Author Archives: Bodger

 Micheál Martin and Barry Cowen at Leinster House in 2016

Tonight.

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen tweeted the following, after it emerged that his party leader Taoiseach Micheál Martin had sacked him from his role as the Minister for Agriculture:

“The Taoiseach informed me this evening by phone that he was removing me from office as Minister for Agriculture. I am both surprised and disappointed with this decision.

“Previously I furnished the Taoiseach with all the facts about my drink driving conviction and the story that the Sunday Times proposed to publish about my alleged evasion of a Garda check point. In doing so I provided him with confidential details about my interaction with An Garda Siochana.

“I have made my position on these matters known publicly and I have acknowledged my wrong doing for something that occurred 4 years ago.

“I have sought an explanation – not as a government minister but as a citizen – as to how details relating to the incident were leaked to the media. The authorities have agreed to investigate the matter.

“One point warrants emphasis: at no time did I attempt to evade the Gardaí. Had I done so, the charges brought against me would, quite correctly, have been of a different tenor to those with which I was charged.

“I am responsible for the offence with which I was convicted 4 years ago not for an inaccurate Garda entry on Pulse about that event. Ten days ago and this afternoon the Taoiseach believed my failure of 2016 didn’t warrant my removal from office but he now appears to have changed his mind based on a Pulse report I gave him this morning.

“It is important to re-emphasise that report was leaked in contravention of the protections that I and every other citizen is entitled to expect in respect of their interaction with the Gardaí.

“Unfortunately the decision of the Taoiseach to remove me from office, when he supported me this afternoon in the Dail, has undermined and potentially prejudiced my entitlement to fair process.”

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

Earlier:

Tonight.

Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil that Agriculture Minister and Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has been sacked.

Mr Martin told the Dáil:

“This is a very sad day for Barry, for his family and for me. He has been a very committed representative, very diligent and very dedicated. Over the course of the last 10 days he’s been the subject of very significant criticism and condemnation for a road traffic offence that took place in 2016. He has been completely clear and unambiguous regarding his drink-driving offence. He gave a personal statement to this House on July 7 in which he talked about the stupidity of his actions. He accepted what he did was absolutely wrong and he apologised to all members.”

Meanwhile…

Earlier: ‘I’ve Seen The [Arrest Record]…It’s Not Quite As Portrayed’

Previously: Who Spilled? [Updated]

It Wasn’t Me

Rollingnews

In fairness.

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

Zardoz speaks to YOU.

A cell in the women’s section of Mountjoy Prison

This afternoon.

Via RTÉ

…The State did not contest an inquiry into the legality of the detention of Estefany Carolina Alquinta Gonzalez, who came to Ireland earlier this month to start a six month course with a Dublin-based language school to study English.

However, when she arrived at Dublin Airport on 2 July she was detained by immigration officials and was denied entry on the grounds that she represented a real and immediate threat to the fundamental policy interests of the State….which she denied…

Meanwhile…

…Before arriving in Ireland Ms Gonzalez said an official in that department said she would be allowed enter Ireland in order to complete her course, even though her courses were to be delivered online, as long as her travel documents were in order.

…She claimed that she was informed that she could not enter as a tourist as she wanted to come into Ireland as a student…immigration officials denied her permission to enter the state, arrested and detained her….

Anyone?

Justice Minister to review Chilean student’s solitary confinement (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

Leaders Questions, Dáil, Leinster House

Taoiseach Micheál Martin responds to questions about Barry Cowen’s drink drive arrest record following revelations on the Sunday Times.

The Garda report apparently states the Fianna Fáil minister performed a u-turn and was pursued by gardai before his arrest in 2016, something which Mr Cowen denies took place.

He says he plans to sue the paper.

Mr Martin said:

“Having seen the document, it’s not quite as portrayed. But nonetheless the document is there. Now it’s not for me to publish, it’s not my record. With respect now, it’s not my record and people have entitlements here. It’s not my record.

Deputy Cowen himself was unaware of the record until he actually got possession of it himself in terms of exactly what was on the record.

That’s the only basis upon which one can comment on any record is when one sees the record. For the last four years he was unaware of any suggestion that that would be on the record.

That’s his point of view. And I certainly wasn’t going to be pre-judging or pre-emptive in terms of something until I see the record for myself.

