Tag Archives: Prime Time

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Katie Hannon and David McCullough on last night’s RTE Prime Time

Further to last week’s Prime Time in which Prime Time‘s political correspondent Katie Hannon outlined the sequence of events concerning how a false allegation against Sgt Maurice McCabe ended up being circulated by Tusla.

Last night.

Ms Hannon had further information, after speaking with the solicitor of the woman at the centre of the original allegation made in 2006; and after speaking with someone who has seen the Tusla referral document which contained the false abuse allegation.

The new information, as presented by Ms Hannon, means there are now conflicting accounts of how events unfolded – as put forward by the HSE, and subsequently the Minister for Health Simon Harris in the Dáil, Tusla, the Gardaí, and the solicitor for the woman at the centre of the original 2006 allegation.

The interview…

David McCullough: “Now, lest we forget all this political turmoil is the treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe and the revelation last week by our political correspondent Katie Hannon of the false sex abuse allegations made against him. As Katie told us, last week, those allegations in 2013 arose after a counsellor said she pasted the allegation from another file in error. Katie joins me now. There is a tribunal of inquiry to look into this and related matters. But, in advance of that, the department of justice has written to the Garda Commissioner posing six questions that the McCabes want answered, relating to: when the Gardai first learned about the allegations, about contacts between gardai and the supposed victim and contacts between gardai and the counsellor. And Katie, you have some new information about this?”

Katie Hannon: “Yes. Of course, a huge amount of focus has focussed on this referral from this counsellor that had this, what was described as this clerical error, this cut and paste error. Now, I’ve spoken with somebody who’s actually seen this document. We haven’t seen this document because it wasn’t released to the McCabes in the Tusla file because it had been retrieved because of data protection by the counselling service.”

“But, according to my source, what the counsellor is now telling the management there is that: what actually happened there was not a cut and paste error. She was actually using the template of a previous referral and typing over it, with this new McCabe referral and failed to delete some information referring to the previous referral. So it wasn’t a ‘pasting in’ error, it was a ‘failure to delete’ error. And she says that she just simply did not notice that before she sent on the referral [to Tusla].”

“Now, according to the person that I was talking to, who has seen it, it should have been obvious to anyone looking at it that there was a mistake in it because, I’m told, there actually was the names of two alleged abusers on the file that went over. Like the phrase that was used to me was: it would have jumped off the page. So, why that happened in Tusla when were then using this document to create the other files, the referrals, the files on the [McCabe] children, that’s the question that remains now.”

McCullough: “There’s been a lot of focus on how this error was ultimately discovered.”

Hannon: “Yes, and I’ve confirmed today that the girl at the centre of this, who made the original allegation back in 2006, she has given an account of how this happened that does not tally with the account that the Health Minister Simon Harris put on the Dáil record this week.”

McCullough: “And in what way is it different?”

Hannon: “Well, first of all, Minister Harris told the Dail that, and he was using information that he got from the HSE, he said that the girl had contacted the counsellor to say that the allegation of digital rape was incorrect, that she had never made it and that’s how the mistake came to light. That’s what the Dáil was told.”

“But I spoke to the girl’s solicitor today and he tells me that that is not the case. He says that, this is the sequence of events: the girl’s mother made the initial appointment, for her, with this counsellor. She attended just once. She had no idea that a referral had gone to Tusla as a result of this one counselling session, until many months later, her family were contacted by the guards and they were asked to attend to the Garda station about this allegation. Her parents went to the Garda station, looked at this, were presented with the allegation and said immediately: this is not our daughter’s allegation, this was never made.”

“And according to the girl’s solicitor, this was the last that she had to do with it, that she, whoever contacted the counsellor, it wasn’t her.”

“And also, what this does is it raises questions about when the gardai first were aware of this mistake. We know that Tusla sent them the file in early May. According to this account, from this girl’s solicitor, the guards were informed that it was incorrect, there was a mistake in it, by the 4th or 5th of May and that’s not what the rest of the files show…”

McCullough: “What does the Tusla file say?”

Hannon: “Yeah, the Tusla file says that the first contact with the garda was the original investigating guard that investigated the 2006 complaint – that was done back in August 2013. We don’t know what came of that, if the meeting took place. We know that Tusla contacted the guards with the referral in early May. We know that they were told about the referral, from the counsellor, on the 14th of May [2014] and then they say, the file says they contacted the guards one or two days after that.”

