‘I Would Like To Defend The Voiceless’


Gemma O’Doherty addressing Dublin City Council chamber yesterday

Yesterday, Gemma O’Doherty was among a number of Presidential hopefuls including Peter Casey, John Goarke and Sarah Louise Mulligan to make their case to Dublin City Council.

Councillors chose to discard all nomination following disruptions during an address by comedy candidate Norma Burke aka Bunty Twuntingdon McFluff.

Ms O’Doherty told councillors:

As a proud Ranelagh woman who grew up just up the road from here it’s a honor to be here today but I would like to pay tribute to the brave young men and women who are currently occupying properties in the city and trying to draw attention to the appalling housing crisis that our city and country now face.

I would like to put on the record of this chamber that I am profoundly disturbed at the sight of men in balaclavas coming down to our city, guarded by our police force, and removing these young people, who are desperate, who cannot afford even to dream of buying a house in this city, never mind renting one, and my reason for seeking this nomination is in furtherance of my desire to serve the cause of truth, justice and integrity for the Irish people.

I believe that our relatively young nation is suffering from a culture of corruption and clientism which is deeply damaging to democracy and to the relationship between politicians and citizens.

I believe that the presidency can set the standard for the sort of democracy that we all want to live in, one that respects citizens’ right to truth and justice, the right to affordable housing, the right to a first world health care service, the right to a publicly owned safe and reliable water supply and the right to a free press.

Most of my work in investigative journalism has focused on exposing wrongdoing within the criminal justice system. A number of my investigations have let to the reopening of murder files including that of Niall Molloy and Mary Boyle, our longest and youngest missing person.

During my work at the Irish Independent, where I spent almost 20 years, I worked with Maurice McCabe and was one of the first journalists to expose the very serious allegations that he was trying to highlight, and as part of my work I was responsible for exposing I suppose an elite that had been operating in this country and continue to operate people who are going onto the roads of our country and doing whatever speeds they liked.

Some of these people were judges, some of them were state solicitors, journalists, crime reporters and newspaper editors.

As part of that particular work I exposed the fact that the Garda Commissioner, the former Garda Commissioner, was also abusing the penalty points system and that resulted in the end of my career at INM. I was forced to take a case to the High Court, where I was successful.

Since then, I have been highlighting injustice and organizing a number of trips to foreign parliaments with victims of state corruption and these have included Stormont, Brussels, Westminster and Washington DC, where I have visited with citizens who have been denied justice and spoke to foreign MPs and MEPs and tried to highlight cases that Irish governments have turned their back on.

As I said earlier I am very concerned about the housing and health crisis and I believe that boundaries of the presidency can be pushed out in order to stand up and defend those who have lost their voices in this country. I believe that there are many of them now.

Many more people become voiceless every day in our city and our country and they are the people I would like to defend.

Thank you very much for listening to me today.

Watch here (from 23.33)

Dublin City Council votes not to endorse any presidential candidate following ‘outrageous’ scenes (Independent.ie)

Earlier: And For That Reason

Previously:: Mid Morning Presidential Matters

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89 thoughts on “‘I Would Like To Defend The Voiceless’

  1. Jonjo

    I’d say she’d be Trump like as president, constantly tweeting whatever comes into her head.

    What powers do a lot of these candidates think the President has?

    1. Pat

      Fitness for the Aras (in descending order)
      Michael D
      Bunty Twuntingdon McFluff
      A slug
      Some cornflakes
      Laughing Boy Duffy

      1. Dub Spot

        That’s tough on the cornflake community considering some of the others are cereal candidates for whatever’s going.

        1. Freedom

          Slugs are pretty awesome. They have a sort of grim determination and uncanny sense of where a lettuce is. As a metaphor for the current situation where these dumb dragons are running for President they are a good one.
          How do they KNOW!!

    2. I am a mole

      I’d say she is well aware now please stop making that silly remark as if your the first to ask.It’s getting boring.

      1. Sibling of Daedalus

        Dublin City Council had a chance to ask her that question yesterday and didn’t take it, I think maybe you should be asking your local authority representative to find out the answer from her?

        1. Sibling of Daedalus

          I think she said she might be back on Broadsheet on the Telly soon, and possibly it might be asked then?

