MORE to folly.
— Jim Coughlan (@jmcoughlan) February 27, 2017
Vera Twomeyt’s daughter Ava has Dravets Syndrom,e an extremely rare drug resistant epilepsy.
Martin McMahon writes:
William Brooke O’Shaughnessy was born in Limerick in 1809. He first studied medicine at Trinity in Dublin before transferring to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland from where he graduated in 1829.
O’Shaughnessy joined the British East India Company in 1833 and moved to Calcutta, remaining in India for approximately nine years where he fulfilled the roles of surgeon, physician, professor of chemistry at Medical College and Hospital Kolkata.
His medical research led to the development of intravenous therapy and introduced the therapeutic use of Cannabis sativa to Western medicine.
O’ Shaughnessy established his reputation by successfully relieving the pain of rheumatism and stilling the convulsions of an infant with cannabis.
This led O’Shaughnessy to declare that “the profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value”. In 1856 he was knighted by Queen Victoria.
Today, Vera Twomey is walking from Cork to Dublin to fight for medical cannabis for her daughter Ava who is denied access to medical cannabis by draconian and unnecessarily restrictive conditions established under Health Minister Simon Harris.
Thanks to a famous Limerick man we know the science is solid, it remains to be seen if the actions of a brave Cork woman can overcome these nonsensical and damaging restrictions.
You can follow Vera’s long walk on twitter #veratwomey
Martin blogs at RamshornRepublic
Pics: Jim Coughlan
It’s always funny until someone gets hurt.
Then it’s just hilarious, etc.
Do you miss Bill Hicks?
Johnny Keenan, him off the telly, writes:
Tomorrow night all roads lead to Hicksville aka The Grand Social Dublin, Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1. The night will include:
Artists who play from their fupping heart in the guise of comedy poetry and song.
A panel discussion on the career and legacy of the comedy god will throw an eye on one of his epic quotes and philosophical musings ‘Listen, the next revolution is gonna be a revolution of ideas‘.
Video Tributes and Montage
A QandA with Bill’s brother via skype. Steve Hicks will answer any question you ever had about the comedy legend.
A live portrait by David Heffernan Artist will be raffled to raise funds for The Bill Hicks Wildlife Foundation (www.billhicks.org).ll Performers and Contributors give up their time and fee to appear in respect of Bill Hicks….
Tickets €12 here
Management consultant Eddie Molly wrote of ‘dark forces’ within An Garda Síochána
You may recall the Independent Review Panel set up by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in July 2014, following the publication of the Guerin Report which looked at allegations made by Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.
The purpose of the panel was to investigate allegations of Garda misconduct, crime and cover-up and to ascertain if further investigations were needed. Some 322 allegations were ultimately included in the panel review.
Readers will recall how both the O’Farrell family and Ms Owen received letters informing them that the Independent Panel Review found no further action should be taken in their respective cases.
Oddly, at this time, Ms Owen received her letter while still being in contact with gardai who were informing her that they were continuing to investigate her case.
In addition, one of the Senior Counsel who was appointed to the Independent Review Panel was Conor Devally – who defended Zigimantus Gridziuska, the man who killed Shane O’Farrell.
The O’Farrell family were later told that Mr Devally wouldn’t be involved in the Shane O’Farrell case due to a conflict of interest.
However, it was also reported that Mr Devally was to receive a brief fee of €20,000 to oversee all the complaints.
In addition, a 53-page Independent Review Mechanism Overview Report – based on a paper review of the 322 allegations – was published on the Department of Justice website last year, devoid of any names or outcomes.
Further to this, and the recent controversies surrounding the gardaí, Eddie Molloy, a management consultant, (above) wrote an opinion piece in the Irish Independent, on Monday, February 20, about the Independent Review Panel, entitled Deep-rooted dark forces in Garda are intent on obstructing reform.
Following this, Mr Molloy spoke to Pat Kenny on Newstalk last Friday morning.
He spoke about a female civil servant who has told him when she was a junior civil servant, she refused “to collude with the cover-up of misappropriation of money and also the failure, as she saw it, to investigate two murders” and how her career was subsequently hampered by this refusal.
Mr Molloy also said it initially took a “monumental effort” to get her case included in the Independent Review Panel and that, in the end, the panel found no further action was required.
From the interview:
Pat Kenny: “Deep-rooted dark forces, it sounds very sinister.”
