Behold the extremely pleasing and ingenious 100-sheet Omoshiro (‘fun’) Block – elegant Japanese stationery by Triad where the cumulative peeling off of notes ‘excavates’ an intricate laser-cut 3D paper sculpture.

Right now the blocks are expensive (¥4000 to ¥10,000 or around €30 to €75 each) and available only at locations in Osaka and Kyoto. With luck (and sustained pressure from stationery geeks the world over) this may change


Are you having a wet January?

Read on.

Richard Walshe writes:

Galway Bay Brewery are bucking the dry January trend. Buy one of our party platters (min €75) and well’ll give you a keg of beer for free (that’s about 50 pints, or the equivalent in Galway Bay Brewery pint vouchers for variety).

It’s the best value and tastiest night out you and your mates will ever enjoy. Perfect for parties of 25 or more. And with 9 participating Galway Bay Pubs around the country, you’ll find one to suit. Book at But book soon, offer ends, end February.

We would like to give away to two Broadsheet readers TWO of the above packages to include a free platter of food and a free keg of beer.

To enter, just name three Galway Bay Brewery bars?

Lines MUST close at 9pm

Entries will be picked from the ‘hat’ tomorrow morning.

Galway Bay Brewery

This afternoon.

Just a sample of the thousands of memes prepared ahead of tomorrow’s Fake News Awards presented by President Donald Trump.

The awards will be given to “the most dishonest and corrupt news media” at a ceremony in the White House.

Seems legit.


Clockwise from top: Supt Noel Cunningham, Sgt Maurice McCabe, retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny

Yesterday morning.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Superintendent Noel Cunningham sent a new statement to the tribunal.

This came ahead of the appearance of solicitor Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

Readers will recall it has been hoped that Ms Ryan will be able to shed light on how a claim about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – attributed to Supt Cunningham who was present at the meeting – ended up on a document sent to the commission from the then Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon’s office…

Only to be proven false by a taped recording of that meeting produced by Sgt Maurice McCabe and Supt Cunningham’s own notes and report on that same meeting.

The specific claim in the Chief State Solicitor letter was this:

In the course of this meeting [in Mullingar in August 2008] Sergeant McCabe advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.

After the letter was sent to the commission, readers will recall Colm Smyth SC, for the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, had the following exchange with Sgt McCabe, during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation:

Smyth: “In the course of that [Mullingar, August 2008] meeting, Sergeant, you advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason you made a complaint against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow you to have the full authority directions conveyed to you?”

McCabe:That is absolutely false.”

Sgt McCabe subsequently produced his tape.

The tribunal last week heard Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal say, that no such threat was accompanied by Sgt McCabe’s request that the DPP’s directions  in relation to the Ms D complaint be given to the D family.

She said:

 “When later in the hearings of the O’Higgins Commission the tape was produced, on day four, to the Commission, having previously been disclosed by Sergeant McCabe, the matter of a threat at Mullingar meeting was negatived.”

The tribunal also heard last week of a statement made by Colm Smyth, SC, to the tribunal.

In it, he said:

A misunderstanding in instructions which came from clients other than Commissioner O’Sullivan resulted in an inaccuracy related to an interaction with sergeant McCabe on the 25th August, 2008 in Mullingar Garda Station.

Those instructions as initially understood were accurately reflected in paragraph 19 of the letter of the CSSO to the Commission of Investigation dated the 18th May, 2015. The said complaint made by sergeant McCabe was against Mr. D. and not Superintendent Clancy.

The inaccuracy in question was that the complaint being made by Sergeant McCabe was against Superintendent Clancy. The complaint had in fact been forwarded to Superintendent Clancy. This complaint came to be investigated by Superintendent Noel Cunningham.

This error was corrected but did not alter the substance of the matter being put to Sergeant McCabe about the meeting in Mullingar on the 25th of August, 2008 and which sergeant McCabe accepts.