McCullough: “Ok, so very, very briefly, we already have conflicting accounts here?”

Hannon: “We do, we’ve two serious conflicts. We’ve a conflict between the account that the minister [for health] gave the Dail this week to what the client says as regards when we found out about the error and there are other conflicts about when the guards knew about it in the first place and when the guards knew this second allegation was a mistake. So, you know, the attempt or demand for the answers to these six questions might be trickier I think than we think.”

McCullough: “Hence, the tribunal, ok, Katie, thank you very much.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: Pasted In Error

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Solicitor Trevor Collins and Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins spoke to Miriam O’Callaghan about how Keith was also the subject of a referral to Tusla over a false abuse allegation.

From the interview…

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Garda [Keith] Harrison. Now, he too, I just want to read this to get it right. He was the subject of a referral to Tusla over abuse allegations that were later found to be untrue.”

Trevor Collins: “That is correct. It was a very, very disturbing and worrisome development for Keith Harrison and his partner, Marisa. As you can imagine the fact that someone is referred to Tusla – no matter what stage or what capacity in life, or office they hold – it is, by any measure, a disturbing, and something that would devastate a family and it had that effect on Keith and Marisa where they were, without any notice, invited to meet with Tusla, at a formal meeting, in the Tusla offices. And that came to them out of the blue.”

“It was, they were told during that meeting that they had no issue and no case to answer. That caused untold stress, upset, anguish. She worries, as a mother that someone is watching them.”

O’Callaghan: “I would assume Tusla would say they only went along and investigated and spoke to everybody because this complaint or allegation had been made.”

Collins: “That is fair and, to be fair, Keith and Marisa would be the first to say that the social workers from Tusla who visited their home, who then met with, were more than accommodating, understanding. The individuals who visited and conducted this investigation themselves, appeared to suggest to Keith – and this is in Keith and Marisa’s view – that they could see no reason why they were doing what they had to do but they were being told and that they had to carry out this duty.

O’Callaghan: “Now, in the end, they were found to be completely untrue, these allegations, isn’t that correct?”

Collins: “Absolutely, untrue. And there was no justification for this and no case to answer by anyone.”

O’Callaghan: “Now, Keith Harrison did try to make contact with the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, didn’t he?”

Collins:Keith Harrison has been writing continuously since June 2014, to the minister, about the issues he has suffered. He has brought, to her attention, the efforts – as he sees it – by senior management of An Garda Siochana to smear him, to destroy his credibility, to undermine the very foundation that makes him a partner, the things that make a person, outside of their employment…I suppose, really, what I’m trying to explain to you, is, look, their fundamental being was being attacked.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: “The Similarities Cannot Be Ignored”

‘Why Are Nine Garda Whistleblowers Out Sick?’

Related: Second Garda whistleblower referred to Tusla (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

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From top: John McGuinness, of Fianna Fáil; Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

Last night.

During the ‘statements of clarification’ session in the Dáil.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked a million many times to state when he first became aware of the smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

At one point, he had the following exchange with Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: “Will the Taoiseach tell us when he first became aware of that smear against Garda Sergeant McCabe?”

Enda Kenny: “I became aware of it the same as most of the rest of the nation, which was after the Prime Time programme.”

This is despite the fact Labour TD Brendan Howlin spoke about the campaign during Leaders’ Questions the day before the Prime Time programme was broadcast.

Readers will also recall how that supposed conversation he had with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone, prior to her meeting Sgt Maurice McCabe, never happened

Further to this…

Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness – who has previously said he was warned not to trust Sgt Maurice McCabe by then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in a car park of Bewley’s Hotel on the Naas Road on January 24, 2014 – accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of knowing about the allegations being made against Sgt Maurice McCabe ‘a long time ago’.

Readers will note that, in the Sunday Independent at the weekend, Philip Ryan reported that Mr McGuinness claimed Mr Callinan made false child abuse allegations – about Sgt McCabe – to Mr McGuinness during that meeting in 2014.

