Tag Archives: #Ge20

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses media outside Clare FM this morning

This morning…

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Clare FM that he would fight to remain as leader of Fine Gael if his party performs poorly in the election tomorrow.

Breakingnews reports:

Mr Varadkar also revealed he would fight to retain leadership of Fine Gael in the event of his party losing the general election.

Under party rules, he would have to submit himself to a confidence vote.

“If that were to happen, I would ask to stay on as party leader and lead the Opposition, and be ready to pick up the pieces in five years’ time after Fianna Fail do to the country what they usually do,” he said.

Varadkar predicts ‘real difficulty’ to form a Government after election (Breakingnews)


This morning.

Fine Gael General Election HQ.

Leo Varadkar’s possible successor Minister for Finance Pascahl Donohoe said he fully supported the taoiseach referring to the fact that he has spent more time with him during the General Election 2020 campaign than he has with his wife.



June, 2010

Following the failed leadership ‘heave’ by Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton and days after the party’s then leader Enda Kenny sacked Mr Bruton from his role as Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on Finance…

And after a poll showed Fine Gael slipping and Labour to be the most popular party in Ireland for the first time ever…

Leo Varadkar spoke out against Mr Kenny telling RTÉ’s Prime Time:

“It’s not that I’ve lost confidence in him, it’s that the public doesn’t have confidence in him. And unfortunately that’s the truth and that’s something that we all know, it’s something that you know. And I have to ask myself that key question, the 3am question…who do I want to answer that phone…”

Good days.

Previously: Keeping The Head

Pics: Clare FM

Election literature for Dublin West

Has anyone else received “Sorry I missed you” pamphlets in their letterboxes from electioneering politicians without any attempt having been made to ring the doorbell or knock at the door?

I suspect I will also miss their names on the ballot paper. Sorry.

Pavel Marianski,
Co Waterford.

Canvassing and knocking on doors (The Irish Times letters page)

Pic: Ross Boyd

Senator Michael McDowell said Sinn Fein TDs and Senators “don’t decide anything” and are told what to do.

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Senator Michael McDowell told Mr O’Rourke that Sinn Féin “don’t have parliamentary party meetings in Leinster House”.

He added: “The TDs and Senators don’t decide anything.”

Asked by Mr O’Rourke how he knew this, he said: “Because I was told directly by one of their parliamentarians.”

Senator McDowell said:

“And I’ll tell you exactly how, Seán. Do you remember the Senate Reform Implementation Group. I asked all the participants to give me an undertaking that we could set aside an afternoon to finalise the report. I said ‘can each of you tell me that there will be no parliamentary party meeting to distract you, or to take you away’.

“And we went around the table and when I got to the Sinn Féin participant, he said ‘we don’t have a parliamentary party’. ”

“He told me to my face…”

“They don’t have meetings of their parliamentary party as such in Leinster House.”

When it was put to Mr McDowell that the polls are indicating that the party may do very well, he replied “so what” before saying that Sinn Féin are “entitled to participate in Government if there are other parties which will participate in Government with them”.

He added:

“We live in a free democracy and if people don’t want to participate in Government with Sinn Féin, they’re perfectly entitled and there’s nothing arrogant or undemocratic to say ‘sorry, we are not going to participate in Government with you’.”

The 23-member implementation croup, consisting of 11 Senators and 12 TDs, was chaired by Senator McDowell. It was tasked with assessing the recommendations made by the Working Group on Seanad Reform in 2015.

Senators Fintan Warfield and Niall Ó Donnghaile and TD John Brady were its Sinn Féin members.


Earlier: “When You Leave This Studio, Could You Pick Up The Phone And Talk To Her?”

Yesterday: How Was It For You? [Updated]

Previously: Will I Get The Coronavirus If I Vote Sinn Féin?


From top: Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald; Virgin Media News’ Colette Fitzpatrick; Virgin Media News last night

Last night.

On Virgin Media News, broadcaster Colette Fitzpatrick interviewed Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald.

