Where are the jobs created as promised by SFI. The credo changed within scientific research to more commercially driven entities so where are they? Bobcat, the plans for ocean driven wind with a long-term scope is facing obliteration, not commercial enough it seems, within a limited time span. Scientists were eager in earlier postings to cite their reservations about Mark Fergusons. What does their absence from comment in recent times suggest? Maybe, the new broom has swept clean and they are satisfied with his performance. Speak out either way.

Brian Flannery

Brian Flannery

author by Blackbird of Avondale - Performance Semi-Statepublication date Mon Apr 15, 2013 15:38Report this post to the editors

The Unions are in negotiation, some say yes to Croke II but others say No. What we really need in Ireland now is to tackle unemployment (nearly 500,000 unemployed), create enterprise and economic growth. Austerity is not working but the question is have we tackled the age old question of cutting cloth according to its measure yet. This is the hard question and we need to ask it and get answers. The cost benefit analysis needs to be applied to the public sector which is now so much more privileged than those eeking out an existence in the private sector which is deprived of credit by the ineptiude of our banking sector and coalition government.

At present in the semi-state sector some tragic facts are emerging. Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland went before the Oireachtas Committee some weeks ago. When he was asked about funding by the Irish taxpayers to his sector he said it was in excess of £900 million ie almost £1 Billion of funding. Ryan admitted his salary is in excess of £440,000 annually plus expenses and he no doubt holds a gold plated pension. The tornardo that ensued should cause great dissent - he said that only 11 jobs were created by Enterprise Ireland in 2011.

Is this a sick joke and yet there is no media coverage? Why? Bruton has the people muzzled. Where is that interesting poster on this site called 'Precious Flesh', nearly year later, what have you to say? Then we have Ferguson, in SFI who is basically saying to the Irish taxpayer that it is none of your business about how he effects his dual roles - DG of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government. Nobody cares sufficient to refute the conflict of interests theory.

Cronyism is alive and well - even getting stronger.

Black Bird of Avondale

author by Brian Flannery - Semi-State Sector elites SFIpublication date Sun Apr 21, 2013 16:07Report this post to the editors

Looking at Ferguson's (Director General and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government) latest website on SFI - it makes me laugh and cry. It portrays to the naked eye a world class business but when you take the time to go through it in detail as I have, the message clearly states, it is about one man and that is Ferguson. There are photo shoots in the Aras with President Michael D. Higgins and other various photos on Ferguson's travels across America and the business world. Conflicts of interest and the questions posed so frequently in the media and beyond still remain unanswered. All we know is that this man Ferguson's super ego is pandered to.

Where are the jobs he promised?

One section in particular on the SFI web page caught my eye - and that is the section related to molecular research and scar tissue. This re-iterates that Renovo is still alive and well in Manchester and unless circumstances have changed we note that Mark Ferguson holds 20 million shares and he runs SFI and is Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government also and surely this indicates that there are blatant conflicts of interest (s).

So many questions and yet not a single answer.

Brian Flannery

author by Taxpayers watch on - Taxpayers against cronyismpublication date Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:57Report this post to the editors

Yesterday, in total and absolute amazement I read in the Irish Independent about the "Hilton Wilton" or maybe "Wilton Hilton" - the offices of the IDA, Forfas, SEAI, Enterprise Ireland and of course Science Foundation Ireland. It balances out at £9,000 a loo to have a poo and work out who do you do - the answer of course being the Irish taxpayers. 78 toilets in that D2 "Wilton Hillton" semi state palace at the cost of £700,000. Professor Ferguson said we have a lot of overseas business elites who need a proper seat so that they can read the Irish Times and it is these people who demand a standard in relation to the super loos in the EU.

In simple English what Ferguson is really saying that they will fly over on free junkets, sit on the gold plated rims on the seat of the loos and crap on the Irish taxpayers. Ferguson created 2 jobs in 2012 and now we have this scandal.

On the phone this morning an inside source in Forfas told me this is the greatest scandal and it is summed up as the biggest crap she experienced in her career.

Renovo Ferguson is laughing and crapping all his way to the bank.

This article can be checked out on yesterday's Irish Independent.

author by Through fire justice is servedpublication date Thu Apr 25, 2013 17:39Report this post to the editors

It’s clear from the thread that a lot of people are exasperated from the antics of Ferguson and even more so with Sean Sherlock, the Labour Minister responsible for his appointment.
And although people are looking forward to the Next General Elections where they can wipe out the Labour Party, people should take due care to consider the Labour activists who are employed and also appointed to state boards. Not only do Labour activists have influence over the running of semi-state boards such as the SFI and Enterprise Ireland but they also have influence over the unions’ involvement in the semi-state bodies such as closed shop agreements.

