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Trinity Student Witch Hunted by Fianna Fáil

category national | miscellaneous | news report author Sunday November 02, 2003 15:35author by Alex Bryant Report this post to the editors

FF rocked by scandal

Fianna Fáil once again has shown its preference for secrecy and lawbreaking in an internal investigation.

Ogra Fianna Fail has been rocked by the shock resignation of National Youth Policy Co-ordinator John McGuirk, a SF Bess student here in Trinity. McGuirk’s resignation was handed in on October 4th, following in the wake of claims from Fianna Fail headquarters that he had leaked information of a highly sensitive nature to members of the national press - information that he became privy to having signed the State Secrets Act during the course of his summer work in the Civil Service. McGuirk, who has maintained his innocence throughout the affair, has a long history in the youth branches of Fianna Fail, having sat on numerous national and European youth committees.

Bertie's government presently has a severe problem with party members leaking sensitive information to the media, whether these leaks are backbenchers, senior TDs, or young leaders of Ogra Fianna Fail. This summer, an email account under the name of ffinsider@hotmail.com was established by a senior member of Ogra Fianna Fail, from which information was being sent to 'The Phoenix', a journal of political commentary. This information, while being emailed to 'The Phoenix', was simultaneously being blank carbon-copied to Ogra National Committee members - in this way, certain members of committee received the 'FF insider' emails while at the same time remaining unaware of which others of their fellow committee members had or had not received them, thus protecting the identity of the actual 'FF insider'. These emails became increasingly more vindictive and explicit, revealing at one point the story of a senior Youth Committee member who had allegedly racially taunted and insulted an elderly Romanian lady – this senior member of Ogra Fianna Fail happened to be a candidate for local elections in Co. Clare at the time, and was given a number of days by ‘FF insider’ in which to resign, unless he wished the ‘Clare Champion’ to be informed of the malicious incident. At this stage, relations within the Fianna Fail National Youth Committee had reached such a head that the party headquarters saw fit to freeze all activities being carried out by the Committee and to suspend their meetings – according to McGuirk, “anything that Ogra Fianna Fail may have hoped to achieve was put in jeopardy by these leaks”.

However, it was, of course, McGuirk himself who was suspected of being the now notorious ‘FF insider’. On Tuesday October 7th McGuirk was called in to Fianna Fail headquarters and made aware of the allegations against him – he states that he was “shocked and appalled – I haven’t been allowed to present a defence. Fianna Fail ignored the fact that on several occasions when ‘FF insider’ emails were sent from IP addresses in Dublin, I can conclusively prove that I was, in fact, in Co. Monaghan”. It seems that the party’s main aim in dealing with the leaks crisis was to quickly pin it on one person who may, among many others, have had access to the particularly sensitive information that was leaked over the summer (this information is so highly accusatory as to be rendered unprintable for fear of a libel case), while quietly ignoring critical evidence that would suggest his innocence.

There is quite an amount of evidence to suggest that somebody high up in the party wished to pin the name of ‘FF insider’ on McGuirk – while attempting to put together a case for his defence, a friend assisting him with his IT discovered that his Ogra email account was actually being ‘bugged’ by Fianna Fail. On examination, McGuirk realised that all of his emails sent to this account, both party-related and personal, were being forwarded on to a Mr. Brian Alexander, head of IT in Fianna Fail. Not only were emails being ‘bugged’, but McGuirk also claims that after his implication, Fianna Fail began to completely block all emails, whether personal or otherwise, being sent to this account – “There are emails of mine that I’ve never read, and they are in Fianna Fail headquarters in the possession of Alexander”. A spokesman in the Ogra Fianna Fail press office denied all knowledge of McGuirk’s claims, stating that he couldn’t comment as he “knew nothing about it”. An investigation was promised – however, at time of going to press, Fianna Fail had failed to get back in touch with me as promised.

The entire Fianna Fail Ogra leaks scandal has been one botched job after another. The implication of McGuirk, a second year here on campus, in the writing of ‘FF insider’ emails that were regularly sent from IP addresses located hundreds of miles from where he was based at that time, has a strong scent of the ludicrous about it. It cannot be denied that Ireland’s largest political party at this time has a very serious problem with leaks to the national press – it seems that shadowy figures high up in Ogra wished to close the ‘FF insider’ affair as quickly as possible, hopefully scaring any other potential young leaks into submission in the process. McGuirk, who has always vehemently protested his innocence, resigned from his position as National Youth Policy Co-ordinator two days after he was implicated, stating that “there is no way I can prove my innocence until someone else is found guilty”. Hopefully his fellow TCD Ogra cumann members will stand by him, however the reaction of various National Youth Committee members whom he “once considered as very good friends” does not bode well, reinforcing the adage that in politics, even at student level, there are no friends – merely political allies.

author by publication date Sun Nov 02, 2003 17:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a cut and paste job from the Trinity Student union Newspaper.

author by Artiepublication date Tue Nov 04, 2003 00:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the same John McGuirk well known for his hard-right wing views would it? The McGuirk that is pro-Thatcher, pro-Bush, pro-Iraq war,pro-Unionist, the John McGuirk that once likened legalising gay marriages to legalising sex with animals? And it must surely be a coincedence that allies of McGuirk have chosen the same place to defend him that FF Insider often used. Musn't it?

author by kitty-katpublication date Tue Nov 04, 2003 01:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with the man's politics i think the significant thing is that there is all likelihood that he was not in fact responsiblefor what he is being accused off. in a DEMOCRATIC society you don't have to agree with someone's beliefs to respect that they are their own, and entitled to them, however warped they may seem to you or me.

author by Palmiro Togliattipublication date Tue Nov 04, 2003 23:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Trinity Student Witch Hunted by Fianna Fáil" had me thinking of bubbling cauldrons in the Buttery, shamanism in the GMB and Ógra FF gunslingers engaged in desperate pursuits around the campus in the attempt to hunt down the deviants and save Catholic Ireland... and I find instead... some boring oul shite about political infighting.

Will yis get the typing sorted lads for pity's sake?

author by beasty Boypublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought this is a Fianna Fail policy when they are not fucking the working class

author by Gaz Barrett - libertarianpublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 19:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the ogra forum has was taken down for a couple of weeks but returned a few days ago. I posted the top article on the site and guess what....the forums been closed down ahhhh censorship. The story was even mentioned in the sunday times.

FIANNA FAIL’S youth co-ordinator has been forced to resign after allegations that he sent libellous e-mails about party colleagues. John McGuirk, 19, resigned last month after being accused of circulating 12 e-mails to press and colleagues.

They were sent from an anonymous hotmail account called FFinsider, dedicated to Fianna Fail party gossip, from July to September. The messages accused one local election candidate of racial abuse. Another was accused of covering up a racist incident. Other e-mails criticised senior members of Fianna Fail.

McGuirk, 19, was accused of being the source of the gossip after the party monitored traffic on the e-mail account of Ogra Fianna Fail, its youth wing. The business student at Trinity College Dublin has denied sending the e-mails.

He resigned on October 9 after a meeting with Michael Moynihan TD, chairman of Ogra Fianna Fail, and Sean Dorgan, the party’s general secretary. McGuirk, who became national youth policy co-ordinator with Fianna Fail this year, said: “I feel totally let down by the party. I was not allowed to defend myself. It was demanded that I resign before the ard fheis.

“What also concerns me is that my e-mails were being monitored by the party — something they will not now admit. I feel I have been scapegoated.

“There was no proper investigation into who was behind these e-mails. Some of them were sent from Dublin while I was in Monaghan.”

Moynihan said: “We had a problem with e-mails but the issue has now been dealt with.”

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