Frank Flannery, former Rehab director, lobbyist and Fine Gael Director of Elections.
He could always get into bananas.
“I have informed the Chairman of the Rehab Group board, Mr. Brian Kerr, that I wish to step down as a director of the Rehab Group and any other group boards with immediate effect.
“It is a step that I undertake with real regret but I have come to the opinion that my involvement with the board is making the Rehab Group the subject of political controversy as this time. I spent 34 years in the Rehab Group and retired in December 2006.
I rejoined the board in 2011. The Rehab Group has played an enormously valuable role in Irish Society for nearly 70 years and I wish it continued success for the future.
“I have also informed the General Secretary of Fine Gael, Mr. Tom Curran, that I am stepping down as Director of Elections and as a Trustee of the party as of today. My involvement with Fine Gael related only to electoral strategy and organisation and I had no role in advising the government.
“Fine Gael has been mandated, along with the Labour Party, with the onerous task of turning the economy around after the deepest recession since 1929.
“I believe the government, and Fine Gael in particular, is performing well and the economy is on the mend. The party and the Taoiseach will continue to have my complete support and I will assist the party in any way I can as a private citizen and as a proud ordinary member of Fine Gael.”
[Enda Kenny and Frank Flannery at a Fine Gael think-in in 2008]
Mr Flannery’s future as director of elections for Fine Gael is also uncertain after it emerged he was paid to lobby the Government on behalf of Rehab.
Last night, Mr Flannery said he and Mr Kenny had already “had a chat” about all these matters – but he added that their discussions were private.
The former Rehab chief executive said all his work for Fine Gael was voluntary and he did not take a penny in expenses. He also insisted he has not received any direct communication from PAC requesting his attendance at its hearings.
“I have total outrage fatugue at this stage but this is completely ridiculous. How do these fuppers sleep?.”
Further to the Mount Anville halting site brouhaha.
A leaflet distributed by Fine Gael local election candidate Josepha Madigan yesterday.
Dear Ms Madigan…I am a resident of Goatstown. Your lack of detail and ill informed literature leads me to believe that you have given this matter no further consideration than a cheap populist attempt to drum up some anti-traveller sentiment in advance of your election campaign.
I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without taking the time to say a definition of racism is someone who believes that members of different races and ethnic minorities should be treated differently. Your literature indicates to me that you think that members of the traveling community should be treated differently. That they should not be housed in your ward and the Council should simply find somewhere else for them to live.
Contrary to what you seem to believe, some voters in this constituency do seek political representation that is fair, non discriminatory and represents tolerance and acceptance of all races and ethnic minorities.
Travellers have been marginalized, rejected and told to move on in South County Dublin for decades. Clearly there continues to be a prevailing climate marginalizing Travellers in South County Dublin. Distributing Anti-Traveller literature such as this is offensive and I hope will be received with similar disdain by your constituents. I will most certainly be raising it at the local residents association and indeed the many other community groups and voluntary associations of which I am a member.
You criticised an unnamed Labour Party Councillor in your literature for being in favor of the proposed sites on the basis that “everyone deserves somewhere to live”, you said that you feel “such comments should be consigned to the past”, alas I fear that racist views and anti-Traveller literature such as the material you distributed and the political campaign under which you are running are sentiments that should be consigned to the past….
[Sunday Times security correspondent John Mooney, above, and Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, top]
Last night Mr Mooney, who broke the GSOC bugging story last Sunday; Padraig MacLochlainn, Sinn Féin Donegal TD; Michelle Mulherin, Fine Gael Mayo TD; and Mark Kelly, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, appeared on RTÉ’s Late Debate with Audrey Carville last night to talk about the story.
During their discussion, Mr Mooney set out to explain what he believed was behind the surveillance, while also accusing the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of trying to cover up the story.