And I’ve seen it early this morning. He sought it himself during the week, he contacted, I believe, the gardai to get possession of the record because he didn’t have it.

Others had it before he had it. And there’s an issue there too in terms of the individual, any individual in that situation.

And he was, I mean, in my view, he didn’t want to, in terms of his contribution to the House, last week, again, he hadn’t the document and he didn’t want to incriminate himself in relation to it

But I think he has really, all I can convey to you is that he has very, very serious concerns about it and how the whole thing has developed in relation to the how his own personal information was procured, or was disseminated from the PULSE record and that’s an issue that he’s extremely angry about.”

Anyone?

Earlier, the Taoiseach had the following exchange with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald:

Mary Lou McDonald: “We now have an unprecedented situation where a Minister is disputing the Garda PULSE record of a drink-driving offence he was involved in and looking to have that record changed. Last week in his personal statement, the Minister stated he was “conscious that a constant drip feed of new information can be damaging and destabilising”. He said it was for that reason he had conducted a full examination of all records that he could obtain. Yet here we are a week later and the drip feed of new information continues.

On 4 July, according to The Sunday Times, contact was made with the Minister regarding the Garda record from 18 September 2016, stating that he sought to evade a Garda checkpoint on the evening of the drink-driving offence. The Irish Times today quotes sources saying the Taoiseach was made aware of these records at the time of this media query, that is, the weekend before last.

Can the Taoiseach confirm when he was made aware of the Garda record of the Minister’s attempt to evade a Garda checkpoint? Was he aware of this before the Minister made his statement to the Dáil? Did the Minister discuss with the Taoiseach or seek advice from the Taoiseach regarding his decision to seek to amend the record relating to his 2016 drink-driving conviction? Does the Taoiseach accept that the Minister’s statement to the Dáil was incomplete, as it made no mention of this Garda record? When did the Taoiseach inform his coalition partners about all of this? Has he challenged the Minister on his incomplete statement?

“Does he accept that a Minister challenging the accuracy or, indeed, the truthfulness of a Garda PULSE record is a very serious matter?”

Micheál Martin: “As the Deputy said, the Minister came into the Dáil and publicly admitted that he was convicted of a drink-driving offence four years ago, that he was penalised for that offence and that justice was meted out in accordance with the charge and with the offence that he committed. He adamantly denies any suggestion or implication that he sought to evade any checkpoint. That is his very strong position. He is very concerned that data related to his personal files have found their way to others and he feels that is a very serious issue.

“Irrespective of what side of the House we come from and irrespective of the matter at hand, this is an issue that will have to be dealt with at some stage. I am aware that the Garda Commissioner has referred the issue to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, and it is one we cannot ignore. I am not apportioning blame anywhere in this, because I do not know how that material left the PULSE file and ended up with various media outlets or others. I do not know how that process happened.

I spoke to the Minister, Deputy Cowen, the weekend before last and he adamantly denied any suggestion or implication that he evaded or attempted or avoid a checkpoint. At this stage, someone was saying that I was told about this. I believe it was a newspaper which said it gave information to my chief of staff, but I cannot work on the basis of media sources. I cannot verify anything without seeing the document myself. I had a lengthy conversation last evening with the Minister. Early this morning, with the Minister’s permission, I saw the actual document.

“The Minister has made it very clear to me that he wants to pursue both issues through the mechanisms that are available to him to pursue them. First, under the data protection process and by way of the Data Protection Commission, he is entitled to seek a correction of that particular record insofar as he believes that it does not accurately convey what transpired or that implications can be taken from it which may not necessarily be the case. He is pursuing that.

“Second, he feels the entire issue has become public because of what he sees as illegal procurement of the information. We now know that this aspect is being investigated. The Minister feels his rights have been transgressed and undermined in that regard and he believes he is entitled to due process in respect of both issues.

He has pointed out to me that when it was first put to him – I think it was by a reporter or member of the media – he was very taken aback by the suggestion that he had turned away from a checkpoint. He was very adamant about that to me. He said there was no issue made of it at the time, there was no reference to it at the time and he wants to seek to correct that aspect of it. In that context, he was clear to me that he wants to pursue his legal rights and entitlements in that respect.

