Tag Archives: Marian Finucane

This afternoon.

“After 15 years working in the Sunday Independent, I’m delighted to be joining the weekends on RTÉ Radio 1.

The weekend is a time to pause, take a breath and review the week, and it’s also a time when people like a different, more reflective kind of radio, maybe even a bit of fun.”

Marian’s legacy will inspire us to continue to explore, challenge and debate the issues that truly matter to Irish people.”

Brendan O’Connor.






Brendan O’Connor gets weekend mid-morning slot on RTÉ Radio 1 (RTÉ)

Marian Finucane and Rachael English

This afternoon.

Following the death of broadcaster Marian Finucane.

Via RTÉ:

The Marian Finucane Show will be presented by Rachael English on Saturday morning [at 11am]. The two hour programme will feature tributes from Ireland and around the world from colleagues and friends and we’ll be reflecting upon some of her best moments in broadcasting. Brendan O’Connor will present on Sunday morning…..

Yesterday: Marian Finucane Dies At 69

From top: Marian Finucane on air In 1996; with the 2008 ‘Outstanding Achievement’ PPI radio Award; with husband John Clarke during a DIT Honorary Degree ceremony at The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin in 2002; at Bewley’s Cafe, Grafton Street, Dublin 2, during Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of hospice care in 2005; at the same event in 1999; attending the removal of Nuala O’Faolain at the Church of the Visitation, Fairview, Dublin in 2008; RTÉ Radio One publicity photo

This evening.

RTÉ has announced the sudden death of broadcaster Marian Finucane at the age of 69.

RTÉ reports:

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said: “We learned today of the sudden passing of Marian Finucane with profound shock and sadness.

“Marian was a broadcaster of immense capability; a household name, she was first and foremost a tenacious journalist with a zeal for breaking new ground.

“From Women Today to Liveline to her weekday radio show on Radio 1 and, latterly, her enormously popular Saturday and Sunday radio programme, she tackled the big social issues of the day with command and insight.

“Multi-skilled, she forged a distinguished career on television, as well as undertaking significant charity work in Africa. Ireland has lost a unique voice. RTÉ has lost a beloved colleague. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to her husband John and son Jack.”


Death announced of RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane (RTÉ)

RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane dies aged 69 (The Irish Times)

Pics; Rollingnews

From top: Chair of the RTÉ Board Moya Doherty (right) and RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes; Marian Finucance

On Saturday.

Chairwoman of the RTÉ Board Moya Doherty was interviewed by Marian Finucane in regards to the financial situation facing the State broadcaster.

Ms Doherty spoke about “transformation”, “strategy” and “being nimble”.

She also raised the water charges protests.

During the interview Ms Finucane informed Ms Doherty that she had attempted to watch an item on the RTÉ Player three times on Friday night before giving up – because, after playing a stream of ad, it cut out.

It follows the Director-General of RTÉ Dee Forbes telling Mary Wilson on RTÉ’s Drivetime on Thursday night that the RTÉ Player is going to be a “huge part” of RTÉ’s future and that, in five years’ time, the player will be “more important to a certain generation of people than RTÉ One or RTÉ Two”.

From Ms Doherty’s interview…

Marian Finucane: “I’m joined this morning by Moya Doherty who’s chairwoman of the RTÉ Board. Now you wrote an opinion piece Moya, in the paper [The Irish Times] about the licence fee. And you’re talking about the responsibility of the Government.

“But what about, ultimately, the responsibility of the executive board and the authority.”

Moya Doherty: “Good morning, good afternoon actually, Marian and thank you for inviting me in this morning. I think it’s important to contextualise what has happened in the last week and what has been happening for months and years within public service media globally.

“There is contestant change and it will be in a constant state of reform. It is impossible to predict where public crevice media will exist in five years let alone 10 years. What our job is, as a board, and as an executive is to ensure that the infrastructure is right, the funding is right, the skills are contemporary and flexible to meet the rapid change.”

Finucane: “But with the kindest will in the world, there’s little evidence of that. I mean, obviously, as the authority and the chair, it is your responsibility to support the executive but I’ve, we hear people talking about public service broadcasting, public service broadcasting, where’s our destination?”

Doherty: “Well, I mean, I think Marian nobody has a crystal ball around destination. The cataclysmic change in the industry globally is quite frightening. Right across the media, people are losing jobs. It is painful, it is incredibly difficult but we cannot not change. You stand still and you are history.

“So, just let me clarify firstly the role of the board. It used to be called the authority, it’s now the board.”

Finucane: “Yeah.”

Doherty: “The board is nominated and appointed by Government. It is not the job of the board to do the role of the RTE Executive. It is the job of the board to represent Government, to stand over the Broadcasting Act of 2009, which is a dinosaur piece of legislation at this time, which cripples the organisation…”

Finucane: “In what way?”

Doherty: “In terms of the commitments it puts on to the organisation when the funding isn’t there to meet those commitments. So that indeed needs to be looked at. So I think that, and also our most important person in the room are the people you are speaking to out there. The audience.”

Finucane: “Absolutely. Yeah.”

Doherty: “They ultimately own public service media. They are ultimately the ones who need to know in five years’ time where their solid, truthful sense of news and current affairs will come from. That is the most important thing.”

