‘I Can’t Believe The Taoiseach Any More’


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From top: The results of a poll on last night’s Claire Byrne Live which was attended by Colm O’Gorman and David Quinn (third pic) and Michael O’Brien, above

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live.

Colm O’Gorman, of Amnesty Ireland, and Irish Independent columnist David Quinn, of Iona Institute, joined Claire Byrne for a debate on the Catholic Church and the State.

Members of the audience also spoke, including Michael O’Brien, who, in 2009, spoke on Questions and Answers about the abuse he suffered at an industrial school and how he was told he was telling lies at the Laffoy/Ryan Commission.

Last night, Mr O’Brien accused Mr Quinn of telling him, in a Dáil committee room, that ‘it didn’t happen as bad as you’re saying’. Mr Quinn said he never met Mr O’Brien in a Dáil committee room.

Donald Clarke, of The Irish Times, also spoke from the audience recalling a column he wrote on June 7, 2014, headlined: ‘If you don’t approve of the church then don’t take part in its rituals’.

Readers may wish to note that the latest Census figures for religion won’t be available until October 12.

From last night’s debate.

Michael O’Brien:All we have is denial, denial, denial. And the one thing that I will propose: that the assets of the Catholic Church be frozen and frozen now. Until the mother and babies, the institutional abuse, the clerical abuse and the magdalene laundries – all that is sorted out for once and for all so that this country can move, as it did years ago, as a peaceful country. And not for us to be listening, day after day, day after day. Because when you talk about abuse, I feel, as if it only happened to me a few minutes ago. And this is the problem we have.”

“The Catholic Church has denied and denied and covered up, from the first day. And not one Bishop, not one who covered it up has been brought into one of our courts.”

Claire Byrne: “Michael, do you not feel that things are moving? When we have the Taoiseach saying, only yesterday, that the church must measure up to the responsibilities that they accepted. Do you not feel that that’s a fundamental shift?

O’Brien:I can’t believe the Taoiseach any more because I remember when they removed the ambassador from the Vatican – a big hullaballoo. What did he do? He sent him back again. He put an ambassador back in there again. And went soft on the church. And because the mother and babies [story] came, this disgrace upon all of us, a shame upon all of us, that this thing happened, he now, again, is battering, shouting at the church.”

“I’m shouting at the church because I know what the church done to me and what two or three individuals of the church done to me. It’s easy to stand there, you, David [Quinn]. You know nothing about being raped and buggered. You know nothing about it. I do. I do. And four of my brothers and three of my little sisters – the same thing happened to them. Eight of us from the one family.”

Byrne: “Ok, Michael, I just…”

O’Brien: “So don’t…”

Byrne: “I just don’t want to put David in a position where he’s seen as a denier because he is not.”

Gorman: “It might be useful for me to say something and I completely understand where Michael’s anger and upset and I think it’s quite righteous where it’s coming from. But I do just want to say David [Quinn] and I were talking earlier on about the first time we were in a  television studio and on that occasion David was advocating for the church to sell off every asset the church possessed until it properly compensated and dealt with these issues. So…”

David Quinn: “Thank you.”

Gorman: “So, to be fair, David’s been clear. David and I don’t agree on a very significant number of things but, to be fair, he’s also looked for, he’s generally looked for accountability on these issues.”

Byrne: “And I’m glad you made that point. We did ask out Claire Byrne Live/Amarach research panel: should the Government seize church land and property to compensate victims of clerical or institutional abuse – 69% said yes and 17% said no, 14% don’t know. Which is interesting. Because only in the last couple of hours, Minister Leo Varadkar says that property cannot be seized and that, if we ran a referendum on it, that that referendum would be lost. I know that Simon Harris suggested that, over the weekend, that perhaps we could do that. I don’t know, David, if you have a view of that.”

