Tag Archives: Village

Property developer and Fianna Fáil donor John Fleming (left) and Micheal Martin; Mr Martin’s holiday home in Courtmacsherry, West Cork built by Mr Fleming

Murky pasts.

We all have them.

Via VIllage magazine [more at link below], Frank Connolly writes:

‘…A successful house builder on the newly zoned lands around expanding Cork city, John Fleming also developed what was, at the time, a luxury holiday-home complex at Courtmacsherry in picturesque West Cork, in the late 1990s.

In December, 1999, Micheál Martin took out a mortgage of £135,000 from Irish Life and Permanent to purchase 4 Meadowlands, one of the first of the large houses built in the scheme overlooking the sea in the small holiday village.

The property was purchased from John J Fleming Construction, one of the companies in the larger Fleming Group.

By this time, Martin was in government after being appointed to his first cabinet position by Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, in 1997. A former school teacher, he was made Minister for Education before he was given the health portfolio in 2000 and then served as Enterprise, Trade and Employment minister from 2004 to 2007.

In January 2007, Fleming travelled to Hungary with Martin as a member of an Enterprise Ireland delegation headed by the minister and later announced that he had won a contract to develop a wind-farm project in the eastern European country. Later that year, Fleming’s company made a donation of €900 to the minister’s general election campaign.

…On 11th March, 2010, six days after Fleming’s property company went into liquidation (on 5th March, 2010) the Irish Permanent mortgage on the Courtmacsherry holiday home purchased by Martin, was cancelled, according to documents lodged with the Land Registry.

There is a reference in the Land Registry documents connecting the charge on the holiday property to the Martin’s family home  in Ballinlough, Cork which they purchased many years previously.

In July 2009, a further charge “for present and future advances” with AIB was lodged with the Land Registry in respect of the Courtmacsherry property.

Village asked Martin to explain the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the property and the cancellation of the loan on 11th March 2010.

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson replied:

“The property was bought through an auctioneer with a mortgage in 1999.  In 2010, Micheál switched mortgage provider and the loan was restructured to include the balance of this loan and refurbishment of Micheál’s family home.  Repayment of this mortgage is ongoing.”

Asked was there any significance in the fact that the loan was cancelled, according to Land Registry documents, just six days after the company which sold the property, owned by John Fleming, went into liquidation (on 5th March, 2010), the spokesperson said:

“None.  See above.  These questions clearly represent an attempt to raise a controversy in the dying days of the General Election campaign where there is none.” [more at link below]

Micheál Martin, evasive and misleading, in 2020 (Frank Connolly Village)

Previously: So, Why Did That Money End Up In Your Wife’s Bank Account, Mr Martin?


The August issue of Village magazine is out now

Village is unashamedly Leftist. Its agenda is equality of outcome, sustainability and accountability.

These are all driven by the overarching goal of treating people as equals.

The right labours freedom to the detriment of equality, tending to fixate on the provision of choices rather than on how in practice those choices are exercised.

The non-ideological, non-visionary parties of the pragmatic centre hold little appeal for Village.

Depressingly, with a signal in June that it wants to go into coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, Sinn Féin has signalled its immediate destination is that pragmatic centre.

For fourteen years Village has tried to champion parties taking egalitarian stances but it’s been difficult.

Our left has been – and let’s be blunt – remains a disaster, a let-down. That is not an accident.

For historical reasons most Irish people, though they have a weakness for leftist rhetoric, are conservative and property-fetishising with a limited sense of the common good.

Many are viscerally hostile to an agenda of treating people equally….

Editorial, Village magazine


Our Hopeless Left (Village)


Harry Browne, lecturer at the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology 

In Village magazine…

DIT lecturer Harry Browne writes:

media (like healthcare) have a capitalism problem, and that everything from fake news to clickbait to inadequate investigative resources to Denis O’Brien flows from that basic source. But you don’t have to agree with me and name the underlying problem as capitalism to understand that there are structural causes for crises such as the one that erupted recently over Government ‘advertorial’.

“I believe the Government is attempting to exploit the difficulties many local and regional titles are facing to promote their party interests”, said no less a media critic than Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley, the party’s spokesman on communications. (How sweetly old-fashioned that word ‘communications’ can sound as it grapples with the changing world.)

Media literacy, if it is to be of any use, has to do more than implore us to look for the little ‘special feature’ tag on the top of a piece of paid corporate or government puffery, then to regard the ‘journalism’ below with due scepticism.

It must mean understanding ‘the difficulties’ for all journalism that operates in the current market, especially one in which technological change has accelerated existing trends toward blurred lines, and in which advertisers have alternatives to local and regional newspapers when it comes to reaching eyeballs.

If the most poignant aspect of that brief, quickly snowed-under ‘Ireland 2040’ crisis was the image of the Taoiseach issuing guidelines for labelling advertorial content – guidelines of which the most callow intern in a local newsroom should surely already be aware – we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that media have been operating at the edges of such guidelines for decades, for the benefit of advertisers looking to buy a little ersatz editorial credibility. How can this fail to be a lesson about how fragile, at best, any such credibility has become ?

As the media may or may not have told you, global research shows trust in media is in tatters – media are less trusted than governments, NGOs, businesses – and Irish people are at the mistrustful end of the distribution. In this context, media literacy can hardly consist of legacy media saying ‘trust us, not them’.

What can be done ? (Yes, short of getting rid of capitalism.) Anyone who has worked in a newsroom knows what a frightening prospect it would be to try to earn the public’s trust with transparency and accountability about our editorial practices.

On a daily basis, contingent and incomplete information is transformed into definitive statements of ringing certitude. That’s one sausage factory we don’t want you to see inside, especially since the work often consists of sticking our label on someone else’s meat.

The irony is that the technology often over-simplistically blamed for creating the journalism crisis has long offered tools for remarkable transparency, tools that most journalists have chosen to use only in limited ways…


Read in full: Capitalisteracy (Harry Browne, Village)

Earlier: The Great Irish Fake-Off

Terenure College, Dublin

In The Village magazine.

Gemma O’Doherty reports that several former pupils of Terenue College have come forward claiming they were sexually and physically abused in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ms O’Doherty writes:

Terenure College is one of a growing number of fee-paying Irish schools who may have to confront decades-old abuse in the coming years, as survivors gain the courage to come forward and seek redress and compensation.

The financial implications for private colleges which find themselves exposed to historic claims could prove catastrophic. Some may face the prospect of having to sell off valuable chunks of their campus or even closure.

But many victims believe the time has come to blow the whistle, regardless of the consequences.

They say their ‘alma maters’ should no longer be allowed to hide from the dark secrets of their past, which have shattered so many lives.

[One said:] “As a survivor of the violence and sexual abuse at Terenure, it saddens me to think that success on the rugby pitch was put ahead of child protection.

“When past pupils admire with pride the trophy cabinet in the college containing the Leinster Schools cups, they should be aware that they were won at the expense of innocent boys whose lives were destroyed by perverts disguised in brown Carmelite habits and grey suits.

A few bad apples in the barrel yes, but nobody ever cast them out. Why not? The public, who subsidise private schools, have a right to know what happened. We can’t keep brushing abuse scandals under the carpet.

Terror ‘Nure: Horrific physical and sexual violence was permitted, mostly by priests, in one of Dublin’s top private schools, though the Carmelite Order, led by Fr Richard Byrne, won’t say what it did to stop it, and if it alerted the Garda (Gemma O’Doherty, The Village)