Finucane: “Well I want to go into a lot of individual detail but let’s stick with the broad brush for the moment. If you say that there is no crystal ball, the truth is that the internet is not new anymore.

“And if you take youngsters – we had a group in on one of our Sunday programmes and I think to a man or a woman, none of their children watch television in the way, in the old-fashioned way that people sat down to watch The Late Late Show years ago. It just doesn’t happen. And they choose different ways to find their media.

Continue reading →

From top: Princess Haya; Mary Robinson with Princess Latifa; Mrs Robinson at the launch of the Green Finance Summit in Guildhall, London yesterday

At the weekend, it emerged that the UAE’s Princess Haya bint al-Hussein had left her husband and prime minister of the UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

It was initially reported that she had sought political asylum in Germany  but it’s now being reported that she’s in London.

Princess Haya’s move follows the family of Princess Haya’s stepdaughter Sheikha Latifa releasing pictures on Christmas Eve of Sheikha Latifa with Ireland’s former president Mary Robinson – claiming the photographs were evidence that Sheikha Latifa was not being held against her will.

Up until that point, it was known that Sheikha Latifa was seized from a yacht off the coast of India the previous March and had not been seen from since.

In a video made before she attempted to flee the UAE, Sheikha Latifa said she spent seven years trying to flee a gilded prison and feared torture if captured.

Princess Haya gave an interview to Marian Finucane on RTÉ Radio One in January – and she outlined that she invited Ms Robinson to the UAE to help in a “private family matter”.

It’s not yet known if Princess Haya will now speak out about the living conditions she, and Sheikha Latifa, faced in the UAE.

During her interview with Ms Finucane, Princess Haya was asked why she invited Ms Robinson to Dubai.

Princess Haya said:

“As you know, when you’re faced with a situation in life, that’s so profound and it’s deeply attached to your values, your family and situations that are complex and difficult – I’ve always learned in life to ask for counsel, to look to those who, you know, are wiser, and  more experienced.

“But, above all, those who tell you the truth, without mincing words, without colouring them. And a person who’s a true friend who will look at a situation and tell you the right thing, not what you want to hear.

“My father always said that Mary was a person who really held precious what he believed and what he taught me to live by which is that, you know, the real victories in life are those that protect you in life….”

Princess Haya told Ms Finucane numerous times that it was a “deeply private family matter” and she didn’t wish to go into details of it “for the protection of Latifa herself and to ensure that she’s not used by anyone else”.

She continued:

“She’s [Latifa] a vulnerable young woman and that’s that’s important to me and what’s important to us, as a family, is to ensure that she’s all right and that’s she’s receiving the love and protection of all of us.”

She added:

“Being asked for proof of life and being asked to prove that someone that we love, that I love,  is simply…it’s absurd. We’ve done our utmost to help and protect and support her through this period and we continue to do so.

“It’s unimaginable that this thing has gone so far from the truth.

“It’s been unbelievable, devastating and I really wanted to get the right advice from Mary on how to move forward and I wanted her to give me that counsel.

“I did it as myself, there was no official party, there was no commission, there was no terms of reference.

“I made the call on a Tuesday and explained to her the difficulties that I saw and the heartbreak that I see around me and asked her to come and to give me advice because that’s the thing that I really value from a person with her integrity, with her track record that is unblemished, and to know that I’d get, absolutely, the truth there.

“She’s not a person, you know, who’s going go mince words, she’s her own woman, she always has been and that’s what mattered and that’s what mattered to me and it matters now.”


Yesterday, Trinity College Dublin announced that it will be opening a new Centre for Middle Eastern Studies funded by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, an educational charity established by the UAE Crown Prince.

The University Times previously reported that the centre would be funded by a €5.5 million donation from the charity.

In a press statement yesterday, Provost Patrick Prendergast referred to the centre as  a “generous gift from the Al Maktoum Foundation”.

Previously: Oh Mary

Pics: LDNMayor Environment and Margaret-Ann Splawn

From top: Marian Finucane, John Delaney; From left: Demot Ahern, Conor Brophy, Brigid Laffan, Elaine Loughlin, Eddie Molloy; Marian Finucane


On RTÉ Radio One’s Marian Finucane show.

Ms Finucane and the show’s newspaper panel discussed the recent matters concerning the Football Association of Ireland that have unfolded since Mark Tighe, in The Sunday Times, reported two weeks ago that the ex-CEO of the FAI John Delaney gave the FAI a €100,000 loan in 2017.

The item on the FAI where Ms Finucane, as she had on the previous week’s show, defended Mr Delaney’s tenure at the FAI (see below) was wrapped up before the show took a break.

Then, after commercials, Ms Finucane told her listeners:

“Now, before we move on, I think I should declare an interest because about ten years ago, when we were qualifying for the World Cup, a charity I’m involved in was nominated as the FAI charity for that trip because our charity works in South Africa.”

But, unfortunately, Thierry Henry did the dickens on us and it never happened.”

Ms Finucane was referring to French player Thierry Henry’s handball during the Ireland V France World Cup qualifying game in November 2009.

Ms Finucane didn’t name the charity but it’s understood she was referring to the charity she and her husband founded Friends In Ireland which aims to help orphaned children affected by HIV and AIDS in South Africa.

