Newstalk has confirmed that George Hook has been suspended from his duties at the station. The process regarding his comments last week is ongoing. It came after the comments were condemned by groups such as the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). On Monday, George Hook offered a “profound apology” for his recent comments about rape. Newstalk last week issued an unreserved apology for the comments. Managing Editor Patricia Monahan said that comments made were “totally wrong and inappropriate and should never have been made.”
“We the undersigned wish to express our utter repudiation of the views expressed by George Hook on High Noon last Friday.
We also wish to express our profound disappointment with management in Communicorp at their failure to deal with this issue swiftly and decisively.
The longer George Hook remains on air, the more reputational damage this station will suffer: damage that will unfairly reflect on the hardworking and professional staff at Newstalk.
Misogyny should never be normalised, and we call upon management at Communicorp to defend the reputation of the station and the reputation of the staff at Newstalk by removing Mr Hook.”
The text of a letter signed by ‘up to 20 members of staff’ at Newstalk
Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, which works with women and children affected by domestic violence, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland:
“George Hook doesn’t stand alone in his opinions and what we have in this country is about 10% of women who experience sexual violence are reporting it so they’re afraid to come forward because they feel that they won’t be believed or that their needs won’t be met when they do that so we have a problem and, you know, George Hook doesn’t stand alone in this and we have to work much harder to change culture in this country to address this issue.
I think you can hear over the comment the last week, since this story broke in the first place, there’s a lot of people, you know, agreeing with George Hook, but I think what I want to say is, there’s an awful lot of people that don’t agree with George Hook. And what I can see is change has already happened in this country.
Ten years ago, if George Hook made these comments, there probably wouldn’t be any reaction at all. Today there’s huge reaction.
“There’s a huge mass of people saying ‘this is unacceptable, we don’t want this on our watch’. We want to ensure that there is not victim blaming in this country and that we take the issues of rape and sexual assault seriously.
So this is hopeful, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t got an awful lot more to do. We do and we need leadership around this.
And I do commend the Dalata Hotel Group for actually taking that leadership.
“It’s leadership like that that enables the rest of us to have the courage to stay with saying ‘this is unacceptable and not on our watch’.
“And there are other sponsors as well, on Newstalk, that really need to reflect on where they’re at in this position and it would do them no harm to act with the Dalata Group and stand for what they want to see in society which is a society that is safe for women and children.
His apology is welcome but, you know, you could ask if it’s too late. I mean I do think that it’s coming to a point where I think his position is untenable within Newstalk.
But that’s, also, within Newstalk, in terms of their own leadership around this issue, have a lot to answer for.
They’re a news station that from 7am to 7pm in the day have no female voices on the radio. So in terms of leadership and in terms around equality and human rights, I think they have a few questions to answer themselves.
So I do welcome his apology but, you know, there’s been damage done as a result of a key leader on a national broadcast saying what he did say last Friday.”
“What do you think about this famous Bank of Ireland ad. I just heard on the news there…the Bank of Ireland are apologising, apologising for what?
“Have you been living on Mars or something for the last 24 hours, you may not have heard. Bank of Ireland put out an ad featuring a real-life person who’s going to go back and live with the parents while she saved for a deposit for a house.
“And they’re all outraged. All that Twitterati are outraged. Outraged about what?
“Like it’s been difficult to buy a house forever. It was difficult for my generation, for my children’s generation, it was difficult for everybody. Of course, I mean, of course people move back and live with the parents in an effort to save money.
“On this morning’s [Irish] Independent there’s a woman who’s actually not eating because she’s saving for a deposit because she’s going to lose the place she’s renting at the moment and the rental deposit in the next place is going to be a lot of money and she literally is not eating to put the amount of money together.
“It is a fact of life that people who have to raise a deposit or pay a mortgage or pay rent make special effort but this whinging generation who has no other way talk about, except on Twitter, this whinging generation cannot face the stress of a university examination without stroking a dog to keep him calm.
“What are ya going on about? How are you ever going to survive in a world which is full of challenges which every day you face a challenge in your home life, in your social life, in your work life, in your sporting life.
“Every day, life is a challenge. And if you think you’re going to be mollycoddled for the rest of your life, then you have another thing coming. And the Bank of Ireland, the bank that I banked with since I had my first bank account in 1961, why oh why did it cave in to this sort of claptrap?