Eddie Molloy: “Well, first of all, Pat, that’s a phrase that was first used by Diarmuid Martin when he came back to Ireland and was facing into the whole child abuse era and was being resisted by the bishops. Now, if there are dark forces at work in the Catholic Church, it’s not an inappropriate term to use in relation to the guards. What prompted the [Irish Independent] article to which you refer was that, when Maurice McCabe and John Wilson began blowing the whistle, there was a spate of other complaints that came to the guards and the total number were 322 – 322 allegations of misbehaviour, malpractice were brought forward. And the Department of Justice set up a panel of five barristers to review these hundreds of cases, to see was there anything to see here and which ones were vexatious and which ones were real and which ones should be investigated further. Now, in the article I wrote, we haven’t heard from that panel since. But I’ll give you what’s happened.”
Pat Kenny: “There was a report though, wasn’t there?”
Molloy: “Well, I’ll come to the report in a second. In July 2014, a report on the Department of Justice, the Toland Report, and I’m quoting from the report, I have it in front of me here, says, in the review of the review group, that’s the Toland group, there’s a deferential relationship between the Department and An Garda with the lack of proper strategic accountability being brought to bear on them by the department. The department has adopted a passive approach to the Garda, stepping back from taking the opportunity to exercise the necessary power and influence, at its disposal, to encourage the improvement in management and discipline. In other words, the department behaviour in relation to the gardai, that it’s supposed to be overseeing, is totally to back off and say nothing.
“Now, this report on the 320 allegations follows a year later. And they open the report by saying that the Department of Justice has been seen, since the foundation of the State, as an appropriate channel, through which to make representations about bad behaviour in the guards. I mean this is a self-regarding load of rubbish, ok? They are patently not an organisation that people would have felt comfortable about, approaching, to deal with the guards, based on what I just said from Toland. The reason that people, including the case I cited in the article, the reason that people brought their case was because there was a panel of five judges, who were deemed to be somehow independent…”
Molloy: “Barristers, sorry, barristers, independent of the guards and of the Department of Justice. But in the first page of this report, from the Department of Justice, on the 322 cases, they say: the appointment of this panel of judges [sic] was to a degree an enhancement of the function already discharged by the Department of Justice and Equality where divisions such as the Garda division reviews correspondence. So, so, I mean it doesn’t give me any pleasure to be criticising the guards or civil servants because my instinct towards them is one of respect, generally, but this report on the 322 cases is an absolute whitewash.”
Kenny: “OK, the barristers in question, and I certainly don’t want to impugn the reputation of any member of the Law Library but were they people who routinely work for the prosecution in cases…”
Molloy: “I have no idea. One of the things about this report, it has no name, names in it. The Toland report has all the names of the people who produced the report…”
Kenny: “The five barristers are not named?”
Molloy: “They’re not named, there’s no names, there’s no date on the report and there’s no author of the report. This was written, patently, by an official of the Department of Justice who doesn’t seem to have read the Toland Report which was a coruscating criticism…”
Kenny: “But there’s no name of this official either?”
Molloy: “No, there’s no name of this official either…”
Kenny: “So the 322 cases. I mean, can you give us percentages, how many were found in favour of the complainant, how many were rejected out of hand?”
Molloy: “This is a 57-page report and it tells you nothing about the outcomes…”
Molloy: “It tells you nothing, zero, about the outcomes of these 322 allegations. What it does is, it goes through the allegations and it has section after section after section, saying how complicated these were, they went back decades and there were various agencies involved. So, you got to understand they were telling you this wasn’t easy. Now, but they then do is, what they do is they study, they seem to study the allegations and then they make recommendations for improvements in Garda behaviour. So, the net effect is…”
Kenny: “So the complainant gets no justice?”
Molloy: “There’s no justice, there’s nothing about outcomes, the numbers who were followed through on…”
Kenny: “No disciplining of the…”
Molloy: “Nothing about, was there a pattern here? Was it the same divisions or areas? Was it Donegal or Kerry? There’s nothing in it about the behaviour of the guards which was the basis on which 322 people made…”
Kenny: “You’d think at least there would be, we found, just cause in 100 of the 322, and we rejected out of hand, 100, and then we hadn’t enough evidence or time had elapsed and…”
Molloy: “That’s right and, currently, there are six before the courts, or whatever – yeah there’s nothing like that. So, I’ll give you, I mean one of the recommendations, for example, is that gardai be trained in family liaison so that families who are, you know, have a difficult case going through, that the guards would communicate with them better about their case coming up in the court and there’s an inquest due. But here’s one: recommendation 13 [sic, 12]: ‘Furthermore, culpable delay in pursuing GSOC investigations should be specifically included as a matter of potential breach of discipline or misconduct, in the disciplinary regulations of an Garda Síochána.’