          1. CoderNerd

            She already answered that on a previous BOTT. But in summary as I remember:
            It was pointed out that anything she would say publicly has to be OKed by government first, however no one can stop her visiting the victims of abuse and corruption or the homeless and by simply doing this it will shine a spotlight on it.

          2. SOQ

            She can do much more than that CoderNerd. The very fact of such in the most prominent position in Irish Society is a shake down.

    3. thyme

      Actually jonjoe they all know the president has no power but to do what he is told.
      Its a case that they all have nothing to offer apart from used car salesmen and snake oil salesmen poop
      Not one of them are fit for office and the reality of a 300 odd thousand euro salary a free house access to government jet and unlimited travel and dinner parties not to forget the fully staffed free house with no expenses plus pension
      Everyone of them have the personality of a small plastic soap dish and have done absolutely feck all for the people of this country on their own bat without reward by massive salary
      She actually disgusts me with her voice of the voiceless
      I bet she has never given up her time to serve the destitute in a soup kitchen

      1. A Shark's Tempo

        I don’t see why she should be getting a nomination. Her carry on on social media is not really what I want from a president.

        1. Jeffrey

          But this isnt about just you? And a nomination does not mean you would have to vote for her… someone else is afraid? As much as I would like to see GoD becoming president Im not that naive to think she would win the race, especially versus Michael D or Mr BagMan but her contribution on debates would be most interesting to see and bring some attention to the wider public.

          1. Rob_G

            You see, yourself and Shark are able to debate an issue in a polite and constructive manner. Whereas if you tried to bring up Gemma O’D on a point that she made, she would probably threaten to sue, judging by her recent pronouncements.

          2. Spud

            I just don’t buy this ‘bring some attention to the wider public’ angle.
            If you’ve got the facts and basic smarts, the tools are there and free to be at the fore to the wider public.
            A lot of people know who she is, but see her in an unfavourable light.
            I’m just not sure this campaign is the right platform for Gemma to take her fight.

          3. Jeffrey

            @rob_g If there is ground for defamation then I have no issue in anyone suing anyone else. I cant see why she should put up with name calling and false accusation. Believe me, you would consider it too if it was you and I wouldnt blame you for it. The all #suemegemma is childish and really show how little arguments some people have around GoD bid to nomination.

  2. newsjustin

    I just read the Independent article concerning the goings-on and candidates at the DCC debate.

    Lot of nonsense going on.

    1. Neilo

      Further to that piece in the Independent: if the government were to organize Ireland like the Amish community, who’d get to be Kai Proctor?

    1. louis lefronde

      So did Bunty Twuntingdon McFluff do this as a free gig or was she paid to do it?

      If so, by who?

      Smacks of a deliberate take-down

      1. CoderNerd

        I’ve noticed there’s an account on Twitter with Gemma’s picture as profile pic and named Gemma O’Docherty. A lot of people going out of their way to try and scupper her chances.

        1. Jeffrey

          Unusually so. Some people have a near obsession about it. I can understand the obsession with positive for GoD but the negative one – especially when using the Band-Wagon Anti-X/Y/Z and #Suemegemma Childish hashtag – I just cant comprehend.

          1. CoderNerd

            Agree completely. Akin to schoolyard bullying.
            It must be said, IMO her use of Twitter is awful and makes her seem a bit batty. It did turn me off her a bit.

            However, I thought she gave a great account of herself on BOTT and would have more support if she got more coverage to explain herself elsewhere other than Twitter. There’s people on this thread giving out about the one sidedness of Broadsheet in publishing her speech, but the only RTE coverage she gets seems to be on attack mode or completely writing her out of the story. Was her evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal covered? Then the Mary Boyle documentary was blanked too.

            The council selection process seems very biased. Nothing to do with choosing a fitting candidate and more just giving the nod to whomever the party favours. I’m not sure if I’d vote for her as president, but she deserves the chance to run after the service she’s provided to the people of the state.

    2. mark

      Did she list as one of her priority issues.. President Trump?

      Are we certainly sure Ms. Mulligan isnt the greatest satirist of our times?

  3. catsiglierie

    Can I ask, if Broadsheet intends to provide a venue for marginalised voices in this process, such as Gemma’s, should they not also do the same for other candidates not yet on the ballot, and likewise largely ignored by other broadcasters and publications?