“Either the story was valid or it’s not valid. I mean there was an Irish woman who was head of the British marketing board and she said only 50% of advertising works, the trick is which 50%. So, of course, you do some advertising, it’s not great; sometimes it’s super.
“So when the fella at Avis came up with the idea ‘Avis tried harder‘, because they were number two to Hertz and, it’s an absolutely brilliant piece of advertising which I think exists to this day.
“We were all buying pints of stout because somebody said ‘Guinness is good for you’. Ok, the Bank of Ireland fella didn’t get it quite right but all you whingers just shut up, will ya? And stop, not just annoying me, because it’s easy to annoy grumpy old George, but annoying everybody, everybody who actually works for a living, saves for a house and goes through all the kinds of things that adults have to do.
“All us adults are teed off with you kids who are aged between 20 and 40.”
Paul Williams broadcast a pre-recorded interview with the former former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) (above) after the OCI claimed the ticketing scandal, and Mr Hickey’s arrest, has cost the OCI €1.5million to date (top).
In the interview, Mr Hickey outlines what €763,000 of that €1.5million has been spent on, while he’s scathing of how the Minister for Sport Shane Ross and the Irish Government handled, or didn’t handle, his arrest.
In addition, Mr Hickey admits that he has tried to block the publication of the Government’s report into the controversy – by Justice Carroll Moran – which was given to Mr Ross on June 12. Mr Ross has given the report to the Attorney General and is awaiting his advice in regards to publishing it.
Mr Hickey said:
“I saw a draft of the report and my legal team have advised Judge Moran and the minister and the attorney general that this report should not be published until after the court case is heard in Rio. Because anything coming out of it could prejudice my fair trial but even worse still any media reports can also be used by the prosecutor in Brazil against me in the case.”
From the interview…
“I would like to, first of all, say to you Paul that I cannot go into the actual court case in Rio because the case is still in front of the courts so we’re forbidden to go into detail on that but I would be very happy to answer what you said there. The impression has been given that, in the media, that I was the cause of a spend of €1.5million by the OCI [Olympic Council of Ireland].
“Now I can categorically tell you that is not the case because I have been able to check figures and what I’m aware of is as follows, how that €1.5million is made up: the Olympic Council of Ireland got legal advice from Arthur Cox and Co solicitors, which cost them €400,000; they embarked on the Grant Thornton report which cost €214,000; they employed a technology company Espion which was nearly €40,000; they engaged with the Communications Clinic which was €80,000; and the report from Deloitte’s which was €18,000; and Wilson Hartnell, WHPR, €11,000. And that’s the bulk [€763,000] of that €1.5million.”
“Now I can tell you that my legal costs today in Brazil amount to €280,000 and there is an insurance policy in place, that I put in place, over 15 years ago. It’s called directors and officers’ liability and it’s particularly for the something like what happened to me.
“The cover on that policy is €1million, that’s the cap on it so my fees have been taken out of that €1million.
“And can I say, in addition to that, before I left Dublin on the plane for Rio, I left the OCI in a very clean state of health. There was €3million surplus in the bank and a property out in Howth that’s valued at €3million.
“Now I’d like to just emphasise that I am totally innocent of all these charges and I will be proven innocent and my legal team in Brazil are working flat out.”
Pat Kenny, on Newstalk, interviewed Sinn Féin TD Eoin O’Broin – during which they talked about the Universal Social Charge.
From their discussion…
Pat Kenny: “You’re saying that you want to keep that, you’re the working man’s friend. You want to keep that regime, where half of what you earn goes straight to the Revenue because you’ll never change the USC. Come on. That is not what ordinary people want? Ordinary, sorry. Ordinary, working people. People who don’t work, it doesn’t affect them one way or the other.”
Eoin Ó’Bróin: “Pat…”
Kenny: “But people who work…[inaudible] hours overtime and half of it goes to Michael Noonan – how fair is that?”
Ó’Bróin: “Well, first of all Pat, I would imagine that I spend a lot more time with ordinary, average income earners than you do but what’s also crucial is…”
Kenny: “No, come on, all my colleagues in Newstalk, they’re not high earners. I work with them every single day of the week and I know their difficulties. I’m mature, I’ve earned a good living over many years. I started at the bottom, like everybody else and I’m looking at people who are working their way up from the bottom so don’t lecture me about the company that I keep.”
