A Reckoning At The Summit


From top: Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave and Village magazine on stage in Lisbon, Portugal last week; Vanessa Foran

Ten days ago, the clocks went back, and sadly so did we.

Our more mainstreamed media decided that this year’s dawning into the darkest meanest months in our year should be just that, dark and mean, when they intentionally coloured in our local news feeds with begrudging, miserly and cynically short-tempered content that got triggered by, what is to all intents and purposes, a work conference, that took place in Lisbon.

This was no bet you wish you were here wind-up for the lads back home; the Village presentation was professionally organised to be loud and staged to be provocative, yet well-spoken and resourced with determined clarity.

Paddy Cosgrave’s Web Summit 2021 curtain raiser plumed so densely over the usual suspect ranks of the elite media that they couldn’t rely on their own wits to get through it.

Even the more established household names didn’t manage any sensible reaction to what emerged on that conference stage.

It was desperate. I could understand if they were all taken by surprise and the content of that opening segment contained a newsflash, but the premise was a very public story that was already 12 months old.

All the parts and players are by now, known by name. It is a story that trended steadily throughout the last twelve months. These usual suspects with familiar faces and voices don’t live in caves.

Even so, in the days that followed Paddy’s giant “yellow slide” there was still no coming to terms or accepting the established facts of the story we all know every corner of. The weekend press delivered simple hit pieces underneath colourful portraits of the man in their ire. I will say this, Paddy Cosgrave takes a nice picture.

It remains impossible to determine whether any of the journalists and professional commenters, and their online followers and endorsers, and especially their sources – for all sorts of leaks and titbits, have ever actually come to terms with the story that formed that centre piece.

And it has been made all but impossible by their own making; by having too much to say about what a company CEO has to say at a work conference taking place in another country.

I get that Paddy Cosgrave is mouthy and is the type of success story that winds up most people, particularly certain Irish people. I get that pissing off the entire Campaign-for-Leo camp was always going to generate some scaldy reactions.

But what I am not prepared to get is why there has been a constructive boycott within the organised media classes to physically deny the substance of the story, and to ridicule those that made it public.

The story of Ireland now includes this story thanks to a whistle-blower. No matter who they are, it is a real-life retelling of an attempt to undermine an important public Health Care contract.

A story that told of law breaking by our then Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. A man who still retains a senior office today and leads one of the largest and embedded political parties in the Country. The same man that launched a public campaign asking for people to become whistle-blowers themselves and report Social Welfare fraud.

A story that got distracted with unseemly and silly schoolboy exchanges, nonetheless it was still a story that told of confidential information privy only to our Cabinet Ministers and Senior Department officials being carelessly circulated to people not entitled to it. A story that proved a feckless and callous attitude to probity within the very highest executive in our Republic, our Department of An Taoiseach and our Cabinet Ministers.

The facts forming this story have been established and proved and remain undisputed. That is all anyone needs to know. The character of the publisher and the storytellers does not deny one ounce of the story.

What I have established from the many that give their occupation as journalist, and the wider mainstream professional commentariat over the last week tells me that they are the menace our democracy is faced with, not crappy Politicians.

It simply cannot be denied that a very dominant cohort have set about to undermine, and mock those who had the conviction that this story was important for the Irish people to know.
The motives of those that brought it into the public domain is so far down the scale of neither-here-nor-there that no credentialed journalist with press gallery access to any level of our Oireachtas should even refer to it.

To do so publicly at least, is an attempt to obscure the full and real story with their own version, and therefore potentially alter and interfere with the straight up truth. That is PR not journalism.

That is a very dangerous position for anyone to support. I don’t care how big your following is, or impressive your employer is, or how many books you have sold or how often you appear on an RTÉ platform. You are a hazard to truth, integrity, transparency and therefore – accountability, which denies Justice.

Vanessa can be followed on twitter @akaFrillyKeane

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45 thoughts on “A Reckoning At The Summit

  1. Optimus Grime

    What I found fascinating about the recent aspects of this was the way the three major Irish broadsheets attacked Cosgrave in unison. Nobody offered up a “Let’s have a discussion about that! How’s it going? What have we learned?” angle. They all bailed in on Cosgrave, especially Mick Clifford’s piece in the Irish Examiner, which basically blew a journalistic raspberry in the Paddy’s direction.

    1. Gavin

      Fascinating maybe, but hardly surprising, the mainstream media don’t do journalism, they just read or print whatever narrative they’ve been told to.

    2. Harold Molloy

      They reported on him being sued by his business partner, an interesting story giving the notoriety he seeks.

      The only criticism of Cosgrove I am aware of was Cliffords piece, and I would find it hard to disagree with (Clifford is rightly considered one of our best)

      1. benblack

        In fairness, I have more time for Paddy Cosgrove now than before the collective hit pieces about him over the weekend.

        Good article, V.

        You’re right, it’s not journalism, it’s indisputable PR defending the political elite of this country – Shane Ross even had a go and why wouldn’t he?

      2. Anthony Sheridan

        ”Rightly considered one of our best” – And therefore not to be challenged or criticised????

          1. V aka Frilly Keane

            Ya wha’

            In the event you are labelling me as a resident wannabe journalist

            I have only ever identified myself as a bloggard
            Ok, I have professional titles (earned) that I apply, but never “journalist”
            Wannabe or otherwise

            Don’t know how many Broadsheet columns, below the line comments or BS.tv appearances
            Frilly Keane +Vanessa Foran there are

            But not one
            Not a single one will produce or allude to such a notion or ambition

            I’ll admit to actively moving into a space of more formal writing
            I have a book – fiction novel on a harddrive somewhere, that will surface at some point
            Otherwise my name will only and should only be tied to opinions, reviews and commentry,
            And of course bloggarding

            Hope that clears it up for you Jungles

        1. Harold Molloy

          Are you quoting someone or what?

          Multiple question marks implies you are outraged. Do you want to talk about it?

        2. John316

          Same applies to Cosgrave?

          So this guy who platformed Farage and LePen and is now being sued for a number of business practices shouldn’t be criticised for them because… seems to be argument of this article?

  2. Free Lunch

    Well said, Vanessa.

    Such fuppin’ infantilism at the expense of honest investigation and concern.

    Cossie can write his next grudge on the back of the jacks’ door.

  3. ian-oG

    Great piece V. Know very little about Cosgrave, wasn’t very impressed with the Web Summit when I was there a few years back at the RDS although to be fair I’m not a fan of those sort of things anyway, got a free ticket through work and it was a day off that I ended up in town on the lash after maybe a bored hour wandering around the place nonplussed at what was happening.

    Anyway, despite this the medias reaction was very telling, Mick Clifford calling Leo’s actions a ‘mistake’ really drained off any capital he earned from his reporting of Maurice McCabe. The Garda don’t sit on a mistake for a year, especially such a high profile ‘mistake’ and Leos reaction in The dail at the time showing him gulping and clearly rattled speaks volumes.

    Circle those wagons Mick.

  4. Jdawgs

    I wish I could fully read this article but after I read too much about Paddy Cosgrave I break out in hives.

  5. Bitnboxy

    While I do understand Vanessa’s piece and her motivations are certainly correct but the problem actually is Paddy Cosgrave and Chay Bowes. The very last thing they are interested in is ensuring proper public probity and high standards in public office. Personal animus and vendetta (not to mention hypocrisy) just drips off them from every pore. People sense this and one doesn’t even have to be at all that perceptive. It’s kind of like Boris Johnson accusing you of skullduggery – it just doesn’t hit home in quite the same way.

    There are also compelling arguments that the sharing of the document was not in fact motivated by personal gain (well aside from the tawdry insinuations which again delegitimise Cosgrave et al) and it was perhaps a major error of judgement despite being well-intentioned. Leo does have form here. There will be of course howls from the usual suspects on here that anyone could deign to take this view.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      You’re a ‘usual suspect’ yourself with your shameful attempt at trying to minimise the importance of the behaviour of the leader of a country who is, incidentally, under criminal investigation for this. Tawdry is more apt for your attempt at defence of Varadkar, as you try to divert to Cosgrave and Bowes rather than address the investigation into criminality of Varadkar. But sure, what’s new?

