Tag Archives: Pearse Doherty

From top: *Sam eating from a cardboard sheet on Grafton Street on Tuesday night; Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty; Tánaiste Simon Coveney in the Dáil today

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions in Dáil Éireann.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty raised the picture of a five-year-old boy *Sam (not his real name) eating a pasta dinner given to him by a homeless charity while kneeling on a piece of cardboard on Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Just over two weeks ago, the most recent figures from the Department of Housing showed there were 10,345 people (6,490 adults and 3,848 children) living in emergency accommodation in the final week of August.

The figure represent a decrease of seven adults but an increase of 70 children compared to the figures for the final week of July. 

This afternoon, Mr Doherty addressed Tánaiste Simon Coveney when he said:

“The photograph showed a five-year-old boy eating his dinner off a sheet of cardboard on the ground in this city.

“Sam is the boy in that photograph, he’s five years old. He goes to school like any other child but Sam is homeless.

“Sam and his mum live in emergency accommodation like thousands of other families in this state.

“The Homeless Street Café, the homeless group, who met Sam on Tuesday night, made clear that his mother is trying her best to provide nutritious home-cooked meals for her children

“But, like so many parents of the homeless children of this state, they live in emergency accommodation that strictly forbids them from cooking meals for their children.

“That is Sam’s life, Tánaiste. Without a home, without the comfort and security which should be a right for every children [sic] in this State.

“That’s the life of nearly 4,000 children like Sam that have been condemned to this type of nightmare.

“There is only one place our children should be on a Tuesday night. And that is safely tucked up in their beds, in their home, with their families.

“The moral stain of child homelessness in Ireland is creating a lost generation. Children who are having their childhood stolen from them, right before our eyes.

“Stunting their development, harming their education, exposing them to hardships that no child deserves and that no society should accept.

“Behind the statistics, Tánaiste, the Minister for Housing tries to bamboozle the public with, there is a stark and dark reality of our housing crisis.

“A crisis that your government has manufactured, a crisis that many are profiting from, from the suffering of others.

“We’ve over 10,000 people recorded as homeless at the end of August of this year.

“That’s the seventh month in a row where we have those figures recorded – a 365 per cent increase during a five-year period of unending, uninterrupted, economic growth.

“And these figures don’t even provide the full picture, Tánaiste, they don’t include the women and children living in domestic violence shelters, funded by Tusla, they don’t include the adults and children living in hostels that aren’t funded by Government departments.

“And they don’t include those still living in Direct Provision, despite having secured their leave to remain.

“This is the Republic that you and your government are building. These are the parents and children you’re failing, children like Sam.

“This is not a republic of opportunity that cherishes all of the children of the nation equally.

“It is a national shame.”

More to follow.

Earlier: Dear Sam

Yesterday: ‘Sam’

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty; Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan at the finance committee on July 9 last

Last night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar released a statement stating Maria Bailey “signed an affidavit (linked to a personal injuries summons) that over-stated the impact of her injuries on her running”.

He also stated there were “inconsistencies” in her account of events and that she made “numerous errors of judgement” in her handling of the matter – even after she withdrew her claim.

In a separate statement on foot of the unpublished report by David Kennedy SC, Ms Bailey said:

“I note that the report by David Kennedy SC has found that this was not a fraudulent claim, and that it would be unlikely that a court would conclude that there was any attempt to mislead on my part. I made no attempt to mislead.”

Earlier this month, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan and Andrew McLindon, director of communications at An Garda Síochána attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.

During the meeting, Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty asked those present about the difference between fraud and exaggerated claims.

Mr Lordan said he believes there is no difference and also went on to say that claims believed to be exaggerated and defined as fraud should, by law, be reported to the gardai by people in the know.

He also confirmed that to not report it is a criminal offence.

They had the following exchange:

Pearse Doherty: “Can I just take the witnesses through a couple of points for clarification? On fraud, what is the difference between fraud and exaggerated claims, a term that is being used now, or are exaggerated claims fraud?”

