Tag Archives: Colm O’Gorman

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From top: The results of a poll on last night’s Claire Byrne Live which was attended by Colm O’Gorman and David Quinn (third pic) and Michael O’Brien, above

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live.

Colm O’Gorman, of Amnesty Ireland, and Irish Independent columnist David Quinn, of Iona Institute, joined Claire Byrne for a debate on the Catholic Church and the State.

Members of the audience also spoke, including Michael O’Brien, who, in 2009, spoke on Questions and Answers about the abuse he suffered at an industrial school and how he was told he was telling lies at the Laffoy/Ryan Commission.

Last night, Mr O’Brien accused Mr Quinn of telling him, in a Dáil committee room, that ‘it didn’t happen as bad as you’re saying’. Mr Quinn said he never met Mr O’Brien in a Dáil committee room.

Donald Clarke, of The Irish Times, also spoke from the audience recalling a column he wrote on June 7, 2014, headlined: ‘If you don’t approve of the church then don’t take part in its rituals’.

Readers may wish to note that the latest Census figures for religion won’t be available until October 12.

From last night’s debate.

Michael O’Brien:All we have is denial, denial, denial. And the one thing that I will propose: that the assets of the Catholic Church be frozen and frozen now. Until the mother and babies, the institutional abuse, the clerical abuse and the magdalene laundries – all that is sorted out for once and for all so that this country can move, as it did years ago, as a peaceful country. And not for us to be listening, day after day, day after day. Because when you talk about abuse, I feel, as if it only happened to me a few minutes ago. And this is the problem we have.”

“The Catholic Church has denied and denied and covered up, from the first day. And not one Bishop, not one who covered it up has been brought into one of our courts.”

Claire Byrne: “Michael, do you not feel that things are moving? When we have the Taoiseach saying, only yesterday, that the church must measure up to the responsibilities that they accepted. Do you not feel that that’s a fundamental shift?

O’Brien:I can’t believe the Taoiseach any more because I remember when they removed the ambassador from the Vatican – a big hullaballoo. What did he do? He sent him back again. He put an ambassador back in there again. And went soft on the church. And because the mother and babies [story] came, this disgrace upon all of us, a shame upon all of us, that this thing happened, he now, again, is battering, shouting at the church.”

“I’m shouting at the church because I know what the church done to me and what two or three individuals of the church done to me. It’s easy to stand there, you, David [Quinn]. You know nothing about being raped and buggered. You know nothing about it. I do. I do. And four of my brothers and three of my little sisters – the same thing happened to them. Eight of us from the one family.”

Byrne: “Ok, Michael, I just…”

O’Brien: “So don’t…”

Byrne: “I just don’t want to put David in a position where he’s seen as a denier because he is not.”

Gorman: “It might be useful for me to say something and I completely understand where Michael’s anger and upset and I think it’s quite righteous where it’s coming from. But I do just want to say David [Quinn] and I were talking earlier on about the first time we were in a  television studio and on that occasion David was advocating for the church to sell off every asset the church possessed until it properly compensated and dealt with these issues. So…”

David Quinn: “Thank you.”

Gorman: “So, to be fair, David’s been clear. David and I don’t agree on a very significant number of things but, to be fair, he’s also looked for, he’s generally looked for accountability on these issues.”

Byrne: “And I’m glad you made that point. We did ask out Claire Byrne Live/Amarach research panel: should the Government seize church land and property to compensate victims of clerical or institutional abuse – 69% said yes and 17% said no, 14% don’t know. Which is interesting. Because only in the last couple of hours, Minister Leo Varadkar says that property cannot be seized and that, if we ran a referendum on it, that that referendum would be lost. I know that Simon Harris suggested that, over the weekend, that perhaps we could do that. I don’t know, David, if you have a view of that.”

Quinn: “I mean it’s extremely likely it would be lost because you, you’d have to change the constitution in such a way that you make it easy for the State to seize property and, you know, it wouldn’t just be the church that would be affected. Basically, you’d give the State incredibly sweeping powers to seize property. Obviously, in terms of the compensation scheme,  the 18 orders around the institutions must contribute their fair share and so the Comptroller and Auditor General released a report and so, if they’re not paying their fair share. Mind you, it also showed, of the 18 orders, most have paid what they said they’d pay and it’s important to put that on the record. The two, which are the biggest ones, which are the Christian Brothers the Mercy sisters, who ran most of the country’s institutions, they have yet to meet their obligations. I hope that happens in time. It ought to happen in time.”

Later

Donald Clarke: “…People who do not believe in the Catholic doctrine, do not believe in all the things that are being said, should not take part in its rituals. These seems a very, very modest proposal to me…”

Previously: Did Your Nan Leave Money To The Nuns?

“These Are Just Tactics”

Watch back in full here

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Breda O’Brien, of the Iona Institute, and Colm O’Gorman, of Amnesty Ireland, appeared on last night’s Late Debate on RTE Radio One.

The programme hosted by Audrey Carville began with a discussion about the recent Saturday Night Show/Miss Panti brouhaha…

Audrey Carville: “Before we get into the substantive discussion tonight, I want to mention the fact that, over the past number of days, RTÉ issued an apology and made a financial settlement to you, Breda, and to a number of others, including the Iona Institute and this followed allegations made on the Saturday Night Show, on television two weeks ago, during an interview with Rory O’Neill, who’s better known as drag queen, Panti Bliss. Now RTÉ have not issued a statement to us about this matter for our programme tonight. But Breda, as far as you’re concerned, has a line now been drawn under this?”

