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Interview with Regina Doherty, Minister for Social Protection July 20, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…in the current issue of Hot Press – conducted by Jason O’Toole. Some interesting stuff in it too. It covers a lot of ground. Her admiration of Clare Daly, her growing up in Ballymun and how she lived on the same estatet as Bono for a while. Various other matters too.

There was a row when you said you that could see Fine Gael going into coalition with Sinn Féin.

I never said that, right? I did an interview and then the headline is: Shocker Offer From Fine Gael’s Whip! Which was never an offer. I think the question was: would I do business with them? I do business with Sinn Féin every week. I sit on the business committee with Aengus O Snodaigh, who happens to be a decent man.
There are really talented and intelligent people in Sinn Féin. And some of the people are very nice. But what they stand over is not something that I could ever tolerate. So, I can recognise intelligence, I can recognise people being able to speak well and debate well. That doesn’t mean I believe in their ideology. As for coalition – whatever about anybody else in Fine Gael – I can 100% guarantee you that I would not go into coalition with Sinn Féin. I’d resign in a flash, before I’d go into coalition with Sinn Féin.

And she has extremely harsh words for Adams, McDonald and others in SF – and she mentions she is a friend of Maria Cahills.

Martin McGuinness got a lot of plaudits when he passed away. Was he a terrorist?
He became the soft face of the IRA because he was honest. But, actually, he wasn’t honest: he told you a little snippet that allowed him to say that he wasn’t a liar. He was probably one of
the most ruthless people involved in the IRA. Yet people have forgotten that, or maybe have forgiven him because of his instrumental activities involved in bringing about peace. But there’s a fine line of where the forgiveness starts and the
forgetting ends.

She’s in favour of repeal of the 8th but not necessarily of choice. And there’s also mention of the case of the American based blogger and academic cautioned by Garda going through Dublin Airport…

Why not sue the person in question?
Okay, can I tell you off-the-record, Jason? (The Minister gives me a detailed explanation. It would undoubtedly win the Minister a more sympathetic hearing from the media.)

An interesting insight overall into FG thinking on a range of matters. But what of her Ministerial role. Just this.

Have you plans for your new Department?
I’m like a child in a sweetshop because there’s so much I can do and I’m just afraid that I won’t get enough time to do it all. I want to look after carers. I want to look after older people.
And I don’t just mean giving you a fiver – that’s easy stuff. I want to change policy so that we encourage people to start saving for their own pensions.
I want to look at the education we give people through activation courses – to give people real valuable education and training skills, so that they can actually get jobs. Look at the people who are in real disadvantage to find out why people are long-term unemployed and see what we can do to shake that up and help them.
But there’s so much to do. It’s an enormous department. And I’m enjoying it. And it’s cool.

That tells us something too.


1. EWI - July 20, 2017

Why not sue the person in question?
Okay, can I tell you off-the-record, Jason? (The Minister gives me a detailed explanation. It would undoubtedly win the Minister a more sympathetic hearing from the media.)

How in earth does something as McCarthyite as that get past an editor and into the pages of a magazine?


2. Ivorthorne - July 20, 2017

Ah Jason!

That’s not even close to good practice. She can deny anything she told you and so is free to lie if she wants to. This is a little like this:

Jason: Garda Commissioner, why are you being mean to the whistle blowers?
GC: Stop the tape Jason and I’ll tell you.
Jason: Okay. *stops tape*
GC: Those whistle blowers are IRA plants And Paedophiles. And Russian spies. We’re protecting the nation!
Jason: *Puts the tape back* In that light Garda Commissioner, you are a true patriot. If only you the public knew what we knew, they’d elect you Supreme Chancellor!


RosencrantzisDead - July 20, 2017

Zola: General Pellieux, Captain Dreyfus is clearly innocent. Why have you refused to pursue the real culprits?

Pellieux: D’accord, can I tell you off the record, Emile?

Zola: Yes…(He gave me a detailed explanation. It would undoubtedly win the General a more sympathetic hearing from the media.)

There are nearly endless possibilties for parody.


3. Michael Carley - July 20, 2017

It’s hard to imagine anything which would win a government minister a more sympathetic hearing from the Irish media.


