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Contact me at expectationlost@gmail.com

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.

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 they would do something about it, does that mean run for president with a loan from 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 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.

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

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

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

July 2018 Reports of Joan Freeman seeking presidency.

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

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.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Projects Arts Centre and Irish Council for Civil Liberties Vs the Charities Regulator and Planning Laws.

Did Project Arts Centre or ICCL ever respond to this point made by the Charities regulator. I've no problem with the mural or the idea that art is political or shouldn't be subject to regulation but if you are going to cite legislation, then you can't really complain.

Statement regarding Project Arts Centre Charities Regulator 23 April 2018

In its response to the Charities Regulator, the Project Arts Centre stated that it was facilitating the display of art and not engaging in political activity. However, the Charities Regulator noted that on the charity’s website, the charity stated that it was relying on an exemption relating to political advertisements under the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, which enabled it to publicise the political advertisement without the requirement for planning permission (see note to the editor). By doing so, the Project Arts Centre had itself classified the mural as a political advertisement, as opposed to the Charities Regulator making that determination.

You can’t paint over an issue, but you can paint over an artwork! Maser mural update. Project Arts Centre April 20th 2018
We draw a distinct line between supporting artists who make work that is highly political and engaging in political activism.


Repeal the 8th: Maser's Mural Reinstalled at Project Arts Centre Project Arts Centre April 10th 2018
Since it was founded in 1966, Project Arts Centre has always placed the vision and freedom of expression of the artist at the centre of our work. We believe that all art is, in some way or other, indelibly political because it relates to the workings of the society from which it emerges. This artwork by Maser was first programmed at Project Arts Centre in July 2016 and was removed due to planning legislation. According to The Planning & Development Regulations 2001, Schedule 2, Part 2, Exempted Developments, Class 14, the mural is not subject to planning permission in the context of the upcoming Referendum.


Planning and Development Regulations

CLASS 14

Advertisements relating to an election to the office of President of Ireland, an election of members of Dáil Éireann, the Parliament of the European Communities, a local authority or Údarás na Gaeltachta, or a referendum within the meaning of the Referendum Act, 1994 .

No such advertisement shall be exhibited, and no advertisement structure erected for the purpose of exhibiting such advertisement shall be left in place, for more than 7 days after the date of the election or referendum to which the advertisement relates.

Freedom of artistic expression and the referendum on the 8th amendment 2018/05 Irish Council for Civil Liberties

A view is clearly forming among State bodies and the arts sector in response that, during the referendum period, artistic expression that was previously recognised as art and deemed worthy of funding or charitable status is now “too political” to be allowed. The change in attitude based on the referendum can be seen from the fact that, in 2016, the Charities Regulator took no issue with the response it received from the Project Arts Centre when it asked the charity for information as to how it had reached the view that Maser’s mural featuring the words “Repeal the 8th” related directly to its charitable purpose of advancing public education in the arts.

But The Project Arts Centre they took it down then too.

Maser Artwork Subject to Planning Permission to Be Taken Down Project Arts Centre July 25th 2016

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Scafisti and the Irish Navy



I read about "scafisti" people who are forced to drive boats and then arrested as human smugglers, there are reports saying that Irish Navy are involved in detaining suspected smugglers and I presume the Irish Government might say its up to Italy to try them but Navy must have handed over lots of people to be detained in Italy...whats the process atleast?

Italy court clears accused people smugglers, says were forced to drive boats Steve Scherer Reuters 9 September 2016

I asked Clare Daly TD (Member of Parliament) about it and she asked a series of parliamentary questions(PQs).

I came across this Intercept article Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats at Gunpoint Zach Campbell September 16 2017

“Many attorneys ask for plea bargains in order to get the quickest release of their clients,” said Fulvio Vassallo, an immigration lawyer and law professor at the University of Palermo. Vassallo explains that in Sicily, plea bargains or abbreviated trials can be a win-win for numbers-oriented prosecutors and defense lawyers alike.
Joof [from Gambia] denies that he drove. “They told me I was accused of being the boat’s captain,” he told The Intercept in an interview in the center for underage asylum-seekers where he now lives, in a small town outside Palermo. “I told them, ‘No, I paid my money to come here.’ I asked them to see the evidence that I was a captain. And since 2015, they haven’t shown me any evidence that I’m the one who drove the boat.”
Joof was charged with "favoreggiamento" or “facilitating” illegal migration. It’s the lowest level smuggling charge you can get in Italy. The articles says this occurred in 2015 but I don't know that exact date.
Look at the photo halfway down, it is captioned.