From last night’s session…

John McGuinness: “We’re here discussing this public inquiry because of the fact that the McCabe family have no trust whatsoever in a private inquiry. We’ve had enough of them. And, in relation to the smear campaign, why is it that we cannot admit that ,for the last number of years, for anyone who wished to stop and listen to what was being said in this house…I’ll deal with the car park in a minute…why is it that when we were told what was happening in relation to Maurice McCabe, anyone that supported him, was sold this narrative that he was a sex abuser. That he had abused people sexually. And that’s what they said. And therefore, those that supported him were knocked off of their support by virtue of that gossip and that innuendo and that accusation.”

“So the fact of the matter is: that while that was going on, the Tusla file existed. So how many gardai knew about that Tusla file? How many in this house knew about the allegations that were being made? And when he appeared before the public accounts committee, the great efforts were made by this house – and by members within it – to stop him from coming forward. That’s why we’re here today.”

“Because we have ignored Maurice McCabe and the other Maurice McCabes that exist out there. And if we’re to have any public inquiry into this then we have to take into consideration, the culture that has sent all of those people out sick, some of them struggling now with mental illness. And we cannot ignore those people. And the Government cannot ignore them. But how many within Government knew about those, about these allegations that were being made? Even though it might have been gossip. It was gossip that was being spread maliciously, to take you off your game and not to support Maurice McCabe. And all of us, in this house, knew what was going on.”

Enda Kenny: “I think it’s obvious Deputy McGuinness that the entire country feels sympathy with the pressure and stress and distress of the McCabe family. Now am I, am I right or not or did you have a meeting with the former commissioner of the gardai [Martin Callinan] and did you hear information, relevant to a smear campaign against Garda McCabe? And if you did, what did you do about it?

McGuinness:I knew about it Taoiseach because you knew long time ago about the accusations that were being made against Maurice McCabe. Everyone in this house knew and great efforts were made to derail Maurice McCabe and the story he was telling. Everyone knew. And the fact of the matter is, that it was a deliberate attempt to undermine Maurice McCabe, a deliberate attempt.”

Frances Fitzgerald: “[inaudible]…you say you had your meeting. That would have meant that some of these issues that you were told about would have been dealt with in the O’Higgins commission…”

McGuinness: “On legal advice, minister, I followed legal advice.”

Fitzgerald: “But… you followed legal advice… and like Minister [Katherine] Zappone, I didn’t want to give legs to something that was totally untrue…”

Fitzgerald: “Then what are you saying…”

McGuinness: “…I felt myself that it was untrue. And that’s the fact of the matter but you did nothing about Maurice McCabe.”

Fitzgerald: “Sorry, deputy, you didn’t want to act on legal advice…but you had direct information, deputy, which is more than many people or anybody in this house had.”

Later – after Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty asked Mr McGuinness to correct his claim that ‘everyone in the house’ knew

McGuinness: “Those of us that were clearly associated with supporting Maurice McCabe, knew about this and not everyone in the house.”

Meanwhile…

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Fine Gael TD John Deasy

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Prime Time‘s political correspondent Katie Hannon interview Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy.

Mr Deasy explained to Ms Hannon that, on the same day the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan appeared before the Public Accounts Committee – and made his “disgusting” remark – he was approached by a senior garda who warned him not to trust Sgt Maurice McCabe.

He explained he lobbied Taoiseach Enda Kenny after the garda’s approach.

John Deasy: “Before the meeting, I was approached by a very senior guard and he proceeded to make some very derogatory comments about Maurice McCabe. The nature of which were, Maurice McCabe couldn’t be believed and couldn’t be trusted on anything. They were very, very derogatory. It was a serious attack and very strongly worded.”

“Maurice McCabe was in the Public Accounts Committee the following Thursday and I thought that he was credible and I made that judgement.”

Katie Hannon: “You’re quoted after that meeting, actually, in newspaper reports, as saying he’s a credible witness, he’s responsible and knowledgeable in his answers. How did you square that with what you had been told about him, by this senior garda.”

Deasy: “I formulated a view that he was correct. I think that I and others realised that there was a campaign against Maurice McCabe, to undermine his character…”

Hannon: “Being run by who?”

Deasy:The gardai.”

Hannon: “At a senior level?”

Deasy: “Yeah and I had first-hand, you know, contact of that..”

Hannon: “So what did you do with this information?”

