Brendan Ogle's upcoming talk in Donegal. Is it a coincidence or inquisition?

By James Quigley - on Brendan Ogle's upcoming talk in Donegal.

Donegal Daily July 26 2017

Donegal Daily July 26 2017


This is an exercise more like the same old controlled opposition that we have experienced for years, propaganda from unelected and self appointed leaders trying to kick-start what has been shown to be a power grab for political and personal reasons.

It is too much of a coincidence that Brendan Ogle decides to come, to the wilds of Donegal from Dublin in the midst of a R2W community revolt, a grassroots revolution trying to take back power from trade unions, political parties and personal agendas .

It seems more like a witchhunt and the Witchfinder General will come and breathe fire and brimstone on the dissident people who dared voice their opposition and opinions. He will also try to instill and bolster up the determination of his followers. It is a cynical exercise organised by undemocratic, corrupt R2W Ireland leadership in Donegal egged on by the undemocratic national leadership. After all they have done to control and mismanage a magnificent national campaign, how else can we look at it?

Now the excuse is that they did the best they could, that they had only 5 TDs on the controlled Oireachtas Committee and as such could not control the outcome. After the horse has bolted with not a word in the final draft report from that committee about the River Basin Management Plan and the 9.4 Exemption, after not a single criticism from the 5 TDs, after the shout of victory and Mr Ogle rejoicing about the outcome, now this psychopathic R2W Ireland leadership’ (never admit wrong), is latching on to the 9.4 and the RBMP for all it’s worth and unashamedly putting the onus on us to do what they should have done months if not years ago. March down the same old road again only for them to take the credit again.

I can recall Enda Craig last year writing a lot about the 9.4 Exemption in Buncrana Together. He even ventured on to R2W’s main website and the local ones in Donegal to ask them why they were not doing anything to highlight it. He got short shrift, nothing but abuse. Now they are all over it and trying to say they have been at it for years.

This exercise is the same old propaganda, modus operandi, hoodwink,  designed to keep the assumed leaders in power or protect their jobs for years to come whether union or political, a permanent opposition.  When all else fails blame the failure on the dissidents or that other Republican party Fianna Fáil.  It’s a bit like Northern Ireland, where Sinn Féin has attained a permanent opposition status with a sure call for a United Ireland.  Having agreed to the Good Friday Agreement they can safely say that their jobs are good for maybe 20 years.  Or the European Union that’s another good hunting ground.

Thank god I don’t have to go the talk show and listen to a tirade from someone who hoodwinked and controlled the water campaign, called for water charges, accepted metering, Irish Water Ltd and supported a minority Fianna Fáil Government. All while he said the opposite and getting paid to boot.

I would like to say ‘we haven’t gone away’. We will support the dissidents who seek democracy, truth and justice, community power.  We have witnessed our power so Mr Ogle and all political parties beware.




Not The Housing Campaign We Hoped For

Rowan Clarke with the last in a four part series of articles on the Apollo House occupation.


In recent months Brendan Ogle, has been rumoured to have intentions to create a new political party.

Ogle has, from what I can see, picked up on a niche within the voting public, a large and substantial number of the populace fed up with political parties even some of the those regarded as more Left orientated and anti-establishment including Sinn Fein, Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit.

These parties are regarded, among your ordinary salt of the earth folk, as hollow and only interested in matters come election time.  From within this bloc a type of independent has emerged that many particularly working class communities regard as being of the adage ‘one of our own.’  They are regarded as ordinary Joe and Mary Soaps who say as they feel and avoid any sort of complex political tendencies, mostly content with just a change in government and putting it up to the establishment.

Ogle has reached out to this element's grievance and includes them on their level and this will be the backbone of his fledgling new party should he proceed with the idea.

He has also stated recently that he intends to soon launch his own attempt at a news media network.

It must be said that his involvement with Apollo and that he may soon have plans to launch,  both a new political party and some sort of news site is awfully convenient. It can’t be denied that HomeSweetHome will be a massive effective platform from which to launch both.

If this is the case, it is very insincere and only serves to trivialise a most emotive issue that deserves a more sensitive handling. 

Late in the occupation promises made had fallen through, promises made by Housing Minister Simon Coveney in which the residents housed in Apollo would be given suitable accommodation.  The residents were not at all happy with the digs on offer up to that point.

It was relayed that HomeSweetHome had secured from the minister the provision of €4 million to facilitate the building of hostels in the Inner City.  But it later transpired that this plan was in place well before the HSH meeting took place, solidifying the idea that the softly softly approach of HSH was not enough to jolt Coveney. A tough customer, no doubt about it.

I’m sure many are wondering why they are back in the drug addled, dirty and chaotic hostels, when in just a month HomeSweetHomecollected online nearly €200,000 when this could easily provide a deposit andfirst month’s rent for all residents to secure permanent residences in rented apartments or houses so that they can get back on their feet.

The Gardaí arrived on the scene early the next day ready to arrest anyone present in the premises.  My resident contact and other residents decided it was not worth the prospect of arrest and facing a conviction through the courts to continue staying within the building, the occupation was over.

HSH volunteers have since brought them to a hotel at the expense of the HSH fund and have stated that they intend to look after the former Apollo residents' interests in the interim.  I really hope they get the accommodation they deserve so they can get back on their feet and improve their lives.

But the fact remains - and I find it particularly peculiar - that Unite, in which Ogle is an organiser, and undoubtedly the main body with the most influence in this HSH conglomerate, could not house these vulnerable remaining residents in nearby Unite owned property on Merrion Square, a large Georgian building bought for a rumoured €2-€4 million several years previous. Unite had applied for planning permission on the 6th of December in a bid to convert the property into apartments.

It has since been verified that UNITE will Not be utilising these properties for Social Housing and have done their utmost not to engage in any schemes that would require Unite to participate in even a minimum level of social housing.

A bit rich ofUnite instigating a campaign against homelessness and addressing the housing crisis caused by property developers, yet Unite themselves seem on the path to become just that.

While ‘Home Sweet Home’ is being given applause and much back clapping from the wider public, there is much rumbling on social media from a sizable section of the more ideological inclined and militant activist. They are bringing forward many credible claims of being subjected to exclusion by sections within HomeSweetHome, for example, the Irish Housing Network. And there is much criticism over the decision to leave which seemed to be preplanned despite their insistence that they were staying put.

While I’m grateful to see 40 people got to keep warm, fed and bedded over a very cold wet late December/early January, with kudos to all those who ensured these folks were looked after, this just isn’t the housing campaign many of us have been waiting and hoping for. And I’m sure many are going to continue to wait until it emerges.




Pulling The Strings Of The Apollo Occupation

Republican community activist Rowan Clarke in the second of a series of pieces shares his thoughts on the Apollo House occupation.

Brendan Ogle Home Sweet Home Press Conference photo;

Brendan Ogle Home Sweet Home Press Conference photo;

Apollo House happened in a flash, a broad collective of political activists and charity volunteers, had stormed a Nama owned abandoned office block on Poolbeg Street, with the purpose of providing shelter within for the homeless particularly the rough sleepers over the Christmas in a safe secure environment with access to professionals and medics willing to volunteer their services.

An exciting prospect and most importantly the perfect springboard to launch a National Housing campaign, lovely. Then when enquiring through the grapevine who was pulling the strings and the main influencer, two words instantly dashed my hopes - Brendan Ogle - there was a collective sigh of disappointment.

For those who don’t know, Brendan Ogle is a well-known and eccentric Trade Union official from Dundalk Co Louth, with a background representing train drivers and later ESB employees and is currently an ‘organiser’ for the UNITE union, who at one time was paid a salary of 80,000 per annum.

In recent times Ogle, has re-emerged as the guru behind the ‘Right2Water’ movement, creating a broad front of political parties and anti-water tax activists under the one umbrella. Later it became ‘Right2Change’ to coincide with impending elections, with many ‘Right2Change’ independents running in their respective constituencies……it was a disaster, yielding very poor results.

Ogle is blamed by many within the water movement as having split it and pacifying what was ultimately a very militant campaign. He was seen many as having infiltrated the movement and using his considerable media and establishment connections (which admittedly are impressive) to manipulate key players and parties into singing to his tune and allowing him to take full control of the issue.

For some of the large marches that took place in the Capital during the Irish Water furore we can thank Brendan Ogle: for his flair for pageantry, orchestration and professional looking events on display top heavy with celebrities, musicians and prominent politicians hungry for votes.

The only thing missing was substance, something that disappeared as soon as Right2Water became the dominant force in fight against the water meters.

Water meter protests died down and organic organising locally dwindled. Eventually Ogle had made everything about electioneering and some would say building a profile for himself. There is little doubt he enjoys the attention!

Before Ogle's foray into Homelessness, he was touring the country promoting his book with the grandiose title 'From Bended Knee To A New Republic: How The Fight For Water Is Changing Ireland' (all for the low price currently of 16.95, formerly 19.99).

When Ogle is mentioned in conversation, the phrase ‘you either love or hate him’ usually comes up.

For me, I neither love not hate Brendan Ogle. I don’t know the man personally. What I do know is he is not the man to position himself the spokesman of both homeless and housing in Ireland and neither are some of the mainstream musicians, famous faces and ‘celebrity activists’ he has installed at the heart of what they are calling ‘HomeSweetHome’ who are essentially pulling the strings of the Apollo occupation.

While critical of the Apollo I am also mindful to be thankful to some of the individuals involved at grassroots level and who I can say are without agendas, who were nice enough to accommodate some vulnerable individuals I know personally who were in dire need of emergency accommodation which wasn’t forthcoming from their respective county councils, social welfare and even some mainstream charity bodies.

In one instance, I was lucky to manage to get a couple known to me personally into Apollo after nearly two days frantically trying to find a place for them to stay after they were the unfortunate to endure a house fire.

It is this aspect of Apollo I am most appreciative about: the good nature of the volunteers, who no doubt kept 40 people clothed, warm, fed and with beds over Christmas. Nobody can dispute that fact, nor discount the thanks they deserve.

But in terms of the overall political aspirations and message emanating from Apollo House, it’s been rather redundant.

The occupation itself has styled itself more a charity, albeit a militant one, than it has as presenting itself as a serious credible attempt to highlight the Housing Crisis and ideas and means to challenge it head on: an opportunity it has had many times but carefully refrained from doing so.

This is no doubt due to the fact that HomeSweetHome campaign has relied heavily on celebrity endorsement as a front to give its lifeblood. We can’t escape the fact it would never have gotten off the ground otherwise. Talk of Social House, scrutiny of the developer class and taking on the landlords wouldn’t go down well as its possible that many of the celebrities, musicians and big names involved are themselves landlords with property portfolios. Some present, certain tax dodgers and all, ultimately belonging to the elite class which controls this country, despite their insistences I’m sure to the contrary.

Al of this, I’ve no doubt is all Ogle's doing.



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