Author Archives: Bodger

Put NUI Galway’s ‘big yellow thing’…on your feet!

Joanna Brophy, at NUI Galway Students’ Union, writes:

Our Big Yellow Thing socks are an ideal stocking (and shoe) filler this Christmas!

These fundraising socks are a tribute to the iconic “Galway Yellow” (AKA Big Yellow Thing) sculpture at NUIG.

The socks, a collaboration with Galway company Irish Socksciety, are on sale now for €9 a pair with all proceeds going to the SU charities.

They’re an ideal present for anyone who has ever said “I’ll meet ya at the Big Yellow Thing” over the years!

The “Galway Yellow” sculpture outside the NUIG Library was created by artist Brian King in 1976 and has been a landmark and meeting point for UCG/NUIG students since then. It goes by a few nicknames most commonly “The Big Yellow Thing” but also “The Squiggle“, “The Curly Chip” and “Archimedes Balls“.

On sale now from the SU Office and the SU Shop at NUI Galway. They can also be purchased online [at link below].

All proceeds from the sock sales go to the SU Charities: AIDS West and Domestic Violence Response.

Buy here

Last day for online orders is Wednesday, December 18.

Irish-made Xmas stocking fillers to marked ‘Irish-Made Xmas Stocking Fillers’. No fee.

From top: Minister for Health Simon Harris; Alice Leahy

This morning.

Following reports that the High Court heard yesterday that a brain-damaged homeless man has been on remand for more than a year at Mountjoy Prison‘s high dependency unit despite reports that he needs residential care…

The court heard that the man had filthy feet and a rare nail disease not seen in decades, while a doctor told the court that he was told prison wardens had a policy not to invade a prisoner’s personal space.

Alice Leahy, of the homeless charity Alice Leahy Trust, spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One about the case.

Ms Leahy said “common sense” needed to be applied and asked “how could any human being look at a fellow human being in 2019, living in those conditions, and it costing enormous expense, and I know the prisons well, I’ve been in all the prisons…”.

She added that she recently took a photograph of the feet of a man known to the Alice Leahy Trust.

Showing Mr O’Rourke the photograph, she told him:

“This man was staying in supported accommodation run by homeless services, costing a fortune yet nobody felt they could do the man’s toenails or have them seen to.

“And he was hobbling around on a broken down wheelchair so where, what has gone wrong with the services?

Asked if one can be forced to have a bath or shower, or to agree to have their feet washed and toenails cut, Ms Leahy said:

“It’s about building up a relationship with that person.

“And the man we’re referring to here today, who was in prison for a year, surely there must have been somebody there who could build up a relationship with that man and encourage him and help him.

“He shouldn’t be living in those conditions.”

Speaking about the struggles that services are facing, she added:

“I did ask the Minister for Health [Simon Harris] during the summer, I met him at something, could I sit down with him for a cup of coffee to discuss precisely this kind of thing.

“And then I rang up his constituency office, I do know he’s a hard-working minister and I won’t get into knocking somebody but I asked to meet him for a cup of coffee to discuss exactly the point I’m discussing here.”

Asked how the meeting went, Ms Leahy said:

“Well, it didn’t happen.”

Listen back in full here

Brain-damaged homeless man in Mountjoy Prison for a year despite care needs, High Court hears (Irish Mirror)

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness speaking in the Dáil yesterday

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil, during a debate about housing…

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness said if a vote of no confidence in the Government was put forward, he would support it.

It follows Fianna Fáil members abstaining from voting in a motion of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on Tuesday night.

He also referred to his party’s confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael “a farce”.

Mr McGuinness also spoke about Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan who, earlier this year, had debt cases removed from him under a direction by the President of the High Court Peter Kelly.

The Fianna Fáil recalled how he introduced an Affordable Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill in the Dáil, assisted by Mr Honohan, “which went nowhere”.

