Tag Archives: Micheál Martin

From top: Fianna Fáil leader Micheá Martin; This morning’s Irish Times

This morning.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One and raised articles in today’s Irish Times’ articles about the structure, wealth and property portfolio of Sinn Féin.

The articles, by Colm Keena, can be read here, here and here (behind paywall).

One of the reports states:

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is correct when he says that Sinn Féin is “not a normal, democratic party”, Sinn Féin’s director of finance has told The Irish Times.

Martin has said that Sinn Féin’s elected representatives are not in control of the party, and that decisions are made by “shadowy figures” and “unelected officials”.

However, what Micheál Martin sees as a problem, the party’s long-term director of finance, Des Mackin, sees as an advantage. Sinn Féin does not want its elected representatives controlling the party, he said.

“We don’t want a parliamentary party running the organisation,” the senior party officer said. “We want to stay a party of activists. It’s a totally different model. There’s nothing mysterious about it.”

Mackin has been the party’s director of finance for years and, prior to that, was joint party treasurer with the veteran republican, the late Joe Cahill. Mackin was convicted of IRA membership in the 1970s.

Meanwhile…

From Mr Martin’s interview….

Seán O’Rourke: “Do you believe that you have persuaded Fine Gael that you are not for turning on dealing with Sinn Féin?”

Micheál Martin: “Yes.”

O’Rourke: “You believe that Fine Gael…”

Martin: “You know, I would say to people, just read The Irish Times today. There’s a very comprehensive two-page issue…”

Talk over each other

Martin: “…which by the way, Des Mackin, their director of finances said Micheaál Martin is right in what he says. We don’t want the elected representatives controlling the party, that’s black and white. So I dealt with that in the Dáil. But I would just ask people out there to…”

O’Rourke: “I just had the quickest of scans of it and I read the front page story. All it suggests to me, I think, and a lot of readers, would be they’re a very well-organised, they’re a very professional, political outfit.”

Martin: “No, but if you just read it Seán. I mean. I know you’ve acknowledged you haven’t read the full two pages internally but it’s basically saying that those elected by the people, the broad mass of the people, don’t have a direct controlling say and former public representatives, former TDs says the exactly the same.

“In other words they said that a person with a 10,000 electoral mandate has the same say as an activist who’s unelected. That’s what it says…and this isn’t Micheál Martin saying this. It’s…”

Talk over each other

O’Rourke: “I just got a summary handed to me literally as you were saying that. Mr Mackin, who was jailed for IRA membership in the early 1970s, told The Irish Times he did not necessarily disagree with the view of the Fianna Fáil leader that Sinn Féin was run by unelected officials and not its political representatives so that’s the end of that as far as you’re concerned?”

Martin: “Yeah. And if you consider, two weeks ago I was attacked personally by Sinn Féin left, right and centre, high up and low down in a very personalised manner and attacked and yet, two weeks later, their, one of their key operators says the same…”

Later

O’Rourke:Have you decided you’re prepared to enter coalition with Fine Gael?”

Martin:Yes. Again, depending on a Programme for Government that works…”

Listen back in full here

Martin says Fianna Fáil would go into coalition with Fine Gael (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Tonight.

Museum of Literature, Dublin.

Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Pictured Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge meet Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin at an event hosted by Taniste Simon Coveney TD .

Sam Boal/RollingNews/Pool

Meanwhile…

Royal Highness Prince William with Labour leader Brendan Howlin.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald is currently in quarantine.

Earlier: Land Of Howth And Glory (Updated)

Rollingnews

Micheál Martin and Michael Woods, who signed off on the indemnity deal with the religious, at a Fianna Fáil think-in in 2009

“In retrospect in my view, that was, that was a mistake at the time.

I think there was that window. You’re talking about the last cabinet meeting [of that government]. This is something that has been negotiated. It’s in the best interests of everybody, bring it to closure and that’s how it got through.”

Micheál Martin, speaking on last night’s Redress: Breaking The Silence on RTÉ One

The June 2002 deal between Fianna Fáil and 18 religious orders, brokered by the late Michael Woods while serving as Minister for Education, awarded indemnity against all legal claims if the orders paid €128m in cash and property.

