Tag Archives: Alan Kelly

From top: John Wall, Minister for Health Simon Harris; Labour TD Alan Kelly speaking in Dáil last night

Last night.

In the Dáil.

Labour TD Alan Kelly raised the case of John Wall – in light of claims that medical cards will be provided for people who are terminally ill.

He said:

“On the provision of medical cards for people who are terminally ill, I see that the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, has announced that he is doing something about the matter.

He said he had asked the HSE to deal with it.

I want to make a commitment to Mr John Wall who has fought for this measure for the last year and to whom I spoke earlier today.

I have got to know him quite well and admire him.

He is a man with a terminal illness and wants to know where the measure is budgeted for. It is either budgeted for or it is not.

It cannot just be a case of asking the HSE and it coming back in a few weeks to state it can do it.

The provision of medical cards for terminally ill patients is either covered by a budget line or it is not.

If it is, where is it covered?

A 24-month profile is probably what is needed because we have to have some way of dealing with the matter.

I want to see where provision is made and want to see the details.

Until I see them, it does not exist and I want it to. I want the Minister to show it to me.

I will congratulate him on the specific item if he does, but I cannot see it. I want it to be proved that provision has been made.”

Yesterday: Extended

Previously: Result

Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan; Lorraine Walsh

This lunchtime.

RTÉ’s health correspondent Fergal Bowers, on foot of a Freedom of Information request, is reporting on correspondence he has seen between the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan and CervicalCheck patient advocate Lorraine Walsh from March of this year.

Ms Walsh, from Galway, who was one of the women caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal last year, cannot conceive due to having had cervical cancer.

She is also one of the Government’s appointees to the CervicalCheck steering group.

Mr Bowers has reported that Dr Holohan – who is co-chairperson of the CervicalCheck Group – wrote to Ms Walsh on March 13  of this year taking issue with comments she had made on social media, and to print media, about him.

He reported the letter said her claims about him were “baseless” and it warned her that if she repeated the claims in public, there would be a “very strong response”.

He also asked her to withdraw the claims.

Mr Bowers reported that the letter was also released to Labour TD and the party’s health spokesperson Alan Kelly, following a parliamentary question and separate FOI request by him.

On RTÉ’s News At One, Labour TD Alan Kelly told Mr Bowers:

 “I sought this information under parliamentary question in early July. The department refused to give it to me. I had to chase this for two months.

“I had to repeatedly go to the Ceann Comhairle and it was only after the Ceann Comhairle wrote to the minister that basically, telling him, that this was against the constitutional responsibilities of a minister, that we’d got to a point where this information was released to me.

“I had no faith that this information was going to be given to me so I had to put in a Freedom of Information request on top of my parliamentary question.

“TDs shouldn’t have to put in Freedom of Information requests because they believe that their parliamentary questions are not going to be answered.”

Mr Bowers told News At One that a spokesperson for the Minister for Health Simon Harris said Mr Harris was not aware of the letter in advance of it being sent from Mr Holohan to Ms Walsh.

Walsh warned over repeating CervicalCheck management criticisms (RTE)

Rollingnews

From top: Members of the Labour party at its think-in at the D Hotel in Drogheda, Co Louth; a number of political correspondents outside a meeting of the party yesterday

Yesterday.

At the Labour party think-in in Drogheda, Co Louth.

A number of political correspondents listened through a door while a private meeting of Labour party members was under way.

Further to this…

Jennifer Bray, in Times Ireland edition, reports:

Brendan Howlin was excoriated by disgruntled members at a private meeting during the Labour Party’s think-in yesterday.

Mr Howlin faced a sustained onslaught about his leadership and was told that the public was “indifferent” to him and that the manner in which he was elected leader was “disgraceful”.

During a sometimes raucous meeting, councillors also vented their frustration about “disenfranchised” voters and the direction of the party.

Alan Kelly, the Labour TD for Tipperary, attacked his party, saying that the performance of the parliamentary group was “not good enough”.

Members should be encouraged to break ranks to air their grievances, he said, while representatives in the Dáil needed to be in the media more often.

Meanwhile, this morning.

Elaine Loughlin, in the Irish Examiner, reports:

A lengthy and at times heated debate on the Labour party leadership ended with members hugging each other, Brendan Howlin has revealed.

Mr Howlin has said the issue of leadership of the Labour party has been put to bed until after the next General Election.