Mr McGuinness said:

“I have said many times in this House that the first obligation on any Government is to keep its people safe, and this Government has failed miserably to achieve that across many sectors.

“If I wanted to sum up the Government’s attitude and explain it to someone, I would give the example of the Government’s support for the banks when they evict people and for the vulture funds when they treat people badly. The Government turns its back on the people who are affected.

“This Government introduced vulture funds to this country. The citizens of this State, through the Government, own or have an interest in some of the banks.

“If the Government wants to solve part of the housing crisis, it must acknowledge that the policies of the banks are the source of some of the biggest issues that we now face, including homelessness, evictions, repossessions, people being put out of their homes and not having any security.

“In July of this year, one particular bank sold 2,100 loans to a vulture fund, according to its portfolio of sales. Those were people’s homes. They ranged in value up to €250,000, so they were not big, expensive properties. These were homes to which people who hoped to own a home aspired.

“The Government allowed that transaction to take place and left those people in a vulnerable position with no security whatsoever.

AIB is preparing a home loan sale that may result in 6,000 of those types of loans being transferred to a vulture fund. Other banks, aside from the one I have mentioned, will sell on family homes and AIB might be next.

“David Hall, the mortgage debtor advocate, called this situation a tsunami. Many commentators will try to undermine him and others by calling that a ridiculous suggestion, but the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach today discovered, as evidenced in the portfolio of sales of a particular bank in April 2019, that banks are now stockpiling for sale homes and mortgages with which they cannot deal.

“The banks are saving the costs that would have been associated with legal fees, administration and finding a solution to the problems within the bank and will cast the people affected to the discretion of the market and what the vulture funds might do with those houses.

“That is the kernel of the problem for a considerable number of people. The Minister of State and his Government do absolutely nothing about it. The Government gives tax breaks to those funds. In fact, it does not tax them at all.

The Government allows the banks that it owns to do this to its people and will not change direction regardless of who tells it to. All of that is being piled on top of the housing crisis.

“Local authorities simply cannot deal with these issues. I have seen how planning applications and suggestions from local authorities are treated by the Department.

“It is heavily bureaucratic and some of the loops and hoops through which people have to go to deliver houses in an emergency situation are almost nonsensical. These are not normal times. We are in an emergency.

“That notwithstanding, the Department continues to put people through hoops and put obstacles in the way of the real delivery of houses.

“I agree that there should be a construction programme directed by local authorities with real solutions because they have the information. Local authorities and councillors know their housing lists inside out and do not have to be told anything.

“They are being stopped in the street and asked when a son or daughter will get a house or by a couple hoping to get a house who want to know when their case will be resolved.

“I do not know who the speaker was but the Minister of State said that they were to pay for bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels. The implementation of that as a policy does not work, and it is not the case that councils will do it immediately for people who are in desperate straits. That is simply not right.

“There is a policy that the Minister of State may have set down but it is not being adhered to across each and every county. As a result, we get different approaches to his different policies.

“Deputy Doherty has a Bill before the finance committee because the Minister of State is looking for solutions. It is the No Consent, No Sale Bill 2019. I will support him on that Bill because it was brought forward in the absence of any understanding of any real policy by this Government.

“I introduced the Affordable Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill here, assisted by the Master of the High Court, Ed Honohan, which went nowhere.

“The Government did nothing about it. As a result of ignoring all the Bills before the House that have passed Second Stage and are waiting to be debated in committee, the Government has introduced money messages and further obstacles of bureaucracy. It simply will not listen to anybody.

“Fr Peter McVerry was on a television programme the other night. He has no political interest, but by God did he lay it on the line for the Government and tell it where it is going wrong.

“The courts are dealing with cases where houses are going to be repossessed. That will mean that families will be put on the street.

“I know of a landlord in Dublin who is trying desperately to hold on to his house. There are at least six people living in that house who will be on the street.