So, it would appear that the matter of the so-called “threat” that was outlined in the Chief State Solicitor’s letter is still being maintained – at least by some.

Further to this…


With his new statement, Supt Cunningham attached Ms Ryan’s notes of a consultation meeting they had on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 in Garda HQ.

Ms Ryan’s notes refer to what Supt Cunnigham told her in relation to the meeting between Supt Cunningham, Sgt Yvonne Martin and Sgt Maurice McCabe in Mullingar in August 2008.

Inspector Michael McNamara was also present at this consultation meeting in Garda HQ.

Firstly, Ms Ryan’s notes say:

“Up to 2008 above and over 26 years’ service, Noel never had one single complaint against him by anyone. Since then, there has been numerous complaints from public about him. Question over whether McCabe behind D’s allegations that Noel didn’t carry out proper investigations.

“No adverse findings to date, but some still ongoing.”

Noel met with McCabe in Mullingar with Yvonne Martin in 2008 about complaints to Mike Clancy. McCabe wanted his DPP file. Noel made report of this meeting in the next day.”

The tribunal heard that, in Ms Ryan’s notes, she had an ‘arrow’ pointing down from the word ‘McCabe’ saying:

“This was his reason for making complaint to Mike Clancy.”

Secondly, the tribunal heard Inspector McNamara’s notes record:

“Letter of demand from Sergeant McCabe for file of superintendent to DPP in 2008 report. Allegedly got no support. Meeting in Mullingar. Sergeant Yvonne present.”

Reason making complaints to Superintendent Clancy was to force his hand to get a copy of the file.

In respect of Inspector McNamara’s notes, Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, asked Mr Ryan: “Am I correct in saying that he [Supt Cunningham] did provide this information?

After confirming that Supt Cunningham had waived his privilege in relation to the matter, Ms Ryan said “yes”.

The tribunal heard parts of Supt Cunningham’s fresh statement yesterday.

It heard that, in the statement, he said:

“On the 12th May 2015 I met with the Commissioner’s legal team at Garda Headquarters in advance of the first sitting of the O’Higgins Commission. At that meeting, I outlined my relationship and dealings with Sergeant McCabe. This included details of my meeting with Sergeant McCabe on 25th August 2008 in Mullingar when investigating the complaints he made against Mr. D. The notes clearly show that I outlined the complaint was made to Superintendent Clancy.”

Judge Charleton told the tribunal that it had “become increasingly clear” that the right thing to do may be to call Supt Cunningham in to give evidence.

Ms Ryan will continue her evidence tomorrow at 10am.


Readers may wish to note that the tribunal has also heard that the first liaison officer appointed for the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation was the now retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny.

He was appointed to that position – which would have involved ensuring the transfer of documentation, etc, to and from An Garda Siochana to the commission – on February 12, 2015.

While Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane gave evidence yesterday, Mr Ruane explained that subsequent to Mr Kenny’s appointment, there was another liaison officer appointed, Supt Ward, and then, finally a third, Supt Fergus Healy, who ended up being the liaison officer for the commission.

Mr Ruane yesterday gave evidence about the first consultation meeting which took place in the Four Courts between gardai and their counsel for the commission.

Of that meeting, Mr Ruane spoke about a delay in collating documentation ahead of the commission.

Mr Ruane said:

“Chief Superintendent Healy had made a comment at a meeting on 11th of May that with respect to AC Kenny, I have it in my own notes, we lost six weeks. There may have been a perception arising out of the fact that the chief superintendent, who was the liaison for the Guerin Report, there may have been a perception that all of the documentation was necessary — necessarily collated at that point. I simply don’t know.

“But those questions would have to go to Assistant Commissioner Kenny or Chief Superintendent Ward.”

Readers will recall the tribunal heard in the summer that Chief Superintendent James Sheridan was the liaison officer with responsibility for giving documents to Sean Guerin SC pertaining to the Cavan/Monaghan area.

