Tag Archives: Gemma O’Doherty

Last night.

In the first of a new series of shows broadcast on YouTube looking at corruption in Ireland, Gemma O’Doherty (top) chatted with Cork City Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (above left) about the birth of a new movement to challenge the status quo and with mother Yvonne Hollidge (above right) about the HPV vaccine.

The show can be viewed in its entirety above.

Gemma O’Doherty

This morning.

Gemma O’Doherty joined us live to discuss receiving ‘votes’ across the country during the Presidential Election count and the birth of a new anti-corruption grassroots movement.

The interview can be viewed in its entirety above.

Up to 100 spoiled votes in Donegal for journalist Gemma O’Doherty (Donegal Democrat)

Previously: Broadsheet on the Telly

Alo Mohan tweetz:

Looking forward to be talking in #Cork this evening. @I_S_B_A is changing the way opposition parties view banks. @gemmaod1 trying to defend those who feel they have no voice.

From top: Gemma O’Doherty (left) with independent Cork County councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (centre) and Michael Collins (right), an independent TD for Cork South West outside Leinster House on Wednesday morning; Bryan Wall

When Gemma O’Doherty announced her plan to seek a nomination for the presidential elections here, a collective guffaw emerged from certain quarters of Irish society.

Ms O’Doherty has made a name for herself, and powerful enemies, over the years by pursuing the truth no matter the cost.

When she confronted the issue of corruption in the Gardaí, specifically the issue of penalty points being wiped from the driving licences of high ranking members of the Gardaí, politicians, and even fellow journalists, her career with the Irish Independent was summarily ended by her superiors.

Having discovered that the then Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, had penalty points wiped from his own licence, she, as any decent journalist knows to do, made sure to check the information that she had was correct.

This involved verifying the address she was given. She duly called to the address, knocked at the door and asked the woman who answered if this was the address of Callinan. When the woman, Callinan’s wife answered yes, Ms O’Doherty left.

Following this she was reprimanded by her superior at the paper, Ian Mallon, who told her that “the Commissioner was furious and had made a complaint of harassment” against her.

Mr Mallon was the deputy of the then editor-in-chief, Stephen Rae, who had recently been given the position after Independent News & Media’s (INM) acquisition of the paper.

Mr Rae had previously been the editor of Garda Review, the monthly publication of the Garda Representative Association (GRA).

As Ms O’Doherty herself would later relate, after she verified Callinan’s address and published her story regarding his penalty points being wiped, Mr Rae “had been ordered down to Garda HQ”.

It would later emerge that Mr Rae himself also had penalty points wiped from his licence.

Not long after the publication of her story regarding Mr Callinan, and having turned down a “request” to stop working on Garda corruption, she was made “compulsorily redundant”.

Ms O’Doherty sued INM, which owns the Irish Independent and whose largest shareholder is Denis O’Brien. She settled out of court, with INM paying her an “undisclosed sum” and covering her legal costs.

INM also issued a statement, in which they “acknowledge[d] the exceptional work of multi-award winning investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty for the Irish Independent during the course of a lengthy career.”

Her career with the Irish Independent over, she nonetheless continues to comment on and investigate instances of corruption in Irish society, most particularly surrounding the Gardaí and their involvement in the case of the disappearance of Mary Boyle.

She has also been an ardent supporter of the whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, the two Gardaí who raised the issue of the wiping of penalty points in the first place.

When Ms O’Doherty earlier this  Summer announced her intention to seek a nomination for the presidential election, with her goal of running on a platform of anti-corruption and of being a “voice for the voiceless”, she was met with derision and contempt.

Kitty Holland, the Social Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times, took particular issue with Ms O’Doherty. The latter has consistently pointed out that Ms Holland’s paper continues to engage in “property porn”, in spite of the last 10 years of austerity; much to the former’s chagrin.

Ms Holland responded to this by calling O’Doherty a “fantacist [sic]” for pointing out that her wages are likely paid by the money the paper earns from advertisements from property companies.

Ms O’Doherty is of course correct in her assessment, however.

