Tag Archives: Pat Rabbitte



Pat Rabbitte is appointed as new chair of Tusla (The Irish Times)

Pat Rabbitte?


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From top: John McGuinness, of Fianna Fáil; Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

Last night.

During the ‘statements of clarification’ session in the Dáil.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked a million many times to state when he first became aware of the smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

At one point, he had the following exchange with Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: “Will the Taoiseach tell us when he first became aware of that smear against Garda Sergeant McCabe?”

Enda Kenny: “I became aware of it the same as most of the rest of the nation, which was after the Prime Time programme.”

This is despite the fact Labour TD Brendan Howlin spoke about the campaign during Leaders’ Questions the day before the Prime Time programme was broadcast.

Readers will also recall how that supposed conversation he had with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone, prior to her meeting Sgt Maurice McCabe, never happened

Further to this…

Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness – who has previously said he was warned not to trust Sgt Maurice McCabe by then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in a car park of Bewley’s Hotel on the Naas Road on January 24, 2014 – accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of knowing about the allegations being made against Sgt Maurice McCabe ‘a long time ago’.

Readers will note that, in the Sunday Independent at the weekend, Philip Ryan reported that Mr McGuinness claimed Mr Callinan made false child abuse allegations – about Sgt McCabe – to Mr McGuinness during that meeting in 2014.

From last night’s session…

John McGuinness: “We’re here discussing this public inquiry because of the fact that the McCabe family have no trust whatsoever in a private inquiry. We’ve had enough of them. And, in relation to the smear campaign, why is it that we cannot admit that ,for the last number of years, for anyone who wished to stop and listen to what was being said in this house…I’ll deal with the car park in a minute…why is it that when we were told what was happening in relation to Maurice McCabe, anyone that supported him, was sold this narrative that he was a sex abuser. That he had abused people sexually. And that’s what they said. And therefore, those that supported him were knocked off of their support by virtue of that gossip and that innuendo and that accusation.”

“So the fact of the matter is: that while that was going on, the Tusla file existed. So how many gardai knew about that Tusla file? How many in this house knew about the allegations that were being made? And when he appeared before the public accounts committee, the great efforts were made by this house – and by members within it – to stop him from coming forward. That’s why we’re here today.”

“Because we have ignored Maurice McCabe and the other Maurice McCabes that exist out there. And if we’re to have any public inquiry into this then we have to take into consideration, the culture that has sent all of those people out sick, some of them struggling now with mental illness. And we cannot ignore those people. And the Government cannot ignore them. But how many within Government knew about those, about these allegations that were being made? Even though it might have been gossip. It was gossip that was being spread maliciously, to take you off your game and not to support Maurice McCabe. And all of us, in this house, knew what was going on.”

Enda Kenny: “I think it’s obvious Deputy McGuinness that the entire country feels sympathy with the pressure and stress and distress of the McCabe family. Now am I, am I right or not or did you have a meeting with the former commissioner of the gardai [Martin Callinan] and did you hear information, relevant to a smear campaign against Garda McCabe? And if you did, what did you do about it?

McGuinness:I knew about it Taoiseach because you knew long time ago about the accusations that were being made against Maurice McCabe. Everyone in this house knew and great efforts were made to derail Maurice McCabe and the story he was telling. Everyone knew. And the fact of the matter is, that it was a deliberate attempt to undermine Maurice McCabe, a deliberate attempt.”

Frances Fitzgerald: “[inaudible]…you say you had your meeting. That would have meant that some of these issues that you were told about would have been dealt with in the O’Higgins commission…”

McGuinness: “On legal advice, minister, I followed legal advice.”

Fitzgerald: “But… you followed legal advice… and like Minister [Katherine] Zappone, I didn’t want to give legs to something that was totally untrue…”

Fitzgerald: “Then what are you saying…”

McGuinness: “…I felt myself that it was untrue. And that’s the fact of the matter but you did nothing about Maurice McCabe.”

Fitzgerald: “Sorry, deputy, you didn’t want to act on legal advice…but you had direct information, deputy, which is more than many people or anybody in this house had.”

Later – after Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty asked Mr McGuinness to correct his claim that ‘everyone in the house’ knew

McGuinness: “Those of us that were clearly associated with supporting Maurice McCabe, knew about this and not everyone in the house.”


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Fine Gael TD John Deasy

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Prime Time‘s political correspondent Katie Hannon interview Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy.

Mr Deasy explained to Ms Hannon that, on the same day the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan appeared before the Public Accounts Committee – and made his “disgusting” remark – he was approached by a senior garda who warned him not to trust Sgt Maurice McCabe.

He explained he lobbied Taoiseach Enda Kenny after the garda’s approach.

John Deasy: “Before the meeting, I was approached by a very senior guard and he proceeded to make some very derogatory comments about Maurice McCabe. The nature of which were, Maurice McCabe couldn’t be believed and couldn’t be trusted on anything. They were very, very derogatory. It was a serious attack and very strongly worded.”

“Maurice McCabe was in the Public Accounts Committee the following Thursday and I thought that he was credible and I made that judgement.”

Katie Hannon: “You’re quoted after that meeting, actually, in newspaper reports, as saying he’s a credible witness, he’s responsible and knowledgeable in his answers. How did you square that with what you had been told about him, by this senior garda.”

Deasy: “I formulated a view that he was correct. I think that I and others realised that there was a campaign against Maurice McCabe, to undermine his character…”

Hannon: “Being run by who?”

Deasy:The gardai.”

Hannon: “At a senior level?”

Deasy: “Yeah and I had first-hand, you know, contact of that..”

Hannon: “So what did you do with this information?”

Deasy: “A couple of weeks later, I was having a meeting with Enda Kenny in Government buildings and, after that, it was on a separate issue, I asked to meet with him privately about Maurice McCabe and the entire affair. He would have known that that was significant. It’s not something I would have done every day. Probably twice in 15 years. And at that meeting, I said to him that I believed that Maurice McCabe would be vindicated. That he was being treated extremely badly. And that he was genuine and that this needed to be handled completely differently.”

Hannon: “And how did he respond to that?”

Deasy: “You know, he listened, he acknowledged it and the meeting ended. I do know, at the time, that another individual in Fine Gael was making a similar case to one of this cabinet colleagues, at the same time. And was being ignored and really wasn’t getting anywhere, was begin dismissed with regard to how the whistleblowers were being dealt with at the time and the treatment that was being meted out to them.”


Deasy:I really can’t defend anyone in Government when it comes to Maurice McCabe.”


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Also on RTE’s Prime Time last night.

Former Labour leader Pat Rabbitte (above) told David McCullough how a garda told him of the false allegation against Sgt Maurice McCabe back in 2014.

David McCullough: “You were sitting at cabinet for some of the period when all this was going on. Did you hear rumours about Maurice McCabe? The smears about Maurice McCabe?”

Pat Rabbitte: “I did, yes. Maurice McCabe approached me at the end of 2006 or early 2007, about policing difficulties and malfeasance and he had a major, thorough file. And I helped him or advised him, on the confidential basis he sought as best I could. But, when the incident blew up in 2013/14  – probably early 2014 – I was asked on a programme like this, that same question. And I explained that I did indeed know Maurice McCabe as an upstanding and, in my view, an honest, conscientious policeman.

“And I was approached that night by a friend of mine, who’s a retired garda, to say that he didn’t know that I had any knowledge of Maurice McCabe and that I better be careful because did I not know what was going around and he, graphically, told me what was going ’round.”

McCullough: “And did you tell anyone about that?”

Rabbitte: “No, nobody. I thought it was foul gossip. I didn’t believe there was anything to it. And I didn’t think it should be given legs. But I did express my view publicly and privately about the probity and integrity of Maurice McCabe.”

McCullough: “But, if he was being traduced like that behind the scenes, was there not an obligation, on a politician, to somebody, whether it was the Minister for Justice, whether it was the Taoiseach?”

