Louise Hannon

This is getting repetitive

Just listening to Patrick Honohan on RTE This Week and coming to the conclusion yet again that denial is still part of the agenda. A hope for the best and a prayer thrown in for good measure are the only options we now face it seems.. If I am wrong please tell me

His answers were less than convincing to Morgan Kelly's article of this week, in the Irish Times If you haven't read it, its here, http://bit.ly/mDsVOH

In the meantime Charlie Bird has taken over from Marion on the weekend show and both himself and Eamon Dunphy discussed the Kelly article.. From what I heard these panelists seem to follow the journalistic line one after the other like lemmings. Are there no hacks out there willing to call it as it patently is? When will we have people on air who speak their own mind apart from Gurdgiev, Somerville, Morgan and Lucey who are all economists.

Pat Rabbitte making a good point on why we cannot have a different debt mechanism treatment now instead of in 2013, but then that's to allow German and French banks time to build up massive reserves.

Louise Hannon

That was the week that was

I suppose the blog this week has to look at events which affected me personally in the past week... Just to quickly say that I'm totally astounded by the level of media interest, and the level of positive support, which is extremely encouraging for transgendered people.

I never set out consciously to be in most national papers or radio stations. I set out I suppose to highlight the need to treat transgender people with sensitivity in the employment transition process, and possibly to raise awarenes of the problems faced by those in that process. I was enormously hurt by the treatment I received especially from my employers with whom I'd had a great respect and a very good working relationship until the point that I was in the office every day as myself, for the first time in my life. I was looking forward to being my true self and helping the company expand and prosper. Unfortunately it didn't happen as you may know.

Normalisation of transgender people is a side effect which will go hand in hand with this higher more visible profile. Gender is a very difficult issue to deal with, on a personal level. In the early stages while different from the sexuality issues of being gay has much the same problems; isolation, self doubt, families who are potentially non supportive. Societies lack of knowledge on gender issues is just one of the problems facing us. I hope the media attention this week has stirred people to think, and perhaps to be a little more tolerant and understanding of diversity.

People deal with their issues in many different ways.. Some become dependent on alcohol to bury the pain, some end up with stress related health issues around depression, some in relationships become violent with the stress and anger, and some unfortunately commit suicide, particularly in rural areas where isolation is a major factor. This loss of life and loss of human skills at all levels is a tragedy for Irish society. As transgender people we should be allowed to live and be treated as normal human beings and this will bring enormous advantages to our society in terms of productivity and the talents which not only transgender people have but also those who are gay and lesbian can bring to the working environment. Before we even get to a working environment though , our schools need to address homophobia and transphobia as in the early formative school years bullying can do enormous mental and educational damage to the future prospects of our bright young people.

I had the enormous prilvilage of helping to organise the annual Dublin Pride Festival for four very fulfilling years with some of the most talented and inspiring young people, it is my pleasure to know. Their support and understanding if spread throughout the population would wipe out bigotry tomorrow.

I also hope that employers will now take transgender people seriously and put into place a policy dealing with those who wish to live in their correct gender in the working environment. If they do it has been proven by many of the multi nationals working here in Ireland that diversity and inclusion are ultimately good for the financial bottom line. In the current tough economic climate that makes total sense don't you agree?
Louise Hannon

My appreciation to everyone @EA

It has been a very difficult time for me and I would like to thank the Equality Authority for all their support. Everyone from the top down have been fantastic, and I'm very relieved and glad that after over four years, I can now get on with my life.

I have been overwhelmed with support and congratulatory wishes for which I am greatly appreciative.

Full text of the Press release by the Equality Authority today.

Press Release For immediate release 18th April 2011

Equality Authority Welcomes ‘ground breaking’ decision awarding 35,000
euros to a Transsexual Worker.

The Equality Authority today welcomed a ground breaking decision by the
Equality Tribunal for a transsexual worker, represented by the Equality
Authority, in a gender and disability case. Louise Hannon was awarded in
excess of 35,000 euros for the discrimination endured. “Transsexual people
are born into a society which is not structured to cater for their own
identity. The journey undertaken by transsexual people to recognise their
own identity, as being different from their assigned identity, involves a
process and decision making that is both courageous and beyond the capacity
of many to fully appreciate” said Chairperson Angela Kerins.