Pat Lordan:I see no difference between an exaggerated claim and fraud. The view of the insurance industry is the same. This is not right across the board, where some parts of the insurance industry may say it was a mistake or someone was trying to claim little bit more, by accident. My view is that if one has a claim for €100 worth of water damage, and change it up to €1,000, that is fraud.”

Doherty:If a person was in a car accident and claimed that he or she was injured beyond what the person was, would that be seen as fraud?”

Lordan: Absolutely, but the difficulty we have with both of those scenarios is proving it. Where the householder has an invoice or receipt for €1,000, it is quite difficult then to show that it is fraud.”

Doherty: “Yes.”

Lordan: “Likewise, with a lot of these fraudulent claims, they represent minor enough injuries, like whiplash, for example. It is quite difficult for us to prove, when we investigate such a case, that the person does not have whiplash.”

Doherty: “The guidance on reported suspected fraudulent insurance claims within An Garda Síochána’s code of practice with the insurance industry states “an offence of deception relating to exaggerated claims takes place” and it goes on to say where it takes place and should be reported. Should claims that are believed to be exaggerated and which are defined as fraud be reported?

Lordan: “Likewise, with a lot of these fraudulent claims, they represent minor enough injuries, like whiplash, for example. It is quite difficult for us to prove, when we investigate such a case, that the person does not have whiplash.”

Doherty: “The guidance on reported suspected fraudulent insurance claims within An Garda Síochána’s code of practice with the insurance industry states “an offence of deception relating to exaggerated claims takes place” and it goes on to say where it takes place and should be reported. Should claims that are believed to be exaggerated and which are defined as fraud be reported?

Lordan:Absolutely, yes.”

Doherty: “Is Mr Lordan familiar with section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 on disclosure?”

Lordan: “I am, yes.”

Doherty: “What onus does that place on me or on any other person, if I am aware of a fraudulent claim, because fraud is one of the relevant categories in that legislation?”

Lordan: There is an onus on the person to report it, if the person knows that the information that he or she has can assist An Garda Síochána in an investigation, in showing that somebody else in the room committed or carried out an act of fraud. There is a list of offences covered by it.”

Doherty:What is the position if I do not report it?

Lordan: “There can be an offence.”

Doherty:Is it a criminal offence?

Lordan:It is.”

Doherty: “This has a maximum potential prison term of five years.”

Lordan: “My own view on this – I presume the Deputy is talking in particular about an insurance company here – is that if one is an insurance company or bank and wants to report a fraud or crime, one should report it in the normal way that any crime should be reported, other than relying on the section 19 report.”

Doherty: “Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act makes it a criminal offence for the insurance industry and the entity – including possibly the person but definitely the entity – not to report an issue of fraud.”

Lordan: “That is correct.”

Read the debate in full here

Earlier: Where It Stops, Nobody Knows

Yesterday: “There Have Been Inconsistencies In Deputy Bailey’s Account of Events”

Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty TD on the plinth of Leinster House following yesterday’s Supreme Court victory.

Further to Denis O’Brien’s loss in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Michael Clifford in The Irish Examiner writes:

‘Mr O’Brien was looking to assert what he saw as his rights as a citizen in a democracy. His action was based on asserting a principle.

The 19 individuals [who had their private data removed from email servers in Independent News And Media and taken to the Isle of Man where the data was “interrogated” and costs covered by a company controlled by Mr O’Brien, Blaydon Ltd,] all of whom are undoubtedly people of high principle, will more likely be interested in receiving monetary compensation rather than a legal declaration.

If they can prove their case, they will be entitled to be well-compensated for a breach of their privacy. In such an eventuality, the money will have to be paid out by INM.

It would be something of a bitter irony for Mr O’Brien if, as the main shareholder, he had to stump up for a privacy breach on a court ruling, having experienced, in his own case, a ruling that his privacy was legitimately breached in parliament.’

Bitter irony for O’Brien if INM has to stump up over privacy breach (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

Listen: Kildare TD Says Supreme Court Decision Puts Any Questions On The Strength Of Parliamentary Privilege Beyond Doubt. (KFM)

Yesterday: Dismissing Denis

Previously: We Shall Fight Them On The Breaches

Meanwhile…

Flashbackageddon!

The first in a bowel-loosening series of emails from Denis O’Brien’s solicitors after the posting of Ms Murphy’s speech in the Dáil, May 26, 2015.

Good times.

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

From top: Pearse Doherty, of Sinn Féin; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon in the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was responding to comments made by Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty about the recent eviction and subsequent events at a farmhouse near Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

He said the High Court doesn’t issue eviction orders lightly, and said 116,000 mortgages have been restructured while “only” 400 eviction orders were executed in the last year.

In response, Mr Doherty said:

“No family, regardless of their circumstances, and it’s not the Revenue that are evicting them, regardless of their circumstances, should have been treated in this way. This idea that banks enforcers, these thugs, and I call them thugs, can enter into somebody’s property, can cut down locks, break down doors, can take somebody out by their ears, can kick somebody on the ground and push them out of their own home and property, while the guards watch on, is not acceptable.

“And we have raised this with you countless times and it is not just bank enforcers that are unregulated, we have rent receivers that is unregulated. Why are they doing this? And why is the public so outraged? And I commend the public for standing up in solidarity with the family and people who are facing eviction.

“And standing against the type of thuggish behaviour that we’ve seen last Tuesday. Why are they doing this? Because your government has completely abandoned these communities. You have rolled out the red carpet for the vulture funds, you’re allowing thousands of sales of restructured performing mortgages to take place of the vulture funds outside of the code of conduct of the Central Bank.

“And you have allowed, time and time again, the banks to ride rough shod over ordinary people. So Taoiseach, will you…ensure that this is the last time that unauthorised, unregulated bank henchmen will be entering property and behaving in the type of despicable way that we’ve seen in Roscommon last Tuesday?

Mr Varadkar told Mr Doherty that he was “very concerned” that Mr Doherty “had nothing to say about what happened afterwards” – referring to events at the property on early Sunday morning.

He continued:

“Twenty or thirty people arriving in a cattle truck, armed with baseball bats, who then injured three or four other people. Set cars alight and caused an animal to be shot dead. I find it very concerning that you have nothing to say about that. You’ve made two contributions now and you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned…”

At this point Mr Doherty started to respond to Mr Varadkar and the Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat “The Cope” Gallagher called for order.

The call for order went on for more than 30 seconds.

After order was restored, Mr Varadkar said:

“Deputy, I condemn violence and thuggish behaviour by anyone, under any circumstances, so let there be no doubt about this. But in two contributions, in fact, in three contributions now, you have dismissed the fact that tax evasion is a serious offence.

“You have criticised the gardaí, you have criticised the High Court for making this order, having heard the cases…and you have said nothing about the thugs who climbed on the back of a cattle truck, 20 of them, broke into property, injured three people, killed a dog…”

Mr Gallagher began to call for order again.

Then the Taoiseach said:

“Deputy, deputy, when it comes to Sinn Féin and the rule of law, and public order, and condemning violence, it doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Previously: Cause And Effect

The Family Has Returned Home

Earlier today.

During Leaders’ Questions, taken by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty raised the Permanent TSB sale of €3.7 billion worth of residential mortgage loans.

Mr Doherty said the bank has been invited to attend the Oireachtas finance committee next Tuesday.

Mr Harris said the bank should go before the committee and said it would be good to see some “humility” from the bank.

Meanwhile…

Anyone?

Previously: ‘It’s Essential For The Long-Term Health Of Irish Banking’

Watch back here

Related: No appetite for a return to direct rule in NI – Coveney (RTE)

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Businessman Denis O’Brien

RTÉ reports:

The High Court has ruled that businessman Denis O’Brien should pay all the costs of his failed action over statements made by two TDs in the Dáil about his banking affairs.

Mr O’Brien took his case against the Clerk of the Dáil and the State over comments made by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty in the Dáil in 2015.

He wanted the court to reprimand the TDs and he claimed they had interfered with a court case he was taking against RTÉ.

…This morning, the judge [Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh] ruled that the facts of the case were unusual and had some degree of novelty as well as being of some public importance.