“Six months ago, Judge Mary Ellen Ring, who’s the chairman of GSOC, threatened to issue summons against the Garda Siochana, for their tardiness, in producing information. Now yesterday [February 19, Thursday], before the Policing Authority, and it’s all over the papers today, that the guards are vexed at the media criticism they’re getting because their hands are now tied behind their back and they’re not able to speak for themselves and the other side of the story. It’s been their form not to give the other side of the story. Their form is close ranks, cover up and hope that time will… The thing that concerns me about these 322 allegations, and I say to you there are no information in this report, my concern about it is that any progress in it will have to wait until the end of the Charleton investigation because the guards can cry, you know, it’s sub judice.”
Kenny: “We can’t say anything until…”
Molloy: “We can’t say anything until..”
Kenny: “This is all done and dusted…Now I want you to go though, to the case you referred to, in your article which concerns a young civil servant.”
Molloy: “Yeah, I, after a programme, something like this, I got a phone call from a civil servant, probably now in her early 50s, I would guess, and she told me a story and I listened to her. I met her on three occasions for two hours each and I had a third-party present at one of those meetings and she told me a story how, and I have to be careful what I say here because I don’t have her permission to take it much further than I have done. That she refused, as quite a junior person in the civil service, to collude with the cover-up of misappropriation of money and also the failure, as she saw it, to investigate two murders. Ok?”
Kenny: “So, now this was to do with the Garda Siochana.”
Molloy: “To do with the Garda Siochana and, ok, another agency. Ok. I’m not going to say what it was. Now, I listened to a harrowing story of her career being blighted and really has never made any progress in her career..”
Kenny: “She was showing moral fibre..”
Molloy: “She was showing, in my view…”
Kenny: “It’s very difficult as a junior to stand up against a senior, as she did…”
Molloy: “A woman of the highest integrity, in my view. Now, look, people have said, when they met Maurice McCabe, they found him believable. I found this woman believable and I’m highly trained, as it happens, in interviewing people. So it would be hard, I think, to pull one over on me. Ok? And it could turn out, on further investigation, she’s delusional and people cite all kinds of things when they don’t get promotion, there’s that to it. But the fact of the matter is: here’s the story in her case. She has wads of documentation, I’ve seen the documentation. Some of the documentation is incriminating with regard to the guards and civil servants. And I’ve seen that. Her case, it took a monumental effort to get her case included in the 322, that was not straight forward. She heard nothing, for a year, and eventually she gets a one-liner saying there’s nothing to see here without ever speaking to her or seeing the documentation. Now, so, this is described as an independent review mechanism, an overview report. No date and no names and that’s how they have dealt with these 322…”
Listen back in full here
Previously: Justice Denied
@unakavanagh as long as you and your kind dont come up to British Ulster Brexit means Brexit
— Craig Flanaghan (@CFlanaghan) February 27, 2017
— Craig Flanaghan (@CFlanaghan) February 27, 2017
Vietnam-born, County Kerry-reared, Irish-speaking writer and activist Úna-Minh Kavanagh endures online meta bigotry.
Previously: Humiliating Una
Thanks James Kirk
The Citizens Information Board HQ, Townsend Street in Dublin.
Tánaiste and Fine Gael Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar attend the rebooted launch of Abhaile.
Abhaile offers free mortgage arrears
funding information, advice and possibly tay.
Ryanair livery anyone?
Above from left: Ita Mangan Chairperson of CIB,, Frances Fitzgerald, Leo Varadka and Angela Black, Chief Executive of CIB.
Meanwhile: AIB Plans To Sell Off Thousand Of Home Mortgages (Sunday Business Post)
From top: Stormont Castle; Belfast; Derek Mooney
Rarely have the two sovereign governments been less prepared and less well equipped to handle, never mind resolve, a crisis in Northern Ireland.
Derek Mooney writes:
Here is a worrying thought with which to start your week: in two years’ time, we will look back at these last few weeks with fondness and regard them as the last period of stability and calm before the storm.
Not a nice prospect, huh? Yet it is entirely possible that two separate but related and linked events due occur over the next month could throw us into several years of instability and confusion.
The first, and more obvious, of the two events is the triggering of the Article 50 Brexit clause by the British Government. This may happen at the March 9 EU Summit in Malta, though the UK’s Brexit Minister recently hinted that they may wait until later in the month, either way it is certain to happen before the end of March.