The agreement was made by Mr Woods, a devout Catholic, on behalf of Fianna Fáil, before the 2002 General Election and cabinet approval was never sought. It was also never run past the Attorney General of the day [Michael McDowell].

In March 2017, Sean O Rourke on RTÉ Radio One interviewed Mr Martin about the deal.

Seán O’Rourke: “Should the Government now, given what was revealed in Tuam, revisit the deal that was done in 2002 between the church and the then Fianna Fáil government?

You were part of it. There was the minister [for justice], Michael Woods giving the religious orders a €128million or 128million pound/punt indemnity. And, since then, the State has paid €1.5billion in restitution for the abuse. I’m not sure if the €128million, such as it was, has actually ever been delivered?”

Micheál Martín: “Well, first of all, there’s two elements of that. There’s the payments to victims of industrial schools at the time. And the redress board that was established – that would have had to be established irrespective of any deal with the church, Sean.

The church would never had been coming up with €1.5billion and the legal advice at the time, and I remember speaking to the late Rory Brady who was the Attorney General [Editor’s note: Mr Brady was appointed Attorney General after the indemnity deal was struck], he was adamant that the State would always, because of its involvement, from the inspectorial regime at the time in industrial schools – it was culpable.

And so the choice was: does one, would you leave the victims waiting and those who were in, the survivors, sorry, of industrial schools, would you leave them waiting or would you allow them have to go through the courts for years to get their justified compensation. Or would you do…”

O’Rourke: “Are you saying that was the best deal that could be done at the time?

Martin: “No I’m saying it was the most humane thing that could have been done in terms of the redress scheme…”

Full transcript here

Redress: Breaking The Silence Part 2 on RTÉ One tonight at 9.35pm

Rollingnews

This evening.

Leinster House, Dublin 2.

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheal Martin with Thomas Byrne TD (above left) talking to the media in The Portico following talks with Fine Gael leader and acting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on a possible FF/FG alliance.

Get a room.

Varadkar and Martin discuss health, housing in ‘preliminary’ meeting (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

Yesterday.

Ivan Yates on Newstalk.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin struggles to sum up Leo Varadkar in one word.

Top pic: iStock

Property developer and Fianna Fáil donor John Fleming (left) and Micheal Martin; Mr Martin’s holiday home in Courtmacsherry, West Cork built by Mr Fleming

Murky pasts.

We all have them.

Via VIllage magazine [more at link below], Frank Connolly writes:

‘…A successful house builder on the newly zoned lands around expanding Cork city, John Fleming also developed what was, at the time, a luxury holiday-home complex at Courtmacsherry in picturesque West Cork, in the late 1990s.

In December, 1999, Micheál Martin took out a mortgage of £135,000 from Irish Life and Permanent to purchase 4 Meadowlands, one of the first of the large houses built in the scheme overlooking the sea in the small holiday village.

The property was purchased from John J Fleming Construction, one of the companies in the larger Fleming Group.

By this time, Martin was in government after being appointed to his first cabinet position by Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, in 1997. A former school teacher, he was made Minister for Education before he was given the health portfolio in 2000 and then served as Enterprise, Trade and Employment minister from 2004 to 2007.

In January 2007, Fleming travelled to Hungary with Martin as a member of an Enterprise Ireland delegation headed by the minister and later announced that he had won a contract to develop a wind-farm project in the eastern European country. Later that year, Fleming’s company made a donation of €900 to the minister’s general election campaign.

…On 11th March, 2010, six days after Fleming’s property company went into liquidation (on 5th March, 2010) the Irish Permanent mortgage on the Courtmacsherry holiday home purchased by Martin, was cancelled, according to documents lodged with the Land Registry.

There is a reference in the Land Registry documents connecting the charge on the holiday property to the Martin’s family home  in Ballinlough, Cork which they purchased many years previously.

In July 2009, a further charge “for present and future advances” with AIB was lodged with the Land Registry in respect of the Courtmacsherry property.

Village asked Martin to explain the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the property and the cancellation of the loan on 11th March 2010.

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson replied:

“The property was bought through an auctioneer with a mortgage in 1999.  In 2010, Micheál switched mortgage provider and the loan was restructured to include the balance of this loan and refurbishment of Micheál’s family home.  Repayment of this mortgage is ongoing.”