Rabbitte:I think, in hindsight, you might be right. In hindsight, you may be right. But, you know, you could say the same about your own profession and you could say the same about others who were told about it.”

Previously: How Did He Get Here?

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Pat Rabbitte, former Labour leader, outside the Dáil last week

Hurlers on the ditch can usually criticise without resort to personal invective. That aside, Diarmuid Ferriter’s is a warped assessment of Labour’s performance in Government since 2011 (“Labour’s woes rooted in more than an ungrateful electorate”, Opinion & Analysis, July 11th).

So great was the crisis facing this country in the winter of 2010/11 that only a broadly based government would have held society together. I am convinced that a single-party Fine Gael government – the only viable alternative – would not have survived the first year. That first dismal year saw the new Fine Gael-Labour Government struggle to restore Irish credibility in the EU institutions, keep the troika at bay and contend with Mr Trichet’s threat if we proceeded with burden sharing – as unemployment exceeded 15 per cent. In helping to bring the country back from the brink, Labour had to take some decisions that in normal times it would never have done.

Diarmuid Ferriter would perhaps have preferred if we had spent more time speechifying, dithering and generally faffing around like the Syriza government in Greece, making the crisis even worse and inflicting greater hardship on ordinary citizens. Of course, Syriza has in its ranks more than its fair share of academics with a part-time political sideline. The problem is, as Brendan Behan noted in another context, they know how it’s done but they’re unable to do it themselves.

There is nothing either “patronising or self-pitying” about my view of the “dysfunctional” fragmentation amongst the disparate elements of the political opposition. After what we have come though, the last thing this country needs is a coalition of chaos. Compare this country’s economic health with what unfortunately has engulfed Greece. The stability that we have established and the economic growth now happening offers the prospect, for the first time since the crash, of improved social investment and the gradual restoration of living standards.

Whether or not one is a Syriza fan, it must be obvious that unless we get our finances into kilter and a banking system functioning again, we will not be able to make inroads into poverty or tackle inequality in our society. Who will endure most arising from the cack-handed misgovernance of Greece? It won’t be the wealthy elite or the tax dodgers or the trendy academics advising Syriza on the politics of magical thinking.

The contention that Labour “would have benefitted more from staying in opposition” may be correct. But Labour was not elected in 2011 to stand aside. Prioritising power over principle is the favoured insult of the designer left thrown at every politician from Lloyd George to Barack Obama who dares take on the challenge of political responsibility in difficult times.

Pat Rabbitte
Leinster House,
Dublin 2.

Labour’s way (Irish Times letters page)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

00129072Senator Lorraine Higgins and Pat Rabbitte TD

Further to Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins’ controversial proposed  bill to combat criticism cyberbullying.

Former Labour communications minister Pat Rabbitte has published his own bill , The Public Electronic Communications Networks (Improper Use) Act 2015, which proposes:

“On convicting a person for an offence [sending ‘grossly offensive’ messages], the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed for the offence, order any apparatus, equipment or other thing used in the course of committing the offence to be forfeited to the State.”

That’s your tablet that is.

Mark Malone writes:

… imagine you send a tweet sugggesting Pat Rabbitte was a bit of a hypocrite condemning political organisations with links to paramilitaries who murdered people, given his own political history. Granted that might be hard to fit into 140 characters, but imagine it was possible for the sake of an example.

And say Pat Rabbitte was a litigious sort of character who didn’t want to be publicly associated with any of the murders, bank robberies or lots of stuff the Official IRA was involved in when he was member of the Workers Party, the political wing of the OIRA.

I guess you’d be into a couple of tweets now, something that might be construed by Rabbitte and his expensive legal team and barristers as “persistent and without legitimate cause”.

It probably might not matter that you feel it important to public discourse that many younger people ought know that that a former minister – responsible for promoting austerity and a gagging law – was once a member of a politico-paramilitary organisation that murdered people.

You might even infer that the Stalinist tendencies embodied in WP/OIRA back in the day could be found in a bill that seeks to quash public online political dissent today by actually making it illegal to be a political nuisance.