4. Jason O'Toole - July 20, 2017

For the record: I never turned off the tape and I actually recorded what she told me off-the-record. And she knows I recorded it too..


EWI - July 20, 2017

The problem here is, that it’s (I’m guessing) an accusation against the academic, but about which we’re not allowed to know the details and she herself can’t respond.

It’s not as if there isn’t a tribunal trundling along an adjacent railway line right now.


ivorthorne - July 20, 2017

That’s good Jason. In general, I find your work very valuable. I think you made a mistake in this case.

As EWI said, the issue here is that the implication of what has been published is that an individual did something morally/ethically/legally wrong and because the implied suggestion is non-specific, they cannot reply to it. Now, that individual lives with a cloud above their head – one that will follow them around when they apply for jobs etc.

Having the tape is useful, I hope that should you ever find yourself in a situation akin to the journalists who were given inaccurate briefings by Gardai regarding the Gardai whistleblowers, you are not afraid to play it.


6to5against - July 20, 2017

I really like JOT’s interviews. And admire the fact that he engages with this small group here to discuss them. But I can’t see how this is fair. If something can’t be printed, then that’s a pity but it’s the way of the world. But if it can’t be printed and argued out, I don’t think its fair on the others involved to refer to it sympathetically


EWI - July 20, 2017

I’m an admirer of JO’T as a journalist as well. But this was a serious mis-step.


5. Jsson O'Toole - July 20, 2017

Thanks for the kind words about my interviews, guys. I really appreciate it. I can also appreciate that you feel I made a mistake. But please look at that excerpt printed here in the wider context: in the full printed interview she initially speaks to me on the record and then asks to go off record. She says some stuff I could not publish for legal reasons. In the printed exchange, I then ask her some more questions and push her to say more on the record but she is unable because the Guards told her not to. But she then speaks on the record about the backlash both she and the Garda received. I felt, as it was a Q and A interview published over 6 pages, that I should publish this exchange in full to show that I did my utmost to put the most important question to her: why go down the criminal route instead of legal? Like others, I feel it was the wrong course of action to take, but I also believe her reason will indeed get her a better hearing. But despite her explanation, I personally still feel you should only sue in such circumstances and not get the cops involved. I also feel that she could have said on the record parts of her actual reason for not suing, without going into the specifics of the case. I tried via a series of texts post-interview to get her to say more, but she would not budge. As I say, I tried my best. I hope this clears it up for you guys but I will understand if you still feel I was wrong. I spent an entire week doing this article (interviewing her twice/transcribing the tape/ and writing/editing it etc). You might have a different view if you read it all.

Liked by 2 people

Gearóid - July 20, 2017

_I then ask her some more questions and push her to say more on the record but she is unable because the Guards told her not to._

Does this not just loop back to the initial concerns of posters here i.e. the minister claimed something off-record which cannot be verified and is now in the published record.


6. roddy - July 20, 2017

Did you ask her about the”death threat texts “against her which conveniently surfaced at election time and which nothing has been heard of since? Surely in this day and age ,a sender of such texts could be easily traced ,even by the broy harriers / blueshirts/ excuse for a police force?


7. Auntie Dote - July 20, 2017

Jason, the fact that plainclothes Gardai, who failed to identify themselves by name, who failed to mention any statute or law, or any allegation of wrongdoing or criminality, intercepted a person going about her lawful business at a time and place that suggests active surveillance, simply to deliver a warning that a Minister was displeased with her tweets, is a situation that is disturbing in its implications for any person going about their lawful business. There is nothing that you could have been told about the character or activities of this person that would alter the disturbing nature of this targetted interception of a person not formally accused of any crime or other wrongdoing, or charged. Because it could be you. It could be me. We need to understand *how* this could have taken place. No *why* is going to ensure that it couldn’t happen to any one of us.


