Tag Archives: Josepha Madigan

From top:  Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan at a press briefing last week; statement released by This Is Pop Baby

This afternoon.

Further to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan announcing the Government’s €1million fund for new online art projects during the Covid-19 emergency – amounting to approximately 334 awards of €3,000 per artist…

Theatre and events production company This Is Pop Baby have released a statement, above, criticising the initiative and calling for a boycott of the scheme, saying that it boils down to “very small grants for artists to create online content for the highly unethical corporation, Facebook”.

It adds:

“We also not that this funding is only available to those not in receipt of other arts funding, or the emergency Covid-19 social welfare payment.

“We find these measures deeply inappropriate, ill-thought out, disrespectful, demeaning and embarrassing on the international stage.”

Via This is Pop Baby

Previously: The Shining

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan at a press conference in Government Buildings earlier today

This evening.

On RTÉ’s Drivetime.

Broadcaster Mary Wilson interviewed Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan.

Ms Wilson asked the Fine Gael TD about the “shame on you” comment she made in the Dáil yesterday, and her refusal to respond to any concerns raised by TDs – including a concern about 79 people testing positive for coronavirus in one nursing home.

Ms Madigan, who was opposed to yesterday’s Dáil sitting because of social distancing protocols, attended a press conference this afternoon in Government Buildings to announce a string of artistic initiatives.

Ms Wilson asked her what was the difference between attending Leinster House yesterday and the press conference today. She said there was a “big difference” between them.

They had this exchange.

Mary Wilson: You had no problem, minister, straying from home today to come and announce your support for the arts community. Yesterday it was about not straying…”

Talk over each other

Wilson: “….and attend a press conference and attend a press conference, presumably involving some officials and advisors on your side. We had the Arts Council and Creative Ireland represented, there was more of the media present. So what was the difference between that and Leinster House?”

Josepha Madigan: There’s a very big difference. There were only four of us there today, all of us coming in from Dublin. Everybody in the Dáil comes, as you know, we represent the entire country. It’s something that I really think, if we’re trying to give the message of the public health guidelines asking people to wash their hands, asking people to social distance, asking people to follow all those guidelines like, you know, using good cough and sneeze etiquette and all of these things.

“We need to demonstrate that ourselves. And I felt very much yesterday that the public representatives, who wanted the Dáil to sit were the public representatives that just want to grandstand.”

Wilson: “The questions were legitimate weren’t they, minister?”

Madigan: “Oh absolutely. All questions are legitimate…”

Wilson: “So was it fair to say ‘shame on you’?”

Madigan: “And all questions should be answered. Yes, I do think that. And Minister Harris took a note of all their concerns and he will be coming back, as I said, to Deputy [Stephen] Donnelly yesterday with that in relation to it.”

Listen back in full here.

Earlier: A Refusal To Hold Themselves Accountable [Updated]

The Shining

Rollingnews

Director of Creative Ireland Tania Banotti, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan in Government Buildings today

This afternoon.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan attended a press conference to announce a range of artistic initiatives.

During the briefing, Harry McGee, of The Irish Times, asked Mr Donohoe about a nursing home which has seen a considerable number of positive Covid-9 cases. Mr McGee also asked the minister about the number of people who have recovered from the virus.

Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly raised concerns about the home with Ms Madigan in the Dáil yesterday, telling her that that 70 out of 200 members of staff at one nursing home had tested positive for Covid-19 and that 19 of the home’s 100 residents had also tested positive.

However, Ms Madigan did not respond to Mr Donnelly’s concerns as the Minister for Health Simon Harris was not present. Instead she took notes and said Mr Harris would respond accordingly.

From this morning’s briefing.

Harry McGee: “To Minister Donohoe, in relation to some of the detail that has been given out in relation to the Covid-19 crisis, the nursing home issue, in particular, there’s quite a lot of clusters. And there’s been a bit of a lack of clarity in relation to the information being given.

