Abortion Referendum Thread


#602

Maeve Kelleher is the wife of one time property tycoon, Garrett Kelleher who tried to develop the Chicago Spire. He also owned St Patrick’s Athletic at one point.


#603

Is that the creepy bird that presents Building Ireland? Some shower this Iona mob.


#604

Posted by Bock on January 28, 2014 Add comments
Jan 282014

What exactly is the relationship between RTÉ and the pressure group, Lolek Ltd, which calls itself the Iona Institute? The debacle following the Saturday Night Show, during which Rory O’Neill criticised the behaviour of certain people which he felt placed him at a disadvantage as a member of a minority by virtue of his sexual orientation, is unedifying to say the least.

Rory o neill miss panti iona institute saturday night live brendan o connor

With remarkable alacrity – not mention synchronicity – those same people bombarded RTÉ with a broadside of legal threats which led to a cringeing, cowardly climb-down by the broadcaster, removal of the video clip from the RTÉ website and a public apology read by the show’s presenter, Brendan O’Connor.

But more significantly, if this unseemly, gloating press release from Lolek Ltd is to be believed, RTÉ also handed over an undisclosed sum of money to certain individuals in what it describes as damages. To the best of my knowledge, damages are awarded by a court, and the Lolek Ltd threats remain untested in law. Therefore, what RTÉ did was make ex-gratia payments to these individuals.

Even if you ignore the self-pitying tone of the headline: Threatening emails received by The Iona Institute, the Lolek Ltd press release has the usual smell of half-truth and spin about it, since O’Neill didn’t accuse any of the people associated with the ludicrous Iona Institute of being homophobic. What he actually said was that they were really horrible and mean about gays.

Imagine how devastated your life would be if somebody accused you of being really horrible and mean. That’s every teenage girl up before the courts for defamation. In classic legal terms, it amounts to no more than vulgar abuse, and pretty mild abuse at that.

What is wrong with these people? Are they so immature that they can’t stand a little criticism from somebody who is day in and day out on the receiving end of genuine prejudice?

Grow up, Lolek Ltd.

Now that RTÉ has handed over a chunk of money to certain people associated with this private company, perhaps it’s time certain questions were asked about the relationship between our national broadcaster and this small but extremely vocal assembly of fundamentalists.

Such questions might include the following:

Since Lolek Ltd is just another small niche PR company, why are its representatives afforded such a disproportionate level of access to the RTÉ studios?

Why are these people not introduced clearly by RTÉ presenters as representatives of Lolek Ltd?

Why did RTÉ collapse under the pressure of this flimsy legal threat? It has been pointed out by legal professionals that what Rory O’Neill said was uttered in good faith and without malice, that as a member of a minority he was entitled to defend himself against what he saw as oppression and that in any case he didn’t accuse these individuals of being homophobic, even though some people would conclude that many of their campaigns are decidedly so.

It seems to me that there is a strand running deep within RTÉ that wishes to support this small but aggressive pressure group. Up to now, that support has taken the form of unfettered access to the airwaves, but once the national broadcaster censors the sincerely-held views of a citizen, and hands over public funds to self-appointed moral guardians, we need to start asking hard questions.

Maybe this is a job for the Public Accounts Committee.


#605

Susan Hegarty is a geography lecturer at St Pats, the teacher training college.

Pat Kenny is a lecturer in DIT.


#606

I see that the company is a registered charity.

Directors report;
“The principal activity of the company is the promotion and advancement of marriage and religion in society”


#607

Breda O Brian once worked as a researcher in RTÉ.


#608

Another here … It seems they are all blocked but you can retrieve the cached version of Bock’s articles

What Exactly Is the Iona Institute?
Posted by Bock on June 2, 2013 Add comments
Jun 022013

The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. We defend the continued existence of publicly-funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion.

You might have noticed in recent years that our national broadcaster, RTÉ, very often invites a speaker for the self-styled Iona Institute on chat shows, whenever the topic is something that the Catholic church might have a view on. Frequently, a member of the Iona Institute is invited to comment on current topics, such as the recent RTÉ documentary on abuse in creches. Indeed, not too long ago, on a morning radio show, RTÉ had two members of the Iona Institute out of the four participants.

charlemagnes

It’s not clear why a private lobby group is given so much access to the publicly-funded airwaves, but it seems that there are those in RTÉ management who believe such a facility should be afforded, for reasons best known to themselves.

Titles count for a lot in Ireland, a country where bluff and bluster can go a long way, and the Iona Institute is a most impressive-sounding name, carrying overtones of saintliness combined with the suggestion of profound learning.

The word Institute evokes a place where world-renowned scholars convene to debate the great issues in a spirit of open-mindedness and to conduct world-standard research, but if you thought that about the Iona Institute, you’d be wrong.

This being Ireland, we have no controls over what words people use to describe the companies they set up, by contrast with, for instance, the UK, where they’re very fussy indeed about who can and cannot describe themselves as an Institute. The guidance page at Companies House defines sensitive words and expressions as those which could, among other things, suggest business pre-eminence, a particular status, or a specific function.

They even publish a list of sensitive words, including Institute. Institutes, they say, are organisations that typically undertake research at the highest level or are professional bodies of the highest standing.

Since Iona isn’t a professional body, the only other criterion it might possibly meet would be research at the highest level, but after its disastrously misconceived submission to the Constitutional Convention, I think we can safely discount that too.

Iona is simply a pressure group funded from sources undisclosed.

It has an address at 23 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, not far from a real Institute: the RIAI. It has a board of directors and it has two staff, although its most recently available details show only one staff member, and in recent times, none at all. It also has four people with the nebulous title of Patron, which I suspect was chosen for its pomposity rather than its accuracy, two of whom frequently appear on RTÉ chat shows where presenters are not scrupulous about explaining their association with the pressure group.

I thought it might be useful to explore the structure of the lobby group, perhaps with a view to provoking further discussion on the reasons why a privately-funded assortment of individuals might be so favoured by our publicly-funded broadcaster.

To start with, I thought it might be helpful to list the directors and staff, past and present, where information on them is available. My sources are principally Iona’s own website and Duedil which is an extremely useful tool for looking up details of companies registered in Ireland or the UK.

David Quinn is the public face of the lobby group. He has views on everything from same-sex marriage to childcare. For all we know, he might also have Catholic views on the weather, on ballistics and on the odd probity of tricycles, but in any case he seems to have unlimited access to RTÉ. Contrary to popular belief, though, he didn’t set up the lobby group. Indeed, he appears to be no more than a paid employee.

There’s also Tom O’Gorman, employed as a researcher. He’s described as a former journalist with The Voice Today, but I have no information on him or on that elusive organ. I’m sure he’s a thoroughly nice chap.

[Update: Tom O’Gorman died prematurely six months after publication of this article.]

The four “patrons” are as follows:

Patricia Casey, a psychiatrist.
Breda O’Brien, a teacher.
James Sheehan, a surgeon, and co-owner of several hugely-profitable private hospitals, including the Blackrock Clinic.
Vincent Twomey, a priest.
According to company records, Lolek Limited (trading as The Iona Institute) was founded in 2006 by Andrew O’Connell (29) and Susan Hegarty (30). O’Connell is the PR man for the Presentation Brothers and Hegarty lectures at the Catholic St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, a training school for primary teachers. Lolek, incidentally, is the Polish diminutive of Karol, as in Karol Wojtyla, otherwise known as Pope John Paul II. It has had eleven directors since its foundation, three of whom are retired, including both its founders. Another two, for some reason, are not mentioned in the list of directors on the Iona website.


#609

John Reid is a solicitor with O Rourke Reid, Dr Andrew O’Connell is the communications director for the Presentation Brothers and campaign director for Ronan Mullen. Fr Brendan Purcell is a former philosophy lecturer in UCD.


#610

Fascinating. RTE should not be giving these dangerous extremists so much air time.


#611

Ronan Mullen is also a lecturer. He lectures in law and communication in Blanchardstown I T. He was spokesman for the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1996 to 2002. He was president of the Students Union in NUIG.


#612

Dangerous is correct.

They want to a return to ultra Catholicism which at it’s very heart is class dominance - elites lording it over a brain washed peasantry… As I’ve pointed out, you never hear these cunts banging on about any form of social justice , just on issues of control.


#613

I took this line from a boards thread on Iona (I know, I know, but this is a good one)

“Jackie lives in Co. Dublin with her husband, Tom, and their six children Katie, Andrew, Hope, John, Christopher and baby due in February. They have home educated their children for the past seven years.”


#614

Are the catholic schools they are advocating for everyone else not good enough for em?


#615

No.


#616

Jackie holds a degree in media studies from the University of North Texas and is a fertility care practitioner. She lectures for the Nurture Institute on the topic of the psychosexual development of children.

Jackie is a former broadcaster on KSBJ Houston, a not for profit Christian radio station.


#617

Rockbrook school website is worth a look.

Every teacher listed is male. All 20 of them.
The school secretary is female, so all is as it should be.

And this piece is self-explanatory.

"The founding parents were inspired by St Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church (www.opusdei.ie). St Josemaria’s “the saint of the ordinary” , teaching about the value of one’s ordinary work as a stepping stone to God impacts on the school’s approach to encouraging hard work, excellence and a spirit of service within the school community.

Rockbrook offers single-sex education recognising that this has clear advantages for its pupils. The school encourages parents to organise social events that facilitate interaction with girls in an age-appropriate way in an atmosphere of mutual respect, devoid of unhealthy peer or other pressures. Rockbrook has a sister school: Rosemont Secondary School for girls in Sandyford, Dublin (see www.rosemont.ie)."


#618

Fuck me, that’s scary.


#619

I’d love to one of Rockos graphics to link all the connections here, but they’ve done some job in linking in to key opinion forming, mainstream media, educational establishments, student politics, etc.


#620

You would expect that all of that is targeted both by way of getting their people in on the ground and sounding out for like-minded people already there. Those two secondary schools should be producing an above average number of lawyers and teachers.

The bit that really puzzles me is how the girl won the su election in ucd.


#621

Money — those things are always about the biggest posters and the most sweets and goodies handed out not policies ffs