Letter to female FG TDs/Senators with whom I had trained, asking for their support.

From: Fiona McLoughlin Healy <fiona@fmcloughlinhealy.ie>
Date: 25 January 2018 at 10:21:27 GMT
To: maura.hopkins@oir.iemaria.byrne@oireachtas.iejosepha.madigan@oireachtas.iemaria.bailey@oireachtas.iekate.oconnell@oir.ie
Subject: Your support for fellow female public representatives

Dear Josepha, Kate, Maura, both Maria B and Maria

As this is the year The Taoiseach has stated he is fully committed to progressing the rights of women under Fine Gael in Government I am hoping that you as fellow FG women, as women I trained closely with,  in the lead up to our GE campaigns that you can bring some pressure to bear for real change in how women are treated within the Fine Gael Party.

Many of you will know at least some of the catalogue of complaints below in which I outline the harassment, intimidation and isolation I have experienced in Kildare South over the last 3 years for having the audacity to practice the New Politics that the Party claims to espouse.  Some of you have experienced harassment first hand. Kate I appreciate your valuable work highlighting harassment by Barry Walsh but it would appear that the some women are more equal than others in that regard. So I am fully aware I am not the first female public representative in the party to experience harassment and intimidation. But just because it has always happened does not make it right. And it does not mean we have to tolerate it.

How can the Taoiseach state, as has been reported in press statements up and down the country, that he wants to see more women ‘embrace the opportunity’ to get involved in celebrating the Centenary of Irish women getting the vote when we are failing as a Party to hold ourselves to account for documented harassment and isolation of women within the Party? 

On July 3rd I sent the email copied below to the Taoiseach and have yet to receive a substantive response from him. I also sent the full complaint by mail.
In the wake of the Barry Walsh controversy I sent another email to the Taoiseach highlighting the disparity between how complaints by male FG members about myself were dealt with versus how complaints by myself about male FG members were dealt with. My understanding is that Barry Walsh participated in both panels. He certainly participated in the hearing of the complaint about me. The outcomes of both complaints were entirely inconsistent. I lost the Whip as a result of the complaint submitted about me by two male colleagues. On the other hand, although the substance of my complaint regarding two male FG colleagues was not contested, the Disciplinary committee considered it appropriate that the two male colleagues at the centre of the complaint, would suffer nil consequences.
Given the year that is in it, I am asking you as fellow colleagues, as fellow female representatives, to bring the might of your female collective to bear on holding ourselves to account for what is going on in Kildare South and elsewhere, with the goal of attracting and retaining more women into and in politics. Remember the privileged position you now hold, that many other women are disproportionately denied because of the 5 Cs – cash, confidence, culture, candidate selection and childcare – but also because when their sisters do get into positions of power, they pull the ladder up behind them as they ignore any moral imperative to improve the conditions for other women coming behind them.
This email isn’t just about the Party’s treatment of me (and other women in the Party) even as I stood up for the very values of New Politics which Fine Gael supposedly hold dear.  It is about female representatives helping other female representatives not get trampled on. It is about women in positions of power and influence using their platform to help prevent the intimidation and harassment of other women. I am asking that when your fellow female representatives are the subject of harassment and isolation that you choose not to ignore it as par for the course but that instead, you use your collective power and influence to ensure that that intimidation and harassment is called out.  Perhaps it is time for a #metoo campaign in the political arena. 
I would welcome your thoughts on what you can do in response to my experience in the Party, in a way that would enhance the experience of women in the political arena in the future long after I or even yourselves are gone. I would welcome your response before I take any further action in relation to my own experience and complaints. I appreciate that like myself you are all busy but I am willing to wait another 3 weeks for a response, from you.
I wish you all continued success 
Kind Regards
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy

Dear Taoiseach

Please see below a copy of my complaint submitted to HQ in November before the Whip was removed from me. I was assured by Terry Murphy immediately after the Whip was removed that my own complaints ( submitted before the Whip was removed ) would be dealt with as assiduously as was the complaint by Cllr Darren Sculley against me.
During the hearing and my appeal evidence was provided by an employee of Kildare County Council about ongoing harassment by Cllr Weld of her, both at her place of work and at home. Together with the evidence provided by me, both at the hearing of the complaint against me, the subsequent appeal and the complaints submitted by me on November 21st ( see below) and before, they raise some serious issues regarding Fine Gael’s adoption of New Politics in Kildare South.
Note: The party representatives have not just failed to support my ongoing efforts for transparency and accountability from Kildare County Council but to thwart it. In brief, it has been well documented that FG’s Cllr Brendan Weld ( Mayor of Kildare at the time) called a meeting of all the group leaders just three months before the GE16 in an attempt to block my motions in the Council. Cllr Weld’s inexplicable and to this date unexplained action was on foot of a motion I had discussed days earlier in the Council which revealed that a FF Cllr ( and then GE16 candidate) had not declared a conflict of interest when signing off on a grant to an organisation, the applicant for which was her brother. Cllr Weld refused all attempts by me to communicate with him regarding his holding of the meeting and has never been held to account by anyone including the FG group ( which fails to adhere to best practice when holding any group meetings), or by HQ . I have had the whip removed. Cllr Weld has never been held to account for actions, the effect of which was to undermine the Party’s success in the GE16.
I continue to raise governance issues in Kildare County Council and when I do FG argues for less transparency not more, or seeks to justify the actions of the Executive when transparency and accountability is demonstrably poor. 
For example, I have raised concerns around the governance of, and failure of The Riverbanks Arts Centre to comply with both charity and company legislation at a time when €1million euro has been committed by the Department of Arts with matched funding from the Council. Neither the Dept or the Council did the minimum due diligence before committing funding that would have revealed both that filings were out of date with the CRO and had never been filed with the Charities Regulator.
I also raised the issue of Kildare County Council’s failure to perform its oversight function in relation to monies allocated to Town and County Twinning. Kildare County Council has failed to exercise its oversight function including failing to meet the requirements of the Local Government Act by omitting to include ‘expenditure and other particulars’ re its Twinning function from its annual accounts , failure to provide costings as legally required before voting on proposals for new Town Twins and the failure to provide or publish any information re Twinning since 2006. After three months of information gathering and research including a comparative analysis of Twinning across different local authorities ( paints a very poor picture nationally of its governance ) I submitted a motion for the Councils agenda asking that they publish the information that they do have. At the Council meeting FG members led a very personal and co-ordinated ad hominem attack on me, together with FF. 
One of the main reasons I joined the party in 2013 was because I believed in local government reform. I believed that the party were going to  lead the way in New Politics. My experience has been very different to what I expected of a party espousing a new type of open, transparent and accountable politics.
I have given HQ more than a reasonable length of time to deal with my complaint as they assured me they would, last November. It is increasingly difficult to believe that my experience of the old boys club in Kildare, and the groups failure to support me in the Council, as I fought for the very values and new politics we supposedly hold dear, was an error in judgement, a series of mistakes. It is increasingly difficult to believe that the continued attacks and attempts to undermine me is not endorsed at the highest levels in the party.
Senior members of the party are aware of my experience as outlined in the complaint addressed to Tom Curran in the email below. Senior members are aware of serious allegations not just by me but by an employee ( who informed those at my hearing that she was given leave to take a case against Cllr Weld)  about Cllr Weld. Senior members of the party are aware of the outstanding complaint re-submitted by me last November against Cllr’s Weld and Sculley. 
With respect Taoiseach, if you are serious about New Politics, I am asking that you personally look into why my complaint containing evidence of Cllr Weld’s attempted collusion with other party’s, and of behaviour intended to intimidate both myself and others has not been addressed by HQ. I believe I have been more than patient. If I do not receive a satisfactory update regarding the serious issues outlined including my formal complaint, by the 21st July, I will have no option but to seek justice outside of the party protocol and procedures.  
I remain open in the intervening weeks to assisting in the investigation of the complaints outlined and in bringing the investigation of my complaint to a close.
Yours sincerely
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy
Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District