Asked was there any significance in the fact that the loan was cancelled, according to Land Registry documents, just six days after the company which sold the property, owned by John Fleming, went into liquidation (on 5th March, 2010), the spokesperson said:

“None.  See above.  These questions clearly represent an attempt to raise a controversy in the dying days of the General Election campaign where there is none.” [more at link below]

Micheál Martin, evasive and misleading, in 2020 (Frank Connolly Village)

Previously: So, Why Did That Money End Up In Your Wife’s Bank Account, Mr Martin?

Village/Rollingnews

From top: RTÉ Prime Time studio, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullough

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Prime Time.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald took part in the final TV leaders’ debate ahead of this Saturday’s general election.

Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullough moderated the debate and there was no studio audience.

During a discussion about housing and homelessness, Mr Varadkar was asked about the homeless man who suffered life-changing injuries last month after he and his tent were scooped up while Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland were clearing tents from along the Grand Canal near Leeson Street Bridge in Dublin.

Mr Varadkar claimed the man has asked for privacy and a housing plan is being put in place for him.

Ms McDonald raised Inner City Helping Homeless’ concerns about the latest official homeless figures, which showed a drop in the number of people living in emergency accommodation. However, at the moment she mentioned this, Ms O’Callaghan asked Ms McDonald to, instead, answer Mr Varadkar’s question about the number of people who are homeless in Northern Ireland.

The Fine Gael leader went on to claim there are 20,000 people homeless in Northern Ireland.

However, a fact check carried out by Caroline O’Doherty of the Irish Independent has proved his is false. She reports the “the actual homelessness figure in the North i.e. those in hostels or other emergency accommodation, is closer to 5,000 with the equivalent in the Republic being around 10,400”.

From the debate:

Leo Varadkar: “At the moment there are 6,000 social houses being built on 300 publicly owned sites at the moment across the country and we are starting to see results. According to Daft.ie today, rents have fallen for the first time in eight years, house prices are levelling off, homeless figures have, at long last, are starting to fall back to where they were in 2018…”

O’Callaghan: “Ok, let me come back in there, Leo Varadkar…”

Varadkar: “…according to charities like the Peter McVerry…”

O’Callaghan: “…let me come back there…”

Varadkar: “…Trust…”

O’Callaghan: “Because it’s an interview, just let me come back in there…”

Varadkar: “…that’s because of the increase in social housing being provided. We need to see this though.”

Later

Varadkar: “Among my best days as Taoiseach has been going into new housing estates, seeing people who’ve been on the housing list or young couples who have bought their first home, getting the keys for their house and going into that house.”

O’Callaghan: “There’s not enough of them..”

Varadkar: “You’re going to see more and more of them, as time goes on because of the changes we’ve made. It’s taken two years of investment but we now see rents falling.

“We now see people who are homeless falling and we now see house prices levelling off. But there are some people who think that the housing crisis can’t get worse. It can. The rent freeze idea, tried in Berlin, made things worse. Just froze people. [Legislation for the rent freeze in Berlin just passed on January 30th and will reportedly come into effect mid-February]

“Reduced supply and froze people out of renting altogether. And also we have Micheál Martin here who can’t be trusted on this, he signed off on a Fianna Fáil manifesto, full of typos about housing and he signed a manifesto calling for a rent freeze which he didn’t agree with and then blamed on officials in HQ. That is not the kind of person you want to be Taoiseach of this country.”

O’Callaghan: “Leo Varadkar you’ve all mentioned homelessness and I suppose we’ve been talking about people who can’t afford to buy their own home, people who can’t afford to rent.

“But, I mean, there are people out there who literally do not have a roof over their heads.

“At the beginning of this campaign, Leo Varadkar, a homeless man in his tent was lifted, as you know, like a piece of rubbish. He ended up with life-changing injuries. Most people in Ireland, they were really shocked by that and, for them, it almost symbolised how your Government, led by you, treated the homeless.

“And then, very shortly after that, maybe unintentionally, but you just tried to make a political point by pointing the finger at the Fianna Fáil Lord Mayor.”

Varadkar: “Well, first of all, my only regret is that that incident happened and that poor man got injured in the way that he did. And my only concern was to find out how it happened and why and to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“We’ve been in touch with that gentleman, a housing plan is being put in place for him. Thankfully his condition, he is stable and he has asked for privacy and I don’t want to make him an issue in this debate. 