Much research has been done on the issue of the Irish media’s role in inflating the property bubble during the Celtic Tiger, with the work of Dr. Julien Mercille of University College Dublin being second to none in this regard.

Also, during the banking inquiry the former editor of The Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, described in detail the paper’s reliance on advertising revenue from property companies.

She also mentioned the subsequent pressure her and her paper came under from these same sources of revenue after her paper published an article critical of the housing boom.

She told the inquiry that, “People from the property sector were saying it would rock the foundation of The Irish Times, we would never get an advertisement again and it was damaging the credibility of the country.”

That Ms O’Doherty was correct in her assessment was irrelevant. She had placed herself outside the bounds of acceptable liberal journalism and could be denigrated thusly.

Ms Holland continued her attacks, claiming that O’Doherty “Promises much and delivers little” and, more recently, calling her “delusional”.

This has been the pattern for the past two months in which O’Doherty has been accused of being everything from transphobic to an anti-vaxxer.

All of this, begs the obvious question: Why has there been such a reaction against Gemma O’Doherty as a candidate?

Part of this stems from her work uncovering corruption in Ireland. Corruption in Ireland has always gone on just under the surface. We live in a wink and nod society where malfeasance is regularly covered up and oftentimes not reported in the media.

That Jonathan Sugarman, for example, is not a household name puts our mainstream media to shame. Instead, people like Bertie Ahern, infamous for his corrupt dealings, are rehabilitated on the national broadcaster without comment or question.

Ms O’Doherty’s work in uncovering corruption puts many people in Ireland, who hold positions of influence in the government and in media, and the role that they play in ensuring that the status quo is upheld, on the defensive.

The fact that Kitty Holland can go from congratulating Ms O’Doherty on her victory over INM to lambasting her on social media shows how close to home Ms O’Doherty’s comments and work have hit.

In the case of Ms Holland and The Irish Times, it has to do with the role the paper played in inflating a property bubble during the Celtic Tiger and how it continues to do so today whilst we are in the midst of a rental and homeless crisis no less.

And while this may not be corrupt as such, it is a corrupting influence to have to defer to powerful groups for advertising income, as is the case with The Irish Times and the property sector.

Ms O’Doherty’s work on corruption also explains why the big parties consistently blocked her nomination at the council level.

Her work hits extremely close to home for many a stalwart of the two big parties. Her questioning of the received orthodoxy of the nod and wink culture made her a heretic in the eyes of many a loyal party member.

Granted, it was to be expected that she would come up against attempts to block her nomination and intransigence in general. But the political wall she ran up against must be almost unheard of.

Throughout the country her nomination was obstructed by voting blocs of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Labour. So while those who exemplify predatory capitalism are perfectly fine as nominees for the presidency, someone of O’Doherty’s ilk must instead be made to pay for the temerity of daring to be a good journalist.

During her appearance on a Broadsheet.ie special livestream on Wednesday the 26th, she made the point that “The party system has failed Ireland.”

She is correct in the sense that given her inability to receive enough votes for the nomination due to the big parties, it shows up the democratic institutions for how hollow they really are.

As has always been the case, representatives took it upon themselves to decide for the wider population instead of deciding with them.

Hence, we have the inherent contradiction of modern representative democracy in which elected representatives pick and choose which aspects of the public interest they themselves deem worthy of political attention.

A filtering mechanism such as this is a fundamental aspect of modern forms of democracy. It allows the leaders to encourage advocacy and debate within strict limits, which ensures the security of the system they oversee.

Any person who goes beyond these borders though is filtered out as a deviant or miscreant.

Ms O’Doherty falls into this latter category given her work and statements over the years. Therefore, the idea of her name appearing on the ballot paper next month could not be countenanced.

Politicians, the media, and journalists all played their part in ensuring that she would be unable to get the required votes for her nomination.

The media’s role in all of this is particularly egregious. For example, The Irish Examiner went so far as to publish a piece questioning her journalistic work over the years.

Enough has already been said about Kitty Holland, a journalist of high rank and large influence. Her former colleagues in the media also played the role of stenographers when they unquestioningly publicised Jimmy Guerin’s comments in which he described Ms O’Doherty as a “conspiracy theorist”.