Quinn: “I mean it’s extremely likely it would be lost because you, you’d have to change the constitution in such a way that you make it easy for the State to seize property and, you know, it wouldn’t just be the church that would be affected. Basically, you’d give the State incredibly sweeping powers to seize property. Obviously, in terms of the compensation scheme,  the 18 orders around the institutions must contribute their fair share and so the Comptroller and Auditor General released a report and so, if they’re not paying their fair share. Mind you, it also showed, of the 18 orders, most have paid what they said they’d pay and it’s important to put that on the record. The two, which are the biggest ones, which are the Christian Brothers the Mercy sisters, who ran most of the country’s institutions, they have yet to meet their obligations. I hope that happens in time. It ought to happen in time.”


Donald Clarke: “…People who do not believe in the Catholic doctrine, do not believe in all the things that are being said, should not take part in its rituals. These seems a very, very modest proposal to me…”

Previously: Did Your Nan Leave Money To The Nuns?

“These Are Just Tactics”

Watch back in full here

46 thoughts on “‘I Can’t Believe The Taoiseach Any More’

  1. Sheik Yahbouti

    “Can’t believe the Taoiseach any more”? You and thousands more, Sir. Tired of mendacity? Tired of always being on the hind tit whilst your ‘betters’ sneer at you? Try something new, up to and including a bit of decorous Civil Disobedience. It’ll do you good.

    1. martco

      civil disobedience our way all over every church in the state next Sunday and every Sunday until they cop themselves on and pay up?
      mmm. imagine the risk of clashes with the more zealous cult members. you’d need guards on overtime€ duty everywhere for that.

      we do this for IW and other matters where the govt pretend to be deaf

      why not this?

  2. Wayne Carr

    I can’t believe Fine Gael either. That’s what I’m going to vote for real change. Not just the same old swapping of powers that has plagued this country since independnence. I’m going to take a real stand and vote for somebody who isn’t tied up in the establishment, and in somebody who had no power or influence when the sh*tsh*w of the last decade happened. I’m going to vote for Michael Martin.


    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Nice joke Wayne, but I’m seriously concerned that many ‘unfortunates’ may actually do that. A truly frightening prospect.

    1. Rob_G


      The church should definitely pay more than it has to date, but the state was completely derelict in its duty to its citizens by delegating the care of the vulnerable/marginalised to this organisation without a proper system of checks and balances.

      1. AlisonT

        I believe part of the reason the church got off so lightly was so that there would be little of no cross examination of those seeking compensation. If the state had insisted on more money from the church then a lot of people would have had to suffer questioning and a burden of proof. This could have dragged out the process and inflicted a second round of suffering on victims.

        The state should find some other way to take money form these institutions which is not linked to the compensation claims.

    2. Vote Rep #1

      The state did pay out though. The religious authorities have decided they don’t want to pay what they had agreed, which I am pretty sure was less than 50%.

      1. newsjustin


        The various congregations, those who have not yet done so, need to at least meet their legally enforceabe obligations.

        After that, it gets tricky for the state. I’m glad people seem to be realising that it’s unconstitutional to just seize private property willy-nilly.

        Ireland Inc does not need to brand itself as the country that seizes property. The FDI people won’t like that.

        1. scottser

          seizing property is a complete red herring. what the government can do, right now, is withdraw charity status and tax exemptions, pensions, grants etc. from the religious organisations. tax the shi’ite out of them and if they don’t pay, let the bulldogs at the revenue at them.

          referendum my hole.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Yeah, yeah ‘Ivor’, “the dogs in the street knew”. I’m sick of this effin dog in the street – if I personally knew it I would have tried to do SOMETHING. You are saying you knew it and couldn’t be bothered?

    2. Sheik Yahbouti

      Apologies, Ivan, I’m just so very annoyed. I was reared to defer to my so-called betters – imagine how I feel about that? My remark still stands in part – if all these clever people knew the extent of this evil, how come no-one spoke /speaks up?

      1. Ivor

        I was referring to the fact that Enda has been telling porkies for a long time. He has a rather casual relationship with the truth.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Thanks for that valuable contribution, Steve. We hang on your every word – believe me.