“But when it comes to rough sleeping, when it comes to rough sleeping, working with the Peter McVerry Trust, we fund a programme called Housing First and what it does is it gives people a roof over their head and then gives them all the wraparound supports that they often need to deal with addiction, mental health issues, other issues, so that they could hold on to that new apartment, that new tenancy. That is working.

“Rough sleeping is actually, on the most recent count, down to it’s lowest level of four or five years. But I know it’s not enough, I know we need to do more on all these housing issues and I want to do so.”

Later

McDonald: “I have to say I’m struck listening to both the leader of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, that perhaps they’re not fully in touch with the reality out on the ground. I mean I hear you speak Leo about people getting house keys for their homes. It almost sounds patronising to people. I mean the reality is that people have a right to expect…”

O’Callaghan: “Staying on homelessness though, for the moment, the figures have dropped, as Leo Varadkar said earlier. The homelessness figures have dropped.”

Varadkar: “How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland, Deputy McDonald? How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland?”

McDonald: “The figures are nothing to crow about. And in fact I notice that Inner City Helping Homeless was scrutinising and questioning the figures…”

O’Callaghan: “Will you just answer the question Leo Varadkar put to you there.”

McDonald: “The reality is that the homeless figures have gone, skyrocketed in this jurisdiction, where this election is happening…”

Varadkar: “How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland?”

McDonald: “..you tell me how many people are?”

Varadkar: “Officially and these are the official stats from Northern Ireland, there are 20,000 people homeless in Northern Ireland, more than is the case here in this State. The waiting lists in Northern Ireland are the worst in the UK, they’re actually worse than they are here. Suicide rates are three times higher, the pension age is going up to 66 in Northern Ireland this year and the pension there is only £125 a week…”

Talk over each other

Varadkar: “And it would be lower if it wasn’t for all the money that was coming in from the Tories…Sinn Féin does not want to talk about their record in government…”

Talk over each other

McDonald: “So Miriam, I’m sure somebody will factcheck that figure and find that it’s wrong. Leo should be aware that the island is partitioned, the purse strings unfortunately, for the North of Ireland, are held in London. We’ve endured a decade of Tory austerity and that has brought great hardship.

“And do you know what you should do, Leo. Instead of trying to score a political point, the next time if you are Taoiseach or Micheál, or whoever is in office, challenge the British government on that point. Challenge them on funding. I don’t recall you ever doing that…”

EARLIER:

Towards the end of the debate, Ms O’Callaghan had the following exchange with Ms McDonald about comments made 13 years ago by the current Sinn Féin Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy to the BBC about 21-year-old Paul Quinn who was murdered in 2007.

Earlier, Ms McDonald was asked about her view of the Special Criminal Court (see below).

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mary Lou McDonald you know, of course, about Breege Quinn, the mother of Paul Quinn, the 21-year-old who was so horrifically beaten to death in November 2007. Now she is asking for an apology, from your Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy because he aligned her son to criminality. You were due to speak to Minister Murphy today. Did you speak to him, to clarify?”

Mary Lou McDonald: “I did, Miriam and you’re right, Paul Quinn had a horrific death and the only criminals, to be clear, involved in this scenario are the people who so cruelly and viciously took his life so I have spoken to Conor. He is aware that the comments that he made after the murder of Paul Quinn have caused hurt and that that hurt has endured so he apologises for those remarks, he withdraws those remarks and he’ll speak to Breege Quinn and the family directly. I mean I’ve had the view that he needs to speak to the family directly.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, Mary Lou, I was watching you last night being interviewed by Bryan Dobson and you said then, and this is a quote from you last night, ‘I’ve spoken to Conor Murphy about this issue before, he is very clear that he never said that, that that is not his view’.”

McDonald: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “So you’ve changed your position?”

McDonald: “Well, in a way Miriam, what matters is what the family have heard and what matters is that the family…”

O’Callaghan: “What matters is what he said. Because actually, we found the quote today.”

McDonald: “Yeah.”

O’Callaghan: “It was on BBC in November 2007, a month after Paul was murdered and what Minister Murphy said was and I’ll quote him again verbatim on the BBC ‘Paul Quinn was involved in smuggling and criminality. I think everyone accepts that. As I say, this is a very difficult situation as there is a family grieving and I don’t want to add to their grief’.”

