In a statement this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, condemned the Taoiseach for deliberately misleading the Dail during Leaders Questions. In response to a question about the plight of Home Help workers and those who rely on their services, the Taoiseach, rather than answering the question, repeated a false claim made by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the Dail last week, relating to disability cuts in the Dun Laoghaire area.
The Taoiseach was referring to Leaders Questions on 11 Oct, when Deputy Boyd Barrett raised the issue of cuts to Angels Quest Respite services with the Tánaiste. At the time, the Tánaiste misled the Dail and said that Deputy Boyd Barrett was “using” the issue of cuts to disabled people for his own political gain and claimed that he had an email in his possession written by Deputy Boyd Barrett, which confirmed this.
The Taoiseach repeated this claim again today and also said that Deputy Boyd Barrett had advised the parents of children affected by the cuts to the respite services to not meet with the Director of Services.
In fact the email referred to was written by one of the parents affected by the cuts to respite services and a member of the executive committee of the Carmona Parents and Families Friends Association. Eamon Gilmore knew this when he falsely claimed it was written by Deputy Boyd Barrett. Unless the Tánaiste also mislead the Taoiseach, the Taoiseach would also have known when he repeated the claim today that Deputy Boyd Barrett was the author of the email.
(See original email pasted below and subsequent comments by parents group on Tánaiste’s misrepresentation of the email and its authorship.)
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have deliberately and cynically misled the house. They said things that were completely untrue and that they knew were untrue when they said them. In the process, they also misrepresented and trivialised the concerns of parents of the disabled children who are in Angels Quest – falsely claiming they had refused a meeting with the director of services to discuss the future of Angels Quest. Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny knew I had not written this email and yet they said said I had. They knew the parents had agreed to a meeting with Carmona Services but claimed they had not. This is a disgraceful abuse of their positions as the most senior politicians in the country and disgraceful abuse of the Dail itself.
I first met the some of the parent’s involved last Monday week when they came into my clinic. The parents group had contacted my office, and also that of Eamon Gilmore, the previous Friday. I encouraged the parents to meet with management and also offered to raise the issue at Leaders Questions on the following Thursday if they would like.
When the parents were in the Dail gallery last Thursday they had already accepted a meeting with the Director of Services which took place last night.
It is utterly untrue that I had any hand, act or part in an e mail sent from a parent, who is on the Eexecutive Committee of the Carmona Parents Families Friends Association to his other colleagues on the Executive Committee updating them on the efforts to keep the service open – an email
Such dishonesty and distortion of the facts in the Dail, by first the Tánaiste and then the Taoiseach, particularly in relation to vulnerable families and their children is truly outrageous. It’s one thing to take political pot shots at another TD or at the opposition but to deliberately falsify facts, lie about a the actions of a fellow TD, and misrepresent the position of ordinary citizens who are doing their best to protect their children, is utterly disgraceful.
In the case of the Taoiseach today, it seems he would prefer to vilify me rather than answer a straight question on whether he would reverse the cuts to home help hours and stop the privatisation of the home care service. The Taoiseach and Tánaiste should publicly apologise to the Dail and to the parents of the vulnerable children they have misrepresented.”
Copy of email below:
—– Forwarded by Richard Boyd Barrett/Oireachtas on 16/10/2012 18:31 —–
From: “Angels Quest Childrens Group” AQFamilies@eircom.net
To: “‘Melisa Halpin’” Melisa.Halpin@Oireachtas.ie, Richard.Boyd.Barrett@oir.ie
Date: 12/10/2012 09:00
Subject: Leaders Questions – 11-10-2012 – Angels Quest Respite Cutbacks
Hello Deputy Boyd Barrett and Councillor Halpin,
On behalf of the 140 Angels Quest User Families, we would like to whole-heartedly thank you for your efforts during Thursdays Leaders Questions proceedings. To say that we are disgusted and completely appalled by Eamonn Gilmores actions is a gross understatement.
Deputy Finian McGrath was 100% on the money when he stated that “The Tánaiste is out of order and is misleading the House”.
We have been left out to dry by our own Local TD.
Upon being notified that our Respite Service was being cut-back effective from Monday 8th October (up to 77% reduction and no more Emergency Facilities), a group of families formed a group which has gradually expanded to 35 families opting-in to being included in being represented. We have no way to identify or contact all of the 140 families which use the service.
On the 4th of October we delivered a letter to the Director of Services of St John of God Carmona Services (attached) insisting that the decision be rescinded and that the Management consult with the Parents, as stakeholders. Within an hour or so we emailed Eamonn Gilmore and yourself with a copy of the letter, reaching out to you both as our local TDs, to help us to keep this facility open.
You responded promptly. To this date, Eamonn Gilmore, nor his office, have contacted the representatives of the families.
