Politics »

  • Denmark may provide the answer to Lisbon impasse

    August 31, 2008 @ 1:08 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It now looks as if the Government may adopt the Danish strategy from 1993, whereby that country voted again on a previously-rejected EU treaty, approving it the second time with a number of opt-outs.  But a second Irish referendum seems unlikely to be held  until the local and European elections are out of the way next summer. (more…)

  • McCain’s August Surprise

    August 30, 2008 @ 12:24 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Smart move by John McCain in choosing a woman as his vice-presidential candidate. There are still significant numbers of women who are reluctant to switch from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama and the McCain-Palin ticket now gives them somewhere else to go. (more…)

  • Cowen’s ‘State of Two Nations’ address

    August 28, 2008 @ 10:55 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    This is a transcript of Brian Cowen’s speech at the Wall Street 50 awards dinner for business people, held under the auspices of Irish America magazine in the plush surroundings of the New York Yacht Club last month.  Although I covered his US visit and reported on this speech at the time, I still feel it deserves more attention back home.         (more…)

  • Michael O’Leary and the Arctic explorer

    August 26, 2008 @ 12:01 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Get an earful of this. It comes from the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning (text version here.) The Ryanair boss is defending his airline’s conduct during last night’s emergency on a flight from Bristol to Spain which was diverted to the French city of Limoges. The passenger interviewed about the experience happens to be a polar explorer. (more…)

  • Clara’s Luke Kelly

    August 25, 2008 @ 6:30 pm | by Harry McGee

    Céilí House on Radio One on Saturday is my favourite radio show of all time for a lot of reasons, not least because of Kieran Hanrahan’s laid-back brilliance. I was driving home to Dublin from Mayo on Saturday night when the programme came live from the trailer of an articulated truck in (what sounded like a sopping wet) Tullamore.

    (more…)

  • Now get out of that: the Lisbon conundrum

    @ 10:46 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s not every day you see prominent Fianna Fáil people disagreeing in public. This was the spectacle provided by the Humbert Summer School in Co Mayo (the programme bilocates between Ballina and Killala).  (more…)

  • Enda Kenny’s cure for the summertime blues

    August 24, 2008 @ 11:56 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    So what are our politicians reading in the summer rain? In a previous blog I wrote about Brian Cowen’s current taste in books,  but what of  his opposition counterpart? I met Enda Kenny at the Humbert Summer School in Ballina where, taking a breather after a lengthy speech lambasting the Taoiseach, he told me his favourite titles of the moment were as follows: (more…)

  • An obsession with details?

    August 22, 2008 @ 10:25 am | by Harry McGee

    Mark Brennock, who formerly laboured in this vineyard, wrote a though-provoking piece last Saturday about his own opinion on politics and politicians, now that he is no longer a political correspondent. The thrust of what he was saying, if I’m interpretiing what he had to write correctly, was that, often, we political journalists cannot see the woods because of the trees. We are concerned with the minutiae, the small details, the minor daily shifts, the moving of all those small cogs and wheels. Adn that there is a broader sweep that we become conditioned to ignore.

    (more…)

  • Missing

    August 21, 2008 @ 2:14 pm | by Harry McGee

    One Taoiseach. Age 48. Answers to name of Brian. Can be quite testy when provoked. Last heard of weeks ago. Spotted in a caravan in Connemara lashed down for typical summer weather. Also recently sighted in the Midlands. Any information should be forwarded to political correspondents who are desperate to hear from him.

  • Do oppositions also have shelf lives?

    August 20, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | by Harry McGee

    It won’t be too long now before the opposition parties start firing off missive asking how long more do we have to put up with this (multiple choice) failed/knackered/tired/lacking in imagination/fatigued government? Granted, the present arrangement is only a year in office.

    But Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Fein etc want us to tap into a sense of exhaustion that has come from FF dominating government for 11 years… legs are becoming heavy and all those stalwarts of government can no longer handle the pace. (more…)

  • What Brian Cowen was reading in the Connemara rain

    @ 12:41 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    A Summer reading list of 38 books was circulated to all 195 Tory MPs in Britain as they set off on their holidays (see below). Meanwhile we are told that Brian Cowen’s holiday reading in Connemara* in the rain was the autobiography of John Hume, entitled The New Ireland and a collection of essays by the poet and philosopher John O’Donohue, who died last January. (more…)

  • Georgia on our minds

    August 19, 2008 @ 10:42 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    When you are in the vicinity of a hammer, try not to act like a nut. That’s probably the main lesson to be derived from the nasty little war between the Georgians and the Russians. (more…)

  • Wet Wet Wet

    August 18, 2008 @ 5:49 pm | by Harry McGee

    I’ll tell you how quiet politically it is. I’ve seen graveyards where there’s been more action. On an average sitting day of the Dáil, we’d get a couple of dozen emails related to politics each day. True, a lot of them are of no consequence. But yesterday -admittedly it was a Sunday – there was a grand total of four, three of them tributes to Ronnie Drew and the fourth about Falun Gong practicioners who were being persecuted in China. (more…)

  • Free fees controversy a gift to the Opposition

    @ 10:41 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    In the course of  a  lengthy interview with myself about his political career, conducted back in the 1980s, the late Charles Haughey asked me to switch off my tape recorder as he was about to impart some information on an off-the-record basis.  We had been discussing his deceased colleague Donogh O’Malley, who as Minister for Education brought in free secondary schooling in the late 1960s. (more…)

  • Media Intrusion and Dunking the Biscuit

    August 11, 2008 @ 12:58 pm | by Harry McGee

    Niamh Horan’s encounter with Brian Cowen in Connemara took doorstep journalism to a different level.

    Horan is the latest young journalist to be pedestalised by the Sunday Independent – flying the flag for what Eamon Dunphy once memorably described as the Duckworth School of Journalism.

    (more…)

  • Imma – the list in full

    August 8, 2008 @ 1:12 pm | by Harry McGee

    I wrote a story last Saturday on the Irish Museum of Modern Art and a 2003 report which showed that work had been damaged as a result of inadequate storage facilities. The full list didn’t make it into the printed edition.

    For the record, here is the list, with the title of the painting first, then the name of the artist (where it’s known) and the damage that was caused by the storage difficulties at Imma in the Royal Holspital Kilmainham (if there are typos in the titles, they are my own!) (more…)

  • Busmen’s holidays

    @ 10:57 am | by Harry McGee

    We give out at length about politicians’ holidays (and justifiably so for mediocre backbenchers who should never have got beyond county council level).

    But spare a thought for Brian Cowen who is pictured today wearing a cheerful blue geansaí on his holidays in Ballyconneely in Connemara. (more…)

  • Cowen – you think it’s all over?

    August 5, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | by Harry McGee

    Event: The Lisbon Treaty falls.

    Implicaton: Brian Cowen’s reign as Taoiseach is off to a rocky start.

    Event: The economy plunges south. (more…)


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