Politics »

  • Latest Poll . . . Joe Higgins, MEP?

    May 30, 2009 @ 1:37 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Campaigns matter. I always cite the example of John Major running for re-election as British Prime Minister in 1992. Almost universally written-off, he famously got out his soapbox and went on the hustings in a successful fight to stay in power.


    Well if they won’t have me in Leinster House, I’ll bloody go to Strasbourg (Photograph by Frank Miller) (more…)

  • Soldiers of Destiny Fight Rearguard Action

    May 29, 2009 @ 2:51 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Tomorrow will tell a tale when we get the opinion poll rankings for the European candidates in  The Irish Times. But Fianna Fáil must have been downhearted by their showing in today’s overall party standings (click here).


    Don’t do it Enda: your ship is coming in (Photograph by Frank Miller) (more…)

  • Fianna Fail… has the media Written Off more than it could chew

    May 27, 2009 @ 1:50 pm | by Harry McGee

    If you tune in to any post-match interview on the Sunday Game this year, you’ll find a manager or player coming out with the Socratean observation that the team came good despite the fact that the”the media wrote us off”.

    It’s classic underdog psychology, and clichéd beyond existence in the GAA (and most sports in Ireland), thanks to the sycophantic soft-core sucky-ups and lickspittles  who constitute some of the broadcast media. What really irks me is that more often than not the team that is saying it was “written off” was no such thing. We have heard that claptrap from the likes of Kerry, Tyrone, Tipp and Cork (hurlers).


  • On the Road in Darkest Kilkenny

    @ 10:26 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Macra na Feirme, representing the young farming sector, did a laudable act of public service by organising a debate in Kilkenny last night between the candidates for the three European Parliament seats in the Ireland East (formerly Leinster) constituency.


     Avril Doyle watches the votes being counted in the Ireland East constituency in 2004, when she narrowly won a second Fine Gael seat in Europe (Photograph: Cyril Byrne)


  • Recycle

    May 26, 2009 @ 4:55 pm | by Harry McGee

    Participants in Greens rolling press conference

    Political journalism is more zoo than Savannah, more Shawshank than redemption.

    Most of the stuff we write about takes place in the Dáil or Seanad. If it doesn’t, more often than not it’s a stand-up interview on the plinth (the raised platform in the front yard of Lenister House); or outside the gates of Leinster House; or it’s a press conference in a meeting room of one of the nearby hotels, Buswells or the Merrion.


  • Battle Lines are Drawn

    May 25, 2009 @ 11:36 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Eleven days to go – only nine days’ canvassing – and the battle-lines are becoming clearer. I spent an hour at a Sinn Féin press conference in a remote location on the Quays (sorra fear they’d have it somewhere convenient for the hardpressed Leinster House ‘meeja’) where the main issue raised by the journoes, including yours truly, was whether or not Mary Lou McDonald was going to run in the general election.


     As in 2004, Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams will be keeping their fingers crossed again (Photograph by Brenda Fitzsimons)


  • Speak the Speech, I Pray You

    May 22, 2009 @ 10:33 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

     The word went around Leinster House yesterday that Brian Cowen was about to make a Major Speech. Journos being journos, there was considerable scepticism and curling of lips. They had been down this road before. 

    YouTube Preview Image (more…)

  • Poster Dan

    May 21, 2009 @ 4:00 pm | by Harry McGee


    I wrote a piece about Dan Boyle for this morning’s paper (it’s here).

    The intro is all about the contrast between poster and reality. Well here’ sthe visual evidence!

  • George Lee’s Sermon at ‘The Goat’

    @ 1:39 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The paper sent me to the George Lee “Town Hall Meeting” at the Goat Bar & Grill in, er, Goatstown, last night. Just as I was arriving at the place I realised I had no laptop with me and so turned the car around, headed home, dashed into house, picked up computer, raced back to the Goat. Dedication or wha’?


    The Artane Boys Band (Photograph: Alan Betson) (more…)

  • Gazing into the Crystal Ball

    May 20, 2009 @ 12:01 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    There’s a very interesting piece by Peter Wilby in last Monday’s Media Guardian. It’s 25 years since that paper first carried a Media page, which later became a supplement. This was a special edition to mark that anniversary.


    Christy Burke with the late Mother Theresa and followed by the late  Tony Gregory and current Minister of State at the Dept of Education, Sean Haughey (Photograph, amazingly not published, by Matt Kavanagh)


  • Greens want to become the carnivores of Irish politics

    @ 9:53 am | by Harry McGee

    Well it looks like the dirty tricks of the property boom didn’t entirely pass the Greens by.

    For what we saw unravel over the past couple of days was a delicious example of adroit political gazumping.


  • Lisbon

    May 18, 2009 @ 4:12 pm | by Harry McGee

    I thought that support for a Yes vote in the second Lisbon referendum later this year would be higher. But the 52 per cent revealed in today’s poll (see story here) indicates to me that it’s all over bar the shouting.

    Mary Lou McDonald said today that the poll was taken before the campaign has even started, or before the issues have been determined/thrashed out. (more…)

  • Why Machiavelli is Reading the Greens

    @ 12:01 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Having escaped the odium heaped on their Fianna Fáil partners for so long, public opinion has finally caught up with the Greens. The latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi ratings for the party are abysmal.


     Senator Dan Boyle: anxious to avoid the political wilderness (Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons )


  • Hands in Pockets, Pockets in Pants

    May 15, 2009 @ 7:33 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people in this country are willing to rally round the Royals when someone is seen to insult them. Many moons ago, Maeve Binchy caused a furore with a less-than-adoring colour piece in this newspaper on the wedding of Charles and Diana.


    Casual acquaintances (Photograph: Frank Miller)


  • The Irish Times poll

    May 14, 2009 @ 10:56 pm | by Harry McGee

    The figures are dismal for Fianna Fáil. There is no gloss on it. The two byelections will be lost. They will lose at least one MEP in the European elections. They will realise that the nadir of the local elections in 2004 was not really a nadir. THIS is a nadir.

    For a year we have looked at this administration as it has floated further and further out from shore and said; they are possibly waving. Really we should have been saying they are probably drowning. (more…)

  • Joe Higgins and Canada’s famous Mouseland narrative

    May 13, 2009 @ 7:25 pm | by Harry McGee

     YouTube Preview Image

    Joe Higgins introduces a famous speech given by Tommy Douglas of the New Democrat party in Canada in the 1960s. It was subsequently animated, much like Give Up Your Old Sins.

    It’s a wonderful piece of film, another powerful political allegory where animals are the stars!

    Higgins rues the fact that the New Democrat party later became ‘coalitionists’.

    That’s a bit of a problem isn’t it.

    An unwillingness to compromise.

    If the Socialist Party won’t enter any alliance, they will have to give us their prediction as to when they can win a majority of seats in the Dáil. In the long run, effecting change means more than being a voice crying out in the wilderness.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it’s very hard for me to visualise Joe Higgins as a mouse!

  • Time to Get Out the Soap-Box, Brian

    @ 10:49 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Someone in the newsroom was doing a sample page for the election campaign. There was no content, just slabs of type. Instead of a headline he had written, “Yada yada yada yada yada.” I looked at it and said to myself: “How true those words are.”


    Come on, try my little box of goody-num-nums (Photograph: Bryan O’Brien)


  • Fine Gael and Labour – a parting of the ways?

    May 12, 2009 @ 6:55 pm | by Harry McGee

    1. Statement issued by Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton this afternoon (first few paragraphs):

    “Neither nationalisation nor NAMA – FG is only Party that will protect
    taxpayers’ interests and get lending going again – Bruton


  • Game for a Laugh with Barack Obama

    @ 10:25 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

     Here’s the YouTube of President Obama’s witty speech at the White House Correspondents’  Dinner last Saturday night. For some reason it is dated March 9th, not May 9th. Some of the humour is a little too esoteric for those of us outside the Beltway but it is still worth watching.

    YouTube Preview Image

  • Cowen on the hustings

    May 11, 2009 @ 5:57 pm | by Harry McGee


    Observe the picture closely. It’s a group of people waiting for a Luas tram at the platform in Dundrum. But it’s no ordinary group. The assembly is composed of political correspondents, reporters, colour writers, photographers and camera operators. And they’re not waiting for a train. Rather for the occupant of a train. (more…)

  • Hanna Montana and Fianna Fáil

    @ 10:50 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    One film I definitely won’t be going to see is Hanna Montana: The Movie. But the basic storyline suggests it is something Fianna Fáil strategists might take a look at. The main character is an ordinary teenager who becomes a pop superstar by the simple expedient of donning a blonde wig.


     Will Pat the Cope (right) have cause to celebrate in three-and-a-half weeks’ time? (Photograph by Joe St Leger)


  • To Hell rather than Connaught

    May 8, 2009 @ 2:12 pm | by Harry McGee


    Fianna Fáil’s woes have been compounded by the mess in North-West.

    Fine Gael’s major delay in announcing a candidate for Dublin South looked like a dodgy strategy for a long time, leaving the field open to Senator Alex White, Labour’s very plausible candidate.


  • Celebrity politicians

    May 7, 2009 @ 1:08 pm | by Harry McGee


    The idea of a celebrity is fairly loosely defined in the modern context.

    I opened the pages of the Evening Herald yesterday to see a photograph of a wedding of a TV3 ‘personality’ of whom I had never heard. It promised a full follow-up splash feature in the next edition of VIP magazine. I for one will be rushing out to my newsagent the moment the magazine lands. (more…)

  • St George seeks to slay FF Dragon

    May 6, 2009 @ 7:50 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Print journalists are wallflowers in the dancehall of life. We subsist in the shadow of our colleagues in television who have access to people’s livingrooms night after night and may be even more real to the public than members of their own family.

    St George (Raphael)


  • How an Innocent Man Fared at the Hands of the State

    May 5, 2009 @ 11:59 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Appalling things happen in this country week in, week out. There is uproar and outrage over them but it all blows over in a few days. Usually, another shocking story comes along to supersede the last. There are so many, it is hard to keep up with them.


     Michael Feichín Hannon, who has been granted a certificate of miscarriage of justice by the Court of Criminal Appeal, with his partner Martina Kelly. (Photograph: Garrett White/Collins)


  • No Laughing Matter

    May 2, 2009 @ 10:52 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Worst political movie ever made? That was my initial and perhaps somewhat harsh judgment as I left the cinema after watching In the Loop which was so widely-praised I just had to go and see it. The main character is meant to be based on Alastair Campbell, legendary spin-doctor for Tony Blair.


     Alastair Campbell: film version of his diaries would have been better (Photograph by
    Alan Betson)


  • Needed: Lucky Fianna Fáil Generals

    May 1, 2009 @ 10:42 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The counting of votes in the European elections won’t start until 9pm on Sunday June 7th but we should know the outcome of the by-elections in the Dublin Central and Dublin South constituencies sometime the previous day, probably around lunchtime, and the make-up of the local authorities will also be known on the Saturday.


    Just the man to lead FF?
    (Photograph: Frank Miller)


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