From top: Bill Kenneally; the late Monsignor John Shine
You may recall how the victims of paedophile Bill Kenneally – an accountant from a well-known Fianna Fáil family and basketball coach in Waterford – want a Commission of Investigation.
They believe senior gardai, members of Fianna Fáil, members of the Catholic Church and staff at the South Eastern Health Board failed to act when told about the abuse.
Kenneally was convicted and sentenced to 14 years last February, for abusing 10 boys in the 1980s, after victim Jason Clancy came forward in 2012.
However, certain Gardaí knew about the abuse as far back as 1985.
Further to this…
Yesterday, Damien Tiernan, on RTÉ’s This Week, reported that after gardaí raided Kenneally’s house in December 2012, Kenneally made some admissions to gardaí and gardaí notified the HSE.
However, Basketball Ireland, and a local Waterford basketball club, say they were never contacted or made aware of the situation by the HSE or officials attached to Tusla.
Instead, it was only when one of Kenneally’s victims went to the media in April 2013, that the basketball club became aware of the matter. The club subsequently told Kenneally to leave the club’s committee and he resigned.
Kenneally’s victims now want this matter to be part of the Commission of Inquiry that they’re seeking from the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.
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.
Further to this…
The death of Monsignor Shine has prompted Kenneally’s victims to call for the establishment of an inquiry into the matter “before anyone else with crucial information dies”.
Saoirse McGarrigle writes:
[Victim] Jason Clancy says that the Tramore priest was a “central figure” in the cover-up.
It’s alleged he was told about the abuse, but did not report it to the gardai. Instead he contacted a local TD looking for help to suppress victims’ claims.
“A lot of the key witnesses are elderly, do we need to wait until more die before the minister decides it’s time to get to the bottom of this?” said Mr Clancy.
Mr Clancy and other victims – Colin Power, Paul Walsh, Barry Murphy and Kevin Keating – are pushing for a commission of investigation into who knew about the abuse and allowed it continue.
The men, who are now in their 40s, were abused when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
Their solicitor Darragh Mackin has written to Frances Fitzgerald saying “the passing of Monsignor Shine, who would have undoubtedly been a key witness to any inquiry, has resulted in the loss of evidence to the investigation”.
Superintendent Sean Cashman admitted Bill Kenneally told him he was blind-folding, handcuffing and sexually abusing teenage boys in 1987, but he did not charge the basketball coach because he promised to stop.
Last month Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald wrote to the men saying: “While I am minded towards holding some form of investigation” she was not going to launch one yet, because a fresh criminal investigation is now underway after three other men came forward making reports of abuse at the end of 2016.
“There is probably another 150 men walking around Waterford that have been abused by this monster, this could go on for years,” said Mr Clancy.
He added: “It is not a valid excuse to stop her investigating the cover-up and it certainly was not an excuse given to us when we met her in November…she said that new victims coming forward wasn’t something that would stop a commission of investigation.”
From top: A Panda Waste Management lorry; RTÉ’s Mary Wilson
The Irish Times reported that a new pilot scheme by Panda Waste Management will involve cameras being installed on bin lorries used in Fingal, Co Dublin, to record what householders are putting into their chipped green recycling bins.
The aim is to identify who is putting black bin rubbish, for which there is a charge, into their green bins, which are free, and to fine householders who do so.
The plan is that photographs of the offending rubbish will show who is contaminating their green bins.
The Irish Times reported:
It was revealed on Wednesday that 160 containers of waste for recycling in China were stopped in Rotterdam because of contamination. The rejected waste is being sent back to Ireland at a cost to the recycling industry here of some €500,000.
“It’s a Dublin problem,” says John Dunne, domestic director of Panda, interviewed at the company’s huge Regional Material Recovery Facility in Ballymount industrial estate in west Dublin.
“For every 100 tons that comes in here for recycling, 40 tons is pure sh*te –nappies, clothes, food and garden waste – there’s no other word for it. All stuff that doesn’t belong there. We’ve had dead dogs put in recycling bins.”
