Tag Archives: Alan Kelly

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-15-12-58

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/282537894″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Martin Hayden, chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, at the party’s think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare this morning, and the audio of an interview Mr Kenny gave to KFM Kildare this morning

On Saturday, Pat Leahy, in the Irish Times, reported that the C&AG found that hundreds of millions may have been lost in the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland property portfolio, Project Eagle, to US investment firm Cerebrus.

It was reported that this loss may have been due to what the C&AG found to be “shortcomings” and “irregularities” in the sale.

The C&AG report is due to be published on Wednesday.

The report about the C&AG study followed a BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme into Project Eagle broadcast last week, which followed an earlier Spotlight programme in March – both of which made serious allegations about the Project Eagle sale.

Readers may recall how, on June 1, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil:

There has not been any allegation of wrongdoing against NAMA”.

In addition, on June 8, Mr Kenny told the Dáil:

“Nobody has presented me with evidence of wrongdoing by Nama”.

Further to this.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke to Shane Beatty, of KFM Kildare, this morning, ahead of the Fine Gael’s knees-up think-in starting today in Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, Co Kildare.

The C&AG report into NAMA was discussed.

From the interview…

Enda Kenny: “If I find… if I find, and our colleguess in Government, find that there is a case to be examined well then I won’t be opposed to that.”

Shane Beatty: “But viewers of BBC’s Spotlight will say we’ve already seen a case that I think we need to have an inquiry, why do we have to wait until Thursday?”

Enda Kenny: “There are two criminal investigations going on in a different jurisdiction.”

Shane Beatty: “None here.”

Enda Kenny: “None here, and the National Crime Agency in the UK have confirmed that there is no case that they have, or are in pursuit of, in repsect of NAMA down here. So, the C&AG’s report is about a ‘value for money’ audit and you, as was pointed out on many occasions… depending on the process you follow for valuations, you might get different results.

“If you, for instance, were to dispose of the properties now with the devaluation of Sterling you’d get a different result also. But I think this is an extensive report, we do need to read it, everybody needs to reflect on it. And if there are questions arising from the Public Accounts Committee’s engagment with NAMA, they are due in before them very shorty [September 22], I’m not adverse [sic] to taking action, but I need to know what is we are taking action on.

Shane Beatty: “Did you watch the Spotlight programme?”

Enda Kenny: “Yes I did, and I saw that, and I found it quiet incredible, but you know, Shane…”

Shane Beatty: “Incredible, how?”

Enda Kenny:Nothing suprises me at the kind of activites that take place in politics. And in that sense I found it extraordinary to hear the audio report of engagements and meetings of certain personnel.”

KFM Radio

‘Hundreds of millions lost by Nama’ in sale of Northern properties, report finds (Irish Times, Saturday, September 10, 2016)

Previously: Screech

That Nama Vote In Full

Meanwhile, yesterday….

Labour TD and vice chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Alan Kelly was interviewed on This Week by Colm Ó Mongáin following the reported findings of the C&AG report.

During the interview Mr Kelly said, in recent days, he was approached by a senior member of Nama ahead of Nama’s appearance before PAC on September 22.

From the interview…

Alan Kelly: The [C&AG] report on this should be released, and obviously then, Nama will come before the PAC. It’s a matter for Nama whether they want to make public statement on it, I believe they should, I believe they’ve been quite naive to a point in relation to this.

Even this week, a senior member of Nama contacted me to brief me before they met before the PAC. I redirected him to the chair of the PAC. I was not comfortable that selective briefings was the way to go to be appropriate given the situation we find ourselves in. But that just shows another level of naivety, I believe, in relation to Nama.

Colm Ó Mongáin: These briefings that were offered by Nama, how was that approach made and by whom?

Kelly: “Ah well, I won’t, eh, get into individual, but, ah, just a call during the week to meet up. Look, I just explained the Public Accounts Committee is a different committee to every other committee, you know, it has different powers. And it wouldn’t be abnormal for other organisations to brief committee members of other committees but, in relation to this scenario, I think selective briefings wouldn’t be the way to go. And, obviously, I referred to the chairman in relation to this. But, for me, I didn’t think it was appropriately the way to deal with things.

Ó Mongáin: Is it your understanding that all members of the committee were offered these briefings?

