Facebook Update


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From top: RTÉ2’s Facebook Election Special at the Facebook headquarters in Dublin last night; Cat O Broin and Shane Gillen; Vanessa O’Sullivan; and Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party

Last night, RTÉ 2 broadcast an Facebook Election Special from the headquarters of Facebook in Dublin, presented by Keelin Shanley.

There were seven politicians in attendance – Fine Gael’s Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Labour Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley, Independent Senator Averil Power and People Before Profit’s Adrienne Wallace.

The topics discussed were prompted by questions from members of the audience and the questions, in the main, related to mental health, education, and abortion.

In relation to mental health, Cat O Broin spoke about her late brother Caoilte O Broin. Readers may wish to note that Cat was scheduled to appear on the Late Late Show last Friday but her appearance was postponed until March 11.

On the subject of abortion, Vanessa O’Sullivan told how she had to seek an abortion abroad after she was raped and refused access to the morning after pill.

And during the discussion on education, Eamon Ryan, of the Green Party, raised the issue of corporation tax in Ireland – and Facebook.

Mental health

Cat O Broin: “It’s a very long story but I suppose it starts years and years ago but, mostly, about probably 14/15 months ago. My dad died and one my brothers, who was very, very ill for a long time became a lot worse. He was already self medicating for his mental illness with alcohol but it became an awful lot stronger after my dad passed away from his grief response. He became very, very violent.”

“He was screaming at all hours of the night. I’ve a little brother, he’s only 13 now, all of us were attacked by my brother who was unwell. We were living in fear of our lives, our home, everything was going wrong.”

“We had huge difficulty finding help for him, within our health services here. We were told because he was drinking, he couldn’t receive the proper care for mental health services but addiction services wouldn’t look after him because he was so mentally unwell. So he was hospitalised, I’ve lost count how many times.”

“In a two-week period emergency services were at our home eight times. He tried to commit suicide five or six times, it came to a point that we weren’t allowed to meet with his doctors or anything, because of doctor/patient confidentiality.”

“I wrote an article for Joe.ie going public with this, to try and find help because we could get help no other way. We did finally manage to get a meeting with his doctors but nothing really came of it and on January 2, he was pulled from the River Liffey.”

“Since we became public with our story, our brother Caoilte was missing for several days and we had a social media campaign to try and find him and, obviously, a lot of people got to know us through that.

“And the stories I’ve been hearing since then, every day there’s a new person contacting me, saying ‘we’re going through the same thing’, ‘this happened to us before’, ‘please help me’ and I can’t help people. But I know there are people in this country who can – ministers who are looking for reelection who can help us, to not be the problem that it is.”

“Right now, in Ireland, dual diagnosis is a problem, mostly depending on where you live. In Donegal mental illness and addiction are treated together and they’re such an entangled problem that I think that needs to be the case all over the country – they need to be treated one and the same. I think it’s 85% of people who have an addiction also have mental health problems so you can’t separate them out.”

“There also needs to be far more contact with families. My brother was discharged to us, every single time he left hospital, we had no way to care, we didn’t know how to care for him. I didn’t even know until after his death a lot of his diagnoses, I still don’t know everything that went on.

“But we were picking him up off the floor, calling ambulances, this that and the other. Constantly. When we had no training. We didn’t know what to do for him and, obviously, we couldn’t save him in the end. But we believe, you know, it could have been avoided.”


Vanessa O’Sullivan: “Where I’m coming from, well I’ve been a Choice activist since I was 16 but about four years ago now nearly, I was raped by a friend. I was denied the morning after pill because of the conscientious objection clause that’s in the legislation with the pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals have the ability, if it goes against their conscience, to give emergency contraception to women which is outrageous in the 21st century.”

“And one of the issues I take with the Labour proposal and I’ve brought it up with Aodhan O Riordan before is that it looks at this conscientious objection clause for, if the 8th amendment is removed, to give the option for doctors to refuse to actually serve their patients. They put their own personal view before their patients.”

“…What happened with me was, and there’s no guarantee the morning after pill would have worked, but what happened to me, as a result of the rape, I ended up pregnant, I had to leave my own country, which I pay taxes in, for my healthcare. I was denied my healthcare, I was denied my choices. I was made to feel like a criminal.”