Further to this…
On RTE’s Drivetime last night, presenter Mary Wilson spoke to Dublin City Councillor Cieran Perry and Managing Director of the Recycling Division in Panda Waste, Des Crinnion.
Following the Drivetime slot…
Cunning Hired Knaves writes…
“So you think it’s just to avoid paying bin charges, the bad behaviour”, Wilson asked, and asked why people could not go along to a local authority facility and recycle there instead. It was a curious question, since as far as I know, there are no nappy recycling facilities in existence. And even if there were, it is hard to imagine people loading up with dirty nappies to make the journey.
Perry said that in so far as the general public was mixing recycling waste with normal waste, a lot of it was likely down to ignorance, of not knowing what could and what could not be recycling. Crinnion for his part was keen to emphasise that a lot of it amounted to laziness. That is – though he was not drawn on this point – a lot of lazy parents putting nappies into green bins.
Wilson then asked how much was down to ignorance, how much was down to laziness, and how much was down to ‘couldn’t care less’, having apparently opted to set to one side the matter of cost, and the more general question -proposed by Perry- of how waste collection ought to be funded.
In response to Perry’s suggestion that more education would be a more cost-effective means of ensuring proper recycling, Wilson wondered how much more education people needed. “Every child in junior school up is taught about the green flag and recycling and composting and everything else.” Perry countered, not unreasonably, that people were generally aware about recycling, but not necessarily aware, in the specific case of green bins, of what could be recycled and what could not.
Mary Wilson then asked Crinnion about the roll-out of the scheme, and noted that it would be “the citizens of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown first. They’re probably the best behaved, are they?”. The attempt at jocularity could scarcely conceal the class contempt that motivated the question: less affluent locations could be presumed to be worse behaved.
…Prevailing views on household waste production come with a moralistic streak, often encapsulated in the view that ‘the polluter pays’. In the case of homes where there are babies, the polluter in question is someone who cannot help it. All other things being equal, the weight of a bin for a home where there are babies in nappies is far greater than that of a home where there are no nappies used. And they fill up more quickly: we took out the black bins with far more regularity when subjects to the nappy regime.
Hence the costs of waste disposal for homes where there are babies are far higher than those where there are not. Not everyone with babies in nappies has the money at hand to pay for a black bin collection every time it becomes necessary, or, for that matter, the presence of mind required to always throw the right waste into the right bin. That kind of thing is often quite hard, when there are babies to be fed and cleaned, and a home to be maintained.
Thus beneath the moralising disciplinary talk about ‘laziness’ and ‘bad behaviour’, there is the brute fact of a waste disposal regime that penalises poorer parents with babies, one more indication that we have no responsibility for other people’s children, or their welfare. Moreover this regime can only but penalise poorer single parents -usually mothers – even more.
But the consequences of this regime are cast by the public broadcaster – through the words of a private company representative- in terms of the virtue of the rich and the wilful vice of the poor. What is all this, if not a form of widespread pollution?
The Irish Album of the Year 2016 shortlist can be listened to in full on the RTÉ Choice Music Prize website and on 2fm’s website. The winning album will be announced at the live event on Thursday 9th March. As part of the new partnership with RTÉ, the event will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2fm in a special four-hour extended programme from 7-11pm and on RTÉ2 as part of a special RTÉ Choice Music Prize TV programme, approximately one week later.
RAAP, Culture Ireland, The BAI & Golden Discs are also official project partners.
Culture Ireland will fund the attendance of influential overseas Industry executives to attend the Choice Music Prize Live Event, while Golden Discs will feature special stands showcasing the RTÉ Choice Music Prize nominees across their stores nationwide from next month.
You may recall RTÉ One’s report from Monday, by John Kilraine – about the former headquarters of the Unite trade union, on Merrion Square in Dublin, which has been vacant for three years.
It was reported:
“…a trust connected to the trade union Unite applied to be exempted from social housing for a development at its former headquarters…while one of its top officials was planning the occupation of Apollo House…”.
