Tag Archives: statement

This afternoon.

At Government Buildings.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a press briefing to give an update on the Government’s response to Covid-19.

In his briefing he said all the restrictions he announced while in Washington DC two weeks ago have been extended until Sunday, April 19.

He also said people should only leave their homes for essential reasons such as going to work or going to shops for food supplies. He said people should not make non-essential visits to other homes and no more than four people should gather in an outdoor social setting – unless the people are from the same household.

He said:

“Good afternoon, everyone.

“This morning the Cabinet met to decide on the next steps that the Government will take to respond to the coronavirus emergency. These are unprecedented actions to respond to an unprecedented emergency.

“We’ve agreed actions in three areas. First new measures to slow the spread of the virus as recommended by the CMO [chief medical officer] and the National Public Health Emergency Team, an expert team of public health doctors, virologists and scientists.

“Second, new measures to assist those who have lost or will lose their jobs as a consequence of the emergency and the scheme to ensure that many others do not and remain on the pay roll, rather than being laid off.

“And third, new emergency legislation that we’re asking the Dáil and Seanad to enact by the end of the week. Before I go through them in detail, I want to once again thank all of you for contributing to this great national effort.

“Thank you to our health service staff and our civil servants as well, our local authorities, are volunteers and NGOs, our Defence Forces, our gardai, our retailers, farmers and transport workers, carers and care workers, postal workers and those working in industry like pharma, food production and food service and medical devices.

“And thanks to everyone who’s helping out and helping others in a million different ways. Thank you all in religious life, our journalists and broadcasters, everyone doing their best to raise the spirits of our country.

“You’re rising to this challenge and the nation is grateful.”


“I’m asking you stay at home if at all possible. This is the best way to slow the virus, ensure our hospitals are not overwhelmed and buy us time that we need to build more capacity testing, contact tracing, beds and ventilators.

“So you should only leave home to go to work, if you can’t work from home and your attendance is essential. You should  only go to the shops for essential supplies, out for medical and dental appointments or to care for others or take physical exercise.

“Non-essential indoor visits to other people’s homes should be avoided and social gatherings of individuals outdoors should be of no more than four people unless you’re all from the same household.

“We’re in this for the long haul and this could go on for weeks, perhaps even months so we need to maintain our humanity as well. And it is OK to see our families and loved ones, because we have to look after our mental health as well as our physical health, but we have to maintain physical distance.

“Do it in small groups only and much less frequently than we would in the past. No unnecessary travel should take place within the country or overseas now or over the Easter break.

“In order to assist all of this the restrictions I announced in Washington DC are being extended until Sunday, the 19th of April and the following new actions are being taken, effective from midnight tonight.

“All theatres, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, hairdressers, betting offices, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut. All hotels, to limit occupancy to essential, non-social and non-tourist reasons. All non-essential retail outlets are to close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to implement physical distancing.

“A list of essential retail outlets and stores is being provided.

“All cafés and restaurants should limit supply to takeaways and deliveries only. All sporting events are cancelled including those held behind closed doors. All playgrounds and holiday caravan parks will close.

“All places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate physical distancing. All organised social indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place.

“The gardai will increase interventions where venues are not in compliance with or where groups of people are not adhering to recommended social distancing. All  household contacts of a suspect case, that is someone waiting on a test or a test result should restrict their movements until the test is reported as negative or 14 days after the onset of symptoms, whichever is the shorter.

“As I’ve mentioned earlier, individuals should work from home unless attendance at the workplace is absolutely essential. And social gatherings of individuals outdoors should be of no more than four people unless all are from the same household.

“All non-essential indoor visits to other person’s homes should be avoided. All crowded places, including public amenities, should be avoided as well. And all scheduled cruise ship travel to Ireland will cease.

“Any setting that should close has been specifically identified today and the requirement that workers work from home, unless attendance is absolutely essential, is not to be read as meaning the factories or constructions sites have to be shut.

“The authorities are available to work with employers and unions on how to make physical distancing effective where that’s possible.

“There’s going to be an increase of park rangers and gardai in parks and public places to ensure that physical distancing is being observed. In Ireland, since Independence, we’ve always had policing by consent, rather than by coercion and I don’t intend for that to change now. That’s not our way.

“The new powers afforded to the gardai will be used sparingly and only where necessary. Let’s all play our part to ensure they’re not used at all.

“I believe a liberal democracy can do this without the need for authoritarian and draconian actions.”

“The impact of Covid-19 on our economy and employment has been sudden and will be enormous. I believe we need to maintain social solidarity, unity and a sense of community in this time of trial.