“The issue with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act is that it criminalises women up to 14 years imprisonment if they’re seen to go against the morals of the Government of the time. So, if I had had the, if I had bought the abortion pill online which is on the World Health Organisation’s list of basic, basic and essential medicines, I could have been jailed for up to 14 years. If my rapist had been prosecuted, he could have been imprisoned for up to 7 years. So that’s the disparity.”

“So, as has been said before, women have abortions in this country so let’s trust the people of this country to  actually have a say on the referendum or on the 8th amendment. It is no use to us having a nicely nice conversation about it and kicking it on further down the road. Women’s lives are at stake, women’s healths are at stake,  and I think now is the time to deal with instead of constantly, constantly kicking it down the road.”

“We need to deal with it now.”


Eamon Ryan: “Where do we get half a billion is the question. The Financial Transaction Tax, I’d be all for that but I’m not sure we can get it in the next year or two. And I meet a lot of companies like Facebook and Google and others, and they say the same thing, we need better graduates, we’re not getting high enough quality out of our colleges. Well I think one of the ways we could raise the money is getting the money from corporations like Facebook and Google and all the other large corporations here.

There’s a one trillion gap in unpaid tax due to the tax avoidance measures across Europe…I’m not picking against any company, I’ve a lot of time for Facebook and Google but Google just put 27.5 billion in the last two years through Holland and off to the Cayman Islands or Bermuda somewhere and didn’t pay proper tax on it.”

“Facebook in the UK aren’t paying any proper, real tax and we need to start having fair, proper rules, transparent and simple rules so that if we say it’s 12.5% or if we say, on the intellectual property rights, we’re saying it’s 6.5%. But we all know the way it works is that there’ll be some complication, money hidden going this way and the other that it doesn’t actually turn out to be the 6.5%.

“So I would say to the companies here, if I could and I don’t mean to be rude about it,  is that’s one of the ways we could raise the money and we should put it into education cause these companies would benefit from graduates coming from high quality colleges.”


Watch the debate in full here

55 thoughts on “Facebook Update

  1. Zuppy International

    “Vanessa O’Sullivan’s” abortion story: I call makey-upie-propaganda-bullpoo-time. [Go to another chemist for the morning after pill if the first one refuses].

    1. JLK

      There’s a typo/missing words in that…
      “Pharmaceuticals have the ability, if it goes against their conscience, to REFUSE To give emergency contraception to women which is outrageous in the 21st century.”
      Most ridiculous thing to object against as conception has likely not even occurred if in the morning after pill timeframe. I hope she managed to get it elsewhere.

      1. Lorcan Nagle

        “I hope she managed to get it elsewhere.”

        She wound up travelling to the UK for an abortion.

        1. JLK

          Awful she had to go through that when pregnancy could’ve been prevented. I hope she’s doing ok. Very brave of her to speak last night & so clearly on her experience.

    2. Fergus the magic postman

      More easily said than done. When knocked back like that in this day & aged while making a perfectly reasonable request, it can really unnerve a person & make them think the next chemist will act the same. Bear in mind this woman had just been raped, so her state of mind would not have been good anyway.

      I find it astounding that somebody can just accuse somebody like this of lying. Why would somebody go on tv and make up something like that.

    3. Daisy Chainsaw

      Not all parts of Ireland have multiple pharmacies open on Sundays. Given she had been raped, Ms O’Sullivan was likely not in the best state emotionally to go on a shopping trip for an open and open minded chemist.

    1. Joe cool

      You beat me to it Clampers. Astonishing bravery shown by that young lady. Really emphasised how archaic our laws are

        1. meadowlark

          You’re right Paul. She’s a shameless hussy and a liar, and only with her death will her reputation be one again pure.

        2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          There was a story the other day on BS about this and a lot of claims that oh, this would never happen and she could just find somewhere else. And yet, like so many times, a woman tells her story where exactly the type of refusal that people were discussing happens and it must be “made up”.

          You are ridiculous.

  2. Karl

    Not sure why Eamon Ryan was invited on, considering his party have no seating TDs. It was quite disgusting when he gave a lecture about “motherhood” straight after the rape victim spoke.

