Promotional video for the the Conference of Catholic Families, organised by the Lumen Fidei Institute whomever they may be, which opens tomorrow in the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin 4.

A less tolerant rival to the World Meeting of Families.

Good times.

Lumen Fidei Institute

Thanks Daisy Chainsaw

Behold: The Greatest of all Alfa Romeo Spiders. this was Muhammed Ali’s 1976 runabout, owned and driven for several months by the 34 year old champ before he gave it as a gift to its current owner.

Complete with its original Ali-signed registration slip and currently accepting bids.


From top: Reboot Republic logo; Dr Rory Hearne

Dr Rory Hearne writes:

The actions of housing activists occupying vacant buildings in Dublin have once more captured the public imagination and highlighted the ever worsening housing crisis.

Just over two weeks ago housing campaigners occupied a building on Summerhill in Dublin’s inner city.

Ten days later and after gaining significant public support, they were ordered to leave by the high court.

But this is, as the activists explained, not a short term temporary protest.

So last Friday they took over a vacant property on North Frederick St and are demanding that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy uses the powers of the state to Compulsory Purchase (CPO) such private vacant properties and use them for ‘public use’ such as homeless accommodation or apartments for public housing.

The Reboot Republic podcast (see link below) is recorded directly inside the occupation with two spokespeople from the housing campaign.

The activists explain that the reason for the occupation is to highlight the widespread abuses of tenants that is taking place across the private rental sector and the failure of the government to use vacant property to provide much needed homes.

They are correct- there are tens of thousands of vacant homes and property across Dublin while people are homeless and there is a lack of property available for rent.

It is illogical and immoral that such vacancy exists when there is such a level of need. And this provides an important context for the issue we raise of the legality of the action.

We ask if the activists are concerned that this could be an illegal action? They explain that it is a civil matter between them and the owner.

It appears that the Gardai, and the Irish state are reluctant to intervene at this point.

This is likely to be a reflection of the Government’s concern that they cannot be seen to come down hard against genuine activists who are trying to address and highlight the housing crisis like this occupation.

However, that could change, and that is why public support for the Occupation is vital.

We also discuss what has been learned from the high profile occupation of Apollo House. This includes the focus on action that is sustainable over a longer term, that the activists look after themselves to try and avoid burn out, and that this is an action to highlight the crisis, rather than aiming to provide a service to the homeless.

The spokespeople point out that this occupation has a diversity of participants that reflects the widening housing crisis.

This is, in particular, those in the private rental sector facing major rent increases and eviction; from renters, workers, students, migrants, to homeless families.

The work by the Irish Housing Network, Dublin Bay North Housing Crisis, Dublin Central Housing Action and many other grassroots groups over the past few years in supporting those affected and building an ‘empowerment’ approach – that is about supporting those directly affected to raise their voice and challenge the crisis.

The Occupation is important as it places the housing crisis into the public sphere on a constant basis for as long the Occupation can last.

It breaks through the silence, the apathy and the lethargy that dominates government approaches thus far to the crisis.

It shatters the dominant narrative of complacency and acceptance that nothing can be done to challenge the housing crisis – that we, as citizens are powerless in the face of the policies and forces that are transforming our cities into unliveable places of unlimited profit for the wealthy landlords and property investors.

It raises the question of why do we not have a real debate about our housing policy, and about why we do not have a right to housing in our constitution.

You can support the Occupation by getting in touch with the organisations above on their Take Back the City Facebook page, by helping out doing ‘shifts’ in the building, informing your friends and family, contacting your local TDs and councillors asking are they supporting the demands.

What is clear talking to the activists is that they are committed and are not going to give up. As the crisis worsens, and they campaign extends, we are likely to see more Occupations, and further housing protests.

A radical change in direction in housing policy is required away from the failed Rebuilding Ireland policy and towards funding local authorities sufficiently to engage in a major house building programme for a range of households including cost rental housing, protecting tenants through permanent leases and affordable rent measures, and putting the Right to Housing in the constitution to the people in a referendum.

