Author Archives: Bodger


Pope Francis (second left) and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin

This morning.

On Today with Sean O’Rourke, hosted by Keelin Shanley, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin talked about how the World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin in 2018.

It’s described as the “world’s largest Catholic gathering of families” and happens every three years. Pope Francis hopes to attend.

From this morning’s interview.

Keelin Shanley: “Archbishop, the World Meeting of Families [Congress]. First off, why was Dublin chosen or how did you manage to bring it to Dublin, I suppose is the real question?”

Diarmuid Martin:I didn’t ask for it. The pope decided that he… I was told the pope was thinking, you know, Dublin and if that was the case, would I, would I accept. And that’s the way it went. The pope himself told me that there were two other…generally speaking, it’s once in Europe and then once somewhere else… that two other European cities had made the request, that he felt that Dublin would be an interesting place for him to come to and to reflect on, on family, family in the church, family in society. That that would be not just a reflection for Ireland but a reflection coming from Ireland for major parts of Europe.”

Shanley: “That’s interesting so two other European cities, they’d asked for it?”

Martin: “Yes.”

Shanley: “Ireland hadn’t asked for it?


Shanley: “And yet he came to you and asked…”

Martin: “It was…in a sense…it was embarrassing because I was asked and told under no circumstances to say this, and at the same time, there’s a parallel process going on among Irish bishops wanting to invite the pope and I couldn’t say ‘well, you know, the pope is looking at this’.”

Shanley: “And do you think the pope will come in 2018, at the same time?”

Martin: “He has, he said to me that he hoped he would come or, if not him, his successor, that’s the first thing you have to say, the pope will be 80 next month or in December. So he’ll be 81 and a half by the time this event would take place and, obviously, you know, that poses questions as to what he would be able to undertake at that particular time. One thing is certain that, you know, if he does decide to come, he will come to something, to a different Ireland but also with a very different understanding of what the pope coming to Ireland is about. I hear people saying ‘the World Meeting of Families and the papal visit’ as if these were two separate things. The pope would come to Ireland for the Meeting of the Families – and that would be the primary purpose of him coming and most of his time would be dedicated to that. And when he goes to a country…when he goes to an event, for example, and…in Krakow, he went to Auschwitz and he went the marian shrine in Czestochowa, but if he went there and back in both cases in the morning, there weren’t those huge events that we are associated with the papal visit in 1979 and I think if he were in Ireland going outside the actual meeting, he would go in a framework which would stress that he’s here in Ireland for the Meeting of the Families.”

Shanley: “Right, so it would be a much lower key event than we would have seen before?”

Martin: “A different kind of event. But it’s primary purpose in coming was to the World Meeting of the Families. As I say, to bring a message for Ireland, to bring a message from Ireland for families, particularly in Europe.”

Shanley: “It’s interesting, I mean since he became pope, this pope has been very interested in the family, it’s very much put at centre stage. And yet, when the church begins to talk about families, there is always the ‘well, why are these usually older men, unmarried, with no children themselves, why are they talking about family?’ How difficult is that? That bridge?”

Martin: “I think, you know, we can have lots of discussions around the family and the difficulties of the family as an institution but I think all of us realise that when family, when families work, they bring stability to society, in a way that no other institution does. If you look at the trans-generational dimension of families, the idea of the nuclear family that we had – mother, father, two children, a boy and a girl – that really is a distortion of the real notion of family. Family is the place where values are passed on from one generation to the next, where families bring – through the love and the support they give – within their own homes and in society and, if that breaks down, then everybody should be concerned about it.”

Shanley: “And would that be part of this next World Meeting of Families? The embracing of new types of families, including same-sex couples, divorced couples, separated couples?