The LÉ Niamh, an Irish naval vessel participating in Mediterranean rescue operations, rescued 367 refugees off the coast of Libya, on Aug. 5, 2015. This photo provided by Joof’s lawyer show that after the rescue, police investigators put plastic wristbands on refugees they believed to be the skippers, as well as the witnesses that identified them. A similar process happened when Joof was rescued and accused of driving. Photo: Irish Navy

Borderline Sicilia pointed me to an Italian article by which included information on Joof. A google translation to English is below Migrants: suspended sentence nine "smugglers" suspended Friday 28 October 2016 livesicilia.it

PALERMO - The nine African smugglers who were arrested in July 2015 by the Palermo Public Prosecutor on charges of facilitating illegal immigration are free. The Giuliano Castiglia gup, who today has sentenced them to 2 years in prison, ordering the suspension of the sentence, ordered their immediate release. The motivation of the sentence to be filed within 90 days is still unknown. From the reading of the device, however, it is clear that the judge excluded that the defendants acted to profit from the crime and that they had a role of promotion and organization of the trip. Furthermore, the disputed fact was considered "of a minor nature" and all the smugglers were recognized as having general extenuating circumstances.

The defendants were Serra Mamadu, Guinea Bissau, Joseph Abou, Nigerian, Maxamad Ahmad, Somali, Camara Bubu, Gambia, Mendy Omar, Senegalese, Diof Aboubacar, Senegalese, Cisse Malick, Senegalese, Drama Ebrima, Gambia and Joof Ousaineu, of the Gambia. The accusation was represented by the pm Claudio Camilleri, Alessia Sinatra and Annamaria Picozzi. The Prosecutor charged that the nine Africans had organized and carried out the transport in Italy of 115 rescued migrants, in the Sicilian Channel, from a Navy ship while they were on board a 12-meter dinghy. The danger of the life of migrants "forced to travel on a boat completely unsuitable to face the crossing, in overcrowded conditions and without the safety equipment, was also contested". (HANDLE)


Is it it the Irish Navy that put these wristbands on the people they rescue?

Clare Daly TD asked a PQ and the gov said the Irish Navy didn't know why the article says the photo was taken by the the Irish Navy...
I am also advised that the Naval Service cannot stand over the provenance of the photograph used in the article in question and which is credited to 'Irish Navy'.
Other photos from the Defence Forces from that day where you can see the rough white material covering the grey deck of the Navy ship.
Update
I sent this point to Clare Daly who asked the question again pointing out the similarities between the photos. The government reversed its answer.

For Written Answer on : 07/09/2018
Question Number(s): 25 Question Reference(s): 36195/18
Department: Defence
Asked by: Clare Daly T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 39 of 3 July 2018, if a picture (details supplied) was taken on the LÉ Niamh on 5 August 2015, in view of other images posted by the Naval Service and dated the same day which show the same details on the floor, the canopy and the particular blankets used on the ship that day. (Details Supplied) Email sent 23/08/18 at 10:44
REPLY

In responding to Parliamentary Question No. 39 of 3 July 2018, based on advice I had received from the Defence Forces, I stated that “in the course of the event in question on 5 August 2015involving the LE Niamh, no wristbands were applied to persons rescued by personnel on LE Niamh. I am also advised that the Naval Service cannot stand over the provenance of the photograph used in the article in question and which is credited to "Irish Navy"”. I regret that the information afforded to me and which I communicated to the House in good faith at the time, was incorrect.
On foot of the Deputies further question, I asked that the matter be further investigated. I am now advised by the Naval Service that the pictures supplied were actually taken on board L.É. Niamh during the time it was rescuing migrants under Operation Pontus. I am also advised that the wristband displayed in the photograph provided was applied by Naval Service personnel on board the L.É. Niamh.

I am further advised that during Search and Rescue (SAR) operations undertaken in the Mediterranean, the standing operational procedure was that, as rescued persons came on board, each one was photographed and given a numbered wristband as part of their processing on board, which also included medical examination and assessment. This procedure was to account for rescued persons on-board. In addition, persons of interest, namely those persons in control of the migrant vessels and potential people traffickers, were identified as part of this process.

On the 5th of August, 2015, as the Deputy will recall, there was a very significant rescue event in the Mediterranean where a fishing vessel carrying migrants capsized and several hundred migrants ended up in the water. Given the massive scale and urgency of the rescue operation, the Executive Officer on LE NIAMH made the decision, when the first RHIB returned with rescued persons to the ship, that the ship’s staff would not register embarked persons as per normal standing operational procedure, as saving lives was the main focus of their efforts and the rescued persons could be registered later. The LÉ Niamh rescued 367 persons (342 male, 12 female and 13 children). 25 bodies were also recovered and taken on board.

On transit to Italy, the Naval Service deck parties were approached by rescued persons who identified a number of persons as the people who were in control of the fishing vessel. These men were tagged and their photographs taken while on board LE Niamh. The witnesses that came forward were also given wristbands. The purpose of this was to identify both groups of people amongst the 365 persons that were on-board at the time.

A number of persons were subsequently charged by the Italian authorities in connection with this incident. A Mutual Legal Assistance request was received by the Central Authority for Mutual Assistance in the Department of Justice and Equality from the Italian authorities. On foot of this request the prosecuting authorities in Italy were provided with photographic and video evidence of the event held by the Naval Service and a member of the Naval Service gave evidence in Italy attesting to the validity of that evidence.

I trust this clarifies the matter. I very much regret that incorrect information was supplied in my previous response to Dáil Question No. 39 of 3 July 2018 and I am happy to have this opportunity to correct the record.


Italy arrests North African traffickers over migrant ship deaths By Wladimir Pantaleone PALERMO, Sicily, Aug 7 (Reuters).
A police reconstruction based on witnesses’ accounts said three of the men, part of a Libyan-based human trafficking ring, alternated steering the boat while the other two kept watch over the migrants.

“The arrested are suspected of causing the confirmed deaths of 26 migrants and the presumed deaths of about 200 people who, according to witnesses, were locked in the hold of the boat that capsized,” a police statement said.

Migrant Crisis: Refugees charged up to €1,600 to board boat Sunday, August 09, 2015 By Conall Ó Fátharta Irish Examiner
Two Libyans, two Algerians, and a Tunisian, ranging in age from 21 to 24, were arrested by Italian police. They have been named as Ali Rouibah, Shauki Esshaush, Imad Busadia, Abdullah Assnusi, and Suud Mujassabi.

“The arrested are suspected of causing the confirmed deaths of 26 migrants and the presumed deaths of about 200 people,” said a police statement.

Obviously sometimes people go beyond just driving the boat.

The Guardian has footage of the accused men being taken off the boat, at this point they have yellow wristbands on their left wrist and blueish wristbands on the right wrist. The Independent has photos of he accused men.

Original blog continues
I asked the author of the article and he replied I" looked through my notes. That photo was part of a collection provided by the Irish navy to Joof's lawyer. If I remember correctly, I think she got them through evidential discovery in the court case. The photos were indeed shot aboard the LÉ Niamh " and again Clare Daly asked the government what other agencies operate on Irish Navy ships and government said none...,
These agencies are not operating or investigating on Irish Naval Service ships deployed in support of Operation Sophia.
but author of the article says
The wristbands and interviews happen aboard the ship while still at sea. I don't know whether that was Irish navy, Frontex, Italian or other. My guess is that it varies depending on the crew.

How do these bands get on their wrist if the Irish Navy doesn't do it and no other agency comes aboard the Irish ships as the government claims?

PQ to Minister of Defence about Operation Sophia by Aengus O Snodaigh10 May 2018
The core task of contributing to disrupting the smugglers' business model involves identifying potential smugglers when on search-and-rescue operations and handing them over to the Italian authorities when disembarking the rescued persons. Irish Naval Service ships have not intercepted smugglers but have identified them when they are rescued and have handed them over to the Italian authorities. All rescued migrants are embarked in Italian ports.