      1. Bitnboxy

        From the sublime to the frankly deranged. How you howl mad auld GiggidyGums!

        Vanessa’s piece is honest and I agree with her central motivation re standards of public office. Nothing of the sort motivates your feral self GiggidyGums other than pure malevolence and jealousy.

        I hold Vanessa in particular high esteem – ever since she served it hot and heavy to you on St Stephen’s Day https://www.broadsheet.ie/2020/12/25/st-stephens-days-papers/ calling your pasty gummy self out for your bigoted nastiness towards migrants and usual neer-do-well “against everything” attitude borne of your own malaise.

        So no, I am not, as ever, taking your nonsense and hypocrisy mad auld GiggidyGums.


        1. GiggidyGoo

          That’s a great link. Always worth reading it in full. And not a mention of migrants etc. You still have to provide a link to anywhere about that by the way.
          However, your attempt to divert the spotlight away from your attempted exoneration of Varadkar with your usual childish sayings says it all about you.

          Pete has you down to a tee.
          October 26, 2021 at 6:23 pm
          What a moronic piece of poo you are. A sad pathetic little boy who is desperate to be special.”



          Scan the code.

          1. GiggidyGoo

            Concentrate on Petes comment. Scan the code. Your twopence worth isn’t even worth a cent. Busted flush.
            Still no link to what you claim about anti-migrant posts?
            Varadkar is lucky to have you on his side. ROFL!

    2. V aka Frilly Keane

      Hi Bitty
      Look at the thread here when #LeoLeaks first broke

      And pay particular attention to my own posts
      Pretty much a year to the day
      And I stick by that

      Take the names out of it all
      And focus on the conduct, the actions that actually sit at the foundations of the story

      There are a number of view points in the current sets of circumstances that have arisen that now give voice to all sorts issues in addition to Governance
      Mainly Strategic, but also Financial Reporting
      But I’m not a stakeholder or shareholder
      So let the lads that collect professional fees deal with that

      My issue today
      Is as it was a year ago
      Probity – particularly Confidence

      Ok. Leo was showing off and shared info he shouldn’t have
      He tried to blag his way out of it – he failed
      And humiliated himself while doing it
      Remember he is a former Premier and a Back to Back Senior Minister, and if you followed my other pieces on Probity and Confidence, you will have read that we are now entitled not to trust him. Not even his former patients. Because the risk is there.
      The person or persons in receipt of the information
      Had info they were not entitled to

      The DPP will have to establish whether they used it with intention to gain influence and or advantage
      And that is where Insider Trading makes itself known
      Remember – having it is simply gossip
      Using it however….

      My instincts here is that the Garda Anti Corruption Unit (part of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau)
      Are not fully equipped to deal with this – it is technically tricky, and you’d need to be both experienced and qualified,
      It’s not like they’re as well armed with specialists as the Wall St branch of the SEC or the FBI, or as determined as the DAs in New York
      Nor have Irish Judges the penalities available to them to make it hurt

      Previous white collar baddies
      Lowry, Quinn, Dunne, Seanie Fitz, Drum etc
      Were brought into court by Revenue, Corporate Enforcement, and or the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy
      Who all have their own legislative tool boxes
      And know their way around
      I’m also aware the Central Bank are expecting to bring lads in now as well

      But this is unusual ground for the DPP

      A personal view btw
      There are only three names that need to be attached to this entire story
      And Paddy Cosgrave isn’t one of them

      Suggest if anyone has spare time
      Check out the Cabinet Members Handbook
      And the Fine Gael Constitution & Rule Book

      1. Bitnboxy

        Thanks V – will have a read. Still, I find the standard of attaining advantage quite a feat to prove in this instance – I just don’t see it. Needless to say, from what I hear, Cosgrave and Bowes’ behaviour is making this investigation even more difficult.

        1. V aka Frilly Keane

          Well here’s where you go next Bits

          i Did Leo Varadkar volunteer to provide the protected document(s)?


          ii Was he asked for them?
          “Asked for” also = canvassed or lobbied for them
          You decide

          The answer to either i or ii sorts out what happens next because that’s where the dynamite is
          And if it’s ii btw, then – who?

  6. Harold Molloy

    Most people you speak to don’t care about the Leo story as it is fairly plain that while standards were below what they should have been, and are being investigated to determine that extent, there was no real corruption as no one sought to gain financially except society by having the GPs sign the agreement.

    I have wide circles and sitting at a bar I have heard everyone from the barman to the sheep farmer to the doctor to the legend (me) give the same opinion.

    Doesn’t mean Leo isn’t still a gobshite.

    And real papers on conservative in their reporting of ongoing investigations, not like the (“Leo Lawbreaker”) Village Tabloid that hasn’t their wits together to consider prejudice ffs

  7. John316

    So we have a contributor for Village Magazine given a column in Broadsheet to defend the Village Magazine and Paddy Cosgrave?

    Cosgrave is the one with great PR here because he was in court because he is getting sued for bullying, poor business practice and account fiddling. That’s what all the articles were about and Paddy Cosgrave has done a great job in conflating the two.

    Probably unsurprising that two of the biggest Gemma O’Doherty supporters in Broadsheet and Village have circled the wagons to protect Tech Gemma.

    1. benblack

      “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

      John 3:16

      What’s your point?

      1. John316

        My points? 1) Imagine writing a whole article defending someone and not mentioning that person is a subject of litigation? 2) Imagine writing an article defending a magazine and not declaring you’re a contributor to said Magazine? 3) Imagine broadsheet publishing some “journalism” without this caveats.

        This is a PR job for village magazine and paddy cosgrave. Happily carried by a fellow Gemma O’Doherty supporter and slighted rich kid.

        1. benblack

          Imagine writing an article defending someone who has been pilloried by the MSM in this country on an online news website dedicated to exposing such abuses.


          1. John316

            Imagine writing an article trying to conflate one issue a leak and not the reason MSM are covering it – Cosgrave’s legal difficulties and accusations of bullying and self serving feathering of nests?

      1. Cian

        The article above should have disclosed that you are a contributor to Village – on-screen, down the bottom of the article, beside your name.

        As someone who is such a staunch supporter of disclosure (and rightly so) to not do so and to defend not doing so is totally hypocritical.

        It’s not too late to fix this.

        1. V aka Frilly Keane

          Didn’t know it t’was a secret tbh

          It most certainly wasn’t to you anyway Cian, so AFAIC you can swipe your virtual santitiser off your keyboard

          And for the record folks
          My original copy didn’t mention or identify my other known outlet by name at all
          There was no attempt to massage in any PR oil

          It’s not too late to fix this.
          Fine so

          You know what ye all need to do now?

          Stop treating this story, and the cast of players in it, like a Pantomime

          1. Cian

            Feck off with your “Didn’t know it t’was a secret tbh “

            You would crucify anyone else that tried to defend a lack of disclosure with that feeble mealy-mouthed excuse.

            And you add insult to injury by not getting Bodger to amend the offending article and adding in the disclosure.

      2. John316

        Two questions:

        Why didn’t you mention the reason Cosgrave is in the news? The fact he’s get sued.

        What’s your question to Bowes, Cosgrave? You seem to be connected to The Village?

        1. V aka Frilly Keane

          In your own order John Boy
          Why didn’t you mention the reason Cosgrave is in the news? The fact he’s get sued.
          Because that’s not the premise of my column above
          Nor is he the subject
          What you’re conflagulating all-a-bother about is an entirely different story, and legislative framework (Company Acts btw), plus it’s a civil action

          But do you know what – I might write it up meself at some point anyway. I’m as qualified as anyone else to do it
          But mainly because there’s no way in hell and all the Court Rooms in Ireland Judge Denis McDonald misspoke – so the Irish Times better be sure the DAR confirms exactly the words and sequence they put into his mouth last week.

