An Unstoppable Force

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Catherine Murphy (left) and Ann Marie McNally, communications and policy advisor, at the High Court on Tuesday

How did we get here?

And what have we learned?

Catherine Murphy TD writes:

Recent events seem to have taken on a life of their own but it useful to look back to where it all began.

Back in early 2014 my team and I started looking at the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the controversial water metering contracts and the uncanny way that the same names seemed to pop up at every hands turn.

Crucial to our early research was a piece that Broadsheet.ie had done titled ‘Thicker than Uisce’ and this very detailed timeline led us into many different directions that have culminated in the events of the past few weeks.

I have been to every one of the Irish Water protests, I had six months on Leader’s Questions in the Dáil from June-December 2014 and I raised the water issue on nine of those occasions.

At all times I made the point that the protests and the reaction was about more than just water – it was about something bigger; the sense that things always seem to work in favour of the big guys and never the little guys.

I made a speech in the Chamber on December 4 and again on December 10 where I raised Siteserv and some of the names that have now come into the public domain through the FOI process.

I followed it up with a series of (ongoing) parliamentary questions and FOI requests and it was April 2015 before answers began to emerge – painstakingly slowly.

Roll on to recent events – a situation where significant information from extremely credible sources comes to my attention; information which I firmly believe to be in the public interest.

I believe I have a duty, as an elected representative, to pursue the truth, to get to the bottom of the situation and to ensure that at no stage were the citizens of this country disadvantaged for the benefit of some powerful people.

In pursing that objective I used every parliamentary avenue open to me including taking to my feet on the floor of the Dáil and putting the allegations to the Minister and asking him to let people know the facts.

I never for a second considered that somebody with money and power would somehow influence how my privileged words would be, or not be as was the case, reported in the majority of media outlets across this country.

For anyone to claim that this was never the intention is belied by the letters and emails received by numerous media outlets, including Broadsheet, warning them not to report my speech.

What is really concerning is that most, though thankfully not all, media outlets bowed to the pressure. The fear of deep pockets managed to control almost the entire press corp of the country.

In the age of social media we are lucky that many citizens had the opportunity to access fair reports as is their right, however a large cohort of our citizens still rely on mainstream media and until the Sunday Times took a stand on the Sunday following my Thursday afternoon speech, those citizens were bereft of information from their elected parliament. That cannot be acceptable.

There has been a very valuable lesson in this. We have got to look at how our Fourth Estate operates. Issues such as ownership, editorial v legal considerations and public interest must be evaluated and mainstream media organisations now have to pose some very serious questions to themselves about what is more important; their role in democracy or their fear of upsetting the wrong people?

The parliament and the judiciary for their parts, must now look at our defamation laws and assess whether or not they are fit for purpose. It is not enough to know what went wrong; we must take steps to put it right to ensure we never have a repeat of this debacle.

Catherine Murphy is Independent TD for Kildare North.

Previously: Catherine Murphy on Broadsheet

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

95 thoughts on “An Unstoppable Force

    1. Andy Moore

      We are in a sad state of affairs when this fine lady actually praises News International as being the guardians of free speech ??

      1. Odis

        Its a better Sunday than the other rubbish. But then, by your comment, I sense you wouldn’t know that.

  1. SiJu Cat

    Great work lads. Kept me and anyone stands beside me when drinking very up to date on everything.

  2. Sheila

    Excellent recognition for you all at broadheet.ie

    And what about Catherine Murphy. I was to shake her hand. Nay, shake her hand and give a big hug too.

  3. john

    Well done Broadsheet. Kudos to you guys for not letting the story die or caving in the face of adversity. Keep up the great work.

  4. Robert Hand

    broadsheet earned itself another follower for its stance against O’Brien and lackey Irish media. May 2016 be worthy of 1916 sacrifice.

  5. bisted

    …Broadsheet gets special mention from Catherine The Great….they’ll be all giddy up in Broadsheet Towers today if they haven’t knocked of for the weekend already like last week…going to the Palace for pints and hobnobing with Fionnan and Fintan and Vincent…we knew ye when you thought chocalate cheese n’onions were sophisticated!

    1. scottser

      in fairness, no friday pints were ever more deserving than for broadsheet and catherine this week.
      great job folks.

      1. Mikeyfex

        F**k it, make it the intention. There may be a sockie in it for ye next year or some such. Good job.

      2. mcp

        Bodger; that is definitely not how it looks. I’m hoping Joe just found a bit of slagging hard to resist. Keep up the excellent work. Let’s hope the Pulitzer Board is following this.

      3. Fergus the magic postman

        You deserve all the praise going. Thank you Broadsheet, for keeping me informed when others buckled.
        Thank you Catherine Murphy for being a brilliant representative of the people. Wonderful how you were able to do this, when other elected representatives couldn’t be bothered to rock the boat they were sitting in (#talktojoan)

      4. Joe the Lion

        It wasn’t a dig at you Bodger as it was more aimed at Murphy, and I also give credit where it’s due. Strange as it may seem I happen to believe the type of coverage you and other contributors give to these stories is the least one should expect from the media and elected representatives paid to represent the public interest. Personally I recognised the writing was on the wall for us with the way Dinnytalk was stuffed with blue shirts before after and during the last GE, not to mention the size of the government majority. I’m just saying that one good story doesn’t mean you just rest on your laurels now and I hope you will continue to tackle things such as the BCI and the media regulators who allow Dinnytalk and also RTE to subsume the public interest.

  6. DF

    Well done Catherine. Well done Broadsheet! Well earned praise and this is much better than one of those silly Sockies!

  7. paulyq

    Nice work Broadsheet!!

    You stuck by your guns when it was quite lonely doing so.

    Also: yes, defamation laws in Ireland need a major rewrite.

    They go way to far in protecting public figures from legitimate questions. We’ll need stronger protections for press before the legal advisors to MSM will let journalists publish anything interesting.

  8. Marie Quinn

    Fair play to all at broadsheet you have done all the people proud,take a bow.what a lady Catherine Murphy is well done to all

  9. Fe Dlowered

    Grandstanding. Showboating. Vote fishing. That’s all it is, but I’ll admit that’s it’s nicely wrapped up in a “this is for de peeples” message.

    1. Brian Hession

      Wow… you poor little sausage, your disdain is really repugnant. Never got past the adolescent ‘us and them’ thing. You can get better, you just have to think more.

      1. rotide

        there’s not a huge amount of difference between this and the ‘blueshirts, dinnytalk and shills’ type posting from many others. just another side of the coin

  10. ahjayzis

    She is so impressive, I’m actually gonna make it my business to be #hometovote for her, we need 166 Catherine Murphy’s in the Dail.

  11. Ferret McGruber

    Well done to Broadsheet and Catherine Murphy, both boxing way above your weight. Thank you.

  12. soundmigration

    From a very credible source re the *new* investigation……..

    “Before KPMG took over, IBRC had sold around €4Bn of its loan book and other assets.

    After KPMG took over on 7 February 2013 until around March of this year, €21.7Bn of the loan/asset book had been sold on, including junior Anglo bonds, and the former INBS mortgage book to vulture funds.

    The real fun begins after 7 Feb 2013, the date at which the proposed inquiry currently ends.”

  13. Sadface

    A few regular Blueshirted commenters seem to be missing all of a sudden..

    Great work out of Catherine Murphy and Broadsheet!

    1. Fergus the magic postman

      They got quiet with the now famous [Redacted] post last week. Most are shills & they were probably instructed to keep quiet, or took their cue from our great leader, who also disappeared.

      In contrast to what happened with Catherine Murphy’s speech, and the court case on Tuesday etc, Inda is very happy to chip in and urge John Delaney to explain a multi-million euro sum the FIA was paid by Fifa to prevent a legal battle.

