Varadkar vs. Doherty: The story behind Garda ‘abuse’ comments and a bitter Dale row

It started with Sinn Féin’s Piers Doherty accusing Fine Gael and Leo Varadkar of being “out of touch”, as an expert ESRI report details rising living costs.

Within minutes, personal allegations were flying in one of the most vitriolic Dell exchanges I’ve seen in years.

Some claims and counter-claims were already well known, others much less, including an incident in 1999, when 21-year-old Piers Doherty and three other Sinn Féin activists were arrested in Dublin.

Here’s a quick run-down on what you need to know:

1. Fine Gael’s “Out-of-Touch” Power Celebration Dinner

On Wednesday, Leo Varadkar, the leader of Taniste and Fine Gael, hosted a dinner at Leinster House for party members who had served in three governments since March 2011. He said that no public money was spent and it was in the form of delaying the celebration of 10 years. by covid-19.

Sinn Féin’s Piers Doherty compared this with an ESRI report published Thursday morning, which confirmed energy bills spiraling for many people to choose between eating and heating. He said that this is an example of fine gail and apathy of the government.

2. Sinn Féin’s “Financing, Hypocrisy and Tramp”

The Fine Gael leader immediately retaliated with his first accusations of “cheap shots” by Sinn Féin. He said that Mary Lou McDonald flew first class to the United States for a $1,000-a-plate fundraising dinner. A similar grand event was planned for Australia where Ms McDonald would meet with TCD graduates.

Mr Varadkar said Sinn Féin was one of the largest landowners in Ireland and the beneficiary of a large “tramp” donation from a caravan resident in Wales. It was Billy Hampton, who left €1.7m for the party in 2019.

Taniste detailed what was done to help those with a cost of living and promised more assistance. It will come in the October budget – and probably even earlier.

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Sinn Féin’s Piers Doherty. Photograph: Gareth Chane

3. Leo Varadkar and DPP

Piers Doherty hit back, saying that while the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is considering taking corruption charges against Taniste, he would have expected a more polite reply. Mr Doherty returned to his allegations about an out-of-touch government.

Sinn Féin was referring to Mr Varadkar’s admission to TD Dell that in April 2019 he presented a copy of an agreement between the state and the Irish Medical Organisation, to Maitie Tathel, who was then president of the National Association, a rival GP organisation. of general practitioners.

During a serious investigation, statements were taken from several people, including the Minister of Higher Education, Simon Harris, who was then the Minister of Health. The issue is now with the DPP, which must decide whether anti-corruption charges should be brought against Taniste.

4. Piers Doherty and Garda “Abuse and Abuse”

In the context of DPP, Leo Varadkar referred to a cheap shot that had now become personal.

Let Taniste take this story: “It’s especially awkward from a person like you because you were prosecuted. You abused… misbehaved… a garda siochana. You were prosecuted for this.” You were found guilty. Yes, you fled without a conviction because of your age at the time, but you were actually prosecuted. You were arrested. This is what happened to you,” Mr. Varadkar told Sin Sin Fen accused the leader.

It relates to a little-known incident in 1999 when 21-year-old Piers Doherty and three other Sinn Féin activists were arrested in Dublin. At a court hearing on 18 July 1999, the court heard that Mr Doherty had abused a guard.

The judge convicted all four but invoked the Probation of Offenders Act to protect these youths from having criminal records.

5. Varadkar on Sinn Féin and “tax-dozers murderers, rapists, pedophiles”

The Finn Gael leader gives a quick taste of Sinn Féin’s more controversial episodes in its recent history. Let’s use his words for Dáil again.

He said: “There are a large number of convicted criminals in your party – in your party and the wider Republican family. According to Mary Lou McDonald, whether it is tax dodgers like Slab Murphy – a good Republican. A good Republican – a tax dodger?”

Thomas “Slab” Murphy, believed to be a former IRA commander, had a farm that stretched on both sides of the border into Louth and Armagh. In December 2015, Murphy was found guilty of nine counts of tax evasion after a lengthy investigation by the Criminal Property Bureau and subsequently served 18 months in prison.

“People are blamed for murder. We know what is the attitude of your party towards rape and pedophiles and what you have done in relation to that,” Mr Varadkar said.

Several IRA members who later became Sinn Féin activists were convicted of very serious violent crimes, including murder. The party has also faced serious allegations of sexual abuse and pedophilia.

Liam Adams, brother of longtime President Gerry Adams, was convicted and jailed in a process that raised serious questions about Gerry Adams’ response to this heinous case.

IRA Commander Joe Cahill’s niece, Maíría Cahill, was among several people who were sexually assaulted and raped by an IRA member. Ms. Cahill very effectively publicly questioned the Sinn Féin leadership’s poor response to her case and to others.