Mr Guerin, the brother of murdered Journalist Veronica Guerin, was responding to Ms O’Doherty’s comments regarding the role the state may have played in the murder of his sister.

What the media failed to mention was that in an investigation 16 years ago for Village magazine, Vincent Browne and Frank Connolly revealed that the person who likely shot Veronica Guerin was given immunity from prosecution by the state.

In return for this immunity, evidence against John Gilligan was sought; Gilligan being the crime lord the Gardaí were convinced was behind the murder.

Charles Bowden, who it is likely “actually perpetrated the killing — firing several shots into the head and body of Veronica Guerin as she sat in her car” according to Mr Browne and Mr Connolly, also admitted to “having the gun that killed Veronica Guerin, admitted to preparing the gun for the killing, to seeing it after the murder.”

None of this damning information was reported by the media in the last two weeks in spite of its obvious relevance and importance.

Ms O’Doherty’s campaign was torpedoed by those intent on upholding the current political and social orthodoxy.

Her views being warped beyond recognition, along with beliefs being attributed to her which are completely at odds with the work she has done and the statements she has actually made, was enough to ensure the fact that her name won’t appear on the ballot paper next month.

In the society we currently live in, certain questions and topics can be raised, others cannot. So, while it might be perfectly acceptable to question the idea of the financial allowances that politicians receive, it is not permissible to question the very system that allows for such a lucrative structure to be created in the first place.

It means that we can question the excesses of society and our politicians, but never the framework or basis on which it all rests.

And while you may not agree with her views whatsoever, what Ms O’Doherty has endured over the last two months should at the very least give you pause for thought.

Her treatment at the hands of politicians and their friends in positions of power in the media demonstrates to us all the contempt that the media and political orthodoxy hold outsiders in, especially outsiders like Gemma O’Doherty.

Bryan Wall is a PhD candidate in the departments of sociology and philosophy in University College Cork. His interests are in citizenship, human rights, democratic and political theory, and the history of Zionism. Read his work here

Rollingnews

Clockwise from top left: Rochard Boyd Barrett TD, Paul Murphy TD; Gemma O’Doherty

At Midday.

Nominations for those wishing to contest the Presidency of Ireland will close.

Presidential hopeful Gemma O’Doherty writes:

I’m close to reaching the 20 votes I need from the Oireachtas. Sinn Féin are not for turning and will not transfer their surplus unused 8 which would get me over the line.

Two parties could still make that happen – Richard Boyd Barrett’s PBP and Paul Murphy’s Solidarity. However, they say the presidency is not relevant and they are not going to use their six votes.

I have tried to convince them otherwise but I am not having huge success. If any of you are members of their parties, you might be able to persuade them to take part in the democratic process and use their votes.

I am really grateful to the many Independents who have supported me today and who want the anti austerity/ anti corruption agenda raised during the coming debates.

Please keep the pressure on the Left – we can still get this over the line if the will is there.

Gemma O’Doherty (Facebook)

Yesterday: Seeking Surplus

UPDATE:

This afternoon.

Presidential hopeful Gemma O’Doherty (top right) is seeking the votes of 20 members of the Oireachtas to secure a nomination to contest the Presidency of Ireland before tomorrow’s deadline, including from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald (above left with her party’s Presidential candidate Liadh Ní Riada).

More as we get it.

Earlier: Going Forward

This morning.

Ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, Gemma O’Doherty has secured a nomination to contest the Presidency of Ireland.

Ms O’Doherty will need four council nominations with Sligo, Kildare, Donegal, and Louth left to decide or the support of 20 Oireachtas members.

More as we get it.

Update: Donegal and Sligo are not holding a vote on nominations and therefore Ms O’Doherty has run out of councils and must now rely on TDs and Senators.

Saturday: Early Evening Presidential Matters

Meanwhile…

Gemma O’Doherty addressing Dublin City Council chamber yesterday

Yesterday, Gemma O’Doherty was among a number of Presidential hopefuls including Peter Casey, John Goarke and Sarah Louise Mulligan to make their case to Dublin City Council.

Councillors chose to discard all nomination following disruptions during an address by comedy candidate Norma Burke aka Bunty Twuntingdon McFluff.

Ms O’Doherty told councillors:

As a proud Ranelagh woman who grew up just up the road from here it’s a honor to be here today but I would like to pay tribute to the brave young men and women who are currently occupying properties in the city and trying to draw attention to the appalling housing crisis that our city and country now face.

I would like to put on the record of this chamber that I am profoundly disturbed at the sight of men in balaclavas coming down to our city, guarded by our police force, and removing these young people, who are desperate, who cannot afford even to dream of buying a house in this city, never mind renting one, and my reason for seeking this nomination is in furtherance of my desire to serve the cause of truth, justice and integrity for the Irish people.

I believe that our relatively young nation is suffering from a culture of corruption and clientism which is deeply damaging to democracy and to the relationship between politicians and citizens.

I believe that the presidency can set the standard for the sort of democracy that we all want to live in, one that respects citizens’ right to truth and justice, the right to affordable housing, the right to a first world health care service, the right to a publicly owned safe and reliable water supply and the right to a free press.

Most of my work in investigative journalism has focused on exposing wrongdoing within the criminal justice system. A number of my investigations have let to the reopening of murder files including that of Niall Molloy and Mary Boyle, our longest and youngest missing person.

During my work at the Irish Independent, where I spent almost 20 years, I worked with Maurice McCabe and was one of the first journalists to expose the very serious allegations that he was trying to highlight, and as part of my work I was responsible for exposing I suppose an elite that had been operating in this country and continue to operate people who are going onto the roads of our country and doing whatever speeds they liked.

Some of these people were judges, some of them were state solicitors, journalists, crime reporters and newspaper editors.

As part of that particular work I exposed the fact that the Garda Commissioner, the former Garda Commissioner, was also abusing the penalty points system and that resulted in the end of my career at INM. I was forced to take a case to the High Court, where I was successful.

Since then, I have been highlighting injustice and organizing a number of trips to foreign parliaments with victims of state corruption and these have included Stormont, Brussels, Westminster and Washington DC, where I have visited with citizens who have been denied justice and spoke to foreign MPs and MEPs and tried to highlight cases that Irish governments have turned their back on.

As I said earlier I am very concerned about the housing and health crisis and I believe that boundaries of the presidency can be pushed out in order to stand up and defend those who have lost their voices in this country. I believe that there are many of them now.

Many more people become voiceless every day in our city and our country and they are the people I would like to defend.

Thank you very much for listening to me today.

Watch here (from 23.33)

Dublin City Council votes not to endorse any presidential candidate following ‘outrageous’ scenes (Independent.ie)

Earlier: And For That Reason

Previously:: Mid Morning Presidential Matters

They Are Laughing At You

Journalist and presidential hopeful Gemma O’Doherty at Sligo County Council today

Earlier today.

At Sligo County Council.

Where the council heard from several presidential hopefuls seeking a nomination…

Marese McDonagh, in The Irish Times, reports:

Ms [Gemma] O’Doherty clashed with the Cathaoirleach, Fianna Fáil councillor Martin Baker and officials who had asked an unidentified person filming in the public gallery to stop or to leave the chamber after strong objections from Fine Gael councillor Hubert Keaney.

She said the public was entitled to see what is happening “in our chamber” . “What are you afraid of?” she asked.

After the would-be candidates finished their contributions and withdrew from the chamber, Councillor Keaney said he had asked that the rules be observed and he did not want the impression to go out that the council was against free speech.

Seán Gallagher asks councils to nominate other candidates (The Irish Times)

Yesterday: Mid Morning Presidential Matters

Pic: Gemma O’Doherty

UPDATE:

Independent Cllr Jimmy Guerin at Fingal County Council this afternoon

This afternoon.

At Fingal County Council.

Independent Cllr for Howth-Malahide Jimmy Guerin – the brother of the late journalist Veronica Guerin – made a seven-minute address to the council in relation to journalist and presidential hopeful Gemma O’Doherty, for which he received applause.

It follows Ms O’Doherty telling people present at a recent anti-corruption meeting in Waterford that she believed there was state collusion in the murder of Ms Guerin.

At the outset of his address, Cllr Guerin said Ms O’Doherty’s comments were “hurtful”, “offensive” and “disgusting”.

He also said:

“For the record, and to be very clear, there was never one cent, let alone €10million found in my shed. And to be very honest, if there was, I’d probably be lying in the sun now, missing you all.

“But it is something that needs to be addressed. In 2014, April, a lock-up, one of seven small units in the building that was owned by me was let out. When a tenant left, the cleaners went in and discovered 43 boxes of large sheets of paper that appeared to be used in an attempt to print money.

“Had it been finished, it could have produced €3.3million. However, it was unfinished. As soon as we became aware we notified the gardai, an arrest was made, the person was prosecuted, subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced by the court on the 2nd of March, 2015.

“Therein lies the basis of Ms O’Doherty’s allegation that €10million was found in my shed. And if it were my shed, my garden is five miles long.

“And this week, I read on social media, from supporters of Ms O’Doherty, the gardai placed the €10million there to compromise me, others claimed it was an inducement to keep me quiet about Veronica’s death.

“It was also stated by Ms O’Doherty in Clare chamber, and on social media, that I was a bully. People can judge that, some might agree.

“But I do find it offensive and I reject it. And I also find it ironic because I was responsible, with the help of Chief Executive and the staff of introducing the anti-bullying institute schemes for primary schools in seven of the schools in Fingal. And when the money ran out, I undertook and have, over the last week, along with [his wife] Louann successfully raised, I think we had a target of €15,000, we’re at €13,000, so as every other school who applied in Fingal could be facilitated and that’s why I find it hard.

“And I’ve reasons to hate bullies and to be opposed to it.

“Now, as I’ve said, I can defend myself but you see, no one can libel the dead, people can say what they wish.

“And it’s 22 years since Veronica was brutally murdered. Time doesn’t make it easier but it hurts when a presidential candidate, who in my view is going nowhere, for cheap publicity, tries to speak ill of my sister and make unfounded allegations against her and this state.

“A great sense of comfort, at the time of Veronica’s murder, was how this state and the various State agencies reacted and helped us and it was a great sense of comfort for my mother.

“And I can speak probably better than most with authority on this matter. Not just because I’m her brother but because myself and Louann spent years, day in and day out, and we attended each and every one of Veronica’s trials. And we did that because we wanted to learn the truth.

“Because the truth is important to victims.

“So these hurtful, poisonous, unfounded allegations that Ms O’Doherty makes insult not only Veronica’s memory but the many gardai who literally put their lives on the line and challenge the gangs that were responsible for her killing.

“It insults the prosecutors who fearlessly brought the evidence before the courts. It insults the judiciary, who heard the evidence, without fear or favour. It insults the thousands of ordinary people who contacted our family and were a great sense of support for us in a most difficult time.

“There was no conspiracy or State involvement in this case. Veronica wasn’t murdered because she was a journalist. She wasn’t murdered because of what she wrote or what she was about to write.

“She was murdered because she wasn’t prepared to be bullied by John Gilligan into dropping charges against him for a most vicious assault which would have ended in his drug empire collapsing.

“They’re the facts, I know that and I’m satisfied with that. And in 22 years, there are only two people that I have come across that say John Gilligan was not responsible for arranging Veronica’s murder.

“One is John Gilligan, the second is Gemma O’Doherty.

“I always ignored John Gilligan – he’s not worthy of it. For years, I ignored Ms O’Doherty. But now that she’s seeking a nomination to be president, it makes it all the more difficult to do.

“And I know for a number of years she has been obsessed with Veronica. I’ve seen the emails and they too are hurtful. But it’s when it’s brought into the public domain, it’s really hurtful.

“And you know I didn’t want to be coming here today and taking up your time and addressing this subject and it’s not easy but I would rather Ms O’Doherty found something else to use to get publicity. There’s no conspiracy, no State involvement.

“And I would ask her to allow my sister rest in peace.”

Follow the proceedings in Fingal County Council here