Tag Archives: Morning Ireland

Former FAI CEO John Delaney and Sports Minister Shane Ross

This morning.

Sports Minister Shane Ross gave an interview on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland when he was asked if was “bailing out” the Football Association of Ireland.

In response, he said:

“I hate that sort of expression. What we’re doing at the moment is we are looking after the €2.9million which we give, which we have been giving to the FAI. We’ve withdrawn that funding and what we’re going to do there, is ensure that that gets to the small clubs.

“We’re going to absolutely ensure that that gets to the players, to the grassroots, and that it doesn’t go near the FAI because the FAI… bail-out is a very pejorative word. But it’s a basket case.

“And to ask the Government to come in and bail it out, when we don’t even know the extent of the black hole there, it’s an appalling vista and to ask us to bail it out? No. That’s not going to happen.

“We want to protect taxpayers’ funding. We also want to protect the grassroots. They’re the important people. We’re interested in football, not so interested in the FAI.

Listen back in full here

RELATED: Where was Shane Ross in 2017 when he could have done something about the FAI crisis? (Neil Cotter, The Irish Sun, October 8th, 2019)

Yesterday: Vanessa Foran: Let’s See That Again In Slow Motion

Previously: At The End Of The Day: €55,067,472

Pic: RTÉ

 

From top: All 15 doctors overseeing CervicalCheck’s colposcopy services are considering resigning; University Hospital Waterford, where two out of three nurse colposcopists have resigned; Dr Nóirín Russell

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Dr Nóirín Russell, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital and lead colposcopist with Kerry Colposcopy Service with University Hospital Kerry, spoke to Bryan Dobson.

It follows an article in today’s Irish Examiner by Catherine Shanahan and Elaine Loughlin in which they report that all 15 doctors overseeing the CervicalCheck’s colposcopy services are considering resigning.

The services they oversee are for women requiring further investigation following a smear test.

They reported that, at University Hospital Waterford, two out of three nurse colposcopists have resigned.

Dr Nóirín Russell told Mr Dobson what it has been like in the clinics since the CervicalCheck scandal broke in April of last year. She said:

“The last 18 months have been, first of all, incredibly difficult for women. Women have been absolutely terrified by the reporting, by the news, by the discussions about CervicalCheck.

“There was a lot of anger, especially at the start because women believed that they may have cervical cancer and that their doctors didn’t tell them.

“There was a lot of anger when the waiting lists became a problem. When all the extra smears, all the out of programme smears, were performed, that led to long delays, waiting for results and women were ringing, almost daily, for results.

“And that anger often led to quite, I mean I think ‘abuse’ is probably a strong word but there was a lot of abusive language used against staff admin and especially administration staff and nursing staff in clinics around the country.

“Before April 2018, it’s important to note that 98% of women were seen within eight weeks when they were referred to colposcopy. We didn’t have a waiting list, it worked really well.

“Because of the huge increase in referrals, we now have long waiting lists for referrals and that, it’s really important not to underestimate how stressful it is for women waiting for an appointment we are unable to tell them when it will be because of these lists.

“I’ll just give you an example – in my own service in Kerry, we saw 57% more women in 2018 than in 2017 but this was without extra resources….so you’ve got a perfect storm, you’ve got really anxious, worried women, ringing regularly and staff who are really, really under pressure.

“…We don’t want to leave the service, we believe in cervical screening, it works, it leads to a reduction in cervical cancer, that’s what we care about.

“We really want to see this programme flourish, we want to see it supported because we know that screening and HPV vaccination are the best ways that we have to achieve our goal of eradicating cervical cancer in Ireland.

But that support, we need that support as medical professionals, we also need the support of the media, the politicians, the Department of Health, the HSE, and very importantly, we need the women, the 1.2million, who are eligible for cervical screening to support the programme, to attend when they receive that information letter about cervical screening.

“Currently only 80% attend. We need all of the women to attend and they will only attend if they trust the service and have confidence in it. And that’s what our goal is.

“We don’t want to abandon the service but there have been many discussions during the year, amongst colposcopists, nurse colposcopists and medical colposcopists, querying, where is the future for cervical screening.

“We hope it’s bright, we hope that support is there but we don’t, we need that to be the message from today.”

Listen back in full here

‘Mass distrust’: Cervical Check losing staff due to stress (Catherine Shanahan, Elaine Loughlin, The Irish Examiner)

From top: Social Democrats co-leaders Catherine Murphy (left) and Róisín Shortall; Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy

This morning.

Bryan Dobson interviewed Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland ahead of the Social Democrats’ motion of no confidence in him this evening.

The Department of Housing’s homeless figures show there were a total of 9,724 individuals in emergency accommodation in October 2018.

In November 2018, the figure was 9,968; in December 2018, 9,753; in January 2019,  9,987; in February 2019, 10,264; in March 2019, 10,305; in April 2019, 10,378; in May 2019, 10,253; in June 2019, 10,172; in July 2019, 10,275; in August 2019, 10,338; in September 2019, 10,397.

The figures for October 2019 have yet to be released even though they were expected to be last week.

At the beginning of the interview, Mr Murphy called the motion “opportunistic” and “reckless”.

From the interview…

Eoghan Murphy: “We’re talking about a party which never once questioned me on Rebuilding Ireland on the Joint Oireachtas committee, the programme that I’ve been implementing now for the last two and a half years, that never put down one amendment on the residential, the rent reform bill that I brought earlier this year.

“And we know that the majority of people who are coming into emergency accommodation are coming from the private rental sector. I brought through reforms to protect those people. They didn’t put down one amendment and we know as well that Social Democrat candidates and public representatives, including Roisin Shortall who was on earlier, are objecting to housing in their own constituency.”

Bryan Dobson: “Well they have put down this motion and just in relation to what it might mean for the Government. There’s no question of you standing aside, allowing the Government to survive. It would mean the end of the Government, a defeat tonight.”

Murphy: “Bryan this is a stunt from the Social Democrats. Rebuilding Ireland is working to fundamentally increase the supply of housing in a sustainable way and driving a programme and reforming…”

Dobson: “And we’ll come to that. Just in relation to the politics, it will depend then obviously on the votes of Michael Lowry, for example, who as we know, is convicted of tax offences; of Noel Grealish to support you, whose comments recently on immigrants you described as “disgusting” and “potentially dangerous”. Those are the sort of people you need to go through the lobbies to keep you in Government.”

Murphy: “And my own colleagues in Fine Gael. We’re a minority Government, Bryan. And we get the support from different elements, different parties, different individuals in the House on any given vote. Each vote is different and each vote should be taken on its own merits.”

Dobson: “Right. And just…Dara Murphy, you expect him to be there? Your colleague?”

Murphy: “I do.”

Dobson: “The motion is in relation to confidence in you as minister. And you stand presumably on your record, so let’s look a little bit at your record. First in relation to homelessness.

“In June 2017, when you came into office, there were 7,900 people in emergency accommodation. At the end of September [2019], the most recent figures, that figure had risen to 10,397.

“Now that’s your record. Why would that inspire confidence?”

Murphy: “On that particular issue alone and I think we need to separate out housing and increasing the supply of housing and what’s happening in emergency accommodation because it’s more complex. Since I’ve been minister more than 12,000 people have exited homelessness. So while there has been an increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation and no one is happy about that, far many more people have been taken out of housing an security because of the work that we have done.

“Another thing to look at as well, is if you look at the 12 months before Rebuilding Ireland, the increase in the number of children going into emergency accommodation increased by 50 per cent. In the last 12 months, it’s increased by one per cent.

“That huge difference, in terms of the number of people going into emergency accommodation  is because of Rebuilding Ireland, because it is building new home and it’s supporting people in other ways who might be in housing insecurity.”

Dobson:It’s still the case though that there are close-on 3,900 children in emergency accommodation and we know from recent study carried out by the Royal Holloway Hospital in London that that has very significant or can have very significant implications for their development.

“They reported they couldn’t crawl or walk because of lack of space. That they didn’t have the ability to chew because they didn’t have access to the kind of food that they should be getting access to. That’s really a dreadful situation for any children to be in.”

Murphy: “Of course, and if we hadn’t had Rebuilding Ireland in place, if we hadn’t this programme to increase the supply of homes, that number would be much, much higher. But because we are increasing house building, we’re able to prevent more people from going into emergency accommodation so one in two families, only two families that came into homeless services this year, we found a home for one immediately.

“Regrettably another family went into emergency accommodation. But so far this year, 900 families have left emergency accommodation so a huge amount of work is being done to try and protect people in housing and security and if we didn’t have a plan that wouldn’t be happening.

“And the Opposition [inaudible] Rebuilding Ireland but they haven’t presented their own plan to replace it. And they haven’t changed one thing that I had done. We are the minority, we discussed earlier, they could change my plan and they haven’t.”

Dobson: “We also know that 45% of families in emergency accommodation are spending more than a year there. The figure is 15% for those who spend more than two years. So people are trapped in long-term homelessness here.”

Murphy: “So the majority are spending less than a year based on the figure you just gave to me. And that’s the important thing to point out. More than 50% of families in emergency accommodation are there for less than 12 months. It shouldn’t be any period at all but we don’t have the houses built yet. I mean we had a point inside very recently where the construction sector was basically non existent and almost nothing was being built.

“In a short period of time, we’ve had to rebuild the sector, build homes, and it’s at a time of net immigration as well. But the news now, under Rebuilding Ireland, is that the number of homes being built is dramatically increasing and that’s how we fix this problem. If you’re in a family hub, you’re spending an average of six months, and a family hub is the preferred option over a hotel and we’re rolling out family hubs all the time…”

Dobson: “And we’ve been hearing this, we heard it a year ago when you last defended yourself against a no confidence motion. We’ve been hearing it year after year from other previous ministers as well and yet the numbers still continue to rise. The plan, it seems, is not adequate to the challenge.”

Murphy: “The point about the numbers, Bryan, is that things were at risk of exploding. And the NGOs over the summer said that they were worried that the numbers of people in emergency accommodation was going to explode and they acknowledged that that didn’t happen. They’ve essentially remained almost flat for the last year because we have been able to build more homes. We’ve been able to stop the number of people going into emergency accommodation and now help people out.

“But we have to build more homes to get those people out of emergency accommodation and on that point, the CSO does the counting and those numbers don’t lie.”

Later

Murphy:Rebuilding Ireland isn’t four or five years old yet, OK. So what we’re doing is increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000 homes under Rebuilding Ireland and in the final year of Rebuilding Ireland which is 2021, which isn’t very long away, we’ll house more people in social housing homes than we will through the private rental sector. That’s the turnaround that we’re facing.”

Listen back in full here

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

On the letter’s page in this morning’s Irish Times...

I attended court with a young homeless boy who had been charged with theft of a bottle of orange, value €1.

Another homeless man was charged with theft of four bars of chocolate, value €3.

Another homeless man was charged with theft of two packets of Silk Cut cigarettes.

A TD, on his way to, or from, his full-time, very well paid job in Brussels, stops by at Dáil Éireann to sign in, so that he can collect his full €51,600 expenses for his attendance in the Dáil.

Fr Peter McVerry SJ,
Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice,
Gardiner Street,
Dublin 1.

A tale of two cities (Irish Times letters page)

From top: Ms Smith alighting a plane in Dublin yesterday; Lisa Smith giving an interview to Irish journalist Norma Costello last July: Ms Smith’s lawyer Darragh Mackin

This morning.

As 38-year-old former Defence Forces member Lisa Smith continues to be interviewed by gardai today following her return to Ireland from Turkey yesterday and her subsequent arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences…

Ms Smith’s solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law in Belfast, spoke to Audrey Carville on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier.

From their interview…

Audrey Carville: “You represent Lisa Smith. Are you satisfied so far how her arrest and her questioning has been handled by the gardai?”

Darragh Mackin: “It’s a very, very early stage in the investigation. However, at this stage, we are satisfied and Lisa has co-operated fully with the gardai like she co-operated with the Turkish authorities beforehand and the FBI before that.

“So we are satisfied that the investigation is progressing at a reasonable speed. We hope to bring matters to conclusion as quickly as possible.”

Carville: “Are you expecting a file to go to the DPP?”

Mackin: “At this stage, it is too early to tell. However, one thing is clear and has been clear from the various interviews that Lisa has given. Lisa has categorically denied involvement in any terrorist offence or terrorist organisation.

As many will be aware, or maybe unaware, for people to publicly remove or disassociate themselves from ISIS in itself, is unprecedented and unheard of, especially for someone who’s in a camp at that particular time.

“So we are of the view that the evidence of the State is inherently weak. And it does not point to terrorist offences and, as such, we believe that Lisa has a very, very strong case to make and is currently making that case.”

Carville: “But Islamic State is a terrorist organisation and she admitted to joining it, did she not?”

Mackin: “Unfortunately, it’s not as clear as that and as many people may not be aware, the process of radicalisation is inherently focused on religious beliefs.

“And unfortunately in this day and age, and has been the case for many year, that there are extremist organisations who target particular people, vulnerable people on religious beliefs, to try and move them to certain areas.

“By going to that area, that is not a terrorist offence. Going to a particular location is not a terrorist offence. You must be actively engaged in a terrorist organisation or a terrorist grouping.

Lisa has categorically denied being involved in any terrorist offence or a terrorist grouping. At this stage, there’s absolutely no evidence that she’s been involved in any terrorist organisation or terrorist grouping.

“And we must be clear: like the word Islamic State is not necessarily a direct link to ISIS. Of course there are all those connotations, however, the underlying and unfortunately deep political or religious background to the term Islamic State goes right back to people with particular beliefs as to what they believe to be a euphoria or a euphoric place.

“So the term Islamic State unfortunately and must be considered against that backdrop, it does not mean and it certainly, as is Lisa’s case and has been Lisa’s case from the first interview, that term does not mean that she was a member of ISIS.”

Carville: “Let’s hear her in her own words. Here she is talking to journalist Norma Costello who interviewed her for RTÉ News back in July. And during the course of that interview, she said very clearly, she had joined Islamic State but she also said very clearly that she did not fight for them.”

Plays clip from interview, in which Ms Smith said:

“I’m telling you myself. I didn’t fight.

“What did I do? I just joined the Islamic State and now I’ve become a monster? How? Like, you know? There’s many people… the British and the Irish fought for many, many, many years, you know? If someone from England moved to Ireland what would they say about them? You know? Or the opposite? From any country, you know what I mean like?

“How am I monster? I came here to Islamic State and I didn’t do anything.”

Carville: “‘I just joined Islamic State and now I’ve become a monster’. Those were the words of Lisa Smith back in July. Islamic State again a terror organisation, a prescribed organisation. So membership of it is illegal, surely?”

Mackin: “No unfortunately that isn’t strictly correct. This must be looked at against the actual…it is correct to say that the political connotations in this side of the world and particular what we understand Islamic State to be directly linked with Isis. That is correct.

“However, the words Islamic State go much deeper than that. There is much deeper. A particular religious belief and particular and though people of [inaudible] and particular persuasion of a study of Islam. People can believe that the Islamic State is a euphoric place in which they should strive to go to, right?

“And under certain teachings, as has been the case for Lisa, where you’ve become radicalised into believing that you are obliged to go to Islamic State. That is not in itself a terrorist perception. That is a very, very extreme view but it is not in itself a terrorist…”

Carville: “Does she no longer then pledge allegiance to the Caliphate and all that Islamic State aimed for in its ideologies?”

Mackin: “Well I think it’s clear from the interview that she gave, like I said, from the camp itself, that she does not pledge allegiance to the terrorist organisation Isis. Nowhere did she pledge her allegiance or become involved, that was her case publicly.

“And that public interview must be looked at in the context. That interview was given at a time when she was currently detained in a camp. In that camp it was well known, and has been well documented, that those women who spoke out, or in anyway disassociated themselves from the [inaudible] then of Isis, were subject to threats, to raping, to torture, etc.

“And the reality is that even that in itself is inherently unprecedented.”

Carville: “But there were also allegations Darragh Mackin, made by young women in Tunisia, that Lisa Smith helped to train them in the use of weapons. There were also suggestions, in general, that wives of Islamic State fighters, which Lisa Smith was, helped to procure other women for sexual assault and exploitation.

“Now did she engage in any of that?”

Mackin: “That’s hearsay in itself, because there has been not one witness statement, not one witness who has come forward and who has actually suggested that that took place, that that occurred. And therefore, until such times, and witnesses come forward, or witness statements are produced, it is merely that. They’re mere allegations of hearsay without any foundation or basis.

“And if you looked at the interview closely, when that is put to Lisa, her response is ‘bring those people to me and let them say it to me and I’ll say that never happened’. And those people aren’t produced. The position is that that is inherently unreliable.”

Carville: “We will leave it there for now. Thank you very much indeed. Darragh Mackin who represents Lisa Smith.”

Listen back in full here.

Yesterday: Here Comes The Bride

Pics: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews Irish News, RTÉ,

Meanwhile

Anything good in The New York Times?

Only the long lens capture of Lisa Smith at Dublin Airport by Eamonn Farrell, of Rollingnews.

In fairness

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee spoke to Carole Colman about her controversial tweets from 2011.

Ms Clifford-Lee is running for a TD seat in the Fingal by-election on November 29.

During the interview, Ms Clifford-Lee said:

“What happened back then was totally inappropriate and wrong and I’m very sorry for offending people. It was many years before I was engaged in electoral politics and in no way reflects my opinion on minority issues.

“My true attitude is reflected in what I’ve done and what I have said since I’ve been in a position to influence things. For example, I robustly offended in the media the families at Cabra Bridge last year, in their dispute with Tipperary County Council.

“I supported the Traveller education bill, the granting of ethnic status to Travellers, the family reunification bill which offered extra rights to undocumented migrant families in Ireland.

“And I also supported marriage equality so I’m truly sorry for the offence that I caused. I think sometimes we say things when we don’t understand the impact of the words that we use.

“I’m meeting Martin Collins [of Pavee Point]. I’ve spoken to him on the phone, I am going to reissue that apology to him in person and I truly hope that my apology is accepted.

“It’s from the bottom of my heart and it’s very heartfelt. And I hope to engage in constructive dialogue with Martin and his colleagues.”

Asked how she felt how the matter “unfolded during the middle of her campaign, she said:

“It obviously was unexpected but, you know, as soon as it emerged, I apologised and I’ve kept apologising and I will continue to apologise because that’s all I can do. I am genuinely very, very sorry.

“It doesn’t reflect who I am. It doesn’t reflect the work that I have engaged in and I know that I have caused offence and I am truly sorry for that offence.”

Asked if she accepts that people, particularly in public life, have to be very careful about how they label other people and other groups, she said:

“Absolutely and it’s something that happened far before I was involved in electoral politics. Nevertheless I understand the impact that the words I used has had on people and I understand the offence that I have caused and I am truly, truly sorry for that offence.”

Asked how she disassociates herself from something that was her own words, she said:

“It was a long time ago and I suppose we all evolve as people and I’m, now I’m a mother, I suppose I have educated myself a lot in relation to minority issues in recent years and yu know people make mistakes and it’s the recognition of those mistakes and it’s how you act.

“And since I have been a public person, that was in a private capacity. Since I have been a public person, I have worked very, very hard in relation to minority issues.”

Asked if there any other tweets or anything on other platforms that may yet emerge, she said:

“I don’t know is a straight answer because you know obviously this was a long time ago, before I was engaged in electoral politics and I’m very, very, very sorry for things I might have said back then.”

Asked for her thoughts, in general, on the value and challenges of diversity, she said:

“Ireland is a more diverse country than we have been in the past and particularly this constituency, it’s very, very diverse. And this constituency is a very young constituency and it’s  a rapidly growing constituency and there’s people coming from all over Dublin, all over Ireland and beyond to live in this constituency.

“I think it’s very important that we put the structures there in place in all our communities that we can all integrate, get to know each other and grow as communities.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Set In Motion

I’ve Been Smeared

 

From pic 3 : Secretary of the National Union of Journalist Seamus Dooley at RTÉ: this morning Dee Forbes, RTE Director General at The Late Late Show Gay Byrnes special last Tuesday night

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, secretary of the National Union of Journalists Seamus Dooley spoke to Bryan Dobson about the RTÉ 200 job cuts leak to The Irish Times last night.

Mr Dooley described the manner in which RTÉ’s staff and workforce learned about the cuts via media reports as “shocking”.

This morning, Will Leahy who presents RTÉ GOLD from Limerick told his listeners:

“The service you’re listening to now will cease to exist…Today could be our last day. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, it could be the 31st of December. All I know is what I read in the papers.”

From this morning’s interview…

Seamus Dooley: “As secretary of the NUJ, I’m not going to criticise any journalist for getting a good story. But the reality is that people are waking up to to, this morning, in Limerick, in digital services, finding out that their livelihood is under threat.

“And what I’m getting from staff on campus this morning is how can we trust these people to deliver a plan if they’re not even capable of delivering a message properly.”

Bryan Dobson: “What about the questions that you have about the plan itself. Because there are a lot of questions left unanswered, are there not?”

Dooley: “There are a huge amount of questions left unanswered and members of RTÉ, well all the trade unions, are caught between two abject failures. The failure of Government upon public service broadcasting and the failure, as admitted by the Director-General [Dee Forbes] herself this morning, the failure of executive management to deliver a plan.

“She has admitted here this morning that it has taken three years and the plan is not delivering. And the hames that has been made of this so far is proof of that. The reorganisation hasn’t worked.

“We were up for the plan. Remember that trade union group in RTÉ were the first workers in the public service to volunteer a pay cut. We have a document, guiding principles, which will, is the framework for all of the changes that can be delivered. Could we deliver it now? RTÉ have failed to implement changes using the existing collective agreements and I’m not going to listen to guff about agreements because they’re there.

“It’s up to management to manage – they haven’t been doing it.”

Dobson: “Key elements of this are that any redundancies will be voluntary so nobody is going to be make it compulsory to lose their job. The pay cuts will apply to the highest earners whether that be presenters or indeed at the executive level and there’s a pay freeze for the rest of staff.”

Dooley: “Well, first of all, we have, we only learned about this document through The Irish Times. Every proposal will be independently evaluated by an independent [inaudible] on our behalf. I’m very reluctant to take any promises at face value. We will absolutely interrogate them. I certainly welcome the statement in relation to voluntary redundancies.”I would say that I’m very worried about grand gestures. The DG herself admitted that the high pay issue, which can be a bit of a distraction really, is, would make an insignificant amount. So grand gestures like selling bits of art, or the board of RTÉ waving fees, they’re superficial.

“What we want and what we’ve been looking for for three years is the delivery of a plan which tells us the future of RTÉ.

“And one other thing I would say to your listeners is we represent what Gay Byrne used to call, the worker bees who keep the factory humming – low paid and who will be very hard hit by some of those…”

Dobson: “How concerned would you be that this plan mightn’t be enough. That if it’s not matched, as Dee Forbes seemed to be arguing earlier by reform of the licence fee, we’ll be back in the same situation in maybe just a couple of years time.”

Dooley: “I think the evidence is that redundancy packages of this type do not work. The proposals which RTÉ have implemented haven’t been enough and what we need is meaningful engagement which actually shows us the vision that RTÉ have in relation to what kind of public service broadcasting we want. So I would have a concern.

“And I would also worry about, I mean the atmosphere here is very poor. The moral is very low because since September, RTÉ have been engaged with what I refer to as ‘industrial relations striptease’ – where we get an odd email and an odd staff announcement, telling us ‘we’ll all be rooned said Hanrahan’ we have to do something’. Then they keep postponing and they postpone and then we read about it in this way.

“There is a big challenge facing us but there is also a challenge facing Government. We want public service broadcasting in Ireland, it must be paid for. It must be planned properly and that involves by both the executive of RTÉ and by Government.”

Dobson: “Right. Seamus Dooley from the NUJ thank you very much for that.”

Earlier on Morning Ireland, Director-General of RTÉ Dee Forbes said:

“It is regrettable but I think what’s also hugely important is that we sustain for the future. What’s most important in this conversation is that we sustain public service broadcasting.

“It’s never been a more important time. It’s never been more important to have that independent voice. So what we’re doing here is, is sort of changing, if you like, course and looking at the direction that it go in.”

EARLIER:

Last night.

Via RTÉ:

The RTÉ Guide is for sale

RTÉ will close its current studio in Limerick in 2020; production of RTÉ lyric fm will move to Cork and Dublin

RTÉ will continue to provide a mid-west news service in Limerick

We will close the Digital Audio Broadcast network, as well as RTÉ’s digital radio stations (RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra)

RTÉ Aertel will cease

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will transfer to the National Concert Hall

We will develop a new integrated media centre in Donnybrook, investing in new digital infrastructure

We need to reduce projected costs by €60 million over three years (2020-2023), in addition to the reduction of 23% delivered between 2008 and 2018

We need to reduce the fees paid to our top contracted on-air presenters by15%, in addition to the 30+% cuts as agreed in previous years

We need to reduce staff costs—we will consult with staff and unions on a number of initiatives, to include pay freeze, tiered pay reductions, review of benefits, work practice reforms

The Executive Board will take a 10% reduction in pay; the Board of RTÉ will waive its fees

We need to achieve a staff headcount reduction of c. 200 in 2020

RTÉ to cut jobs, pay and some services to address financial crisis (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes said:

“The challenges in front of us are real. But RTÉ does have a plan, which we are confident can address many of the challenges we face and bring Ireland’s national public broadcaster to stability.

However, Government needs to act to ensure there is a future for public service media in Ireland. I am clear about what role RTÉ should play in Irish life, but I am also clear that we cannot do it unless Government fixes the TV Licence system. We shouldn’t be under any illusions; we are in a fight – a fight to sustain a viable public media in Ireland.”

“We remain in discussions with Government. We are doing all we can to return RTÉ to a stable financial position, but we will not be able to reinvent public media for future generations, nor fulfil our remit, without immediate reform of the TV Licence system.”

FIGHT!

From top: Lucia O’Farrell outside Leinster House yesterday; Terms of reference submitted by Judge Gerard Haughton for a scoping exercise into the death of Lucia’s son Shane O’Farrell; terms of reference from the Department of Justice

This morning.

Lucia O’Farrell spoke to Dr Gavin Jennings on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland following her and her family’s protest outside Leinster House yesterday.

The family believe that the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and his department are narrowing the terms of reference of a scoping inquiry to be carried out by District Court Judge Gerard Haughton into the death of Lucia’s 23-year-old son Shane.

Shane was cycling home in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, when he was struck by a car driven by Zigimantas Gridzuiska and killed on August 2, 2011.

After meeting with the O’Farrell family, the judge had put forth his own terms of reference for the scope earlier this year.

His terms made reference to the Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights and outlined that he would review: the criminal prosecution of Zigimantas Gridzuiska over Shane’s death; Zigimantas Gridzuiska’s previous prosecutions; the review of Shane’s case by the Independent Review Mechanism; the criminal investigation by GSOC; the subsequent disciplinary investigation by GSOC; and documentation gathered for Shane’s inquest.

However, these have now been omitted from the minister’s terms of reference and the family believe they have been “watered down” greatly.

During this morning’s interview, Dr Jennings and Lucia were discussing the difference between the judge submitting that he review the previous investigations and Department of Justice’s terms of reference stating the outcomes of previous reports and investigations will be taken into account when they had this exchange:

Lucia O’Farrell: “That may well sound well and good [that previous reports will be taken into account] but that’s taking on board that the investigations were done correctly and we can prove there’s serious flaws in those [investigations] and inaccuracies…”

Dr Gavin Jennings: “What investigations are these, Lucia?”

O’Farrell: “The investigation is, one of them, was by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, which was seven years and there are two very serious flaws in that.

“One being that the GSOC report stated that the guards were unaware that Zigimantas Gridzuiska was outside the jurisdiction, reoffending two weeks before he killed Shane [while on bail].

“And we have a letter from both the PSNI and the prosecution [service] in Northern Ireland saying the guards were fully aware of this. They had contacted them.

“Also bail, in relation to Shane [his death] was fixed at €500 despite eight offences following the killing of Shane. That bail was never taken from him.

“And we have, in the GSOC report, it states that the judge estreated the bail. We have a letter form the Supt who prosecuted the case saying bail wasn’t estreated.

“So the public…our family are entitled to the truth. The public are entitled to the truth. But the members of the Dáil and Seanad voted for a public inquiry and the Government and Minister [for Justice Charlie Flanagan] has disrespected the will of the democratically elected people of this country. And we need to get the terms of reference right to give the judge the right tools to do his job.

“Which is looking at all of the circumstances of the case. That’s what was looked for and voted on in the Dáil and Seanad, to look at all of the circumstances.

“Looking at an outcome of a report is not doing what was voted on in the Dáil.

“And the terms will not allow the inquiry to assert the full and relevant facts in Shane’s case and it appears to be in an attempt to curtail the scope of the inquiry and further delay this.

“We are eight years and three months [since Shane’s death] and we have been, the only word I can say is: abused. Abused by the Department of Justice.”

Jennings: “Ok.”

O’Farrell: “As [the late former member of the UN Human Rights Committee] Nigel Rodley said: Delay, deny, lie.”

Jennings: “Lucia O’Farrell, thank you very much for speaking to us. That’s Lucia O’Farrell, the mother of Shane O’Farrell who was 23 when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2011.”

The O’Farrell family have been campaigning for several years for not only the matters leading up to Shane’s death to be investigated but, also, for their concerns about matters which occurred after Shane’s death to also be examined.

In March 2018, the Dáil voted by a majority of two to one for a commission of investigation to be set up to investigate Shane’s death.

The same motion was carried in the Seanad in February 2019.

Listen back in full here

Previously: Shane O’Farrell on Broadsheet

From top: Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; vote result yesterday in the European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg

This morning.

Fine Gael MEP for Midlands–North-West Maria Walsh spoke on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland about her  and her party colleagues decision to vote against a resolution to step up search and rescue operations of asylum seekers in the Mediterranean.

The other Fine Gael MEPs who voted against the resolution were Mairead McGuinness, Maria Walsh, Frances Fitzgerald and Sean Kelly.

Green Party MEPs Ciarán Cuffe and Grace O’Sullivan, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson and Matt Carthy, and Independents Luke Ming Flanagan and Mick Wallace all voted in favour.

No votes were recorded for Independent Clare Daly, DUP MEP Dianne Dodds, the Alliance Party’s Naomi Long or Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher.

The vote lost by two votes – to applause within the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Ms Walsh started her interview with Dr Gavin Jennings saying that there were a number of “red flags” in the resolution which she voted against.

The resolution included the following line:

“Calls on all actors in the Mediterranean to proactively transmit information related to persons in distress at sea to the competent authorities for search and rescue operations and to, where appropriate, any potential vessels in the vicinity that could imminently engage in search and rescue.”

Dr Gavin Jennings: “Why did you vote against the resolution?”

Maria Walsh: “Well, first and foremost, based off, let me be very clear. My colleagues in Fine Gael and the European People’s Party, EPP, support search and rescue for the most vulnerable in the Mediterranean and we’ve been very clear on that. We’ve also been very clear that we want effective and workable solutions for the Mediterannean, working with our new EU Commission, working with our council and, of course, across the European party.

“Not only is it morally right but it’s legally our duty to save our most vulnerable. But this report had a number of red flags to it and you would have seen that based off the 288 voted in favour, 290 voted against.

“Couple of red flags for us so as the EPP group, we made a plan. We needed to make sure that our most vulnerable was protected. So we had four key votes and I’ll just explain one of them in particular that was the one voted down was amendment 59 which was calling, which was proposed by S&D and Greens originally and we had really fought to include this into a key vote into the report as a whole and it wanted information shared to all vessels – NGOs, Frontex, members states.

“Now what we see in Essex and what I’m reading on the reports is the fact that we have an incredible serious issue with human trafficking, incredible. That we need to solve and find a solid solution for. But sharing information of our most vulnerable when they’re at most risk, is not the way to do it.

“So, how, what was proposed by other parties was information would be shared throughout. That, that, I can’t stand over that. EPP couldn’t stand over that. That is just one call. But I do want to stress to listeners and to yourself – this report does not change, this resolution I should say, does not change, does not combat or create any other issues under international law.

“All vessels that come into contact with individuals must assist them and this vote doesn’t change that.”

Dr Gavin Jennings: “OK.”

Walsh: “But what it does is it shows that, it shows that we have to go back to the drawing board, it shows we have to bring in Ursula von der Leyen commissioner-designates in to talk about this and we have to find a solution that works for all, that member states…”

Jennings: “The resolution…”

Walsh: “….and NGOs are not at risk…”

Jennings: “Maria Walsh, the resolution called on all actors in the Mediterranean to transmit information in relation to persons in distress at sea to the competent authorities for search and rescue, all actors in the Mediterranean. Now your party, Fine Gael, as part of the European People’s Party voted alongside ultra-nationalists and far-right parties to defeat this resolution by two votes. Many of those parties were celebrating the result in the European Parliament. Are  your party proud of your achievement?”

Walsh: “Not at all. Actually, I won’t speak for, I won’t speak for any other group, except the EPP. I know the co-ordinator quite well, Roberta Metsola for the EPP, I also know the Shadow Repertoire  on this file Lena Düpont, from Germany. And I can tell you this: we, as soon as the vote was cast, and the result was shared, we were disappointed. We wanted the…”

Jennings: “Many of the parties that votes alongside you were far from disappointed.”

Silence

Walsh: “Well, like I said I can’t speak on behalf of any other group, except the EPP. But the one sentence that came out from again Roberta and Lena’s mouth is: we need to get back to the drawing board. And we need to get back fast. So that issues, and you see a lot of red flags here, that people are clinging on to the fact that four MEPs from Fine Gael voted this down.

“This report was loose in language, it was not legally binding, it was not looking at support from member states, it was actually putting NGOs, that do amazing work, most at risk.

“And we are looking at and calling for an increase in smuggling and trafficking. And any report that has any grey area with increase of trafficking, I’m sorry. I hope my listeners, your listeners, agree with this: we cannot support.

“I also just want to point out…”

Jennings: “Very briefly..”

Walsh: “Yeah, I just want to point out. This report wasn’t, wasn’t green flagged by everybody. I want to note that four S&D colleagues voted down, five were absent. Renew Europe, ten voted down and four were absent. Now the far, far right, or far left, if you want to give them names…”

Jennings: “I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave it there, Maria Walsh, MEP, thank you very much for speaking to us this morning.”

Listen back in full here

Yesterday: Meanwhile in Strasbourg

Previously: What Fresh Hell…?

Rollingnews

UPDATE:

Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly

This morning, Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly spoke to East Coast FM about the vote.

He told Declan Meehan that he and his colleagues “don’t want to put anything put in place to help the smugglers”.

Asked about the applause that rang out after the vote result emerged, Mr Kelly said: “I think it was terrible.”

He added that those who applauded “had a different reason for voting the way we did”.

East Coast FM

UPDATE:

Conor McCabe tweetz:

After he voted to let people drown in the Mediterranean, Seán Kelly ordered himself a juicy burger and side plate of chips. He even fu**ing tweeted it.

UPDATE:

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has tweeted:

Yesterday, I voted on over 140 amendments and resolutions.

Included in these were votes in favour of many GUE/NGL amendments supporting their position on refugees and migrants.

However, voting was slow to start and as such I had to leave at 12:45 in order to compete my 2.5 hour bus journey to Frankfurt in order catch my flight back to Dublin and then onto Cork.

I 100% would have voted in favour of this resolution. I hope that the EU Council and Commission can implement progressive proposals to protect migrants & asylum seekers and save lives.

UPDATE:

RTÉ News reports:

Speaking to RTÉ News, Ms McGuinness said the provision would have required Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, “to share information with all ships in the region, including traffickers”.

Ms McGuinness said that would not have been acceptable and said if the resolution had been passed, it would have “made the situation worse”.

“We had concerns about the actual content of it, not about the objective,” she added.

Ms McGuinness said she “will not allow anyone challenge my ethics or morality around saving lives” and she insisted the parliament “will revisit this issue again” very shortly.

McGuinness and Walsh defend vote against search and rescue resolution (RTÉ)

From top: The PSC card; Minister for Employment and Social Protect Regina Doherty

This morning.

Minister for Employment and Social Protect Regina Doherty spoke to Bryan Dobson on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

It followed the release of her joint statement with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe last night – stating that it would be “inappropriate, and potentially unlawful, to withdraw or modify the use of the Public Services Card or the data processes that underpin it”.

This is despite the Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon’s findings on the card following a two-year investigation.

Contrary to the DPC’s report, the Government also said “the processing of personal data related to the PSC does in fact have a strong legal basis, the retention of data is lawful and that the information provided to users does satisfy the requirements of transparency”.

They said they came to this conclusion on foot of advice from the Attorney General’s Office.

Ms Doherty also said the PSC “has not seen any mission creep”.

In this morning’s interview, asked how much a legal challenge to Ms Dixon’s report would cost the State, Ms Doherty said “it would be in the Circuit Court so it probably wouldn’t be very expensive”.

At the outset of the interview, Mr Dobson asked Ms Doherty for her reaction to the DPC report.

Regina Doherty: “So Bryan, first of all, at the outset, I’d like to say that we, in the department and Government, have the highest respect for the office of the Data Protection Commission and the important work that they do.

“But, however, as a minister, I have to take my own responsibilities for Government policy with equal measure of respect and we have taken an awfully long time in the last two and a half weeks to really carefully and methodically consider and reflect on the final report from the commission and we’ve taken both our own legal advice from the Attorney General’s office and external counsel advice.

“And unfortunately, we don’t accept the findings in the report and will challenge them.

“And, to that affect, we wrote to the commission yesterday, seeking at the earliest opportunity, an opportunity to meet with the commission to discuss the findings and to outline exactly what it is that we find is the legal basis and it’s a very strong legal basis, as far back as 1998 when the conception of the idea of cross Government services, across any Government platform was conceived by that Government. But successive Governments since then have changed the legislation to allow and to anticipate the sharing of the data.

“So that Irish citizens can do their business and identify themselves just once and then be able to access services in an efficient manner.”

Bryan Dobson: “But just on a couple of specifics here. Her requirement that you stop processing data in those areas where she [Helen Dixon] says there’s no legal basis for the card, are you going to do that or are you going to continue processing data?”

Doherty: “What we’re going to do is to continue acting on the basis of the legislation as it would have passed in 2005….”

Dobson: “In defiance of her finding?”

Doherty: “In our basis, gives a very clear and legal underpinning of what it is that we’re doing and so at the very early…”

Dobson: “She says you don’t have that legal basis, it’s not there.”

Doherty: “Well, to be respectful, where we have a difference here is in the interpretation of the Social Welfare and Consolidation Act of 2005. My legal advice is incredibly strong, that we have a clear and unambiguous legal basis to do exactly what we intended to do from 2005 and what successive governments have done since and…”

Dobson: “Minister, she spent two years investigating this and her conclusion is that you don’t have the legal basis. She’s the person who’s charged. It’s her responsibility to protect the public interest, to protect all of our privacy and our data. And she says you don’t have the legal right to do this.”

Doherty: “And again, not to labour the point, Bryan, we believe that we do have the legal rights and the legislation to underpin exactly what we’ve anticipated from 2005 and the legislation and that’s why we’d like to sit down with the commission and discuss her concerns and to see if there’s any way we can overcome her concerns that she has with regard to the findings that she’s issued.”

Dobson: “Will you publish your legal advice so we can see what it is?”

Doherty: “I certainly won’t publish the legal advice but what I absolutely intend to publish is the commission’s report and our response to it. But, again, what I would rather do, rather than prejudice a meeting that I would really like to have with the commission, I would wait until the commissioner responds to me at some stage today or tomorrow before publishing. But I have absolutely intentions to publish the report and our response to it.”

Dobson: “Is it likely this will end up in court? Are you prepared to take it to court?”

Doherty: “Depending on where we go from here. At the moment, I don’t have a legal basis to take it because the report wasn’t issued under the legislation, the Data Protection Act…”

Dobson: “But if she takes enforcement proceedings – you’ll fight that? Will you?”

Doherty: “In my letter yesterday, I have given notice that, yes, we would intend to challenge within the courts, yeah.”

Dobson: “So you’re prepared to use public money to confront somebody who’s responsible for defending the public interest?”

Doherty: “I think the way the Oireachtas established the Data Protection Commission was exactly allowing for differences of views and differences of opinion and this certainly is not the first time that a regulator has been challenged by a Government body and I’m probably quite sure it won’t be the last.

“But what I absolutely have a responsibility to do is to make sure that I deliver public services to the people that we serve, that I serve, in the most efficient manner…”

Later

Doherty: “…we really believe that we have a very, very strong legal basis to do exactly what we have done and it would actually be illegal for us to change…”

Dobson: “And you’ll defend that all the way? In terms of legal action, you’d go all the way in defending that?”

Doherty: “I think that’s my role and responsibility…”

Dobson: “What would that cost Minister in legal fees?”

Doherty: “I don’t know but again it would be in the Circuit Court so it probably wouldn’t be very expensive. But what would be absolutely enormously expensive, Bryan, is that if we decided to act illegally and change Government policy and services delivery without having a serious conversation around the difference of opinion of the interoperation of the law.”

Listen back in full here

Rollingnews

Yesterday: Put It On The Card

Identity Crisis

UPDATE:

Elizabeth Farries, Information Rights Programme Manager for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, also spoke with Mr Dobson this morning.

During her interview, they had this exchange:

Bryan Dobson: “I’m wondering what’s your problem here? Do you have an objection in principle to this kind of card which can be applied across a whole range of Government services, it seems, on the face of it, something that might be very, might be welcomed, improve efficiency and productivity, in the provision of public services. Do you have an objection in principle or is it the way it’s being done?”

Elizabeth Farries: “ICCL and other experts have been opposed to the card from the start. We are opposed to it in principle and we’re opposed to it for good reasons. It’s illegal, the Data Protection Commissioner has said that and we’ve been saying that for years.

“It doesn’t respect privacy rights which are fundamental rights which we should all take extra care of in our technological age.

“And it targets the poor.

“And so crucially now the DPC is saying these same things. There are significant data security risks attached to the card and we have a group of privacy experts from all over the world right now with the international network of civil liberties organisations and they’re dealing with very similar problems in their countries.

“And they’ve seen devastating consequences of cards like this. In India, we have someone from the Human Rights Law Network talking about the Aadhaar card and the massive breach that happened there – they’re exposing important information of a billion people. You’ve got…”

Dobson: “I’m just wondering if the legal safeguards, if the legal foundation was put in place, if the safeguards were put in place, if the transparency, which the data commissioner says isn’t there, if that was put in place. If those safeguards were put in place and people had assurances that their data would be treated properly and be protected, should the card have a future?”

Farries: “There are no legal safeguards, as it stands, to protect from the security risks attached to the card in its current form. It’s absolutely unnecessary to collect very sensitive data, including biometric data used through facial recognition.”

Dobson: “That wasn’t a finding of the data commissioner, I think.”

Farries: “This is certainly our position.”

Dobson: “Yes.”

Farries: “It has been a finding of the data commissioner that it’s unnecessary to collect the huge amount of information without adequately …”

Dobson: “But, biometric data, she didn’t rule on that question.”

Farries: “We understand that she’s going to follow up on that question. Because it’s such an individually important question that it requires and investigation of its own.”

Dobson: “Very good.”

Listen back in full here

Earlier today.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Journalist Dr Gavin Jennings interviewed Leonard Doyle, spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration, after a boat bound for Italy capsized off Libya on Monday.

At least 40 people went missing and are presumed dead, while the Libyan Coastguard picked up around 60 people.

Most of the people on the boat were reportedly from Sudan.

A similar incident claimed the lives of about 100 people last week.

From the interview:

Dr Gavin Jennings: “And it was the Libyan Coastguard who came to their rescue, yes?”

Leonard Doyle: “I mean this is a contentious point but yes, the Libyan Coastguard has been intercepting or rescuing, depending on your point of view, for some considerable time now and then bringing them back to Libya where their fate is not always certain. I mean some have gone into detention, some not. In this case, probably not.”

Jennings: “Were there not Italian boats who were also supposed to be available to help as well?”

Doyle: “There is a big issue with search and rescue in Europe at the moment which is what I think you’re alluding to. The European Union has declined to provide the rescue services that were there for a long time, the search and rescue, in the belief that this is an attracting force, bringing, attracting smugglers to push migrants into sea and in flimsy vessels. And we’ve seen a lot of evidence of that.

“At the same time, the European Union has been supporting the Libyan Coastguard and are trying to get them to abide by international law, to follow human rights, etc. It’s not always been the case. As you know there were 150 people killed in an airstrike over a month ago. People had returned after being rescued at sea. So it’s a complicated, difficult issue. We’re going through a very bloody war at the moment. The worst in many years. So it’s complicated.”

Jennings: “And there were two planes that were being used by NGOs to search for migrant boats in the Mediterranean that were grounded this week?”

Doyle: “The political mood is very tough in Europe at the moment when it comes to migration. Even though those crossing the Mediterranean, mostly Africans, are a tiny number of people, the political mood has grown deeply hostile and deeply populist and one of the expressions of that is a crackdown, if you will, on NGOs who are doing very, very important life-saving work, search and rescue operations, SARs its called. It’s, it’s a terrible situation.

“Lives should not be part of politics. Saving people’s lives should not be part of politics. The impression one has from political and media sources is that there’s an invasion of people, it’s tiny. The numbers are tiny, as you mentioned. 54 people survived, that’s not a lot of people.”

Jennings: “Tell us about the scale of numbers, this summer, for example. I mean have recent moves by, for example, in Italy made any difference. Are there less people now trying to cross the Mediterranean as a result?”

Doyle: “I mean it’s hard to pinpoint one country’s actions for creating an effect. But undoubtedly the work, the really good work is being done by the European Union throughout West Africa, in particular, in helping people avoid make tragic journeys is having its own impact. There’s a lot of awareness raising going on, there’s a lot of informing people along the way – of the dangers ahead. And the dangers are terrible.

“The smugglers are the first people to blame, not the policymakers at the end of the day. The policymakers may get it wrong in our opinion, but they’re not the ones who are creating the havoc. So a lot of effort has taken place into investing in the so-called, you know, upstream routes that the migrants take into informing them of the dangers ahead if they go to Libya. That they will be incarcerated, they will be abused, they’ll be tortured and all that sort of thing.

What happens on European shores I think is probably marginal at the end of the day.”

Alternatively…

Listen back in full here

Related: EXCLUSIVE: UN probe finds Sudan staff member solicited bribes from refugees (Sally Hayden, The New Humanitarian, August 15, 2019)

Previously: Into Harm’s Way

‘Our Naval Service Is Part Of It’

Image: Al Jazeera