Martin: If you start going around, looking at a whole series of categories, you miss the important, most of us know, we’re able to identify what is family – whether that’s in Africa, whether it’s in South America or in Ireland. And there’s a huge variety in families. The same thing is, we often say the church is opposed to the idea of family. I’ve gone to meetings recently and one of the questions they ask is: hands up anybody who says their family here is the ideal family? And, of course, we all know that isn’t the case. We all know that there’s imperfection in us, in all our institutions. But does that mean that we have to renounce the idea of having an ideal to which people can aspire? Of having with young people, saying to them, look, this is a vital part of your search for happiness in your life. Get ready for it…”

Shanley: “And what is that ideal? As you would see it, that the church would aspire to in terms of family?


Shanley: “When you talk about permanence, fidelity, love, you could find permanence, fidelity, love in any type of relationship and I suppose that is around the key issues of family and the Catholic Church. It’s had so many families around Ireland feel that they are not respected equally by the Catholic Church, if they are a same-sex couple or if they are, you know, a non couple or whatever the individual kind of family is made up as. Do you think you will extend out to these families and bring them in?”

Martin: “I think there’ll be ways in which you can do that, but not sort of generalised decrees saying there’s an amnesty for this group or an amnesty for that group..many of these things can be looked at on an individual basis.”

Shanley: “What does that mean?”

Martin: “Well, you’ll have to find the particular circumstances in which people find themselves in and begin to reflect on that and see are there elements which really belong to the church’s understanding of marriage present in people who don’t fully realise those..”

Shanley: “I, I don’t… sorry, not to be..but I don’t fully understand there. Are you saying, for example, two women living together with two children which, if they’re permanent, faithful…”

Martin: “In that particular case, my first concern would be about the two children. And to see that they receive from the church and from society all the support that is there, despite, and, you know, without going, despite the fact that it’s, it’s a different type of relationship to the church’s teaching on marriage. One of the big challenges, if you take, for example, what is it in today’s world, why is it that so many people are not getting married? Why are people afraid of a commitment for life and what is that saying? These are big societal questions that we have to look at..”

Listen back in full here


Fintan Sheridan tweetz:

Great support for Asti union this morning on the very busy Fonthill Rd [Dublin 22].


Elaine Feeney tweetz:

Happy striking in the rain for parity in pay for junior teachers #strike


Teresa Mannion tweetz:

Picket line at Colaiste Éinde, Salthill, Galway.


Aoife Kelly tweetz:

Parents supporting us with tea and sausage rolls [in Dublin].


John O’Connor tweetz:

Just met the teachers in Mayfield [Cork] who are on strike for equal pay.


Donegal Democrat tweetz:

11 schools closed in Donegal as teachers go on strike. Pictured are teachers from Colaiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon.

Most secondary schools closed over ASTI strike (RTE)


Last night.

During a debate on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2016, Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly recalled her day in Naas District Court yesterday.

Her appearance in court followed a bench warrant being issued by Judge Desmond Zaidan for her arrest on October 13 after she left the court – before her case was called.

Grab a tay.

Clare Daly: “I am absolutely delighted that the Bill has been tabled. People often correctly give out about politicians but at least we have to go before them once in a blue moon and there is some element of accountability and right to recall whereas the Judiciary is completely and utterly a law unto itself. It is great that so many judges perform so well but we are stuck with those who do not. While I am glad Fianna Fáil introduced the Bill, the measures will only go some way to improving the quality of the judges we end up with.”

The idea that somebody could be in such a position of power because of political connections rather than merit and so on is absolutely reprehensible and I welcome the measures in this regard. However, we need to put the spotlight on this issue. Substantial reform in this area is critical. The lack of training and regulation of judges is a huge problem. When they behave irrationally, nothing can be done. The idea of justice not only being done but being seen to be done cannot happen in our State while the Judiciary is organised in the manner it is currently.

“I would like tell to story and I assure the Chair that the story, even though it involves a court case, will not go into details of the case in front of the judge but it is a graphic example of what I am talking about. It is incredibly fresh in my mind because it happened today and it involved me and a judge in Naas District Court. The history of this case is that I was summonsed to appear before Naas District Court on a driving offence. I allegedly drove at a speed of 59 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. Three weeks ago, I was called in respect of the case. The case was not listed for a hearing on that date; it was to be the first mention in court.”