“With the diagnostic progress made in recent decades to recognise this
disorder, it is fair and essential that society assists transsexual people
to make this journey by removing as many obstacles for discrimination as
possible. I am pleased the Employment Equality Acts have proven to be
robust in the defence of transsexual rights in the workplace. The Equality
Authority has already made a submission to the transgender recognition
group and looks forward to further legislative progress for this important
minority, still invisible in many aspects of Irish life, with the
publication of their Report” concluded Ms Kerins.

The complainant was diagnosed with Gender Identity disorder and is a male
to female transsexual. The complainant had been employed by the respondent
as a Business Development Manager from January 2007 having previously
worked with the company in a self employed capacity for approximately five
years. Ms Hannon claimed that since she had informed her employer of her
true identity and her need to live in this identity her work conditions
were made so intolerable that she was ultimately constructively dismissed
as a result of her transition from male to female.

The Equality Officer stated that transsexualism is a recognised medical
condition which is treated by a combination of hormone therapy, surgery (in
some cases) and “real life experience”. The Equality Officer went on to
state that to gain “real life experience the person must be able to live
their life continuously in the other sex without the need to revert to the
birth sex”. This applied to the work place and that there is an obligation
on employers to accommodate such “real life experience” she added.

The Equality Officer found that the plan formulated by the company to allow
the transition from male to female was clearly a unilateral approach which
had not been fully explored with the complainant. The Equality Officer was
satisfied that requesting Ms Hannon to switch between a male/female
identity whenever the respondent felt the need for it constituted direct
discrimination on the gender and disability grounds. The Equality Officer
was not satisfied that the company had a genuine business need for the
complainant to work from home. She found that had Ms Hannon remained in
her male identity she would not have been requested to work from home. She
concluded that the request to work from home was discriminatory on both the
gender and disability grounds.

April 18th 2011

The Equality Officer found that the Respondent had little if any
understanding that the gender transition process was a form of treatment
relevant to the complainant’s condition. She was satisfied that an
employer has a duty to obtain enough knowledge about an employee’s
disclosed disability to ensure that their actions do not discriminate
against a person whose disability may require the person to behave or act
in a certain way. While the Equality Officer found the complainant did not
require reasonable accommodation per se, she did require a workplace that
recognised her right to dress and be identified as a female. The Equality
Officer pointed out that the difficulties concerning the complainants
gender lay entirely with the respondent and that it was apparent that the
company presumed that there would be negative consequences because of the
complainant’s female identity.

The Equality Officer found that the complainant had suffered discriminatory
treatment on the grounds of gender and disability. The Equality Officer
found that Ms Hannon received no relevant support from the company and was
isolated in her home from late April 2007. She found that the respondent’s
approach amounted to discriminatory dismissal on the gender and disability
grounds. The issue of victimisation was raised in relation to ex-gratia
payments but this was not upheld. The Equality Officer awarded redress in
the sum of €35, 422.71. She also ordered the company to pay the
complainant interest at the courts rate on the award.

For Further information please contact: Brian Merriman, Head of
Communications, The Equality Authority at 01-4173368 or 087 6573732.


Louise Hannon v First Direct Logistics Ltd.
Decision No. DEC-E2011-066 Ground: Gender and

When Ms Hannon initially revealed her true identity to the company in
October 2006 she intended to resign her position to work in an open
environment but was persuaded to remain on. In December 2006 the
complainant sought to clarify when she could begin to change over to her
female identity at work and was asked to wait a couple of months to allow a
new staff member to settle in.

Ms Hannon had an appointment to change her name by deed poll on 5th March
2007 and arrived in the office the following day in her true gender using
her female identity. She requested that her email be changed over to her
new name. Ms Hannon was told that she must complete her sales over the
phone in her male identity and that the Operations Manager would meet any
clients personally should the need arise and that she may have to work
using her male identity until Christmas 2007. Later that month the
Operations Manager approached Ms Hannon and expressed concerns about her
productivity. The complainant claims she was asked to revert to her male
identity for another three month period. The Director of the company
subsequently agreed that she could return to the office dressed as a woman
but asked that she change into her male identity when seeing clients. Ms
Hannon found this request very difficult to comply with and she dealt with
clients over the phone instead although she did meet with client companies
in her male identity on two occasions. The complainant also claims that
she was asked not to use the female toilets.
April 18th 2011
In April 2007 the Complainant was asked if she would move to the new office
where she could work in her female identity but was asked if she could work
from home until such time as the office was set up. The complainant agreed
as she understood this to be a brief interim period of one month.