“I know a lady and her children in Bray who have been before and humiliated in the courts. She has been dragged by security officers out of the bank as she tried to present her case directly to it.

“She has been threatened by the sheriff in the most appalling of ways. She is trying to hold on to her home for herself and her children and this State stands idly by and allows the thuggery that is involved in removing people from their homes.

“The Government should be ashamed that it has allowed this to happen.

“I point the Minister of State to the Glenbeigh sale where those who are trying to seek legal representation because of the manner in which that sale was conducted cannot get the Abhaile scheme.

“Even some of the schemes Ministers have in place are not able to be accessed by the people who need them most.

The one man who stood in the gap and stopped some of the vultures and the banks behaving the way that they did, which I thought I would never see happen in this country, including thuggery and corruption – one can throw all the names one likes at it – is Ed Honohan.

“He gave everybody who came before him a chance. He held the banks to account and the President of the High Court, with a nod, I am sure, from the Government, took all those cases away from him. That is a shame in itself.

“It is administration that is not right and should not be accepted. I ask the Government to start in the courts with the banks it owns and stop these terrible evictions and repossessions and do something concrete about this issue.

“On the vote of confidence, I agree Fianna Fáil sat on its hands. It did the same with the motion on the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris.

“The fact of the matter is that a Minister is acting at one with the Cabinet. If a Member tables a motion of no confidence in the Government, I will vote for it because that is the way it should be.

I honestly hope that this supply and confidence arrangement, which is a farce and is accommodating all this stuff, comes to an end quickly in the new year so that at least the electorate can have its say.”

Watch the debate back in full here

Transcript via

Tony O’Reilly

Will Goodbody, of RTÉ, reports:

Providence Resources has today announced that its chief executive Tony O’Reilly has stepped down from the position and has resigned from the board with immediate effect.

Mr O’Reilly has been CEO of the exploration company for more than two decades.

The company said it had started a process to recruit a new CEO to lead Providence in its next phase of development.

A further announcement will be made as soon as this process is completed.

In a statement from chairman of Providence Pat Plunkett, he said:

“Since the foundation of the Company, Tony has been the main driver behind the development of the business and has been passionate in promoting the Company’s role in oil and gas exploration in the Irish offshore sector.

“Over the years, Tony led the Company into partnerships with some of the world’s leading energy companies including ExxonMobil, Eni, Chevron, Repsol, Petronas and Total.

“A major milestone during his tenure at Providence was the successful drilling and testing of Barryroe located in the North Celtic Sea Basin which has provided the Company with a world class development asset which is capable of providing significant shareholder value in the coming years.

“Tony leaves by mutual and amicable agreement and has the great appreciation of the Board for his management of Providence through multiple E&P cycles.

“On behalf of all of Providence’s stakeholders, I would like to thank Tony for his many years of dedication and hard work at Providence and I wish Tony every success in his future endeavours.”

In a statement from Mr O’Reilly, he said:

“After more than two decades with Providence, it is time for me to pursue new opportunities.

“I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved over the years and the key role that our collective team efforts at Providence have played in establishing interest in Ireland’s offshore arena.

“I wish all stakeholders in Providence every success in the years ahead, particularly with the Barryroe Project.”

O’Reilly steps down as Providence Resources CEO (RTÉ)

Providence Resources P.l.c. announces Leadership Change (Stockomendation)


Farmers hold protest outside Lidl distribution centre in Ballyhea, Co Cork

This morning.

Outside a Lidl distribution centre in Charleville Ballyhea, Co Cork.

Farmers and members of the Irish Farmers’ Association began a 12-hour protest over beef prices at 7am.

This is the second such protest this week, following a similar protest at an Aldi distribution centre in Naas, Co Kildare, yesterday.