“Stephen Donnelly, from Fianna Fáil yesterday, was talking about a cluster of 79 at least in one nursing home. We know there’s quite a lot of nursing homes affected but there’s been very little information in relation to the detail about that.

“And also there’s a great sparsity in relation to the detail about those who’ve recovered from Covid-19 in Ireland, compared to other countries and perhaps you could address those issues if you would?”

Paschal Donohoe: [after giving a response to nursing homes in general] “In relation to the question that you put to me about a particular nursing home, that Deputy Donnelly raised yesterday, I’m afraid I don’t have information in relation to that nursing home. Maybe that’s something that our colleagues in NPHET [National Public Health Emergency Team] can deal with across today on one of the press briefings that might take place later on today.

“In relation to your second question about data in relation to citizens who thankfully have recovered from Covid-19. Again, from being involved in discussion on that issue across yesterday, I think an important consideration from our public health officials is to have a wide enough data set, of enough citizens who have recovered from Covid-19 to allow them then to issue conclusions in relation to it.

“And the sense I got yesterday from a discussion on this issue is that we are looking to have a wide enough cohort of citizens who have recovered from Covid-19, who have exited, for example, our ICU facilities. To have that cohort wide enough to then allow us to draw conclusions from it.

“An my understanding, Harry, is that we’re a little bit off, being able to form conclusions that we think are reliable enough to be able to talk to you, and therefore the country, about.”

Watch back in full here.

EARLIER:

From top: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan; Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly; tweet from Socialist TD Mick Barry

Yesterday afternoon.

Minister for Finance and Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe only answered pre-submitted questions from journalists at a press briefing in Government Buildings.

The journalists weren’t allowed to ask follow-up questions.

Also yesterday afternoon, in the Dáil, Fine Gael TD and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan refused to answer a single question that TDs raised about health matters concerning Covid-19, after castigating the TDs who called for the Dáil to sit with reduced numbers.

Among the contributions from TDs was that of Fianna Fáil Stephen Donnelly who told the Dáil that he was told that out of 200 members of staff at one nursing home, 70 had tested positive for Covid-19 and that 19 of the home’s 100 residents had also tested positive.

After the TDs raised their concerns, acting chairman John Lahart told the Dáil: “The Minister for Health departed the chamber to attend a briefing of all party and group leaders on Covid-19. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will conclude the debate for the Government.”

However, instead of answering any of the questions, Ms Madigan told those present that she had taken notes and that Mr Harris would get back to them.

Of the press briefing with Mr Donohoe, Miriam Lord, in The Irish Times, reports:

“Having asked them [journalists] to attend (a small number, in accordance with the necessary restrictions), they were then asked to pre-submit their questions. These were read out by Paschal Donohoe’s press aide, who then replied as the mute hacks looked on.

“Disgracefully, they were not allowed to ask follow-up questions, so Paschal could effectively say what he liked without being challenged. Microphones were not provided because of hygiene issues. The reporters could have been heard without them, but they weren’t given the chance. This doesn’t even happen in the White House. But it happens here, in Government Buildings. And Hungary.

“A trivial thing to worry about in the current, terrible scheme of things. Or is it?”

Meanwhile, in the Dáil, the Heath Minister Simon Harris addressed those present after which Ms Madigan listened to questions from other TDs.

Apart from Mr Donnelly’s questions, other contributions included concerns about coronavirus test numbers, GP concerns, social welfare payments for people over the age of 66, concerns about people in direct provision, personal protective equipment, student nurses, people in receipt of medicinal cannabis, domestic violence issues and mental health services.

After hearing the contributions, this is what the Dáil heard:

Joespha Madigan: “I thank the deputies for their contributions. However, the members here today who have insisted on this Dáil sitting have shown a complete disregard for our national fight to contain Covid-19. Shame on you.

They have forced us to stray from home rather than stay at home, which is completely contrary to public health guidelines and nothing to do with any public representative shirking his or her responsibilities.