…But she ruled there was “an insufficient degree of novelty” to cause her to depart from the normal rule where the losing party pays the costs of a case.

Denis O’Brien must pay High Court costs (RTE)

Previously: It’s Been A Privilege

[REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

Rollingnews

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Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty

Yesterday evening.

The Dáil debated Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

During the debate, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty spoke about another Donegal Garda whistleblower Kieran Jackson, who is now retired.

Mr Doherty said:

“There are many reasons why Nóirín O’Sullivan should leave her position as Garda Commissioner and there are many Members in the House who have outlined those reasons. I support the motion, obviously, that Sinn Féin has tabled.

I will recall for the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, the case of a former garda in the Donegal division, with whom I have engaged over the past number of years and who has engaged with the Garda Commissioner over that period. In May 2001, a former garda in the Donegal division met two detective inspectors from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in a hotel in County Monaghan. Accompanied by a witness, the detectives had invited the officer to meet them. During this exchange, the now retired garda disclosed to the interviewing detectives a number of very serious allegations against a former Garda superintendent, since retired, who was also stationed in Donegal. These allegations related to suspected tax evasion, social welfare fraud and persons being in possession of a fraudulent bank account into which thousands of pounds were being lodged regularly. This meeting in Monaghan lasted for over five and a half hours. As the meeting drew to a close, the detectives stated that they would be in contact again with the whistleblower shortly in order to take a written statement. However, this did not happen.

In September 2014, a solicitor acting on behalf of the whistleblower wrote to then acting Garda Commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan, in which he divulged all of the allegations of criminal wrongdoing suspected of having been committed by the whistleblower’s former colleague. The letter also expressed his client’s alarm at the apparent lack of any follow-up having been carried out on the part of the investigating gardaí. A similar letter, dated 24 September 2014, was subsequently sent to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, around which time the whistleblower himself contacted me to request that I bring the case to the Minister’s attention, which I did.

On 16 December 2015, the Minister replied to me in a letter in which she stated that inquiries were being made with the Garda Commissioner regarding the whistleblower’s complaint. A further letter, issued in May 2016, declared that inquiries into the claims were ongoing. Then, last September, the whistleblower finally received the news that he had long suspected. The Garda advised him that, following an extensive search of files and records held locally and at Monaghan Garda station, no record of his complaint or of any subsequent investigation could be found. The correspondence went on to say that inquiries made with the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation revealed that no investigation was ever carried out by personnel in respect of the whistleblower’s allegations.

The whistleblower to whom I refer is former Garda Kieran Jackson. His story leads us to one of two conclusions. First, either Kieran Jackson is lying – I have no reason to believe that he is and there are other former gardaí who will corroborate his story – and no meeting between him and the detectives ever took place. The other conclusion is that somebody in An Garda Síochána has gone out of his or her way to cover it up and to ensure that his claims never saw the light of day.

If the latter conclusion is the case, then questions need to be asked as to who took the decision? Kieran Jackson informs me that a failure to follow up or investigate a criminal incident is, in itself, a crime. Questions must be asked about who took the decision to not pursue his complaint. Why has Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan – who has known about this for over two and a half years – done nothing about it?

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, and her Government say that they have full confidence in the Garda Commissioner. Try telling that to Garda whistleblowers across the State. Try telling that to Kieran Jackson who has had no response from the Commissioner in respect of the allegations he brought forward many years ago, and again in 2014, to the Garda Commissioner and to the Minister, with absolutely no action whatsoever taken.

We hear time and again, however, that the Tánaiste and the Commissioner embrace whistleblowers. The results are clear. There is only one course of action left for the Government, namely, to express no confidence in the Commissioner.”

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Governor of the Central Bank Philip Lane at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach today

Further to reports that 8,200 mortgage accounts – in which homeowners were overcharged because they were wrongly denied low interest tracker rates by 15 banks – had been identified by the Central Bank…

From a meeting of the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach today…

Related: Central Bank says 8,200 accounts now identified in tracker mortgage overcharging scandal (RTE)