“When I arrived in court, the case was No. 188 on the list and the judge is well known in the area, for whatever reason, for not starting judicial proceedings on time. Even though the court is scheduled to begin at 10.30am, he regularly appears much later than that. There is also a tradition of cases being religiously taken in order. In every court sitting I have ever attended as an observer, defendant or plaintiff, the judge normally goes through the list, dispenses with the cases in which a court date is being sought and keeps back the cases that are due for hearing in order to efficiently administer justice and ensure the management of the time of all the people who end up in the court on the day, including those who take time off work to attend because they have been summonsed as witnesses or defendants, solicitors, gardaí, prison officers and so on.”

My case was listed as No. 188 out of 188. The judge proceeded with the cases for the morning. I watched what was happening in them and then I instructed a solicitor on this minor driving matter and left the court at lunchtime. Later that day, I attended an Oireachtas committee meeting and I was not to know that the judge having reached case No. 175—–

Acting Chairman (Deputy Catherine Connolly): Is the Deputy relating this to the Bill?

Daly: I am. It relates to the fact that judges are not subject to any accountability whatsoever and to the huge costs the State can incur because of their irrational behaviour. When the judge was finishing up for the day, he had reached case No. 175 but decided to jump to the end of the list and call case No. 188. He called the solicitor before the court and asked him where was his client, even though I had instructed the solicitor, and what reason I had for not being there.

“The reason was I had been there in the morning and had watched how this judge had dealt with cases. I witnessed cases being called for which people did not turn up on similar charges or did not have a solicitor. No bench warrants or any other proceedings were dealt with. A judgment was simply given in those cases.”

“Judges are an incredibly powerful position. I respect our court system and I respect the fact that judges have discretion but that discretion has to be exercised proportionately and rationally and when it is not, there has be some body in place to call them to account. The judge could accuse me, without any recourse on my part, of disrespecting the court.”

“By doing that and issuing a bench warrant in those circumstances when I clearly was not a risk of absconding – the case not even listed for a hearing and he dealt with other cases earlier without issuing a bench warrant against those who were not there or who did not have a solicitor – the consequence of his action was that An Garda Síochána, which was an innocent victim, was subject to massive negative publicity that it had orchestrated this.”

A sergeant had to leave his post in Newbridge, drive in a squad car to Swords and spend the day there vacating the order at enormous expense to the State. I had to return to Naas District Court today to listen to the same judge lecturing me about disrespecting his court without giving me an opportunity to say anything about his irrational decision.”

“Our laws provide that nobody can do anything about that judge but he is causing huge problems with regard to the administration of justice given the inefficiency of the court sittings in his district. This needs to be radically reformed. I am glad that Fianna Fáil opted to introduce the Bill today because it is long overdue. This is only one aspect of judicial oversight and we need to go further.”

“I acknowledge a judicial council is included in the Government’s programme but some outrageous decisions and behaviour are taking place in our courts. In fairness, the presidents of the District Court, Circuit Court and so on can do nothing about it. That cannot be allowed to continue.

Judges have been appointed to areas or even communities in which they worked as a solicitor and this has led to conflicts of interest. They presided over cases involving people they formerly represented and proceeded to hear the cases, which is completely wrong.

“The option of challenging judges through a judicial review is not sufficient because one is putting oneself in a position of massive expense and accusing a judge of bias, which people do not want to do.”

“Other members have made points about some inconsistent decisions which have been made with far more awful consequences than mine. I wanted to use my case as an example of the utterly ludicrous behaviour of some of the people we have entrusted to manage our courts but no one can do anything about it.”

The saddest point about the case I referred to is that the judge in question is the sitting judge in Naas District Court. This means he can stay there for as long as he likes. From looking at him today, he has a few years left in him. The court could have him for about 12 more years.”

“The expense to the State of having 100 gardaí, solicitors and people tied up every day while he operates his court place, like I described, is utterly ludicrous and in radical need of change. I support this bill as a first step in that process.”


Video: RTE


Report on the Concentration of Media Ownership; Media ownership report launch, from left: Barrister Caoilfhionn Gallagher, Jonathan Price, KRW Law, Gavin Booth, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan, in Cliff Townhouse in Dublin; Denis O’Brien

Further to the Report on the Concentration of Media Ownership in Ireland, commissioned by Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin MEP on behalf on the European United Left/Northern Green Left (GUE/NGL) group of the European Parliament

A statement has been issued this afternoon by James Morrissey, on behalf of Denis O’Brien, in response to the report.

Redacted writes:

The Report on the Concentration of Media Ownership in Ireland makes for very interesting reading.

At the outset it is worth noting that it is self-described as “An Independent Study Commissioned by Lynn Boylan MEP on behalf of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group of the European Parliament.”

An “independent study” commissioned by a leading member of Sinn Fein? Hardly.

The two most important controlling entities in the Irish media landscape are the national State broadcaster, RTE, and an individual businessman, Denis O’Brien” this Report states.

Yet there is no focus on RTE in the context of:

– The largest media entity in Ireland

– The only entity involved in TV, radio and print

– Revenues subsidised by licence fees amounting to €178.9 million

But then this ‘independent study’ was never intended to be a report on the concentration of media ownership in Ireland.

Sinn Féin is very diligent and adept when it comes to pushing its agendas, overtly and covertly.

After a disappointing General Election, An Phoblact [sic] went on the attack:

“State broadcaster came in for severe criticism as it slashed Sinn Fein’s coverage following a poll… which showed the party gaining ground… and for two days the voices of Sinn Fein were banned from the airwaves in a bizarre episode that was reminiscent of Section 31 and state censorship.” (March 7, 2016)

And on the eve of the Budget, Sinn Fein TD, Eoin O’Broin declared:

“Budget Day is all about choices. For decades, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, have looked after the big guy – whether that be Denis O’Brien or Apple.”

I am absolutely convinced that the contribution that Apple has made in this country is unquantifiable in financial and social terms. What about the thousands of young women and men who did not have to emigrate and who got a chance to work, live and raise families in Cork?

I have said that Apple should not be punished for its tax arrangements in Ireland. Sinn Féin’s stance on Apple has been, I believe both anti-enterprise and anti-Irish.

“Sinn Fein has been waiting with some relish for the EU verdict,” wrote Pat Leahy in The Irish Times (August 30, 2016) “and leaped into action:  ’Give us back our money’ demanded MEP Matt Carthy. For good measure, Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty also called for a public inquiry into Apple’s tax arrangements.”

This report states that I am chairperson of Communicorp, as has various individuals including Dr. Colum Kenny, Dr. Roderick Flynn and Caoilfhionn Gallagher, legal firms Jonathan Price (Belfast) and KRW Law (London) and media organisations including The Irish Times and TV3.

It maybe [sic] a rather inconvenient truth, but I am not.

I suppose why let the facts interfere with the agenda and the messaging…

Is the media objective when it is talking and writing about itself? The media industry in Ireland is in decline. This decline has been ongoing for many years and it threatens and [sic] industry that has served this country exceptionally well, providing high levels of employment and spawned a number of writers who have deservedly achieved international acclaim.

Independent News & Media (INM) was days from forced closure back 2011.

Over €2 billion in shareholder value had been lost and the shares had collapsed from €27.30 to 41 cents as a previous board had racked up unsustainable levels of debt. I became am [sic] a substantial minority shareholder in INM (I am not on the board).

I am the owner of Communicorp which like RTÉ, TV3, The Irish Examiner and The Sunday Business Post operates in a very challenging environment. I understand The Irish Times is currently considering various funding options.

I believe that some media companies will not survive this decade without radical structuring including substantial funding.

I was surprised, for example, that RTÉ (and others) did not seek any comment from me on the ‘Report on the Concentration of Media Ownership in Ireland’ in the interests of balance and objectivity.

But maybe the powers that be in Montrose felt that they had been given a ‘free pass’ in the report that they chose just to quote from it?

