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Will Simon Harris fare any better on housing than Leo Varadkar? Let’s just hope his views have evolved since 2013

An English case with Enoch Burke overtones; loud objections to Morning Ireland; Stuart Carolan goes cockney; and Daft brother buys big in D6

Many of the assessments of Leo Varadkar’s career last week concluded that he failed to get to grips with housing, the Government’s great white whale. Will the pretender to the throne, Simon Harris, fare any better? Hopefully his approach to homelessness has moved on since he was a fresh-faced TD for Wicklow in 2013. Back then he objected to plans by the Simon Community for a homeless shelter in Wicklow town, saying “there is an intimidatory element attached to patrons using premises such as these and no resident should be subjected to living in fear of this situation occurring”.

The then youngest TD in the Dáil pointed out there was “already a home for victims of violence in Wicklow town and I believe Wicklow town has played its part in dealing with this issue”.

Planning objector is no fan of Morning Ireland

The Irish Times recently reported on the case of Patrick Sheeran (75), who sought a payment of €50,000 in “consultancy” fees from a developer in exchange for withdrawing a planning objection to the expansion of a new apartment development beside his home on Bellevue Park Avenue, south Dublin. Red Rock Developments, which is seeking to add an extra floor to a 77-apartment development at Elmpark Green on Merrion Road, is not the first neighbour to clash with the former chartered surveyor.

Back in the early 2000s, Sheeran fought a lengthy court battle with neighbours Martin and Kathleen Meehan, whom he accused of shattering his peace by playing RTÉ radio shows at a volume Sheeran claimed was “tantamount to that from a ship’s engine room or a helicopter revving for take-off”. The Circuit Civil Court ruled in favour of Sheeran, awarding him his legal costs. After an appeal by the Meehans to the High Court, he received only about half his costs despite the judge referring to his neighbour’s behaviour, including leaving programmes such as Morning Ireland on at high volume while they were out, as “unjustifiably belligerent”.


To be fair, the show’s then presenter David Hanly did have quite an unnerving growl, even at regular volume.

An English case with parallels to Enoch Burke

One Enoch Burke, a resident of Mountjoy, will be keeping a close eye on an unfair dismissal case in Bristol being taken by a teacher who was sacked for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns. Kevin Lister (60) was dismissed in September 2022 for gross misconduct by New College Swindon following complaints by two students that his refusal to use the pronouns “amounted to harassment and bullying”. At the hearing last week the school defended sacking Lister, saying he “created humiliation in the classroom” and would point to the student rather than using their name. The maths teacher is claiming unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of belief, saying being forced to use the pronouns amounted to “compelled speech”.

Burke has spent about 300 days in Mountjoy, where he was committed after the board of the school where he taught – Wilson’s Hospital School in Co Westmeath – asked the High Court to jail him over his deliberate failure to comply with a permanent injunction restraining him from attending the school. Over Burke’s time in prison, his court appearances have been accompanied by lively and highly vocal protests from family members as they support him in his claims that his constitutional rights were breached by the school’s direction that he use a student’s preferred pronouns.

Luckily for those hearing the case at Bristol Civil Justice Centre, Lister doesn’t appear to have quite such a large family entourage attending with him.

Love/Hate creator Stuart Carolan goes cockney

The Gentlemen, Guy Ritchie’s new crime caper for Netflix, has all the director’s usual shtick: diamond geezers ducking and diving their way through the criminal underworld. But it’s not an entirely cockney crew behind the camera. Stuart Carolan, the creator of RTÉ's Love/Hate, turns out to be the story producer on the eight-part series. The writer, director and playwright, who used to produce Eamon Dunphy’s The Last Word radio show, also wrote two of the episodes.

Who knew Navan Man could write fluent cockney?

Kielty’s ‘transparent’ new contract

Patrick Kielty has signed a new contract as the host of The Late Late Show. Already, you’re probably asking, isn’t he only a wet weekend in the gig? The new paperwork was a formality necessitated by his decision to be paid through a newly formed company, Pamanco Ireland Ltd, according to minutes of RTÉ's remuneration and management development subcommittee. In fact the contract is identical, the broadcaster’s director general Kevin Bakhurst told the subcommittee.

Alan Tyler, group head of entertainment at RTÉ, told members of the subcommittee that Kielty “did not want to alter any aspect of the contract as he wanted to be able to demonstrate that, as he had publicly stated, he is entitled to expenses under the contract but has waived them”. Bakhurst said the letter specifically reiterated that the expenses had been waived, allowing RTÉ “to be transparent about it”. Which makes a nice change.

There was one fewer headache for Bakhurst this week too. Maclean Burke, who plays Damien Halpin in Fair City, withdrew a recently filed High Court action against the broadcaster.

Daft man buys big in Dublin 6

Brian Fallon, one of the founders of along with his brother, Eamonn, obviously thinks there’s still value in the property market. Fallon, who also co-owns Distilled Media, the publisher of, bought the late barrister Garrett Cooney’s house in Dartry, Dublin 6, just over 15 months ago for a whopping €6.35 million and has been doing it up since, adding a gym and recreation room. His latest planning application is for new garden walls and an automated metal sliding vehicular gate. We doubt he’ll be sourcing it from DoneDeal or, two more of the brothers’ extremely profitable companies.

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