However, despite Ireland not playing in the World Cup in South Africa in June 2010, the FAI still announced Friends in Ireland as its “official charity” six days after the World Cup kicked off.

In the same announcement, the FAI said Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger had become the charity’s ambassador at the time.

In a press release date June 17, 2010, the FAI said.

As the official charity of the FAI, Friends in Ireland will have bucket collections outside the Aviva stadium on match day and will also avail of a number of other promotional and fundraising activities inside Aviva stadium and at Airtricity League games.”

In the same press release, Ms Finucane was quoted as saying:

“We are honoured and delighted with this partnership with the FAI. We are hoping that all footballers, young and old, and their supporters, will help us to help these wonderful children who find themselves in such tragic circumstances.

“The FAI staff, Sean St. Ledger, Giovanni Trapattoni and John Delaney have been inordinately helpful to Friends in Ireland in developing this partnership.

“While we didn’t get to play football there, the footballing world can nonetheless play a hugely important role in South Africa!

On Ms Finucane’s newspaper panel yesterday were Director of the Global Governance Programme of the European University Institute Brigid Laffan; former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern; political correspondent at The Irish Examiner, Elaine Loughlin; management consultant, Eddie Molloy; and former RTE journalist and now director of strategic communications at Teneo Dublin, Conor Brophy.

As mentioned above, their discussion followed the extensive media coverage about the FAI over the past two weeks since Mr Tighe’s story on the €100,000 loan.

This was a matter Mr Delaney tried to prevent from being reported upon, by going to the High Court seeking an injunction, but failed with Judge Anthony Barr saying: “…the finances of the FAI and any payment and repayment to its chief executive are matters of significant public interest.”

Since Mr Tighe’s story about the loan, Mr Delaney stepped down as CEO, after 14 years, to become executive vice-president of the FAI, while The Sunday Times, last week, reported that the FAI, for several years, paid €3,000 a month in rent for Mr Delaney who, at the time, was earning €360,000.

Yesterday, Mr Tighe wrote an in-depth analysis piece on the FAI’s finances and debt.

Ms Finucane opened the segment by asking Mr Molloy for this thoughts on the recent coverage, telling Mr Molloy “there’s nothing wrong, is there, with lending a company €100,000”.

Mr Molloy said the fact that the transaction by Mr Delaney – who is also on the executive committee of UEFA – wasn’t mentioned in the association’s financial reports “raises questions” and added the fact the CEO was even lending money to the FAI was “bizarre”.

He added:

“I looked at the website yesterday and it’s up to date. But what it says is: John Delaney took up the role of executive vice-president, following his tenure as chief executive. That is done on a Saturday night, the day before it was published in The Sunday Times.

“Now if you read that very carefully, he took up the role of executive vice-president, there wasn’t a role of executive vice-president but he took up the role. Secondly, there already is a vice president.

“Now his role is executive vice president which gives you real decision-making powers. It’s not an honorary vice-president thing, following his tenure as chief executive.

“So this sounds like part of a seamless, planned, state-of-the-art transition from one role to another and it’s all wrong, ok, that’s what I would say.”

Mr Molloy added that half the board members have been on the FAI board for 14 years or more and said he felt “uneasy” that board and committee members were being referred to as “part of the football family”.

Sounding perplexed, Ms Finucane asked why that made him felt uneasy.

Mr Molloy asked her to imagine if all the members of RTÉ’s board were referred to as “family”.

“It’s too tight,” he said, before saying independence is very important when it comes to boards and their members.

Sounding even more perplexed, Ms Finucane said: “But how do you know that this board doesn’t do that? We don’t know that.”

Ms Finucane later said: “I’m surprised that you all resent this word ‘family’.”

Mr Molloy asked Ms Finucane to consider what the board has sanctioned or “stood over” – namely the €100,000 loan and Mr Delaney’s transition from CEO to a €110,000 role that didn’t exist previously.

Ms Finucane replied: “Well, what does it tell you? Except that they’re responding and reacting to a matter that became one of great public interest, concern, etc. I mean they had to do something did they not?”

She continued: “I mean if you take his role with UEFA, I presume it’s very good… that it’s very good to have one of your people on UEFA. But you can’t get that role within UEFA if you don’t have a serious role with your own organisation at home, say, in this instance, the FAI. That’s my understanding of it.”

Mr Molloy said Mr Delaney was voted to his position on the executive committee of UEFA in 2017.

He then added: “What has that got to do with what was played out over the last fortnight? It’s got nothing to do with it.”

Ms Finucane went on to quote an interview given by football pundit and journalist Eamon Dunphy who said that Mr Delaney had done, in her words, “wonderful things” at club level across the country and that he’s “very respected and liked for that”.

She also said of Mr Delaney’s injunction attempt: “Everybody is leaping on the thing about going to the court, every one of us has the right to go to a court at any stage that we want to, on any grounds.”

Former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, who said he got into politics because of his involvement in soccer in his early 20s, recalled his dealings with the FAI when he was the Minister for Communications.

At the time, the FAI wanted to sell Ireland’s matches’  exclusive rights to Sky.

Mr Ahern said he had a “huge battle” with the FAI who argued, unsuccessfully, that by doing the deal with Sky, it would create millions for the FAI and that this would, ultimately, trickle down to and help Ireland produce better players.