Deasy: “A couple of weeks later, I was having a meeting with Enda Kenny in Government buildings and, after that, it was on a separate issue, I asked to meet with him privately about Maurice McCabe and the entire affair. He would have known that that was significant. It’s not something I would have done every day. Probably twice in 15 years. And at that meeting, I said to him that I believed that Maurice McCabe would be vindicated. That he was being treated extremely badly. And that he was genuine and that this needed to be handled completely differently.”

Hannon: “And how did he respond to that?”

Deasy: “You know, he listened, he acknowledged it and the meeting ended. I do know, at the time, that another individual in Fine Gael was making a similar case to one of this cabinet colleagues, at the same time. And was being ignored and really wasn’t getting anywhere, was begin dismissed with regard to how the whistleblowers were being dealt with at the time and the treatment that was being meted out to them.”

Later

Deasy:I really can’t defend anyone in Government when it comes to Maurice McCabe.”

Meanwhile…

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Also on RTE’s Prime Time last night.

Former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte (above) told David McCullough how a garda told him of the false allegation against Sgt Maurice McCabe back in 2014.

David McCullough: “You were sitting at cabinet for some of the period when all this was going on. Did you hear rumours about Maurice McCabe? The smears about Maurice McCabe?”

Pat Rabbitte: “I did, yes. Maurice McCabe approached me at the end of 2006 or early 2007, about policing difficulties and malfeasance and he had a major, thorough file. And I helped him or advised him, on the confidential basis he sought as best I could. But, when the incident blew up in 2013/14  – probably early 2014 – I was asked on a programme like this, that same question. And I explained that I did indeed know Maurice McCabe as an upstanding and, in my view, an honest, conscientious policeman.

“And I was approached that night by a friend of mine, who’s a retired garda, to say that he didn’t know that I had any knowledge of Maurice McCabe and that I better be careful because did I not know what was going around and he, graphically, told me what was going ’round.”

McCullough: “And did you tell anyone about that?”

Rabbitte: “No, nobody. I thought it was foul gossip. I didn’t believe there was anything to it. And I didn’t think it should be given legs. But I did express my view publicly and privately about the probity and integrity of Maurice McCabe.”

McCullough: “But, if he was being traduced like that behind the scenes, was there not an obligation, on a politician, to somebody, whether it was the Minister for Justice, whether it was the Taoiseach?”

Rabbitte:I think, in hindsight, you might be right. In hindsight, you may be right. But, you know, you could say the same about your own profession and you could say the same about others who were told about it.”

Previously: How Did He Get Here?

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Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Prime Time.

Reporter Katie Hannon (top) outlined the sequence of events that lead to Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe being falsely accused of sexually abusing a child – a false allegation that was circulated by Tusla.

Ms Hannon explained:

January 2006: Sgt Maurice McCabe made a serious complaint against a colleague which resulted in a sanction being imposed on that colleague – according to a document prepared for the O’Higgins’ Commission of Investigation in 2016 by the chief state solicitor’s office.

December 2006: This colleague made a complaint about Sgt McCabe on behalf of his daughter. The daughter subsequently made a statement in which she alleged that about ten years previously, when she was around six years old, she had been playing hide and seek with Maurice McCabe and his two eldest children at their home. She said when Sgt McCabe found her, he tickled her and pressed up against her in an inappropriate manner. The allegation was investigated and a file was sent to the DPP with the recommendation that there was no grounds for a prosecution. The DPP directed that no prosecution should be taken – with the observation that it was doubtful the allegations should constitute a crime at all.

August, 2013: A counsellor notified Tusla that a client she was counselling had disclosed that she had experienced one incident of sexual abuse during childhood by Sgt McCabe. This client was supposedly the same girl who made the statement in 2006. But details of the alleged abuse had changed. According to the counsellor’s report, it was said to have involved digital penetration – vaginal and anal. Within days of being told about the allegation, a social worker contacted the original investigating garda to request a meeting about the case. It’s not known if the meeting took place. But a formal Garda notification form, setting out the detail of the allegation, was not sent to the superintendent in charge in the relevant district until May 2 – eight months later. Sgt McCabe was not told that the Tusla files containing an allegation that he had abused a child.

Supt Dave Taylor, former head of the Garda Press Office, would later (in May/June 2016) tell Sgt McCabe that he was told to spread this allegations through texts, etc., to gardai, journalists and others. In a protected disclosure, he said he was told to do this by senior Garda management and that the then deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan was kept fully briefed of the campaign at all times – a claim she has rejected.

