Tag Archives: Heather Humphreys

From top: The proposed development of the new National Maternity Hospital at St Vincent’s University Hospital Campus; Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall and Fine Gael TD Heather Humphreys in the Dáil yesterday

Yesterday afternoon.

Róisín Shortall TD, Social Democrats co-leader, called on the Government to ‘come clean’ on the position between the Vatican and the State on the New National Maternity hospital, and to halt further spending until ownership is resolved. She said:

“Despite commitments given by Minister Harris in the Dáil a year ago, we’re still waiting to see if the State will own the new hospital, despite being continuously promised that it was to be sorted out and legally secure months ago”, she said.

“It is reckless of the Government to spend €43m on the first phase of the National Maternity Hospital before any resolution of the ownership of the new hospital.

“The new National Maternity Hospital must be fully in public ownership and must operate with a non-denominational ethos. However, this is now dependent on approval from the Vatican.

“It is a shameful position for a Republic to be in that our badly-needed new National Maternity Hospital is waiting for Vatican permission before we can proceed.

It is not clear when or if the Vatican will give their approval for the disposal of the site.

This Government must stop putting further public monies at risk until ownership and ethos is legally secure. As it stands, the delivery date of 2024 is very unlikely to be met, but without clarity on legal ownership, it is a huge risk to continue to pour money into something that is still in private hands.”

Meanwhile…

Earlier yesterday, during Leaders’ Questions, Ms Shortall had the following exchange with Fine Gael TD Heather Humphreys…

Róisín Shortall: “It is over seven years since the move of the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, to St. Vincent’s was first announced. While we know that the care in Holles Street is excellent, the building is antiquated and the conditions are unacceptable for patients and staff. Progress on the new hospital has been painfully slow, though.

“It is over two years since a row broke out between Holles Street and St. Vincent’s about governance structures and the Minister for Health appointed Mr. Kieran Mulvey to hammer out an agreement between them.

In the meantime, the public was alerted to the fact that a secret deal had been brokered between the two hospitals without any reference whatsoever to the public interest.

“It amounted to the gifting of an asset with an estimated value of approximately €350 million to private religious interests and the new hospital’s ethos being dictated by those interests.

“Is it not the case that the Minister for Health misjudged the situation as being only a tiff between two hospitals? Did he not misjudge the extent of public concern that the new maternity hospital must be fully publicly owned and operated and operate with a non-denominational ethos?

“The Minister was forced to halt the deal and respond to public concern. The Religious Sisters of Charity subsequently announced their intention to withdraw from St. Vincent’s and divest themselves of Elm Park.

“They gave undertakings that the new maternity hospital would be fully public and independent. Despite assurances from St. Vincent’s, the Religious Sisters of Charity and the Minister, however, that has not happened yet.

“Last December, the Minister for Health announced that agreement had been reached with St. Vincent’s and the new maternity hospital would be fully publicly owned. He also said that the legal documents giving effect to this would be available early in the new year, but they have not materialised as yet.

The Government, however, proceeded to allocate €43 million of public money to phase one of the hospital.

“Does the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, accept that the Government was reckless in doing that before it had title to the site concerned? Will she give an undertaking that no further public money will be allocated to the project and, therefore, put at risk of being lost to the public purse?”

Heather Humphreys: “I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. The project is an important one and the Government is anxious that it proceed. The Government is fully committed to the National Maternity Hospital, which involves the development of a new maternity hospital on the campus of St. Vincent’s University Hospital at Elm Park.

“The governance arrangements for the new hospital will be based on the provisions of the Mulvey agreement, which was an agreement finalised in late 2016 between the National Maternity Hospital and the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group, SVHG, following extensive mediation.

“The terms of the Mulvey agreement provide for the establishment of a new company that will have clinical, operational, financial and budgetary independence in the provision of maternity and neonatal services.

“This independence will be assured by the reserved powers set out in the agreement and be copper-fastened by the golden share to be held by the Minister for Health. It is important to note that the reserved powers can only be amended with the unanimous written approval of the directors and the approval of the Minister.

The religious ethos will not interfere with the provision of medical care. I am advised that the agreement ensures that a full range of health services will be available at the new hospital without religious, ethnic or other distinction.”

Micheál Martin: “Who will own the hospital?”

Humphreys: “I welcome the confirmation by the SVHG board that any medical procedure that is in accordance with the laws of the State will be carried out at the new hospital.

“I understand that the Religious Sisters of Charity resigned from the board of the SVHG some time ago and are currently finalising the process of transferring their shareholding in SVHG to a new company, St. Vincent’s Holdings CLG. I am informed that the Department of Health receives regular updates from the SVHG in respect of that share transfer.