    2. ollie

      Michael, his brother and his 2 sisters were all abused by a priest (or priests). I appreciate that Fine Gael pay you to post here Steve but try and have some compassion, a trait sadly lacking in blueshirts

  3. ollie

    The way Claire Byrne shut Michael O’Brien up to protect David Quinn from having to answer an awkward question was sickening, but totally expected

    1. Kieran NYC

      She was probably worried he’d say something libelous, to be fair.

      And I’d imagine RTE don’t want to pay any more money to Iona.

  4. nellyb

    “As many as 24 of Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses may have taken out insurance cover against possible claims arising from clerical child sex abuse between 1987 and 1990, it has emerged.”
    “It is understood the insurance company had become anxious about the extent of its exposure to risk where claims arising out of clerical child sex abuse in the dioceses was concerned and had sought further information and revised arrangements with the dioceses.
    Last night also it was confirmed that the former minister for education and science, Dr Michael Woods, had no knowledge of the bishops’ insurance cover arrangements where clerical child sex abuse was concerned.
    On June 5th last Dr Woods concluded the controversial €128 million deal with 18 religious orders under which they were indemnified against any claims by victims of abuse in residential institutions run by the religious.
    A spokeswoman for the Department said the indemnity deal was only with the religious orders and related specifically to children abused while in institutional care, for which the dioceses had no responsibility.”
    by Patsy McGarry for IT in 06-Feb 2003

  5. Andrew

    I find it hard to believe that young couples are still signing up to get married in churches. It’s not as if many of them are even that religious, they just have some vague notion about it.
    In reality they are giving tacit support to the institution and even more so when they get their kids baptised.
    Irish people are a bit immature in outlook I think. Simple minded in fact.

      1. Bodger

        Andrew, when they could be watching Broadsheet on the Telly! This Thursday 11.45. All welcome.

    1. Increasing Displacement

      Even worse are all those having children christened.
      To my knowledge people I know did it for the school.
      80-90% + had that reason.

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        I refuse to do it.

        If you bow to it then, that makes it socially acceptable, even if it is acknowledged to be wrong.

        I will not baptise my child just so the church can add another name to their list.

        We’ve seen time and again just how dangerous the church is, and how little they care. I won’t be trusting my child to their tender care.

        1. Bertie Blenkinsop

          Are your kid(s) in an educate together so?
          That’s the only real alternative isn’t it?
          Genuine question, all my kids were Christened.

          1. mildred st. meadowlark

            Aye, it is.

            The nearest educate together is a good ten min drive away, but I don’t care.

            I’ll pay that price. There’s a very good CoI school locally, and they dislike having religion in the classroom there too, but I wanted to go for the educate together.

            I’m lucky that I live in an area where we have an ed together, to be fair. if I didn’t, I might have found things very difficult.

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            Thanks. But me and the RCC have ‘beef’.

            If I could I’d defect myself.

          3. Increasing Displacement

            Where I live there’s no educate together nearby
            So we are hoping they’ll take our kid anyway

          4. mildred st. meadowlark

            As far as I know, they are under an obligation to accept the child, regardless of religion, especially once the child is age 5 or close to it.

            Don’t take that as gospel though, pun intended, because I’m not certain.

      2. Cian

        I had to chose if I was going to Christen my child. The only reason (for me) was to get a place in a local school. There are a number of local schools – all with waiting lists; there are also some Educate Togethers nearby. I wanted the ET school, but really, really wasn’t guaranteed a place there – and being baptised doesn’t change you ranking there.

        So my choice was to baptise, and apply to all the schools, and have a reasonable choice of which to get; or not baptise. and be at the bottom of all the religious schools’ waiting lists – and possibly end up with no school.

        I didn’t want my child to suffer the consequences for my stubbornness, so I opted to baptise.

        Luckily we got into an ET, so it was moot;

  6. Gazza

    Making noises in public to present the perception of secularism while handcuffed willingly to a thousand more secrets and stories of abuse that not only involved the clerical scumbags but also police, judiciary and politicians…..Our history is a lie……

Comments are closed.