“I have kept both my colleagues in government, namely, the Tánaiste, Deputy Varadkar, and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Eamon Ryan, fully up to date in regard to my conversations with the Minister, Deputy Cowen, and in respect of the fact that I have seen the Garda file. I am not at liberty to disclose the contents of that file because it is not my property and it was shared with me in that context. That is the up-to-date position on this matter.”

McDonald: “It is becoming clear that the Minister, Deputy Cowen, will have to come before the House and take questions on all of these issues. However, for the purposes of today’s discussion, I am more concerned with what the Taoiseach, as Head of Government, knew. He has confirmed that he did, in fact, know about the Garda PULSE record and that there was an allegation that the Minister had sought to evade a Garda checkpoint. He has confirmed that he knew that information as or before the Minister was making his statement.

“I find it extraordinary that the Taoiseach would stand over a Minister who has made an incomplete statement to the Dáil on a matter of this importance. Were the Taoiseach’s coalition partners, the leaders of Fine Gael and the Green Party, aware of the PULSE record and the allegation that the Minister had evaded a Garda checkpoint at the time the Minister, Deputy Cowen, made his statement? The Taoiseach said he has had a conversation with the Minister, but the Taoiseach did not indicate that he challenged the Minister on the fact that his statement was incomplete.

“I accept the Minister’s point on data protection. That matter should be investigated by the appropriate authorities but it is not the net point here. The net point is that a Minister is now contradicting a Garda record. He came before the House to make what was to be a complete, no-holds-barred statement on all the material matters and did not state that this Garda PULSE record existed and that an allegation had been made that he had sought to evade a Garda checkpoint. That is absolutely extraordinary.

“It is even more extraordinary that the Taoiseach, as the Head of Government, would accept that. Do the Taoiseach’s coalition partners similarly accept that the Minister was right to come before the House and not give us all the information? Do they also accept that he is right to challenge the Garda PULSE record? It is extraordinary that a Minister is now openly contradicting the PULSE records.

“This is not just about Deputy Cowen, because we all must rely on the truthfulness and accuracy of PULSE records. The Minister has brought that accuracy into question but he has also failed to give a full account of events on that night. The Taoiseach was aware that there was another twist in the tale and yet it seems he has not challenged the Minister on it. Does he believe in full and frank statements to this House, or does he not?

Martin: “The Deputy has drawn two wrong inferences and made two incorrect assertions. I was not aware of the PULSE record and did not see it. I cannot work on the basis of a journalist saying that he or she has a source or paper that shows X. I saw the document myself this morning and having seen it, I can say that it is not quite as it has been portrayed. Nonetheless, the document is there.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Earlier: Blue Turn

Yesterday: No Turning back

Top pic: Rollingnews

@cian087Mario Kart irish addition ##irish ##foryoupage ##fyp ##foryou♬ original sound – cian087

Unidentified location (anyone?).

Looks like Winter from the sparse trees.

*rubs chin*

They’re long gone.

Go shawties.

This morning/afternoon.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shorthall celebrate their party’s 5th birthday outside Leinster House.

Deputies Murphy and Shorthall, along with Stephen Donnelly, now Fianna Fáil Minister for Health, launched the party on July 15, 2015 proposing a Nordic model of social democracy,

Which means their birthday cake is also technically ours if we can prove we are peckish and lack the means for treats.

FIGHT!/Nom

Previously: ‘We Are The Soc Dems”

Pic by Aaron

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald

This morning.

On RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sarah McInerney.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said that tourists should be told “don’t come this season” and that anyone arriving in the country should face mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The island of Ireland cannot be left exposed and it was not enough to accept “on a wing and prayer” that people were self-quarantining.

Ms McDonald said that experts need to come up with alternatives and she accepted that tests produced false negatives. “I was that person myself,” she said.

For epidemiological purposes the island of Ireland was a single unit, she said.

FIGHT!

Mary Lou McDonald suggests telling tourists ‘don’t come this season’ (Irish Examiner)

Rollingnews

From top: Black Lives Matter protest at the US Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 on June 6; Statue of IRA leader Sean Russell in Fairview Park, Dublin

Ireland-born Author Angela Nagle, in pro- free speech platform UnHerd (more at link below), writes:

As a former colony, historically unsullied by the sins of slavery and imperialism, Ireland’s national identity has been largely free of the culture of pathological self-hatred found across most of the liberal West today.

An uncomplicated sense of national pride has remained the default, even and sometimes especially on the political Left. But all of that is about to change.

Toppling statues is just the beginning”, ran a recent Irish Times headline, if the goal is “How to make Irish culture less racist.”

As self-flagellating stories about the Irish public’s racism are set to now become a daily part of life, Ireland’s elites can breathe a sigh of relief.

Any populist pressure they sensed brewing while overseeing a deeply economically unequal society with skyrocketing homelessness, rents and outward youth migration can now be replaced with an imported moral narrative that turns the spotlight around on the reactionary masses who must, in the name of equality, learn to think of themselves as privileged.

While educated Irish young people in Dublin copied the Black Lives Matter protests from America, our culturally progressive and economically Thatcherite Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, recently singled out the statue of Irish Republican Sean Russell as a problematic target.

Russell fought in the War of Independence and died trying to secure arms from Germany in 1940.

Wrongly thinking that historical facts could ever stand a chance against the wrecking ball of the current international woke cultural revolution, some Republicans correctly pointed out that he was not doing so out of any allegiance to Nazism, having tried to secure arms from any nations that might give them. Protesters still vandalised the statue anyway, painting it with the gay pride rainbow flag with added black and brown to mark their support for Black Lives Matter.

Having uncritically adopted the fashions of American academia, Ireland’s new young educated elite have started parroting the imported language of “white privilege” versus “people of colour”, and the dangers of nationalism versus the superior multinational capitalism-friendly values of openness.

There is little reason to think the cultural revolution sweeping across Europe from America will stop and listen to the “but we’re on your side!” pleas offered by Irish Republicans about how they supported the anti-apartheid movement in the Eighties or how our nationalist heroes were anti-imperialists or that our Republicans today are economically left-leaning and pro-immigration.

Anyone who thinks these details will matter, and that any remnant of Irish cultural nationhood will be immune, is simply not paying attention to the unstoppable internal logic of the current cultural revolution underway.

This new generation of elite aspirants are already showing that they make no such distinction and simply recast the native Irish as “white people” whose privilege needs to be checked and ultimately dismantled….(more below)

Will Ireland survive the Woke Wave? (Angela Nagle, Unherd)

Rollingnews

From top: Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen; Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar

This morning.

Following Green Party leader Eamon Ryan’s call  for further clarity regarding Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen’s drink-driving ban….

Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said:

“I’m sure Mr [Barry] Cown will answer any more questions that are pertinent, more important is that he has made a complaint to the gardaí about this Garda report,

I understand the Commissioner has appointed somebody to investigate. We really need to hear the outcome of that investigation before any more steps are taken.”

Leo Varadkar says Barry Cowen has more questions to answer (Irish Times)

Last night: A Few Words, Mr Cowen?

Rollingnews

Pat Rabbitte, Chairman of Tusla. The child and family agency insist alleged abusers must be informed of any complaints and the identity of those making them

Yesterday.

Via The Irish Times

Therapy services are no longer asking child sex abuse victims to disclose their abusers’ names due to a Tusla policy mandating that alleged abusers must be informed of any complaints.

Under current guidelines, therapists and victim-support groups must disclose reports of child sex abuse, including historic cases, to the child and family agency, along with the identities of the complainants and alleged abuser.

Tusla policy is to then inform the alleged abuser of the complaint and to begin an assessment. This is the case even if the complainant does not want an investigation.

…Tusla cited a “complex legislative space” and said court decisions and “natural justice” mean it must inform alleged abusers of complaints.

It said this approach will not change under a revised policy framework which is due to come into effect next year.

Meanwhile…

The counselling service One In Four stopped asking clients the name of their alleged abusers in November 2019. “It’s just too dangerous,” said executive director Maeve Lewis.

Cliona Sadlier, head of Rape Crisis Network Ireland, said one of the first questions clients ask is “if I come in to you do you have to report me?

Anyone?

Previously: Tusla And The Silencing

Tusla policy ‘endangering’ victims of child sex abuse, say therapists (Irish Times)

Pic: Tusla