'This is malicious lies, malicious lies and it is of a sexual nature regarding a member of my family and I know that it is not true'
The following is an edited transcript of the interview by TV3 Political Editor Ursula Halligan with Dana Rosemary Scallon
Published 15/10/2011 | 05:00
Ursula: Dana, why did you make your dramatic statement on Wednesday night?
Dana: I made it because false and malicious lies and accusations were being made and I had to respond. We were under tremendous pressure as a family from a freelance journalist who, of course, makes a living by selling stories and I was told that there would be extensive coverage of these lies and false accusations in the next couple of days. What would you do? What would anybody do, facing that? I felt I had to face it head on and put this to rest.
Ursula: And when did you first hear about this?
Dana: Well, it was actually the afternoon of the debate when I was approached by a freelance journalist. But I had received an email on the Saturday night, which was a very threatening email, obviously indicating what would be happening.
Ursula: And who was that from?
Dana: It wasn't signed. I have my suspicions as to who it was from.
Ursula: So it was an anonymous email?
Dana: An anonymous email.
Ursula: And what does it say?
Dana: Well, I, I, I won't be able to share all that was in the email but I do have a copy of the opening of it, which I think is self-explanatory. Eh, it said, 'Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha -- the bitch is finally getting what she deserves' and went on from there to make false accusations, so I would not want to repeat it.
Ursula: But did it contain specific details about this earlier allegation that we are talking about?
Dana: It hinted towards it and it hinted towards trying to implicate me in it.
Ursula: Did it hint or did it say?
Dana: It certainly tried to draw me into this situation. And I have done nothing wrong. I truly believe that the accusations are, I know that the accusations are completely false and malicious. They first arose in a family-dispute court case, which would be five, six years ago. Nothing was ever acted upon.
They now arise for the second time, conveniently, in the middle of my presidential campaign and for the past 30, 35 years as it's alleged, no one has ever, neither the victim, neither the alleged victim or the family have ever taken any action on this, so I know that these are false and malicious lies.
Ursula: You say they arose five year ago. How did they arise five years ago?
Dana: Well, I was in a family dispute, which ended up with me being sued for ownership of my recordings and copyrights and we had to defend our position and we had to counter-claim on that ownership and also on the question of outstanding royalties, of which there was a substantial amount.
In the court case this accusation arose.
Ursula: In open court?
Dana: The first time that this had ever been raised that I was aware of.
Ursula: And it was raised in open court?
Dana: It was raised, it was raised in the court case.
Ursula: And you know that the whole country now, Dana, is talking about this allegation and everyone is wondering, 'What is it? What is this terrible thing that Dana is talking about?'
Dana: Well, I have not been talking about it. I have been stressing that this is malicious lies, malicious lies and it is of a sexual nature regarding a member of my family and I know that it is not true. I know it is not true.
Ursula: How do you know it is not true?
Dana: Because the first time it was ever raised was in a court case in a family dispute. Never before, was not acted upon at that time. The second time it's raised is now in the middle of my election campaign, with the obvious desire of trying to destroy my character.
Ursula: But who is trying to destroy you?
Dana: Well, I have my suspicions but, you know, I cannot say that on your programme.
Ursula: But Dana, you say with absolute certainty that you know this allegation isn't true. How can you be so certain?
Dana: Because the first time this was raised was in a family-dispute court case. There was no action taken upon it. That's five or six years ago. The second time it arises is now, conveniently, in the middle of my campaign.
Ursula: Dana, the fact that no action was taken doesn't necessarily mean it's not true.
Dana: The fact that no action was taken, either by the alleged victim or by the family of the alleged victim, to me proves that this is a false and malicious allegation. If it were me or if it were someone related to me, I would certainly act upon it.
Ursula: Dana, looking back, how wise do you think it was for you to make that statement on Wednesday, given there was no publication and there was no way that any mainstream media could ever have published such an allegation without absolute proof?
Dana: We live in an age today where, on social networking, people's reputations can be destroyed by a rumour, never mind by a malicious lie and that is the reality of today.
Ursula: Dana, doesn't it look like maybe you panicked unnecessarily by making such a dramatic statement on 'Prime Time' that night and because politicians, all of them, receive lots of anonymous emails and they don't react to them. Why would you react to just one email and the inquiries from one freelance journalist?
Dana: We were under great pressure from a freelance journalist who said quite clearly that over the next two days there was going to be double-spread coverage of malicious lies.
Ursula: In what newspaper?
Dana: I will not name the newspaper because the integrity of the newspaper was that they did not do that. But the freelance reporter said that.
Ursula: What do you say to some of your critics who watched you that night making a very dramatic statement and then the next day nothing happening? And some people have been saying, 'This is a stunt, another classic stunt by Dana to ramp up, maybe, her ratings to get attention.' What do you say to that?
Dana: I would say that the people of Ireland know me well enough to know that I would never do anything to bring any kind of, of shame to my family, to my family name, I never would do that and a stunt like that this, I don't know of any sane person who would ever do this. Certainly I did not.
I did say if this were to happen again, I would step down and I truly felt that this was an attempt to make me stand down. But I tell you, I will not step down.
I will not bend under this and I will not be broken under this because what I am telling you is the truth. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I absolutely know that these are false and malicious lies used at moments of opportunity in order to try and destroy my character.
I cannot bend to bullying and intimidation or blackmail or any form of pressure upon me in the very same way as I have been saying to the Irish people that all of the time that I have been before them as a public representative, 'Do not give in to lie or deception or bullying'.
There's been too much being going on to our people and I will not accept it in my life. I will not accept if for my family and I leave that, my trust, in the hands of the Irish people.