Tag Archives: Tonight with Vincent Brown

The panel on last night’s Tonight with Vincent Browne

Last night.

On TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Browne, presented by Newstalk’s Sarah McInerney.

The panel included Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy, Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan, postdoctoral researcher at Maynooth University Dr Rory Hearne and Irish Independent columnist Colette Browne.

At the beginning of the show, Dr Hearne repeated his claim that the State is over reliant on the private sector to provide social and affordable housing.

It followed an interview Dr Hearne did on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke yesterday morning and an opinion article he wrote for yesterday’s The Irish Times, headlined Why Government response to housing crisis has failed.

Last night, Dr Hearne said:

“Last year, Rebuilding Ireland set out to build 2,000 new social housing units by local authorities, only 650 were built. We had 1,000 rapid units promised to be delivered for the families in hotels who are homeless. Only 150 are going to be built by the end of this year.”

“…They [The Government] are not willing, I think, to stand up to the property interests, the developer interests, the financial interests, the vulture funds. They don’t want the Government to provide a much greater amount of supply of affordable and social housing.

“I think, they’ve been bought over by this idea, they’ve been captured by this idea that you have to encourage the private sector to build. The private sector isn’t building…

The private market has shown it doesn’t work. The State has to provide housing but the Government seems to be ideologically captured by this, they don’t believe in social housing, they don’t want affordable housing, they seem to just want to follow that private market model. And I think that’s the reason why we’re in this crisis.

Following this…

Colm Brophy: “Well listen, I mean, a lot of what Rory said there was just either palpably ignorant of what the Government is actually doing, it’s either ideologically derived and I don’t say that with any pleasure but it really…”

Colette Browne: “What facts, what facts that Rory mentioned do you disagree with?

Brophy: “Sorry, can I just, listen, there’s one of me here now so I’ll, I’ll just, there is no question, it is completely wrong to say that the Government doesn’t want to provide social housing, that the Government doesn’t want to provide housing, that the Government is somehow involved, and I heard you earlier on, in a couple of media interviews where you nearly have this hard-left, conspiratorial view that, somehow or other, there is some divine right that everything should be done by the public sector and if you advocate any other way or approach to it, that you’re involved in some type of conspiracy with venture funds and banks and everything else like that.”

Hearne: “I never said that.”

Talk over each other

Brophy: “No, the fact, no but I’m saying you seem to be coming from this type of view, that the only solution is the one you look at and advocate. Now let’s look actually at what is happening and what is being done. This Government came in, Simon Coveney took on a ministry for housing, it was especially created to recognise the importance of the problem which was there. There’s a commitment for €5.3billion to be made available by this Government to provide social housing. Now that’s between now and 2021.”

“The thing people always want to overlook and they think, I just, I don’t know why people don’t get this: you can’t wave a magic wand and make houses appear…”

Sarah McInerney: “No, ok, ok but hold on, hold on, hold Colm, you’ve made a number of charges against Rory there, ideological charges there, etc. But let’s just stick with the figures for a second. Because Rory made a number of different points but one of the things he talked about was figures and that’s not factually incorrect or not factually incorrect, it’s just the figures as we know them and one of those figures is that there were 650 new social housing builds in 2016, instead of the 2,200 that were planned.”

Brophy: “But, again, it’s all…”

McInerney: “Now the Government told us they were going to happen, they didn’t happen. They told us they could wave that wand, that we would get those houses…”

Brophy: “No they didn’t…”

McInerney: “Well, we were told that they were getting 2,200 and we got 660, so what happened there?”

Brophy: “What the Government has said very clearly is that there’s a mixture, which certain people don’t like, I mean I was on the original Dail housing committee, so I’m familiar, I’ve heard all the hard-left arguments before of…”

McInerney: “Ok, forget ideology for a second…”

Brophy: “No, no…”

McInerney: “Because I’m just asking you about the facts. I’m asking you about the target that you set yourselves that you failed to reach. Why did you not reach it, is what I’m asking.”

