The Kilkenny Journal

Tuesday, 26th September 2017
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The Climate Change hoax has now gone too far -
Alert over new wave of exploding fridges caused by 'environmentally-friendly coolant'
Safety standards for manufacturers might have to be reviewed following the blasts, which have destroyed several kitchens.

Six people are now counted dead with 74 injured in the raging high rise inferno near Latimer Road tube station just down from Shepherds Bush. They died because of foolishness amongst the world's population and the majority of people believing in the worldwide Left Wing/Liberal political hoax now termed Climate Change, which used to be called Man - Made Global Warning . Household machines like these green fridges were invented because of this false belief and now human life is under threat right across the world, and here in Ireland and Kilkenny too, wherever you have these "green" fridges.

Throw these fridges out of your dwelling immediately, swop for old-fashioned fridges if you can get them. We are all under threat, ourselves, our families, our children and our friends and fellow citizens, all from these green fridges in which the gas leaks and explodes as it did in that London tower block overnight.

Alert over new wave of exploding fridges caused by 'environmentally-friendly coolant'
By Chris Brooke for the Daily Mail

Luckily no-one was hurt when Kathy Cullingworth's fridge exploded but the damage bill was £10,000

A series of violent fridge explosions is believed to have been caused by leaks of 'environmentally-friendly' coolant.

Safety standards for manufacturers might have to be reviewed following the blasts, which have destroyed several kitchens.

At least four similar explosions have been reported in the last three years in the UK, two of them since May. And now we have the tragedy of this London high rise inferno.

The problem appears to result from a widespread switch to 'Greenfreeze' technology over the past 15 years and the use of isobutane and propane hydrocarbon gases as refrigerants.

Previously CFCs and HFCs were used in fridges but these gases damaged the ozone layer and contributed significantly to global warming, or so they made out. There are now more than 300 million Greenfreeze fridges around the world.

They are designed with safety features to ensure the flammable natural gas inside the pipework cannot leak into the fridge.

However, if this happens there is a risk of a powerful blast as the gas could be ignited by a spark when the thermostat switches off.

Graeme Fox, an air-conditioning and refrigeration contractor, said: 'During the day when the fridge door is frequently opened there isn't a problem.

'But at night, when everyone is sleeping and the door remains shut, this leaked highly flammable gas can build up in the fridge cabinet.'

Mother-of-two Kathy Cullingworth, 55, is taking legal advice after her Creda fridge exploded three weeks ago at her home in Normanton, West Yorkshire. The Mail told how it caused more than £10,000 of damage.

An independent engineer confirmed the fridge contained isobutane refrigerant and a leak is suspected.

A similar fate befell Carline Preece and her family at their home in West Bromwich.

Fortunately Mrs Preece, 44, her husband Michael, 45, and their four children were in bed when the fridge blew at 6am.

Mrs Preece thought an earthquake had struck. She said: 'The doors were ripped in half, the front door has a gaping hole in it and all the windows were blown open by the force.'

Jane Gartshore, president of the Institute of Refrigeration, said there is a 'theoretical possibility' that such explosions can be caused by a leak of isobutane.

But she stressed: 'There are hundreds of millions of these fridges and these incidents are very, very rare.'

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Kilkenny is included in the five most likely Irish cities to be the target of Islamic extremists. 

People sitting at tables outside the city's coffee shops are advised to be vigilant for any speeding vehicles. 

Armed Garda support units to monitor Ireland's major cities from tonight

A decision was made to ramp up high-visibility security in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Kilkenny in the wake of the London attack.


SPECIALIST ARMED GARDA units have been directed to beef up security in several Irish cities from this evening, has learned. And this includes Kilkenny in our circulation area. 

Members of the Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) have been dispatched to the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Kilkenny, beginning their duties at 7pm this evening.

While the threat of a terrorist attack in Ireland is currently deemed to be possible but unlikely, the directive comes as a proactive and preventative measure in the wake of the past fortnight’s attacks on Manchester and London.

The ASU was unveiled late last year by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald as a high-profile specialist unit, equipped with firearms and other weapons and with members trained as emergency first-responders. Its initial focus was on high-visibility patrolling of areas of Dublin which have been vulnerable to a spate of gangland murders.

90436478_90436478The new Armed Support Unit, established in December last year.Source:

A new departure

Today’s directive marks a departure for the ASU by sending members of its 55-strong force to other cities around the country. It is believed by that the ASU will be making its presence clear where intelligence has indicated potential threats to national security.

The ASU was formed from applicants from within An Garda Síochána and members were given 12 weeks of tactical, weapons and response training. They are separate to the premier tactical armed unit, the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), which intervenes in high-risk events from hostage situations to firearms incidents, but both units have undergone training together.

The threat of a terrorist attack in Ireland is deemed ‘moderate’, but it is understood that senior Gardai have been consulting with international colleagues on measures to reduce the impact of an assault on the public.

27/10/2016. Garda Terrorist Exercise Drogheda. SceAn exercise involving the Armed Support Unit (ARU) who carry high-powered weapons.Source: Eamonn Farrell/

Committee on national security

The new Fine Gael leader, and likely Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has indicated that he intends to establish a cabinet level committee on national security similar to the COBRA committee in the UK within the first 50 days of Government.

The UK’s COBRA committee deals with major crises such as terrorism.

Seven people were killed in the horrific attack on pedestrians at London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday night, and 21 of the 48 injured have been described as being in a critical condition. A suicide bomber killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena just two weeks previously, injuring over 100 more, many of them young teenagers and children. In March, another attack in Westminster, London, left five people dead and injured almost 50.

Tom Clonan: We need to talk about how unprepared we are for a terrorist attack>

Monday, 05 June 2017 12:55

He could even have lived in Kilkenny!  It's important if you are at outdoor tables in the city drinking tea to keep a weather eye out for speeding trucks. It's best sit near a doorway into the cafe so you can dive in fast in emergency.  Keep an eye out for extremists, report any suspicious behaviour immediately by phone to the Gardai. 


At Africa Day in the Castle Park yesterday several Africans led by their spokesperson Benjani from Sierra Leone told the Kilkenny Journal representative on the spot reporting that, "We can't let any more immigrants into Kilkenny or Ireland."  
The Africans fear that if any more are allowed in that there won't be enough in cash or houses left to go around.

"Look at this great event , man, there's plenty of us people here already , many needing help. 

This proves the Kilkenny Journal right in its approach to treat those here already in a humane fashion but to control further immigration that is at the million mark in such a small population and small country as Ireland. It's costing us 4 Billions every year already that we have to borrow and the bubble is going to burst again putting everybody in jeopardy. Our approach, now backed by the Africans, is to limit mass immigration to the million already here. 

And in fact to apply Leo Varadkar's solution, that he mentioned in 2008, to pay immigrants six months welfare to go home or to go elsewhere where they would probably do better than they are doing in Ireland on the dole.  

And we agree, if someone is become long-term unemployed here in Ireland then it's better for the country if they go home or go elsewhere where they could become productive and contributing citizens once again. The Africans we spoke to at Africa Day agree wholeheartedly with this logical approach as we spoke to them in the Castle Park. 

There were the pro photographers all ready to start blasting at noon today at the start of the Africa Day parade at St. John's Church, but they had nobody to shoot! 
For only a couple of the organisers and the only local Africa day fan, Cllr. Malcolm Noonan turned up!  There was therefore no parade from the church to the castle, as advertised. 

But about two hundred people did turn up for the music at the far end of the Castle Park for a most enjoyable African rock concert afterwards. We met our pal Benjani from Sierra Leone as he helped organise the day - he works in the Kieran Street Dunnes Stores. Of course Malcolm Noonan was there and Paddy Butler, formerly of the Kilkenny Workers party, too. 

But the weather was fabulous , the food tents were doing great business along the Parade, so it wasn't a disappointment at all. Sometimes you can enjoy an event even better without a big crowd around. 

Malcolm Noonan had more bad news during the week that Joe Malone is the new organiser of the St. Patrick's Day parade. Malcolm put a lot of effort along with Marion Flannery over the years and nobody holds out much hope of rescuing the Parade that quite honestly has gone from bad to worse. There's not a pipe band left in the town, a topic we discussed with Liam Quigley, who thankfully is looking well again,  during the week. 