McDonald: “So let me just say, those things should not have been said. Those things should not have been said. Conor withdraws them and apologies.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “Last night you said they weren’t said.”

McDonald: “Pardon me?”

O’Callaghan: “Last night you said they weren’t said.”

McDonald: “My, my, to be honest with you, Miriam, my recollection was that he had not been as explicit as that. The remarks were wrong, they’re withdrawn correctly and will be apologised for, directly to Mrs Quinn and her family.”

O’Callaghan: “So your remarks, sorry, to Bryan last night were wrong too?”

McDonald: “Yes, well obviously, I was not, I, I, I remembered Conor being not quite as direct on this matter.”

O’Callaghan: “He had told you that he’s very clearly said he never said that and that is not his view. He told you he had never said that. Were you annoyed he’d said that?”

McDonald: “No, that’s not…my sole concern in this is that the family have been hurt and the remarks made need to be withdrawn and apologised for. That’s the correct thing to do.”

O’Callaghan: “So Conor Murphy is going to, Minister Murphy is going to apologise…”

McDonald: “Oh, absolutely that’s the correct and decent thing to do. A family that has lost their son in such brutal circumstances doesn’t need the additional hurt and grief.”

O’Callaghan: “And then, finally, Mary Lou, I heard Breege Quinn on Drivetime actually, talking to Mary Wilson and she also just said that she would like Minister Murphy to go to the PSNI, or the gardai, and just give the names of the men, the IRA men, in Cullyhanna, he spoke to. Would he do that now aswell do you think? Because Breege Quinn wants them to.”

McDonald: “What I am sure of and I’m sure of these facts, having spoken again to Conor is that he has in fact spoken to the PSNI and to the gardai. They have to investigate this matter. People with information need to bring it…”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “And give them the names of the men he spoke to…”

McDonald: “…need to bring it, that information forward.”

Earlier in the debate, Ms McDonald was also asked about the Special Criminal Court.

David McCullough: “Could I please ask you to answer the question about the Special Criminal Court?”

McDonald: “Let me just say, I support the judicial system, the gardai and all of the apparatus of the State. Let me say this: our manifesto sets out very clearly that we want increased resources from An Garda Síochána…”

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mary Lou McDonald, can I just say David asked you a very straight question because we do want to move on to the issue that matter to people, like housing.”

McDonald: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “Are you for or against the Special Criminal Court?”

McDonald: “I’m for the courts.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “That’s not the question.

Micheál Martin: “But you’re against the Special Criminal Court?”

O’Callaghan: “We’re asking the questions. Mary Lou?”

McDonald: “I am for the courts, the Special Criminal Court exists, I accept that we need mechanisms and special powers. What we have been calling for, for the last four years, is for a review, led by a High Court judge to ensure that the courts, the gardai, the DPP’s office have the full resources that they need to keep communities safe.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “Do you personally believe the Special Criminal Court should remain, Mary Lou McDonald? Do you personally believe the Special Criminal Court should remain, yes or no?”

McDonald: “I believe that we need special powers to do…we’ve 21st…”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “That’s not what I asked you…”

McDonald: “We have 21st century criminals, we need 21st century processes to deal with them.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok, we didn’t get an answer, I’m actually moving on to housing.”

McDonald: “I think that’s a very fair, a very, very fair answer.”

Leo Varadkar: “The leader of Sinn Féin will not give you a straight answer to a straight question because she doesn’t want you to hear the answer and we’re going to hear a lot of this tonight.”

O’Callaghan: “People at home will have heard that, we don’t need to dwell on that.”

McDonald: “Can I help by clarifying, can I clarify it this way perhaps. The abolition of the court is not in our manifesto. We’re not arguing for that.”

Micheál Martin: “No, but Sinn Féin have voted against the Offences Against the State Act, Sinn Féin have voted against the Offences Against the State Act every year since they came into the Dáil.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok.”

Martin: “Simple reason why, the IRA old comrades decided they could never vote for the Special Criminal Court or support it, that’s the reality of what happened.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok. We’re moving on, Micheál Martin. We’re moving on to an issue that is of immense importance. Housing and homelessness…”

More to follow

Watch back in full here

Meanwhile…

EARLIER:

Stop that.