Tag Archives: anniversary

Vicky Phelan

In today’s Irish Times,  Health Correspondent Paul Cullen has an interview with Limerick mother-of-two Vicky Phelan – one year on from her High Court case where she settled a case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, for €2.5million.

Ms Phelan, who refused to sign a gagging order about her case, was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a cervical smear test error.

Following her case, it later emerged that more than 200 women diagnosed with cancer were not informed of an audit which revised their earlier, negative smear tests.

Mr Cullen reports:

“…Ms Phelan said the Taoiseach ‘just doesn’t get it’ in relation to fixing the problems that have arisen.

‘The classic example is him going on Six One News saying no woman would ever have to go into court, and look what’s happened. That’s still the case and not only that, the tribunal has not yet been established in order for that not to happen.

I don’t think he gets it at all. And it’s not just because he’s a gay man, I just don’t think he gets it.’

…’I think we got a lot of promises made at the time, not to shut us up but to “give them what they want quickly and get them off the pages”.

‘Until we have a situation in this country where people are held accountable for what they’ve done, these things are just going to keep happening and there’ll be another scandal,’ she said.”

Meanwhile, during an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Phelan apologised for and clarified her ‘gay man’ comment (above).

She said:

“I’m critical of the Government in general. I suppose, I think some of what I said was taken out of context and I would like to apologise to the Taoiseach for the comment in today’s article.

“What I said, I was trying to make the point that the issues faced by the women and their families are wide-ranging, they involve input from a wide range of players, from the Department of Health to the HSE, legal profession, the medical profession, and the Attorney General’s office to draft up this legislation.

“And basically any unwillingness or inertia on the part of one player can hold everything up and that is exactly what has happened over the last 12 months.”

Asked specifically what she was trying to say when she made the “gay man” comment, Vicky said:

“This is a women’s issue and it’s always about women, that was the point I was making. It wasn’t anything to do with the Taoiseach being gay, whatsoever. That was totally taken out of context.”

“We’ve seen it on a number of occasions over the last number of years, Miriam, between the different scandals that have happened to women. Bridget McCole, the Hepatitis C scandal…I think we have a very poor record and poor history in this country in dealing with women’s issues.”

Vicky Phelan criticises Varadkar for ‘unacceptable delays’ (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Listen back to interview in full here


Behold: the Bugatti Chiron Sport 110 Ans Coupe – an extremely limited edition steel blue version of the 1479bhp, quad-turbo, W16 Chiron Sport, togged out with subtle (and less subtle) hints of the French tricolour, celebrating 110 years of production in the manufacturer’s home country.

Yours for a trifling €2,650,000+.

Patriotique, non?



Candles left outside the Carrickmines halting site following the fire last October

A year ago today.

A fire at an unofficial halting site in Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines, Dublin, killed 10 members of the same Traveller family, one of whom was pregnant.

Those who died were: Thomas Connors, 28, his wife Sylvia (nee Lynch), 30, their three children, Jim, 5, Christy 3, and six- month-old Mary; Willy Lynch, 25, his pregnant partner Tara Gilbert, 27, her daughter Jodie, 9, their daughter Kelsey, four; and Jimmy Lynch, 39 – Sylvia and Willy’s brother.

This evening, outside the Dáil, the Irish Traveller Movement with other Traveller organisations will hold a silent vigil in solidarity with the families at 7pm.

Those who wish to attend are asked to bring a candle.



Three Fridays ago.

On RTE’s Late Late Show.

Actor and filmmaker John Connors and Irish Research Council scholar in the Department of Sociology at University of Limerick Sindy Joyce spoke to Ryan Tubridy about their new documentary series on the history of the Traveller community.

Just before the very end of their appearance, Mr Connors raised the Carrickmines fire and – specifically – access to water on the night of the fire.

They had the following exchange:

John Connors: “Ryan, I actually have one important thing I want to say: a message from the Connors’ family – from the Carrickmines tragedy, obviously. They just told me to say that, a year on, they’re in the same position they were in, they’re in a rat-infested dump and they’re surrounded by electric pylons with no accommodation plan and a lot of the family have now gotten sick because of the toxins, a little child is very sick. And they all have lung problems.”

“And just, an important thing they wanted me to point out, on the night of the fire, that the ground was welded up, the fire hydrant was welded up so they couldn’t get to the water. Cause the council had welded it up a couple of weeks before – they wanted me to pass that message on.

Ryan Tubridy: “OK, I don’t know the details.”

Connors:We’re still looking for justice here but it’s been forgotten about: no one cares about 11 people being murdered by the State, you know?”

Tubridy: “I would hope people do care, a little bit but I don’t want to trivialise that matter by getting into that now.”

Connors: “No, I thought that you were getting ready to go so I said I’d have to get that one in.”

Tubridy: “I appreciate that but I also don’t want to get into a situation whereby we’d be glib about a story that’s profoundly sad and difficult for that family…”

Further to this…

Meanwhile, in a piece recalling the Carrickmines fire in Saturday’s Irish Times, Kitty Holland reported:

Jim Connors [who survived the fire] recalls being woken at about 3.30am by shouting. Two of his sons John and Jim were trying to get into the blazing mobile home. “I looked out. I didn’t know what was going on.”

He had used, over the years, a power hose to clean the site, connected to a hydrant directly outside. However, after complaints, he says the county council cut the water to the hydrant and welded it closed “a few months” before the fire.

The council says a working water hydrant was within 50 metres of the site “which Dublin Fire Brigade used without any impediment” that night.