The James Stephens, his own band, the Kilkenny & District and the Marble City Pipe band all seem to be in the doldrums at the moment, there;s the CBS Pipe Band too. Maybe G.I. Joe will breed new life into them for next St. Patrick's Day. Funding was always the problem with maintaining the pipe bands which are very expensive to run and hopefully Joe will fix that. 

An  online newspaper editor and professional photographer has Sinn Fein in the High Court for libel.  Michael McGrath of Kilkenny city is suing Sinn Fein as the owners of the "An Phoblacht" newspaper for defamation.  The case is at procedural level at the moment as Mr. McGrath seeks to add the Sinn Fein owned company "Parnell Publications" that publishes "An Phoblacht" as a co-defendant. 

The case commenced after McGrath saw with horror the May 2016 edition of "An Phoblacht" on the shelves of a High Street newsagents, the Kilkenny Bookshop, proclaiming him as a "former nazi, masquerading as a journalist". The article went on to accuse him of threatening "to kill fellow druids", of being "a police spy", of being "homophobic" , of being a racist, of being xenophobic, of being anti-immigrant , basically throwing the kitchen sink at him. This the full page article in "An Phoblacht" did, he alleges, by dredging up some old magazine and newspaper articles that were speculative and untrue and by juxtapositioning newspaper headlines about nazis on the page that had no relation to him. In fact Michael McGrath points out episodes in which he has actually helped individual  immigrants with sympathy, cups of tea and help at his house. The immigrants working at Kilkenny Dunnes Stores, for instance, have become his friends that he chats with daily. 

The row between McGrath  and Sinn Fein began during the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election of May 2015 after "The Kilkenny Journal", of which he is online editor, criticised the local Sinn Fein candidate Kathleen Funchion for being a poor speaker and therefore not a good choice as a TD to represent Kilkenny, which city McGrath is passionate about these days referring to the tiny southern Irish city as "my little Baghdad by the Nore".  McGrath further accused Sinn Fein of turning away from the local Irish to support incoming hordes of immigrants in an uncontrolled mass immigration project that he stands opposed to. McGrath has worked to help the homeless all his life. 

Counsel for Sinn Fein Proinsias O' Maolchalainn, barrister, defends that no such defamation occurred, that the article concerned told the truth, that McGrath was all of those things alleged and worse. O' Maolchalainn himself has written for twenty years as a contributor to "An Phoblacht" though he had nothing to do with the article on McGrath. He also makes some of his living successfully defending immigrant appeals in the High Court. He is opposing the plaintiff's Motion to add "Parnell Publications Ltd" as a defendant , this now adjourned to July 3rd next.

The Master of the High Court , Edmond Honohan, declared in the  19th May hearing of this case in front of him that "the plaintiff (McGrath) is entitled to a full hearing in front of a High Court judge" and rejected Counsel's attempt to deny him that. The case then went immediately in front of Judge James Barr on 22nd May who listened sympathetically to McGrath's Affidavit but adjourned the case through lack of time in his busy court, with full apologies to McGrath guaranteeing him that his Motion would be heard soon. 

In front of Judge Barr , McGrath pleaded that his Motion, delivered  on 24th April, seven days before the close of the statute of limitations of 1st May 2017, "stopped the clock" of limitation. He further submitted that "Parnell Publications Ltd." is a company set up by and wholly owned by Sinn Fein, with headquarters in one of their two  three-quarters of a million valued  buildings at 58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, specifically as a publishing instrument to publish "An Phoblacht" and thus are liable to be added as defendants to be sued for defamation alongside their parent, Sinn Fein. McGrath states that they are joined at the hip, parent and child , that Parnell Publications Ltd is like a "Sinn Fein clone"  and therefore must be added as the publishers guilty of publishing the defamatory article against him in May 2016 in their newspaper, "An Phoblacht". McGrath stated that his Motion would not prejudice Parnell Publications Ltd. 

Though served with his Notice of Motion to Add them as a defendant on 24th April, McGrath states that Parnell Publications Ltd have not responded to date. he accuses Sinn fein of hiding their company ab initio of the proceedings , stating that he only discovered their existence in February of this year, 2017 and that he moved as soon as he had established the existence and role of Parnell Publications  with his Motion to add them as defendants in the case.  

And so the case goes with editor McGrath and Sinn Fein locked in combat in the High Court on July 3rd next yet again. McGrath states that he trained as a journalist commencing on the Kilkenny Journal in 1964, that he went on to work on The Munster Express as a full-time journalist and photographer for nine years all told, that he worked on The Kilkenny Standard as political correspondent and that he now voluntarily edits The Kilkenny Journal that he re-created as an online newspaper and registered in 2013 and that he still practices as the online newspaper's photographer too. He states that most of his life has been spent occupied in journalism, writing and professional photography.  

He admits that he was a member of a tiny party that became known as "the irish national socialist party" in the eighties but that it was not a nazi party as far as he knew,  and never became fully operational as a political party in this country.  Rather he maintains it was the remnants of a former party, "the New Progressive Democrats" of the early eighties , renamed in his absence in London without his knowledge after Dessie O'Malley had adopted the name for his new party , the PDs , in 1985. He states that he never consciously  joined and was never a member of any nazi party - and that the offending article even describes how he was being chased down by the real Irish nazi party of the time, the NSIWP -  The National Socialist Irish Workers Party, that he never in his life had anything to do with, that in fact he viewed with contempt, and that this is where the An Phoblacht article makes a massive blunder in its malicious pursuit of him in their  offending article.  

The article also features a large photo of Carlow-Kilkenny  Sinn Fein TD Kathleen Funchion as well as a huge photo of McGrath at the top. It then juxtapositions various newspaper headlines, including the masthead of "The Kilkenny People" in an attempt to make out that the newspapers concerned agree with the depiction of McGrath as a former nazi - though none of those reports actually cite him by name! It's a skilfully designed depiction to mislead  the reader, McGrath maintains. Sinn Fein deny this , in fact the party denies everything McGrath says here. They stand in total denial of everything.  McGrath condemns the entire article as malicious. Sinn Fein pleads that it consists of honest opinion published in the public interest. 

Sinn Fein replies in its defence by throwing the kitchen sink at McGrath, accusing him all over again of the very worst "right wing" political abuses, of being against gays, blacks, immigrants etc - and McGrath is now therefore to claim punitive damages as a result. It's open warfare between Michael McGrath and Sinn Fein these days. They are looking daggers at each other in court!  . He says that he has been met with hostile stares in public as a result of the offensive "An Phoblacht" article published with a big recent photo of him to make sure that people would recognise him in public as a wicked evil nazi right-wing homophobic xenophobic anti-immigrant hater and even act against him.  He says he feels vulnerable and threatened seeing as it is Sinn Fein with their bad history of dealing with opponents. He states that all of this publication is designed to shut him up and devalue his legitimate political criticism of Sinn Fein and their Carlow-Kilkenny TD Funchion  as basically "not up to it" as he admits he published in The Kilkenny Journal legitimately and within the law and within his constitutional rights under Article 40 of Bunreacht na h-Eireann.  He further states that it is the libel of the century, even worse than the British libel against Parnell of whom he remains a huge fan. 

But quite obviously Sinn Fein/An Phoblacht does not see it like that. The case continues in the High Court on 3rd July next. 



 London 'terrorist incident': London Bridge, Borough Market and Vauxhall latest amid stabbings, gunfire and people mown down by van

The scene on London BridgeThe scene on London Bridge CREDIT: TWITTER/@WILLHEAVEN
  • 'Multiple' casualties following major incident in London
  • Police say they are responding to three incidents in London Bridge, Borough Market and Vauxhall 
  • Reports a car collided with pedestrians on London Bridge
  • Officers dealing with reports of stabbings in Borough Market 

A series of co-ordinated terror attacks have hit London in three different areas, with reports of dozens of casualties from gunfire, stabbings and pedestrians mown down by a vehicle.