          What’s your question to Bowes, Cosgrave?

          You seem to be connected to The Village?
          Is that a question?
          I’m happy to confirm I’m a supplier. But a very minor one. My name doesn’t appear on their cover.
          You’ll actually find I’m more “connected” and associated with Broadsheet

          1. John316

            Your piece is based on a false premise then? The coverage nearly all seems to be because he’s getting sued?

            You also seem to be quote aware of the minutae of the court case for someone with no connection to Cosgrave? Why did you not mention it? Surely it’s important context?

            Thanks for confirming your bias and that The Village pays you for services. That should really be disclosed editorially in an opinion piece.

          2. V aka Frilly Keane

            wtf do you think you are
            I’ve been posting here since it launched
            I’ve miles of columns and comments
            and today is the first I’ve come across you

            my paperwork is well established
            and if you’d bothered your little bot, you’d know you made a big big
            like BIG
            mistake tying me to Gemma O’Doherty
            how f’ing dare you, not after what’s littered already over this gaff

            But I’ll address your ?s
            Your piece is based on a false premise then?
            how come, the story ‘Leo, Law Breaker’ is real
            Whistleblowers brought it to light
            The publisher is also one – see that ONE – of my own publishers

            The coverage nearly all seems to be because he’s getting sued?
            and? why don’t those hosting that coverage share their own ongoing legal suits as well so

            You also seem to be quote aware of the minutae of the court case for someone with no connection to Cosgrave?
            Saw it on Twitter from an Veriified blue ticker
            Why did you not mention it?
            ’cause I write using my own words and to my own directions, no one else’s

            Surely it’s important context?
            Maybe for you tis, but not for me when I composed the above as its a Civil Suit v the Company Acts
            Which has nothing to do with a Criminal Investigation being conducted by An Garda Siochana, and might or might not be prosecuted by the DPP, in the Criminal Courts of Justice – leaving defendant(s) IF found guilty with a Criminal Record
            Not the Chancery Division of the High Court – in fact details mentioned in one won’t even be allowed travel into the other, and the losing side in this Civil Suit will just be left a bit less richer

            Thanks for confirming your bias
            I will always have a bias on Corruption and anything that threatens Democracy and Accountability
            Equality and Transparency
            Or Journalists writing to obscure facts about the State’s Institutions and Politicians Conduct
            and Self Interest
            Again if you’d bothered your Bot you would have established that from the years and miles of columns published here and other places
            And that’s before you make enquiries into my practice and performance as a director

            and that The Village pays you for services.
            (€❁´◡`❁€)(€❁´◡`❁€)(€❁´◡`❁€) and other benefits

            That should really be disclosed editorially in an opinion piece.
            Grand. Point taken.
            Ye first tho’
            So who’s going to collate and assemble the tens of 1000s of Columns, Advertorials, RTÉ Lovins, with disclosures outstanding? Plus State Boards and Appointments with Conflict of Interest registers left blank
            and where do you want to start from?
            How about Michael Noonan’s time as Minister for Justice ↓

            Stay tuned btw
            the above is only a Part 1 of the full column submitted to Broadsheet

            and I’ve got a beauty brewing about Hedge Funds and Ml Noonan, Wilbur Ross, Kennedy Wilson, Blackstone, Lonestar, the David Tepper 23, Court cases in London and all that Jazz, like State Guarantees and the Banking Culture Board minutes

  8. george

    The Leo story was reported by the press already when it was broken. There is no news in that story to report. Paddy Cosgrave’s stunt isn’t news.

    Paddy Cosgrave being sued by his business partner and the various allegations made is news.

  9. John316

    Vanessa, Great to see you out in for force today defending Cosgrave against more allegations. Do you have a financial relationship with him as well as the Village?

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