An Taoiseach, in case you missed him…

  • pippakin

    It was a good speech, a bit poetical but forceful nonetheless. He has had a good couple of days. I hope he can deliver real reform for all the children.

  • That was one of the more powerful speeches I have ever seen by a politician, especially the final minute. But it will be meaningless unless it is followed by forceful action. One main action should be to remove any and all authority of the church over children’s lives, starting with the schools.

  • Alias

    Joe, with this non-story dominating the news agenda, you might have missed the real story that Kenny and Noonan gave a committment today that the Irish state would proactively and constructively engage with the Consolidated Corporate Tax Base for the express purpose of adopting the CCCTB. In other words, they surrendered Ireland’s sovereignty over its corporation tax rate and its tax policy to the EU in return for a reduction in the interest rate on eurosystem debt that the EU forced the state to underwrite.

  • Alias,

    I did indeed miss that. If your last sentence is true, then Ireland seems to have surrendered its sovereignty completely?

  • Into the west

    The brand has become toxic
    can the Dail summon the Pope to a select committee?

    What would be the consequences of irelands priests and bishops
    electing their own arch-bishop?
    where he is the head of the catholic church in Ireland.
    No-one else. No vatican . is this possible?

    Kenny’s closing remarks sound very similiar to
    ” No popery here ” … discuss !

  • OneNI

    Alias/Joe C
    The Republic retains total control over the RATE of Corporation Tax thanks in no small part to the heir of the baronetcy of Ballentaylor in the County of Tipperary, and Ballylemon in the county of Wexford – George Osborne.

    Kenny et al have conceded they will work with others to argue a common tax base (ie what is taxed not the rate)

    Into the West – no popery indeed (as opposed to no Catholcism)

  • Into the west

    correct oneNI
    were the Pope a CEO or prime minister he would be expected to resign.
    the catholic faith is beautiful

  • Munsterview

    One of the rare occasions where I find myself in full agreement with Alias, no doubt cause for a bit of head scratching on both our parts!

    I did however post immediately after the speech that I for one did not believe that the State had changed it’s spots and for once I would be delighted to be proved wrong in my contention. Most people forget that we now have Governments acutely aware of popular opinion and wherever possible they ‘give the public dog a bone’

    The Taoiseach in person had lied to the people of Roscommon immediately before the election and then in public lied about the fact that he had lied until like Nixon and the late Brian Lenihan, the tapes proved him a liar. That should have been the issue a Taoiseach as leader of the country a proven liar;; instead we get ‘Kenny the Hero’

    One can but imagine Charles J Haughey up there on a cloud nodding approvingly as he mutters ” I did not think that I had it in you Kenny”!

    Here was the Government facing into it’s first term and the Taoiseach, a GAA stalwart and a fine sportsman in his day who in fact owed his career and high public profile to his accomplishments, yet so unpopular locally that he could not even attend a Roscommon GAA match in his own patch because of public protest.

    Kenny left the Dail after his bash the Vatican speech with the hospitals, doctor shortages, turf cutting, home help cutbacks, remedial teacher cancellations etc, off the front pages and a sideline issue while his ‘kick the Vatican’ speech dominate the outside and inside pages as it did since given and this particular puppy is destined to gambol on through the weekend papers.

    Then of course there is the ‘agenda’ crowd, many in the media always ready to have a go off the Religion or other cultural icons at every opportunity and they are having a field day.

    Republicans however have nothing to be ashamed about here : this is the kind of Ireland that The Second Defense Of The Republic was fought by Republicans to prevent, this is the Ireland thousands of them were jailed and later driven into exile to secure. This was the Ireland that DeVelara had forty six of his former Republican associates, many of them leaders murdered to make possible and keep safe.

    Republicans were also instrumental through the Irish section of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and their American associates in bringing the famous Boys Town Priest, Fr. Flanigan to Ireland to investigate and highlight child cruelty here. Google Fr flanigan, boys-town + Irish Child Cruelty and there are about 25,000 references, many from the period.

    It was not that ‘no body knew’ it was deliberate Church and State collusion for the operation of a society where a certain privileged settlement needed a certain social order to maintain their privilege and class. This shoving the unwanted behind enclosing walls attitude to preserve the status quo went back to the poorhouses and the famine.

    This is one thing that we cannot blame England for, it was the Irish Class Politics that Padar O’Donnell fought against, that Connoly did, that DD Sheehan did, that Fintian Lawlor did and the unchanged and unchanging class politics that Joe Higgins is fighting against to-day!

    * Here is one yardstick of Kenny and his Governments hypocrisy on the issue of child care : tonight through out this State there are dozens, possibly over a hundred underage children missing from official care homes, the majority are female and the majority of these are getting their survival money on the street in the old timeless way by selling sexual services. *

    Who cares ? Where are the photos in the paper or the National appeals to find these missing children ? What efforts are the Gardai making? When was the last time the situation regarding these missing children was raised in the Dail ? How much time in the last Dail or indeed this one was devoted to the subject ? Instead every possible support for these children including Social Welfare professional worker and supervisory home staffing have been cut or abolished.

    Sincere indignation form Kenny ‘ ar mo thon gruagach, bhi’ !

    Here is one Fr Flanigan reference and a good outline account.



    Speaking to a large audience at a public lecture in Cork’s Savoy Cinema he said, “You are the people who permit your children and the children of your communities to go into these institutions of punishment. You can do something about it.” He called Ireland’s penal institutions “a disgrace to the nation,” and later said “I do not believe that a child can be reformed by lock and key and bars, or that fear can ever develop a child’s character.”

    When he arrived back in America Fr. Flanagan said: “What you need over there is to have someone shake you loose from your smugness and satisfaction and set an example by punishing those who are guilty of cruelty, ignorance and neglect of their duties in high places . . . I wonder what God’s judgment will be with reference to those who hold the deposit of faith and who fail in their God-given stewardship of little children.”

    Again, his efforts fell on stony ground.

    Church and State are equally responsible for this sorry saga of child cruelty : historically Fine Gael since Cosgrave dismissed the Democratic Program of the First Dail as ” More F***ing poetry before going home to his maids and his children’s nanny and his children’s ponies, have pressed policies that robbed the working class of social justice, of proper resources to function and the situation where the arising problem children had to be controlled on an industrial scale was then inevitable with all it’s attendant horror. Fianna Failed were likewise responsible in their own periods of governance!

  • Into the west

    MV a bit of pope-bashing by Kenny might help capture
    the “orange bigot” vote come a unity referendum
    Notorious & self-proclaimed bigots like Campbell, McAllister, Vance etc
    couldn’t use the Home/Rome Rule arg anymore.
    I’m looking at the wider picture, using a close-up lens, but with a long exposure 😉

  • JoeBryce

    This is one of the rare occasions I find myself wholly out of sympathy with Munsterview.

    IMHO this speech lays the foundations for a new – united – Ireland.

  • pippakin


    Completely agree. It been a long time coming but that speech made it clear we are independent…

  • Munsterview

    Joe / Pip “…..I did however post immediately after the speech that I for one did not believe that the State had changed it’s spots and for once I would be delighted to be proved wrong in my contention…..”

    The latter part of my opening remarks still stands, I would indeed love to be proved wrong in this one !

    Look at this objectively folks, actions speak louder than words, I refer again to the dozens of missing children from Southern Care and the complete indifference of this incoming Government to the problem. All of these children could be held as sex-slaves by pedophiles, kidnapped and trafficed Internationally, murdered and disposed of by serial killers or whatever. There is not even an exact, centralized record of the numbers missing.

    How many of you would sleep easy to-night if it was a 13/16 year old niece or other close relative of yours was involved? Thousands of people in politics, media, administration etc are aware of the extent of the problem, how many are speaking out?

    In what way is this different or do it not repeat the indifference to what was happening in the Industrial Schools and Remand Homes ect in the forties, fifties and sixties or later ?

    I just pointed the hyprocicy involved of castigating the Church for cruelty to children in the past while this missing children situation which is but the most serious of a plethora of such problems in the present has not exercised the Government in any meaningful way since they came into office.

    For the record I have no problem with the contents of the speech per se, that was long overdue, but given what I know of official attitudes down here and more important, actions from my ongoing direct involvement with that same ‘Officialdom’ I have every reason to be skeptical and seek alternative explanations for Kenny’s totally out of character performance.

  • pippakin


    It was the first time An Taoiseach of whichever colour got off his knees when he spoke to the Vatican. Imo it marked real independence. It is said that there will be a forum regarding removing school (some of them?) from church control, that too is a welcome start. I give a link below to an article in The Journal.

    I do, as you know, agree with much of your comment but FG/Lab have not been in power long enough to produce the kind of structural changes you talk about and it may be that it would take more than one term to do it.

  • Munsterview

    Pip & others.

    Up to the F. V The Legal Aid Board case, most women were excluded from Free Legal Aid for two main reasons, 1 ) the financial resources then provided could only fund about 15% of the demand and 2) administrative Mandarins in ‘Free Legal Aid actually abrogated to themselves ( unchallenged to the F. case ) the power to decide on Family Law that was properly a judicial function.

    Men were better networked and made the first claim for Legal Aid which was granted and when the woman later applied these ‘Mandarins’ made the decision as to whether the woman’s case had ‘merit’ The vast majority of the decisions were no, their cases did not have merit and legal aid was refused !

    F. with the assistance of myself and another person prepared a High Court Constitutional Case challenging the constitutionality of the Legal Aid Board’s Action. F. got permission for a Judicial Review. Needless to say Fianna Failed fought the case tooth and claw !

    She lost the case on the High Court and we prepared a Supreme Court appeal. The Supreme Court upheld the appeal and referred the matter back to the High Court for retrial on certain aspects. Fianna Failed again renewed their opposition with even more ‘Heavy Hitters’ and Legal Experts brought in.

    The Fianna Failed Government fell and Labor got in Merlin Taylor got a bagatelle of functions and Free Legal Aid came within his brief. Program Managers were also appointed, I immediately used my Trade Union Contacts to establish a line of communication with Mervin’s Manager.

    The second day I could not reach the Program Manager and began to take an aggressive stances with the ‘functionary’ on the phone who it seemed was attempting to fob me off. The voice said…. ” Take it easy X………’ this is me Mervin, do you not recognize me? ”

    ” Jesus you in person, sorry Mervin, I did not recognize you but now that you are on….”

    ” X………’ Please listen, you do not have to make a case to me, Legal Aid is also my priority. I have a Seal Of Office but I do not have proper legal authority in many areas as yet until my portfolio is sorted out, we know each other a long while now, you have my word that I will personally instruct the Attorney General and the Sectary to the Department of Justice and any other State Parties involved to drop all opposition to the F. case and instead instruct them to facilitate a settlement.”

    Silence ” X…..’ are you still there ?

    ” yes I just cannot dare believe this that it is all over after all these years”

    ” Yes it is over, I have a busy morning, thanks for what you and your people did, your are now pushing an open door here, concentrate your energies in some other area of reform that is needed and speaking of doors, remember mine is always open!”

    Minister Mervin Taylor was true to his word, he did instruct all the State parties involved to facilitate the settlement that became the F.V the Legal Aid Board Landmark Law decision. He also did this and wrapped everything up in his first three days in office !

    As this narrative illustrates it do not take 90 days or a 100 days or a whole first term in office to implement meaningful change, all it takes is concern in the first instance followed by clear and precise instructions to the relevant State Bodies and institutions followed by effective monitoring to to ensure that the Minister’s decisions are implemented in practice.

    A curious foot note to the F. case in the light of the current context of Roman Catholic Church condemnation by politicians and press : the Justice that presided over the F. case in the High Court was Mister Justice O’Hallron who had a large family and who was constantly sniped at in pilloried in the liberal media as he was also a Roman Catholic advocate and a leading member of Opus Dei.

    The ‘so called liberals’ in the Superior Courts constantly passed up opportunity after opportunity to grasp the Free Legal Aid nettle, any one of the Law Library could have done what my group did and put a much better researched case together to challenge the provisions of Free Legal Aid and the chairman that resigned after delivering a pained protest at a lack of resources could have walked into the Four Courts and challenged the whole shambles like we did as was his moral responsibility to do.