The London Bridge area was in lockdown after witnesses said 20 people were run down by a van and pedestrians were attacked with knives at 10.08pm.

There were also multiple reports of rapid gunfire in what one witness described as “Westminster all over again”.


BREAKING: Chaos as police storm bar near London Bridge, order people to "get down."

Within minutes there were reports of a second incident at Borough Market on the south bank of the Thames. One cab driver said three men ran towards the market stabbing people - including a young girl - as they ran. 

Then, shortly before midnight police said they were attending a third incident in the Vauxhall area.

Police entered bars and restaurants in the Southwark area around 11pm and told customers to get down on the floor amid reports that the incident was still ongoing. People outdoors were told by yelling police officers to run from the area as the atmosphere turned to one of “hysteria”.

London Bridge

British Transport Police said they were aware of reports of “multiple” casualties.

The Prime Minister was being kept informed of developments and Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph last night that the incident “appeared to be” terror-related.

It came less than a fortnight after the Manchester suicide bombing and just three months after a terrorist ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a policeman to death at Parliament.

Holly Jones, a BBC reporter at London Bridge when the first incident happened, said a van had swerved off the road into a crowd of pedestrians.

"A white van driver came speeding - probably about 50mph - veered of the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement," she told BBC News.

We are aware of reports on social media. We will release facts when we can - our info must be accurate 

Auto update


'At least two killed' in London Bridge area 

Police sources have said at least two people have been killed in the London Bridge area.


Theresa May returns to Downing Street

Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been campaigning in the General Election, was returning to Downing Street to receive further briefings from security officials, No 10 said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said US president Donald Trump had been briefed on the incident by his national security team. 


Another incident in Vauxhall 

Info available at this stage: from 2208hrs officers responded to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians on  Bridge. 1/3



Van driver 'travelling at 50mph' veered into crowds of people, witness says 

Holly Jones, a BBC reporter who was on London Bridge at the time of the incident, said she had seen a man in handcuffs being taken away from the scene.

She said a white transit van had knocked several pedestrians over, estimating five or six casualties injured or seriously injured.

"A white van driver came speeding - probably about 50mph - veered of the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement," she told BBC News.

"He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.

I'd say there are about four severely injured people. They all have paramedics assisting them at the moment."

Chris Wimpress, who works for the BBC, described the aftermath as "pandemonium". 

He went to the bridge after being told of an unfolding incident.

"I was told there was something major happening," he said. "As I walked down Southwark Street heading east, I started to see dozens of people running away, clearly distraught. Mostly young people, many of them in tears.

"Men walking in an almost zombified state, looking shocked

"It appears a van came down from the city into the London Bridge area."

He added that witnesses had told him there was a stabbing in the Southwark Tavern, while others heard at least 12 gunshots in the area. 

Two people, he said, had told him there were "men dressed in black"


"I saw people outside running ... police told us to leave the area quickly"

Our reporter Eleanor Steafel is in Southwark Street where people have been told by police to run.

People in the area are are hysterical, she reports, with one girl on the phone screaming, "It's happening!"

Armed police are walking horses of people away from the area and a lot buildings between the Globe and the bridge seem to be in the process of being evacuated.

Telegraph reporter Patrick Sawer spoke to bar manager Taylan Bonadie who told how he suddenly saw dozens of people fleeing away from London Bridge past his pub, the Trinity, in Borough High St.

He said: "People looked scared. They were running and police were telling everyone to leave. Somebody said there was another incident in Borough Market.

"We locked the doors to keep the customers safe until police advised them to leave and make their way home."

One drinker, Emma, who had been in a pub close to a London Bridge with friends, said they had been forced to abandon their night out as police cleared the area.

"We were having a drink when suddenly I saw people outside running and the next thing police told us to leave the area quickly. It was terrifying," she said.


Reports incident is ongoing - Police tell people in local bars and restaurants to get on the floor 

Police have been entering bars and restaurants in the area and telling customers to get down on the floor amid reports that the incident is still ongoing.

London Bridge is closed both ways Transport for London (TfL) said, warning the public to avoid the area.

Trains are currently not stopping at London Bridge or Borough stations.

Scotland Yard said officers were at the scene and it would update with further information.

London Ambulance said multiple resources were attending the area.


Latest pictures from the scene

 Incident at London Bridge
 Incident at London Bridge
 Incident at London Bridge
 Incident at London Bridge
 Incident at London Bridge
Incident on London Bridge 



Police told everyone in Southwark Street to "run", our reporter at scene

Eleanor Steafel says: "I'm in Southwark Street where everyone has just been told by police to run. People are hysterical. One girl is on the phone screaming "it's happening!"."


Second incident at Borough Market, say police 

Police dealing with two incidents, London Bridge and Borough Market


Police entering bars and restaurants 

Police have been entering bars and restaurants in the area and telling customers to get down on the floor amid reports that the incident is still ongoing.


"Significant" gunfire reported and up to six shots fired near the Shard

There are now reports of" five or six shots" fired or  explosions of some kind from witnesses on Southwark Street, about 300 yards from the Shard.

"The sense I'm getting is that this is not a situation that is over," LBC's reporter on ground has said. "This is still an incident that is very much ongoing".


Second incident reported at Borough Market

As well as  officers have also responsed to an incident in . We have armed police at the scenes.

Police are reportedly dealing with a second incident at Borough Market half a mile away.



Police start mass evacuation of all buildings surrounding London Bridge

Armed police are evacuating people within a mile radius of the scene, buildings including the  Globe and the are being evacuated.


Van "swerved into crowd"

Holly Jones, a BBC reporter saw a van swerve into a crowd.

"A white van driver came speeding - probably about 50mph - veered of the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement," she told BBC News.

"He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.

"I'd say there are about four severely injured people. They all have paramedics assisting them at the moment."


Witness first thought somebody lying on the ground was drunk

Nick Archer was swiftly on the scene.

"We had been drinking and came out the  on to the road and looked and looked to my left and there as a guy, I thought he was just drinking but he was lying on the floor," he told Sky News

"And then a couple of seconds later, about three police vans flew past.The guys who were with the guy on the floor flagged the car down."


Reports bomb disposal unit has arrived at London Bridge as injured being given CPR

The bomb squad has arrived on the scene, while several people thought to be suffering from knife wounds are being given CPR by ambulance staff.


Witness say they 'saw people being stabbed'

One woman said: "We were in London Bridge station. An announcement came on which said that due to an emergency the station was closing and to leave via the nearest exit. 

"We left the station and crossed the road. There were lots of blue lights to our left on the bridge and to our right.  "We crossed over to tooley street and then saw crowds of people running which created a sense of panic. 

"We ended up walking towards the river with a crowd of people. A few people jumped the fence. 

"We got to the river and walked down to Hayes galleria. There were helicopters and police boats on the river. We went into cote. 

"There was a woman and her husband crying. They said a van had mowed people down on London Bridge and were stabbing and shooting people. They were both very upset."


Report Bank Station has been closed

There are reports that Bank station, just a few hundred yards north across the Thames from London Bridge, has also been closed.


"Police got out of BMW 4x4 , they were carrying machine guns" 

Will Heaven, the  managing editor of the Spectator was in a cab on London Bridge minutes after the incident began.

"It was ten past ten, quarter past 10, quarter past ten. I was in an Uber going over London Bridge.

"I saw there was somebody on the ground with a small crowd around them. It looked as if somebody had collapsed.

"Then there was another person, not on the pavement but on the ground. Then the penny dropped that something had happened," he said.

"Police got out of a BMW 4x4, they were carrying a machine guns," he added. "I saw one person getting into an ambulance, they were clearly in a bad way, they were being comforted by first responders.