The complainant found it very difficult to work from home as her leads
dried up when she was out of the office environment. However, despite
requests the complainant was not allowed to return to the office and was
informed that a new person had started and there was no room for her. On
19th July 2007 the Director contacted her to inform her that he was not
happy with her work and that she needed to produce new clients in the next
weeks if she wanted to keep her job. Ms Hannon subsequently met with the
Director and requested that she be allowed to return to the office but her
request was refused on the basis that her presence caused a bad atmosphere.
The complainant decided that she had no alternative but to leave her
employment at the end of July 2007.

In response to Ms Hannon’s complaint First Direct Logistics Ltd claimed
that they had provided the necessary supports to her to enable her pursue
her gender transition.
The respondent argued that they had met with the complainant and formulated
a plan to deal with the transition. The plan included:
· At an agreed time the respondents staff would be informed of the
complainants gender identity disorder
· The complainant would continue to contact current clients as “John
Smith” and generate new clients in her new identity.
· The complainant would continue to fulfil her transport duties whilst
she remained with the name “John”
· At an agreed time the complainant would stop wearing male clothing.

The respondent claimed that Ms Hannon’s productivity reduced dramatically
in early 2007. The company submitted that despite their efforts to
accommodate the complainant she was depressed and unhappy and failed to
make phone calls to generate new business. The company claimed that in
April 2007 it decided that no further sales work would take place in its
old premises and that this function would be moved to a dedicated premises
upon their completion. The respondent accepted that it had asked the
complainant to work from home which she had agreed to do and it had
increased her wages as a gesture of good will. The respondent accepted
that the complainant was the only employee asked to work from home but that
this was because she was the only employee working in this area. The
respondent claimed that the complainant’s productivity continued to
deteriorate and that she subsequently secured alternative employment at the
end of July 2007.

The Equality Officer stated that it was well established in law that the
gender ground protects transgender persons from sex discrimination and she
made reference to the European Court of Justice approach in P v S and
Cornwall County Council (Case C-13/9). The Equality Officer also noted
that it was accepted by the parties that the complainant who had been
diagnosed with gender identity disorder had a disability and that the
company was on notice of this fact.

April 18th 3/3
Louise Hannon

Ignorance is bliss in the real world

A number of different events this week all have a common one word thread ;ignorance. I think that is the only word to describe them. When I say ignorance I mean that in the sense of rudeness and lack of knowledge combined.

Last night the Corrib gas tapes emerged.

Sgt James Gill: who is them two lassies, do you know the two of them?
Garda Hugh Egan: I don’t know the second one, the first one is Jerryanne O Sullivan. With blond hair
Unidentified Garda: she was up on the tractor earlier on.
Sgt James Gill: It'd do no harm to get the second ones name again?
Garda Hugh Egan: She’s some yank I don’t know who the fuck she is.
Unidentified Garda: is she a yank?
Garda Hugh Egan: it sounds like it, it sounds like it, the accent anyway
Unidentified Garda: sounds like a yank or Canadian
Garda Hugh Egan: Well who ever we’ll get Immigration fucking on her.
Sgt James Gill: she refused to give her name and address and told she would be arrested
Garda Hugh Egan:.......and deported
Sgt James Gill: And raped.
Garda Hugh Egan: I wouldn’t go that far yet Jim, She was living down at that crusty camp, fuck sake, you never know what you might get.
(All laugh)
Sgt James Gill: give me your name and address or I’ll rape you.
(All laugh)
Garda in back seat: hold it there, give me your name and address there, I’ll rape you
(All laugh)
Sgt James Gill: or I’ll definately rape you.
Unidentified Garda : will you be me friend on facebook?
(conversation continues about facebook use in the Garda Station)

Full audio

These men should be removed from the Gards to send out a strong messge to others that their attitude is completely unacceptable.

The second event was Ivor Callely being fined €60 for driving while holding a mobile phone. Presumably he knows the law but still denyed all knowledge.

