A Concerned Citizen in Grafton Street

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I’m so glad that ‘Concerned Citizen’ (didn’t there used to be one of those commenting on this site for a while?) made the noisy intervention he did when Mary Lou McDonald was making a speech about Sinn Féin’s economic policies. It was dramatic and it showed self-serving standards by both the Concerned Citizen and the media covering the event.

That it was dramatic no one can deny. Everything proceeding in a straight-forward way, people trying to focus because Mary Lou is talking about important stuff, economic stuff, where you can’t afford to drift off or you’ll end up not knowing what it all means. Then suddenly this man breaks in, denounces Gerry Adams for his “sums not adding up”. Mary Lou asks him who he is (I’d never have thought of that, but of course it was the most important question that could have been asked). His reply that he was A Concerned Citizen set alarm bells ringing in my head: in other words, I’m not telling you my name or anything about me.

The Concerned Citizen was really annoyed with the Shinners because their policies “would strip the poor – and the middle class”. He went on from there and it emerged that he wasn’t so much concerned for the poor as the middle class, and not so much for the middle class as for himself and his children. €70,000? He wanted his children to have higher aspirations than that without paying extra taxes. He then announced “I’m apolitical but I won’t be voting for Sinn Féin”, and a minute or so later “I don’t support any political party but I’ll probably be voting Fine Gael”. Mmm –  apolitical, not supporting any party, but with strong political preferences. Sounds a bit doublespeak.

Anyway, to come to Mary Lou’s first question: who was this man? Well, further investigation reveals he is Fergus Crawford, the CEO of Swiss investment firm Sarasin. Well, blimey. No wonder he was hopping mad with Sinn Féin’s policies. We’re all concerned citizens but we’re not all CEOs of investment firms, let alone Swiss (‘It’s where the money is’) investment firms. Mind you he did express concern for the poor as well as the middle class. But yerrah boy, we’re all concerned for the poor, only don’t you try taking my money to make them less poor.

The  Grafton Street contretemps also said a thing or two about how visual media work. The TV cameras delight in angry faces, shouted arguments, lots of high emotion and hot air. They might turn up for a clarification of party policy but with nothing approaching the same hunger.

But let’s give the shouty man his due.  CEO Fergus is a family man, concerned that at a future date his children won’t be able to make (and keep) as much money as they might if Sinn Féin would just disappear. That’s the positive take on Citizen Fergus. The negative take would be that were Thatcher alive today, she’d have loved him. Remember her famous judgement?  “There is no such thing as society – only people and their families”.






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16 Responses to A Concerned Citizen in Grafton Street

  1. jessica February 20, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    The vast majority of people don’t earn up to €69K.

    He seemed to accept this as his concern was because he wanted people to aspire to earn more than this and taxing those earning above this would stop them aspiring to do well or so he thinks.

    I suppose it will be up to the electorate as to what type of Ireland that want to aspire to.

    Not surprising that the wealthy who are greedy such as mr Crawford have chosen Fine Gael

    Nice to know more about who that was, he was certainly emotive about it

    • jessica February 20, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      oops €69K

    • Ryan February 20, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

      “Nice to know more about who that was, he was certainly emotive about it”

      One thing most Rich people have in common Jessica is that they are very emotive when it comes to losing money, no matter how big or small.

      I have a lot of aunts but there’s one aunt who is particularly well off and has run successful businesses for a lot of years now. She’s no millionaire but she’s very well off with the big house and 5 cars (one for her, her husband and 3 of age kids). But as the old saying goes: She’s “tighter than a ducks arse” when it comes to money. I’ve witnessed her serving customers and getting heated when a customer is just 5 pence short. I’ve witnessed her at large “family get togethers” bringing less and cheaper food than my other aunts who have it hard and yet are very generous. I’ve witnessed her complaining when relatives have borrowed as little as £10 from her and are late in repaying.

      As my own grandfather once said (he died in 1998) about his own daughter: “She’s like our Maggie (his sister), wouldn’t give her sh*t to the dogs”.

      That’s a trend I’ve noticed in rich and well off people, most are very greedy, not only when it comes to money but also food for some reason. But to be fair, I’ve also known rich people who were very generous. Another of my aunts (my favourite, who sadly passed away in 2009) was very well off, having worked for years in the Merchant Navy, invested money in property in Liverpool/London and did very well for herself. But to look at her you’d think she was a “down and out”. She had no children nor never married (despite repeated proposals by men in her younger years) but she loved her dogs and all animals, especially Jack Russells, as if they were her children. She came back to Ireland having been diagnosed with cancer and died in 2009 and left all her wealth to my father who looked after her in Dublin (she disliked the rest of her siblings, so they got nothing lol) and a large chunk of it (running into the hundreds of thousands) to animal charities, especially for dogs, which would go to benefit thousands of poor animals needing homes.

      My point is rich people (like my first aunt) is like the man in Dublin crying over losing money (even though he would still have plenty to live on) in order to help the needy and to create wealth for others. But on the same note some rich people can my very generous (like my 2nd aunt). Unfortunately they are rare in that social class……

      As Christ himself said: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”.