Until the fire brigade arrived, however, Jim “had just a garden hose that you wouldn’t fill a kettle with”.

Watch back in full here

Traveller families hit by fire disaster prepare for anniversary (Kitty Holland, Irish Times)

Irish Traveller Movement (Facebook)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie




From top: The doorway where homeless man Jonathan Corrie was found dead on Molesworth Street, Dublin last year;  Fr Peter McVerry


On this day last year, Jonathan Corrie was found dead outside a doorway on Molesworth Street, just metres from Dáil Éireann.

Today, on Jonathan’s anniversary, a protest will take place at 5pm outside Leinster House over the homeless situation in Dublin.

In light of this, campaigner for the homeless, Fr Peter McVerry spoke to Cathal MacCoille on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier.

During the interview Fr McVerry explained that the Dublin Homelessness Executive last night carried out their second yearly count of rough sleepers in Dublin – the same night 100 new homeless beds became available.

Fr McVerry also noted that 50 people, who sleep in the Merchant’s Quay night café, should no longer be excluded from the count.

From the interview…

Cathal MacCoille: Exactly one year ago, the body of Jonathan Corrie was found lying in a doorway near Leinster House. A series of Government initiatives followed but the problem of homelessness remains. The Dublin Homelessness Executive carried out one of their twice-yearly counts of people sleeping rough in the city last night. The result will be known in a few days… There was a series of initiatives, as we all remember by Government-sponsored, including over 200 beds made available for the homelessness, made within a month after Jonathan Corrie’s death. But, generally, one year on, how do we stand?”

Fr Peter McVerry: “Well the situation is much, much worse, one year on, than it was this time last year. There was 271 beds open, within four weeks, they were all full and the numbers on the streets were beginning to climb again. The numbers sleeping rough now are pretty much at the same level, if not higher, than they were this time last year. When Jonathan Corrie died there were, on average, about 40 families a month becoming homeless. At the moment, the average number of families becoming homeless is 73. So things have got much, much worse.”

MacCoille: “And yet I mean the pace of it and the need is still as great as ever, the pace of growth. But the Government would point to the action on not rent control but on rent certainty – a bar on rent increases for two years. The modular homes – prefab homes, whatever you want to call them, 22 to be available at the end of the year and more coming in the new year. So how would you compare what they’re doing with the need?”

McVerry: “Well, what they’re doing is welcome and it will make a difference in time but it is far, far too little. The rent certainty is only for a two-year period and the other options are really not significant. They will make a difference, like the deposits will be held by the Private Residential Tenancies Board rather than the landlord because the landlord, that’s a huge problem for tenants, trying to get their deposit back at the end of the tenancy. So there are a number of measures that will make a difference to tenants. But really, it’s going to make very, very little difference, given the scale of the problem. We need far, far more radical action than there’s being taken at the moment.”

MacCoille: “By that you mean…”

McVerry: “I think there are a whole lot of measures. I think we need to prevent the financial institutions evicting tenants when they repossess landlords’ homes and they’ve fallen into mortgage arrears. We need to expand the mortgage-to-rent scheme, to avoid families being thrown out of their homes when they’re repossessed. I think we need to bring in legislation, compulsorily purchasing empty homes, people who have property and it’s just lying empty and they’ve no plans to do anything with it. I think they should be compulsorily purchased. The voids, the empty local authority buildings that exist, and there’s a huge number of them around the country, they ought to be brought back into operation as rapidly as possible and I can’t understand why they’re not being renovated and used again, as quickly as possible. There’s a whole lot of measures that really need to be taken and they need to be taken all together to try and alleviate the crisis that we have. There will be 100 new beds opening, actually I think they opened last night, 100 new beds, to get people off the street and that will be very welcome but it won’t get everybody off the streets and the numbers sleeping on the street are far higher than 100 and we have to include 50 people who go every night to the Merchant’s Quay night café. That’s a night café – they can spend the night there, they can sleep on mats on the floor. They are excluded from the rough sleepers’ count but they really should be included because they don’t have a bed for the night. And, indeed, if 50 people sleeping on a floor in a large room is a scene we associate with The Philippines after a hurricane, rather than Ireland in the 21st century.”

MacCoille: “…There are people who don’t want to be in any kind of sheltered accommodation at all, who feel safer out on the streets. Now is that because the right kind of accommodation is not available?”

McVerry: “Absolutely. Most of the emergency accommodation that is available is of an appalling quality. It is dormitory style, you’re sharing a room with maybe three or four or five or more other people, you don’t know who you’re sharing with, you can have people who are drug-free sharing a room with three or four people who, in the middle of the night, will be injecting heroin. Who will be offering you drugs, who may even be pressuring you to buy drugs from them. People are often attacked in those dormitory-style rooms; they feel very vulnerable, intimidated and, certainly, some categories of people, particularly, the younger people and more vulnerable people, just feel terrified in those dormitory-style accommodations. And they prefer to sleep on the street than go into those… and I can understand that. The least we can do, and it’s only a question of money, it’s not a big deal, the least we could do is give everyone their own space; to give them a place they can go into at night, lock the door, and feel safe, know they’re not going to be attacked during the night and know that their belongings are still going to be beside the bed in the morning, when they wake up. That’s the least we could do for homeless people at night time.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Nice Crib, Brú

A Bed Is Not Just For Christmas




This afternoon.

Jonathan Corrie’s former partner Catherine McNeill (left) and daughter Natasha bring flowers to the doorstep at Molesworth Street.

(Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie)