A blog about things that interest me, politics, news, media, architecture, development, environment, local history, secularism, web, dublin ireland, tara

Contact me at expectationlost@gmail.com

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

2019 Irish Local and European Elections

Local Elections
Local Elections info

Local Electoral Area Candidate Spending Limit
Population in excess of 35,000 13,000 Euro
Population between 18,001 and 35,000 11,500 Euro
Population of 18,000 or less 9,750 Euro

Candidates
Adrian Kavanagh Candidates Lists

Semi-public crowd fundraising

Rachel Batten Gofundme €1,000 goal Fianna Fail Artane-Whitehall Dublin City council
Seamus Ryan Gofundme €500 goal Labour Waterford
Rob Corr Gofundme €1,000 Goal Social Democrats Laytown / Bettystown Ward
Gerard Delaney Gofundme €3,000 goal Independent Kildare/Newbridge Area
Derek McCabe Gofundme€5,000 goal Roscommon
Clare Claffey€1,000 goal Birr Offally Social Democrats
Catherine Stocker €1,000 goal Dublin City Council Clontarf Social Democrats
Evie Nevin €1,000 goal Clonakilty-Skibbereen Social Democrats
Holly Cairns €1,500 goal Bantry Social Democrats
Garrett Mullan €1,000 goal Balbriggan Fingal Social Democrats
Ronan Moore €2,500 goal for Meath West Social Democrats
Anne-Marie McNally €700 goal Dublin Mid-West Social Democrats
Sharon Keogan €5,000 goal Laytown-Bettystown Meath Independent
Fiona Lynam €500 goal Athlone Social Democrats

Go Fund Me Search

General Elections
Gary Gannon - Dublin Central €5,000 goal Social Democrats
Carly Bailey €1,000 goal Dublin South West Social Democrats

Irish General Election 2016 Public Online Crowdfunding Donations

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Genuine newspapers check their facts,.. except when they don't!

We're told the difference between fake news and genuine newspapers is that they check their facts, thats that why we should pay for news but it doesn't seem that they do check their facts.

In a Times Ireland article (behind a paywall) Dublin city ‘Scrooges’ scrap lights ceremony Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland reporter November 22 2018

"Darryl O’Callaghan, a Labour councillor"
Except Darryl O'Callaghan was not a member of the Labour party at the time having resigned on October 11th, the Labour party website still had him listed as Local Area Representative but he was not elected a Councillor at the last local elections.

I tweeted this out and emailed their feedback/corrections email address the article was corrected later.


The Editor of the Times Ireland Richard Oakley responded, and I asked him was the article fact-checked?

"Most" things are checked but not all...

I can understand one person making a mistake which is why you have a second person check, apparently they have 5 people involved in the process but it seems nobody double checks the work.

I asked do the subs would ring people and asked did they have their factchecking process written down somewhere so the public or even their subscribers, as I am, could read it. He said no.

"Spotting" seems very loose, its seems like they are 'winging it' rather then having a a firm process in place to prevent mistakes.

The editor of the Times Ireland keeps dismissing this as a minor mistake, all facts are worth checking. They got a quote from him, how did they get the quote and not check his position in the Labour Party with him?
The editor mentions the speed if the process, if you don't have the time to check something, don't run it, this article hardly needed to be published immediately.
There is a lot information on the internet about sub-editing and rewriting articles but not so much on the process of fact-checking within sub-editing.

So genuine newspapers check their facts, except when they don't!


Accuracy checklists

NPR on its accuracy - checklists
CUNY Fact Checking, Verification and accuracy checklists
Detroit Free Press accuracy checklists
Proofreaders' Marks for Electronic Text

Research
From Richard Oakley's reference to "codes in noted copy" I searched for copy/sub editing marks and from the above links I learned that the one mark related to factchecking is called CQ (Cadit quaestio) "the question (quaestio) falls (cadit)", i.e. there no doubt its correct, and that sub-editors generally accept this. I don't know if there are further subsidiary notes added to that, eg checked org website, spoke to person? [which they apparently did and got a quote but somehow the article stated they were in a party they had just left and they were Councillor when they had been only a local area rep]. So either the sub presumed that having spoken to the person their facts must be correct or somebody up the line added in the incorrect information about the party position without checking back with the reporter?

Is what lacking here a triple check of calling the party?

Surely you need a second pairs of eyes, a second brain on something to be really certain.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Newspaper coded phrases

"understood" (read in another publication and copying without credit)
'It has emerged' (stated by government|authority?)
"seen by" (seen by don't have a copy) [except when they are trying to hide that they found it publically on the web ]
"obtained by" (have the document) [or found it on the web and want to hide that]
"Revealed" (found?)
"known to authorities|the police"
"settled family"
"Sources close to X" (we heard from X)

Monday, 5 November 2018

Who forced the presidential election?

Peter Joseph Casey,Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Seán Gallagher and Liadh Ní Riada but more specifically Gavin Duffy.

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 12th September 2018
Seán Gallagher Wexford County Council 1

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 17th September 2018
Seán Gallagher Leitrim County Council 2

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 18th September 2018
Joan Freeman Galway City Council 1

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 19th September 2018
Seán Gallagher Cavan County Council 3

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 21st September 2018
Peter Joseph Casey Clare County Council 1
Joan Freeman Cork City Council 2

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 21st September 2018
Joan Freeman Fingal County Council 3

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 21st September 2018
Gavin Duffy Meath County Council 1
Gavin Duffy Carlow County Council 2
Gavin Duffy Waterford City and County Council 3
Gavin Duffy Wicklow County Council 4

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 24th September 2018
Liadh Ní Riada Oireachtas Members 20

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 24th September 2018
Michael D Higgins Own nomination as retiring President

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 25th September 2018
Peter Joseph Casey Limerick City and County Council 2
Peter Joseph Casey Tipperary County Council 3
Peter Joseph Casey Kerry County Council 4
Seán Gallagher Roscommon County Council 4
Seán Gallagher Mayo County Council 5
Joan Freeman Galway County Council 4

Public Notice Nomination of Candidates, 25th September 2018
Gemma O’Doherty Laois County Council 1

Presidential Election – Ruling on Nominations

During the ruling,
the Presidential Returning Officer examined the nomination papers in the order in which they were received to ascertain whether the candidates were validly nominated.

An Irish 'John Oliver' type Youtube show and the brothers with money behind it.

35 year old Irish former derivatives trader who a sold his company for almost 3 million, looking for freelance political writers to create a John Oliver type youtube show with radical / contrarian ideas and under reported stories under the name Avant Guardian.

Freelance Political ResearcherAvant Media Indeed.ie October 2018


Freelance Radical Thinker / Researcher Avant Guardian Indeed.ie July 2018
On the first job advertised last July Freelance Radical Thinker / Researcher - Dublin - Indeed.com I noticed the url Love Irish Football...? Love Irish Football football documentary Casting Host in Belfast Ireland for Football Documentary | Auditions Free. No sign of the documentary.

Nothing on Avant guardian website yet Avant Guardian bar info@avantguardian.ie

Key executive is Mr Lucid Avant Guardian Limited - Irish Company Info - Vision-Net

Avant Guardian Limited in IE | Directors | DueDil

Directors are brothers Kieran Lucid and Aidan Lucid.


Kieran Lucid
Data Driven Initiatives

Kieran's got money. First Derivatives buys UCC grad’s London big data firm for £2.2m John Kennedy
Silicon Republic 13 Jan 2016
QuantumKDB is headed by UCC graduate Lucid, who prior to starting up QuantumKDB worked with Deutsche Bank, Liquidnet and Bank of America.
Ballyheigue man sells company for almost €3 million Simon Brouder Kerryman 2016
Ballyheigue entrepreneur Kieran Lucid has sold his data consultancy company in a deal worth up to €2.9 million.

In the last week northern Irish firm First Derivatives announced it had completed the deal to purchase data consultancy company QuantumKDB for £2.2m Sterling.

QuantumKDB provides its clients, mainly from the financial sector, with a high tech system that allows them to manage extremely large amounts of date more easily and with greater speed.

The company was founded by Kieran Lucid in 2011.
Aiden has an interest in media Aidan Lucid

Institute of Technology, Tralee

Degree Name Bachelor’s Degree

Field Of Study Interactive Multimedia

Dates attended or expected graduation 2006 – 2010
Another employee is Mark Duffy
Mark Duffy

Business Development Manager at Avant Guardian

Avant Guardian

Dates Employed Sep 2018 – Present

Employment Duration 2 mos


Location County Dublin, Ireland


Heading up business development for an exciting new startup headquartered in Ballsbridge Dublin.
Avant Guardian are currently developing projects in the world of tech, media, start ups & sport. If you'd like to hear more or catch up over a coffee just drop me a line!

Glassdoor ad
Freelance Political Researcher Indeed.ie October 2018
Freelance Radical Thinker / Researcher Indeed.ie July 2018

Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Irish Examiner published a letter to the editor with two false claims about candidate Michael D Higgins on the morning of the presidential vote.

The Irish Examiner published a letter to the editor with two false claims about candidate Michael D Higgins on the morning of the presidential vote.

Readers' Blog: Higgins helps presidency in losing its religion Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:00 AM
Not one presenter during radio and/or TV presidential election debates has thought to ask (particularly President Higgins) about their (his) religious beliefs, regarding the swearing of presidential oath of office on a holy book, while maintaining atheistic beliefs, and also being the guardian of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Constitution, which has references to God and the Holy Trinity within its wording.
That's because they asked him the first time he ran for the presidency and he answered then, Miriam O'Callaghan asked him if he believed in God during the 2011 RTE Prime Time debate (at 15 minutes) and he said "Yes, I'm a believer" and that he would have no problem swearing the oath the is required to, to be President. He is not an atheist, its a myth.

That is the first false, check-able claim.

The letter writer continues,
Alone among first citizens of Christian nations across Europe, President Michael D Higgins has omitted any reference to Jesus Christ or God in his annual Christmas messages all during his seven years in office.
A Christmas and New Year's Message from President Michael D. Higgins 2015
Date: Sun 20th Dec, 2015
As we reflect on the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus, on the plight of the homeless Joseph and Mary anticipating the birth of their child, and how they were aided by complete strangers, we can perhaps draw inspiration from what they experienced for our own lives and times. More than anything, the Christmas story gives us guidance on how to shape our own shared humanity with a regard for future generations. This year in particular, we welcome the acceptance of new obligations by nation states in relation to global poverty and climate change.

That's a second false, check-able claim.

The letter writer continues,
Surely the voters of Ireland should be reminded of this ‘religions omission’ by President Higgins before they go to the ballot box today?
Surely the voters of Ireland shouldn't read false claims about President Higgins published by the Irish Examiner the day they go to the ballot box.

The Irish Examiner should fact check letters to editor and not publish letters based entirely on false claims.
Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines Chairman of the Press Council
and the Press Ombudsman January 2014
It is important to remember that editors are responsible for all the material in their print editions and
material that has been posted to the web as part of editorial policy and as the result of an editorial
decision. This includes photographs, cartoons, news agency material, freelance contributors and
readers’ letters.


A message of complaint was sent but there has been no reply or clarification.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Newspapers publish politicians false claim without pointing out its wrong.

The Irish Independent reported on press conference with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after the presidential election result was announced.

Leo Varadkar signals he'd like to see reduction in seven-year presidency term Irish Independent Cormac McQuinn October 27

But asked by reporters if there should be an election every seven years the Taoiseach said the Constitutional Convention had recommended a five-year term.

Mr Varadkar added: "I have to say my personal view is a five-year term would be more in line with modern norms than a seven-year term."

The Taoiseachs claim that the Constitutional Convention had recommended a five year term is incorrect.
First Report of the Convention on the Constitution March, 2013
Presidential Term
A majority of the Convention members voted against the reduction of the presidential term to five years and the alignment with the local and European elections.
Main
Recommendations:
The Convention therefore recommends that:
The Presidential term should not be reduced to 5 years, nor aligned with local and European
elections.
The voting results below show 57 convention members voted no and 43 voted yes.

I pointed this is out to the reporter and the emailed the the Independent. The article was changed to read,
The Taoiseach was asked by reporters if there should be an election every seven years.

Mr Varadkar added: "I have to say my personal view is a five-year term would be more in line with modern norms than a seven-year term."
This could be seen as near-live reporting of what a politician said but it could still be fact checked in the time it took to publish it and even then, why just delete the claim rather then add further information later?

The Irish Examiner and Breakingnews also repeated the Taoiseach's claim without pointing out to its readers that it was incorrect, I emailed them about it too, no further information has added as of yet.

Government open to greater transparency around spending at Áras an Uachtaráin, says Varadkar Saturday, October 27, 2018 By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
"The constitutional convention actually recommended every five years, but again that would require a referendum. We want a 21st Century constitution for a 21st Century republic, but there are a lot of other issues on the agenda as well," he said.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Irish Mirrors' fake news headline

Irish Mirror turned "There is currently no provision... However... I am hopeful that we will be in a position to pay." into "Christmas bonus will not be paid" a fake news headline in that it deliberately knowingly not true.

Christmas bonus will not be paid to pensioners and social welfare recipients this year Ferghal Blaney 25 SEP 2018 Irish Mirror


This was based on the pre-written Opening statement, Regina Doherty T.D., Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection 2018

The minster responded later that afternoon while she spoke her opening statement, calling it a "fake news headline". Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection Pre-Budget Discussion: Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Regina Doherty: The annual Christmas bonus was abolished in 2009 by the then Government due to the catastrophic collapse of the country's finances at the time. Thankfully, as the economy recovered the bonus was reinstated in 2014 at a rate of 25%. This rate was increased to 75% in 2015 and further increased to 85% in 2016 and 2017. Despite the fake news headline produced in a newspaper this morning I would like to put at ease the minds of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been absolutely needlessly worried this morning because of that contribution by that particular newspaper, and anybody else who contributed to it, that I have absolutely no intention of discontinuing the Christmas bonus for any social welfare recipient. It is disingenuous of anybody to try to grab a cheap headline at the expense of people who have no other income, other than their weekly fixed income from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and totally rely on the Christmas bonus. I can guarantee that whoever did so has never had to live on a fixed income in their life.

This is how it was phrased in 2017 and previous years 2017 Opening statement, Regina Doherty T.D., Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Fine Gael Senators James Reilly and Gabriel McFadden both also called it "fake news".

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach failed to ensure an internal audit of the President's Office

Original Blog
Presidents Vote
Presidents Allowance
Freedom Of Information
Access to Environmental Information


The Irish Consitution THE PRESIDENT

ARTICLE 13 8 1° The President shall not be answerable to either House of the Oireachtas or to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and functions of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of these powers and functions.

2° The behaviour of the President may, however, be brought under review in either of the Houses of the Oireachtas for the purposes of section 10 of Article 12 of this Constitution, or by any court, tribunal or body appointed or designated by either of the Houses of the Oireachtas for the investigation of a charge under section 10 of the said Article.

10 1° The President may be impeached for stated misbehaviour.


2° The charge shall be preferred by either of the Houses of the Oireachtas, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of this section.


3° A proposal to either House of the Oireachtas to prefer a charge against the President under this section shall not be entertained unless upon a notice of motion in writing signed by not less than thirty members of that House.


4° No such proposal shall be adopted by either of the Houses of the Oireachtas save upon a resolution of that House supported by not less than two-thirds of the total membership thereof.


5° When a charge has been preferred by either House of the Oireachtas, the other House shall investigate the charge, or cause the charge to be investigated.


6° The President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at the investigation of the charge.


7° If, as a result of the investigation, a resolution be passed supported by not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House of the Oireachtas by which the charge was investigated, or caused to be investigated, declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained and that the misbehaviour, the subject of the charge, was such as to render him unfit to continue in office, such resolution shall operate to remove the President from his office.


Presidents Office Costs


Can the 894,000 be found in Appropriation Accounts or Estimates of Public Expenditure

The President's Vote (original blog)

The Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach is the accounting officer for the Presidents Establishment.

Aras gets €55m but has not faced internal audit Independent.ie Philip Ryan August 19 2018

The C&AG documents, which are signed and dated by Department of Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser, show there was no internal audit of the President's Office between 2012 and 2017

Appropriation Accounts 2018 Vote 1 President's Establishment Comptroller and Auditor General
Internal Audit and Audit Committee
An Audit Committee was in place for the Vote in 2016 but did not meet as the Chairman was indisposed. No internal audit work programme was agreed for 2016 due to the fact that the Audit Committee did not meet. A new chairman will be put in place in 201

Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach failed to ensure an internal audit of the President's Office

Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach Martin Fraser is hiding behind the personal circumstances of somebody in order to excuse himself not having an internal audit of the President's Establishment for over 3 years. The Secretary General appointed a chairman of an internal audit committee in spring 2014 but it never met due to the personal circumstances of the chairman, but he didn't try to replace him in those 3 years.

2016 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts 25th September 2018
Vote 1 - President's Establishment
kildarestreet.com



Deputy Farrell asked the Secretary General about the lack of internal audit at the PAC meeting

Mr. Martin Fraser:What happened was that I appointed a chairperson of the audit committee in spring 2014. That chair was indisposed. The committee may well know the circumstances but I do not want to get into it.

Alan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael) I am not asking about that.

Mr. Martin Fraser:For that reason, the audit committee did not meet and, therefore, the internal audit function which I set up did not-----

Alan Farrell May I interrupt? The audit committee did not meet. Is the Áras responsible for ensuring that occurs or is Mr. Fraser responsible?

Mr. Martin Fraser:I am happy to take responsibility for it but it is actually the responsibility of the audit committee. Having appointed a chair to the committee, it would not be unreasonable. There are particular circumstances in this case. I presume the committee is aware of what they are.

Alan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
I am not.

Seán Fleming It is up to the Deputy if he wants anything said about it.

Alan Farrell I do not want to delve into the specifics.

Seán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail) Then the Deputy should not.

Mr. Martin Fraser:I do think it is appropriate. It is a very sensitive matter and quite a sad matter.

Alan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael) I do not believe it is the committee's business but that is my own view.

Later Deputy Catherine Connolly asked him about it.
Martin Fraser There is a separate audit committee for Áras an Uachtaráin.

Deputy Catherine Connolly How often did that audit committee meet from when it was set up in spring 2014?

Mr. Martin Fraser Again, I am afraid I have to repeat what I said to Deputy Farrell. It did not meet because the chairman was indisposed.

Deputy Catherine Connolly It did not meet at all. That was not clear to me. What we have ended up doing is trying to avoid talking about personal matters which should not be even mentioned.

Mr. Martin Fraser
It did not meet.

Deputy Catherine Connolly
It did not meet. That is the fact. Mr. Fraser was the Accounting Officer. What did he put in place when that committee did not meet?

Mr. Martin Fraser As I explained to Deputy Farrell-----

Deputy Catherine Connolly No, explain it to me now, please.

Mr. Martin Fraser I have just explained that it is quite a personal and sensitive matter and I do not want to talk about it too much. I feel the need to-----

Deputy Catherine Connolly Mr. Fraser will have to stop this. Listen to me. We are looking at a system of accountability. I am talking about systems and procedures. I do not want to mention a person, so please do not.

I put in Freedom of Information request to the Department of the Taoiseach to get the name of the chair appointed but it was refused under of the s42(h) Freedom of Information Act 2014 as they say its a record related to the President which are exempt under the law.

Appropriation Accounts 2017 Vote 1 President's Establishment Comptroller and Auditor General 26th September 2018

Internal Audit and Audit Committee
There were no meetings of the Audit Committee in 2017 as there was no Chairman in place and consequently no internal audits took place. A Chairman was appointed in February 2018 and since then, the Committee has met and a plan for internal audit in 2018 has been scheduled.

Department of An Taoiseach Internal Audits Dail PQ February 2018

Catherine Murphy To ask the Taoiseach if his Department has completed an external quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function as required by the Institute of Internal Auditor standards that were introduced in 2012 (details supplied). [5386/18]

Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; An external peer review was carried out on the internal audit function in my Department in 2013. The review confirmed that the internal audit function met the standards required for the provision of a robust, independent and objective assurance to the Accounting Officer of my Department on the adequacy or otherwise of the systems of internal control operating within my Department. The recommendations in the review to improve the internal audit function were implemented in full. Internal reviews of the Department’s internal audit function are carried out annually in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Internal Audit Standards
"Failure to meet the mandatory meeting attendance rate (suggested: 75%) should trigger a discussion with the member on their continued ability to meet the role requirements."

(End of original blog)

The Allowance

Presidential Establishment Act, 1938
Emoluments and allowances receivable by the President.


1.—(1) The emoluments and allowances to be received by the President in pursuance of section 11 of Article 12 of the Constitution shall be at the rate of ten thousand pounds per annum, whereof five thousand pounds shall be the personal remuneration of the President.


(2) The emoluments and allowances mentioned in the foregoing sub-section of this section shall be charged upon and payable out of the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof and shall be paid by equal quarterly instalments or by such other periodical payments as the Minister for Finance shall, with the consent of the President, from time to time determine.

Presidential Establishment (Amendment) Act, 1973

Presidential Establishment (Amendment) Act, 1991
S.I. No. 455/1997 - Presidential Establishment Act, 1938 (Section 1 (3)) Order, 1997
S.I. No. 67/1998 - Presidential Establishment Act, 1938 (Increase of Emoluments and Allowances) Order, 1998



Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011
Transfer of certain other functions to Minister.


9.— (1) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), the following functions of the Minister for Finance are transferred to the Minister, except in so far as they consist of the power to pay moneys out of the Central Fund:


(i) all functions (including functions conferred by or under statute) relating to superannuation, remuneration (including allowances and expenses), appointment and terms and conditions of service of members of staff of public service bodies;


(ii) all functions (including functions conferred by or under statute) relating to remuneration (including fees, allowances and expenses), appointment and terms and conditions of service of members, or members of boards, of public service bodies;


(iii) the functions consisting of the sanctioning or approval of expenses incurred in the administration of any statute;


(iv) all functions (including functions conferred by or under statute) relating to superannuation, remuneration (including allowances and expenses) and terms and conditions of service of—

...
(VI) the President of Ireland.