The Housing Minister and Taoiseach, Varadkar, and Fine Gael, have shown themselves unprepared to do this. So while Fine Gael appears to be riding high in the polls, this housing crisis could yet be its Achilles heel.

Either way, citizens are leading the way while the government and housing Department dithers.

And when a broad group of active citizens become empowered and take action with clear demands, as we saw in the Water Movement, Apollo and the recent referendums, they are a force that can force the government and state to change.

The housing movement is growing to that point. What better time than now for you to get involved and add your voice to make sure, together, we achieve a housing system that ensures the right to housing – an affordable and secure home – for all.

Listen here

Dr Rory Hearne is a policy analyst, academic, social justice campaigner. He writes here in a personal capacity. Follow Rory on Twitter: @roryhearne

Child rapists, clockwise from top left: Fr Sean Fortune, Fr Ivan Payne and Fr Brendan Smyth has identified more than 70 clergy in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who have been convicted of sexually abusing children or whose alleged abuses have been amply documented in the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports.

This is our fourth published database: we have maintained an accused U.S. clergy database since 2005, and we recently launched databases of publicly accused clergy in Argentina and Chile.

These databases have confirmed for us the clarifying power of lists of names.

A public list makes children safer. It gives profound validation to victims. It serves as a resource for prosecutors, journalists, scholars and even church insiders: over the last few years, several church officials have asked us to add names or information to our U.S. database.

While we bring this simple idea of a list to the Irish clergy abuse problem, we are painfully aware of what we as outsiders do not bring.

We don’t have the anguished history of Irish survivors, or the deep knowledge of the Irish crisis that many visitors to this page will have.

We hope that even the most learned among you will find the list a helpful way to reflect on clergy abuse in Ireland, but we also hope that you will advise us and help us make this database better.

Priests and Brothers Convicted of Sexually Abusing Minors in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (BishopAccountability)

Earlier: ‘The Meeting Won’t Be Announced Until After It’s Over’

Higher Education Authority CEO Graham Love

HEA Chief Executive, Dr Graham Love, has announced he is to step down.

“It is with regret that I resign as HEA chief executive. The HEA makes a valuable contribution to higher education in Ireland. In my brief tenure, I have endeavoured to make strategic development a core element of HEA activities. I wish the organisation every success in the future” stated Dr Love.

From a press release posted on the Higher Education Authority website this afternoon.


HEA chief executive announces resignation (RTE)

Limerick mum-of-two Vicky Phelan, who settled her case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories in Austin, Texas on April 25, and a tweet from July 31 

On July 31 last, terminally ill Limerick mum-of-two Vicky Phelan tweeted that she was taking a break from campaigning about the CervicalCheck scandal.

In a series of tweets, she said she was “deeply disturbed by the lack of empathy in some quarters towards the women and families affected by the scandal”.

She also mentioned that some people had been condemning her for apparently “bringing down the cervical screening programme”.

Further to this…

Eilish O’Regan, in the Irish Independent, reports:

The number of women availing of routine cervical screening offered by CervicalCheck has remained steady – and even increased in certain instances – despite concerns that publicity about the scandal would turn women away from the free tests, new figures reveal.

“The take-up of routine BreastCheck appointments by women who can avail of a free mammogram every two years has also not fallen.

“Figures obtained by the Irish Independent for CervicalCheck, which has a target coverage rate of 80pc of eligible women, show that up to the end of May it was at 79.8pc.”

No fall-off in women availing of cancer screening amid scandal (Irish Independent)

Related: Phelan’s crusade must now fix system (Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times, August 5, 2018)

Previously: Cruel Summer


Pope Francis

RTÉ reports:

The Vatican has said Pope Francis will meet victims of clerical sexual abuse during his trip to Ireland this weekend.

“The pope is visiting Ireland on 25 and 26 August to attend the Catholic World Meeting of Families in Dublin and will also visit Knock Shrine in Co Mayo.

“Vatican Spokesman Greg Burke told reporters at a briefing today that the meeting with clerical abuse survivors will not be announced until after it is over and that it will be up to the victims if they want to speak afterwards.”

Pope Francis will meet abuse victims during trip to Ireland (RTÉ)