      1. martco

        yeah there’s a lot of this business of someone (who’s under suspicion themselves) attempting to distract by pontificating about some other party who’s under suspicion…

        what’s the terminology for that? tail wagging the dog?

    2. rotide

      Since I’ve been (wrongly) called a blueshirt a few times, I’ll bite.

      No doubt Catherine Murphy deserves kudos for her actions and has been lauded all round, although with this statement it seems that O’Briens dirty dealings only really come into the spotlight due to water charge activism rather than someone chasing the far more important issue of banking corruption.

      Secondly while Broadsheet have done a fantastic job of collating information on this topic and deserve praise for their stance, the circlejerk around here went into overdraive the last week. You’d almost swear that JR himself dug up the information made public in the dail rather than just reprinting what was avaible publicly on the oireachtas website (but yes, in the context of last week that in itself did deserve a lot of praise)

      The ridiculous civil war throwback of ‘blueshirt’ which noone here was alive to reference and the childish constant [REDACTED] LOLZ annoys the hell out of me as well.

      1. rotide

        Probably was far too harsh there.

        In short.

        Murphy and Broadsheet – well done, praiseworthy

        Commenters – It’s not the french revolution or watergate, calm down.

          1. dereviled

            Catherine Murphy was not lauded all round.
            A former minister for Justice and Finance called her a liar.

          2. dereviled

            It’s hardly a circle jerk if a few hundred people drop by to offer gratitude and support. The circle jerk was the army of hired goons all offering to stroke the airwaves For He Who Must Not Be Named.

          3. dereviled

            And now we’re not allowed to reference the civil war roots of FF/FG as we weren’t there. So when George Hook retires we can all move on.

          4. rotide

            He can be named just fine. Dennis O’Brien. Simples.

            Murphy was rightly lauded by most, get your myopia checked out.

          5. dereviled

            a) Denis. Close.
            b) Myopia? Was this all written in far away newspapers? Or are you referring to the embarrassed fluffing and mumblings of the last few days?
            I fail to see how anything has been clarified.
            Brought into focus, as it were.

          6. Anne

            “He can be named just fine. Dennis O’Brien. Simples.”

            Has your sense of humour been redacted?

      2. Fergus the magic postman

        Yes, Catherine has been very much lauded by everybody in Fine Gael for her great work in bringing these issues to the attention of the electorate.

        Oh wait, hang on, she was lauded, but she wasn’t lauded by Fine Gael. Alan Dukes has pretty much called her a liar, on several occasions. At the very best, Enda and co. were completely silent on the matter.

        I wonder why that is the case. Maybe it’s because of their very cosy relationship with [REDACTED] (yes this title annoys you & others rotide, but I’m sure it annoys him as well, deeming it irresistible. He brought it on himself).

        For anybody who is niggled by the sheer amount of praise Catherine Murphy is receiving, again [REDACTED] had a lot to do with this, by trying to bully her and censor various media on the reporting.

        As for broadsheet being praised for being one of the only outlets to refuse to buckle to the very unattractive bullying of Fine Gael’s best rich mate, and actually reporting what was said in the Dáil… you have a problem with this, & call it a circle jerk? Oh please.

        As Catherine Murphy states in her piece above; it was a Broadsheet article “that led us into many different directions that have culminated in the events of the past few weeks”, so kudos again Broadsheet.

        Bottom line: Catherine Murphy has made a lot of people in government very uncomfortable, so I can almost understand why their followers would try to defend them (actually I can never understand blind party loyalty), but don’t try to sell me the idea that black is white.

  14. Fergus the magic postman

    Blueshirts, or supporters most of them, & he has them in his pocket.

  15. LookingOn

    Just wondering – did the courier ever deliver the letter to Catherine Murphy? If so, when – long after the Indo’s revelation and production of their copy?

  16. Joe the Lion

    Well. I didn’t expect much from the Irish Times or any other similar parasites.