The third was the revelation that the norths First Minister is attending his first Roman Catholic funeral in his life. What age is Peter Robinson and he is only doing this now? He is coming up to his 63rd birthday this December. Is it any wonder there is still hatred in the north?

A man’s ignorance is as much his private property, and as precious in his own eyes, as his family Bible —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Louise Hannon

Hey ho hey ho it's off to the dole Q we go.

What another strange week? The banks got another €24 billion, but what's another billion between friends. So further down the road to bankrupty we go hey ho. Further down the road to supporting German and French banks. The sooner this whole recession and inevitable default is brought to a head the better. Ireland is propping up the Euro and going no where fast..

I was struck by this letter to the Irish Times

Madam, – We put our money into the banks. They charge us for holding it. They charge us when we use it. They gamble with it. They lose it. We repay them for losing it. Why? – Yours, etc,


The above makes a lot of sense. The immorality of it is staggering. Irish citizens are being asked to bail out German and French banks all of whom took known risks. All the while we the Irish people had no say in what Anglo and the rest borrowed. I think it's obscene.

There were two further things that struck me around this injection of bank capital. One is the proposed amalgamation of ILP with AIB after the profitable bits of ILP are flogged off. Do we need cash that badly that we sell the golden hen that lays the eggs? It would certainly seem so.

Secondly we also have seen the markets reaction to this stress test, and obviously the markets don't believe in the results, otherwise interest rates would begin to fall. I cannot help but go back to 1992 when George Soro was betting against the GBP being forced out of the then ERM. He gambled and won and I'd be willing to bet that he is doing the same thing with Ireland today, nearly twenty years on.

The sickening thing politically leaving aside the financial quagmire we are in was watching Michael Martin in the Dail taking the moral high ground over the Moriarty tribunal findings and trying his best to blacken the new FG/Labour government, whose present ministers were in government when the second licence was awarded to Denis O'Brien's consortium. I hope Irish voters will have long memories well into the future on the FF political skullduggery that has been going on for the past thirteen years and who are the cause of our present financial mire.

Meanwhile the voters of Tipperary continue to astound... If this is genuine it beggers belief. Taken from Michael Lowry's Facebook page

" Deputy Lowry, I hope you will stay in Government!! You are my one and only role model in that Government and you are the one reason I have always wanted to become a TD.. Please stay my role model and stay up there in Dáil Éireann!! :)"
Louise Hannon

Who are these guys fooling?

If it swims like a duck ..looks like a duck...etc.

Moriarty came out with his long awaited report yesterday, and the man didn't mince his words. Then those he challenged went in to more denial as they have been doing since the beginning. Is this pattern familiar? I think so, to the point where I am reminded of years ago when my father would argue with his brother to the point where my uncle would argue that black was white. I'd sit there spellbound that someone could be so belligerent and defend their case with such conviction, yet I knew one was wrong.... The same is happening today in politics.

But in recent years hasn't that always been the practice. Deny, brazen it out, obstruct and if all else fails blame it on a win on the horses, but never admit corruption. Do you see a €300 million lie detector?

In all of this some of the media have gone in heavier than others, but bearing in mind that some of the media is owned by O'Brien and they are the ones generally who tend to be more than a little myopic, missing the duck all together. The trick is to decipher who has a vested interest like a well paid job to protect. When we blame foreign dictatorships for lack of freedom of speech, remember it happens here in a much more subtle way. If I was employed by O'Brien in one of his media companies would I stand up and support the Moriarty's findings knowing in the background I could be fired? The short answer is probably not unless I was a complete fool, or I had independent means to live and keep a home and family.

Sarah Carey who worked for O'Brien on Primetime RTE last night defending his interest and shooting herself in the foot at the same time 56 seconds in.

Meanwhile Billy Kelleher TD on Vincent Browne was taking the high moral ground...Bring me a sick bag please!

The Corrib Gas pipeline is causing more controversy. Under Fianna Fail we seem to have given away a vast amount of taxable wealth.


On a much lighter note the Irish Times has an agony aunt who now advises on how to handle Facebook friends...I'm speechless...are we all so intellectually challenged?


The England Grand Slam victory video oh errr... but wait

The wonderful Elizabeth Taylor who passed away today RIP
What's My Line (1954)
Louise Hannon

An ode to St Partick and his partying people

St Patricks day has come St Patrick's day has gone.

They came with hats
They came with glasses
They came with nothing covering their asses.
St Patricks full of fun
In Templebar they drank from glasses.

A portaloo, one for you, one for me
You need to throwup?
How very kind of DCC
Who wants their job to mop it up?
A gigantic party,we shall see?

Every language I heard in play
Every pub was full to bursting
Health and safety out the door
Recession, what recession? This is the best.
But getting a drink was an endurance test.

The Irish know how to party
We are trained from a very young age.
We play the boron, and the fiddle.
Until we end up in the grave.
A wake awake, I need a widdle

It was all that drink,
We love you Arthur and Father Jack,
Next year we will be back.
Till then we drink in moderation
At least we'll try, now where's the jacks?
Louise Hannon

The Labour Coalition Dilemma

On Sunday 6th March 2011 the Irish Labour party took the historic decision to enter government with Fine Gael at a special delegate conference in UCD Belfield. I was there as a delegate.

For me it was a difficult decision. I had initially rejected the idea of trying to work with Fine Gael, when I considered what had happened to the Greens, and FF. We all know the shaky coalitions of the past. I didn't want to see the party ravaged by the electorate at the next election because of the tough and painful decisions that will need to be taken and favoured staying out. My view was that by the next election Labour staying out, would not be tainted and they could look forward perhaps to being the largest party.

The down side of staying out would unfortunately be the sight of Fine Gael pursuing centre right policies without restraint. Their slash and burn policies would impact heavily on the less well off in terms of welfare cuts etc and the equality agenda would be completely non existent.

Added to this dilemma, the party had also asked the electorate in the last ten days of the campaign not to allow a Fine Gael government to have an overall majority. So for those two reasons I reluctantly voted for the programme for government.

However in my mind I was aware that the optics of this government needed to be completely different from the most recent past. As of today Thursday 10th they have started well. Ministers went to the Aras to receive their seals of office in an army minibus, and taking reduced salaries has to be a good start. Times have changed indeed, no lines of Mercedes waiting to enter the park. Honesty and openness needs to continue to prevail.

The programme for government has a large number of Labour party equality proposals contained within and it was interesting today at the UN Universal Periodic Review meeting that the voluntary organisations and NGOs had almost identical equality proposals, for the UN review body to consider in October.

Interesting times, but with another banking crisis on the way and Irish default coming down the tracks, any enhancement of equality measures will only be implemented on a cost neutral basis, so I shall await future measures based on that parameter.
Louise Hannon

The people have given two fingers to the political gougers.

I would seem that we are about to get a new Fine Gael government in some shape or form.

It will be a rough ride for whoever gets to be in government. There is another economic tsunami coming down the tracks in a very short time, in relation to mortgage debt, bank financing, and it will take strong nerves guile and ingenuity to deal with it. Europe and the EU/IMF deal need to be renegotiated, but it will be renegotiated in the overall context of the EU need to save the Euro and not from purely the perspective of helping Ireland.

Today Roche,(he's still hanging on by a thread) Conor Lenihan, Sean Haughey, Pat Carey, Mammy O'Rourke, and the Andrews dynasty, Mary Hanafin and the list goes on, are gone from the 31st Dail. From my perspective it's a good clear out. The electorate were waiting in the long grass. Unfortunately Dun Laoghaire lost out on Ivana Bacik and have gone with Boyd Barrett instead..The Dail need people like Ivana and I hope she comes through in the end.

We need fairness and equality from government, so I hope we get a Fine Gael /Labour coalition, because we will not get fairness from Fine Gael on their own

However the situation the country has been left in is a poisoned chalice for the new administration. There are those who say the new government will be short lived. I think they are wrong. Frankly my guess is that the governmemt will have a tough time but in five years things should have improved and another term would seem possible and something to aim for.

A government of Fine Gael and like minded independents might also be possible, but again not something I'd look forward to..

This Dail will give hope to people when the last one gave none. This Dail will work longer. This Dail will lead by example. This Dail will help create a sense of honesty in politics when the last Dail lead by Fianna Fail had none. This Dail will be about proper representation of the people before the profits of builders and developers, but I'm qualifying this with the caveat, that Fine Gael must be held in check by a strong Labour partner.
We shall see...time will tell.