Although the Public Accounts Committee were unsure about this.

Public Accounts Committee 2016 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts Vote 1 - President's Establishment 25 September 2018

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail) From where is it coming?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy: The Central Fund of the Exchequer.

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail) Presumably, the Accounting Officer is our friend the Secretary General of the Department of Finance.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy: Correct.

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail) Does the Secretary General of the Department of Finance have any audit function in respect of the figure of €317,000?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy: No, not that I am aware of.

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail) Does anyone in the Department of Finance?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy: The Deputy would have to check with the Department.

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)

I know that sometimes my language is a little flippant, but is this a payment of €317,000 on the blind? Is it the case that no one has any remote oversight, notion or idea of what it is spent on?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy: I do not know.

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail) Does Mr. Fraser know?

Mr. Martin Fraser: I do not, but I presume there are procedures in place in Áras an Uachtaráin for dealing with it.

Marc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)

Can I request, on behalf of the Committee of Public Accounts, that those procedures be given to us, first, to confirm whether they are in place? Perhaps it is something the audit committee set up in 2016 can look at once it gets around to it in 2018 or 2019. What procedures govern the expenditure or use of the sum of €317,000? Perhaps we could have an indication, staying within the bounds of the constitutional position, of what it has been used for in the last seven or, for that matter, ten or 20 years. It seems bizarre that €317,000 of public money is given to whomever on an annual basis, with no oversight or responsibility by anybody, while Mr. Fraser, as Accounting Officer, states to me that he presumes there are procedures in place that govern it in Áras an Uachtaráin and the Comptroller and Auditor General confirms that he does not audit it. That is an issue.


Michael D Higgins will return €200k balance in Áras account at end of term thejournal.ie 4th Oct 2018 Michelle Hennessy

McAleese returns more than €500,000 in allowances Deaglan De Breadun Thu, May 3, 2012
Mrs McAleese has gifted the unused amount to the State in three separate tranches – December 2010 and November 2011, with the final transfer taking place last month.


The Internal Audit Unit of the Department of the Taoiseach also audits the National Economic and Social Council. A internal audit committee was established in 2010.
National Economic And Social Development Office Annual Report For The Year Ended 31 December 2010

Freedom of Information

Adding the Office of the President was debated during the legislating of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 but was rebuffed by the government due to "tradition" and amendments put were not put to a vote but withdrawn by the opposition (Fianna Fail).

Freedom of Information Act 2014 irishstatutebook.ie
PART 5

Restriction of Act

42. This Act does not apply to—

(h) a record relating to the President

National Union of Journalists Submission 1st February 2013
Additional Reform:   
The Freedom of Information Act  1997 excluded the Office of the President of Ireland from the provisions of the Act.

There has been no public debate on the exclusion of the office of President. This stems from deference to the office of President and recognition of the Constitutional role of the President.
Given the evolution of the office the NUJ would favour extension of the Act to the Office of President, with appropriate safeguards exempting meetings of the Council of State.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2012: Discussion
Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mr. Seammus Dooley: There are circumstances within many public bodies where FOI requests are not appropriate. For instance, I would welcome the extension of the legislation to cover VECs but VECs are also employers and at VEC meetings - I am speaking as someone who spent his early career as a journalist attending VEC meetings - staff matters are dealt with along with issues that relate to personal rights and issues that are covered by data protection. Those issues are outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act and that was used as a means to keep the VECs out for years. That does not mean there cannot be protections for dealing with those issues. There are also issues of the security of the State which are recognised but they are all capable of being dealt with.

I cannot think of an organisation that should not be covered by the freedom of information legislation. The original Act excluded the Office of the President of Ireland out of deference to the office but knowing all of the office holders in my lifetime, there is no reason why freedom of information should not be extended to the President so we would know what invitations he receives. We can understand that meetings of the Council of State would be excluded.
Report on hearings in relation to the Draft General Scheme Freedom of Information Bill 2012 June 2013
Main points as raised at the public hearings and submissions received and which the Joint Committee considers should be addressed in the legislation.
Topic/Issue to be addressed/Comments of the Joint Committee
Inclusion of the Office of the President of Ireland/The original Act excluded the Office of the President of Ireland. The Joint Committee considers that is no justification as to why FoI should not be extended to the President to cover areas such as invitations received with exemptions for meetings of the Council of State which could be excluded.

Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform: Select Sub-Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform
Freedom of Information Bill 2013: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Brendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
I am also considering the administrative functions of the Office of the President.

Public Accounts Committee 2016 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts Vote 1 - President's Establishment Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Mr. Martin Fraser:
There is probably a policy dimension in that. I believe that government has felt the President should be separate to the normal run, and that is the policy. There is also a fundamental constitutional issue, which is the article I mentioned in my letter, in that the President cannot be answerable to the Oireachtas or to the courts. The freedom of information legislation ultimately leads to the courts.

Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform: Select Sub-Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform
Freedom of Information Bill 2013: Committee Stage
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Stephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent)
I move amendment No. 9:

In page 15, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:“(b) the Office of the President;”.

Brendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)

Amendment No. 9 seeks to include the Office of the President in the definition of a public body under section 6. Section 42 sets out several areas where the Freedom of Information Act does not apply. This amendment would provide for the removal of the records relating to the President from this section. This matter has already been dealt with under section 6. The general view is that the Head of State should not be encompassed by freedom of information legislation. The strong advice we have received is that including it would impact on the dignity and independence of the office. For that reason, I have accepted the advice not to include it in the legislation.

...

Regina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)

The Minister stated that it was a view held by some that it could potentially bring the Office of the President into disrepute or would be undignified. Who are the some? Who holds the view that we should not seek the view of the President?

Brendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)

Those whom we consult in all of these matters are the officials of the line Department responsible. In this case, it is the officials who deal with the Office of the President in the Department of the Taoiseach.


Freedom of Information Bill 2013: Report Stage Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Seán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 15, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:“(b) the Office of the President;”.

This seeks the inclusion of the Office of the President and was discussed on Committee Stage. Amendment No. 21 seeks the inclusion of the administrative functions of Tourism Ireland because it is included as an exempt body in the schedule.

Brendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)

These are all Deputy Sean Fleming's amendments addressing issues that were debated on Committee Stage. I have not changed my mind on the Office of the President as the tradition that the President is above politics and outside the fray is accepted. I considered the amendment but will not accept it.


Dáil debates Freedom of Information Bill 2013: Report Stage (Resumed) Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Debate resumed on amendment No. 20:In page 15, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:“(b) the Office of the President;”. —(Deputy Sean Fleming)

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Freedom of Information Bill 2013: Committee Stage Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail)
I move amendment No. 9:


In page 15, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:
"(b) the Office of the President;".

These amendments seek to insert some extra bodies and important offices so they will be within the scope of the legislation.

Brendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)

Amendments Nos. 9 and 24 relate to the Office of the President. An amendment along these lines was tabled in the Dáil and I gave it very careful consideration.

Reflecting the constitutional provisions on the President, it has always been accepted that the President and the Office of the President are beyond the normal fray and to and fro of politics. The tradition, both in this House and the other is that we do not discuss the President. My approach is in keeping with the long-held tradition respecting the status and independence of the Office of the President. All sides of the House agree this is vital to the dignity and role of the Office of the President and presidency. This is very much appreciated by the public at large.

The FOI Acts exclude records relating to the President. This obviously reflects the accepted view. The amendments before the House do not propose to remove the exclusion of the records relating to the President, only the Office of the President, but I am of the view that the smallness and intimacy of that office would make distinguishing between the President and Office of the President very difficult.
...
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Freedom of Information Bill 2013: Report and Final Stages Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail)

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 15, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:"(b) the Office of the President;".

The amendment proposes to include the Office of the President and the financial functions thereof and not to include the President himself or herself. The Minister rightly pointed out the President's office is subject to the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Committee of Public Accounts and an Estimate in the Dáil but not subject, like every other body, to freedom of information. I do not see how imposing this requirement on the office would impinge in any way on the functions of the President as he carries out his role as head of State. The debate has nothing to do with him or any other President but rather the running of the office.
Amendment No. 4 relates to Tourism Ireland.

Brendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)

It has always been the tradition, and accepted in both Houses, that the President is above politics. It has been a firm and rooted tradition since the foundation of the State, and accepted in the Dáil and Seanad, that we do not discuss the President. In keeping with this independence I felt it would not be appropriate to cover the Office of the President under freedom of information. With regard to the matter raised by Senator Byrne on financial affairs, the Vote is fully scrutinised, presented to the Houses and audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and all expenditure is fully exposed and subject to public scrutiny as is right and proper. This is the appropriate extent.

Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail)

We will sacrifice that for the sake of peace for the time being. We will try to get it on the agenda the next time changes are being made.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Ms X and The Office of the Secretary General to the President (2014 FOI Act) 8 March 2018 Office of the Information Commissioner
On 24 February 2017, the applicant made an FOI request to the Office of the Secretary General of the President for access to various records concerning travel and expenses of the Secretary General.
Findings
Section 6(1) of the FOI Act describes various entities that shall be considered to be an FOI body including, at section 6(1)(b), an entity established by or under any enactment (other than the Companies Acts). The Office of the Secretary General initially argued to the Commissioner that it was not an FOI body. This Office, having regard to sections 6 and 7 of the Presidential Act 1938 (which provide for the creation of the post of Secretary to the President and for the establishment of the Office of the Secretary General to the President) did not agree. As provided for in the FOI Act, on 12 June 2017 this Office referred the matter to the Minister for a binding determination. On 22 November 2017, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform wrote to this Office informing it that the Minister had determined the Office of the Secretary General was an FOI body on the basis that the definition of public body extends to any entity established by or under any enactment. It said that the Office of the Secretary General was established under statute and is therefore comprehended by the definition of a public body in the FOI Act.
On 22 November 2017, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform wrote to this Office informing it that the Minister had determined the Office of the Secretary General was an FOI body on the basis that the definition of public body extends to any entity established by or under any enactment. It said that the Office of the Secretary General was established under statute and is therefore comprehended by the definition of a public body in the FOI Act.
I find that, having regard to the determination by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Office of the Secretary General is an FOI body

Access to Information on the Environment

Government jet records of Irish President could be released for the first time following landmark decision
Mr Ken Foxe, Raidió Telefí­s Éireann and the Department of Defence Ken Foxe June 10, 2016
The appellant is a journalist with the Investigations Unit of RTÉ. On 19 February 2015, the appellant made a request to the Department for access to information relating to "all travel domestic and foreign undertaken relating to ministerial/VIP travel on the government jet(s), CASA aircraft, military helicopters and any other relevant aircraft in the period between March 2011 and the current date". The appellant requested access to five specific categories of information: "dates of travel; destination; number and name of passengers; and minutes and time on board". The appellant specifically requested access to environmental information on air travel by the President.
I find that the Department was not justified in refusing to provide access to MATS information on dates of travel, destinations of travel, flight durations, the number of passengers travelling, and the names of office holders and departments availing of the service, as these aspects of the request fall within paragraph (c) of the definition. I also find that information on dates and destinations of travel are environmental information under paragraph (b) of the definition.
Denis Naughten signs environmental data waiver on presidency Mark Tighe The Times September 30 2018

European Communities (Access To Information On The Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 S.I. No. 309 Of 2018

(2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-article (1), in these Regulations
“public authority” does not include—
I, DENIS NAUGHTEN, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972 (No. 27 of 1972) and for the purpose of giving further effect to Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003, hereby make the following regulations:
1. These Regulations may be cited as the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.
2. Article 3 of the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007) is amended by the substitution of the following sub-article for sub-article (2):
“(2) Notwithstanding anything in sub-article (1), in these Regulations “public authority” does not include—
(a) the President,
(b) the Office of the Secretary General to the President,
(c) the Council of State,
(d) any Commission for the time being lawfully exercising the powers and performing the duties of the President, or
(e) any body when acting in a judicial or legislative capacity.”.

Links

Accounts of the Public Services

Taoiseach's Department Internal Audit Unit

Submissions on the FOI Amendment Bill 2012c

Joan Freeman wants to threaten the government

April 28th 2018 Joan Freeman discusses plan to threaten the Taoiseach with now her campaign manager Richard Mulcahy on The Last 168 Hours 29th April 2018 Dublin City FM at 54 minutes


Also she hoped to meet Taoiseach at the end of May 2017? Richard Mulcahy suggested drafting an email that people could send to their TDs, he also said together "they would do something about it", does that mean run for president with a loan from a multilevel marketer?

Joan Freeman says you need to threaten the government if you need anything done. Friday Forum with Brian Fox Dublin South FM May 19, 2018 at 33 minutes. Says she didn't know what a Senator did.




RTE Today radio interview
Says she thought of the presidency before becoming a Senator.

Joan Freeman told Daily Mail in January that she wasn't right person for the Presidency as she doesn't have a legal or political background and it would not allow her to pursue her vocation and campaign for campaigning improvements.

Timeline

2006 Pieta House established in Lucan.

2008 Freeman founded the annual fund-raising event Darkness into Light

April 2013 Speaks at Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.

2014 Freeman resigned from Pieta House in 2014 in order to concentrate on developing Solace House, a similar charity based in New York City.

2015 Solace House established in New York.

May 2016 Joan Freeman appointed Senator by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the suggestion of Michael Martin.

November 2016 The 95 Project launches.

December 2016 Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2016 initiated in Dail

May 2017 Criticses Tasoieach over not keeping mental health budget 35million budget increase

July 2017 Second Interim Report on Mental Health

October 2017 Senator Freeman made Chair of Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare

November 2017 Launches Solace House New York

December 2017 Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare publishes first Interim Report.

January 2018 Joan Freeman appears on LateLate Show Richard Mulcahy informs her main campaign loan funder Des Walsh.

2018 Des Walsh donates 50,000 to Solace House.

February 2018 Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2016 completes Seanad stages.

March 2018 Joan Freeman signs lease for second Solace House New York.

April 2018 Second Interim Report on Mental Health

April 2018 Joan Freeman radio interview with her now campaign manager Richard Mulcahy.

July 2018 Reports of Joan Freeman seeking presidency.

September 2018 Solace House opens second location in Yonkers

Oct 2018 Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care publishes final report

September 2018 Des Walsh gives Joan Freeman a loan of 120,000 for her presidential campaign.

Links
Make Community Mental Health Care Available 24/7 Uplift 27th April 2018

Joan Freeman election campaign staff
Richard Mulcahy Campaign Manager
Natasha Fennell Stillwater PR

Parliamentary Activities Allowance during 2017
Why is StillWater listed under
Categories of expenditure
(a) the provision of technical or specialist advice likely to be required in connection with legislative proposals or potential parliamentary initiatives;

and not

(d) the provision of consultant services, including the engagement of public relations services;

PAA returns 2017 Senators

Parliamentary Activities Allowance during 2016
PAA returns 2016 Senators
Stillwater calls itself a Communications Consultancy Services so why not that put that down under Category "(d) the provision of consultant services, including the engagement of public relations services; "

Since 2011 Stillwater Communciations worked with Pieta House and Darkness into Light.

Stillwater Communications Pieta House and Darkness into Light Electric Ireland Review Pieta told Stillwater communications to Position Joan Freeman as the lead expert on suicide in Ireland. Why would anyone do that you either are the lead expert or you are not.

Electric Ireland has been title sponsor of Pieta House’s flagship fundraising event, Darkness Into Light, since 2013

Natasha Fennell of Stillwater Commmunications used to be director of fund-raising for Fianna Fail

How many millionaires?

Tuam’s secret millionaire a hit with viewersby Martina Nee Galway Advertiser, Thu, Sep 22, 2011
Pieta House in Lucan was the recipient of the largest sum of money, €25,000.
Richard Mulcahy The Secret Millionaire RTE 2011

Des Walsh
JP McManus

Monday, 24 September 2018

Did 'Sister Aaliya' meet London bomber Rachid Redouane and Khuram Butt or not?

Irish woman claims second London attacker was also in Ireland Nicola Anderson Irihs Independent June 10 2017

She met the two London Bridge terrorists Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane on at least 20 occasions both here and in the UK, she said.

When you watch the video you'll hear she was referring to Butt and Chourdary not Butt and Redouane.

