Tag Archives: Village


Paddy Cosgrave on stage in Lisbon

Yesterday evening.

Lisbon, Portugal.

Via Independent.ie:

WEB Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave invited Village Magazine editor Michael Smith along with Chay Bowes and John Tighe who were involved in publishing the story behind the magazine cover onto the stage and asked the crowd in the vast Altice Arena, which included senior Portuguese government officials and global technology chiefs, to give the men a round of applause.

The original article in the Village in 2020 triggered a criminal investigation into the now Tánaiste’s leaking of a document in April 2019 related to negotiations for a new General Practitioner contract.

Mr Cosgrave made the intervention as a precursor to the opening night’s main event, an interview with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Paddy Cosgrave brings Leo Varadkar leak controversy centre stage at Web Summit in Lisbon (Independent.ie)

Behold: Skyville – a meticulously crafted 90x40cm miniature village by Bulgarian artist Ognyan Stefanov, who creates these and other lavish architectural wonders in his spare time between stints as an aviation photographer.

Tiny homes, shops, farms and gardens designed to mimic real functionality with a water drainage system, pulleys, and walkways that climb from level to level: two years in the making, complete with luxuriously appointed interiors and a population of teeny-tiny villagers.

More on the project here.


From top: Tanaiste Leo Varadkar Leo Varadkar; Dr Matt Ó Tuathail; Village magazine


Following Tanaiste Leo Varadakar’s Dail response to revelations in Village magazine of how he gave a contract negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to his friend, former National Association of General Practitioners’ president Dr Maitiú O Tuathail.

Mr Varadkar denied the level of contact with Dr O Tuathail suggested by Village. In one instance saying he was in Barcelona, Spain when the magazine claimed he had met Dr O Tuathail in Dublin.

Via Village:

“Dear Tánaiste,

You referred in the Dáil on 10 November to the impossibility of your having had ten encounters in 2019 with Dr Matt Ó Tuathail. You said many of the encounters referred to
were impossible.

Can you please say how many, and which of them, you consider you have now shown – as opposed to just stated without evidence – did not happen. Can you kindly please give information that shows you were in Barcelona at a time that proves you could not have had any particular one of the ten alleged encounters with Dr Ó Tuathail.

You also pointedly told the Dáil you had not spoken to Dr Ó Tuathail in nine days, after you understandably spoke to him on three occasions after Village‘s story broke. Can you please state whether Matt Barrett spoke to Dr Ó Tuathail on your behalf or otherwise about the leak affair and/or its fallout in that nine-day period. Can you please say if you ever discussed Community Hospital Ireland with Dr Ó Tuathail?

Michael Smith
Editor, Village Magazine

In reply…

“The Tánaiste answered questions on these matters in two sittings and over five hours of Dáil debate. In relation to Community Health Ireland, Dr. O’Toole sent a brochure to the Tánaiste in November 2018 for information and informed him that it was being piloted in co-operation with the HSE. The Tánaiste did not take any further action on the matter.”

Statement from the Tánaiste’s office.


Tánaiste’s reply to questions from Village (Village)

Last week: Meanwhile, In The Dáil

From top: Village magazine website; Tanaiste Leo Varadkar arriving at the Dáil in the Convention Cerntre


“There is more to this story than the sharing of a confidential document. I wish to speak about that for a moment.

“Our democracy is strong but we are not immune from the corrosive forces being experienced in other established democracies. I refer to fake news, conspiracy theories, the far right, the far left, unregulated fringe publications and unverified social media grievances, score-settling and smears masquerading as journalism, activism or some sort of anti-corruption crusade.

…I wish to put on the record that many of the claims made about me were trumped-up or simply made-up. Monday’s [Village] article was just one example of this. It alleged ten encounters, many of which simply did not and could not have happened, particularly as I was in Brussels on two occasions, Barcelona on one, out of Dublin on another or demonstrably doing Government business. It claimed four meetings with the Ministers, Deputies Donohoe and Harris, which also never happened. All could have been easily verified and checked if the truth mattered. Truth did not matter, however, and was not the objective.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar during his no-confidence debate yesterday.


At least 10 times not 2 or 3 (Village)



This afternoon.

He’s more craic than he lets on, in fairness,

More info for public consumption; much more to come (Village)

Earlier: Accepting ‘A Contorted Political Narrative For The Sake Of Political Convenience’

Homeless and housing charity empires have sprung up in the last 20 years without any proper independent oversight and governance, says Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn (above)

In a no-holds-barred polemic, Independent Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn, writing in Village (full article at link below), takes on the homelessness ‘industry’….

‘…The Peter Mc Verry Trust, Focus Ireland, The Simon community, De Paul and the myriad approved housing bodies are worth tens of millions. With tens of millions on deposit.

Not-for-profit does not indicate non-commercial. Scandalously, homelessness is a business like any other, except when it comes to accountability and transparency.

Many of these entities have become fiefs in competition with each other for clients and real estate. One is reminded of the residential institutions and their greed to fill their institutions with the poor in order to make money per head

Homeless and housing charity empires have sprung up in the last 20 years without any proper independent oversight and governance. Vast sums of money and sprawling assets are under the control of these untouchables. What’s at play here is agency-capture as worthy intentions get corrupted by entanglements with conservative bureaucracy.

The saying goes that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. It was a byword for many of our grandest institutions like the Catholic Church.

…The CEOs of these institutions, the supposed charities, are on top dollar.

They control huge resources and operate like corporations. In 2016 Ashley Balbirnie, CEO of Focus Ireland, drew a €115,000 salary for overseeing 327 staff with revenue of €19,596,418 in 2014. Kerry Anthony, CEO of Depaul Ireland, drew an €82,831 salary for overseeing, including in Northern Ireland, 325 staff and revenue of €12,923,195. Joyce Loughnan of Focus Ireland was drawing €125,000 in 2013. In 2014, Dublin Simon’s chief executive, Sam McGuinness, was on a salary of €93,338.

A 2018 survey by the Wheel suggested of all charities the homelessness ones paid their CEOs the most, with average salaries of over €80,000.

…According to the Irish Times, in 2014 staff costs at the four main homeless agencies in the city absorbed all funds, and more, granted them by the State for the provision of homelessness services.

Dublin Simon, the Peter McVerry Trust, Depaul Ireland and Focus Ireland received a total of €33.6 million in grants from State agencies in 2014, but spent €35.8 million on staff costs on the 875 people they employed in 2014.

…As the canal banks fill up with tents and the footpaths with sleeping bags with no end of hand-wringing, anyone can slap on a hi-vis jacket and call themselves an outreach worker. Within a short space of time they can elevate themselves to becoming senior executives, or their own CEO…

Agency Capture Part 1: Homelessness (Mannix Flynn, 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?