      1. Medium Sized C

        They are standing a candidate in every constituency in the country for an election to decide who will get seats in the next dáil.

        Its about who is in the next dáil, not this one.

        1. ahjayzis

          That’s a departure from any other debate forum criteria – it’s pretty easy to stand candidates in as many constituencies as you like, whether or not they stand any chance of election.

          I don’t have a problem with Green Party being included, I felt they were missing from the last debate – but based on polls they’re either below or on par with the Soc Dems, who already have Dail representation – there’s no argument for excluding SD while including Greens other than arbitrary choice.

          1. Nigel

            Perhaps it was felt they had something interesting to say? God knows it’s the criterion most notable by its absence in all the other debates.

          2. ahjayzis

            Pretty sure RTE are statutorily required to NOT be the arbiter of which political parties have something interesting to say.

          3. Medium Sized C

            It is not that easy to do at all.
            Look at how few SD candidates there are.

            I agree really, I thought you were dismissing the Greens initially, so apologies for that.

            It kind of stinks of “well we gave the SDs a bit so we should give Greens a bit now”.
            Which is poop.

    1. EdieD

      So motherhood is offensive now because somebody chose to have an abortion? Get a grip. By that logic abortion should not be spoken about in the presence of mothers? That would be ‘disgusting’ too? Did you actually listen to what he said?

  3. ollie

    Averil Power was also invited, bizarre.
    If you haven’t watched the debate, don’t bother. The government reps were let off the hook constantly, every time they were given a hard question Shanley turned the debate so they wouldn’t have to answer.
    Aodhan O’Riordain spoke like a drunken know all in the local pub, Eamonn Ryan contributed nothing (no surprise there), the theme of the night was ” this is terrible, someone should do something”.

    1. Ultravox

      “Aodhan O’Riordain spoke like a drunken know all in the local pub,”

      Well, there’s a reason for that.

  4. Neilo

    While I wouldn’t be a partisan, the Social Democrats are a comparative rock of common sense – mildly progressive centrists fronted up by the formidable C-Murph – while the Greens are not for me. Eamon Ryan remains a media darling on all channels for reasons that elude me.

    1. Nice Jung Man

      It’s easy to look “good” when everyone else in the race is a lickspittle or a chancer. Call me a cynic but …

    2. Baz

      Formidable!? Don’t make me laugh

      She was reading from well written text that was presented to her, notice how quiet and incoherent she became when the suspected source was rustled

      Nothing out of her since either.

      Still, she will retain her seat now thanks to the kerfuffle and Irish idiots confusing misdirected kerfuffle for actual hard or dedicated mining on an issue

      1. martina

        She spent over a year putting in FOI requests on IBRC/Selfserv so to claim she knows nothing is ridiculous. Your nasty personal diatribe only reflects your own hatred at a light being shone on corruption in this country.

        1. Baz

          If it took Murphy over a year to bang in a couple of FOIs then I respectfully suggest she is even less capable than I imagined

          Thanks for enlightening us about her poor work rate/ability

          1. Nigel

            Or for enlightening us about the scandal of delays and foot-dragging and obstructionism in the FOI process.

      2. Neilo

        I’m not referring to Deputy Murphy’s appearance on the debate but her qualities as a person and public representative. I’d doubt she retains her seat because she attends every funeral in Leixlip.

  5. Eoin

    Facebook edit peoples posts. But based on their own criteria. They should NOT be involved with any debate forum as they have an agenda and are biased.

    1. meadowlark

      Is that true? Do you have a link or something for that? I’d be very interested in having a read/look if possible.

  6. Zuppy International

    Could your censorship of opposing opinions be anymore blatant Broadsheet?

    What’s the matter? Am I interfering with your attempts to manufacture consensus?

    It is now obvious from your actions that all who oppose the abortion huggers’ agenda must be belittled and ridiculed and when that doesn’t work you deny them the right to the free expression that you so greedily hoard for yourselves.

    Congratulations, you’ve just assured your position within the cabal of mainstream media.

    Zuppy out.

  7. Ultravox

    Facebook HQ? If they paid their fair share of taxes it would help those who need it. Y’know, for stuff like er, mental health.

    Taxes? Nah. Dem’s for the Irish PAYE worker only.

Comments are closed.