The report went on to say Brendan Ogle, of Unite and the Home Sweet Home movement, gained access to Apollo House a dayafter Unite’s application for a Social Housing Exemption Cert was granted by Dublin City Council.
Mr Ogle subsequently wrote a lengthy post on Facebook concerning the RTÉ report.
Further to this…
Yesterday evening, Mr Ogle spoke to Matt Cooper on Today FM about the matter, during which a statement from RTE was read out.
A transcript of the interview:
Matt Cooper: “Brendan Ogle, Home Sweet Home organiser, also the Unite trade union’s education and policy officer has joined us in studio today. Jimmy Kelly, the regional organiser, of course, was with us on yesterday’s programme to respond to the story which RTE broke yesterday about the former Unite headquarters in Merrion Square being vacant for the last three years. Leading to questions as to why it could not have been used as a venue to look after the homeless people rather than occupying Apollo House in Dublin city centre. Brendan Ogle, can you understand why people would ask that, and regard it as a legitimate question?”
Brendan Ogle: “No.”
Cooper: “Why not?”
Ogle: “I can’t understand why a workers’ organisation and volunteers and members of it, which is an non-profit organisation, a friendly society organisation, comes under attack for helping homeless people. I can’t understand it.”
Cooper: “Attack. Why do you say attack?”
Ogle: “Well, because, this is not journalism. We were approached by RTE at lunchtime, Saturday afternoon. I was approached, notwithstanding the fact I had nothing to do with property. I don’t even own one, nevermind having anything to do with it. And it was a very complex question. And Jimmy Kelly, who you’ve just mentioned – the leader of Unite in Ireland – sought, until today, until Tuesday, to provide RTE will full facts. Bearing in mind, Matt, that it was Saturday afternoon, if we’d got contacted on Monday, or even on Friday, we might have been able to do something.”
Cooper: “Sorry, had you not anticipated at any stage, over the last month or so, that somebody might come along and say to you, ‘hang on a second, you’re very involved in this campaign, you’re leading it down in Apollo House and, as it happens, you have a large building in Merrion Square which has been vacant for three years. If you’re concerned about the homeless, why didn’t you actually use that as a venue to house people?”
Ogle: “No, I didn’t anticipate it. I anticipated that elements of the media were up to no good when they were standing outside the gates of Apollo House, offering homeless people, going in and out, money to tell stories about what was going on in there. That was going on the whole time. So I appreciate…”
Cooper: “I have to say, I know nothing about that…I don’t know which organisations may have done that.”
Ogle: “Absolutely, and actually it wasn’t RTE either, it was print outlets. But I watched it, and I watched it on several occasions. So I anticipated a dirty tricks campaign because any time anybody stands up and puts there head above the parapet, be it the union or be it me or be it a long list of other people in this country – and stands up for people who need help – then agendas quickly set in…”
Cooper: “Hang on, why is it, no, no, no, hold on a second, why is it a dirty trick to ask what many people regard as a legitimate question as to why you did not use the property in Merrion Square?”
Ogle: “Well, first of all, it’s not a legitimate question because we went into Apollo House, very clearly stating – first of all, we were asked could we get into Apollo House by the artists. We’ve stated that, on the record, a number of times. So that loop was left out of the questions. Second of all, we went into Apollo House because it was a Nama property. We already own, and I’m not going to discuss it again – I will if you want, if you’ve the time – but the point about it is: it was a Nama property. As it turns out we were quite entitled to look for time to look into this. When we looked for time to look into it, we discovered that the so-called obligations do not apply at all because there’s only four units planned in Merrion Square. And [former environment minister] Alan Kelly changed the requirements to nine. So we can’t give someone .04 of a unit. And then we discovered today – and John Kilraine could have been told this, if he’d waited till… well I could have said I don’t know why the story was broken yesterday. I know exactly why the story was broken yesterday…”
Cooper: “Well, you assume you know why, you don’t actually know directly. Let’s be fair now…”
Ogle: “I’m suggesting, okay, I’m suggesting and I fully, genuinely and sincerely believe – the story was broke yesterday to damage me, to damage Unite trade union, so the facts that we discovered today would come out after the damage was done. I’m suggesting that, I sincerely, honestly and earnestly believe that to be the case. And what we have discovered is that, three years ago, Unite trade union spoke to a number of groups working with homelessness – which wasn’t as bad then as it is now, but was on the way – and invited them to look at Merrion Square and see was it appropriate for housing emergency accommodation. And one of the groups, the others can identify themselves, but one of the groups that will be happy to identify themselves was Focus Ireland, who came into Merrion Square three years ago, looked at it, looked at the state of the building and decided that, for emergency accommodation for the services they provide homeless people that that was not a suitable location – notwithstanding any planning problems. And we have worked very, very well in Home Sweet Home, we have…”
Cooper: “Hang on, why didn’t you know that or Jimmy Kelly knew that? Who, in Unite, actually spoke with Focus Ireland and why did they not tell you that?”
Ogle: “Well, first of all, Matt. Staff, as you know here, come and go and move through situations and we looked for time of RTE to give a full, detailed response to those questions. If the question had come on a working day, we could have done it quicker. It came on a Saturday afternoon, very bizarre altogether. Saturday afternoon? We looked for Tuesday, I don’t think it was unreasonable, there’s no reason why RTE couldn’t have waited until Tuesday and it took us time to do a search of our records, of our archives, or our emails, and of our systems. We’re not in that building anymore, Matt. We’ve got rid of that building. Our headquarters by the way…”
Cooper: “Have you got rid of it? You still own it, don’t you?”
Ogle: “It’s held by a trust and I think it’s on the market. My headquarters, Matt, and all the years I’ve sat with you in this building and in your previous building, in Abbey Street, you were over there once too, my headquarters is in Abbey Street..”
Ogle: “It’s always been in Abbey Street and what we are saying, putting on the record today, we’ve issued a statement at 5pm is that Unite trade union did that with charities working in the NGO sector. Focus Ireland, I believe, will confirm that – that could have been confirmed, had RTE simply waited until today. But there was a rush to judgment. There was an agenda set, in my honestly and earnestly held opinion and it’s unbecoming journalism and it’s unbecoming of the national broadcaster.”
Cooper: “Ok, but even if Focus Ireland didn’t want to use it, and I’ll come back and I’m going to ask the question: a lot of people would have said, if Focus Ireland had gone into Apollo House, they would have said that wasn’t suitable either. Now, you decided to takeover Apollo House, make it suitable, and the question is, if your issue was looking after homeless people, instead of occupying a building belonging to somebody else, why did you not use a building to which you had access?”
Ogle: “Our issue wasn’t looking after homeless people. Our issue was forcing the Government to fulfil its obligation to look after homeless people. The role, the job of looking after homeless people does not fall on Brendan Ogle’s office, on Jimmy Kelly’s office and Jim Sheridan’s house and Glen Hansard’s wardrobe – it falls on the Government. And the Government have a land bank called Nama and Apollo House was full of Nama. By the way, Apollo House, Matt, would accommodate ten times’ the number of homeless people and an awful lot quicker. We were able to kit it out in a day and a half. That could never have been done in any other building of a similar size and no other building of a similar size was available anyway.”
Cooper: “Nama, though, has offered many properties to various local councils around the country, including Dublin City Council and the various councils have rejected many of those particular properties. So, Nama has actually tried to give properties – is that not an issue? So, why takeover a Nama commercial building for this particular purpose?”
Ogle: “Well, Nama has offered buildings that local authorities have thought to be unsuitable and Nama has refused to offer other buildings that local authorities have sought – these are two arms of the State. Hold on, Matt, now. These are two arms of the State who are talking to each other against a background of at least 7,000 officially homeless people. Now, can I just make this point, Matt, because I don’t know how long we’ve got. I’m happy to stay here all night. But can I make this point: what is so wrong about people giving up their Christmas, using their energy, their activism and their resources – there was no homeless person who died on the streets of Dublin this Christmas, none. There was a fantastic atmosphere in Apollo House, it has put an historic spotlight on this emergency…”
Cooper: “But hold on a second, Brendan, that wasn’t all down to you…in fairness…”
Ogle: “No, no…”
Cooper: “I’m not criticising your bona fides in relation to this, right. But there’s the work of the likes of the Simon Community, the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland, the work by Dublin City Council as well – in putting new facilities in place. There are an awful lot of people, even before you came along…”
Cooper: “With the Home Sweet Home campaign who have been trying their damnedest…”
Ogle: “Absolutely, and Matt, you’ve never heard me and nobody has ever heard me saying a bad word against any of those people. And despite their best efforts, despite their very best efforts, homelessness continues to skyrocket, we’ve got over 7,000 people, we’ve got Santa Claus coming to hotels and a lot of those people have discussed it with Home Sweet Home and discussed it with me, and discussed it with other people over the last few weeks. This has helped those people and those agencies make the case: what is so objectionable about that?”
Cooper: “Ok, but isn’t Nama’s remit, as set down by legislation, to get as much money back as possible for the State?”
Ogle: “No, it’s not. Section 14 of the Nama Act 2009 provides a remit for Nama to be aware of their social responsibilities. Home Sweet Home have written to the Minister for Finance on this issue, asking to act on it. He sent a holding response two and a half weeks ago – saying he would send a more detailed response which still is not forthcoming. Matt, we do not accept, Home Sweet Home do not accept, and Unite trade union do not accept that Nama is fulfilling the social responsibility ascribed to it, under Section 14 of the 2009 act.”
Cooper: “But, on your website, that you set up, and it’s a pretty basic website, Home Sweet Home, you don’t mention…Nama at all…”
Ogle: “I didn’t set it up..”
Cooper: “Ok, well somebody from Home Sweet Home set up this. It’s a website setting out your objectives under homelessness now. And Nama is actually not mentioned there.”
Ogle: “Well, Nama has been central, Matt. That’s why we wrote a five-page letter to [Minister for Finance] Michael Noonan. When Unite were approached by the artists – so when everybody is attacking Unite, a union that has put more resources into campaigning on water, on change and on homelessness than any other union in Ireland in the last number of years – which seems to be scaring the wits of some people – let me finish, Matt. When…”
Talk over each other
Ogle: “When I got approached by the artists, I got asked to procure, if possible, a Nama building. The Home Sweet Home is specific to forcing the Government. Matt, we can all do our best, the citizens of Ireland, for many, many years have been doing their best to address the homelessness situation in many, many ways. The charities you’ve named have as well. It’s the Government that needs to be forced to do it and Nama was the vehicle. And John Kilraine knows that.”
Cooper: “Ok, we have a statement from RTE because you [Brendan Ogle] have a fairly extensive Facebook post about this…”
Ogle: “I have..”
Cooper: “It says:
‘While we welcome feedback and have processes in place to facilitate feedback and official complaints, we strongly condemn personal attacks on our journalists and presenters. RTE stands by yesterday’s report and its reporting of the Apollo House story which we are satisfied has been fair and accurate’.
Ogle: “Well I will let the listeners and the viewers of RTE judge whether a report that was rushed out – without giving us the two days, two working days is all we requested – and which now turns out we had offered the building to Focus Ireland and other NGOs which can identify themselves and it didn’t meet with Alan Kelly’s provisions in any case. Of course RTE are going to defend their man. I think it’s an appalling standard of journalism and, to be honest with you, it’s something, through the water campaign, we’ve learned to expect from RTE.”
From top: John Kilraine of RTÉ; Unite’s Brendan Ogle; a RTÉ Radio 1 tweet yesterday, and the Planned development at Unite’s HQ
Further to the report on RTÉ yesterday about trade union Unite and its former headquarters on Merrion Square, which has been empty for three years.
RTÉ reported that “a trust connected to the trade union Unite applied to be exempted from social housing for a development at its former headquarters…while one of its top officials was planning the occupation of Apollo House…”.
The report went on to say Brendan Ogle, of Unite and the Home Sweet Home movement, gained access to Apollo House a day after Unite’s application for a Social Housing Exemption Cert was granted by Dublin City Council.
Further to this…
Mr Ogle writes:
We knew that there was an agenda at work in RTÉ, re: Apollo House, as long ago as Tuesday, December 27th. Carole Coleman sat outside with a cameraman for three hours wondering if she could get in and get some footage.
At that stage, no media had gotten inside to record footage and they, and the public, were quite understandably eager to have a look. Eventually, Carole’s patience paid off and I personally walked her and the cameraman into Apollo House where they spent the best part of an hour. What they had seen was remarkable. Beautiful even.
They had private bedrooms, communal areas, kitchens, medical room and facilities, and an environment of joy. Carole herself expressed her gratitude and how impressed she was and she and the cameraman were treated with the utmost courtesy throughout. Carole got so much footage that she told me it may have to be rolled out over two days.
I looked forward to seeing Apollo House on the Six One news that evening but, alas, no. So I contacted Carole, who rang me back to say that she had encountered an unforeseen problem. RTÉ had decided that there was a legal prohibition on them airing the footage!
Really? Nobody in RTÉ had told the Claire Byrne Live show there was a legal problem when they had repeatedly requested access to Apollo House the week before Christmas. Nobody in TV3 had a legal problem entering and filming in Apollo House for Tonight With Michael Clifford.
Nobody in The Irish Times had, nobody in the Sunday Business Post had and even RTÉ (Prime Time) forgot about their problem a week later.
I knew exactly why RTÉ didn’t show the footage then and I told Carole Coleman. They didn’t show it because it was too positive, it looked too good, and it wasn’t the message RTÉ wanted to communicate.
RTÉ wants to support and uphold the inequality in this state. I have written much about RTÉ’s shameful behaviour in their coverage of the water campaign. And it is getting worse. RTÉ, as an impartial public service broadcaster, is dead. And getting ‘deader’.
Throughout the Right2Water campaign, RTE’s agenda-setting reportage has stood in stark contrast with the events on the streets in the eight massive days we have had both in number, and in tone.
Massive festivals of good nature and change are routinely reported as small side demonstrations in a tone as sour as month-old milk.
I was driving back to Dublin last Wednesday trying to get some order on the ridiculous High Court decision.
I spoke to John Kilraine and he asked me where I was. He was outside Apollo House and I told him Glen Hansard and I would be there to talk to him on the Nine News, which he agreed to on the phone.
We got there at 8:58pm precisely. Kilraine was in the RTÉ broadcast van outside and as the news began he wasn’t coming out. So I texted him. He said we were tight for the 9 o’clock news and I told him we were outside. Waiting on him. Silence. More silence. 9:15pm, silence. 9:20, silence.
I told Terry McMahon “he is waiting until it’s too late because he doesn’t want us on live wrecking their agenda setting reportage with some honesty”.
9:25pm, when the news was over, Kilraine finally found the door handle to exit and tell Terry and I what we already knew, “it’s too late”.
Last Saturday afternoon, I was with my children on an important family weekend and John Kilraine started texting me. I couldn’t deal with it so Dave Gibney rang him.
When Dave told me what he wanted later I wasn’t shocked. Nothing about the dishonest, sneaky agenda setting of this shameful entity that used to pass for an impartial public service broadcast station surprises me after the water campaign and the events set out above.
Why didn’t we put up homeless people in an empty Unite building on Merrion Square? He knew the answer well. He knew a trade union, or Jim Sheridan’s house, or Mattress Mick’s warehouse, or Glen Hansard’s wardrobe was not the point.
NAMA! NAMA! NAMA!
We, the people, already owned NAMA and that was the point of Apollo House. And it was massive. It held 40 people with the judge’s say-so, and could have helped up to 100 in total. But that is not the point.
The point is sabotage of a campaign that has the State and its mouthpieces very worried.