Dr Martin McCaffrey, a Professor of Pediatrics at University of North Carolina and a neonatologist
On The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.
Mr Kenny interviewed an American doctor called Martin McCaffrey.
At the outset of the programme, as Mr Kenny outlined who he would be speaking to on his show, he mentioned that he would be speaking to “The US doctor who wants us to change our treatment of babies with inevitably chromosome disorders”.
Then, just before the interview took place – in the second part of the show – Mr Kenny introduced the doctor by saying this:
“A professor of neonatal perinatal medicine is urging medical professions and politicians here to reconsider how we treat babies with chromosomal abnormalities. Dr Martin McCaffrey is a neonatologist visiting from the University of North Carolina to address Stormont about the issue and he’s with us in studio. Dr Martin McCaffrey you’re welcome to the programme.”
During the interview…
Pat Kenny: “What kind of outcomes? If a baby is diagnosed with these conditions in the womb, is termination often the outcome?”
Martin McCaffrey: “Correct, so what has been seen is that if you have a pre-natal diagnosis, before birth diagnosis, and if you have a post-natal diagnosis, the children who are diagnosed pre-natally are often given a message from providers, for a variety of reasons I believe, that is fairly hopeless and fairly dismal and many of those pregnancies will end in termination. Some will not, but many will. After birth, if a baby is undiagnosed but not diagnosed until after the delivery what will happen is that five or six or seven days of age a baby is diagnosed. A baby has already had resuscitation procedures, support procedures initiated. So that diagnosis may be given, it is still a challenging diagnosis for families. But families have seen that their child is actually alive and living and actually that is the case with most of these children when they’re born. They do not die at birth and they will survive, we know now, for fairly significant periods.”
McCaffrey: “I think, typically now, for a variety of reasons, Pat, I was trained and until 2009, I will mark that as my epiphany, I was trained that these children didn’t survive and they all died. In 2009, I went to a meeting where I met a number of parents of these children, I didn’t realise any of them survived. And it was news to me and I started looking at the literature and the literature is clear over the years that maybe as many as 20 or 30% of these children, or 40%, survive to a year.
That 20/30% can survive to five years. And I was absolutely puzzled by this. That this was not how I was trained. I think for a variety of reasons we, as medical providers across the board have been a little bit reluctant to accept that these children can live. Not because they can’t live physiologically but because they have severe developmental handicaps and I think it’s really more of an issue of us not being willing to embrace the vulnerability and the opportunity, the virtue of dependence, that really exists with these children. We all, Pat, are going to leave this life at some point. We are all lethal, we are all temporarily abled and, at some point, we are all going to leave, and I think these children, if we would open up our eyes as providers, we would be able to find the love to support them, it would build a community that would flourish.”
Further to this…
“Yesterday Newstalk’s Pat Kenny interviewed an American doctor [Dr Martin McCaffrey] on the subject of chronosomal disorders, particularly 13 and 18. To listen to him, you would think that trisomies were nothing to be worrying about, instead of extreme life-limiting conditions.”
“It turns out this doctor is a pro-life lobbyist with a Catholic group called Be Not Afraid. This affiliation was not made clear in the broadcast. The doctor was merely introduced as neonatologist, Martin McCaffrey – no mention of his pro-life affiliation whatsoever. The doctor was presented as a neutral authority on the matter.”
“This broadcast was brought to my attention by someone listening to the show who lost her 9-week-old baby daughter to Trisomy 18 and was extremely upset by this.”
‘Thank you for getting in touch with Newstalk. We greatly value you as a listener to The Pat Kenny show.
I would like to assure you that we have given your complaint much consideration.
We feature items involving the pro – life and pro – choice positions regularly. We do not necessarily feature both sides on the same day.
Dr McCafferty made it clear that he was taking part in the programme in his capacity as a neonatologist, and Clinical Professor in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and as a board member of the International Trisomy Alliance.
In the course of the interview Pat did suggest that Dr McCaffery’s position was merely delaying the inevitable and went so far as to say that his position was “ putting parents through ten years of heart break and suffering”
Pat also challenged Dr McCaffery on weather his personal opinion is informing his medical opinion.Pat read many texts throughout the programme putting the pro – choice position to the audience.
Again we greatly appreciate you getting in touch with the programme and we hope that you continue to listen to Newstalk.’
Email from The Pat Kenny Show to a Newstalk listening ‘sheet reader this afternoon.