I do not believe the Irish media is objective in relation to matters relating to itself. The prime reason is survival. Every media executive and journalist knows that the future of traditional media is bleak. It makes one entity undermining another easier to justify.

Sinn Féin/IRA certainly got the report they paid for. The cost of this report won’t have have bothered them too much.

They collected €12 million over 20 years in the US (Irish Times, March 7, 2015). The IRA is reported to have €400 million in global assets (Irish Times, August 29, 2015).

Brian Feeney, author, has suggested that a way should be found to stop “Sinn Féin people saying the IRA has gone away when self-evidently it hasn’t.”

The report references the words ‘chilling effect’ and the law in the same sentence. I bow to Sinn Fein’s superior knowledge on these topics.

Maybe instead of commissioning reports Sinn Féin would commit just some of its vast resources and support an ailing industry – become a fully-fledged broadcaster and publisher and create some jobs for a change?

Statement via Joe Leogue




Previously: High Concentration

Morrissey And Mar’


Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil, on October 11, delivering his sixth budget speech since 2011

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has delivered six budget speeches since 2011.

On October 14, 2015, in relation to Budget 2016, he said:

“There will be no return to the past where tax incentives for developers drove supply.”

On October 11, 2016, in relation to Budget 2017, he said:

“There is an acute shortage of new houses being built in Ireland and I am introducing a Help to Buy Scheme to address this problem.”

Further to this…

First-Time Buyer writes:

No one would deny that we have a housing and homelessness problem. However despite house prices increase ranging from 20% to 50%, there has been very little increase in output.

So what is the problem?… Land hoarding.

Brendan McDonagh recently told the Housing and Homlessness Committee that since the start of 2014, NAMA has sold land that could provide up to 20,000 units – but just 5% of that has so far been delivered in new homes.

In addition, local councils have zoned enough land to provide for 16 years’ demand but many of these sites are not being developed because owners are holding onto sites in the expectation that prices will rise, allowing them to maximise profits.

Unfortunately, councils have no legal powers to force owners of zoned lands to build, even if planning permission is in place and demand for homes is high.

The 3% annual level on unused development land that was introduced in the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act does not take effect until three years after the land is identified as being suitable for housing and the earliest owners will have to pay is 2019.

Furthermore, the CGT exemption that was brought in 2012/2013 allows people to buy land, hold it for seven years and not pay any tax on its sale. So, rather than selling the land people are sitting there waiting until 2019 before they’ll release it to the market.

Even at an individual level, the Government has ensured that properties are passed from one wealthy generation to the next rather than be placed on the open market.

The Government increased the inheritance tax threshold by 11% to €310,000 and Noonan has refused to close an openly abused loophole which allows parents gifting homes worth €1m or more to their children and avoid tax.

So, rather than address the supply side issues, the Government has decided to introduce a Help To Buy Scheme. This will do nothing to address the supply side constraints and, according to Davy’s economists, will simply push up house prices next year and the following year.

The best part though is that in 2015 the same Government commissioned an ERSI report entitled “Tax Breaks and the Residential Property Market” in which they concluded that “tax breaks aimed at stimulating house and apartment building should be avoided”.

The Governor of the Central Bank, Philip Lane, is one of the many critics of the new Help To Buy Scheme and has said that it will end up serving as a subsidy for builders…



screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-13-08-10 screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-13-07-25

This afternoon.

During Leaders’s Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised what he called a “legacy issue which reflects all parties who’ve have been in Government over the last number of years” and that he wasn’t raising it as a mean to score political points.

The issue is how the State has dealt with child sex abuse in national schools in Ireland up to and since Louise O’Keeffe’s successful case in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2014.

Mr Martin said the State’s response to the ECHR judgement has been “a significant failure and leaves a lot to be desired”.

From Leaders’ Questions:

Micheál Martin: “The State that introduced an ex-gratia payment scheme, in many respects the limits were too low; but also the prior complaint expedient that was put in, has effectively debarred a lot from seeking justice. Only seven settlements so far have been reached out of about 210 cases and those cases are still going through the courts.”

