The Burkean reports on leaked internal memos exposing the hyper woke and ethically shaky HR practices in Permanent TSB (PTSB), a bank that is majority-owned by the Irish govenrment. Are we heading for a neo Penal Law regime in this country, where anyone who isn’t gay, brown, trans, disabled, or obese is openly subjugated into a subservient role? The evidence from this taxpayer-funded bank suggests so…
In the leaked internal training document from the Irish financial service provider Permanent TSB (PTSB), the extent of radical leftist social justice ideology propagated internally within the company can be seen. This article is an opinion piece based on the leaked material we have seen first-hand, and should be read as such.
The document, opening with the following quote from American intersectionalist author Ijeoma Oluo, seeks to regulate social conduct within the workplace within a progressive lens of acceptable activity: “When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.”
Oluo, author of the controversial book So You Want to Talk About Race, is known for labelling White people as incapable of understanding their racist behaviours and demonising any persons who do not occupy the “privileged” status as belonging to a minority and therefore, marginalised group.
This textbook example of “intersectionalist” thought has inspired people working within PTSB, likely those who are responsible for spearheading this campaign of LGBT and race-based discourse within the corporation. Intersectionality is a highly controversial and criticised idea that all social structures must be explained with reference to the concept of oppression and minority groups, and that these groups by virtue of their marginalised status are, in a just civil society, to be granted commensurate preferential treatment in accordance with how marginalised or distinct they are from normal people within a society. Intersectional traits range from ethnic, sexual, and physical disabilities, even including a person’s intelligence, addictions and mental status, and lay the blame on ordinary non-trans straight White people, especially men, as the root of prejudice.
Demonising White people especially, the internal PTSB document asks the reader to examine “what does privilege look like?” This contains stimulus questions including eyebrow-raising assertions that certain employees are paid a higher salary because of their race, that people blame poor mood/behaviour on someone’s gender, that people have to explain requests for leave for religious holidays and reasons, and that gay people cannot show public affection towards one another without fear of society.
It goes without saying that these assertions, in a society like Ireland (which is very progressive) are grandiose embellishments designed to get into the heads of PTSB employees and psychologically condition them.
Furthermore, Permanent TSB includes a “wheel of power” designed as a helpful tool to determine the extent of a person’s marginalised status, and ergo, who should be granted preferential treatment in an intersectional society.
Ranging from someone’s ability to speak English, their weight and even education status, the corporate intersectionalist “wheel of power” even goes as far as to label ordinary everyday contributors to society as evil White supremacists.
The implications of this ideology on PTSB appear discriminatory against those whom it considers to be of privileged status according to arbitrary characteristics such as weight, ability to speak English, citizenship status, and mental health.
Workplace Social Conditioning
But how does any of this benefit PTSB? Does the company, perhaps, experience greater worker productivity? The answer is a resounding no. Rather, it is the case that a group of employees within the company have climbed the corporate ladder to such a level that they can control company social policies and workplace guidelines.
Heralding the use of “inclusive language” as a means of avoiding implicit sexism or racism within an everyday setting, PTSB’s training document articulates the much ridiculed concept of micro-aggressions, without using the terminology.
Rather than using gendered language such as “ladies and gentlemen” PTSB recommends its staff use the term “distinguished guests,” and refer to their husband or wife as their “partner” in a campaign to strip the office of the basic constructions of the English language, and most especially to remove the word “man” from the office workplace vocabulary. God forbid one use the phrase “cash is king” in a bank, rather it is recommended to use the gender-neutral alternative “cash is a valuable asset.”
Gender-neutral bathrooms are encouraged to be used by placing them in places of extremely easy access within the office rather than with the normal male and female bathrooms.
New teams joining PTSB will receive a lanyard, but most often this is a rainbow-coloured one designed for diversity and inclusion purposes – new employees have to ask to receive black or normal-coloured lanyards if they want one.
Gay flags were left in office canteens, with reports of employees even wearing rainbow armbands within the office on one occasion (during the Qatar Football World Cup).
Employee Activist Groups
Further asking its staff to add their pronouns to their email signatures, socially progressive ideas have been pushed on PTSB staff.
PTSB’s diversity and inclusion strategy, following an external assessment of the corporation with its staff, became a priority in 2017. Implemented the following year, PTSB introduced measures to “mitigate group think and support diversity of thought.”
Retail Banking Director Patrick Farrell, pictured with PRISM employee activists, has served as an executive sponsor of the initiative.
How ironic the stated aims of workplace inclusivity are when compared with the contemporary diversity, equity and inclusion policy that cites authors and ideologies which actively label disagreement or dissent as a form of hatred. This revised strategy, launched in 2023, further linked the company’s equity and inclusion policies to the UN’s sustainable development goals.
The employee resource groups formed from PTSB’s diversity policy include:
- PRISM: a network for LGBTQ+ employees, though appears to have a large cohort of “allies” involved as well.
- BetterBalance: a group that aims to achieve a gender balance ratio within the company.
- LiveWell: a general colleague support group.
- DICE: Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Ethnicity – a racial group designed to promote multiculturalism within the office workspace and recognise ethnic and cultural differences between colleagues.
PRISM has also published pronoun guides for the PTSB workplace that advise people to conform to a welcoming environment for non-binary and transgender people – encouraging people to ask for pronouns in the office.
Polling the prevalence of unconscious bias within the company, the training document reveals 74% of PTSB employees say they know what unconscious bias is, but only 50% of people believe they have it. Unconscious bias refers to the idea that people will exercise prejudice naturally and unwittingly in their daily lives, and must therefore actively regulate their behaviour.
This survey was carried out by the Investors in Diversity Silver Accreditation survey in 2022. Investors in Diversity is a programme run by the Irish Centre for Diversity, an NGO whose raison d’etre is to spread “progressive” multicultural ideas of inclusion in the workplace.
Within PTSB, a company Diversity and Inclusion, Wellbeing and Engagement Manager has encouraged employers to embrace neurodiversity (i.e. mental disorders and learning difficulties) in its hiring processes, doing so under the grounds that neurodiverse workplaces improve employee retention rates and increased workplace innovation.
Fanni Mender, a manager within the corporation, spoke on a panel with Viegas about their experiences as non-Irish nationals living and working in the country. This discussion, an employee panel discussion, appears to have amounted to Fanni Mender discussing how she was encouraged to use a different first name by a previous employer.
PRISM LGBT Events
Spearheading LGBT activism in the office, PRISM has been known to host several events both in-person and online.
For pride month, PRISM hosted a Zoom meeting about drag queen makeup for PTSB employees. Attended by only 13 people, a drag queen named Lavender (who describes himself as “Irelands (sic) Leading Demonic Drag Exorsister (sic)”) gave the employees these instructions. Accepting the RTÉ choice music prize on behalf of another artist, Lavender received public criticism for his appearance at the event.
A PRISM event, not just attended by liberal activists, but also by senior managers within PTSB was titled ‘Navigating gender identity in the LGBT+ community – Parents’ Perspective’
Hosted by senior PTSB employees, the panel discussion event was held between a variety of speakers, including Aisling Gannon, a board member of controversial pro-trans NGO BelongTo, as well as Rhea Askins, a male-to-female transgender psychotherapist and counsellor.
During the event, Aisling Gannon confessed her struggles with her transgender child, who allegedly came out at the age of 3 years old, and socially transitioned at the age of 7. Issues reportedly started at the age of 3 when the kid said they had the wrong private parts and was wondering when the right ones would come in – they were advised that this was a phase, and to just roll with it.
The hosts ask the panel the question: “Has the world improved for young people and adults to transition?” Shockingly, not one person expressed concern or reservation discussing the gender transition of young children, with speakers labelling concerns about transgenderism as “informed ignorance.”
Rhea Askins, a transgender psychotherapist, discusses their experience with clients and anti-trans comments. Speaking of transgender people more generally, Askins advises them to contact TENI for assistance with their gender transition. TENI, the Trans Equality Network Ireland, has previously faced criticism for issues regarding its accounting.
BelongTo, meanwhile has seen serious claims of misconduct levied against it. Annaig Birdy of Not All Gays has previously claimed that when she was 17, she attended a BelongTo youth meeting during which children were being pressured to come out as non-binary or transgender, and that they were further given advice on how to hide their identity from their parents.
This organisation receives state-funding having taken €800,000 from the Irish government in 2021.
In a separate instance, PTSB employee, Diego Viegas, a speaker at this event, meanwhile recounted talking to his 15-year-old transgender child about eventually perhaps getting eye surgery to solve his myopia, eyesight issues. His child responds “Dad, have you considered that I have more pressing surgeries ahead of me than just fixing my eyes?”. This was seemingly in reference to the child’s desire for gender reassignment surgery.
The employee further indicates his child’s preference for “neutral colours” was in part an indication from an early age that they were trans. This information, rather than being kept quiet and to one’s own family, was published by an Employee Resource Group for other PTSB employees to see.
Why has this happened?
The fundamental question at the root of this controversy is merely: why? Does PTSB benefit from this? Most people, being apathetic towards LGBT and diversity policies in the workplace, do not engage with the levers of power capable of pushing these activities. So why are they taking place?
If groups of like-minded progressive employees can appeal to management to make these changes, small, big, and implicit, in the workplace environment, it is because they are the people most vocal, and perhaps even involved in critical positions of influence within the company to such a degree that they can campaign for sympathetic higher-ups to cow-tow to their ideology.
As people become more desensitised to this kind of behaviour in the workplace, it is important that we do not lose sight of how bizarre and inappropriate it is for a financial service provider to host internal employee meetings on issues such as transgenderism. The workplace is not a debating chamber, but nevertheless, PTSB appears to have turned its working environment into a liberal-progressive soapbox. While the saying “go woke, go broke” may not apply to banks, especially not ones with a significant proportion of shares owned by the state, it certainly does so in the realm of public and social capital.