IFA protest at Charleville: ‘This will go on until beef prices rise’ (Hannah Quinn Mulligan, Farmers Journal)

Further protest over beef prices as Lidl centre in Co Cork blockaded (RTE)

Beef Plan calls IFA protest ‘regrettable’ (Hannah Quinn Mulligan, Farmers Journal)

Pics: Harold Kingston and Hannah Quinn Mulligan

Vicky Phelan and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ mandate in respect of the CervicalCheck programme

Last night.

Vicky Phelan briefly returned to Twitter after closing her account last week following tweets by cancer researcher Dr Robert Grimes and an article by Dr Ciara Kelly in the Sunday Independent.

Her return came in the wake of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ review of CervicalCheck slides on Tuesday which found that in 159 cases there were missed opportunities to prevent or diagnose cancer earlier.

It also followed Lorraine Walsh’s announcement that she had resigned from the CervicalCheck steering committee.

Vicky tweeted:

“I have decided to reactivate my Twitter account for a very brief period in order to express my views on the RCOG Review process.

I fully support Lorraine Walsh’s decision to step down from the Cervical Check steering committee.

I share Lorraine’s concerns about the RCOG review process. I would like to state, for the record, that I do not have confidence in the RCOG review process.

The RCOG review was established to examine the individual histories of women who had been through the CervicalCheck screening system and who had developed cervical cancer and to determine, in cases where results were discordant, what was the impact on treatment, prognosis and outcome.

It is notable that the focus yesterday by Government was on RCOG’s endorsement of the screening programme RATHER than on the impact of the findings for those women and families, which was ACTUALLY the purpose of the review. Lorraine bravely outlined her experience on RTÉ’s Prime Time.

To reiterate: Lorraine’s experience of the RCOG Review was, as follows Lorraine was first told that her slides could not be traced, she was then given a set of results even though her slides supposedly didn’t exist and, 24 hours later, was presented with a new report with entirely different results.

On further investigation, she found that labelling had been removed from both her slides and mine and our slides were subsequently mislabelled.

These events do NOT instil confidence in the RCOG process. Lorraine stood down from the CervicalCheck Steering Committee accordingly, a decision I wholeheartedly agree with.

Lorraine’s decision was based on an unwavering commitment to the women and families of the 221+ group, a group that Lorraine helped found and which she has dedicated the past 12 months of her life helping women and families caught up in this debacle.

Lorraine has requested that each woman be given the option of getting individual independent reviews of their smear screening, cytological and clinical history. This is the only way to conclusively give peace of mind to the women and families affected.

This is an essential step to ensure that lingering concerns about past failures in CervicalCheck do NOT undermine future confidence in the screening programme, a programme we both want to restore trust in.”

Vicky was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a cervical smear test error.

She settled a case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, for €2.5million in April of last year.

Ms Phelan’s refusal to sign a gagging order about her case led to the knowledge that more than 200 women diagnosed with cancer were not informed of an audit which revised their earlier, negative smear tests.

Via Vicky Phelan

Yesterday: “We’re Behind You 100%, Vicky”

Earlier: ‘Where Is The Future For Cervical Screening?’


Des Bishop

On The Late Late Show.

Jennifer O’Brien writes:

With speculation over the identity of the remaining Dancing with the Stars hopefuls reaching fever-pitch, Ryan will be unveiling more contestants…

One of the most decorated GAA players of the modern game, Dublin star Michael Darragh MacAuley takes us behind the scenes and lifts the lid on Jim Gavin’s shock exit as Dublin manager…

Comedian Des Bishop will discuss his new show Mia Mamma, in which he explores grief and loss and learning to cope with the death of his mother earlier this year….

There will be brilliant live music from Jerry Fish, MayKay and Mike Denver….

On September 6 this year, 16-year-old Mia O’Neill took her life, devastating her family and friends. Her mum Aisling and grandad Willie join Ryan on Friday night to share Mia’s story and tell viewers why her death cannot go unnoticed.

Award-winning impersonator Oliver Callan will also be in studio to give the political and sporting week a kicking….

The Late Late Show, on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.