“I understand that the Department’s Secretary General will meet the group’s chair this week to discuss a range of issues relating to the National Maternity Hospital project. Engagement is ongoing between the Department, the HSE, the SVHG and the National Maternity Hospital as regards the legal framework to be put in place to protect the State’s investment in the new hospital.

“The SVHG will provide the State with a 99-year lease of the land on which the new maternity hospital will be built, which will allow the State to retain ownership of the new facility. The State will provide an operating licence to the National Maternity Hospital DAC and the SVHG to enable the provision of health services in the newly constructed building.”

Shortall: “I do not know where the Minister got that reply, but it is at least 12 months out of date, having been overtaken by events. It is a disgrace that anyone gave her that reply to read out.

“What she described might have applied more than 12 months ago, but it certainly does not now. We are in a situation where the disposal of the site for the new maternity hospital cannot go ahead without the approval of the Vatican.

“In fairness to the Deputies present, the Minister should have had that information available to her. It has been made clear that we are waiting for the Vatican’s approval before we can proceed with the provision of a new national maternity hospital.

“Does the Minister accept that, as a republic, this is an outrageous situation to be in for the State? The new national maternity hospital’s estimated completion date was 2024, but there is no prospect of that being met.

“Does the Minister accept that it was reckless for the Government to allocate public money to this project without having title to the site? Does she accept that it is shameful that we are waiting for the approval of the Vatican in order to provide a decent national maternity hospital?”

Humphreys: “I have not had a chance to speak to the Minister on this matter, but the intent has not changed.”

Brendan Howlin: “What is meant by the phrase “the intent has not changed”?”

Humphreys: “There will be no interference in the provision of medical care in the new hospital. I want to be very clear on that intent. Doctors will carry out their duties—–”

Martin: “Who will own the hospital?”

Humphreys: “—–and a full range of health services will be available without religious, ethnic or other distinction.”

Shortall: “Will the Minister answer the questions? Will she get with the game?”

Humphreys: “The other issue—–”

Shortall: “It is a waste of time for people to come in here to ask questions only for Ministers to read out incomplete responses.”

An Ceann Comhairle: “Deputy, please.”

Humphreys: “I will ask the Minister for Health to contact the Deputy directly about the other issue she raised.”

Previously: National Maternity Hospital on Broadsheet

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

From top: Former Anglo Irish Bank boss Seán FitzPatrick and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphries

No.

And don’t call her Shirley.

In May of last year, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) would provide a full report into the collapse of the trial of former Anglo Irish Bank chief Seán FitzPatrick.

Mr FitzPatrick was acquitted of furnishing false information to Anglo’s auditors last year.

It followed solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) Kevin O’Connell admitting that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Mr FitzPatrick, among other matters.

On Sunday, Stephen O’Brien, in The Sunday Times, reported that the ODCE’s 235-page report on the failed trial, replete with 3,000 pages of appendices, will not be published.

[It was delivered to the then Minister for Enterprise Frances Fitzgerald in June 2017]

Mr O’Brien reported:

The ODCE report includes correspondence with third parties, internal emails, and draft witness statements.

A source familiar with the document said: “It provides a detailed and fact-based narrative of the various factors that contributed to the trial judge directing the jury to acquit the accused. Under no circumstances could it be considered a whitewash.”

Further to this…

The Business and Enterprise Minister Heather Humphreys was interviewed by Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News at One this afternoon about the refusal to publish the full report and the decision to, instead, publish a 30-page summary-like document about the shortcomings.

The following exchange came after Ms Humphreys – who said she intends to turn the ODCE into an independent statutory agency and said the ODCE has since received more money and staff – insisted the ODCE is doing a “lot of good work”.

Áine Lawlor: “We have heard all these promises about transparency and accountability and resources and all the rest before. The track record, as you’ve referred to yourself, is patchy to say the least.

“Now, the Cabinet, the Government has, according to media reports, a 235-page report from the ODCE, with 3,000 pages of appendices, going through all the previous failings. Now given that Anglo Irish and IBRC, between them cost the Irish State and taxpayer nearly €35billion and that debt is still there in the national debt – why should the public not have the fullest account?

“Why are we only getting this 30 pages that you’ve published today?”

Surely we deserve full transparency here?”

Heather Humphreys: “Yeah, well I just want to say that I’d like to be able to publish this report but I can’t. Because of legal advice, I would be contravening the Companies Act, if I did so – that’s why I have, today, published an account of the shortcomings identified by Judge Aylmer…I just want to make sure that what happened in the past, and it is historic now, will not happen again.”

Lawlor: “Well, saying it’s historic is all, the point about all of these things is whether we’re learning from the historic mistakes or whether we’re doomed to repeat them. How do we know that you are actually, minister, in the measures you’re taking, doing what’s needed – when we don’t have the fullest view of what went wrong in the past?”

Humphreys: “Well, what I’m saying is, is that, you know, it’s not legally possible for the minister to publish the report under Section 955 of the Companies Act and that’s why I’m publishing an account of the shortcomings…”

Listen back in full here

Related: ODCE report on Sean FitzPatrick trial collapse to stay confidential (Stephen O’Brien, The Sunday Times)

Cabinet approves proposed changes to ODCE (RTÉ)

Previously: ‘The Minister Has Asked The ODCE For A Full Report’

Rollingnews

 

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation


An open letter to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys calling on her to withdraw an amendment to Ireland’s whistleblower law which, claim the signatories, could lead to workers facing legal action or criminal prosecution and allow businesses to stop their employees from reporting fraud and corruption to the regulators and the Gardaí.

Via Transparency International ireland

The amendment has been made under the EU Protection of Trade Secrets Regulation and has recently been introduced by Minister Humphreys to transpose the EU Trade Secrets Directive. The regulation amends Ireland’s Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (PDA) to require whistleblowers to show they were motivated by the general public interest, even if they report a crime to the relevant authorities and their allegations are true.

John Devitt, Chief Executive of Transparency International (TI) Ireland, says:

‘”his represents the single-most significant set-back for the fight against white-collar-crime in a decade. Banking and private healthcare whistleblowers are now going to think twice about coming forward.

Requiring a whistleblower to show they were motivated by the general public interest means that many whistleblowers will be expected to show that their motives were pure, that they bore no ill-will towards their colleagues or that they were the ideal employee.

Lawyers for rogue employers or trade-secret holders will inevitably question the whistleblower’s character to show that they were motivated by malice or self-interest
’.”

Irish whistleblowers could face criminal prosecution for reporting white-collar-crimes and cover-ups (Transparency Ireland)

Rollingnews

Thanks John Finucane

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys

Further to the allegations made against former artistic director of The Gate theatre in Dublin, Michael Colgan…

And further to the announcement by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys that she has invited eight leaders from Irish theatre organisation to meet her and the Arts Council next week…

To discuss ways in which the Arts Department and Arts Council can create a “safe culture and environment” for those working in theatre…

John O’Brien writes on Facebook:

So just a few thoughts. Its been said many times over the last few weeks that one of the principal (but not the only) causes of the abuse and harrassment was “unaccountable power”.

So what does the Minister go and do? Invite eight “leaders” from Irish theatre organisations. I’m sure they’re all fine people, but how accountable is their power.

And why only theatre? And surely, surely if you are serious about “listening” and “hearing” then the people you should be convening are those on the receiving end of the behaviour – they are the ones who understand it, they are the ones who know how it can be contained, and they are the ones who know what has to change.

And if you think that decisions can be made for these people as opposed to by these people then you are a part of the problem.

As someone remarked about the Paradise Papers recently, this is not a glitch in the system, this IS the system. The actions of the Department with its workshops on governance is the classic tinkering with the system approach so beloved of our politicians.

Everything is absolutely fine we just need to iron out a few problems.

No. Unaccounability, abuse of power, bullying, harrassment and fear are the system. (And not just the arts, but accross all sectors of this country – including politics)

Remember that – as Annette Clancy pointed out to me – if this group of “leaders” was convened three months ago Michael Colgan would have been on it.

Previously: “I Knew It Was Likely I Was Never Going To Work In The Gate Again”

John O’Brien (Facebook)

Humphreys announces measures tackling harassment (RTE)

H/T: Annette Clancy

Charter2

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From top: Chartered Lands’ plans for the Carlton site on O’Connell Street and Arts Minister Heather Humphreys

You may recall how, in the High Court last Friday, Judge Max Barrett ruled that extra buildings and lane ways in the Moore Street – separate to numbers 14-17 – should be given State protection.

In the court, Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys’ department argued that the extra buildings were not of historical importance.

The ruling will impact Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land’s plans, above, to build a commercial development on the Carlton site on O’Connell Street.

Further to this, RTÉ’s Áine Lawlor asked Ms Humphreys about the ruling on News At One this afternoon.

