Politics »

  • Commissioner Coughlan?

    October 31, 2009 @ 12:35 pm | by Harry McGee

    Nah. It’s not going to happen.

    But the theory surrounding her candidacy is fascinating. It goes like this:

    If she is offered the job, Cowen rids himself of a recurring headache in Cabinet – her poor and unauthotitative performance as Tánaiste.

    Her move to Brussels would also tick the gender balance box.

    Thirdly. Agriculture will be one of the key portfolios on offer. Who better than the politician who cann deem herself a success in that job.

    But what about the by-election? Didn’t Seamus Kirk’s elevation to Ceann Comhairle put paid to any TD getting the job?

    Well. Yes, but…. Couglan is from Donegal and her constituency Donegal South West is unusual in this respect. There is already a vacancy in the three-seater following Pat the Cope Gallagher’s ection as an MEP.

    If Couglan was appointhed, we would have a brand new animal in electoral history, a by-election for two seats in one constituency.

    There would be only one election. Under our STV PR system, byelections for one seat are held exactly like multiple seat elections. That would mean one election for two seats. That would mean the FF candidate would require to win 33 per cent of the votes plus one vote rather than 50 per cent plus one in a one seat election.

    Doable, say some. If Pearse Doherty romps home FF will benefit from his surplus more than Fine Gael.

    It’s not going to happen, in my view. Coughlan will stay put. Cowen knows that even in Donegal 33 per cent may be too much to ask given the Government’s unpopularity.

    Pat Cox is my guess on the basis that he has been instru
    ental in steering Lisbon through. Maire Geoghegan Quinn has been too long away from the public gaze.

  • Carr Shows Tiernan the Way

    October 29, 2009 @ 10:54 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    We had a good debate on this Blog about Tommy Tiernan’s “joke” at the expense of Holocaust victims. Despite the controversy his remarks aroused and dropping out of the Canadian “Just for Laughs” tour, Mr Tiernan never did apologise, at least not in any direct form. What a contrast with British comic Jimmy Carr who said he was sorry for his unfortunate quip at the expense of soldiers who have lost limbs in the Afghan war. For more information click here  


    Crematorium at Belsen

  • Life in Four Bottles – or three if

    October 27, 2009 @ 12:59 pm | by Harry McGee


    A friend send me on this Irish version of Shakespeare’s the Seven Ages of Man.

    The Mattie McGrath inspired Fianna Fail version could conceivably cut it back to three. You take a drink and when you sit behind the wheel you are relaxed – so relaxed in fact that you close your eyes and… Well, think of the savings to the Exchequer!


    The Fianna Fail backbench revolt is ludicrous, and sends out all kinds of signals about skewed and warped priorities.

    Most deaths on the road are associated with speed, a fair proportion of it arising from young men driving at breakneck speed on country roads at weekends. The RSA, the Garda Síochána and the Departmetn of Transport need to be far more visiblein cracking down on this.

    An elderly farmer driving home at 30mph after two pints does not pose, on the face of it, the same threat. But we need to be shown hard and fast statistics to back up this assertion, which is being made by Fianna Fail TDs.

    And if there are hard facts, then perhaps some discretion can be shown during an interregnum period.

    For drink driving culture is a generational thing. For anybody under 50, there should be no tolerance as they have spent all of their driving lives in a society where they know there has been a declining tolerance towards drink-driving.

    It all has to be based on evidence.

    And the evidence is that in the 1970s, over 700 people were being illed on Irish roads each year. Sure, the roads were much poorer, the safety design of cars was laughable, and speed was a more immediate threat, given the lack of wide roads with long straight stretches.

    But drink was also a major factor. And contributed to deaths. And still contributes to death.

    Fianna Fail TDS, to my mind, have chosen the wrong mutiny on the wrong grievance at the wrong time.

  • Timing is everything

    October 21, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | by Harry McGee


    There is a recurring gag in the spoof movie Airplane featuring a veteran air traffic controller. It starts off with him lighting a cigarette and saying: I picked the wrong day to give up cigarettes.” (more…)

  • Enda Kenny’s Napoleonic Quest

    October 20, 2009 @ 10:46 am | by Harry McGee

    Is Enda Kenny’s call for the abolition of the Seanad a bold brave radical move or a panicky attempt at out-trumping Eamon Gilmore to be the most populist politician in Ireland?