8. Jason O'Toole - July 20, 2017

I hear everything you guys are saying. But please note I interviewed Regina Doherty and not the Guards. She went to the Guards and made a formal criminal complaint against an individual. She decided not to sue and went the criminal route with allegations of harassment. The Guards obviously felt she had a case and are duty bound to investigate. I’m not going to attempt to defend her. I certainly won’t defend to Guards. I’m not going to be an apologist for anybody here. As she says herself in the published interview, Regina can’t take responsibility for the Guards action in Dublin Airport, no matter how disturbing you or I feel these actions were. As I say, I’m not going to defend Regina Doherty here, but she didn’t know anything about the incident in the airport – she heard about it later via the media. I interviewed her and asked several questions relating to why she went to the Guards. What the Guards did is a whole different story. I would love to interview the Guards about what they did or didn’t do. But, as I say, my questions for this interview focused on why Regina took her drastic steps. And, I repeat, as she says herself: she had no control over the actions of the Guards, she simply made a compliant. It’s the Guards who need to answer the question about the worrying situation in the airport. Please forgive any typos as writing this on a phone on the go…


Auntie Dote - July 20, 2017

Jason, are you confirming that a formal criminal investigation into an allegation against Catherine Kelly, of harrassment of Regina Doherty, has been officially launched?


9. Chancellor of Eurasia - July 20, 2017

Imagine putting this in charge of “Social Protection”. I can only assume her next posting will be to MiniLov:



10. theraggedwagon - July 20, 2017

Ruthless is sitting on your hands and not even offering a murmur of protest or sympathy when a child is kidnapped from State care by a former member of a Religious Order and murdered. Ruthless is going along with the utterly corrupt CJ Haughey when he announced that a public inquiry into that child’s murder would serve no useful purpose. Fine Gael, like Labour stayed silent when 1000s of children were being abused in Stste funded institutions; they stayed silent even in cases of culpable homicide; now THAT’S ruthless!


11. Jason O'Toole - July 20, 2017

Just to put you in the picture: here’s what’s actually published in the interview. As you can read for yourself, Regina Doherty made a complaint, claiming she was being “harassed” and “intimated”. Unfortunately, I can’t print what she said off the record. As she says herself here in this excerpt, the Guards told her it would be “unhelpful” of her to speak about it… as, I can say this much, they don’t obviously like people talking to the media about ongoing criminal investigations. I have no idea if the individual in question has been charged, but there clearly has to be an ongoing criminal investigation.
I’d like to point out again that the focus of my interview was Regina and to ask her for her agenda for wanting to press charges against this individual – I’m not trying to defend her but she can’t answer for the Guards’ actions. If I had the opportunity to interview the Guards in question I’d have many questions I’d like to ask them about their peculiar – and, some will claim, illegal – behaviour in regards to this matter.

Here’s what is published in Hot Press about the blogger controversy. There’s plenty more issues discussed in the 6-page interview, which is well worth reading in full, as there’s plenty in it – particular her thoughts on SF etc… I feel reading the entire interview, which is highly personal and in which Regina is very outspoken on many issues, will give you a much better insight into her mindset…

JOT: You made a complaint to the Garda about a blogger. (An American-based academic was cautioned by the Garda when coming through Dublin Airport – JOT.)

RD: I don’t know what to say, other than that I made a complaint to the Guards, maybe about three weeks ago at this stage, because the lady in question has been harassing me for a number of years. It reached a new high when I became Minister for Social Protection – and I just decided I’d had enough. And I felt I had no choice but to go to the Guards.

JOT: Why not sue the person in question?

RD: Okay, can I tell you off-the-record, Jason? (The Minister gives me a detailed explanation. It would undoubtedly win the Minister a more sympathetic hearing from the media.)

JOT: The blogger in question has written about a failed business venture of yours. Is there anything else you can tell me on the record?

RD: Honest to God, there isn’t anything else to say. I went into Pearse Street a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t spoken to them since. I know they’re getting a hard time on Twitter at the moment, but, sure, it’s no different from what I’m getting. But they’ll do their job. I don’t have the authority to tell anybody what to do.

JOT: But is there anything you can tell me on the record about the complaint?

RD: I’d rather not because the only thing the Guards did say to me was that it would be unhelpful if I started talking about it. I’m not trying to be rude. I made the complaint because I felt harassed and I was distressed and intimidated by her. I had no other choice.


