Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Former FG Chair Phil Hogan Vs George Hook and Nora Wall

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan

Former Chairman of Fine Gael Phil Hogan (now EU Commissioner for Agriculture)

FINAL (?) SUMMARY: Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, Nora Wall and George Hook [1]
Is this thread [on Politics.ie] coming to an end? Rather than let it go quietly into the night let's try for a final summary. My own summary relates to

(1) Minister for Justice and Equality  Charlie Flanagan
(2) Feminist activist Fiona Doyle AND
(3) Fintan O'Toole

all of whom have condemned George Hook and ALL of whom have made far more outrageous statements in the past and got away scot-free. I have recently referred to Fiona Doyle and Fintan O'Toole but my several comments on our beloved Minister for Justice are about 3,000 posts ago. However I have summarised them in three articles on my blog and here is the first article

For convenience I am including a passage from the above-mentioned article. I am quoting our current Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan speaking in the Dail on 8 July 2009 during the debate on the Institutional Abuse Bill. At the time Charlie Flanagan was an ordinary Fine Gael TD but subsequently became Minister for Children(!) and then Foreign Affairs before receiving the Justice and Equality portfolio.

........."While I do not have time to speak in detail about the Louise O’Keeffe case, I wish to speak about another woman, namely, Nora Wall. Nora Wall has hardly been mentioned in the debate on the Ryan report. She became something of a heroine for those who mistrust the Irish courts when her conviction for rape was overturned in 1999. Since her conviction was overturned, she has been portrayed as an heroic martyr in many quarters with references to witch hunts and witch trials abounding. Six weeks ago, the columnist Kevin Myers wrote in a national newspaper:
 'The liberal-left lynch mob that went after poor Nora Wall a decade ago was prepared to destroy her life on the basis of lies.'
 "Mr. Myers would do well to read the description of “poor Nora Wall” in the Ryan report. Nora Wall does not deserve the plaudits that have been directed her way since her conviction for rape was overturned. While her case may have collapsed, the Ryan report reveals graphically that Nora Wall was no saint. She exposed the children in her care to unacceptable risks by allowing male outsiders to stay overnight at the Cappoquin care centre which was in her charge. She entertained past pupils and student priests in the home and allowed them to stay overnight. A witness stated that much drinking took place at these gatherings.
"There is more to this than meets the eye in respect of these social events. It has been suggested that there were frequent visits to the Cappoquin home by some clergy from Mount Melleray Abbey. Access to children may have been a key motivation for these visits. One must bear in mind that Mount Melleray was selected by the notorious paedophile, Fr. Brendan Smith, as a holiday destination or as a haven to which to escape when he was on the run from the authorities in Northern Ireland. This issue must be revisited" [My emphasis]
FINAL (?) SUMMARY: Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, Nora Wall and George Hook [2]
So Charlie Flanagan - as a TD in 2009 - repeated the kind of lie about Nora Wall, for which she had received a libel settlement from the Sunday World several years before. It is possible that Charlie Flanagan TD did not know about the libel case as it was ignored by almost all of the Irish media (Phoenix Magazine was the only exception I think). But he certainly did know that a TD cannot be sued for what he says in the Dail!

Subsequent to this atrocious allegation Charlie Flanagan became Minister for Children, Minister for Foreign Affairs and is now Minister for Justice and Equality. Was George Hook's offence worse than Charlie Flanagan's??

Reply To Me by'Owedtojoy'
Of course it was not worse.  But that does not put George Hook in the right. Setting up dozens of fake "What abouts" is a bizarre defence. Multiple wrongs do not make something right, though it might help with the context. Flanagan wrong does not equal Hook right.

I support investigation of all past paedophilia accusations, but I also think Hook's remarks were unacceptable for a professional broadcaster.

I am glad he has not been fired, and hope that when he returns to the airwaves, he is chastened and more balanced in his discourse on sensitive subjects.

My Reply to 'Owedtojoy' (regarding Phil Hogan)
I could indeed have set up dozens of "what-abouts" and they would not have been fake. The "context" that you mention is vital and not just a side issue as you seem to suggest. It is clear that people who are regarded as Politically Correct will be allowed to get away with any kind of lunatic lie whereas persons regarded as right-wing will be savagely criticised and hounded from their jobs.

In my Blog article and above I mentioned that Charlie Flanagan was the SECOND politician to slander Nora Wall. I didn't go into detail about the first because I am not aware that he denounced George Hook. However you can read all about him here - Irish Times article on 25 April 2002
"TD Cites Retired Official in Child Sex Abuse Allegations"

It was then Chairman of Fine Gael Phil Hogan TD and his allegations involved a paedophile ring, convicted murderer Malcolm McArthur, an unnamed senior official in Dept of Education as well as Nora Wall. Also children being tortured and forced to have sex with animals. Extremely lurid stuff - even more so than Charlie Flanagan in 2009 BUT Phil Hogan is not Minister for Justice and Equality today and I don't think he denounced George Hook. (Perhaps as European Commissioner for Agriculture he doesn't see any political advantage in so doing?)

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, Phil Hogan and Nora Wall
The allegations made by Charlie Flanagan and Phil Hogan are also discussed on the Nora Wall thread
on  Politics.ie

Incidentally Nora Wall successfully sued the Sunday World for similar atrocious allegations. She succeeded in her claim for an apology and damages in October 2002. This was 6 months AFTER Phil Hogan's Dail allegations.

However even if she had succeeded 6 months before, I don't suppose it would have made any difference. Phil Hogan knew he could not be sued for anything he said in the Dail!

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Former FG Chair Phil Hogan
Well this thread seems to have reached a conclusion now and I have done a final (?) summary on my Blog. [I am referring to this article!]

Let us suppose that during the 1950s, these kind of obscene allegations had been directed by senior members of Fianna Fail against a Protestant or Jewish woman. We would be hearing about it still with journalists claiming that they revealed the truly fascistic character of "The Age of de Valera" (and of his friend John Charles McQuaid). The claims  were in fact made by members of Fine Gael in 2002 and 2009 - respectively
(a) the then Chairman of the Fine Gael party (and current EU Commissioner for Agriculture) AND
(b) the man who is currently Minister for Justice and Equality (!!)

The allegations have been ignored by the media - no calls for an investigation of the criminal accusations OR of the people who made them.

So does this tell us anything about the nature of Fine Gael today or of modern Ireland?

1 comment:

  1. And this is the text of the Irish Times article dated 25 April 2002 entitled
    "TD Cites Retired Official in Child Sex Abuse Allegations"

    Details were given in the Dáil last night about a retired senior official in the Department of Education who is alleged to have been involved in a Dublin-based child sex ring. At the time he was supposed to be investigating alleged child sex abuse.

    Fine Gael chairman Mr Phil Hogan gave details last night about the official, who retired some years ago and who "has been implicated by a victim in a rent-a-boy sex ring with convicted killer Malcolm McArthur". He referred to "astonishing revelations of a perceived and systematic cover-up of rape, gross indecency and abuse of children from 1978 to 1990". The official "is the golden thread weaving through a number of centres where children were in some cases tortured and forced to have sex with animals".

    Mr Hogan condemned the Department for its failure to take action about the official and said it was not good enough to say it was voluntarily disclosing documents to the Laffoy commission on child abuse. "This man has never come to the attention of gardaí," he said, but "his name keeps coming up with journalists speaking to health board officials". Mr Hogan asked, "Does anyone really care within the Department about what happened to these poor youngsters who were put in the care of the State and then abused?

    The Minister for Education, Dr Woods, said: "I care very much, the secretary-general of my Department cares". He added that they would give any information they could, and would co-operate fully. He said, however, that his Department had no information on any cases which compared to newspaper reports.

    Mr Hogan said the official was linked to investigations into sexual abuse in residential centres in Kilkenny city, Cappoquin, Co Waterford, and Clonmel. He was named by a male abuse victim who said he had sex with the man.The victim said he was 17 years old and working as a prostitute at the time.

    The official was alleged to have been with convicted murderer Malcolm McArthur when the two picked up the rent boy on the Quays in Dublin. Malcolm McArthur has served 20 years for the murder of a nurse in the Phoenix Park and another man, and was later found in the home of the then Attorney-General.

    The prostitute recognised the Department official. He had met him while a resident of St Joseph's school in Clonmel, when the man was a Department inspector. Mr Hogan, referring to the story which appeared in the Ireland on Sunday newspaper last week, said the official also investigated sex abuse by convicted paedophiles and "gave one of the worst offenders a clean bill of health".

    He said it was alleged that all of the abuse took place at the time the centre was managed by Nora Wall, a former Sister of Mercy nun whose conviction for rape of a 10-year-old child was quashed by the court of criminal appeal in 1999.

    The official was guilty of "gross incompetency at the very least and at very worst there was something very dark and dirty behind him hidden from public view", Mr Hogan added.