The former minister said he successfully argued, at the time, that only 250,000 households had Sky subscriptions and young people across Ireland wouldn’t get to see, let alone be inspired, by the matches.

Mr Ahern went on to say he shared Mr Molloy’s concerns about governance at the FAI.

Towards the end of the segment, Ms Finucane had the following exchange with journalist Elaine Loughlin when Ms Loughlin attempted to speak about Mr Tighe’s analysis piece on FAI’s debt.

Loughlin:The Sunday Times has really been to the fore on this in uncovering what is going on in the FAI. And Mark Tighe has a great piece of analysis today and I think it shows a tale of two FAIs. You’ve one FAI where you have millions of debt – a lot of it going back to the redevelopment of the Aviva Stadium and there’s still massive issues of millions, of millions of debt that the FAI is still trying to pay back. And then – ”

Finucane: “Well, I mean, you’ve got to be fair here. It coincided with the crash.”

Loughlin: “It did, but – ”

Finucane: “And there were to be tickets sold that, to look at them, they look like eye-watering prices. But, at that time, people were spending that kind of money. And they had hoped to pay their debt and then the world fell apart. You know, I mean.”

Loughlin: “Yes, but Marian, the world – ”

Finucane: “You can’t blame them for Lehman’s.”

Loughlin: “The world fell apart but, as we’ve seen, in multiple articles now, John Delaney still continued to use the FAI credit card to buy rounds of drinks for supporters, no wonder he’s so popular, as Dermot outlined earlier on.

He was still getting his rent paid, he was still on a massive salary.”

“….it did seem like there was a facade that everything was rosy in the garden of the FAI while they still had these massive debts. So they were acting as if everything was ok.”

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport will question members of Sport Ireland about funding it has granted to the FAI “and related matters” on Wednesday, at 2.30pm.

Mr Delaney and other senior members of the FAI will go before the same committee on April 10.

FAI announce Friends in Ireland as Official Charity (FAI, June 17, 2010)

Listen back in full here

From top: Tom Lyons and Ian Kehoe outside the High Court last Friday; Marian Finucane (left) and her panel on yesterday’s RTÉ Radio One show, from left: Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, Irene Sands, Fergus Finlay Larry Donnelly and  Eoin Fahy

On RTÉ Radio One’s Marian Finucane show yesterday…

The newspaper panel – Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland; Fergus Finlay former, CEO of Barnardos and former spin doctor for the Labour Party; Irene Sands, barrister; Larry Donnelly, Law Lecturer NUI Galway; Eoin Fahy, Chief Economist, KBI Global Investors – discussed the recent failed defamation case which businessman Denis O’Brien took against the publishers of the Sunday Business Post, Post Publications Ltd.

The segment took eight minutes.

Last Friday, a High Court jury, by a majority, found that articles published by the Sunday Business Post in March 2015 – about a seven-year-old Government-commissioned PwC report – were not defamatory.

At the outset of the item on the matter, law lecturer at NUI Galway Larry Donnelly said he thought the jury’s verdict was a victory for “rigorous”, “objective” and “critical” journalism.

In relation to reports that the costs of the case will amount to €1million – for which Mr O’Brien must pay – Mr Donnelly said this was an “extraordinary” figure, though admittedly not for the billionaire.

He also raised an article by Eoin O’Dell in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post in which the Fellow and Associate Professor of law in Trinity College Dublin argued that the case should never even have made it to the High Court under the Defamation Act 2009.

Mr O’Dell’s article, Mr Lawlor explained, said the act provides for other means to achieve early resolution of defamation cases.

Ms Finucane, in response said:

“Everybody is entitled to their good name and they really are and people feel it, very deeply, if somebody has a go at their good name.”

On Twitter, Mr Lyons noted:

CEO of Barnardos Fergus Finlay said he didn’t know Denis O’Brien well but he worked with the businessman briefly some years ago in relation to the Special Olympics and he thinks he’s “done a number of very great things with his money over the years” – a point to which Ms Finucane replied “indeed, yeah” before Mr Finlay said he was especially referring to people with intellectual disabilities and “stuff he [Mr O’Brien] should be really proud of”.

Mr Finlay went on to say:

“I said this to somebody last week, if you want to bring the National Children’s Hospital in on budget, on time and no messing about – put Denis O’Brien in charge of it cause he has those kinds of skills.”

“And I guess he has done things that, shall we say, are controversial but he seems to feel, I just don’t understand how somebody who is as rich as he is can’t let anything go. He must have terrible nightmares at night and must be constantly worried…”

Ms Finucane said:

“The thing about it is, if you were constantly being insulted and…”

She was interrupted by Mr Finlay who said he didn’t realise he was fat and bald until he discovered social media before saying his salary has previously been reported and he said one just has to read the dog’s abuse they get. He even suggested to Ms Finucane that she would understand this.

But she replied:

“I don’t read it.”

Mr Finlay went on to note that the Sunday Business Post, in yesterday’s paper, listed the 22 legal actions he’s taken against media outlets in the High Court.

He said, in the context of this list, his advice for Mr O’Brien would be to “get a life”.