      Super rich RTE executives and this man should bear that in mind.

  2. Aidan Collins February 20, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    He was also the Head of Investment at ACC Bank when it went bellyup and was bailed out. His current employer has been done for tax irregularities in USA and Germany.

  3. Sherdy February 20, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    My first thought last evening, on watching that set-up piece, when Fergie was so shy about revealing his identity was, with all the reporters and cameras around, how come none of them buttonholed him later and then broadcast the information.
    I would have thought that would have been the priority for investigative journalism – but then, had they been told in advance to get their cameras and microphones over to Mary Lou at that time and location to get the headline of the day.
    They could also have found out whether our apolitical friend personally knew any FG head honchos, or was even a member of the party.
    In such situations are we not fortunate to have access to the often maligned social media, as Twitter last night had virtually his full CV?

    • Michael Begley February 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

      Ah but will that ever be revealed every time they run and rerun that clip.

  4. Iolar February 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Supporters of Right2Change have an interesting choice on the menu today, Swiss Roll or a double Irish Dutch Sandwich. As company profits flow tax free around the world, the Irish Labour Party has to contend with leaks from a Behaviour and Attitudes Poll confirming a collapse in electoral support. Why are people taking to the streets again, if members of the former administration continue to advocate “stability and recovery”?

    The Right2Change campaigners wish to expose the reality of policies that continue to perpetuate zero hours contracts, insecurity in employment, waiting times for health care, poverty, homelessness, economic migration, drug addiction and bail outs for bond holders.

    One commentator has already pointed out the fact that there are 32 counties in Ireland. In 2016, it is shameful that with the exception of Sinn Féin, there has been no effort made to address the absolute waste of money associated with the duplication of services and bureaucracy from Derry to Kerry during any of the election debates. It is even more revealing when a High Court Judge makes reference to the unlimited funding for weapons of mass destruction. Brexit and wrecksit are different sides of the same coins in use by right wing administrations on either side of the Irish Sea. There is a right to change and a time for change. Change may be for better or for worse. One can only hope that voters will opt for a government that will pursue anti austerity policies in order to promote stability and recovery for all citizens and not just for the few.

  5. RJC February 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    Some folk on social media are also claiming that he is the brother of former FG TD Samuel Crawford. Not sure if this has been confirmed yet, although a bit of investigative journalism from RTE might not go amiss. I won’t hold my breath though…

  6. Jude Collins February 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    THIS IS NOT FROM ME…(i.e., JC)

    From Joe McMahon

    Mary Lou defended SF’s tax policy robustly and in a fair and respectful exchange with the man.
    I know that because I read it reported fairly and accurately in today’s Irish Daily Mirror.
    The context, which is really important, is there.
    That newspaper, as a private company, is not obliged to have balance.
    RTÉ, as state broadcaster paid for by everyone, is absolutely obliged and has a responsibility to give fairness and balance.
    On their main evening news last night RTÉ only reported the angry man’s comments.
    It did not show Mary Lou’s response which would have given the report fairness and balance.
    The result was damage to Sinn Fein.
    In the light of the man be unveiled as a banker, will RTÉ correct their inaccurate, biased report and broadcast Mary Lou’s response?
    How long can you wait?

  7. michael c February 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Crawford is a “merchant banker” apparently which outside the financial world means something else entirely!

  8. Perkin Warbeck February 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    One wonders, Esteemed Blogmeister, just exactly what it was attracted the apolitical Dublin Saunterer to M.L. McDonald, even as the cameras rolled.

    Considering the number of other fetching female candidates who were liberally sprinkled around the city centre of Dublin dot.com at that moment in t., going backwards, like confetti on a bridal veil, perhaps it was the SF sticker on her lapel. (The dot, incidentally, stands for ‘dirty old town’).

    After all, MLMD was obscuring his sightline, stationed as she was between him and the Fusiliers’ Arch which is the entrance into Stephen’s Green. This of course is the monument which was erected in 1907 in commemoration of the gallant volunteers of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and fell in the Boer War.

    At one stage it was even (gasp) denigrated in the Dublin vernacular by political dinosaurs as (gulp) ‘Traitors” Gate’. Thankfully, we in the Free Southern Stateen have matured as a society and no longer is that blasphemous blast to be heard from the blaggardly cohort, the Hateful Eight of Eireland.

    No, on balance, not the SF sticker.

    Once one read that the Dublin Saunterer was only taking the, erm, Swiss with his denials of political bias, the cocky cuckoo instantly emerged from the clock:

    -Cuck-oo ! Cuck-oo !

    In a word, this Home from Gnome of Zurich and would-be Wolf Toblerone was stricken. Do not the lyrical words of the Dublin Saunter go, so :

    -Grafton Street’s a wonderland, there’re magic in the air
    There’s diamonds in the lady’s eyes and gold-dust in her hair.

    Nothing more to see here, then. Move along, there. Merely a matter of LUV in a SUV at first sound byte and first sight (of a TV camera).

    Another facet of G.E. 2016 which attracted no little comment from the homogeneous hackitariat were the somewhat extravagant hand gestures of a female candidate of even higher standing. Though it must be said the comment in the latter case was of the negative (very) sort rather than the positive type which greeted the former.

    These ostentatious hand signals of the Yawnaiste (for it is she !) make her seem like a near-demented St. Joan Barbirolli on a podium conducting a particularly manic arrangement of the scenic cantata called ‘Carmina Burana’. And no more scenic cantata in Doll Eireann than the leaderette of the Blue Collar Collective.

    Before the conductress aka Imperatrix Mundi took to the podium she (i.e her spam doctors) had changed the choral lyrics of the 12th century monastic text (‘O, Fortuna’) to such memorable lines as ‘Gerry Adams just does not ‘get’ economics’.

    It was heart-lifting to see the Yawnaiste getting orff so (gasp) orgasmically on the scary and sinister choral work by Carl Orff which might be an overture for the descent into the Underworld. How sad is it therefore to see, as recently as this very morning, the (gulp) I.L.P. plunge in the polls to a diminutive Brendan Howlin-sized …..4%.

    Because the Yawnaiste is an accountant of the accountable variety her flamboyant hand movements enable her to do the job of flaunting her figures (plural). Hence, the gross unfairness of the male-dominated criticism.

    Thankfully, the Dworkin Class of Donnybrook, Dublin 4 were not slow in leaping to the defence of the Countess of Monte Bisto who puts the grave into gravy train. Leading the pack of hackettes who got their de rigeur dungarees in such a hissed, was none other than Yawnya Lawlor who first cut her bluetooth on Yawning Ireland.

    Contagion, or what.

    Not that all was dismal and abysmal in the baptismal font of RTE where unorthodoxy is the name of the game. And where nobody, but nobody, dare shoot Liberty Balance. On the same day its very own closet comedienne, Dame Dosh Finucane, was getting her La Perla lingerie in a lighthearted twist when she poked harmless feminine fun at the ‘funny dresses that the Pope and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church were wearing in Cuba’ !

    Thus, did she segue in the humorous highheels of her highly-regarded role mode, Mrs Robinson. The first of Lez Prez, of course, bearded the Pope in his den when she went bald-headed where angels did not heretofore dare to even think of threading.

    Larf? Till one barfed.

    Spoiler alert: a former Minister of Justice and Defence of the Free Southern Stateen who oversaw so capably the operations of Oglaigh na hEireann on the Golan Heights will (assuredly) take it in good part when next he’s a guest on the Dame Dosh Fine-ucane Show. The show she’ll assuredly put the mockers on the tallit and the tzizit, those peculiar prayer shawls and uproarious skull caps the rabbis wear even as they rock on their devout heels deep in prayer in front of the Wailing Wall.

    All to the jovial toon of A-tisket, A-tasket.

    Freedom of fun-poking, stone-throwing is a corner s. of our Free Southern Stateen.

    • Sherdy February 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

      Perky, – You wonder what attracted the Dublin saunterer.
      Just like the little man with the very tall wife – somebody put him up to it!
      And you don’t think all those cameras were there for Mary Lou’s benefit.
      They were told to be there for a good headline.

      • Perkin Warbeck February 21, 2016 at 7:11 am #

        Sherdy, there is an Oriental Philosopher who knows a yin or two about the Ho Chi Monaghan trail.

        Confucius (for it is he !) say; Seymour, hear less. Make a man healthy, wealthy wise guy.

  9. Ryan February 20, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

    According to social media, this man was said by RTE on the news to be a “small business owner”, he’s also allegedly related to an ex-Fine Gael TD who has now retired.

    Now, I don’t know what others may think but I think it was no coincidence this individual, who is certainly no “small business owner” (implying that he hires people, everyone knows SME’s are the corner stone of the Irish economy) just turned up and started trying to hammer SF’s Mary Lou McDonald on her policies. The ploy, in my opinion if there was one, was to make a scene, have it broadcast on RTE and make normal people think the average joe was hammering Sinn Fein on their policies and hence make less people vote Sinn Fein.

    If this is the truth then RTE are clearly breaching code of practice. They are a state broadcaster, they have to be balanced and for the past few weeks (well a lot of years, really) RTE has been very biased against Sinn Fein.

    Its actually disturbing how cosy RTE and the Irish Government are, its like something out of North Korea or China, where the state is providing the news. Don’t we live in a democracy? Actually what is the point of living in a democracy if the vast majority of people are just brainwashed and lied to by the media into voting whatever way the media wants them to vote?….

    I’m currently reading George Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London”, I haven’t got onto reading Orwell’s “1984” yet but I know the overall theme of the book and what its about. I think I may as well just keep an eye to British/Irish current affairs/politics to see “1984” in live action rather than waste time reading the actual book.

  10. RJC February 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    A full 24 hours after this was doing the rounds on Twitter, some media outlets appear to be picking up on it –


    No signs of RTE mentioning it yet though…

  11. Colmán February 22, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Never mind the Concerned Citizen! The fact of the matter is that neither the current Taoiseach nor the current Tanáiste can enter a working class area without a Garda escort. That speaks volumes about their policies. But of course some “Concerned Citizens” are more equal than other concerned citizens.