“As the Minister, Deputy Harris, said, there is no reason we could not have done this remotely. We have already seen the European Parliament achieve that. As he said, with a little ingenuity, it could be achieved. I just wanted to say that at the outset.

“We are learning more about Covid-19 but there is much we do not know. In particular, we do not know how long this public health emergency is going to last. As the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, said earlier, many lives have already been cruelly taken by this virus. I would like to express my condolences to all of those who have been bereaved.”

Later.

Ms Madigan had this exchange with Mr Donnelly:

Stephen Donnelly: “My understanding was that the wrap-up would include answers to questions raised by the House. In the time left, will the Minister actually address any of the questions we have come here to ask?”

Madigan: “I think the Chairman made very clear that the Minister for Health, Deputy Simon Harris, is with the Taoiseach at present…”

Donnelly: “Deputy Madigan has been here.”

Madigan: “…and with all the leaders of Opposition parties and groups. He has been giving them a briefing on Covid-19 since about 3.30pm.”

Donnelly: “Is Deputy Madigan going to answer anything that has been raised?”

John Lahart: “One speaker, please.”

Madigan: “As Deputy Donnelly knows, the Minister, Deputy Harris, was here. He was here when Deputy Donnelly spoke and he was here for every other speaker except for a few. I have taken notes of those concerns for him. He has taken detailed notes of all the Members’ concerns and I am satisfied that he will get back to them with comprehensive responses on everything.”

Donnelly: “Is Deputy Madigan going to address them?”

Madigan: “It is a bit opportunistic, when the Minister is in a very important meeting…”

Donnelly: “I am not having a go at the Minister for Health. I am asking if a Government Minister is going to answer any of the questions raised by the Parliament.”

Madigan: “He will come back with answers to all the Members’ concerns.”

Donnelly: “Is Deputy Madigan going to answer any of them?”

Madigan: “I can only go that far. With respect, I am not the Minister for Health and he cannot bilocate. Deputy Donnelly can appreciate that.

Donnelly: “Deputy Madigan is not answering anything that has been raised.”

Ms Madigan then went on to acknowledge “the incredible response” of the frontline staff across departments and agencies, in the health sector and in social welfare and other sectors.

Read the debate in full here or watch in back in full here

Yesterday: Coronafurious

UPDATE:

Meanwhile…

From top  Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan at a press briefing today; ‘Shine Your Light’ tweet this afternoon

This afternoon.

At a press briefing in Government Buildings currently ongoing.

Fine Gael TD and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said the Government was asking the people and artists of Ireland to “shine a light” on Easter Saturday “to remind us that love and hope are always with us”.

The minister added that RTÉ has a “big range of activity planned to support this idea” which is being supported by the Government, Creative Ireland and the Arts Council.

Ms Madigan also told those present at the briefing that the Government will also be working with Facebook to support a new online initiative for artists, Ireland Performs, while Arts Council chairman Kevin Rafter announced a €1million fund for new online art projects.

Ms Madigan clarified that there will be 334 awards from the €1million, equalling to approximately €3,000 per artist.

In respect of the “shine a light” idea, Ms Madigan said:

“Shine a light for our frontline staff, our healthcare workers, the people who are keeping us going through these dark times. We will be lighting up public buildings around the country and in our embassies around the world.

“Our peacekeepers in the Middle East will also be shining their light.

“I’m inviting everybody here today to join in and be part of the light, to be the light in the darkness.

“It can be the light of the smallest candle or the lighting up of a ten-storey building. So let’s shine a light together for the people whom we love, people whom we now know are sick, our grannies, granddads we cannot see, or our friends we cannot visit these holidays.

So shine a light for whoever is your heart.”

Complete and utter, putrid-smelling Concannonballs.

FIGHT!