Readers will also recall the false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe was passed from Chief Supt Sheridan to Assistant Commissioner Kenny before it was sent to the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan in May 2014 – even though both Chief Supt Sheridan and Assistant Commissioner Kenny both knew the rape allegation was false.

The tribunal has also heard evidence from Asst Comm Kenny that he never sent on the corrected referral – which showed the rape allegation was false – to the Garda Commissioner.

During the Keith Harrison modules, it heard that Asst Comm Kenny was out of the country.

Yesterday: ‘This Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Factual Matters To Be Investigated By O’Higgins’

“It Was Dragged Back In, In A Collateral Way To Demean Him”


From top: Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy; Dr Rory Hearne

Not one affordable home was built in 2017 and the government did not meet its new social house building targets as the homelessness and housing crisis continues to worsen.

That is what the headlines on news articles covering the Minister for Housing’s ‘Social Housing Delivery 2017’ statement released this week should have read. Instead we had articles like this one from RTE stating that “Department of Housing figures show social housing delivery exceeded”.

Again it’s a case of manipulation of figures, spin, and half-truths being put out by Government Departments and Ministers that were left largely unchallenged by the mainstream media.

The reality is the homelessness crisis is worsening. Just in the last year the number of homeless families has increased by 26% (from 1,205 in Nov 2016 to 1530 in Nov 2017) and the number of children homeless increased by 30% (2549 to 3333).

On this government’s watch, an additional 784 children, or two children a day, became homeless into emergency accommodation the last year.

The number becoming homeless was even larger (Focus Ireland figures show 85 families newly homeless in Dublin alone in November 2017, or over two families a day).

Why will the government not declare this human catastrophe a national emergency and give it the political attention it requires?

The housing crisis also includes low and middle income households in the private rental sector who continue to be affected by rents at ever more unaffordable levels and they face the constant threat of losing their home by being evicted by their landlord.

For those hoping to buy a home, house prices are also rising further pushing a permanent home in their community out of reach and meaning, if they do get a mortgage, it will be even more unaffordable to them.

To really address the crisis the government should be building a minimum 10,000 social housing units and 20,000 affordable housing units per annum (10,000 affordable rental and 10,000 affordable purchase).

This new building by local authorities, and not-for-profit housing associations (and a new housing and homes agency which should be set up to drive delivery) is essential because it would actually increase the new supply of housing and thus address the heart of the crisis –the lack of affordable housing supply.

Meanwhile in this Republic of obfuscation, the government claims that it met the social housing need of 25,892 households in 2017 and “exceeded its overall target for new social housing supports”.

This gives the impression it provided a significant new supply of housing. But the overwhelming majority of these, 73% (18,900) are where low income households in the private rental sector are given housing support.

This is not new supply – it is using existing housing stock in the private rental sector – and so making the crisis worse by adding to demand in the private rental sector. Neither is it social housing as we would understand it – a secure home.

Landlords can evict these tenants easily as they can others in the private rental sector. It is also very poor long term value for money as it is a huge corporate welfare transfer to landlords –almost €500 million per year to some of the wealthiest in society for which the state gets no long term return.

So if we take away the housing provided under HAP, RAS and leasing from the private sector that leaves 6,268 new social housing units. Now, that is still not new build social or affordable housing supply, 1757 of this is existing local authority housing being refurbished (referred to as ‘voids’) and 2,266 is acquisitions, or purchases from the private market, again, not new build supply.

That leaves, just 2245, of which 388 is bought from private developers in Part V. This means that in 2017 the total actual new build social housing was just 1,857 (1,058 by local authorities and 799 by housing associations).

Therefore, of the new social housing trumpeted by the government in their statement this week, just 7% is actually new build social housing. At that rate of building it would take over 50 years to meet the housing needs of those on social housing waiting lists.

The facts are that the new build of 1,857 (or, 2,245 if you include Part V units) doesn’t even meet the government’s own housing plan Rebuilding Ireland targets – set out in July 2016.