“In recognition of the fact that so many fellow citizens have lost their jobs so suddenly, we’re raising the Covid Unemployment Payment to €350 a week, that’s approximately 75 per cent of average earnings in the sectors most affected and compares favourably with what’s being done in other jurisdictions. The first payments will be made on Friday.

“The Covid Illness Benefit, for people who are self-isolating, will also increase to €350 per week and that can be topped up by employers.

“In order to encourage employers and companies badly affected by the emergency, to keep staff on the payroll, a wage subsidy scheme will be introduced, to co-fund 70% of the cost of salaries up to a maximum of €38,000 a year.

“So for a salary of €38,000 the subsidy would equate to €410 a week in take-home pay. The cost of all of this will be great, many billions of euros in the coming months. But we can bear it and we will be able to pay it back as a nation. We do so willingly because it’s the right thing to do. And because we owe it to our fellow citizens.

“I strongly believe that maintaining a link between employees and employers and companies will make it easier for us to bounce back when this is all over. We’ll keep our economic infrastructure intact and will give business the best chance possible of making it through.

“The self-employed will also be covered and I know the sacrifices that many of our self-employed have made, to build up their businesses and practices and I know how worried they are at the moment, how vulnerable they feel and Government will do everything we can to help sustain you and bring you through this emergency as well.

“Ministers [Paschal] Donohoe, [Heather] Humphreys, and [Regina] Doherty will set out in more detail how these measures will apply.

“Finally, Cabinet this morning approved the emergency measures in the Public Interest Covid Bill. This legislation, for the duration of the emergency, will freeze rents, prevent evictions, make it easier for healthcare professionals, to re-register and return to work and enable former members of our Defence Forces to rejoin at the rank at which they left.

“We need you to serve your country again and to strengthen our nation at this difficult time.

“We also approved a framework agreement with the private hospitals. They will operate effectively as public hospitals under Section 38 of the Health Act for the duration of the emergency. Thus adding over 2,000 beds, nine laboratories, critical care capacity and thousands of staff to our health service. Public and private patients will be treated equally and private hospitals have agreed to do this on a not-for-profit basis and I really want to thank them for their co-operation in this regard.”

More to follow.

Former presidential hopeful Peter Casey at Cabragh Bridge, Thurles, Co Tipperary on October 18, during his campaign

This afternoon.

The Traveller families at Cabragh Bridge in Thurles, Co Tipperary have released the following statement:

“Different elements of the media are now asking us for our opinion about what seems to be a big support for Peter Casey in the presidential election.

Our family has already gone through hell because of the hatred directed against us in all of this. And we have had to learn very quickly that the media were happy to play a very big part in it all.

Nobody seemed to want to know the truth because it was getting in the way of a good sensational media story.

It was a good story that we were demanding houses so that was what was printed – even though we never even asked for houses in the first place.

It was a good story that we demanded stables built and acres for each family, so that was what was printed – even though we have never even asked for this.

At no time did the media question the [Tipperary] County Council here about the real story and how they used us and whipped up public opposition so they could go back on their original agreement.

Only a couple of journalists even wanted to know the full story and even they had a problem getting the truth printed.

We have suffered from all these lies and hatred and our children have suffered.

We have never got a fair hearing and, when people are asking us now what we think about the election, we are talking only to journalists and interviewers that we can trust.

Are we surprised at the big amount of support for Casey?

No. We are not.

Casey was able to pick the worst of people in Irish society and set them up against each other. When you get the settled people to put the blame on the Travellers for everything, then nobody needs to question who is really responsible for the terrible conditions the government has people living in.

A lot of settled people saw through these lies, and we would like to thank them for their support in our dignified protest when Mr Casey decided to ‘visit’ us.

Casey probably now feels he has got somewhere through using us and and all the Traveller community in a hate campaign.

So we know he will keep going and there will be probably a lot more Caseys coming out when they see this works.

We have learned a lot from this very big ordeal we were put through.

We are asking the media now to learn from it as well.

Please check out the facts before you use people in this way – no matter how popular it might be to run down Travellers.”

Via Eileen Ní Fhloinn

Pic: Ben Sweeney

Previously: Countering Casey

At 34 North Frederick Street in Dublin yesterday evening

This morning.

Further to last night’s removal of housing activists by private security members and gardai from a house which they were occupying on 34 North Frederick Street, Dublin city…

The activist group Take Back The City have released a statement, saying:

Yesterday, September 11, 2018, between 18:30 and 19:00, 15-20 men arrived outside 34 North Frederick Street in a van with no registration plate at its front and a UK registration number at its rear. They proceeded to enter the building using electric saws and power tools.

None of these men were wearing any identification to indicate the name of their employer, in direct contravention of the Private Security (Identity Badge) Regulations 2009 which state:

“It is mandatory for all licensed bouncers and security employees to wear one of two types of identity badges while on duty. Under the new rules, employers can either wear their existing license card as a badge or may use one which has been supplied by their employer, so long as it complies with guidelines set out by the Private Security Authority (PSA), the statutory body with responsibility for licensing and regulating the private security sector in Ireland.”

Immediately after the arrival of these private security workers, 3 members of An Garda Siochana attended at the scene.

As community response to the eviction attempt began to build, they were joined by 1 Garda Riot Squad, 1 Public Order Unit, 1 Garda Transit Connect van an 1 Garda Jeep with dogs.

As peaceful opposition to the eviction continued, physical force was used against a number of attendees, while 5 activists were arrested and brought to various Garda stations throughout the North Inner City of Dublin.

It is important to highlight that, as the security firm sent to enter the building contravened the above legislation, An Garda Siochana therefore defended an illegal activity and arrested activists who opposed this illegal activity.

A large mobilisation of activists and members of the community gathered outside Store Street Garda Station in the aftermath of the arrests, demanding their release.

Several of those arrested subsequently presented to hospital for treatment on injuries sustained before and during their arrests.

The extent of injuries sustained at the hands of both the private security firm and the Guards includes: assault leading to severe wounds, shoulder injury and concussion as a result of being kicked in the head. The injuries sustained were so serious in nature they necessitated hospital care.

Take Back the City condemns the actions of the security firm who illegally carried out forceful evictions on occupants at 34 North Frederick Street, a building which had been left idle for more than 3 years by its owners, the McGreal family.

Moreso, we utterly condemn the actions of An Garda Siochana, who facilitated these illegal activities, arrested activists fighting against the ongoing and unprecedented homelessness crisis in Ireland, and used physical force in the process.

We ask An Garda Siochana, and the State at large, how they can justify these actions? We ask them where this scale of physical support is implemented when ordinary tenants are being illegally and unjustly evicted from their homes?

A solidarity rally will take place later today – further details to follow. The ‘Take Back the City – Dublin’ Facebook page will have more information on same during the day.

Last night: What’s Going On Here?

Sam Boal/Rollingnews



Nat writes:

That’s one angle RTE can take…


Garda Keith Harrison

You may recall how, on Wednesday evening, Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins spoke to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Prime Time about how Keith was the subject of a referral to Tusla over a false abuse allegation.

Yesterday it was announced that Mr Harrison’s complaints will be included in the tribunal of inquiry that will examine the alleged smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Readers will recall how Garda Harrison’s troubles began after he arrested a member of the drugs quad for drink driving in Athlone in June, 2009.

The arrest came a year after Garda Harrison made a complaint alleging that a member of the Garda drugs unit was involved in the sale and supply of heroin in Athlone.

In 2014, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty told the Dail that Garda Harrison made serious claims about how the drink driving case was struck out and how evidence related to the case was stolen by a Garda member.

Mr Harrison, who has been on sick leave since 2014, released the following statement last night:

After a long and difficult battle to have all my complaints investigated I would like to acknowledge the publication [yesterday] of the expanded terms of reference of the Tribunal of Inquiry that now includes an investigation of my treatment and that of other whistleblowers within An Garda Siochana. I trust the Inquiry will establish the truth and bring about a change within Senior Management of An Garda Siochana.

My family and I acknowledge and thank the public for the support received since taking the extraordinary step of bringing our case to national attention.

I continue to remain out of work on sick leave without any pay. I ask that my pay be restored so that I may financially support my family. It remains my wish to return to active duty serving my community as a member of An Garda Siochana.

I thank all those who met with us, listened and assisted us in reaching this point, I acknowledge Minister Katherine Zappone TD, Minister Finian McGrath TD and Minister Sean Canney TD, Brendan Howlin TD, Mr Michael Martin TD and Mr Jim O’Callaghan TD, Dr Michael Harty TD, Mr Pearse Doherty TD and Mr Johnathan O’Brien TD who met and listened to us.

Special thanks to Clare Daly TD and Mick Wallace TD for their exhaustive efforts in highlighting the treatment of whistleblowers within An Garda Siochana.

I would like to particularly thank Alan Kelly TD who offered his wholehearted support in bringing these matters to public attention and, on my behalf, championed our case in the Dail to bring about the widening of the Terms of Reference to include my experiences.

I would like to thank the trojan work of each and every member of staff of Kilfeather and Company solicitors, Galway and in particular the tireless efforts of our solicitor, Trevor Collins.

Finally I thank my family for their love and support in particular my partner Marisa, who continues to be my rock throughout this ordeal. No further statements shall be made and I look forward to the convening of the Inquiry.

Why Are Nine Garda Whistleblowers Out Sick?

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 19.38.07

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Minister for Justice and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald

As was confirmed in a statement by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs this afternoon, Minister Zappone became aware in mid-January of an issue affecting Sgt McCabe which related to her Department.

As the statement points out Minister Zappone has taken and is taking a number of steps to deal with this matter.

She informed me in January that she intended to meet with Sgt McCabe. She of course did not inform me about any details in relation to confidential Tusla records.

The Terms of Reference of the proposed Commission put before the Oireachtas by me refer specifically to a complaint of criminal misconduct against Sgt McCabe and whether this allegation was used against him.

I have always been scrupulous to avoid any comment in the Dáil on what was at issue in the criminal complaint against Sgt. McCabe, referred to in the terms of reference.

Had I put into the public domain anything which indicated or implied the nature of the complaint against Sgt McCabe I would be rightly open to criticism.

At the heart of the issues to be examined by the Commission is whether senior Gardaí were involved in a campaign to use information to damage Sgt McCabe.

I agreed to take on board amendments designed to put beyond doubt that the examination of any smear campaign would not be confined.

Just as my colleague Minister Zappone is dealing with the serious matters relating to her area of responsibility, I am proceeding to finalise the terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation arising from Mr Justice O’Neill’s report.

A statement released this evening by Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

Any excuse.



Previously: Whose Line Is It Anyway?



Further to last night’s reports in the Irish Examiner and RTÉ’s Prime Time concerning the circulation of a false allegation of child sex abuse against Sgt Maurice McCabe by Tusla…

Tusla have released the following statement.

Due to Data Protection and Constitutional rights, Tusla is prohibited from commenting on the details of individual cases. We also have a responsibility to protect the privacy and wellbeing of the children and families with whom we work.

Taking an overall view of this situation, however, it is clear to us that mistakes have been made. On this basis, we have commenced an internal review and we will cooperate fully with any commission of inquiry if requested.

Although we cannot comment on the details of this individual case, we can confirm that we are in the process of apologising fully to the individual involved.

It is important to note that when we receive allegations from a child – or from an adult reflecting on when they were a child – that we are obliged to carry out a complete assessment. We also accept that because of the nature and complexity of these situations,  the systems and processes involved in doing this need to be extremely robust.

In this case, it appears there were some failures and these are the subject of our internal review, the conclusions of which will be made public.

Tusla regrets that this situation has arisen and deeply apologises for distress caused. It does not reflect the high standards that we hold ourselves to and we want to assure the public that we will take whatever steps are required to ensure that nothing like this happens again.

H/T: Aubrey Robinson

Earlier: Pasted In Error


Pat Hickey (top) and his credentials (above(

Further to yesterday’s PR move against the Rio police.

I have been appointed on behalf of Pat Hickey’s family, to call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan TD and the Minister for Sport, Shane Ross TD, to urgently intervene in addressing the extremely worrying issues surrounding his arrest and detention.

This arrest and detention occurred over seven days ago and still no charges have been brought, nor has an appropriate venue for a bail application been made available to Pat Hickey.

The Hickey family are extremely concerned about:

– The manner in which Pat Hickey was arrested
– His detention in a high security prison without charge
– The effects of such detention on Pat Hickey’s health
– The pre-trial disclosure of what is purported to be evidence to the media without any right of a reply (which is leading and imbalanced reporting)
– Pat Hickey’s right to a fair hearing, given the prejudicial way in which he has been treated to date.

The family has requested an urgent meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan TD and the Minister for Sport, Shane Ross TD and they have asked me to request that they would make contact with the Brazilian ambassador, Alfonso José Cardoso to make the family’s concerns known to him.

The Hickey family is gravely concerned about the effect this degrading and humiliating ordeal has had on their Father and Grandfather and how it continues to affect his physical and mental health.

He has a serious heart condition and they are extremely anxious that he would be immediately released on bail and given the opportunity to respond to the accusations.

They also, as a priority, want to get him home to Ireland as they have increasing concerns about his safety.

The family is also calling upon Minister Flanagan to immediately issue a statement setting out the steps the Department of Foreign Affairs is taking to object to the manner in which an elderly Irish citizen was arrested and is still being detained in Brazil.

It was entirely inappropriate and unacceptable for a 71-year-old Irish citizen be taken from his bedroom, arrested and walked in a state of undress before a pre-arranged camera crew, after which film and still shots were released to the global media.

The family hope to meet with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD when he returns from holidays.

I am awaiting a reply.

Statement issued this afternoon by Anne Marie James, of Kirwan McKeown James Solicitors on behalf of Pat Hickey’s family.

Yesterday: A Right Royal Dressing Gown

Via Richard Chambers