One notable Labour activist who oversees questionable activity in the area of Irish Investment and Human resources is Niall O’Donnellan. He spent a considerable time on community boards and also FAS, (and we all know what a reputable body that is). He certainly didn’t leave a trail of fire to rival Copernicus in his wake, it’s who you know not what you know in these precious sphere.
Now his appointment and his decision-making in Irish Investment services, an area that heavily relies on the taxpayer’s money and good faith, has been questioned by a few conscientious employees in EI.
Certain companies are receiving cash in their bank accounts without proper procedures, transparent reasons and full conditions being checked, most notably a dubious waste recycling operator causing havoc in Dublin city and a former Presidential Candidate who was criticised for receiving money for his company that was not used for proper purpose. Pressure is being put on staff to sign their names to projects, payments and inspections under threats of bullying yet the unions do nothing as there are special ties between the semi-states and the Labour- controlled unions on site.
The Comptroller and Auditor General have proven to be toothless and hands-off in the area of audit checks and are more interested in checking staff cross the T’s and dot the I’s rather then viewing the choice of clients and the preferential choice of funding that some receive over others.
If ordinary workers object they are told, ‘we are in a time of need’ , or ‘give me your signature or I’ll go after you’ from the managers, etc.

It’s also well known that Donnellan sanctions the skills of EI researchers and technologists to be better used not looking after the new companies of tomorrow in Enterprise Ireland but sends them over to Wilton Place to do the work of the IDA. So when a start-up business is looking for skilled knowledge and expertise they discover that the expert that they need is too busy serving the needs of the multi-nationals in the IDA. And we wonder why start-ups complain of a lack of support? Wonder no more.

It’s Labour’s treachery that has made the fight against austerity even more difficult to fight and in future people should not welcome the deserting rats from the sinking Labour ship so readily. Just because Labour are defeated in the polls does not mean it’s the end of Labour. These rats will cosy up to people in other campaigns, community, property, family rights, etc and bide their time until the tide turns again while shoring up cushy public positions.

With the result of CP2, public sector workers need to wake up and start whistle blowing against a circle of greed, cronyism and corruption in the semi-states. Croke Park has shown that the union official stands on the same side of the boss. Some sense of Reality is setting in with the upcoming paycuts and semi-state workers need to organise and collectively cross the line and drag in the likes of the Director of Corporate Enforcement on these bodies. Enterprise Ireland, like the IDA, is another useless quango being used to prop up another political old boys’ network that only endeavours to serve the needs of a corrupt circle of nepotism and special business interests.

By the way Niall, why are Enterprise Ireland organising so many meetings in the nearby and cushy Clontarf Castle for Enterprise Ireland’s executive directors so regularly. There’s only ten of them after all.
Are the toilets in EI not good for them? Etc, etc.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:25Report this post to the editors

It would appear from the posts recently on this topic that the quasi or self proclaimed elite of Europe are literally shitting on Ireland. We have the claimed infamy of the CEO of SFI and with relation to the Independent article a director of BOI who it appears has too been chased from his previous jurisdiction. When extradition is implemented for fiscal criminals will those toilets be transported to the scrubs of British goals.

Who has allowed this? What intelligent politicians are responsible for the orchestration of this litany of fiasco? These questions have been answered in these posts and in other media. Not by the guilty but by the unprotected whistle blowers. Is it that the most conscientious of those in this land are relegated to the mere servitude of Mammon and the self serving dumped from other places where they are no longer welcome.

Without the evidence that has been sought it is impossible to confirm the claims of these posts. It is together with the implementation of many, varied and punitive constraints on the people of this fair land (more like fare ground) that the true conscientious and educated elite are being forced to flee. Their gain is our loss.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Apr 27, 2013 15:49Report this post to the editors

Looking at the above postings, the word corruption rings out for Enterprise Ireland with the inference that it is widespread in our public sector. If we don't want to use the word 'corruption' maybe now is the time to start seeking out 'waste' within this bloated public overly bureaucratic and enriched sector. SFI is the junior member here. Ferguson is gradually making his presence known across the semi-state sector. As stated in the previous posting, it seems that certain former Fianna Fail cronies made a lot of money for their friends via the grants coming from EI in the starting up of fledgling/incubator companies particularly from the 1980's onwards.

Ferguson is playing the same game in SFI and this time Labour under Sherlock are part of repeating similar potentially corrupt game plans. Certain people who donate to SFI are favoured as a priority along with their friends. This culture has not changed, so kid yourself not.

Corruption and corruption in the form of waste of valuable resources and this includes human resources is booming and sadly the Irish taxpayers are paying a very heavy price. Niall O'Donnellan EI is a well known advocate of the cronyism school along with Mark Crystal, Treston and many more.

Figures revealed today about absenteeism in the HSE costing us £223 million (1.1 million sick days) a year should urge us (before the public sector start striking) to review what 'sick' culture still exists and at what cost to the taxpayers and citizens of Ireland?