Brophy: “If you actually look at it, and by the way, just to clarify another point, the money problem is not there, the [inaudible] is the supply problem…”

Watch back in full here

Previously: Whose Interests Are Dictating Our Housing Policy

‘They’re Loud And They’re Growing’


Free next Saturday, June 17?

Inner City Helping Homelessness

much better than those three giant png files that were slowing down screenloading. Anyone?

From top: Letter from Grace’s foster parents to then Minister for Health Michael Noonan in 1996; page 30 of the Conal Devine report; the panel on last night’s Tonight with Vincent Browne; Daniel McConnell; and Vincent Brown and Gavan Reilly, of Today FM

Last night.

On TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Browne, the panel – Fianna Fail TD Mary Butler, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan and political editor at The Irish Examiner Daniel McConnell – discussed the Grace case.

It followed the publication of the 2012 Conal Devine and 2015 Resilience Ireland reports into the case yesterday.

Grace is a non-verbal, intellectually disabled woman,  now in her 40s, who lived with an abusive foster family for 20 years, until 2009.

Grace lived in the home for almost 13 years after the local health board decided to stop placing children at the home.

An original 1996 decision to remove Grace from the abusive home, amid allegations of sexual abuse, was overturned following representations to the then minister for health Michael Noonan in August 1996.

During the discussion, Gavan Reilly, of Today FM, read out tweets that were being directed at the show.

From the show…

Daniel McConnell: “Vincent, one of the starkest things that came out of the press conference today and also the interviews from the HSE’s designated spokesperson was, when it got to the idea of accountability, the three people who were involved in the decision to leave Grace in the home in 1996 – which was an overturning of an earlier decision to remove her from the home – they’re no longer with us, so, therefore, we can’t pursue that angle.”

The HSE don’t have powers of compellability so we can’t even ask them. So, therefore, it’s just, they’re gone, they’re off the hook. There are 11 other healthcare workers, remaining in the system, but yet the HSE are convinced that there’s no difficulty or there’s no risk to child. How do they know if they haven’t even asked the people who were involved, as to what went on?


Gavan Reilly (after reading several tweets):  “It has to be said, Vincent, there’s one other common thread in the tweets and it’s something that I think relates back to a point that Daniel just made a few moments ago which is a lot of people are querying why there hasn’t been more made today, in the media coverage, about the role that Michael Noonan played in this, bearing in mind that Michael Noonan was the Minister for Health in 1996, when a decision was made to remove Grace from this particular home. The foster family, themselves, approached Michael Noonan, he passed it down the line and, ultimately, a decision was made, further down the line, not to remove Grace from that home.”

“Now, as Daniel has said, there’s obviously significant shortcomings in the fact that the three people responsible for that decision have yet to be approached by the HSE because, it says, it doesn’t have compellability – that is, possibly, the only lingering reason why a Commission of Investigation would still be a good thing. But, just to finish this point, Vincent.”

“The report today, and it has to be said, and there is other commentary around Michael Noonan, and no doubt there are questions to answer, the reports today, particularly, the Conor Dignam report, there is nothing damning about the handling of this case by Michael Noonan in that, quite simply, because it doesn’t go into any detail at all.”

“The only instance where Michael Noonan is invoked in that is  that the family wrote to Michael Noonan, Michael Noonan passed it down. There is no indication that Michael Noonan gave any instruction, either way, that’s something that has to be sounded out. But I just, I think, it should be said because a lot of people are wondering, they think that the coverage  is a little bit lacking because it doesn’t incorporate the role of Michael Noonan and I think the point just has to be made: that the reports today didn’t make any comment on the performance of Michael Noonan and it doesn’t shed any light on that.”

Watch back in full here

Related: Grace files: Grace scandal officials given senior roles (Irish Examiner)

Previously: ‘Confidence In The Institutions Of The State Is In Unequivocal Jeopardy’

Grace, Noonan and Monageer

Pic: Irish Examiner and Namawinelake