January, 2014: The then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, accompanied by the then deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee, during which Mr Callinan made the infamous ‘disgusting’ comment about Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson.

Shortly after this, Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, who was then chair of the Public Accounts Committee, claims he was privately contacted by Mr Callinan and met him in a car park on the Naas Road. During their conversation, Mr Callinan told Mr McGuinness that Sgt McCabe could not be trusted.

March 25, 2014: Mr Callinan resigned from his position as Garda Commissioner.

April 2014: Tusla opened separate files on Sgt McCabe’s four children – all of which included the allegation that Sgt McCabe was alleged to have abused a six-year-old girl and that the abuse involved both vaginal and anal penetration.

May 14, 2014: The counsellor contacted Tusla to say she had made an administrative error in her report to Tusla. In turn, a Tusla email states: ‘The line that ‘this abuse involves digital penetration, both vaginal and anal’ is an error and should not be in the referral. It is, in fact, a line from another referral on another adult that has been pasted in error. The counsellor has apologised and is sending us an amended report asap’.

Within minutes of receiving this report, the social worker released an instruction that the garda notification be amended immediately and the relevant superintendent be notified of the same. The amended garda notification was sent to the relevant superintendent in charge, saying that an earlier report from this counsellor contained an administrative error. The notification said there had been an allegation of a single incident of sexual abuse, stating: ‘At the time of the incident, both the girl and the alleged were fully clothed and the incident involved inappropriate contact’.

An email indicates that, within days of the ‘error’ being discovered, the counsellor believed that the local superintendent of the relevant district had been asked to meet the Garda Commissioner in relation to this case. And there was some anxiety that this superintendent hadn’t been brought up to date about the error in the file and it had to be sent to him immediately. In a statement from the Garda Press Office to Prime Time about this, saying, “Commissioner O’Sullivan had no meeting with the superintendent in question in May, 2014 and did not request such a meeting. No such meeting has ever taken place between Commissioner O’Sullivan and that superintendent.”

December 29, 2015: A child protection social worker wrote to Sgt McCabe saying Tusla was investigating an allegation of abuse against him from the 1990s and that the abuse included digital penetration. He was invited to a meeting to discuss the allegations. It was the first time Sgt McCabe had heard of the allegation. He responded, via his solicitor, stating the allegation was ‘wholly untrue’ and set out the circumstances behind the original, entirely different, allegation and the DPP’s finding that it was doubtful the allegations constituted a crime at all.

June 20, 2016: The same social worker from Tusla responded, stating the agency was obliged to assess the allegations but conceded ‘I apologise that a mistake was made in my previous correspondence. I can confirm to you that no allegation of digital penetration had been made in relation to your client.’

January 10, 2017: After requesting copies of every Tusla records about him and his family, Sgt McCabe received a thick file of the various, incorrect notifications to the gardai.

The files also show that the girl who made the statement in 2006 had told Tusla that she did not wish to – last August –  to pursue the matter any further.

January 27, 2017: The chief operations officer of Tusla wrote to the Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs acknowledging that ‘mistakes were made in the management of this matter’ and saying that he had ‘instituted a case review internal to Tusla’. It also stated: ‘I regret that the management of this case did not reach the high standard we have set for the service and it is out intention to issue a full formal apology to Mr McCabe for the failings’. The McCabe family are still awaiting this apology.

Watch back in full here

Maurice McCabe: False sex abuse claim by Tusla destroyed my family (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

Previously: Unspeakable Allegations

The Thin Blue Timeline [Updated]

UPDATE:

Meanwhile, readers will recall how on Wednesday, the terms of reference for the commission of investigation into claims of an orchestrated smear campaign against Sgt McCabe within the gardai and with the knowledge of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, were published.

These terms of reference state that the commission of investigation must look at the circulation of an allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sgt McCabe by Supt Dave Taylor and to find out what former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan knew about it and when they knew about it.

However, there is no mention of the allegation itself being investigated.

It’s also emerged that the terms of reference were published after Sgt Maurice McCabe met with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone two weeks ago. Tusla is under Ms Zappone’s remit.

This morning, Sean Costello, solicitor for Sgt Maurice McCabe, spoke to Sean O’Rourke on RTE One and they had the following exchange:

Sean O’Rourke: “Has sergeant McCabe met Minister Zappone?”