Irish Muslim convert who had 'teen crush' on Osama bin Laden stirs up security concerns Maeve Sheehan June 11 2017
Then he introduces Sister Aaliya, a 26-year-old Irish Muslim convert who moved to London, was radicalised by the notorious and now-jailed "hate preacher" Anjem Choudary, and who knew one of the three jihadis behind the London Bridge terrorist attack last weekend.

This was not Rachid Redouane, whom police confirmed last week lived in Dublin until September 2015. It was the suspected terrorist ringleader Khuram Butt...

Irishwoman claims second London attacker was also in Ireland Jun 9, 2017
Elaine Edwards Irish Times.

The Irish Times has a longer video and explicit reports that she "did not know Redouane".
The woman, who identified herself only as Sister Aaliya and who wore sunglasses and black niqab covering the lower part of her face during the press conference, said she did not know Redouane.

Irish woman claims Isis cell discussed terror attack in Dublin Sep 24, 2017, 20:46
Conor Lally Irish Times
Last June, Sister Aaliya said she had never met Redouane

In the Independent video the reporter asks her if she met them (the London bombers) and she replies she met them on many occasions here and in the UK, but as you see in both videos she never explicitly says she met Redouane. In the main press conference shown on the Irish Times video she talks of meeting Butt and Chourdary many times (rather then Butt and Redouane).

I contacted the Independent journalist and she refused to acknowledge the possibility she made a mistake. I also emailed the paper corrections email and editor, no response.

The Irish Examiner made a similar mistake to the Indo, including Redoune in her claims, even though she was not referring to him. Gardaí step up attack probes after claims Irish Examiner 4 Jun 2017 Cormac O’Keeffe
"She claimed she saw him in Ireland “two or three times” and that he, Redouane, and other extremists operated out of a house in the Santry"
The story was changed, later that day, Gardaí examining if 'pre-planning' for London attacks occurred in Ireland Irish Examiner June 14, 2017 By Cormac O'Keeffe.



Did she meet Khuram Butt in Ireland in England or at all?
Radicalised Irish woman claims she travelled Ireland with London Bridge attacker and says there are up to 150 Islamic extremists living here Paul Williams September 24 2018 Irish Independent.

It was during this period that she claims Khuram Butt stayed with them on numerous occasions - although the officer in charge of the State’s counter-terrorism agency tells the programme that Gardaí are satisfied he never visited the country.




If she says she met Khuram Butt in Ireland but Gardai said he never came here did she only meet him in England, or not at all?



More contradictory reporting in the Irish Independent from Paul Williams

Radicalised Irish woman claims she travelled Ireland with London Bridge attacker and says there are up to 150 Islamic extremists living here Paul Williams September 24 2018 Irish Independent
It was during this period that she claims Khuram Butt stayed with them on numerous occasions - although the officer in charge of the State’s counter-terrorism agency tells the programme that gardaí are satisfied he never visited the country.

Revealed: London Bridge Isis group's plot to attack Dublin 'family-friendly' spot Paul Williams September 24 2017 Irish Independent
The Sunday Independent understands that the Garda's Counter Terrorism International (CTI) unit has now established that Butt and Redouane stayed at the Santry address with 'Raza' on several occasions up to two years ago.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

4 "genuine news" orgs have published the same false claim without checking it first.

Independent
Michael D Higgins has never been to Venezuela that hasn't stopped Peter Casey claiming that he has and that he used public money to do so. This has the been repeated by 4 "genuine news" orgs without checking it, pointing it out and then challenging Casey on it.


'Higgins kept seat warm while being paid vast amounts of money' – millionaire presidential hopeful slams 'bonkers' pay
Kevin Doyle August 30 2018

He [Peter Casey] added: "I wouldn't have supported him going to Cuba and supporting Fidel Castro… or extolling the virtues of Hugo Chavez. I'd like to hear his answers as what justified using taxpayers' money to go to these countries," he said.

Peter Casey is suggesting Higgins spent tax payers money to go to Venezuela, when he's never been there, Peter Casey has made the same claim on radio, that Higgins visited Cuba and Venezuela so he is referring to both "countries".

RTE radio
On Thu, Aug 30 on the RTE Radio 1 Today Show with Miriam O'Callaghan at the very end of the interview Peter Casey says, "I don't really think it was an attack. I made an observation that he visited Cuba and visited Venezuela"

RTE.ie
The Presidential Election: it's David vs Goliath RTE.ie by Paul Cunningham Sunday, 2 Sep 2018

The former Dragon's Den candidate Peter Casey is a case in point. Mr Casey fired a salvo at President Higgins this week - condemning him for visiting Cuba and Venezuela as President. He said: "I don't believe in him [President Higgins] supporting governments that are totalitarian and undemocratic at the Irish taxpayers' expense."

Its been corrected to say now reads "While President Higgins never visited Venezuela..." why is the word "While" used?

Irish Times

Peter Casey: ‘Whoever wins it, it will not be President Michael D Higgins’ Irish Times Aug 31, 2018 Ronan McGreevy

Higgins has “certainly not embarrassed the presidency”, he says, though he believes the President should not have visited Cuba.
This sentence originally said "and Venezuela" There was a note subsequently added at the bottom correcting this,
This article was amended on August 31st to reflect the fact that President Higgins has not visited Venezuela, as Mr Casey suggested.
The article hasn't been edited 'to reflect the fact that President Higgins has not visited Venezuela, as Mr Casey suggested' its been edited as if he never claimed he had. Why didn't the Irish Times check the claims and then ring Peter Casey and ask him why he keeps making a false claim.