Kelly: “I have no idea, I was going to raise it with my committee colleagues when we meet. I doubt it, but I don’t know so I wouldn’t like to say indefinitely. But I will say this, I don’t think there was necessarily anything malicious or intentional in that way in relation to that contact… It’s another sense of naivety, I feel on the part of Nama in relation to how they do things. It gave me some concerns.”

Ó Mongáin: “Well, what did they want to tell you?

Kelly: “Well that’s a matter for Nama. I understand that they’re in front of us in the coming weeks and I suppose they wanted to brief us on various different actions, but that would be a matter for Nama to state because obviously I don’t know because I didn’t meet them.”

Listen back to interview in full here

Transcript via Namawinelake

Earlier: ‘I Didn’t Enjoy The Election… But I’ve Got My Mojo Back’

‘Nama Has Done Nothing Wrong’

‘Nobody Has Presented Me With Wrongdoing By Nama’

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

90418505

Alan kelly

Mr [Alan] Kelly was not present at Mr [Brendan] Howlin’s unveiling this afternoon.

“I am very disappointed Alan Kelly did not show up today,” Mr Howlin said. “I will be ringing him after this press conference.”

In an interview with News at One, the new leader said he had “no trouble” with Mr Kelly and he would be an “intrinsic part of the Labour Party”.

Labour at war: Kelly snubs party press conference as Howlin becomes leader (Irish Independent)

Earlier: A Labourick A Day

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

90419324 90419325

 

This afternoon.

Brendan Howlin and Labour Party TDs and staff at Leinster House.

Leah Farrell/Rolling news

Meanwhile….

kelly

Right so.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.35.09

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.53.26

From top: Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace in a meeting of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness this morning

This morning.

During a meeting of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness.

Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace spoke about land banking in Ireland.

“You talk about the vacant site levy as if, I know you say that you’d have liked to have brought it in in 2017 and you’d like 7% and, well I’m glad to hear that, but the vacant site levy that was brought in before Christmas – do you not agree that it’s absolutely a joke. It’s going to bring in so little, it’s not going to speed up the development of sites. Are you going to tell me otherwise?”

“I mean if a fella has borrowed the money to actually land bank, you’re not asking him to even pay tax on it, you’re not asking, you’re not hitting him with a levy. It’s .75% if he owes more than 75% of the money and course he owes more than 75% of the money – he’d be off his head if he wasn’t borrowing to acquire land for land banking.”

“So do you not admit that the State has refused to actually address the problem with land banking because that is the fact and it is probably the biggest problem in terms of affordability around private housing in Ireland: land banking.

I see a site sold in Clontarf last week for, I think it’s, 27 units. The builder, the developer paid over €220,000 per unit for the site. Over 220 a unit? Now? I mean, so we haven’t dealt with it and I mean it’s an absolute scandal to the State has never dealt with it.”

“…This country is full of small sites and Dublin city has loads of them.. Do you not admit minister that there’s a huge concentration on the part of the local authorities on the big bang effect of big sites. Why aren’t we, why aren’t we getting the small sites going? Why don’t we get the small builder back in?”

“The small builders, there are small builders all over the country dying to do work. And you know what, I’ll tell you something else as well, they’re not looking for a profit of €20,000 – €40,000 a unit. The builders that I know are probably different to the builders that Frank Daly [of NAMA] might know. They’re not looking for that. I tell you what – if they made between €5,000 and €10,000 profit per unit, they’d be delighted with themselves, they’d be more than happy.”

“I’m asking you minister, is it possible to actually activate a lot of the smaller sites and get the smaller builder back in but then we’re back to the finance problem again. Can the State start organising the finance for them? Because the banks won’t give it them, the banks don’t want to lend to him.

“Most of the building that’s going on in this town today is being done by investment funds and the Irish banks are not even funding it but these guys come up with their own money and they’re dominating what’s being built at the moment. You have the Kennedy Wilsons and the [inaudible] now building but they’re only building for the rental market – so they don’t have to worry about selling them at a low price.”

More to follow.

ChDaDoqWIAA1FN2

This afternoon.

Labour TD Alan Kelly.

Any excuse.

90414078

Environment Minister Alan Kelly

Was the introduction of new apartment size guidelines in breach of EU law?

Grab a crying chair.