Watch the briefing live here

Earlier: A Refusal To Hold Themselves Accountable

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Josepha Madigan (above) Minister for the Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht outlined the spending available to her department in Budget 2020 – a reported  €354 million.

Some highlights.

In heritage:

€7 million will go to peatlands restoration and conservation works, resulting in 1,800 hectares of restored peatland in 2020, 100 jobs being generated, and 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being stored.

An additional €1 million will be allocated to nature conservation and biodiversity programmes under the National Parks and Wildlife Service

In Irish language:

Údarás na Gaeltachta will receive an additional capital allocation of €1m bringing its core capital allocation to €10m (an increase of over 11% on 2019). as well as an additional €200k in current funding for Gaeltacht co-operatives

In culture…

Arts Council funding for 2020 has increased by €5 million to €80 million. See yesterday’s post disputing that figure here]

€7.1 million in capital funding will be provided for the European City of Culture- Galway 2020

Screen Ireland is to receive additional funding of €1 million following the government’s decision to extend the Section 481 Film tax credit to 2024 and the regional uplift of 5%.

An additional €900,000 will be allocated to the Decade of Centenaries 2020 Programme and will include commemorative events such as Bloody Sunday on November 21 and the execution of Kevin Barry on November 1.

€1 million will be provided for the start of the transferring process of the National Symphony Orchestra to the remit of the National Concert Hall.

€250,000 will be provided to the amateur theatre sector.

Budget2020: Culture minister announces details of €354m funding; Arts Council funding highest in ten years (Irish Examiner)

Yesterday: Money For God’s Sake

Rollingnews

At Sean Walsh Memorial Park in Tallaght, Dublin; Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart; Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe; and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

The recent destruction of wetlands at Sean Walsh Memorial Park in Tallaght, Dublin, following de-silting works at the park by South Dublin County Council, the was raised by Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart and Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe with Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Ms Madigan confirmed to the two TDs that her department will be carrying out an investigation into the matter and vowed she “won’t leave a stone unturned” during that inquiry.

South Dublin County Council released a statement on the matter on Monday.

Ms Madigan’s confirmation of an inquiry follows Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin yesterday demanding in inquiry into the matter.

During his contribution, Mr Crowe said the wetlands was a “vibrant, multi-layered eco-system”.

He added:

“It came about by accident rather than design. There was a murder in the area, the guards needed to dredge the area…silt came out of the pond and it was put on grassland. And this, over a couple of years, the eco-system came about.”

He also said:

“It was described by one person, the vandalism, the environmental vandalism that actually happened, it was like a punch in the gut and it not only demotivates people, it demoralises people, not only those environmentalists, but also volunteers who help in the park, but also park staff.

“We got it wrong, clearly. It regenerated over the years, it was bursting with life, nude spats and even the critically endangered European eel.

“…you say, minister, that there’s going to be an inquiry, I think that’s something positive. I think it was an issue of miscommunication rather than a malicious decision. Nevertheless, the environmental destruction is unacceptable, it can’t happen again in any part of the country and serious lessons need to be learned from this disaster.”

Mr Crowe went on to ask Minister Madigan to outline how long the investigation will take place, when it will finish and if her department will liaise with local representatives.

During her response, Ms Madigan said:

“My department…is investigating this matter and we have been in touch with the Heritage Officer of South Dublin County Council, indeed the Chief Executive and the director of Environmental Services also. And we have requested a report on the matter from them.

“Officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, of my department, are arranging a visit this coming week, together with the Heritage Officer and following on from that site visit, I expect to receive a report from them, for review.

“I would caution, however, that it shouldn’t be prejudicial or premature in establishing facts until we see that report in detail and we will then take any further action as a result of those findings as we see fit.”

Mr Lahart told Ms Madigan:

“The question you must ask of the local authority is: how did communication breakdown to such an extent that one arm of the local authority didn’t know what the other arm of the local authority has done, and has essentially vandalised a natural habitat.