Ms Finucane said:

“Well, he’s just not going to allow people to undermine his integrity…”

Later, barrister Irene Sands said:

“Mr O’Brien is entitled to bring suits, if he has the money to fund them, fair play to him, let him knock himself out but I do agree with Larry, I think it’s a very good day for the press in general and I do think they were vindicated…and I think the press took a very important stance and ultimately it came out in their favour.”

Just before the item wrapped up, Mr Finlay said that had the case against the Sunday Business Post not gone in the newspaper’s favour, “there would have been a real possibility, I suspect, of the Sunday Business Post going to the wall”.

Ms Finucane said:

“Right, well we don’t know that, we don’t know that.”

But Mr Finlay said if it had happened it could have had serious consequences for media ownership concentration in Ireland.

And Ms Finucane replied:

“Well, I mean that’s not what was on his mind. What was on his mind was his good name and he’s entitled to it.”

Ms Finucane added that Mr O’Brien is “noted for his generosity…particularly in Haiti”.

Last week, when Michael McDowell SC, for the Sunday Business Post, made his closing submission to the jury, he recalled how solicitors acting for Mr O’Brien had initially accused journalist Tom Lyons of criminality and acting illegally by publishing the contents of the PwC report which looked at the top 22 borrowers of six banks at the time of the property crash.

Mr McDowell said Mr Lyons was accused by Mr O’Brien of acting with malice and “consciously” deciding to damage Mr O’Brien.

The barrister said Mr Lyons and his editor at the time Ian Kehoe had thought about omitting Mr O’Brien’s name from the coverage out of fear of litigation but decided against this in the interests of transparency.

Mr McDowell said the SBP refused to take “the RTE approach” – in reference to evidence Mr Lyons gave about being told by RTE not to mention Mr O’Brien when he did a radio interview about his articles back in 2015.

The senior counsel also explained that Mr O’Brien initially said he didn’t know if he was one of the top borrowers in the PwC report as he had never seen the report.

Mr McDowell said Mr O’Brien said “it’s not beyond Mr Lyons” to just insert Mr O’Brien’s name randomly.

But, Mr McDowell said, once an excerpt of the PwC report was presented to the jury – after Mr O’Brien finished giving evidence – Mr O’Brien “changed his tune completely” and identified himself as number 10 on the redacted list of borrowers.

Mr McDowell said Mr O’Brien had effectively accused Mr Lyons of perjury and said Mr O’Brien had a “casual relationship with the truth”.

The above claims made against Mr Lyons were not recounted during the Marian Finucane discussion.

Listen back in full here from 37.50.

Previously: Closing Arguments


There you go now.

From top: UCD lecturer Annette Clancy; writer and director Grace Dyas; former director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan

On Wednesday, October 18, 2017, UCD lecturer Annette Clancy wrote the following about the former director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan on Facebook:

In the early 90s I was asked to apply for the manager position at Dublin Theatre Festival. I had been working there as the programme administrator and the then director offered me the post of manager. He later told me I’d have to ‘interview’ for the role….So I did…

Around that time also I had trained as a holistic massage therapist (I can’t write that down without thinking that I have to justify it in some way as if it’s somewhat seedy)…..

So I do the interview and Michael Colgan is on the panel. When it comes to his turn to ask me a question he draws attention to my qualification as a massage therapist and says ‘well I wish you would give me a massage someday’. This, in front of the rest of the panel that included Tony O’Dalaigh and someone else (I can’t remember who). I was gobsmacked…mainly because nobody, not one other person on that panel stepped in to say that it was inappropriate. I looked at Colgan straight in the eyes and told him he ‘couldn’t afford me’.

I didn’t get the job…it was a lousy process and I’ve moved on.

I’m comfortable putting this out there because I took a case against the Festival because of the whole shitty interview process and Colgan’s remarks were referred to by my union representative at the time. In other words, there is paperwork to back this up.

The Festival’s lawyers told them I would be a ‘compelling’ witness if the case went to court. I ended up getting a substantial settlement from the festival and agreed to a ‘voluntary redundancy’.

The whole thing was a charade and I really hadn’t thought about it until this week and the #MeToo campaign and the fear in the Irish arts sector of saying out loud what we know. I’m in a privileged position because I don’t rely on Colgan or the many other men out there in the arts sector in positions of power to give me work.

So I really do acknowledge this. But maybe, just maybe this anecdote will encourage others to come forward and tell their stories about the power abuses on our doorsteps right here in Ireland.

On Friday night.

In a blog post, writer, director, performer and activist Grace Dyas claimed the former director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan claimed the following exchange took place at the Dublin Theatre Festival launch last year:

Michael Colgan: “You’ve lost so much weight, I’d almost have sex with you”

Grace Dyas: “Michael! You can’t say that to me!”

Colgan: “What! I didn’t say I would fuck you. You haven’t lost that much weight.”

Ms Dyas says when she later told him that what he said was inappropriate, he told her: “Well Grace, as my mother always said, you won’t get very far in life if you can’t take a joke.”

Mr Colgan then admitted to Jason Byrne, a friend of Grace’s, that he did say it, and added “but it was a joke”.

Ms Dyas then says Mr Colgan got to his feet and roared at here, saying: “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. I never want to breathe the same air as you”.

After another friend of Ms Diyas’s asked him to calm down, Ms Diyas says he continued shouting: “She’s a pig, she’s a pig, I’d never ever, ever want to have sex with her. I wouldn’t say that about that woman, she’s a big woman I would never say that about a big woman.”