    He did no such thing, he retreated to the Law Library, resumed his lucrative legal career and ‘having done the State some service’ he waited for the inevitable call to the Bench and he is now a Judge Of The Supreme Court.

    Pip…. I have been in ‘ the belly of the State beast’ I know how things are done and what can and can not be done with Ministerial concern and intent. This crowd are just bloody well cruising and concentrating on optics ! They are not doing what they should and they are most definitely not doing what they could !

  • pippakin


    I’m not disputing what you say I’m saying that it will take time before anyone can see if this government can deliver. FG/Lab have had a good few days but, as they say, one swallow does not a Spring make!

    In my experience change is not just a matter of a change of government. It takes a change of mindset in outside agencies and in some cases a change of personnel at the highest level of state service.

    Child abuse and subservience of state to church are now at the forefront of most peoples attention. I don’t think any government can afford to risk the opprobrium that would be heaped upon them if another scandal showed a lack of care on its part. I also think that FG in particular are possibly the best party to bring about the kind of change needed in this area.

  • Mick Fealty


    Who of the political parties would you say, on the whole island, have shown both leadership and commitment on the issue of child sex abuse?

  • Munsterview

    Mick : First off, I would say that all the major parties individually and collectively have failed in relation to Child Abuse Issues and I am including Sinn Fein in that assessment. Indeed I came on this site and went public to defend and support the late Joe Cahill’s niece in regard to getting accountability and a hearing for her own abuse.

    Few individuals were willing to speak out to the very recent past when it suddenly became fashionable. While many in the past did not go public or seek brownie points, it is the old story, some decent individuals inside all parties were prepared to listen and do what they could behind the scenes, while as with the Free Legal Aid issue highlighted in an earlier posting, those who made the most public noise often do the least to change anything, especially when it came to taking on the status quo.

    I have some involvement at present with a concerned Grandparent regarding the probable bullying and sometime physical abuse of a minor who is in foster care. This child has manifested two sets of injuries weeks apart on his head and face, he supposedly fell the first time and in the second a shelf supposedly fell on the child. He claimed that an adult in the fostering family hit him on both occasions.

    Both incidents took place and were investigated within the past three months, it involved the Gardai, Health Board area officials and these investigations took place against the background of the public outcry. Files in both incidents were also send to the Minister with responsibility for children.

    In my direct experience there has been no appreciable change in the way the Health Board handle these matters aside form the fact that they have got more accomplished at covering their deficiencies. The relative concerned is also in the process of attempting to adopt this child and he has been let know in no uncertain terms by the Health Board Officials that his ‘attitude’ in raising these complaints with the Gardai will not be helpful to his adoption qualifications.

    In this case the Health Board were about to put the child of a drug addict into care : a sister of the child’s presumed father volunteered to foster, no paternity DNA checks were done, six months later it was found that the presumed father was not in fact the father and the child had been placed in the care of complete strangers without the usual fosterage checks for suitability as they were presumed relatives.

    Since then it has been cover up and damage limitation and defending the Social Workers, Managers and system rather than the child’s welfare. The child’s grandparent an ordinary working guy has had to take one Superior Court set of proceedings costing the State .3 to .5 of a million simply because a head manager would not reply to a letter and the answers sought had to be got through the courts.

    The Health Board have considerable financial muscle, they have now threatened the grandfather that if he undertakes any further Superior Court action on behalf of the child that they will pursue him for costs and bankrupt him !

    A digression from your question Mick but this is my experience over the last couple of months of how the system is actually working while the Government are saying all has changed !

    Not a bloody thing has changed in relation to child welfare rights in this Twenty-Six Country State, not do I personally expect things to change in the foreseeable future. My skepticism is sadly grounded in the reality of experience.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It is said that there will be a forum regarding removing school (some of them?) from church control, that too is a welcome start.

    The funny thing is that when Peter Robinson talked of ending church control of schools in NI it was lambasted as an assault on human rights which would, we were told, probably be illegal. In the RoI the churches can’t get rid of the schools quickly enough.

    I’m sure there is a genuine moral and faith-related reason for this distinction, and that it’s absolutely nothing to do with the fact that church education in NI is paid for by the state.