Tag Archives: report

This afternoon.

In Leinster House.

At the launch of a report by the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment – following an examination of the National Broadband Plan process so far during May, June, July and August.

The report contains 25 conclusions and 10 recommendations which include

The Government should commission an external, independent review on whether its proposals (and the costs) are the only viable option.

A new cost-benefit analysis to be carried out before the final National Broadband contract is signed, commissioned by and developed independently of Government Departments.

The Comptroller and Auditor General should have a role identifying cost overruns in large infrastructure projects.

All infrastructure developed through the National Broadband Plan should remain in public ownership.

Government should re-engage with the ESB to examine the best model for delivery of a new National Broadband Plan through the ESB.

Chair of the committee and Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton told those present:

“As you’re aware this report was endorsed by a majority of the committee, by five votes to three, and it’s well known that the Fine Gael members of the committee, of which I’m a member, did not agree with the report and I totally respect the democratic decision of the committee which I chair.”

More as we get it.

Watch live here

UPDATE:

During the launch…

Green Party leader and Dublin TD Eamon Ryan said:

“Ultimately it’s going to be up to Government now to make the call. They have to decide can they change this? And if so, how do we do it in a timely manner?

If we don’t change it though, that sends out a message that worries me. That we’re engaged in consultation that isn’t, you know, real. You can look at ideas but actually once you’ve started on a path, you can’t diverge.”

Fine Gael Senator, from Cork, Tim Lombard said:

KPMG said it would take five years if we were to start this process again – that we could actually come to where we are today. They’re the experts in the field, going through this procurement issue. The department said it could take three to five years. So that’s what the actual experts told us.”

“…from my point of view, we now need to press ahead. We don’t need another expensive review. We don’t expert independence coming in to give us more information on information. We need to get boots on the ground. We need to start this, we need to get a contract signed.”

Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly, from Cavan-Monaghan, said:

“We’ve had an exhaustive process. This committee has sat for four months, effectively, close to four months, instead of the projected two months. So an exhaustive process. No member of the committee and, by the way, we all worked great together and there was a very positive, constructive approach and I’ve nothing to say to the contrary.

“But no member of the committee had a potential guest or group refused admission. So everybody that was wanted to be there was listened to.

“….We’ve exhausted all levels of inquiry. There is nothing new to learn here.”

“…Should we reduce the cost? Should we reduce the €3billion? Yes you can reduce the €3billion. You can take €1billion off it and make it €2billion.

“And you do that by taking 20 per cent of the homes out of it. In other words, defeat the whole purpose.

“…Why is it €3billion?…It’s actually €2billion net because there’s…effectively…up to €500million in there as a contingency in case things go wrong. There’s €345million for the VAT. So, effectively, it’s being stress-tested in terms of cost.”

“…Would a further inquiry throw up something we don’t know? The answer is no. Can we reduce the cost? No, without literally defeating the whole purpose of the exercise and discriminating against a chunk of rural Ireland. And thirdly, should we go ahead now? Absolutely so.

“People talk about State ownership as an alternative. That train left the station when we sold Telecom Eireann….irrespective of that, we have all the advantages of nationalisation in the plan, in this sense, that we will get 60 per cent of excess profits during the run.

“And there is, based on the UK experience, there will be a much larger take up than is anticipated. And we’ll also get 40 per cent of the value of the entire outfit, the entire NBI at the 25-year mark and they’ll be committed to another 10 years to 35.”

“…there’s a lovely old rural expression. That emanates from an agricultural society that I’m proud to come from. And it says you cannot go on weighing the pig. You must, at some point, start feeding it. 

“…I feel, like somebody from the country listening to this, that all the logic could be in delaying this could be to discriminate against the people for whom I come and represent.”

Fine Gael TD, from Galway, Hildegarde Naughton added:

Nobody, nobody has come up with an alternative, plan B, that is legally viable. Nobody, not even the minister. All the experts that came before us. Not even the recommendation of this all, cross-party, committee report. There is no plan B here. It’s just go out again, review it again.”

Fianna Fáil TD, from Clare, Timmy Dooley said:

“We can have another hearing if we so wish, maybe in the Dáil. I’m happy that the work of all members of the committee has done in trying to get to a position of which there are recommendations now.

“So we’re making recommendations to the Government. We can bring that through if we get time in the Dáil and have another debate…it won’t change. It’s still an option for the Government to either accept or ignore the committee report. So a discussion and debate in the Dáil, I don’t think will change the Government’s mind one way or the other.

“…Are you [Irish Examiner journalist Juno McEnroe] suggesting that we have a debate in the House on the report? Of which I think I know what the outcome of that would be. I know what the result of that would be, based on the cross-party support that has been found.

“Yes, we support the Government in the Confidence and Supply Agreement of which this doesn’t form part of. If you’re suggesting that I’m going to threaten to bring down the Government on the strength of whether or not they accept this report or not – well the answer is ‘No’. The answer is ‘No, we won’t be bringing down the Government on this’.

“We’ll be advising them from an Opposition perspective which is what we have done every step of the way. We have raised very serious concerns for the past two years and we continue to act as a responsible Opposition.”

Related: Consultants paid lavishly for wrong advice on broadband (Cantillon, The Irish Times)

Previously: Overly Complex, Restrictive, Redundant And Unfit For Purpose’

Rollingnews

David McCourt with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a Science Foundation of Ireland event in New York, March 2018

Yesterday.

Via The Sunday Business Post:

In a highly critical report into the National Broadband Plan (NBP) seen by The Sunday Business Post, members of the cross-party Oireachtas Communications Committee warned that public money would be used to subsidise its roll-out in areas where it wasn’t needed.

The report, which will be published on Tuesday, found that the procurement process run by the Department of Communications was “overly complex, restrictive, redundant and unfit for purpose”, despite being well intentioned.

It said the terms of the tender were too narrow and excluded “other viable options”.

A government source disputed the findings and said that if the recommendations were followed it would add a further siginificant delay to the project.

Broadband plan is waste of taxpayers’ money, says report (Peter O’Dwyer, The Sunday Business Post)

Related: Broadband deal signing with Granahan McCourt set to be delayed for month (Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times)

Previously: Still Loading

This morning.

Engineers Ireland published a report entitled ‘State of Ireland 2019 – A Review of Infrastructure in Ireland’ in which it found:

Building Energy Ratings (BER) are an indicator of the energy consumption of buildings. The majority of dwellings in each of the bands from 1961 until 2008 achieved a BER of D or C mid-range. There has been significant and measurable improvement in building quality for new homes with the introduction of new Building Regulations in 2005, 2008, 2011 etc.

According to the SEAI (2018), Ireland’s carbon emissions per household are 58% higher than the rest of Europe.

The average floor area of Irish homes increased by 15% between 2002 and 2016, which partially negated these gained energy efficiency benefits.

According to Eurostat (2017), 12.6% of the Irish population (approx. 600,000 people) lives in a dwelling with a leaking roof, damp walls, floors or foundation or rot in window frames or floors.

The 68-page report can be read in full here

Yesterday.

Daft.ie released it’s latest rental report.

From the report:

“Rents now 31% higher than their 2008 peak.

“The average market rent nationwide has risen by 81% since bottoming out in late 2011 and, having exceeded its 2008 peak in 2016, is now 30.8% above the previous high.

“In Dublin, rents are now an average of 37% above their previous peak while in Cork and Galway cities, rents are 30% and 47% above levels recorded a little over a decade ago.

“Outside the cities, the average rent is 22% above its previous peak.”

In the report, Ronan Lyons writes:

“…we are still discussing substantial price increases, even if in percentage terms the increases in key markets have fallen below a noteworthy threshold.

The average Dublin rent rose by €160 during 2018, compared to €180 in 2017. It is unlikely that any new or existing tenants will be celebrating just because the new all-time high is less dramatically above the previous high than it was compared to the figure from two years ago.

“Indeed, one possible reason for the slowdown in inflation could be that the market has reached the limits of what tenants can pay. Digging beneath the figures, though, another reason suggests itself: improved supply. If true, this could indicate that the mild improvement in market conditions in Ireland’s rental market may continue.

“On January 1st 2019, there were 3,641 properties available to rent nationwide, an increase of over 11% on the same date in 2018, when there were just 3,270 homes on the market.

“As shown in the graph accompanying this piece, (above) this is still the second lowest start-of-year total on record, going back to 2006. It is also below the 2016 and 2017 totals (both just below 3,900) and well below the previous market crunch in 2006/2007 when there were just under 5,000 homes available to rent.

“But an improvement is still an improvement, even if it is off a very low base. When availability improves, it is either due to a fall in demand or an increase in supply. Obviously, with Brexit looming, a fall-off in demand cannot be ruled out. However, that seems at odds with the evidence: employment and incomes are, at least at the moment, still going up.

“So, at a time of apparently strong rental demand, especially in the Dublin market, there are some signs that availability is improving and inflation easing, however slightly. A further possibility presents itself. It is possible that the numbers are something of an aberration ‐ one swallow does not a summer make.

Read Daft’s Rental Price Report for the fourth quarter of 2018 in full here

 

From top (clockwise) Irish Mail on Sunday editor Conor O’Donnell, IMOS Crime Correspondent Debbie McCann, Deputy News Editor of the IMOS Robert Cox, Irish Daily Mail journalist Alison O’Reilly, Mail Group Editor Sebastian Hamilton; Eavan Murray, of The Irish Sun; Irish Times Crime Editor Conor Lally; Daniel McConnell, Juno McEnroe and Cormac O’Keeffe, of The Irish Examiner; John Burke, of RTÉ

Ahead of statements being made in the Dáil about the report this afternoon from 4.50pm

And further to a post this morning concerning some of Judge Peter Charleton’s findings on certain gardai who appeared at the Disclosures Tribunal…

Judge Charleton also found that some journalists also frustrated his efforts to find out exactly what happened to Sgt McCabe.

At the outset, he found that “no newspaper or media outlet ever traduced the character of Maurice McCabe in consequence of any communication from Superintendent Taylor, or indeed at all” in relation to the Ms D allegation which was found to have no foundation by the DPP in 2007.

He wrote:

“No one in print or on radio or on television or on Internet sites ever said either that Maurice McCabe had abused a child or that he was a bitter man with hidden agendas in consequence of being investigated by his colleagues due to an allegation made against him in December 2006 of what was then claimed to be historic abuse.”

But he conceded:

“Rumours were, however, as this report details in part, flying around about him; particularly from 2013 and in January 2014.”

Following on from former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor claiming in his protected disclosure that he “negatively briefed” journalists about Sgt McCabe – but giving no significant details of where, when and how he briefed them – the tribunal wrote to 25 journalists at the outset of the tribunal’s inquiries on March 15, 2017.

Each of these journalists, after having been found to have been in contact with Supt Taylor during the relevant period of time of the smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, were asked if they had any information relevant to tribunal’s terms of reference.

On March 21, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Conor Lally, of The Irish Times.

[This took place a month after the publication of an article by Mr Lally, on February 20, 2017, based on an interview he had with Ms D, upon which Sgt McCabe subsequently took action. The print version of the article was headlined “Woman behind alleged complaint about McCabe wants her day before inquiry” while its online version was headed “When can I get on with the rest of my life? – woman at the centre of the McCabe case”.]

[In the High Court in July 2018, the newspaper apologised to Sgt McCabe for suggesting in the article that the DPP’s ruling that no prosecution be made against Sgt McCabe was based on merely “insufficient evidence”.

[When Mr Lally gave evidence to the tribunal – which took place between the time he wrote the article and when The Irish Times apologised to Sgt McCabe – Mr Lally said he had first heard of the Ms D allegation in 2010 or 2011 and that the matter was “dead” to him because he knew “the case was, quote-unquote, completely thrown out by the DPP]

On April 21, 2017, the tribunal wrote to each of the 25 journalists again and it also wrote to Cormac O’Keeffe and Daniel McConnell, of The Irish Examiner.

On April 24, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Mr Lally again.

The judge noted:

“In these letters to 28 journalists, the tribunal requested answers to a list of questions relevant to its terms of reference. With one exception, no answer was given to the complete set of questions at that time.”

[That exception was Frank Greaney, of Newstalk]

On April 13, 2017, Supt Taylor gave the tribunal the names of nine journalists – claiming that he negatively briefed them about Sgt McCabe.

Continue reading

From top: Lorraine and Sgt Maurice McCabe; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, former Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice Ken O’Leary, former assistant secretary at the Department of Justice Michael Flahive, former secretary general at the Department of Justice Noel Waters; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil

This afternoon.

While Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin was putting questions to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract…

And telling Mr Varadkar that the process had been “contaminated” but the contact between Mr Naughten and David McCourt, of the consortium which is the only bidder left seeking the contract…

Mr Varadkar put it to Mr Martin that he had “a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry”.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton is expected to deliver his report on the Disclosures Tribunal shortly – having said he will deliver it in October.

The tribunal examined allegations that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign.

Members of An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and the media were questioned at the tribunal – including the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

In light of this…

The Taoiseach said:

“You have a bit of a history in this Dáil, of saying things, of claiming, of making allegations against ministers and claiming that things aren’t credible. You said the same about Minister Harris and about me in relation to CervicalCheck and yet the Scally report proves that what you believe was not credible was credible.

“You made allegations about former Minister [for Justice] [Frances] Fitzgerald. And we’ll see what the findings are in relation to that.

“So you’ve a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry. So this is a pattern of yours unfortunately and it’s not a good one.”

Hmmm.

Previously: Unconscionable

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and from today’s Irish Times

Further to this week’s publication of the review of the Strategic Communications Unit by Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach Martin Fraser…

And the publication of an accompanying report into the SCU and the Project Ireland 2040 initiative by Assistant Secretary at the department Elizabeth Canavan…

In today’s Irish Times, the newspaper’s political correspondent Harry McGee reports:

There was also a claim in the media that MediaForce Ireland had directed editors to make advertorial copy look like news. The basis for this claim was an earlier campaign by MediaForce Ireland conducted for Creative Ireland, which had no connection to the SCU. The conflation of this separate campaign with Project 2040 led to claims that similar instructions were sent to newspapers. There was no evidence to bear out this claim.”

“Ms Canavan carried out an in-depth review of over 50 newspapers, and interviewed all the main protagonists in the controversy, including newspaper editors. She found no basis for the allegation SCU staff pressurised editors, directly or indirectly, to portray advertorials as news.”

And yet…

From Ms Canavan’s report…

This is the email which was sent from Mediaforce to regional newspapers, as supplied to Ms Canavan by Mediaforce…

From: Shane Treanor

Date: 19 February 2018 at 10:54:42 GMT

Subject: National Dev Plan

Hi all

Apologies for the group mail.

A couple of points on the above that I wanted to reiterate.

In terms of strapline – attached is an idea of how this should look.

It should read National Development Plan in partnership with the Government of
Ireland – you should be able to get the logo from department website.

This will clearly illustrate to readers that this is a Govt initiative.

In terms of the editorial – Dessie is sending this now. The idea is that this will not be a copy and paste job from the document. More that the points in it, in relation to your area, should be enhanced somewhat. It’s a guide to take your readers through what the plan means for them (and so needs some editorial team back up to finesse the message). The pieces and articles should fit with the tone of your papers – that’s what got this over the line. Some of you will notice the same piece may cover 3 or 4 counties … This emphasises more why we need some editorial input to really localise the message for your readers.

Any images that you need – you should have on file be that pictures of a
road/school/sports ground etc.

As mentioned I do (and the client too) appreciate that you will cover what this plan means for your locale independently on your pages this week – but that will fall outsid these 2 pages. The idea is that within these pages – the plan for your area should be laid out clearly and concisely.

Hope that this is all clear for you.

Any questions please give me a call.

I understand that this is an unusual project. However I really need us to do a good job on this as I believe if we do, there should be more to come on this project and indeed other issues, such as Brexit, in the coming weeks and months.

Shane

And this is the email supplied to Ms Canavan by an editor of a regional newspaper…

Apologies for the group mail.

A couple of points on the above that I wanted to reiterate.

In terms of strapline – attached is an idea of how this should look.
It should read ‘Brought to you in partnership with Project Ireland 2040’

This will clearly illustrate to readers that this is a Govt initiative and negate the need to have ADVERTORIAL on the page etc.

In terms of the editorial. The idea is that this will not be a copy and paste job from the document. More that the points in it, in relation to your area, should be enhanced somewhat. It’s a guide to take your readers through what the plan means for them (and so needs some editorial team back up to finesse the message). The pieces and articles should fit with the tone of your papers – that’s what got this over the line. Some of you will notice the same piece may cover 3 or 4 counties … This emphasises more why we need some editorial
input to really localise the message for your readers.

Any images that you need – you should have on file be that pictures of a road/school/sports ground etc.

As mentioned I do (and the client too) appreciate that you will cover what this plan means for your locale independently on your pages this week – but that will fall outside these 2 pages. The idea is that within these pages – the plan for your area should be laid out clearly and concisely.

Hope that this is all clear for you.
Any questions please give me a call.

I understand that this is an unusual project. However I really need us to do a good job on this as I believe if we do, there should be more to come on this project and indeed other issues, such as Brexit, in the coming weeks and months.

Shane

Spot the difference?

This afternoon.

The Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution launched its final report, after examining the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly in relation to the Eighth Amendment.

During the launch, Gavan Reilly, of TV3, asked the following question:

You’re proposing the terms of a constitutional referendum but you’re also proposing what a new legislative regime should be afterwards. Are you at all worried that the two issues might be conflated in people’s minds? And that they won’t see this as being a referendum on the repeal of the 8th amendment but whether rather it should be a referendum on 12 weeks on request or something like that? And that perhaps there might be people who are in favour of repeal who may vote against it on the basis of what you’re proposing afterwards?

In response, chair of the committee Senator Catherine Noone said:

“The point is that in a referendum, people, it’s proven that people don’t always vote on the issue and this referendum will be slightly different because I think people will engage to a large degree with it.

There will be a lot of misinformation. I think it will be difficult to keep this debate factual. And, you know, there’s a lot of opinion in it, naturally. So, it will be a difficult process. Ok. Assuming that we have a referendum, the Taoiseach has indicated that there will be one. I mean I’ve heard voices saying ‘oh who’s said that there’ll definitely be a referendum, it has to be led through the Houses’.

“I personally can’t envisage a situation where we wouldn’t have one. But once the debate starts, once the referendum campaign kicks off I suppose, once we definitely know there is one, it’s open season.

“Nobody can control who gets on the airwaves. RTE, in particular, are very tied in terms of showing two sides of an argument, it’s only right that they do.

“But, you know, anyone can get on the airwaves essentially and people will be opportunistic and  I would say politicians, and I’m one, a lot of us here are, we should let other voices into this to a large degree aswell.”

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said:

The process for the Citizens’ Assembly and the process for the Eighth Committee were required to consider both and that’s what we did. I think in many ways that brings into play the evidence that we heard.

“I think, I mean people would have asked if it was a straightforward repeal, without saying what was likely to follow…

“…I think giving people an expectation, following a very robust process, a two-stage process, I think is helpful in actually addressing that issue.

“Because there’s a whole lot of people out there, like, for example, the point that Danny made, about what was the evidence that most impacted you.

“For me, it was a combination of evidence in relation to, Mary O’Toole, the [senior] counsel from the X case, together with Rhona Mahony and Peter Boylan, for example. When you actually, how profound it was to hear a senior counsel say we know what the law is now. The law is that a woman is entitled to a termination if her life is at risk.

“And then we heard, and only if her life is at risk, and then we heard the medics tell us that the, is it a 20% risk, is it a 50% risk, how do you evaluate that risk?

“When you put those two things together and I made the point, you think of someone’s wife or partner, you think of a daughter, you think of a sister, you think of a child and that child hoping that their mother would be cared for in a way, in a healthcare environment.

“They’re the kind of arguments that we’re going to have to make. But I think the evidence that we heard was so convincing that we have got to go out there and not only hope that this referendum happens but really encourage the early holding of a referendum.

“But we also have to get out there and lead in a referendum campaign and make sure that we don’t do what happened in the divorce referendum and that was that we had to go back a second time and there was a ten-year timeframe. I think there’s an obligation  on us to do that and to use the information, not conflate it, but to use it in a very powerful way. “

The report can be read here

Tables from the garda internal investigation into fake breath tests [click to enlarge]

Yesterday evening.

An Garda Siochana published their internal investigations into the fake breath test figures and the 14,700 wrongful convictions for motoring offences.

They can be read here and here.

The inquiry into the fake breath tests discovered there was more than 1.4million fake breath tests recorded between 2009 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the Policing Authority has hired financial auditors Crowe Horwath to conduct its own independent investigation into the matters and that’s expected to be completed by September 25.

It’s been reported that Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is due to appear before the Policing Authority three days later on September 28.

Meanwhile…

Conor Lally, in The Irish Times, reports:

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan released a statement yesterday about the Garda’s reports into inflated breath tests and the fixed-charge notice system. He said he was disturbed by the findings and expected the reports to be published later in the day.

But Garda Headquarters never had any intention of publishing the reports any time soon. It wanted to wait until consultants hired by the Policing Authority to examine the same issues had completed their work.

But the Garda has now been forced to go public with the reports because Mr Flanagan, in public, told Ms O’Sullivan she had to publish yesterday.

And if the Policing Authority’s consultants find anything nasty that the Garda reports overlook, it could be the end of the road for Ms O’Sullivan.

Winter is coming for Garda Commissioner (Conor Lally, The Irish Times)

Previously: Another Half A Million

A Breathtaking Timeline