  • Seanad writs moved

    October 15, 2009 @ 11:54 am | by Harry McGee

    The writs have been moved to fill the two vacancies in the Seanad.

    There will be an election for both but it will be an election confined to the Oireachtas. So the seats wi go to Fianna Fail which is fair enough as both were Fianna Fail seats.

    Essentially they will be Fianna Fail nominations. Eoin Ryan must be a contender. So too must one or two of the rising stars: Averill Power comes to mind, though others will point to the fact that she failed to win a council seat in June

    Blogger Dan Sullivan, an authority on these matters, emailed me recently to point out that even if FF winthe next election, they have done so badly in the locals that they can’t muster a majority in the Upper House, even with the Taoiseach’s 11 nominations. Interesting times!

    * Addendum. There are three vacancies in the Seanad, two created by the death of Tony Kett and the election of Alan Kelly to Europe. The third only happened last weekend, when Senator Peter Callanan from Clonakilty died suddenly.

    Having been around Leinster House today, several names have come out. You can’t rule out the Greens getting Kelly’s seat but I’d say that FF will go for it. Other FF names who may get the nod are: Shay Brennan (an obvious choice after undertaking a thankless task in Dublin South); another son, Michael Smith, son of the epynomous Michael in Tipp North; a daughter, Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter of former Dublin Central TD, Dr Dermot Fitzpatrick.

    The Green who would be the most likely is its only newly-elected councillor, Mark Dearey in Co Louth.

  • Bull O’Donoghue Loses Out to Matador Gilmore

    October 14, 2009 @ 10:57 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    So the Bull is gone as Ceann Comhairle following a lethal intervention by the Labour Party leader. Does anyone think he got a raw deal or was the bum’s rush the appropriate manner for him to exit? 


     Matador Eamon finished off the Bull (Photograph by Cyril Byrne)  (more…)

  • Forty Shades of Green Sing Off Same Hymn-Sheet

    October 11, 2009 @ 9:26 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The Green vote was something of a triumph for the party leadership. Whatever their critics think of them, you can’t quarrel with a tally of 84% for the revised Programme for Government and a 68% rejection of the anti-Nama motion.


    Hmm, wish I could get that vote in Dublin South-East (Photograph by Brenda Fitzsimons)


  • Green evolution

    October 10, 2009 @ 5:43 pm | by Harry McGee


    Here’s one of the leading lights in thinking on sustainability, alternative power,  and political integrity. And beside him is Ciaran Cuffe. Couldn’t resist that joke. It’s a snap of the other half of this blog, Deaglán, in the RDS this afternoon in the search for the killer line for Monday’s lead.


  • Bull in a China-Shop

    October 9, 2009 @ 5:47 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    The political demise of John O’Donoghue as Ceann Comhairle was like a Greek tragedy in its inevitability. He and his people were certainly victims of their own hubris. The public relations aspect was not well-handled, it has to be said.


    The exit from the stage is that way (Photograph by Cyril Byrne)


  • Tommy Tiernan’s Canadian Sort-Of Apology

    @ 9:46 am | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    Tommy Tiernan has apologised – but only indirectly. For weeks now his website has been breathlessly proclaiming: “Tommy will take part in this year’s prestigious Just for Laughs Tour. The tour will see the best of European, American and Canadian comedians travel for four weeks around Canada. Due to his tour schedule Tommy will miss the first week but will join the tour from October the 28th in Hamilton onwards. The tickets are now on sale!”


    Holocaust Memorial Day in the Mansion House (Photograph by Cyril Byrne)


  • A Last Word on Lisbon

    October 5, 2009 @ 9:56 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    There was a stark contrast between Dublin Castle last Saturday and the same place in June 2008, when the No side won the first Lisbon referendum. This time the place was like a morgue. Last time, photographers literally almost came to blows trying to take pictures of Gerry Adams and his colleagues in Sinn Féin.


    Give us an aul’ smile, Brian (Photo by Alan Betson)


  • Tommy Tiernan: It Won’t Go Away

    October 4, 2009 @ 12:03 pm | by Deaglán de Bréadún

    I see from today’s Sunday Tribune that the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland has called on comedian Tommy Tiernan to apologise for his rant about Jews and the Holocaust. There are many critics of Israeli policies towards Gaza and the West Bank but they should not allow those matters to detract from the point at issue here.


    Are we really supposed to think this is funny? Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto 1942 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)


  • The Yes side has prevailed

    October 3, 2009 @ 10:27 am | by Harry McGee


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