Mr Byrne has confirmed to Broadsheet that he recalls the events of that night exactly as Ms Dyas has recalled them.

On Sunday morning, just after 11.30am, co-director of the Abbey Theatre Graham McLaren, who was also present on the night, tweeted: “Grace It chimes completely with my memory of events.”

At around the same time, fellow co-director of the Abbey Neil Murray, who was also present on the night, also tweeted in response to a question from Ms Dyas about her account, saying: “Accurately and as I recall it.”

Yesterday, Limerick choreographer Ella Clarke wrote:

“…During the preview run [for Sweeney Todd at the Gate in 2007], it was house policy for the creative team to be brought to the hospitality room for a note session with Colgan following each of the performances. On the first night, when he noticed me there he said something to the effect of “What’s she doing here?” meaning me.

Blushing and shaking, I answered that I was there because I was the choreographer of the current show. He asked everyone what they would like to drink, excluding me, and had orders brought from the bar. I was ignored, but continued to give notes when I felt the well being of the cast required it.

The same routine played out for the remainder of the preview performances, four or five nights. Throughout this time, Colgan was hostile and rude towards me, and I was ignored each night.

In the bar after the opening night of the production, Michael Colgan groped my buttock as he passed by me. I choose to believe he didn’t recognise me because I wasn’t wearing my work gear. The thought of the groping being a calculated humiliation of me is painful. I did not call him out about the groping. I was shocked.

I tell this story because it is my opinion that my career has been limited by this kind of power structure, and that speaking up in whatever way I did, when I did, brought me an image that was deemed ‘difficult’. I knew it was likely I would never work in the Gate Theatre again, which I haven’t. I know I wasn’t alone dealing with this kind of abuse of power, and the loss to the art form is what hurts me most…. (more at link below)”


I’ve been Thinking A Lot About Michael Colgan…(Grace Dyas)


Sunday morning.

On RTÉ’s Marian Finucane Show.

Ms Finucane opened the show, where Michael Colgan has been a regular guest, by going through the front pages of the newspapers.

The Sunday Times and the Irish Mail on Sunday both reported on their front pages about  Ms Dyas’s blog post.

Ms Finucane said:

“Hello there, and very good morning to you.”

“Different opening to normal but, nonetheless, we should have a good two hours ahead for you. Let me start with the headlines.

“The Sunday Independent: Punish sex party players, says minister. Also warning against witch-hunt after calls to ban GAA. How Humphries misled his friends on abuse of girl and it is very well done in the article done today in the Sunday Independent, in the sports section.”

“Brendan O’Connor saying it mightn’t be sun, sea and sangria; it might actually be trouble that’s coming up in Spain.”

“The Irish Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times, that’s the Ireland edition of The Sunday Times, leads with reports about online allegations that, as the Mail puts it, a leading member of Ireland’s cultural community had made lewd, sexist comments to a female colleague.

“They also, there are some very nice photographs of Katie Taylor…”

Later – after introducing the panel

“I was just saying to our guests, prior to the start of the programme that there’s an awful lot of kind of shady stuff going on from Ballyragget to here to whatever. And a lot of it is played out, now we are not going to mention the names about whom allegations were made over night on social media.

“But I’m going to start on social media. Regina Doherty, there’s an interview in the Sunday Business Post, Noirin [Hegarty] and she refers to social media as well in that. Now none of us want to be involved in censorship but sometimes you think, in the name of god, it’s getting out of control.”


“I don’t want to go all po-faced about this but to have your name or your family member’s name put out there with no evidence, other than allegations, seems to me to be a bit tricky.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: De Sunday Papers


Ciara Elizabeth Smyth

Ciara Elizabeth Smyth writes on Grace’s blog…

“I want to begin by saying I do not regret my time in the Gate. I worked there for the last year of Michael Colgan’s tenure. While I was there, I was Company Manager for the South Carolina tour of The Importance of Being Earnest and Casting and Production Assistant.

“My desk was based in the office across the road from the theatre, commonly referred to as Number 8. This was Michael’s office. In that building, Michael, Teerth (Head of Production) and I worked closely together. Michael’s Assistant, the Head of Marketing and the Marketing Assistant, were also based there. When I was working there these three positions were held by incredible, intelligent and hardworking women. They were, like me, all under 30.

“When I was hired, the Theatre Manager, David Quinlan, told me that I would be “able for Michael”. In my stupidity, I almost took it as a compliment. On my first day, I met with David and he gave me a tour of the building and then sat me down for a chat. He asked me was I aware of Michael’s reputation.”

“David said when things got really bad, and they would get really bad, that I could go to his office to vent. Nothing specific was said after that, it was all vague warnings and implied cautions. I soon learned that speaking like that in the Gate was deliberate. I think no one wanted to say anything that they could have to confess later.”

I cannot begin to document the plethora of inappropriateness and bullying that I experienced while I was in the Gate. Not all from Michael Colgan either. When it was him, with me, it was mostly behind closed doors.

Constant touching of my thighs, back and very occasionally my bum while I sat beside him typing from his dictation. He made frequent comments about the size of my breasts and whether or not I’d contemplate a breast reduction, considering my small frame.