Bonkers writes:

Back in December [Environment Minister] Alan Kelly did the bidding for Tom Parlon, former PD Minister and now head of the Construction Industry Federation, i.e along with IBEC one of the property developers lobby groups.

Kelly rammed through guidelines for even smaller shoebox apartments than we already have.

Apart from allowing 40sqm apartments (which is well below average sizes on the continent with perhaps the exception of Paris and French ski resorts) he also abolished the rule that apartments must be dual aspect.

Under the new guidelines new units can be single aspect only which means some poor suckers are going to end up with only north facing windows and a complete lack of natural light.

Then the architects came out and said his minimum sizes weren’t actually workable because you need corridors of a specific width for fire safety purposes.

So it seems that neither the CIF or Kellys Dept of Environment ever bothered to ask architects or engineers to come up with a minimum size that meets fire regulations. They just steamed ahead.

So recently I found out about a little-known piece of EU legislation called the Aarhus Convention.

This says that EU members cannot make major changes to environment policy (of which housing is a key heading) without first putting the plans out to public consultation.

Now I might be wrong on this but I’ve searched everywhere online for the public consultation on Kelly’s plans and I can’t find it anywhere.

I have emailed the Dept of Environment twice now to ask them and haven’t even received a ‘We’ll get back to you’ email in return which is making me suspicious that Kelly rushed this through  in December when he knew Labour were likely to sustain big losses in the election.

I think this might be one for Legal Coffee Drinker to investigate. If there was no public consultation on permitting Irish apartments becoming children’s shoe boxes then AK47 has pulled a massive stroke here and is in breach of EU law.

Also I noticed members of the public who report compliance issues to the Aarhus Compliance Committee *might* get summoned to Brussels to present their case, all flights and hotel paid. Time for the Broadsheet commentariat to sample those 7% beers maybe?!

Anyone?

Rollingnews

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 10.46.35

Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly outside the newly built modular homes in Ballymun yesterday

Further to yesterday’s forum on housing and homelessness in Dublin, during which acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly claimed the constitution prevented him from fixing the housing crisis…

Ellen Coyne, in The Times Ireland edition, writes:

Mr Kelly, according to himself, is an unsung hero who tried to save us all from vulture funds, mean landlords and undesirable developers. The whole time that the media and homelessness charities were claiming government inaction on the issue, Mr Kelly was trying again and again to pass remedying legislation, only to be foiled every time by that nefarious constitution.

“I didn’t have to do this [forum],” Mr Kelly said nobly. “I was under no obligation.”

…Mr Kelly stood beaming and posing outside one of the [modular] houses [in Ballymun] as if he was about to start hosting his own episode of Room to Improve.

“The minister will take some questions on modular housing first,” Mr Kelly’s special adviser said.

“Temporary housing,” Mr Kelly interjected.

You’re not supposed to use “modular housing” for the “fast build” homes, which are finally almost finished, over budget and well over deadline. They cost more than other properties for sale in the area, and there are concerns that they looked suspiciously more like permanent, normal houses where people could end up living for years.

“I’m not a developer,” Mr Kelly pleaded.

Neither were any of the journalists but most of them noticed something strange about the houses. Is it normal for temporary housing to be made of bricks?

“No,” Bríd McGrath, the head of social policy for Respond Housing Association, said.

The houses are very warm and nice and big. A bit like ministerial offices, only a tad smaller, one presumes.

“I’d say they’ll have problems getting people out of these,” Ms McGrath said as the camera flashes exploded around a temporary minister who, unfortunately, doesn’t have the option of staying put.

I tried to save you, insists unsung hero as he scuttles for the door (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

Previously: ‘There Was No Concrete Plan’

Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews

944902_697245223711590_7039977558004133766_n

12548901_697245237044922_7381539361812619362_nScreen Shot 2016-03-31 at 14.34.05

From top: The homeless volunteer group in Dublin, You’re Not Alone, distributing items on Tuesday night – the group looked after 263 people before running out of food; acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly at the Custom House this morning

Further to the forum on housing and homelessness in the Custom House this morning…

Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly spoke to Conor Brophy on RTÉ’s News At One.

Niamh Randall, national spokesperson for the Simon Community, was also interviewed by RTÉ’s Conor Brophy.

Grab a tay.