Brendan Howlin attacked by Labour members over ‘lacklustre leadership’ (Jennifer Bray, Times Ireland edition)

Labour Party think-in: We are ‘going nowhere fast and doomed if we don’t change’ (Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner)

Latest: Labour party are now united, says Brendan Howlin (Elaine Loughlin, Irish Examiner)

Pics: Labour and Sean Defoe

Labour TD Alan Kelly and Labour leader Brendan Howlin

“I think Brendan needs to consider what is best for the Labour Party into the future.”

“I certainly believe from a leadership point of view, after two-and-a-half years, we haven’t been able to turn the ship around. We haven’t even looked like we’re turning the ship around.”

We need a radical shake-up. We need to change the direction of the party. We need a different vision. We need far more energy.”

Yikes.

Comments made by Labour TD Alan Kelly during an interview with Fran Curry on Tipp FM this morning.

Labour needs ‘radical shake-up’: Kelly challenges Howlin’s leadership (Harry McGee, The Irish Times)

Tipp FM

Previously: Must. Have. Power

Rollingnews

UPDATE:

Martina Fitzgerald, of RTE, reports:

Mr Howlin said he was disappointed that Mr Kelly would make any comments that would seem like the party is divided when they need to work together. He said there is a collective leadership.

He also said that all the parliamentary party, which is made up of seven TDs and six senators, bar Mr Kelly support his leadership.

Mr Howlin said the majority of the party’s 50 councillors support him.

Howlin ‘disappointed’ by Kelly’s call for significant change (RTE)

Alan Kelly during the General Election 2016 count in Thurles, Tipperary

Would somebody please give him some power, for pity’s sake.

Seven councillors have now called on leader Brendan Howlin to resign and make way for another leader.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, a number of councillors have said Mr Kelly is what the party needs and restated the calls for Mr Howlin to make way….

Councillors call for Alan Kelly to become Labour leader (Irish Examiner)

Yesterday: Labour Can Work

Previously: ‘Power Is Like A Drug…It Suits Me

Rollingnews

From top: Alan Kelly and Tony O’Brien this afternoon

This morning/afternoon.

Public Accounts Committee

Labour TD Alan Kelly, vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee, raised a memo sent to HSE chief Tony O’Brien in 2016

Mr O’Brien said that while he learned about the Vicky Phelan case on RTÉ News, he said he was told in the briefing note that a communications process was about to begin to notify patients with cancer about an audit of their smear tests.

“I was aware that an audit was carried out which was good practice. I was aware of a detailed plan to communicate the results of that audit,” he said.

….Mr O’Brien told the committee that he will strive to get a copy of the memo to the PAC today before the meeting concludes

More as we get it.

Wat live here

Memo over cervical audit did not ring alarm bells, says O’Brien (RTÉ)

Earlier: Unspeakable

Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and former Minister for Justice and current Tanaiste France Fitzgerald

This morning.

Further to questions remaining over what former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the Department of Justice knew of the legal strategy which was employed against Sgt Maurice McCabe during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015…

Because, readers will recall, the legal strategy of the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan was outlined at the commission but later dropped after Sgt McCabe proved claims made by the legal counsel for Ms O’Sullivan, and claims outlined in a five-page letter by the Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon, now a High Court judge, were untrue…

And how nothing of this abandoned strategy was recorded in the commission’s final report…

And how the Secretary General of the Department of Justice Noel Waters announced he’s stepping down in February – within hours of the Dail hearing of reports of a phone call from Ms O’Sullivan’s office to Mr Waters on May 15, 2015 – the same day Sgt McCabe delivered his first blow to Ms O’Sullivan’s legal strategy…

Daniel McConnell, in the Irish Examiner, writes:

Dáil chairman, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghail, is “considering” a fresh complaint from Labour TD Alan Kelly over information he sought over the treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Mr Ó Fearghail yesterday received new correspondence from Mr Kelly and he is now taking the matter under consideration for adjudication, a spokeswoman for the Oireachtas said.

Alan Kelly in fresh Maurice McCabe complaint (Irish Examiner)

Previously: What Is Going On?

Absence Of Malice

From top: Sgt Maurice McCabe; former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald; Labour TD Alan Kelly

You may recall a post from Friday, entitled The Legal Strategy Against Maurice McCabe.

It centred on questions put to the Department of Justice, by Labour TD Alan Kelly, in relation to what knowledge, if any, the department had about the legal strategy employed by An Garda Siochana at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.

Readers will recall how at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – which was set up to examine complaints of Garda malpractice made by Sgt McCabe – legal counsel for former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said it would argue that Sgt McCabe made his complaints because of a grudge and that evidence of this would be based on a particular meeting Sgt McCabe had with two other gardai.