Aine Lawlor: “I want to talk to you minster about the recent High Court judgement, particularly long, High Court judgement which pretty definitively ruled for those people who were looking for number 16 Moore Street and the areas around it to be kept from development and the fact that they won their case. Lot of those people now saying it’s now time for you and Peter Cooney from the Save 16 Moore Street committee, saying you should resign and your senior officials, because this was the wrong thing to do and cost the State many millions.”

Heather Humphreys: “Yeah well, first of all, the judgement was delivered last Friday, it runs to almost 400 pages and I and my officials, we’re still studying the judgement and the implications and you’ll be aware that the situation regarding Moore Street long predates my time and, as minister, number 14 and 17 were first declared a national monument back in 2007 and I’m the first person to have actually done anything about preserving those buildings for 14 – 17 Moore Street and we know that they are, they predate 1916, and they were the final headquarters for the 1916 leaders. Now work had started because they’re very, they’re in a fragile condition, 14 – 17, it’s fragile and work had started in November on conserving the buildings and bringing them back to exactly where they were in 1916. Now that work was delayed by protests and occupations in recent months. We have the court ruling and I do need time to consider it in full. And I’m not in a position, at this point, to outline my next course of action but I will consider the judgement and the case is due back in court on April the 5th when we will have further discussions with the judge but I just want to be clear that my priority is to continue the work on the buildings from numbers 14 – 17 Moore Street. And I wouldn’t be in a position to go into any further details at this point.”

Lawlor: “Minister, I know you’re the acting minister, but this is, you know, these are the buildings that have been designated and, indeed, in this very long judgement, the judge talks at length about the case of the Moore Street battle site, how evocative it is and how important it is and how much it impressed him. The state has lost its case. The Save 16 Moore Street people have won their high court case – are you going to appeal to the Supreme Court or are you going to accept the High Court judgement? Surely, this weekend of all weekends, you should be able to say?”

Humphreys: “Yeah, well, the point is 14-17 Moore Street, they are, they’re the four buildings that remain intact. They’re actually the only ones that remain intact and they are my priority because that’s what the last Council of War meeting was held..”

Lawlor: “Is the High Court judgement something you accept?”

Humphreys: “Well, first of all, the High Court judgement, I have to, I do have to look at, and I have to study it, it is 400 pages and we are back in court on the 5th of April to have further discussions with the judge so I must give it due consideration before I make any decision.”

Lawlor:Do you not give our history more consideration and not leave it to the landowner to appeal if they want to proceed with their development there? I mean the State, surely, it’s interest ought to be our history rather than any development there?

Humphreys: “Yeah, well I’m being clear, I want to see the work continued on 14-17 Moore Street and the work is to restore it. Now, I have to give, I really do have to give a 400-page judgement, I have to give it due consideration and I, as I said, I and my officials, we’re still studying it and its implications. And, as I said, I will, I have be back in court on the 5th and I will, I will give it consideration.”

Lawlor: “Thank you very much…”

Listen back here

Previously: Moore Protection

mail

lhall

Today’s Irish Daily Mail and Lorraine Hall (above)

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys has appointed her second cousin as her ministerial special adviser, the Irish Daily Mail can reveal today.
Lorraine Hall, who is from the minister’s Cavan-Monaghan constituency, signed her official contract just 15 days ago, on September 29.

…However, Ms Hall – press adviser to Alan Shatter when he was justice minister and policy adviser to Fine Gael in opposition – has worked for Ms Humphreys since her appointment to Cabinet in July and is being paid an annual salary by the taxpayer of €75,647.
However, yesterday Ms Hall repeatedly refused to admit that she was a blood relative of the minister – until it was finally confirmed by her own department.

Last night, the department said in a statement: ‘Ms Hall was formally appointed as a special adviser to the minister following a Government decision on September 10.

‘Under the Ethics in Public Office Act, a statement of qualifications and whether the person appointed as a special adviser is a relative of the office holder must be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas within 60 days of their appointment.

The statement went on to claim that Ms Hall’s relationship to Ms Humphreys did not come under the scope of ethics regulations.

‘The Ethics in Public Act 1995 clearly sets out the definition of a relative of the office holder: “Relative”, in relation to a person, means a brother, sister, parent or spouse of the person or a child of the person or of the spouse,’ it said. ‘Ms Hall is not a relative of the minister as defined under the Act.

“Any reference to their distant relationship would be utterly unfair without referencing Lorraine’s extensive experience and suitability for the job.’ The statement added:‘ Ms Humphreys’ father, who is deceased, and Ms Hall’s father, were cousins.’

New Arts Minister Gave €75K Adviser Job To Her Cousin (Senan Molony, Irish Daily Mail) [not available online]