Sean Costello: “I believe that he has.”

O’Rourke: “Well I suppose the answer suggests you were not at that meeting.”

Costello: “No.”

O’Rourke: “Right. Do you know anything about it or how he got on?”

Costello: “I’m afraid I don’t.”

O’Rourke: “Or when it took place?”

Costello: “It would have been close to two weeks ago.”

O’Rourke: “Was he in anyway assured or reassured by her?”

Costello: “Well I think that, after the meeting, he was happy that he had been met by the minister but yes, it was a case of the minister receiving the information that was being given by Maurice and Lorraine McCabe in relation to the matters that transpired once they received the Tusla file [in January 2017].”

Anyone?

Listen back here

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Staying in tonight?

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

RTÉ’s Prime Time is to broadcast a report tonight featuring never before seen footage of insurance fraudsters staging road crashes in order to make bogus insurance claims for damages.

The footage filmed by gardai features two collisions. One involving a car and a van happens in the dead of night. After the collision, a car carrying two men arrives on the scene and the men get into the crashed car before emergency services are called to the scene.

The footage also shows the driver of the van that was rear ended by a car, instruct the man who crashed into him, to “move back and do it one more time”, the car then rams the van a second time….

Swerve.

Prime Time tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One .

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From top: Artist’s impression of the Mary Robinson  Presidiential Library in Ballina, Co Mayo; Mary Robinson

Staying in tonight?

Grab a tay.

Laura Fitzgerald at RTÉ writes:

Tonight RTÉ Prime Time will feature a special report delving into the funding of the new Mary Robinson Centre project. It’s estimated it will cost almost €8.5 million to develop a Presidential library in the former President’s home town of Ballina.

A number of concerns have been expressed about the cost of the centre, it’s location and the fact that papers of a former President will not be housed in many of the existing archive departments in universities.

Traditionally the papers of former Presidents have been donated to University College Dublin or Trinity College Dublin. Controversially, Mrs. Robinson has applied for tax relief for making the donation.

Mayo County Council has also been officialy designated as an institution to which donors can now contribute items of Heritage value, which would entitle them to tax relief. NUI Galway is the academic partner for the Centre, the Department of Arts & Heritage has given a grant of €2 million and Mayo County Council has committed €1.5 million.

The establishment of a separate Presidential Library in Ireland is unprecedented.

The Chairman of the Oireachtas Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs Committee Peader Tóibin speaks on tonight’s RTÉ Prime Time, he tells the programme;

“At our next meeting I will be putting it to the committee that this is a serious concern and I will be asking the committee for their backing to send a letter to those three groups so they will come before us and shed light on the process they are involved in. We just want to make sure that the money is spent properly.

We simply want to make sure that the State is not on the hook for money into the future and we don’t have a crisis like we had in the Picture Palace in Galway and the only way to do that is to create transparency and that is the objective of the committee.”

Mr. Tóibin has also raised concerns about the role local politics has played in the state funding of the project.

He said:

“I think when a Taoiseach is involved in a particular project in his own county. When a Taoiseach gives his backing to a project before a decision is made within the Department, then there are major concerns then you would ask the question – is it being proceeded with for the greater good or is it being proceeded with maybe for local parish pump politics reason”

FIGHT!

RTÉ Prime Time tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Pics via Mary Robinson Centre

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From top: The panel on last night’s Prime Time and Dr Aidan Regan, of UCD

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

The panel – Eoin Fahy, chief economist with KBI Global Investors, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger and Dr Aidan Regan, from the School of Politics and International Relations in UCD – discussed the Apple tax bill with presenter David McCullagh.

During the discussion…

Dr Aidan Regan: “This is the crucial point that really wasn’t picked up either, in the preceding interviews, the ruling that the Commission have issued basically states that Ireland should apply its tax laws, 12.5% consistently.

“It’s basically said that allowing Apple to set up a subsidiary, split it into two companies, allow them to transfer the sales profits to one of those companies, the head office, that is basically stateless, it’s in the cloud, ensures that they don’t pay tax – call it aggressive tax planning, call it corporate tax avoidance.”

“Now the point from the Commission’s perspective is that that’s perfectly legal and it has been legal. Now, the Government has since closed it. The argument of the Commission is that’s illegal state aid. So this is an argument about competition. The Commission is saying that Ireland has broke the laws of the European Union by facilitating a large multinational to have comparative advantage over its competitors in the market.

“So it’s not actually saying Ireland’s laws were wrong, it’s not about morality, it’s not about legality. They accept that was perfectly legal. They’re pointing out that it’s illegal to facilitate a company, like Apple.”

David McCullagh: “But that only applies if other companies didn’t get similar treatment and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that if another company had come along and asked the same question that Apple asked, that they wouldn’t have got the same answer. In fact, it’s probably pretty obvious that they would have got the same answer.

Dr Regan: “Possibly and this, I think, is what we don’t fully know. The full ruling is confidential and I would be very curious to see precisely what it was about those two particular tax rulings in 1991 and 2007 that clearly signal to Apple that it was OK for them to avoid paying the 12.5% by transferring their profits to another company and effectively pay zero.”

Watch back in full here

RTÉ reports:

A report by RTÉ Investigates to be broadcast on Prime Time tonight reveals serious mismanagement and deception by Paul Kelly, the founder of Console Suicide Bereavement Counselling Limited.

RTÉ Investigates – Broken Trust – will reveal concerns surrounding the charity’s finances with regards to cash receipting, expense claims and financial accounts.

The report also shows that, when applying for State grants, the charity on several occasions altered accounts to omit the reference to directors’ pay and other benefits.

These amounts totalled over €215,000, according to accounts filed by Console with the Companies Registration Office for the three years 2010 to 2012.

…In documents submitted to funders, the charity also incorrectly claimed that certain people were board members.

One of these was former senator Jillian van Turnhout who told the programme that she was “stunned” that her name had been used and that it is “hugely alarming that any charity would purport that anyone is on the board who is not on their board.”

Serious ‘concerns’ about governance of charity Console (RTE)

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Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time, presenter David McCullagh spoke to Gerry Edwards, of Termination for Medical Reasons Ireland, and Tracy Harkin, of Every Life Counts, about the UN’s criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws.

From last night’s discussion:

Tracy Harkin: “I think, myself, as a mother, who has a daughter who has been diagnosed with a life-limiting disability, I find this report from the United Nations disturbing for a number of reasons. Firstly, I suppose what’s deeply distressing for many parents involved in our support network, and other charities that work with families that have lost babies to these conditions is the language the United Nations has chosen to use.”

Terms like ‘fatal foetal abnormality’, ‘incompatible with life’, they’re such harsh sounding, dehumanising terms. And I think for parents like myself and for the many parents throughout Ireland who have lost their little ones to these conditions, that’s not how they see their children at all.”

“Their experiences have not been heard by in this report which is deeply disturbing; parents have been speaking out, for example, in our organisation, Every Life Counts, for the last few years, calling for better support and services to be rolled out in maternity hospitals throughout Ireland to help them make the most of the time to parent their child, to love their child, to hug their child, to, you know, smell their child as any mother wants to.”

“And this is so important, such an important pathway to healing for these mothers and I think it’s alarming that the only option, or solution that the United Nations is fixated on is abortion. You know, these are children, human beings with severe disabilities and there’s not an agreed list, neither will be, and I think for us parents, for myself, before I had my little daughter Kathleen Rose, who’s now 9 years of age, you know she’s such a wonderful little character, she’s brought such joy to my life. Many of our parents didn’t have that time with their little ones and maybe only had minutes or days but they all said that that time was so important to healing. And there’s more and more research coming out to show that, in contrast, abortion increases despair and depression among mothers because they don’t have that closure.”

David McCullagh: “Tracy Harkin, sorry to cut across you, you talk about having services available to allow parents to spend time with their children, however short that time unfortunately may be. And I don’t think anybody’s suggesting that people shouldn’t be able to make that choice. But simply that others, who feel differently, shouldn’t be deprived of their choice, for what is best for their family.”