He commented on other women and asked me if I thought they’d give blowjobs or what I thought that they fucked like. He showed me pictures of his girlfriend in her underwear and asked me what I thought of her ass. He would scream, swear and use physical intimidation if anything I did was deemed incompetent.

“And still, I quite liked Michael. We laughed all the time. He used to call me into his office and bitch about whoever had pissed him off that particular hour. He would read passages of Beckett to me. He showed me his letters from Friel and Pinter. Knowing I was a playwright and seeing my eyes light up and dance over his library of scripts, he told me that I could borrow whatever I liked. It was very confusing. Michael had an incredible ability to make you feel so important in one moment and then like dirt in the next.

“The first time I realised how badly affected I had been by my experience at the Gate was after I came back from our tour to South Carolina. I experienced a lot of stress because I was Company Manager and had to act as PA to Michael when I was there. It was not all bad, but I had begun to experience frequent anxiety attacks where it felt like I couldn’t breathe. I would like to mention that the actor Bosco Hogan, who was on tour with us, was one of the only people I ever saw stick up for me with Michael. He is a gentleman and I will never forget his kindness.”

“A few months after we came home from the tour, an incident occurred that I was so hurt and embarrassed by that I tried to make a complaint about Michael to the Theatre Manager, David Quinlan.

“On the day of the incident, I had organised auditions in the auditorium. Michael was in attendance, as were two prominent Irish actors acting as readers and the director of the play we were auditioning for. They were all men in their 40’s and 50’s.

“I brought the actor about to audition in and she took the stage. Everyone was still standing around talking and as I went to leave, Michael pulled me back, hard, by the jacket. He noticed it was new and asked me where I got it. He mentioned the colours, announcing to the room that I only ever wore black and that this new blue and white jacket was quite out of character for me. He asked me was it a Waterford jacket. I said I hadn’t a clue.

He then drew his hand up high in the air, as if he was going to slap me. I put my hand out to stop him and said quietly, “Michael, don’t.” At this stage I imagined everyone was looking at us, but I didn’t take my eyes off him to check. Michael then said “Would you ever fuck off; I wasn’t going to hit you”. I smiled and turned on my heel to leave. The second I turned he walloped me on the ass.

It caught me off guard and force of the slap caused me to stumble forward. I turned to look at him and the only word I could manage to say was his name.

“I checked to see did the group of men see what had happened and although their bodies were facing us, they had turned their heads in different directions. Mortified, I made for the door and again Michael grabbed me, around the wrist this time. “Sit in on this audition will you, I want to get your opinion on this actress”. This, I felt, was a consolation prize for the slap. A prize Michael knew I would be delighted by, under normal circumstances. I had once told him that if couldn’t get a job in theatre, I’d sweep the floors of the Gate.

“I took a seat in row J and stared at the stage dumbstruck. He had been sexually inappropriate towards me countless times and he had embarrassed me in public by shouting at me or being breathtakingly rude. But this time he had mixed the two in order to humiliate me, in a new, fresh manner and he had. During work, in front of a group of people he knew I respected.

“During the audition, while I sat there silently staring at the stage feeling worthless, one of the actors who was acting as a reader sat beside me. I adored him. He started whispering to me, asking what I thought of the actor auditioning and what my thoughts were on the script. I wondered was this consolation prize. I checked later that day and Michael had slapped me so hard it had left a red mark on my skin.

“The rest of that day was uneventful. I went back to Number 8; I don’t think Michael returned from the auditions. The next day, I felt shaken. I didn’t know if there was anything I could do, but I did not want to feel like this again. I was no longer able to tolerate the everyday touching and comments. I rang the Theatre Manager, David Quinlan, and made an appointment to meet with him during lunchtime that day.

“When I walked into David’s office and closed the door, I realised I was crying. I explained to David, in detail what had happened. As I spoke, the colour drained from his face and he became noticeably more reserved. He asked – had I told Michael not to do that. Yes, I said. He then told me that I needed to make my “boundaries clear” with Michael. I asked why David thought that I needed to tell Michael that he shouldn’t hit me. David said something to the effect of – if it happened, of course he shouldn’t hit me.

“Ignoring this comment, I asked what I could do as I didn’t want this to happen again. I was told I could write a letter of complaint, which would go to the Gate Board and they may decide a course of action. “But Michael is on the board” I said. “Yes”, he said. I left his office.

“Disappointed with this encounter, I returned to Number 8. Still upset, I decided to mention it to the Head of Production, Teerth. She did not console me, ask me questions or offer any advice. She did not seem interested or have any desire to continue the conversation. After this, I wondered was I overreacting. I didn’t want to write a letter of complaint to the Board. I felt Michael would be furious with me and I would have to leave my job. However, not being able to shake the feeling of anxiety, I decided to speak with Michael.

“When he came into work, I asked him for a word and he told me to come into his office and close the door. I said he had done something the other day that had really upset me. To which he responded “What did I do darling?”. I reminded him what had happened. He immediately said “But darling I hit my daughters on the ass”. I then outlined that I was not one of his daughters, but his employee; that he shouldn’t hit me. I felt like an idiot. He apologised and said he wouldn’t do it again. At the time, I thought that was the best possible outcome of that situation.