30 people smugglers handed over by navy crew Irish Examiner October 03, 2015 Sean O’Riordan
The ship’s captain, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wall, said that when the refugees got on board his vessel, they felt safe and would approach the crew to point out members of smuggling gangs.

Lt Comdr Wall said those identified were then isolated from the rest of the refugees and pointed out to Italian authorities when the ship dropped them in ports.

LÉ Niamh crew help see people-smugglers charged Irish Examiner January 26, 2017 Sean O’Riordan
Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wall travelled in December to a court sitting in Sicily to provide evidence against five men charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Five arrested over migrant drowning incident Aug 7th 2015 TheJournal.ie/ AFP
5 people have been arrested by the Italian authorities in connection with the drowning of more than 200 migrants last Wednesday.

Three Libyans and two Algerians are accused of human trafficking and multiple homicide charges.

Perhaps they are just medical triage indicators?

Saving Lives at Sea A two-week rescue mission with SOS MEDITERRANEE By Judith Sunderland
Everyone is tracked through colored wristbands – yellow for unaccompanied minors, blue for vulnerable, pink for scabies – so that MSF can flag them to relevant agencies on shore.

Initial assessment and treatment of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea (a secondary data analysis concerning the initial assessment and treatment of 2656 refugees rescued from distress at sea in support of the EUNAVFOR MED relief mission of the EU) Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2016
M. Kulla,corresponding author F. Josse, M. Stierholz, B. Hossfeld, L. Lampl, and M. Helm


The Anatomy of a Rescue Doctors Without Borders (MSF) 16 Nov 2016 11:51

A woman collapses as she enters the women’s waiting area and my colleague helps her sit up and eat and drink a bit. We place a white bracelet on her wrist signalling that we need to do a more thorough assessment as soon as everyone has boarded.




PQs on Operation pontus
PQs on Operation Sophia

For Written Answer on : 08/03/2018
Question Number(s): 4 Question Reference(s):11685/18
Department: Defence
______________________________________________


QUESTION

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the role played by the Naval Service in relation to the arrest of scafisti in the Mediterranean that is persons that are forced to drive boats and then arrested as human smugglers and in the event of there being an involvement to justify same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY

In July 2017, Government and Dáil approval was secured for the deployment of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to serve as part of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia. Irish Naval vessel L.É. Niamh, subsequently deployed to the Mediterranean from October to December 2017.
In the course of its deployment in Operation Sophia last year, the crew of L.É. Niamh were engaged in both security tasks and in responding to Safety of Life at sea events (search and rescue) in the area of operation. In addition the core task of the mission including, gathering information on oil smuggling, patrols focusing on countering illegal arms trafficking, surveillance operations with the purpose of intercepting smugglers and people traffickers and monitoring the effectiveness of the Libyan Navy & Coastguard activity from a standoff distance the L.É. Niamh also undertook search and rescue operations.

All activities undertaken by the Naval Service as part of Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean adhere to and are conducted in accordance with international law, including human rights, humanitarian and refugee law and the principle of non-refoulement. The status of individuals rescued at sea is a matter for the authorities at the point of disembarkation in accordance with relevant international law and conventions on the trafficking in Human Beings.

Where people have been rescued by Operation Sophia, they are brought to a safe port or transferred to another vessel to be taken to a safe port. In that regard, the ports of embarkation for migrants rescued by Operation Sophia have been in Sicily.

Operation Sophia has so far contributed to the apprehension of 130 suspected smugglers and traffickers, removed approximately 520 boats from criminal organisations availability, contributed to almost 290 Safety of Life at Sea events and rescued over 42,400 migrants.

At the Government Meeting of 27 February last , I secured approval for the deployment in 2018 of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to serve once again as part of Operation Sophia. Arrangements are currently being made for two Irish naval vessels to deploy consecutively under rotation for a period of approximately 32 weeks in total.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------



For Written Answer on : 03/07/2018

Question Number(s): 39 Question Reference(s): 28842/18

Department: Defence

Asked by: Clare Daly T.D.