"There was tremendous gunfire"

Tony Murphy, a former serviceman, heard the incident unfold from his nearby flat on Upper Thames Street. "There was tremendous gunfire. At first I thought it was fireworks, then I recognised it was significant gunfire"

Saturday, 03 June 2017 15:17


Campaign for Leo: The inside story of how Varadkar beat Simon Coveney


They also voted with Leo's origins to the forefront.  Coveney the asexual Cork Irishman appealed more to the members rather than the more cosmopolitan tanned -looking Dubliner. But there was also a subscript against Coveney that he is the chosen one of UN Commissioner for Mass Immigration Peter Sutherland and his shady Bilderberg bankers. Leo was, to our mind, the better candidate, but the contest was about sexuality and racial origin at the grassroots of the 25,000 party members across the country. So it's just as well that Leo has announced that he will keep his liaison in the background while Taoiseach at public events while two thirds of the party membership are opposed to it. 

All that said Leo is the better man. he is not of the liberal elite like Coveney, nor will he pander to the Left as Coveney would and has done. Leo is by nature a conservative and as such he wants his private life kept that way and rightly so. Leftists should also remember that Indians are very conservative people , as is Leo's dad, and his Irish mother as well, thus he comes from a pretty traditional background where no extremes are considered.

He doesn't want abortion, for instance, but he'll live with a little of it if he has to. He is not in favour of mass immigration, he is certainly not going to continue paying an estimated 4 billions in finance of mass immigration. Welfare regulations will be brought in to ensure that African and Asian neighbourhoods get up early in the morning from now on. Leo will be  a good decent middle-of-the-road Taoiseach who will take no more lip from the Left and a leader like him has been badly needed to get this country right again. 

John Paul Phelan will be delighted with Leo's derision of abortion and all its works. Leo has described the person in the womb as a child and not as a foetus. On immigration he ran into a lot of Dublin Leftie and liberal flack back in 2008 when he proposed that idle immigrants here be paid six months welfare to leave on the basis that they were not ever going to do any good in Ireland and contribute to the economy, and though he won't repeat that statement that's his internal logic. 

Leo is the Taoiseach that the liberal leftist Micheal Martin and Fianna Fail are afraid of - he will definitely outperform Fianna Fail and the others, especially Sinn Fein, in the looming general election and could form an overall Fine Gael coalition government with some right-thinking opposition TDs. The Fianna Fail front bench doesn't look up to much these days. 

You're going to see the very capable John Deasy TD as a junior minister below in Waterford and John Paul Phelan probably as chief whip, though hopefully a full minister replacing Simon Coveney in the Custom House. Pat Deering TD over in Carlow should get a decent junior ministry. Leo's success augurs well for Carlow-Kilkenny and the South-East. 

The country desperately needs a solid one-party government and Leo Varadkar is the man to provide it. We wish him well, let Leo lead on!  

Irish Times Political Editor Pat Leahy looks back at Leo Varadkar's life and rapid rise through politics to become the youngest ever leader of the Fine Gael party. Video: Enda O'Dowd


Buying pints on an early-summer evening in Dublin may have seemed a pleasant task, but it was work all the same. John Paul Phelan, the Fine Gael TD for Carlow-Kilkenny, has supported Leo Varadkar for years, and one of the more useful services he rendered to his friend was playing political gatecrasher on Tuesday, May 23rd.

Word had filtered back to Varadkar’s leadership-campaign team that a TD in their column, the Clare representative Joe Carey, had been spotted in the Ginger Man pub, on Fenian Street in Dublin, in the company of Seán Barrett, the former ceann comhairle, who’s a Simon Coveney supporter. The Ginger Man, just metres from Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s Dublin apartment, is a well-known Fine Gael haunt.

Barrett, the long-time TD for Dún Laoghaire, is friendly with Carey’s father, Donal, a former deputy. Phelan was sent to ensure there were no attempts to turn Carey jnr Coveney’s way. All he had to do was join them at the bar and buy a few drinks. He left the pub with his task completed, his wallet a bit lighter.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival, Simon Coveney, on the hustings. Photograph: Alan BetsonLeo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival, Simon Coveney, on the hustings. Photograph: Alan Betson

The result of the Fine Gael leadership contest was never in doubt after the opening 48 hours, when Varadkar blitzed Coveney with early declarations of support from fellow members of the parliamentary party – TDs, Senators and MEPs – but he had to ensure there was no slippage in his support all the same. There was never likely to be, despite Coveney’s efforts to turn support his way.

Varadkar’s strong victory yesterday was sealed in those crucial two days after Kenny stood aside, but the shock and awe was made possible only by years of preparation. Carefully cultivated relationships ensured that Varadkar’s campaign organisers knew they could call on formidable support when they needed it.

Coveney’s supporters were right when they argued that the contest to succeed Kenny was sealed in Leinster House.The Varadkar camp had focused on the parliamentary party. But they were wrong to argue that it had been done in two days. It had taken much, much longer than that.

“If I rang Leo he’d answer or at least call back within an hour,” one backbencher said this week. “It wasn’t like that with Simon. And you always thought, What would it be like if he were taoiseach? If I can’t get him now, as a Minister, will I be able to get him on the phone if he is taoiseach and a factory closes down in my constituency?”

Leo Varadkar’s victory: Simon Coveney at Fine Gael headquarters with Kate O’Connell, Simon Harris and other supporters. Photograph: Cyril ByrneLeo Varadkar’s victory: Simon Coveney at Fine Gael headquarters with Kate O’Connell, Simon Harris and other supporters. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ministerial machine

Varadkar had built a ministerial machine around him that was widely viewed as the most responsive to the political needs of backbenchers and councillors. John Carroll, who is now chief executive of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, acted as liaison with the parliamentary party, looking after local concerns of TDs and Senators that came under Varadkar’s departments.

When Carroll moved on his position was filled by Philip O’Callaghan, a young political operative. One source describes Carroll, who came back on board for Varadkar’s leadership campaign, and O’Callaghan as “Fine Gael people who know what politicians want and need”. Both were employed as constituency staff but took on greater responsibilities.

In addition, Varadkar has had the same two key people by his side since his appointment as minister for transport, tourism and sport, in 2011. Brian Murphy, his special adviser, has come up through the ranks in Fine Gael. He served as chairman of Young Fine Gael and later chaired the party’s executive council: he knows the organisation to its core. To the public at large he is best known as the man who asked the question, on RTÉ’s Questions and Answers, that led to the downfall of Brian Lenihan snr, the late Fianna Fáil tánaiste, during his run for the presidency, 27 years ago.

Nick Miller, Varadkar’s press adviser, brought a political edge to communications sometimes lacking in some of his colleagues.

The Varadkar machine has been on the road for years, ever since his appointment to cabinet. The three positions he has held – in transport, tourism and sport; health; and social protection – gave him opportunities to meet party activists and councillors as he travelled the country.

He has been building relationships with three factors in mind: the possibility of a leadership run; cultivating the friends a minister needs when he or she is in difficulty; and making staff available to service the needs of politicians. Above all of it has been the availability of Varadkar himself to his electorate, as well as his abilities as a politician.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael’s new leader launches his manifesto during his election campaign. Photograph: Brenda FitzsimonsLeo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael’s new leader launches his manifesto during his election campaign. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Despite all the years of preparation it was just as this Government stuttered into existence that Varadkar began to tell people he wanted to be leader of Fine Gael. An obvious answer to an obvious question, perhaps, but it still takes an expression of desire from the candidate for those gathering around to take it seriously.

Snap election

Fine Gael was preparing for the eventuality of a snap election if the talks to piece together a minority administration after the general election of February 2016 failed, and Kenny had already said it would be his last election as leader. The clock began ticking the minute those words passed Kenny’s lips.

Tom Curran, the Fine Gael general secretary, had already identified Paschal Donohoe as an honest broker among the competing ambitions at the top of the party. Curran spoke to Donohoe about scenarios in which Fine Gael could choose a new leader rapidly in the event of a snap election.

Everyone knew the serious candidates would be Varadkar and Coveney, and Donohoe’s position that he did not want to stand was taken seriously. He would be trusted with helping to organise a contest that most likely would have been confined to the parliamentary party, rather than also being put before councillors and the wider membership; nor would there have been the hustings of recent weeks.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader campaigns in Dublin with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Cyril ByrneLeo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader campaigns in Dublin with Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

But it never came to that. Kenny was elected Taoiseach at the fourth time of asking, on May 6th, 2016, yet the issue of his leadership lingered over the first year of this minority Government.

