Politics »

  • The Mark of Cain

    April 29, 2009 @ 11:46 am | by Harry McGee

    The ESRI’s first forecast pointing to any contraction in the Irish economy was made only at the end of June last year.

    This morning’s reports on the institute’s spring quarterly economic commentary (see story here) makes for ghastly reading. A 9.2 per cent shrinkage this year. A 14 per cent contraction over the next three years. Unemployment to reach almost 17 per cent next year. That’s what it was like at the worst period in the 1980s. It’s even gloomier than that, says the ESRI. The landscape it paints is that of an arid dustbowl somewhere in California in the 1930s. (more…)

  • Terrible Beauty, date of birth 5 June 2009?

    @ 11:06 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Byelection, by-election or bye-election? Whatever way you spell it, the fact is that the constituencies of Dublin Central and Dublin South will go to the polls after all to select new TDs on June 5th, in succession to the late Seamus Brennan and Tony Gregory.

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    Jack Lynch (1917-99): two by-election defeats put paid to his leadership

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  • Our Very Own Miscarriage of Justice

    April 28, 2009 @ 10:44 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    One associates the expression, “miscarriage of justice” with the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and other such cases in the neighbouring jurisdiction so it is slightly disconcerting to see the term surfacing in the Irish courts.

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    Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four:
    “Fifteen years for something I didn’t do.”

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  • The Gospel According to John

    April 27, 2009 @ 12:44 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    In politics you have to expect the unexpected. Who would have thought that, in getting sacked as Minister of State for Trade and Commerce, John McGuinness would have become a focus of public discontent with the current state of things.  

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    When John and Mary saw eye-to-eye;
    Michael Finneran on left (Photograph
    by Eric Luke)

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  • ‘He Who Is Not With Us Is McGuinness’

    April 25, 2009 @ 12:00 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    So are we in for a period of dissent in Fianna Fáil that will be reminiscent of the Haughey era? John McGuinness is certainly not taking his dismissal as a junior minister lying down. But could he seriously undermine Cowen’s leadership?

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    Mary Coughlan and John McGuinness in happier times, with still-in-situ Minister of State Michael Finneran on left (photograph by Eric Luke) (more…)

  • How to Bribe a Politician

    April 24, 2009 @ 10:48 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    This just in. Never heard of this fellow, Ross O’Mullane before. His name has an unfortunate echo of the satirical character Ross O’Carroll-Kelly but I take it he’s for real and that his candidacy in Dublin South is genuine.

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  • Taking Stock: Junior Ministers, Lisbon and the ‘Locals’

    April 23, 2009 @ 11:20 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Whereas Dara Calleary and Áine Brady were delighted recipients of general congratulations in Leinster House last evening, I saw no sign of the 13 who were re-appointed as junior ministers; the seven whose services were dispensed were not in evidence either.

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    Dara Calleary, Brian Cowen and Áine Brady – and is that Our Trevor in the background? (Photograph: Eric Luke)

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  • A reader writes…

    April 22, 2009 @ 8:48 pm | by Harry McGee

    I was doing a Google search last week when I came across a speech that Bertie Ahern made to the Irish Management Institute back in 2003.

    He explained he had succeeded in persuading the Heavens to invest in Ireland plc by releasing manna on an unlimited basis. (more…)

  • The list

    @ 2:46 pm | by Harry McGee

    Seven gone, two promoted:

    Gone: Noel Ahern (Dublin North
    West); Sean Power (Kildare South); Maire Hoctor (Tipperary North);
    Mary Wallace (Meath East); Micheál Kitt (Galway East); Jimmy Devins
    (Sligo-North Leitrim) and John McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny).
    In:

    Aine Brady (Kildare North) and Dara Calleary (Mayo) have both been
    promoted, according to sources.

    (more…)

  • The Moment of Truth…

    @ 10:19 am | by Harry McGee

    … well for 19 FF junior ministers, that is.

    The Cabinet meeting is on as I write.

    If Cowen is conservative he will drop five.

    He can’t drop both female juniors. (more…)

  • ‘But Taoiseach, I coulda been a contender’

    April 21, 2009 @ 7:25 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Taoiseach Brian Cowen will be dropping at least five of the current crop of 20 ministers of state in the coming hours and the conversation may go something like this exchange between would-be boxing champion Terry Malloy and his big brother Charlie, who has other priorities. 

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  • ‘Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end’

    April 20, 2009 @ 9:59 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    In these difficult times, everyone needs a good laugh now and then. They say it is the best medicine of all. In that spirit, I am offering the introductory paragraph of then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s statement when he announced an increase in the number of junior ministers from 17 to 20 on 20 June 2007.

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     Brian Cowen in happier times with 18 of the 20 outgoing ministers of state (Photograph by Dara MacDonaill, 13 May 2008)

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  • ‘It won’t be romantic, it will be merciless’

    @ 10:44 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Naturally one feels enormous sympathy for the family of the late Michael Dwyer who was shot dead by police in Bolivia last week. Complete and accurate information about the incident is not yet available and we may never know the full facts.

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    Michael Dwyer (1984-2009)

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  • Fianna Fail prospects in local and Euro elections

    April 17, 2009 @ 3:25 pm | by Harry McGee

    I was in Tullamore last night for the launch of Fianna Fail’s local election campaign for Offaly with 27 candidates for both council and urban elections.

    The turnout was impressive. A packed hall. Every bush in the county was beaten to get the infantry out.

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  • Teachers’ and Doctors’ grievances – public service or self-service

    April 16, 2009 @ 11:06 am | by Harry McGee

    The ghost of Easters past. Politicians vamoosed for a fortnight or more. If they left the phones on, more likely than not you would hear the long continuous beep telling you they had accumulated a couple of air miles during their break.

    As a political hack, slim pickings awaited you. (more…)

  • Fact and Prediction

    April 15, 2009 @ 11:17 am | by Harry McGee

    I often wondered about the meaning of the Chinese curse that went: ‘May you live in interesting times…”

    Now, I no longer wonder.

    Politics is as interesting as it has been since I started writing about it full-time over five years ago.

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  • Easter Reflections

    April 10, 2009 @ 9:49 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s Easter and we’re all too worn-out physically, emotionally and above all politically to enjoy the break properly. What a hectic time! But before we start the annual guilty nibbling at those calorie-rich chocolate eggs, let’s take stock of where we are.

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    Good Friday 1998: John Hume gives thanks for the peace agreement, with Eddie McGrady (left) and Sean Farren (Photograph by Alan Betson) (more…)

  • Rabbitte Throws a Punch at the Greens

    April 9, 2009 @ 5:31 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s often said the age of political oratory is dead but, if that’s the case, then Labour’s Pat Rabbitte is the exception to the rule. Here is an early transcript of his speech in  yesterday’s Budget debate where he took a swipe at the Greens that even had Taoiseach Brian Cowen teetering on the brink of laughter. In the interests of balance and fairness I am giving the  remarks made by Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley later in the day.

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    Keeping the art of parliamentary oratory alive: Pat Rabbitte at Leinster House (Photograph by Brenda Fitzsimons) 

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  • The Politics of Fatherhood

    @ 8:16 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    If you do nothing else in the next weeks or months you should go to see the production of Arthur Miller’s play, All My Sons, at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The lead performance by Canadian actor Len Cariou is a powerful example of the dramatic art. arthur-miller.jpg

    Arthur Miller 1915-2005 (Photograph by Joe St. Leger)

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  • The League and the Championship

    April 8, 2009 @ 9:50 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The Budget is out but the political fallout continues. People on monthly salaries will see the effect in their pay-slips at the end of May. That will be just a week or less in advance of the local and European elections – and possibly the Dublin Central and Dublin South by-elections – on June 5th.

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    The  Two Brians: heading for a fall?

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  • The Budget – First Thoughts

    April 7, 2009 @ 4:37 pm | by Harry McGee

    There have been so many leaks in the past week that there were very few surprises when Brian Lenihan unveiled his second (unscheduled) Budget within 10 months of becoming Minister. (more…)

  • Lenihan Sets Out His Budget Stall

    @ 3:40 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    He could have been Madonna in that Evita movie. Screw the middle-classes/I will never accept them. Yes, folks, as expected the in-betweens – too well-off for many State benefits, not sufficiently monied to employ whiz-kid accountants – will bear the brunt of Budget measures. So what else is new?lenihan-in-dail.jpg

    Brian Lenihan delivers his Budget speech

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  • Budget Axe Finally Falls

    @ 8:51 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    In the newspaper trade we have what is called a “holding story”. That’s what you write when you don’t know for sure what’s going to happen. Then you update it when the full story breaks.

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     Brian Lenihan: hoping to get a thumbs-up for his Budget (Photograph by Alan Betson)

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  • Pamela Izevbekhai and the Liberal Conscience

    April 6, 2009 @ 10:37 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The saga of Pamela Izevbekhai is like the plot of a 19th-century, three-volume novel. It has created something like turmoil in sectors of the media and the legal system. There’s been nothing like it for a long time.

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    Pamela Izevbekhai outside the Supreme Court. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins 
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  • Enda Stakes his Claim

    April 5, 2009 @ 9:55 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    There’s not much time left to the local and European elections which are set for June 5th. There is a strong possibility that the Dublin Central and Dublin South by-elections may take place on the same day – the writ can be moved as late as May 6th, or 30 days in advance. (more…)

  • Fine Gael Rallies its Troops

    April 4, 2009 @ 10:55 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The Fine Gael ardfheis started off quietly enough last night. The high-point of the evening when leader Enda Kenny and Deputy Lucinda Creighton publicly embraced to show that their recent spat at the parliamentary party was now water under the bridge.

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    Lucinda and Enda kiss and make up (Photograph by Frank Miller)

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  • Shakespeare vs Chekhov in Northern Ireland

    April 3, 2009 @ 9:32 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Talking to a friend about Northern Ireland yesterday we mulled over the dangers and possibilities that exist, or in some cases lurk, in the present situation. The killings of the two British soldiers and the (Catholic) police officer as well as the recent street disruption suggested there are more deadly dangers than hopeful possibilities at the moment.

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  • Chomsky and the campaign to boycott Israel

    April 2, 2009 @ 10:21 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Covering the debate about a proposed boycott of Israel at the Labour Party conference in Mullingar at the weekend (click here) one got the distinct feeling that, if the pro-boycott people had been better organised, they would have got their motions through. The boycott campaign may be  gaining some momentum even in the US, to judge from this TV report.

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  • Rush to judgment on Cowen-Obama ‘incident’

    April 1, 2009 @ 10:32 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    He’s a big name in the US but little-known on this side of the Atlantic. Talk-radio broadcaster and kingpin of the right Rush Limbaugh recently took a passing interest in Irish affairs but got the story entirely wrong, as far I can make out.

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    Having the craic at the Teach Bán (White House): Brian Cowen and
    Barack Obama (Reuters photograph from  Irish Times)
    .

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