______________________________________________


QUESTION



To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the person (details supplied) that put the wristbands on persons while on the LE Niamh when the vessel participated in recuse operations in the Mediterranean Sea; and if hwill make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) The LÉ Niamh, an Irish naval vessel participating in Mediterranean rescue operations, rescued 367 refugees off the coast of Libya, on Aug. 5, 2015. This photo provided by Joof’s lawyer show that after the rescue, police investigators put plastic wristbands on refugees they believed to be the skippers, as well as the witnesses that identified them. A similar process happened when Joof was rescued and accused of driving. Photo: Irish Navy. https://theintercept.com/2017/09/16/italy-imprisons-refugees-who-were-forced-to-pilot-smuggling-boats-at-gunpoint/

REPLY





Irish Naval Service vessels were first deployed as part of 'Operation Pontus' in May 2015 to assist the Italian authorities with the migrant crisis. This was a humanitarian search and rescue mission conducted in accordance with a bilateral agreement with the Italian authorities and in accordance with the applicable international conventions on the rescue of persons in distress at sea.


In 2015, L.É. Niamh deployed from July to September and during its deployment, rescued a total of 4,127 migrants from unseaworthy vessels. I am advised by the Defence Forces that in the course of the event in question on 5 August 2015 involving L.É. Niamh, no wristbands were applied to persons rescued by personnel on L.É. Niamh. I am also advised that the Naval Service cannot stand over the provenance of the photograph used in the article in question and which is credited to 'Irish Navy'.


The deployment of Irish Naval Service vessels on a humanitarian search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean over the period 2015 to 2017 has been an important element in Ireland's response to the migration crises in the Mediterranean.


L.É. Samuel Beckett is currently deployed in the Mediterranean as part of the UN mandated EU naval security operation, 'Operation Sophia' and will be replaced in mid-July by L.É. James Joyce.


-------------------------------------------------------




_____________________________________________

For Written Answer on : 24/07/2018

Question Number(s): 54 Question Reference(s): 33145/18

Department: Defence

Asked by: Clare Daly T.D.

______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if agencies operate and or investigate on Naval Service ships while they are engaged in Operation Sophia.

REPLY

In July 2017, Government and Dáil approval was secured for the deployment of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force to serve as part of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sophia. An Irish Naval vessel was subsequently deployed to the Mediterranean from October to December 2017. Participation in Operation Sophia represented the first involvement by the Naval Service in a multilateral security operation under a United Nations mandate.

In February 2018, the Government approved a further Naval Service contribution to Operation Sophia. This will involve a total of 2 naval vessels deployed consecutively during the year for a period of up to 30 weeks in total. The deployment will run from mid April to end November.

In accordance with the mandate for the mission, the Naval Service can be involved in surveillance and intelligence gathering operations, search and rescue operations and disposal of migrant boats and Force Protection Operations.

Operation Sophia has a close relationship with other EU organisations and agencies involved in countering human smuggling and trafficking. Cooperation with such organisations and agencies is mainly around the area of the mutual exchange of information which increases Operation Sophia's overall operational awareness. These agencies are not operating or investigating on Irish Naval Service ships deployed in support of Operation Sophia.

Further News Report of August 5th 2015 rescue
Italy arrests North African traffickers over migrant ship deaths By Wladimir Pantaleone PALERMO, Sicily, Aug 7 (Reuters).


On 5 August 2015, the Dublin Navy refused to intervene off the Libyan coast. The Coast Guard ordered the commander to organize the rescue, but it was late Lite Irlanda-Italia, così morirono 25 migranti La Stampa Riccardo Arena 12/05/2017

LE Niamh rescuers recall horrific scenes during bid to save migrants Herald.ie Alan O'Keeffe – 07 August 2015

I.S terror attack fears held up major Irish Navy rescue mission during incident which saw 200 die Owen Conlon The Sun 13th May 2017

Naval Service defends actions of patrol ship during migrant rescueIrish Times, May 16, 2017 Lorna Siggins

Five men detained after presumed drowning of more than 200 migrants RTE.ie 7 Aug 2015

Migrant Crisis: Refugees charged up to €1,600 to board boat August 09, 2015 By Conall Ó Fátharta

Five men charged with murder of 200 migrants drowned in the Med Stephanie Kirchgaessner 7 Aug 2015

Coveney blasts 'inhumane' trafficking trade Irish Independent Philip Ryan August 8 2015

Hundreds saved, but dozens dead after boat capsizes in the Mediterranean By Christopher Miller Aug 05, 2015 Mashable

Migranti, procura di Palermo chiede l’ergastolo per tre scafisti: accusati dell’omicidio di 200 persone IlFattoQuotidiano.it 6 dicembre 2016

Migranti, provocarono 200 morti: due scafisti condannati a 14 anni repubblica.it 29 novembre 2017

ShipLocationdate
le EithneDeparts for Med16 May 2015
Le EithnePalermo30th June 2015
Le EithneReturns from Med16th July 2015
Le NiamhDeparts for Med10th July 2015
Le Niamh5th August 2015
Le NiamhDeparts MedOct 2, 2015

Further News Reports
Ministers pay tribute to ‘heroic work’ of LÉ Eithne crew Jul 7, 2015, Lorna Siggins Irish Times

Italy’s Smuggling Prosecutions Ruin Lives While Real Criminals Go Free News Deeply by Ilaria Sesana July 14, 2017

Two smugglers jailed for causing deaths of 14 migrants found locked in barge rescued by Irish Navy in Med Sea Owen Conlan The Sun 8th March 2017 Italian articles covering these member refer to them as scafisti

LÉ ‘Niamh’ rescues 367 people after capsize in Mediterranean Aug 6, 2015, Irish Times Lorna Siggins


Rescuers search for over 200 migrant bodies after boat capsized off Libya Men with coloured wristbands 08/06/2015 i24NEWS

Hundreds feared drowned after migrant boat capsizes in Mediterranean Ed Carty & Independent.ie August 5 2015

Med trafficking suspect picked up by Irish navy Herald.ie Cormac McQuinn – 08 July 2015
It is understood that the crew of the LE Eithne were unaware that the man was a suspected trafficker.
The State Police told the Herald that they "identified and arrested" Mr Ltayef on suspicion that he was the "smuggler" of a boat of migrants.


Arrested smuggler in Palermo ANSA 01 July 2015
ALERMO, 1 JULY - The State Police arrested one of the smugglers who landed yesterday in Palermo with the Irish ship Le Eithne who rescued 647 migrants in the Sicily channel. During the night, the stories of the migrants were collected and indicated Bairam Ltayef, 24, Tunisian, as one of the smugglers who organized the trip from the coasts of Libya. Even a Moroccan citizen, Adil Aboulfettah, 33, was arrested because he had already been expelled.

Searched for mention of scafisti and wristbands found Europe's Refugee Emergency Response - Update #13, 27 November – 3 December 2015
In Chios, UNHCR initiated the use of colour wristbands to track different arrival groups in order to enhance
registration management and timely provision of protection and assistance.

How some European countries are tightening their refugee policies
By Judith Vonberg, CNNFebruary 22, 2017 Photos
Migrants wear identification bracelets aboard a Norwegian ship during a search-and-rescue mission off the Libyan coast on Tuesday, September 1


Irish Military news military.ie

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Councillors should not be able to co-opt anybody on to their seat if they leave the council within a year of when the next election is due.

Councillors should not be able to co-opt anybody on to their seat if they leave the council within a year of when the next election is due.

I notice many councillors quit around a year before the next elections are due in order to co-opt a replacement and to give them profile before the election. Im not impressed.
Coyle calls time on 20-year political career but has no plans to disappear Fingal Independent May 28 2013

Speaking to the Fingal Independent about his decision to retire, Mr. Coyle, said he had always intended to step down a year ahead of the next local elections to allow his replacement to be co-opted on the council and establish a record for themselves before facing the electorate.

If you want to get on the council campaign and go for election and win. Isn't it your work in the community that establishes your record, not being co-opted?

If a councillor is elected to another position he should be allowed co-opt a replacment.

Councillors quit for various reasons, work or family commitments or health. One could say that you coulnd't punish somebody for poor health and should have nothing but sympathy for them but heres an example of somebody who says he is retiring due to ill-health but says he decided this year before he stood down, so he can't have been that poorly.

List of co-options around a year before 2014 local elections

List of co-options before 2019 local elections

The Fingal County Council standing orders says If a non party councillor members dies, his/her family gets to nominate a replacement. Would be better if it were his election agent?


City and County Council Members – Co-options and Changes since the 2014 Local Elections Adrain Kavanagh