The tables below shows that the new build targets for 2017 were 3,200. So the actual new build is just over half the Rebuilding Ireland targets.

Minister Eoghan Murphy said on the release of the statement that “Rebuilding Ireland is working”. The truth is Rebuilding Ireland is not working and the government is not meeting its targets.

The overall Rebuilding Ireland housing strategy is actually going to continue to make the crisis worse because it is not providing a significant increase in affordable and social housing supply. There is no sign of the government building actual affordable housing, like affordable rental and social housing any way near the scale required.

It has money to invest in building social and affordable housing – such as the hundreds of millions planned to be given away in tax cuts, the €1.3bn allocated to a ‘rainy day’ fund and instead of allocating €750 million to finance private developers that should have used it to seed fund the setting up a of new semi-state affordable homes building company that would actually build affordable homes.

The state through local authorities, and state agencies and NAMA has significant land banks that it could be building affordable housing on now – and not be waiting for the private sector to build.

The State Lands Management Group identified a tranche of public land including 700 local authority and Housing Agency owned sites (totalling some 1,700 hectares), and 30 sites (200 hectares) owned by state or semi-state bodies in the Greater Dublin Area and other major urban centres that could build up to 50,000 homes.

Instead we have 3,333 children with their childhood being stolen from them as they are left languishing in emergency accommodation and Family Hubs.

Myself and others in #MyNameIs highlighted their plight this morning by standing in the cold outside government buildings and greeting the Taoiseach on his arrival to work (at a tardy 8.20am!), unfortunately he drove straight past us and didn’t take the time to listen to our concerns.

Instead we have hundreds of thousands of young people, couples, families, the elderly, migrants, Travellers, those with disabilities and many others denied their human right to housing–as they are left in the private rental sector, at home overcrowded with family, couchsurfing, or in emergency accommodation and Family Hubs -languishing in unaffordable and inappropriate housing.

Welcome to Leo’s Republic of (Unequal) Opportunity.

Dr Rory Hearne is a policy analyst, academic, social justice campaigner. He writes here in a personal capacity. Follow Rory on Twitter: @roryhearne

Earlier: Mel Reynolds on The Echo Chamber

Michael Taft on Affording Affordable Houses

Graeme Kelly writes:

On Sunday 4 out of the 10 ESB Rapid charge points in Dublin were Out Of Order. For EV drivers  this is a nightmare, especially if you have a low battery. The one just North of Malahide has been broken for 1 month which means a detour to the Airport or to Applegreen at Lusk Service Station. Tesla are building Charge Points all round the country (eg. Applegreen Castlebellingham) and consist of EIGHT charge points in each location. However, they will not be available to other EV users. At present Tesla owners use the ESB chargers for free with a special CHAdemo adapter. Surely in the interest of promoting the uptake of Electric Vehicles the Gov/ESB should agree with Tesla that use of each others charging stations is available to all EV Cars (even for a fee ?).


Previously: Incoming

A stop motion short by Guldies (made in his bedroom using 2500 still pictures) in which a giant human hand prepares for a relaxing day on the river.


No ordinary 1968 Ford Mustang, rather, one of two fastbacks driven by Steve McQueen in Peter Yates’ ultra stylish Bullitt (1968).

This is the ‘hero’ car (the battle-scarred stunt double has since disappeared, having been sold to a salvage yard after filming).

Formerly believed to have been lost (or, worse still, scrapped like its stunt double), it’s actually belonged to the same New Jersey family since 1974 and was unveiled this week at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show, close to the 50th anniversary of the cinematic car chase that sealed its reputation.

Yours for between €2.5 and €4.0 million. Were it for sale. Which it’s not.

Meanwhile, less interestingly, Ford have brought out a Bullitt-themed 2019 Mustang.

MORE: Steve McQueen’s “Lost” Bullitt Mustang Is Unveiled (Vanity Fair)