Blondie’s Debbie Harry endures years of superficial, tedious, and demeaning questions from journalists until she devises a brilliant way to turn interviews on their head.
From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin; Instructions via Whatsapp to Fine Gael staffers
“How can we trust Micheál Martin on health? He established the HSE.”
“Why should we trust FF? They destroyed the economy.”
“Will Bertie Ahern ever run for the Arás (sic) on the FF ticket?”
“Is the talent there on the FF frontbenchers (sic)? Outside of Micheál Martin and a handful of others you don’t have many household names.
“On housing Darragh O Brien (sic) constantly criticizes (sic) Eoghan Murphys (sic) background – is it right to always play the man and not the ball?”
“Are you feeling the pressure from your own backbenchers?”
“Why should we trust FF on housing?”
“Do FF have a clear, stated policy on personal taxation?”
Above are a series of suggested questions that were sent from Fine Gael’s digital team to party members last Thursday evening via WhatsApp.
Sunday Business Post journalist Hugh O’Connell reported yesterday that the Fine Gael members were instructed to send these questions – or reworded versions of them – into Newstalk during a live interview with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin last Friday.
Mr O’Connell reported:
“Leaked WhatsApp messages seen by The Sunday Business Post show that dozens of Fine Gael staff and activists were told by the party’s digital team to reword suggested questions ‘in your own voice’ as ‘we don’t want to make it obvious it’s coming from us’.
“They were also told to avoid using email addresses with either Fine Gael or Young Fine Gael in them.”
Meanwhile, from the vaults…
The Fine Gael online campaign team during the 2011 general election.
Previously: Fine Gael’s Frape Room
From top: Former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, David McCourt, journalist Justine McCarthy
In the Dáil.
Mr Smyth was tasked with examining the interactions between the former Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and businessman David McCourt, founder and chairman of Granahan McCourt – which is leading the last remaining consortium bidding for the National Broadband Plan.
The purpose of the review was to see if their interactions, many of which were over meals, undermined the integrity of the procurement process.
The review found they didn’t.
Further to this.
Yesterday, in The Sunday Times…
Justine McCarthy, in an opinion column, wrote that there was a “confusing tone to Smyth’s report” given that Mr Smyth didn’t name the six people who dined with Mr McCourt and Mr Naughten – even though the Department of Communications named them two months ago.
They were ministerial officials Leslie Carberry and Seána Geraghty, and special advisers Suzanne Coogan and Jean Andrews. Mr McCourt’s brother Frank and daughter Alexandra accompanied Mr McCourt.
Ms McCarthy asked:
“How much will the plan cost the public? Is it €500m, €1bn or €3bn, as have been variously reported?
“Who conducted the reappraisal of the process earlier this year, giving it the all-clear after the other bidders withdrew? (The department has refused a freedom of information request by The Sunday Times for details of the reappraisal.)
“Smyth concluded that Naughten’s resignation as minister in October militated against any tainting of the process but, as Fianna Fail’s Timmy Dooley has pointed out, McCourt was also bound by the rules and he remains in the process. How can that be reconciled?
“Naughten says he informed Varadkar about all his meetings with McCourt on the Sunday night before he resigned from the cabinet. The taoiseach disputes this. Now Smyth’s report reveals nine phone conversations between Naughten and McCourt which had not previously been disclosed to the public. Is there anything else we have not been told?
“According to Smyth’s report, there was a phone call between the two men on August 8 this year, following a meeting of process participants that day. McCourt was seeking “confirmation of the government’s ongoing commitment to [its] completion”. Why did he need reassurance? Had what transpired at the meeting caused doubt?
“On February 28 this year, McCourt met the secretary general of Naughten’s department to discuss his consortium’s commitment to the process after rival bidder Eir pulled out. That night McCourt, Naughten and his press adviser dined together in Dublin. Smyth’s report says they discussed a media studio in Trinity College. What else did they talk about?”
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, and other senior gardaí, at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on March 30
You may recall how Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s recent appearance before the joint Oireachtas committee on justice and equality, in the wake of the near 1million false breath tests and 14,700 wrongful convictions. See a timeline of the matters here.
After the meeting, the committee asked Ms O’Sullivan to respond to 27 questions by noon yesterday.
The following are some of the questions sent to Ms O’Sullivan, parts of her answers that are pertinent to the questions and some notes on the same.
It would appear Ms O’Sullivan and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety’s accounts of events still do not tally.
Q1. Can you confirm that the anonymous April 2014 letter from the Garda reservist in the Western Region was the only prompt for the initial audit of breath test figures in the Southern Region, and the subsequent national audit? Or is it the case that the information from the MBRS given to An Garda Siochana had a role to play in the audits being ordered?
A. The anonymous letter originating from a Garda Reserve in the Western Region was the catalyst for the examination in the Southern Region and the subsequent national examination. A number of other actions were also taken before the examinations commenced, which are set out below. An Garda Síochána had no information in July 2015 from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to influence the decision to initiate the examination in the Southern Region.
The examination in the Southern Region had already commenced when concerns were first mentioned, informally, to a Superintendent from the Garda National Traffic Bureau by the Director of Medical Bureau of Road Safety. He stated, at the time, that these concerns were not raised as a ‘red-flag’ issue, however reassurance was given that any concerns he had in this regard would be addressed in the context of the examination underway.
…The letter, dated 22nd August, 2014, from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety pertained solely to procurement matters. It did not highlight discrepancies in the records held by An Garda Síochána and those of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety.
Broadsheet: During an interview with RTÉ’s Cathal Mac Coille, on Morning Ireland, on March 28, 2017, Denis Cusack of the MBRS said that the MRBS wrote to An Garda Siochana in July 2014 about discrepancies between the figures the MBRS had for the breath test mouthpieces that they had supplied to the gardaí and the number of breath tests that the gardai claimed to be carrying out. Of this letter in July 2014, Mr Cusack said: “It was an alert that something wasn’t adding up.”
Around 40 Irish Water protesters ‘occupied’ Dublin City Council offices yesterday.
Some of the protesters attempted to ask DCC Chief Executive Officer Owen Keegan questions about Irish Water – and the DCC’s relationship with Irish Water – but Executive Manager Vincent Norton spoke to them instead.
Mr Norton laid out what the DCC is obliged to do by law.
Via Dublin Says No
Document here (click on E under ‘List of Issues’ in the row for Holy See).
Previously: Cardinal Brady: More Than Just A Note Taker