So you are taken to court and found guilty. Say your day job was a graphic designer, or architect or any other job that requires a laptop and/or mobile phone and access to the net. Your ability to earn a wage (or get donations) relies on these things. Rabbitte’s bill allows for a judge to remove that wage earning ability by seizing the tools of your trade….

More here: 8 Reasons Why We Need To Stop These Labour Censorship Law (Mark Malone, Soundmigration)

Previously: What Are They Playing At

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

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Former Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte

Mr Rabbitte said in his view the country was lucky to get the experienced Cabinet it did in 2011, given the crisis facing the country. He also hit out at critics of the Labour Party who accused it of failing to put manners on Fine Gael. “People who would never vote for the Labour Party get very indignant about Labour not keeping its coalition partner on the straight and narrow,” he said. 

Kenny is ‘no Bambi’ says Rabbitte as he slams Fine Gael (Irish Independent)

H/T: Oireachtas Retort

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The proposition that it is restricted, this kind of misconduct and misbehaviour – inadequate investigation, vulnerability of citizens – that it is confined to Cavan-Monaghan I think is unlikely.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte this morning on RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland, speaking in light of the Guerin Report into allegations made by Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Previously: This Just In

Garda misconduct ‘unlikely’ to be confined to one district (Irish Times)

Photocall Ireland



[Top: Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte. Above from left: Herb Hribar CEO of Eircom, Robert Finnegan, CEO Three, Magnus Ternsjo, CEO of UPC, Peter Evans, Director of Strategy BT Ireland, Torlach Denihan from IBEC, , Pat Rabbitte, Gary Healy, Head of Regulation and Public Policiy at O2 and junior minister with responsibility for Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch.]

Struggling to cope?


A new Samaritans number was unvelied today at the RHA [Royal Hibernian Acadamy, Ely Place, Dublin.

116123 replaces the existing low-call number making it possible to access the service “at any time of the day or night, free of charge”.

Fair play though in fairness.

(Sasko lazarov/Photocall ireland)

90217023[Alan Shatter and Pat Rabbitte]

“In so far as individuals who raised issues are alleging that the Garda reports published are untrue, let them bring forward chapter and verse and proof of this. I am open to being convinced, but they have not done so. Having engaged with Members of this House and published material, they did not co-operate with the Garda investigations that took place. I do not know why that was the case. There is no question of anyone being victimised”.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter in the dail, October 1, 2013

Meanwhile this morning [on Today with Sean O’Rourke]…

Sean O’Rourke: “The Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte is on the line. Good morning to you Minister.”

Pat Rabbitte: “Hello Sean.”

Sean O’Rourke: “Now you are primarily on the programme to talk about these fears that post offices will be subject to wholesale closures round the country but before we come to that can I just get your sense as to what should happen now on the whole whistleblower controversy. Just on a point of clarification, and I heard you speak well of Sergeant Maurice McCabe the whistleblower at the centre of all this, is it your view that he did not co-operate with inquiries say particularly the inquiry into the penalty points controversy by the assistant Garda Commissioner?”

Pat Rabbitte: “Well, I mean I repeat Sean what I said about Maurice McCabe, I know him a little, I haven’t met him in recent years, he came to me a number of years ago about certain matters that Maurice McCabe wanted to put them into the public domain, he’s perfectly free to do so as regards you know what was the content of his exchanges in the present controversy I’m not party to that but it would appear from what has emerged now that the Minister for Justice may have been mistaken when he said he didn’t co-operate and I presume when the opportunity arises he will say whether that’s right or not but judging from media coverage it would appear that Maurice McCabe was available and so on and wasn’t exactly examined on the issue.

Sean O’Rourke:
“But surely if the Minister for Justice was mistaken he’d know that well and know it for a long time now and surely should have clarified it by this stage?”

Pat Rabbitte: “Well I don’t know, I don’t know whether he did know it. Quite clearly, if he said that in the Dail, he was under that impression. This is not a minister who would mislead the Dail, he’s a long-time parliamentarian, he’s a very scrupulous politician and if that wasn’t his genuine understanding of the situation at the time it’s simply unthinkable that he would have said otherwise there may, there may have been a simple mistake here and if there is it should be corrected.”