Harkin: “Well, I think the main thing here is accurate information and I think what’s missing from this whole conversation is also to look at what’s happened in other countries. What has the impact been of legislation in other countries. You look at the UK for example, over 90% of children with any disability whatsoever are aborted right up to birth. I mean most of us have their children with Down syndrome, Spina Bifida, in our communities, we love them, we fundraise for them. There’s a chilling effect to legislation here which the United Nations has chosen to ignore, time and time again. And it’s also important to mention that this case was brought forward by the Centre for Reproductive Rights which are a large, wealthy organisation with many millions at their disposal and their only focus, worldwide, is to promote abortion…”

Later

Gerry Edwards: “I think it’s very important, again in the interest of language, that we are quite clear that there is a difference between disabilities and life-limiting conditions and fatal foetal anomalies which are conditions which are not capable of sustaining independent life outside the womb.”

Our son had a condition called severe anencephaly. Most of his skull was missing and his brain was missing. He could not sustain independent life, there was no question whatsoever of him surviving for any length of time. And that was confirmed to us by five different medical professionals in three hospitals in two jurisdictions.”

“My wife would have been forced to continue with that pregnancy for five more months in this country, not able to bear the social contact with other people, working with the people that she worked with, being stopped by people on the streets, in the full knowledge that our son would not die, or would not live, I beg your pardon. And this was the situation which was absolute torture for us and we made a decision which was in our best interest and in the best interest of our family.”

“And that decision required us to leave our carers, leave our family and travel to another state. We did spend time with our son, he was delivered naturally, he had an induced labour, we got to spend time with him but we would have got to spend more time with him had we been able to go through that process here in Ireland.”

“Our family members would have gotten to meet him, we would have had the dignity of having a funeral and a community to stand with us and support us in our loss. Instead we got a jiffy envelope, delivered by a courier a couple of weeks later. That’s unacceptable.”

Later

Edwards: “It’s the responsibility of our legislators to legislate. They also have an obligation to uphold international human rights law. This isn’t imposed upon Ireland. This is something that Ireland signed up to. There was a discussion earlier on in the programme about upholding the law and Ireland is one of those countries that has pledged to uphold international human rights law and we’ll find out very soon whether our Government is going to honour that commitment it made and actually take steps to change our legal environment soon.”

Watch Prime Time back in full here

Meanwhile,

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On TV3’s Tonight With Vincent Browne last night…

During the newspaper review, the panel – Senator Lynn Ruane, Breda O’Brien, of the Iona Institute; Sinéad O’Carroll, of The Journal.ie and Ger Colleran,former editor of the Irish Daily Star – also discussed the UN’s criticism.

From the discussion…

Mick Clifford: “Breda, ‘Cabinet to defy UN on abortion reforms’ [the main headline on today’s Irish Examiner]. This is not going to go away and some people would say all roads to a referendum one way or the other.”

Breda O’Brien: “Well I’m absolutely delighted if that’s an accurate headline in the Irish Examiner because this committee is part of a huge push that there is to kind of, in a sense, the UN treaty say ‘do not give any right to abortion’ but these committees have been pushing this agenda for years. And they’re stuffed with people who share a point of view which is that the baby in the womb does not have equal rights with the mother. And of course they’re going to find that something is cruel and inhumane and degrading, but I had the privilege of accompanying a friend of mine when she had a baby with a life-limiting condition and..”

Clifford: “But there’s stories like that but there’s also the other side…”

Sinead O’Carroll:Fatal foetal abnormality is different to life-limiting…”

O’Brien:No, life-limiting condition is the term used by hospice, it’s the term used by…”

O’Carroll:Fatal foetal abnormality is the term used by doctors when they give diagnoses to women with fatal foetal abnormality…”

O’Brien: “But also, people, I think fatal foetal abnormality is one that people who have had babies with life-limiting conditions have asked to have it removed because it is so offensive. Your child is not a fatal foetal abnormality, no more than somebody with leukaemia is a cancer.”

Ger Colleran: “It’s the condition, not the child…”

O’Brien: “But that’s what, people have actually said in the media, they’ve said things like, ‘the fatal foetal abnormality’ as if that were, it’s a child who has a life-limiting condition…”

Clifford: “Breda, do you believe there’ll be a referendum?”

O’Brien: “I hope that there will be good sense and that people will see that this is a matter of equal rights and that they should leave it as it is.”

Lynne Ruane: “There will be.”

Clifford: “Ok, well, we’re going to have to leave it for that because that’s it now, we’ve run out of time..”

Watch back in full here

Previously: ‘The Ashes Were Unexpectedly Delivered To Her Three Weeks Later By Courier’