Brian Flannery

author by Eagle Eye - Semi-State cronyism, waste, even corruptionpublication date Mon Apr 29, 2013 15:57Report this post to the editors

Through fire justice is served

What can I say? The postings on this Indymedia site (and other media sources) state that much time is spent kindling the embers, while we patiently await the stoking of the fire to access the realisation of the waste, cronyism, corruption embedded in the public sector culture. Do we ask about the links between our trade unions to the quangos, to FAS, to our elite semi-state sector at the expense of the taxpayers and citizens of Ireland. Pertinent flesh, we need to hear more. Through fire justice is served, keep writing.

The role of cronyism is rampant in Enterprise Ireland and SFI. Recently a group went on a junket to Cork (usually it is to Harvard or Florida!). 8 certain individuals dined and wined in a gathering of the self-endorsing established elite of our semi-state. The hotel, top of the range, provided golf, oratory and song, for three nights. The menu, the wine, expense beyond what is acceptable for the ordinary human being goes without saying. Expense accounts need to be tackled, the moral compass needs to forcus on the hardship presently experienced by so many and it is not much for the taxpayers and citizens of Ireland to expect from these semi-state captains of industry to exercise caution and restraint when spending their money under the guise of expenses. We only need to look to what happened in FAS when Shane Ross researched and highlighted the indulgence and expenditures of the self appointed elites. Waste not our money on expenses, we want urgently to create jobs.

Ferguson is travelling again across the Atlantic on free trips (no FOI papers yet to clarify any relevant conflict of interest situations) and we should ask - on behalf of WHO? Is it SFI or Renovo? Sherlock and the finance civil servants - for f...k sake Wake Up. Time to do a cost benefit analysis, assess the jobs created from the decision to commercialise science (STEM) policy in Ireland and if needs be then close down the SFI quango. This scandal will continue for a long time to come.

Eagle Eye

author by The Rose of Clare - Irish Veterans Societypublication date Thu May 02, 2013 13:31Report this post to the editors

Sherlock won't answer the questions. Ferguson refuses to release the internal emails through the FOI process and yet Ruth Freeman, Donal Keane, Una Clifford and of course, top dog Ferguson can travel at free will which results in the excessive costs to Irish taxpayers. I want to go back to a posting by Brian Flannery some weeks ago in which he mentioned a letter that was written by Mark Ferguson (Renovo/SFI/Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government) to Enda Kenny, Taoiseach, in April 2012. This letter is now in the hands of two journalists and is soon to be printed. Ferguson with the arrogance of a three balled Tiger stated that he would create over 500 jobs in his first year. At this stage, the man is becoming a total embarrassment.

Mark Tighe, Sunday Times, is still waiting for internal correspondence through the FOI process. Add to this the public relations officer who under the instructions of Renovo Ferguson will not speak to the press unless the article praises SFI's supreme boss and it must enhance his supreme ego also. Paul Dodds who now resides and teaches in a college in California is alleged to have stated recently to friends at UCD here that he was bullied and harrassed in SFI by Donal Keane and Una Clifford which gave him no choice but to depart for foreign shores. Recently, other staff members are willing to talk if they are promised anonymity. One staff member said he is willing to be a whistleblower in relation to the bullying and intimidation that goes on under Ferguson's rein. At this stage we need a whistleblower but these people need protection.

I will close by saying the taxpayers need answers, while people need jobs and I want to thank Indymedia and Brian Flannery for raising the issue of one of the biggest semi-state scandals in Irish history

Rose of Clare

author by Through fire, justice is served...said itsy bitsy spider - Tangled web publication date Fri May 03, 2013 11:03Report this post to the editors

Months are rolling on and with the imminent retirement of Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank ryan, one can be assured that if Mark Fergusson was able to complete such an abysmal Directorship with SFI then he should do admirably well if he were appointed as Enterprise Ireland’s CEO.

It’s a bad week for Labour activists in SIPTU particularly with the report of the HSE SIPTU slush fund. Perhaps Sarah Hogan of the Comptroller and Auditor General can investigate why good little Labour activist and Enterprise Ireland investments director Niall donnellan needed to retain premium box seats in Croke Park (Labour activists new home it seems) with his pals Frank Ryan, Greg Treston and used car salesman Paddy Hopkins for so many years .
Was this lease of premium seats really a good investment of taxpayers’s money? Should Ryan and Donnellan be interviewed regarding the need of such expensive baubles and who was entertained in these box seats?

Frank Ryan, Paddy Hopkins and Labour Luvie Niall Donnellan may want to answer the question before he leaves as to why premium seats worth €60,000 per year were retained for so many years. I’m sure Ryan, Donnellan, Hopkins and Treston would love to answer a few question before a Committee particularly since Hopkins, Treston and Ryan are fleeing the sinking ship before the end of 2013. It would be a nice little send-off for them.

One should be aware that an FOI request should take place before 2011 as Hopkins and Ryan are washing their hands of incurred expenses and trying to sell the seats before they retire. I’m sure Donnellan and Fergusson will gladly take up the slack and the remaining seats. Now tweet that, candidate.

Itsy, bitsy spider climbed up the water spout,
Itsy bitsy spider found lots of corruption about...