As they supped pints in the evening, or chatted after the marathon negotiating sessions, Kenny repeatedly told his senior Ministers that he wouldn’t be hanging on indefinitely. “He said to us, ‘I’m not going to be around forever,’ ” one person privy to those discussions said. “That was a signal.”

It was a signal to get ready. And the past few weeks have shown that Varadkar was much more prepared than Coveney. Even Fine Gael headquarters had been preparing for a contest for a year, with Curran and Gerry O’Connell, the returning officer for the leadership election, meeting every week to finesse the process.

It was around the uncertain period of government-formation talks that Varadkar confided to Eoghan Murphy, the Dublin Bay South TD who would help orchestrate his campaign, that he wanted to lead the party, and that he was ready for it.

Kenny’s leadership was also an issue within the party in late 2014, when the then Fine Gael-Labour coalition was at its lowest ebb, as it reeled from the introduction of water charges. Some looked to Varadkar then, but he was not yet interested.

Coming out

Vardkar had another issue to deal with: he had yet to come out publicly as a gay man. He did so in January 2015, months before the marriage-equality referendum, in an interview on RTÉ Radio 1 with Miriam O’Callaghan. Varadkar’s sexuality by that stage was on open secret in political and media circles. Radio was the natural outlet for the announcement, his advisers believed, because it was live and could not be sensationalised. His rapport with O’Callaghan was also cited.

The uncertainty about his ambitions had vanished by the spring of 2016. He told Murphy – and, later, others – that he wanted to lead. He had previously tried to conceal his ambitions, and divert the suspicions of those around Kenny, by claiming that he wanted to take a gap year, or career break, a ruse that he dropped when it began feeding a narrative that he perhaps did not want to be taoiseach at all.

When the Government was formed Kenny appointed Varadkar to a ministry that would allow him to spend a lot of time on the road, visiting councillors, TDs and the Fine Gael organisation generally – even if that had not been Kenny’s original intention.

Varadkar’s move from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Protection – after he had effectively asked Kenny for more money and the ability to pay sought-after staff higher salaries, both of which were seen as impossible demands – meant he had more time than Coveney, over at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, to woo the electorate.

“I think he knew that he needed to be doing it in a more structured way. When you were landing in a town you were making sure you hit all the right places, in terms of who you were meeting,” a source said.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael votes are counted at the Mansion House in Dublin. Photograph: Alan BetsonLeo Varadkar’s victory: Fine Gael votes are counted at the Mansion House in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Varadkar’s critics said he ran away from the challenge of health, whereas Coveney embraced the challenge of his department. It meant that Coveney would not turn his eyes towards the leadership until it was too late to catch Varadkar.

Kehoe sought Varadkar out. .. He told him he would support his candidacy on one, strict condition: there would be no move to take Kenny out.

Politicians follow wherever power shifts. Pledges of support for Varadkar’s leadership bid came in three phases. The first pledges were from people who offered him support if and when the vacancy arose. The second batch came through meeting people for lunch or drinks and allowing a future run to come up in conversation. The final phase was the canvassing of recent months.

A crucial encounter came in the summer of 2016, as the Government tried to find its feet. Kenny’s leadership suffered its most significant buffeting in years when his position at the top of Fine Gael was openly questioned for the first time since the failed heave of 2010.

A combination of anger about James Reilly’s reappointment as deputy leader of Fine Gael and criticism of the granting of a free vote to the Independent Alliance on an abortion Bill in the Dáil caused a mini rebellion at the parliamentary-party meeting of Wednesday, July 6th.

Deputies Jim DalyBrendan Griffin, Fergus O’Dowd, Michael W D’Arcy and Patrick Deering all spoke up that week, either at the meeting or in the media. There were calls for Kenny to stand down after that October’s budget, an early marker that a small group were determined to cause trouble.

During the failed heave against Kenny by Richard Bruton in June 2010, Paul Kehoe, the Wexford TD, had, along with Phil Hogan, helped to see off the rebels – who then, of course, included Varadkar and Coveney.

Now Kehoe sought Varadkar out. The National Day of Commemoration takes place on the Sunday closest to July 11th each year, to mark the Irish men and Irish women who have died in wars or in service with the United Nations; the date remembers the signing, in 1921, of the truce that ended the War of Independence.

The President, the Cabinet, TDs, Senators and dignitaries gather at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham to pay their respects. The ceremony took place on July 10th last year, and Kehoe asked Varadkar for lunch afterwards.

He told Varadkar he would support his candidacy for the leadership, and help him to win the contest, on one, strict condition: there would be no move to take Kenny out. “There will be f***ing war” if that happens, Kehoe said. Varadkar could win over the party loyalists whom Kehoe was associated with if he gave the Taoiseach time and space to stand aside.

It was a view Varadkar was to hold even as motions of no confidence in Kenny came on the agenda in the months ahead. Hogan, Kenny’s main defender in 2010, also offered advice regularly and spoke to Varadkar by phone every week.

D’Arcy and Kehoe, who are constituency colleagues in Wexford, have an uneasy relationship, yet they, along with Phelan, were key operators for Varadkar in the parliamentary party.

Phelan and D’Arcy were associated with the anti-Kenny wing of Fine Gael, and they largely helped to manage relationships among that group of TDs and Senators. They also tried to box Coveney into his Cork base by tying up the support of as many Oireachtas members and councillors as they could from everywhere else in the State.

Campaign structure

The structure of the Varadkar campaign was taking shape as the Dáil went into recess last summer, and the Minister continued to meet TDs, open constituency offices and engage in more soft canvassing over the holiday months. But the level of preparation would shift up a gear with the Dáil’s return.

The annual think-ins that political parties hold are a tired format, disliked by politicians and media alike. But behind the socialising they can provide an opportunity for a party to put its best foot forward – and Kenny attempted to use the gathering last September, in Newbridge, Co Kildare, to claim he had got his mojo back. Instead he was met with renewed calls for leadership change from Griffin, Daly and other TDs.

By this stage the rebel deputies were causing difficulty for Varadkar. They were known to support him. He could not alienate them by seriously criticising them, but, despite suggestions to the contrary, he was not orchestrating the attacks on Kenny. “We could not dump on them,” but “they were giving a little push at a time when a little push was needed,” a source said.

A key decision was made that week that would advance Varadkar’s preparations even further. A belief took hold in his camp that even if he was not behind any move against Kenny he would be associated with it anyway. Better off, then, to prepare for a contest, whenever it came. This did not, however, mean drawing up lists of likely supporters.

“The lesson from 2010 was not to waste precious time sitting around with bull**** lists talking about what Frankie and Paddy might do,” a source said. “Better to spend that time talking to Frankie and Paddy.”

The Paddy in question is Paddy Burke.

Burke is not a national figure, but he is significant in Fine Gael. A keen golfer from Castlebar, in Co Mayo, Burke is a career Senator who served as cathaoirleach between 2011 and 2016. He had been appointed by Kenny, his old friend, although Leinster House gossip has it that the pair have become estranged of late, for reasons nobody can decipher. Burke and Kenny were councillors in Co Mayo together for 20 years; they now have little contact.

Varadkar met Burke in the weeks after the think-in and solicited his support. Burke is a political warhorse who fought with Kehoe and Hogan to save Kenny’s skin in 2010 and was cute enough to know why Varadkar had approached him so early – earlier, in fact, than he had approached the Cabinet.

In the language of the Varadkar camp he was an influencer. In the language of old politics he was someone who could bring others in the Seanad with him.

Ireland’s next taoiseach: Leo Varadkar arrives at the Fine Gael count on Friday. Photograph: Alan BetsonIreland’s next taoiseach: Leo Varadkar arrives at the Fine Gael count on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson

By contrast the Coveney camp did not contact the Mayo man until two weeks before Kenny officially stood down, last month. Burke did not tell Coveney that he was supporting Varadkar until the night before he ushered nine Senators before a bank of microphones, on the opening day of the leadership campaign. In doing so he helped to demolish a belief in the Coveney camp that they would win the Seanad. One of the nine was the aforementioned Frankie: Frank Feighan, a Roscommon Senator.

Varadkar’s sheer preparedness helped to dissuade colleagues from standing. “I could see other candidates who had put in a lot of work to get to that point – one in particular,” a Minister who was mulling a run said.

As Varadkar began to spread his base in the parliamentary party, rumblings against Kenny continued, with periodic speculation about a motion of no confidence. Those around Government Buildings were aware of the danger, and were prepared to fight one if it came, although it was seen as unlikely. Kenny knew he had the numbers.

“If that eventuality had have happened, it would have been fought and it would have been defeated,” a source close to Kenny said. “He knew he’d win it,” a Minister close to the Taoiseach confirmed. Despite grumblings there was never a desire to see Kenny forced out of office because of a motion tabled by a small group. 

The Varadkar team checked in after Easter to see if anyone they were counting on felt like switching sides after a visit from their rival

Varadkar’s backers in the parliamentary party could be divided in half: those who wanted Kenny removed as quickly as possible and those who wanted him to go in his own time.

Conscious that they would be defeated if they tabled a motion against Kenny, the hardcore rebels stayed quiet. They concluded that a move against the Taoiseach would be defeated – and only lengthen his tenure by another 18 months, at least.

“What got Kenny was that we all shut up,” one said. “They expected a fight, and they would have won it, even though there may have been worth to having it. But we shut up and let events happen, and that’s what did it.”

Varadkar was never going to move against Kenny, despite being urged to do so by some, yet there was concern about what to do were a motion tabled without his knowledge or approval.

John Deasy, the Waterford TD, has long been a critic of Kenny’s, yet he largely stayed away from overt criticism of the Taoiseach during this Dáil. But he socialised with Daly and others, and he was able to read their mood. Around Christmas Varadkar met Deasy and asked after his friends’ intentions. Deasy confirmed that there would be no motion and that Daly, Griffin and others were happy to let events take their course.

It chimed with Varadkar’s stance of not moving against Kenny, although events would soon lead to more pressure for him to do so. It also ensured that he kept together his coalition of TDs, who had diverging views of Kenny. As the rebels stayed quiet they looked to Varadkar and Coveney to take responsibility for the leadership of the party.

It was often suggested that the two should tell Kenny to stand down, or outline a timetable for his departure. Both insisted that would never happen, although it is understood that such a prospect was mooted in a conversation between the pair last summer or autumn.

Sources said they discussed hypotheticals, possible scenarios, leaning towards asking Kenny for a transition plan rather than an immediate departure. A spokesman for Coveney said he had no knowledge of such a discussion.


The controversy about the Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe eventually brought matters to a head. This period saw the first serious discussion of a motion of no confidence in Kenny, with divided opinion in Varadkar’s group. True to his original interactions with Varadkar, Kehoe was strongly against it, as were D’Arcy and Varadkar himself.

The “basic equation” was trying to ascertain what Coveney and his supporters would do; once the Minister for Housing made clear that he was going to be loyal to Kenny a motion was a nonrunner.

“If Enda Kenny would have called a vote himself he would have won, and maybe he’d still be leader,” a source added. “One of the lessons of 2010: only put down a motion of no confidence if you know you’ll be on the winning side.”

But those close to Kenny insist that he always intended to go by this summer. He may have departed a little earlier than planned, they say, but he had ample opportunity to lengthen his stay if he so wished.

“Since he made the original commitment” not to lead the party into another general election “there have been several opportunities to reset that if he wanted to, not least Brexit. The reality is he didn’t change his position.”

But the dynamic completely changed when Varadkar, followed by Coveney, took to his feet at the parliamentary-party meeting on February 15th this year, in the middle of the McCabe controversy. They both said Fine Gael needed to be ready for an election, which was interpreted as a signal to Kenny that he had to stand down soon. Both men were responding to concern from TDs that the party, then engulfed by the biggest crisis of this Government, could be pitched into an election with Kenny at the helm.

Numerous sources insist that both interventions were spontaneous. Varadkar and Coveney had a one-to-one meeting in the ministerial corridor in Leinster House shortly after that party gathering.

Kenny read the signs and told his parliamentary party the following week that he would deal with his leadership “effectively and conclusively” when he got back from his St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington, DC. He may have stretched his timetable somewhat, but that week settled Kenny’s fate. It was now only a matter of when, not if, he would depart.

“That was it. There was no need after that,” one rebel TD said. “The game was up.” For Varadkar and Coveney it meant their campaigns could come out from the shadows.

By now Varadkar had moved to tie up support among the Cabinet. He personally canvassed for all his votes in the parliamentary party; Kehoe, D’Arcy and Phelan, with Eoghan Murphy at the apex, helped to manage relationships once the votes were won. Only Brian Murphy, Eoghan Murphy and Varadkar himself knew exactly whose support had been secured.

It was different with the Cabinet: Varadkar managed those relationships himself. He approached one senior Minister in February. “We had a cup of coffee, and he asked me would I support him when the time came. Simon approached me the week before the Taoiseach made his announcement at the parliamentary party” – which is to say in early May.

Another Minister confirmed the pattern: “Simon didn’t approach me until Easter.”

“Leo handled the Ministers himself,” a source added. Charlie Flanagan “had been boxed off from a long way out. Leo had been working him for months.”

Coveney used the Easter break to travel the country, meeting TDs, councillors and Senators. Coveney’s campaign manager, Damien English, often made the first approach.

The Varadkar team checked in after Easter to see if anyone they were counting on felt like switching sides after a visit from their rival. They felt reassured that any slippage was minimal.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival Simon Coveney. Photograph: Alan BetsonLeo Varadkar’s victory: the new Fine Gael leader and his election rival Simon Coveney. Photograph: Alan Betson


Although almost everything else was planned, the Varadkar camp maintain that they never made contingencies for his sexuality to become an issue. In late February, however, the Irish Independent ran an article that included photographs of Varadkar with his partner, Matthew Barrett.

It came as a surprise, and the campaign discussed how to react. They decided to do nothing, as any action could be perceived as playing the sympathy card. “We never had a discussion around the gay thing in the campaign,” a source said. “It was just not something that we felt we needed to consider. So it wasn’t how we were going to manage this issue. It was never anything like that. As far as we were concerned the Indo moved too early and took it off the table.”

But Varadkar’s sexuality was an issue for some Fine Gael members. One of his team was speaking to The Irish Times on his mobile while out canvassing in his constituency on a Friday morning. As he approached the door of a Fine Gael-supporting older woman he put his phone by his side, but the line was still open. He canvassed hard for Varadkar, but the woman was sceptical. “I don’t know. He’d be living up there with a man,” she said.

The campaign continued to lock down support. Once a vote was confirmed the information was fed back to the top of the campaign. Alan Holmes, who helps Eoghan Murphy with the logistics of his constituency campaigns, designed a system that allocated every Oireachtas member a number. Whenever one of them committed to vote for Varadkar, Holmes relayed the information back to Murphy, who fed the corresponding number into a grid, to maintain confidentiality.

It was a sophisticated operation that almost immediately had to be abandoned, as it was overly complicated. But the two Murphys, along with Varadkar, were still the only two who knew everything. The secrecy of their operation helped to manage expectations. They were both pleased, and somewhat astonished, when they saw the Coveney camp talk up its chances in the press, claiming, among other things, that they would win a majority in the Cabinet and the Seanad.

Olwyn Enright, the former Fine Gael TD for Laois-Offaly, came on board to help out; her input was particularly valued for its non-Dublin perspective, according to a source.

Her role included work on public relations and policy formulation, and on prepping Varadkar for debates and media questions. Others worked on “relationship intelligence”; a campaign source said, “If you had concerns over people, if you weren’t sure what way someone was going to vote, you’d have one or two people have a chat with him. ‘Leo tried speaking to X; X seems a bit cold; who do we know who can approach them subtly and find out what they really think?’ That kind of stuff.”

The wait went on for Kenny to formally announce his retirement. At times he seemed to be enjoying toying with his tormentors. On May 10th, at the parliamentary-party meeting the week before he stood down, he sat in his usual position, behind a table at the top of the room.