“That’s the first point, the second point is this: Does a local authority require a licence from the EPA to dump silt and soil in particular spots. That’s the second point.

“The third point I want to make is this. This happens widely in Ireland. I have queries, as well from constituents at the moment, in relation to the provision of play spaces in Dodder Valley – that their concerns in relation to the biodiversity impact of one of those play spaces wasn’t taken seriously by the local authority in terms of the part 8 submission.

“And we look at the ESB. The apparent jewel in the crown of semi-state bodies has not responded publicly in any meaningful way to their pollution of the River Dodder. A documentary on Prime Time covered that.

“So your response is outlining what your responsibility is as minister, but you have serious questions to ask the local authority as to how this came to happen.”

During her response, Ms Madigan said:

“I will give you the full report when I have it to hand.”

Previously: All A Blur

“Like The Surface Of The Moon”

Meanwhile…

From top: Madigan Solicitors, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2; Maria Bailey and  Minister for Arts Josepha Madigan

“I think there has been a fair degree of murkiness…. The degree of Josepha Madigan’s involvement should be fully transparent and should be clarified.

I think the Minister [Madigan] needs to make a full, comprehensive statement in relation to that.

At the moment we’re being told that the report says she hadn’t an involvement, but then we’re told she was involved in the initial documentation.

What does that mean?

Did she advise Maria Bailey to take the case?

She needs to answer the basic question: did she or did she not advise in the early stages Maria Bailey to take the case.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

Josepha Madigan needs to clarify her involvement in Maria Bailey case, says Martin (Irish Times)

Last night: “There Have Been Inconsistencies In Deputy Bailey’s Account of Events”

From top: Election literature from Fianna Fáil – later independent – councillor Paddy Madigan and from his daughter Josepha’s Fine Gael Local Election campaign in 2014

‘George Russell’ writes:

The high farce of Maria Bailey swing claim has brought focus on the previous shady dealings of her father, Councillor John Bailey, as reported in these pages.

Holding other politicians responsible, such as Charlie Flanagan, for the antics of their fathers – antisemitism in the case of Oliver J. Flanagan – would be unfair. But when we observe a continuity in attitudes and approaches across generations this is worthy of commentary.

Given Ireland’s tribal political allegiances, it may come as a surprise to learn that Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan is the daughter of a former Fianna Fáil councillor, the late Paddy Madigan, a Mayo-born solicitor who made his home in south Dublin, and later stood as an independent candidate.

Less surprising, perhaps, are the principles guiding Madigan Snr., a serial litigant, and campaigner.

His Irish Times obituary from 2014 recalls:

In 1994 he publicly wrote to then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds to resign from Fianna Fáil and stood successfully as an Independent opposing the residential property tax which he said Charles Haughey had promised him the party would abolish.

It was, he said at the time, “the most obnoxious tax ever levied on the Irish people”. In his Blackrock, County Dublin ward, he claimed, 80 per cent of homes were over the tax’s £75,000 threshold.

His earlier litigation over the issue had not succeeded, either in the High Court which ruled against him in November 1983, or the Supreme Court which likewise rejected his appeal the following November.

But he was successful in 1981 in challenging the constitutionality of the Rent Restrictions Act and freeing landlords significantly from the constraints of rent control.

That 1981 Supreme Court decision to declare rent controls unconstitutional has been instrumental in the inequitable wealth transfers from income earners to property owners over decades.

Historic resistance to property taxes, led by Madigan Snr and others, has also maintained these taxes at comparatively low levels, making ‘bricks and mortar’ the favoured investment for the upper middle class, to the enduring difficulty of renters who have contended with spiralling rents in overheated markets ever since.

According to David McWilliams, the richest 5% owns over 40% of national wealth, 85% of which is held in property and land. Last year just €500 million out of total tax receipts of approximately €50 billion, derived from land or property.