This line of argument was dropped after Sgt McCabe produced a recording of the meeting which proved this was untrue.

Mr Kelly has written to the Department of Justice asking what knowledge the former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald had of this legal strategy.

He’s also written to the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the now Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the same.

He’s now calling for Mr Varadkar to make a public statement on the matter.

He also said he believes that, if the Department of Justice was aware, then the terms of reference for the Disclosures Tribunal – which is being overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton and is examining allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe – need to be widened to include the department.

Further to this…

Mr Kelly spoke to Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One this morning in which he reiterated his questions.

From the interview…

Sean O’Rourke:You lay particular emphasis on contacts between the Commissioner’s office and the office of the Secretary General of the Department of Justice on the 15th of May 2015. Why is that date important?

Alan Kelly:It’s very important because this is the day that everything changed in relation to O’Higgins and that Maurice McCabe became aware of a different strategy as regards the Commissioner and their legal strategy to him. And, in relation to the whole aspect of whether he had had motives, different motives…”

O’Rourke: “Yeah, a grudge.”

Kelly: “An agenda or had a grudge in relation certain aspects of the gardai and that’s why he acted in the way in which he did. It was proven to be false…”

Later

Kelly:If they [Department of Justice] come out and say ‘no, they weren’t aware in any way, shape or form, this dies. Because it’s effectively saying look no they weren’t privy to anything. The issue is this: in the questions and answers that I’ve got back from Minister Flanagan, he doesn’t deny that there were meetings. He doesn’t deny that there was something going on.”

Readers may wish to note that, although it hasn’t been mentioned on RTE, Broadsheet previously reported how, at the outset of the O’Higgins Commission, the legal counsel for Ms O’Sullivan argued that the reason for this so-called grudge was that Sgt McCabe wanted the directions made by the DPP in 2007 – in respect of a “dry humping” allegation made by the daughter, Ms D, of a guard previously disciplined by Sgt McCabe in 2006 – overturned.

But the DPP’s directions were categorically in Sgt McCabe’s favour.

And what the gardai didn’t know, going into the commission, was that Sgt McCabe had been fully briefed of the DPP’s directions back in 2007 when they were first issued.

These were the DPP’s directions:

Dear Sir,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 1st March 2007 together with copy Garda investigation file.

I agree with you and the Guards, that the evidence does not warrant a prosecution. There was no admission. The incident as described by the injured party is vague. It appears that it was only when she was eleven/twelve that she decided that whatever occurred was sexual in nature.

Even if there wasn’t a doubt over her credibility, the incident that she describes does not constitute a sexual assault or indeed an assault.

Further, the account given to her cousin [redacted] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards.

There is no basis for a prosecution.

And the date Sgt McCabe informed the O’Higgins Commission that he was fully aware of the DPP’s directions, knew they were strongly in his favour and, therefore, had no desire for them to be overturned?

May 15, 2015.

(Readers should note the ‘humping’ allegation mentioned above was revived in 2013 when Ms D went to a counsellor and the counsellor sent a botched referral outlining a much more serious allegation of rape to Tusla.

This botched referral would eventually reach Ms O’Sullivan’s office in May 2014 and the false allegation against Sgt McCabe remained on file in the Commissioner’s office until the Disclosures Tribunal began earlier this year).

Previously: Absence Of Malice

Listen back to Today with Sean O’Rourke in full here

Related: McCabe smear: Fitzgerald refuses to clarify what she knew of planned campaign (Juno McEnroe, Irish Examiner)

Alan Kelly at the last General Election in 2016

Combustible Tippperary TD Alan Kelly sat down with Jason O’Toole of Hot Press magazine, on shelves from today.

How did that go?

On political mergers:

“I would like to see the Social Democrats, in particular, and the Labour Party coming together.There should be a natural coming together. They have many fine members. It’s hard to distinguish between Social Democrats and Labour. And there’s others: there’s Independents and people across other parties.

And really for the future of social democrats — which we all are — and the future of democratic socialists, really, there needs to be that coming together to forge a block not just in Leinster House but across the country.”

The 8th Amendment:

“I don’t tolerate the two phrases: pro-choice or the other extreme of pro-life. I’m in favour of getting rid of the Eighth Amendment and I’m in favour of legislating for the rights of women. A lot of these choices should be based on the relationship between a woman and her doctor, in consultation with her family.”