    Which is to say, why publish only Gemma’s contribution, and not the comments of Peter Casey, John Goarke and Sarah Louise Mulligan, and even Norma Burke?

    Without doing so, Broadsheet becomes a one-candidate, one-issue publication, a one-dimensional supporter of a particular political candidate, rather than an impartial, unbiased reporter of news and views which are otherwise neglected.

    This may seem only related to the presidential election right now, but it’s a very bad precedent to set.

    1. Bodger

      Catsigliere, we are reaching out to all hopefuls to have their speeches on here and have them on the ‘telly’.

      1. catsiglierie

        I can understand that Bodger, and genuinely appreciate the effort, and the response, but the presentation of a transcription of the contribution of only one candidate, while the others remain online but are not transcribed, does not look good.

        I’m not trying to complain just for the sake of it either, I just think there might be an editorial oversight going on here that, if it were presented in another context by another site / publication, would be rightly open to criticism on these very pages.

        1. CoderNerd

          Genuine response here.
          Transcribing speeches takes a bit of time. I’m sure if you’re that concerned, you could sit down, transcribe one or more yourself, and submit it to Broadsheet for publication.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            did you listen to any of the others?

            not one of them is worth transcribing. just cringe-inducing nonsense. each one a bigger idiot than the next.

            doesn’t look like it now that gemma o’doherty will get the nominations. that’s a pity, i think.

          2. CoderNerd

            (In reply to Cian)

            I’ve no problem with that, that’s Broadsheet’s prerogative how they use their time to produce content and no one forces people to visit the site.

            Gemma has featured on broadsheet for years and I don’t think they stated an intention to fully cover every candidate’s presidential bid.
            There’s plenty of other sites out there to search for the transcripts if you want to read them.
            Better yet, are you questioning why RTE, the national broadcaster funded by Irish tax payers, is so selective in their reporting? They’re the ones with a fully staffed news wing, not 2 people and a dog.

            The county councils themselves, again funded by taxpayers, could have requested transcriptions of their speeches from the prospective candidates and published them too.

      2. Ollie Cromwell

        Please,Boger,whatever you do don’t ” reach out ” to someone.
        Contacting them will do.
        Reach out is all a bit TMZ.

    2. Rob_G

      Welcome to Broadsheet, catsiglierie – prepare for a lot of soft-focus articles on Gemma O’D, and the Social Democrats (and occasionally Sinn Féin).

      1. catsiglierie

        I’ve noticed a similar pattern Rob_G, but I’d like to think Broadsheet would host articles from other sides of the political spectrum, if representatives of said leanings would be willing to produce the content for the site, for others to challenge their views below the line, like plenty do on the articles you describe.

        But maybe I’m naive being on that one

          1. hapfff

            like typical neoliberal late capitalist enterprises, they fawn liberal politics while extracting commerical value from volunteer/unpaid labour

            unless I’m very wrong, Broadsheet do not pay contributors like Frilly Keane, or Derek Mooney or anyone else

            so lefty they may well sound, in practice their politics is more like the Tories

          2. Rep

            Or they just can’t afford to pay contributors. The contributors know this yet still offer up the musings. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I doubt anyone is making a wedge out of BS and yet they still keep it going even though people, including me at times, offer nothing but complaints.

            Hats off lads. I may moan at times but you do a great job.

          3. hapfff

            the point is that, despite all the left/liberal content, slagging FG and the housing and everything else, if they’re not paying contributors or offering something in return other than ‘exposure’, they’re right-wing hypocrites

          4. Sibling of Daedalus

            Only if they are simultaneously pocketing a large profit for themselves, which doesn’t seem to be the case.

            On your reasoning any left wing publication would be right wing unless it was making enough to pay the people assisting with it, which seems contradictory.

            As a contributor I am happy to contribute unpaid because of the good work this site does and the great enjoyment I get from reading the comments on my pieces and elsewhere.

            There is a lovely spirit on this site and a great sense of community.

          5. CoderNerd

            If you want something published, you can set up your own blog or you can send it into broadsheet and they might publish it instead. No one’s being forced to contribute.
            Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off out to browse in my local right wing hypocrite charity shop.

    3. Jonjo

      They’ve never been unbiased. They’re not the state broadcaster so there’s no requirement of them to be so.

      1. catsiglierie

        Of course there’s no requirement, but if a journalistic enterprise loses the integrity of impartiality (like many have, including the state broadcaster), then it’s simply not journalism. And, rather than just accepting that and indulging it, or abstaining from it, surely we should spend some time trying to hold all broadcasters and journalists to some sort of standard.

        Or just give up and wallow in the filth of apathy and anger

    4. McVitty

      Does she not deserve fair treatment? Why so many moves to discredit her? Is fairness a privilege awarded to some but not others? I’d say the response to her interactions with Broadsheet highlights just how petty and insecure some people using the site can be.

      People think she’s Trump and the devil rolled into one and she wants DeValera’s Ireland back….yikes..

      1. SOQ

        Yes and the fact she is getting such a hard time without due cause will double her vote. This is the closest thing I have seen to the sniping of Mary McAleese except she actually got on the ticket before it started.

    5. thyme

      Now we know the candidates all but the Sinn feinn nominee
      We see the calibre is a little bit like celebrity big brother
      All hungry for the 7 years in the big house and the salary and perks
      Now last president micky Dee who is dignified and was satisfactory in the post is exempt
      They should put them all in a chalet looking out on the aras and do a big brother type competition run over a week
      Each day the viewers on RTE can tune in and vote them out of the house on their performance of their tasks
      The winner is then brought in to the aras and a debate between micky Dee and the winner of the big brother house
      The viewers then vote to decide the winner

        1. SOQ

          They should put them all in a chalet, inc Mickey D, looking out on the aras and do a big brother type competition run over a week

          Each day the viewers on Youtube can tune in and vote them out of the house on their performance of their tasks

          Sorry. Just correctness. I have a thing for correctness.

          1. thyme

            Sorry I left micky Dee out of it due to respecting his record
            Mind you he was not a great president he just did not make an arse of the aras
            For that spare the auld fellow the gladiator pit

  4. Daisy Chainsaw

    Ms Twuntingdon McFluff is bang on the nose with her pitch: “I thought it would be a super idea to run for president to get some free publicity for my business. If I win, I’d cease trading for seven years, however I’d use that time to host people useful to my interests and make a lot of powerful contacts. ” That’s why you have reality show “ontraprenoors” sniffing around. They know a good set up when they see it.

    1. Jonjo

      Exactly what trump is doing in the White House. Looking after all his business mates and when he’s finished his term/s, he’ll be on Boards of plenty of companies and will also not be short of investment.

  5. Neilo

    I’m up for another seven years of the incumbent: his waist size will eventually surpass his height until he’s more basketball than man.

  6. martco

    I’m really enjoying the cut of McFluff’s jib here, she’s doing a great job putting this circus in bright lights so we get to see it clearly

    tis a pity she wasn’t able to run for Garda commissioner

    the only vote I’d be casting would be in a future referendum to delete the function altogether but if she somehow manages to get a nomination I’m in

  7. Jeffrey

    Its very hard not to see a conspiracy in the decision by DCC to nominate no-one. Have a listen to candidates other than GoD and its easy to see that they would have had to nominate her – Now that the main runners have all 4 nomination at least I suspect we are going to see a lot of retraction from other CC so to not nominate GoD who, beside some of those present at DCC hearing – is by far the most suitable candidate.

    1. Brother Barnabas


      have to say though – gamma o’d isn’t making it easy for herself. she was obviously the only credible candidate there, but her pitch wasn’t great. talked more about her bio (which everyone knows) than ‘vision’

      1. Parka the Otter1

        That might possibly be a reason not to vote for her but not necessarily a reason not to nominate her.

        The two are very different things.

        1. Brother Barnabas

          absolutely. bulls hit that she didn’t get the DCC nomination.

          not entirely convinced but she’s the only one so far that i think has the gravitas / class to be president

      2. Jeffrey

        Yes – I believe the speeches were cut down to 5 minutes and I guess she could have emphasis more on vision than bio.

      3. Cian

        Last month, I was vaguely aware of Gemma as a journalist of integrity. Nothing about her personally. And I’m not aware of ever reading any of her articles – I may very well have, but didn’t note the author.

        She burst into my conscience here on BS with her manifesto (https://www.broadsheet.ie/2018/08/20/yes-she-can) and I wasn’t impressed – she is proposing to do things that (for my interpretation of the Constitution) is outside the remit of the President. And I feel if she wants to do these things that there are other, better, places to do them. Like journalism. Or becoming a councillor or TD.

        I don’t think her vision for the Presidency is a valid one. Lots of people seemed to come to the same conclusion and told her so. Some people may be frightened of her as President. Others think she doesn’t understand the role [1]

        This was quickly followed by the message “The establishment are frightened of me”… and that really put me off her. For me – she is more dangerous to “The Establishment” as an investigative journalist than as President. So that whole “frightened” thing reminds me of the vocal Christians (I’m looking at you Breda O Brien) that keep telling us how repressed they are. Anyway, perhaps some councillors don’t like her manifesto – rather than a grand conspiracy.

        I want a President who is dignified. I really don’t want a hot-headed President that fires off insults on twitter.

        [1] and perhaps it is me that doesn’t understand the role.

        1. McVitty

          …as a lone wolf independent journalist door-stepping people, c’mon.

          Michael D was going to promote a fairer Ireland and everyone said “cool”. She’s thereabouts.

        2. SOQ

          An independent journalist with a proven track record and a permanent microphone in hand for seven years seems to frighten the bejaysus out of other journalists. I wonder why that is?

        3. Liam Deliverance

          If Gemma O’Doherty had not entered the race as a potential candidate I would have been happy to vote Michael D again, because 1, I think he does a good job and brings a lot to the office of President, you could send him anywhere in the world and he would do us proud, and 2, because I didn’t see any other serious candidates.

          I think Gemma O’Doherty represents a chance for change to start to occur in this country, we need to drain the swamp, get rid of the alligators and the snakes and finally start to move forward instead of being mired in corruption and cronyism. I admit its a slim chance but a chance nonetheless and god knows we need some change around here. For those reasons I think it’s important she at least gets the chance to run. It could be many decades before we have another person who has this type of courage and is willing to sacrifice their life to stand up for their fellow citizens and to fight the many injustices that we seem to just put up with year in and year out.

          If she turns out to be useless then so be it, it’s not end of the world, it won’t have any real effect except the waste of taxpayers money, which our government are well capable of doing anyway, at least we can say we took the chance when it came knocking and it might inspire someone else to actually shake up the establishment in the future.

          I will vote for Gemma O’Doherty given the chance, as the saying goes, the fish rots from the head, off with the head!

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Ok. The Voice is a superior talent competition to The X-factor because it relies on talent not looks.

  8. SOQ

    Personally I think GO’D has stuck a nerve. Corruption runs right across the spectrum from dodgy property developers right through to the respectable school teacher not declaring grinds and Gemma was never going to get a warm reception in the councils because they up to their necks in it. Some councils are ran like family businesses ffs.

    What are these people so afraid of? If she does manage to get on the ticket and this bullying continues, you may see the Streisand effect in action because whatever her faults, she has integrity which places her head and shoulders above the rest. As a strategy, Gemma saying as little as possible may actually work in her favour because I am sure I am not the only one who is wondering why she is getting such a hard time.

    1. Miggeldy

      SOQ – Well said. There was a piece on the RTE News App about the candidates, it said Joan was the only female seeking candidacy, poor attempt to obliterate Gemma. Feels as though all the snakes in the country are scrambling to cover their own personal corruption and cannot entertain for one moment, the idea that somebody of Gemma’s calibre is in the running. I think she has a great chance of going all the way.

  9. jon

    What we actually need is a Dustin presidential candidate for he truly will ensure the role is abolished
    We have no need for a president as we have enough political wasters already
    We are part of the EU and our taxes pay for enough

  10. Broadbag

    I’m not sure I’d vote for her but she should definitely get a nomination. Perhaps her campaign goal is too close to home for these councillors though. Turkeys voting for Christmas comes to mind…

    Without Broadsheet we’d hear next to nothing about her or her views and in many ways she’s the most important candidate to ever run for president in this country, so I get that it’s not really impartial but in this case fupp it, the other candidates are a bunch of jokers or self-serving goons, so no loss.

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