Last night’s Six One news on RTÉ One
Thanks Don Reilly
Today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll
“Today’s numbers offer further evidence of the strengthening of the centrist consensus in Irish politics. Since the last general election both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have seen their support grow, slowly but steadily. Both parties are now five points ahead of their result in the last general election.
That time, in February 2016, the two old Civil War parties struggled to hit 50 per cent of the vote – a far cry from the days when they commanded 80 per cent between them. Their opponents hailed it as further evidence of their irreversible decline and the end of the old duopoly. And that’s how it looked.
But that decline has proved not so irreversible. Now their combined support is at 60 per cent. Throw in the Labour Party, the Greens and a lot of the Independents and you have well over two-thirds of voters aligned to broadly centrist politics.”
Pat Leahy, Irish Times
The Longford Arms, LongfordF
Leader of Fianna Fáil, Micheal Martin, surrounded by media and colleagues at the start of the party’s Autumn Think In.
In scathing criticism too of the Taoiseach’s emphasis on communications, Mr Martin described the new unit dealing with this in Government Buildings as a political spin machine….
…On the question of the next Government, Mr Martin said again that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are incompatible even if there was a new Sinn Féin leader, because, as he put it, “whatever Gerry Adams says, Mary Lou McDonald says”.
Leinster House, Dublin 2
A downpour interrupts the launch of a Fianna Fail billl to re-establish town councils with, top, from left: Group Leader in the Seanad Senator Catherine Ardagh, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Local Government Shane Cassells and Spokesperson on Justice and Equality Jim O’Callaghan.
You may recall a recent report by Saoirse McGarrigle in The Irish Mirror about how a member of Fianna Fáil claims the party held secret meetings to discuss how it could “contain” the story of Bill Kenneally and his abuse of young boys in Waterford.
Ms McGarrigle reported last week:
The whistleblower said that secret meetings began in 2013 when a criminal investigation began after a number of victims came forward.
“They met under the guise of discussing another problem, but they were actually there to discuss containing the story.”
Readers will recall how Kenneally was convicted and sentenced to 14 years last February, for abusing 10 boys in the 1980s, after victim Jason Clancy came forward. But certain Gardaí knew about the abuse as far back as 1985.
Readers will also recall how Kenneally’s uncle was the late Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kenneally, who died in 2009 and who was succeeded by his son Brendan Kenneally.
Brendan Kenneally was told about the abuse by a Waterford woman in 2002 but he didn’t tell gardai. Instead, he spoke to another uncle and local priest – and former chairman of the board of management at Holy Cross National School in Tramore, Co Waterford – Monsignor John Shine – and arranged counselling for Bill Kenneally.
Monsignor Shine died on Saturday, February 18.
Last month the then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald appointed retired judge Barry Hickson to chair a Commission of Investigation into the matter.
Further to the report in The Irish Mirror, the survivors of abuse at the hands of Kenneally have this afternoon released the following statement via KRW Law:
“We are aware of the recent media reports that have expressly commented on the allegations of a whistleblower in relation to the abuse by Bill Kenneally, and the subsequent failure to investigate allegations.
“We have conducted our own enquiries in respect of this whistleblower’s evidence and are satisfied that it raises real issues of concern, which will in due course, need to be fully investigated.
“We proposed to place all relevant evidence before the pending inquiry with a view to the issues raised becoming part of the live investigation.
“Such allegations are extremely serious and must be fully investigated so as to assuage both our clients’ concerns and those of the wide community.”
From top, left to right: Charlie McConalogue TD, Barry Cowen TD, Jim O’Callaghan TD during government formations talks last year; Derek Mooney
On Monday, Derek Mooney speculated on the possible outcome of a deal between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael suggesting water charges were dead for both parties.
While the agreement on the future funding of domestic water as hammered out at the Oireachtas committee is not a bad one – the issue now is more about the process and the path to its arrival.
It proves the truth of the old adage, usually attributed to Bismarck: if you want to keep your appetite then there are two things you should never watch being made: laws and sausages.
The Committee report does include an important climbdown from the government that now accepts that there should be a future referendum on the public ownership of Irish Water.
The fate of individual metered water charges was sealed politically at the last election and sealed technically at the committee with the evidence given by the officials from Scottish Water.
Scotland does not have individual metering, the charge comes from the council tax (in our case from income tax) and they are held to be in compliance with EU Directives.
Most discussion at the Committee since that evidence has been a proxy battle between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael fought on extremely narrow grounds via lawyers and competing legal advice.
The outcome was a draw nil all draw, not that the result matters too much as the crowds had been so frustrated and irritated by the carry-on on the pitch that they stopped watching and went home ages ago.
The only outstanding questions are: why did no one in Government look at the Scottish model before now and what was all that furore and activity between 2011 and 2016?
Expensive wasted water under the bridge it seems.
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 usually every Monday. Follow Derek on Twitter: @dsmooney
Earlier: They Think It’s All Over
Monday: Pointless Water Torture
Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen (top) and Fine Gael’s Martin Heydon (above) address media following the final vote on the Draft Report of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services.
The Dáil will today debate a motion on the final report while TDs will vote on the motion tomorrow.
The deal includes several Fianna Fáil concessions including a commitment to install water meters in newly built houses (see triumphant Irish Independent editorial below).
Editorial in today’s irish Independent.
They seem happy.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin promises the abolition of Irish Water at the 2015 Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.
Yesterday: Watching The Meter