“I recently met a victim of, who has been involved in this situation for quite some time, of horrific abuse, at the hands of a Christian Brother in a school. The person who abused was subsequently convicted, okay, so there’s no doubt about the issue. And I think he was convicted of other abuse cases as well. And there are quite a number of other victims out there at the moment, Taoiseach. Now this man went through horrific abuse, has been up and down through the courts and religious orders and has received absolutely no compensation, not a cent, nothing from the State. And, recently, in the High Court, because many of these people discontinued their cases when the Supreme Court ruled that the State didn’t have an obligation, the High Court would not uphold the rights now to pursue it in law and, indeed, Judge Barrett made such a ruling. But he also said in his statement that ‘The Irish people…’, and I quote, this is at the end of the court case, the High Court: ‘…with their great and proper sense of justice may well conclude to the path of rightness in this matter should lead ultimately into a different end’. He added: ‘as an Irishman, I would respectfully agree’. Essentially, Taoiseach what has been going on has been quite, in my view, unacceptable.”


Enda Kenny:I don’t know how many victims of sexual abuse there are in the, there have been over the years in the primary system, no more than the secondary system I assume. We have the, we had the redress scheme, we had the case of all the Magdalenes – not that there was sexual abuse in the vast majority of cases. There is the mother and baby home report coming before the Minister for Children as well which we’ll have to see what that means. I can’t recall all the details of, of the file in this case. Your question is can something be done about this. I’ve no idea of the scale of what might be involved here. But I need to read the detail of the file and the legal outcomes here. People who are abused have to live with that for all of their lives and it’s a horrific issue to have to contend with, every waking moment. Now, I don’t want to go beyond that because to come into something that I haven’t the full facts and details about, it wouldn’t be appropriate on the floor of the Dáil here…


Kenny: “Yeah, you see, you mention that there are 7 out of 210 that have been settled – that’s 210 that are before the courts now. But, you have no idea of the numbers who might wish to come forward and say ‘I was sexually abused in school X or Y by teacher or person X or Y. You have no idea of the scale of that. And, and, I think in the process, when the State dealt with the Louise O’Keeffe case, on the 28th of January, 2014, that judgement was issued and the State awarded made awards both in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages and costs and expenses. They also agreed in December of that year that out-of-court settlements would be offered to those extant cases of school child sexual abuse being brought against the State – where the cases came within the terms of the ECHR judgement and satisfied the statute of limitations. And in that regard the State claims agency could manage such cases on behalf of the State, has made settlement offers which have been accepted, as you say, in six cases. In July 2015, the Government approved proposals to offer ex-gratia payments of up to a maximum of €84,000 to those who initiated legal proceedings in such cases agains the State but who subsequently discontinued their claims against the State and where, similarly, the circumstances of the claims came within the terms of the ECHR judgement and where the claims were not statute barred prior to the proceedings being discontinued. I’ll follow through on the question.”

There you go now.

Previously: Grooming A Nation


In the past hour.

At the makeshift refugee camp in Calais, France, which is currently being demolished.

Caoimhe Butterly writes:

“Large parts of the camp have been burning since last night, residents have been leaving in large groups since 3am with others sleeping outside in the cold and now, in the immediate aftermath of three more explosions (of canisters of cooking gas), riot police mobilise and forcefully block First Responders, medics, child protection volunteers and others from entry to peripheries of the camp that remain undamaged.”

“Families are separated with members on either side of CRS [riot police] lines and police threatening to tear-gas those trying to account for those inside.”

As well as observing what is happening in Calais, Caoimhe is part of a solidarity group which is trying to respond to the basic and immediate needs of some of the women, men and children in Calais.

They are accepting donations which will be used to buy hiking/durable shoes and rucksacks, sleeping bags, phones and phone credit, medical supplies, etc. Additional funds will be passed on to projects which have been doing long-term work with unaccompanied youths.

Anyone who wishes to donate can do so here

Previously: ‘Who Is “We”? What Constituency Do You Represent?’