On the 8th of October, about 10 families followed up, visiting your constituency office. You offered to support the objective of the families, your constituents, and agreed not to make this an IMF/ECB Austerity campaign. This was purely and simply a major blow to the families of intellectually disabled children in the constituency which is wrong.
The Management of Carmona Services replied to the Parents Letter at 16:09 on Friday 5th of October, acknowledging receipt of the letter and stating that they would contact the group on the following Monday (8th) to arrange a meeting. They did NOT contact the families Group until 15:16 on Wednesday 10th of October, offering a meeting on either Monday 15th or Tuesday 16th at 7pm.
Having contacted the families and Inclusion Ireland, the Group responded to Carmona at 18:48 on the same day – Wednesday 10th, agreeing to meet Management on the following Monday. Mr. Gilmore went to exceptional lengths in his oration attempting to suggest that the families were unwilling to engage. Remember that he had been sent a copy of the letter from the families REQUESTING the meeting!
In the interim period, one of the family members, also being a member of the Executive Committee of the Carmona Parents Families Friends Association, emailed his colleagues on the Committee in assumed confidentiality (not including Carmona Management) with a polite update to keep them informed. It was this email (which The Families Group, nor RBB, have seen), which Eamonn Gilmore used to such magnificent effect in the Dail. However, he, or his speech writers, have completely altered the meaning of the communication in a blatant effort to mislead the House.
This is the actual wording of the email in question, the original of which is available with its email header data, should you require it:
“Hi Eamonn and Everyone.
Small but significant update for everyone.
The Carmona Children’s Families Group received a message from Phil on Friday Afternoon to say that the decision to reduce services would be deferred by one week to allow for discussions to take place and that further contact would be made on Monday to set up a meeting.
The group have postponed their schedule of demonstrations and media exposure and paused the process of filing their complaint with the Ombudsman for Children.
The SNPA, Inclusion Ireland, The Carers Association and Local TD (bet you can’t guess which one) and the Sinn Fein Spokesperson for Health have been approached and have agreed to support the Group’s efforts. SNPA and Inclusion Ireland have offered to be external representatives of the group in discussions with Management.
Unfortunately Management had not contacted the Group on Monday and it was therefore too late to call off the Dail Eireann Leaders Questions programme which is going ahead on Thursday. Every effort has been made to focus the SF and PBP Party Leaders on the subject of addressing the Headcount Moratorium and Hiring/replacement freeze as being the root cause of the problems which is forcing such an impactful reduction in frontline services. However, given that the Service Reduction is taking place in Eamonn Gilmore’s Back Yard, the group cannot guarantee that political opportunity will not spill over into the subject of the Children’s Referendum on top of the opportunity to add further adverse publicity upon James Reilly and Eamonn Gilmore’s lack of a suitable response.
The Group have communicated this to Phil Gray and Andy Heffernan.”
The sections underlined were quoted by Mr. Gilmore. The Bold Printed sections were conveniently omitted. Deputy Boyd Barrett genuinely stayed on-Message relating to Budget and Headcount Moratorium. This was no Political Football. By purposely excluding the middle sentence Mr. Gilmore has purposely misled the Dail by completely reversing the intention of the communication.
We implore you to compare this to the Transcript of the Leaders Questions (attached) to see how Mr. Gilmore has misrepresented the context of the communication. We cannot understand his motives. He was approached for his help. He completely ignored it, and proceeded to fabricate a completely different scenario which he delivered in Dail Eireann to the representatives in Dail Eireann.
His proposition, which was very strategically supported by the seemingly planned comments by Emmet Stag, Paul Keogh, and Jan O’Sullivan, that this group, or at the very least the Member of the Executive Committee which provided the assumed confidential update to other Board Members, was “sent by one of those associated with Deputy Boyd Barrett on this matter” is insulting and purely inflammatory for his political agenda.
We are simply a group of families, mostly with Severe/Profound High Dependency Intellectually Disabled children and teenagers. Mr. Gilmore would not entertain our plea for his help, and then he assassinates our cause by misleading the Deputies of Dail Eireann.
Could you please tell us if there is any way by which we can have Mr. Gilmore right the wrong which he has perpetrated? There must be some procedure within the Dail whereby Mr. Gilmore can be made to publically admit that he has misrepresented the facts and knowingly misled the Dail. The group seek a public apology from Mr. Gilmore.
We would gratefully accept your advice and guidance and are prepared to follow up as appropriate. We shall be contacting Deputies Finian McGrath, Michael Martin and Caoimhghin O’Caolain with a similar email to ensure that other opposition parties are aware that your complaint to the Ceann Comhairle are factual.
Yours, most sincerely
On behalf of The Carmona Angels Quest Families Group.
Article source: http://richardboydbarrett.ie/2012/10/16/people-before-profit-td-richard-boyd-barrett-condemns-the-taoiseach-for-deliberately-and-cynically-misleading-the-dail-during-leaders-questions-this-afternoon/