It follow Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, who is Minister for Finance in the North, apologising to the family of Paul Quinn who was murdered at the age of 21 in Monaghan 13 years ago.

In 2007 Mr Murphy told BBC Spotlight that Mr Quinn was involved in criminality.

From the interview…

Colette Fitzpatrick: “Your party colleague Conor Murphy issued a statement this afternoon saying his remarks about Paul Quinn are a matter of regret. He said he was sorry and that they added to the grief for that family and what they felt and he wanted to apologise for that. ‘A matter of regret’. Does that go in anywhere near being enough for an apology for Breege Quinn and her family?”

Mary Lou McDonald: “Well, Breege Quinn and the family made very plain that they wanted the record set straight in respect of their son, their son who received a really, really brutal death at the hands of criminals and they felt very aggrieved. And that grief has endured over a long number of years and Breege Quinn was very clear that she wished a retraction and an apology and that it would be done publicly and on the public record.”

Fitzpatrick: “‘A matter of regret’ for saying that her murdered son was involved in smuggling and criminality…”

McDonald: “Well it’s a full withdrawal and retraction of the comments and a very sincere apology. I know I hear, earlier today, Colette, I heard Breege speaking on the radio. I know that she indicated that she had taken some comfort from the words that I had to say on the previous evening [on RTÉ’s Prime Time debate] and I hope that they take now some comfort from this complete retraction and sincere apology.”

Fitzpatrick: “Ok, how would you categorise his remarks? What would you call them? Would you say they were abhorrent? What he said about Paul Quinn.”

McDonald: “I think that they were extremely hurtful, extremely hurtful at the time when they had lost their son and they were traumatised to lose their son so brutally and so suddenly.”

Fitzpatrick: “You don’t think they were abhorrent?”

McDonald: “I think they were clearly abhorrent for the Quinn family, of course they were, Colette. I mean, I’m not, the commentary has been entirely withdrawn and apologised for and the reason for that is because the comments were wrong. At the time when this murder occured there was commentary around criminality and activities up around the Border but it is entirely wrong to suggest that Paul was in any way implicated.”

Fitzpatrick: “Ok, so you agree the comments were abhorrent. Do you think Conor Murphy should now go to the gardaí and the PSNI and tell them who the men were that he spoke to? Cause he says he spoke to men in the IRA about this. Give them the names.”

McDonald: “Well, Conor, at the time, spoke to both the gardaí and the PSNI at the time he was an elected MP for the area.”

Fitzpatrick: “Did he give them names though, Mary Lou?”

McDonald: “I don’t know, I wasn’t privy to the conversation. But you can be sure that Conor or anybody else is duty-bound to cooperate with what is an ongoing investigation.”

Fitzpatrick: “So have you asked him, have you spoken to him today and have you asked him to go the gardai and the PSNI to give them those names?”

McDonald: “Colette, it’s not necessary for me to ask Conor to do that.”

Fitzpatrick: “So you haven’t asked him?”

McDonald: “Conor has already, back when this happened, spoken to the gardai and the PSNI. And it’s for the gardai and the PSNI to advance this investigation. It’s not for me and it’s not…”

Fitzpatrick: “Yeah, but there’s a distinction, Mary Lou, between speaking to the gardai and the PSNI and giving the gardai and the PSNI the names of the men that he says he spoke to in the IRA.”

McDonald: “At the time he said that he spoke to republicans in the area because there was a speculation obviously as to who was responsible for this absolutely horrendous crime. He spoke to local republicans and they said that there was no republican involvement. But Colette, let me just repeat, in any of these investigations, it is the duty and at the discretion of the PSNI and the Garda Síochána to pursue their lines of investigation.”

Fitzpatrick: “I’m just going to ask you one final time.”

McDonald: “Sure.”

Fitzpatrick: “Will you ask Conor Murphy to give the names of those men to the gardai and the PSNI? It’s a yes or no. Will you ask him to do that?”

McDonald: “It’s actually not a yes or a no, Colette, with all due respect. It is, my position is that the investigation must be cooperated with. I mean there’s no ambiguity, there’s no lack…”

Fitzpatrick: “Well why wouldn’t you ask him to do that?”

McDonald: “Because he has spoken to the authorities already. You are inferring that in some way – and I think it’s quite unfair, if I might say so – that Conor is in some way obstructing an investigation. He’s not. At the time…”

Fitzpatrick: “But if he doesn’t give the gardai and the PSNI the names of the men he spoke to, he might possibly be obstructing that investigation.”

McDonald: “I don’t accept that. I think that if Conor or anybody else has information that is material to finding those that carried out this dastardly murder, of course they need to bring information forward. I don’t have to say that to Conor, that is as a matter of course. For Conor Murphy or for anybody else for that matter.”

Fitzpatrick: “Have you spoken to Breege Quinn yourself?”

McDonald: “I haven’t.”

Fitzpatrick:  “Are you going to?”

McDonald: “I haven’t…well, if Breege wishes to speak to me, I would be more than happy to…”

Fitzpatrick:  “She has said she wants to speak to you.”

McDonald: “Well that’s…I will speak to her so.”

Fitzpatrick:  “When you leave this studio, could you pick up the phone and talk to her?”

McDonald: “Well I don’t have a telephone number for her.”

Fitzpatrick: “Every journalist in the country has her telephone number.”

McDonald: “Certainly if I am provided with a telephone number, I’ll be more than happy to speak to her.”

Fitzpatrick:  “You’re going to call her? You’ll call her when you leave this studio?”

McDonald: “Yes.”

Fitzpatrick:  “Okay. What happened to Paul Quinn on the night. He was lured into a barn in Co Monaghan and when he got there, ten or more men beat him with an iron and nail-studded bar for upwards of half an hour. His friends that were there and being held hostage at the time said they could hear the bars bouncing off him. Every single major bone in his body was broken. He was screaming and crying in agony. Horrific injuries, an excruciating death. He died two hours later in hospital. His mother said at the time his hands were so badly beaten, she couldn’t even wrap rosary beads around his fingers as he lay in the coffin. And all of that, nine years after the Good Friday Agreement.”

McDonald: “The death that Paul Quinn had was absolutely horrific. There aren’t words to describe the horror of that, of that murder.”

Fitzpatrick: “Gerry Adams made similar comments about Paul Quinn. Would you ask him to withdraw his remarks?”

McDonald: “Well look, the family specifically took issue with the remarks that Conor had made because they specifically implied – wrongly – that Paul was involved in criminality. I think other commentary..”

Fitzpatrick:  “As did Gerry Adams’ remarks…”

McDonald: “Well people – Gerry made comments, others made comments also.”

Fitzpatrick: “He said criminality as well.”

McDonald: “Well people made comments about criminality up around the Border region. I don’t think the comments were quite as explicit. I mean, at the time, the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also made commentary.”

[On November 14, 2007, the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil: “We have received a number of reports from the Garda and secondhand from the PSNI, and both of them match at this stage, that this action was due to criminality. I accept issues arise about where these people came from in the past, what they did previously and the fact that the format of the killing had a resemblance to what happened in the past. That has been in every newspaper in Northern Ireland in recent weeks. Our intelligence and information is that this was not the work of the provisional republican movement and that it was not sanctioned or condoned by it or by the Sinn Féin leadership.”

[On December 18, 2007, Mr Ahern told the Dáil: “In dealing with questions in this House and elsewhere, I shared certain information about the lines of inquiry being pursued and in speaking about criminality I was responding to questions asked on whether the murder had a political motivation or implications for the Northern Ireland Executive.

I did not in any way intend to make an issue out of the character of Paul Quinn and I am happy to make that clear to the House.

It remains the case that no information is available to me from the Garda Commissioner to suggest this attack was authorised or sanctioned by the IRA, a question I am continually asked outside the House….I am glad to state what the Minister told the family yesterday, that we have no evidence whatsoever that Paul Quinn was involved in criminal activity.”]

Fitzpatrick:  “I’ll tell you exactly what Gerry Adams said. He said ‘linked to fuel smuggling and criminal activity’, that’s what he said Paul’s Quinn murder was, ‘linked to fuel smuggling and criminal activity’.”

McDonald: “Yes and others made those remarks as well. I think – and I can’t pretend to speak on behalf of the family – but I think what they took exception and hurt from what Conor said is that it was more explicit in relation to Paul. And Colette, I’m not trying to explain of this away: the remarks have been withdrawn. That was the correct thing to do.”

Fitzpatrick:  “But it has taken 13 years for this to happen. Why has this taken so long?”

McDonald: “It shouldn’t have taken so long.”

Fitzpatrick:  “Why suddenly has Conor Murphy apologised in the middle of an election campaign?”

McDonald: “It shouldn’t have taken 13 years, these matters should have been clarified and the Quinn family should have been given that easement a long, long time ago.”

Fitzpatrick: “You were asked about this a number of times over the last couple of days and you haven’t dealt with it until today, or Conor Murphy hasn’t dealt with it. And the issue is: Was someone telling you what to do? Was someone advising you, on this, on what to say or do? Were you taking instructions from anybody on this?”

McDonald: “Absolutely not, Colette. Absolutely not.”

Fitzpatrick: “Are you sure?”

McDonald: “I am absolutely certain of that point. Breege Quinn was on the RTE airwaves. She made her position clear. I was then subsequently, because we are in an election campaign, I was asked on the matter naturally. And I moved to speak… ”

Fitzpatrick: “Because the charge is that there are shadowy figures…”

McDonald: “That charge is entirely…”

Fitzpatrick: “…telling you and Michelle O’Neill what to do.”

McDonald: “And do you actually believe that, Colette?”

Fitzpatrick: “It’s not for me say whether I believe that or not. That’s the charge that’s been laid against you and Michelle O’Neill.”

McDonald: “Let me refute, in the strongest terms, that charge. Nobody tells me what to do. Nobody pulls my strings or Michelle O’Neill’s. We are entirely capable of arriving at decisions and making our own decisions. I know my own mind, I also know right from wrong and I make my own decisions.”

Fitzpatrick:  “The PSNI said that the IRA Army Council still retains an oversight of Sinn Féin. They said that back in the…”

McDonald: “Well they’re wrong. That is entirely, entirely farcical. And can I just say to you, as it happens, yesterday, Michelle O’Neill in the North, the Joint First Minister, was actually present at the beginning of recruitment campaign for the PSNI because the policing service has to be representative – sorry [as she was being interrupted] – of the community that it serves. So those remarks are wholly wrong and wholly inaccurate.”

Fitzpatrick: “Ok.”

Yesterday: How Was It For You [Updated]

Previously: Will I Get The Coronavirus If I Vote Sinn Féin?

Clockwise from top left: Alison OConnor, Fionnan Sheahan, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke;

This morning.

On RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Ireland editor of the Irish Independent Fionnan Sheahan, Irish Examiner columnist Alison O’Connor and RTÉ’s Niamh Lyons joined Mr O’Rourke to discuss last night’s leaders’ debate on RTÉ’s Prime Time.

The panel discussion followed Mr O’Rourke interviewing Breege Quinn about the murder of her 21-year-old son Paul Quinn in Monaghan in 2007, following comments made by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald during last night’s debate.

During the interview with Ms Quinn, she said Sinn Féin’s Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy should resign or be stood down as minister.

Following this, Mr O’Rourke asked the panelists how the matter might effect the election “in the last three crucial days”.

Alison O’Connor: “Well I suppose, Seán. First of all, I mean, that Breege Quinn, I mean, what, I found myself really moved by her interview and almost close to tears at times. What she’s been through, her immense dignity and even where she said, at the end, two wrongs not making a right.

There are a lot of people as we know who want to vote Sinn Féin in this election. People who would not have considered it before and it’s for understandable reasons because they say want change and they’re not expecting to get that change from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

But I think that, in a funny sort of a way, it’s this blowing up at this time is not a bad thing. Because this is part and parcel of Sinn Féin’s history and their past and that we see this playing out. People will be able to make, I believe, a fully informed choice.

“And in a way, it gets to the heart, I mean this is something that happened 13 years ago. And Mary Lou McDonald is implying, saying, whatever, that in that space of time and even in more recent times, I mean, it has come up, Mrs Quinn was on [RTÉ’s] Drivetime the other day as well, that she didn’t have either then, now or in the last couple of years a full conversation with Conor Murphy, a very senior member of her party, to see where exactly things stand.

Either a) that just doesn’t have credibility or b) shockingly, it’s very far down the list of the party’s priorities. And I would also say, as someone who observes, has been observing politics for a long time, this is the bit that fascinates me. If Sinn Féin are in Government, in a coalition arrangement, and we’ll say that was actually an interview on Prime Time last night, and Mary Lou McDonald was a minister and she was asked that question by Miriam O’Callaghan and gave that unsatisfactory an answer, how that plays, how we’ll say the Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael side of the house would cope would that. And the fall-out from that sort of thing.

“And my final point as well then is, just watching it as a viewer last night, I thought Miriam O’Callaghan did magnificently with the questioning. Why didn’t Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin, I thought, in terms of, just purely point scoring which it seems wrong to bring that level of it to this conversation, did not pile in, did not ask any questions?”

O’Rourke: “Well, perhaps because they felt dignity required and also the political reality, nothing needed to be said. Fionnan Sheahan, I suppose when it came to other aspects of law and order and the ugly side of our relatively recent history, the question of the Special Criminal Court was one that Mary Lou McDonald struggled on as well?

Fionnan Sheahan: “Yeah you’re colleague Bryan Dobson has a three-question rule. He says on TV, when you ask somebody a question three times and they haven’t answered it, the viewer at home can quite clearly see ‘well, they’re not answering the question’. Miriam O’Callaghan went further, she asked the question four times and Mary Lou McDonald failed to answer that question about the Special Criminal Court.

“Sinn Féin’s position now is that they say they want to review the Special Criminal Court. They have opposed the Offences Against The State Act every time it has come up in the Dáil over the past generation which implies that they are opposed to the Special Criminal Court. So Mary Lou McDonald could not come out with a straight-forward [inaudible] last night, saying ‘I’m in favour of the Special Criminal Court’ which not only affects prosecutions of alleged members of a terrorist organisation but also is a key element of combatting gangland crime.

“So I mean, in effect, you are seeing in a situation like the murder of Paul Quinn, north of the border. However there are situations where is nigh impossible to get witnesses into the witness box and that’s why we…”

O’Rourke: “I suppose looking at this, Niamh Lyons, like all political change, sorry, like a lot of political change, it has to be done crab-like. That’s how they got to the ceasefire over a quarter of a century ago and it was interesting looking at Eoin Ó Broin on the Virgin Media analysis, the post-match analysis, he was saying, just by way of clarification on that, Sinn Féin, yes they want a review of the courts and they want it done by a senior judicial figure and they will accept the outcome. So if that recommendation is the Special Criminal Court stays, they’re happy for it to say.”

Niamh Lyons: “Yeah and there has been criticism of the Special Criminal Court by the likes of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties,  Amnesty International. I think the issue here, for Mary Lou McDonald, is that she wanted to be front and centre in that debate last night. She put herself up there, playing the senior hurling but she wasn’t at the match at all.

“And this is where I suppose the rubber hits the road for her candidacy. You know, when you hear her, that accusation that, you know, who runs Sinn Féin? On that issue and the Special Criminal Court and on the issue of Paul Quinn, she’s unable to pivot in her own position and if you go on the Sinn Féin website, you’ll see a picture of Mary Lou, you’ll see Pearse Doherty, Michelle O’Neill and Conor Murphy.

“He’s one of the top four people in the party. He’s their lead negotiator. So why is she not allowed pivot away from something that he has previously said. You know, why is she so on the backfoot on this issue. Why does she sit down in front of Bryan Dobson, not knowing that not only had Conor Murphy made those claims but Gerry Adams in the past has made those claims. Why did she not check it out? Is she following a particular line?

O’Connor: “I mean that’s the heart of it. This is a woman at the peak of her…this is a woman at the peak of her political powers right…”

Talk over each other

O’Rourke: ‘But is there a light-touch relationship with the truth? You know, I mean she, in this studio, sitting where Fionnan is sitting, she said she believed Gerry Adams when he said he wasn’t a member of the IRA.”

O’Connor: “Actually Seán, I’m trying to…she didn’t quite say that. She said something like ‘you accept’…because I remember hearing that interview, I’m trying to remember her wording now, it was a very particular wording and…of course the criminal court was going to come up. I’ve heard her address it previously in the campaign. Of course the Quinn story was going to come up. So I find it very interesting, I didn’t see Eoin Ó Broin last night.

“So Eoin Ó Broin, who’s of lesser standing, if you like, than the leader is able to say that Sinn Féin would accept the outcome of a review into the Special Criminal Court. So it gets back to the heart of that issue, where we wonder, who pulls the strings on these sorts of issues, the whole, as Micheál Martin calls it, the old provos issue and why Mary Lou McDonald doesn’t appear to have the absolute autonomy as party leader on these issues.”

O’Rourke: “Let’s move to another…”

Sheahan: “The issue I suppose is that: do people care?

O’Rourke: “Well…”

Talk over each other

O’Connor: “Yeah, that’s an interesting…”

Sheahan: “The calculation Sinn Féin will make now is ‘well, you know, how many people are going to know who Paul Quinn was and how it was that he died and how many people, the man on the street, is going to know who Conor Murphy is? And that’s all stuff north of the border’…”

O’Rourke: “Yes, and there are atrocities on all sides…”

Sheahan: “Yeah.”

O’Rourke: “And if you go back long enough into the history of all the parties, very bad things happened. Now let’s move to another aspect of this debate…”

Listen back in full here

Earlier: How Was It For You?

Last night.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin told RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson that Labour would not go into Government with Sinn Féin.

It followed reports that he said he would be “happy to sit down” with Sinn Féin and discuss working in government as part of an alliance of left-wing parties on Monday night.

Mr Howlin and Mr Dobson had this exchange:

Brendan Howlin: “From the Labour Party’s perspective, I’ve made it clear, we’ve real difficulties with Sinn Féin. Fundamental issues of trust and governments can’t be formed unless you have trust.

“So I was asked would we sit down with ehh…”

Bryan Dobson: “So what’s the answer to the question. Will you go into Government with Sinn Féin or not?”

Howlin: “I, I…I would not see the Labour Party being involved in any arrangement with Sinn Féin but if people want to, if they want to talk to us after the election, I said that we’d sit down, as a sort of a trade union official, and talk to everyone.”

Dobson: “But to no purpose, because you wouldn’t go into Government with them?”

Howlin: “Well it depends, I think…”

Dobson: “I mean, are you trying to have it both ways?”

Howlin: “No, no, no…absolutely not.”

Dobson: “Sounds like you are.”

Howlin: “Well there you are. I think that it’s very clear. I’ve made it crystal clear right now.”

Dobson: “I’m still not clear: would you go into Government with them or not?”

Howlin: “I said, from the Labour Party’s perspective, I would not. I don’t see any situation where that would arise.”

Right so.

Previously: How Was It For You?



This afternoon.

At the European Parliament in Brussels.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage waves the Union Jack as he delivers his farewell speech to the parliament before he gets cut off for disobeying the rules.

Fine Gael’s Mairéad McGuinness, vice-president of the parliament, tells him “goodbye” and reminds him to take his flags with him.

Earlier: Britain On The Brink

Previously: He Is Among Us

“I’ve Yet To Hear A Single Person Mention It”