Politics »

  • Fateful Day in Contemporary History

    January 30, 2009 @ 12:04 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    This is a fateful anniversary for anyone who was around in the early ’70s. On this day in Derry 13 people were shot dead and a 14th would die later from wounds. Most of them were young, several were only 17 years of age. (more…)

  • Cowen could take leaf from Dev’s book

    January 29, 2009 @ 10:49 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    YouTube Preview ImageI met Brian Cowen in the corridor at Leinster House last night (corridors of power and all that). We exchanged pleasantries but afterwards I realised I had completely forgotten to ask  him, When Are You Giving Your State of the Nation Address? I bet my excellent colleague Harry McGee would have remembered, since he has been on this story for some time now. (more…)

  • State of the Nation, Gargantuan and Jargontuan.

    January 28, 2009 @ 12:48 pm | by Harry McGee

    Last August I wrote a story that Brian Cowen was planning to deliver a state of the nation address sometime in September (see the original story here) . It was sourced impeccably, from a minister who should know these things. (more…)

  • Something practical for Gaza

    @ 10:05 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    I know from the response to various posts I have written about Gaza that there is great interest in the issue among readers of this blog. Many people have a feeling of helplessness as the tragedy continues to unfold. Here is something of a practical nature which has been brought to my attention and I pass the message on for your consideration:- (more…)

  • Bye-bye, George W.

    January 27, 2009 @ 3:16 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    On a lighter note, herewith an anecdote and some images received by email in recent days:-

    One sunny day in January, 2009 an old man approached the White House
    from across Pennsylvania Avenue, where he’d been sitting on a park
    bench. He spoke to the U.S. Marine standing guard and said, “I would
    like to go in and meet with President Bush.”


  • Finding a way forward on the economy

    January 26, 2009 @ 11:55 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    This week, decisions are being taken that will have a huge impact on all our lives. Government, employers and unions have been dancing around one another for some time but now the music is about to stop. (more…)

  • Is Cowen really straight out of Nob Nation?

    January 24, 2009 @ 1:06 pm | by Harry McGee

    Mark Hennessy’s assessment on Cowen this morning is great stuff (here’s the link but don’t dare click it till you reach the end!)

    It raises a number of pertinent and searching questions about  Cowen’s style of leadership that have been touched on here and elsewhere. In the broadest sense they are: (more…)

  • George Mitchell: Blessed are the peacemakers

    January 23, 2009 @ 11:46 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The appointment of  George Mitchell as President Obama’s new Middle East peace envoy has to be the first piece of good news about that troubled part of the world in a long, long time. (more…)

  • Variations on Hope

    January 21, 2009 @ 7:24 pm | by Harry McGee

    Check out this clever little take on Obama’s inauguration below. Is it a trope? Thanks to Justin McCarthy of Today FM for passingit on and its  originator, somebody called ‘the Stenner’.

    Obama, Cowen and Kenny

  • Return of the Beast (or the Bull?)

    @ 10:42 am | by Harry McGee

    Gordon Brown set off a bit of a vogue when he recalled Peter Mandelson from Europe to become a lord of the realm and Britain’s trade minister.

    Now, David Cameron is at it with the return of the larger-than-life Kenneth Clarke (he and Chris Patten were the best two Tory leaders that weren’t) to the shadow portfolio. Clarke is as moderate a Conservative as you will find but also brilliant as a communicator and articulator of his vision (except that is for his connection with the smoking industry). (more…)

  • Obama: not a dry eye in the house

    @ 10:17 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Hardboiled journo sheds tear – shock! There really wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Barack Obama took that oath of office yesterday. I have to admit that I teared-up, quite unexpectedly, as I watched it on television. (more…)

  • 44

    January 20, 2009 @ 6:10 pm | by Harry McGee

    This time 16 years ago I was in Washington to see the inauguration of No 42, Bill Clinton.

    Like now, it was a freezing January in the city. I can remember all the contrasts. Clinton was a huge fan of the saxophone and could play it some.


  • Luka Cowen, Ryan Tubridy.

    @ 11:04 am | by Harry McGee
    YouTube Preview Image

    Barry Cowen popped up on Ryan Tubridy’s show this morning. The more you listened to him the more you thought of Luka Bloom, aka Christy Moore’s younger brother Barry Moore.


  • Brian Cowen, the second 100 days

    January 19, 2009 @ 12:49 pm | by Harry McGee

    Sometime in late April or early May there will be flurries of analysis pieces all headlined ‘Obama: The First 100 Days’.

    There’s no doubt about it. It is an enticing headline and implies the first weathervane of how the leader is coping with the new job; and the first signs of the imprint they may evenutally make. (more…)

  • Respite for the people of Gaza – but for how long?

    @ 10:56 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

     Hush little baby don’t you cry
    You know your daddy’s born to die.
    All my trials Lord soon be over.

    We should pray to every god we know that the suffering of the Gaza people is over, at least for the time being. It’s likely under the circumstances that they will see further pain, death and loss in the future but let us hope that the current respite lasts a long time. (more…)

  • Cute hoorism and the public purse

    @ 10:25 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The penny is beginning to drop. We have a debate about the excessive number of junior ministers and the plethora of (often very loquacious) committees in the Oireachtas. Now I see Enda Kenny is talking of a cut in the number of TDs. Can it be that the political system is reconnecting with the people at last? (more…)

  • Anglo Irish from Japan

    January 15, 2009 @ 11:48 pm | by Harry McGee

    8.42 am (local time). The nationalisation of Anglo Irish was announced at 5am local time after the Cabinet decision was made at 12 midnight (local time) or 3pm at home.

    We interviewed Brian Cowen at 9.30pm local time last night, shortly after his meeting with Japanese prime minister Taro Aso.

    He responded to questions about the Fine Gael statement that it would not backthe recapitalisation of Anglo Irish but obviously made no reference to what was obviously a rolling situation.

    With him here in Tokyo, the Cabinet meeting was one of those that is described by that suggestive Shakespearean word, ‘incorporeal’.

    It always conjures in my mind the image of ghosts floating around an oak table deciding the fate of the people.

    If you check my (self-serving) timelines on previous blog you will see I checked out at 3.45 am and went to bed.  I got a call at 4.30am or so from  the newsdesk and made a few calls, then had to be at the ready at 7am. So not much sleep last night!

  • Japan

    @ 6:45 pm | by Harry McGee

    It’s now 17.45 in Ireland. A reasonable hour, you might say. Sadly for me, there is a nine hour time difference and it’s 2.45 am over here. I finished filing my last story just a couple of minutes ago. (more…)

  • This will make you paws for reflection

    @ 9:49 am | by Harry McGee

    A correspondent followed up on the last POST   (a long though worth-the-effort one by the way) by emailing me this link about the quirkiness of life in Japan (sounds like something that could happen in New York or LA also!)

     Check it out HERE…

  • Lost in Translation

    January 14, 2009 @ 5:52 pm | by Harry McGee

     I wish I had come up with that juicy little expression to describe the lather over the International Monetary Fund today. (more…)

  • Zombie Banks

    January 13, 2009 @ 2:36 pm | by Harry McGee

    The Japanese policy was called forbearance. It meant that banks did not call in loans on defaulters even though the money would never be repaid. Alan Ahern in NUI Galway has argued (for a long time now) that it delayed the recovery of the economy. (more…)

  • Big in Japan

    January 12, 2009 @ 6:59 pm | by Harry McGee

    I write this from Tokyo as Brian Cowen’s official visit to Japan kicks off. The city is unbelievable. Some 35 million people live in the greater connurbation – making it the biggest metropolis in the World – yet you could eat your dinner off the street. The city is overwhelming to the sense on first sigt. Its appearance is brash, modern and futuristic – Times Square multiplied by Picadilly Circus – and you sometimes feel that Western (American) culture is on the cusp of overwhelming the country’s own unique culture and heritage.

    I wasn’t crazy about Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’ but those who live here say it was so so accurate in its visual portrayal of the city’s neon showiness and the neon showiness of its youth  – with their colourful and outre expressions of individuality. Technology is all-encompassing too. You go down to Electric City in downtown Tokyo to witness floors and floors of young males (predominantly) playing amazing the most eye-popping video games. On trains, commuters watch live TV on their mobile phones.


  • Time to shout stop over Israel-Palestine

    January 5, 2009 @ 10:13 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s not enough for the international community to wring its hands and weep crocodile tears over the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. It’s time to get serious about brokering a solution before this problem develops into a wider conflict that could bring the entire world order crashing around our ears. (more…)

  • Tony Gregory and radical change

    January 3, 2009 @ 2:04 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    One has a feeling of great personal sadness at the death of Tony Gregory. He was in the proud tradition of spiky, outspoken loners in Irish politics such as Noel Browne and Jack McQuillan who embodied the true meaning of that contemporary phrase, “The Power of One”. (more…)

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