Breda O’Brien: “Yes, I think it’s really important that we have a rational and a calm debate and that people don’t reduce it to hurling insults at people to close down debate. I think RTÉ let its standards slip in that regard but they were big enough to come forward and to apologise and I’m certainly very pleased with that, very pleased to accept the apology and move forward..”

Carville: “Colm, O’Gorman, as an openly gay man, what do you make of all of this?”

Colm O’Gorman: “Well to be honest, I’m, I’m, well, to put it simply, I’m rather stunned by where all of this has gotten to and I don’t understand how we’re ever going to have a reasoned, or reasonable debate, if we can’t challenge each other’s viewpoints and even question what those viewpoints might be based upon. As it happens, I didn’t see the programme but when I saw it being reported, and some of the comments, that were being attributed to Rory, in the programme, I was lucky enough to grab before it was, on foot of legal action by Breda and others, removed and censored from the public airwaves. So I went into it and I listened to it and I have to say, I thought it was one of the most considered, inclusive, insightful explorations of how we are all capable of holding views that are discriminatory and that can cause us to make statements that are hurtful, that are damaging, that are destructive of other people. And what I heard Rory say is that we’re all capable of holding homophobic or racist, or xenophobic views and that we occasionally need to check ourselves, now I think that’s a really important discussion that we need to have. You know, to be honest, I don’t understand why anyone feels enormously insulted by being accused of being homophobic. I mean I’m a gay man and I’ve certainly been guilty of holding homophobic views – both views that I held about myself but also views I held about other sections of the LGBT community and other people who live lives in ways I perhaps didn’t understand.”

Carville: “You’re saying we’re all capable of being bias?”

O’Gorman: “We’re all capable of bias. We’re all capable of holding views that are based on discriminatory views, or internalised bigotry that we’ve taken on in other ways and I simply do not understand how challenging people, to examine the basis upon which they put forward certain arguments is defamatory and, you know, equally, quite frankly, I don’t think..People have a right, I think, to express views that other people might be offended by. Nobody has a right not to be offended. And I will defend Breda’s right and anybody else’s right to say things that I find offensive but I think I also have a right to name them as offensive and to seek to have a clear, rational, reasonable discussion about that.”

Carville: “Do you want to come back on that, Breda?”

O’Brien: “If it had been a case that it was talking about, in general, about all of us examining our consciences, I don’t think that I would have been, and other people would have been, in discussions with RTÉ. What it was about was naming a specific individual who was not there to defend herself and another individual who was not there to defend himself. It was claiming bad faith on their part, that they were, that my position, which is that a child, where possible, should be reared by their own mother and father, is now deemed homophobic commentary. RTÉ obviously felt that they had something to apologise for and the reason that they did so is because the legal definition of homophobia is that you have a fear and loathing, and suspicion of people who are gay, which is an appalling thing to throw at somebody. And I…it was then compounded later on by people in the Irish media, in their columns, saying that people who are against marriage equality, if you want to use that term, that people who are against that, are people who are responsible for gay people being beaten, murdered, fired from their jobs and that there should be a defamation watchdog set up so that people couldn’t express these views. Now this is very far from a rational and calm debate. This is actually going way into the territory of saying that we will declare your views out of order before you even begin. And I don’t think the Irish people want that. Like, during referendums regarding abortion, people were immoderate on my side of the fence and I always called them out when they were, when they used appalling expressions. I think we have a right in this debate to have the same level of respect, mutual respect and that you don’t label people and that you don’t dismiss their good faith. And, really, I think, I came here tonight to talk about Catholic education, I think it would be really good if we got onto that debate.”

O’Gorman: “Well..”

Carville: “Just briefly, Colm..”

O’Gorman: “Yeah, absolutely. I do think this has been a very, very damaging incident. and I really do think RTE needs to explain the basis upon which they felt entitled or required to pay damages from taxpayers’ funds on the basis of this. If this was indeed defamatory then indeed the rationale or the basis, upon which RTE believes this was defamatory, needs to be explained.”

Meanwhile:

Listen in full here.

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland, YouTube


From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The Vatican’s most senior representative in Australia failed to co-operate with a government inquiry into child sexual abuse in Ireland and once invoked diplomatic immunity in a civil suit in which a victim was suing the church.

Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto (top) assumed the job of apostolic nuncio in 2008, a role equivalent to the Vatican’s ambassador.

He had served in the same role in Ireland but left before the government released an inquiry into sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese, the 2009 Murphy Report. The report criticised Archbishop Lazzarotto for not responding to a 2007 request to provide the inquiry with evidence of abuse.

Colm O’Gorman (above), a former Irish senator and now the executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland, told the Herald Archbishop Lazzarotto invoked diplomatic immunity, which caused him to drop a lawsuit against the Vatican.

Mr O’Gorman launched the suit against his local diocese and the Vatican’s representatives in Ireland, seeking compensation for being repeatedly raped as a teenager by Father Sean Fortune, Ireland’s most notorious paedophile priest.

”I was told in no uncertain terms that having secured diplomatic immunity, the nuncio would assert it in court,” Mr O’Gorman said. ”His lawyers told me that if I pursued the case, they would use that immunity to have it thrown out and then seek full legal costs from me.”

Archbishop Used Immunity In Civil Suit (Sydney Morning Herald)

Thanks Mark Geary

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

Context.

Thanks Lars Biscuit