Tag Archives: Miriam O’Callaghan

Play Aqualung!

This afternoon.

Merrion Street, Dublin 4

A flute choir from Loreto College, Foxrock, County Dublin serenade broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan – as per her contract with RTÉ – at a Garden Party lunch in The Merrion Hotel in aid of the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook, Dublin 4 which recently marked its 275th anniversary.

Any excuse.

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Last night: A Public Service

Yesterday’s Sunday Times; RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan; Conservative MP Marcus Fysh

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan.

Pro-Brexit Conservative MP Marcus Fysh spoke to Ms O’Callaghan in light of yesterday’s reports in The Sunday Times based on a leaked secret “Yellowhammer” report on the fall-out of a no-deal Brexit.

The newspaper reported that Britain faces “shortages of fuel, food and medicine, a three-month meltdown at its ports, a hard border with Ireland and rising costs in social care” if no deal is made.

During the interview, Mr Fysh alleged that the leaked memo was “left in a pub” for a journalist to find.

From the interview…

Marcus Fysh: “This is a scenario that doesn’t have to happen.”

Miriam O’Callaghan: “How are you going to avoid this? This is your own government’s assessment of what is likely to happen in the case of a no-deal Brexit.”

Fysh: “Michael Gove, who’s in charge of it and his assessment is that it doesn’t have to happen if we do the right things and that the Government is doing those things to make sure that this is not a thing that comes true.”

O’Callaghan: “But what can your government do, realistically do?”

Fysh: “The point is that we need to ready all of those involved in the cross border trade to make the right declarations, so they have the right papers, so that when they arrive at Calais, they can show the transit documents that they need to get through that border efficiently and then I don’t think there’s any prospect in that situation that the Border would fall over in such a disruptive manner which is at the core of all of these worst-case assumptions.”

“But, yeah, we need to make sure that everybody has the right information and is ready to do the right thing so that that doesn’t happen.”

O’Callaghan: “But I mean, even specifically, in relation to this, civil service detail in this report. According to the documents, petrol, import tariffs could inadvertently lead to the closure of two oil refineries while protests across Britain, which require significant amounts of police resources.”

Fysh: “Well I just thing that that’s, that’s a really bad assessment. I can’t see the logic of that position. I think, to be honest, the civil service have questions to answer, as to why this has been leaked and I think it’s part of an establishment effort to try to scare people. The point is that if you have cheap imports of fuel, then the fuel is available, otherwise those refineries don’t have a problem.”

O’Callaghan: “But Marcus Fysh, it’s almost like, with respect, Tory MPs, like you, are delusional. I mean this is your own civil service coming up with this detail. It’s dated this month, this is what they believe what might happen.”

Fysh: “This is what they have left in a pub for a journalist to find. I think that tells you all you need to know about the motivation. It could have come from the civil service, it could have come from anywhere. But the point is that we know that there are lots of people that don’t want Brexit to happen. And have been trying to scare people into not wanting it. And this is their, sort of, last throw of the dice. The reality is that Brexit is going to happen and we need to prepare for it and we need to prepare for it right.”

Listen back in full here

Related: Operation Chaos: Whitehall’s secret no‑deal Brexit preparations leaked (The Sunday Times)

MEP candidates for Ireland South, RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan and Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace on Prime Time debate last night

Last night.

RTÉ One’s Prime Time broadcast the first of its three European election debates.

Last night’s concerned the Ireland South constituency with nine of the 23 candidates taking part – including Wexford Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace.

During the debate, journalist Miriam O’Callaghan had the following exchange with Mr Wallace about his financial affairs.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mick Wallace, you portray yourself always as very much a man of the people.

“But, in fact, you’ve had tens of millions of euro debts wiped out. You’ve been fined for not paying your construction workers pension contributions on time.

“You knowingly made false declarations on VAT. I mean, are you the sort of person that the voters of Ireland South should send to Europe to represent them?”

Mick Wallace: “Well first of all. Your presentation of the pension thing is a bit inaccurate.”

O’Callaghan: “How?”

Wallace: “Well. There was a dispute with the pension board at the time. We paid all our pensions, every bit of it. And we actually paid more…”

O’Callaghan: “You were fined, I think, €7,000…”

Wallace: “We were fined because we had a row with the pension board because they made us pay for six workers that went back to Eastern Europe six months earlier and they thought we should pay for them after we had released them from their work.

“And that was the only reason that we were in the court despite the fact that the media presented it very differently.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, but the general point, I’m making in terms, I suppose, about tens of millions of euro being wiped out and the VAT issue.”

Wallace: “Well, first of all, with regard to the VAT issue, which has happened over ten years ago, and I’d say it’s probably the most discussed VAT issue in the history of the planet but we owed €1.4million in VAT, we didn’t get it because the money for the sale of the apartments went to the solicitor, who was obliged to give it to the bank.

“And normally the bank will give it to you to give to the Revenue. They wouldn’t give it to us because all the apartments weren’t sold.

“We actually never got it into our hands to give it to the Revenue.

“On the other issue, you’re talking about tens of millions being wiped out, right?”

O’Callaghan: “But did you knowingly make a false declaration on VAT?”

Wallace: “Yes, we did, yeah. And listen, and my biggest crime at the time was being straight about it, right, because we wanted to try, we were employing, at one stage, over 200 people.

“We wanted to keep the business going. And the idea that one would not pay their full VAT, on a particular date and pay it later, is not unusual in business.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, what about Cerberus? I mean you spent a lot of time giving out about it in the Dáil. But you rarely have ever said, and in fact you owe them millions.”

Wallace: “Who? Cerberus?”

O’Callaghan: “Yeah.”

Wallace: “I don’t owe Cerberus anything.”

Silence.

O’Callaghan: “Didn’t…I thought they made you bankrupt?”

Wallace: “They did yeah but I don’t owe them anything. I don’t owe Cerberus anything. Cerberus, listen, let me be clear. Let me clarify it right.

“I was dealing with four banks – three of which were foreign, right? So I didn’t go into Nama. And when you talk about tens of millions of debt right…”

O’Callaghan: “But Mick you know, they made you bankrupt on the basis that you owed them two million.”

Wallace: “Two million? I didn’t even owe it to them. Right. There was a security of €2million put on a building in Inchicore which had absolutely nothing to do with them. They actually went into court and told three lies on an affidavit and unfortunately the judge was obliged to believe them.”

O’Callaghan: “OK but I suppose Mick we can’t be saying that people told lies. They’re not here…”

Wallace: “I can say, I can say it very clearly. And the only reason that Cerberus bankrupted me was because of the fact that I exposed the fact that they paid a €15million bribe to get Project Eagle.”

O’Callaghan: “But I suppose it was [former Fine Gael Finance Minister] Michael Noonan’s point that maybe you had a feud with them but that you didn’t enough come clean on admitting your relationship with them. It’s about transparency.”

Wallace: “I had no relations with Cerberus. And when Cerberus, when I raised the issue about Cerberus, right? Cerberus had nothing to do with my business. They bought one property from Ulster Bank which happened, I had, believe it or not, I had 39 properties with Ulster Bank and Ulster Bank asked me to work with them to sell them and one fell through the net and they didn’t sell it.

“And they threw it into Promontoria Ireland which Cerberus bought. That has nothing, that was after…”

O’Callaghan: “I suppose it was a simple point Michael Noonan, former minister for finance made, which was that maybe you should have declared your interest in relation to Cerberus…”

Wallace: “I didn’t have an interest with them then. Cerberus didn’t come on the scene until later.”

Silence.

Wallace: “That’s totally disingenuous.”

O’Callaghan: “Well then the minister is wrong?”

Wallace: “A hundred per cent. And that wasn’t the only thing he was wrong on.”

Watch back in full here

Ireland South candidates take part in TV debate (RTE)

Previously: Project Eagle And The €3.5 Billion Haircut (Broadsheet, July 2, 2015)

‘I Can’t For The Life Of Me Understand Why No One Gives A Bollox’ (Broadsheet, November 7, 2018)

Related: Mick Wallace’s bankruptcy latest chapter in Cerberus feud (The Irish Times, December 2016)

Noonan challenges Mick Wallace to ‘declare interest’ on Cerberus (The Irish Times, February 28, 2017)

UPDATE:

Vicky Phelan

In today’s Irish Times,  Health Correspondent Paul Cullen has an interview with Limerick mother-of-two Vicky Phelan – one year on from her High Court case where she settled a case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, for €2.5million.

Ms Phelan, who refused to sign a gagging order about her case, was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a cervical smear test error.

Following her case, it later emerged that more than 200 women diagnosed with cancer were not informed of an audit which revised their earlier, negative smear tests.

Mr Cullen reports:

“…Ms Phelan said the Taoiseach ‘just doesn’t get it’ in relation to fixing the problems that have arisen.

‘The classic example is him going on Six One News saying no woman would ever have to go into court, and look what’s happened. That’s still the case and not only that, the tribunal has not yet been established in order for that not to happen.

I don’t think he gets it at all. And it’s not just because he’s a gay man, I just don’t think he gets it.’

…’I think we got a lot of promises made at the time, not to shut us up but to “give them what they want quickly and get them off the pages”.

‘Until we have a situation in this country where people are held accountable for what they’ve done, these things are just going to keep happening and there’ll be another scandal,’ she said.”

Meanwhile, during an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Phelan apologised for and clarified her ‘gay man’ comment (above).

She said:

“I’m critical of the Government in general. I suppose, I think some of what I said was taken out of context and I would like to apologise to the Taoiseach for the comment in today’s article.

“What I said, I was trying to make the point that the issues faced by the women and their families are wide-ranging, they involve input from a wide range of players, from the Department of Health to the HSE, legal profession, the medical profession, and the Attorney General’s office to draft up this legislation.

“And basically any unwillingness or inertia on the part of one player can hold everything up and that is exactly what has happened over the last 12 months.”

Asked specifically what she was trying to say when she made the “gay man” comment, Vicky said:

“This is a women’s issue and it’s always about women, that was the point I was making. It wasn’t anything to do with the Taoiseach being gay, whatsoever. That was totally taken out of context.”

“We’ve seen it on a number of occasions over the last number of years, Miriam, between the different scandals that have happened to women. Bridget McCole, the Hepatitis C scandal…I think we have a very poor record and poor history in this country in dealing with women’s issues.”

Vicky Phelan criticises Varadkar for ‘unacceptable delays’ (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Listen back to interview in full here

Rollingnews

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

This morning.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy spoke to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Seán O’Rourke about the homeless and housing crisis.

During the interview, Mr Murphy told Ms O’Callaghan he’s expecting the figure for the number of people using emergency accommodation in July – expected to be released this week – to increase from the figure of 9,872, including 3,824 children, recorded in June.

From the interview…

What we have at the moment is a very acute supply problem which is being corrected and we can go into that in some detail in relation to the CSO figures.

“…what we saw for the last quarter, was about 4,500 new homes were completed. What we actually need to achieve is somewhere between 6,000 and 8,500 new homes being completed every quarter and then that continuing for a steady period of time.

“We have to move away from these violent swings in our housing output where we go from 90,000 – which is twice too many – people’s properties being overvalued and people then falling into massive negative equity and then, in a few short years, people living in cramped accommodation, trying to raise a family…

“…At the moment, we have about 2,400 [social housing homes] were built last year, another 4,400 will be built this year. At the end of the second quarter of this year, 4,000 were being constructed on site with another 2,000 to go on site.

We’re going to hit our target for increasing the stock of social housing by 50,000 by 2021.

“Importantly though, this year, Miriam, about one in four or one in five new houses that are built will be social housing homes and that commitment maintains for the next ten years.”

“…If you look at 2020 and 2021, under our plans, we will be putting more people in social housing homes than into the private rental sector because we have this commitment to build new social housing homes.

“…Again, looking at the CSO figures, which are independent from my own department, last year about 20,000 places to live were made available, 14,500 new homes were built, another 2,500 homes came out of vacancy – stock that wasn’t being used.

“Another 1,000 homes which had been started before the crash but were never finished were completed and about 2,000 new student bed spaces. So, that’s a dramatic increase.”

“…If you look at something like rough sleeping. This time last year it was far worse than it is now. We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in people who are sleeping rough.

“…I don’t have them [homeless figures for July] yet. We’re still compiling them. My understanding is that they will be slightly up because we are, again, seeing an increase in presentations.

“…My understanding is that the figures have gone up in one particular region which would give me reason to believe that actually they’ll be up overall.

“Whether or not they hit 10,000 this month, I can’t be certain now.

“…Hitting 10,000 doesn’t tell us anything that hitting 9,000 didn’t tell us which is that we have a very serious crisis.”

Towards the end of the interview, Ms O’Callaghan asked Mr Murphy about a report by Daniel McConnell, in the Irish Examiner, last week which claimed some Fine Gael ministers fear their “posh boy” image and failure to solve the housing crisis will “kill” their election hopes.

Mr Murphy said:

“Miriam… it doesn’t matter where I’m from or where I grew up or how I dress or how I look or how I speak, none of these things matter and people who, serious people really who shouldn’t entertain those types of ideas but, unfortunately, some of our politicians and some of our commentators are.

“What matters is: are our policies working?”

“…Fine Gael is the party of the Just Society. Declan Costello – that people growing up would have opportunities, the same opportunities, regardless of who there parents were or what they did…”

“…If people think the problem or our housing crisis is the fact that I am a posh boy from Dublin 4, then they are missing the mark completely…”

Listen back in full here

Margaret Cash and her seven children with RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan

This morning.

Homeless mum-of-seven Margaret Cash – who posted photographs of several of her children sleeping in Tallaght Garda station in Dublin last week – will move into a three-bedroom apartment in Dublin city centre on Friday.

She told RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan:

“On Friday, we’ll have a three-bedroom apartment here in town somewhere for a week trial and then, after the week’s trial, it will be on a monthly basis so  I’m quite happy with that.

“It’s better news than what it was last week, when they were expecting me to go night by night again, so I am, I’m really happy.”

Ms Cash also told Ms O’Callaghan that, prior to last week, she had previously been referred to Garda stations on two occasions and that’s why she posted the pictures of her children sleeping in the station last week.

Meanwhile…

Last night…

Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless – which has been paying for Ms Cash and her family’s accommodation since last week – wrote:

This morning @homelessDublin refunded the cost of accommodation we have paid of the last week. The process in doing this was as follows. DCC [Dublin City Council] rang the accommodation provider we engaged with last week, they asked them to refund ICHH [Inner City Helping Homeless] directly and they would then make payment. The accommodation provider immediately called me to discuss and ask for instruction as ICHH had originally made the booking.

I agreed for the provider to make the refund and charge Dublin City Council. The way in which this was done shows more complete contempt for the hard work and effort that ICHH do. Not making contact with us to discuss the issues or to work through the problems. All of the issues could have been dealt with last week if DCC had of worked with us instead of constantly working against us.

This isn’t the way the process should work, volunteer organisations are fundamentally important to support the charity sector. For five years ICHH have done so and have supported the most vulnerable and marginalised in society, statutory bodies ignoring those who are willing to help tackle a social crisis is absolutely wrong.

Previously: Anne Marie McNally: Lest Ye Be Judged

‘I’m Assuming They’re One Of The Families That Didn’t Seek Further Assistance From Us’

Gut Punch

Pic: Miriam O’Callaghan

This afternoon.

The Dublin Wax Museum

Miriam O Callaghan and Alan Hughes at the launch of the Laura Lynn Fundraising ‘Heroes Ball’ Gala event which this year takes place on Saturday 12th May at the Intercontinental Hotel .

Via Independent.ie

However, when pushed about her presidential ambitions she failed to clarify if she was going to run for Áras an Uachtráin later this year.

“We have a wonderful president,” she said on numerous occasions.

She said she will not be doing her usual summer chat show because of other commitments.

Well I couldn’t do everything this year. I’m doing 50 years since the Troubles broke out in Northern Ireland, a special documentary that we are starting to film at the beginning of June and we are going to the States, to places like Alabama, where the civil rights [movement] started.

We have a wonderful president and I am only not doing my chat show because I am making this documentary.”

‘We have a wonderful president’ – Miriam O’Callaghan on speculation she is planning to run for the Áras (Wayne O’Connor, Independent.ie)

Miriam O’Callaghan

Miriam O’Callaghan ‘returns’ with Saturday Night with Miriam

Sionead Harrington writes:

Joining Miriam in studio this week is comedian John Bishop who will discuss his long awaited return to stand-up comedy later this year.

Actor and former Dancing with the Stars finalist Denise McCormack will discuss what life has been like since she came nail-bitingly close to the glitter ball trophy.
Irish football legend John Giles will chat to Miriam about his new RTÉ One documentary called Giles. There will also be a performance from upcoming music sensation Wyvern Lingo.

Plus one lucky viewer will be in with a chance to win a whopping €10,000 at the end of the show.

*rips up imaginary telly licence*

Saturday Night With Miriam at 9:25pm on RTÉ One

Pic: RTÉ

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Miriam O’Callaghan and Rhona Mahony through the years and on last night’s Prime Time (above)

Sisters, eh?

Belinda B writes:

Was it it appropriate that Miriam O’Callaghan was chosen to interview Rhona Mahony, the Master of Holles Street [on last night’s RTÉ Prime Time] when she has been involved in a fundraising project for the National Maternity Hospital Foundation, where Ms Mahony and Peter Boylan, whom Ms O’Callaghan also interviewed, are directors, and also, on pictorial evidence alone, Miriam and Rhona appear quite close?

Anyone?

Earlier: How Deal Leaves Doors Open For Church Control

Pics: RTÊ, Independent, Rollingnews

miriam

Because you don’t get to see her much.

At home with Miriam.

Melanie O’Connor writes:

To celebrate the return of her summer chat show this weekend RTÉ Player gets up close and personal with Miriam to find out what makes her tick. During the quick-fire Q&A she reveals who she’d choose to play her in a movie of her life, her celebrity crush, the worst outfit she’s ever worn and her tipple of choice…

*burns imaginary telly licence*