Kilraine asked detailed planning questions and, as property was not my area, he was passed on to Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly. Jimmy quickly found out that this matter was being handled by architects in London. Unite is a large union.
Trade Union representatives don’t do their property deals. Jimmy told Kilraine he would answer all his questions in as much detail as he liked by Tuesday. (Remember this happened over a weekend when offices are closed so it would be [Monday] before we could even start getting information – clearly our sources aren’t as quick as Kilraine’s in – wait for it… Dublin City Council).
I offered him a live interview on [yesterday evening’s] Six One news, knowing full well that “the man in the van” wouldn’t want me calling him and his behaviour out live on TV. And of course he didn’t.
Then there were the sinister elements.
The man who invaded a social housing complex in Finglas, calling for backup to take attention away from Home Sweet Home while he was panned by the media, somehow got hold of Kilraine’s interest in Unite’s empty building in Merrion Square and turned up with seven people, just while Kilraine happened to be passing by, and these renowned union haters read a prepared statement. How do these things happen? Any guesses anyone?
Another man, the only one to be thrown out of Apollo House and who has been railing against the machine ever since, was slaughtered by the media nine days ago for having a troubled, and troubling, past.
But, two days ago, he became the trusted source of a front page story in a Sunday paper lashing Home Sweet Home.
[Yesterday] morning I messaged John Kilraine that he was never to contact me again. About anything.
He then decided, and got permission from RTÉ, to run his ‘story’ before Unite had had the chance to get the proper information from London. Why not wait until Tuesday
Former Minister Alan Kelly (not a man Unite or I am known to be on friendly terms with) changed the social housing provisions such that properties of 10 units or less are exempted from the social housing requirements. The development of the Unite building in Merrion Square is for just four units. Everybody who doesn’t have 10 properties or more is required to fill out a form proving this. Declaring this. This is ‘the story’?
The implication, if Kilraine was right, would be that workers who are our members would have to give their assets, like a tax, to the state? So, Denis O’Brien and Apple don’t have to??
Trade Unions are not-for-profit ‘friendly societies’ run for, and by, their members through democratic structures. I am very proud to be a trade unionist, to be in Unite and to stand on my record as a representative and activist over many years. And I intend to go even further.
As we have been discussing for a considerable time, and as these events prove, our media and our democracy is broken and agenda-laden. The country is being run by, and for, elites embedding inequality in everyone and everything.
We will be launching in the coming months a daily news media outlet to go with our existing permanent political school for communities all over Ireland.
Furthermore, we will be launching a Unity Movement to ensure campaigns such as the water campaign and Home Sweet Home will not only continue, but expand. And Unite will be using it’s Dublin property and it’s members support to enable that movement.
Everything I have done from helping save workers’ pensions in ESB to the water campaign, and on to Home Sweet Home I have done at great personal risk, cost and sacrifice. It is not what I do. It is who I am.
Am I subjected to such hate and abuse because there are some that simply cannot believe that we do what we do because we believe in it?
– I own no home or property. I am a renter
– In 2016 I was driven out of Dublin (where I work) to rent elsewhere due to rising rents
– I have no assets, wealth, shares capital or great material goods
– I do my best to pay my bills, look after my family and meet my commitments
To be subjected to this disgusting behaviour in the media, and for some in the media to be working hand in hand with mysterious and unsavoury elements to attack my trade union and I, must mean that we are getting somewhere.
But it isn’t easy.
I appeal for all who want to change Ireland for the better to support us, face this down, and build our movement.
Focus Ireland has confirmed that the Unite union offered temporary use of its former headquarters to homelessness services some years ago.
Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said the offer was made to house the homeless.
A Focus Ireland spokesman said the property was reviewed by the charity and “found to be totally unsuitable for any of our projects or housing as it would have required extensive refurbishment, significant investment and planning permission”.
Nicely framed question there RTÉ…’a vanity project by a bunch of celebrity do gooders’ or a ‘real community drive to help the homeless’. Is that best you can do? This is a serious crisis and you are peddling this?…. Another reason why I’m switching to Today FM…