Sean O’Rourke:
“And isn’t it equally unthinkable that he wouldn’t have known long before now if there was such a mistake?”

Pat Rabbitte: “I don’t, you see, you’re inviting me into an area, Sean, that I haven’t personally been involved in, so, you know, there have been a lot of interactions here with the Official Receiver with the Confidential Recipient and so on and you know for example my memory of the legislation is that the Confidential Recipient is not required and does not report to the Minister for Justice the confidential recipient is an anonymised procedure put in place to take complaints from members of the, serving members of the Garda Siochana and pass them onto the Garda Commissioner*. so you know, you are inviting me into expressing personal knowledge of detail that I couldn’t have and I don’t have…”

Sean O’Rourke: “Well it was more an opinion as to whether the facts should have been known by this stage or not, but to come to the core point, the fact that the Taoiseach has now accepted that the matters brought to his attention by the Fianna Fail leader Mr Martin and subject to files that he’s given him are very serious and very grave matters and that they’re now being studied by both Taoiseach and his officials as well as internally the Department of Justice, is that the kind of scrutiny that in your view is going to satisfy the public?”

Pat Rabbitte: “Well I absolutely agree with you that they are very grave matters and couldn’t in fact be more serious in the manner that they have been presented in the public press in any event. I mean these are hugely serious issues and I presume what is underway is that the Minister is going back over all of the paper trail of this and all of the information in the Department of Justice before he meets with Taoiseach in respect of the file now in the possession of the Taoiseach. I mean like everyone else he didn’t know anything about this file until the day before yesterday, I still don’t know what’s in it but what I’ve seen in the public press can scarcely be more seriously and it’s being taken as such by the Taoiseach and I am sure by the Minister but the Minister has to be given an opportunity, he was out of the country yesterday on business, I don’t know if he’s, if he’s back yet, I haven’t spoken to him but the Minister has to be given an opportunity to explain what exactly happened in respect of the matters in this file that he had knowledge of. I know from personal experience that if a file was passed to the Minister this particular Minister for Justice would take time to find out what’s in it because he’s a diligent and scrupulous minister who works a very long day every day…”

Sean O’Rourke: “That suggests you have total confidence in Alan Shatter as a cabinet colleague?”

Pat Rabbitte: “I do have confidence in Alan Shatter, I do have confidence in him. He’s a reforming, hardworking, insightful minister and, you know, these are serious issues that have now arisen, the actual issues themselves of course far preceding Alan Shatter becoming Justice Minister, but we have to give him the opportunity to say what is in the possession of the Department of Justice and in his own possession and what happened and what we do now.”

Fairly awks, in fairness.

Listen here

* In this instance the complaint was against the Garda Commissioner

Previously: Garda Confidential

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)


Responding [to the apology and payment to John Waters and members of the Iona Institute by RTE] in a press release issued within the last hour, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte gave his two cents.

“Speaking personally, I have never used the term ‘homophobe’ to describe those who disagree with me on issues of gay equality in general or gay marriage in particular. It is too loaded a term to be used to categorise those who hold contrary views on what is a matter for legitimate public debate.

That said, I would also hope that people and institutions that hold themselves out as commentators on, or contributors to, public debate fully appreciate – as most politicians do – that debate can be robust, heated, personal and sometimes even hostile. If you enter the arena, you cannot expect that the Queensbury Rules will always apply.

It would be a matter of serious concern if recourse to our defamation laws was to have a chilling effect on the conduct of public debate on this issue, in the lead-in to the forthcoming referendum on gay marriage.

I have no intention of interfering in RTÉ’s management of the litigation claims against it. But I do expect that RTÉ remains fully committed to its chief obligation as a public service broadcaster – to ensure the full and free exchange of information and opinion on all matters of legitimate public interest.”

Defamation law must not have chilling effect on legitimate public debate – Rabbitte (Dept of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

Queensbury Rules?

Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland