How Was It For You? [Updated]

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From top: RTÉ Prime Time studio, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullough

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Prime Time.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald took part in the final TV leaders’ debate ahead of this Saturday’s general election.

Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullough moderated the debate and there was no studio audience.

During a discussion about housing and homelessness, Mr Varadkar was asked about the homeless man who suffered life-changing injuries last month after he and his tent were scooped up while Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland were clearing tents from along the Grand Canal near Leeson Street Bridge in Dublin.

Mr Varadkar claimed the man has asked for privacy and a housing plan is being put in place for him.

Ms McDonald raised Inner City Helping Homeless’ concerns about the latest official homeless figures, which showed a drop in the number of people living in emergency accommodation. However, at the moment she mentioned this, Ms O’Callaghan asked Ms McDonald to, instead, answer Mr Varadkar’s question about the number of people who are homeless in Northern Ireland.

The Fine Gael leader went on to claim there are 20,000 people homeless in Northern Ireland.

However, a fact check carried out by Caroline O’Doherty of the Irish Independent has proved his is false. She reports the “the actual homelessness figure in the North i.e. those in hostels or other emergency accommodation, is closer to 5,000 with the equivalent in the Republic being around 10,400”.

From the debate:

Leo Varadkar: “At the moment there are 6,000 social houses being built on 300 publicly owned sites at the moment across the country and we are starting to see results. According to Daft.ie today, rents have fallen for the first time in eight years, house prices are levelling off, homeless figures have, at long last, are starting to fall back to where they were in 2018…”

O’Callaghan: “Ok, let me come back in there, Leo Varadkar…”

Varadkar: “…according to charities like the Peter McVerry…”

O’Callaghan: “…let me come back there…”

Varadkar: “…Trust…”

O’Callaghan: “Because it’s an interview, just let me come back in there…”

Varadkar: “…that’s because of the increase in social housing being provided. We need to see this though.”

Later

Varadkar: “Among my best days as Taoiseach has been going into new housing estates, seeing people who’ve been on the housing list or young couples who have bought their first home, getting the keys for their house and going into that house.”

O’Callaghan: “There’s not enough of them..”

Varadkar: “You’re going to see more and more of them, as time goes on because of the changes we’ve made. It’s taken two years of investment but we now see rents falling.

“We now see people who are homeless falling and we now see house prices levelling off. But there are some people who think that the housing crisis can’t get worse. It can. The rent freeze idea, tried in Berlin, made things worse. Just froze people. [Legislation for the rent freeze in Berlin just passed on January 30th and will reportedly come into effect mid-February]

“Reduced supply and froze people out of renting altogether. And also we have Micheál Martin here who can’t be trusted on this, he signed off on a Fianna Fáil manifesto, full of typos about housing and he signed a manifesto calling for a rent freeze which he didn’t agree with and then blamed on officials in HQ. That is not the kind of person you want to be Taoiseach of this country.”

O’Callaghan: “Leo Varadkar you’ve all mentioned homelessness and I suppose we’ve been talking about people who can’t afford to buy their own home, people who can’t afford to rent.

“But, I mean, there are people out there who literally do not have a roof over their heads.

“At the beginning of this campaign, Leo Varadkar, a homeless man in his tent was lifted, as you know, like a piece of rubbish. He ended up with life-changing injuries. Most people in Ireland, they were really shocked by that and, for them, it almost symbolised how your Government, led by you, treated the homeless.

“And then, very shortly after that, maybe unintentionally, but you just tried to make a political point by pointing the finger at the Fianna Fáil Lord Mayor.”

Varadkar: “Well, first of all, my only regret is that that incident happened and that poor man got injured in the way that he did. And my only concern was to find out how it happened and why and to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“We’ve been in touch with that gentleman, a housing plan is being put in place for him. Thankfully his condition, he is stable and he has asked for privacy and I don’t want to make him an issue in this debate. 

“But when it comes to rough sleeping, when it comes to rough sleeping, working with the Peter McVerry Trust, we fund a programme called Housing First and what it does is it gives people a roof over their head and then gives them all the wraparound supports that they often need to deal with addiction, mental health issues, other issues, so that they could hold on to that new apartment, that new tenancy. That is working.

“Rough sleeping is actually, on the most recent count, down to it’s lowest level of four or five years. But I know it’s not enough, I know we need to do more on all these housing issues and I want to do so.”

Later

McDonald: “I have to say I’m struck listening to both the leader of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, that perhaps they’re not fully in touch with the reality out on the ground. I mean I hear you speak Leo about people getting house keys for their homes. It almost sounds patronising to people. I mean the reality is that people have a right to expect…”

O’Callaghan: “Staying on homelessness though, for the moment, the figures have dropped, as Leo Varadkar said earlier. The homelessness figures have dropped.”

Varadkar: “How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland, Deputy McDonald? How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland?”

McDonald: “The figures are nothing to crow about. And in fact I notice that Inner City Helping Homeless was scrutinising and questioning the figures…”

O’Callaghan: “Will you just answer the question Leo Varadkar put to you there.”

McDonald: “The reality is that the homeless figures have gone, skyrocketed in this jurisdiction, where this election is happening…”

Varadkar: “How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland?”

McDonald: “..you tell me how many people are?”

Varadkar: “Officially and these are the official stats from Northern Ireland, there are 20,000 people homeless in Northern Ireland, more than is the case here in this State. The waiting lists in Northern Ireland are the worst in the UK, they’re actually worse than they are here. Suicide rates are three times higher, the pension age is going up to 66 in Northern Ireland this year and the pension there is only £125 a week…”

Talk over each other

Varadkar: “And it would be lower if it wasn’t for all the money that was coming in from the Tories…Sinn Féin does not want to talk about their record in government…”

Talk over each other

McDonald: “So Miriam, I’m sure somebody will factcheck that figure and find that it’s wrong. Leo should be aware that the island is partitioned, the purse strings unfortunately, for the North of Ireland, are held in London. We’ve endured a decade of Tory austerity and that has brought great hardship.

“And do you know what you should do, Leo. Instead of trying to score a political point, the next time if you are Taoiseach or Micheál, or whoever is in office, challenge the British government on that point. Challenge them on funding. I don’t recall you ever doing that…”

EARLIER:

Towards the end of the debate, Ms O’Callaghan had the following exchange with Ms McDonald about comments made 13 years ago by the current Sinn Féin Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy to the BBC about 21-year-old Paul Quinn who was murdered in 2007.

Earlier, Ms McDonald was asked about her view of the Special Criminal Court (see below).

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mary Lou McDonald you know, of course, about Breege Quinn, the mother of Paul Quinn, the 21-year-old who was so horrifically beaten to death in November 2007. Now she is asking for an apology, from your Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy because he aligned her son to criminality. You were due to speak to Minister Murphy today. Did you speak to him, to clarify?”

Mary Lou McDonald: “I did, Miriam and you’re right, Paul Quinn had a horrific death and the only criminals, to be clear, involved in this scenario are the people who so cruelly and viciously took his life so I have spoken to Conor. He is aware that the comments that he made after the murder of Paul Quinn have caused hurt and that that hurt has endured so he apologises for those remarks, he withdraws those remarks and he’ll speak to Breege Quinn and the family directly. I mean I’ve had the view that he needs to speak to the family directly.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, Mary Lou, I was watching you last night being interviewed by Bryan Dobson and you said then, and this is a quote from you last night, ‘I’ve spoken to Conor Murphy about this issue before, he is very clear that he never said that, that that is not his view’.”

McDonald: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “So you’ve changed your position?”

McDonald: “Well, in a way Miriam, what matters is what the family have heard and what matters is that the family…”

O’Callaghan: “What matters is what he said. Because actually, we found the quote today.”

McDonald: “Yeah.”

O’Callaghan: “It was on BBC in November 2007, a month after Paul was murdered and what Minister Murphy said was and I’ll quote him again verbatim on the BBC ‘Paul Quinn was involved in smuggling and criminality. I think everyone accepts that. As I say, this is a very difficult situation as there is a family grieving and I don’t want to add to their grief’.”

McDonald: “So let me just say, those things should not have been said. Those things should not have been said. Conor withdraws them and apologies.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “Last night you said they weren’t said.”

McDonald: “Pardon me?”

O’Callaghan: “Last night you said they weren’t said.”

McDonald: “My, my, to be honest with you, Miriam, my recollection was that he had not been as explicit as that. The remarks were wrong, they’re withdrawn correctly and will be apologised for, directly to Mrs Quinn and her family.”

O’Callaghan: “So your remarks, sorry, to Bryan last night were wrong too?”

McDonald: “Yes, well obviously, I was not, I, I, I remembered Conor being not quite as direct on this matter.”

O’Callaghan: “He had told you that he’s very clearly said he never said that and that is not his view. He told you he had never said that. Were you annoyed he’d said that?”

McDonald: “No, that’s not…my sole concern in this is that the family have been hurt and the remarks made need to be withdrawn and apologised for. That’s the correct thing to do.”

O’Callaghan: “So Conor Murphy is going to, Minister Murphy is going to apologise…”

McDonald: “Oh, absolutely that’s the correct and decent thing to do. A family that has lost their son in such brutal circumstances doesn’t need the additional hurt and grief.”

O’Callaghan: “And then, finally, Mary Lou, I heard Breege Quinn on Drivetime actually, talking to Mary Wilson and she also just said that she would like Minister Murphy to go to the PSNI, or the gardai, and just give the names of the men, the IRA men, in Cullyhanna, he spoke to. Would he do that now aswell do you think? Because Breege Quinn wants them to.”

McDonald: “What I am sure of and I’m sure of these facts, having spoken again to Conor is that he has in fact spoken to the PSNI and to the gardai. They have to investigate this matter. People with information need to bring it…”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “And give them the names of the men he spoke to…”

McDonald: “…need to bring it, that information forward.”

Earlier in the debate, Ms McDonald was also asked about the Special Criminal Court.

David McCullough: “Could I please ask you to answer the question about the Special Criminal Court?”

McDonald: “Let me just say, I support the judicial system, the gardai and all of the apparatus of the State. Let me say this: our manifesto sets out very clearly that we want increased resources from An Garda Síochána…”

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mary Lou McDonald, can I just say David asked you a very straight question because we do want to move on to the issue that matter to people, like housing.”

McDonald: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “Are you for or against the Special Criminal Court?”

McDonald: “I’m for the courts.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “That’s not the question.

Micheál Martin: “But you’re against the Special Criminal Court?”

O’Callaghan: “We’re asking the questions. Mary Lou?”

McDonald: “I am for the courts, the Special Criminal Court exists, I accept that we need mechanisms and special powers. What we have been calling for, for the last four years, is for a review, led by a High Court judge to ensure that the courts, the gardai, the DPP’s office have the full resources that they need to keep communities safe.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “Do you personally believe the Special Criminal Court should remain, Mary Lou McDonald? Do you personally believe the Special Criminal Court should remain, yes or no?”

McDonald: “I believe that we need special powers to do…we’ve 21st…”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “That’s not what I asked you…”

McDonald: “We have 21st century criminals, we need 21st century processes to deal with them.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok, we didn’t get an answer, I’m actually moving on to housing.”

McDonald: “I think that’s a very fair, a very, very fair answer.”

Leo Varadkar: “The leader of Sinn Féin will not give you a straight answer to a straight question because she doesn’t want you to hear the answer and we’re going to hear a lot of this tonight.”

O’Callaghan: “People at home will have heard that, we don’t need to dwell on that.”

McDonald: “Can I help by clarifying, can I clarify it this way perhaps. The abolition of the court is not in our manifesto. We’re not arguing for that.”

Micheál Martin: “No, but Sinn Féin have voted against the Offences Against the State Act, Sinn Féin have voted against the Offences Against the State Act every year since they came into the Dáil.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok.”

Martin: “Simple reason why, the IRA old comrades decided they could never vote for the Special Criminal Court or support it, that’s the reality of what happened.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok. We’re moving on, Micheál Martin. We’re moving on to an issue that is of immense importance. Housing and homelessness…”

More to follow

Watch back in full here

Meanwhile…

EARLIER:

Stop that.

87 thoughts on “How Was It For You? [Updated]

  1. Eoineyo

    Mary Lou was pretty much mopping the floor with the other two until she got asked about the IRA. I think most people were waiting on the media push back to SF’s rise in the polls.
    It’s hasn’t changed my opinion on the country needing to break the cartels, I would prefer if was a type of Labour Party (one that didn’t abandon its ideology as soon as it got into power) but we are where we are and SF are the only party that hasn’t f’ed us as yet. Independents4Change will be my No.1.

    1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

      She did no such thing and no matter how hard they try, they’ll never mop the blood from their shoes.

      1. Eoineyo

        She did, as much as you would like to deny it or whatever echo chamber you are inhabiting says otherwise.
        There is as much if not more blood on the hands of FF and FG, it might be brushed over or sanitised but they are responsible for many deaths and acts of cruelty to the people of this country, I was going to list them but there is no point because you are either signed up to the parties and their blind unquestioned loyalty or you are interested in a fair country that allows for an equal opportunity. At this stage no one believes a word from Neo-Leo or Mehoe, we have heard it all before and it is a sentiment I have experienced from both young and old, they need to go. They have brought it on themselves.

      2. Dr.Fart

        the IRA killed for independence from an invading nation. FF/FG killed thousands of people because of incompetence, selfishness and greed. The IRA are no longer linked with Sinn Fein, FF/FG people responsible for thousands of deaths are now campaigning to retain power. They’re killing your neighbour and asking for your vote. If your happy to go with the party who are responsible for deaths presently and want to continue working how they do and taking more lives, then fupp you. fupp you very much, you clueless oik.

        1. A Person

          Hey Fart, I know you left at 5.30 from SF HQ last night, but why not respond to the questions I posted:

          SF involvement in previous and ongoing criminality? how you are funded? how come you are run by people in NI? how come Gerry won’t admit to being in the RA?

          Also why not name the people involved in Paul Quinn’s torture and murder?

          1. Dr.Fart

            i was in until 9pm. Unlike the the FG lot who all leave at 2 pm on the days they bother coming in. and thats AFTER lunch. Ok, answers here;

            1. SF involvement in previous and ongoing criminality?
            A. that’s not a question

            2. how are you funded?
            A. same way as oth- .. actually no, we aren’t funded the same way at all. Your party for example, takes big donations from the likes of DOB in exchange for favourable op-ed pieces in the papers etc. We are funded from public donation as well as doners who support our cause.

            3. how come Gerry won’t admit to being in the RA?
            A. because he’s not an idiot. he’d be forever hounded by twats like you. Also, Gerry isnt the leader of Sinn Fein, he’s not in the running, so this is as irrelvant as me asking you about FGs fascist foundations.

            4. Also why not name the people involved in Paul Quinn’s torture and murder?
            A. because it is nothing to do with Sinn Fein and we do not know.

            any more banal and pointless, irrelevant Q’s?

    2. ReproBertie

      “the media push back to SF’s rise in the polls.”
      You don’t think she would have been asked these questions anyway? SF’s biggest problem in politics in Ireland is their connection with the IRA. It’s why I’ll never vote for them and I am far from alone in that.

      If any other party had obvious and open connections to a major criminal gang they’d be called on it too.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        whether you’ve a secret grá for the IRA or not (and I don’t), it’s not accurate to describe as nothing more than “a major criminal gang”

        there is a difference between the IRA and the Kinehans, for instance

        1. ReproBertie

          I disagree. They are a major criminal gang. They may like to portray themselves as something else but you are what you do. They engage in criminality and they use violence and intimidation to keep people quiet, just like every other criminal gang in the country.

        2. Andrew

          “there is a difference between the IRA and the Kinehans, for instance”

          What do you think the difference is?

          1. Brother Barnabas

            do the Kinehans have a political orientation? a political agenda? links to a political party?

          2. Rob_G

            The Northern Bank robbery took place 6 years after the GFA was signed – what was the broader political philosophy underpinning this particular criminal gang activity?

      2. Eoineyo

        There is no party without a connection to the IRA, it’s just what point you have decided to draw your line, as I said in my response FG and FF have as much perhaps more blood on their hands, it has just been sanitised. If you have any doubts about the media push back just listen to Today FM, every news bulletin I have heard since 7am has lead with the Mary Lou questions about the SCC and the 2007 murder with IRA links.
        Look if you are happy with every department in crisis, the tax money been wasted, people getting chopped up, people being scooped off the street, homeless etc etc etc and a protest just about every week, that’s fine that’s your decision but if you want to change things at the very least the cartels need to be broken.
        I wish we didn’t have to vote for SF but nothing will change without actual change.

        1. ReproBertie

          I’m assuming your FFG link is going back 100 years but what’s the Green Party’s link to the IRA? Or the Social Democrats’? Or even Labour’s? Please enlighten us Eioneyo.

          I’m not happy with any of those things but that doesn’t mean my only option is to vote for SF.

          1. yupyup

            Green Party have none.

            SD’s Catherine Murphy was in The Worker’s Party (OIRA was being wound down in those years, reared their head every so often since. Never decommisioned)

            Labour subsumed plenty of the old Worker’s Party crowd when they merged with Democratic Left. In fairness, those succesive schisms were in part motivated by an attempt to step away from their paramilitary linked past.

          2. Eoineyo

            Ahh I was wondering what you were on about and I re read my first line sorry I will correct it to save you getting upset.
            Here goes…. with the exception of Aaa, PBP, Solidarity, National Party, the Simpson Party, The I can’t believe it’s not butter party, the Greens.
            Do you want more? Should I list all the independents also? I left out Labour and Soc Dem, given the Soc Dems are an off shoot of Labour and they have would have ties to the IRA.
            Feel free to add to my list of parties.

          3. ReproBertie

            I’m not upset at all. You made a ridiculous claim and then get all sarky when called on it. Maybe just don’t make the ridiculous claim in the first place.

        2. Clampers Outside

          The Sinn Fein of today is not the same Sinn Fein of a hundred years ago. Today’s crowd split from the original way back.

          1. yupyup

            Correct, SF split from what became then know as Offical Sinn Fein in 1970.This was largely over the IRAs inability (and lack of will) to defend nationalist areas as the civil rights movement was being repressed. That split was most visible as Joe Cahill led a walkout at the SF Árd Fheis. Subsequently, Official Sinn Féin changed their name a few times to eventually drop the SF badge completely in 1982. This proved convenient for Provisional SF in their post hunger strike era embrace of electoral politics.

  2. 01101101 01100011

    Dear FFG,

    a couple of observations/questions after the debate:

    1. this soft on crime thing – all I’ve been hearing about for the last two months are lads chopping each other up, car chases, stabbings, shootings….lots and lots of butchery. all on YOUR watch. I won’t walk down O’Connell St after 6pm. I’d prefer my Love/Hate on boxset tho, not live. so your high brow arguments around the mechanics of special criminal courts is all fine and well but as it stands you are currently presiding over a wild west. hm. a super court like this could be useful good idea, yet it’s the wild west. I’m confused. Please tell me why you can’t just police the streets better? Is it the stations ye closed? Lack of Gardaí? Lack of gear? or is it something to do with these super duper courts?

    2. pensions – you guys should all have a go at a bit of alternative standup comedy if the politics career doesn’t work out for ya – seriously, you could be the next Stewart Lee – you’re lecturing my da about why he needs to be forced to work longer for his very basic pension whilst concurrently running your own gold-padded loadsamoney pension scheme, sometimes running multiple pensions (I lol’d at hearing Mary Hanafin’s nickname last night except it wasn’t funny) retiring earlier whilst simultaneously keeping a straight face? well dead-pan comedy or a career in psychological warfare technique perhaps…

    3. bent party members – hm. insurance scammers, wage theft, cheating on dail votes…..and you think what I’m really worried about is what some obscure councillor said to a lady in some radio clip in 2007 in a different jurisdiction? I’m not.

    4. venn diagram – I probably need one to work out just why it’s a good idea to allow the banks that we are bailing out for the rest of our lives not pay something back to the citizenry who bailed them out – dunno lets see…we gift them a rake of money, we can’t even borrow money from them to buy a gaff, they take peoples gaffs away, we own them, we can’t tax them….im confused. on reflection a venn diagram won’t cut it, maybe a badass flowchart will help me

    5. free GP care – is that if you can actually get to see one? loadsa hospitals – sounds great! should my sister come home from Australia now to work in one of them, get a gaff and settle down?

    thanks a mil

      1. 01101101 01100011

        Hi Repro

        on that one, one of my mates last year got battered as he walked down from the cinema on Parnell to catch his dart in Tara. On a Thursday evening. They wanted his phone and he said no. There wasn’t a guard anywhere, took 5 mins for a car to arrive. and despite all the post-battering in’s and outs afterwards, nobody remotely has been snared for it (which I’m really surprised at given rakes of cctv about the place you woulda thought)

        another personal one. 2 weeks ago in the gaff I work in (a very decent gastro pub just off Grafton) a group of 6 or 7 lads come in and try to pull a cashback scam on us (the card magstripe one) succeeded once with one of the new girls behind the bar but second time they got me and I copped something was well off, went to my boss who came down, all hell breaks loose they tried to take our machine, we don’t even have bouncers just us but we got them outside eventually and locked the door, we have a panic button, guess how long it took for a squad car to show up? TWO HOURS.

        my point being. these lads spent loads of time last night bickering about this special criminal court. I never said it was a bad idea. but what I WOULD prefer is if they looked a bit more at what’s happening on the ground. you can have all the fancy courts you like, sure it has meaning and sure it creates maybe a deterrent in a scumbags head BUT that doesn’t solve the prevention of crime issue particularly, does it?

        1. ReproBertie

          Ah, I thought you were buying into the oft repeated nonsense that O’Connell St is a no go area after dark but I get what you’re saying. More gardaí on the beat and a more visible presence as a deterrent. We currently have 14,336 gardaí. FG say they’ll recruit an extra 700 bringing it to just over 15,000. FF and SF are both saying they’ll increase garda numbers to 16,000. I can’t find any numbers for Labour, the Greens or the Soc Dems.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            it’s not all about the number of guards, though. ireland has more police per capita than several western countries – among them sweden, norway, finland, canada,iceland etc – which, despite being less-heavily policed, don’t have anything like the same level of anti-social behaviour, petty crime etc. the difference is that those countries have invested more in reducing actual and perceived economic and social inequality. recruiting more gardai and building more prisions isn’t the long-term solution.

      2. They call me Stacey

        The south quay in particular is like something out of South Central LA after tea- time
        A bunch of out of it zombies rambling around. And roaring at each other and at passers by

    1. Rob_G

      1. SCC –

      SCC is important for the trials of the drug-dealers that you mention above – the McCarthy-Dundons, who were a plague on Limerick, were all tried at the SCC due to their propensity to intimidate witnesses.

      2. Pensions –
      At the moment, ratio of pensioner to worker is 5:1. It’s going down all the time – by 2050, it will be 2:1
      People are living longer and having fewer kids – there is no way the pension age isn’t going up – SF are being dishonest by claiming otherwise. In Northern Ireland, SF have already increased the pension age.

      3. bent party members
      ” insurance scammers, wage theft, cheating on dail votes” – here you have a point

      HOWEVER – “what some obscure councillor said to a lady in some radio clip in 2007 in a different jurisdiction?” – that “lady”s son was beaten to death in a cowshed because he said something smart to a bully in a pub. Every major bone in his body was broken, it took hours to kill him. He was 21 at the time; I’ll wager you are similar in age. SF is a 32-county party, as they like to remind us – one of MLM’s colleagues accused this innocent young man of being a criminal. She was asked about this, and she denied it. It was only when she was definitively caught out that she acknowledged that he said it.

      4 – this is too broad for me to try to answer

      5. maybe SF will do a better job then the incumbents in regards to healthcare, maybe not – I wonder how long it takes to see a GP in Northern Ireland?

      1. 01101101 01100011

        Hi Rob

        1. I never said I thought this court was a bad idea. What I do want is more attention from the state about the policing of the streets and prevention of crime, day-to-day. oh and why its failing.

        2. whatever on the economics. you think it’s ok for a politician to lecture me on what I have to do on a fundamental affecting all citiznes whilst simultaneously they do something very different for themselves? what is this now, a monarchy? should I take a knee?

        3. sorry, I don’t care. I went to see 1917 the other night. lads getting killed and maimed all over. I felt very very sorry for them and their families. does that change my day-to day? nope. I’m only interested in the issues that affect 26 counties, today. The Republic of Ireland. To me this is historical stuff that happened outside our jurisdiction. I’m not for a 32 counties actually, in my world view I’m happy enough for the North to stay where it is, maybe go indy like the Scots are thinking, who knows. I have no interest. Maybe we could use our friend Google to go find some articles and read all about some atrocities perpetrated by people linked to FG? or y’know come up with a madcap celebration event for them? hm? yadda yadda.

        4. you’re not stupid, I’ve read some of your posts. methinks you just don’t want to comment on that. my point is this. the banks are a major anomaly that will dog this country for generations to come. given all the citizenry are suffering I personally think it’s ok to ask them to pay some local corpo tax. same goes for Alphabet/FB/Airbnb whomever. but especially those cnuts. facilitated by FFG. who runs the country? us or the banks?

        5. who knows. all I know is FFG have been at the control panel since the inception of the state. “not all change is good” wtf kind of doublespeak is that anyway??? as of today these ideologies have not worked. what do you want? give them another 100 years?

        maybe some changes will put you personally outside your comfort zone, I personally feel it’s a price worth paying. the country as it stands isn’t working in my opinion.

        1. Rob_G

          1. fair enough

          2. Actually, I do – politician sometimes have to tell voters unpleasant truths, and propose unpalatable solutions. SF don’t do this – MLM, when talking about the upcoming pension crisis, said “the demographics will sort themselves out” – this is fantastical. And it’s just kicking the can further down the road to let future generations to worry about.

          3. fair enough

          4. “the banks are a major anomaly that will dog this country for generations to come.
          I agree,. Bailing out the banks was a one-off payment of €60bn that almost bankrupted the country. One of the central tenets of SF’s policy is a united Ireland; at the moment, N.I. is subsidised by the rest of the UK to the tune of €12bn per year. If SF get their way, the bank bailout will seem like small change.

          5. That’s the thing; there are plenty of areas one could point to where the current govt has done a less-than-stellar job, but I don’t really find that as a convincing argument that SF would do a better job if in power. And last night’s debate reinforced my opinion in this regard.

      2. 01101101 01100011

        Hi Rob – one more thing if I may

        part of my comment above, could be misinterpreted, apols if any offence etc. when I wrote:

        maybe some changes will put you personally outside your comfort zone, I personally feel it’s a price worth paying.

        the very last thing I would want in an Ireland of the future is an Us v Them scenario..it’s what we’re racing towards right now though and I want to halt that….I have no idea of your background as nor you I…what I would say is I’m not just asking you to leave a comfort zone on your own….I will leave it with you! in my way of thinking, I support you and you support me in making a decent place to live our days, weeks and years ahead. fairness. that’s all I’m looking for.

      3. Clampers Outside

        Re No. 2 Pensions…. I let out a guffaw when I heard Mary Lou say that the “demographics will take care of that” if we get people in housing on the Six One news programme the night before the debate.
        Basically she said if services, housing and jobs improve then people will have more kids and the “demographic (changes) will take care of” pensions.

        Deluded, and lacking any awareness of modern lifestyles and the choice of people who get “services” and better education to have two kids which are not enough for the demographics to “take care” of pensions.

        Ridiculous if believed. Naive at best if actually sincere. which I doubt.

        1. 01101101 01100011

          Hi Clampers
          ok, who knows about the economics. my own da looks like having a big problem with his work pension, when he started it off it was supposed to be this and that, now it’s not looking so hot anymore. so from what I see all that stuff be it company pension or state pension is projections, economic theory and subject to changes brought about by war, pestilence, whatever. I’m not saying it isn’t important. I’d be smart although I’m no actuary but from what I can see there is so much happenings in the world on an ongoing basis the best you could do with this is have a guess, a stab at it. like the 3.30 at Kempton on PP….dunno.

          BUT

          why should Leo Varadker swan off into the sunset on a much better pension arrangement than my da? or any TD for that matter. the mechanics of it I mean. Us and Them. in my opinion they should be subject to the same rules as we are. it’s not a monarchy, they don’t get special mechanisms and vehicles because they won a popularity contest or were born into a particular bloodline imho.

  3. frank

    The real moment to dwell on last night was Leo Varadkar being allowed off the hook on answering why will the new childrens hospital have private paid cover for our children!!!!!
    WTF.
    Have a think about that for a minute and don’t mind yourself with the bloody IRA.
    PRIVATE HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN. What a disgusting notion.
    It’s bad enough we have a two tier health care system for those who can afford to access it and those who can’t but with the new childrens hospital we’ll have some children being prioritised over others because their parents can afford it.
    That is beyond belief. But it’s happening.

    1. scottser

      you’re bang on, frank. all sinn fein bashing does is provide an effective distraction from any real criticism of FFG.

    2. Paulo

      He clearly answered that question. As with all hospitals which have a small private element, this will be an additional resource to the public part, not instead and will actually raise funds to help better the public part. If people want to pay for health insurance and these insurance companies will pay the doctors for their services and will pay the hospitals for the use of their premises, instead of the taxpayer doing so, surely this is a good thing?

      Mary Lou is a relatively good speaker/debater but never answers a question and cannot back up almost any of Sinn Fein’s policies. How are they asserting that they will lower taxes for everyone earning under €100,000 a year (which must be the vast vast majority of workers in the country) yet they will spend more on home building and health and services than the other parties. The numbers simply don’t add up.

      The sad thing is that we laughed at the Brits for voting for Brexit and laughed at the Americans for electing Trump and now we look like we are going to fall into the exact same “Protest Vote” / “Vote for Change!” trap and vote in a party full of soundbites, unachievable promises and continuing links to a devastating terrorist organisation. We’ll be the new laughing stock and we’ll deserve it. Back to a nation of gombeens.

      1. class wario

        could you please put the contrived trump/brexit comparisons at the start of your replies in future so i know to move on immediately

        1. Paulo

          No, I’ll set out my replies however I please. Sorry if the comparison touches a nerve for you.

          Wait til you see how the international media reacts when we, in 2020, back to political wing of a terrorist organisation to run our country. We’re better than that.

          1. class wario

            empty platitudes like that tend to rub me up the wrong way, sorry! if you choose to ignore the vast ocean of policy difference between this and Trump/Brexit then you can’t be throwing hissy fits when people roll their eyes at you. maybe the comparison is extremely du jour in the FG frape room and the media commentariat but it’s so empty as to basically be worthless. was voting in FG in 2011 a Brexit/Trump moment too?

          2. Paulo

            What’s an FG frape room?

            I’m not “throwing a hissy fit”, I’m just expressing an opinion.

            The tide turning towards Sinn Fein is a huge change in Irish political history. I’m not particularly a fan of FF or FG and will judge any party on the policies it sets out (and their robustness), its candidates, and its political outlook. SF have done well from a decline in the Labour Party and an appetite for change but they have made hay by Mary Lou and Pearse Doherty shouting nonsense across the Dail floor and very little else.

          3. class wario

            lol, doherty is one of the most capable elected representatives in the country. showing your hand a bit too much there.

          4. Paulo

            “doherty is one of the most capable elected representatives in the country”

            How do you know this? What makes him one of the most capable? That’s a very Sinn Fein-esque statement – all general statement backed up by nothing. Easy to sit on the sidelines and shout populist waffle at the relevant Finance Minister.

            Statement reminds me of a certain orange president – I suppose you’ll be telling me next he’s also one of the most modest politicians in the Dail too? The most bestest.

      2. frank

        Paulo you’re obviously part of the Fine Gael media team but you still ought to be answered because theres probably some part of you that’s human.

        1. “As with all hospitals which have a small private element, this will be an additional resource to the public part, not instead and will actually raise funds to help better the public part.”
        – Except this ‘small private element’ won’t be accessed by the public so how the bloody hell is it an ‘additional resource’?. It will be exclusively for those wealthy enough to pay for it. Our society is divided enough without saying, off you go rich child to the nice part where you’ll be seen immediately because your parents can afford it and off you go poor child to the overcrowded public part where you’ll be seen eventually after the rich child has been seen.

        2.”If people want to pay for health insurance and these insurance companies will pay the doctors for their services and will pay the hospitals for the use of their premises, instead of the taxpayer doing so, surely this is a good thing?
        – No it’s not ‘a good thing’. It’s an awful thing. It’s prioritising one childs care over another based on want not need. The new childrens hospital is being paid for by the bloody tax payer not the insurance companies. So when the tax payer arrives at the hospital with a child (a future tax payer) they’ll be directed to the public or private part depending on their ability (not want) to pay private health insurance IN A PUBLIC HOSPITAL.
        THAT IS TINKY POO PANTS DISGRACEFUL

      3. Kate

        Mary Lou should have known Leo’s figures on homelessness were wrong in Northern Ireland. There is legislation that a pregnant mother, parent with children can’t be in emergency accommodation longer than 6 weeks and councils are breaking the law if they permit it. Time to take the bull by the horns and get fat cat politicians in Dublin to do their jobs or get out.

  4. Gearóid

    For a neutral observer (my wife, non-Irish, and we live abroad), it was clear that this was a 4-against-1 debate. McCullough and O’Callaghan, brother of a Fianna Fáil politician, were setting up slam dunks for Martin and Varadkar aainst McDonald, while also interrupting her repeatedly and demanding that she answer questions put to her by the other leaders. They did not do the same the other way around. It was disappointing but not surprising.

    Comeuppance, I suppose, for McDonald daring to expose how gamed the original plan was for a two-leader debate. McCullough and O’Callagham earned their exorbitant salaries last night, gan amhras.

    Sad, though, to see broadsheeet.ie focusing in so one-sidedly.

    1. Rob_G

      I think MLM was subject to more interruptions from the facilitators as she often went off on a tangent answering the question she wished she had been asked, rather than the question she had been asked. Martin and Varadkar by-and-large answered the questions that were put to them (not always adequately, one might argue, but at least they stuck with the question asked).

      1. They call me Stacey

        I also thought the moderators did ok
        Mary Lou was good though and has become a lot more polished and reasonable-looking
        Leo was the big winner though – mark my words

        1. Gearóid

          They all spieled in the opening to their answers, but only McDonald was interruped for it. The very first question McCullough asked her, he interruped within seconds and then O’Callaghan jumped in as well with “Can you please answer David’s question, Mary Lou?”

          We’ll have to disagree here.

  5. V

    Dunno ’bout ye but I thought Leo did alright – he stuck to Policy and didn’t shirk or deny failures.

    Meehall still has the irritating church sermon’ie like delivery in his monologues, and he offered nothing new to the FF option for the voter, in other words – with Fianna Fail nothing has changed and it will be FF business as usual.

    Whereas Mary Lou was a worthwhile addition and I think RTÉ will start to treat Sinn Fein more equally and fairly in these special programming events; I’m not sure she did enough to persuade the traditional FF and FG voter out of their set ways. And for what it’s worth that Mansplaining remark was totally unnecessary.
    If t’was me I would have reminded Meehall of his own string of Ministerial posts and that they amounted to sweet fa in benefit for the Country, so the voters should know what to expect from him as Taoiseach.
    On the topic of the Special Criminal Court – she should have laid it all out there, and allow the Citizens make their own mind up. Because it’s definitely worth the debate. ( In the interests of full disclosure I don’t trust the SCC either, and have a particular objection to the word of a Garda Superintendent being accepted as evidence.)

  6. Kolmo

    Amnesty International have condemned the SCC, as have the UN commission in human rights and the Irish council of civil liberties. Seems reasonable to support that view, I’m sure O’Callaghan would be concerned about what AI have to say, maybe not..

  7. Truth in the News

    The Special Criminal Court is nothing but an outfit that was cooked up by
    Dev under the 1939 Offence Against State Act, which was Dev;s modernized
    version of British Defense of the Realm Act, before that was Military Courts
    established by the initial Free State Government,…if Fianna Fail and Fine
    Gael had any sense they would immediately abolish it, as who will be next
    in power none other than the Shinners and given the wide scope and legal
    definitions as to what constitutes subversion, it could be well used against
    those who exercised power in this state in the past…..in particular in respect
    of corruption and the baling out of Banks…..whats sauce for the Goose is
    also applicable to the Gander

  8. Salmon Eile

    What do you expect from the sister of an FF candidate? If RTE were a proper independent station with professional code of ethics she would have disbarred herself from this debate, yet alone not be allowed.

    When is the next debate faciliated by Lottie Ryan on?

  9. RuilleBuille

    When Garda Richard Fallon was shot dead during a bank robbery among those questioned were the father of Bertie Ahern, Con, and the brother of Charlie Haughey, Jock. It is also alleged that one of the shooters was driven out of the state in a Ministers state car.

    1. Otis Blue

      They’ve been really poor imo. The same tired format anchored by lightweights. The same old questions we’ve all heard before. Scripted, rehearsed soundbites presented as answers whose purpose is to deflect rather than inform or engage. An emphasis on ropey, fantasy manifestos that will never form a Programme for Government and will be binned asap. Nothing forward looking about vision, values or how we’re going to meet the many challenges coming down the tracks. It’s just adversarial tosh between interests that ultimately will have to work together.

      A plague on all their houses.

  10. scottser

    mary lou missed a trick on northern irish homelessness. firstly the rate of homelessness in the uk is almost three times ours, so the NI figure is consistent with the UK. FFG following UK housing models will invariably lead to this rate of homelessness.
    secondly, there is an historic prevalence of veterans among single male homeless presentations in the UK and it’s only recently that the MoD started to address it. NI homelessness has arguably a more complex dynamic than in the south:

    https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/docs/default-source/campaigns-policy-and-research/litrev_uk_vets_homelessness.pdf?sfvrsn=110aad9f_2

  11. Dr.Fart

    o’callaghan is RTE’s ultimate shill. They always wheel her out when they need a shamelessly pro-establishment voice to atagonise someone gong against the grain. she seems to really enjoy it too, which is why i hate her even more so.

  12. Kate

    People are concerned with the here & now . They are sick to the back teeth of FG and their empty promises. Discontent with housing, childcare, sky high rents, hospital queues, farmers protests, body parts left in a holdall , FAI, overspending on NCH, homelessness & now targeting pensions to age of 67. Leo’s timing for GE is a sure sign that FG are out of touch with its people.

  13. 01101101 01100011

    on a side note, Broadsheet admins

    its nice to find somewhere centralised open and from what I can tell balanced place to exchange thoughts and thank you for having this place! probably what TimBL imagined when he started on http, who knows :)

    apart from providing useful micro news (these tidbits are where the action is imo)

    boards, journal never really appealed to me, various socmed feeds are just opinion silos, this place has continued cogent discussion

    I hope someone is paying your bills and keeping ye in coffee and sandwiches

    very useful thanks

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