Tag Archives: Noel Whelan

From top: Noel Whelan; From Whence I Came; The Kennedy Legacy, Ireland And America (Merrion Press)

This afternoon.

From the people behind the annual Kennedy Summer School:

From Whence I Came is a brand new collection of 15 specially-commissioned essays looking at the legacy of John F Kennedy and the politics of Ireland and the United States – co-edited by Dr Brian Murphy, a lecturer at the Technological University Dublin, and Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin, Associate Professor of Politics at Dunblin City University.

Contributors include Cody Kennan, former Obama speechwriter, Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organisation and Tad Devine, former senior adviser to Bernie Sanders.

Published by The Merrion Press, all royalties will go to the Community Hospital in New Ross, as the book is published in memory of the late barrister and political advisor  Noel Whelan, who hailed from New Ross and co-founded and ran the Kennedy Summer School there. Noel died in July 2019 aged 50.

From Whence I Came (The Merrion Press)

Barrister and Irish Times columnist Noel Whelan

This morning.

On RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan.

Barrister Noel Whelan told Miriam he’s not going to run for president.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Noel, are you in or out?”

Noel Whelan:I’m out. I made a decision at the end of February, that if the sitting president [Michael D Higgins] wasn’t contesting that I would put a campaign together. I spent about seven or eight weeks with a core team of about a dozen, some of whom I’ve worked on referendum and political campaigns before – considering the question. I came to the conclusion then, particularly in the last couple of months when President Higgins, the information about President Higgins running again firmed up that he, we have a good president. He was likely to be reelected in circumstance where he’s offering himself again.”

“In the last two weeks, I suppose I felt it was important enough to reconsider the decision again for two reasons. One, because I was surprised by the extent of reaction to the people saying they wanted to have an election and I think there’s a majority, a substantial majority, sorry, minority – I emphasise it is a minority – that has issues around the president contesting again in circumstances where he promised one term. And, secondly, I think the fact that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael didn’t have a candidate and weren’t in a  position to or had decided not to, as it were, compel their councillors. Then that had opened, in my case, at least, a pathway to getting a nomination onto the ballot paper.

“But, having revisited it again and, you know, Eileen Gleeson, actually, is the best person to explain what the presidency was on a panel with you here two weeks ago. She said to people and it’s worth bearing in mind across the next three months. That when you hear the candidate, close your eyes and imagine, can they hold it at the UN General Assembly on behalf of Ireland? How do they sound, she said, at a diaspora event, in an Irish event, in Auckland or Chicago or Toronto? And how would they deal with a political crisis like we had, to some extent, after the last election. And she said you need to think of the person in that context.

“Now, I’m very conscious that anybody who puts his or her name up for consideration for the presidential election is going to be met with the suggestion, well ‘who do they think they are?’. And, you know, I come from a family of 12, from a  small, rural post office in a little village in south Wexford, the first of any generation to get the chance to go to college which changed and transformed my life. And to think of oneself in that role or to have people say it, each of the candidates has is, ‘you should think about applying for putting up for that role’, is a big reach and ambition.

“But if I didn’t done reaches and ambitions in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

O’Callaghan:Did you consider it seriously?

Whelan:I did. We spent eight weeks. And I’ll be straight, if Michael D Higgins wasn’t running then we wouldn’t have waited until now, we would have put a campaign in place, beginning last April.

Listen back in full here

Previously: It Starts Here

From top: Barrister Noel Whelan who most recently acted as legal counsel for An Garda Síochána at the Disclosures Tribunal; Gavin Duffy


“It is a wonderful office, I think in many ways it’s the most interesting office in our political system not least because the president has the capacity to elevate some issues, shine a spotlight on causes and groups which don’t necessarily get the appropriate attention. I think it has at times subtle, legal and political dimensions that are taken for granted.”

Barrister and political commentator Noel Whelan

Whelan may still make run for the Áras (Hugh O’Connell, Sunday Business Post)

Sources familiar with Duffy’s plans claim up to 15 councils are willing to nominate candidates. By law, councils must wait until Eoghan Murphy, the local government minister, moves the election writ, which is expected to be around August 28, before they formally nominate candidates.

Dragons’ Den star Gavin Duffy fired up for Aras tilt against Michael D Higgins (The Times ireland edition)


Pics; RTE/Rollingnews

Noel Whelan 

Noel Whelan’s article “Far left’s high profile contrasts sharply with modest electoral reach” describes the Solidarity-PBP grouping as minnows.

The Labour Party has seven seats to Solidarity-PBP’s six. If we combine, as Mr Whelan does in his article, Solidarity-PBP’s seats with those of the Independents 4 Change grouping and other left-wing TDs, the left comfortably outnumbers Labour.

Yet Noel Whelan does not call Labour small fish or “fringe deputies”.

The thuddingly dull comparison between Donald Trump and the left, as constant in your newspaper as the Angelus, on the basis of criticism of the mainstream media, is fatuous.

It should not need to be said that the basis and method of the left’s critique of certain sections of the media differs ever so slightly from Mr Trump’s lying, egomaniacal Twitter outbursts against CNN.

Your columnist manages class snobbery and reverse class snobbery in the one paragraph, suggesting that the kind of people who vote left are not natural Irish Times readers and, heaven forbid, that some left-wing TDs have the temerity to have been born to middle-class backgrounds.

I can assure him that many supporters of the left of all classes read this newspaper, either as its de facto status as the paper of record or as a means to keep abreast of the latest fashionable delusions of the bourgeois hive-mind, of which Noel Whelan is such a stalwart proponent.

Jill Bryson,


The Irish left and fringe deputies (The Irish Times letters page)

Related: Far left’s high profile contrasts sharply with modest electoral reach (Noel Whelan, Irish Times, July, 2017)


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From top: the panel on Wednesday’s night’s Late Debate and the presenter Cormac Ó hEadhra

On Wednesday night.

On RTÉ Radio One’s Late Debate.

The panel discussed the Garda whistleblowers, following Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s appearance before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality earlier that day.

Readers will recall how, during that meeting, Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly repeatedly asked Ms O’Sullivan if she would confirm legal counsel for one of the Garda whistleblowers wrote directly to her 14 times over a two-year period, outlining the whistleblower’s experience of surveillance and intimidation.

Ms Daly asked this based on Ms O’Sullivan saying she wasn’t privy to any information about allegations of mistreatment of whistleblowers.

Ms O’Sullivan repeatedly said she would not answer any specific questions in relation to any specific individual or any specific correspondence received.

The Late Debate panel included Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy; Independent TD Stephen Donnelly; Independent TD Catherine Connolly; Sinead Ryan, of the Irish Independent; Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland; and Noel Whelan, barrister and Irish Times columnist.

From the panel discussion with presenter Cormac Ó hEadhra…

Cormac Ó hEadhra: “Let’s turn to the Budget in just a moment but we’ll start with the embattled Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan who came before the justice committee today, she had some serious questions to answer from the committee. Tonight the Tanaiste has staunchly defended the Commissioner. The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald – Colm Brophy, your colleague in Fine Gael – has said there is no evidence of wrongdoing against Noirin O’Sullivan, is that correct though?”

Colm Brophy: “Well, I think so, and I was at the justice committee today. I was one of a number of TDs who had the opportunity to question and talk to the Garda Commissioner and I mean there’s no question. There are a swirl of allegations and comments and various other things but I thought the Commissioner dealt very fairly and squarely with them all. I think she answered every question she was asked and made it very clear that there were one or two areas that she can’t answer because she is prohibited from answering because she, because of her role and she but that I mean…”

Ó hEadhra: “But saying there’s no evidence at all, surely that’s not correct? Surely there’s a prima facie case to answer?”

Noel Whelan: “There…”

Ó hEadhra: “You’re saying there’s not, Noel?”

Whelan: “I’m sorry, I, I, I have to say I was appalled by the clips and I’ve only seen and heard the clips on the radio and on the television today that I saw. I said to myself is it any wonder that the public rejected the notion of giving Oireachtas committees powers when some members – and I emphasise some members – take a view that they can come into a committee and say, ‘somebody has told me this thing, this allegation’ and even though there’s an inquiry, has been appointed, to establish the evidence. I mean Clare Daly just said ‘I have evidence that’. She has evidence of nothing. She has hearsay of an allegation.”

Ó hEadhra: “She has…”

Whelan: “It’s hearsay…No…no it’s not evidence, it’s not evidence.”

Ó hEadhra: “She has evidence that needs to be tested.”

Whelan:It’s not evidence.”

Ó hEadhra: “You’re saying there’s no prima facie case to answer.”

Whelan: “No, I’m, no, I’m not, that’s not what I’m saying.”

Ó hEadhra: “You did say.”

Whelan: “No, I didn’t, no…”

Ó hEadhra: “Yes you did, two seconds ago…”

Whelan: “No, you said…”

Ó hEadhra: “Two seconds ago…”

Whelan: “I said there is not evidence… no, my issue is her use and your word, your use of the word, your use of the word ‘evidence’. What seems to have happened here is somebody decided to use the confidential disclosure mechanism, which has recently been established pursuant to the whistelblowers’ acts which by it’s very nature means those about whom allegations are being made, the information is not shared with them. So if, in passing it seems, or in part of the context of allegations which seem to be directly related to the previous commissioner, it’s suggested that the current commissioner did something wrong, she would not be aware of who made those allegations or what precisely those allegations mean. Simultaneously with making those allegations to the Confidential Recipient – for confidential purposes – the people, or people close to the people who made the complaint talk to a range of journalists and politicians and give them the details…”

Ó hEadhra: “But why though?”

Whelan: “Why.”

Ó hEadhra: “Why do they do that?”

Whelan: “Even before the minister got a chance, even before the minister gets a chance to sit at her desk..”

Ó hEadhra: “Why would they do that I wonder?”

Whelan: “Exactly, exactly…”

Ó hEadhra: “You answer that question.”

Whelan:Why wouldn’t they wait for the minister first to make a decision as to what to do next? What does the minister decide to do? The minister decides to go and get a high court judge to inquire into the precise allegations that are made because that person can then see what the allegations are and then test…”

Ó hEadhra:Why would they go to journalists? Is it, I wonder, and this is just a question, I don’t know, is it I wonder because there’s a lack of trust in the chain of command within An Garda Siochana?”

Whelan: “Or because..”

Ó hEadhra: “Could it be that?”

Whelan: “It could of course…Of course it could be that…no, no, let me finish…let me answer…it could be that, or it could be because they want to undermine the Commissioner.”

Talk over each other

Whelan: “Irrespective of whether the allegations stand up or not…”

Ó hEadhra: “But given the fact, given the fact that a solicitor of one of the people who made the allegations…”

Whelan: “No…”

Ó hEadhra: “Hang on, hang on..”

Whelan: “You have to distinguish here…he is not…that solicitor does not represent one of the complainants to the confidential recipient…”

Ó hEadhra: “I accept that…”

Whelan: “And this is the confusion…”

Ó hEadhra: “Listen to my question though….”

Whelan: “No, but you said one of the allegators [sic], he’s not one of the persons making the allegations…”

Ó hEadhra: “One of the previous whistleblowers…”

Whelan: “Exactly…”

Ó hEadhra: “Right…. Has made an allegation that GSOC investigations, for example, a previous investigation set up, have been frustrated by the force. Now, when you call for due diligence and due process I mean and that due process is frustrated well what would you, as a barrister, do? If you’re involved…hang on now… this is the question, if you’re involved in an investigation, as a barrister, right? And you find that your investigations are being frustrated, for example, there isn’t a disclosure or a discovery, what do you do in that instance?