It is unclear the extent to which Josepha Madigan plays a direct role in framing the government’s housing policy – which is failing at a fundamental level over ten thousand homeless – but as a member of the cabinet she certainly shares collective responsibility for the government’s position.

The government’s entrenched sympathy with landlordism was set out by Eoghan Murphy in a speech to the Dáil last December:

“We have to be very careful in interfering more than we are at the moment. We have to make sure that we are not placing extra burdens on these small landlords.

And we have to make sure that we are not prohibiting someone from selling a property that they own when they might need to sell that property for perfectly legitimate reasons in their own lives.

They may not have the money to re-compensate the person living in the property at that point.”

Naturally, Josepha Madigan cannot be held responsible for her father’s historic role in preserving a virtually free hand for land owners, including the owners of multiple properties over decades, but her political career suggests a similar ideological resistance to interfering with property rights.

This would appear to extending to ensure that persons who might lower the price of property in a given neighbourhood are excluded.

In the 2016 General Election she successfully unseated her Fine Gael colleague – and long-time foe of Leo Varadkar – the former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, to become one of only three TDs for the new Dublin-Rathdown constituency.

Prior to this, as a Fine Gael councillor, Madigan had campaigned to deny Travellers accommodation in her ward.

Thus, the first paragraph of a 2014 leaflet issued in her name described a proposal to build Traveller accommodation on Mount Anville Hill and elsewhere, close to her constituency base, as ‘very concerning for those living in the area.’

Later paragraphs go on to claim the purchase would be a waste of money, advocating a cost-benefit analysis, and making vague reference to NAMA properties offering alternative sites.

Despite her denials, the document reveals Madigan as saying the presence of Travellers in the neighbourhood would, in and of itself, be “very concerning”, for reasons we all know but are unwilling to say, and which really have nothing to do with the cost to the council of the accommodation

Her Populist strategy may have been informed by the success of another former Fine Gael TD for the area, Olivia Mitchell, who, according to Victoria White, ‘made a career out of opposing Traveller accommodation.’

On October 10th 2015, a blaze swept through a halting site at nearby Carrickmines, in south Dublin causing eleven fatalities. It was the country’s worst such disaster since the Stardust fire in 1981.

In its wake, local residents from another south Dublin estate delayed construction on a temporary halting site earmarked to house the fifteen adult and children survivors of the inferno.

This led then Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly to comment: ‘It says an awful lot about Irish society and in a very disturbing way’. Politicians cannot be held responsible for all such attitudes, but they may legitimate their expression.

Kitty Holland described the state of Traveller accommodation around Dublin at the time:

‘On some sites, only one cold tap services eight or nine families; on another, 20 people share one toilet. Some sites are infested with rats, with children prone to infection, skin rashes and respiratory conditions.’

After a cabinet reshuffle in the wake of the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald as Minister for Justice in November, 2017, Josepha Madigan was appointed Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

In response Martin Collins, of the Traveller organisation Pavee Point commented: ‘Of course we would be concerned given her comments on Traveller halting sites a couple of years ago.’

Fairly or otherwise, Travellers are often depicted as a menace to settled communities, but the State recognises their separate ethnic identity and is committed to vindicating that nomadic existence.

The resistance of local councils to building suitable halting sites over decades, at the behest of numerous politicians, has brought squalid conditions that may explain anti-social behaviour, and brought the prospect of disasters such as Carrickmines.

The absurd Maria Bailey case is mostly a distraction from the ongoing negligence of this government, but it at least allow us to discuss the dynasties that operate at the heart of our political system, dominated by two, increasingly undifferentiated, parties.

Previously: Eamonn Kelly: Not Far from The Tree


This morning.

National Library, Dublin 2

Freeman of Dublin Bob Geldof and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan (top) as the Band Aid Trust hands over their archive to the National Library of Ireland’s  Dr. Sandra Collins and Paul Shovlin (above).

Is he upset?

Are we grateful enough?

You ask him

We may never know.

Sam Boal/Rollingnews