Proin Casarnach

(Redirected from Frank Casarnach)
Proin Casarnach
2017-09-24 Thomas de Maizière by Sandro Halank–3.jpg
Taoiseach of Caldia
In office
7 May 2018 – 5 January 2019
MonarchKenneth IV
DeputyCúan Ó Domhnaill
Amhlaoibh na Dùnphris
Preceded byJimmy O'Reilly
Succeeded byAmhlaoibh na Dùnphris
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
1 December 2014 – 15 June 2017
TaoiseachAlexis Walker
Jimmy O'Reilly
Minister of Petroleum
In office
18 June 2012 – 1 December 2014
TaoiseachAlexis Walker
Leader of the Liberty Party
Assumed office
6 May 2018
Preceded byJimmy O'Reilly
Teachta Comhthionól
for Shanbally North
In office
12 June 2007 – 5 January 2019
Personal details
Born (1949-11-05) 5 November 1949 (age 71)
Shanbally, Caldia
Political partyLiberty Party
Spouse(s)Clár Nic Haol-Casarnach (1969-present)

Proinsias "Proin" Casarnach (born 5 November 1949) is a Caldish politician and business executive who served as Taoiseach of Caldia from 2018 to 2019 before being removed from the office for corrupt behavior. He was also Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2014 to 2017 and Minister of Petroleum from 2012 to 2014. He was leader of the Liberty Party from 2018 to 2019.

He was known for his populist rhetoric and abrasive personality. In December 2019, revelations surfaced that he had been involved in a bid-rigging scandal while he was a cabinet minister. An inquiry found he violated anti-corruption law, but charges could not be brought against him while he was taoiseach. After refusing to resign and the collapse of his governing coalition, he was removed from office by Kenneth IV on subsequently arrested and charged. It was later revealed that he collaborated with the Etrurian Tribune Movement in order to target his political rivals.

After his arrest, Casarnach announced he would retire from politics. He maintains his innocence and has refused to plead guilty. The results of his trial are still pending.

Life and Career

Casarnach was born in Shanbally to a middle class family. He later studied business management at Shanbally University. He was employed by the Caldish oil company, RPG, first started in 1985. He served as COO of RPG from 2000 to 2006.

Politics

In 2007, ran for the Comhthionól Náisiúnta in his native Shanbally North constituency. He was approached by the Liberty Party's local branch and recruited due to his background in business, expertise in petroleum, and conservative views.

Casarnach was appointed  Minister of Petroleum in 2012. He later became the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Alexis Walker's government from 2014 to 2017. As Foreign Minister, he became a controversial figure for his rhetoric which commentators described as populist. He was dismissed by Jimmy O'Reilly after the 2017 general election and returned to the party backbenches. He was opposed to the O'Reilly government's plans for immigration reform. At the time, O'Reilly said he felt it was inappropriate for someone with Casarnach's confrontational personality to hold a diplomatic position. The two had a tense relationship after O'Reilly beat Casarnach to become leader of the Liberty Party in March 2017. In 2019, Walker reflected that she regretted elevating Casarnach and enabling him. However, she said that appointing him to the high profile position helped stifle the rise of the right-wing, anti-immigration Free Market Party.

He described himself as being a classic liberal committed to Caldish values. He supported skilled immigration and a small but efficient state budget.

Taoiseach

With Casarnach's tenure saw a drastic shift in party policy. He moved the party heavily to the right, abandoning Walker's social liberalism for social conservatism. Casarnach brought the party's Flowerite backbenchers to power, elevating the little known Margadh Coinbhinsiún. Under Casarnach, government spending was cut significantly. Critics argued he was implementing unwarranted austerity policies while Casarnach argued he was promoting small government and cutting taxes. He sought to repeal the Immigration Reform Act but was met with hostility by his coalition partners and members of his own party. Without the votes to repeal the legislation, he sought to make it more difficult for immigrants to pass the new citizenship test and stacked the commission responsible for its creation with opponents to immigration. This resulted in a fight with a number of O'Reilly allies that he had kept in his cabinet, all of which were sacked. Casarnach's legislative effort was effectively stalled as a result and he focused primarily on foreign policy, calling on the EC to seek reproach with Etruria.

Corruption scandals

Casarnach speaks to the press shortly before surrendering himself to police

In December 2018, allegations of potential bid-rigging emerged against Casarnach. Following an investigation by the Independent Review Board, Casarnach's wife and party chair, Clár Nic Haol-Casarnach, was charged for her role in the scandal. Nic Haol-Casarnach was among the four arrested for the big-rigging scandal regarding the state oil company's pharmaceutical health plan. Casarnach was accused of rigging the bid process for health plans at the state oil company during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum. The IRB was unable to press charges against the Taoiseach due to the office's immunity. Casarnach was sacked by Kenneth IV and was subsequently charged and arrested. His Minister of Finance, Humphrey Dumfries who became Tánaiste after the junior parties pulled out of the coalition, was named Taoiseach by the king. Dumfries submitted a writ of dissolution and triggered a snap election.

Casarnach was one of three senior government officials charged by the IRB for colluding with the Etrurian ruling party, the Tribune Movement. The ex-Taoiseach was sacked by the King before news of his collusion broke for a bid-rigging scandal. The IRB found that he worked with the Tribunes to create the Pietramontecorvino Incident, which saw three Ghaillish diplomats arrested for trying to smuggle in faked passports in an unmarked diplomatic bag. The bag was supposed to be labeled, but Mr. Casarnach worked with contacts within the intelligence agencies to insure it was improperly marked, the IRB claims. Two unnamed members of the Riarachán Eolais Glítteann were arrested by the IRB over the interference. Justice Minister Dùghall Mac Maighstir and Immigration Minister Ceasair Ní Sluaghadhán were charged by the IRB, which accused both of interfering in the legal issues of prominent members of the Etrurian diaspora in Caldia.