Some party members thought this was dog-whistle homophobia, but the Varadkar camp said it was merely the cut and thrust of the campaign

Kenny sat at one end, with James Reilly, the deputy leader, and Martin Heydon, the chairman of the parliamentary party, in the middle. As secretary, the Dublin North-West TD Noel Rock sat at the far end. Kenny scribbled a note to be passed to Rock, who had repeatedly called on the Taoiseach to relinquish the Fine Gael leadership.

Rock unfolded the note. “Dear Noel,” it began. It then mentioned that it had been a year since Rock nominated him four times as Taoiseach in the Dáil, and thanked the deputy for his support in the time since. Kenny, who had simply signed the note “E”, leaned back and chuckled as Rock read its contents. The old fox had some roguery left in him.


The campaign officially began a week later, on Wednesday, May 17th, when Kenny announced his resignation. The Varadkar strategy, largely drawn up by Eoghan Murphy and John Carroll, was to kill the contest off in the 48 hours between the time Paddy Burke brought out his Senators on the Thursday morning and the formal campaign launch, on the Saturday morning, when Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Michael Ring, Kenny’s fellow Mayo TD, would introduce Varadkar. The offensive was managed by Eoghan Murphy, D’Arcy and Phelan from the campaign base, on Mount Street, and from a discreet apartment off Molesworth Street.

If the parliamentary party, which commands 65 per cent of the votes under the electoral college that decides the leadership, was effectively wrapped up, the media launches, the hustings and the remainder of the contest could be used to introduce Varadkar and his ideas to the public.

Fitzgerald had considered a run but eventually decided against it. Although a number of sources said the Tánaiste made clear that she was backing Varadkar only the day after Kenny announced his retirement, others said that she had previously told Varadkar she would support him if she did not run herself. Only Varadkar and Fitzgerald know exactly what passed between them.

Paschal Donohoe was always expected to support Varadkar, but he too had seriously thought about standing. He had been urged to run by party colleagues before Christmas, but he decided against it. He was always widely expected to support Varadkar, but he confirmed his support only after Kenny’s statement that he would deal with his leadership after St Patrick’s Day.

Donohoe – who was to play Coveney in mock hustings with Varadkar – then informed the Minister for Housing of his decision, in a short phone call.

The Dublin Central TD is tipped to take on the duties of Minister for Finance, in addition to his existing role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, before a merging of the two departments back into one.

Richard Bruton declared for Varadkar on the first day of the campaign. He said he told the candidates of his plans only that morning, although there are suggestions that he had told Varadkar beforehand. Sources close to Bruton believe he was never serious about running. If he had run and lost it would have been a hat-trick of defeats in leadership contests.

By the Saturday morning of his launch Varadkar had secured 46 per cent of available votes. Undeclared TDs and Senators, particularly those who had suffered after choosing the wrong side in the 2010 heave against Kenny, were under pressure to come onside.

Leo Varadkar’s victory: counting begins in the Fine Gael leadership election on Friday. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/AFP/GettyLeo Varadkar’s victory: counting begins in the Fine Gael leadership election on Friday. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/AFP/Getty

The previous evening Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle saw off pressure to encourage him to declare for Varadkar immediately. He said he would make his mind up by the time Varadkar visited his Wicklow constituency, the next Monday – and he duly declared his support for the Dublin West TD. Another Oireachtas member was warned not to mess up as he had in 2010.

Of the Varadkar campaign team only Eoghan Murphy believed Coveney might withdraw after the first 48 hours. He was in regular contact with Damien English, his counterpart in the Coveney camp. On the Saturday morning a wobble became apparent among some of the Corkman’s supporters.

Tom Curran, the general secretary of the party, had also been in touch with English that morning to complain about comments made by Kate O’Connell, the Dublin Bay South TD, at a rally in Co Clare the previous evening, when she described Varadkar supporters as “choirboys” who were “singing for their supper”.

Some party members thought this was dog-whistle homophobia, but the Varadkar camp said it was merely the cut and thrust of the campaign. They had in fact been prepared to hit Coveney with heavy criticism about how unprepared he was, but they held off after O’Connell’s comments. Responding would merely make them look as if they were trading tit for tat.

Nominations closed that evening, and Curran wanted to know if headquarters might not have needed to begin a contest at all. Although some Coveney supporters wanted him to withdraw, multiple sources claim that he never seriously considered the possibility himself and that he decided to plough on and hold a scheduled rally in Cork that night.

“When he made his decision that was it, but the question was, does it make any sense?” one of the Coveney team said. “The rally in Cork settled it. His speech was brilliant.”

Amid the confusion of that day a rumour also spread to damage Simon Harris, Coveney’s most senior supporter. Harris and Varadkar do not get on. The Minister for Health has his enemies among Varadkar’s supporters and will need to rebuild his political capital in the party. He has spoken to the Varadkar camp about negative media stories about his new leader, although sources differ on whether he told them he was not responsible or if he was told they knew he was not to blame.

The contest was over, despite Coveney’s admirable fighting on. His handsome victory among the rank-and-file members was a testament to it – and possibly a reward for hanging in.

One Minister described Coveney as naive and overly optimistic in his earlier dealings with TDs and Senators, a trait some claim they saw during the government-formation talks with Fianna Fáil and in his recent belief that Fianna Fáil would eventually accept some sort of water-charging regime.

Although he said he had been promised support by people who eventually backed Varadkar because they wanted to be on the winning side, Ministers believe Coveney did not pick up on the signals in conversations with colleagues. “I think there were people trying not to be offensive to Simon, trying to be gracious to him,” one said. “I think the wrong end of the stick was taken in conversations then.”

Varadkar was described as direct, whereas Coveney was “woollier” in his very recent approaches. “Six weeks out, max,” was the time frame one Cabinet Minister put between Coveney’s approaches and Kenny’s retirement.

Yet despite some disappointment in the parliamentary party about Coveney’s tactics as he tried to claw his way back into the race – particularly his supporters’ giving journalists the names of TDs they believed might switch from Varadkar, and encouraging rank-and-file members to pressurise their local representatives into changing – his decision to fight on is widely acknowledged to have been the correct one.

His positioning to the left of Varadkar, and his attempt to portray his rival as a dangerous right-winger, is accepted as a necessary part of political campaigning. “I would have done the same thing,” a Varadkar-backing Minister said.

Coveney’s supporters also offered Cabinet positions as enticements to potential switchers, but that is an understandable reaction to the impossible situation they found themselves in.

The Cork man has built up significant credit for participating in a process that has revitalised the Fine Gael organisation. The hustings, in particular, are acknowledged to have been a huge success. Varadkar says he wants to return more power to the grassroots and make ardfheiseanna forums for debates once more rather than just window dressing around a leader’s speech.

A problem Varadkar has now is that Coveney can cast himself as the voice of the members. At the hustings the Cork man said he would continue to fight for his Just Society principles even if he lost. The party grassroots have given him the political strength to do so.

Coveney supporters said that a lot of preparation work was done on policy rather than campaigning, but they are adamant that TDs who were inclined to support Coveney changed their minds as the Varadkar juggernaut gathered pace. “Damien English is a serious politician. Simon Coveney has been around for 20 years. It is too simple to say they just got it wrong. Something changed.”

Another said Coveney was “absolutely immersed” in his ministry. “He was flat out with housing and water.

Maybe it could be argued that, another year in the portfolio, he might have got out of the immediate phase of putting plans together and have more discretionary time.”

But Coveney took on the position of Minister for Housing for that very reason. His pitch was based on being a serious politician who could solve difficult tasks. “You would hear people in the party say he was naive in the politics of this,” an observer who has operated at the sharpest end of Fine Gael politics for almost two decades said. “Others would say earnest. But a service has been done to the party in allowing this go to the end.”

Varadkar understood that the oldest rules of politics will always apply: the electorate wants to be loved, and votes must be asked for. “It was based on strong personal relationships,” a backbencher said. “He developed strong personal relationships; the other fella let some drop. Coveney didn’t go up to enough people and say, ‘I’m asking, vote for me.’