  17. The Lady Vanishes

    Joe, letting people off because they live down to our expectations is exactly what has got this country in the mess it is. NO MORE. LCD (O-D) is quite right to call out.

  18. Buzz

    I’ve noticed Mark Paul’s tone being way off on a number of occasions. The Irish Times have covered themselves in shame on this. When I heard they were going to court to ask for permission to report what had been said in parliament, I couldn’t help wondering how long more they will be in business – they’re about as relevant as the phone box.

  19. Buzz

    Fantastic work Broadsheet! And Catherine Murphy of course. Great to see some backbone and integrity at work.

  20. Billy No Mates

    Great work Broadsheet …..

    And yet nothing has changed. There have been many great reporters exposing this that and d’other in this country for years. Yes they get their guy, they get the headline and they get some reward. They do all the great investigative work, all the piecing of the evidence together forensically. Take all the risks to go out on a limb both professionally and legally. Terrible truth is they rarely get justice.

    Name all who have gone before. Goodman, Haughey, Rambo, half of Fianna Fail and every developer in Dublin during the 60/70/80s, Lowry more recently with the aforementioned ‘Captain Evil Media Man’ Mr O’Brien himself. We get them. We know what’s going on. We know today that its gonna happen again and yet we really do nothing. Why? Is it because we don’t care! Nope. Most of us minions just know the game is stacked too heavy against us. That the personal risk is too great to challenge them. That the reward is nil. That the most likely outcome is your health impaired and your professional opportunities severely limited. Sorry but I’m out.

    Is Denis O’Brien the bad guy in all this or just a really clever guy who knows the game inside out, who knows that the 4th generation local parish pump TD is only all too happy to sign up to what he’s told to do for scant personal gain and no benefit what so ever for society in general. Its hard to Blame the bum for scrounging a house off the council if that’s the system. So too is it hard to blame the media mogul who knows the ruling class eat from his hand.

    These past few weeks just confirm what we already know. Not that we’ve got a corrupt system of government and equally as corrupt bunch of shisters pulling their strings. It simply confirms that we’re an awful bunch if f##king ejits.

  21. Lilly

    Drinking a toast tonight to Broadsheet and Catherine Murphy. To your health, prosperity and longevity, chin chin!

  22. Lilly

    Haha, he is an apologist for serial ‘entrepreneurs’ who drive business after business to the wall leaving suppliers/Revenue high and dry only to set up shop again with the eternal whinge – ‘but we take risks, we create jobs waaaah’. Spare me.

  23. Truth in the News

    Mr Morrisey was on SOR this morning, he still was repeating a lot what he
    “pedalled” last Sunday on the radio but unable to elabourate any of the fine detail, thats private he said….is it…..he needs to be given more air time…..oh Kenny
    is back, he on about the FAI 5 Million, but he knows nothing about the IBRC Billions.
    Very Strange……………….

  24. Lilly

    + 1 You have to wonder what were they thinking and what exactly their purpose is. Massive fail.

  25. Buzz

    I read Monsieur Paul, a year-and-a-half ago that was. My goodness but the Irish Times has lost its way.

    1. Mac

      Jays. Lots of Mark Paul bashing. He’s done some really good stuff on O’Brien and Digicel at the IT. I see he’s off on holiday according to his Twitter. That’s prob half the reason the IT were so lost in the last week.

  26. D is illusioned

    I notice that Catherine does not take sole credit for all the hard work that has been done she included her team. Another reason to congratulate and support her. Too many people claim sole credit for things.

    1. Lilly

      Plus it must be seriously gratifying for Broadsheet to know that their work was crucial to her initial investigation.