Whelan: “Hold on, the whistleblower isn’t conducting this investigation. That investigation is being conducted by Justice Mary Ellen Ring and GSOC. She has complained about the fact that she doesn’t have power to compel a timely disclosure of information from the gardai so you address it that way or she goes in, she has done more publicly, called on a more speedy addressing of the information. Now, you don’t go and piggyback, you don’t go and seek to piggyback on an investigation that everybody says has to be conducted quickly, that everybody says is significant, in my view, it’s not significant, it’s potentially significant – if the evidence stands up. And everybody says, you appoint a high court judge to investigate two other complaints made on the confidential system by two other complainants, you don’t piggyback on that because all that will do is confuse, as has already happened here in the presentation of it and secondly, delay the outcome.”

Ó hEadhra: “But hold on, you’re after telling us that an investigation that is under way, the judge is in charge of it, and the judge has said, look this investigation is being delayed…”

Whelan: “She said she wants to move quicker…”

Ó hEadhra: “Yeah and…”

Talk over each other

Ó hEadhra: “In the meantime, more whistleblowers come forward, make an allegation and that is fished out to another investigation…”

Whelan:No a whistleblower hasn’t come forward. What’s come forward is someone making a complaint to the confidential recipient that he himself was involved in a campaign to do in a whistleblower...”

Ó hEadhra:Who is, in effect, another whistleblower...”

Whelan: “So then he becomes himself…”

Ó hEadhra: “Yes…”

Whelan: “A whistleblower..”

Ó hEadhra: “Yeah, so what? That’s what I said..”

Whelan:But either because of remorse, as is suggested, or because it’s the best way to protect his own position...”

Ó hEadhra: “But the key question, Noel, is, the key question…”

Whelan: “And that’s why, we don’t have to decide this Cormac, that’s why you appoint a High Court judge do decide these things and what you don’t do: here’s the real unfairness and injustice, you don’t allow politicians then to go into committee and just lob those allegations or any other colourful allegations they want across the table and require a witness to respond. I mean that’s, that’s Trump-like politics…”

Talk over each other

Ó hEadhra: “Hang on…But there’s another parallel question…”

Whelan: People are saying that, insert the most colourful thing that will get me most headlines...”

Ó hEadhra: “That is incorrect and unfair, Noel.”

Whelan: “I’m sorry, it’s not unfair. And the media have fallen for it.”

Ó hEadhra: “That is unfair.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: You’ll Get Nothing From Me

‘Was The O’Higgins Report Not Enough For You?’




Glenn Fitzpatrick writes:

I have been struck by just how hard a time the Luas drivers have been getting. This culminated yesterday in a Twitter spat between myself and [political analyst and Irish Times columnist] Noel Whelan (above)who essentially called for the army to be drafted in to drive the trams in place of striking workers.

He claims to be on the side of the users but when I asked him if he would accept that Transdev were taking advantage of our shoddy laws and were irresponsibly playing out a game in public he essentially labelled me juvenile and disengaged. Welcome to Ireland, the place where the only criteria for being seen as a champion of equality is a YES Equality badge.


WRC Invites Both Sides In Luas Dispute To Talk

Previously: Trams Like Us

UPDATE: Strike off



Judith Goldberger writes:

Perhaps Broadsheet readers can tell me how [Political commenter] Noel Whelan of the Irish TImes got to write this article (‘Why I Can’t Accept Hillary Clinton’s Invitation’) – and why. When you sign up for HillaryClinton.com you are asked if you are a U.S. voter resident in the U.S. or an “American Abroad” (myself). So, what did Noel Whelan tell the Hillary folks he was? Has be clarified since? BTW, If you donate from outside the US, you’re required to verify your identity and status as an American Abroad. See above email sent to me….



A protestor at the Our Bodies; Our Right Rally to Repeal the 8th in Dublin last Saturday

Because they are in direct touch with the electorate Irish politicians know this and that is why they repeatedly say there is no appetite for another referendum. Politicians are understandably reluctant to spend even more time and energy on constitutional proposals that have no real prospect of being passed or lawmaking that would do little to alter the plight of those in crisis pregnancies in the absence of constitutional change. Many might wish it otherwise but that is the political reality.”

Noel Whelan in today’s Irish Times.

Referendum so.

Abortion amendment didn’t happen by accident (Noel Whelan, Irish Times)

Previously: There’s No Appetite For A Further Referendum

Meanwhile At The Spire