We already know how costly and disruptive this will be for us here. But a second event, due to happen later this week, could potentially make what would have already been a difficult situation considerably worse.
That second event is next Thursday’s Northern Ireland Assembly election.
Most commentators and pundits believe that the result after the election will broadly be in line with the one before it. The issue at stake at this Thursday’s Assembly election is not who gets what number of seats but rather whether the Assembly voted in next Thursday has the political will to elect a First and Deputy First Minister and return to operation.
The issue is even more clear cut than that. Will the DUP and Sinn Féin have the political will and backbone to take the result and make it work or will they both continue to play the vapid and empty orange and green politics that we have seen them engage in for the past few weeks and months.
While each side will point the finger at each other in the classic Northern political game of whataboutery – they are equally responsible. Arlene Foster’s partisan intransigence is matched by Sinn Féin’s opportunist disruptive-ism.
Both parties cataloguing of the other’s transgressions and insults from the past is very hard to swallow when you consider that it is barely three months since the then First and Deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness penned this joint article for the Irish News setting out how well their two parties were working together, stating:
‘Our two parties are now in an Executive facing in the same direction. We made promises to voters that we will keep – taking on the heavy responsibilities that come with elected office, governing in their best interests, tackling head-on the tough decisions. Others decided to duck the challenges and retreat to the Opposition benches. That is a matter for them…. We are in this for the long haul.’
That was on November 21 last – the long haul is not as long as it used to be, especially when there are political points to score.
Their delight and bonhomie may also explained, in part, by the ease with which they had happily carved everyone else out of the picture a year earlier in the ill-named Stormont Fresh Start deal.
Right now, we are looking at a suspension of the key institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement: The Assembly and the Executive for a period of perhaps six months, or even a year.
So, we enter a major negotiation on our neighbouring island (sometimes known as Great Britain) exiting the EU at a time when Northern Ireland – whose status and future in those negotiations is a key interest and concern for us – is set to enter a period of political instability.
Not that you would know this from listening to anything coming out from either Dublin or London. Rarely have the two sovereign governments been less prepared and less well equipped to handle, never mind resolve, a crisis in Northern Ireland.
Here in Dublin, the political side of the government machinery is more focused on its internal machinations and the leadership of Fine Gael. Neither of the two main contenders for the Fine Gael leadership have ever exhibited much interest in the North or the Good Friday Agreement, though on this score FG is consistent as our current Foreign Minister, Charlie Flanagan, is more disinterested in the North than most.
While the political side of government is in a state of bewilderment, the institutional side is at least watching what is going on, though it is tough to do this while straining to find the resources to deal with one of the most complex negotiations we have ever conducted with the EU.
Meanwhile, across the sea Theresa May’s government is focused, nay fixated, on the Brexit negotiations and finding a way not to (a). bankrupt their economy by cutting it off from its biggest market and (b). end the Union by disregarding the clearly stated will of the people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and central London.
Coupled with this Prime Minister May has landed Northern Ireland with a Secretary of State who is disinterested in dealing even-handedly with the parties there or even following events in Northern Ireland.
This does not augur well.
The problem is not merely that the Irish government is going to have deal with two major simultaneous political crises – Brexit and suspension of the institutions in the North – but that the discussions in Brussels and the issues in Belfast are considerably intertwined and each exert pressures on, and creates stresses under, the other.
Add to this makes the potential for even greater destabilisation within the United Kingdom as the Scottish government increasingly moves towards a second independence referendum and you have a mix for a highly volatile and difficult situation not just within Northern Ireland but across this and the neighbouring island.
One of the great strengths of the Good Friday Agreement as negotiated by Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair is that it recognised that the three strand nature of relationships on these islands.
The first strand was the internal relationship between the two communities in the Six Counties. The second was the North/South relationships between the North and the remaining 26 counties of the Republic. The third is the east-west strand between the British and Irish Governments.
One of its weaknesses is that it set these in the context of our mutual membership of the EU, but did not explicitly recognise this underpinning fact anywhere in the text.
So, there you have it. We are about to face into political problems whose complexity and duality are of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle dimensions and all we have to tackle them is a choice between are two primary school science teachers. Worrying… isn’t it?
Derek Mooney is a communications and public affairs consultant. He previously served as a Ministerial Adviser to the Fianna Fáil-led government 2004 – 2010. His column appears here every Monday. Follow Derek on Twitter: @dsmooney
Pic via Independent.co.uk