“Unfortunately, in the weeks that followed, he ridiculed me for doing this. In meetings with the Heads of Department, while I was typing beside him and in front of people who I was meeting for the first time. Always in public. He would raise his hand as if to hit me, then punch me on the arm and say “Oh we can’t hit Ciara”. In one meeting, when he did that, I looked around the room at all the Heads of Department and everyone was smiling. Some people laughed. I was angrier with them than I ever was with him.

“Michael was not the only one who was actively sexually inappropriate. The Production Manager, Jim McConnell, used to call me, on the phone, at my desk and tell me my voice was “dulcet, sultry and sensual”. He’d ask me to speak slowly or to say his name. He’d ask what I was wearing. On these occasions, I would tell him to shut up or fuck off but I tried to make my tone jovial, so he wouldn’t think I was a bitch.

“When he would come over to the Number 8, if I were alone in the room, he’d call me baby and tell me I looked stunning. If I wore a low cut top he would always make comment on my breasts. It got to the point where I was avoiding being alone with him or putting a jumper on when he came over to the office.

My point is this was not just Michael Colgan. He was happy to accept and cultivate his reputation. But in my opinion and experience a number of people in positions of power aided and abetted him at worst, at best, did nothing to intervene. Some tried to be like him, some would not admit what was happening in front of them and some just weren’t interested. But everyone knew.

“I was not the first woman that had worked in Number 8. I was not the first woman that had gone on tour with Michael. I was not the first woman to be humiliated, degraded, abused and felt up. There were fucking loads of us. We were led into that building like lambs to the slaughter. Interviewed by the people that would later ignore us when we were crying.

“I believe that the Board must have known and that management must have known and if they didn’t, they should have known. From my experience and time in theatre in Dublin, those who knew Michael Colgan, knew. I can only guess at why they allowed him to behave in that manner.

The worst thing for me now is still feeling like I am overreacting. I was slow to write anything down because of that feeling. I imagine other girls and women had far worse experiences. I also imagine that there are far worse men than Michael Colgan. If nothing else happens, we need some funding for accountability, for proper HR departments in theatres and theatre companies. Someone to hold abusers accountable.”

Ruth Gordon

Ruth Gordon writes on Grace’s blog…

“I was interviewed by Michael Colgan in 2011 for the role of Assistant to Head of Production at the Gate. I was initially interviewed by two Gate staff members and was subsequently emailed inviting me to a second meeting; this was to meet Michael Colgan.

“During this meeting Michael Colgan asked me questions of a discriminatory nature about my gender, age, and marital status that weren’t appropriate. The original two staff members who interviewed me, Teerth Chungh and David Quinlan, were also present.

“Neither spoke during the interview except to greet me and say goodbye at the end, they didn’t say anything about the inappropriate questions, or intervene.

“His opening question was “Any date set?”. I was immediately thrown. This had nothing to do with anything. As it happened I had recently got engaged but I wasn’t wearing a ring so I recalibrated as quickly as I could and answered, truthfully, no. I was immediately on the backfoot. Where was this going?

“He talked at length then, not asking many questions. I had been tipped off by the girl working in reception that he liked to talk a lot so I took this as normal for him and waited to be asked something. He eventually asked a few job related questions and then said, “What age are you Ruth?”. Put on the spot, I told him my age reluctantly. This was swiftly followed up by, “How do I know you’re not going to go off in 18 months and have a load of babies?” I sort of laughed from shock, shaking my head and I shrugged my shoulders by way of response. I simply did not know what to say. At this point I just wanted to leave. I already knew that I didn’t want the job.

“The subject turned to which Gate shows I had seen. I named “Waiting for Godot” and then began faltering saying something like, “…and …eh….”. My confidence was shot; my mind blank. When I wasn’t forthcoming, Michael mimicked my own voice back at me, tilting his head to the side and saying “and … eh…. Waiting for Godot?”.

“There was nowhere to go from there. I averted my gaze, turning away from him and placed my hands on my lap closing myself off. We were done. I was thanked, we shook hands and I left.
I was relieved initially to be out. But the relief was soon replaced by a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I felt humiliated, belittled, mistreated but also numb and dazed with confusion as to what had just happened. I didn’t know what to do. It took 3 days before anger fully set in. I tried to think of something I could do. Maybe I would just ring the Gate and feed back that I was unhappy with the questions I had been asked.

“That wouldn’t change anything though. I told a few people in the upper echelons of theatre in Galway and Ireland – a manager of a large theatre company, a venue manager, and a festival manager, all of whom knew me and whom I trusted. They all felt terrible for me and were appalled, but not surprised, by Michael Colgan’s behaviour, but they were at a loss as to what action could be taken that wouldn’t have a negative impact on my career.

“I have always considered myself a feminist and someone who does “the right thing” but in this instance I felt too small and insignificant to make any difference to this man’s behaviour. He was in the position of power, I was not. I had everything to lose so I was afraid to speak up.”

Through the Gate (Grace Dyas)

Six years ago….

Clampers Outside writes:

From 2011… Ray D’Arcy then Today FM grilling Marian Finucane on her salary…. all the lols

Mind no when Marian says she’s ‘not sure’ how her salary is negotiated, one may get a bit twitchy….damn comfy to be the highest paid per HR and not have a clue how your own salary is negotiated. Pulse o’ the people an’ stuff…

Yesterday: Twilight Of The Gods