Alan Kelly:  “What’s happening here is actually very useful today. We’ve had a number of presentations from the Housing Agency, from NAMA, from the CIF, from the Homeless Executive and from the people who are in charge of local authority funding and various other areas. You see in order to sort this issue you’ve got a whole load of levers across a whole load of various departments and organisations. And, also, on top of that you’ve got an intricate web of solutions that are required, you know, there’s a spectrum of issues across a whole range of areas here – whether it’s in finance, whether it’s in social services, whether it is in the timeline it takes to actually go and build housing, whether it’s in a whole load of areas, of planning and other areas. They are all inter-connected, there’s one thing I will leave this department, pushing out there. There is no silver bullet. All of these are interconnected and you need to get people into the room to ensure that they get into solution mode, get talking to one another in order to actually sort this out.”

Conor Brophy: “But these sound like learnings from your time as minister and learnings somebody else will have to take on when a new Government is formed. It doesn’t sound like there’s anything there that could be implemented right now or a solution that’s presenting itself in the interregnum.”

Kelly: “Well, I don’t accept that at all. In fact, you know, I was here for 20 months in this department and we got through a huge amount of legislation, a huge amount of changes whether it was in the area of rent, whether it’s in the fact there was €4billion for social housing, whether it’s in dealing with a whole range of other areas when it came to housing. We got through a whole range of 26 very significant actions which I’m not going to recount for you here, we don’t have time, but really what we’re positioning people here is that, I mean, I’m not going to be grandstanding while I’m in opposition,or whoever is going to be in this department later on. What I want to see is solutions. And if people aren’t talking at the level at which they’re talking at inside here, you will not find solutions because whoever is replacing me in this department, and Minister Paudie Coffey in the department will need these people to be talking at the level in which they’re talking. So I believe that, today, is about solutions…”

Later

Niamh Randall: “I think there was probably a bit of a missed opportunity with the forum. It was very presentation heavy. So, at 12.15pm, we were still hearing presentations from a number of different stakeholders and that wasn’t an opportunity for the people who were present, attending the open forum, to take place. So I think that possibly was a bit of a missed opportunity. I think maybe and maybe there is an opportunity to pull people together, to have a facilitated discussion, getting the ideas from the floor and suggestions and ideas from the floor. And secondly, there wasn’t a concrete plan there – certainly while I was present anyway, in terms of what would happen next, so where this will go, particularly when we’re in this vacuum of having a government and in this vacuum of having, we’ve an acting minister. How does all this happen? How do we ensure there’s activity in the meantime? There didn’t seem to be a concrete plan there and I did ask that question from the floor and there wasn’t a clear answer in relation to that. So there was a little sense, I felt, of a lack of urgency around all of this. And I suppose the thing that we really see on the ground, in the Simon Community, is the impact that this is having on people every single day and this is absolutely urgent…”

Later

Randall: “”Critically, one of the voices missing from the panel, I felt, was the Department of Social Protection. They did ask, some representative to speak from the audience, in relation to the issues on rent supplement but that is a key issue in terms of pushing people into homelessness and preventing people from leaving homelessness behind and the fact that that wasn’t represented on the panel really leads me to believe that the analysis may be flawed at some level.”

Listen back in full here

You’re Not Alone (Facebook)

Earlier: ‘I Was Blocked By The Constitution’

 

Ce3fL3SUYAARqR6

Ce3eAwgUIAAld9I

From top: Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly and from his speech at the Custom House this morning

This morning.

At a homeless and housing forum in Custom House in Dublin this morning.

Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly tells those present that his efforts to find a solution to the housing problem were blocked by Article 43 the Constitution. to wit:

Article 43:

The State acknowledges that man, in virtue of his rational being, has the natural right, antecedent to positive law, to the private ownership of external goods.

The State accordingly guarantees to pass no law attempting to abolish the right of private ownership or the general right to transfer, bequeath, and inherit property.

The State recognises, however, that the exercise of the rights mentioned in the foregoing provisions of this Article ought, in civil society, to be regulated by the principles of social justice.

Hmm.

More as we get it.

Meanwhile,

Ce0fWbJWEAEc2JK Ce0fYA2WIAAEHnb

last night, outside the GPO on O’Connell Street.

Darragh Doyle tweetz:

Dublin tonight. 2 queues outside the GPO. One for a play. The other for food and help for the homeless.

Top pics: Elaine Loughlin and Mark Coughlan