John Mooney: “This whole matter goes back to a collusion investigation, a Garda Ombudsman Commission investigation going back a number of years, I was actually involved in it. Actually, I suppose to quote Enda Kenny, when he was in Opposition, saying – this was the Kieran Boylan affair – where he was demanding that the Government of the day provide explanations: ‘I want to give the Government…to give a full explanation of these cases, I will be tabling questions on the nature of the inquiry into both Boylan and why he isn’t before the courts when he was caught with large amounts of drugs, heroin and cocaine’. This was a drug trafficker who was working with a group of guards in the Dublin area, who served their way to promotion on the basis of turning a blind eye to these activities, in return for setting up people, including very young men in the Dublin area for arrests, and GSOC were in the middle of a very, very sensitive investigation into that which revealed all sorts of wrongdoing and all sorts of what could only be described as corruption within the intelligence services. And this particular escapade or what’s been happening, to the Commission, followed on, as they were drawing to a close, their big, public interest inquiry into this. And there were various people within the State apparatus who were desperately needed to know what they knew. And if you’re asking me, and it’s a very well-informed opinion, this is what this is all about. To be perfectly frank, I’m astonished at what’s going on in Government level.
I remember Pat Rabbitte, when he was a justice spokesman in Opposition, screaming from the rooftops about Kieran Boylan getting given a haulage licence on the basis of false documentation and information to the Department of Transport. I remember when this individual, whom I should say whose associates were issuing threats against myself and others, was being brought up and being charged, and then the charges would be dropped secretly and then recharged again and again charges dropped secretly in discreet manners, to try and get this man off because he has so much dirt on the guards. There was a lot of, there was a lot of people at risk over what had happened, because this all totally contravened the new rules that were brought in, following the Morris Tribunal. And I am actually astounded at what’s happening in Government at this level. Brendan Howlin himself, I was a witness in the Morris Tribunal, I’ve done a lot of work in security issues in the last 15 years, Brendan Howlin was one of, I remember he played a very noble role in exposing what happened there. And the silence of the Labour party in this matter is absolutely deafening. How anyone, at all, could suggest and you know, I’m just, I’m just speechless at these kind of defences that ‘well nothing can be proven’. Simon O’Brien was very categoric tonight [last night] right.
And I know modern surveillance, because I deal with this stuff for a living, it doesn’t leave traces, you can’t prove that someone has done something because it’s so high tech. We published a report last week, which has proved to be pretty accurate, despite Alan Shatter and Enda Kenny’s attempts to [inaudible] to cover this up…”
Audrey Carville: “And your implications, John, about who was behind it, is pretty clear as well.”
Mooney: “I’m not saying who is behind it because I think there’s two issues here: you have to differentiate between the guards as an organisation and elements within the State security forces that are doing their own thing and they’ve the know-how and the knack to do this stuff, on the QT and abuse State systems. I can hazard a guess, at this, because I’m pretty familiar with the types of people that may be suspected of involvement in this and what might be motivating them. But, at the end of the day, this has developed into something else now. We had the Justice Minister stood up in the Dáil yesterday and poured cold water on the most serious allegations to come out, concerning spying an espionage, illegal, I should say.”
Carville: “But he was doing it on the basis, it seemed, of GSOC’s own statement from the day before?”
Mooney: “I’m not so sure that Alan Shatter is being so forthcoming, again ‘baseless innuendo’, given the security report has stated and what he published in the Sunday Times. It’s quite clear this isn’t baseless innuendo, they were running state-of-the-art countersurveillance tests on their internal communications and external communication system and anyone who knows anything about a black operation, which this is, that’s a spying operation that’s run off the books and is deniable, that the first thing you do when you organise these, you give yourself and exit strategy. And if you’re asking me, my worthless opinion, the bits and pieces that they found during these screening tests were the loose ends that those involved in this forgot to tie up and have left a signature which showed that something was going on.
But, again, I think you have to go back to this. You’ve a number of issues here: you’ve the comments and the statements that Alan Shatter gave the Dáil yesterday [Tuesday], you have the unprecedented situation where Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of this State, went off and gave comments that were completely inaccurate about the legislative requirements of the Garda Ombudsman and you have the bizarre situation, like it, it’s just feeding into this problem about the administration of justice, whereby Alan Shatter, for example. There was information read into the Dáil record about the Confidential Recipient [a transcript of a conversation between Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe and the Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly in which Mr Connolly warned Sgt McCabe that Alan Shatter 'will go after you'], we were trying to seek, to find out, has the Justice Department done anything about this?
These are the most incredible allegations being made and I don’t think there has been…I was asking tonight, there was something that I’m very deeply interested in – as it seems now I’m the subject of some sort of investigation - did Alan Shatter sign a warrant for surveillance on the Garda Ombudsman? I still can’t get an answer on that. So I think this is gravely important, I think there’s been a really serious attempt by the State to cover this up over the last couple of days and it’s blown up in their faces.”
[A screengrab from the Fine Gael website last night]
Fine Gael’s website published has published a piece by Patrick O’Donovan, a Fine Gael TD on the Communications Committee, about the future…
Robert Synnott writes:
Go read it; it’s really quite an amazing piece. I believe it’s supposed to be about the Silk Road, a seller of illegal materials, largely drugs, on the Tor network, and possibly also about Freedom Hosting, also on the Tor network and formerly one of the world’s larger distributors of child porn. It could even be about Tor itself.
The reason for my uncertainty is that it is utterly incoherent. It talks about open-source browsers, and “replacement” open-source browsers quickly appearing to continue the illegal trade. But this is nonsensical. The only non-open-source browser in common use today is the much-in-decline Internet Explorer; while Chrome and Safari are technically closed source, they are substantially open source. Firefox is entirely open source. And there’s nothing illegal about open source browsers. I can only imagine that by “open source browsers” he means “Tor network sites”.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the recent shutdown of the Silk Road and Freedom Hosting. Freedom Hosting was indeed a big child porn distributor, and Silk Road’s operator was a very nasty piece of work.
I’m not even worried that the government will make bad legislation off the back of this. When it comes to it, the government will not be banning Google’s browser on the say-so of an obscure TD.
My issue is more the amazing carelessness. It would have taken O’Donovan five minutes of reading Wikipedia to, if not have a clear picture of what was going on, at least know better than to write what he did. The computer-machines seem to be a strange focal point of governmental cluelessness; while TDs writing on other subjects are hardly perfect, you’re not going to get James Reilly writing a piece advocating the use of radium to cure The Humours, or something, nor will you find Alan Shatter extolling the virtues of the Freeman on the Land philosophy. This isn’t the first time, though, that a TD has spouted complete nonsense about computers.
It makes it all the worse that O’Donovan is on the Communications Committee. You’d expect he could at least put in a little effort on what his job is supposed to be. I don’t really expect him to know this stuff, though it’d be a nice bonus, but you’d think he could look up what the words mean. I mean, what are we paying him for? Is this all a backbencher does, write nonsensical letters about something they half-remember from a tabloid?
It’s also, of course, embarrassing; you can’t really go on about the Knowledge Economy on the one hand and do this sort of thing on the other. Not really good enough, Fine Gael.
[Former Naas Mayor and Fine Gael councillor Darren Scully (pictured at FG HQ, Mount Street, Dublin in 2005) who was forced to resign in 2011 after saying he would not represent ''black African' constituents. He apologised and returned to Fine Gael last month]
Darren Scully sat down with the University Times to clear the air once and for all about his real feelings toward ‘black Africans’…
“I had met a lot of people, particularly from the black community, who were looking for a lot — demanding a lot — and I was just very unhappy with it — the way they were dealing with it.”
“After the event [his resignation], the good thing that came out of all this, was that I was contacted by a lot of groups and organisations, particularly from the African community themselves. I met with a few individuals, and it’s kind of funny: I met with one gentleman who was from Uganda, and he said to me if you had said that you wouldn’t deal with any more Nigerians, you would have been perfect, you know? He said ‘we’re Ugandans and we hate Nigerians’. Same way other people from other African countries say ‘we hate Nigerians’ because of the way they come across: their cultures, their traditions.”
“I said black Africans. Now I really shouldn’t have even said black Africans. I should have said certain people from a certain part of Africa. That’s what I should have said. And the mistake was that I generalised. I said all black Africans. And that was a mistake. But I had issues, issues with certain nationalities, which I’m not going to discuss now. There’s no point. Certain nationalities from the continent of Africa who are very demanding. And I had been thrown the race card several times. Now, I don’t like that. I don’t like being bullied and threatened by any person. And that’s what really kind of annoyed me.”