What Exactly Is the Iona Institute?

The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. We defend the continued existence of publicly-funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion.

You might have noticed in recent years that our national broadcaster, RTÉ, very often invites a speaker for the self-styled Iona Institute on chat shows, whenever the topic is something that the Catholic church might have a view on.  Frequently, a member of the Iona Institute is invited to comment on current topics, such as the recent RTÉ documentary on abuse in creches.  Indeed, not too long ago, on a morning radio show, RTÉ had two members of the Iona Institute out of the four participants.


It’s not clear why a private lobby group is given so much access to the publicly-funded airwaves, but it seems that there are those in RTÉ management who believe such a facility should be afforded, for reasons best known to themselves.

Titles count for a lot in Ireland, a country where bluff and bluster can go a long way, and the Iona Institute is a most impressive-sounding name, carrying overtones of saintliness combined with the suggestion of profound learning.

The word Institute evokes a place where world-renowned scholars convene to debate the great issues in a spirit of open-mindedness and to conduct world-standard research, but if you thought that about the Iona Institute, you’d be wrong.

This being Ireland, we have no controls over what words people use to describe the companies they set up, by contrast with, for instance, the UK, where they’re very fussy indeed about who can and cannot describe themselves as an Institute.  The guidance page at Companies House defines sensitive words and expressions as those which could, among other things, suggest business pre-eminence, a particular status, or a specific function.

They even publish a list of sensitive words, including Institute.  Institutes, they say, are organisations that typically undertake research at the highest level or are professional bodies of the highest standing.

Since Iona isn’t a professional body, the only other criterion it might possibly meet would be research at the highest level, but after its disastrously misconceived submission to the Constitutional Convention, I think we can safely discount that too.

Iona is simply a pressure group funded from sources undisclosed.

It has an address at 23 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, not far from a real Institute: the RIAI.  It has a board of directors and it has two staff, although its most recently available details show only one staff member, and in recent times, none at all.  It also has four people with the nebulous title of Patron, which I suspect was chosen for its pomposity rather than its accuracy, two of whom frequently appear on RTÉ chat shows where presenters are not scrupulous about explaining their association with the  pressure group.

I thought it might be useful to explore the structure of the lobby group, perhaps with a view to provoking further discussion on the reasons why a privately-funded assortment of individuals might be so favoured by our publicly-funded broadcaster.

To start with, I thought it might be helpful to list the directors and staff, past and present, where information on them is available.  My sources are principally Iona’s own website and Duedil which is an extremely useful tool for looking up details of companies registered in Ireland or the UK.

David Quinn is the public face of the lobby group.  He has views on everything from same-sex marriage to childcare.  For all we know, he might also have Catholic views on the weather, on ballistics and on the odd probity of tricycles, but in any case he seems to have unlimited access to RTÉ.  Contrary to popular belief, though, he didn’t set up the lobby group.  Indeed, he appears to be no more than a paid employee.

There’s also Tom O’Gorman, employed as a researcher.  He’s described as a former journalist with The Voice Today, but I have no information on him or on that elusive organ.  I’m sure he’s a thoroughly nice chap.

[Update: Tom O’Gorman died prematurely six months after publication of this article.]

The four “patrons” are as follows:

  • Patricia Casey, a psychiatrist.
  • Breda O’Brien, a teacher.
  • James Sheehan, a surgeon, and co-owner of several hugely-profitable private hospitals, including the Blackrock Clinic.
  • Vincent Twomey, a priest.

According to company records, Lolek Limited (trading as The Iona Institute) was founded in 2006 by Andrew O’Connell (29) and Susan Hegarty (30).  O’Connell is the PR man for the Presentation Brothers and Hegarty lectures at the Catholic St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, a training school for primary teachers.  Lolek, incidentally, is the Polish diminutive of Karol, as in Karol Wojtyla, otherwise known as Pope John Paul II.  It has had eleven directors since its foundation, three of whom are retired, including both its founders.  Another two, for some reason, are not mentioned in the list of directors on the Iona website.

Name Age Background Comment Other relevant directorships
Sean Ascough 46 Engineer
  • The New Evangelisation Trust
  • Clonmacnois Publishing Limited
  • Silverstream Priory
Maeve Kelleher 48 Described on Iona website as a stay-at-home mother Director of 13 property companies
Patrick Kenny 38 Marketing lecturer
John Reid 54 Solicitor.President of Legatus, Dublin chapterKnight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Tom Ascough 42 Engineer
  • Spirit Radio Limited
  • Clonmacnois Publishing Limited
John Murray 49 Lecturer at Mater Dei Institute, a religious college.
Mark Hamilton 57 Principal of Rockbrook Park, a private school founded by Opus Dei members which retains close links to that organisation including an Opus Dei chaplain. Not mentioned on Iona website
Maria Steen(previously known as Maria Davin) 37 Barrister.  Architect. Not mentioned on Iona website
Andrew O’ConnellFounder 35 PR man for the Presentation Brothers Retired from directorship.
Brendan Purcell 71 Priest Retired from directorship.
Susan HegartyFounder 36 Geography lecturer Retired from directorship.

Stay-at-home mother Maeve Kelleher shares the boards of some companies with Garrett Kelleher, a property developer and owner of St Patrick’s Athletic football club.   These are Baynall Properties Limited, Cawston Limited, Mancar Limited, Mandala Limited, Saffia Limited, Cwd Properties Limited, Shelbourne Development Limited and Shelbourne Properties Limited.

Garrett Kelleher is a former chairman of Legatus in Ireland.  Legatus is an international association of Catholic businessmen set up by Irish-American Tom Monaghan, a prominent Opus Dei member and founder of Domino’s Pizza.

Here’s how they describe themselves:

The only organization in the world designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business leaders and their spouses. [My emphasis]. In a dynamic way, Legatus brings together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business – connecting two powerful realities, the challenge of top-tier business leadership and a religious tradition second to none.

Legatus, the Latin word for ambassador, exists to help you become an “ambassador for Christ” (2Cor 5:20) and help you meet the challenges of balancing the responsibilities of faith, family, business and community. Since 1987 Legatus has been bringing together Catholic business leaders and their spouses in a unique format that fosters spiritual growth, formation and commitment.

The organization offers a unique support network of like-minded Catholics who influence the world marketplace and have the ability to practice and infuse their faith in the daily lives and workplaces of their family, friends, colleagues and employees.

The criteria for membership are set out here.

Executive Membership Criteria.  Primary membership for the top ranking Catholic in a business


Division Head Membership Criteria  The top ranking Catholic in a qualifying division or subsidiary.

Financial Services
1) Title
Chairman, President, CEO, Owner, Managing Director, Managing Partner, Publisher, Executive Vice President
Same Titles
2) Personnel
30 employees
10 employees and $1M annual payroll
10 employees
3) Volume/Value
$5 Million
$10M Net Value
$100 Million (assets


David Quinn attends Legatus celbration
David Quinn attends Legatus Ireland chartering Mass

Garrett Kelleher also sits on the board of regents of Ave Maria University in Florida (“Excellent.  Affordable.  Catholic”), founded by the ubiquitous pizza man, Tom Monaghan in a new town he called Ave Maria.

Jackie Ascough, a Christian fundamentalist from Texas also known as Jaclyn Dodgin, is the wife of Tom Ascough, and although not acknowledged to be involved with Iona, is routinely invited to speak on RTÉ programmes about social matters, again for reasons that are not entirely clear.  Why Irish broadcasters would consider the opinion of a foreign ideologue relevant has yet to be explained.  

As somebody with a degree in Radio/TV/Film from the University of North Texas, Jackie doesn’t seem to be highly qualified to practise as a fertility care practitioner, though her degree is augmented by something from the St. Joseph Healthcare Natural Family Planning Teacher Education Centre in St Paul Minnesota, a religiously-motivated organisation.

According to the Human Life International website, Jackie lectures for the Nurture Institute (another institute!) on the topic of psychosexual development of children 0-18.  However, the article omits to mention what qualifications she earned that equip her to do this important work.  There’s no listing of a company with this name in the Irish database.  The Nurture Institute, according to its website, is the “operational arm” of Education Resource Trust.  It seems to be in urgent need of new blood, with its youngest director at 66, followed by 68, 72, 73, 80, 81 and 83.  You’d have to wonder why people in this age range would be bothering themselves with the psychosexual development of anyone.

Jackie is deeply engaged with Human Life International and other worthy causes such as Pure in Heart, a group of young people answering the call of Our Lady of Medjugorje, with an address at, would you believe it, 23 Merrion Square.

Pure in heart is an International Catholic Movement of young adults who through prayer and friendship, strive together to learn, live and share the truth, beauty and meaning of human sexuality.

The institutes never end.  Jackie also works with the Nazareth Family Institute, founded, according to its website, by the Community of Nazareth, describing itself as a lay, charismatic, covenant community in south Co Dublin.  Its website suggests a connection with Spirit Radio.  One of its directors, Adrian Buckley (45), is also a director of Silverstream Priory, along with Sean Ascough and Patrick Kenny.

Jackie, like her husband Tom, is a director of Spirit Radio, and also writes for Alive! magazine, a  right-wing Catholic publication with, among other things, an anti-evolution stance.  Poor old Spirit Radio isn’t doing too well, judging by this printout of their financials, and apparently  their JNLR listership is even smaller than 4FM, but not to worry.  God will provide.

Jackie also wrote for the obscure Voice Today, as did Tom O’Gorman, the researcher for Iona mentioned above.

Incidentally, another Ascough, Deirdre, is married to a descendant of the Bourbon royal house, not that being a member of an ancient European aristocracy from the Holy Roman Empire is necessarily a bad thing.  It certainly reflected very well on Declan Ganley’s Libertas party, which was very fond of ancient aristocratic families.  Did I mention that Deirdre, Damien and Tom were big fans of Ganley?  I’m sure Damien Graf von Schönborn-Buchheim is a perfectly decent fellow, but if I happened to be in his position, I feel certain that I’d yearn for a return to the days when a Catholic aristocracy ruled over Europe, the wonderful days when Charlemagne, my ancestor, was still an all-powerful monarch.

Is that what the members of the Iona lobby group long for too?  A time when when powerful Catholic monarchs imposed certainty on the troublesome rabble without the need for messy democracy?

I don’t know, but the question is worth asking as you enjoy your pizza and wonder if you’ve just made a small contribution to the Iona Institute.

On a more whimsical note, those with a smattering of Latin will recognise Domino as the first-person present indicative form of dominare.  It means I dominate.

Alternatively, it might also be the ablative form of Dominus, therefore meaning, inter alia, from the Lord.

Just saying …

Anyway, enough levity.  The Iona Institute is no laughing matter, so let’s see what we have.

We’re looking at a fundamentalist billionaire;  an international cabal of wealthy businessmen; the oldest equestrian Papal order with origins in the Crusades; the secretive Opus Dei; an assortment of priests and minor academics; a highly vocal spin-doctor with almost unlimited access to the national broadcaster.

We’re looking at privileged people seeking to influence Irish law and seeking to impose their own personal religious views on people who do not share their beliefs, but as always in Ireland, the facts are murky.  The board of directors of Lolek Limited are a fairly drab bunch, and one would have to wonder whether they are, in fact, not simply sock puppets providing a vanguard for more powerful forces acting internationally.

However,  let’s not sink to the judgemental depths inhabited by the Iona people.  They are fully entitled to yearn for a time when Europe was ruled by unelected Catholic despots. We live in a democracy, after all.


Click on this for a better look at the links between the religious pressure groups in Ireland


Legatus Magazine




109 thoughts on “What Exactly Is the Iona Institute?

  1. What would the answer be, I wonder? If someone of good standing were to ask Joe Duffy, live-on-air, the questions of why so much air time would seem to be available for this self-styled “Institute”. and, would he like to offer a personal opinion on said “institute”. He being in the RTE camp, so to speak.

  2. OK .
    So the only problem I can see here is that Bock does not like/agree with the views of the Iona Instute, so therefore they must not be allowed to be aired,
    Shades of John Crown methinks

  3. Joe Duffy in the right wing catholic camp !!!
    You must be having a laugh, where in the name of RTE did you get that idea from Bock ???

  4. Joe Duffy in the right wing catholic camp??
    You are taking the piss Bock, where did you get that mad idea from ??

  5. Joe Duffy is in the tedious radio phone-in camp. If you are worried about potholes, the state of your children’s teeth, spitting in public, door-to-door trading, uncollected rubbish bags, the price of turnips, the situation in Timbuctoo or the high cost of civil divorce – just phone 01 and a certain number and TALK TO JOE. It won’t solve your gripes and problems but Joe is a good listener and will sympathise. It takes a lot of sympathy to pull a pint.

    Is it true that Joe as a student had sympathies with radical left politics?

  6. What I find somewhat disturbing is the relatively young age of the directors. We are going to have to accomodate their views for a long time to come. I do believe that all those who hold public office, those in the professions including medicine and the law, our public representatives and those who are asked to take part in discussions in the media–particularly publicly funded media outlets MUST declare membership /affiliations with religious bodies/ “Institutes”. In the current climate I would want to know if my psychiatrist/OBGYN or doctor held fundamentalist/strong religious views that might prejudice/influence how they conduct their professional affairs.

    An assortment of teachers/lecturers/barrister/priest–the usual suspects who may well want us to return to the mores of 1950’s Ireland–genuflect at the sight of a priest, Bless me father for I have sinned. I really think we have moved beyond that shite; do you think the majority of the population actually take these people seriously or is the greater danger their ability to lobby our gombeen public representatives who crave any type of recognition? I know of a man who lobbied to be admitted to one of the secret catholic lay societies at the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. He knew that in normal times he held no stock of trait, character or intellect that would be appealing to the Church; however he was cute enough to grasp his chance. A new footsoldier in God’s army.To sell your soul for a gown and title.

  7. A shrink with fundamentalist views? Might tell you to read the Bible if you have compulsive fear of ghosts disorder.

  8. In total agreement with Gombeen.
    All those who have power to shape public opinion elected or unelected should declare their own beliefes and what groups institutes etc they belong to, love to see what would come to the surface would be extremely interesting particularly some of our media STARS

  9. I know many of our media stars have gold bank accounts and feet of clay. How many have cloven hooves?

  10. The Church will always ensure they have access to those sympathetic to their cause in all important organs of state; the media/education/the judiciary & legal profession/elected representatives and the medical profession. They infiltrate these groups as smoothly as the Soviets did most organs of the British state in the 60’s and 70’s. Most folks can’t resist a Gong–that little trinket that tells them that they are welcomed into a secret society that values their participation and contribution; something that sets them apart from the ordinary Joe–it’s just an extension of the golf club really.

  11. But its not only the church is it?
    Politics, Unions , etc all have their own conclaves, in fact the church is one of the more transparent ones,
    As for the Iona Institute, I dont think they have a huge influence in the media,it just perspective.
    If I am pro church, all I hear is anti church in the media etc and visa versa.
    You have some silly extremes on both sides like Opus Dei or the Labour Party, both silly little groups with very small support

  12. Mark, they are self serving bull shitters who manipulate facts to prove their point

    Regardless of of whether these facts are true or relevant

    Sound Familar?

  13. Mark, may I suggest you read Sam Harris’ – ‘The End of Faith’.
    Or Betrand Russell’s – ‘Why I am not a Christian’. Here –

    Fucking god botherers..
    I havent had Domino’s shite cardboard pizza in a while, won’t be again.

    ‘Second to none’ my arse.

  14. Surely manipulating facts is kind of a contradiction in terms.
    But to get to the nub of Bocks post, what exactly is wrong with the Iona Institute,
    They put forward a point of view others agree or disagree, is that the democracy thing at work kind of, though my opinion is that democracy is dead and buried in this country anyway.
    If its just an objection to the catholic aspect, be wary of throwing the baby out with the bath water

  15. Mark- When we have a post on politics and unions, we can have a discussion about them. This one is about the Iona Institute. Let’s keep it there.

  16. Apologies Bock
    I thought the conversation was about transparency as in who is the Iona Institute but that opens up a whole can of worms regarding other institutes and lobby organisations, Its a bit silly to look at one in isolation withouth comparing it to other similar organisations

  17. Ok.
    Then In my opinion the Iona Institute, serves a very important purpose in that it does represent the opinion of a very large section of the citizens of this republic.
    It should probably be expanded so that it can actually have its own media outlet rather than relying on the grace and favour of the current ad hoc arrangements with state and independent broadcasters.
    it really makes no difference if one agrees with the views held by the organisation or not, the important thing is that the freedom of the organisation to express an opinion is not curtailed.

  18. Mark, you tried this before

    They do not represent a large section of this republic

    Do you have figures that support this?

    You were asked for them before and could not provide them

    Has something changed?

  19. Here we go again

    1 Last census 84% said they were Roman catholic.
    2 largest 3 day gathering in Ireland last year Knock Co Mayo 127000 people
    3 92% of parents who responded wisht the catholic school patronage to continue
    4 St Vincent De Paul Society 10500 members largest catholic charity in the country. and biggest supplier of bed nights for the homeles

    72% of marriges still take place in catholic churches
    All of the above figures come from either the CSO or are available onn the individual web sites of V DE P etc

  20. Mark — Iona represents a narrow, intolerant, authoritarian movement that exists within Catholicism. Their religion is a million miles removed from the outlook of most Irish people. In any case, as we have already seen, most Irish Catholics don’t even believe in the central dogma of their professed faith, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  21. Yes, here we go again

    Do you have any figures that show that all Catholics have chosen the Iona Institute to represent them

    They have not by the way, but you know that

    Your just throwing out irrelevant figures like I knew you would hoping that the mud sticks

    Very predictable, thanks for falling for it

  22. You are right Back.
    The CSO figures are a total fabrication because they are agents of the Vatican.
    There is grass growing all over the Knock Basicila because no one goes there anymore.
    And 92% of parents want their children educated in a non catholic school.
    Happy Now.
    As for your comment Bock.
    Love it like it or hate it Iona exists, and it must represent some number of catholics in the country, otherwise it would cease to exist, much like Labour at the next election lol.
    Now personally I would much prefer if all schools in the country were taken over by the state, it would put an end to the farce that is 1st communions confirmations etc, but as you say thats a discussion for another day.

  23. The genuflection specialists at IONA are the single most entertaining species of fundamentalist available to us here in the land of make believe. To reconcile a mind with the nut jobs that populate said organization one only has to focus on the comedic value inherent in the likes of Caroline Simons.

    Of course lets not forget the antics of Ireland’s resident body and blood specialist Michelle “Thou Shalt Not Fornicate” Mulherin. I regret to say that I cannot include David Quinn in the comedy lineup as I find him altogether depressing.

    Lets face it Mark, you’re flying the flag for a frenetic bunch of holy rollers who appear to be struggling in vain with what is essentially a loss of control over the Irish psyche. In essence, I have a front row seat to what are sometimes the funniest stand up routines I’ve ever seen. I know it’s not right to laugh at the shortcomings of others, but when you guys take to the stage I just can’t help myself.

  24. Mark you said that Iona represent Catholics, they do not

    What I said was the figures you throw out are irrelevant and prove nothing

    But you knew that

    Please don’t manipulate my words to prove your point

    The Iona Institute do not represent all Catholics

    Census forms can also be misleading

    Please come back with figures that are relevant and people may listen to you

    You have proved nothing so far, just thrown out figures hoping your shit sticks

    It doesnt

  25. Thanks for your reply Jules, it does address the issue.
    backtowork your post is in the same league as blah blah blah.
    But it cheers me up no end lauging at you just like Jules gets a laugh out of the holy rollers who I apparently fly a flag for.

  26. Thanks for proving my point Mark

    Irrelevant figures

    You are aware of it

    You have no come back

    You are acting like a 12 year old

  27. Also Mark if you are not flying a flag for the Iona Institute

    Why are you so intent on manipulating an already misleading census to say that the Iona Institute represent 84% of the country

    They don’t

    You are either flying the flag or trolling for kicks

    If you have any other explanation I would love to hear it

  28. I salute the Iona Institute for their strongly held views and the stout defence of their beliefs. For centuries, people of faith have had to endure persecution and torment from unbelievers and indeed many were Martyred for the cause. It is refreshing and unusual in irish society to see an august group from the Burgeois stand up for their principled beliefs, regardless of the suffering that they are(hopefully) likely to face.Their reward will be all the greater. Bravo!

  29. There is a liberal secularist bias in the media. Groupthink is the order of the day. Organizations such as the Iona Institute were set up to act as a counter balance. Not before time!!

  30. So the obvious person to ask about care standards in creches is a spokesman for a fundamentalist Catholic lobby group. Right?

    Could you elaborate on your understanding of the words liberal and secularist, so that we’re all on the same page.

  31. Methinks we have here the potential for a new fundamentalist political party. Likely will enter the fray in an election before long, in the event that this Govt goes belly-up before its natural life. Lets face it, anything could go wrong during or after July if they make a dog’s dinner out of the pro-choice legislation..Which is more than likely.

  32. John, There is a “A liberal Secularist bias” in the media–so you believe that the media should put a greater religious (and by definition in the context of Iona, this means Catholic) slant on the affairs of State and I assume that by being offended by Liberalism, you espouse a Fascist leaning for the media; because Fascism is the logical opposite to Liberalism. Bring on the bearded mystics.

  33. The fog of religious illumination does wonders for logical argument.

    The IONA Institute as a “counterbalance”. Now that little nugget has made my day. Did God share that with you or did you come up with that pearl of wisdom all by you’re lonesome?

  34. I have looked and looked and yet I can not see where I posted that Iona represents 84% of catholics, All I did was offer the good manners of one who was brought up to answer the question one is asked.
    I also am not really sure how it advances any discussion by becoming rude, or boorish, to that end I apologise to back to work for laughing at him/her.

  35. Look, it’s a serious post on a serious enough topic, and I’d encourage people not to dilute it with petty bickering.

  36. It must be the unusual burst of hot weather we’ve been having that accounts for the hot tempered exchanges.

  37. If the links with Legatus are any guide, I reckon Iona would like to claim to speak for the ordinary Catholic in the street, but would run a mile before offering membership on a mass basis – there might be some discord in the echo chamber.

  38. “Then In my opinion the Iona Institute, serves a very important purpose in that it does represent the opinion of a very large section of the citizens of this republic.”

    “1 Last census 84% said they were Roman catholic.
    2 largest 3 day gathering in Ireland last year Knock Co Mayo 127000 people
    3 92% of parents who responded wisht the catholic school patronage to continue
    4 St Vincent De Paul Society 10500 members largest catholic charity in the country. and biggest supplier of bed nights for the homeles

    72% of marriages still take place in catholic churches”

    Mark what would you take if some one was posting these figures within a couple of posts?

    Have you any figures on how many Irish citizens Iona represent?

    Please stop this hit and run bullshit in the hope that it will stick?

    If this is not what you were saying then could you please explain why you posted these figures?

  39. was just looking for an explanation

    Ill leave though, because Mark knew what he was doing, that much is clear

  40. I have no idea what percentage of irish citizens are represented by Iona but it is reasonable to extrapolate from the above figures that they would represent a sizeable proportion of the population, then again it may not be reasonable and i may be completely wrong,
    But I really have no idea what shit you think I am hoping will stick, I dont think that was the point of Bocks original post nor my response to it.
    Anyway there are definitely flies circling this dead horse.

  41. I think the time monopoly that RTE give to the Catholic right should be evened up.. As it stands RTE don’t have to do objectivity, or give equal rights to both sides, which is why in my opinion, they shouldn’t be paid for out of my tax money.. that, and the fact that they air shite most of the time.

    In relation to the freedom of any organisation to express their views, I have no problem myself hearing anything some right wing nuts have to say about fornication or twisting the facts of reports on what the best environment is for children to support their religious views on marriage or every sperm is holy etc., but it is worrying when people who are undecided are being lied to, or impressionable people are being warped by bullshit, when there isn’t equal airtime given to opposing views.

    I also don’t think in a supposed secular society, any religious organisation have any business getting airtime on current affairs programmes.
    Put them on after the Sunday mass tv show.

  42. Ah yes, RTE mustn’t confuse the vulnerable, impressionable masses of undecided viewers and listeners. Reminds me of how bishops many years ago referred condescendingly to ‘the simple faithful’.

  43. meant – “As it stands RTE don’t have to do objectivity, or give equal *time*to both sides.
    Who and what RTE air should be monitored independently in my opinion.
    As it stands they have carte blanche to put on any fools.
    The Iona crowd have shown themselves to be liars.

  44. Good research.
    Well done.
    Shining a light into darkness; christianity in action.
    They will not like your efforts BOCK.

  45. Pathetic article, to summise:
    – RTE is pro-Catholic
    – Iona is a billionaire organization
    – Only those antagoistic to faith should be given access to
    the airwaves
    – Hidden, dark forces behind Iona (but don’t ask for proof)

  46. nadia, you have given an inaccurate summation of the article above though you haven’t actually said what you find ‘pathetic’ about it. I like debate, I like it when people offer a different slant but I think you need to give a reason or at least an opinion and not just sum up the piece in your own (less than accurate) wording.

  47. Nadia’s comment is a classic instance of the way Iona shills twist what people said. I doubt if Dave himself could have done it better.

  48. Jackie Asgough also uses the name Jacqueline Ascough. She has written for Alive Newspaper and also at some stage represented the “family and media association”

  49. all these scumbags, with a bastardized sense of morality, in elitist positions…fuck sake. no wonder the country is financially an morally retarded.

  50. Bock, Thank you.You do a public service.

    Your article is well researched and from my experience dealing with this organisation, accurate too. As a survivor of Childhood sexual assaults by the Christian Brothers I have been researching transparency in this area and I could go on ….
    If you care to look at the following page http://www.ionainstitute.ie/personnel_patrons.php …scroll down and look at Iona bio of the following patron :
    “Dr James Sheehan: James Sheehan is founder of the Blackrock, Galway Clinics and Hermitage Clinics, private medical facilities which operate according to a Catholic ethos.”
    Now, look at his Blackrock and Hermitage clinics websites and see if you can see any “any” mention of this operating “according to a Catholic ethos.” … – http://www.blackrock-clinic.ie/about-blackrock-clinic/
    Seems his business interests is stronger than his Holy Roman Iona side
    Of course this is just a vignette from the sinister culture of obfuscation associated with this Religious organisation. Not transparent and have undeclared motives.
    Regarding RTE coverage, The current chairman is a former Catholic priest for Gods sake and an apologist for the Church..I wont even go into the Carr communications lark.

  51. Just to say that you refer to researcher Tom O Gorman as likely to being ‘a thoroughly nice chap’…this is the man that was killed over a game of chess a couple of weeks ago, you might want to rephrase.

  52. Garrett Kelleher is the guy who rented out offices in Brussels to Declan Ganley’s Libertas during their attempt to become the biggest single political party in the EU. Some Ascoughs also donated to Libertas. There’s a reasonably tight network of conservative Catholics in Ireland – the Ascoughs are part of that network, along with Ganley.

  53. I believe kelleher was involved in defunct attempt to build the worlds tallest building in Chicago, dropped millions on the failed project. Wonder if there is a ” business element” to this Cabal.

  54. Hi Bock,

    Great piece.

    Dr.Constantin Gurdgiev, darling of the “burn the bondholders” lobby and arch-critic of the government handling of the recent economic crisis is also linked to both Libertas and Legatus. Do you have a view? A co-conspirator?

  55. The reasons that 84% of Irish people declared themselves Roman Catholic in the census are (1) there is no question which you can answer about whether you are a practising member of a religion, (2) most people think that if they are born Roman Catholic, that is what they are, (3) there is no way to leave the Catholic Church (there used to be, but it was discontinued; I wonder why?!). If it’s important to know what the religious practices of the population are, it’s about time the CSO devised census questions to truly ascertain religious belief and practice, and also to ascertain how much of the population wish religion to permeate institutions of the state, and decisions of Government, or not.

  56. Any HONEST religious minded or otherwise person, who bothers to study church history and the Bible will quickly know the truth about the Roman Catholic Church. I speak as a former Roman Catholic (by the way, does anyone ever bother to notice the contradiction in terms?), who resigned from the RCC in 1981. I really do wish that someone would make a genuinely true to life film about the Inquisition, without any excuses for the religious fanatical sadists who played their part in the holocaust that it was, not just in Europe but other parts of the world. And here’s a question: how come we know so much about the holocaust of World War II, but so little of the Inquisition, which for it’s time was equally horrific in its design to protect a DICTATORSHIP, albeit in this case a religious/temporal power dictatorship?

  57. Sara Jane Cromwell,

    I will start out with my usual composite explanation regarding the Inquisition: The Church is full of treachery, it always was, right from the very beginning. Throughout its history, starting with Judas Iscariot it has been plagued with men with double standards including bishops and priests who have betrayed their office over and over again. The Apostle Paul noted the matter later in the New Testament and this trend has continued right up to our present day.

    Now, on the matter of the Inquisition, there was nothing unusual about the administration of the State being linked to the administration of the Church by legislation. The Church convened Courts of Law as recognized by the State and the two functioned in unity.
    The basic key to understanding the setup is just to accept that Europe was a theocracy and that is just the way things worked. There was nothing unusual or abhorrent about the Inquisition to those who lived under it and it might be worth noting that bishops and other prelates often came up in front it themselves and decisions were often overturned as corrupt. Jan Hus, the Bohemian reformer was burnt in 1415 and this action was condemned only a few years ago by Pope John Paul II. Any account of the proceedings from the Council of Constance indicates a disgraceful and shameless level of corruption.

    The Inquisitional trial Joan of Arc as a drumhead fix is really only exceeded by the trial of Jesus Christ by the Jewish Sanhedrin, the “Inquisition” of Israel at the time, also subject to the state and like the Inquisition of later times, unable to legally carry out the death penalty.
    The trial of Joan of Arc, is still preserved on the original documents at Orleans and in so far as I know is the most complete record of any Inquisitional proceeding. It is available on the net. To make a long story short, Joan was denied any legal representation and when she appealed her case to the Pope, expedient measures were taken in the prison to bundle her off to the stake as quickly as possible.
    The Rehabilitation in 1456, condemned the whole sham as ” ……perfidious, violent, iniquitous and sinful trial. The Judges condemned her falsely, damnably and criminally and put her to death in a cruel manner death by fire.” (Quoting the plaintiff).

    In 1920, Joan was canonized !!!

    The Spanish Inquisition, which was somewhat different from what went before, was started in the 1490’s and it was really cruel.
    It started as a measure against Jews who had converted to Christianity but who had gone back to Judism. With a few years it had extended it powers to include Muslims and in the end nobody was safe from it.
    Bishops and apprentices alike could be dragged before it. Torture was routine.

    The Inquisition was not confined to the Catholic Church. John Calvin’s Geneva was probably even more intolerant and the Geneva Consistory, as it was called was very harsh. Other Protestant courts such as the Salem Trials of 1692 were dreadful.
    Mathew Hopkins of 17th century England infamy —- all I can say here is that he has a lot to answer for.

    I can certainly understand and share your disgust, Sara Jane, but I will say don’t pack up Christ even if you pack up the Catholic Church.

  58. The fourth estate in Ireland is a Myth:

    Good work and very much appreciated.

    back ground investigations are valuable public information.

    Challenging power is an important activity in any democracy.


  59. Thanks Bock for your diligent research. This is useful stuff when you come to debate (be shouted at) by Quinn. A right Wing catholic Lobby group who will have us all bowing an scraping to the priests, the church and Rome again. Well never again.

  60. HI bock, I decided to read this post thinking it might give me an insight into the Iona Inst.

    Well, I believe I need not read “The De Vinci Code” now or ever as I imagine from all the snippets & pieces of facts and rumours that this comment section is littered with more than covers my vague understanding of Freemasonery or the Simon de Montfort mysteries, modern day masons at their cutthroat best, albeit dressed in frocks, both male & female.

  61. Read it again,
    “The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. We defend the continued existence of publicly-funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion. ”

    By Jasus , will someone please explain how they get away with the issuing of that last sentence, c’mon Bock, Steve, enlighten or enrage me, iap, you can eff off.

  62. I was just wondering, Bock, if the Iona Institute actually receive any funding or tax exemptions from the Irish Government? This would make for a good cudgel with which to beat them.

  63. hhmmmmmm….

    Just had mental flashes of ” JE SUIS IONA ” moments in the not too distant future… coming to a mosque near you..

  64. I think there is a distinction between catholic bashers and catholic church bashers.Either way,the Catholic church has already lost.

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