“That was it. That was the basis of the blitzkrieg. They used that strategy because they were confident of their numbers and of their people.

“It was done over four or five years.”

Kilkenny women's refuge centre is unable to cope with demand- but 140 refugees to be put up in Kilkenny hotel!



Kilkenny women's refuge centre is unable to cope with demand

Almost one person a day is being turned away from the Amber Kilkenny Women’s Refuge in the city. But local Council is to go to enormous expense  to welcome and house 140 refugees , no problem at all. 
Women and children, who are in fear of their lives and trying to seek safety from abusive and violent relationships have nowhere to go. 
Last year the refuge was forced to turn away 320 referrals and was only able to accommodate 53 new clients. The refuge can cater for seven women and up to 23 children at any time. 
The housing crisis, mainly due to uncontrolled mass immigration  has had a huge impact on the ability of the refuge to maintain its core service of short-term emergency accommodation. Again  there is very limited availability of private rented accommodation  because of uncontrolled immigration into Kilkenny and so the clients of the refuge have found it next to impossible to secure the limited social housing available. 
This has resulted in a number of women and their children remaining in the refuge for upwards of 15 months. The refuge has recently accommodated two children from separate families that have celebrated two birthdays in the refuge. 
The position is unsustainable for the women and children living in the refuge in accommodation not designed for long-term stays.

The Refuge board stated that, “However, it is the role of both national and local government to meet the longer term housing needs of women who have fled a violent home and cannot access private rented accommodation. In the current severe housing crisis the board of the refuge cannot take on the responsibilities of the housing authorities and calls on the people of Kilkenny to lobby their local representatives to deal with the longer term accommodation needs of clients of the refuge as a priority. 
“The board would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who support the refuge in different ways, the board is very grateful for the generous support of the community since its establishment.” 
Amber was established in November 2001 to provide safe, short-term emergency accommodation to women (and children) in the Kilkenny area who are affected by domestic violence.
With the imminent arrival of the first 70 of the 140 Syrian refugees , mostly men, battered women in the Amber Refuge face a hopeless future - especially as these new refugees will be housed before them, before everybody on the housing list in fact. It's understood that the refugees will have nice rooms paid for them at the Aspect Hotel with all mod cons and full welfare cash allowances on top. Sadly the women of the Amber Refuge will have no choice but to walk the roads, or if they're lucky and have a car to sleep in it with their children. This is Christian ireland of the 21st century, this is what the majority of the Irish people want, or so the politicians they elect tell us, like Deputy Kathleen Funchion whose Sinn Fein party is all for more refugees while their TDs like her and MEP Matt Carthy pay empty lip service to the women's refuge, the last chance for many Irish wives and kids, while Sinn Fein wants and serves more and more immigrants to press in on top of an already nightmare situation for these mainly Irish women and their children. Thus there is no party left in Ireland now that the desperate can turn to when even those like Sinn Fein who they voted for in despair let them down now and side with the immigrants instead.  As many say, there is no point in voting for any of them anymore. 
It's an awful tragedy in which the local Irish women and their kids have nowhere to turn but the open road , and yet they pour more and more immigrants and refugees into the country and into Kilkenny , while the Kilkenny Journal is the only media that speaks out while the rest remain silent and cruelly tight-lipped. Mass immigration which has caused all this suffering amongst the women and their kids is the elephant in the room. |It must not be mentioned but that is where all available accommodation and housing is going - to the refugees and the asylum seekers granted asylum. 

Indeed not one politician even mentioned the horrific crisis at Kilkenny's Amber shelter until the local paper mentioned it first ( but hiding the cause of the problem, as usual). Now we have Shinner TD Funchion making plausible mealy mouthed platitudes that will as usual achieve nothing  - while Gerry and Mary Lou complain about conditions in Butlins former holiday camp for the asylum seekers lucky to get in there! The women and kids of the Kilkenny shelter would love it to get chalets in Butlins or in the other camps and hotels reserved for immigrants & refugees, many of them economic refugees if the truth be told. 

We can only condemn the present horrific conditions for so many Irish locals in their own country, their own homeland, the only country they will ever have. It's morally wrong  to push refugees in on top of them so as to displace them here in their own country. We need an urgent assessment of the situation here in Kilkenny so as to  make places like the Aspect Hotel and all ther other hotels equally available to the desperate women and their children in the Amber refuge, the Council must do this today, all the relieving agencies must be put to work to help these desperate Irish local Kilkenny women and their children to the help that they are entitled to in their own country and city. There must be an end to all this sentimental slobbery and virtue signalling about immigrants and refugees as the women in the Amber refuge in Kilkenny come first, and the kids must be helped above all, according to that which it states in the 1916 Proclamation, read out by Padraig Pearse on the steps of the GPO , "that all the children of the Nation be cherished equally. 
HELP THE KILKENNY REFUGE WOMEN FIRST!  These are great women, great Kilkenny people with great kids, suffering through no fault of their own. They must be housed first or politicians should be told how cowardly they are to their faces and officials confronted and shamed and told to serve these suffering Kilkenny women first.  This is a public scandal, this is to the shame of Kilkenny and ireland that our own suffering womenfolk are so badly neglected while foreigners here a rainy day are accommodated in luxury, FFS what is it all about and where are all the protesters gone? 


 condemnation in Irish liberal lefty circles of Trump’s climate hoax decision. 

‘Unconscionable’ for US to walk from responsibility - former president Mary Robinson

Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson said: “It is unconscionable that one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters would simply walk away from its responsibility to people both at home and abroad, in the interest of short-term fossil fuel profits.” File photograph: Getty Images

Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson said: “It is unconscionable that one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters would simply walk away from its responsibility to people both at home and abroad, in the interest of short-term fossil fuel profits.” File photograph: Getty Images


There has been some condemnation from minorIrish political and business figures of the decision by US president Donald Trump to exit the Paris climate accord. Nobody important here has spoken about it yet. 

Mr Trump’s decision is seen as having struck a major blow against the  international climate agreement. Hailing the move as a “reassertion of America’s sovereignty”, the US president had said the agreement, signed by almost 200 countries in late 2015, “disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other states”.

Reacting to the decision, former Irish president and UN high commissioner Mary Robinson, a known liberal elitist,  said: “It is unconscionable that one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters would simply walk away from its responsibility to people both at home and abroad, in the interest of short- term fossil fuel profits.” But she was careful not to mention where all the climate change billions go!

“It is truly shocking that the United States, once proud to have been a leader on multilateral issues, has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement which was negotiated by over 190 world leaders, over decades, in the interests of all people and the planet,” she said. In reality it was forced on EU countries , suiting only China and a few others. 

Ms Robinson said the agreement was not something that could be renegotiated in the interests of one country. “Especially not when that country bears the greatest historical responsibility for global greenhouse gas emissions.” What Robinson doesn't know is that the theories surrounding her greenhouse gas emissions have never been scientifically proven. 

Refuse meeting

People before Profit TD Brid Smith, the ugliest and thickest TD in the Dail,  called on the incoming Taoiseach to refuse any meeting with Mr Trump after withdrawal of the US from the Paris treaty. Smith is a thug who led a gang to Kilkenny back in 1994 to bully an election candidate here. 

“With this single act, Trump has demonstrated that he is a far more dangerous threat to humanity than any tin-pot dictator or terrorist group. The consequences of this act of environmental vandalism could be catastrophic for the world’s populations and habitats,” she exaggerated greatly without an ounce of proof, as she usually does.

“If our Government is serious about climate, a simple response would be to withdraw the invitation given by Enda Kenny to Trump and tell the world that there is no welcome for a climate-denier and puppet of the fossil fuel corporations,” Ms Smith added.

It looks like the so-called "wide condemnation" in Ireland centred around the Ballyfermot Marxist Smith. 

‘Deeply disappointing’

Sinn Féin environment spokesman Brian Stanley TD said the announcement is “deeply disappointing" and then rabbited on, though like his Shinner comrades-in-arms he hasn't a clue. But he's a nice man from our neighbouring county Laois.  

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