EWI - July 21, 2017

RD: Honest to God, there isn’t anything else to say. I went into Pearse Street a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t spoken to them since. I know they’re getting a hard time on Twitter at the moment, but, sure, it’s no different from what I’m getting. But they’ll do their job. I don’t have the authority to tell anybody what to do.

Interesting to think that all it apparently takes as Joe Soap Public is going into the Guards to make a complaint, and my personal enemies will be diligently taken care of by An GS.


ivorthorne - July 21, 2017

I guess that’s the odd part, no? If I give Jason a bit of stick based on this post, is that sufficient for the Gardai to stop me the next time I’m heading through immigration/customs, should he complain?

I hope, genuinely, that this is a case of an overzealous Garda going beyond the boundaries of the law, but as things stand that is not a supported hypothesis. Given the pattern with regard to McCabe, Daly, Wallace etc. , there’s evidence to suggest that there is an element of political policing within our society.

Again, Jason, I think you made an error as part of the article but for what it is worth, I continue to respect you as a journalist (unfortunately that’s a small list) and genuinely appreciate your efforts here to contextualise the article.


Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017

Thank you, ivorthorne. I respect your views. We will agree to disagree, as the old saying goes, on this one point. I felt my hands were tied when she wouldn’t go completely on the record. I truly wish I could tell you what Regina told me off-the-record as it would clear some stuff up. But I’m still obviously in the dark about what the hell happened in Dublin Airport. And if the reports are true about how the Guards handled the situation, I’m also very concerned by it all and feel questions need to be answered… it’s a story that’s going to rumble on for some time yet, no doubt.


Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017

I also feel it would’ve looked weird if I had just left this out of the article, and readers would’ve been accusing me of skipping over it. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…


ar scáth a chéile - July 21, 2017

Fascinating discussion which makes me want to go out and buy Hot Press for the first time in an age. FWIW i think it would have been better to simply say that Regina would not go on the record rather than implying a favourable but untestable explanation. But, as others have said, fair play to Jason for engaging so openly and not getting into a huff at criticism. Who knows, maybe other journalists will follow – next week Stephen Collins explains for the benefit of Cedarista his devotion to TINA

Liked by 1 person

RosencrantzisDead - July 21, 2017

+1 to ar scath le cheile

Personally, I would like to see Eoghan Harris post here next.


12. Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017
13. roddy - July 21, 2017

Jason,if you want to be viewed with any credibility,don’t use either Cahill,O’Hanlon or Doherty as credible sources.If you doubt me because of my politics,have a word with Robert McCartneys sister Catherine wwho is certainly no friend of SF.


14. Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017

ar scáth a chéile, Thanks for the kinds words. I respect that you, like others on this forum, disagree with my discussion to put my own comment into the article about how I felt what Regina told me off-the-record would balance things more out in her favour. But it’s my opinion and I stand over it. I thought long and hard before deciding to put it in. I truly feel she’s getting a hard time for the Guards actions here – when everybody should be focusing their telescope of outrage and ire at the Garda over all this. However, in retrospect, I probably should’ve also included that I personally would be against going down the criminal route and would always take civil action and sue the person, if I felt I had no other choice. But, God, about 10 years ago, I probably would’ve had to get full-time lodgings beside the Four Courts if I was trigger happy with taking legal action considering the amount of shite certain publications were writing about me at the time!
I hate putting my own opinions into these ‘Hot Press Interviews’ articles will certainly think twice before I do it again.
However, while I’m giving my opinion out here, I will add that I do think people should be focusing more so on the Guards actions in this incident – because Regina’s “crime” here – no pun intended – is wanting to press criminal charges against the individual: she had absolutely no idea about what the Guards did in the Airport until she read it in the media. As she says in the interview, she only spoke to the Guards on that one occasion when she made the complaint in person. Personally, as I said before, I disagree with getting the cops involved. But the Guards wouldn’t be investigating it as a criminal case if she wasn’t legally entitled to make a complaint…
And for the record, I’ve never voted once in my life for FG and I’ve no plan to starting doing so anytime soon…
I’ve enjoyed debating all this with you guys/girls over the past few days . I want to say it’s great to have a forum like this where we can all discuss things in an adult manner and be reduced to throwing insults at each other. I’m happy to listen to constructive criticism – as I’m always striving to learn and improve.
I also really appreciate the kind words many of you had to offer about my interviews in general, even if you disagreed with me about my decision to include an opinion in this particular article.
And, yes, I agree it would be fantastic if other journos would debate with you guys on this forum.
Keep up the good work, Worldbystorm.


Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017

I meant “decision” not “discussion” obviously in opening par – sorry.


Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017

PS: and “not be reduced to throwing insults”
Please forgive my typos – fat fingers on a phone 🙂


Dr.Nightdub - July 21, 2017

Jason, I get what you’re saying about Doherty not being responsible for how the Guards acted.

Equally, it’s her prerogative to speak off the record if she chooses and you have to respect her wishes. But…

“(The Minister gives me a detailed explanation. It would undoubtedly win the Minister a more sympathetic hearing from the media.)”

Surely, if she’s speaking off the record, then the implications of what she says should be equally off-the-record, be they positive or negative to her position. To act otherwise seems to me to be poor practice for the interviewer and lets the interviewee have their cake and eat it.


Jason O'Toole - July 21, 2017

I appreciate your comments and hear what you’re saying. But I honesty don’t see it as poor practice because I didn’t reveal anything at all; I merely expressed a brief and simple and vague and true opinion based on what I heard from the horse’s mouth. There’s been countless column inches written by columnists who haven’t heard her side of the story – the 250 words or so she said on-the-record to me are the first words directly out of her mouth to the media… and I felt it best to repeat it verbatim, with a brief comment about the off-the-record section. I wonder if I’d have received a different reaction if I’d made a vaguely negative comment about what she told me instead! There were some things she said privately to me that it would’ve helped to spin it in her favour – that’s the truth. I don’t see any harm in reporting that simple fact. It doesn’t damage the investigation and it doesn’t change public opinion of the case. I think she would’ve had her cake and ate it if she had said some of it on-the-record. She could’ve said on-the-record why she went down the criminal route instead if taking a civil case because such a comment wouldn’t have damaged the Garda investigation. But she didn’t want to comment at all on it.
Anyway, we will agree to disagree. I appreciate your honestly and I think you’ve been very fair in hearing me out and very fair in your criticism. I respect how you’ve presented your argument and it’s clear that many bloggers here agree with you. So maybe I am completely in the wrong. I just can’t see any harm in how I handled it. I’m being totally honest. If I saw it, I’d be the fist to hold up my hand.
It’s certainly a subject for close to the heart of bloggers and for free speech in general. And I completely appreciate that. I just feel it was a case of “damned if I do and damned I didn’t” with what how I handed that part of the interview. I just expressed a simple opinion based on what I was told. But maybe I’ll be left eating my words when it all comes out in the future. Because I know what she told me would make front page news on every paper.
Hope you all have a good weekend.


EWI - July 21, 2017

I wonder if I’d have received a different reaction if I’d made a vaguely negative comment about what she told me instead

Seriously? Knock that off, right now. Thanks.


15. roddy - July 21, 2017

She tells you she complained to Pearse st and tells RTE it was store st.


16. Jason O'Toole - July 22, 2017

This will be my last “rant” on this particular subject. I don’t see any harm in me expressing such an innocuous opinion in the article, which was based on what I was actually told, considering I have a recorded tape as evidence of what was or wasn’t said. I’ve never heard of a journalist being criticized for merely expressing an opinion before. You’re normally criticized for the actual content of the message itself. I didn’t come out defending the Minister in the article: I simply commented matter-of-factly on what I was told and I don’t believe it broke the confidentiality agreement of being told something off-the-record. But, as I say, I can appreciate that a vast majority here feel differently. So, I’ll certainly take that onboard the next time I find myself in a similar situation. Also, I’m glad this didn’t turn into a “war of words” argument and we heard each other out. Thanks for that. I’m looking forward to hopefully exchanging thoughts/debating/clarifying/airing my side of the story with you all again. And hopefully none of you won’t feel I’ve made a similiar mistake in the future. Cheers.


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