Marijuana for recreational purposes:

“Yeah, I think that’s something we could look at. But under certain conditions: because if you legalise it for medicinal purposes you’re opening a can of worms anyway. So, you might as well look at it in a broader sense. You’d have to look at volumes: what would be allowable and all that.”

More power:

“I’d love to be Taoiseach. If you’re going to answer that question: you should also put down what I really mean is that I’d love to maximise where the Labour Party gets to. That’s more important to me. I don’t want another headline: ‘Power is a Drug… It’s Suits Me!’ ‘Alan Kelly Wants To Be Taoiseach!’ For God’s sake!”

Water crisis

“This country is going to suffer as a result of the populist stance of people when it comes to water. Three quarters of people in Ireland were paying for water. And for one spin on the merry-go-round, Fine Gael abandoned all principle and got into bed with the most irresponsible politician in Ireland in Barry Cowen.”

Fight!

EXCLUSIVE: Labour’s Alan Kelly Opens Up About His Time In Government, Water Charges, Jobstown, and Labour’s Future (Hot Press)

Alan Kelly urges Labour to merge with Social Democrats (Irish Examiner)

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 09.18.38

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty

Yesterday evening.

The Dáil debated Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

During the debate, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty spoke about another Donegal Garda whistleblower Kieran Jackson, who is now retired.

Mr Doherty said:

“There are many reasons why Nóirín O’Sullivan should leave her position as Garda Commissioner and there are many Members in the House who have outlined those reasons. I support the motion, obviously, that Sinn Féin has tabled.

I will recall for the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, the case of a former garda in the Donegal division, with whom I have engaged over the past number of years and who has engaged with the Garda Commissioner over that period. In May 2001, a former garda in the Donegal division met two detective inspectors from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in a hotel in County Monaghan. Accompanied by a witness, the detectives had invited the officer to meet them. During this exchange, the now retired garda disclosed to the interviewing detectives a number of very serious allegations against a former Garda superintendent, since retired, who was also stationed in Donegal. These allegations related to suspected tax evasion, social welfare fraud and persons being in possession of a fraudulent bank account into which thousands of pounds were being lodged regularly. This meeting in Monaghan lasted for over five and a half hours. As the meeting drew to a close, the detectives stated that they would be in contact again with the whistleblower shortly in order to take a written statement. However, this did not happen.

In September 2014, a solicitor acting on behalf of the whistleblower wrote to then acting Garda Commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan, in which he divulged all of the allegations of criminal wrongdoing suspected of having been committed by the whistleblower’s former colleague. The letter also expressed his client’s alarm at the apparent lack of any follow-up having been carried out on the part of the investigating gardaí. A similar letter, dated 24 September 2014, was subsequently sent to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, around which time the whistleblower himself contacted me to request that I bring the case to the Minister’s attention, which I did.

On 16 December 2015, the Minister replied to me in a letter in which she stated that inquiries were being made with the Garda Commissioner regarding the whistleblower’s complaint. A further letter, issued in May 2016, declared that inquiries into the claims were ongoing. Then, last September, the whistleblower finally received the news that he had long suspected. The Garda advised him that, following an extensive search of files and records held locally and at Monaghan Garda station, no record of his complaint or of any subsequent investigation could be found. The correspondence went on to say that inquiries made with the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation revealed that no investigation was ever carried out by personnel in respect of the whistleblower’s allegations.

The whistleblower to whom I refer is former Garda Kieran Jackson. His story leads us to one of two conclusions. First, either Kieran Jackson is lying – I have no reason to believe that he is and there are other former gardaí who will corroborate his story – and no meeting between him and the detectives ever took place. The other conclusion is that somebody in An Garda Síochána has gone out of his or her way to cover it up and to ensure that his claims never saw the light of day.

If the latter conclusion is the case, then questions need to be asked as to who took the decision? Kieran Jackson informs me that a failure to follow up or investigate a criminal incident is, in itself, a crime. Questions must be asked about who took the decision to not pursue his complaint. Why has Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan – who has known about this for over two and a half years – done nothing about it?

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, and her Government say that they have full confidence in the Garda Commissioner. Try telling that to Garda whistleblowers across the State. Try telling that to Kieran Jackson who has had no response from the Commissioner in respect of the allegations he brought forward many years ago, and again in 2014, to the Garda Commissioner and to the Minister, with absolutely no action whatsoever taken.

We hear time and again, however, that the Tánaiste and the Commissioner embrace whistleblowers. The results are clear. There is only one course of action left for the Government, namely, to express no confidence in the Commissioner.”

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