  27. John Kernan

    Well done to Catherine and her team; well done to Broadsheet for not bowing to pressure and publishing this story; however, this is not a new story. The Phoenix published a story in April 2012 entitled “Denis O’Brien’s bargain basement Siteserv deal” which questioned the price that the company was sold for and why Denis won out over other bidders. That failed to ignite the interest of anyone then. Now that it is in the open, Denis, Alan, and Mike will put their heads down, fail to recollect any thing useful to any inquiry (if they even agree to participate) and the whole thing will go away like every other dodgy game played out before this. They’ll continue to bank in countries with more banks than people, continue to play golf with the lads, continue to throw a few shillings to whichever party believes itself to be in charge, and they will continue to buy and sell our country and its resources to benefit themselves.They’re no different to most of us, they only care for them selves and their own friends and families. They just have more money, power and influence to make sure things go their way more often.

      1. John Kernan

        Only in terms of money and power. We are all the same by nature, look after self, look after those closest and most useful to ourselves. The people who will willingly think of others before themselves are possibly numbered in the thousands, yet our country is home to millions. I don’t condone O’Brien and people like him, but I can’t say with certainty that if I had his wealth and his power that I would be here and not in Malta.

          1. John Kernan

            Self serving nonsense? I don’t understand. Is it not true that most people would prefer to spend their money on themselves and their family before spending it on a stranger? As a nation we’re one of the most generous in the world when it comes to helping the less well-off, but that doesn’t make us selfless. Spending our own money on ourselves and our families, wanting to protect what we perceive to be ours is not self serving, that’s common sense. When you are prepared to forego all the money you spend on luxuries such as alcohol, tobacco, foreign holidays, cable tv, and the various electronics scattered around your home and share it with the less well-off then you can call me self-serving. Personally, I’m taking the 20 euros I have left this week after paying my bills and I’m buying myself some cheap beer, and the homeless guy outside the shop will have to wait until next week for his 2 euros off me. As for people like O’Brien, I’m not defending him, all I’m saying is that he’s using a flawed system, and he’ll fight tooth and nail to preserve that system, and everything he’s gained from that system, and at the end of the day that doesn’t make him any different from most people except for being more ruthless and definitely in a better position to win.

          2. Joe the Lion

            You’re using your own dim view of humanity as a projection on the entire population’s ethical standards. You have no way of knowing what way you or anyone would react as it happens and further you have no idea what drives DOBBY either. But all the same you feel you have to somehow rationalise imaginary behaviours within the flimsiest of philosophical precepts because you are an ignorant self- serving peasant and of course because that’s the only way people like you can rationalise the type of clearly deficient clientilist politics we enjoy.

        1. Fergus the magic postman

          I’ll have to disagree with you on that. Whether here or in Malta, or anywhere, it is a certain type of person in my opinion, who seeks to further their already disgustingly massive wealth at the expense of people who are barely hanging on. Most people have some sort of moral code.

          1. John Kernan

            Fair enough. I’d like to think I’d do the right thing if I was loaded but I don’t know that I would. I”ll probably never know, I can’t even get a job here so wondering what I would do if I were a billionaire is only a game I play to pass the time. The other point I’m trying to make is that Denis is the villain here but that doesn’t make him evil. His protection of his money and position is motivated by the same thing that motivates me to protect my money and position. I just happen to have a lot less money, and my position near the bottom of society means I have little if no influence on what happens in my country. People like O’Brien own and run this country. That’s wrong and it should be changed but the game is rigged against us, the consumers who make him and his 1% richer every day of every year.

  28. John Kernan

    @Joe the Lion “… because you are an ignorant self- serving peasant … ” Why are you so angry Joe? I’m just expressing an opinion, I’m not attacking you or anyone else on this forum. Has that always been your default response to everyone who doesn’t match your world view, to insult them? Were you abused as a child perhaps or bullied at school? Is that why you hide behind a pseudonym, because it’s easier and safer to abuse others when they can’t see you? I am ignorant of many things but I’m willing to learn; and I may be a peasant but I’d rather be a peasant than be you, and live a life full of anger and hatred.

  29. tomssko

    Revenue high and dry only to set up shop again with the eternal whinge – ‘but we take risks, we create jobs waaaah’. Spare me.

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